NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION vs SANTA LORO VDA. DE CAPIN and SPS. JULITO QUIMCO and GLORIA CAPIN G.R. No.
175176 October 17, 2008 FACTS Pursuant to NAPOCOR’s KV Leyte-Cebu Interconnection Project, they expropriated several parcels of land which will be traversed by their transmission towers and lines in the Municipality of Carmen and City of Danao in the Province of Cebu. Among these lots were those owned by the respondent Santa Loro Vda. De Capin and respondent-Spouses Quimco. To be able to enter the said properties, NAPOCOR obtained from them a “Permission to Enter for Construction of Transmission Line Project” in exchange for their promise to pay just compensation. Petitioner began the construction in 1996. Upon its completion, NAPOCOR imposed several restrictions on the use of respondents’ land such as prohibition against planting or building anything higher than three meters below the area traversed by its transmission lines. They were also prohibited from continuing their quarry business near petitioner’s transmission towers. Respondents lost substantial amount of income due to the restriction imposed on their properties by the petitioner. The respondents later learned that they were paid measly sums by NAPOCOR compared to the other land owners who resisted the expropriation. NAPOCOR claims that they are not required to pay for the full value of the property traversed as its Charter provides that they are only obligated only to pay the easement fee equivalent to 10% of the market value of the land as just compensation, plus the cost of damaged improvements. The RTC ruled in favour of the respondents and ordered petitioner to pay 448.33 per sqm for the entire lot taken by the petitioner NAPOCOR. On its motion for reconsideration and appeal, the RTC ruling was affirmed except for the interest rates imposed. ISSUE Whether or not NAPOCOR should pay for the full value of the land or the simple easement fees as provided in its charter RULING Petitioners contention that respondents’ complaint is actually for “reversed eminent domain” which requires the appointment of commissioners for the determination of just compensation has no merit.The case filed by the respondents was an ordinary civil action for failure of petitioner to comply with its obligation to pay just compensation for the respondents’ properties. Petitioner cannot insist that it only acquired an easement of right of way on the properties of the respondents. Expropriation is not limited to the acquisition of real property with a corresponding transfer of title or possession. The right-of-way easement resulting in a restriction or limitation on property rights over the land traversed by transmission lines also falls within the ambit of the term “expropriation.” NAPOCOR’s prohibition regarding the use of respondents’ land amounted to an expropriation of the portions of the latter’s properties and perpetually deprived the respondents of their proprietary rights thereon and for which they are entitled to a reasonable and just compensation. Having established that petitioner’s acquisition of right-of-way easement over the portions of respondents’ lots was definitely a taking under the power of eminent domain, petitioner then is liable to pay respondents just compensation and not merely an easement fee.
” The acquisition of the right-of-way easement falls within the purview of the power of eminent domain when it perpetually deprives owners of their proprietary rights. Such cases of easement of rightof-way has been held by the Supreme Court to merit awards of just compensation for private property condemned for public use .LESSON LEARNED Expropriation is not limited to the acquisition of real property with a corresponding transfer of title or possession. The right-of-way easement resulting in a restriction or limitation on property rights over the land traversed by transmission lines also falls within the ambit of the term “expropriation.