Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 2017 > August 2017 Decisions > G.R. No. 190004, August 08, 2017 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EUGENIO DALAUTA, Respondent.:




G.R. No. 190004, August 08, 2017 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EUGENIO DALAUTA, Respondent.

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

G.R. No. 190004, August 08, 2017

LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EUGENIO DALAUTA, Respondent.

D E C I S I O N

MENDOZA, J.:

This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 seeks to review, reverse and set aside the September 18, 2009 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals-Cagayan de Oro (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 01222-MIN, modifying the May 30, 2006 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 5, Butuan City (RTC), sitting as Special Agrarian Court (SAC), in Civil Case No. 4972 - an action for determination of just compensation.

The Facts

Respondent Eugenio Dalauta (Dalauta) was the registered owner of an agricultural land in Florida, Butuan City, with an area of 25.2160 hectares and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-1624. The land was placed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) under compulsory acquisition of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) as reflected in the Notice of Coverage,3 dated January 17, 1994, which Dalauta received on February 7, 1994. Petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) offered P192,782.59 as compensation for the land, but Dalauta rejected such valuation for being too low.4

The case was referred to the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) through the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) of Butuan City. A summary administrative proceeding was conducted to determine the appropriate just compensation for the subject property. In its Resolution,5 dated December 4, 1995, the PARAD affirmed the valuation made by LBP in the amount of P192,782.59.

On February 28, 2000, Dalauta filed a petition for determination of just compensation with the RTC, sitting as SAC. He alleged that LBP's valuation of the land was inconsistent with the rules and regulations prescribed in DAR Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 06, series of 1992, for determining the just compensation of lands covered by CARP's compulsory acquisition scheme.

During the trial, the SAC constituted the Board of Commissioners (Commissioners) tasked to inspect the land and to make a report thereon. The Report of the Commissioners,6 dated July 10, 2002, recommended that the value of the land be pegged at 100,000.00 per hectare. With both Dalauta and the DAR objecting to the recommended valuation, the SAC allowed the parties to adduce evidence to support their respective claims.

Dalauta's Computation

Dalauta argued that the valuation of his land should be determined using the formula in DAR A.O. No. 6, series of 1992, which was Land Value (LV) = Capitalized Net Income (CNI) x 0.9 + Market Value (MV) per tax declaration x 0.1, as he had a net income of 350,000.00 in 1993 from the sale of the trees that were grown on the said land. Norberto C. Fonacier (Fonacier), the purchaser of the trees, testified that he and Dalauta executed their Agreement7 before Atty. Estanislao G Ebarle, Jr., which showed that he undertook to bear all expenses in harvesting the trees and to give Dalauta the amount of P350,000.00 as net purchase payment, for which he issued a check. He said that it was his first and only transaction with Dalauta. Fonacier also claimed that a portion of Dalauta's land was planted with com and other trees such as ipil-ipil, lingalong, and other wild trees.

During his cross-examination, Dalauta clarified that about 2,500 trees per hectare were planted on about twenty-one (21) hectares of his land, while the remaining four (4) hectares were reserved by his brother for planting com. He also claimed to have replanted the land with gemelina trees, as advised by his lawyer, after Fonacier harvested the trees in January 1994. Such plants were the improvements found by the Commissioners during their inspection. Dalauta added that he had no tenants on the land. He prayed that the compensation for his land be pegged at P2,639,566.90.

LBP's Computation

LBP argued that the valuation of Dalauta's land should be determined using the formula LV= MV x 2, which yielded a total value of P192,782.59 for the 25.2160 hectares of Dalauta's land.

LBP claimed that during the ocular inspection/investigation, only 36 coconut trees existed on the subject land; that three (3) hectares of it were planted with com; and the rest was idle with few second-growth trees. To support its claim, LBP presented, as witnesses, Ruben P. Penaso (Penaso), LBP Property Appraiser of CDO Branch, whose basic function was to value the land covered by CARP based on the valuation guidelines provided by DAR; and Alex G. Carido (Carido), LBP Agrarian Operation Specialist of CDO Branch, whose function was to compute the value of land offered by a landowner to the DAR, using the latter's guidelines.

Based on Penaso's testimony, 3.0734 hectares of the subject land were planted with com for family consumption while the 22.1426 hectares were idle, although there were second-growth trees thereon. He reported that the trees had no value and could be considered as weeds. Likewise, Penaso indicated "none" under the column of Infrastructures in the report, although there was a small house made of wood and cut logs in the center of the com land. He posited that an infrastructure should be made of concrete and hollow blocks. Penaso stated that the sources of their data were the guide, the BARC representative, and the farmers from the neighboring lots. On cross-examination, he admitted that there were coconut trees scattered throughout the land; that he did not ask the guide about the first-growth trees or inquire from the landowner about the land's income; and that he used the land's market value as reflected in its 1984 tax declaration.8

Per testimony of Carido, the valuation of Dalauta's land was computed in September 1994 pursuant to the Memorandum Request to Value the Land9 addressed to the LBP president. He alleged that the entries in the Claims Valuation and Processing Forms were the findings of their credit investigator. Carido explained that they used the formula LV = MV x 2 in determining the value of Dalauta's land because the land had no income. The land's com production during the ocular inspection in 1994 was only for family consumption. Hence, pursuant to DAR A.O. No. 6, series of 1992, the total value of Dalauta's land should be computed as LV = MV x 2, where MV was the Market Value per Tax Declaration based on the Tax Declaration issued in 1994.10 Carido explained that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Xxx using the formula MV x 2, this is now the computation. Land Value =Market Value (6,730.07) x 2 13,460.14 this is the price of the land per hectare, x the area of corn land which is 3.0734, we gave the total Land Value for corn P41,368.39. For Idle Land, the Market Value which is computed in the second page of this paper is P3,419.07 by using the formula MV x 2 = P3,419.07 x 2, we come up with the Land Value per hectare = 6,838.14 multiplied by the area of the idle land which is 22.1426 hectares. The total Land Value for idle is P151,414.20. Adding the total Land Value for corn and idle, we get the grand total of P192,782.59, representing the value of the 25.2160 hectares.11
On cross and re-cross-examinations, Carido admitted that there were different ways of computing the land value under DAR A.O. No. 6. He claimed that no CNI and/or Comparable Sales (CS) were given to him because the land production was only for family consumption, hence, CNI would not apply. Further, he explained that the net income and/or production of the land within twelve (12) months prior to the ocular inspection was considered in determining the land value.12

The Ruling of the SAC

On May 30, 2006, the SAC rendered its decision as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
WHEREFORE, AND IN VIEW OF ALL OF THE FOREGOING, DAR and LBP are directed to pay to:

1.) Land Owner Mr. Eugenio Dalauta the following:
  1. Two Million Six Hundred Thirty Nine Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Seven (P2,639,557.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, as value of the Land;

  2. One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency for the farmhouse;

  3. One Hundred Fifty Thousand (P150,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, as reasonable attorney's fees;

  4. Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency as litigation expenses;
2.) The Members of the Board of Commissioners:
  1. Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency for the Chairman of the Board;

  2. Seven Thousand Five Hundred (P7,500.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency for each of the two (2) members of the Board;
SO ORDERED.13
The SAC explained its decision in this wise:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Going over the records of this case, taking into consideration the Commissioners Report which is replete with pictures of the improvements introduced which pictures are admitted into evidence not as illustrated testimony of a human witness but as probative evidence in itself of what it shows (Basic Evidence, Bautista, 2004 Edition), this Court is of the considered view that the Report (Commissioners) must be given weight.

While LBP's witness Ruben P. Penaso may have gone to the area, but he did not, at least, list down the improvements. The members of the Board of Commissioners on the other hand, went into the area, surveyed its metes and bounds and listed the improvements they found including the farmhouse made of wood with galvanized iron roofing (Annex "C", Commissioner's Report, p. 132, Record)

All told, the basic formula for the valuation of lands covered by Voluntary Offer to Sell and Compulsory Acquisition is:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
LV = (CNI X 0.6) + (CS X 0.3) + (MV X 0.1)

Where:   LV = Land Value
            CNI = Capitalized Net Income
             CS = Comparable Sales
             MV = Market Value per Tax Declaration
The above formula is used if all the three (3) factors are present, relevant and applicable. In any case, the resulting figure in the equation is always multiplied to the number of area or hectarage of land valued for just compensation.

Whenever one of the factors in the general formula is not available, the computation of land value will be any of the three (3) computations or formulae:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
LV (CNI x 0.9) + (MVx 0.1)
                         (If the comparable sales factor is missing)

LV (CS x 0.9) + (MV x 0.1)
                        (If the capitalize net income is unavailable)

LV = MV x 2 (If only the market value factor is available)
(Agrarian Law and Jurisprudence as compiled by DAR and UNDP pp. 94-95)

Since the Capitalized Net Income in this case is available, the formula to be used is:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
LV = (CNI x 0.9) + (MV x 0.1)

Whence:

LV = (P350,000.00/.12 x 0.9) + (P145,570 x 0.1)
    = (P2,916,666.67 x 0.9) + (P145,557.00) [sic]
    = P2,625,000.00 + P14,557.00
    = P2,639,557.00 plus P100,000.00 for the Farmhouse.14
Unsatisfied, LBP filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by the SAC on July 18, 2006.

Hence, LBP filed a petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of Court before the CA, arguing: 1] that the SAC erred in taking cognizance of the case when the DARAB decision sustaining the LBP valuation had long attained finality; 2] that the SAC erred in taking judicial notice of the Commissioners' Report without conducting a hearing; and 3] that the SAC violated Republic Act (R.A.) No. 665715 and DAR A.O. No. 6, series of 1992, in fixing the just compensation.

The CA Ruling

In its September 18, 2009 Decision, the CA ruled that the SAC correctly took cognizance of the case, citing LBP v. Wycoco16 and LBP v. Suntay.17 It reiterated that the SAC had original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation. The appellate court stated that the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the SAC would be undermined if the DAR would vest in administrative officials the original jurisdiction in compensation cases and make the SAC an appellate court for the review of administrative decisions.18

With regard to just compensation, the CA sustained the valuation by the SAC for being well within R.A. No. 6657, its implementing rules and regulations, and in accordance with settled jurisprudence. The factors laid down under Section 17 of R.A. No. 6657, which were translated into a basic formula in DAR A.O. No. 6, series of 1992, were used in determining the value of Dalauta's property. It stated that the courts were not at liberty to disregard the formula which was devised to implement Section 17 of R.A. No. 6657. The CA, however, disagreed with the SAC's valuation of the farmhouse, which was made of wood and galvanized iron, for it was inexistent during the taking of the subject land.19

The appellate court also disallowed the awards of attorney's fees and litigation expenses for failure of the SAC to state its factual and legal basis. As to the award of commissioner's fees, the CA sustained it with modification to conform with Section 15, Rule 14120 of the Rules of Court. Considering that the Commissioners worked for a total of fifteen (15) days, the CAroled that they were only entitled to a fee ofP.3,000.00 each or a total of P9,000.00.21 The dispositive portion reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED, and the assailed Decision dated May 30, 2006 of the RTC, Branch 5, Butuan City, in Civil Case No. 4972, is hereby MODIFIED as follows: (1) the compensation for the farmhouse (P100,000.00), as well as the awards for attorney's fees (P150,000.00) and litigation expenses (P50,000.00), are hereby DELETED; and (2) the members of the Board of Commissioners shall each be paid a commissioner's fee of Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00) by petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines. The assailed Decision is AFFIRMED in all other respect.

SO ORDERED.22

Not in conformity, LBP filed this petition raising the following:

ISSUES
  1. Whether or not the trial court had properly taken jurisdiction over the case despite the finality of the PARAD Resolution.

  2. Whether or not the trial court correctly computed the just compensation of the subject property.
The Court's Ruling

Primary Jurisdiction of the DARAB and Original Jurisdiction of the SAC

Jurisdiction is defined as the power and authority of a court to hear, try and decide a case.23 Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred only by the Constitution or the law.24 The courts, as well as administrative bodies exerctsmg quasi-judicial functions, have their respective jurisdiction as may be granted by law. In connection with the courts' jurisdiction vis-a-vis jurisdiction of administrative bodies, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction takes into play.

The doctrine of primary jurisdiction tells us that courts cannot, and will not, resolve a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of an administrative tribunal, especially where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact.25

In agrarian reform cases, primary jurisdiction is vested in the DAR, more specifically, in the DARAB as provided for in Section 50 of R.A. No. 6657 which reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SEC. 50. Quasi-Judicial Powers of the DAR. - The DAR is hereby vested with primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). [Emphasis supplied]
Meanwhile, Executive Order (E.O.) No. 229 also vested the DAR with (1) quasi-judicial powers to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters; and (2) jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.26

On the other hand, the SACs are the Regional Trial Courts expressly granted by law with original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners. Section 57 of R.A. No. 6657 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SEC. 57. Special Jurisdiction. - The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special Agrarian Courts, unless modified by this Act.

The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special jurisdiction within thirty (30) days from submission of the case for decision. [Emphases supplied]
Adhering thereto, in Land Bank of the Philippines v. Heir of Trinidad S. Vda. De Arieta,27 it was written:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In both voluntary and compulsory acquisitions, wherein the landowner rejects the offer, the DAR opens an account in the name of the landowner and conducts a summary administrative proceeding. If the landowner disagrees with the valuation, the matter may be brought to the RTC, acting as a special agrarian court. But as with the DAR-awarded compensation, LBP's valuation of lands covered by CARL is considered only as an initial determination, which is not conclusive, as it is the RTC, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court, that should make the final determination of just compensation, taking into consideration the factors enumerated in Section 17 of R.A. No. 6657 and the applicable DAR regulations. x x x.28 [Emphases and underscoring supplied]
The DARAB Rules and Subsequent Rulings

Recognizing the separate jurisdictions of the two bodies, the DARAB came out with its own rules to avert any confusion. Section 11, Rule XIII of the 1994 DARAB Rules of Procedure reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Land Valuation Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. - The decision of the Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration. [Emphasis supplied]
The Court stamped its imprimatur on the rule in Philippine Veterans Bank v. CA (Veterans Bank);29LBP v. Martinez (Martinez);30 and Soriano v. Republic (Soriano).31 In all these cases, it was uniformly decided that the petition for determination of just compensation before the SAC should be filed within the period prescribed under the DARAB Rules, that is, "within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof." In Philippine Veterans Bank, it was written:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
There is nothing contradictory between the provision of §50 granting the DAR primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate "agrarian reform matters" and exclusive original jurisdiction over "all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform," which includes the determination of questions of just compensation, and the provision of §57 granting Regional Trial Courts "original and exclusive jurisdiction" over (1) all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowner, and (2) prosecutions of criminal offenses under R.A. No. 6657. The first refers to administrative proceedings, while the second refers to judicial proceedings. Under R.A. No. 6657, the Land Bank of the Philippines is charged with the preliminary determination of the value of lands placed under land reform program and the compensation to be paid for their taking. It initiates the acquisition of agricultural lands by notifying the landowner of the government's intention to acquire his land and the valuation of the same as determined by the Land Bank. Within 30 days from receipt of notice, the landowner shall inform the DAR of his acceptance or rejection of the offer. In the event the landowner rejects the offer, a summary administrative proceeding is held by the provincial (PARAD), the regional (RARAD) or the central (DARAB) adjudicator, as the case may be, depending on the value of the land, for the purpose of determining the compensation for the land. The landowner, the Land Bank, and other interested parties are then required to submit evidence as to the just compensation for the land. The DAR adjudicator decides the case within 30 days after it is submitted for decision. If the landowner finds the price unsatisfactory, he may bring the matter directly to the appropriate Regional Trial Court.

To implement the provisions of R.A. No. 6657, particularly §50 thereof, Rule XIII, §11 of the DARAB Rules of Procedure provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Land Valuation Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. - The decision of the Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration.
As we held in Republic v. Court of Appeals,32 this rule is an acknowledgment by the DARAB that the power to decide just compensation cases for the taking of lands under R.A. No. 6657 is vested in the courts. It is error to think that, because of Rule XIII, §11, the original and exclusive jurisdiction given to the courts to decide petitions for determination of just compensation has thereby been transformed into an appellate jurisdiction. It only means that, in accordance with settled principles of administrative law, primary jurisdiction is vested in the DAR as an administrative agency to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation to be paid for the lands taken under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, but such determination is subject to challenge in the courts.

The jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts is not any less "original and exclusive" because the question is first passed upon by the DAR, as the judicial proceedings are not a continuation of the administrative determination. For that matter, the law may provide that the decision of the DAR is final and unappealable.

Nevertheless, resort to the courts cannot be foreclosed on the theory that courts are the guarantors of the legality of administrative action.

Accordingly, as the petition in the Regional Trial Court was filed beyond the 15-day period provided in Rule XIII, §11 of the Rules of Procedure of the DARAB, the trial court correctly dismissed the case and the Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the order of dismissal. x x x33 [Emphases and underscoring supplied; Citations omitted]
Any uncertainty with the foregoing ruling was cleared when the Court adhered to the Veterans Bank ruling in its July 31, 2008 Resolution in Land Bank v. Martinez:34
On the supposedly conflicting pronouncements in the cited decisions, the Court reiterates its ruling in this case that the agrarian reform adjudicator's decision on land valuation attains finality after the lapse of the 15-day period stated in the DARAB Rules. The petition for the fixing of just compensation should therefore, following the law and settled jurisprudence, be filed with the SAC within the said period. This conclusion, as already explained in the assailed decision, is based on the doctrines laid down in Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals and Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board v. Lubrica. [Emphases and underscoring supplied]
Jurisdiction of the SAC is Original and Exclusive; The Courts Ruling in Veterans Bank and Martinez should be Abandoned

Citing the rulings in Veterans and Martinez, the LBP argues that the PARAD resolution already attained finality when Dalauta filed the petition for determination of just compensation before the RTC sitting as SAC. The petition was filed beyond the 15-day prescriptive period or, specifically, more than five (5) years after the issuance of the PARAD Resolution.

