You are on page 1of 29

G.R. No.

146886 April 30, 2003 in its Order dated May 3, 1999, denied [respondent's] [M]otion for [R]econsideration
thereof.
DEVORAH E. BARDILLON, petitioner,
vs. "The second [C]omplaint for eminent domain, docketed as Civil Case No. 2845-99-C and
BARANGAY MASILI OF CALAMBA, LAGUNA, respondent. entitled 'Brgy. Masili, Calamba, Laguna v. Devorah E. Bardillon' was filed before Branch 37
of the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna ('RTC') on October 18, 1999. This
PANGANIBAN, J.: [C]omplaint also sought the expropriation of the said Lot 4381-D for the erection of a
An expropriation suit is incapable of pecuniary estimation. Accordingly, it falls within the multi-purpose hall of Barangay Masili, but petitioner, by way of a Motion to Dismiss,
jurisdiction of regional trial courts, regardless of the value of the subject property. opposed this [C]omplaint by alleging in the main that it violated Section 19(f) of Rule 16
in that [respondent's] cause of action is barred by prior judgment, pursuant to the
The Case doctrine of res judicata.

Before us is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to set aside "On January 21, 2000, [the] Judge issued an order denying petitioner's Motion to Dismiss,
the January 10, 2001 Decision and the February 5, 2001 Resolution of the Court of holding that the MTC which ordered the dismissal of Civil Case No. 3648 has no
Appeals2 (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 61088. The dispositive part of the Decision reads: jurisdiction over the said expropriation proceeding.

"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present [P]etition for [C]ertiorari is hereby "With the subsequent approval of Municipal Ordinance No. 2000-261 on July 10, 2000,
DENIED DUE COURSE and accordingly DISMISSED, for lack of merit." 3 and the submission thereof in compliance with [the] Judge's Order dated June 9, 2000
requiring herein respondent to produce the authority for the expropriation through the
The assailed Resolution4 denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.
Municipal Council of Calamba, Laguna, the assailed Order dated August 4, 2000 was
The Facts issued in favor of Barangay Masili x x x and, on August 16, 2000, the corresponding order
for the issuance of the [W]rit of [P]ossession over Lot 4381-D."5
The factual antecedents are summarized by the CA as follows:
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
"At the root of this present [P]etition is the controversy surrounding the two (2)
[C]omplaints for eminent domain which were filed by herein respondent for the purpose In dismissing the Petition, the CA held that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Calamba,
of expropriating a ONE HUNDRED FORTY FOUR (144) square meter-parcel of land, Laguna (Branch 37)6 did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed
otherwise known as Lot 4381-D situated in Barangay Masili, Calamba, Laguna and owned Orders. It ruled that the second Complaint for eminent domain (Civil Case No. 2845-99-C)
by herein petitioner under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 383605 of the Registry of Deeds was not barred by res judicata. The reason is that the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), which
of Calamba, Laguna. Petitioner acquired from Makiling Consolidated Credit Corporation dismissed the first Complaint for eminent domain (Civil Case No. 3648), had no
the said lot pursuant to a Deed of Absolute Sale which was executed by and between the jurisdiction over the action.
former and the latter on October 7, 1996.
Hence, this Petition.7
"The first [C]omplaint for eminent domain, docketed as Civil Case No. 3648 and entitled
The Issues
'Brgy. Masili, Calamba, Laguna v. Emelita A. Reblara, Eugenia Almazan & Devorah E.
Bardillon,' was filed before the Municipal Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna ('MTC') In her Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues for our consideration:
on February 23, 1998, following the failure of Barangay Masili to reach an agreement with
herein petitioner on the purchase offer of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS "A. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of
(P200,000.00). The expropriation of Lot 4381-D was being pursued in view of providing discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it denied and dismissed petitioner's
Barangay Masili a multi-purpose hall for the use and benefit of its constituents. appeal;

"On March 5, 1999, the MTC issued an order dismissing Civil Case No. 3648 'for lack of "B. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of
interest' for failure of the [respondent] and its counsel to appear at the pre-trial. The MTC, discretion when it did not pass upon and consider the pending Motion for

1
Reconsideration which was not resolved by the Regional Trial Court before issuing the entity, the necessity of the expropriation, and the observance of due process. In the main,
questioned Orders of 4 and 16 August 2000; the subject of an expropriation suit is the government's exercise of eminent domain, a
matter that is incapable of pecuniary estimation.
"C. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of
discretion in taking the total amount of the assessed value of the land and building to "True, the value of the property to be expropriated is estimated in monetary terms, for
confer jurisdiction to the court a quo; the court is duty-bound to determine the just compensation for it. This, however, is
merely incidental to the expropriation suit. Indeed, that amount is determined only after
"D. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of the court is satisfied with the propriety of the expropriation."
discretion in ignoring the fact that there is an existing multi-purpose hall erected in the
land owned by Eugenia Almazan which should be subject of expropriation; and "Verily, the Court held in Republic of the Philippines v. Zurbano that 'condemnation
proceedings are within the jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance,' the forerunners of the
"E. Whether or not, the Honorable Respondent Court committed grave abuse of regional trial courts. The said case was decided during the effectivity of the Judiciary Act
discretion in failing to consider the issue of forum shopping committed by Respondent of 1948 which, like BP 129 in respect to RTCs, provided that courts of first instance had
Masili."8 original jurisdiction over 'all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is not capable
Simply put, the issues are as follows: (1) whether the MTC had jurisdiction over the of pecuniary estimation.' The 1997 amendments to the Rules of Court were not intended
expropriation case; (2) whether the dismissal of that case before the MTC constituted res to change these jurisprudential precedents.14
judicata; (3) whether the CA erred when it ignored the issue of entry upon the premises; To reiterate, an expropriation suit is within the jurisdiction of the RTC regardless of the
and (4) whether respondent is guilty of forum shopping. value of the land, because the subject of the action is the government's exercise of
The Court's Ruling eminent domain — a matter that is incapable of pecuniary estimation.

The Petition has no merit. Second Issue:


Res Judicata
First Issue:
Jurisdiction Over Expropriation Petitioner claims that the MTC's dismissal of the first Complaint for eminent domain was
with prejudice, since there was no indication to the contrary in the Order of dismissal. She
Petitioner claims that, since the value of the land is only P11,448, the MTC had jurisdiction contends that the filing of the second Complaint before the RTC should therefore be
over the case.9 dismissed on account of res judicata.

On the other hand, the appellate court held that the assessed value of the property was Res judicata literally means a matter adjudged, judicially acted upon or decided, or settled
P28,960.10 Thus, the MTC did not have jurisdiction over the expropriation proceedings, by judgment.15 It provides that a final judgment on the merits rendered by a court of
because the amount involved was beyond the P20,000 jurisdictional amount cognizable competent jurisdiction is conclusive as to the rights of the parties and their privies; and
by MTCs. constitutes an absolute bar to subsequent actions involving the same claim, demand or
cause of action.16
An expropriation suit does not involve the recovery of a sum of money. Rather, it deals
with the exercise by the government of its authority and right to take property for public The following are the requisites of res judicata: (1) the former judgment must be final; (2)
use.11 As such, it is incapable of pecuniary estimation and should be filed with the regional the court that rendered it had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) it
trial courts.12 is a judgment on the merits; and (4) there is — between the first and the second actions
— an identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action.17
This was explained by the Court in Barangay San Roque v. Heirs of Francisco Pastor:13
Since the MTC had no jurisdiction over expropriation proceedings, the doctrine of res
"It should be stressed that the primary consideration in an expropriation suit is whether
judicata finds no application even if the Order of dismissal may have been an adjudication
the government or any of its instrumentalities has complied with the requisites for the
on the merits.
taking of private property. Hence, the courts determine the authority of the government
2
Third Issue: SO ORDERED.
Legality of Entry Into Premises
Puno, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona and Carpio Morales, JJ ., concur.
Petitioner argues that the CA erred when it ignored the RTC's Writ of Possession over her
property, issued despite the pending Motion for Reconsideration of the ruling dismissing
the Complaint. We are not persuaded.

The requirements for the issuance of a writ of possession in an expropriation case are
expressly and specifically governed by Section 2 of Rule 67 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure.18 On the part of local government units, expropriation is also governed by
Section 19 of the Local Government Code.19 Accordingly, in expropriation proceedings,
the requisites for authorizing immediate entry are as follows: (1) the filing of a complaint
for expropriation sufficient in form and substance; and (2) the deposit of the amount
equivalent to 15 percent of the fair market value of the property to be expropriated based
on its current tax declaration.20

In the instant case, the issuance of the Writ of Possession in favor of respondent after it
had filed the Complaint for expropriation and deposited the amount required was proper,
because it had complied with the foregoing requisites.

The issue of the necessity of the expropriation is a matter properly addressed to the RTC
in the course of the expropriation proceedings. If petitioner objects to the necessity of
the takeover of her property, she should say so in her Answer to the Complaint. 21 The RTC
has the power to inquire into the legality of the exercise of the right of eminent domain
and to determine whether there is a genuine necessity for it.22

Fourth Issue:
Forum Shopping

Petitioner claims that respondent is guilty of forum shopping, because it scouted for
another forum after obtaining an unfavorable Decision from the MTC.

The test for determining the presence of forum shopping is whether the elements of litis
pendentia are present in two or more pending cases, such that a final judgment in one
case will amount to res judicata in another.23

Be it noted that the earlier case lodged with the MTC had already been dismissed when
the Complaint was filed before the RTC. Even granting arguendo that both cases were still
pending, a final judgment in the MTC case will not constitute res judicata in the RTC, since
the former had no jurisdiction over the expropriation case.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioner.

3
[G.R. No. 154411. June 19, 2003] WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered by the
Court in this case fixing the just compensation for the lands of the defendants who are
NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. HEIRS OF ISIDRO GUIVELONDO, the heirs of Isidro Guivelondo, more particularly Lots Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ISAIAS DICDICAN, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 6016-F, 6016-H, 6016-E and 6016-D of Csd-10219, which were
Branch 11, Cebu City, and PASCUAL Y. ABORDO, Sheriff, Regional Trial Court, Branch 11, sought to be expropriated by the plaintiff at P11,200.00 per square meter and ordering
Cebu City, respondents. the plaintiff to pay to the said defendants the just compensation for the said lands
DECISION computed at P11,200.00 per square meter.

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: IT IS SO ORDERED.[4]

On February 23, 1999, petitioner National Housing Authority filed with the Regional Trial Petitioner NHA filed two motions for reconsideration dated August 30, 2000 and August
Court of Cebu City, Branch 11, an Amended Complaint for eminent domain against 31, 2000, assailing the inclusion of Lots 12, 13 and 19 as well as the amount of just
Associacion Benevola de Cebu, Engracia Urot and the Heirs of Isidro Guivelondo, docketed compensation, respectively. Respondent Heirs also filed a motion for reconsideration of
as Civil Case No. CEB-23386. Petitioner alleged that defendant Associacion Benevola de the Partial Judgment. On October 11, 2000, the trial court issued an Omnibus Order
Cebu was the claimant/owner of Lot 108-C located in the Banilad Estate, Cebu City; that denying the motion for reconsideration of respondent Heirs and the August 31, 2000
defendant Engracia Urot was the claimant/owner of Lots Nos. 108-F, 108-I, 108-G, 6019- motion of petitioner, on the ground that the fixing of the just compensation had adequate
A and 6013-A, all of the Banilad Estate; that defendant Heirs of Isidro Guivelondo were basis and support. On the other hand, the trial court granted petitioners August 30, 2000
the claimants/owners of Cadastral Lot No. 1613-D located at Carreta, Mabolo, Cebu City; motion for reconsideration on the ground that the Commissioners Report did not include
and that the lands are within a blighted urban center which petitioner intends to develop Lots 12, 13 and 19 within its coverage. Thus:
as a socialized housing project.[1] WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the Court hereby denies the motion of
On November 12, 1999, the Heirs of Isidro Guivelondo, respondents herein, filed a the heirs of Isidro Guivelondo (with the exception of Carlota Mercado and Juanita
Manifestation stating that they were waiving their objections to petitioners power to Suemith) for reconsideration of the partial judgment rendered in this case on August 7,
expropriate their properties. Hence, the trial court issued an Order as follows: 2000 and plaintiffs motion for reconsideration of said judgment, dated August 31, 2000.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby declares that the plaintiff has a lawful right to expropriate However, the Court hereby grants the plaintiffs motion for reconsideration of said
the properties of the defendants who are heirs of Isidro Guivelondo. judgment, dated August 30, 2000. Accordingly, the judgment rendered in this case on
August 7, 2000 is hereby set aside insofar as it has fixed just compensations for Lots Nos.
The appointment of commissioners who would ascertain and report to the Court the just 12, 13 and 19 of Csd-10219 because the fixing of said just compensations appears to lack
compensation for said properties will be done as soon as the parties shall have submitted adequate basis.
to the Court the names of persons desired by them to be appointed as such
commissioners. SO ORDERED.[5]

