Section 1. The complaint. — The right of eminent domain shall be exercised by the filing of a verified complaint which shall state with certainty the right and purpose of expropriation, describe the real or personal property sought to be expropriated, and join as defendants all persons owning or claiming to own, or occupying, any part thereof or interest therein, showing, so far as practicable, the separate interest of each defendant. If the title to any property sought to be expropriated appears to be in the Republic of the Philippines, although occupied by private individuals, or if the title is otherwise obscure or doubtful so that the plaintiff cannot with accuracy or certainty specify who are the real owners, averment to that effect shall be made in the complaint. (1a)
Section 2. Entry of plaintiff upon depositing value with authorized government depositary. — Upon the filing of the complaint or at any time thereafter and after due notice to the defendant, the plaintiff shall have the right to take or enter upon the possession of the real property involved if he deposits with the authorized government depositary an amount equivalent to the assessed value of the property for purposes of taxation to be held by such bank subject to the orders of the court. Such deposit shall be in money, unless in lieu thereof the court authorizes the deposit of a certificate of deposit of a government bank of the Republic of the Philippines payable on demand to the authorized government depositary.
If personal property is involved, its value shall be provisionally ascertained and the amount to be deposited shall be promptly fixed by the court.
After such deposit is made the court shall order the sheriff or other proper officer to forthwith place the plaintiff in possession of the property involved and promptly submit a report thereof to the court with service of copies to the parties. (2a)
Section 3. Defenses and objections. — If a defendant has no objection or defense to the action or the taking of his property, he may file and serve a notice of appearance and a manifestation to that effect, specifically designating or identifying the property in which he claims to be interested, within the time stated in the summons. Thereafter, he shall be entitled to notice of all proceedings affecting the same.
If a defendant has any objection to the filing of or the allegations in the complaint, or any objection or defense to the taking of his property, he shall serve his answer within the time stated in the summons. The answer shall specifically designate or identify the property in which he claims to have an interest, state the nature and extent of the interest claimed, and adduce all his objections and defenses to the taking of his property. No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint shall be alleged or allowed in the answer or any subsequent pleading.
A defendant waives all defenses and objections not so alleged but the court, in the interest of justice, may permit amendments to the answer to be made not later than ten (10) days from the filing thereof. However, at the trial of the issue of just compensation whether or not a defendant has previously appeared or answered, he may present evidence as to the amount of the compensation to be paid for his property, and he may share in the distribution of the award. (n)
Section 4. Order of expropriation. — If the objections to and the defenses against the right of the plaintiff to expropriate the property are overruled, or when no party appears to defend as required by this Rule, the court may issue an order of expropriation declaring that the plaintiff has a lawful right to take the property sought to be expropriated, for the public use or purpose described in the complaint, upon the payment of just compensation to be determined as of the date of the taking of the property or the filing of the complaint, whichever came first.
A final order sustaining the right to expropriate the property may be appealed by any party aggrieved thereby. Such appeal, however, shall not prevent the court from determining the just compensation to be paid.
After the rendition of such an order, the plaintiff shall not be permitted to dismiss or discontinue the proceeding except on such terms as the court deems just and equitable. (4a)
Section 5. Ascertainment of compensation. — Upon the rendition of the order of expropriation, the court shall appoint not more than three (3) competent and disinterested persons as commissioners to ascertain and report to the court the just compensation for the property sought to be taken. The order of appointment shall designate the time and place of the first session of the hearing to be held by the commissioners and specify the time within which their report shall be submitted to the court.
