REPUBLIC OF THE
REPRESENTED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
CARPIO, J., Chairperson,
- versus - ABAD,
MARIA LUCERO, Promulgated:
August 8, 2010
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This case is about the propriety of filing an ejectment suit against the Government for its failure to acquire ownership of a privately owned property that it had long used as a school site and to pay just compensation for it.
The Facts and the Case
Paninsingin Primary School (PPS) is a
public school operated by
On March 27, 1962 the
Lot 2 292 square meters in favor of the
As a result of subdivision, the
Register of Deeds partially cancelled TCT T-11410 and issued new titles for
Lots 1 and 3 in favor of Dimayuga and Ronquillo, respectively. Lot 2 remained
in the name of the
The Republic claimed that, while no
title was issued in the name of the City Government of Lipa, the
On November 6, 1998 the
On July 13, 1999 the MTCC rendered a
decision, dismissing the complaint on ground of the Republics immunity from
In light of the RTCs decision, the
On June 27, 2006 the RTC found in
favor of the
The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), appealed the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP 96604 on the grounds that: (1) the Mendozas were barred by laches from recovering possession of the school lot; (2) sufficient evidence showed that the Mendozas relinquished ownership of the subject lot to the City Government of Lipa City for use as school; and (3) Lot 4, Pcs-5019 has long been declared in the name of the City Government since 1957 for taxation purposes.
In a decision dated February 26,
2008, the CA affirmed the RTC decision. Upholding the Torrens system, it emphasized
the indefeasibility of the
The CA also rejected the Republics
claim of ownership since it presented no documentary evidence to prove the
transfer of the property in favor of the government. Moreover, even assuming that the
With the denial of its motion for reconsideration, the Republic has taken recourse to this Court via petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45.
The Issue Presented
The issue in this case is whether or
not the CA erred in holding that the
The Courts Ruling
A decree of registration is
conclusive upon all persons, including the Government of the Republic and all
its branches, whether or not mentioned by name in the application for
registration or its notice. Indeed, title to the land, once registered,
is imprescriptible. No one may acquire it from the registered
owner by adverse, open, and notorious possession. Thus, to a registered owner under the
Here, the existence and genuineness
That the City Government of Lipa tax-declared
the property and its improvements in its name cannot defeat the
The CA erred, however, in ordering
the eviction of PPS from the property that it had held as government school
site for more than 50 years. The
evidence on record shows that the
The Court holds that, where the owner
agrees voluntarily to the taking of his property by the government for public
use, he thereby waives his right to the institution of a formal expropriation
proceeding covering such property. Further,
as the Court also held in Eusebio v. Luis,
the failure for a long time of the owner to question the lack of expropriation
proceedings covering a property that the government had taken constitutes a
waiver of his right to gain back possession.
In Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, the Court affirmed the RTCs power to award just compensation even in the absence of a proper expropriation proceeding. It held that the RTC can determine just compensation based on the evidence presented before it in an ordinary civil action for recovery of possession of property or its value and damages. As to the time when just compensation should be fixed, it is settled that where property was taken without the benefit of expropriation proceedings and its owner filed an action for recovery of possession before the commencement of expropriation proceedings, it is the value of the property at the time of taking that is controlling.
Since the MTCC did not have
jurisdiction either to evict the Republic from the land it had taken for public
use or to hear and adjudicate the
WHEREFORE, the Court partially GRANTS the petition, REVERSES the February 26, 2008 decision and the October 20, 2008 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. 96604, and ORDERS the dismissal of respondents Primo and Maria Mendozas action for eviction before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Lipa City in Civil Case 0002-99 without prejudice to their filing an action for payment of just compensation against the Republic of the Philippines or, when appropriate, against the City of Lipa.
ROBERTO A. ABAD
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR. JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
Associate Justice Associate Justice
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Chairperson, Second Division
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
* Designated as additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, per raffle dated July 28, 2010.
** Designated as additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, per raffle dated July 28, 2010.
 Rollo, p. 46.
 CA rollo, pp. 74-77.
 Rollo, pp. 68-70.
 CA rollo, pp. 58-63. Penned by Judge Jane Aurora C. Lantion.
 Rollo, pp. 24-36. Penned by Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes and concurred in by Associate Justices Arcangelita Romilla-Lontok and Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr.
 Amending and Codifying The Laws Relative to Registration of Property and for Other Purposes, Presidential Decree No. 1529, [P.D. No. 1529], 31, 2.
 Section 47 of P.D. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree.
 Rollo, p. 11.
 Republic of the
v. Republic of the
 G.R. No. 162474, October 13, 2009, 603 SCRA 576, 584.
 494 Phil. 494 (2005).
 Supra note 22, at 586.