Expropriation: SSS vs NGCP

Expropriation: SSS vs NGCP

Rocky Gonzales - Cocky Rocky

During the time of PNoy, a highly questionable ruling through a Complaint of Expropriation was released in favor of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) against land owned by the SSS.

How does a private contractor invoke a government power against the Social Security System (SSS) to acquire land intended for the public?

The Complaint of Expropriation is the right of government, or government-owned or government-led companies to force a sale of a property.

The SSS land is a government property owned by the 34M members and 2M pensioners who have dutifully paid their SSS dues. On the other hand, the NGCP is a private corporation led by Henry Sy Jr and Robert Coyiuto Jr under contract with government-owned and controlled TRANSCO that operates and manages our national power transmission since 2001.

By virtue of their contract with TRANSCO, they have governmental agency power for expansion which circumvents our article on expropriation in the constitution. BUT what is even more curious are the following events:

1) 16 July 2015- NGCP files a complaint of expropriation against SSS where they offered to buy 42,218 sq m at Php 3k per sq m

2) 27 July 2015- RA 10752 was enacted by Congress which states:

“SEC. 4. Modes of Acquiring Real Property. – The government may acquire real property needed as right-of-way site or location for any national government infrastructure project through donation, negotiated sale, expropriation, or any other mode of acquisition as provided by law.

In case of lands granted through Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, otherwise known as “The Public Land Act”, the implementing agency shall:

(a) Follow the other modes of acquisition enumerated in this Act, if the landowner is not the original patent holder and any previous acquisition of said land is not through a gratuitous title; or

(b) Follow the provisions under Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, regarding acquisition of right-of-way on patent lands, if the landowner is the original patent holder or the acquisition of the land from the original patent holder is through a gratuitous title.”

3) 26 May 2016- NGCP increased the expropriated land to 60,872 sq m at Php 24k per sq m which is a total of Php 1.45B for a parcel of land with a zonal value (lowest appraisal value) of over Php 11B. This means that they pretended to offer more for the land which in reality will make SSS lose over Php 10B (maybe up to a Php 100B in a fair market value of the land)!

So…

NGCP’s Henry Sy Jr aka SM Corp stands to gain from the sale of SSS aka our land. From our hard earned money which we pay to the SSS, we stand to lose anywhere from Php 10B (zonal value) all the way to even over a Php 100B (fair market value) in this Complaint of Expropriation. This is another honey deal signed and sealed during Noynoy’s incompetent stay in Malacañan.

Are we protected against this abuse?

Yes. The limitations of the state to exercise the right of eminent domainare:

1) the land being taken must be for public use

2) the compensation for the property must be just

The issue between SSS vs NGCP has been escalated to the Supreme Court for certiorari. The case is now between the constitutionality of the act of expropriation against the limits of eminent domain. But to the rest of us ordinary SSS members amd pensioners, the legalese is merely a cover for the battle is about the rights of the ordinary citizens against the oligarchy.

Will justice prevail? Change has come to the executive branch of government. The legislative is trailing behind. But our cares and woes have fallen into hands of judiciary. Has justice returned to the Philippines? We have yet to see. Only time can tell.


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