“Kung hindi nagbayad ang gobyerno, para na rin po itong pagnanakaw.”
Pasig reelectionist Mayor Vico Sotto disclosed that they have discovered past city administrations failing to pay owners of properties that were expropriated by the government in the ’90s.
The mayor’s revelation is part of his social media posts during the 45-day campaign period for the local elections, particularly under “day 15 of 45.”
Sotto is once again gunning for the mayoral seat in Pasig for the 2022 local elections. His running mate is vice mayoral bet Dodot Jaworski.
“Alam niyo bang ang dami naming natutuklasan na mga lupang kinuha ng LGU (local government unit) nung 1990s pa, pero hindi binayaran? Sa batas, pwedeng mag-expropriate ang gobyerno para sa public use basta’t may ‘wastong kabayaran,'” Sotto wrote on Facebook on the 15th day of the campaign period.
“Kung hindi nagbayad ang gobyerno, para na rin po itong pagnanakaw. Isipin natin kung sa atin nangyari ito. Ngayon, tinatama na natin ang mga maling nangyari noon,” he added.
Sotto accompanied his post with a picture of a document noting that in 1996, the city government allegedly expropriated a 64 square meter property in Barangay Sto. Tomas.
At that time, Vicente Eusebio was the city chief who held the position from 1992 to 2001.
Based on the document, the expropriated property’s value was pegged at P16,500 per square meter by the Pasig City Appraisal Committee before.
Sotto similarly shared his post on Twitter, where it has gained 21,300 likes, more than 2,800 and 560 retweets and quote tweets, respectively, as Filipinos praised his efforts to prioritize transparency and accountability in governance.
“Salamat Vico at pinaalam niyo sa amin na kayo ay tapat na maglilingkod,” a Twitter user commented.
“Ganito dapat kasi lahat na ginagawa ng mga nakaupo. Labyu, Mayor!” another online user exclaimed.
“The things you experience when you voted for leaders with right conviction and integrity,” a different Filipino commented.
Others called for Pinoys to vote for “right people” who embody similar characteristics when it comes to public service.
“Imagine what other politicians would’ve done in this situation. Not this. This is what happens when we vote for the right people to govern us. Sana matuto ang buong Pilipinas sa Pasig,” a Twitter user commented.
“AAAAAHHH. Imagine having this kind of governance after this year’s election?” another online user said with a nail polish emoji.
On private properties
The Local Government Code of 1991, also known as Republic Act 7160, states that a local government may “exercise the power of eminent domain for public use, or purpose or welfare for the benefit of the poor and the landless, upon payment of just compensation, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution and pertinent laws.”
“Provided, however, that the power of eminent domain may not be exercised unless a valid and definite offer has been previously made to the owner, and such offer was not accepted,” it added.
“Provided, further, that the local government unit may immediately take possession of the property upon the filing of the expropriation proceedings and upon making a deposit with the proper court of at least fifteen percent (15%) of the fair market value of the property based on the current tax declaration of the property to be expropriated,” the provision further said.
According to former Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña, “the taking of private property for expropriation can only be validly done if there is genuine necessity and the necessity is public in character.”
He also said that the owner must be “justly compensated” as stated in the law.
“Meaning the owner must be paid in a timely or prompt manner of an adequate value sufficient to recoup the loss suffered by the property owner,” La Viña said.
“As explained in Yujuico v. Atienza, just compensation means not only the correct determination of the amount to be paid to the owner of the land but also the payment of the land within a reasonable time from its taking,” he added, referring to a Supreme Court decision.
“Without prompt payment, compensation cannot be considered ‘just’ for the property owner is made to suffer the consequence of being immediately deprived of his/her land while being made to wait for 5 years,” La Viña further said.