SO ORDERED.[2] Petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, which was docketed as
CA-G.R. SP No. 61746.[6] Meanwhile, on October 31, 2000, the trial court issued an Entry
Thereafter, the trial court appointed three Commissioners to ascertain the correct and of Judgment over the Partial Judgment dated August 7, 2000 as modified by the Omnibus
just compensation of the properties of respondents. On April 17, 2000, the Order dated October 11, 2000.[7] Subsequently, respondent Heirs filed a Motion for
Commissioners submitted their report wherein they recommended that the just Execution, which was granted on November 22, 2000.
compensation of the subject properties be fixed at P11,200.00 per square meter. [3] On
August 7, 2000, the trial court rendered Partial Judgment adopting the recommendation On January 31, 2001, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for certiorari on the
of the Commissioners and fixing the just compensation of the lands of respondent Heirs ground that the Partial Judgment and Omnibus Order became final and executory when
of Isidro Guivelondo at P11,200.00 per square meter, to wit: petitioner failed to appeal the same.[8]

4
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration and Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for a Clarificatory 1) WHETHER OR NOT THE STATE CAN BE COMPELLED AND COERCED BY THE COURTS TO
Ruling were denied in a Resolution dated March 18, 2001.[9] A petition for review was filed EXERCISE OR CONTINUE WITH THE EXERCISE OF ITS INHERENT POWER OF EMINENT
by petitioner with this Court, which was docketed as G.R. No. 147527. However, the same DOMAIN;
was denied in a Minute Resolution dated May 9, 2001 for failure to show that the Court
of Appeals committed a reversible error.[10] 2) WHETHER OR NOT JUDGMENT HAS BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY AND IF ESTOPPEL
OR LACHES APPLIES TO GOVERNMENT;
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was however denied with finality on
August 20, 2001.[11] 3) WHETHER OR NOT WRITS OF EXECUTION AND GARNISHMENT MAY BE ISSUED
AGAINST THE STATE IN AN EXPROPRIATION WHEREIN THE EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF
Prior to the aforesaid denial of the Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner, on July 16, EMINENT DOMAIN WILL NOT SERVE PUBLIC USE OR PURPOSE {APPLICATION OF
2001, filed with the trial court a Motion to Dismiss Civil Case No. CEB-23386, complaint SUPREME COURT ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 10-2000}.[22]
for eminent domain, alleging that the implementation of its socialized housing project
was rendered impossible by the unconscionable value of the land sought to be Respondent Heirs of Isidro Guivelondo filed their Comment, arguing as follows:
expropriated, which the intended beneficiaries can not afford.[12] The Motion was denied I
on September 17, 2001, on the ground that the Partial Judgment had already become
final and executory and there was no just and equitable reason to warrant the dismissal AS EARLIER UPHELD BY THE HONORABLE COURT, THE JUDGMENT OF THE TRIAL COURT
of the case.[13] Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied in an Order IS ALREADY FINAL AND EXECUTORY, HENCE, COULD NO LONGER BE DISTURBED NOR SET
dated November 20, 2001.[14] ASIDE

Petitioner thus filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, which was II
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 68670, praying for the annulment of the Order of the trial
THE FUNDS AND ASSETS OF THE PETITIONER ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM LEVY AND
court denying its Motion to Dismiss and its Motion for Reconsideration. [15]
GARNISHMENT
On February 5, 2002, the Court of Appeals summarily dismissed the petition. Immediately
III
thereafter, respondent Sheriff Pascual Y. Abordo of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City,
Branch 11, served on petitioner a Notice of Levy pursuant to the Writ of Execution issued THE ISSUES RAISED IN THIS SECOND PETITION FOR REVIEW WERE ALREADY RESOLVED BY
by the trial court to enforce the Partial Judgment of August 7, 2000 and the Omnibus THE HONORABLE COURT[23]
Order of October 11, 2000.[16]
In the early case of City of Manila v. Ruymann,[24] the Court was confronted with the
On February 18, 2002, the Court of Appeals set aside the dismissal of the petition and question: May the petitioner, in an action for expropriation, after he has been placed in
reinstated the same.[17] Thereafter, a temporary restraining order was issued enjoining possession of the property and before the termination of the action, dismiss the
respondent sheriff to preserve the status quo.[18] petition? It resolved the issue in the affirmative and held:
On May 27, 2002, respondent sheriff served on the Landbank of the Philippines a Notice The right of the plaintiff to dismiss an action with the consent of the court is universally
of Third Garnishment against the deposits, moneys and interests of petitioner recognized with certain well-defined exceptions. If the plaintiff discovers that the action
therein.[19]Subsequently, respondent sheriff levied on funds and personal properties of which he commenced was brought for the purpose of enforcing a right or a benefit, the
petitioner.[20] advisability or necessity of which he later discovers no longer exists, or that the result of
the action would be different from what he had intended, then he should be permitted
On July 16, 2002, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed decision dismissing the
to withdraw his action, subject to the approval of the court. The plaintiff should not be
petition for certiorari.[21]
required to continue the action, subject to some well-defined exceptions, when it is not
Hence, petitioner filed this petition for review, raising the following issues: to his advantage to do so. Litigation should be discouraged and not encouraged. Courts
should not require parties to litigate when they no longer desire to do so. Courts, in

5
granting permission to dismiss an action, of course, should always take into consideration proceedings before the Trial Court, no objection to the exercise of the right of
the effect which said dismissal would have upon the rights of the defendant.[25] condemnation (or the propriety thereof) shall be filed or heard.

Subsequently, in Metropolitan Water District v. De Los Angeles,[26] the Court had occasion The second phase of the eminent domain action is concerned with the determination by
to apply the above-quoted ruling when the petitioner, during the pendency of the the Court of the just compensation for the property sought to be taken. This is done by
expropriation case, resolved that the land sought to be condemned was no longer the Court with the assistance of not more than three (3) commissioners. The order fixing
necessary in the maintenance and operation of its system of waterworks. It was held: the just compensation on the basis of the evidence before, and findings of, the
commissioners would be final, too. It would finally dispose of the second stage of the suit,
It is not denied that the purpose of the plaintiff was to acquire the land in question for a and leave nothing more to be done by the Court regarding the issue. Obviously, one or
public use. The fundamental basis then of all actions brought for the expropriation of another of the parties may believe the order to be erroneous in its appreciation of the
lands, under the power of eminent domain, is public use. That being true, the very evidence or findings of fact or otherwise. Obviously, too, such a dissatisfied party may
moment that it appears at any stage of the proceedings that the expropriation is not for seek a reversal of the order by taking an appeal therefrom.[29]
a public use, the action must necessarily fail and should be dismissed, for the reason that
the action cannot be maintained at all except when the expropriation is for some public The outcome of the first phase of expropriation proceedings, which is either an order of
use. That must be true even during the pendency of the appeal of at any other stage of expropriation or an order of dismissal, is final since it finally disposes of the case. On the
the proceedings.If, for example, during the trial in the lower court, it should be made to other hand, the second phase ends with an order fixing the amount of just
appear to the satisfaction of the court that the expropriation is not for some public use, compensation. Both orders, being final, are appealable.[30] An order of condemnation or
it would be the duty and the obligation of the trial court to dismiss the action. And even dismissal is final, resolving the question of whether or not the plaintiff has properly and
during the pendency of the appeal, if it should be made to appear to the satisfaction of legally exercised its power of eminent domain.[31] Once the first order becomes final and
the appellate court that the expropriation is not for public use, then it would become the no appeal thereto is taken, the authority to expropriate and its public use can no longer
duty and the obligation of the appellate court to dismiss it. [27] be questioned.[32]

Notably, the foregoing cases refer to the dismissal of an action for eminent domain at the The above rule is based on Rule 67, Section 4 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which
instance of the plaintiff during the pendency of the case. The rule is different where the provides:
case had been decided and the judgment had already become final and executory.
Order of expropriation. If the objections to and the defenses against the right of the
Expropriation proceedings consists of two stages: first, condemnation of the property plaintiff to expropriate the property are overruled, or when no party appears to defend
after it is determined that its acquisition will be for a public purpose or public use and, as required by this Rule, the court may issue an order of expropriation declaring that the
second, the determination of just compensation to be paid for the taking of private plaintiff has a lawful right to take the property sought to be expropriated, for the public
property to be made by the court with the assistance of not more than three use or purpose described in the complaint, upon the payment of just compensation to be
commissioners.[28] Thus: determined as of the date of the taking of the property or the filing of the complaint,
whichever came first.
There are two (2) stages in every action for expropriation. The first is concerned with the
determination of the authority of the plaintiff to exercise the power of eminent domain A final order sustaining the right to expropriate the property may be appealed by any
and the propriety of its exercise in the context of the facts involved in the suit. It ends party aggrieved thereby. Such appeal, however, shall not prevent the court from
with an order, if not of dismissal of the action, of condemnation declaring that the plaintiff determining the just compensation to be paid.
has a lawful right to take the property sought to be condemned, for the public use or
purpose described in the complaint, upon the payment of just compensation to be After the rendition of such an order, the plaintiff shall not be permitted to dismiss or
determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint. An order of dismissal, if this be discontinue the proceeding except on such terms as the court deems just and equitable.
ordained, would be a final one, of course, since it finally disposes of the action and leaves (underscoring ours)
nothing more to be done by the Court on the merits. So, too, would an order of In the case at bar, petitioner did not appeal the Order of the trial court dated December
condemnation be a final one, for thereafter, as the Rules expressly state, in the 10, 1999, which declared that it has a lawful right to expropriate the properties of

6
respondent Heirs of Isidro Guivelondo. Hence, the Order became final and may no longer unacceptable. Indeed, our reprobation in the case of Cosculluela v. Court of Appeals[36] is
be subject to review or reversal in any court.[33] A final and executory decision or order apropos:
can no longer be disturbed or reopened no matter how erroneous it may be. Although
judicial determinations are not infallible, judicial error should be corrected through It is arbitrary and capricious for a government agency to initiate expropriation
appeals, not through repeated suits on the same claim.[34] proceedings, seize a persons property, allow the judgment of the court to become final
and executory and then refuse to pay on the ground that there are no appropriations for
Petitioner anchors its arguments on the last paragraph of the above-quoted Rule 67, the property earlier taken and profitably used. We condemn in the strongest possible
Section 4. In essence, it contends that there are just and equitable grounds to allow terms the cavalier attitude of government officials who adopt such a despotic and
dismissal or discontinuance of the expropriation proceedings. More specifically, irresponsible stance.
petitioner alleges that the intended public use was rendered nugatory by the
unreasonable just compensation fixed by the court, which is beyond the means of the In order to resolve the issue of the propriety of the garnishment against petitioners funds
intended beneficiaries of the socialized housing project. The argument is tenuous. and personal properties, there is a need to first determine its true character as a
government entity. Generally, funds and properties of the government cannot be the
Socialized housing has been recognized as public use for purposes of exercising the power object of garnishment proceedings even if the consent to be sued had been previously
of eminent domain. granted and the state liability adjudged.[37]

Housing is a basic human need. Shortage in housing is a matter of state concern since it The universal rule that where the State gives its consent to be sued by private parties
directly and significantly affects public health, safety, the environment and in sum, the either by general or special law, it may limit claimants action only up to the completion
general welfare. The public character of housing measures does not change because units of proceedings anterior to the stage of execution and that the power of the Courts ends
in housing projects cannot be occupied by all but only by those who satisfy prescribed when the judgment is rendered, since government funds and properties may not be
qualifications. A beginning has to be made, for it is not possible to provide housing for all seized under writs of execution or garnishment to satisfy such judgments, is based on
who need it, all at once. obvious considerations of public policy. Disbursements of public funds must be covered
by the corresponding appropriation as required by law. The functions and public services
xxx xxx xxx. rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of
In the light of the foregoing, this Court is satisfied that socialized housing falls with the public funds from their legitimate and specific objects, as appropriated by law.[38]
confines of public use. xxx xxx xxx. Provisions on economic opportunities inextricably However, if the funds belong to a public corporation or a government-owned or
linked with low-cost housing, or slum clearance, relocation and resettlement, or slum controlled corporation which is clothed with a personality of its own, separate and distinct
improvement emphasize the public purpose of the project.[35] from that of the government, then its funds are not exempt from garnishment.[39] This is
The public purpose of the socialized housing project is not in any way diminished by the so because when the government enters into commercial business, it abandons its
amount of just compensation that the court has fixed. The need to provide decent sovereign capacity and is to be treated like any other corporation.[40]
housing to the urban poor dwellers in the locality was not lost by the mere fact that the In the case of petitioner NHA, the matter of whether its funds and properties are exempt
land cost more than petitioner had expected. It is worthy to note that petitioner pursued from garnishment has already been resolved squarely against its predecessor, the Peoples
its petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals assailing the amount of just Homesite and Housing Corporation (PHHC), to wit:
compensation and its petition for review with this Court which eloquently indicates that
there still exists a public use for the housing project.It was only after its appeal and The plea for setting aside the notice of garnishment was premised on the funds of the
petitions for review were dismissed that petitioner made a complete turn-around and Peoples Homesite and Housing Corporation deposited with petitioner being public in
decided it did not want the property anymore. character. There was not even a categorical assertion to that effect. It is only the
possibility of its being public in character. The tone was thus irresolute, the approach
Respondent landowners had already been prejudiced by the expropriation diffident. The premise that the funds cold be spoken of as public in character may be
case. Petitioner cannot be permitted to institute condemnation proceedings against accepted in the sense that the Peoples Homesite and Housing Corporation was a
respondents only to abandon it later when it finds the amount of just compensation

7
government-owned entity. It does not follow though that they were exempt from
garnishment.[41]

This was reiterated in the subsequent case of Philippine Rock Industries, Inc. v. Board of
Liquidators:[42]

