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Pascual vs.

Secretary of Public Works


110 PHIL 331

GR No. L-10405, December 29, 1960

"A law appropriating the public revenue is invalid if the public advantage or benefit, derived from such
expenditure, is merely incidental in the promotion of a particular enterprise."

FACTS: Governor Wenceslao Pascual of Rizal instituted this action for declaratory relief, with injunction,
upon the ground that RA No. 920, which apropriates funds for public works particularly for the
construction and improvement of Pasig feeder road terminals. Some of the feeder roads, however, as
alleged and as contained in the tracings attached to the petition, were nothing but projected and planned
subdivision roads, not yet constructed within the Antonio Subdivision, belonging to private respondent
Zulueta, situated at Pasig, Rizal; and which projected feeder roads do not connect any government
property or any important premises to the main highway. The respondents' contention is that there is
public purpose because people living in the subdivision will directly be benefitted from the construction
of the roads, and the government also gains from the donation of the land supposed to be occupied by
the streets, made by its owner to the government.

ISSUE: Should incidental gains by the public be considered "public purpose" for the purpose of justifying
an expenditure of the government?

HELD: No. It is a general rule that the legislature is without power to appropriate public revenue for
anything but a public purpose. It is the essential character of the direct object of the expenditure which
must determine its validity as justifying a tax, and not the magnitude of the interest to be affected nor the
degree to which the general advantage of the community, and thus the public welfare, may be ultimately
benefited by their promotion. Incidental to the public or to the state, which results from the promotion
of private interest and the prosperity of private enterprises or business, does not justify their aid by the
use public money.

The test of the constitutionality of a statute requiring the use of public funds is whether the statute is
designed to promote the public interest, as opposed to the furtherance of the advantage of individuals,
although each advantage to individuals might incidentally serve the public.
In 1953, Republic Act No. 920 was passed. This law appropriated P85,000.00 “for the construction,
reconstruction, repair, extension and improvement Pasig feeder road terminals”. Wenceslao Pascual,
then governor of Rizal, assailed the validity of the law. He claimed that the appropriation was actually
going to be used for private use for the terminals sought to be improved were part of the Antonio
Subdivision. The said Subdivision is owned by Senator Jose Zulueta who was a member of the same Senate
that passed and approved the same RA. Pascual claimed that Zulueta misrepresented in Congress the fact
that he owns those terminals and that his property would be unlawfully enriched at the expense of the
taxpayers if the said RA would be upheld. Pascual then prayed that the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications be restrained from releasing funds for such purpose. Zulueta, on the other hand, perhaps
as an afterthought, donated the said property to the City of Pasig.

ISSUE: Whether or not the appropriation is valid.

HELD: No, the appropriation is void for being an appropriation for a private purpose. The subsequent
donation of the property to the government to make the property public does not cure the constitutional
defect. The fact that the law was passed when the said property was still a private property cannot be
ignored. “In accordance with the rule that the taxing power must be exercised for public purposes only,
money raised by taxation can be expanded only for public purposes and not for the advantage of private
individuals.” Inasmuch as the land on which the projected feeder roads were to be constructed belonged
then to Zulueta, the result is that said appropriation sought a private purpose, and, hence, was null and
WENCESLAO PASCUAL, in his official capacity as Provincial Governor of Rizalpetitioner-appellant, vs THE

FACTS: (In chronological order) May 1953 - Respondent Jose C. Zulueta (member of the Senate of the
Philippines), addressed a letter to the Municipal Council of Pasig, Rizal, offering to donate Pasig feeder
road terminals to the municipality of Pasig, Rizal. June 13, 1953 - The offer was accepted by the council,
subject to the condition that the donor would submit a plan of the said roads and agree to change the
names of two of them, however, there is no deed of donation in favor of the municipality of Pasig was
executed. June 20, 1953 - Republic Act No. 920, entitled "An Act Appropriating Funds for Public Works"
was approved containing an item of P85,000.00 for the construction, reconstruction, repair, extension
and improvement" of Pasig feeder road terminals. July 10, 1953 - Respondent Zulueta wrote another
letter to said council, calling attention to the approval of Republic Act. No. 920, and the sum of P85,000.00
appropriated therein for the construction of the projected feeder roads in question; that the municipal
council of Pasig endorsed said letter of respondent Zulueta to the District Engineer of Rizal, who, up to
the present "has not made any endorsement thereon. December 12, 1953 - Respondent Zulueta
executed an alleged deed of donation in order to give asemblance of legality. ** Petitioner, Wenceslao
Pascual prayed that said donation violated the provision of our fundamental law prohibiting members of
Congress from being directly or indirectly financially interested in any contract with the Government, and
RA No. 920, hence, is unconstitutional, as well as null and void ab initio, for the construction of the
projected feeder roads in question with public funds would greatly enhance or increase the value of the
aforementioned subdivision of respondent Zulueta and will relieve him from the burden of constructing
his subdivision streets or roads at his own expense.**Respondents moved to dismiss the petition
on the ground that the requisites of questioning the constitutionality of the said act is incomplete.

ISSUE: Whether or not Republic Act No. 920 is valid and does not contravene the Constitution in requiring
theuse of public funds.

HELD: The application of said Republic Act No. 920 to Pasig Road feeder is null and void. Court ordered a
writ of preliminary injunction in favor of the petitioner, and circumstances surrounding this case
sufficiently justify petitioners action in contesting the appropriation and donation in question.