Fact: On August 4, 1997, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 168, Pasig City a complaint for expropriation against the respondents. Petitioner sought to expropriate three (3) adjoining parcels of land with an aggregate area of 1,847 square meters respondents constructed residential houses several decades ago which they had since leased out to tenants until the present; on November 7, 1996, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of petitioner, upon petition of the Kapitbisig, an association of tenants and occupants of the subject land, adopted Resolution No. 516, Series of 1996 authorizing Mayor Benjamin Abalos of the City of Mandaluyong to initiate action for the expropriation of the subject lots and construction of a medium-rise condominium for qualified occupants of the land
September 17, 1998, the trial court issued an order dismissing the Amended Complaint after declaring respondents as “small property owners” whose land is exempt from expropriation under Republic Act No. 7279. The court also found that the expropriation was not for a public purpose for petitioner’s failure to present any evidence that the intended beneficiaries of the expropriation are landless and homeless residents of Mandaluyong.
Issue: whether the RESPONDENT who is a SMALL PROPERTY OWNERS is EXEMPT FROM EXPROPRIATION.”
Held: Yes, R.A. No. 7279, the “Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992” introduced a limitation on the size of the land sought to be expropriated for socialized housing. The law expressly exempted “small property owners” from expropriation of their land for urban land reform.
R.A. 7279. Section 3 (q) defined that: “Small-property owners” are defined by two elements: (1) those owners of real property whose property consists of residential lands with an area of not more than 300 square meters in highly urbanized cities and 800 square meters in other urban areas; and (2) that they do not own real property other than the same.
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