The Supreme Court has designated eleven special courts mandated to exclusively hear, try and decide expropriation cases involving national government infrastructure projects.
In a Memorandum Circular No. 08-2020, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta assigned 11 regional trial courts as “Special Expropriation Courts for Public Roads” which are authorized to expeditiously resolve expropriation cases filed by the national government, in connection with its infrastructure projects in their respective jurisdictions.
“To address the impending volume of expropriation cases to be filed before the courts, eleven RTCs may be initially designated as “Special Expropriation Courts for Public Roads” to hear, try and decide expropriation cases involving national government infrastructure projects in their respective territorial jurisdictions, which number may be increased upon the recommendation of the (Department of Public Works and Highways) DPWH of key cities with priority infrastructure projects,” Peralta said, in a memorandum copy of which it furnished to the media on Monday.
“The designated Special Expropriation Courts for Public Roads shall have jurisdiction over newly-filed expropriation cases involving national government infrastructure projects in their respective jurisdictions,” added the memorandum adopted last August 11, 2020.
The creation of the special expropriation courts was in response to the request for assistance sought by Public Works Secretary Mark Villar for the Office of the Chief Justice and the Office of the Court Administrator to look into the possibility of adopting mechanism on how to speed up resolution of expropriation cases involving national government infrastructure projects.
In a June 19, 2020 letter, Villar sought the assistance of the Chief Justice and the Court Administrator to “look into the possibility of
considering expropriation proceedings for the acquisition of right-of-way for priority `Build, Build, Build’ projects of the DPWH as an `urgent matter’ and in connection thereto, issue policy and procedural guidelines for efficient handling of expropriation cases involving national government infrastructure projects and for immediate issuance of writ of possession during community quarantine.”
Previously, several Regional Development Councils from the Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Visayas and SOCCSKSARGEN Region have
also requested the Supreme Court to designate special courts to handle expropriation cases.
The DPWH informed the Chief Justice of its ongoing big ticket projects, particularly the Cavite-Laguna Expressway Project,
and the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road Project, which involve a combined total of 308 filed expropriation cases, currently pending before several RTCs in the cities of Imus, Trece Martires, Dasmarinas, Tagaytay, Caloocan and Manila.
“In relation to the two . . . projects, the DPWH is expected to file an estimated 902 expropriation cases before the RTCs in the cities of Imus, Trece Martires, Dasmarinas, Tagaytay, Caloocan and Manila, in the coming months,” the SC noted.
The SC said that the 11 RTCs acting as “Special Expropriation Courts for Public Roads” to speed up resolution of expropriation cases to be filed by the DPWH, will be composed of Presiding Judge Amabel R. Robles-Buenaluz of Branch 20, RTC Imus City; Executive Judge Mary Charlene V. Hernandez-Azura of Branch 22, RTC Imus City; Presiding Judge Purificacion A. Baring-Tuvera of Branch 23, RTC Trece
Martires City; Vice Executive Judge Jean Susan V. Desuado-Gill of Branch 131, RTC Trece Martires City; Presiding Judge Francisco Victor Collado of Branch 90, RTC Dasmarinas City; Presiding Judge Gian Enrico C. Navarro of Branch 133, RTC Tagaytay City; Presiding Judge Michael C. Maranan of Branch 134, RTC Tagaytay City; Presiding Judge Rosalia Hipolito-Bunagan of Branch 232, RTC Caloocan City; Presiding Judge Tammy Ann Reyes-Mendillo of Branch 22, RTC Manila City; Presiding Judge Carolina Sison of Branch 18, RTC Manila City; and Presiding Judge James Sy of Branch 49, RTC Manila City.
Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen concurred with the designation of the special courts for expropriation cases of the national government.