G.R. No. 203039, September 11, 2013
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH), Petitioner, v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS (BPI), Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
The property of BPI, which was affected, consists of 281 square meters and that of Defendant Villanueva consists of 177 square meters. Hence the amount to be awarded to the defendants shall be computed as follows:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibraryOn 15 December 1998, the acting branch clerk of court issued a Certification11 stating that:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibraryBPI – 281 sq. meters x P40,000.00 =Considering that the plaintiff has deposited the amount of P632,250.00 with respect to the property of BPI, the latter should receive the amount of P10,607,750.00.
Villanueva – 177 sq. meters x P40,000.00 =
With respect to Defendant Villanueva, the plaintiff deposited the provisional amount of P2,655,000.00, hence, the remaining amount to be paid is P4,425,000.00.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the plaintiff Republic of the Philippines as represented by the Department of Public Works and Highways to pay defendant Bank of the Philippine Islands the amount of TEN MILLION SIX HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND AND SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P10,607,750.00) and Defendant Bayani Villanueva the amount of FOUR MILLION FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND (P4,425,000.00), as just compensation for their properties which were expropriated.10
x x x the Decision in this case dated November 25, 1998 has become FINAL, EXECUTORY and UNAPPEALABLE as of December 11, 1998 considering that the Office of the Solicitor General failed to file any Notice of Appeal or Motion for Reconsideration despite receipt of a copy thereof on November 26, 1998.Meanwhile, BPI filed on 16 December 1998 a Motion for Partial New Trial12 to determine the just compensation of its building, which was not included in the Decision dated 25 November 1998 that fixed the just compensation for the parcels of land. In the motion, BPI claimed that its motion was timely filed since it received a copy of the Decision on 01 December 1998.13 The trial court granted partial new trial in an Order dated 06 January 1999.
This certification is being issued upon the request of Atty. Jansen Rodriguez for whatever legal purpose it may serve.
In its Decision dated 10 September 1999,18 the trial court held that just compensation for the building was due and ordered petitioner to pay BPI the amount of P2,633,000.00. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibrary
a) That the undersigned found out that a new building was constructed and a picture of said building is hereto attached and made as an integral part hereof as Annex “A” and; b) That the building was moved back when it was constructed to conform with the requirement of the Building Code; and c) Improvements were introduced around the building.17
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the plaintiff Republic of the Philippines represented by the Department of Public Works and Highways to pay defendant Bank of the Philippine Island (sic) the amount of TWO MILLION SIX HUNDRED THIRTY THREE [THOUSAND] PESOS (PHP2,633,000.00).19Petitioner moved for the reconsideration20 of the 10 September 1999 Decision on the ground that the proceeding fixing the just compensation of the building is null and void for not complying with the mandatory procedure set forth in Sections 5 to 8 of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court.21cralaw virtualaw library
x x x the original plan affecting the subject property was not implemented. The width of the sidewalk at the premises under consideration was actually reduced from 2.50 m to 2.35 m x x x to avoid the costly structure of that bank.29In its opposition,30 BPI claimed that it was not aware that the original plan was not implemented. It received no correspondence from the DPWH on the matter, except for the letter dated 12 August 1997 from DPWH addressed to BPI, stating in part that:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibrary
We regret to inform you that adjustment of the RROW limit of our project along this section is not possible as it will affect the effective width of the sidewalk designated at 2.50 m. wide.31 (Emphasis in the original)BPI also argued that even “if a 3-meter setback is observed, only 75% of the old building could be utilized x x x [and] cutting the support system of the building x x x would affect the building’s structural integrity.”32cralaw virtualaw library
The Court approves the Recommendation dated October 22, 2001 of ONE MILLION NINE HUNDRED FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED PESOS (P1,905,600.00) by Commissioner ROMULO C. GERVACIO as the just compensation of the building of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Zapote affected by the construction of the Zapote-Alabang Fly-over, it appearing that such amount is the existing market value of the property pursuant to the Declaration by BPI as the market value of the building affected by the project as contained in Tax Declaration D-006-02044.Petitioner filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 79843.38cralaw virtualaw library
Let the same amount be paid by the Republic of the Philippines through the Department of Public Works and Highways as the just compensation for the property.37
We cannot sustain plaintiff-appellant’s proposition that the decision dated November 25, 1998 has already attained finality there being no appeal filed within the reglementary period as provided in Secion 3, Rule 41 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration.40 This was denied by the appellate court in a Resolution dated 06 August 2012.41cralaw virtualaw library
Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 37 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the period within which an aggrieved party may move the trial court to set aside the judgment or final order and file a motion for new trial is within the period to file an appeal, which is fifteen (15) days from receipt of the judgment or final order. It is explicit from the stated provision that the fifteen day period to file a motion for new trial will start to run from receipt of judgment or final order. A judgment, final order or resolution shall be served upon a party either personally or through registered mail. Moreover, Section 13 of Rule 13 of the Rules of Civil Procedure specifically provides for the proof of service of judgments, final orders or resolution x x x.
x x x x
Guided by the foregoing provisions of law, the crucial fact in which the finality of the decision dated November 25, 1998 with respect to defendant-appellee, depends in the determination of the date of its receipt of the copy of the said decision in order to ascertain whether its motion for partial new trial was filed within the 15-day period allowed by law.
