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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
October-1995 Jurisprudence                 

  • Adm. Case No. 3745 October 2, 1995 - CYNTHIA B. ROSACIA v. BENJAMIN B. BULALACAO

  • G.R. No. 94702 October 2, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLITO ACUÑA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97143 October 2, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTURO FIGUEROA

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1325 October 4, 1995 - PABLO ESPAÑOLA v. VINCENT EDEN C. PANAY

  • G.R. No. 102672 October 4, 1995 - PANAY ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118533 October 4, 1995 - PABLO R OLIVAREZ v. SANDIGANBAYAN

  • Adm. Case No. 4405 October 6, 1995 - BIENVENIDO SANCHEZ v. GALILEO P. BRION

  • Adm. Matter No. P-93-972 October 6, 1995 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. MA. GORGONIA L. FLORES

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1006 October 6, 1995 - LERMA CHUA MARTINEZ v. ALDO MUÑOZ

  • G.R. No. 76490 October 6, 1995 - ISAGANI SABINIANO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 104604 & 111223 October 6, 1995 - NARCISO O. JAO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110634 October 6, 1995 - RUFINO O. ESLAO v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. Nos. 111206-08 October 6, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE, JR.

  • G.R. No. 116183 October 6, 1995 - RICARDO T. GLORIA v. SALVADOR P. DE GUZMAN, JR.

  • G.R. No. 117092 October 6, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO C. LAO

  • G.R. Nos. 118712 & 118745 October 6, 1995 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 120319 October 6, 1995 - LUZON DEVELOPMENT BANK v. ASS’N. OF LUZON DEV’T. BANK EMPLOYEES, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-93-1033 October 10, 1995 - MARIBETH CORDOVA, ET AL. v. EMMA C. LABAYEN

  • G.R. No. 117732 October 10, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS C. SALILING

  • G.R. No. 93915 October 11, 1995 - AUGUSTO EVANGELISTA v. NLRC

  • G.R. No. 99049 October 11, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO A. BARQUILLA

  • G.R. No. 117009 October 11, 1995 - SECURITY BANK & TRUST COMPANY, ET AL., v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118013-14 October 11, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DEMOSTHENES L. MAGALLANES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99263 October 12, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PACIFICO R. LAZARO

  • G.R. Nos. 119987-88 October 12, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORENZO B. VENERACION

  • Adm. Case No. 4380 October 13, 1995 - NICANOR GONZALES, ET AL., v. MIGUEL SABACAJAN

  • G.R. No. 103911 October 13, 1995 - EDGARDO E. LOPEZ v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL

  • G.R. Nos. 109373 & 112991 October 13, 1995 - PACIFIC BANKING CORP. EMPLOYEES ORG., ET AL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110015 October 13, 1995 - MANILA BAY CLUB CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 107101 October 16, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARLO S. RODICO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108515 October 16, 1995 - LUIS BALANTAKBO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110053 October 16, 1995 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 110544 October 17, 1995 - REYNALDO V. TUANDA, ET AL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 105649 October 18, 1995 - FLORO ENTERPRISES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111634 October 18, 1995 - KOMATSU INDUSTRIES (PHIL.), INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116062 October 18, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERTO BANTISIL, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 116462 October 18, 1995 - RENO FOODS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116910 October 18, 1995 - INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER TERMINAL SERVICES, INC., ET. AL. v. CA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 114841-42 October 20, 1995 - ATLANTIC GULF AND PACIFIC CO. OF MANILA, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103915 October 23, 1995 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. TELEFUNKEN SEMICONDUCTOR PHIL., INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106477 October 23, 1995 - GLOBE GENERAL SERVICES AND SECURITY AGENCY, ET AL. v. NLRC

  • G.R. No. 111837 October 24, 1995 - NEW YORK MARINE MANAGERS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112969-70 October 24, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO PADRE-E

  • G.R. No. 118584 October 24, 1995 - AURELIA S. GOMEZ v. PRESIDING JUDGE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120823 October 24, 1995 - HADJI HAMID PATORAY v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-92-716 October 25, 1995 - MA. BLYTH B. ABADILLA v. JOSE C. TABILIRAN, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-93-892 October 25, 1995 - SAN MANUEL WOOD PRODUCTS, INC. v. RAMON B. TUPAS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-907 October 25, 1995 - BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, ET AL. v. JOSELITO SD. GENEROSO, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-979 October 25, 1995 - EMERITO M. AGCAOILI v. ADOLFO B. MOLINA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1081 October 25, 1995 - VIRGINIA E. BURGOS v. JOSEFINA R. AQUINO

