The Squatters Must Surrender | City of Manila v. Garcia (1967)

G.R. No. L-26053. February 21, 1967.

Facts:

Plaintiff City of Manila is owner of parcels of land, forming one compact area. Shortly after liberation. Shortly after liberation, from 1945 to 1947, defendants Garcia et. al. entered upon these premises without plaintiff’s knowledge and consent.  They built houses of second class materials, again without plaintiff’s knowledge and consent, and without the necessary building permits from the city. There they lived thru the years to the present.

In November, 1947, defendants were discovered and were given “lease contract” by Mayor Fugoso to occupy specific areas in the property.  Some received, but 23 exhibited no permits. When a school needed expansion, the City Engineer with Mayor’s directive, cleared the squatter’s houses on city property. Treasurer demanded payment. Defendants refused.

RTC: Favored the City. Squatters should pay.

Is the City’s act of clearing the illegal settlers valid? Yes.

When defendants built houses of second class materials thereon without the knowledge and consent of the City, without city permits — their constructions are illegal, and in familiar language they are known as squatters. Squatting is unlawful and no amount of acquiescence on the part of the city officials will elevate it into a lawful act. Official approval of squatting should not, therefore, be permitted to obtain in this country where there is an orderly form of government.

Should interest of squatters yield to school annex or public good? Yes.

The squatters’ houses and constructions clearly hinder and impair the use of the property for school purposes. The courts may well take judicial notice of the fact that construction of elementary grades school houses has been and still is a perennial problem in the city to which selfish interest of the squatters must yield. The public purpose of constructing the school building annex is paramount.

What do you call the houses of the squatters? Public nuisance.

Can the city abate these without the aids of courts? Yes.

The squatters’ houses and constructions aforesaid constitute public nuisance per se for the reason that they hinder and impair the use of the property for a badly needed school building, to the prejudice of the education of the youth of the land. This nuisance could well have been summarily abated by the city authorities even without the aid of courts.

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