In this case, records bear that a copy of the decision dated November 25, 1998, ordering the payment of just compensation for the expropriated land was received in behalf of defendant Bayani Villanueva on the same day of its promulgation. A copy of the said decision was also served upon plaintiff-appellant through the OSG on November 26, 1998. However, there is no showing, that defendant-appellee through its counsel received a copy of the trial court’s decision on a definite date. No official return nor affidavit of the party serving the decision was attached to the records of the case. Neither was the presence of a registry receipt issued by the mailing office nor a registry return card containing the date of receipt of the decision be found among its records. Since there was no showing as to the exact date of receipt of defendant-appellee of the said decision, the running of the period of 15 days within which to file a motion for new trial did not begin to run. Therefore, the filing of defendant-appellee of a motion for partial new trial on December 16, 1998 was never delayed but timely filed thus preventing the decision dated November 25, 1998 from attaining finality as against them. Moreover, We find the admission of defendant-appellee in its brief filed on June 2, 2005, that it received a copy of the trial court’s decision on December 1, 1998, sufficient to comply with the requirement of a written admission of a party served with a judgment as provided in Sec. 13 of Rule 13, of the Rules of Civil Procedure. It should also be noted that the certification issued by Edgar Allan C. Morante, the acting clerk of court, as to the finality of judgment as of December 11, 1998 will not stand against defendant-appellee because the 15-day period to file an appeal will only start to commence upon the receipt of the decision which is on December 1, 1998. Counting the 15-day period from the first of December, the period within which to file an appeal will expire on December 16, 1998. Thus, the trial court did not err in granting the motion for partial new trial of the defendant-appellee as the same was amply filed with the reglementary period prescribed by law.
Having settled that the motion for partial new trial was timely filed, We now rule that the trial court did not lose its jurisdiction when it conducted subsequent proceedings determining just compensation and later on directed plaintiff-appellant to pay additional just compensation in the amount of P1,905,600.00 for the building of defendant-appellee.
Lastly, as to the argument of plaintiff-appellant that the award of additional just compensation for the building of defendant-appellee is erroneous and without legal basis because the building was never taken by the government in the expropriation proceeding conducted by the trial court nor was it affected by the construction of the Zapote-Alabang Flyover, We find the ruling of Republic of the Philippines through the DPWH vs. CA and Rosario R. Reyes appropriate to apply in this case, to wit:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibraryPetitioner contends that no consequential damages may be awarded as the remaining lot was not “actually taken” by the DPWH, and to award consquential damages for the lot which was retained by the owner is tantamount to unjust enrichment on the part of the latter.WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The assailed order of the Regional Trial Court of Las Piñas, Branch 275 dated February 3, 2003 is AFFIRMED in toto.39 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied; italicization in the original.)
Petitioner’s contention is unmeritorious.
No actual taking of the remaining portion of the real property is necessary to grant consequential damages. If as a result of the expropriation made by petitioner, the remaining lot (i.e., the 297-square meter lot) of private respondent suffers from an impairment or decrease in value, consequential damages may be awarded to private respondent.
x x x the Decision in this case dated November 25, 1998 has become FINAL, EXECUTORY and UNAPPEALABLE as of December 11, 1998 considering that the Office of the Solicitor General failed to file any Notice of Appeal or Motion for Reconsideration despite receipt of a copy thereof on November 26, 1998.There can be no other reading of this certificate that would be supported by the record.
This certification is being issued upon the request of Atty. Jansen Rodriguez for whatever legal purpose it may serve.43 (Emphasis supplied)
Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the party served, or the official return of the server, or the affidavit of the party serving, containing a full statement of the date, place and manner of service. x x x If service is made by registered mail, proof shall be made by such affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return card shall be filed immediately upon its receipt by the sender x x x.A careful review of the record shows the absence of any proof that the Decision of 25 November 1998 was served upon BPI. Hence, the Court of Appeals correctly held that absent any proof of service to BPI of the Decision, the period of 15 days within which to file its motion for partial new trial did not begin to run against BPI. However, BPI’s admission that it received a copy of the Decision on 01 December 1998 is binding on it, and was correctly considered by the Court of Appeals as the reckoning date to count the 15-day period.