  • G.R. No. 95573 October 25, 1995 - GSIS v. NATIONAL FOOD AUTHORITY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99058 October 25, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIXBERTO FRANCISCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102976 October 25, 1995 - IRON AND STEEL AUTHORITY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 110815-16 October 25, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY SINATAO

  • G.R. No. 111688 October 25, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGAPITO @ "FELITOY" BRIOL, ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 112713 October 25, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE TAMPARONG, JR.

  • G.R. No. 108115 October 27, 1995 - PHILIPPINE SOAP BOX DERBY, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117083 October 27, 1995 - LAZARO V. KAVINTA v. PRUDENCIO ALTRE CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 112448 October 30, 1995 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGAPITO LOPEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115455, 115525, 115543, 115544, 115754, 115781, 115852, 115873 & 115931 October 30, 1995 - ARTURO M. TOLENTINO v. SECRETARY OF FINANCE, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. Nos. 118712 & 118745   October 6, 1995 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COURT OF APPEALS

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 118712. October 6, 1995.]

    LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, PEDRO L. YAP, HEIRS OF EMILIANO F. SANTIAGO, AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT CORP., Respondents.

    [G.R. No. 118745. October 6, 1995.]

    DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, represented by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, PEDRO L. YAP, HEIRS OF EMILIANO F. SANTIAGO, AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT CORP., ET AL., Respondents.

    Gonzales, Aquino & Associates for petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines.

    Fernando A. Santiago for Private Respondents.

    The Solicitor General for Respondents.


    SYLLABUS


    1. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM LAW; LAND ACQUISITION; SECTION 16(e) THEREOF CONSTRUED. — Section 16(c) of RA 6657 provides as follows: "Sec. 16. Procedure for Acquisition of Private Lands — . . . (e) Upon receipt by the landowner of the corresponding payment or, in case of rejection or no response from the landowner, upon the deposit with an accessible bank designated by the DAR of the compensation in cash or in LBP bonds in accordance with this Act, the DAR shall take immediate possession of the land and shall request the proper Register of Deeds to issue a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) in the name of the Republic of the Philippines. . . ." It is very explicit therefrom that the deposit must be made only in "cash" or in "LBP bonds." Nowhere does it appear nor can it be inferred that the deposit can be made in any other form. If it were the intention to include a "trust account" among the valid modes of deposit, that should have been made express, or at least, qualifying words ought to have appeared from which it can be fairly deduced that a "trust account" is allowed. In sum, there is no ambiguity in Section 16(e) of RA 6657 to warrant an expanded construction of the term "deposit."cralaw virtua1aw library

