No. L-2089. October 31, 1949
Guido filed for prohibition to prevent the Rural Progress Administration and the Court of First Instance of Rizal from proceeding with the expropriation of her land on the ground that to be expropriated is commercial and therefore excluded within the purview of the provisions of Act 539.
Whether the expropriation of Guido’s land is in conformity to the principle of Social Justice.
No. The expropriation proceedings at bar have been instituted for the economic relief of a few families devoid of any consideration of public health, public peace and order, or other public advantage. What is proposed to be done is to take plaintiff’s property, which for all we know she acquired by sweat and sacrifice for her and her family’s security, and sell it at cost to a few lessees who refuse to pay the stipulated rent or leave the premises.
The Constitution did not propose to destroy or undermine property rights, or to advocate equal distribution of wealth, or to authorize the taking of what is in excess of one’s personal needs and the giving of it to another.
The promotion of social justice ordained by the Constitution does not supply paramount basis for untrammeled expropriation of private land by the Rural Progress Administration or any other government instrumentality. Social justice does not champion/ promote division of property or equality of economic status; what it and the Constitution do guaranty are equality of opportunity, equality of political rights, equality before the law, equality between values given and received, and equitable sharing of the social and material goods on the basis of efforts exerted in their production.
Sections 1 and 2 of Commonwealth Act No. 539, the National Assembly approved this enactment on the authority of section 4 of Article XIII of the Constitution:
“The Congress may authorize, upon payment of just compensation, the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into small lots and conveyed at cost to individuals.”
It would be in derogation of individual rights and the time-honored constitutional guarantee that no private property shall be taken for private use without due process of law. The assertion of the right on the part of the legislature to take the property of one citizen and transfer it to another, even for a full compensation, when the public interest is not promoted thereby, is claiming a despotic power, and one inconsistent with every just principle and fundamental maxim of a free government.
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