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Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority V CA
On April 16, 1952, the Republic, represented by the CAA, filed an expropriation proceeding to the CFI of Cebu on several parcels of land in Lahug, Cebu City, which included Lot 941, for the expansion and improvement of Lahug Airport. In 1953, appellee Chiongbian purchased Lot 941 from its original owner, the original defendant in the expropriation case. Subsequently, a TCT was issued in her name.Then in 1961, judgment was rendered in the expropriation case in favor of the Republic which was made to pay Chiongbian an amount for Lot 941. Chiongbian did not appeal therefrom.Thereafter, absolute title to Lot 941 was transferred to the Republic under a TCT. Then, in 1990, Republic Act No. 6958 was passed by Congress creating the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) to which the assets of the Lahug Airport was transferred. Lot 941 was then transferred in the name of MCIAA under a TCT. In 1995, Chiongbian filed a complaint for reconveyance of Lot 941 with the RTC of Cebu, alleging, that sometime in 1949, the National Airport Corporation (NAC) ventured to expand the Cebu Lahug Airport. As a consequence, it sought to acquire by expropriation or negotiated sale several parcels of lands adjoining the Lahug Airport, one of which was Lot 941 owned by Chiongbian. Since she and other landowners could not agree with the NAC’s offer for the compensation of their lands, a suit for eminent domain was instituted, before the then CFI of Cebu against 45 landowners, including Chiongbian, entitled “Republic of the Philippine vs. Damian Ouano, et al.” It was finally decided in favor of the Republic of the Philippines. Some of the defendants-landowners appealed the decision to the CA which rendered a modified judgment allowing them to repurchase their expropriated properties. Chiongbian, on the other hand, did not appeal and instead, accepted the compensation for Lot 941 upon the assurance of the NAC that she or her heirs would be given the right of reconveyance for the same price once the land would no longer be used as (sic) airport.[by an alleged written agreement]. Consequently, the TCT of Chiongbian was cancelled and a TCT was issued in the name of the Republic. Then, with the creation of the MCIAA, it was cancelled and a TCT was issued in its name. However, no expansion of the Lahug Airport was undertaken by MCIAA and its predecessors-in-interest. Thus, the purpose for which Lot 941 was taken ceased to exist. The RTC rendered judgment in favor of the respondent Chiongbian and MCIAA was ordered to restore to plaintiff the possession and ownership of the property denominated as Lot No. 941 upon reimbursement of the expropriation price paid to plaintiff. The RD is therefore ordered to effect the Transfer of the Certificate Title from the defendant to the plaintiff. MCIAA appealed the decision to the CA which affirmed the RTC decision. MR was denied hence this petition.
ISSUE/S: Petioner questions whether or not:
1. THE CA ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE TRIAL COURT’S JUDGMENT THAT THERE WAS A REPURCHASE AGREEMENT AND IGNORING PETITIONER’S PROTESTATIONS THAT ADMISSION OF RESPONDENT’S ORAL EVIDENCE IS NOT ALLOWED UNDER THE STATUE OF FRAUDS.
2. THE CA ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE MODIFIED JUDGMENT SHOULD INURE TO THE BENEFIT OF CHIONGBIAN EVEN IF SHE WAS NOT A PARTY IN SAID APPEALED CASE, and in RULING THAT THE RIGHT OF CHIONGBIAN TO REPURCHASE SHOULD BE UNDER THE SAME TERMS AND CONDITIONS AS THE OTHER LANDOWNERS
3.Whether the abandonment of the public use for which Lot No. 941 was expropriated entitles CHIONGBIAN to reacquire it.
RULING: The Decision of the CA is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The complaint of Chiongbian against the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority for reconveyance of Lot No. 941 is DISMISSED.
1. CHIONGBIAN cannot rely on the ruling in Mactan Cebu International Airport vs. CA wherein the presentation of parol evidence was allowed to prove the existence of a written agreement containing the right to repurchase. Said case did not involve expropriation proceedings but a contract of sale.
More importantly, no objection was made by petitioner when private respondents introduced evidence to show the right of repurchase granted by the NAC to Inez Ouano. It has been repeatedly laid down as a rule of evidence that a protest or objection against the admission of any evidence must be made at the proper time, and if not so made, it will be understood to have been waived.
