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Jesus is Lord Christian School Foundation v City of Pasig GR RTC held that, as gleaned from the declaration in Ordinance

aration in Ordinance No. 21, there

152230 was substantial compliance with the definite and valid offer requirement of
Section 19 of R.A. No. 7160, and that the expropriated portion is the most
The Municipality (now City) of Pasig needed an access road from ER Santos convenient access to the interior of Sto. Tomas Bukid.
St., a municipal road near the Pasig Public Market, to Brgy. Sto. Tomas
Bukid, Pasig, where 60 to 70 houses were located. The road had to be at CA affirmed the order of the RTC. CA declared that the letter of Engr.
least three meters in width, as required by the Fire Code, so that fire trucks Reyes, inviting Lorenzo Ching Cuanco to a conference to discuss with him
could pass through in case of conflagration. Likewise, the residents in the the road project and the price of the lot, was a substantial compliance with
area needed the road for water and electrical outlets. The municipality the "valid and definite offer" requirement under said Section 19. In
then decided to acquire 51 square meters out of the 1,791- square meter addition, the CA noted that there was also constructive notice to the
property of respondents Lorenzo Ching Cuanco, Victor Ching Cuanco and defendants of the expropriation proceedings since a notice of lis pendens
Ernesto Ching Cuanco Kho (Ching Cuangcos) which is abutting E. R. Santos was annotated at the dorsal portion of the TCT. Finally. CA upheld the public
Street. necessity for the subject property based on the findings of the trial court
that the portion of the property sought to be expropriated appears to be,
The Sangguniang Bayan of Pasig approved an Ordinance authorizing the not only the most convenient access to the interior of Sto. Tomas Bukid,
municipal to initiate expropriation proceedings to acquire the said property but also an easy path for vehicles entering the area, particularly fire trucks.
and appropriate the fund therefor. The ordinance stated that the property Moreover, the CA took into consideration the provision of Article 33 of the
owners were notified of the municipalitys intent to purchase the property LGCs IRR, which regards the "construction or extension of roads, streets,
for public use as an access road but they rejected the offer. sidewalks" as public use, purpose or welfare.
JILCSFI filed a MR. CA denied the MR.
Municipality filed a complaint against the Ching Cuangcos for the
expropriation of the property under Sec. 19 of RA 7160. It appended to ISSUE/s:
the complaint a photocopy of the letter addressed to defendant Lorenzo 1. Was there a valid expropriation on the part of the municipality?
Ching Chuangco. None
2. W/N the expropriation of the subject property is subject to the
City of Pasig deposited with the RTC 15% of the market value of the 1. essential requisites for an easement of right of way? NO
property based on the latest tax declaration covering the property. On
plaintiffs motion, RTC issued a Writ of Possession. Plaintiff caused the HELD:
annotation of a notice of lis pendens at the dorsal portion of the TCT under
the name of Jesus is Lord Christian School Foundation (JILCSFI) which had 1. The right of eminent domain is usually understood to be an ultimate
purchased the property. right of the sovereign power to appropriate any property within its
territorial sovereignty for a public purpose.
City of Pasig constructed therein a cemented road with a width of three However, this power still has its limits. The Constitution provides
meters; the road was called Damayan Street. that private property shall not be taken for public use without just
compensation. Also, the due process and equal protection clauses
Ching Cuancos claimed, in their answer that, as early as Feb 93 they had are safeguards against arbitrary exercise of governmental power.
already sold the property to JILCSFI via deed of sale. JILCSFI filed a motion The exercise of the right of eminent domain, whether directly by
to intervene as defendant-in-intervention which the RTC granted. It averred the State or by its authorized agents, is necessarily in derogation of
that the City of Pasigs exercise of eminent domain was only for a particular private rights. When the sovereign delegates the power to a
class and not for the benefit of the poor and the landless. political unit or agency, a strict construction will be given against
the agency asserting the power. The authority to condemn is to be
The City of Pasig offered in evidence a photocopy of the letter of Engr. Jose strictly construed in favor of the owner and against the condemnor.
Reyes addressed to Lorenzo Ching Cuanco to prove that the plaintiff made Corollarily, the respondent, which is the condemnor, has the
a definite and valid offer to acquire the property to the co-owners. burden of proving all the essentials necessary to show the right of
However, the RTC rejected the same letter for being a mere photocopy. condemnation. It has the burden of proof to establish that it has
complied with all the requirements provided by law for the valid
RTC issued an order in favor of plaintiff. The plaintiff and intervenor are exercise of the power of eminent domain.
