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Victoria Amigable vs.

Nicolas Cuenca
G.R. No. L-26400, February 29, 1972
Makalintal, J.:

Facts:

Victoria Amigable is the is the registered owner of a lot which, without prior expropriation
proceedings or negotiated sale, was used by the government. Amigable's counsel wrote the
President of the Philippines requesting payment of the portion of her lot which had been
expropriated by the government.

Amigable later filed a case against Cuenca, the Commissioner of Public Highways, for
recovery of ownership and possession of the said lot. She also sought payment for comlensatory
damages, moral damages and attorney's fees.

The defendant said that the case was (1) that the action was premature, the claim not having
been filed first with the Office of the Auditor General; (2) that the right of action for the recovery
of any amount which might be due the plaintiff, if any, had already prescribed; (3) that the action
being a suit against the Government, the claim for moral damages, attorney's fees and costs had
no valid basis since as to these items the Government had not given its consent to be sued; and (4)
that inasmuch as it was the province of Cebu that appropriated and used the area involved in the
construction of Mango Avenue, plaintiff had no cause of action against the defendants.

On July 29, 1959 said court rendered its decision holding that it had no jurisdiction over
the plaintiff's cause of action for the recovery of possession and ownership of the portion of her
lot in question on the ground that the government cannot be sued without its consent; that it had
neither original nor appellate jurisdiction to hear, try and decide plaintiff's claim for compensatory
damages in the sum of P50,000.00, the same being a money claim against the government; and
that the claim for moral damages had long prescribed, nor did it have jurisdiction over said claim
because the government had not given its consent to be sued.

Issues:

Whether the appellant may properly sue the government.

Held:

Where the government takes away property from a private landowner for public use
without going through the legal process of expropriation or negotiated sale, the aggrieved party
may properly maintain a suit against the government without violating the doctrine of
governmental immunity from suit.

The doctrine of immunity from suit cannot serve as an instrument for perpetrating an
injustice to a citizen. The only relief available is for the government to make do compensation
which it could and should have done years ago. To determine just compensation of the land, the
basis should be the price or value at the time of the taking.