Having a juridical personality separate and distinct from the government, the funds of
such government-owned and controlled corporations and non-corporate agency,
although considered public in character, are not exempt from garnishment. This doctrine
was applied to suits filed against the Philippine Virginia Tobacco Administration (PNB vs.
Pabalan, et al., 83 SCRA 695); the National Shipyard & Steel Corporation (NASSCO vs. CIR,
118 Phil. 782); the Manila Hotel Company (Manila Hotel Employees Asso. vs. Manila Hotel
Co., 73 Phil. 374); and the People's Homesite and Housing Corporation (PNB vs. CIR, 81
SCRA 314). [emphasis ours]

Hence, it is clear that the funds of petitioner NHA are not exempt from garnishment or
execution. Petitioners prayer for injunctive relief to restrain respondent Sheriff Pascual
Abordo from enforcing the Notice of Levy and Garnishment against its funds and
properties must, therefore, be denied.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition for review is DENIED. The
decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 68670, affirming the trial courts Order
denying petitioners Motion to Dismiss the expropriation proceedings in Civil Case No.
CEB-23386, is AFFIRMED. Petitioners prayer for injunctive relief against the levy and
garnishment of its funds and personal properties is DENIED. The Temporary Restraining
Order dated January 22, 2003 is LIFTED.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Vitug, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

8
G.R. No. L-59791 February 13, 1992 The complaint alleges that for the purpose of constructing a 230 KV Transmission line
from Barrio Malaya to Tower No. 220 at Pililla, Rizal, petitioner needs portions of the land
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, petitioner, of the private respondents consisting of an aggregate area of 237,321 square meters.
vs. Despite petitioner's offers to pay compensation and attempts to negotiate with the
THE HONORABLE GREGORIO G. PINEDA, Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Rizal, respondents', the parties failed to reach an agreement.
Branch XXI, Pasig, Metro Manila, TEOFILO ARAYON, SR., GIL DE GUZMAN, LUCITO
SANTIAGO and TERESA BAUTISTA, respondents. Private respondents question in their motion to dismiss dated December 27, 1974 the
petitioner's legal existence and the area sought to be expropriated as too excessive.
Quiason, Makalintal & Barot for petitioner.
On January 7, 1975, respondents Gil de Guzman and Teresa Bautista filed a motion for
Gil P. De Guzman Law Offices for private respondents. contempt of court alleging, among other things that petitioner's corporate existence had
expired in 1969 and therefore it no longer exists under Philippine Laws.

MEDIALDEA, J.: But despite the opposition of the private respondents, the court issued an Order dated
January 13, 1975 authorizing the petitioner to take or enter upon the possession of the
This is a petition for review on certiorari on pure question of law seeking the nullification property sought to be expropriated.
of the orders issued by the respondent Judge Gregorio G. Pineda, in his capacity as the
presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Rizal, Branch On July 13, 1976, private respondents filed a motion for withdrawal of deposit claiming
21, Pasig, Metro Manila in Civil Case No. 20269, entitled "Manila Electric Company v. that they are entitled to be paid at forty pesos (P40.00) per square meter or an
Teofilo Arayon, et al." The aforesaid orders are as follows: (1) the order dated December approximate sum of P272,000.00 and prayed that they be allowed to withdraw the sum
4, 1981 granting the motion for payment of private respondents; (2) the order dated of P71,771.50 from petitioner's deposit-account with the Philippine National Bank, Pasig
December 21, 1981 granting the private respondents' omnibus motion; and (3) the order Branch. However, respondents motion was denied in an order dated September 3, 1976.
dated February 9, 1982 adjudging in favor of private respondents the fair market value of In the intervening period, Branch XXII became vacant when the presiding Judge Nelly
their property at forty pesos (P40.00) per square meter for a total of P369,720.00 and Valdellon-Solis retired, so respondent Judge Pineda acted on the motions filed with
denying the motions for contempt for being moot and academic and the motion for Branch XXII.
reconsideration of the orders dated December 4, 1981 and December 21, 1981 for lack
of merit. Pursuant to a government policy, the petitioners on October 30, 1979 sold to the National
Power Corporation (Napocor) the power plants and transmission lines, including the
The antecedent facts giving rise to the controversy at bar are as follows: transmission lines traversing private respondents' property.
Petitioner Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) is a domestic corporation duly organized On February 11, 1980, respondent court issued an Order appointing the members of the
and existing under the laws of Philippines. Respondent Honorable Judge Gregorio G. Board of Commissioners to make an appraisal of the properties.
Pineda is impleaded in his official capacity as the presiding judge of the Court of First
Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Rizal, Branch XXI, Pasig, Metro Manila. While On June 5, 1980, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it
private respondents Teofilo Arayon, Sr., Gil de Guzman, Lucito Santiago and Teresa has lost all its interests over the transmission lines and properties under expropriation
Bautista are owners in fee simple of the expropriated property situated at Malaya, Pililla, because of their sale to the Napocor. In view of this motion, the work of the
Rizal. Commissioners was suspended.

On October 29, 1974, a complaint for eminent domain was filed by petitioner MERALCO On June 9, 1981, private respondents filed another motion for payment. But despite the
against forty-two (42) defendants with the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial opposition of the petitioner, the respondent court issued the first of the questioned
Court) of Rizal, Branch XXII, Pasig, Metro Manila. Orders dated December 4, 1981 granting the motion for payment of private respondents,
to wit:

9
As prayed for by defendants Teofilo Arayon, Lucito Santiago, Teresa Bautista and Gil de In response to private respondents' motion for payment dated January 8, 1982, petitioner
Guzman, thru counsel Gil de Guzman, in their Motion for Payment, for reasons therein filed an opposition alleging that private respondents are not entitled to payment of just
stated, this Court hereby orders the plaintiff to pay the movants the amount of compensation at this stage of the proceeding because there is still no appraisal and
P20,400.00 for the expropriated area of 6,800 square meters, at P3.00 per square meter valuation of the property.
without prejudice to the just compensation that may be proved in the final adjudication
of this case. On February 9, 1982 the respondent court denied the petitioner's motion for
reconsideration and motion for contempt, the dispositive portion of which is hereunder
The aforesaid sum of P20,400.00 having been deposited by plaintiff in the Philippine quoted as follows:
National Bank (Pasig Branch) under Savings Account No. 9204, let the Deputy Sheriff of
this Branch Mr. Sofronio Villarin withdraw said amount in the names of Teofilo Arayon, Viewed in the light of the foregoing, this Court hereby adjudges in favor of defendants
Lucito Santiago, Teresa Bautista and Gil de Guzman, the said amount to be delivered to Teofilo Arayon, Sr., Lucito Santiago, Teresita Bautista and Atty. Gil de Guzman the fair
the defendant's counsel Atty. Gil de Guzman who shall sign for the receipt thereof. market value of their property taken by MERALCO at P40.00 per square meter for a total
of P369,720.00, this amount to bear legal interest from February 24, 1975 until fully paid
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 108) plus consequential damages in terms of attorney's fees in the sum of P10,000.00, all these
sums to be paid by MERALCO to said defendants with costs of suit, minus the amount of
On December 15, 1981, private respondents filed an Omnibus Motion praying that they P102,800.00 already withdrawn by defendants.
be allowed to withdraw an additional sum of P90,125.50 from petitioner's deposit-
account with the Philippine National Bank. For being moot and academic, the motions for contempt are DENIED; for lack of merit,
the motion for reconsideration of the orders of December 4, 1981 and December 21, 1981
By order dated December 21, 1981, the respondent court granted the Omnibus Motion is also DENIED.
hereunder quoted as follows:
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 211-212)
Acting on the Omnibus Motion dated December 15, 1981 filed by Atty. Gil de Guzman,
counsel for Teofilo Arayon, Sr., Lucito Santiago, Teresita Bautista and for himself, and it Furthermore, the respondent court stressed in said order that "at this stage, the Court
appearing that there is deposited in the bank in trust for them the amount of P90,125.50 starts to appoint commissioners to determine just compensation or dispenses with them
to guarantee just compensation of P272,000.00, thereby leaving a balance of P161,475.00 and adopts the testimony of a credible real estate broker, or the judge himself would
still payable to them, the same is hereby GRANTED. exercise his right to formulate an opinion of his own as to the value of the land in question.
Nevertheless, if he formulates such an opinion, he must base it upon competent
Mr. Nazario Nuevo and Marianita Burog, respectively the Manager and Cashier, Philippine evidence." (Rollo, p. 211)
National Bank, Pasig Branch, Pasig, Metro Manila are hereby ordered to allow Sheriff
Sofronio Villarin to withdraw and collect from the bank the amount of P90,125.50 under Hence, this petition.
Savings Account No. 9204 and to deliver the same to Atty. Gil de Guzman upon proper
receipt, pending final determination of just compensation. Subsequently, the respondent court issued an Order dated March 22, 1982 granting the
private respondents' motion for execution pending appeal, thus requiring petitioner to
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 120) deposit P52,600.00 representing the consideration paid by Napocor for the property it
bought from petitioner which includes the subject matter of this case, computed at
Private respondents filed another motion dated January 8, 1982 praying that petitioner P200.55 per square meter and to render an accounting.
be ordered to pay the sum of P169, 200.00.
On March 26, 1982, petitioner filed a petition for preliminary injunction with this Court
On January 12, 1982 petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the Orders dated seeking to enjoin respondent judge and all persons acting under him from enforcing the
December 4, 1981 and December 21, 1981 and to declare private respondents in Order dated March 22, 1982.
contempt of court for forging or causing to be forged the receiving stamp of petitioner's
counsel and falsifying or causing to be falsified the signature of its receiving clerk in their This Court issued a temporary restraining order addressed to respondent judge. A motion
Omnibus Motion. to lift the restraining order was filed by the respondents. Despite a series of oppositions
10
and motions to lift the said order, this Court reiterated its stand and noted that the have filed their objections to the report or their statement of agreement therewith, the
restraining order is still effective. court may, after hearing, accept the report and render judgment in accordance therewith;
or, for cause shown, it may recommit the same to the commissioners for further report
The petitioner strongly maintains that the respondent court's act of determining and of facts; or it may set aside the report and appoint new commissioners, or it may accept
ordering the payment of just compensation to private respondents without formal the report in part and reject it in part; and it may make such order or render such
presentation of evidence by the parties on the reasonable value of the property judgment as shall secure to the plaintiff the property essential to the exercise of his right
constitutes a flagrant violation of petitioner's constitutional right to due process. It of condemnation, and to the defendant just compensation for the property so taken.
stressed that respondent court ignored the procedure laid down by the law in
determining just compensation because it formulated an opinion of its own as to the We already emphasized in the case of Municipality of Biñan v. Hon. Jose Mar Garcia (G.R.
value of the land in question without allowing the Board of Commissioners to hold No. 69260, December 22, 1989, 180 SCRA 576, 583-584) the procedure for eminent
hearings for the reception of evidence. domain, to wit:

On the other hand, private respondents controvert the position of the petitioner and There are two (2) stages in every action of expropriation. The first is concerned with the
contend that the petitioner was not deprived of due process. They agreed with determination of the authority of the plaintiff to exercise the power of eminent domain
respondent court's ruling dispensing the need for the appointment of a Board of and the propriety of its exercise in the context of the facts involved in the suit. It ends
Commissioners to determine just compensation, thus concluding that the respondent with an order, if not of dismissal of the action, "of condemnation declaring that the
court did not err in determining just compensation. plaintiff has a lawful right to take the property sought to be condemned, for the public
use or purpose described in the complaint, upon the payment of just compensation to be
Furthermore, petitioner argues that the respondent judge gravely abused his discretion determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint". An order of dismissal, if this be
in granting the motion for execution pending appeal and consequently denying the ordained, would be a final one, of course, since it finally disposes of the action and leaves
petitioner's motion to dismiss. Respondent judge should have ordered that Napocor be nothing more to be done by the Court on the merits. So, too, would an order of
impleaded in substitution of petitioner or could have at least impleaded both the Napocor condemnation be a final one, for thereafter, as the Rules expressly state, in the
and the petitioner as party plaintiffs. proceedings before the Trial Court, "no objection to the exercise of the right of
The controversy boils down to the main issue of whether or not the respondent court can condemnation (or the propriety thereof) shall be filed or heard."
dispense with the assistance of a Board of Commissioners in an expropriation proceeding The second phase of the eminent domain action is concerned with the determination by
and determine for itself the just compensation. the Court of "the just compensation for the property sought to be taken." This is done by
The applicable laws in the case at bar are Sections 5 and 8 of Rule 67 of the Revised Rules the Court with the assistance of not more than three (3) commissioners. The order fixing
of Court. The said sections particularly deal with the ascertainment of compensation and the just compensation on the basis of the evidence before, and findings of, the
the court's action upon commissioners' report, to wit: commissioners would be final, too. It would finally dispose of the second stage of the suit,
and leave nothing more to be done by the Court regarding the issue. Obviously, one or
Sec. 5. Upon the entry of the order of condemnation, the court shall appoint not more another of the parties may believe the order to be erroneous in its appreciation of the
than three (3) competent and disinterested persons as commissioners to ascertain and evidence or findings of fact or otherwise. Obviously, too, such a dissatisfied party may
report to the court the just compensation for the property sought to be taken. The order seek reversal of the order by taking an appeal therefrom.
of appointment shall designate the time and place of the first session of the hearing to be
held by the commissioners and specify the time within which their report is to be filed Respondent judge, in the case at bar, arrived at the valuation of P40.00 per square meter
with the court. on a property declared for real estate tax purposes at P2.50 per hectare on the basis of a
"Joint Venture Agreement on Subdivision and Housing Projects" executed by A.B.A Homes
xxx xxx xxx and private respondents on June 1, 1972. This agreement was merely attached to the
motion to withdraw from petitioner's deposit. Respondent judge arrived at the amount
Sec. 8. Upon the expiration of the period of ten (10) days referred to in the preceding
of just compensation on its own, without the proper reception of evidence before the
section, or even before the expiration of such period but after all the interested parties
Board of Commissioners. Private respondents as landowners have not proved by

