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LAGCAO V. LABRA October 13, 2004 | Corona, J. FACTS: The case is about the validity of Ordinance No.

1843 authorizing the mayor of Cebu City to initiate expropriation proceedings for the acquisition of lot (1029) of petitioners Diosdado, Doroteo and Ursula Lagcao. In 1964, Province of Cebu donated 210 lots to the City of Cebu, one of which is the lot 1029. 1965, petitioners purchased said lot on installment but in late 1925, these 210 lots reverted to the Province of Cebu. The latter tried to annul sale which resulted to the filing of the case of the petitioners. RTC and CA ruled in their favor and as such a deed of sale was executed and a TCT was issued in their favor. When they tried to take possession of the land, they found out that it was occupied by squatters. Thus, they instituted ejectment proceedings which was later on granted by the MTCC and affirmed by RTC. However, Mayor Garcia wrote letters requesting the deferment of the demolition since the city was still looking for a relocation site for the squatters; this was granted. During the suspension the Sang. Panlungsod of Cebu passed a resolution and 2 ordinances (all about the lot 1029). Ord. No. 1843 likewise appropriated the amount of 6, 881, 600 for the payment of subject land; this was approved by the Mayor. ISSUE: Whether or not the exercise of eminent domain is valid in the case at bar. HELD: NO, it is NOT VALID. The foundation of the right to exercise eminent domain is genuine necessity and that necessity must be of public character. Govt. may not capriciously or arbitrarily choose which private property should be expropriated. In this case, there was no showing at all why petitioners property was singled out for expropriation by the city ordinance or what necessity impelled the particular choice or selection. Ordinance no. 1843 stated no reason for the choice of petitioners property as the site of a socialized housing project. Moreover, under RA 7279, private lands rank last in the order of priority for purposes of socialized housing. In the same vein, expropriation proceedings may be resorted to only after the other modes of acquisition are exhausted. Thus, the ordinance in question is likewise null because: (1) it is repugnant to the pertinent provisions of RA 7279 and 7160 (LGC); (2) the precipitate manner in which it was enacted was plain oppression masquerading as pro-poor ordinance; (3) the fact that the land was singled out manifests partiality against petitioners; (4) it failed to show that there was reasonable relation bet. the end sought and the means adopted.