Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-21064 February 18, 1970 J.M. TUASON and CO., INC., petitioner-appellee, vs. THE LAND TENURE ADMINISTRATION, THE SOLICITOR GENERAL and THE AUDITOR GENERAL, respondents-appellants. Araneta, Mendoza and Papa for petitioner-appellee. Office of the Solicitor General and M. B. Pablo for respondents appellants.

FERNANDO, J.:

FACTS

On August 3. 2616 took effect without executive approval. Republic Act No. 1959. .

. OF THE LOTS THEREIN TO THEIR PRESENT BONA FIDE OCCUPANTS. Inc. Section 1. et al.. AND AUTHORIZING THE APPROPRIATION OF TEN MILLION PESOS FOR THE PURPOSE. AT COST.. Tuazon and Company.REPUBLIC ACT No. is hereby authorized. The expropriation of the Tatalon Estate in Quezon City jointly owned by the J. 2616 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE EXPROPRIATION OF THE TATALON ESTATE IN QUEZON CITY AND FOR THE SALE. Gregorio Araneta and Company. and Florencio Deudor. Inc. M. .

seeking in the meanwhile a preliminary injunction to restrain respondents from instituting such expropriation proceeding.. 1960. 1960 a special action for prohibition with preliminary injunction against respondents praying that the above act be declared unconstitutional. 2616 as amended is unconstitutional and granting the writ of prohibition prayed for. Inc. thereafter to be made permanent after trial. filed before the lower court on November 17. Tuason & Co. the lower court granted the prayer for the preliminary injunction upon the filing of a P20. respondent Land Tenure Administration was directed by the then Executive Secretary to institute the proceeding for the expropriation of the Tatalon Estate.Thereafter. After trial. Hence.00 bond. on November 18.M. . this appeal. 1960.000. on November 15. 1963 holding that Republic Act No. petitioner J. The next day. Not losing any time. the lower court promulgated its decision on January 10.

ISSUE .

2616. as amended is unconstitutional? .Whether or not the lower court erred in its decision declaring Republic Act No.

AVERMENTS .

“ Unlike other laws which confer authority to expropriate landed estates in general. It cannot be said.Equal Protection of Laws It is primarily the equal protection guaranty though that petitioner's case is made to rest. RA 2616 singles out the Tatalon Estate. therefore. that it deals equally with other lands in Quezon City or elsewhere." . The Constitution requires that no person be denied "the equal protection of the laws.

The first is the allegation that in effect this special proceeding for prohibition is "actually a suit against the State. as the real party in interest. .“ The second would require. on the assumption that the suit could proceed. that the Executive Secretary. ought to have been impleaded.Question of Jurisdiction Respondents would interpose two procedural bars: sufficient in their opinion to preclude the lower court from passing on the question of validity. which is not allowed without its consent.

RULING .

The argument then that the government is the adverse party and that therefore must consent to its being sued certainly is far from persuasive.As to the contentions of the respondent. failure to observe the limitations found therein furnishes a sufficient ground for a declaration of the nullity of the governmental measure challenged.” . the Supreme Court ruled: “As it is a fundamental postulate that the Constitution as the supreme law is binding on all governmental agencies.

the Supreme Court ruled: Our Constitution. are not mathematical formulas having their essence in their form. As the Constitution is not primarily a lawyer's document. but are organic living institutions It is to be assumed that the words in which constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be attained. any constitution. . to paraphrase Justice Holmes. They are to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails. is not to be construed narrowly or pedantically. it being essential for the rule of law to obtain that it should ever be present in the people's consciousness. its language as much as possible should be understood in the sense they have in common use. for the prescriptions therein contained.On the petitioners’ arguments.

reference to the historical basis of this provision as reflected in the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention along with the contemporaneous understanding and the consideration of the consequences that flow from the interpretation under consideration. .Thus. yields additional light on the matter.

In official documents these same conflicts are narrated and exhaustively explained as a threat to social order and stability. because of the existence of these conflicts. their sufferings at the hand of the landlords are emotionally pictured in our drama. this theme of economic slavery has been touched upon. In our folklore the oppression and exploitation of the tenants are vividly referred to. who. and to be sure a continuous impairment of it. and even in the native movies and talkies of today. stated: "There has been an impairment of public tranquility.It cited the speech of delegate Miguel Cuaderno." . in speaking of large estates and trusts in perpetuity.

"If we are to be true to our trust. and to provide for their acquisition by purchase or through expropriation and sale to their occupants. we cannot. as has been provided in the Constitutions of Mexico and Jugoslavia. if it is our purpose in drafting our constitution to insure domestic tranquility and to provide for the wellbeing of our people.Cuaderno added. to make it the duty of the government to break up existing large estates." . we must not fail to prohibit the ownership of large estates.

1953 with the Deudors. the Veterans Subdivision. in the purchase of their lots. . agreeing to give the latter millions of pesos in settlement of their claim over the Tatalon Estate. This belief was bolstered by the fact that the petitioners herein even entered into a compromise agreement on March 16."There is a vital point which should have great weight in the decision of this case. The petitioner led the occupants of Tatalon Estate to believe that they were dealing with the representatives of the real owners. The occupants believed in good faith that they were dealing with the representatives of the owners of the lots.

. therefore." 53 . claiming for the first time that it is the owner of the Tatalon Estate. The occupants paid good money for their lots and spent fortunes to build their homes. purchased their respective portions from the Veterans Subdivision in good faith. Some of the occupants had erected their houses as early as 1947 and 1948. . The petitioner allowed the Veterans Subdivision to construct roads in the Tatalon Estate. Petitioner admits having full knowledge of the activities of the Veterans Subdivision and yet did not lift a finger to stop said acts. it allowed said firm to establish an office in the Tatalon Estate and to advertise the sale of the lots inside the Tatalon Estate. It was after the place has been improved with the building of the roads and the erection of substantial residential homes that petitioner stepped into the picture..The occupants.

So it provided under the statute in question. The solution which for it was the most acceptable was the authorization of the expropriation of the Tatalon Estate.Congress was moved to act in view of what it considered a serious social and economic problem. That it stopped short of possibly attaining the cure of other analogous ills certainly does not stigmatize its effort as a denial of equal protection .

1963 holding that Republic Act No. and the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court set aside . the decision of the lower court of January 10. The writ of prohibition suit is denied. 3453 is unconstitutional is reversed. 2616 as amended by Republic Act No.WHEREFORE.

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