11
competent evidence the value of their respective properties at a proper hearing. Likewise, therefore proper for the lower court to either implead the Napocor in substitution of the
petitioner has not been given the opportunity to rebut any evidence that would have petitioner or at the very least implead the former as party plaintiff.
been presented by private respondents. In an expropriation case such as this one where
the principal issue is the determination of just compensation, a trial before the All premises considered, this Court is convinced that the respondent judge's act of
Commissioners is indispensable to allow the parties to present evidence on the issue of determining and ordering the payment of just compensation without the assistance of a
just compensation. Contrary to the submission of private respondents, the appointment Board of Commissioners is a flagrant violation of petitioner's constitutional right to due
of at least three (3) competent persons as commissioners to ascertain just compensation process and is a gross violation of the mandated rule established by the Revised Rules of
for the property sought to be taken is a mandatory requirement in expropriation cases. Court.
While it is true that the findings of commissioners may be disregarded and the court may ACCORDINGLY, the petition is GRANTED and the order dated February 9, 1982 issued by
substitute its own estimate of the value, the latter may only do so for valid the respondent judge insofar as it finally determined the amount of just compensation is
reasons, i.e., where the Commissioners have applied illegal principles to the evidence nullified. This case is hereby ordered remanded to the lower court for trial with the
submitted to them or where they have disregarded a clear preponderance of evidence, assistance of a Board of Commissioners. Further, the National Power Corporation is
or where the amount allowed is either grossly inadequate or excessive (Manila Railroad impleaded as party plaintiff therein.
Company v. Velasquez, 32 Phil. 286). Thus, trial with the aid of the commissioners is a
substantial right that may not be done away with capriciously or for no reason at all. SO ORDERED.
Moreover, in such instances, where the report of the commissioners may be disregarded,
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.
the trial court may make its own estimate of value from competent evidence that may be
gathered from the record. The aforesaid joint venture agreement relied upon by the
respondent judge, in the absence of any other proof of valuation of said properties, is
incompetent to determine just compensation.

Prior to the determination of just compensation, the property owners may rightfully
demand to withdraw from the deposit made by the condemnor in eminent domain
proceedings. Upon an award of a smaller amount by the court, the property owners are
subject to a judgment for the excess or upon the award of a larger sum, they are entitled
to a judgment for the amount awarded by the court. Thus, when the respondent court
granted in the Orders dated December 4, 1981 and December 21, 1981 the motions of
private respondents for withdrawal of certain sums from the deposit of petitioner,
without prejudice to the just compensation that may be proved in the final adjudication
of the case, it committed no error.

Records, specifically Meralco's deed of sale dated October 30, 1979, in favor of Napocor
show that the latter agreed to purchase the parcels of land already acquired by Meralco,
the rights, interests and easements over those parcels of land which are the subject of
the expropriation proceedings under Civil Case No. 20269, (Court of First Instance of Rizal,
Branch XXII), as well as those parcels of land occupied by Meralco by virtue of grant of
easements of right-of-way (see Rollo, pp. 341-342). Thus, Meralco had already ceded and
in fact lost all its rights and interests over the aforesaid parcels of land in favor of Napocor.
In addition, the same contract reveals that the Napocor was previously advised and
actually has knowledge of the pending litigation and proceedings against Meralco (see
Rollo, pp. 342-343). Hence, We find the contention of the petitioner tenable. It is

12
G.R. No. L-59603 April 29, 1987 On February 17, 1981, the respondent judge issued the order of condemnation declaring
the petitioner as having the lawful right to take the properties sought to be condemned,
EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. HON. CEFERINO E. DULAY, in his upon the payment of just compensation to be determined as of the filing of the complaint.
capacity as the Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch XVI, Lapu-Lapu The respondent judge also issued a second order, subject of this petition, appointing
City, and SAN ANTONIO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents. certain persons as commissioners to ascertain and report to the court the just
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: compensation for the properties sought to be expropriated.

The question raised in this petition is whether or not Presidential Decrees Numbered 76, On June 19, 1981, the three commissioners submitted their consolidated report
464, 794 and 1533 have repealed and superseded Sections 5 to 8 of Rule 67 of the Revised recommending the amount of P15.00 per square meter as the fair and reasonable value
Rules of Court, such that in determining the just compensation of property in an of just compensation for the properties.
expropriation case, the only basis should be its market value as declared by the owner or On July 29, 1981, the petitioner Med a Motion for Reconsideration of the order of
as determined by the assessor, whichever is lower. February 19, 1981 and Objection to Commissioner's Report on the grounds that P.D. No.
On January 15, 1979, the President of the Philippines, issued Proclamation No. 1811, 1533 has superseded Sections 5 to 8 of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court on the ascertainment
reserving a certain parcel of land of the public domain situated in the City of Lapu-Lapu, of just compensation through commissioners; and that the compensation must not
Island of Mactan, Cebu and covering a total area of 1,193,669 square meters, more or exceed the maximum amount set by P.D. No. 1533.
less, for the establishment of an export processing zone by petitioner Export Processing On November 14, 1981, the trial court denied the petitioner's motion for reconsideration
Zone Authority (EPZA). and gave the latter ten (10) days within which to file its objection to the Commissioner's
Not all the reserved area, however, was public land. The proclamation included, among Report.
others, four (4) parcels of land with an aggregate area of 22,328 square meters owned On February 9, 1982, the petitioner flied this present petition for certiorari and
and registered in the name of the private respondent. The petitioner, therefore, offered mandamus with preliminary restraining order, enjoining the trial court from enforcing the
to purchase the parcels of land from the respondent in acccordance with the valuation order dated February 17, 1981 and from further proceeding with the hearing of the
set forth in Section 92, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 464, as amended. The parties failed expropriation case.
to reach an agreement regarding the sale of the property.
The only issue raised in this petition is whether or not Sections 5 to 8, Rule 67 of the
The petitioner filed with the then Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch XVI, Lapu-Lapu Revised Rules of Court had been repealed or deemed amended by P.D. No. 1533 insofar
City, a complaint for expropriation with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of possession as the appointment of commissioners to determine the just compensation is concerned.
against the private respondent, to expropriate the aforesaid parcels of land pursuant to Stated in another way, is the exclusive and mandatory mode of determining just
P.D. No. 66, as amended, which empowers the petitioner to acquire by condemnation compensation in P.D. No. 1533 valid and constitutional?
proceedings any property for the establishment of export processing zones, in relation to
Proclamation No. 1811, for the purpose of establishing the Mactan Export Processing The petitioner maintains that the respondent judge acted in excess of his jurisdiction and
Zone. with grave abuse of discretion in denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration and
in setting the commissioner's report for hearing because under P.D. No. 1533, which is
On October 21, 1980, the respondent judge issued a writ of possession authorizing the the applicable law herein, the basis of just compensation shall be the fair and current
petitioner to take immediate possession of the premises. On December 23, 1980, the market value declared by the owner of the property sought to be expropriated or such
private respondent flied its answer. market value as determined by the assessor, whichever is lower. Therefore, there is no
At the pre-trial conference on February 13, 1981, the respondent judge issued an order more need to appoint commissioners as prescribed by Rule 67 of the Revised Rules of
stating that the parties have agreed that the only issue to be resolved is the just Court and for said commissioners to consider other highly variable factors in order to
compensation for the properties and that the pre-trial is thereby terminated and the determine just compensation. The petitioner further maintains that P.D. No. 1533 has
hearing on the merits is set on April 2, 1981. vested on the assessors and the property owners themselves the power or duty to fix the
market value of the properties and that said property owners are given the full
13
opportunity to be heard before the Local Board of Assessment Appeals and the Central However, the promulgation of the aforementioned decrees practically set aside the above
Board of Assessment Appeals. Thus, the vesting on the assessor or the property owner of and many other precedents hammered out in the course of evidence-laden, well argued,
the right to determine the just compensation in expropriation proceedings, with fully heard, studiously deliberated, and judiciously considered court proceedings. The
appropriate procedure for appeal to higher administrative boards, is valid and decrees categorically and peremptorily limited the definition of just compensation thus:
constitutional.
P.D. No. 76:
Prior to the promulgation of P.D. Nos. 76, 464, 794 and 1533, this Court has interpreted
the eminent domain provisions of the Constitution and established the meaning, under xxx xxx xxx
the fundametal law, of just compensation and who has the power to determine it. Thus, "For purposes of just compensation in cases of private property acquired by the
in the following cases, wherein the filing of the expropriation proceedings were all government for public use, the basis shall be the current and fair market value declared
commenced prior to the promulgation of the aforementioned decrees, we laid down the by the owner or administrator, or such market value as determined by the Assessor,
doctrine onjust compensation: whichever is lower."
Municipality of Daet v. Court of Appeals (93 SCRA 503, 516), P.D. No. 464:
xxx xxx xxx "Section 92. Basis for payment of just compensation in expropriation proceedings. — In
"And in the case of J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration, 31 SCRA 413, determining just compensation which private property is acquired by the government for
the Court, speaking thru now Chief Justice Fernando, reiterated the 'well-settled (rule) public use, the basis shall be the market value declared by the owner or administrator or
that just compensation means the equivalent for the value of the property at the time of anyone having legal interest in the property, or such market value as determined by the
its taking. Anything beyond that is more and anything short of that is less, than just assessor, whichever is lower."
compensation. It means a fair and full equivalent for the loss sustained, which is the P.D. No. 794:
measure of the indemnity, not whatever gain would accrue to the expropriating entity."
"Section 92. Basis for payment of just compensation in expropriation proceedings. — In
Garcia v. Court ofappeals (102 SCRA 597, 608), determining just compensation when private property is acquired by the government for
xxx xxx xxx public use, the same shall not exceed the market value declared by the owner or
administrator or anyone having legal interest in the property, or such market value as
"Hence, in estimating the market value, all the capabilities of the property and all the uses determined by the assessor, whichever is lower."
to which it may be applied or for which it is adapted are to be considered and not merely
the condition it is in the time and the use to which it is then applied by the owner. All the P.D. No. 1533:
facts as to the condition of the property and its surroundings, its improvements and "Section 1. In determining just compensation for private property acquired through
capabilities may be shown and considered in estimating its value." eminent domain proceedings, the compensation to be paid shall not exceed the value
Republic v. Santos (141 SCRA 30, 35-36), declared by the owner or administrator or anyone having legal interest in the property or
determined by the assessor, pursuant to the Real Property Tax Code, whichever value is
"According to section 8 of Rule 67, the court is not bound by the commissioners' report. lower, prior to the recommendation or decision of the appropriate Government office to
It may make such order or render such judgment as shall secure to the plaintiff the acquire the property."
property essential to the exercise of his right of condemnation, and to the defendant just
compensation for the property expropriated. This Court may substitute its own estimate We are constrained to declare the provisions of the Decrees on just compensation
of the value as gathered from the record (Manila Railroad Company v. Velasquez, 32 Phil. unconstitutional and void and accordingly dismiss the instant petition for lack of merit.
286)." The method of ascertaining just compensation under the aforecited decrees constitutes
impermissible encroachment on judicial prerogatives. It tends to render this Court inutile
in a matter which under the Constitution is reserved to it for final determination.
14
Thus, although in an expropriation proceeding the court technically would still have the be embodied in cases of specific expropriations by decree as in P.D. 1669 expropriating
power to determine the just compensation for the property, following the applicable the Tambunting Estate and P.D. 1670 expropriating the Sunog Apog area in Tondo, Manila.
decrees, its task would be relegated to simply stating the lower value of the property as
declared either by the owner or the assessor. As a necessary consequence, it would be In the present petition, we are once again confronted with the same question of whether
useless for the court to appoint commissioners under Rule 67 of the Rules of Court. the courts under P.D. 1533, which contains the same provision on just compensation as
Moreover, the need to satisfy the due process clause in the taking of private property is its predecessor decrees, still have the power and authority to determine just
seemingly fulfilled since it cannot be said that a judicial proceeding was not had before compensation, independent of what is stated by the decree and to this effect, to appoint
the actual taking. However, the strict application of the decrees during the proceedings commissioners for such purpose.
would be nothing short of a mere formality or charade as the court has only to choose This time, we answer in the affirmative.
between the valuation of the owner and that of the assessor, and its choice is always
limited to the lower of the two. The court cannot exercise its discretion or independence In overruling the petitioner's motion for reconsideration and objection to the
in determining what is just or fair. Even a grade school pupil could substitute for the judge commissioner's report, the trial court said:
insofar as the determination of constitutional just compensation is concerned.
"Another consideration why the Court is empowered to appoint commissioners to assess
In the case of National Housing Authority v. Reyes (123 SCRA 245), this Court upheld P.D. the just compensation of these properties under eminent domain proceedings, is the
No. 464, as further amended by P.D. Nos. 794, 1224 and 1259. In this case, the petitioner well-entrenched ruling that 'the owner of property expropriated is entitled to recover
National Housing Authority contended that the owner's declaration at P1,400.00 which from expropriating authority the fair and full value of the lot, as of the time when
happened to be lower than the assessor's assessment, is the just compensation for the possession thereof was actually taken by the province, plus consequential damages —
respondent's property under section 92 of P.D. No. 464. On the other hand, the private including attorney's fees — from which the consequential benefits, if any should be
respondent stressed that while there may be basis for the allegation that the respondent deducted, with interest at the legal rate, on the aggregate sum due to the owner from
judge did not follow the decree, the matter is still subject to his final disposition, he having and after the date of actual taking.' (Capitol Subdivision, Inc. v. Province of Negros
been vested with the original and competent authority to exercise his judicial discretion Occidental, 7 SCRA 60). In fine, the decree only establishes a uniform basis for
in the light of the constitutional clauses on due process and equal protection. determining just compensation which the Court may consider as one of the factors in
arriving at 'just compensation,' as envisage in the Constitution. In the words of Justice
To these opposing arguments, this Court ruled ihat under the conceded facts, there Barredo, "Respondent court's invocation of General Order No. 3 of September 21, 1972
should be a recognition that the law as it stands must be applied; that the decree having is nothing short of an unwarranted abdication of judicial authority, which no judge duly
spoken so clearly and unequivocably calls for obedience; and that on a matter where the imbued with the implications of the paramount principle of independence of the judiciary
applicable law speaks in no uncertain language, the Court has no choice except to yield should ever think of doing." (Lina v. Purisima, 82 SCRA 344, 351; Cf. Prov. of Pangasinan
to its command. We further stated that "the courts should recognize that the rule v. CFI Judge of Pangasinan, Br. VIII, 80 SCRA 117) Indeed, where this Court simply follows
introduced by P.D. No. 76 and reiterated in subsequent decrees does not upset the PD 1533, thereby limiting the determination of just compensation on the value declared
established concepts of justice or the constitutional provision on just compensation for, by the owner or administrator or as determined by the Assessor, whichever is lower, it
precisely, the owner is allowed to make his own valuation of his property." may result in the deprivation of the landowner's right of due process to enable it to prove
While the Court yielded to executive prerogative exercised in the form of absolute law- its claim to just compensation, as mandated by the Constitution. (Uy v. Genato, 57 SCRA
making power, its members, nonetheless, remained uncomfortable with the implications 123). The tax declaration under the Real Property Tax Code is, undoubtedly, for purposes
of the decision and the abuse and unfairness which might follow in its wake. For one thing, of taxation."
the President himself did not seem assured or confident with his own enactment. It was We are convinced and so rule that the trial court correctly stated that the valuation in the
not enough to lay down the law on determination of just compensation in P.D. 76. It had decree may only serve as a guiding principle or one of the factors in determining just
to be repeated and reiterated in P.D. 464, P.D. 794, and P.D. 1533. The provision is also compensation but it may not substitute the court's own judgment as to what amount
found in P.D. 1224, P.D. 1259 and P.D. 1313. Inspite of its effectivity as general law and should be awarded and how to arrive at such amount. A return to the earlier well-
the wide publicity given to it, the questioned provision or an even stricter version had to established doctrine, to our mind, is more in keeping with the principle that the judiciary

