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Laurel v. Garcia (G.R. No.

Ojeda v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 92047)


These two (2) petitions for prohibition seek to enjoin respondents from proceeding with the bidding for the
sale of the 3,179 square meters of land at 306 Roppongi, 5-Chrome Minato-ku Tokyo, Japan. The latter
case also, prays for a writ of mandamus to fully disclose to the public the basis of their decision to push
through with the sale of the Roppongi property.

The Roppongi case is one of the four properties in Japan acquired by the Philippine government under the
Reparation Agreement entered into with Japan. The other three (3) properties include Nampeidai
Property (present site of the Philippine Embassy Chancery), Kobe Commercial Property (commercial
lot being used as a warehouse and parking lot for consulate staff) and Kobe Residential Property
(resident lot which is now vacant).

The Reparations Agreement provides that reparations valued at $550M would be payable in twenty (20)
years in accordance with annual schedules of procurements to be fixed by the Philippine and Japanese
governments. The procurements are to be divided into government sector and those for private parties in
projects, the latter shall be made available only to Filipino citizens or to 100% Filipino-owned entities in
national development projects.

The Roppongi property was acquired under the heading “Government Sector” for the Chancery of the
Philippine Embassy until the latter was transferred to Nampeida due to the need for major repairs.
However, the Roppongi property has remained underdeveloped since that time.

Although there was a proposal to lease the property with the provision to have buildings built at the
expense of the lessee, the same was not acted favorably upon by the government. Instead, President
Aquino issued EO No. 296 entitling non-Filipino citizens or entities to avail of separations’ capital goods
and services in the event of sale, lease or dispositions. Thereafter, amidst the oppositions by various
sectors, the Executive branch of the government pushed for the sale of reparation properties, starting with
the Roppongi lot. The property has twice been set for bidding at a minimum floor price of $225M. The first
was a failure, while the second has been postponed and later restrained by the SC.

Amongst the arguments of the respondents is that the subject property is not governed by our Civil Code,
but rather by the laws of Japan where the property is located. They relied upon the rule of lexsitus which
is used in determining the applicable law regarding the acquisition, transfer and devolution of the title to a


1. Can the Roppongi property and others of its kind be alienated by the Philippine Government?

NO. There can be no doubt that the property is of public dominion and the respondents
have failed to show that it has become patrimonial.

The property is correctly classified under Art 420 of the Civil Code as property belonging to the
State and intended for some public service. The fact that it has not been used for actual Embassy
service does not automatically convert it to patrimonial property. Such conversion happens only if
property is withdrawn from public use, through an abandonment of the intention to use the
Roppongi property for public service and to make it patrimonial property. Abandonment must be
a certain and positive act based on correct legal premises.

The EO does not declare that the properties lost their public character, merely intending the
properties to be made available to foreigners and not to Filipinos alone, in case of sale, lease or
other disposition. Furthermore, it is based on the wrong premise that the Japan properties can be
sold to end-users, when in fact it cannot.

Neither does the CARP Law re-classify the properties into patrimonial properties, merely stating
that sources of funds for its implementation be sourced from proceeds of the disposition of the
Government in foreign countries, but not that the Roppongi property be withdrawn from being
classified as a property of public dominion.


