35 we now resolve to harmonize the respective rights

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Unformatted text preview: Civil Case No. R- 1881 could have simply acknowledged the presence of public purpose for the exercise of eminent domain regardless of the survival of Lahug Airport, the trial court in its Decision chose not to do so but instead prefixed its finding of public purpose upon its understanding that "Lahug Airport will continue to be in operation." Verily, these meaningful statements in the body of the Decision warrant the conclusion that the expropriated properties would remain to be so until it was confirmed that Lahug Airport was no longer "in operation." This inference further implies two (2) things: (a) after the Lahug Airport ceased its undertaking as such and the expropriated lots were not being used for any airport expansion project, the rights vis- à- vis the expropriated Lots Nos. 916 and 920 as between the State and their former owners, petitioners herein, must be equitably adjusted; and, (b) the foregoing unmistakable declarations in the body of the Decision should merge with and become an intrinsic part of the fallo thereof which under the premises is clearly inadequate since the dispositive portion is not in accord with the findings as contained in the body thereof.31 Significantly, in light of the discussion above, the admission of petitioners during the pre- trial of Civil Case No. CEB- 20015 for reconveyance and damages that respondent MCIAA was the absolute owner of Lots Nos. 916 and 920 does not prejudice petitioners’ interests. This is as it should be not only because the admission concerns a legal conclusion fiercely debated by the parties32 but more so since respondent was truly the absolute owner of the realties until it was apparent that Lahug Airport had stopped doing business. To sum up what we have said so far, the attendance in the case at bar of standing admissible evidence validating the claim of petitioners as well as the portions above- quoted of the Decision in the expropriation case volunteered no less than by respondent itself, takes this case away from the ambit of Mactan- Cebu International Airport Authority v. Court of Appeals33 but within the principles enunciated in Fery as mentioned earlier. In addition, there should be no doubt that our present reading of the fallo of the Decision in Civil Case No. R- 1881 so as to include the statements...
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