This issue on jurisdiction and prescription was timely raised by LBP as an affirmative defense, but the SAC just glossed over it and never really delved on it. When the issue was raised again before the CA, the appellate court, citing LBP v. Wycoco35 and LBP v. Suntay,36 stressed that the RTC, acting as SAC, had original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation. It explained that the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the SAC would be undermined if the DAR would vest in administrative officials the original jurisdiction in compensation cases and make the SAC an appellate court for the review of administrative decisions.37

The Court agrees with the CA in this regard. Section 9, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that "[p]rivate property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation." In Export Processing Zone Authority v. Dulay,38 the Court ruled that the valuation of property in eminent domain is essentially a judicial function which cannot be vested in administrative agencies. "The executive department or the legislature may make the initial determination, but when a party claims a violation of the guarantee in the Bill of Rights that private property may not be taken for public use without just compensation, no statute, decree, or executive order can mandate that its own determination shall prevail over the court's findings. Much less can the courts be precluded from looking into the 'just-ness' of the decreed compensation."39 Any law or rule in derogation of this proposition is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and is to be struck down as void or invalid. These were reiterated in Land Bank of the Philippines v. Montalvan,40 when the Court explained:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
It is clear from Sec. 57 that the RTC, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court, has "original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners." This "original and exclusive" jurisdiction of the RTC would be undermined if the DAR would vest in administrative officials original jurisdiction in compensation cases and make the RTC an appellate court for the review of administrative decisions. Thus, although the new rules speak of directly appealing the decision of adjudicators to the RTCs sitting as Special Agrarian Courts, it is clear from Sec. 57 that the original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine such cases is in the RTCs. Any effort to transfer such jurisdiction to the adjudicators and to convert the original jurisdiction of the RTCs into appellate jurisdiction would be contrary to Sec. 57 and therefore would be void. Thus, direct resort to the SAC by private respondent is valid.

It would be well to emphasize that the taking of property under R.A. No. 6657 is an exercise of the power of eminent domain by the State. The valuation of property or determination of just compensation in eminent domain proceedings is essentially a judicial function which is vested with the courts and not with administrative agencies. Consequently, the SAC properly took cognizance of respondent's petition for determination of just compensation. [Emphases and underscoring supplied]
Since the determination of just compensation is a judicial function, the Court must abandon its ruling in Veterans Bank, Martinez and Soriano that a petition for determination of just compensation before the SAC shall be proscribed and adjudged dismissible if not filed within the IS-day period prescribed under the DARAB Rules.

To maintain the rulings would be incompatible and inconsistent with the legislative intent to vest the original and exclusive jurisdiction in the determination of just compensation with the SAC. Indeed, such rulings judicially reduced the SAC to merely an appellate court to review the administrative decisions of the DAR. This was never the intention of the Congress.

As earlier cited, in Section 57 of R.A. No. 6657, Congress expressly granted the RTC, acting as SAC, the original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners. Only the legislature can recall that power. The DAR has no authority to qualify or undo that. The Court's pronouncement in Veterans Bank, Martinez, Soriano, and Limkaichong, reconciling the power of the DAR and the SAC essentially barring any petition to the SAC for having been filed beyond the 15-day period provided in Section II, Rule XIII of the DARAB Rules of Procedure, cannot be sustained. The DAR regulation simply has no statutory basis.

On Prescription

While R.A. No. 6657 itself does not provide for a period within which a landowner can file a petition for the determination of just compensation before the SAC, it cannot be imprescriptible because the parties cannot be placed in limbo indefinitely. The Civil Code settles such conundrum. Considering that the payment of just compensation is an obligation created by law, it should only be ten (10) years from the time the landowner received the notice of coverage. The Constitution itself provides for the payment of just compensation in eminent domain cases.41 Under Article 1144, such actions must be brought within ten (10) years from the time the right of action accrues. Article 1144 reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Art. 1144. The following actions must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(1) Upon a written contract;

(2) Upon an obligation created by law;

(3) Upon a judgment. (n)
Nevertheless, any interruption or delay caused by the government like proceedings in the DAR should toll the running of the prescriptive period. The statute of limitations has been devised to operate against those who slept on their rights, but not against those desirous to act but cannot do so for causes beyond their control.42

In this case, Dalauta received the Notice of Coverage on February 7, 1994.43 He then filed a petition for determination of just compensation on February 28, 2000. Clearly, the filing date was well within the ten year prescriptive period under Article 1141.

Concurrent Exercise of Jurisdiction

There may be situations where a landowner, who has a pending administrative case before the DAR for determination of just compensation, still files a petition before the SAC for the same objective. Such recourse is not strictly a case of forum shopping, the administrative determination being not res judicata binding on the SAC.44 This was allowed by the Court in LBP v. Celada45 and other several cases. Some of these cases were enumerated in Land Bank of the Philippines v. Umandap46 as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1. In the 1999 case of Land Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals,47 we held that the SAC properly acquired jurisdiction over the petition to determine just compensation filed by the landowner without waiting for the completion of DARAB's re-evaluation of the land.

2. In the 2004 case of Land Bank of the Philippines v. Wycoco,48 we allowed a direct resort to the SAC even where no summary administrative proceedings have been held before the DARAB.

3. In the 2006 case of Land Bank of the Philippines v. Celada,49 this Court upheld the jurisdiction of the SAC despite the pendency of administrative proceedings before the DARAB. x x x.

 x x x x

4. In the 2009 case of Land Bank of the Philippines v. Belista,50 this Court permitted a direct recourse to the SAC without an intermediate appeal to the DARAB as mandated under the new provision in the 2003 DARAB Rules of Procedure. We ruled:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Although Section 5, Rule XIX of the 2003 DARAB Rules of Procedure provides that the land valuation cases decided by the adjudicator are now appealable to the Board, such rule could not change the clear import of Section 57 of RA No. 6657 that the original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine just compensation is in the RTC. Thus, Section 57 authorizes direct resort to the SAC in cases involving petitions for the determination of just compensation. In accordance with the said Section 57, petitioner properly filed the petition before the RTC and, hence, the RTC erred in dismissing the case. Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law. Only a statute can confer jurisdiction on courts and administrative agencies while rules of procedure cannot.51
Nevertheless, the practice should be discouraged. Everyone can only agree that simultaneous hearings are a waste of time, energy and resources. To prevent such a messy situation, a landowner should withdraw his case with the DAR before filing his petition before the SAC and manifest the fact of withdrawal by alleging it in the petition itself. Failure to do so, should be a ground for a motion to suspend judicial proceedings until the administrative proceedings would be terminated. It is simply ludicruous to allow two procedures to continue at the same time.

On Just Compensation

Upon an assiduous assessment of the different valuations arrived at by the DAR, the SAC and the CA, the Court agrees with the position of Justice Francis Jardeleza that just compensation for respondent Dalauta's land should be computed based on the formula provided under DAR-LBP Joint Memorandum Circular No. 11, series of 2003 (JMC No. 11 (2003)). This Memorandum Circular, which provides for the specific guidelines for properties with standing commercial trees, explains:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The Capitalized Net Income (CNI) approach to land valuation assumes that there would be uniform streams of future income that would be realized in perpetuity from the seasonal/permanent crops planted to the land. In the case of commercial trees (hardwood and soft wood species), however, only a one-time income is realized when the trees are due for harvest. The regular CNI approach in the valuation of lands planted to commercial trees would therefore not apply.52 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
During the proceedings before the SAC, Dalauta testified that he derived a net income of  P350,000.00 in 1993 from the sale to Fonacier of falcata trees grown in the property. He presented the following evidence to bolster his claim of income: (1) Agreement between Dalauta and Fonacier over the sale of falcata trees;53 (2) copy of deposit slip of amount of P350,000.00;54 and (3) Certification from Allied Bank as to fact of deposit of the amount of P350,000.00 on November 15, 1993.55

Dalauta's sale of falcata trees indeed appears to be a one-time transaction. He did not claim to have derived any other income from the property prior to receiving the Notice of Coverage from the DAR in February 1994. For this reason, his property would be more appropriately covered by the formula provided under JMC No. 11 (2003).

JMC No. 11 (2003) provides for several valuation procedures and formulas, depending on whether the commercial trees found in the land in question are harvestable or not, naturally grown, planted by the farmer­beneficiary or lessee or at random. It also provides for the valuation procedure depending on when the commercial trees are cut (i.e., while the land transfer claim is pending or when the landholding is already awarded to the farmer-beneficiaries).

Dalauta alleges to have sold all the falcata trees in the property to Fonacier in 1993.56 After Fonacier finished harvesting in January 1994, he claims that, per advice of his lawyer, he immediately caused the date of effectivity of this Joint Memorandum Circular x x x." It is submitted,

however, that applying the above formula to compute just compensation for respondent's land would be the most equitable course of action under the circumstances. Without JMC No. 11 (2003), Dalauta's property would have to be valued using the formula for idle lands, the CNI and CS factors not being applicable. Following this formula, just compensation for Dalauta's property would only amount to 225,300.00, computed as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
LV = MV x 2

Where:

     LV = Land Value
    MV = Market Value per Tax Declaration*

       • For the area planted to com, P7,740.00/hectare

       • For idle/pasture land, P3,890/hectare

Thus:

For the 4 hectares planted to corn:

    LV = (P7,740/hectare x 4 hectares) x 2
        = P61,920.00

For the 21 hectares of idle/pasture land:

    LV = (P3,890/hectare x 21) x 2
        = P163,380.00

Total Land Value = P61,920.00 + P163,380.00

                        = P225,300.00
As above stated, the amount would be more equitable if it would be computed pursuant to JMC No. 11 (2003). Moreover, the award shall earn legal interest. Pursuant to Nacar v. Gallery Frames,57 the interest shall be computed from the time of taking at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum until June 30, 2013. Thereafter, the rate shall be six percent (6%) per annum until fully paid.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby DECLARES that the final determination of just compensation is a judicial function; that the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court, sitting as Special Agrarian Court, is original and exclusive, not appellate; that the action to file judicial determination of just compensation shall be ten (10) years from the time of the taking; and that at the time of the filing of judicial determination, there should be no pending administrative action for the determination of just compensation.

As to the just compensation, the September 18, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals decreeing payment of P2,639,557.00 as the value of the subject property is SET ASIDE. Let the case be remanded to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 5, Butuan City, sitting as Special Agrarian Court, for purposes of computing just compensation in accordance with JMC No. 11 (2003) and this disposition.

The amount shall earn legal interest from the time of taking at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum until June 30, 2013. Thereafter, the rate shall be six percent (6%) per annum until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., Carpio, Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Perlas-Bernabe, Martires, Tijam, and Reyes, Jr., JJ., concur.
Leonen, J., see separate concurring opinion.
Caguioa, J., I join J. Jardeleza.
Jardeleza, J., see separate concurring and dissenting opinion.

Endnotes:


1 Penned by Associate Justice Danton Q. Bueser, with Associate Justices Romulo V. Borja and Elihu A. Ybañez, concurring, rollo, pp. 63-82.

2 Penned by Presiding Judge Augustus L. Calo. Id. at 126-148.

3 Id. at 221.

4 Id. at 65.

5 Land Valuation Case No. LV-X-02-164, id. at 179-180.

6 Id. at 223-227.

7 Records, p. 13.

8Rollo, pp. 68-69.

9 Id. at 198-199.

10 Id. at 69-70.

11 Id. at 70.

12 Id. at 70-71.

13 Id. at 148.

14 Id. at 147-148.

15 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988.

16 464 Phil. 83 (2004).

17 561 Phil. 711 (2007).

18Rollo, p. 76.

19 Id. at 77-80.

20Section 15. Fees of commissioners in eminent domain proceedings. - The commissioners appointed to appraise land sought to be condemned for public uses in accordance with these rules shall each receive a compensation of two hundred (P200.00) pesos per day for the time actually and necessarily employed in the performance of their duties and in making their report to the court, which fees shall be taxed as part of the costs of the proceedings. (13a)

21Rollo, pp. 80-81.

22 Id.

23Asia International Auctioneers, Inc.v. Hon. Parayno, 565 Phil. 255, 265 (2007).

24Republic v. Bantigue Point Development Corp., 684 Phil. 192, 199 (2012).

25Paloma v. Mora, 507 Phil. 697, 712 (2005).

26Sta. Ana v. Spouses Carpo, 593 Phil. 108, 126 (2008).

27 642 Phil. 198 (2010).

28 Id. at 222.

29 379 Phil. 141, 147 (2000).

30 582 Phil. 739 (2008).

31 685 Phil. 583 (2012).

32 331 Phil. 1070, 1077 (1996).

33Philippine Veterans Bank v. CA, supra note 29, at 147-149.

34 582 Phil. 739 (2008).

35 464 Phil. 83 (2004).

36 561 Phil. 711 (2007).

37Rollo, p. 76.

38 233 Phil. 313 (1987).

39 Id. at 326.

40 689 Phil. 641, 652 (2012).

41 Section 9, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

42Coderias v. Estate of Juan Chioco, 712 Phil. 354, 370 (2013); and Antonio v. Engr. Morales, 541 Phil. 306, 311 (2007).

43Rollo, p. 9; CA Decision, p. 2.

44 There is no res judicata because the DAR determination is only a preliminary assessment of the reasonable compensation to be paid. It is not a judgment on the merits because it is the RTC acting as SAC, pursuant to its original and exclusive jurisdiction, that has the authority to ultimately settle the question of just compensation. (See Spouses Arevalo v. Planters, Development Bank, 686 Phil. 236 [2012]).

45 515 Phil. 467 (2006).

46 649 Phil. 396, 420-421 (2010).

47 376 Phil. 252 (1999).

48 464 Phil. 83 (2004).

49 Supra note 44.

50 608 Phil. 658 (2009).

51 Id. at 668-669.

52 This much was also explained during trial by the LBP withness Alex G. Carido, as noted in the assailed CA Decision:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Petitioner's next witness was Alex G. Carido (Carido), the Agrarian Operation Specialist of its Cagayan de Oro branch, whose function, among others, is to compute the value of a land offered by a landowner to the DAR, using the guidelines provided by the latter. He recalled that the valuation of respondent's property was made in September 1994 pursuant to a Memorandum Request to Value the Land addressed to petitioner's President.

Carido testified that the entries in the Claims Valuation and Processing Forms were the findings of their credit investigator. He explained that the data for Capitalized Net Income was not applicable then, as the land's produce was only for family consumption, and that since the property had no income, they used the fonnula Land Value (LV) = Market Value (MV) x 2, from DAR AO No. 6, series of 1992, in computing the total value of the subject land, where MV is the Market Value per Tax Declaration based on the Tax Declaration issued in 1994.

x x x x

On cross-examination, Carido admitted that there are different ways of computing the Land Value under DAR AO No. 6, and that to detennine which of the formulas is applicable for computing the land value of a particular property, the data gathered in the Field Investigation Report are to be considered. He maintained that he used the formula Land Value Market Value x 2 in computing the valuation of the subject land because the data for Capitalized Net Income (CNI) and/or Comparable Sales [CS] were not given to him.

During re-cross examination, when asked why no CNI was provided in the investigation report, Carido stated that CNI is relevant only if there is production from the property, and that while there was corn production in the subject land during ocular inspection in 1994, the same was for family consumption only, hence, CNI will not apply. He went on to say that the net income and/or production of the land within twelve (12) months prior to the ocular inspection shall be considered in determining the land value. (Rollo, pp. 69-71) [Emphasis and underscoring supplied].
53 Records, pp. 13, 172.

54 Id. at 172, 174.

55 Id. at 172, 175.

56Rollo, p. 10.

57 716 Phil. 267 (2013).




SEPARATE OPINION

LEONEN, J.:


I reiterate the position in my separate concurring opinion in Limkaichong v. Land Bank of the Philippines,1 that the original and exclusive jurisdiction of Special Agrarian Courts to determine just compensation cannot be superseded by administrative rules.

The Constitution recognizes the right to just compensation. Article III, Section 9 of the Constitution provides that "[p]rivate property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation."2 Article XIII, Section 43 of the Constitution also recognizes the landowner's right to just compensation.

The determination of just compensation, as a constitutional right, is ultimately a judicial matter. Thus, in Export Processing Zone Authority v. Dulay:4
The determination of "just compensation" in eminent domain cases is a judicial function. The executive department or the legislature may make the initial determinations but when a party claims a violation of the guarantee in the Bill of Rights that private property may not be taken for public use without just compensation, no statute, decree, or executive order can mandate that its own determination shall prevail over the court's findings. Much less can the courts be precluded from looking into the "just-ness" of the decreed compensation.5
Consistent with this, the legislature vested jurisdiction over petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners with the courts. Thus, under Section 57 of Republic Act No. 6657,6 Regional Trial Courts sitting as Special Agrarian Courts have "original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners."7 This jurisdiction is original, which means that petitions for the determination of just compensation may be initiated before Special Agrarian Courts. This jurisdiction is also exclusive, which means that no other court or quasi-administrative tribunal has the same original jurisdiction over these cases.

Moreover, I agree with the astute and discerning insight of Justice Lucas Bersamin that as a constitutional right, the right to just compensation is imprescriptible. Generally, prescription is statutory and a statutory right cannot trump fundamental constitutional rights. Notably, Section 57 does not provide a time period for a landowner to file a petition for the determination of just compensation, even in the context of agrarian reform.

I

The ponencia points out that, under Section 50 of Republic Act No. 6657, the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) has the primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and, generally, has exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform. In relation to the separate jurisdictions of the DARAB and the Special Agrarian Courts, the DARAB promulgated a rule providing a 15-day period within which to appeal a decision on land valuation, and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation.8 Further, the ponencia enumerates cases where this Court held that a petition for determination of just compensation before the Special Agrarian Courts shall be made within the 15-day period prescribed by the DARAB Rules, and notes that these cases may be incongruent with the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Special Agrarian Courts over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners.9

Fundamentally, the quasi-judicial power of the DARAB is limited to agrarian disputes. Section 50 of Republic Act No. 6657 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SECTION 50. Quasi-Judicial Powers of the DAR. - The DAR is hereby vested with primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform except those falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

It shall not be bound by technical rules of procedure and evidence but shall proceed to hear and decide all cases, disputes or controversies in a most expeditious manner, employing all reasonable means to ascertain the facts of every case in accordance with justice and equity and the merits of the case. Toward this end, it shall adopt a uniform rule of procedure to achieve a just, expeditious and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding before it.

