Republic of the Philippines it for the widening of the Gorordo Avenue, a national

SUPREME COURT road, Cebu City, without paying just compensation
Manila and without any agreement, either written or verbal.
There was an allegation of repeated demands for the
EN BANC payment of its price or return of its possession, but
defendants Public Highway Commissioner and the
Auditor General refused to restore its possession. It
was further alleged that on August 25, 1965, the
appraisal committee of the City of Cebu approved
G.R. No. L-31635 August 31, 1971 Resolution No. 90, appraising the reasonable and
just price of Lot No. 647-B at P50.00 per square
ANGEL MINISTERIO and ASUNCION meter or a total price of P52,250.00. Thereafter, the
SADAYA, petitioners, complaint was amended on June 30, 1966 in the
vs. sense that the remedy prayed for was in the
THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CEBU, alternative, either the restoration of possession or
Fourth Branch, Presided by the Honorable, the payment of the just compensation.
Judge JOSE C. BORROMEO, THE PUBLIC
HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER, and THE AUDITOR In the answer filed by defendants, now respondents,
GENERAL, respondents. through the then Solicitor General, now Associate
Justice, Antonio P. Barredo, the principal defense
Eriberto Seno for petitioners. relied upon was that the suit in reality was one
against the government and therefore should be
Office of the Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, dismissed, no consent having been shown. Then on
Acting First Assistant Solicitor General Antonio A. July 11, 1969, the parties submitted a stipulation of
Torres and Solicitor Norberto P. Eduardo for facts to this effect: "That the plaintiffs are the
respondents. registered owners of Lot 647-B of the Banilad estate
described in the Survey plan RS-600 GLRO Record
FERNANDO, J.: No. 5988 and more particularly described in Transfer
Certificate of Title No. RT-5963 containing an area
of 1,045 square meters; That the National
What is before this Court for determination in this
Government in 1927 took possession of Lot 647-B
appeal by certiorari to review a decision of the Court
Banilad estate, and used the same for the widening
of First Instance of Cebu is the question of whether
of Gorordo Avenue; That the Appraisal Committee
or not plaintiffs, now petitioners, seeking the just
of Cebu City approved Resolution No. 90, Series of
compensation to which they are entitled under the
1965 fixing the price of Lot No. 647-B at P50.00 per
Constitution for the expropriation of their property
square meter; That Lot No. 647-B is still in the
necessary for the widening of a street, no
possession of the National Government the same
condemnation proceeding having been filed, could
being utilized as part of the Gorordo Avenue, Cebu
sue defendants Public Highway Commissioner and
City, and that the National Government has not as
the Auditor General, in their capacity as public
yet paid the value of the land which is being utilized
officials without thereby violating the principle of
for public use." 1
government immunity from suit without its consent.
The lower court, relying on what it considered to be
authoritative precedents, held that they could not The lower court decision now under review was
and dismissed the suit. The matter was then promulgated on January 30, 1969. As is evident from
elevated to us. After a careful consideration and with the excerpt to be cited, the plea that the suit was
a view to avoiding the grave inconvenience, not to against the government without its consent having
say possible injustice contrary to the constitutional been manifested met with a favorable response.
mandate, that would be the result if no such suit Thus: "It is uncontroverted that the land in question
were permitted, this Court arrives at a different is used by the National Government for road
conclusion, and sustains the right of the plaintiff to purposes. No evidence was presented whether or
file a suit of this character. Accordingly, we reverse. not there was an agreement or contract between the
government and the original owner and whether
payment was paid or not to the original owner of the
Petitioners as plaintiffs in a complaint filed with the
land. It may be presumed that when the land was
Court of First Instance of Cebu, dated April 13, 1966,
taken by the government the payment of its value
sought the payment of just compensation for a
was made thereafter and no satisfactory explanation
registered lot, containing an area of 1045 square
was given why this case was filed only in 1966. But
meters, alleging that in 1927 the National
granting that no compensation was given to the
Government through its authorized representatives
owner of the land, the case is undoubtedly against
took physical and material possession of it and used
the National Government and there is no showing