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; RULE IN CASE THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE BASIC LAW AND AN IMPLEMENTING RULE OR REGULATION; APPLICATION IN CASE AT BAR. — The conclusive effect of administrative construction is not absolute. Action of an administrative agency may be disturbed or set aside by the judicial department if there is an error of law, a grave abuse of power or lack of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion clearly conflicting with either the letter or the spirit of a legislative enactment. In this regard, it must be stressed that the function of promulgating rules and regulations may be legitimately exercised only for the purpose of carrying the provisions of the law into effect. The power of administrative agencies is thus confined to implementing the law or putting it into effect. Corollary to this is that administrative regulations cannot extend the law and amend a legislative enactment, for settled is the rule that administrative regulations must be in harmony with the provisions of the law. And in case there is a discrepancy between the basic law and an implementing rule or regulation, it is the former that prevails. In the present suit, the DAR clearly overstepped the limits of its power to enact rules and regulations when it issued Administrative Circular No. 9. There is no basis in allowing the opening of a trust account in behalf of the landowner as compensation for his property because, as heretofore discussed, Section 16(e) of RA 6657 is very specific that the deposit must be made only in "cash" or in "LBP bonds." In the same vein, petitioners cannot invoke LRA Circular Nos. 29, 29-A and 54 because these implementing regulations cannot outweigh the clear provision of the law. Respondent court therefore did not commit any error in striking down Administrative Circular No. 9 for being null and void.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; FAIR AND IMMEDIATE COMPENSATION MANDATED. — The ruling in the "Association" case merely recognized the extraordinary nature of the expropriation to be undertaken under RA 6657 thereby allowing a deviation from the traditional mode of payment of compensation and recognized payment other than in cash. It did not, however, dispense with the settled rule that there must be full payment of just compensation before the title to the expropriated property is transferred. The attempt to make a distinction between the deposit of compensation under Section 16(e) of RA 6657 and determination of just compensation under Section 18 is unacceptable. To withhold the right of the landowners to appropriate the amounts already deposited in their behalf as compensation for their properties simply because they rejected the DAR’s valuation, and notwithstanding that they have already been deprived of the possession and use of such properties, is an oppressive exercise of eminent domain. The irresistible expropriation of private respondents’ properties was painful enough for them. But petitioner DAR rubbed it in all the more by withholding that which rightfully belongs to private respondents in exchange for the taking, under an authority (the "Association" case) that is, however, misplaced. This is misery twice bestowed on private respondents, which the Court must rectify. Hence, we find it unnecessary to distinguish between provisional compensation under Section 16(e) and final compensation under Section 18 of purposes of exercising the landowner’s right to appropriate the same. The immediate effect in both situations is the same, the landowner is deprived of the use and possession of his property for which he should be fairly and immediately compensated. Fittingly, we reiterate the cardinal rule that: ". . . within the context of the State’s inherent power of eminent domain, 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. Without prompt payment, compensation cannot be considered ‘just’ for the property owner is made to suffer the consequence of being immediately deprived of his land while being made to wait for a decade or more before actually receiving the amount necessary to cope with his loss."


    D E C I S I O N


    FRANCISCO, J.:


    It has been declared that the duty of the court to protect the weak and the underprivileged should not be carried out to such an extent as deny justice to the landowner whenever truth and justice happen to be on his side. 1 As eloquently stated by Justice Isagani Cruz:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    ". . . social justice — or any justice for that matter — is for the deserving, whether he be a millionaire in his mansion or a pauper in his hovel. It is true that, in case of reasonable doubt, we are called upon to tilt the balance in favor of the poor, to whom the Constitution fittingly extends its sympathy and compassion. But never is it justified to prefer the poor simply because they are poor, or to reject the rich simply because they are rich, for justice must always be served, for poor and rich alike, according to the mandate of the law." 2

    In this agrarian dispute, it is once more imperative that the aforestated principles be applied in its resolution.

    Separate petitions for review were filed by petitioners Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) (G.R. No. 118745) and Land Bank of the Philippines (G.R. No. 118712) following the adverse ruling by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 33465. However, upon motion filed by private respondents, the petitions were ordered consolidated. 3

    Petitioners assail the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on October 20, 1994, which granted private respondents’ Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus and ruled as follows:chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    "WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus is hereby GRANTED:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a) DAR Administrative order No. 9, Series of 1990 is declared null and void insofar as it provides for the opening of trust accounts in lieu of deposits in cash or bonds;

    b) Respondent Landbank is ordered to immediately deposit — not merely ‘earmark’, ‘reserve’ or ‘deposit in trust’ — with an accessible bank designated by respondent DAR in the names of the following petitioners the following amounts in cash and in government financial instruments — within the parameters of Sec. 18 (1) of RA 6657:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    P1,455,207.31 Pedro L. Yap

    P135,482.12 Heirs of Emiliano Santiago

    P15,914,127.77 AMADCOR;

    c) The DAR-designated bank is ordered to allow the petitioners to withdraw the above-deposited amounts without prejudice to the final determination of just compensation by the proper authorities; and

    d) Respondent DAR is ordered to 1) immediately conduct summary administrative proceedings to determine the just compensation for the lands of the petitioners giving the petitioners 15 days from notice within which to submit evidence and to 2) decide the cases within 30 days after they are submitted for decision." 4chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary

    Likewise, petitioners seek the reversal of the Resolution dated January 18, 1995, 5 denying their motion for reconsideration.

    Private respondents are landowners whose landholdings were acquired by the DAR and subjected to transfer schemes to qualified beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL, Republic Act No. 6657).