15
should live up to its mission "by vitalizing and not denigrating constitutional rights." (See absolutely prevail over the judgment of a court promulgated only after expert
Salonga v. Cruz Paño, 134 SCRA 438, 462; citing Mercado v. Court of First Instance of Rizal, commissioners have actually viewed the property, after evidence and arguments pro and
116 SCRA 93.) The doctrine we enunciated in National Housing Authority v. Reyes, con have been presented, and after all factors and considerations essential to a fair and
supra, therefore, must necessarily be abandoned if we are to uphold this Court's role as just determination have been judiciously evaluated.
the guardian of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the due process and equal
protection clauses and as the final arbiter over transgressions committed against As was held in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright (93 ALR 2d,733,742):
constitutional rights. "In the light of these and many other prior decisions of this Court, it is not surprising that
The basic unfairness of the decrees is readily apparent. the Betts Court, when faced with the contention that 'one charged with crime, who is
unable to obtain counsel must be furnished counsel by the State,' conceded that
Just compensation means the value of the property at the time of the taking. It means '[E]xpressions in the opinions of this court lend color to the argument. . .' 316 U.S., at 462,
a fair and full equivalent for the loss sustained. All the facts as to the condition of the 463, 86 L ed. 1602, 62 S Ct. 1252. The fact is that in deciding as it did-that "appointment
property and its surroundings, its improvements and capabilities, should be considered. of counsel is not a fundamental right, essential to a fair trial" — the Court in Betts v. Brady
made an ubrupt brake with its own well-considered precedents. In returning to these old
In this particular case, the tax declarations presented by the petitioner as basis for just precedents, sounder we believe than the new, we but restore constitutional principles
compensation were made by the Lapu-Lapu municipal, later city assessor long before established to achieve a fair system of justice. . ."
martial law, when land was not only much cheaper but when assessed values of
properties were stated in figures constituting only a fraction of their true market value. We return to older and more sound precedents. This Court has the duty to formulate
The private respondent was not even the owner of the properties at the time. It guiding and controlling constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules. (See
purchased the lots for development purposes. To peg the value of the lots on the basis of Salonga v. Cruz Pano, supra).
documents which are out of date and at prices below the acquisition cost of present
owners would be arbitrary and confiscatory. The determination of "just compensation" in eminent domain cases is a judicial function.
The executive department or the legislature may make the initial determinations but
Various factors can come into play in the valuation of specific properties singled out for when a party claims a violation of the guarantee in the Bill of Rights that private property
expropriation. The values given by provincial assessors are usually uniform for very wide may not be taken for public use without just compensation, no statute, decree, or
areas covering several barrios or even an entire town with the exception of the poblacion. executive order can mandate that its own determination shall prevail over the court's
Individual differences are never taken into account. The value of land is based on such findings. Much less can the courts be precluded from looking into the "just-ness" of the
generalities as its possible cultivation for rice, corn, coconuts, or other crops. Very often decreed compensation.
land described as "cogonal" has been cultivated for generations. Buildings are described
in terms of only two or three classes of building materials and estimates of areas are more We, therefore, hold that P.D. No. 1533, which eliminates the court's discretion to appoint
often inaccurate than correct. Tax values can serve as guides but cannot be absolute commissioners pursuant to Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, is unconstitutional and void. To
substitutes for just compensation. hold otherwise would be to undermine the very purpose why this Court exists in the first
place.
To say that the owners are estopped to question the valuations made by assessors since
they had the opportunity to protest is illusory. The overwhelming mass of land owners WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. The
accept unquestioningly what is found in the tax declarations prepared by local assessors temporary restraining order issued on February 16, 1982 is LIFTED and SET ASIDE.
or municipal clerks for them. They do not even look at, much less analyze, the statements. SO ORDERED.
The Idea of expropriation simply never occurs until a demand is made or a case filed by
an agency authorized to do so. Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin,
Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ.,concur.
It is violative of due process to deny to the owner the opportunity to prove that the Teehankee, C.J., in the result.
valuation in the tax documents is unfair or wrong. And it is repulsive to basic concepts of
justice and fairness to allow the haphazard work of a minor bureaucrat or clerk to
16
[G.R. No. 146587. July 2, 2002] It would appear that the national government failed to pay to herein respondents the
compensation pursuant to the foregoing decision, such that a little over five years later,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the General Manager of the PHILIPPINE or on 09 May 1984, respondents filed a manifestation with a motion seeking payment for
INFORMATION AGENCY (PIA), petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and the expropriated property. On 07 June 1984, the Bulacan RTC, after ascertaining that the
the HEIRS OF LUIS SANTOS as herein represented by DR. SABINO SANTOS and heirs remained unpaid in the sum of P1,058,655.05, issued a writ of execution served on
PURIFICACION SANTOS IMPERIAL, respondents. the plaintiff, through the Office of the Solicitor General, for the implementation thereof.
DECISION When the order was not complied with, respondents again filed a motion urging the trial
court to direct the provincial treasurer of Bulacan to release to them the amount of
VITUG, J.: P72,683.55, a portion of the sum deposited by petitioner at the inception of the
expropriation proceedings in 1969, corresponding to their share of the deposit. The trial
Petitioner instituted expropriation proceedings on 19 September 1969 before the
court, in its order of 10 July 1984, granted the motion.
Regional Trial Court ("RTC") of Bulacan, docketed Civil Cases No. 3839-M, No. 3840-M, No.
3841-M and No. 3842-M, covering a total of 544,980 square meters of contiguous land In the meantime, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada issued Proclamation No.
situated along MacArthur Highway, Malolos, Bulacan, to be utilized for the continued 22,[2] transferring 20 hectares of the expropriated property to the Bulacan State
broadcast operation and use of radio transmitter facilities for the Voice of the Philippines University for the expansion of its facilities and another 5 hectares to be used exclusively
project. Petitioner, through the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), took over the for the propagation of the Philippine carabao. The remaining portion was retained by the
premises after the previous lessee, the Voice of America, had ceased its operations PIA. This fact notwithstanding, and despite the 1984 court order, the Santos heirs
thereat. Petitioner made a deposit of P517,558.80, the sum provisionally fixed as being remained unpaid, and no action was taken on their case until 16 September 1999 when
the reasonable value of the property. On 26 February 1979, or more than nine years after petitioner filed its manifestation and motion to permit the deposit in court of the amount
the institution of the expropriation proceedings, the trial court issued this order - of P4,664,000.00 by way of just compensation for the expropriated property of the late
Luis Santos subject to such final computation as might be approved by the court. This
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered:
time, the Santos heirs, opposing the manifestation and motion, submitted a counter-
"Condemning the properties of the defendants in Civil Cases Nos. 3839-M to 3842-M motion to adjust the compensation from P6.00 per square meter previously fixed in the
located at KM 43, MacArthur Highway, Malolos, Bulacan and covered by several transfer 1979 decision to its current zonal valuation pegged at P5,000.00 per square meter or, in
certificates of title appearing in the Commissioners Appraisal Report consisting of the the alternative, to cause the return to them of the expropriated property. On 01 March
total area of 544,980 square meters, as indicated in plan, Exhibit A, for plaintiff, also 2000, the Bulacan RTC ruled in favor of respondents and issued the assailed order,
marked as Exhibit I for the defendants, and as Appendix A attached to the Commissioners vacating its decision of 26 February 1979 and declaring it to be unenforceable on the
Appraisal Report, for the purpose stated by the plaintiff in its complaint; ground of prescription -

"Ordering the plaintiff to pay the defendants the just compensation for said property "WHEREFORE, premises considered, the court hereby:
which is the fair market value of the land condemned, computed at the rate of six pesos
"1) declares the decision rendered by this Court on February 26, 1979 no longer
(P6.00) per square meter, with legal rate of interest from September 19, 1969, until fully
enforceable, execution of the same by either a motion or an independent action having
paid; and
already prescribed in accordance with Section 6, Rule 39 of both the 1964 Revised Rules
"Ordering the plaintiff to pay the costs of suit, which includes the aforesaid fees of of Court and the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure;
commissioners, Atty. Victorino P. Evangelista and Mr. Pablo Domingo." [1]
"2) denies the plaintiffs Manifestation and Motion to Permit Plaintiff to Deposit in Court
The bone of contention in the instant controversy is the 76,589-square meter property Payment for Expropriated Properties dated September 16, 1999 for the reason stated in
previously owned by Luis Santos, predecessor-in-interest of herein respondents, which the next preceding paragraph hereof; and
forms part of the expropriated area.
"3) orders the return of the expropriated property of the late defendant Luis Santos to his
heirs conformably with the ruling of the Supreme Court in Government of Sorsogon vs.

