JILCSFI vs. CITY OF PASIG G.R. No. 152230. August 9, 2005

Fact: The Municipality of Pasig needed an access road from E. R. Santos Street, a municipal road near the Pasig Public Market, to Barangay Sto. Tomas Bukid, Pasig. The municipality then decided to acquire 51 square meters out of the 1,791-square meter property of Cuancos. On April 19, 1993, the Sangguniang Bayan of Pasig approved an Ordinance authorizing the municipal mayor to initiate expropriation proceedings to acquire the said property and appropriate the fund therefor, filed a expropriation of the property under R.A. No. 7160,  deposited with the RTC 15% of the market value of the property, filed motion to issued a writ of possession which was granted by the RTC, constructed therein a cemented road with a width of three meters. In their answer, the Cuancos claimed that, as early as February 1993, they had sold the said property to JILCSFI. When apprised about the complaint, JILCSFI filed a motion for leave to intervene as defendant-in-intervention, which motion the RTC granted on August 26, 1994.10

In its answer, JILCSFI averred, that the Respondent ’s exercise of eminent domain was only for a particular class. JILCSFI also averred that it has been denied the use and enjoyment of its property because the road was constructed in the middle portion and that the Respondent was not the real party-in-interest. The intervenor, likewise, interposed counterclaims against the Respondent for moral damages and attorney’s fees. On September 3, 1997, the RTC issued an Order in favor of the Respondents. Dissatisfied, JILCSFI elevated the case to the CA. the CA affirmed the order of the RTC

Issue: whether the respondent complied with the requirement, under Section 19 of the Local Government Code, of a valid and definite offer to acquire the property prior to the filing of the complaint;

Held: No, the respondent failed to prove that before it filed its complaint, it made a written definite and valid offer to acquire the property for public use as an access road. The only evidence adduced by the respondent to prove its compliance with Section 19 of the Local Government Code is the photocopy of the letter purportedly bearing the signature of Engr. Jose Reyes, to only one of the co-owners, Lorenzo Ching Cuanco. Even if the letter was, indeed, received by the co-owners, the letter is not a valid and definite offer to purchase a specific portion of the property for a price certain. It is merely an invitation for only one of the co-owners, Lorenzo Ching Cuanco, to a conference to discuss the project and the price that may be mutually acceptable to both parties.

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