Constitutional Law

Tan vs. Republic G.R. No. 170740, 25 May 2007,523 SCRA 203 Eminent Domain


Petitioner is the registered owner of a parcel of land. She acquired this property from the San Antonio Development Corporation (SADC). Prior to the transfer of the property to petitioner by SADC, PEA wrote SADC requesting permission to enter the latter’s property, for the purpose of constructing thereon the southern abutment of the Zapote Bridge at the Coastal Road. PEA proposed to SADC to start their negotiation for its acquisition of the latter’s property. SADC replied authorizing PEA to enter the property, subject to the condition that the latter should pay a monthly rental. May 28, 1985, PEA requested SADC either to donate or sell the property to the government. Negotiations then ensued between the parties. However, for the past twenty (20) years, they failed to reach an agreement. September 22, 2003, it filed with the RTC a complaint for expropriation. PEA that its liability for just compensation is based on the zonal value of the land at the time of the taking in 1985.



What is the nature of entry to be considered “taking”?



The circumstances show that when PEA entered petitioner’s land in 1985, it was not for the purpose of expropriating it. We stress that after its entry, PEA wrote SADC requesting to donate or sell the land to the government. Indeed, there was no intention on the part of PEA to expropriate the subject property.


Section 2, Rule 67 (on Expropriation) of the same Rules provides, among others, that upon the filing of the complaint or at any time thereafter and after due notice to the defendant, the plaintiff shall have the right to take or enter upon the possession of the real property involved if he deposits with the authorized government depositary an amount equivalent to the assessed value of the property. It bears reiterating that in Republic v. Vda. de Castellvi, we ruled that just compensation is determined as of the date of the taking of the property or the filing of the complaint, whichever came first.


We have made it clear that there was no taking of the property in 1985 by PEA for purposes of expropriation. As shown by the records, PEA filed with the RTC its petition for expropriation on September 22, 2003.


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