    Aggrieved by the alleged lapses of the DAR and the Landbank with respect to the valuation and payment of compensation for their land pursuant to the provisions of RA 6657, private respondents filed with this Court a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction. Private respondents questioned the validity of DAR Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 1992 6 and DAR Administrative Order No. 9, Series of 1990, 7 and sought to compel the DAR to expedite the pending summary administrative proceedings to finally determine the just compensation of their properties, and the Landbank to deposit in cash and bonds the amounts respectively "earmarked", "reserved" and "deposited in trust accounts" for private respondents, and to allow them to withdraw the same.

    Through a Resolution of the Second Division dated February 9, 1994, this Court referred the petition to respondent Court of Appeals for proper determination and disposition.

    As found by respondent court, the following are undisputed:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Petitioner Pedro Yap alleges that ‘(o)n 4 September 1992 the transfer certificates of title (TCTs) of petitioner Yap were totally cancelled by the Registrar of Deeds of Leyte and were transferred in the names of farmer beneficiaries collectively, based on the request of the DAR together with a certification of the Landbank that the sum of P735,337.77 and P719,869.54 have been earmarked for Landowner Pedro L. Yap for the parcels of lands covered by TCT Nos. 6282 and 6283 respectively, and is issued in lieu thereof TC-563 and TC-562, respectively, in the names of listed beneficiaries (ANNEXES ‘C’ & D’) without notice to petitioner Yap and without complying with the requirement of Section 16 (e) of RA 6657 to deposit the compensation in cash and Landbank bonds in an accessible bank.’ (Rollo, p. 6).

    "The above allegations are not disputed by any of the respondents.

    "Petitioner Heirs of Emiliano Santiago allege that the heirs of Emiliano F. Santiago are the owners of a parcel of land located at Laur, NUEVA ECIJA with an area of 18.5615 hectares covered by TCT No. NT-60359 of the registry of Deeds of Nueva Ecija, registered in the name of the late Emiliano F. Santiago; that in November and December 1990, without notice to the petitioners, the Landbank required and the beneficiaries executed Actual tillers Deed of Undertaking (ANNEX ‘B’) to pay rentals to the Landbank for the use of their farmlots equivalent to at least 25% of the net harvest; that on 24 October 1991 the DAR Regional Director issued an order directing the Landbank to pay the landowner directly or through the establishment of a trust fund in the amount of P135,482.12; that on 24 February 1992, the Landbank reserved in trust P135,482.12 in the name of Emiliano F. Santiago. (ANNEX ‘E’; Rollo, p. 7); that the beneficiaries stopped paying rentals to the landowners after they signed the Actual Tiller’s Deed of Undertaking committing themselves to pay rentals to the Landbank (Rollo, p. 133).

    "The above allegations are not disputed by the respondents except that respondent Landbank claims 1) that it was respondent DAR, not Landbank which required the execution of Actual Tillers Deed of Undertaking (ATDU, for brevity); and 2) that respondent Landbank, although armed with the ATDU, did not collect any amount as rental from the substituting beneficiaries (Rollo, p. 99).chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    "Petitioner Agricultural Management and Development Corporation (AMADCOR, for brevity) alleges — with respect to its properties located in San Francisco, Quezon — that the properties of AMADCOR in San Francisco, Quezon consist of a parcel of land covered by TCT No. 34314 with an area of 209.9215 hectares and another parcel covered by TCT No. 10832 with an area of 163.6189 hectares: that a summary administrative proceeding to determine compensation of the property covered by TCT No. 34314 was conducted by the DARAB in Quezon City without notice to the landowner; that a decision was rendered on 24 November 1992 (ANNEX ‘F’) fixing compensation for the parcel of land covered by TCT No. 34314 with an area of 209.9215 hectares at P2,768,326.34 and ordering the Landbank to pay or establish a trust account for said amount in the name of AMADCOR; and that the trust account in the amount of P2,768,326.34 fixed in the decision was established by adding P1,986,489.73 to the first trust account established on 19 December 1991 (ANNEX ‘G’). With respect to petitioner AMADCOR’s property in Tabaco, Albay, it is alleged that the property of AMADCOR in Tabaco, Albay is covered by TCT No. T-2466 of the Register of Deeds of Albay with an area of 1,629.4578 hectares’; that emancipation patents were issued covering an area of 701.8999 hectares which were registered on 15 February 1988 but no action was taken thereafter by the DAR to fix the compensation for said land; that on 21 April 1993, a trust account in the name of AMADCOR was established in the amount of P12,247,217.83’, three notices of acquisition having been previously rejected by AMADCOR. (Rollo, pp. 8-9)