This pronouncement is not applicable to the present case since the parol evidence rule which provides that “when the terms of a written agreement have been reduced to writing, it is considered as containing all the terms agreed upon, and there can be, between the parties and their successors-in-interest, no evidence of such terms other than the contents of the written agreement” applies to written agreements and has no application to a judgment of a court. To permit CHIONGBIAN to prove the existence of a compromise settlement which she claims to have entered into with the Republic of the Philippines prior to the rendition of judgment in the expropriation case would result in a modification of the judgment of a court which has long become final and executory.
And even assuming for the sake of argument that CHIONGBIAN could prove the existence of the alleged written agreement acknowledging her right to repurchase Lot No. 941 through parol evidence, the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the evidence presented by CHIONGBIAN was admissible.
Under 1403 of the Civil Code, a contract for the sale of real property shall be unenforceable unless the same, or some note or memorandum thereof, be in writing, and subscribed by the party charged, or by his agent; evidence, therefore of the agreement cannot be received without the writing or a secondary evidence of its contents.
Contrary to the finding of the CA, the records reveal that MCIAA objected to the purpose for which the testimonies of CHIONGBIAN and Bercede (BERCEDE) were offered, i.e. to prove the existence of the alleged written agreement evincing a right to repurchase Lot No. 941 in favor of CHIONGBIAN, for being in violation of the Statute of Frauds. MCIAA also objected to the purpose for which the testimony of Attorney (PASTRANA) was offered, i.e. to prove the existence of the alleged written agreement and an alleged deed of sale, on the same ground. Consequently, the testimonies of these witnesses are inadmissible under the Statute of Frauds to prove the existence of the alleged sale.
Moreover, CHIONGBIAN’s testimony shows that she had no personal knowledge of the alleged assurance made by the Republic of the Philippines that Lot No. 941 would be returned to her in the event that the Lahug Airport was closed. She stated that she only learned of the alleged assurance of the Republic of the Philippines through her lawyer, Attorney Calderon, who was not presented as a witness.
2. CHIONGBIAN cannot invoke the modified judgment of the Court of Appeals in the case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Escaño, et. al. where her co-defendants entered into separate and distinct compromise agreements with the Republic of the Philippines wherein they agreed to sell their land subject of the expropriation proceedings to the latter subject to the resolutory condition that in the event the Republic of the Philippines no longer uses said property as an airport, title and ownership of said property shall revert to its respective owners upon reimbursement of the price paid therefor without interest. MCIAA correctly points out that since CHIONGBIAN did not appeal the judgment of expropriation and was not a party to the appeal of her co-defendants, the judgment therein cannot redound to her benefit.
And even assuming that CHIONGBIAN was a party to the appeal, she was not a party to the compromise agreements entered into by her co-defendants. A compromise is a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid litigation or put an end to one already commenced. Essentially, it is a contract perfected by mere consent, the latter being manifested by the meeting of the offer and the acceptance upon the thing and the cause which are to constitute the contract. A judicial compromise has the force of law and is conclusive between the parties and it is not valid and binding on a party who did not sign the same. Since CHIONGBIAN was not a party to the compromise agreements, she cannot legally invoke the same.
3. “The answer to that question depends upon the character of the title acquired by the expropriator… which has the right to acquire property under the power of eminent domain. If, for example, land is expropriated for a particular purpose, with the condition that when that purpose is ended or abandoned the property shall return to its former owner, then, of course, when the purpose is terminated or abandoned the former owner reacquires the property so expropriated
If, upon the contrary, however, the decree of expropriation gives to the entity a fee simple title, then, of course, the land becomes the absolute property of the expropriator, whether it be the State, a province, or municipality, and in that case the non-user does not have the effect of defeating the title acquired by the expropriation proceedings.
When land has been acquired for public use in fee simple, unconditionally, either by the exercise of eminent domain or by purchase, the former owner retains no rights in the land, and the public use may be abandoned, or the land may be devoted to a different use, without any impairment of the estate or title acquired, or any reversion to the former owner.”
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