to sell the Roppongi property? NO. Section 104 of the NIRC provides that if the shares have attained business situs here in the Philippines. No. which should be governed by Philippine law The rule of lex situs does not apply. There is a dispute over the title or ownership of an immovable. ISSUE: Whether or not the shares are subject to estate tax in the Philippines. USA which was also her place of domicile. 2. The situs of taxation is here in the Philippines because the situs of the shares of stock concerned is here in the Philippines because of the fact that the said shares were issued here by a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines which is also domiciled here. Wells Fargo Banks & Union Trust Company. b. she actually delivered the title to said shares to the resident secretary of the corporation here in the Philippines hence the shares never left the Philippines. then said shares are taxable here even if the owner of said shares are domiciled abroad. 3. it is still a separate jurisdiction from the US in several aspects particularly taxation. Dona Nati collided with a Japanese vessel. have the authority and jurisdiction. The private respondent. Hence. She left various properties. Does the Chief Executive. causing its cargo to be damaged and lost. A law or a formal declaration to withdraw the Roppongi property from public domain to make it alienable and a need for legislative authority to allow the sale of the property is needed. Wells Fargo vs. The issue is the authority of the government officials to validly dispose of property belonging to the state and the validity of the procedures adopted to effect the sale. the trustee of the estate of the decedent Eye. A conflict of law arises only when: a. the need to determine which law should apply. The Supreme Court ruled that even though the Philippines was considered a US territory at that time. HELD: Yes. NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY vs. Wells Fargo averred that said shares were already subjected to inheritance tax in California and hence cannot be taxed again in the Philippines (note at that time the Philippines was still under the Commonwealth and were not yet totally independent from the US). a corporation organized and existing under Philippine laws. Birdie Lillian Eye died in Los Angeles. The Collector of Internal Revenue sought to assess and collect estate tax on the said shares.00 for said lost and damaged cargo. CIR Facts: In September 1932. the respondents’ argument that the Japanese law and not our Civil Code shall apply is incorrect. None has been enacted for this purpose. Hence. California.R. There is no question that the property belongs to the Philippines. objected to said assessment.000. paid almost Php400. intangibles are taxable in the place where their owner may be domiciled. In 1964. or the interpretation and effect of a conveyance. as insurer to the consigners. while en route to Japan from San Francisco. Among those properties include some intangibles consisting of 70.000 shares in the Benguet Consolidated Mining Company. W/N EO No. for and in behalf of its account. when Eye was alive. such that the capacity to take and transfer immovables. There is no conflict of law in this situation. her officers and agents. L-49407 19 August 1988 Facts: National Development Company (NDC) appointed Maritime Company of the Philippines (MCP) as its agent to manage and operate its vessel. The issues are not concerned with the validity of ownership or title. 296 is constitutional? The SC did not anymore pass upon its constitutionality. Hence. . the essential validity and effect of the transfer. ‘SS Yasushima Maru’. THE COURT OF APPEALS and DEVELOPMENT INSURANCE AND SURETY CORPORATION G. (and this is the deeper reason). the private respondent instituted an action to recover from NDC. intangibles follow the person (mobilia sequuntur personam). Note: As a rule. the formalities of conveyance. ‘Dona Nati’. the Philippines has the power to tax said shares. Further. Furthermore. Both elements doesnot exist in the case. are to be determined. Hence. A foreign law on land ownership and its conveyance is asserted to conflict with a domestic law on the same matters. However.