17
Vda. De Villaroya, 153 SCRA 291, without prejudice to any case which the parties may Curative statutes are enacted to cure defects in a prior law or to validate legal proceedings
deem appropriate to institute in relation with the amount already paid to herein which would otherwise be void for want of conformity with certain legal
oppositors and the purported transfer of a portion of the said realty to the Bulacan State requirements. (Erectors, Inc. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 256 SCRA 629
University pursuant to Proclamation No. 22 issued by President Joseph Ejercito." [3] [1996].) They are intended to supply defects, abridge superfluities and curb certain
evils. They are intended to enable persons to carry into effect that which they have
Petitioner brought the matter up to the Court of Appeals but the petition was outrightly designed or intended, but has failed of expected legal consequence by reason of some
denied. It would appear that the denial was based on Section 4, Rule 65, of the 1997 Rules statutory disability or irregularity in their own action. They make valid that which, before
of Civil Procedure which provided that the filing of a motion for reconsideration in due the enactment of the statute was invalid. Their purpose is to give validity to acts done
time after filing of the judgment, order or resolution interrupted the running of the sixty- that would have been invalid under existing laws, as if existing laws have been complied
day period within which to file a petition for certiorari; and that if a motion for with. (Batong Buhay Gold Mines, Inc. vs. Dela Serna, 312 SCRA 22 [1999].) Curative
reconsideration was denied, the aggrieved party could file the petition only within the statutes, therefore, by their very essence, are retroactive. (Municipality of San Narciso,
remaining period, but which should not be less than five days in any event, reckoned from Quezon vs. Mendez, Sr., 239 SCRA 11 [1994].)[5]
the notice of such denial. The reglementary period, however, was later modified by A.M.
No. 00-2-03 S.C., now reading thusly: At all events, petitioner has a valid point in emphasizing the "public nature" of the
expropriated property. The petition being imbued with public interest, the Court has
Sec. 4. When and where petition filed. --- The petition shall be filed not later than sixty resolved to give it due course and to decide the case on its merits.
(60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion for
reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the Assailing the finding of prescription by the trial court, petitioner here posited that a
sixty (60) day period shall be counted from notice of the denial of said motion. motion which respondents had filed on 17 February 1984, followed up by other motions
subsequent thereto, was made within the reglementary period that thereby interrupted
The amendatory provision, being curative in nature, should be made applicable to all the 5-year prescriptive period within which to enforce the 1979 judgment. Furthermore,
cases still pending with the courts at the time of its effectivity. petitioner claimed, the receipt by respondents of partial compensation in the sum of
In Narzoles vs. NLRC,[4] the Court has said: P72,683.55 on 23 July 1984 constituted partial compliance on the part of petitioners and
effectively estopped respondents from invoking prescription expressed in Section 6, Rule
The Court has observed that Circular No. 39-98 has generated tremendous confusion 39, of the Rules of Court.[6]
resulting in the dismissal of numerous cases for late filing. This may have been because,
historically, i.e., even before the 1997 revision to the Rules of Civil Procedure, a party had In opposing the petition, respondents advanced the view that pursuant to Section 6, Rule
a fresh period from receipt of the order denying the motion for reconsideration to file a 39, of the Rules of Court, the failure of petitioner to execute the judgment, dated 26
petition for certiorari. Were it not for the amendments brought about by Circular No. 39- February 1979, within five years after it had become final and executory, rendered it
98, the cases so dismissed would have been resolved on the merits. Hence, the Court unenforceable by mere motion. The motion for payment, dated 09 May 1984, as well as
deemed it wise to revert to the old rule allowing a party a fresh 60-day period from notice the subsequent disbursement to them of the sum of P72,683.55 by the provincial
of the denial of the motion for reconsideration to file a petition for certiorari. x x x treasurer of Bulacan, could not be considered as having interrupted the five-year period,
since a motion, to be considered otherwise, should instead be made by the prevailing
The latest amendments took effect on September 1, 2000, following its publication in the party, in this case by petitioner. Respondents maintained that the P72,683.55 paid to
Manila Bulletin on August 4, 2000 and in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 7, 2000, them by the provincial treasurer of Bulacan pursuant to the 1984 order of the trial court
two newspapers of general circulation. was part of the initial deposit made by petitioner when it first entered possession of the
property in 1969 and should not be so regarded as a partial payment. Respondents
In view of its purpose, the Resolution further amending Section 4, Rule 65, can only be
further questioned the right of PIA to transfer ownership of a portion of the property to
described as curative in nature, and the principles governing curative statutes are
the Bulacan State University even while the just compensation due the heirs had yet to
applicable.
be finally settled.

18
The right of eminent domain is usually understood to be an ultimate right of the sovereign In insisting on the return of the expropriated property, respondents would exhort on the
power to appropriate any property within its territorial sovereignty for a public pronouncement in Provincial Government of Sorsogon vs. Vda. de Villaroya [14] where the
purpose.[7]Fundamental to the independent existence of a State, it requires no unpaid landowners were allowed the alternative remedy of recovery of the property
recognition by the Constitution, whose provisions are taken as being merely confirmatory there in question. It might be borne in mind that the case involved the municipal
of its presence and as being regulatory, at most, in the due exercise of the power. In the government of Sorsogon, to which the power of eminent domain is not inherent, but
hands of the legislature, the power is inherent, its scope matching that of taxation, even merely delegated and of limited application. The grant of the power of eminent domain
that of police power itself, in many respects. It reaches to every form of property the State to local governments under Republic Act No. 7160[15] cannot be understood as being the
needs for public use and, as an old case so puts it, all separate interests of individuals in pervasive and all-encompassing power vested in the legislative branch of government.
property are held under a tacit agreement or implied reservation vesting upon the For local governments to be able to wield the power, it must, by enabling law, be
sovereign the right to resume the possession of the property whenever the public interest delegated to it by the national legislature, but even then, this delegated power of eminent
so requires it.[8] domain is not, strictly speaking, a power of eminent, but only of inferior, domain or only
as broad or confined as the real authority would want it to be.[16]
The ubiquitous character of eminent domain is manifest in the nature of the expropriation
proceedings. Expropriation proceedings are not adversarial in the conventional sense, for Thus, in Valdehueza vs. Republic[17] where the private landowners had remained unpaid
the condemning authority is not required to assert any conflicting interest in the ten years after the termination of the expropriation proceedings, this Court ruled -
property. Thus, by filing the action, the condemnor in effect merely serves notice that it
is taking title and possession of the property, and the defendant asserts title or interest The points in dispute are whether such payment can still be made and, if so, in what
in the property, not to prove a right to possession, but to prove a right to compensation amount. Said lots have been the subject of expropriation proceedings. By final and
for the taking.[9] executory judgment in said proceedings, they were condemned for public use, as part of
an airport, and ordered sold to the government. x x x It follows that both by virtue of the
Obviously, however, the power is not without its limits: first, the taking must be for public judgment, long final, in the expropriation suit, as well as the annotations upon their title
use, and second, that just compensation must be given to the private owner of the certificates, plaintiffs are not entitled to recover possession of their expropriated lots -
property.[10]These twin proscriptions have their origin in the recognition of the necessity which are still devoted to the public use for which they were expropriated - but only to
for achieving balance between the State interests, on the one hand, and private rights, demand the fair market value of the same.
upon the other hand, by effectively restraining the former and affording protection to the
latter.[11] In determining public use, two approaches are utilized - the first is public "Said relief may be granted under plaintiffs' prayer for: `such other remedies, which may
employment or the actual use by the public, and the second is public advantage or be deemed just and equitable under the premises'."[18]
benefit.[12] It is also useful to view the matter as being subject to constant growth, which The Court proceeded to reiterate its pronouncement in Alfonso vs. Pasay City[19] where
is to say that as society advances, its demands upon the individual so increases, and each the recovery of possession of property taken for public use prayed for by the unpaid
demand is a new use to which the resources of the individual may be devoted.[13] landowner was denied even while no requisite expropriation proceedings were first
The expropriated property has been shown to be for the continued utilization by the PIA, instituted. The landowner was merely given the relief of recovering compensation for his
a significant portion thereof being ceded for the expansion of the facilities of the Bulacan property computed at its market value at the time it was taken and appropriated by the
State University and for the propagation of the Philippine carabao, themselves in line with State.
the requirements of public purpose. Respondents question the public nature of the The judgment rendered by the Bulacan RTC in 1979 on the expropriation proceedings
utilization by petitioner of the condemned property, pointing out that its present use provides not only for the payment of just compensation to herein respondents but
differs from the purpose originally contemplated in the 1969 expropriation proceedings. likewise adjudges the property condemned in favor of petitioner over which parties, as
The argument is of no moment. The property has assumed a public character upon its well as their privies, are bound.[20] Petitioner has occupied, utilized and, for all intents and
expropriation. Surely, petitioner, as the condemnor and as the owner of the property, is purposes, exercised dominion over the property pursuant to the judgment. The exercise
well within its rights to alter and decide the use of that property, the only limitation being of such rights vested to it as the condemnee indeed has amounted to at least a partial
that it be for public use, which, decidedly, it is. compliance or satisfaction of the 1979 judgment, thereby preempting any claim of bar by

19
prescription on grounds of non-execution. In arguing for the return of their property on All given, the trial court of Bulacan in issuing its order, dated 01 March 2000, vacating its
the basis of non-payment, respondents ignore the fact that the right of the expropriatory decision of 26 February 1979 has acted beyond its lawful cognizance, the only authority
authority is far from that of an unpaid seller in ordinary sales, to which the remedy of left to it being to order its execution. Verily, private respondents, although not entitled to
rescission might perhaps apply. An in rem proceeding, condemnation acts upon the the return of the expropriated property, deserve to be paid promptly on the yet unpaid
property.[21] After condemnation, the paramount title is in the public under a new and award of just compensation already fixed by final judgment of the Bulacan RTC on 26
independent title;[22] thus, by giving notice to all claimants to a disputed title, February 1979 at P6.00 per square meter, with legal interest thereon at 12% per
condemnation proceedings provide a judicial process for securing better title against all annum computed from the date of "taking" of the property, i.e., 19 September 1969, until
the world than may be obtained by voluntary conveyance.[23] the due amount shall have been fully paid.

Respondents, in arguing laches against petitioner did not take into account that the same WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The resolution, dated 31 July 2000, of the Court
argument could likewise apply against them. Respondents first instituted proceedings for of Appeals dismissing the petition for certiorari, as well as its resolution of 04 January
payment against petitioner on 09 May 1984, or five years after the 1979 judgment had 2001 denying the motion for reconsideration, and the decision of the Regional Trial Court
become final. The unusually long delay in bringing the action to compel payment against of Bulacan, dated 01 March 2000, are SET ASIDE. Let the case be forthwith remanded to
herein petitioner would militate against them. Consistently with the rule that one should the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan for the proper execution of its decision promulgated
take good care of his own concern, respondents should have commenced the proper on 26 February 1979 which is hereby REINSTATED. No costs.
action upon the finality of the judgment which, indeed, resulted in a permanent
deprivation of their ownership and possession of the property.[24] SO ORDERED.

The constitutional limitation of just compensation is considered to be the sum equivalent Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, Ynares-Santiago, and Austria-Martinez, JJ., concur.
to the market value of the property, broadly described to be the price fixed by the seller
in open market in the usual and ordinary course of legal action and competition or the
fair value of the property as between one who receives, and one who desires to sell, it
fixed at the time of the actual taking by the government.[25] Thus, if property is taken for
public use before compensation is deposited with the court having jurisdiction over the
case, the final compensation must include interests on its just value to be computed from
the time the property is taken to the time when compensation is actually paid or
deposited with the court.[26] In fine, between the taking of the property and the actual
payment, legal interests accrue in order to place the owner in a position as good as (but
not better than) the position he was in before the taking occurred.[27]

