Laurel v. Garcia

SALVADOR H. LAUREL vs. RAMON GARCIA, G. R. No. 92013, July 25, 1990

FACTS: This is a petition for prohibition seeking to enjoin respondents, their representatives and agents from proceeding with the bidding for the sale of the 3,179 square meters of land at 306 Roppongi; 5-chome Minato-ku Tokyo, Japan scheduled on February 21, 1990.

The subject property in this case is one of the four (4) properties in Japan acquired by the Philippine government under the Reparations Agreement entered into with Japan on 9 May 1956. The properties and the capital goods and services procured from the Japanese government for national development projects are part of the indemnification to the Filipino people for their losses in life and property and their suffering during World War II.

ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the Roppongi property and others of its kind can be alienated by the Philippine government. 2. Whether or not the Chief Executive, her officers and agents have the authority, and jurisdiction to sell the Roppongi property.

RULING: The Court ruled in the negative. The nature of the Roppongi lot as property for public service is expressly spelled out. It is dictated by the terms of the Reparations Agreement and the corresponding contract of procurement which bind both the Philippine government and the Japanese government. There can be no doubt that it is of public dominion and is outside the commerce of man. And the property continues to be part of the public domain, not available for private appropriation or ownership until there is a formal declaration on the part of the government to withdraw it from being such (Ignacio vs. Director of Lands, 108 Phil 335). It is not for the President to convey valuable real property of the government on his or her own sole will. Any such conveyances must be authorized and approved by a law enacted by the Congress. It requires executive and legislative concurrence. Petition is granted.