1

while claiming to act for the State." 2 sued without its consent. for the protection of his rights. as noted stand. It is just as important. or after tender to the party entitled to such favor of said citizen but also in a charge against or payment of the amount fixed.that the government has consented to be sued in this said that an action at law or suit in equity against a case. This is clearly the taking. As was indicated in the opening disputed lot. It is a different matter where the public official is what the law requires. the doctrine calls for government "to make due compensation. then the suit should be regarded as one against the government to enter in and upon the land so condemned" to appropriate the same to the public use defined in the itself. In the same tenor. . The principal error assigned would complaint of petitioners being in the alternative. We shall proceed to explain why. under an unconstitutional act or defendants are sued in their official capacity the under an assumption of authority which he does not action is one against the National Government who have. could national government which was sued without its have passed upon the claim of plaintiffs there. relief. 15 suit against the State within the rule of immunity of the State from suit. which is legal acts by its officers. in the opinion of this Court. The party that could be adversely use 13 were to be respected. It would follow then that the prayer in the amended above decision. The government is immune from suit without its "neither convenient nor feasible because it is now consent. such a should have been made "as far back as the date of principle could still be an effective bar. 4 The doctrine of governmental immunity from suit cannot serve as an instrument for perpetrating an So it has been categorically set forth in Syquia v. It is unthinkable then that precisely because there was a failure to abide by 2. If it appears that the action. Had the government followed Almeda Lopez: 5 "However. as it should. would be for the would in fact hold it liable. restoration would be 1. the government would stand made to account in his capacity as such for acts to benefit. and where the judgment in such a case would result not only upon payment of the compensation fixed by the only in the recovery of possession of the property in judgment. Considering that the herein rights of the plaintiff." 12 It application. a complaint would have been filed by it. It may be contended that the present case is State officer or the director of a State department on brought against the Public Highway Commissioner the ground that. in Alfonso v. and. as it was in fact petitioners. Under If the constitutional mandate that the owner be such circumstances. government officials or officers are not acts of the to be judicially ascertained. the impugn the holding that the case being against the lower court. The decision of the lower court cannot Procedure. Pasay City. then a suit affected is government. It follows then that even if the was made clear in such decision that compensation defendants named were public officials. the procedure indicated by the governing law at the time. now consent should be dismissed.. it cannot prosper or be judgment. and the Auditor General and not against the National he violates or invades the personal and property Government. of this character should not be summarily dismissed. may it "have the right financial liability to the Government. 10 this Court speaking through Justice Montemayor. suability may be interposed."8 Then came this petition for certiorari to review the 3." 6 procedural regularity. It is not too much to say that when the government Aligean: 7 "Inasmuch as the State authorizes only takes any property for public use. There is no by one whose rights have been invaded or violated thought then that the doctrine of immunity from suit by such acts. the liability of the official sued compensated for property taken for public is not personal. unauthorized acts of conditioned upon the payment of just compensation. Hence the defense of non. instead of dismissing the same. 3 Nor is it indispensable that it be the party and has been used for road purposes. as constitutional provision that the State may not be stated before. consequently.. is not a suit against the State within the should have been made a party in this case. that contrary to law and injurious to the rights of plaintiff. if not more so. Director of the Bureau of Telecommunications v." Does it result. since no proceeding for eminent paragraph of this opinion." 11 The only proceeded against. with its consent. whether in the possession is in effect barred by the above decision? disbursements of funds or loss of property. there be fidelity to legal norms on the part of As was clearly set forth by Justice Zaldivar in officialdom if the rule of law were to be maintained. this assignment of error is domain. it makes manifest that it State. but. it has been 2 . for the recovery of the possession of the dismissed. injustice on a citizen. and an action against the officials or officers submits to the jurisdiction of a court." 14If there were an observance of validly entertained by the courts except with the consent of said Government. as required by the then Code of Civil justified. petitioners would not be in the sad plaint they are now. therefore. is not a could still be appropriately invoked. was instituted. 9 However. that petitioners so where a litigation would result in a financial would be absolutely remediless since recovery of responsibility for the government. and this is important.

