De Knecht vs. Bautista G.R. No. L-51078

Fact:   The petitioner alleges that than ten (10) years ago, the government through the Department of Public Workmen’s and Communication (now MPH) prepared a to Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) to Roxas Blvd; that the proposed extension, an adjunct of building program, the Manila — Cavite Coastal Read Project, would pass through Cuneta Ave. up to Roxas Blvd that this route would be a straight one taking into account the direction of EDSA but later decided to make the proposed extension go through Fernando Rein and Del Pan Streets which petitioner being one of them residents, that President Marcos referred the matter to the Human Settlements Commission (HSC) for investigation and recommendation which recommended the original plan; notwithstanding the said recommendation, the MPH insisted on implementing the revised plan; In February 1979, the government filed in the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal, presided by the respondent Judge, a complaint for expropriation against the petitioner. respondent judge issued a writ of possession dated June 14, 1979 authorizing the Republic of the Philippines to take and enter upon the possession of the properties sought be condemned. The petitioner contends that “Respondent court lacked or exceeded its jurisdiction or gravely abused its discretion in issuing the order to take over and enter upon the possession of the properties sought to be expropriated-petitioner having raised a constitutional question which respondent court must resolve before it can issue an order to take or enter upon the possession of properties sought to be expropriated. The petitioner assails the choice of the revised Streets route on the following grounds:

 

Issue: Whether the expropriator can choose any property it wanted?

 

Held: No, The choice of property to be expropriated cannot be without rhyme or reason. The condemnor may not choose any property it wants. Where the legislature has delegated a power of eminent do-main, the question of the necessity for taking a particular fine for the intended improvement rests in the discretion of the grantee power subject however to review by the courts in case of fraud, bad faith or gross abuse of discretion. The choice of property must be examined for bad faith, arbitrariness or capriciousness and due process determination as to whether or not the proposed location was proper in terms of the public interests.

 

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