    "The above allegations are not disputed by the respondents except that respondent Landbank claims that petitioner failed to participate in the DARAB proceedings (land valuation case) despite due notice to it (Rollo, p. 100)." 8

    Private respondents argued that Administrative Order No. 9. Series of 1990 was issued without jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion because it permits the opening of trust accounts by the Landbank, in lieu of depositing in cash or bonds in an accessible bank designated by the DAR, the compensation for the land before it is taken and the titles are cancelled as provided under Section 16(e) of RA 6657. 9 Private respondents also assail the fact that the DAR and the Landbank merely "earmarked", "deposited in trust" or "reserved" the compensation in their names as landowners despite the clear mandate that before taking possession of the property, the compensation must be deposited in cash or in bonds. 10chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    Petitioner DAR, however, maintained that Administrative Order No. 9 is a valid exercise of its rule-making power pursuant to Section 49 of RA 6657. 11 Moreover, the DAR maintained that the issuance of the "Certificate of Deposit" by the Landbank was a substantial compliance with Section 16(e) of RA 6657 and the ruling in the case of Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc., Et. Al. v. Hon. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, G.R. No. 78742, July 14, 1989 (175 SCRA 343). 12

    For its part, petitioner Landbank declared that the issuance of the Certificates of Deposits was in consonance with Circular Nos. 29, 29-A and 54 of the Land Registration Authority where the words "reserved/deposited" were also used. 13

    On October 20, 1994, the respondent court rendered the assailed decision in favor of private respondents. 14 Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but respondent court denied the same. 15

    Hence, the instant petitions.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    On March 20, 1995, private respondents filed a motion to dismiss the petition in G.R. No. 118745 alleging that the appeal has no merit and is merely intended to delay the finality of the appealed decision. 16 The Court, however, denied the motion and instead required the respondents to file their comments. 17

    Petitioners submit that respondent court erred in (1) declaring as null and void DAR Administrative Order No. 9, Series of 1990, insofar as it provides for the opening of trust accounts in lieu of deposit in cash or in bonds, and (2) in holding that private respondents are entitled as a matter of right to the immediate and provisional release of the amounts deposited in trust pending the final resolution of the cases it has filed for just compensation.

    Anent the first assignment of error, petitioners maintain that the word "deposit" as used in Section 16(e) of RA 6657 referred merely to the act of depositing and in no way excluded the opening of a trust account as a form of deposit. Thus, in opting for the opening of a trust account as the acceptable form of deposit through Administrative Circular No. 9, petitioner DAR did not commit any grave abuse of discretion since it merely exercised its power to promulgate rules and regulations in implementing the declared policies of RA 6657.chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary

    The contention is untenable. Section .16(e) of RA 6657 provides as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "SECTION 16. Procedure for Acquisition of Private Lands. — . . .

    (e) Upon receipt by the landowner of the corresponding payment or, in case of rejection or no response from the landowner, upon the deposit with an accessible bank designated by the DAR of the compensation in cash or in LBP bonds in accordance with this Act, the DAR shall take immediate possession of the land and shall request the proper Register of Deeds to issue a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) in the name of the Republic of the Philippines . . ." (Emphasis supplied)

    It is very explicit therefrom that the deposit must be made only in "cash" or in "LBP bonds." Nowhere does it appear nor can it be inferred that the deposit can be made in any other form. If it were the intention to include a "trust account" among the valid modes of deposit, that should have been made express, or at least, qualifying words ought to have appeared from which it can be fairly deduced that a "trust account" is allowed. In sum, there is no ambiguity in Section 16(e) of RA 6657 to warrant an expanded construction of the term "deposit" .

