Amigable vs Cuenca; G.R. No. L-26400; 29 Feb 1972; 43 SCRA 360

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Petitioner is the registered owner of a lot which, without prior expropriation proceedings or negotiated sale, was used by the government. Her counsel wrote the President of the Philippines requesting payment of the portion of her lot which had been expropriated by the government. She later filed a case against the Commissioner of Public Highways for recovery of ownership and possession of the said lot. She also sought payment for compensatory damages, moral damages and attorney’ fees.

Whether or not the appellant may properly sue the government for damages.

YES. 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 perpetuating an injustice to a citizen. The only relief available is for the government to make due compensation which it could and should have done years ago.

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