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REPUBLIC OF THE PH, represented by the NAPOCOR v.

o To be allowed to nominate their representative to the panel of


HEIRS OF SATURNINO Q. BORBON and CA commissioners to be appointed by the trial court
GR No. 165354 12 January 2015
By Kylie Dado PRE-TRIAL was conducted and the parties stipulated on the location, number of heirs,
names of the person upon whom title to the property was issued, and the ownership &
FACTS: possession of the property.
 RTC directed the parties to submit names of their nominees to sit in the panel of
NAPOCOR entered a property in Brgy. San Isidro, Batangas commissions within 10 days from the date of pre-trial
 In order to construct and maintain transmission lines for the 230 KV
MahabangParang-Pinamucan Power Transmission Project RTC constituted the panel of 3 commissioners.
o The heirs owned the propery (14, 257 sq. m.)  2 commissioners submitted a joint report, and found:
o property was classified industrial land located within the Industrial 2
NAPOCOR filed a COMPLAINT in the RTC-Batangas Zone
 Seeking - acquisition of an easement of right of way over a portion of the o although it is used to be an agricultural land, it was reclassified to
property involving an area of only 6,326 square meters, more or less industrial for appraisal/taxation purposes
 Allegation: o Reclassification was made on the basis of a certification issued by the
o It had negotiated w/ the respondents but they failed to reach any Zoning Administrator
agreement  2 commissioners appraised the value @ P550/sq. m.
o It was willing to deposit P9,790.00 representing the assessed value of  3rd commissioner filed a separate report
the portion sought to be expropriated o Recommended the payment of easement fee of at least 10% of the
 Prayer: assessed value indicated in the tax declaration + damages +
o Issuance of a writ of possession upon deposit to enable it to: improvements affected + tower occupancy
1. Enter and take possession and control of the affected portion
of the property Parties submitted their OBJECTIONS:
2. Demolish all improvements existing  HEIRS - NAPOCOR should compensate them for the entire property at the rate
3. Commence construction of the transmission line project of P550.00/ sq. m. because the the property was already classified as industrial
4. Appointment of 3 commissioners to determine just land at the time NAPOCOR entered it
compensation  NAPOCOR – insisted that the property was classified as agricultural land at the
time of its taking, and only seeking an easement of right of way over a portion of
Heirs’ ANSWER: the property, not the entire area so, it should only pay 10% of the assessed
 NAPOCOR had not negotiated with them before entering the property (Entry value of the portion
w/o consent), destroying some fruit trees without payment, and installing 5
woodpoles for its project RTC DECISION:
 Area being expropriated only covered the portion directly affected by the  Price to be paid – value at the time of taking, which is the date of entry to the
transmission lines property or the date of the filing of the complaint
 Remaining portion of the property was also affected because the transmission o There is no evidence as to when NAPOCOR entered so the reference
line passed through the center of the land, thereby dividing the land into 3 lots point should be the date of filing – May 5, 1995
 Presence of the high tension transmission line had rendered the entire property  Gave more weight to the Joint Report of the 2 commissioners
inutile for any future use and capabilities o NOTE: the 2 commissioners who submitted the Joint Report are gov’t
 NONETHELESS, they tendered no objection provided it would pay just EE, while the one who has a separate report is a private lawyer
compensation not only for the portion sought to be expropriated but for the representing the plaintiff
entire property whose potential was greatly diminished, if not totally lost, due  Ordered NAPOCOR to pay:
to the project; 1. Just compen for the whole area (14K sq. m.) @ the rate of P550/sqm
 Their property is an industrial land 2. Legal rate of interest from May 5 until full payment
 Sought: 3. Costs of suit
o Dismissal of the complaint
o Payment of P1K/sq. m. & attorney’s fees CA DECISION: Affirmed but modified the area to be covered – 6,326 sqm
NAPOCOR appealed. Verily, the retirement of the transmission lines necessarily stripped the expropriation
proceedings of the element of public use. To continue with the expropriation
During the pendency of the appeal, NAPOCOR filed a Motion to Defer Proceedings proceedings despite the definite cessation of the public purpose of the project would
stating that the negotiations were going on with a view of amicable settlement. result in the rendition of an invalid judgment in favor of the expropriator due to the
 HOWEVER, a year after, NAPOCOR filed a Manifestation and Motion to absence of the essential element of public use.
DISCONTINUE Expropriation Proceedings as:
o they failed to reach an agreement No board resolution to discontinue the proceedings
o property is no longer necessary for public purpose because of the Despite the lack of the board resolution, therefore, the Court now considers the
intervening retirement of the transmission lines installed on the heirs’ documents (such as the Memorandum &Certificate of Inspection/Accomplishment)
property attached to NAPOCOR’s Manifestation and Motion to Discontinue Expropriation
o public purpose ceased to exist Proceedings to be sufficient to establish that the expropriation sought is no longer for
o prayedthat the compensation be reduced by the equivalent of the some public purpose.
benefit they received from the land during the time of its occupation
o Basis in dismissing the proceedings: Metropolitan Water District vs. De NAPOCOR’s entry without the owner’s consent
Los Angeles,land sought to be expropriated was no longer NAPOCOR entered the property without the owners’ consent and without paying just
“indispensably necessary” in the maintenance and operation of compensation to the respondents. Neither did it deposit any amount as required by law
petitioner’s waterworks system prior to its entry.
 It would be unfair for NAPOCOR not to be made liable to the respondents for
ISSUE: W/N THE EXPROPRIATTION PROCEEDINGS SHOULD BE DISCONTINUED/DISMISSED the disturbance of their property rights from the time of entry until the time of
PENDING APPEAL restoration of the possession of the property