    The conclusive effect of administrative construction is not absolute. Action of an administrative agency may be disturbed or set aside by the judicial department if there is an error of law, a grave abuse of power or lack of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion clearly conflicting with either the letter or the spirit of a legislative enactment. 18 In this regard, it must be stressed that the function of promulgating rules and regulations may be legitimately exercised only for the purpose of carrying the provisions of the law into effect. The power of administrative agencies is thus confined to implementing the law or putting it into effect. Corollary to this is that administrative regulations cannot extend the law and amend a legislative enactment, 19 for settled is the rule that administrative regulations must be in harmony with the provisions of the law. And in case there is a discrepancy between the basic law and an implementing rule or regulation, it is the former that prevails. 20

    In the present suit, the DAR clearly overstepped the limits of its power to enact rules and regulations when it issued Administrative Circular No. 9. There is no basis in allowing the opening of a trust account in behalf of the landowner as compensation for his property because, as heretofore discussed, Section 16(e) of RA 6657 is very specific that the deposit must be made only in "cash" or in "LBP bonds." In the same vein, petitioners cannot invoke LRA Circular Nos. 29, 29-A and 54 because these implementing regulations cannot outweigh the clear provision of the law. Respondent court therefore did not commit any error in striking down Administrative Circular No. 9 for being null and void.

    Proceeding to the crucial issue of whether or not private respondents are entitled to withdraw the amounts deposited in trust in their behalf pending the final resolution of the cases involving the final valuation of their properties, petitioners assert the negative.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    The contention is premised on the alleged distinction between the deposit of compensation under Section 16(e) of RA 6657 and payment of final compensation as provided under Section 18 21 of the same law. According to petitioners, the right of the landowner to withdraw the amount deposited in his behalf pertains only to the final valuation as agreed upon by the landowner, the DAR and the LBP or that adjudged by the court. It has no reference to amount deposited in the trust account pursuant to Section 16(e) in case of rejection by the landowner because the latter amount is only provisional and intended merely to secure possession of the property pending final valuation. To further bolster the contention petitioners cite the following pronouncements in the case of "Association of Small Landowners in the Phil. Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform." 22

    "The last major challenge to CARP is that the landowner is divested of his property even before actual payment to him in full of just compensation, in contravention of a well-accepted principle of eminent domain.

    x       x       x


    "The CARP Law, for its part conditions the transfer of possession and ownership of the land to the government on receipt by the landowner of the corresponding payment or the deposit by the DAR of the compensation in cash or LBP bonds with an accessible bank. Until then, title also remains with the landowner. No outright change of ownership is contemplated either.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    x       x       x


    "Hence the argument that the assailed measures violate due process by arbitrarily transferring title before the land is fully paid for must also be rejected."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Notably, however, the aforecited case was used by respondent court in discarding petitioners’ assertion as it found that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . despite the ‘revolutionary’ character of the expropriation envisioned under RA 6657 which led the Supreme Court, in the case of Association of Small Landowners in the Phil. Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform (175 SCRA 343), to conclude that ‘payments of the just compensation is not always required to be made fully in money’ — even as the Supreme Court admits in the same case ‘that the traditional medium for the payment of just compensation is money and no other’ — the Supreme Court in said case did not abandon the ‘recognized rule . . . that title to the property expropriated shall pass from the owner to the expropriator only upon full payment of the just compensation." 23 (Emphasis supplied)chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary

    We agree with the observations of respondent court. The ruling in the "Association" case merely recognized the extraordinary nature of the expropriation to be undertaken under RA 6657 thereby allowing a deviation from the traditional mode of payment of compensation and recognized payment other than in cash. It did not, however, dispense with the settled rule that there must be full payment of just compensation before the title to the expropriated property is transferred.

    The attempt to make a distinction between the deposit of compensation under Section 16(e) of RA 6657 and determination of just compensation under Section 18 is unacceptable. To withhold the right of the landowners to appropriate the amounts already deposited in their behalf as compensation for their properties simply because they rejected the DAR’s valuation, and notwithstanding that they have already been deprived of the possession and use of such properties, is an oppressive exercise of eminent domain. The irresistible expropriation of private respondents’ properties was painful enough for them. But petitioner DAR rubbed it in all the more by withholding that which rightfully belongs to private respondents in exchange for the taking, under an authority (the "Association" case) that is, however, misplaced. This is misery twice bestowed on private respondents, which the Court must rectify.

