Bar Q and A #24

(a) Amelia is not administratively liable. There is no compelling state interest that justifies inhibiting free exercise of religious beliefs. The means used by the government to achieve its legitimate objective is not the least intrusive means

(b) Under the benevolent neutrality approach, the “wall of separation” is meant to protect the church from the State. It believes that with respect to governmental actions, accommodation of religion may be allowed, not to promote the government’s favored form of religion, but to allow individuals and groups to exercise their religion without hindrance. What is sought is not a declaration of unconstitutionality of the law but an exemption from its application (Estrada v. Escritor, A.M. No. P-02-1651, June 22, 2006)

NO, the military commander cannot compel the residents to transfer their places of abode without a court order. Under Section 6, Article III of the Constitution, a lawful order of the court is required before the liberty of abode and of changing the same can be impaired.

NO, the suit will not prosper. Section 6, Article III of the Constitution provides: "The liberty  of  abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court."

The liberty of abode is subject to the police power of the State. Requiring the segregation of lepers is a valid exercise of police power. In Lorenzo v. Director of Health, 50 Phil. 595, the Supreme Court held: "Judicial notice will be taken of the fact that leprosy is commonly believed to be an infectious disease tending to cause one afflicted with it to be shunned and excluded from society, and that compulsory segregation of lepers as a means of preventing the spread of the disease is supported by high scientific authority."

a.) The right to change abode and the right to travel are not The liberty of changing abode may be unpaired upon order of the court. The order of the Court of Appeals is lawful, because the purpose is to ensure that the accused will be available whenever his presence is required. He is not being prevented from changing his abode. He is merely being required to inform the Court of Appeals if he does (Yap v. CA, 358 SCRA 564)

b.) The liberty of abode and the right to travel are not The liberty of abode and of changing it can be imposed within the limits prescribed by law upon lawful order of the court. The right to travel may be unpaired in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health as may be provided by law (Section 6, Article III of the Constitution)

In addition, the court has the inherent power to restrict the right of an accused who has pending criminal case to travel abroad to maintain its jurisdiction over him. (Santiago v. Vasquez, 217 SCRA 633)

a.) I will raise the defense that the selection of the lot to be expropriated violates due process, because it is arbitrary. Since it is devoted to commercial use, the beneficiaries of the expropriation will not settle there and will instead merely lease out or resell the lot for a profit (Manotok v. National Housing Authority, 150 SCRA 89 [1987])

b.) The mere delay in the payment of the just compensation will not entitle the Filipinas Computer Corporation to recover the property. Instead, legal interest on the just compensation should be paid (NPC v. Henson, 300 SCRA 751 [1998]). However, if the payment was not made within five (5) years from the finality of judgment in the expropriation case, Filipinas Computer Corporation can recover the property. To be just, the compensation must be paid within a reasonable time. (NPC v. Henson, 462 SCRA 265 [2005])

c.) If the lot was expropriated with the condition it can be used only for low-cost housing, it should be returned to Filipinas Computer Corporation upon abandonment of the purpose (Heirs of TimoteoMoreno v. Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority,413 SCRA 502 [2003])

If I were the judge, I would order the expropriation of the property is valid being a lawful exercise of the State’s power of eminent domain, exercised through the NHA by Congressional fiat. The expropriation of the private land for slum clearance urban development is for a public purpose even if the developed area is later sold to private homeowners, commercial firms, and other private parties (Heirs of Juancho Ardona v. Reyes, 125 SCRA 220). It is the function of the Congress to decide which type of taking is for public use and that the agency authorized to do the taking may do so to the full extent of its statutory authority. It is not the immediate effects, but rather the ultimate results which determine whether a particular act is for public good.

a. NO, the owner of the property cannot oppose the expropriation on the ground that only 200 out of more than 10,000 squatter families in Pasig City will benefit from the expropriation. As held in Philippine Columbian Association v. Panis, 228 SCRA 668, the acquisition of private property for socialized housing is for public use and the fact that only a few and not everyone will benefit from the expropriation does not detract from the nature of the public use.

b. NO, the Department of Agrarian Reform cannot require Pasig City to first secure authority from it before converting the use of the land from agricultural to residential. According to Province of Camarines Sur v. CA, 222 SCRA 173, there is no provision in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law which subjects the expropriation of agricultural lands by local government units to the control of the Department of Agrarian Reform and to require approval from the Department of Agrarian Reform will mean that it is not the local government unit but the Department of Agrarian Reform who will determine whether or not the expropriation is for a public use.

The arguments of Madlangbayan are not meritorious. According to Manresa v. Court of Appeals, 252 SCRA 412, the power of eminent domain is not confined to expropriation of vast tracts of the land. The expropriation of the lot to preserve it as the birthplace of the founder of the religious sect because of his role in the Philippine history and culture is for a public purpose, because public use is no longer restricted to the traditional concept. The fact that the expropriation will benefit the member of the religious sect is merely incidental. The fact that other birthplaces have not been expropriated is likewise not a valid basis for opposing the expropriation. As held in J.M. Tuason and Company, Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration, 31 SCRA 413, the expropriating authority is not required to adhere to the policy of “all or none.”

a.) If the government does not pay Baldomero the just compensation immediately, he cannot demand the return of the property to Instead, legal interest should be paid from the time of taking of the property until actual payment in full. (Republic v. Court of Appeals, 383 SCRA 611 [2002])

b.) With respect to the element of public use, the expropriator should commit to use the property for the purpose stated in the If not, it is incumbent upon it to return the property to the owner, if the owner desires to reacquire it. Otherwise, the judgment of expropriation will lack the element of public use. The owner will be denied due process and the judgment will violate his right to justice. (Mactan-Cebu Airport Authority v. Lozada, Sr., 613 SCRA 618 [2010]) If the just compensation was not paid within 5 years from finality of judgment, the owner is entitled to recover the property. (Republic v. Lim, 462 SCRA 265 [2005]