Copies of the order shall be served on the parties. Objections to the appointment of any of the commissioners shall be filed with the court within ten (10) days from service, and shall be resolved within thirty (30) days after all the commissioners shall have received copies of the objections. (5a)
Section 6. Proceedings by commissioners. — Before entering upon the performance of their duties, the commissioners shall take and subscribe an oath that they will faithfully perform their duties as commissioners, which oath shall be filed in court with the other proceedings in the case. Evidence may be introduced by either party before the commissioners who are authorized to administer oaths on hearings before them, and the commissioners shall, unless the parties consent to the contrary, after due notice to the parties, to attend, view and examine the property sought to be expropriated and its surroundings, and may measure the same, after which either party may, by himself or counsel, argue the case. The commissioners shall assess the consequential damages to the property not taken and deduct from such consequential damages the consequential benefits to be derived by the owner from the public use or purpose of the property taken, the operation of its franchise by the corporation or the carrying on of the business of the corporation or person taking the property. But in no case shall the consequential benefits assessed exceed the consequential damages assessed, or the owner be deprived of the actual value of his property so taken. (6a)
Section 7. Report by commissioners and judgment thereupon. — The court may order the commissioners to report when any particular portion of the real estate shall have been passed upon by them, and may render judgment upon such partial report, and direct the commissioners to proceed with their work as to subsequent portions of the property sought to be expropriated, and may from time to time so deal with such property. The commissioners shall make a full and accurate report to the court of all their proceedings, and such proceedings shall not be effectual until the court shall have accepted their report and rendered judgment in accordance with their recommendations. Except as otherwise expressly ordered by the court, such report shall be filed within sixty (60) days from the date the commissioners were notified of their appointment, which time may be extended in the discretion of the court. Upon the filing of such report, the clerk of the court shall serve copies thereof on all interested parties, with notice that they are allowed ten (10) days within which to file objections to the findings of the report, if they so desire. (7a)
Section 8. Action upon commissioners‘ report. — Upon the expiration of the period of ten (10) days referred to in the preceding section, or even before the expiration of such period but after all the interested parties have filed their objections to the report or their statement of agreement therewith, the court may, after hearing, accept the report and render judgment in accordance therewith, or, for cause shown, it may recommit the same to the commissioners for further report of facts, or it may set aside the report and appoint new commissioners; or it may accept the report in part and reject it in part and it may make such order or render such judgment as shall secure to the plaintiff the property essential to the exercise of his right of expropriation, and to the defendant just compensation for the property so taken. (8a)
Section 9. Uncertain ownership; conflicting claims. — If the ownership of the property taken is uncertain, or there are conflicting claims to any part thereof, the court may order any sum or sums awarded as compensation for the property to be paid to the court for the benefit of the person adjudged in the same proceeding to be entitled thereto. But the judgment shall require the payment of the sum or sums awarded to either the defendant or the court before the plaintiff can enter upon the property, or retain it for the public use or purpose if entry has already been made. (9a)
Section 10. Rights of plaintiff after judgment and payment. — Upon payment by the plaintiff to the defendant of the compensation fixed by the judgment, with legal interest thereon from the taking of the possession of the property, or after tender to him of the amount so fixed and payment of the costs, the plaintiff shall have the right to enter upon the property expropriated and to appropriate it for the public use or purpose defined in the judgment, or to retain it should he have taken immediate possession thereof under the provisions of section 2 hereof. If the defendant and his counsel absent themselves from the court, or decline to receive the amount tendered, the same shall be ordered to be deposited in court and such deposit shall have the same effect as actual payment thereof to the defendant or the person ultimately adjudged entitled thereto. (10a)
Section 11. Entry not delayed by appeal; effect of reversal. — The right of the plaintiff to enter upon the property of the defendant and appropriate the same for public use or purpose shall not be delayed by an appeal from the judgment. But if the appellate court determines that plaintiff has no right of expropriation, judgment shall be rendered ordering the Regional Trial Court to forthwith enforce the restoration to the defendant of the possession of the property, and to determine the damages which the defendant sustained and may recover by reason of the possession taken by the plaintiff. (11a)
Section 12. Costs, by whom paid. — The fees of the commissioners shall be taxed as a part of the costs of the proceedings. All costs, except those of rival claimants litigating their claims, shall be paid by the plaintiff, unless an appeal is taken by the owner of the property and the judgment is affirmed, in which event the costs of the appeal shall be paid by the owner. (12a)
Section 13. Recording judgment, and its effect. — The judgment entered in expropriation proceedings shall state definitely, by an adequate description, the particular property or interest therein expropriated, and the nature of the public use or purpose for which it is expropriated. When real estate is expropriated, a certified copy of such judgment shall be recorded in the registry of deeds of the place in which the property is situated, and its effect shall be to vest in the plaintiff the title to the real estate so described for such public use or purpose. (13a)
Section 14. Power of guardian in such proceedings. — The guardian or guardian ad litem of a minor or of a person judicially declared to be incompetent may, with the approval of the court first had, do and perform on behalf of his ward any act, matter, or thing respecting the expropriation for public use or purpose of property belonging to such minor or person judicially declared to be incompetent, which such minor or person judicially declared to be incompetent could do in such proceedings if he were of age or competent. (14a)