Constitutional Law

SMI DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs. REPUBLIC G.R. No. 137537 January 28, 2000 Power of Eminent Domain


The Republic of the Philippines represented by the Department of Health thru the National Children’s Hospital filed a complaint for Eminent Domain against SMI Development Corporation for the purpose of expropriating three parcels of land belonging to said corporation which are adjacent to the premises of the hospital.

The plaintiff filed an Ex-Parte Motion for the Issuance of Order and Writ of Possession, after it deposited P3,126,000.00 representing “the aggregate assessed value for taxation purposes of the said property.

The defendant alleged that,no urgency and necessity existed for the plaintiff to take possession of the property; that immediate possession upon mere deposit of the amount purportedly representing the aggregate assessed value of the property, if authorized by P.D. 42, is offensive to the due process clause of the Constitution, hence, said decree is unconstitutional.


Is prior unsuccesful negotiation a condition sine qua non for eminent domain?


This contention is not correct. As pointed out by the solicitor general, the current effective law on delegated authority to exercise the power of eminent domain is found in Section 12, Book III of the Revised Administrative Code, which provides:

Sec. 12. Power of Eminent Domain — The President shall determine when it is necessary or advantageous to exercise the power of eminent domain in behalf of the National Government, and direct the Solicitor General, whenever he deems the action advisable, to institute expropriation proceedings in the proper court.

The foregoing provision does not require prior unsuccessful negotiation as a condition precedent for the exercise of eminent domain. In Iron and Steel Authority v. Court of Appeals, the President chose to prescribe this condition as an additional requirement instead. In the instant case, however, no such voluntary restriction was imposed.

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