Republic vs. De Knecht G.R. 87351, February 12, 1990

Fact: The Petitioner On February 20, 1979 filed in the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal in Pasay City an expropriation proceedings against the owners of the houses standing along Fernando Rein-Del Pan streets among them is the respondent and some fifteen other defendant who filed a motion to dismiss alleging lack of jurisdiction, pendency of appeal with the President of the Philippines, prematureness of complaint and arbitrary and erroneous valuation of the properties, filed an ex parte urgent motion for the issuance by the trial court of a restraining order to restrain the Petitioner from proceeding with the taking of immediate possession and control of the property sought to be condemned. In June, 1979 the Petitioner filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of possession of the property to be expropriated which the lower court granted and created a Committee of three to determine the just compensation for the lands involved in the proceedings. Respondent filed with this Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition, and directed against the order of the lower court dated June 14, 1979 praying that the Petitioner be commanded to desist from further proceeding in the expropriation action and from implementing said order where the court granted in favor of the respondent.Adrian Avilado Antazo

On August 8, 1981 defendants Maria Del Carmen Roxas Vda. de Elizalde and others moved to dismiss the expropriation action in compliance with the dispositive portion of the aforesaid decision of this Court which had become final and in order to avoid further damage to same defendants who were denied possession of their properties. On September 2, 1983, the Republic filed a motion to dismiss said case due to the enactment of the Batas Pambansa Blg. 340 expropriating the same properties and for the same purpose. The lower court in an order of September 2, 1983 dismissed the case by reason of the enactment of the said law. The motion for reconsideration thereof was denied in the order of the lower court dated December 18, 1986.

Respondent appealed from said order to the Court of Appeals wherein in due course a decision was rendered on December 28, 1988 in favor of the respondents and setting aside the decision of the CA.

Issue: whether an expropriation proceeding that was determined by a final judgment of this Court may be the subject of a subsequent legislation for expropriation.

 

Held: Yes, While it is true that said final judgment of the Supreme Court on the subject becomes the law of the case between the parties, it is equally true that the right of the petitioner to take private properties for public use upon the payment of the just compensation is so provided in the Constitution and our laws. Such expropriation proceedings may be undertaken by the petitioner not only by voluntary negotiation with the land owners but also by taking appropriate court action or by legislation.

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