G.R. No. 107916 – 268 SCRA 586 – Political Law – Municipal Corporation – Eminent Domain – Disapproval by a Sangguiniang Panlalawigan of a Sangguniang Bayan Resolution
Percival Moday is a landowner in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. In 1989, the Sangguniang Bayan of Bunawan passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to initiate an expropriation case against a 1 hectare portion of Moday’s land. Purpose of which was to erect a gymnasium and other public buildings. The mayor approved the resolution and the resolution was transmitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan which disapproved the said resolution ruling that the expropriation is not necessary because there are other lots owned by Bunawan that can be used for such purpose. The mayor pushed through with the expropriation nonetheless.
ISSUE: Whether or not a municipality may expropriate private property by virtue of a municipal resolution which was disapproved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
HELD: Yes. Eminent domain, the power which the Municipality of Bunawan exercised in the instant case, is a fundamental State power that is inseparable from sovereignty. It is government’s right to appropriate, in the nature of a compulsory sale to the State, private property for public use or purpose. Inherently possessed by the national legislature, the power of eminent domain may be validly delegated to local governments, other public entities and public utilities. For the taking of private property by the government to be valid, the taking must be for public use and there must be just compensation. The only ground upon which a provincial board may declare any municipal resolution, ordinance, or order invalid is when such resolution, ordinance, or order is “beyond the powers conferred upon the council or president making the same.” This was not the case in the case at bar as the SP merely stated that there are other available lands for the purpose sought, the SP did not even bother to declare the SB resolution as invalid. Hence, the expropriation case is valid.