hereby directed to submit at least two (2) names of their recommended
commissioners for the determination of just compensation within ten (10) The Court declared that the following requisites for the valid exercise
days from receipt hereof. of the power of eminent domain by a local government unit must
be complied with:
In the absence of competent evidence that, indeed, the municipality made
1. An ordinance is enacted by the local legislative council authorizing a definite and valid offer to all the co-owners of the property, the
the local chief executive, in behalf of the local government unit, to declaration in an ordinance that the property owners were already notified
exercise the power of eminent domain or pursue expropriation of the intent to purchase the same for public use as a municipal road is not
proceedings over a particular private property. a compliance with Section 19 of R.A. No. 7160
2. The power of eminent domain is exercised for public use, purpose
or welfare, or for the benefit of the poor and the landless. In here, the whereas clause in the ordinance that the property
3. There is payment of just compensation, as required under Section owners were already notified by the municipality of the intent to
9, Article III of the Constitution, and other pertinent laws. purchase the same for public use as a municipal road is not
4. A valid and definite offer has been previously made to the owner of deemed a substantial compliance with the law.
the property sought to be expropriated, but said offer was not
accepted. A property that is intended for the construction of a place of religious
It is incumbent upon the condemnor to exhaust all reasonable efforts to worship and a school for its members may still be expropriated.
obtain the land it desires by agreement. An offer is a unilateral proposition
which one party makes to the other for the celebration of a contract. The Petitioner contends that the property can no longer be
offer must be complete, indicating with sufficient clearness the kind of expropriated by the respondent because it is intended for the
contract intended and definitely stating the essential conditions of the construction of a place for religious worship and a school for its
proposed contract. members. However, in Manosca v CA, the term public use is one of
constant growth. As society advances, its demands upon the
The purpose of the requirement of a valid and definite offer to be first individual increases and each demand is a new use to which the
made to the owner is to encourage settlements and voluntary acquisition resources of the individual may be devoted. . . . for whatever is
of property needed for public purposes in order to avoid the expense and beneficially employed for the community is a public use.
delay of a court action. A single bona fide offer that is rejected by the
owner will suffice.
2. Where property is expropriated for the purpose of constructing a road,
A letter offered only to prove the municipalitys desire or intent to acquire a the expropriator is not mandated to comply with the essential requisites for
property for a right-of-way does not prove that the LGU made a definite an easement of right-of-way under the New Civil Codecase law has it that
and valid offer to acquire the property for public use as an access road in the absence of legislative restriction, the grantee of the power of
before filing the complaint for expropriation eminent domain may determine the location and route of the land to be
taken unless such determination is capricious and wantonly injurious.
In this case, respondent failed to prove that before it filed its
complaint, it made a written definite and valid offer to acquire the Hence, expropriation is justified as long as it is for public good &
property for public use as an access road. The only evidence there is genuine necessity of public character. The Government
adduced by the municipality is the photocopy of the letter cant capriciously choose what private property should be taken.
purportedly bearing the signature of Engr. Jose Reyes, to only one
of the co-owners, Lorenzo Ching Cuanco. In that letter, the The testimony of witnesses that although there were other ways through
respondent offered the letter only to prove its desire or intent to which one can enter the vicinity, no vehicle, however, especially fire
acquire the property for a right-of-way. The document was not trucks, could enter the area except through the property sought to be
offered to prove that the respondent made a definite and valid expropriated is more than sufficient to establish that there is a genuine
offer to acquire the property. Respondent also failed to adduce necessity for the construction of a road in the areaabsolute necessity
evidence that copies of the letter were sent and received by all the is not required, only reasonable and practical necessity will
co-owners of the property (Lorenzo Cuanco, Victor Cuanco and suffice.
Ernesto Kho)
But in this case, respondent failed to show the necessity for
There is no legal and factual basis to the CAs ruling that the annotation of constructing the road particularly in the petitioners property and
a notice of lis pendens at the dorsal portion of the owners certificate of not elsewhere. We note that the whereas clause of the ordinance
title is a substantial compliance with the requisite offer. states that the 51-square meter lot is the shortest and most
suitable access road to connect Sto. Tomas Bukid to E. R. Santos
In this case, it was annotated long after the complaint had been Street.
filed in the RTC against Ching Cuancos.
The respondents complaint also alleged that the said portion of
the petitioners lot has been surveyed as the best possible ingress In this case, nowhere in the record shows that an ocular inspection
and egress. However, the respondent failed to adduce a was conducted during trial. If, at all, the trial court conducted an
preponderance of evidence to prove its claims. ocular inspection of the property during trial, the petitioner wasnt
notified. Hence, petitioner was deprived of its right to due process.
An ocular inspection is part of the trial as evidence is thereby received and
the parties are entitled to be present at any stage of the trialwhere the Petition is granted. CA decision reversed and set aside. RTC is ordered to
property owner was not notified of any ocular inspection of the property, dismiss the complaint of City of City of Pasig without prejudice to refiling
any factual finding of the court based on the said inspection has no thereof.
probative weight.