It shall have the power to summon witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony, require submission of reports, compel the production of books and documents and answers to interrogatories and issue subpoena, and subpoena duces tecum, and enforce its writs through sheriffs or other duly deputized officers. It shall likewise have the power to punish direct and indirect contempts in the same manner and subject to the same penalties as provided in the Rules of Court.

Responsible farmer leaders shall be allowed to represent themselves, their fellow farmers, or their organizations in any proceedings before the DAR: Provided, however, That when there are two or more representatives for any individual or group, the representatives should choose only one among themselves to represent such party or group before any DAR proceedings.

Notwithstanding an appeal to the Court of Appeals, the decision of the DAR shall be immediately executory.
It is true that the Department of Agrarian Reform's quasi-judicial power refers to agrarian reform matters and matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform. However, the law defines agrarian reform and agrarian disputes as:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SECTION 3. Definitions. - For the purpose of this Act, unless the context indicates otherwise:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(a) Agrarian Reform means the redistribution of lands, regardless of crops or fruits produced to farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless, irrespective of tenurial arrangement, to include the totality of factors and support services designed to lift the economic status of the beneficiaries and all other arrangements alternative to the physical redistribution of lands, such as production or profit-sharing, labor administration, and the distribution of shares of stocks, which will allow beneficiaries to receive a just share of the fruits of the lands they work.

...

(d) Agrarian Dispute refers to any controversy relating to tenurial arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise, over lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes concerning farmworkers' associations or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements.

It includes any controversy relating to compensation of lands acquired under this Act and other terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowners to farmworkers, tenants and other agrarian reform beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of farm operator and beneficiary, landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee.
Thus, "agrarian reform" refers to redistribution of lands, and "agrarian dispute" refers to disputes relating to tenurial arrangements. Certainly, the amount of just compensation to be paid by the government to a private landowner pursuant to expropriation of land does not relate to the redistribution of land, or to tenurial arrangements. Although "compensation of lands" is mentioned under the definition of "agrarian dispute," this is compensation specifically for land that is transferred directly from a private landowner to an agrarian reform beneficiary. It does not include the determination of just compensation where the government is acquiring land from a private landowner.

II

The law contemplates two instances where the government engages in the valuation of private land. One, discussed earlier, is to determine how much the beneficiaries will pay. The other, subject of this case, is to determine just compensation.

The law contemplates government engaging in the valuation of land where private land is transferred from a landowner to agrarian reform beneficiaries, under a voluntary land transfer. In case of disagreement between an owner and a farmer-beneficiary as to the price of land, the law lays down a procedure for the Department of Agrarian Reform to receive evidence from interested parties and determine the matter.10 Notably, it is this type of dispute as to compensation that constitutes an agrarian dispute under Section 3(d) of Republic Act No. 6657.

Then there is an internal valuation made by the Department of Agrarian Reform when it wishes to acquire private land. The law provides for a procedure for government, through the Department of Agrarian Reform, to initially determine the value of the land to be offered to the landowner. If the landowner agrees, then there will be no need for condemnation proceedings. Thus, under the law, the Department of Agrarian Reform shall first make an internal valuation of the land to be acquired, after which it shall notify the landowners of its proposed purchase price.11 Thereafter, the landowner signifies whether he or she accepts or rejects the department's offer.12 If the landowner accepts the Department of Agrarian Reform's offer, the offer is binding as a contractual agreement between the parties, and no further proceedings are necessary to determine compensation.

Where the landowner does not accept the Department of Agrarian Reform's initial offer, the department shall conduct summary administrative proceedings, requiring the Land Bank of the Philippines and interested parties to submit evidence, to determine the compensation.13 Based on this summary administrative proceeding, the Department of Agrarian Reform shall determine an amount as compensation, which shall be given to the landowner, if he or she accepts the price. Otherwise, it shall be deposited with a designated bank to facilitate condemnation proceedings.14

If the landowner does not accept the valuation of land proposed by the Department of Agrarian Reform, then the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the SAC applies.

Section 57 of Republic Act No. 6657 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SECTION 57. Special Jurisdiction. - The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special Agrarian Courts, unless modified by this Act.

The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special jurisdiction within thirty (30) days from submission of the case for decision.
Clearly, only this special jurisdiction involves the power to determine the amount of just compensation in relation to expropriation. Moreover, under the law, a preliminary valuation by the Department of Agrarian Reform is not a prerequisite to the filing of a petition for the determination of just compensation.

It is in this context that we should re-evaluate earlier precedents.

III

The ponencia mentions Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals,15Land Bank v. Martinez,16Soriano v. Republic,17 and Limkaichong v. Land Bank of the Philippines.18 I concur with the ponencia that in some cases, this Court laid down rules incongruent with the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Special Agrarian Courts. Further, a close examination of jurisprudence reveals no sound basis, in policy or in law, for binding the courts to the 15-day period of the DARAB Rules. Although the DARAB may be bound by its own rules and act according to the periods it prescribes, there is no reason for the rules promulgated by the DARAB to have any effect on how the courts deal with cases within their original and exclusive jurisdiction.

In Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals,19 the issue was the Regional Trial Court's dismissal of a petition for determination of just compensation on the basis that it was filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period. However, the discussion of Section 50, Rule XIII, §11 of the DARAB Rules of Procedure was limited to the issue of the primary jurisdiction of the Department of Agrarian Reform:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
To implement the provisions of R.A. No. 6657, particularly §50 thereof, Rule XIII, §11 of the DARAB Rules of Procedure provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. - The decision of the Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration.
As we held in Republic v. Court of Appeals, this rule is an acknowledgment by the DARAB that the power to decide just compensation cases for the taking of lands under R.A. No. 6657 is vested in the courts. It is error to think that, because of Rule XIII, §11, the original and exclusive jurisdiction given to the courts to decide petitions for determination of just compensation has thereby been transformed into an appellate jurisdiction. It only means that, in accordance with settled principles of administrative law, primary jurisdiction is vested in the DAR as an administrative agency to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation to be paid for the lands taken under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, but such determination is subject to challenge in the courts.

The jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts is not any less "original and exclusive" because the question is first passed upon by the DAR, as the judicial proceedings are not a continuation of the administrative determination. For that matter, the law may provide that the decision of the DAR is final and unappealable. Nevertheless, resort to the courts cannot be foreclosed on the theory that courts are the guarantors of the legality of administrative action.

Accordingly, as the petition in the Regional Trial Court was filed beyond the 15-day period provided in Rule XIII, §11 of the Rules of Procedure of the DARAB, the trial court correctly dismissed the case and the Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the order of dismissal.20
In Veterans, this Court did not explain its basis for finding the 15-day reglementary period binding on the courts. This Court said that Rule XIII, §11 of the DARAB Rules of Procedure, which contained the 15-day period, was an implementation of Section 50 of Republic Act No. 6657, which vests the Department of Agrarian Reform with primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and exclusive, original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform. But there is no explanation why the jurisdiction granted to the Department of Agrarian Reform in Section 50 of Republic Act No. 6657 extends to an authority to limit the period to invoke the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Special Agrarian Courts under Section 57 of this act.

Land Bank v. Martinez21 also does not explain why the 15-day period should be binding on the courts. Martinez, however, is different from the case at bar, in that the subject of the petition there was not whether the courts could take cognizance over a petition for determination of just compensation. Rather, the main issue there was whether the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator could validly issue a writ of execution after the lapse of the 15-day period.22 There was no need to discuss the jurisdiction of the Special Agrarian Courts in that case. Nonetheless, Martinez said that the consequence of filing a petition beyond the 15-day period was that the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator's decision attained finality.23 This Court relied on its earlier cases, Philippine Veterans Bank,24 and Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board v. Lubrica25 when it declared:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Finally and most importantly, we find petitioner not entitled to the grant of a writ of certiorari by the appellate court because the Office of the PARAD did not gravely abuse its discretion when it undertook to execute the September 4, 2002 decision. Rule XIII, Section 11 of the DARAB Rules of Procedure, which was then applicable, provides that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Section 11. Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. - The decision of the Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration.
In Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals and in Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board v. Lubrica, we explained the consequence of the said rule to the effect that the adjudicator's decision on land valuation attains finality after the lapse of the 15-day period. Considering therefore that, in this case, LBP's petition with the SAC for the fixing of just compensation was filed 26 days after its receipt of the PARAD's decision, or eleven days beyond the reglementary period, the latter had already attained finality. The PARAD could very well issue the writ of execution.26 (Citations omitted)
In a Resolution in Land Bank v. Martinez,27 this Court sitting En Banc reiterated its August 14, 2007 Decision and made its ruling in Veterans doctrinal:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[F]or the guidance of the bench and the bar ... the better rule is that stated in Philippine Veterans Bank, reiterated in Lubrica and in the August 14, 2007 Decision in this case. Thus, while a petition for the fixing of just compensation with the SAC is not an appeal from the agrarian reform adjudicator's decision but an original action, the same has to be filed within the 15-day period stated in the DARAB Rules; otherwise, the adjudicator's decision will attain finality. This rule is not only in accord with law and settled jurisprudence but also with the principles of justice and equity. Verily, a belated petition before the SAC, e.g., one filed a month, or a year, or even a decade after the land valuation of the DAR adjudicator, must not leave the dispossessed landowner in a state of uncertainty as to the true value of his property.28
However, as discussed earlier, Philippine Veterans Bank29 did not explain why the 15-day period should be binding on the courts.

The facts of Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board v. Lubrica,30 like those of Martinez, are not on all fours with this case. In Lubrica, the DARAB issued a writ of preliminary injunction against the Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator's writ of execution because a petition for determination for just compensation had been filed with the Special Agrarian Court.31 The 15-day period was mentioned only in passing. The issue in Lubrica was whether DARAB had the power to issue the extraordinary writ of certiorari and not whether the Special Agrarian Court could take cognizance of a petition for determination of just compensation beyond the 15-day period prescribed by DARAB.32

The petitioners in Soriano v. Republic33 questioned the application of the 15-day period on petitions for determination of just compensation filed with the court. In Soriano, this Court reiterated once more its ruling in Veterans:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In Phil. Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals, we explained that the consequence of the said rule is that the adjudicator's decision on land valuation attains finality after the lapse of the 15-day period. Considering that Agrarian Case No. 64-2001, filed with the SAC for the fixing of just compensation, was filed 29 days after petitioners' receipt of the DARAB's decision in DARAB Case No. LV-XI-0071-DN-2000 for the lot covered by TCT No. (T-8935) T-3120 and 43 days after petitioners' receipt of the DARAB's decision in DARAB Case No. LV-XI-0073-DN-2000, for the lot covered by TCT No. (T-2906) T-749, the DARAB's decisions had already attained finality.34
This Court glossed over the issue of the basis for the period within which the Special Agrarian Court could exercise its jurisdiction, relying again on the precedent laid down in Veterans and Republic v. Court of Appeals:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Petitioners contend that there is no statutory basis for the promulgation of the DARAB procedure providing for a mode of appeal and a reglementary period to appeal. On the matter of whether the DARAB Rules of Procedure laid out an appeal process and the validity of the 15-day reglementary period has already been laid to rest, the Court, in Republic v. Court of Appeals and subsequent cases has clarified that the determination of the amount of just compensation by the DARAB is merely a preliminary administrative determination which is subject to challenge before the SACs which have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation under Section 57, R.A. No. 6657. In Republic v. Court of Appeals, we ruled:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[U]nder the law, the Land Bank of the Philippines is charged with the initial responsibility of determining the value of lands placed under land reform and the compensation to be paid for their taking. Through notice sent to the landowner pursuant to §16(a) of R.A. No. 6657, the DAR makes an offer. In case the landowner rejects the offer, a summary administrative proceeding is held and afterward the provincial (PARAD), the regional (RARAD) or the central (DARAB) adjudicator as the case may be, depending on the value of the land, fixes the price to be paid for the land. If the landowner does not agree to the price fixed, he may bring the matter to the RTC acting as Special Agrarian Court. This in essence is the procedure for the determination of compensation cases under R.A. No. 6657. In accordance with it, the private respondent's case was properly brought by it in the RTC, and it was error for the latter court to have dismissed the case. In the terminology of §57, the RTC, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court, has "original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners." It would subvert this "original and exclusive" jurisdiction of the RTC for the DAR to vest original jurisdiction in compensation cases m administrative officials and make the RTC an appellate court for the review of administrative decisions.

Consequently, although the new rules speak of directly appealing the decision of adjudicators to the RTCs sitting as Special Agrarian Courts, it is clear from §57 that the original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine such cases is in the RTCs. Any effort to transfer such jurisdiction to the adjudicators and to convert the original jurisdiction of the RTCs into appellate jurisdiction would be contrary to §57 and therefore would be void. What adjudicators are empowered to do is only to detem1ine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation to be paid to landowners, leaving to the courts the ultimate power to decide this question.
The above ruling was reiterated in Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals. In that case, petitioner landowner who was dissatisfied with the valuation made by LBP and DARAB, filed a petition for determination of just compensation in the RTC (SAC). However, the RTC dismissed the petition on the ground that it was filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period for filing appeals from the orders of the DARAB. On appeal, the CA upheld the order of dismissal. When the case was elevated to this Court, we likewise affirmed the CA and declared that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
To implement the provisions of R.A. No. 6657, particularly §50 thereof, Rule XIII, §11 of the DARAB Rules of Procedure provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. - The decision of the Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration.
As we held in Republic v. Court of Appeals, this rule is an acknowledgment by the DARAB that the power to decide just compensation cases for the taking of lands under R.A. No. 6657 is vested in the courts. It is error to think that, because of Rule XIII, §11, the original and exclusive jurisdiction given to the courts to decide petitions for determination of just compensation has thereby been transformed into an appellate jurisdiction. It only means that, in accordance with settled principles of administrative law, primary jurisdiction is vested in the DAR as an administrative agency to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation to be paid for the lands taken under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, but such determination is subject to challenge in the courts.

The jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts is not any less "original and exclusive" because the question is first passed upon by the DAR, as the judicial proceedings are not a continuation of the administrative determination. For that matter, the law may provide that the decision of the DAR is final and unappealable. Nevertheless, resort to the courts cannot be foreclosed on the theory that courts are the guarantors of the legality of administrative action.

Accordingly, as the petition in the Regional Trial Court was filed beyond the 15-day period provided in Rule XIII, §11 of the Rules of Procedure of the DARAB, the trial court correctly dismissed the case and the Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the order of dismissal.35 (Emphasis in the original)
Finally, in Limkaichong v. Land Bank of the Philippines,36 this Court recognized the validity of the 15-day period, citing, again, Veterans. This Court did not bind petitioner in that case to the 15-day period. Only because petitioner's complaint was filed before "the Court en banc unanimously resolved the jurisprudential conundrum through its declaration in Land Bank v. Martinez that the better rule was that enunciated in Philippine Veterans Bank"37 that this Court decided that the ruling in Veterans must be applied prospectively.

Considering that Republic Act No. 6657 does not provide a limit on the period within which a landowner can file a petition for the determination of just compensation, and considering further that the right to just compensation is a constitutional right, there is no basis for the executive branch to limit the period for landowners to assert their right to just compensation under this act. Any attempt to do so should be struck down for being outside the constitutional confines of the eminent domain powers of the state.

Hence, the Special Agrarian Court did not err when it took cognizance of the case, despite petitioner's failure to file a petition within the period prescribed by the DARAB Rules of Procedure.

ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DENY the Petition.

Endnotes:


1Separate Concurring Opinion of J. Leonen, G.R. No. 158464, August 2, 2016, [Per J. Bersamin, En Banc].

2 CONST., art. III, sec. 9.

3 CONST., art. XIII, sec. 4 provides:

Section 4. The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farm workers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account ecological, developmental, or equity considerations, and subject to the payment of just compensation. In determining retention limits, the State shall respect the right of small landowners. The State shall further provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing.

4 233 Phil. 313 (1987) [Per J. Gutierrez, Jr., En Banc].

5 Id. at 326.

6 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988.

7 Rep. Act No. 6657, sec. 57 provides:

Section 57. Special Jurisdiction. - The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special Agrarian Courts, unless modified by this Act.

The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special jurisdiction within thirty (30) days from submission of the case for decision.

8Ponencia, p. 10.

9 Id. at 13.

10 Rep. Act No. 6657, Section 21.

11 Rep. Act No. 6657, Section 16 (a).

12 Rep. Act No. 6657, Section 16 (b).

13 Rep. Act No. 6657, Section 16 (d).

14 Rep. Act No. 6657, Section 16 (e).

15 379 Phil. 141 (2000) [Per J. Mendoza, Second Division].

16 556 Phil. 809 (2007) [Per J. Nachura, Third Division].

17 685 Phil. 583 (2012) [Per J. Villarama, First Division].

18 G.R. No. 158464, August 2, 2016, [Per J. Bersamin, En Banc].

19 379 Phil. 141 (2000) [Perl Mendoza, Second Division].

20 Id. at 148-149.

21 556 Phil. 809 (2007) [Per J. Nachura, Third Division].

22 Id. at 821.

23 Id.

24 379 Phil. 141 (2000) [Per J. Mendoza, Second Division].

25 497 Phil. 313 (2005) [Per J. Tinga, Second Division].

26Land Bank v. Martinez, 556 Phil. 809, 821 (2007) [Per J. Nachura, Third Division].

27 582 Phil. 739 (2008) [Per J. Nachura, En Banc].

28 Id. at 746.

29 379 Phil. 141 (2000) [Per J. Mendoza, Second Division].

30 497 Phil. 313 (2005) [Per J. Tinga, Second Division].

31 Id. at 318.

32 Id. at 322.

33 685 Phil. 583 (2012) [Per J. Villarama, First Division].