The Bulacan trial court, in its 1979 decision, was correct in imposing interests on the zonal
value of the property to be computed from the time petitioner instituted condemnation
proceedings and took the property in September 1969. This allowance of interest on the
amount found to be the value of the property as of the time of the taking computed,
being an effective forbearance, at 12% per annum[28] should help eliminate the issue of
the constant fluctuation and inflation of the value of the currency over time. [29] Article
1250 of the Civil Code, providing that, in case of extraordinary inflation or deflation, the
value of the currency at the time of the establishment of the obligation shall be the basis
for the payment when no agreement to the contrary is stipulated, has strict application
only to contractual obligations.[30] In other words, a contractual agreement is needed for
the effects of extraordinary inflation to be taken into account to alter the value of the
currency.[31]
20
G.R. No. L-2929 February 28, 1950 construction as to hold that public use is synonymous with public benefit, public utility,
or public advantage, and to authorize the exercise of the power of eminent domain to
THE CITY OF MANILA, plaintiff-appellant, promote such public benefit, etc., especially where the interest involved are of
vs. considerable magnitude. (29 C. J. S.; 823, 824; see also People of Puerto Rico vs. Eastern
THE ARRELANO LAW COLLEGES, INC., defendant-appellee. Sugar Associate et al., 156 Fed. [2d], 316.) In some instances, slumsites have been
City Fiscal Eugenio Angeles and Assistant City Fiscal Arsenio Nañawa for appellant. acquired by condemnation. The highest court of New York State has ruled that slum
Emmanuel Pelaez for appellee. clearance and erection of houses for low-income families were public purpose for which
New York City Housing authorities could exercise the power of condemnation. and this
TUASON, J.: decision was followed by similar ones in other states. The underlying reasons for these
decisions are that the destruction of congested areas and unsanitary dwellings diminished
Section 1 of Republic Act No. 267 provides:
the potentialities of epidemics, crime and waste, prevents the spread of crime and
Cities and municipalities are authorized to contract loans from the Reconstruction diseases to unaffected areas, enhances the physical and moral value of the surrounding
Finance Corporation, the Philippine National Bank, and/or other entity or person at the communities, and promote the safety and welfare of the public in general. (Murray et al.
rate of interest not exceeding eight per cent annum for the purpose of purchasing or vs. La Guardia, 52 N. e. [2d], 884; General Development Coop. vs. City of Detroit, 33 N. W.
expropriating homesites within their respective territorial jurisdiction and reselling them [2d], 919; Weizner vs. Stichman, 64 N. Y. S. [2d], 50.) But it will be noted that in all these
at cost to residents of the said cities and municipalities. cases and of similar nature extensive areas were involved and numerous people and the
general public benefited by the action taken.
The court below ruled that this provision empowers cities to purchase but not to
expropriate lands for the purpose of subdivision and resale, and so dismissed the present The condemnation of a small property in behalf of 10, 20 or 50 persons and their families
action, which seeks to condemn, for the purpose just stated, several parcels of land having does not insure to the benefit of the public to a degree sufficient to give the use public
a combined area of 7,270 square meters and situated on Legarda Street, City of Manila. character. The expropriation proceedings at bar have been instituted for the economic
relief of a few families devoid of any consideration of public peace and order, or other
In the cases of Guido vs. Rural Progress Administration (G. R. No. L- public advantage. What is proposed to be done is to take plaintiff's property, which for all
2089)1 and Commonwealth of the Philippines vs. De Borja (G. R. No. L-1496),2 we we know she acquired by sweat and sacrifices for her and her family's security, and sell it
discussed at great length the extent of the Philippine Government's power to condemn at cost to a few lessees who refuse to pay the stipulated rent or leave the premises.
private property for resale. Among other things, we said:
No fixed line of demarcation between what taking is for public use and what is not can
It has been truly said that the assertion of the right on the part of the legislature to take made; each case has to be judged according to its peculiar circumstances. It suffices to
the property of one citizen and transfer it to another, even for a full compensation, when say for the purpose of this decision that the case under consideration is far wanting in
the public interest is not promoted thereby, is claiming a despotic power, and one those elements which make for public convenience or public use. It is patterned upon an
inconsistent with every just principle and fundamental maxim of a free government. (29 ideology far removed from the majority of the citizens of this country. If upheld, this case
C. J. S., 820.) would open the gates to more oppressive expropriations. If this expropriation be
constitutional, we see no reason why a 10-, 15-, or 25-hectare farm land might not be
In a broad sense, expropriation of large estates, trusts in perpetuity, and land that
expropriated and subdivided, and sold to those who want to own a portion of it. to make
embraces a whole town, or large section of a town or city, bears direct relation to the
the analogy closer, we find no reason why the Rural Progress Administration could not
public welfare. The size of the land expropriated, the large number of people benefited,
take by condemnation an urban lot containing and area of 1,000 or 2,000 square meters
and the extent of social and economic reform secured by the condemnation, clothes the
for subdivision into tiny lots for resale to its occupations or those who want to build
expropriation with public interest and public use. The expropriation in such cases tends
thereon.
to abolish economic slavery, feudalistic practices, endless conflicts between landlords and
tenants, and other evils inimical to community prosperity and contentment and public We are inclined to believe that Act No. 267 empowers cities to expropriate as well as to
peace and order. Although courts are not in agreement as to the tests to applied in purchase lands for homesites. The word "expropriating," taken singly or with the text, is
determining whether the use is public or not, some go so far in the direction of a liberal susceptible of only meaning. But this power to expropriate is necessarily subject to the
21
limitations and conditions noted in the decisions above cited. The National Government it not been stopped by the city authorities. And again, while a handful of people stand to
may not confer its instrumentalities authority which itself may not exercise. A stream can profits by the expropriation, the development of a university that has a present
not run higher than its source. enrollment of 9,000 students would be sacrificed. Any good that would accrue to the
public from providing homes to a few families fades into insignificance in comparison with
Viewed from another angle, the case at bar is weaker for the condemnor. In the first place, the preparation of a young men and young women for useful citizenship and for service
the land that is the subject of the present expropriation is only one-third of the land to the government and the community, a task which the government alone is not in a
sought to be taken in the Guido case, and about two-thirds of that involved in the Borja position to undertake. As the Rural Progress Administration, the national agency lands for
condemnation proceeding. In the second place, the Arellano Colleges' land is situated in resale as homesites and to which the petition to purchase the land in question on behalf
a highly commercial section of the city and is occupied by persons who are not bona fide of the occupants was referred by the President, turning down the occupants request after
tenants. Lastly, this land was brought by the defendant for a university site to take the proper investigation, commented that "the necessity of the Arellano Law College to
place of rented buildings that are unsuitable for schools of higher learning. acquire a permanent site of its own is imperative not only because denial of the same
To authorize the condemnation of any particular land by a grantee of the power of would hamper the objectives of that educational institution, but it would likewise be
eminent domain, a necessity must exist for the taking thereof for the proposed uses and taking a property intended already for public benefit." The Mayor of the City of Manila
purposes. (29 C. J. S., 884-885.) In City of Manila vs. Manila Chinese Community (40 Phil., himself confessed that he believes the plaintiff is entitled to keep this land.
349), this Court, citing American decision, laid done this rule: The order of the Court of First Instance of Manila is affirmed without costs.
The very foundation of the right to exercise eminent domain is a genuine necessity, and Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Pablo, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes and Torres, JJ., concur.
that necessity must be of a public character. The ascertainment of the necessity must
precede or accompany, and not follow, the taking of the land. (Morrison vs. Indianapolis,
etc. Ry. Co., 166 Ind., 511; Stearns vs. Barre, 73 Vt., 281; Wheeling, etc. R. R. Co. vs. Toledo,
Ry. etc. Co., 72 Ohio St., 368.)

And this passage in Blackstone's Commentaries on the English Law is cited in that
decision: "So great is the regard of the law for private property that it will not authorize
the least violation of it, even for the public good, unless there exist a very great necessity
thereof."

Perhaps modern decisions are not so exigent. Necessity within the rule that the particular
property to be expropriated must be necessary. does not mean an absolute but only a
reasonable or practical necessity, such as would combine the greatest benefit to the
public with the least inconvenience and expense to the condemning party and property
owner consistent with such benefits. (29 C. J. S., 386.) But measured even by this standard,
and forgetting for a moment the private character of the intended use, necessity for the
condemnation has not been shown. The land in question has cost the owner P140,000.
The people for whose benefit the condemnation is being undertaken are so poor they
could ill afford to meet this high price, unless they intend to borrow the money with a
view to disposing of the property later for a profits. Cheaper lands not dedicated to a
purpose so worthy as a school and more suited to the occupants' needs and means, if
really they only want to own their own homes, are plenty elsewhere. On the other hand,
the defendant not only has invested a considerable amount for its property but had the
plans for construction ready and would have completed the project a long time ago had

22
G.R. No. L-106528 December 21, 1993 Private respondents are the actual occupants of the said parcel of land, while respondents
Antonio Gonzales, Jr. and Karlo Butiong were duly-elected councilors of the City of Manila.
PHILIPPINE COLUMBIAN ASSOCIATION, petitioner,
vs. In 1982, petitioner instituted ejectment proceedings against herein private respondents
THE HONORABLE DOMINGO D. PANIS as Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch before the metropolitan Trial Court of Manila. Judgment was rendered against the said
41, THE HONORABLE RICARDO DIAZ, as Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 27, occupants, ordering them to vacate the lot and pay reasonable compensation therefor.
the CITY OF MANILA, ANTONIO GONZALES, JR., KARLO BUTIONG, LEONARDO AQUINO, This judgment was affirmed by the Regional Trial Court, the Court of Appeals and
EDILBERTO LOPEZ, ANTILANO FERRER, LEONCIA DAVILLO JAMERO, LUIS FERNANDEZ, subsequently by the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 85262.
PATRICIO DE GUZMAN, RICARDO DE LEON, VIRGILIO TORNERO, FAUSTO FERNANDEZ,
DOMINGO MEREN, EDUARDA JACINTO, MAGDALENA VELEZ, LUSITO ALMADRONES, As a result of the favorable decision, petitioner filed before the Metropolitan Trial Court
MYRNA BARREDO EBREO, FULGENCIO CORSINO, PEDRO VELASQUEZ, JUAN INOBAYA, of Manila, a motion for execution of judgment, which was granted on April 9, 1990. A writ
NENITA ARCE, MAGNO ORTINEZ, ARMANDO PARAGAS, HIPOLITO ESTABILLO, of demolition was later prayed and likewise issued by the same court on May 30, 1990.
FELICIANO FAUSTINO, VIRGILIO EDIC, JOSE TINGZON, JOSUE MARIANO, MARIA YERO, On June 8, 1990, private respondents filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27,
MA. DOLORES QUIZON, ISIDERO TAGUILIG, CIRIACO MENDOZA, JUAN ROMERO, JOSE Manila, a petition for injunction and prohibition with preliminary injunction and
LAGATA, FRUCTUSO PUSING, TEOFILO TERSOL, ANTONIO LACHICA, PIO RAJALES, restraining order against the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila and petitioner herein
REGINA VIERNES, JUAN ROMERO, DOMINGO EDIC, EDUARDA GONZALES, PABLO (Civil Case No. 90-53346) to enjoin their ejectment from and the demolition of their
QUIRANTE, LEONORA SANTIA, MARIA RIVERA, ELENA ARCE, LAZARO GOMEZ, PEDRO houses on the premises in question.
MENDOZA, DOMINADOR ADAO, JUAN PANTERA, FRISCA MANDOT, SOCORRO SANTOS
AND GLORIA JEBUNAN, respondents. On June 28, 1990, the City of Manila filed a complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 90-53531
against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, Manila, for the
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz for petitioner. expropriation of the 4,842.90 square meter lot subject of the ejectment proceedings in
Dennis A. Padernal for private respondents. Civil Case No. 90-53346. Petitioner, in turn, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint,
alleging, inter alia, that the City of Manila had no power to expropriate private land; that
City Legal Officer for respondent City of Manila. the expropriation is not for public use and welfare; that the expropriation is politically
motivated; and, that the deposit of P2 million in the City of Manila representing the
provisional value of the land, was insufficient and was made under P.D. 1533, a law
QUIASON, J.: declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

This is an appeal by certiorari to review: (1) the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. On September 14, 1990, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, Manila, denied petitioner's
SP No. 23338, which dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by herein petitioner, motion to dismiss and entered an order of condemnation declaring that the expropriation
assailing the orders of (a) respondent Judge Domingo D. Panis of the Regional Trial Court, proceeding was properly instituted in accordance with law. The Court also ordered the
Branch 41, Manila, in Civil Case No. 90-53531, and (b) respondent Judge Ricardo D. Diaz, parties to submit, within five days, the names of their respective nominees as
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, Manila, in Civil Case No. 90-53346; and (2) its commissioners to ascertain just compensation for the land in question.
Resolution dated July 30, 1992, which denied the motion for reconsideration of the Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the order denying its motion to dismiss,
decision. and later a motion to defer compliance with the order directing the submission of the
Philippine Columbian Association, petitioner herein, is a non-stock, non-profit domestic names of nominees to be appointed commissioners. The City of Manila, however, filed
corporation and is engaged in the business of providing sports and recreational facilities an ex-parte motion for the issuance of a writ of possession over the subject lot,
for its members. Petitioner's office and facilities are located in the District of Paco, Manila, mentioning the P2 million deposit with the Philippine National Bank, representing the
and adjacent thereto, is a parcel of land consisting of 4,842.90 square meters owned by provisional value of the land.
petitioner.

23
In separate orders dated October 5 and 8, 1990, the court issued the writ of possession, "to acquire private land . . . and subdivide the same into home lots for sale on easy terms
and at the same time, denied petitioner's motion to defer compliance and motion for to city residents" (Sec. 100).
reconsideration.
The Revised Charter of the City of Manila expressly grants the City of Manila general
On September 21, 1990, as a result of the expropriation proceedings, the Regional Trial powers over its territorial jurisdiction, including the power of eminent domain, thus:
Court, Branch 27, Manila, in Civil Case No. 90-53346 issued an order, granting the writ of
preliminary injunction prayed for by the private respondents. A motion for General powers. — The city may have a common seal and alter the same at pleasure, and
reconsideration filed by petitioner was denied. may take, purchase, receive, hold, lease, convey, and dispose of real and personal property
for the general interest of the city, condemn private property for public use, contract and
Petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals a petition before the Court of Appeals a be contracted with, sue and be sued, and prosecute and defend to final judgment and
petition assailing the orders dated September 14, 1990, and October 5 and 8, 1990 of execution, and exercise all the powers hereinafter conferred (R.A. 409, Sec. 3; Emphasis
Branch 41 of the Regional Trial Court, and the Order dated September 21, 1990 of Branch supplied).
27 of the same court (CA-G.R. SP No. 23338). The Court of Appeals rendered a Decision
on November 31, 1992, denying the petition, and a Resolution on July 30, 1992, denying Section 100 of said Revised Charter authorizes the City of Manila to undertake urban land
consideration thereof. reform, thus:

Hence, this petition. Sec. 100. The City of Manila is authorized to acquire private lands in the city and to
subdivide the same into home lots for sale on easy terms for city residents, giving first
The land subject of this case is the 4,842.90 square meter lot, which was formerly a part priority to the bona fide tenants or occupants of said lands, and second priority to
of the Fabie Estate. As early as November 11, 1966, the Municipal Board of the City of laborers and low-salaried employees. For the purpose of this section, the city may raise
Manila passed Ordinance No. 5971, seeking to expropriate the Fabie Estate. Through the necessary funds by appropriations of general funds, by securing loans or by issuing
negotiated sales, the City of Manila acquired a total of 18,017.10 square meters of the bonds, and, if necessary, may acquire the lands through expropriation proceedings in
estate, and thereafter subdivided the land into home lots and distributed the portions to accordance with law, with the approval of the President . . . (Emphasis supplied).
the actual occupants thereof.
The City of Manila, acting through its legislative branch, has the express power to acquire
The remaining area of 4,842.90 square meters, more or less, was sold in 1977 by its owner, private lands in the city and subdivide these lands into home lots for sale to bona
Dolores Fabie-Posadas, to petitioner. Since the time of the sale, the lot has been occupied fide tenants or occupants thereof, and to laborers and low-salaried employees of the city.
by private respondents. On 23, 1989, the City Council of Manila, with the approval of the That only a few could actually benefit from the expropriation of the property does not
Mayor, passed Ordinance No. 7704 for the expropriation of the 4,842.90 square meter diminish its public use character. It is simply not possible to provide all at once land and
lot. shelter for all who need them (Sumulong v. Guerrero, 154 SCRA 461 [1987] ).

