ISSUE: Whether or not DOTC may properly invoke state immunity
FACTS: In February 1993, the DOTC awarded Digitel Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (Digitel) a contract for the management, operation, maintenance, and development of a Regional Telecommunications Development Project (RTDP) under the National Telephone Program, Phase I, Tranche 1 (NTPI-1). Later on, the municipality of Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, donated a one thousand two hundred (1,200)square-meter parcel of land to the DOTC for the implementation of the RDTP in the municipality. However, the municipality erroneously included portions of the respondents' property in the donation. Pursuant to the FLAs, Digitel constructed a telephone exchange on the property which encroached on the properties of the respondent spouses. It argues that while the DOTC, in good faith and in the performance of its mandate, took private property without formal expropriation proceedings, the taking was nevertheless an exercise of eminent domain. The Department prays that instead of allowing recovery of the property, the case should be remanded to the RTC for determination of just compensation.
DECISION: NOT A VALID EXERCISE OF EMINENTDOMAIN BECAUSE NO EXPROPRIATIONPROCEEDINGS WERE HELD.
RATIO DECIDENDI: It is unthinkable then that precisely because there was a failure to abide by what the law requires, the government would stand to benefit. It is just as important, if not more so, that there be fidelity to legal norms on the part of officialdom if the rule of law were to be maintained. It is not too much to say that when the government takes any property for public use, which is conditioned upon the payment of just compensation, tobe judicially ascertained, it makes manifest that it submits to the jurisdiction of a court. There is no thought then that the doctrine of immunity from suit could still be appropriately invoked.