34 Id. at 589.

35 Id. at 589-592.

36 G.R. No. 158464, August 2, 2016, [Per J. Bersamin, En Banc].

37 Id. at 13.




CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION

JARDELEZA, J.:


With respect to my esteemed colleague Justice Mendoza, I submit this Concurring and Dissenting Opinion.

The Court should affirm, not abandon, the Court's decisions in Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals1 (Veterans Bank), Land Bank of the Philippines v. Martinez2 (Martinez), Soriano v. Republic3 (Soriano), and Limkaichong v. Land Bank of the Philippines4 (Limkaichong), (collectively, the Decisions). In these Decisions, we held that an agrarian reform adjudicator's decision on just compensation must be brought to the Special Agrarian Court (SAC) within the 15-day period stated in the rules of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB); otherwise, the adjudicator's decision will attain finality.

In my view, affirmance by the Court of these Decisions is the better and more prudent course of action because: (1) applying stare decisis will lend stability to, and inspire public confidence in, the Court's existing pronouncements validating the 15-day rule; (2) there are no strong and compelling reasons to abandon the Decisions; and (3) the arguments to support abandonment of existing doctrine have already been considered and, in my view, correctly rejected by the Court.

The proposed disposition in this case would not only reverse settled doctrines, it would also allow landowners to bring actions for the judicial determination of just compensation ten (10) years from receipt of the Notice of Coverage under Republic Act No. 6657 (RA 6657). This, to me, is simply bad policy. Aside from subverting the Congress' legislative design for the comprehensive agrarian reform program, the proposed disposition would also violate substantive and procedural law and defeat the Government's interest in paying just compensation nearest to the time of taking.

Furthermore, while I believe that the petition should be denied in accordance with our ruling in Limkaichong, the case should be remanded because both the Special Agrarian Court (SAC) and the Court of Appeals (CA) failed to apply the appropriate formula to compute just compensation.

I

In 1996, the Second Division of the Court promulgated Republic v. Court of Appeals5 (Republic). There, through Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, we held that the original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine just compensation belonged to the Regional Trial Court (RTC), sitting as a SAC. We said: "It would subvert [the] 'original and exclusive' jurisdiction of the RTC for the DAR to vest original jurisdiction in compensation cases to administrative officials and make the RTC an appellate court for the review of administrative decisions."6

Four years later, on January 18, 2000, the Court, also through the Second Division, and again through Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, decided Veterans Bank where we declared that there is "nothing contradictory" in Section 50 which grants to the DAR primary jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform (including questions of just compensation) and Section 57 which grants the RTC "original and exclusive jurisdiction" over all petitions for the determination of just compensation and prosecution of criminal offenses under RA 6657.7

In 2007, the Court, in Land Bank of the Philippines v. Suntay8 (Suntay), seemed to revert to its 1996 ruling relative to the 15-day period. There, the Court, through its First Division, nullified the Order of the RTC dismissing a petition for judicial determination of just compensation on the ground that the same was filed beyond the 15-day period under the DARAB Rules. While acknowledging that there was no conflict between Sections 50 and 57 of RA 6657, it nevertheless held that applying the 15-day period under the DARAB Rule converts the RTC/SAC's original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine just compensation into an appellate one. Citing the ruling in Republic, it declared that this is "contrary to Section 57 and therefore would be void."9

Within a year, the Court en banc promulgated Martinez and sought to "resolve the conflict in the rulings of the Court x x x."10 There, we held:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[W]e now declare herein, for the guidance of the bench and the bar, that the better rule is that stated in Philippine Veterans Bank, reiterated in Lubrica and in the August 14, 2007 Decision in this case. Thus, while a petition for the fixing of just compensation with the SAC is not an appeal from the agrarian reform adjudicator's decision but an original action, the same has to be filed within the 15-day period stated in the DARAB Rules; otherwise, the adjudicator's decision will attain finality. This rule is not only in accord with law and settled jurisprudence but also with the principles of justice and equity. Verily, a belated petition before the SAC, e.g., one filed a month, or a year, or even a decade after the land valuation of the DAR adjudicator, must not leave the dispossessed landowner in a state of uncertainty as to the true value of his property.11 (Emphasis in the original.)
Less than a year ago, on August 2, 2016, the Court en banc unanimously affirmed Martinez in Limkaichong. Speaking through Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, the Court said:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In all of the foregoing rulings of the Court as well as in subsequent ones, it could not have been overemphasized that the determination of just compensation in eminent domain is a judicial function. However, the more recent jurisprudence uphold the preeminence of the pronouncement in Philippine Veterans Bank to the effect that the parties only have 15 days from their receipt of the decision/order of the DAR within which to invoke the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the SAC; otherwise, the decision/order attains finality and immutability.12
More recently, the Court's Third Division, through Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes in Mateo v. Department of Agrarian Reform13 (Mateo), affirmed the DAR's primary jurisdiction when, citing our en banc decision in Alfonso v. Land Bank of the Philippines14 (Alfonso), it held that "administrative remedies cannot be dispensed with and direct resort to the SAC is proscribed."15

Now, it is proposed that we abandon these rulings, specifically, our rulings in Veterans Bank, Martinez, and Limkaichong.16 This proposal is grounded on two reasons: First, the principle, espoused in Export Processing Zone Authority v. Dulay17 (Dulay), that the determination of just compensation is a judicial function. Following this principle, the grant by Congress to the DAR of the primary jurisdiction to preliminary determine just compensation would be "contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution."18Second, Section 11, Rule XIII of the DARAB Rules of Procedure, which contains the 15-day period, has no statutory basis. This provision, which allows the DAR's otherwise preliminary determination of just compensation to attain finality unless brought to the SAC within fifteen (15) days, allegedly reduces the SAC's exclusive and original jurisdiction to determine just compensation, contrary to the intent of Congress.

I disagree. For reasons already stated at the outset, I believe that the better and more prudent course of action would be to affirm, not reverse, Veterans Bank, Martinez, and Limkaichong, as well as all the cases affirming them.

I shall elaborate on my reasons in seriatim.

A

With all due respect, the arguments (supporting abandonment of previous rulings) are a reprise of issues already considered and, in my view, correctly decided. In fact, this Court had already twice rejected the core premise of both arguments, namely, that the determination of just compensation is a judicial function which cannot be transferred, even preliminarily, to the DAR.

The first time was 25 years ago in Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform19 (Association), where the Court resolved the numerous constitutional challenges raised against RA 6657. Among other objections, many landowners invoked Dulay and argued that entrusting to the DAR the manner of fixing just compensation violated the judicial function. This argument was unanimously rejected by the Court, which distinguished the provisions of RA 6657 from Dulay and upheld the constitutionality of the grant of primary jurisdiction to the DAR. We quote:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Objection is raised, however, to the manner of fixing the just compensation, which it is claimed is entrusted to the administrative authorities in violation of judicial prerogatives. Specific reference is made to Section 16(d) x x x.

x x x

A reading of the aforecited Section 16(d) will readily show that it does not suffer from the arbitrariness that rendered the challenged decrees constitutionally objectionable. Although the proceedings are described as summary, the landowner and other interested parties are nevertheless allowed an opportunity to submit evidence on the real value of the property. But more importantly, the determination of the just compensation by the DAR is not by any means final and conclusive upon the landowner or any other interested party, for Section 16(f) clearly provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Any party who disagrees with the decision may bring the matter to the court of proper jurisdiction for final determination of just compensation.
The determination made by the DAR is only preliminary unless accepted by all parties concerned. Otherwise, the courts of justice will still have the right to review with finality the said determination in the exercise of what is admittedly a judicial function.20
Only last year, the Court, in Alfonso, had second occasion to weigh in on the constitutionality of the grant of primary jurisdiction of the DAR. The constitutionality of the DAR's power to come up with a basic formula to determine just compensation was put in issue by some members of the Court on the ground that, under Dulay, the determination of just compensation is a judicial function which cannot constitutionally be entrusted to an administrative agency. As in Association, the Court again rejected this argument. In Alfonso, we explained why the grant to the DAR of primary jurisdiction to determine just compensation is constitutional and does not limit or deprive the courts of their judicial power:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
C. Primary jurisdiction and the judicial power/function to determine just compensation

Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides that "judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable."

The right of a landowner to just compensation for the taking of his or her private property is a legally demandable and enforceable right guaranteed by no less than the Bill of Rights, under Section 9, Article III of the Constitution. The determination of just compensation in cases of eminent domain is thus an actual controversy that calls for the exercise of judicial power by the courts. This is what the Court means when it said that "[t]he determination of 'just compensation' in eminent domain cases is a judicial function."

Before RA 6657, the courts exercised the power to determine just compensation under the Rules of Court. This was true under RAs 1400 and 3844 and during the time when President Marcos in Presidential Decree No. 1533 attempted to impermissibly restrict the discretion of the comis, as would be declared void in EPZA v. Dulay (EPZA). RA 6657 changed this process by providing for preliminary determination by the DAR of just compensation.

Does this grant to the DAR of primary ,jurisdiction to determine just compensation limit, or worse, deprive, courts of their .iudicial power? We hold that it docs not. There is no constitutional provision, policy, principle, value or ,jurisprudence that places the determination of a .iusticiable controversy beyond the reach of Congress' constitutional power to require, through a grant of primary ,jurisdiction, that a particular controversy be first referred to an expert administrative agency for adjudication, subject to subsequent judicial review.

In fact, the authority of Congress to create administrative agencies and grant them preliminary jurisdiction flows not only from the exercise of its plenary legislative power, but also from its constitutional power to apportion and diminish the jurisdiction of courts inferior to the Supreme Court.21 (Emphasis supplied. Citations omitted.)
To reiterate, I believe that we should affirm, not reverse, existing jurisprudential precedents as they were soundly, and correctly, decided. For me, I would rather affirm the settled doctrine and return to what Justice Minita Chico-Nazario calls the "becoming virtue ofpredictability."22

B

The doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere (to adhere to precedents and not to unsettle things which are established) enjoins adherence to judicial precedents. It is based on the principle that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed settled and closed to further argument. Commonly considered as a key feature of a common-law system, this principle has been transplanted into the hybrid legal system that is the Philippines.23 It is considered doctrine24 and embodied in Article 8 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which provides that "judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines."25

Under the doctrine of stare decisis, when a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases in which the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different.26 Thus, until authoritatively abandoned, such decisions assume the same authority as the statute itself and necessarily become, to the extent that they are applicable, the criteria which control the actuations not only of those called upon to decide thereby but also of those duty-bound to enforce obedience thereto.27 This doctrine has assumed such value in our judicial system that the Court has consistently ruled that abandonment of this doctrine must be based only on strong and compelling reasons; otherwise, the becoming virtue of predictability which is expected from this Court would be immeasurably affected and the public's confidence in the stability of solemn pronouncements diminished.28 For that reason, courts can only be justified in setting aside this doctrine upon showing that circumstances attendant in a particular case override the great benefits derived by our judicial system from the doctrine of stare decisis.29

In Martinez, the Court en banc sought to clarify the confusion brought about by its "conflicting pronouncements"30 in Republic, Veterans Bank, and Suntay. In affirming its ruling in Veterans Bank, the Court laid down a clear, unequivocal and straightforward rule, which it reaffirmed in Limkaichong, and which the Third Division most recently applied in Mateo.

Martinez is important not only because of what we said, but because of how we said it. The Court en banc there candidly admitted the existence of a "conflict" in its rulings. This is a remarkable admission from a Court obligated to speak with one voice. While there is only one Supreme Court, the fact that it acts through three divisions bears formidable pressure on the efficacy of its decision-making processes, which are expected to be designed to prevent conflicts. Whenever such conflicts occur, they reflect on the integrity and legitimacy of the Court's internal processes. In such cases, the Court en banc must then intervene to lay down the correct rule for the bench and bar to follow. This is precisely what the Court sought to achieve in Martinez. Preserving the integrity of the decision-making processes of the Court demands that there be prompt and strict compliance not only by the bench and the bar, but also by the Court itself.

For the Court to reverse itself once more needlessly opens us to criticism that we flip-flop in our decisions. I refer to the public disapprobation that greeted the Court's changes of views in League of Cities v. Commission on Elections31 and Navarro v. Ermita32 which caused the Court to be accused of engaging in the practice of "stare (in)decisis."33 These cases have etched into the public mind an uncalled-for association between the word "flip-flop" and the decision-making process of the Court.34 We should be mindful that in these days of heightened accountability of public servants, the manner in which the Court has "changed its mind" is as, if not more, important than the substance of what we say.

C

The great benefits derived by our judicial system from the doctrine of stare decisis35 notwithstanding, I agree with Justice Malcolm that the Court cannot adhere to "idolatrous reverence to precedent" because "more than anything else is that the court should be right" and not "perpetuate error."36 This case confronts the Court with the delicate task of deciding whether to affirm or abandon precedent in the context of land reform, one of the most important and radical social justice legislation of our time.

Although the Court has yet to adopt hard and fast rules to detennine when to abandon doctrine, we can derive some guidance from jurisprudence. We have, for example, abandoned doctrine when: (1) authorities are abundant and conflicting, but the Court needs to break new ground with a decision that rests on a strong foundation of reason and justice;37 (2) it is not wise to subordinate legal reason to case law and doing so will perpetuate error;38 (3) an existing ruling is in violation of the law in force;39 (4) the precedent is "alien to the conscience of the present generation of Filipinos who cut their teeth on the Bill of Rights," and where the dire consequences predicted in the precedent "have not come to pass;"40 and (5) the legal landscape has radically shifted.41

In 2006, Chief Justice Reynato Puno, in his dissenting opinion in Lambino v. Commission on Elections,42 called for the adoption of the four­pronged stare decisis test formulated by the United States Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey43 (Planned Parenthood). Planned Parenthood would later be cited with approval by Justice Eduardo Nachura in Ting v. Velez-Ting,44 which upheld the doctrine in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina.45 The four-pronged test of Planned Parenthood is as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Rather, when this Court reexamines a prior holding, its judgment is customarily informed by a series of prudential and pragmatic considerations designed to test the consistency of overruling a prior decision with the ideal of the rule of law, and to gauge the respective costs of reaffirming and overruling a prior case. Thus, for example, we may ask whether the rule has proven to be intolerable simply in defying practical workability; whether the rule is subject to a kind of reliance that would lend a special hardship to the consequences of overruling and add inequity to the cost of repudiation; whether related principles of law have so far developed as to have left the old rule no more than a remnant of abandoned doctrine; or whether facts have so changed, or come to be seen so differently, as to have robbed the old rule of significant application or justification.

So in this case we may enquire whether Roe's central rule has been found unworkable; whether the rule's limitation on state power could be removed without serious inequity to those who have relied upon it or significant damage to the stability of the society governed by it; whether the law's growth in the intervening years has left Roe's central rule a doctrinal anachronism discounted by society; and whether Roe's premises of fact have so far changed in the ensuing two decades as to render its central holding somehow irrelevant or unjustifiable in dealing with the issue it addressed.46 (Citations omitted.)
Even as it formulated the four-pronged stare decisis test in Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Supreme Court warned about the "terrible price" that would be paid by the court's legitimacy were it to engage in the unprincipled overruling of doctrine:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[T]he Court cannot buy support for its decisions by spending money and, except to a minor degree, it cannot independently coerce obedience to its decrees. The Court's power lies, rather, in its legitimacy, a product of substance and perception that shows itself in the people's acceptance of the Judiciary as fit to determine what the Nation's law means and to declare what it demands.

The underlying substance of this legitimacy is of course the warrant for the Court's decisions in the Constitution and the lesser sources of legal principle on which the Court draws. That substance is expressed in the Court's opinions, and our contemporary understanding is such that a decision without principled justification would be no judicial act at all. But even when justification is furnished by apposite legal principle, something more is required. Because not every conscientious claim of principled justification will be accepted as such, the justification claimed must be beyond dispute. The Court must take care to speak and act in ways that allow people to accept its decisions on the terms the Court claims for them, as grounded truly in principle, not as compromises with social and political pressures having, as such, no bearing on the principled choices that the Court is obliged to make. Thus, the Court's legitimacy depends on making legally principled decisions under circumstances in which their principled character is sufficiently plausible to be accepted by the Nation.

x x x

There is, first, a point beyond which frequent overruling would overtax the country's belief in the Court's good faith. Despite the variety of reasons that may inform and .iustify a decision to overrule, we cannot forget that such a decision is usually perceived (and perceived correctly) as, at the least, a statement that a prior decision was wrong. There is a limit to the amount of error that can plausibly be imputed to prior Courts. If that limit should be exceeded, disturbance of prior mlings would be taken as evidence that justifiable reexamination of principle had given way to drives for particular results in the short term. The legitimacy of the Court would fade with the frequency of its vacillation.47 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
Combining the guideposts, tests, and cautionary warnings of both the Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, it is my view that the Decisions in Veterans Bank, Martinez, and Limkaichong, including the cases reaffirming them, should not be abandoned. There is no need to break new ground on the question of whether applying the 15-day period (to elevate the DAR adjudicator's decision to the SAC) is the better rule, or whether the jurisdiction of the SAC is original and not appellate. Association, Veterans Bank, Martinez, Limkaichong, and Alfonso have laid to rest these and related issues, and on sound legal ground. There is no showing, claim, or clamor from bench, bar, or academe of a change of "facts on the ground" that have made implementation of the 15-day rule intolerably unworkable or impractical. The Congress need not incur the added burden of huge interest costs because cases where there is an equitable need to relax the Veterans Bank and Martinez doctrine have proven to be so few and far in between. Neither has the legal landscape radically shifted. Land reform, as mandated by the Constitution, continues to be a priority of the Government. Finally, no related principle of the law on just compensation has so far developed as to make Association and Martinez remnants of abandoned doctrine.

