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Civil Law; Land, Titles and Deeds; Eminent Domain; Just Compensation

Question: Mr. A acquired the subject property by virtue of Free Patent under the
Public Land Act, his property will be traversed to construct a Bypass Rode of DPWH.
Mr. A argued that they were entitled to just compensation based on the
Constitutional precept that no private property should be taken for public use
without payment of just compensation. DPWH informed Mr. A that they were not
entitled to the payment of just compensation of the affected area, such area was not
entitled to just compensation for it was acquired by virtue of Free Patent. Thus, a
legal easement of 60-meter wide right-of-way exists in favor of the government.

Decide on the case.

Answer: The amount of just compensation must be determined.

In Bartolata v. Republic, recapulated the two elements which must concur before the
property owner will be entitled to just compensation for the remaining property
under Sec. 112 of CA 141: (1) that the remainder is not subject to the statutory lien
of right of way; and (2) that the enforcement of the right of way results in the
practical destruction or material impairment of the value of the remaining property,
or in the property owner being dispossessed or otherwise deprived of the normal
use of the said remainder.

In order to apply parameters for determining entitlement to just compensation,


Thus, there must be a thorough determination by the trial court if the utilization and
taking of the portion of respondents' land amounts to a taking of the whole property
- as it amounts to the material impairment of the value of the remaining portion, or
if the respondents are being dispossessed or otherwise deprived of the normal use
thereof.

Just compensation is defined as 'the full and fair equivalent of the property taken
from its owner by the expropriator.' The word 'just' is used to qualify the meaning of
the word 'compensation' and to convey the idea that the amount to be tendered for
the property to be taken shall be real, substantial, full and ample. On the other hand,
the word 'compensation' means 'a full indemnity or renumeration for the loss or
damage sustained by the owner of property taken or injured tor public use.'

Thus, case should favor to Mr. A.

(Republic of the Philippines, represented by DPWH vs. Sps. Alforte, G.R. No. 217051,
August 22, 2018, Del Castillo, J)
Civil Law; Contract of Lease; Partnership

Question: AA Law office entered into a Contract of Lease with BB Bank whereby the
latter agreed to lease the building for the period of 3 years and for a monthly fee of
P189, 600. When the Contract of Lease expired, the AA Law Office continued to
occupy the leased premise but discontinued paying its monthly rental obligations.
XX in his capacity as managing partner of AA Law Office, filed a separate complaint
for accounting and/or recomputation of unpaid rentals and damages against BB
Bank in relation to the Contract of Lease. XX claimed that AA Law Office is a sole
proprietorship and thus, he is the real-party-in-interest. BB Bank filed a motion to
include an indispensable party as plaintiff, praying that XX be ordered to amend
anew his complaint to include AA Law Office as principal plaintiff. BB Bank argued
that as a matter of right and equity, it can claim that amount from AA Law Office in
solidum with XX.

Is it proper to include AA Law office as defendant to BB Bank counterclaim?

Answer: Yes, it is proper.

AA Law Office is a partnership and not a single proprietorship. Article 1767 of the
Civil Code provides that by a contract of partnership, two or more persons bind
themselves to contribute money, property, or industry to a common fund, with the
intention of dividing the profits among themselves. Two or more persons may also
form a partnership for the exercise of a profession. It also provided for the term of
the partnership, distribution of net profits and losses, and management of the firm
in which "the partners shall have equal interest in the conduct of [its] affairs.
"Moreover, it provided for the cause and manner of dissolution of the partnership.
These provisions would not have been necessary if what had been established was a
sole proprietorship. Indeed, it may only be concluded from the circumstances that,
for all intents and purposes, AA Law Office is a partnership created and organized in
accordance with the Civil Code provisions on partnership.

According to the case in Saludo vs. PNB, the law, in its wisdom, recognized the
possibility that partners in a partnership may decide to place a limit on their
individual accountability. AA Law Office entered into a contract of lease with BB
Bank as a juridical person to pursue the objectives of the partnership. AA Law Office
was created as partnership and as such acquired judicial personality by operation of
law. Hence, its rights and obligations, as well as those of its partners, are determined
by law and not by what the partners purport them to be.

(Aniceto Saludo, Jr. vs PNB, G.R. No. 193138, August 20, 2018, Jardeleza, J)
Civil Law; Obligations and Contracts; Novation

Question: What are the classifications of novation?

Answer:

Novation may be classified into: (a) objective or real, (b) subjective or personal, or
(c) mixed.

Article 1291(1) contemplates an objective or real novation where there is a change


in the cause, object or principal conditions of the obligations while (2) and (3) of
said Article contemplate a passive one where there is a substitution of the person of
the debtor and an active one where there is subrogation of a third person in the
rights of the creditor.[40] Mixed novation, on the other hand, refers to a
combination of objective and subjective novation.

As to its form or constitution, novation may be express, when it is declared in


unequivocal terms that the old obligation is extinguished by a new one which
substitutes the same, or implied or tacit, when the old and the new obligations are
incompatible with each other on every point.

As to extent or effect, novation may be total or extinctive[43], when there is an


absolute extinguishment of the old obligation, or partial, when there is merely a
modification of the old obligation.

(Benedicto Yujuico vs Far East Bank Company, G.R. No. 186196, August 15, 2018,
Caguioa, J)
Civil Law; Property

Question: There was continuous heavy rain which caused a large volume of water
to fall from the hilltop subdivision of A Village Subdivision which damaged the fence,
furniture, appliance and car of Sps. B. Sps B alleged that A village committed a
wrongful act in replacing its steel grille gate with a concrete fence. Sps B asserted
had the steel grille gate unchanged, the injury suffered by them would have been
prevented.

A Village countered that they only exercised its proprietary rights when it
constructed the concrete fence and that it was also not negligent.

Is A liable for the damage?

Answer: No, A Village Subdivision is not responsible for the damage of Sps. B’s
properties.

Malice or bad faith, at the core of Articles 20 and 21, implies a conscious and
intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral obliquity.
Records of the case reveal that while A Village replaced the steel grille gate with a
concrete fence, the construction was not intended to obstruct whatever waters that
may naturally flow from the higher estates. The concrete fence was made to ward
off undesirable elements from entering the subdivision. Thus, for purposes of
Articles 20 and 21, the construction of the concrete fence is not contrary to any law,
morals, good customs, or public policy.

There was also no negligence on the part of A Village. The test of negligence is stated
in Picart v. Smith, Jr. The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a
particular case may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged
negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent
person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence.

Hence, A Village Subdivision is absolved from any liabilities to the damage of B’s
properties.

(Sps. Abraham and Melchora-Ermino vs. Golden Village Homeowners Association,


G.R. No. 180808, August 15, 2018, Caguioa, J)