SC asked to stop NGCP acquisition of SSS lot in Pasay
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court was asked on Wednesday, May 10, to stop the expropriation of a portion of Social Security Service (SSS) property in Pasay City to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
The lot in question is worth P1.4 billion. It is located at the Financial Center area in Pasay City, where NGCP wants to build a substation to accommodate increasing demand for electricity in the Greater Manila Area.
The SSS, through Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGGC), filed on Wednesday a 16-page petition seeking a status quo ante order and writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to stop a ruling of a Pasay regional trial court (RTC) allowing NGCP to take over the lot.
SSS and NGCP have different interpretations of Republic Act 10752 – the Act of Facilitating the Acquisition of Right-of-Way Site or Location for National Government Infrastructure Projects.
NGCP cited the law when it asked Pasay City regional trial court (RTC) Judge Gina M. Bibat-Palamos, acting Presiding Judge of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC), for an urgent motion for the issuance of a writ of possession of the 60,872 square meter-property of the SSS property in Pasay City.
Th NGCP motion was granted in March 2017. SSS filed a motion for reconsideration but it was dismissed in April.
The Supreme Court petition argued that only OGCC and Office of the Solicitor General could initiate expropriation proceedings for any right-of-way site or location for government infrastructures.
OGCC said NGCP "condescendingly arrogated upon itself the authority to initiate expropriation proceedings without seeking the required authority of the Office of the Solicitor General or OGCC in compliance with RA 10752."
"NGCP’s delegated authority to exercise the right of eminent domain does not automatically vest it with the power to acquire property already devoted to public use, as this requires a specific grant from the national legislature,” the OGCC added.
OGCC also argued that the law does not apply because NGCP is a private entity and SSS has a public character.
“The lack of authority on the part of NGCP to expropriate government property is too obvious that it cannot be overlooked. Even more, the consequence of such ignorance is far-reaching that the government is deprived of exercising full ownership over its own property to the direct prejudice of the more than 34 million pensioners that the SSS committedly serves,” the OGCC said.
SSS said the RTC judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the said orders. – Rappler.com