On the contrary, the Court in Alfonso clarified how the judicial function and settled principles of administrative law (such as the doctrine of primary jurisdiction) jointly effectuate legislation such as the land reform law. If, in Alfonso, we deigned to trust the DAR with fixing the formula for just compensation, subject only to the Court's approval of meritorious deviations, I cannot see why we refuse to trust the DAR's judgment that fifteen (15) days is a reasonable period to challenge its finding before the SAC. As stated, I do not see strong and compelling reasons to abandon them as to, in the words of Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, "override the great benefits derived by our judicial system from the doctrine of stare decisis."48

II

The ponencia advances that, since RA 6657 does not provide for a period within which the landowner must bring the DAR's detennination of just compensation to the SAC, the Civil Code provisions on prescription should apply. Considering further that the payment of just compensation is an obligation created by law, the ponencia concludes that the action for judicial determination of just compensation should be brought within ten years, under Article 1144(2) of the Civil Code,49 from the time the landowner receives the notice of coverage.50 Justice Leonen, on the other hand, argues that an action to determine just compensation for expropriated land is an imprescriptible constitutional right which "cannot [be] trump[ed]" by a statutorily defined period.51

I disagree. This is not only proscribed under the system of separation of powers, it is, in my view, simply bad policy. The proposed disposition would: (a) subvert the legislative design for the comprehensive agrarian reform program which vests the DAR not only with primary jurisdiction over agrarian-related controversies but also the power to issue rules and regulations to carry out the objectives and purpose of RA 6657; (b) violate existing substantive and procedural laws; and (c) defeat the Government's interest in paying just compensation nearest to the time of taking.

A

As earlier discussed, the Court in Association and Alfonso has already explained why the grant to the DAR of primary jurisdiction is constitutional and does not limit or deprive the courts of their judicial power.

Nevertheless, and despite the Court's clear pronouncements, we are again confronted with virtually the same issue. It thus seems to me that maybe the pith of the objection against the DAR's participation rests on the view that since the detennination of just compensation is a judicial function, only a judicial court can (originally and in the first instance) decide the matter after an evidentiary hearing conducted under judicial rules of court, such that it is judicial trier of fact that observes the demeanor and credibility of witnesses. Any other process would impermissibly degrade the exercise of the judicial function to determine just compensation.

I submit, however, that original jurisdiction simply means "the power of the Court to take judicial cognizance of a case instituted for judicial action fOr the first time under conditions provided by law."52Original jurisdiction vested in a court does not preclude preliminary determination by an administrative agency. Neither does the fact that a specific issue has been passed upon first by a tribunal other than a court make cognizance of that matter by a court appellate. On the other hand, "appellate jurisdiction" means "the authority of a court higher in rank to re­examine the final order or judgment of a lower court which tried the case now elevated for judicial review."53

Thus, in Yamane v. BA Lepanto Condominium Corporation,54 the Court was asked to rule on the issue of whether the RTC, in deciding an appeal taken from a denial of a protest by a local treasurer under Section 195 of the Local Government Code, exercises original or appellate jurisdiction. Applying the definition of Justice Florenz D. Regalado, the Court there ruled:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[T]he review taken by the RTC over the denial of the protest by the local treasurer would fall within that court's original jurisdiction. In short, the review is the initial judicial cognizance of the matter. Moreover, labeling the said review as an exercise of appellate jurisdiction is inappropriate, since the denial of the protest is not the judgment or order of a lower court, but of a local government official.55 (Emphasis supplied.)
Similarly, the filing with the SAC of a petition for judicial detennination of just compensation, which essentially assails the DAR's preliminary determination, is the first time that a judicial court will take cognizance of the matter. The preliminary determination made by the DAR is by no means a judgment or order of a lower court which would make its review by the RTC, sitting as SAC, appellate.

It is also my view, as explained in my Concurring Opinion in Limkaichong, that the grant of primary jurisdiction does not deprive nor limit the court's jurisdiction to determine just compensation. As we have explained in Alfonso, the Congress had, in fact, guaranteed the full and heightened exercise of this original and exclusive jurisdiction by allowing for a de novo review of the DAR's preliminary determination:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In case of a proper challenge, SACs are actually empowered to conduct a de novo review of the DAR's decision. Under RA 6657, a full trial is held where SACs are authorized to (1) appoint one or more commissioners, (2) receive, hear, and retake the testimony and evidence of the parties, and (3) make findings of fact anew. In other words, in exercising its exclusive and original jurisdiction to detennine just compensation under RA 6657, the SAC is possessed with exactly the same powers and prerogatives of a Regional Trial Court (RTC) under Rule 67 of the Revised Rules of Court.

In such manner, the SAC thus conducts a more exacting type of review, compared to the procedure provided either under Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Court, which governs appeals from decisions of administrative agencies to the Court of Appeals, or under Book VII, Chapter 4, Section 25 of the Administrative Code of 1987, which provides for a default administrative review process. In both cases, the reviewing court decides based on the record, and the agency's findings of fact are held to be binding when supported by substantial evidence. The SAC, in contrast, retries the whole case, receives new evidence, and holds a full evidentiary hearing.

In this light, until and unless this Court's ruling in Association of Small Landowners is reversed, a becoming modesty and respectful courtesy towards a co-equal branch of government demand that the Court defer to the Congress' grant of primary jurisdiction to the DAR.56
I feel that the Court should welcome, not begrudge, the Congress' decision to allow the DAR adjudicator to participate in the process. The adjudicator's contributions are designed to aid the judicial method. It is summary and time bound. There is likewise no claim that the DAR's participation delays or corrupts the process. It is not in our place to question the wisdom of this decision of the Congress because, as earlier explained, the Congress had arranged for judicial courts to have full de novo review of the DAR's contributions.

In similar fashion, I submit that we should also respect the legislative design to give the DAR the authority to issue rules and regulations to carry out the objects and purposes of RA 6657, including the provision of a 15­-day period within which to bring its preliminary determination of just compensation before the SAC.

The Congress, under Sections 49, 51, and 57 of RA 6657, said:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
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 mles shall take effect ten (10) days after publication in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

Sec. 51. Finality of Determination. - Any case or controversy before [the DAR] shall be decided within thirty (30) days after it is submitted for resolution. Only one (1) motion for reconsideration shall be allowed. Any order, ruling or decision shall be final after the lapse of fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy thereof.

Sec. 57. Special Jurisdiction. - The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special Agrarian Courts, unless modified by this Act.

The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special jurisdiction within thirty (30) days from submission of the case for decision.
Section 51 incorporates into RA 6657 the rule of finality and immutability of judgments, a staple feature of our procedural due process system. It should, however, not be read alone or in isolation to mean that the decision of the DAR adjudicator peremptorily becomes final after the lapse of the 15-day period. Such a literal reading will run counter to the mandate of Section 16 that the landowner may "bring" the decision to the proper court, i.e., the SAC. As Justice Vicente V. Mendoza explained in Veterans Bank, even if a law provides that the decision of the DAR is final and unappealable, resort to the courts cannot be foreclosed on the theory that courts are the guarantors of the legality of administrative action.57

In addition, while it is true that the Congress did not specifY, under Section 57, the period within which the dissatisfied landowner can "bring" the DAR decision to the proper court, this omission is not fatal because the DAR was vested with the power to "issue rules and regulations, whether substantive or procedural, to carry out the objects and purposes" of RA 6657.58 This, to me, includes the authority to adopt "a uniform rule of procedure to achieve a just, expeditious and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding before [the DAR]."59 Provisions like Section 49 are a staple feature of laws governing the creation of administrative agencies.60 The Court should reconcile the provisions of RA 6657 together, rather than construe them to be at war with each other. It is a cardinal rule in statutory construction that the whole and every part of a statute must be considered to produce a harmonious whole:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The cardinal rule, after all, in statutory construction is that the particular words, clauses and phrases should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every part of the statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to produce a harmonious whole. And courts should adopt a construction that will give effect to every part of a statute, if at all possible. Ut magis valeat quam pereat or that construction is to be sought which gives effect to the whole of the statute-its every word.61 (Citations omitted.)
The constitutionality of the exercise by the DAR of its power to promulgate the 1994 DARAB Rules of Procedure, or the reasonableness of the 15-day period it provided under Rule XIV, is not impugned in this case. Nevertheless, given the challenges raised in this case, permit me to say a few words.

In Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration,62 the Court, through Justice Isagani R. Cruz, said:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[I]t is true that legislative discretion as to the substantive contents of the law cannot be delegated. What can be delegated is the discretion to determine how the law may be enforced, not what the law shall be. The ascertainment of the latter subject is a prerogative of the legislature. This prerogative cannot be abdicated or surrendered by the legislature to the delegate.

x x x

With the proliferation of specialized activities and their attendant peculiar problems, the national legislature has found it more and more necessary to entrust to administrative agencies the authority to issue rules to carry out the general provisions of the statute. This is ca11ed the "power of subordinate legislation."

With this power, administrative bodies may implement the broad policies laid down in a statute by "filling in" the details which the Congress may not have the opportunity or competence to provide. This is effected by their promulgation of what are known as supplementary regulations, such as the implementing rules issued by the Department of Labor on the new Labor Code. These regulations have the force and effect of law.63 (Emphasis supplied.)
Here, the Congress laid down substantive law when it provided that the DAR adjudicator's decision must be subjected to judicial review. How this may be enforced, e.g., the period within which the decision must be brought to the SAC for judicial review, is a matter which the Congress may validly delegate to the DAR through the promulgation of rules of procedure.

The law must, of course, provide for adequate guidelines or limitations to map out the boundaries of the delegate's authority to prevent the delegation from "running riot."64 The power of the delegate cannot be unlimited; there should exist a sufficient standard to guide the delegate in the exercise of its authority.65

With respect to the DAR's rule-making power, Congress, under Section 49 of RA 6657, provided that the rules to be promulgated should "carry out" RA 6657 and ensure the "just, expeditious and inexpensive determination" of actions before the DAR. Thus and by authority of Section 49, the DAR promulgated the 1994 DARAB Rules of Procedure. Under Rule XIII, Section 11 of the DARAB Rules, it is provided:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Sec. 11. Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. The decision of the Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
To my mind, the 15-day rule carries out and enforces the substantive mandate to subject the DAR decision to judicial review. Not only is this period reasonable, it is also just and promotes the expeditious review of the DAR's adjudication. It is within the range provided by law, regulation, and the Rules of Court governing the periods respecting the judicial review of administrative decisions.66 The Administrative Code, which provides for a default uniform procedure for the judicial review of decisions of administrative agencies, similarly mandates that agency decisions become final and executory fifteen (15) days from receipt by the party, unless within that period an administrative appeal or judicial review has been perfected. Notably, judicial review shall also be made via a petition for review filed within a period of fifteen (15) days from receipt of judgment.67

I would imagine that if the DAR were to dare to provide for a ten (10) or thirty (30) year period within which to bring the DAR adjudicator's decision to the SAC, its act would surely be overturned by the Court for being that of a "roving commission" exercising "profligate and invalid" delegation of legislative powers whose authority should be "canalized within banks to keep it from overflowing."68 I see no reason why the same considerations should not apply to us.

Furthermore, this Court, in at least three cases involving the implementation and interpretation of RA 6657, has previously validated the DAR's exercise of its rule-making functions under Section 49. There is no reason to treat the 1994 DARAB Rules ofProcedure any differently.

In Land Bank of the Philippines v. Celada69 (Celada), the Court, citing Land Bank of the Philippines v. Banal70 (Banal) held that the DAR basic formula on just compensation was issued pursuant to its rule-making power to carry out the object and purposes ofRA 6657. Thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
It is elementary that rules and regulations issued by administrative bodies to interpret the law which they are entrusted to enforce, have the force of law, and are entitled to great respect. Administrative issuances partake of the nature of a statute and have in their favor a presumption of legality. As such, courts cannot ignore administrative issuances especially when, as in this case, its validity was not put in issue. Unless an administrative order is declared invalid, courts have no option but to apply the same.71 (Citations omitted.)
In Alfonso, the Court rejected arguments from some members of the Court to overturn Celada or Banal.72

In Roxas & Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals,73 the Court recognized that Section 16 of RA 6657, providing for identification of the land as among the first steps in the compulsory acquisition of property, is "silent on how the identification process must be made." The Court, on grounds of due process, upheld the DAR's authority to "fill in this gap" by issuing Administrative Order (AO) No. 12, series of 1989, which set the operating procedure in the identification of such lands.74 The Court would affirm the authority of the DAR to "fill in" the Section 16 gap in Department of Agrarian Reform v. Robles.75
The wide acceptance of the doctrine of primary jurisdiction grew out of the recognition that the Court does not know it all or does not always know better. While this view may perhaps not be acceptable to some, a becoming modesty should, in my view, lead the Court to breathe harmonious meaning to all the words used by the Congress for a workable RA 6657. We should respect, rather than subvert, the legislative purpose to make the DAR and the courts partners in implementing land reform. I quote again my ponencia in Alfonso:

We must be reminded that the government (through the administrative agencies) and the courts are not adversaries working towards different ends; our roles are, rather, complementary. As the United States Supreme Court said in Far East Conference v. United States:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
x x x [C]ourt and agency are not to be regarded as wholly independent and unrelated instrumentalities of justice, each acting in the performance of its prescribed statutory duty without regard to the appropriate function of the other in securing the plainly indicated objects of the statute. Court and agency are the means adopted to attain the prescribed end, and, so far as their duties are defined by the words of the statute, those words should be construed so as to attain that end through coordinated action. Neither body should repeat in this day the mistake made by the courts of law when equity was struggling for recognition as an ameliorating system of justice; neither can rightly be regarded by the other as an alien intruder, to be tolerated if must be, but never to be encouraged or aided by the other in the attainment of the common aim.
The Congress (which wrote Section 17 and funds the land reform land acquisition), the DAR (author of DAR AO No. 5 [1998] and implementer of land reform), and the LBP (tasked under EO 405 with the valuation of lands) are partners to the courts. All are united in a common responsibility as instruments of justice and by a common aim to enable the farmer to "banish from his small plot of earth his insecurities and dark resentments" and "rebuild in it the music and the dream." Courts and government agencies must work together if we are to achieve this shared objective.76 (Emphasis in the original. Citations omitted.)
B

We should also not confuse the application of substantive law with matters of procedure. The provisions of the Civil Code on prescription of actions are substantive law provisions. The provision of a period within which to bring an administrative agency's finding before the courts, on the other hand, concerns only procedure. Thus, while we do not dispute that a landowner's right to just compensation for the taking of his private property is a legally demandable and enforceable right guaranteed by no less than the Bill of Rights,77 the manner or mode of enforcing this substantive right is a matter governed by procedural law.

Otherwise stated, the process for determining just compensation in an expropriation proceeding (including finality of decisions, and the finality of judgments of the RTCs or the SACs, and periods and manner of appeals) is a procedural matter governed by the Rules of Court or the applicable special law, in this case, RA 6657. The justness of the amount of compensation, on the other hand, is determined by substantive law, i.e., the Constitution,78 Section 17 ofRA 665779 and the Decisions of the Court.80

Let me elaborate.

Rule 67 of the Rules of Court provides for the procedure for the traditional mode of expropriation. Expropriation is a special civil action, which only the Government can initiate.

Expropriation proceedings comprise two stages: (1) the determination of the authority of the Government to exercise the power of eminent domain and the propriety of its exercise in the context of the surrounding facts; and (2) the determination of the just compensation for the property sought to be taken.81 Expropriation proceedings are commenced with the filing of a verified complaint by the plaintiff government entity or agency before the RTC.82 This first stage ends, if not in a dismissal of the action, with an order of condemnation declaring that the Government has a lawful right to take the property sought to be condemned, for a public use or purpose.83 In the second stage, the RTC, with the aid of commissioners, ascertains the compensation due the landowner.84

The determination of just compensation is thus an integral part of the special civil action of expropriation. There is only one action, that of expropriation. The Rules of Court do not allow the landowner to assert his claim for just compensation against the Government in a new or separate proceeding. To do so will allow for the splitting of the Government's action and defeat the objective of Rules of Court to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of each action or proceeding.

That the landowner is obliged to litigate his claim for just compensation in the same expropriation proceeding is plain from the text of Section 3 of Rule 67:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Sec. 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 not 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. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
Section 685 of the same Rule further limits the time within which the landowner must present his evidence, i.e., he must do so at any time the commissioners call for the reception of evidence and before the commissioners submit their report.86 The landowner is given ten (10) days to object to the commissioner's report.87 Thereafter, the RTC acts on the commissioners' report88 and renders judgment.89

The landowner may contest the RTC's detennination of just compensation in an appeal or later, by way of a petition for review with the Court of Appeals or this Court, following the procedure and the reglementary periods provided by Rules 41 and 45 of the Rules of Court, respectively. Clearly, Rule 67 provides for one continuous process for the determination of just compensation once an eminent domain proceeding has been initiated by Government. It leaves absolutely no room for the landowner, or the Government, for that matter, to abort, bypass or short­circuit the process, much less postpone the finality of a judgment to some future time.

Before the passage of RA 6657, courts exercised the power to determine just compensation under the traditional mode of expropriation under Rule 67 of the Rules of Court as outlined above. This process changed with RA 6657, which sought to implement an ambitious agrarian reform program covering an estimated 7.8 million hectares of land for acquisition and redistribution to landless farmers and farmworker beneficiaries.90

As we explained in our landmark holding in Association, RA 6657 does not deal with the traditional exercise of the power of eminent domain. It deals, rather, with a "revolutionary kind of expropriation." It is revolutionary because of its scale: it affects all private agricultural lands whenever found and of whatever kind as long as they are in excess of the maximum retention limits allowed their owners. Likewise, it is intended for the benefit not only of a particular community or a small segment of the population but of the entire Filipino nation.91

Consequently, to achieve some measure of uniformity in both process and result, the Congress saw fit to delegate to the DAR the preliminary determination of just compensation, under the procedure outlined in Section 16 of RA 6657. This is a departure from the traditional mode of eminent domain under Rule 67. Even then, except for this innovation, the procedure provided in Sections 16, 51, 54, and 57, similarly provide for one seamless and continuous process of expropriation. From the moment the SAC takes over, the Rules of Court apply. The Congress did not create a new substantive right or procedure which grants landowners a period of ten (10) or thirty (30) years from notice of coverage to "bring" the issue of just compensation before the courts.