SC: YES Liability of NAPOCOR; Reckoning Point


There is sufficient showing that NAPOCOR entered into and took possession of the
Public use is the fundamental basis for the action for expropriation; hence, NAPOCOR’s property as early as in March 1993 without the benefit of first filing a petition for
motion to discontinue the proceedings is warranted and should be granted. eminent domain.
 For all intents and purposes, therefore, March 1993 is the reckoning point of
As discussed in the case of Metropolitan Water District vs. De Los Reyes: NAPOCOR’s taking of the property, instead of May 5, 1995, the time NAPOCOR
The fundamental basis then of all actions brought for the expropriation of lands, under filed the petition for expropriation. (Basis: Ansaldo vs. Tantuico)
the power of eminent domain, is public use. That being true, the very moment that it
appears at any stage of the proceedings that the expropriation is not for a public use, No just compensation, only damages
the action must necessarily fail and should be dismissed, for the reason that the action In view of the discontinuance of the proceedings and the eventual return of the property
cannot be maintained at all except when the expropriation is for some public use. That to the respondents, there is no need to pay “just compensation” to them because their
must be true even during the pendency of the appeal or at any other stage of the property would not be taken by NAPOCOR.
proceedings.  Instead of full market value, NAPOCOR should compensate the respondents for
 It is notable in that case that it was made subject to several conditions in order the disturbance of their property rights from the time of entry in March 1993
to address the dispossession of the defendants of their land, and the until the time of restoration of the possession by paying to them actual or other
inconvenience, annoyance and damages suffered by the defendants on account compensatory damages. (Basis: Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority v.
of the proceedings. Accordingly, the Court remanded the case to the trial court Lozada, Sr.)
for the issuance of a writ of possession ordering Metropolitan Water District to
immediately return possession of the land to the defendants, and for the Basis of damages
determination of damages in favor of the defendants, the claims for which must Basis would be the actual lost as a result and by reason of their dispossession of the
be presented within 30 days from the return of the record to the court of origin property and of its use, including the value of the fruit trees, plants and crops destroyed
and notice thereof. by NAPOCOR’s construction of the transmission lines

In this case, NAPOCOR seeks to discontinue the expropriation proceedings on the ground Conversion of the proceedings: Expropriation Proceedings  Action for Damages
that the transmission lines constructed on the respondents’ property had already been Court remands the case to the court of origin for further proceedings, with instruction
retired. toenable the parties to fully litigate the action for damages.