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[MUNICIPALITY OF CALOOCAN v. MANOTOK REALTY](https://lawyerly.ph/juris/view/c2fea?user=fbGU2WFpmaitMVEVGZ2lBVW5xZ2RVdz09)
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[ GR No. L-6444, May 14, 1954 ]

MUNICIPALITY OF CALOOCAN v. MANOTOK REALTY +

DECISION

94 Phil. 1003

[ G.R. No. L-6444, May 14, 1954 ]

THE MUNICIPALITY OF CALOOCAN, RIZAL, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT, VS. MANOTOK REALTY, INC., AND SEVERINO MANOTOK, DEFENDANTS AND APPELLEES.

D E C I S I O N

BENGZON, J.:

The municipality of Caloocan, Rizal, has appealed from the decision of Hon. Bienvenido A. Tan, Judge, who dismissed its complaint of April 22, 1952, seeking to expropriate a parcel of land of the defendant Manotok Realty, Inc. Avowedly acting under Rep. Act No. 267, as amended, the plaintiff proposed to subdivide the property for resale to the actual tenants thereof.

Answering the complaint on May 7, 1952, the defendants moved for dismissal, setting up three main defenses: (a) Nullity of the resolution of the municipal council directing the expropriation, because the approval of the Department Head had not been obtained; (b) The Government's right to expropriate lands for resale to tenants applied only to landed estates which was not the case, defendants' property having hardly an area of four hectares, 39,374 sq. m., to be exact; and (c) The expropriation did not appear to be for public use and benefit it was simply to accommodate a few individuals.

After considering arguments on both sides, the judge upheld the motion to dismiss holding, in short, that the property was not a "landed estate", (citing pertinent decisions) and that the condemnation did not serve a public purpose.

The plaintiff has appealed as stated, and has vigorously maintained, in its printed brief, the proposition that the lower court erred: (a) in holding there was no legal authority nor plausible reason for the taking of defendants' land and (b) in declaring the expropriation was not for public purposes.

The defendants, on the other hand, besides justifying His Honor's position, disputed the timeliness of this appeal, and reiterate the essential need of approval by the Department Head.

The issues and the facts are well-defined. The expropriation we believe was clearly improper. The lot measured less than four hectares, and was not a landed estate, subject to expropriation for purposes of subdivision and resale to occupants thereof.[1] In Urban Estates Inc. vs. Montesa (see below) we said a parcel containing about five hectares was not a landed estate subject to expropriation for division among tenants.

The piece of land here in question was purchased in 1943 from Dr. Leonides Lerma, by defendant Severino Manotok for the benefit of his children. So that in May 1946 a Transfer Certificate of Title was duly issued in the name of said children, nine of them, each becoming registered owner of one-ninths (1/9) of the property. And before this proceeding was started, they formed the corporation Manotok Realty Co., to administer their interests.

Divided among nine persons, the title would give 4375 square meters of land to each. Obviously the Government insular or municipal can not consider that four thousand square meters is "landed estate" for expropriation purposes. And grouping the nine persons together, or suing them together as a corporation does not conceal the resultant deprivation of nine individuals of their landed portions of 4375 square meters each. It would undoubtedly be unfair to implead twenty owners of small contiguous lands and then maintain that they own a large estate subject to condemnation proceedings (Cf. Republic vs. Samia, 89 Phil., 483).

Anyway, even considered as a whole, the Manotok property is not a large estate subject to expropriation under the Constitution.

The other questions do not need to be decided. Judgment affirmed. So ordered.

Paras, C. J., Pablo, Montemayor, Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, and Concepcion, JJ., concur.



[1] Guido vs. Rural Progress Adm. 47 Off. Gaz., 1848, 84 Phil., 847; City of Manila vs. Arellano Law College, 47 Off. Gaz., 4197, 85 Phil., 663; Republic of the Philippines vs. Samia 89 Phil., 483; Urban Estate Inc. vs. Montesa, 88 Phil., 348.

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