To put it more bluntly, the Court has no authority to substitute validly promulgated procedural reglementary periods applicable to an expropriation proceeding with Civil Code's substantive law provisions on prescriptive periods. Under the principle of separation of powers, only the Congress has the authority to legislate law. Furthermore, for the Court to grant the landowner, by judicial fiat, such periods to initiate determination of just compensation outside of the expropriation proceeding initiated by the Government, is also unjust. It is well to remember that in Martinez, this Court upheld the 15-day rule provided under the DARAB Rules because it is consistent with "the principles of justice and equity." We held that a "belated petition before the SAC, e.g., one filed a month, or a year, or even a decade after the land valuation of the DAR adjudicator, must not leave the dispossessed landowner in a state of uncertainty as to the true value of his property."92

In Martinez, it was the Government which belatedly filed a petition with the SAC. Now the proverbial shoe is on the other foot. Respondent Dalauta filed his claim for just compensation with the SAC four years from his receipt of the notice of coverage. It would be unjust to leave the Government in a state of uncertainty as to the amount it should pay as just compensation, especially when the Government is ready, able and willing to pay upon final judgment.

C

More, the Government has a strong public interest in paying just compensation nearest to the time of taking as this avoids incurring the unnecessary financial burden of paying interest. Since the landowner is entitled to the payment of interest where there is delay in the payment of just compensation, delay (which is deemed to be an effective forbearance on the part of the State) entitles the landowner to the payment of interest.93 The interest due is not insubstantial. It is computed at the rate of 12% per annum from the time of taking until June 30, 2013. Thereafter, or beginning July 1, 2013, until fully paid, interest shall be at six percent (6%) per annum.94

I submit that the governmental interest is founded on the Constitution. It is doctrinal that the payment of just compensation be made "within a reasonable time from the taking." Without "prompt payment," compensation cannot be considered just.95 The landowner who is immediately deprived of his land should not be made to wait for a decade or more before actually receiving the amount necessary to cope with his loss.96 The prompt payment doctrine, however, protects the Government as welL The right of the landowner to receive prompt payment is subject to the correlative obligation of the landowner to promptly accept the just compensation to be paid by the Government as detennined in a final judgment.

In the ordinary course of events, a landowner would want to be made "financially whole" as soon as possible. A contrary view will only allow landowners to arbitrage the prevailing low-interest regime against the judicially-imposed legal rates of 12% or 6%. Worse, landowners can wager that the Court in some future time will redefine its jurisprudence on the computation of interest.97 Either way, I believe that burdening the Government with this additional financial cost would be unconstitutional because it is an unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, and unconscionable expenditure.

III

I vote to deny the petition insofar as it questions the jurisdiction of the SAC. I also vote to deny the petition insofar as it will uphold the SAC's determination of just compensation. Instead, I submit that the case should be remanded for proper computation of just compensation.

A

There is no need to abandon or reverse Martinez and Veterans Bank; we need only to apply the exceptions which can be found in existing jurisprudence. The Court, in a number of cases, has recognized a fair and equitable way to deal with exceptions to the application of Martinez or Veterans Bank.

In Secretary of Department of Public Works and Highways v. Spouses Tecson,98 a case involving the government's acquisition of right of way, the Court sustained the right of a landowner to just compensation despite the lapse of 54 years from the time the government entered into the property in 1940 without the benefit of expropriation proceedings and payment of just compensation. Because of the failure of the respondents-landowners to question the absence of expropriation proceedings for a long period of time, they were deemed to have waived the ability to question the power of the government to expropriate or the public use for which the power was exercised.99 What was left to respondents was the right of compensation.100

In Mateo, which involved compulsory acquisition under RA 6657, the Court sustained the landowner's right to bring, independently from the expropriation proceedings, an action for determination of just compensation before the SAC due to the official inaction on the part of appropriate government agencies. There, although the LBP and the DAR entered the property of the Mateos sometime in 1994, payment in agrarian reform bonds was deposited only in 1996 and 1997. Furthermore, when the Mateos filed their petition before the SAC, no summary proceedings have yet been initiated by the DAR to make further valuation. The Court thus held that the DAR's delay and inaction had unjustly prejudiced the Mateos; precluding them from filing a complaint before the SAC would only result in an injustice.

In Limkaichong, the Court sustained a landowner's petition before the SAC for determination of just compensation filed more than two months from the challenged DARAB valuation. There, we held that we "cannot fairly and properly" bar petitioner's complaint for the determination of just compensation on the basis of the 15-day rule in Veterans Bank because:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
[t]he prevailing rule at the time she filed her complaint x x x was that enunciated in Republic v. Court of Appeals on October 30, 1996. The pronouncement in Philippine Veterans Bank was promulgated on January 18, 2000 when the trial was already in progress in the RTC. At any rate, it would only be eight years afterwards that the Court en banc unanimously resolved the jurisprudential conundrum through its declaration in Land Bank v. Martinez that the better rule was that enunciated in Philippine Veterans Bank. The Court must, therefore, prospectively apply Philippine Veterans Bank. x x x101
Here, respondent Dalauta tiled his petition before the SAC on February 8, 2000, or only 21 days after the promulgation of the decision in Veterans Bank and nearly eight years before our resolution in Martinez. The CA, which issued its Decision on September 18, 2009, barely 10 months after Martinez, made absolutely no mention of Martinez, relying mainly on the 2007 case of Suntay. I submit that, under these circumstances, justice and equity dictate that we apply Veterans Bank and Martinez prospectively, and grant respondent Dalauta the same liberality extended to the landowner in Limkaichong.

B

In his petition for the determination of just compensation filed with the SAC, respondent Dalauta alleged that his land is "fully cultivated and wholly planted x x x with falcata trees" wherein he derived a net income of P350,000.00.102 He thus averred that just compensation for his property should be computed using the formula under paragraph II of DAR AO No. 6, series of 1992, that is, LV = (CNI x 0.9) + (MV x 0.1). Applying this formula, respondent computes just compensation for his property at P2,639,566.90.103

The LBP, on the other hand, argues that the valuation of respondent's land should be determined using the formula for idle lands, that is, LV = MV x 2. Under this formula, respondent would only receive a total of P192,782.59 for his 25.2160-hectare property.104 The SAC, however, essentially agreed with respondent Dalauta, computing just compensation for his property as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Since the Capitalized Net Income in this case is available, the formula to be used is:

LV = (CNI X 0.9) + (MV X 0.1)

Whence:

LV = (P350,000/.12 X 0.9) + (P145,570 X 0.1)

      = (P2,916,666.67 X 0.9) + ([P14,557.00])

      = P2.625,000.00 + P14,577.00

      = P2,639,557.00 plus P100,000.00 for the farmhouse105
The CA affinned the SAC's computation, rejecting the LBP's claim that it used the formula LV = MV x 2, under A.3 of DAR AO No. 6, series of 1992, due to the unavailability/inapplicability of CNI data. According to the CA, "[r]ecords show that the non-availability of the CNI data was due to [LBP]'s failure or omission to exert any effort to obtain the same during ocular inspection or investigation of the subject land x x x."106 It deleted, however, the P100,000.00 award for the farmhouse, finding that "such improvement was inexistent during the taking of the subject land."107

I submit that both the CA and the SAC erred in applying the formula under DAR AO No. 6, series of 1992. Just compensation for respondent Dalauta's land should instead be computed based on the formula provided under DAR-LBP Joint Memorandum Circular No. 11, series of 2003 (JMC No. 11 (2003)). This Memorandum Circular, which provides for the specific guidelines for properties with standing commercial trees, explains:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The Capitalized Net Income (CNI) approach to land valuation assumes that there would be uniform streams of future income that would be realized in perpetuity from the seasonal/permanent crops planted to the land. In the case of commercial trees (hardwood and soft wood species), however, only a one-time income is realized when the trees are due for harvest. The regular CNI approach in the valuation of lands rclated to commercial trees would therefore not apply.108 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
During the proceedings before the SAC, respondent Dalauta testified that he derived a net income of P350,000.00 in 1993 from the sale to Norberta Fonacier (Fonacier) of falcata trees grown in the property. Respondent presented the following evidence to bolster his claim of income: (1) Agreement between respondent Dalauta and Fonacier over the sale of falcata trees;109 (2) copy of deposit slip of amount of P350,000.00;110 and (3) Certification from Allied Bank as to fact of deposit of the amount of P350,000.00 on November 15, 1993.111

This sale of falcata trees by respondent, however, appears to be a one-time transaction. Apart from this lone transaction, respondent did not allege to have derived any other income from the property prior to receiving the Notice of Coverage from the DAR in February 1994. Even respondent, in the Comment he filed before the CA, admits as much.112 For this reason, I submit that his property would be more appropriately covered by the formula provided under JMC No. 11 (2003).

JMC No. 11 (2003) provides for several valuation procedures and formulas, depending on whether the commercial trees found in the land in question are harvestable or not, naturally grown, planted by the farmer­beneficiary or lessee or at random. It also provides for the valuation procedure depending on when the commercial trees are cut (i.e., while the land transfer claim is pending or when the landholding is already awarded to the farmer-beneficiaries).

Respondent alleges to have sold all the falcata trees in the property to Fonacier in 1993.113 After Fonacier finished harvesting in January 1994, respondent claims that, per advice of his lawyer, he immediately caused the replanting of falcata trees.114 Thus, per the Schedule of Harvestable Age of Different Tree Species of JMC No. 11 (2003),115 at the time respondent received the Notice of Coverage in 1994, the falcata trees planted in his property were not yet of harvestable age. The applicable formula for purposes of valuing respondent's property, at least those parts planted to falcata trees, would therefore be:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
LV = (MVx2) + CDC

Where:

LV    = Land Value
MV  = Market Value of the land which shall be based on the applicable Unit Market Value (UMV) classification of idle land
CDC = Cumulative Development Cost of "not yet harvestable" trees incurred by the [landowner] from land preparation up to the date of receipt of [claimfolder] by LBP for processing.

The MV is computed using the formula:

MV = UMV x LAF x RCPI

Where:

UMV  = Unit Market Value
LAF    = Location Adjustment Factor
RCPI  = applicable Regional Consumer Price Index

The CDC of "not yet harvestable" commercial trees is determined using the following formula:

CDC = CDC per Tree x Number of Not Yet Harvestable Trees
Considering, however, the dearth of evidence on record to establish values for the factors included in the above fonnula, I vote that the case be remanded to the SAC for further proceedings.

C

The records show that the LBP submitted in evidence a Schedule of Base Unit Market Values for Agricultural Lands and Plants respecting the area where respondent's property is found.116 Under this Schedule, base market values for falcata/rubber lands are indicated, depending on its class (1, 2, or 3) and nature (level or on hillside). Since there is no evidence on record as to the class and nature of the property in question, I submit that the case be remanded to receive evidence on the same, for purposes of determining the proper UMV. For the same reason, the SAC, on remand, should also receive evidence as to the applicable LAF and RCPI for the relevant period (1994).

In addition, under JMC No. 11 (2003), development cost data are primarily sourced from the landowner, to be validated against his accounting records (i.e., ledgers, receipts, etc.) and interview with farmworkers and laborers. If the landowner's records are unavailable or cannot be validated, development cost data can be obtained from: (1) the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) or the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); or, in the absence of this data, (2) the schedule of development, maintenance and protection cost for each tree species provided under Annex A of JMC No. 11 (2003).

Here, respondent, on cross-examination, claims that his property was planted with about 2,500 falcata trees per hectare.117 Apart from this, however, there is no other evidence on record to support or validate respondent's claim. Neither is there any evidence in the records from either respondent or the CENRO/PENRO as to the development cost incurred in the planting of the falcata trees. JMC No. 11 (2003), on the other hand, provides that "[i]f the [landowner]'s actual number of trees per hectare exceeds that of the standard tree density of 1,667 trees/hectare (2m x 3m), the [landowner]'s CDC shall be computed based on the CDC of 1,667 trees/hectare."118 Under the Schedule of Development, Maintenance and Protection Cost provided in JMC No. 11 (2003), the CDC/Hectare for Year 1 is P22,377.00. Thus, granting that 21 hectares of respondent's property were planted to falcata trees, the CDC for the same would thus be P22,377.00/hectare x 21 hectares or a total of P469,917.00.

Applying all the data so far available, just compensation for respondent's property should be computed thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
LV = (MV x 2) + CDC

Where:

MV = UMV + LAF + RCPI (all still to be determined by the SAC after it has received evidence on the same)

CDC = P469,917.00
I realize that JMC No. 11 (2003) does not appear to be applicable to the facts of this case insofar as it provides that it covers only "all land transfer claims involving lands planted to commercial trees whose Memorandum of Valuation have not yet been forwarded to DAR as of date of effectivity of this Joint Memorandum Circular x x x," I submit, however, that applying the above formula to compute just compensation for respondent's land would be the most equitable course of action under the circumstances. Without JMC No. 11 (2003), respondent's property would have to be valued using the formula for idle lands, the CNI and CS factors not being applicable. Following this formula, just compensation for respondent's property would only amount to P225,300.00, computed as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
LV = MV x 2

Where:

LV = Land Value
MV = Market Value per Tax Declaration*
• For the area planted to com, P7,740.00/hectare119
• For idle/pasture land, P3,890/hectare120

Thus:

For the 4 hectares planted to corn:

LV = (P7,740/hectare x 4 hectares) x 2
      = P61,920.00

For the 21 hectares of idle/pasture land:

LV = (P3,890/hectare x 21 hectares) x 2
      = P163,380.00

Total Land Value = P61,920.00 + P163,380.00
                             = P225,300.00
All the foregoing premises considered, I vote that the petition be DENIED and the case REMANDED to the SAC for purposes of computing just compensation in accordance with JMC No. 11 (2003) and this Opinion.

Endnotes:


1 G.R. No. 132767, January 18, 2000, 322 SCRA 139.

2 G.R. No. 169008, July 31, 2008, 560 SCRA 776.

3 G.R. No. 184282, April 11, 2012, 669 SCRA 354.

4 G.R. No. 158464, August 2, 2016

5 G.R. No. 122256, October 30, 1996, 263 SCRA 758.

6Id. at 765.

7Supra at 145.

8 G.R. No. 157903, October 11, 2007, 535 SCRA 605.

9Id. at 617.

10Supra at 783.

11Id. at 783.

12Supra note 4.

13 G.R. No. 186339, February 15, 2017.

14 G.R. No. 181912, November 29, 2016.

15 As will be later discussed, however, Mateo is an exception to the strict application of the 15-day period rule. In view of the specitic circumstances obtaining in the case, the Court in Mateo sustained the landowner's recourse to the SAC prior to the termination of the proceedings before the DAR adjudicator.

16Ponencia, p. 14.

17 G.R. No. L-59603, April 29, 1987, 149 SCRA 305.

18Ponencia, p. 14

19 G.R. No. 78742. July 14. 1989, 175 SCRA 343.

20Id. at 380-382.

21Supra note 14.

22Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Incorporated v. Pagdanganan, G.R. No. 167866, October 16, 2006, 504 SCRA 549, 564.

23 Theodore Te, Stare (In(Decisis): Some Reflections on Judicial Flip-Flopping in League of Cities v. COMELEC and Navarro v. Ermita, 85 PHIL. L.J. 785, 785-789 (2011) [hereinafter "STARE (IN)DECISIS"].

24 See Emiliano Lazaro, The Doctrine of Stare Decisis and the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands, 15 PHIL. L.J. 404 (1937); Randy J. Kozel, Stare Decisis as Judicial Doctrine, 67 WASH & LEE L. REV. 411 (2010).

25 See Lazatin v. Desierto, G.R. No. 147097, June 5, 2009, 588 SCRA 285, 293.

26Cabaobas v. Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 176908, March 25, 2015, 754 SCRA 325, 341, citing Philippine Carpet Manufacturing Corporation v. Tagyamon, G.R. No. 191475, December 11, 2013, 712 SCRA 489, 500.

27Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Incorporated v. Pagdanganan, supra at 564.

28Lazalin v. Desierto, supra at 294-295, citing Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Incorporated v. Pagdanganan, supra at 294-296.

29Lazatin v. Desierto, supra at 295.

30Supra note 2 at 781.

31 G.R. No. 176951, 571 SCRA 263, November 18, 2008; 608 SCRA 636, December 21, 2009; 628 SCRA 819, August 24, 2010; February 15, 2011; April 12, 2011; June 28, 2011, 652 SCRA 798.

32 G.R. No. 180050, February 10, 2010, 612 SCRA 131; May 12, 2010, 620 SCRA 529; April 12, 2011, 648 SCRA 400.

33See STARE (IN)DECISIS, supra note 23.

34 Id.

35 See Lazatin v. Desierto, supra at 295-296.

36Philippine Trust Co. v. Mitchell, 59 Phil. 30, 36 (1933).

37Villaflor v. Summers, 41 Phil. 62 (1920), on whether physical examination of a pregnant woman violates the constitutional right against self-incrimination.

38Philippine Trust Co. v. Mitchell, supra, overruling previous case law in favor of an interpretation that the Insolvency Law takes precedence over the Civil Code provisions on insolvency.

39Tan Chong v. Secretary of Labor, 79 Phil. 249 (1947), substituting the principle in citizenship of jus soli in favor of jus sanguinis.

40Ebranilag v. The Division Superintendent of Schools of Cebu, G.R. No. 95770, March 1, 1993, 219 SCRA 256, overruling the 30-year old tlag salute law decision.

41Carpio-Morales v. Court of Appeals (Sixth Division), G.R. No. 217126, November 10, 2015, 774 SCRA 431, overturning the 1959 condonation case of Pascual decided under the 1935 Constitution.

42 G.R. No 174153, October 25, 2006, 505 SCRA 160, 311-312.

43 505 U.S. 833 (1992).

44 G.R. No. 166562, March 31, 2009, 582 SCRA 694.

45 G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997, 268 SCRA 198.

46Supra at 854-855.

47Id. at 865-866.

48Lazatin v. Desierto, supra note 25, at 295-296.

