Consti 12716.docx - MCIAA vs LOZADA FACTS Subject of this...

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MCIAA vs. LOZADA FACTS : Subject of this case is a lot (Lot No. 88) located in Lahug, Cebu City. Its original owner was Anastacio Deiparine when the same was subject to expropriation proceedings, initiated by Republic, represented by the then Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), for the expansion and improvement of the Lahug Airport. During the pendency of the expropriation proceedings, respondent Bernardo L. Lozada, Sr. acquired Lot No. 88 from Deiparine. The trial court ruled for the Republic and ordered the latter to pay Lozada the fair market value of the lot. However, the projected improvement and expansion plan of the old Lahug Airport, however, was not pursued. The plaintiff-respondents initiated a complaint for the recovery of possession and conveyance of ownership on the subject lot. On the other hand, the petitioners asked for the immediate dismissal of the complaint. They specifically denied that the Government had made assurances to reconvey Lot No. 88 to respondents in the event that the property would no longer be needed for airport operations. Petitioners instead asserted that the judgment of condemnation was unconditional, and respondents were, therefore, not entitled to recover the expropriated property notwithstanding non-use or abandonment thereof. The lower court ruled for herein plaintiff-respondents, which decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Issue: Whether there is a valid exercise of power of eminent domain? Ruling: No. The acquisition by the Republic of the expropriated lots was subject to the condition that the Lahug Airport would continue its operation. The condition not having materialized because the airport had been abandoned, the former owner should then be allowed to reacquire the expropriated property. On this note, we take this opportunity to revisit our ruling in Fery, which involved an expropriation suit commenced upon parcels of land to be used as a site for a public market. Instead of putting up a public market, respondent Cabanatuan constructed residential houses for lease on the area. Claiming that the municipality lost its right to the property taken since it did not pursue its public purpose, petitioner Juan Fery, the former owner of the lots expropriated, sought to recover his properties. However, as he had admitted that, in 1915, respondent Cabanatuan acquired a fee simple title to the lands in question, judgment was rendered in favor of the municipality, following American jurisprudence all uniformly holding that the transfer to a third party of the expropriated real property, which necessarily resulted in the abandonment of the particular public purpose for which the property was taken, is not a ground for the recovery of the same by its previous owner, the title of the expropriating agency being one of fee simple.
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