since the squatters would not evacuate the lands and the land isn’t suitable anymore for the construction of the Papal Nuncio’s residence. The petition arose from a controversy over a parcel of land. 1991. the trial court issued an order denying the motion to dismiss after finding that petitioner shed off [its] foreign immunity by entering into business contract in question. and the complaint in Civil Case No. After the rescue. California and Tokyo. The lots were sold to Ramon Licup. a diplomatic envoy is granted immunity from the civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving state over any real action relating to private immovable property situated in the territory of the receiving state which the envoy holds in behalf of the sending state for the purposes of the mission. coaxed and lured the 12-year old petitioner Karen Salvacion to go with him in his apartment where the former repeatedly raped latter.The petition for certiorari was GRANTED. The said lot was contiguous with two other lots. Since the goods in question are transported from San Francisco. if petitioner has bought and sold lands in the ordinary course of real estate business. The decision to transfer the property and the subsequent disposal thereof are likewise clothed with a governmental character. it was held that the law of the country to which the goods are to be transported governs the liability of the common carrier in case of their loss. The land was donated by the Archdiocese of Manila to the Papal Nuncio(which represents the Holy See who exercises sovereignty over the Vatican City in Rome. The lot was acquired by petitioner as a donation from the Archdiocese of Manila. In Article 31 (a) of the 1961 Vienna convention on Diplomatic Relations. Holy See vs. The donation was made not for commercial purpose. In the present case. Japan. Held: As expressed in Section 2 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution. Issue: 1) Whether or not the Holy See entered into commercial transaction. Salvacion vs. such principles of International Law are deemed incorporated as part of the law of the land as a condition and consequence of our admission in the society of nations. Ramon Licup gave his rights over the lots to Starbright Sales Enterprises. we have adopted the generally accepted principles of International Law. Rosario Facts: The Holy See filed a petition for certiorari over the Civil Case No. However. 90-183. The petitioners action was declared jure gestionis. Notice . under the Civil Case No. policemen recovered dollar and peso checks including a foreign currency deposit from China Banking Corporation (CBC). and specific performance and damages against the petitioner and 3 other defendants. 90- 183.In June 20. such as Ise Bay. Italy) for its residence. 90-183 and to invoke its immunity to waiver the complaint for the civil case. Japan to the Philippines and that they were lost or due to a collision which was found to have been caused by the negligence or fault of both captains of the colliding vessels the laws of the Philippines will apply. Even without this affirmation. Starbright filed a complaint for the annulment of the sale of the 3 parcels of land. petitioner has denied that the acquisition and subsequent disposal of the lot were made for profit but claimed that it acquired said property for the site of its mission or the Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippines. 90-183 against the petitioner was DISMISSED. It merely wanted to dispose of the same because the squatters living thereon made it almost impossible for petitioner to use it for the purpose of the donation. surely the said transaction can be categorized as an act jure gestionis. Writ of preliminary attachment and hold departure order were issued. It is immaterial that the collision actually occurred in foreign waters. The Holy See is immune from suit for the act of selling the lot of concern is non-proprietary in nature. but for the use of petitioner to construct thereon the official place of residence of the Papal Nuncio. The Holy See can invoke the doctrine of immunity over the Civil Case No. Inc. Petitioner did not sell the lot for profit or gain. Central Bank FACTS: Respondent Greg Bartelli y Northcott. 2) Whether the Holy See can invoke the doctrine of immunity. destruction or deterioration pursuant to Article 1753 of the Civil Code.Issue: Which laws govern the loss and destruction of goods due to collision of vessels outside Philippine waters? Ruling: In a previously decided case. an American tourist. including the lot for the Papal Nuncio.

or any other order or process of any court. if we rule that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. HELD: NO. “Ninguno non deue enriquecerse tortizeramente con dano de otro. ISSUE: Whether or not Sec. Central Bank of the Philippines affirmed the defense of CBC. 960 and PD No. 960 to the effect that the dollar deposits of Greg Bartelli are exempt from attachment. The provisions of Section 113 of CB Circular No. Call it what it may — but is there no conflict of legal policy here? Dollar against Peso? Upholding the final and executory judgment of the lower court against the Central Bank Circular protecting the foreign depositor? Shielding or protecting the dollar deposit of a transient alien depositor against injustice to a national and victim of a crime? This situation calls for fairness against legal tyranny . Eventually. legislative body. 1405 as its answer to it. 113 of Central Bank Circular 960 and Sec.” Simply stated. No. insofar as it amends Section 8 of R. and in so doing.of Garnishment was served by the Deputy Sheriff to CBC which later invoked R. garnishment. Deputy Sheriff sent his reply to CBC saying that the garnishment did not violate the secrecy of bank deposits since the disclosure is merely incidental to a garnishment properly and legally made by virtue of a court order which has placed the subject deposits in custodia legis. that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank No.A. legislative body. this is one of those fundamental solutions that would respond to the vehement urge of conscience. This would negate Article 10 of the New Civil Code which provides that “in case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws. acquitting the guilty at the expense of the innocent. RATIO: [T]he application of the law depends on the extent of its justice. is applicable to a foreign transient. No. injustice would result especially to a citizen aggrieved by a foreign guest like accused Greg Bartelli. government agency or any administrative body whatsoever. garnishment. when the statute is silent or ambiguous. 6426 are hereby held to be INAPPLICABLE to this case because of its peculiar circumstances. 8 of RA 6426 amended by PD 1246 otherwise known as the “Foreign Currency Deposit Act” be made applicable to a foreign transient.A. or any other order or process of any court. whatsoever. government agency or any administrative body. 960 which exempts from attachment. 1246. CBC replied and invoked Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail. 960 would be used as a device by accused Greg Bartelli for wrongdoing. It would be unthinkable.