Mun. of Meycayauan vs. IAC 157 SCRA 640 (1988)

Fact:   In 1975, private respondent Philippine Pipes and Merchandising Corporation filed with the Office of the Municipal Mayor of Meycauayan, Bulacan, an application for a permit to fence a parcel of land which will to enable the storage of the respondent’s heavy equipment and various finished products such as large diameter steel pipes, pontoon pipes for ports, wharves, and harbors, bridge components, pre-stressed girders and piles, large diameter concrete pipes, and parts for low cost housing. In the same year, the Municipal Council of Meycauayan, headed by then Mayor Celso R. Legaspi, passed Resolution manifesting the intention to expropriate the respondent’s parcel of land. On 1976, the Special Committee recommended that the Provincial Board of Bulacan disapprove the resolution in question because there was no genuine necessity for the Municipality to expropriate the respondent’s property for use as a public road. The respondent, then, reiterated to the Office of the Mayor its petition for the approval of the permit to fence the aforesaid parcels of land. On 1983, however, the Municipal Council of Meycauayan, now headed by Mayor Adriano D. Daez, passed Resolution for the purpose of expropriating anew the respondent’s land. The Provincial Board of Bulacan approved the aforesaid resolution and filed with the RTC a special civil action for expropriation. Upon deposit of the amount of value of the land, the RTC issued a writ of possession in favor of the petitioner. In 1984, the RTC issued an order the taking of the property and ascertain the just compensation for the property. The respondent went to the IAC on petition for review. In 1985, the IAC affirmed the RTC’s decision. However, it was subsquently reversed after the court found no genuine necessity to expropriate the land for use as a public road as there were several other roads for the same purpose and another more appropriate lot for the proposed public road.

Issue: WHether the expropriation of the Respondents Lot is of Public Necessity?

Held: No, the Court held that the foundation of the right to exercise the power of eminent domain is genuine necessity and that necessity must be of a public character. Condemnation of private property is justified only if it is for the public good and there is a genuine necessity of a public character. Consequently, the courts have the power to inquire into the legality of the exercise of the right of eminent domain and to determine whether there is a genuine necessity therefor. here is no genuine necessity for the Municipality of’ Meycauayan to expropriate the aforesaid property of the Philippine Pipes and Merchandising Corporation for use as a public road. Considering that in the vicinity there are other available road and vacant lot offered for sale situated similarly as the lot in question and lying Idle, unlike the lot sought to be expropriated which was found by the Committee to be badly needed by the company as a site for its heavy equipment after it is fenced together with the adjoining vacant lot, the justification to condemn the same does not appear to be very imperative and necessary and would only cause unjustified damage to the firm. The desire of the Municipality of Meycauayan to build a public road to decongest the volume of traffic can be fully and better attained by acquiring the other available roads in the vicinity maybe at lesser costs without causing harm to an establishment doing legitimate business therein. Or, the municipality may seek to expropriate a portion of the vacant lot also in the vicinity offered for sale for a wider public road to attain decongest (sic) of traffic because as observed by the Committee

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