49 CIVIL CODE, Art. 1144. The following actions must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues:

(1) Upon a written contract;

(2) Upon an obligation created by law;

(3) Upon a judgment. (Emphasis supplied.)

50Ponencia, p. 14-15.

51 Separate Opinion of Justice Leonen, p. 2.

52 FLORENZ D. REGALADO, I REMEDIAL LAW COMPENDIUM 4 (2005). (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)

53Id.

54 G.R. No. 154993, October 25, 2005, 474 SCRA 258.

55Id. at 268. The Court noted that Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals over decisions rendered by administrative agencies and quasi-judicial tribunals. However, the Court explained that Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 expressly provides such appellate jurisdiction of the CA. B.P 129 does not confer such appellate jurisdiction on the RTCs over rulings made by non-judicial entities. The Court explained:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The stringent concept of original jurisdiction may seemingly be neutered by Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Section 1 of which lists a slew of administrative agencies and quasi-judicial tribunals or their officers whose decisions may be reviewed by the Court of Appeals in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. However, the basic law of jurisdiction, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (B.P. 129), ineluctably confers appellate jurisdiction on the Court of Appeals over final rulings of quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commission, by explicitly using the phrase "appellate jurisdiction." The power to create or characterize jurisdiction of courts belongs to the legislature. While the traditional notion of appellate jurisdiction connotes judicia c review over lower court decisions, it has to yield to statutory redefinitions that clearly expand its breadth to encompass even revi of decisions of officers in the executive branches of government.

Yet significantly, the Local Government Code, or any other statute for that matter, does not expressly confer appellate jurisdiction on the part of regional trial courts from the denial of a tax protest by a local treasurer. On the other hand, Section 22 of B.P. 129 expressly delineates the appellate jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts, confining as it does said appellate jurisdiction to cases decided by Metropolitan, Municipal, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. Unlike in the case of the Court of Appeals, .P. 129 does not confer appellate jurisdiction on Regional Trial urts over rulings made by non-judicial entities. (Id. at 268-269.)
56Supra, note 4.

57Supra note 1, at 147. See also San Miguel Corporation v. Secretary of Labor, G.R. No. L-39195, May 16, 1975, 64 SCRA 56.

58 RA 6657, Sec. 49.

59 RA 6657, Sec. 50.

60 See, e.g., LABOR CODE, Art. 5.

61Inding v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. 143047, July 14, 2004, 434 SCRA 388, 403, citing RUBEN E. AGPALO, STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION 197 (1995).

62 G.R. No. L-76633, Octobec 18, 1988, 166 SCRA 533.

63Id. at 542-545.

64Id. at 543.

65Id. at 545.

66 For example, with respect to a case before the Civil Service Commission, Rule 13, Section 70 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service provides that "[a] party may elevate a decision of the Commission before the CA by way of a petition for review under Rule 43 of the [Rules of Court]." Rule 43, Section 4, in turn, provides that a party has fifteen (15) days to appeal counted from notice of award, judgment, final order, resolution, or date of last publication, if publication is required. Additionally, as regards cases before the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission, Rule 18, Section 18.2 of CIAC Revised Rules of Procedure Governing Construction Arbitration provides that "[a] petition for review from a final award may be taken by any of the parties within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof in accordance with the provisions of Rule 43 of the Rules of Court."

67 ADMINISTRATIVE CODE, Book VII, Chapter 3, Sec. 14. Decision. - Every decision rendered by the agency in a contested case shall be in writing and shall state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. The agency shall decide each case within thirty (30) days following its submission. The parties shall be notified of the decision personally or by registered mail addressed to their counsel of record, if any, or to them.

Sec. 15. Finality of Order. - The decision of the agency shall become final and executory fifteen (15) days after the receipt of a copy thereof by the party adversely affected unless within that period an administrative appeal or judicial review, if proper, has been perfected. One motion for reconsideration may be filed, which shall suspend the running of the said period.

x x x

Sec. 23. Finality of Decision of Appellate Agency. - In any contested case, the decision of the appellate agency shall become final and executory fifteen ( 15) days after the receipt by the parties of a copy thereof.

x x x

Sec. 25. Judicial Review. -

(1)
Agency decisions shall be subject to judicial review in accordance with this chapter and applicable laws.
(2)
Any party aggrieved or adversely affected by an agency decision may seek judicial review.
(3)
The action for judicial review may be brought against the agency, or its officers, and all indispensable and necessary parties as defined in the Rules of Court.
(4)
Appeal from an agency decision shall be perfected by filing with the agency within fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy thereof a notice of appeal, and with the reviewing court a petition for review of the order. Copies of the petition shall be served upon the agency and all parties of record. The petition shall contain a concise statement of the issues involved and the grounds relied upon for the review, and shall be accompanied with a true copy of the order appealed from, together with copies of such material portions of the records as are referred to therein and other supporting papers. The petition shall be under oath and shall show, by stating the specific material dates, that it was filed within the period fixed in this chapter.
(5)
The petition for review shall be perfected within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the final administrative decision. One (1) motion for reconsideration may be allowed. If the motion is denied, the movant shall perfect his appeal during the remaining period for appeal reckoned from receipt of the resolution of denial. If the decision is reversed on reconsideration, the appellant shall have fifteen (15) days from receipt of the resolution to perfect his appeal.
(6)
The review proceeding shalf be filed in the court specified by statute or, in the absence thereof, in any court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions on venue of the Rules of Court.
(7)
Review shalf be made on the basis of the record taken as a whole. The findings of fact of the agency when supported by substantial evidence shall be final except when specifically provided otherwise by law. (Emphasis supplied.)

68Eastern Shipping Lines. Inc. v. Philippine Owrseas Employment Administration, supra note 63, at 543, citing Ynot v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. L-74457, March 20, 1987, 148 SCRA 659, 674.

69 G.R. No. 164876, January 23, 2006, 479 SCRA 495.

70 G.R. No. 143276, July 20, 2004, 434 SCRA 543.

71Landbank v. Celada, supra at 507.

72 See Dissenting Opinion of Justice Velasco and Concurring Opinion of Justice Leonen.

73 G.R. No. 127876, December 17, 1999, 321 SCRA 106.

74Id. at 130.

75 G.R. No. 190482, December 9, 2015, 777 SCRA 141, 170-171.

76Alfonso v. Land Bank of the Philippines, supra note 14.

77 CONSTITUTION, Art. III, Sec. 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. See Alfonso v. Land Bank of the Philippines, supra.

78Id.

79 See also RA 6657, Sec. 16.

80 See Alfonso v. Land Bank of the Philippines, supra.

81Municipality of Cordova, Province of Cebu v. Pathfinder Development Corporation, G.R. No. 205544, June 29, 2016, 795 SCRA 190, 199.

82 RULES OF COURT, Rule 67. Sec. 1.

83Municipality of Cordova, Cebu v. Pathfinder Development Corporation, supra at 199.

84 RULES OF COURT, Rule 67, Secs. 5, 6, and 7.

85 RULES OF COURT, Rule 67, Sec. 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 prope1ty so taken. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)

86 RULES OF COURT, Rule 67, Sec. 7. Report by commissioners andjudgment 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. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)

87 RULES OF COURT, Rule 67, Sec. 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 prope1ty essential to the exercise of his right of expropriation, and to the defendant just compensation for the property so taken. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)

88Id.

89 RULES OF COURT, Rule 67, Sec. 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 situatld' and its effect shall be to vest in the plaintiff the title to the real estate so described for such public use or purpose. (Emphasis supplied.)

90Alfonso v. Land Bank of the Philippines, supra note 14.

91Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, supra note 19 at 386.

92Land Bank of the Philippines v. Martinez, supra note 2 at 783.

93Mateo v. Department of Agrarian Reform, supra note 13.

94Id.

95Apo Fruits Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 164195, Feburary 6, 2007, 514 SCRA 537, 557-558.

96Id.

97 See Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways v. Tecson, G.R. No. 179334, July 1, 2013, 756 SCRA 389, (Leonen, J., dissenting), where Justice Leonen argued for the adoption of present value in the computation of fair market value.

98Id.

99Id. at 409-410.

100Id.

101Supra, note 4.

102 CA rollo, p. 16.

103Id.

104Rollo, p. 70.

105Id. at 148.

106Id. at 24.

107Id. at 25.

108 This much was also explained during trial by the LBP witness Alex G. Carido, as noted in the assailed CA Decision:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Petitioner's next witness was Alex G. Carido (Carido), the Agrarian Operation Specialist of its Cagayan de Oro branch, whose function, among others, is to compute the value of a land offered by a landowner to the DAR, using the guidelines provided by the latter. He recalled that the valuation of respondent's property was made in September 1994 pursuant to a Memorandum Request to Value the Land addressed to petitioner's President.

Carido testified that the entries in the Claims Valuation and Processing Forms were the findings of their credit investigator. He explained that the data for Capitalized Net Income was not applicable then, as the land's produce was only for family consumption, and that since the property had no income, they used the formula Land Value (LV) Market Value (MV) x 2, from DAR AO No.6, series of 1992, in computing the total value of the subject land, where MV is the Market Value per Tax Declaration based on the Tax Declaration issued in 1994.

x x x

On cross-examination, Carido admitted that there are different ways of computing the Land Value under DAR AO No. 6, and that to determine which of the formulas is applicable for computing the land value of a pat1icular property, the data gathered in the Field Investigation Report are to be considered. He maintained that he used the formula Land Value = Market Value x 2 in computing the valuation of the subject land because the data for Capitalized Net Income (CNI) and/or Comparable Sales [CS] were not given to him.

During re-cross xamination, when asked why no CNI was provided in the investigation report, Carido stated that CNI is relevant only if there is production from the property, and that while there was corn production in the subject land during ocular inspection in 1994, the same was for family consumption only, hence, CNI will not apply. He went on to say that the net income and/or production of the land within twelve (12) months prior to the ocular inspection shall be considered in determining the land value. Id. at 69-71. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
109 Records, pp. 13, 172.

110Id. at 172, 174.

111Id. at 172, 175.

112Rollo, p. 317.

113 Records, p. 172.

114Id.

115 Annex E. JMC No. 11 (2003).

116Rollo, pp. 194, 213.

117Id. at 68.

118Supra note 116. Emphasis supplied.

119 Per 1994 Tax Declaration. Records, p. 7.

120Id.



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August-2017 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 187160, August 09, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. ERLINDA A. SISON @ "MARGARITA S. AGUILAR," Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 220002, August 02, 2017 - EUGENIO M. GOMEZ, Petitioner, v. CROSSWORLD MARINE SERVICES, INC., GOLDEN SHIPPING COMPANY S.A., AND ELEAZAR DIAZ, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 185597, August 02, 2017 - JOHN E.R. REYES AND MERWIN JOSEPH REYES, Petitioners, v. ORICO DOCTOLERO, ROMEO AVILA, GRANDEUR SECURITY AND SERVICES CORPORATION, AND MAKATI CINEMA SQUARE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 188307, August 02, 2017 - MULTINATIONAL VILLAGE HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION, INC., RAMON MAGBOO, JIMMY DEL MUNDO, CARLOS RAPAY, AND DR. JOSEFINA TIOPIANCO, PETITIONERS, VS. ARNEL M. GACUTAN, RAFAEL TEYLAN, EDMUND T. HERNANDEZ, DANILO ARANETA, MIGUEL DAVID, JOLIE R. PELAYO, BOBBY D. YUTADCO, DANIEL TENORIO, MICHAEL KHO, AND DANILO CAMBEL, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 217777, August 16, 2017 - PRISCILLA Z. ORBE, Petitioner, v. LEONORA O. MIARAL, Respondent.

  • G.R. Nos. 144760-61, August 02, 2017 - EVELYN L. MIRANDA, Petitioner, v. SANDIGANBAYAN AND THE OMBUDSMAN, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 167311-12 - EVELYN L. MIRANDA, Petitioner, v. SANDIGANBAYAN AND THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 167316-17 - VENANCIO R. NAVA, Petitioner, v. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN 4TH DIVISION AND THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.; G.R. Nos. 167625-26 - PRIMO C. OBENZA, Petitioner, v. SANDIGANBAYAN AND THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 11149 (Formerly CBD Case No. 13-3709), August 15, 2017 - LAURENCE D. PUNLA AND MARILYN SANTOS, Complainants, v. ATTY. ELEONOR MARAVILLA-ONA, Respondent.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-10-2219, August 01, 2017 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. RETIRED JUDGE PABLO R. CHAVEZ, FORMER PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 87, ROSARIO, BATANGAS, ATTY. TEOFILO A. DIMACULANGAN, JR., CLERK OF COURT VI, MR. ARMANDO ERMELITO M. MARQUEZ, COURT INTERPRETER III, MS. EDITHA E. BAGSIC, COURT INTERPRETER III, AND MR. DAVID CAGUIMBAL, PROCESS SERVER, ALL OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 87, ROSARIO, BATANGAS, Respondents.; A.M. No. 12-7-130-RTC - RE: UNDATED ANONYMOUS LETTER-COMPLAINT AGAINST THE PRESIDING JUDGE, CLERK OF COURT AND COURT STENOGRAPHER OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 87, ROSARIO, BATANGAS.

  • G.R. No. 186050, August 01, 2017 - ARTHUR BALAO, WINSTON BALAO, NONETTE BALAO, JONILYN BALAO-STRUGAR, AND BEVERLY LONGID, Petitioners, v. EDUARDO ERMITA, GILBERTO TEODORO, RONALDO PUNO, NORBERTO GONZALES, GEN. ALEXANDER YANO, GEN. JESUS VERZOSA, BRIG. GEN. REYNALDO MAPAGU, LT. P/DIR. EDGARDO DOROMAL, MAJ. GEN. ISAGANI CACHUELA, COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE AFP-ISU BASED IN BAGUIO CITY, PSS EUGENE MARTIN, AND SEVERAL JOHN DOES, Respondents.; G.R. No. 186059 - SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA,SECRETARY GILBERTOTEODORO,SECRETARY RONALDOPUNO,SECRETARY NORBERTOGONZALES, GEN. ALEXANDER YANO, P/DGEN. JESUS VERZOSA, BRIG. GEN. REYNALDO MAPAGU, MAJ. GEN. ISAGANI CACHUELA, AND POL. SR. SUPT. EUGENE MARTIN, Petitioners, v. ARTHUR BALAO, WINSTON BALAO, NONETTE BALAO, JONILYN BALAO-STRUGAR, AND BEVERLY LONGID, Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 11504, August 01, 2017 - ARIEL G. PALACIOS, FOR AND IN BEHALF OF THE AFP RETIREMENT AND SEPARATION BENEFITS SYSTEM (AFP-RSBS), Complainant, v. ATTY. BIENVENIDO BRAULIO M. AMORA, JR., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 221493, August 02, 2017 - STERLING PAPER PRODUCTS ENTERPRISES, INC., Petitioner, v. KMM-KATIPUNAN AND RAYMOND Z. ESPONGA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 222095, August 07, 2017 - IN THE MATTER OF PETITION FOR CANCELLATION OF CERTIFICATES OF LIVE BIRTH OF YUHARES JAN BARCELOTE TINITIGAN AND AVEE KYNNA NOELLE BARCELOTE TINITIGAN - JONNA KARLA BAGUIO BARCELOTE, Petitioner, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, RICKY O. TINITIGAN, AND LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR, DAVAO CITY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 216161, August 09, 2017 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, v. PHILIPPINE ALUMINUM WHEELS, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 189942, August 09, 2017 - ADTEL, INC. AND/OR REYNALDO T. CASAS, Petitioners, v. MARIJOY A. VALDEZ, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 228887, August 02, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DOMINADOR UDTOHAN Y JOSE, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 215999, August 16, 2017 - SPS. FELIX A. CHUA AND CARMEN L. CHUA, JAMES B. HERRERA, EDUARDO L. ALMENDRAS, MILA NG ROXAS, EUGENE C. LEE, EDICER H. ALMENDRAS, BENEDICT C. LEE, LOURDES C. NG, LUCENA INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, LUCENA GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, INC., REPRESENTED BY FELIX A. CHUA, Petitioners, v. UNITED COCONUT PLANTERS BANK, ASSET POOL A (SPV-AMC), REVERE REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, JOSE C. GO AND THE REGISTRAR OF DEEDS OF LUCENA CITY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 224302, August 08, 2017 - HON. PHILIP A. AGUINALDO, HON. REYNALDO A. ALHAMBRA, HON. DANILO S. CRUZ, HON. BENJAMIN T. POZON, HON. SALVADOR V. TIMBANG, JR., and the INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), Petitioners, v. HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, HON. MICHAEL FREDERICK L. MUSNGI, HON. MA. GERALDINE FAITH A. ECONG, HON. DANILO S. SANDOVAL, HON. WILHELMINA B. JORGE-WAGAN, HON. ROSANA FE ROMERO-MAGLAYA, HON. MERIANTHE PACITA M. ZURAEK, HON. ELMO M. ALAMEDA, and HON. VICTORIA C. FERNANDEZ-BERNARDO, Respondents.; JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL, Intervenor.