Petitioner claims that expropriation of the lot cannot prosper because: Corollary to the expanded notion of public use, expropriation is not anymore confined to
(1) the City of Manila has no specific power to expropriate private property under the vast tracts of land and landed estates (Province of Camarines Sur v. Court of Appeals, G.R.
1987 Constitution; and (2) assuming that it has such power, this was exercised improperly No. 103125, May 17, 1993; J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration, 31
and illegally in violation of the Public use requirement and petitioner's right to due SCRA 413 [1970] ). It is therefore of no moment that the land sought to be expropriated
process. in this case is less than half a hectare only (Pulido v. Court of Appeals, 122 SCRA 63 [1983]).

Petitioner argues that under the 1987 Constitution, there must be a law expressly Through the years, the public use requirement in eminent domain has evolved into a
authorizing local governments to undertake urban land reform (Art. XIII, Sec. 9). flexible concept, influenced by changing conditions (Sumulong v. Guerrero, supra;
Manotok v. National Housing Authority, 150 SCRA 89 [1987]; Heirs of Juancho Ardona v.
Petitioner forgot that the Revised Charter of the City of Manila, R.A. No. 409, expressly Reyes, 125 SCRA 220 [1983]). Public use now includes the broader notion of indirect
authorizes the City of Manila to "condemn private property for public use" (Sec. 3) and public benefit or advantage, including in particular, urban land reform and housing.

24
This concept is specifically recognized in the 1987 Constitution which provides that:

xxx xxx xxx

The state shall, by law, and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the
private sector, a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make
available at affordable cost decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and
homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas. It shall also promote adequate
employment opportunities to such citizens. In the implementation of such program the
State shall respect the rights of small property owners (Art. XIII, Sec. 9; Emphasis supplied).

xxx xxx xxx

The due process requirement in the expropriation of subject lot has likewise been
complied with. Although the motion to dismiss filed by petitioner was not set for hearing
as the court is required to do (National Housing Authority v. Valenzuela, 159 SCRA 396
[1988]), it never questioned the lack of hearing before the trial and appellate courts. It is
only now before us that petitioner raises the issue of due process.

Indeed, due process was afforded petitioner when it filed its motion for reconsideration
of the trial court's order, denying its motion to dismiss.

The Court of Appeals, in determining whether grave abuse of discretion was committed
by respondent courts, passed upon the very same issues raised by petitioner in its motion
to dismiss, which findings we uphold. Petitioner therefore cannot argue that it was denied
its day in court.

The amount of P2 million representing the provisional value of the land is an amount not
only fixed by the court, but accepted by both parties. The fact remains that petitioner,
albeit reluctantly, agreed to said valuation and is therefore estopped from assailing the
same. It must be remembered that the valuation is merely provisional. The parties still
have the second stage in the proceedings in the proper court below to determine
specifically the amount of just compensation to be paid the landowner (Revised Rules of
Court, Rule 67, Sec. 5; National Power Corporation v. Jocson, 206 SCRA 520 [1992] ).

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Cruz, Davide, Jr. and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.

25
G.R. No. 100626, November 29, 1991 The petitioner assails the action of the respondent court and contends that decisions of
the regional trial court in cases exclusively cognizable by inferior courts are final and
CITY OF MANILA REPRESENTED BY MAYOR GEMILIANO C. LOPEZ, JR., PETITIONER, VS. executory under RA 6031. Thus:
HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND THE ARMY & NAVY CLUB, INC., RESPONDENTS.
Sec. 1. x x x
DECISION
In cases falling under the exclusive original jurisdiction of municipal and city courts which
CRUZ, J.: are appealed to the courts of first instance, the decision of the latter shall be final:
Provided, That the findings of facts contained in said decision are supported by substantial
Respondent Court of Appeals is faulted in this action for certiorari for having set aside the evidence as basis thereof, and the conclusions are not clearly against the law and
order of execution dated June 10, 1991, and the writ of execution issued by Judge jurisprudence; in cases falling under the concurrent jurisdictions of the municipal and city
Wilfredo Reyes of the Regional Trial Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 91-56335. courts with the courts of first instance, the appeal shall be made directly to the Court of
This was a complaint for unlawful detainer filed by the City of Manila against private Appeals whose decision shall be final: Provided, however, that the Supreme Court in its
respondent Army and Navy Club for violation of the lease agreement between them over discretion may, in any case involving a question of law, upon petition of the party
a parcel of land on Roxas Boulevard in the said city. A summary judgment in favor of the aggrieved by the decision and under rules and conditions that it may prescribe, require
petitioner was rendered by the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila[1] and seasonably by certiorari that the case be certified to it for review and determination, as if the case
elevated to the Regional Trial Court. To stay its execution, ANC filed a supersedeas bond had been brought before it on appeal. (Emphasis supplied.)
in the amount of P2,700,000.00, which was approved by Judge Reyes.[2] He subsequently The respondents argue on the other hand that under BP 129 decisions of the regional trial
affirmed the appealed judgment on June 7, 1991.[3] court in cases originating from and within the exclusive jurisdiction of the metropolitan
On June 10, 1991, the petitioner filed an ex parte motion for execution on the ground that or municipal trial courts are not final but subject to appeal in a petition for review to the
the judgment had already become final and executory under RA 6031. Judge Reyes Court of Appeals. Such decisions cannot be executed where the period of time for the
granted the motion the same day[4] and at 4:00 o'clock that afternoon the writ of defendant to perfect his appeal has not yet expired. Thus:
execution was served on ANC. Sec. 22. (BP 129) - Appellate jurisdiction. - Regional Trial Courts shall exercise appellate
ANC moved to quash the writ on June 11, 1991, but hours later, sensing that the motion jurisdiction over all cases decided by Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and
could not be acted upon, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in their respective territorial jurisdiction. Such cases shall be
Appeals. decided on the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the court of origin and
such memoranda and/or briefs as may be submitted by the parties or required by the
On July 3, 1991, that court issued the questioned decision,[5] prompting the filing of the Regional Trial Courts. The decision of the RTC in such cases shall be appealable by petition
present petition for certiorari. for review to the Intermediate Appellate Court which may give it due course only when
the petition shows prima facie that the lower court has committed an error of fact or law

26
that will warrant a reversal or modifications of the decision or judgment sought to be A judgment becomes "final and executory" by operation of law. Finality of judgment
reviewed. (Emphasis supplied.) becomes a fact upon the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal if no appeal is
perfected. In such a situation, the prevailing party is entitled to a writ of execution and
It is useful at this point to review the distinction between a "final" judgment and one issuance thereof is a ministerial duty of the court.
which has become "final and executory."
Both RA 6031 and BP 129 provide that decisions of the regional trial court in its appellate
In PLDT Employees Union v. PLDT Free Telephone Workers Union,[6] the Court observed: capacity may be elevated to the Court of Appeals in a petition for review. In effect, both
x x x (A)n order or judgment is deemed final when it finally disposes of the pending action laws recognize that such judgments are "final" in the sense that they finally dispose of
so that nothing more can be done with it in the trial court. In other words, a final order is adjudicate, or determine the rights of the parties in the case. But such judgments are not
that which gives an end to the litigation x x x when the order or judgment does not dispose yet "final and executory" pending the expiration of the reglementary period for appeal.
of the case completely but leaves something to be done upon the merits it is merely During that period, execution of the judgment cannot yet be demanded by the winning
interlocutory. party as a matter of right.

The case of Antonio v. Samonte[7] elaborated on this matter thus: In the present case, the private respondent had up to June 25, 1991, to appeal the
decision of the regional trial court. The motion for execution was filed by the petitioner
A final order of judgment finally disposes of, adjudicates, or determines the rights, or on June 10, 1991, before the expiration of the said reglementary period. As the decision
some right or rights of the parties, either on the entire controversy or on some definite had not yet become final and executory on that date, the motion was premature and
and separate branch thereof, and concludes them until it is reversed or set aside x x x. should therefore not have been granted. Contrary to the petitioner's contention, what
Where no issue is left for future consideration, except the fact of compliance or non- the trial court authorized was an execution pending appeal.
compliance with the terms of the judgment or order, such judgment or order is final and
appealable. While it is true that execution pending appeal is allowed under Rule 39, Sec. 2, of the
Rules of Court, this provision must be strictly construed, being an exception to the general
By contrast, in Investments, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[8] we declared: rule. The reason allowing this kind of execution must be of such urgency as to outweigh
the injury or damage of the losing party should it secure a reversal of the judgment on
Now, a "final judgment" in the sense just described becomes final "upon expiration of the
appeal. Absent any such justification, the order of execution must be struck down as
period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly perfected" or an appeal therefrom
flawed with grave abuse of discretion.[9]
having been taken, the judgment of the appellate tribunal in turn becomes final and the
records of the case are returned to the Court of origin. The "final" judgment is then We see no such justification in the case before us.
correctly categorized as a "final and executory judgment" in respect to which as the law
explicitly provides, "execution shall issue as a matter of right." It bears stressing that only It is worth remarking that as the case was not tried under the Rule on Summary Procedure,
a final judgment or order i.e., "a judgment or order that finally disposes of the action of the writ of execution did not even fall under the following Section 18 thereof:
proceeding" can become final and executory. Sec. 18. Appeal. - The judgment or final order, including that rendered under Section 5
hereof, shall be appealable to the appropriate regional trial court which shall decide the

27
same on the basis of the records, in accordance with Section 22 of Batas Pambansa Blg. Under the Rules of Court the immediate enforcement of a writ of ejectment execution is
129. The decision of the regional trial court in such civil cases shall be immediately carried out by giving the defendant notice of such writ, and making a demand that
executory. defendant comply therewith within a reasonable period, normally from three (3) to five
(5) days, and it is only after such period that the sheriff enforces the writ by the bodily
To stay the execution, a supersedeas bond is necessary except where one has already removal of the defendant and his personal belongings.[12]
been filed in the lower court. This bond continues to be effective if the judgment of the
regional trial court is appealed. But during the pendency of the appeal, the defendant- On the issue of the propriety of a special civil action for certiorari to assail an order of
appellant must continue depositing with the appellate court the payments required in the execution pending appeal, this Court has held that -
appealed judgment. The rentals accruing during the pendency of the appeal must be
deposited on or before the date stipulated, if there is one, and in the absence thereof, on x x x Although Sec. 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court provides that the special civil action of
or before the dates provided for in Sec. 8 of Rule 70. Failure to make such deposits or certiorari may only be invoked when "there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and
payments is ground for execution of the judgment.[10] adequate remedy in the (ordinary) course of law" this rule is not without exception. The
availability of the ordinary course of appeal does not constitute sufficient ground to
Since the private respondent in the case at bar has filed a supersedeas bond and the prevent a party from making use of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari where the
stipulated rental is yearly,[11] execution may issue only when it fails to make the yearly appeal is not an adequate remedy or equally beneficial, speedy and sufficient. It is the
deposit of the rental, and after notice and hearing. Such default has not yet been inadequacy - not the mere absence of all other legal remedies and the danger of failure
established. of justice without the writ that usually determines the propriety of certiorari.[13]

The Court notes with disapproval the arbitrary manner in which Sheriff Dominador Cacpal While appeal is normally employed to question an order or writ which varies the terms of
and Deputy Sheriff Reynaldo Cordero acted in delivering possession of the leased the decision being executed, it is nevertheless not the sole and exclusive remedy. The
premises to the petitioner. The evidence shows that they enforced the writ of execution special civil action of certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 was available to the private
on the same date they received it, forcibly taking out movables from the said premises, respondent on-the-allegation that the regional trial court, in issuing the writ of execution,
including chandeliers, furniture and furnishings, music organs, stereo components, committed grave abuse of discretion and acted beyond its jurisdiction and that the
lighting fixtures and computers. They turned off the water, cut off the electricity, and ordinary remedy of appeal was inadequate.
disconnected the telephones. They also unreasonably prevented ANC members from
entering the premises to get their personal belongings. The last question to be resolved is, Assuming that the decision of the regional trial court
had already become "final and executory," could the said court order its execution?
Cacpal and Cordero are hereby sternly reprimanded and warned that a repetition of
similar arbitrariness will be dealt with more severely. Their conduct was a clear violation The rule is that if the judgment of the metropolitan trial court is appealed to the regional
of the requirement that: trial court and the decision of the latter is itself elevated to the Court of Appeals, whose
decision thereafter became final, the case should be remanded through the regional trial
court to the metropolitan trial court for execution.[14] The only exception is the execution

28
pending appeal, which can be issued by the regional trial court under Sec. 8 of Rule 70 or
the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court under Sec. 10 of the same Rule.

As previously observed, the petitioner has shown no weighty justification for the
application of the exception. Hence, the respondent court committed no error in
reversing the Regional Trial Court of Manila and annulling the writ of execution issued by
it on June 10, 1991, pending appeal of its decision.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DISMISSED and the challenged decision of the Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino,


Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr., and Romero, JJ., concur.
Fernan, C.J., on leave.

29