Festejo vs Fernando Case Digest – GR No. L-5156, March 11, 1954

Festejo vs Fernando Case Digest

Festejo vs Fernando Case Digest


Facts

The defendant as Director of Bureau of Public Works took possession of the three parcels of land in February 1951 without obtaining first a right if way, without knowledge and consent of the plaintiff, and against her expressed objection.

The petition demands that the lands be restored to their former condition and the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of Php 19, 343.20 for the unlawful taking possession of the defendant.


Garcia vs Chief of Staff Case Digest – GR No L-20213, January 1966


Issue

Whether the defendant is liable for the unlawful possession of the lands?

Ruling

Yes.

He is liable in this personal capacity and outside the scope of this authority. The government must be spared from suit because it clearly set the limits through surveys on the land appropriated for the right of way. He cannot shelter himself by the plea that he is a public agent acting under the color of his office and not personally.

The appealed order is revoked and the continuation of processing of the claim is ordered as provided by the regulations.

Dissenting Opinion

We take judicial notice of the fact that the irrigation projects and system reffered to in the complaint — of which the defendant, Isaias Fernando, according to the same pleading, is “in charge” and for which he is “responsible” as Director of the Bureau of Public Works — are established and operated with public funds, which pursuant to the Constitution, must be appropriated by law. Irrespective of the manner in which the construction may have been undertaken by the Bureau of Public Works, the system or canal is, therefore, a property of the Government. Consequently, in praying that possession of the portions of land occupied by the irrigation canal involved in the present case be returned to plaintiff therein, and that said land be restored to its former condition, plaintiff seeks to divest the Government of its possession of said irrigation canal, and, what is worse, to cause said property of the Government to be removed or destroyed. As held in Syquia vs. Lopez (47 Off. Gaz., 665), the Government is, accordingly, “the real party in interest as defendant” in the case at bar. In other words, the same partakes of the nature of a suit against the state and may not be maintained without its consent.


Festejo vs Fernando Case Digest

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