. proceedings in accordance with law. or public or private corporation although the plaintiff claims the present market value having by law the right to condemn private thereof. Chairman Philippine Veterans Administration. 905 (1954). Shipping Co. 312 (1949) affirmed in Marvel Building 92 Phil. Makalintal. 30. his bond therefor and shall be compelled to receive it. Ramos. v. Santos vs. L-27189. of North America v. took no part. War Damage Commission. Compania General (1957) and Syquia v. 43 Phil 27 (1922). 110 Islands. 7 L-31135. 1966. p. de Tabacos v. May 29. L-24544. March 30. v. 17. Cf.. Hartford Insurance Co.. paragraph 2 of the Constitution: "Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. December 6 Ibid. Sept. 18 SCRA 1120. S. Lyons. 27 3 . 67 Phil. and describe the property sought to be condemned. Bull v. Republic. the plaintiff shall have the right to enter in and upon the land so 3 Cf. Angat River 27 (1949) and Johnson v. P. the lower court decision of January defendant separately.. Government. Inc." 16 condemnation. to appropriate the same to the Republic. "Upon payment by the plaintiff to the defendant of compensation as fixed by the judgment. 21 SCRA 860. 1970. 807 Irrigation v. J. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. 789 (1957). diss. showing the interest of each WHEREFORE. Yatco. 94 Phil. L-26533.4. 104 Phil. J. Ltd. Maersk Line Far East Service. 312 (1949). the basis should be the price or value section reads: "The complaint in condemnation at the time that it was taken from the owner and proceedings shall state with certainty the right of appropriated by the Government. SCRA 309.. and such officer shall be responsible on 1970. p. Teehankee. L-22784. C. 519. Customs Arrastre Service. 1969. L-25916. and Alfonso case: "As to the value of the property. 32 15 Cf. Government of the Philippine SCRA 466. 281 (1952) .L. 85 Phil. and Barredo. 1969 dismissing the complaint is reversed and the case remanded to the lower court for 10 106 Phil. Providence Washington Insurance Co. Annex H. D. 319. 30. 1022.B." The next Government. 728 (1939). Osaka Shosen Kaisha. United States of America. the rule is that to determine due property for public use shall exercise that right in compensation for lands appropriated by the the manner hereinafter prescribed. March 28. 29 SCRA public use defined in the judgment. Salgado v. Villamor and Makasiar. v. 311 (1916). L. Phil." Sec." Footnotes 14 Section 247 of Act No. v. Castro.J. 30. 64 Phil. 1 and 2. Section 1. 242. Mobil Philippines Exploration. v. Dizon. JJ. L-26386. 13 "According to Article III. Firemen's Fund Insurance Co. Reyes. p. Pan Oriental Corp. Moon v. 190 reads in full: 1 Petition. 27 Phil. taking into account the ruling in the above department thereof.. or of any municipality. March 28. 5 84 Phil. citing Ruiz v. Bell. v. Phil. Inc. November 15. In case the 598. v. 12 Ibid. Such a doctrine goes back to Tan Te v. Almeda Lopez. Insurance Co. Marchessini & Co. J. 1970. 593 Harrison.. Begosa v. 190 (1901). 1967. 95 Phil. 724 (1937). According to Section 241 that the court may proceed with the complaint and of such Code: "The Government of the determine the compensation to which petitioners are Philippine Islands. 33 SCRA 368. v. 102 Phil. Concepcion. 84 Phil. 11 Ibid. the lower court decision is reversed so 9 Act No. Santos. after tender to him of the amount so fixed and payment of the costs. condemned. Turner.. Jan. Merrit v. Froilan v.. April 30. concur. Cabahug. L-23139. pp.. Annex I. Angat River Workers' Union. pp. any person. 663 (1924). Concepcion. 377-378.Accordingly." 4 Cf. Zaldivar. 32 SCRA 227. or of any province or entitled. 1969. 27 SCRA 8 Ibid. 354 (1914). 102 (1954).. United defendant and his attorney absent themselves States Lines Co. or 2 Ibid.. (1958). 1017 (1960). 1970. Switzerland General Insurance payment may be made to the clerk of the court Company. L-27389. for him. 31 from the court or decline to receive the same. 1969. 45 Phil. 34 Phil.

it cannot prosper or be validly entertained by the court except with the consent of said Government. The Court may proceed with the complaint Sept. Where the judgment in such a case would result not only in the recovery of possession of the property in favor of said citizen but also in a charge against or financial liability to the Government. consequently. 40 SCRA 464) ANGEL MINISTERIO and ASUNCIONSADAYA vs. ISSUE: Whether or not the defendants are immune from suit. and determine the compensation to which the petitioner are entitle 16 Alfonso v. for the protection of his rights. but defendants Public Highway Commissioner and the Auditor General refused to restore its possession. and an action against the officials or officers by one whose rights have been invaded or violated by such acts. (Ministerio vs. unauthorized acts of government officials or officers are not acts of the State. 29 SCRA 598. Pasay City. In as much as the State authorizes only legal acts by its officers. either written or verbal. to be judicially ascertained. 106 Phil. is not a suit against the State within the rule of immunity of the State from suit. Republic of the Philippines. 1017. without paying just compensation and without any agreement. 1969.CFI. There was an allegation of repeated demands for the payment of its price or return of its possession. 1022- 1023 (1960). SCRA 780. Providence Washington Insurance makes manifest that it submits to the jurisdiction of a Co. L-26386. HOLDING: NO. v. it 4 . which is condition upon the payment of just compensation. THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CEBU 40 scra 464 FACTS: Petitioners sought the payment of just compensation for a registered lot alleging that in 1927 the National Government through its authorized representatives took physical and material possession of it and used it for the widening of a national road. NOTE: When the government takes any property for public use. and. court. then the suit should be regarded as one against the government itself. 30.