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G.R. No.

December 2, 1998
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the Department of Trade and
Industry, petitioner,
HON. LUCENITO N. TAGLE, Presiding Judge of RTC, Imus, Cavite, Branch 20; and
HELENA Z. BENITEZ, respondents.



 This principium is used by this Court in resolving this petition for certiorari.

 The first ruling quashed the May 24, 1996 writ of possession issued earlier, pursuant to
EO 1035, and the second denied petitioners plea for reconsideration.

 Private respondent Helena Z. Benitez is the registered owner of two (2) parcels of land
located in Barangay Salawag, Dasmarias, Cavite.

 In September 1982, the Philippine Government, through the Philippine Human Resources
Development Center (PHRDC for short), an agency under the then Ministry of Human
Settlements, negotiated with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Survey Team on the technicalities of the establishment of the ASEAN Human Resources
Development Project in the Philippines.

 Among the five (5) main programs of the proposed project was Program III (Construction
Manpower Development) which involved the establishment of a Construction Manpower
Development Center (CMDC for short), an agency now under the Department of Trade
and Industry.

 In March 30, 1983, PHRDC and private respondent Helena Z. Benitez (BENITEZ for
short), signed a Memorandum of Agreement (Annex C, Petition) which provides, among
others, that BENITEZ undertakes to lease within the period of twenty (20) years and/or
sell a portion of that property (which is no less than ten-hectares) in favor of PHRDC
which likewise agrees to lease within a period of twenty (20) years and/or buy said
property site.

 On September 22, 1983, the Philippine Womens University (PWU for short) and
BENITEZ granted a permit to PHRDC to occupy and use the land in question and to
undertake land development, electrical and road network installations and other related
works necessary to attain its objectives. Pursuant thereto, the CMDF took possession of
the property and erected buildings and other related facilities necessary for its operations.

 Failing to acquire the property involved through negotiated sale, petitioner, through the
Department of Trade and Industry, to which CMDF is attached, instituted a complaint for
Eminent Domain, pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order No. 1035, dated June 25,

Whether or not the respondent judge may quash a writ of possession on the ground that the
expropriating government agency is already occupying the property sought to be expropriated.


It is undisputed that the expropriation proceeding in the case at bar involves a development
project covered by EO 1035.
Section 7 of EO 1035, which reads:
SEC 7. Expropriation. If the parties fail to agree in negotiation of the sale of the land as
provided in the preceding section, the government implementing agency/instrumentality
concerned shall have authority to immediately institute expropriation proceedings through the
Office of the Solicitor General, as the case may be.
The just compensation to be paid for the property acquired through expropriation shall be
in accordance with the provisions of P.D. No. 1533. Courts shall give priority to the adjudication
of cases on expropriation and shall immediately issue the necessary writ of possession upon
deposit by the government implementing agency/instrumentality concerned of an amount
equivalent to ten per cent (10%) of the amount of just compensation provided under P.D. No.
1533; Provided, That the period within which said writ of possession shall be issued shall in no
case extend beyond five (5) days from the date such deposit was made.
When the government or its authorized agent makes the required deposit, the trial court has
a ministerial duty to issue a writ of possession.
Agreeing with the trial court, private respondent contends that the writ of possession is
warranted only in cases where the party seeking it is not yet in possession of the property sought
to be expropriated.
The expropriation of real property does not include mere physical entry or occupation of
land. Although eminent domain usually involves a taking of title, there may also be compensable
taking of only some, not all, of the property interests in the bundle of rights that constitute
It is manifest that the petitioner, in pursuit of an objective beneficial to public interest,
seeks to realize the same through its power of eminent domain. In exercising this power, petitioner
intended to acquire not only physical possession but also the legal right to possess and ultimately
to own the subject property. Hence, its mere physical entry and occupation of the property fall
short of the taking of title, which includes all the rights that may be exercised by an owner over
the subject property.
Said writ is both necessary and practical, because mere physical possession that is gained
by entering the property is not equivalent to expropriating it with the aim of acquiring ownership
over, or even the right to possess, the expropriated property.
We note that in the present case, petitioner has deposited not just the 10 percent required
under EO 1035, but the whole amount of the just compensation that private respondent is entitled
to. Thus, we are unable to find any legal impediment for the issuance of a writ of possession in
favor of petitioner.
It is clear that, in quashing the writ of possession, respondent judge violated EO 1035 on
the quaint and whimsical ground that petitioner was already in actual possession of the property.
The petition is GRANTED.

 In J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals and Cuatico v. Court of Appeals:
The eminent domain case, much less the writ of possession, cannot be entertained to defeat the
ejectment case.
 Eminent domain is an inherent power of the State that need not be granted even by the
fundamental law.

 An ejectment suit ordinarily should not prevail over the States power of eminent domain.