x x x The commissioners shall assess the consequential damages to the property not taken and deduct from such consequential damages the consequential benefits to be derived by the owner from the public use or public purpose of the property taken, the operation of its franchise by the corporation or the carrying on of the business of the corporation or person taking the property. But in no case shall the consequential benefits assessed exceed the consequential damages assessed, or the owner be deprived of the actual value of his property so taken.In B.H. Berkenkotter & Co. v. Court of Appeals,52 we held that:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibrary
To determine just compensation, the trial court should first ascertain the market value of the property, to which should be added the consequential damages after deducting therefrom the consequential benefits which may arise from the expropriation. If the consequential benefits exceed the consequential damages, these items should be disregarded altogether as the basic value of the property should be paid in every case.We quote with approval the ruling of the Court of Appeals:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibrary
Lastly, as to the argument of plaintiff-appellant that the award of additional just compensation for the building of defendant-appellee is erroneous and without legal basis because the building was never taken by the government in the expropriation proceeding conducted by the trial court nor was it affected by the construction of the Zapote-Alabang Flyover, We find the ruling of Republic of the Philippines through the DPWH vs. CA and Rosario R. Reyes appropriate to apply in this case, to wit:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibraryPetitioner would also have us review the bases of the courts below in awarding just compensation for the building for consequential damages. The uniform findings of the trial court and the appellate court are entitled to the greatest respect. They are binding on the Court in the absence of a strong showing by petitioner that the courts below erred in appreciating the established facts and in drawing inferences from such facts.54 We find no cogent reason to deviate from this.Petitioner contends that no consequential damages may be awarded as the remaining lot was not “actually taken” by the DPWH, and to award consquential damages for the lot which was retained by the owner is tantamount to unjust enrichment on the part of the latter.
Petitioner’s contention is unmeritorious.
No actual taking of the remaining portion of the real property is necessary to grant consequential damages. If as a result of the expropriation made by petitioner, the remaining lot (i.e., the 297-square meter lot) of private respondent suffers from an impairment or decrease in value, consquential damages may be awarded to private respondent.53 (Italicization in the original)
1 Under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.cralawnad
2Rollo, pp. 41-52. Penned by Justice Edwin D. Sorongon with Justices Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente and Jane Aurora C. Lantion.cralawnad
3 Id. at 54-56.cralawnad
4 Records, p. 324.cralawnad
5 Id. at 2-4.cralawnad
6 Id. at 24.cralawnad
7 Id. at 50 and 62.cralawnad
8 Id. at 98-102.cralawnad
9 Id. at 115-121.cralawnad
10 Id. at 120-121.cralawnad
11 Id. at 122.cralawnad
12 Id. at 127-130.cralawnad
13 Id. at 128.cralawnad
14 Id. at 150.cralawnad
15 Id. at 206.cralawnad
16 Id. at 205.cralawnad
17 Id. at 208. Manifestation dated 07 September 1999, submitted by Agbayani.cralawnad
18 Id. at 210-212.cralawnad
19 Id. at 212.cralawnad
20 Id. at 216-220.cralawnad
21 Id. at 218.cralawnad
22 Id. at 226.cralawnad
23 Id. at 227-231.cralawnad
24 Id. at 236.cralawnad
25 Id. at 244.cralawnad
26 Id. at 245-246.cralawnad
27 Id. at 247-248.cralawnad
29 Id. at 249.cralawnad
30 Id. at 253-255.cralawnad
31 Id. at 256.cralawnad
32 Id. at 254.cralawnad
33 Id. at 263-264.cralawnad
34 Id. at 279.cralawnad
35 Id. at 322.cralawnad
36 Id. at 324.cralawnad
38 CA rollo, pp. 40-50.cralawnad
39Rollo, pp. 48-51.cralawnad
40 Id. at 8-11.cralawnad
41 Id. at 54-56.cralawnad
42 Records, p. 122.cralawnad
44National Power Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 479 Phil. 850, 860 (2004), citing Visayan Refining Co. v. Camus, 40 Phil. 550 (1919).cralawnad
45 Article III, Section 9 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.cralawnad
46B.H. Berkenkotter & Co. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 89980, 14 December 1992, 216 SCRA 584, 586.cralawnad
47National Power Corporation v. Chiong, 452 Phil. 649, 663 (2003).cralawnad
48National Power Corporation v. Purefoods Corporation, G.R. No. 160725, 12 September 2008, 565 SCRA 17, 33, citing National Power Corporation v. Chiong, 452 Phil. 649, 663-664 (2003).cralawnad
50 Records, p. 249.cralawnad
51Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 160379, 14 August 2009, 596 SCRA 57, 75.cralawnad
52 Supra note 46 at 586-587.cralawnad
53Rollo, p. 50.cralawnad
54Republic of the Philippines v. Tan Song Bok, G.R. No. 191448, 16 November 2011, 660 SCRA 330, 347, citing Export Processing Zone Authority v. Pulido, G.R. No. 188995, 24 August 2011, 656 SCRA 315.