    Hence, we find it unnecessary to distinguish between provisional compensation under Section 16(e) and final compensation under Section 18 for purposes of exercising the landowners’ right to appropriate the same. The immediate effect in both situations is the same, the landowner is deprived of the use and possession of his property for which he should be fairly and immediately compensated. Fittingly, we reiterate the cardinal rule that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . within the context of the State’s inherent power of eminent domain, 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. Without prompt payment, compensation cannot be considered ‘just’ for the property owner is made to suffer the consequence of being immediately deprived of his land while being made to wait for a decade or more before actually receiving the amount necessary to cope with his loss." 24 (Emphasis supplied)

    The promulgation of the "Association" decision endeavored to remove all legal obstacles in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and clear the way for the true freedom of the farmer. 25 But despite this, cases involving its implementation continue to multiply and clog the courts’ dockets. Nevertheless, we are still optimistic that the goal of totally emancipating the farmers from their bondage will be attained in due time. It must be stressed, however, that in the pursuit of this objective, vigilance over the rights of the landowners is equally important because social justice cannot be invoked to trample on the rights of property owners, who under our Constitution and laws are also entitled to protection. 26

    WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit and the appealed decision is AFFIRMED in toto.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Regalado, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

    Narvasa, C.J., is on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Gelos v. Court of Appeals, 208 SCRA 608. 615 (1992), quoting Justice Alicia Sempio-Diy.

    2. Ibid, p. 616.

    3. Rollo, p. 7.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    4. Rollo, pp. 122-123.

    5. Rollo, p. 149.

    6. which provides formulas for valuation of land expropriated under RA 6657.

    7. which provide for the opening of trust accounts in the Land Bank instead of depositing in accessible bank, in cash and bonds, the compensation for land expropriated by the DAR.

    8. Rollo, pp. 109-111.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    9. Sec. 16. Procedure for Acquisition of Private Lands. — For the purposes of acquisition of private lands, the following shall be followed:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    (e) Upon receipt by the landowner of the corresponding payment or, in case rejection or no response from the landowner, upon the deposit with an accessible bank designated by the DAR of the compensation in cash in LBP bonds in accordance with this Act, the DAR shall take immediate possession of the land and shall request the proper Register of Deeds to issue a Transfer Certificate of Titles (TCT) in the name of the Republic of the Philippines. The DAR shall thereafter proceed with the redistribution of the land to the qualified beneficiaries.

    10. Rollo, p. 111.

    11. Sec. 49. Rules and Regulations. — The PARC and the DAR shall have the power to issue rules and regulations, whether substantive or procedural, to carry out the objects and purposes of this Act . . . Said rules shall take effect ten (10) days after the publication in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

    12. Rollo, pp. 111-112.

    13. Rollo, p. 112.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    14. Rollo, p. 107.

    15. Rollo, p. 149.

    16. Rollo, p. 63.

    17. Rollo. p. 67.

    18. Peralta v. Civil Service Commission 212 SCRA 425, 432 (1992).

    19. Toledo v. Civil Service Commission 202 SCRA 507, 54 (1991) citing Teoxon v. Members of the Board of Administrators, Philippine Veterans Administration, 33 SCRA 585, 589 (1970), citing Santos v. Estenzo, 109 Phil. 419 (1960); Animos v. Phil. Veterans Affairs Office, 174 SCRA 214, 223-224.

    20. Shell Philippines, Inc. v. Central Bank of the Philippines, 162 SCRA 628 (1988).chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    21. Section 18. Valuation and Mode of Compensation. — The LBP shall compensate the landowner in such amount as may be agreed upon by the landowner and the DAR and LBP in accordance with the criteria provided for in Sections 16 and 17 and other pertinent provisions hereof, or as may be finally determined by the court as the compensation for the land.

    22. 175 SCRA 343.

    23. Decision, Court of Appeals, p. 14.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    24. Municipality of Makati v. Court of Appeals, 190 SCRA 207, 213 (1990) citing Cosculluela v. The Hon. Court of Appeals, 164 SCRA 393 400 (1988); Provincial Government of Sorsogon v. Vda. de Villaroya, 153 SCRA 291, 302 (1987).

    25. 175 SCRA 343, 392.

    26. Mata v. Court of Appeals, 207 SCRA 748, 753 (1992).

    G.R. Nos. 118712 & 118745   October 6, 1995 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COURT OF APPEALS


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