  • A.C. No. 10562, August 01, 2017 - JEAN MARIE S. BOERS, Complainant, v. ATTY. ROMEO CALUBAQUIB, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 226345, August 02, 2017 - PIONEER INSURANCE AND SURETY CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. APL CO. PTE. LTD., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 211966, August 07, 2017 - JOSE AUDIE ABAGATNAN, JOSEPHINE A. PARCE, JIMMY ABAGATNAN, JOHN ABAGATNAN, JENALYN A. DE LEON, JOEY ABAGATNAN, JOJIE ABAGATNAN, AND JOY ABAGATNAN, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES JONATHAN CLARITO AND ELSA CLARITO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 206468, August 02, 2017 - JUDITH D. DARINES AND JOYCE D. DARINES, Petitioners, v. EDUARDO QUIÑONES AND ROLANDO QUITAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 185559, August 02, 2017 - JOSE G. TAN AND ORENCIO C. LUZURIAGA, Petitioners, v. ROMEO H. VALERIANO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 217993, August 09, 2017 - MANUEL R. BAKUNAWA III, Petitioner, v. NORA REYES BAKUNAWA, Respondent.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2649 [Formerly A.M. No. 09-5-219-RTC], August 01, 2017 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. EDUARDO T. UMBLAS, LEGAL RESEARCHER, AND ATTY. RIZALINA G. BALTAZAR­AQUINO, CLERK OF COURT IV, BOTH OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 33, BALLESTEROS CAGAYAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 227309, August 16, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOCELYN CARLIT Y GAWAT, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 216491, August 23, 2017 - THE HEIRS OF PETER DONTON, THROUGH THEIR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE, FELIPE G. CAPULONG, Petitioners, v. DUANE STIER AND EMILY MAGGAY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 222711, August 23, 2017 - LEY CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, JANET C. LEY, Petitioner, v. MARVIN MEDEL SEDANO, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE "LOLA TABA LOLO PATO PALENGKE AT PALUTO SA SEASIDE," Respondent.; MARVIN MEDEL SEDANO, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE "LOLA TABA LOLO PATO PALENGKE AT PALUTO SA SEASIDE," Respondent (THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF), VS. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, Respondent (THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT).

  • G.R. No. 222561, August 30, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JONATHAN TICA Y EPANTO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 187257, August 08, 2017 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (OSG) AS THE PEOPLE'S TRIBUNE, AND THE NATIONAL POWER BOARD, Petitioners, v. HON. LUISITO G. CORTEZ, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 84, QUEZON CITY, ABNER P. ELERIA, MELITO B. LUPANGCO, NAPOCOR EMPLOYEES CONSOLIDATED UNION (NECU), AND NAPOCOR EMPLOYEES AND WORKERS UNION (NEWU), Respondents.; G.R. No. 187776 - ROLANDO G. ANDAYA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT AND MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. HON. LUISITO G. CORTEZ, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 84, QUEZON CITY, ABNER P. ELERIA, MELITO B. LUPANGCO, NAPOCOR EMPLOYEES CONSOLIDATED UNION AND NAPOCOR EMPLOYEES AND WORKERS UNION, Respondents.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-10-2223 (Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 08-3003-RTJ), August 30, 2017 - MS. FLORITA PALMA AND MS. FILIPINA MERCADO, Complainants, v. JUDGE GEORGE E. OMELIO, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BR. 14, DAVAO CITY (THEN OF MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BR.4, DAVAO CITY), JUDGE VIRGILIO G. MURCIA, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BR. 2, AND CLERK OF COURT MA. FLORIDA C. OMELIO, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT, BOTH OF THE ISLAND GARDEN CITY OF SAMAL, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 178379, August 22, 2017 - CRISPIN S. FRONDOZO,* DANILO M. PEREZ, JOSE A. ZAFRA, ARTURO B. VITO, CESAR S. CRUZ, NAZARIO C. DELA CRUZ, AND LUISITO R. DILOY, Petitioners, v. MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 11616 [Formerly CBD Case No. 08-2141], August 23, 2017 - LITO V. BUENVIAJE, Complainant, v. ATTY. MELCHOR G. MAGDAMO, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 6980, August 30, 2017 - CESAR O. STA. ANA, CRISTINA M. STA. ANA AND ESTHER STA. ANA-SILVERIO, Complainants, v. ATTY. ANTONIO JOSE F. CORTES, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 7253, August 29, 2017 - ATTY. PLARIDEL C. NAVA II, Complainant, v. PROSECUTOR OFELIA M. D. ARTUZ,* Respondent.; A.M. No. MTJ-08-1717] (FORMERLY OCA IPI NO. 07-1911-MTJ) - ATTY. PLARIDEL C. NAVA II, Complainant, v. JUDGE OFELIA M. D. ARTUZ, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES OF ILOILO CITY, BRANCH 5, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 10253, August 22, 2017 - RAFAEL PADILLA, Complainant, v. ATTY. GLENN SAMSON, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 198146, August 08, 2017 - POWER SECTOR ASSETS AND LIABILITIES MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 225442, August 08, 2017 - SAMAHAN NG MGA PROGRESIBONG KABATAAN (SPARK), JOANNE ROSE SACE LIM, JOHN ARVIN NAVARRO BUENAAGUA, RONEL BACCUTAN, MARK LEO DELOS REYES, AND CLARISSA JOYCE VILLEGAS, MINOR, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTED BY HER FATHER, JULIAN VILLEGAS, JR., Petitioners, v. QUEZON CITY, AS REPRESENTED BY MAYOR HERBERT BAUTISTA, CITY OF MANILA, AS REPRESENTED BY MAYOR JOSEPH ESTRADA, AND NAVOTAS CITY, AS REPRESENTED BY MAYOR JOHN REY TIANGCO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 190004, August 08, 2017 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EUGENIO DALAUTA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 218911, August 23, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. LEONARDO SIAPNO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 221732, August 23, 2017 - FERNANDO U. JUAN, Petitioner, v. ROBERTO U. JUAN (SUBSTITUTED BY HIS SON JEFFREY C. JUAN) AND LAUNDROMATIC CORPORATION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 222821, August 09, 2017 - NORTH GREENHILLS ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner, v. ATTY. NARCISO MORALES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 227878, August 09, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GERALDO SANTILLAN Y VILLANUEVA AND EUGENE BORROMEO Y NATIVIDAD, Accused-Appellants.

  • G.R. No. 211222, August 07, 2017 - ALLAN S. CU, Petitioner, v. SMALL BUSINESS GUARANTEE AND FINANCE CORPORATION THROUGH MR. HECTOR M. OLMEDILLO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 186329, August 02, 2017 - DR. FRISCO M. MALABANAN, Petitioner, v. SANDIGANBAYAN, Respondent.; G.R. Nos. 186584-86, August 2, 2017 - ABUSAMA MANGUDADATU ALID, Petitioner, v. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN - 1st DIVISION, OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, HON. SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Respondents.; G.R. No. 198598, August 2, 2017 - ABUSAMA M. ALID, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 223366, August 01, 2017 - NATIONAL TRANSMISSION CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. OROVILLE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 226679, August 15, 2017 - SALVADOR ESTIPONA, JR. Y ASUELA, Petitioner, v. HON. FRANK E. LOBRIGO, PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 3, LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY, AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 219500, August 09, 2017 - MAMERTO DY, Petitioner, v. MARIA LOURDES ROSELL ALDEA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 217965, August 08, 2017 - CONFEDERATION OF COCONUT FARMERS ORGANIZATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (CCFOP), Petitioner, v. HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, ACTING COMMISSIONER RICHARD ROGER AMURAO OF THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG), CHAIRMAN CESAR L. VILLANUEVA OF THE GOVERNANCE COMMISSION FOR GOCCS (GCG), AND SECRETARY LEILA M. DE LIMA OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Respondents.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-17-1900 [Formerly OCA IPI No. 13-2585-MTJ], August 09, 2017 - ARNEL MENDOZA, Complainant, v. HON. MARCOS C. DIASEN, JR., ACTING PRESIDING JUDGE, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, BR. 62, MAKATI CITY, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 217764, August 07, 2017 - ANTONIETA LUCIDO @ TONYAY, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • A.M. No. P-16-3424 [Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 11-3666-P], August 07, 2017 - GLORIA SERDONCILLO, Complainant, v. SHERIFF NESTOR M. LANZADERAS, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 37, GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 199710, August 02, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. PO3 JULIETO BORJA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 228248, August 09, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROMEO DE GUZMAN Y DE CASTRO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 228894, August 07, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOHN PAUL CERALDE Y RAMOS, Accused-Appellant.

  • A.C. No. 8903, August 30, 2017 - EDIGARDO V. BONDOC, Complainant, v. ATTY. OLIMPIO R. DATU, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 201665, August 30, 2017 - EDISON (BATAAN) COGENERATION CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.; G.R. No. 201668, August 30, 2017 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, v. EDISON (BATAAN) COGENERATION CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 10245, August 16, 2017 - ELIBENA A. CABILES, Complainant, v. ATTY. LEANDRO S. CEDO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 188144, August 30, 2017 - F.F. CRUZ & COMPANY, INC., Petitioner, v. PHILIPPINE IRON CONSTRUCTION AND MARINE WORKS, INC., AND/OR ANCHOR METALS CORP., Respondents.; G.R. NO. 188301 - PHILIPPINE IRON CONSTRUCTION AND MARINE WORKS, INC., AND/OR ANCHOR METALS CORP., Petitioners, v. F.F. CRUZ & COMPANY, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 201806, August 14, 2017 - NORTH SEA MARINE SERVICES CORPORATION, MS. ROSALINDA CERDINA AND/OR CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES, Petitioners, v. SANTIAGO S. ENRIQUEZ, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 210209, August 09, 2017 - CATHAY LAND, INC. AND CATHAY METAL CORPORATION, Petitioners, v. AYALA LAND, INC., AVIDA LAND CORPORATION AND LAGUNA TECHNOPARK, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 188027, August 09, 2017 - SWIRE REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. SPECIALTY CONTRACTS GENERAL AND CONSTRUCTION SERVICES, INC. AND JOSE JAVELLANA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 195457, August 16, 2017 - READ-RITE PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner, v. GINA G. FRANCISCO, MAXIMINO H. REYES, LUCIA E. MACHADO, IRENE G. ABANILLA, EDNA L. GUAVES, ARLENE FRANCISCO, JOSEPHINE V. TRINIDAD, MARILYN E. AMPARO, SOLITA F. SANTOS, ELLEN T. CASTILLO, ROSALIE VALDEABELLA, MARITA E. RIVERA, JULITA M. MAGNO, MARCIA P. DELA TORRE, ELENA ANGCAHAN, ESTER H. REYES, CORAZON ARMADILLA, IRMA A. PEREGRINO, DELFIN D. DUBAN, AMANCIA PRADO, CECILIA D. NABUA, DANNY A. CABUCOY, ELIZABETH R. REVELLAME, ELVIRA R. MAGNO, GIERLYN R. MARASIGAN, JOHN JOSEPH R. MAGNO, LODELYN P. CASTILLO, JUSTINA TORTOSA, LENY M. ZARENO, LOIDA E. ESTOMATA, MA. BASILIA DE LA ROSA, MA. GRACIA DE GUZMAN, MA. NENITA G. CASTILLO, MERCEDARIO A. MARTINEZ, NORA M. PAVELON, PRECILLA D. MAGBITANG, RAQUEL CABUCOY, REGAL M. ALFARO, RIZA UMANDAP, ROSALITA R. MANLUNAS, ROSEMARIE C. LEYVA, ROSSANA M. YUMOL, SENETA SERENO, VILMA R. MANALO, YOLANDA Y. MANGAOANG, GLORIA BARSOLASCO AND NENA M. REYES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 211004, August 23, 2017 - QUEEN ERRIKA L. SADDI, Petitioner, v. MARICRIS RENOMERON, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 223592, August 07, 2017 - EQUITABLE INSURANCE CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. TRANSMODAL INTERNATIONAL, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 221857, August 16, 2017 - JESUS O. TYPOCO, JR., Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.; G.R. No. 222020 - NOEL D. REYES, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 223731, August 30, 2017 - ROBELITO MALINIS TALAROC, Petitioner, v. ARPAPHIL SHIPPING CORPORATION, EPIDAURUS S.A., AND/OR NATIVIDAD PAPPAS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 224204, August 30, 2017 - PHILIPPINE VETERANS BANK, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES RAMON AND ANNABELLE SABADO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 224225, August 14, 2017 - NORMA I. BARING, Petitioner, v. ELENA LOAN AND CREDIT COMPANY, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 211845, August 09, 2017 - PEN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND LAS BRISAS RESORT CORPORATION, Petitioners, v. MARTINEZ LEYBA, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 215454, August 09, 2017 - HEIRS OF SPOUSES CORAZON P. DE GUZMAN AND FORTUNATO DE GUZMAN, REPRESENTED BY JENIE JANE DE GUZMAN-CARPIO, Petitioners, v. HEIRS OF MARCELIANO BANDONG, REPRESENTED BY REGINA Z. BANDONG, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 201478, August 23, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. PAROK LUMUDAG Y RACMAN @ AKMAD, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 210669, August 01, 2017 - HI-LON MANUFACTURING, INC., Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, Respondent.

  • A.C. No. 8574, August 16, 2017 - CARMELO IRINGAN, Complainant, v. ATTY. CLAYTON B. GUMANGAN, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 196342, August 08, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. NOEL GO CAOILI ALIAS "BOY TAGALOG", Respondent.; G.R. No. 196848, August 8, 2017 - NOEL GO CAOILI, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 230696, August 30, 2017 - WILLIAM R. WENCESLAO, VIVENCIO B. RODRIGO, JR., NOEL N. DAMIASAN, VIRGILIO B. CRISTOBAL, JEMYLITO M. APIAG, JOVENAL P. ATAG, ARNULFO S. DASCO, CARLITO E. INFANTE, ALFREDO T. VISAYA, JAMES M. REAL, RENATO A. GUINGUE, ZACARIAS G. TALABOC, JR., GEORGE N. TAGUIAM, RANDY D. ABRENCILLO, MELECIO B. QUINIMON, CESAR B. JARANILLA, RIZALDE R. BARILE, HERICO A. BUENAVENTE, JERSON A. TATOY, MICHAEL L. CASIANO, FELIX M. DINIAY, PEDRO DELA CRUZ, JR., JHOSEL BOY G. ABAYON, AUGUSTO L. OCENAR, MARIO M. FUNELAS, AND AVELINO T. QUIÑONES, Petitioners, v. MAKATI DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, DANTE ABANDO AND COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 227734, August 09, 2017 - ROMEO ALBA, Petitioner, v. CONRADO G. ESPINOSA, ET AL., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 208471, August 02, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ERNESTO SAGANA Y DE GUZMAN, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 207396, August 09, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DELIA SAUNAR, Accused-Appellant.

  • OCA IPI No. 10-3423-P, August 22, 2017 - JUDGE RAMON V. EFONDO, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT OF GOA, CAMARINES SUR, Complainant, v. EDEN D. FAVORITO, CLERK OF COURT II, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, GOA, CAMARINES SUR, Respondent.; A.M. No. P-11-2889 [FORMERLY OCA IPI No. 10-10-117-MTC FINANCIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE MTC OF GOA, CAMARINES SUR] - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. EDEN D. FAVORITO, CLERK OF COURT II, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, GOA, CAMARINES SUR, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 197297, August 02, 2017 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES DANILO GO AND AMORLINA GO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 185420, August 29, 2017 - LANAO DEL NORTE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., AS REPRESENTED BY ITS GENERAL MANAGER ENGR. RESNOL C. TORRES, Petitioner, v. PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF LANAO DEL NORTE, AS REPRESENTED BY ITS GOVERNOR HON. MOHAMAD KHALID Q. DIMAPORO AND ITS PROVINCIAL TREASURER, MILDRED J. HINGCO, PROVINCIAL ASSESSOR, NATIONAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION (NEA), AS REPRESENTED BY ITS ADMINISTRATOR HON. EDITA S. BUENO, POWER SECTOR ASSETS AND LIABILITIES MANAGEMENT (PSALM), AS REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT AND CEO HON. JOSE C. IBAZETA, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE), AS REPRESENTED BY ITS SECRETARY HON. ANGELO T. REYES, THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT (COA), AS REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIRMAN HON. REYNALDO A. VILLAR, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 224631, August 23, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RUPERTO RUBILLAR, JR. Y GABERON, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 221991, August 30, 2017 - JOSELITO PERALTA Y ZARENO, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 222430, August 30, 2017 - TRANSGLOBAL MARITIME AGENCY, INC., GOODWOOD SHIPMANAGEMENT PTE., LTD. AND/OR MICHAEL ESTANIEL, Petitioners, v. VICENTE D. CHUA, JR., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 180447, August 23, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. FERNANDO GERONIMO Y AGUSTINE, ALIAS "NANDING BAKULAW", Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 193625, August 30, 2017 - AICHI FORGING COMPANY OF ASIA, INC., Petitioner, v. COURT OF TAX APPEALS - EN BANC AND COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 191615, August 02, 2017 - VICTORIA P. CABRAL, Petitioner, v. HEIRS OF FLORENCIO ADOLFO AND HEIRS OF ELIAS POLICARPIO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 218592, August 02, 2017 - CHRISTOPHER FIANZA A.K.A. "TOPEL," Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 185894, August 30, 2017 - BELO MEDICAL GROUP, INC., Petitioner, v. JOSE L. SANTOS AND VICTORIA G. BELO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 197654, August 30, 2017 - MERCURY DRUG CORPORATION AND ROLANDO J. DEL ROSARIO, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES RICHARD Y. HUANG & CARMEN G. HUANG, AND STEPHEN G. HUANG, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 205483, August 23, 2017 - MARIO MAGAT, SR., MARIO S. MAGAT, JR. MARIO S. MAGAT, III, MA. MARGARITA M. ESTAVILLA, MA. MARJORIE S. MAGAT, ALL SUBSTITUTE PARTIES AND HEIRS OF THE DECEASED PARTY, JULIANA S. MAGAT, Petitioners, v. TANTRADE CORPORATION AND PABLO S. BORJA, JR., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 180745, August 30, 2017 - ALBERTA DE JOYA IGLESIAS, Petitioner, v. THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, GEORGE M. JEREOS, ROBERTO G. GEOTINA, JUAN T. TAN, KRISTINE MORALES, AND ALBERTO LINA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 205638, August 23, 2017 - DEE HWA LIONG FOUNDATION MEDICAL CENTER AND ANTHONY DEE, Petitioners, v. ASIAMED SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 203943, August 30, 2017 - MAGSAYSAY MARITIME CORPORATION/EDUARDO MANESE AND PRINCESS CRUISE LINES, LTD., Petitioners, v. CYNTHIA DE JESUS, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 202364, August 30, 2017 - ARTURO C. CALUBAD, Petitioner, v. RICARCEN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 199107, August 30, 2017 - ALFONSO SINGSON CORTAL, JUANITO SINGSON CORTAL, NENITA CODILLA, GENEROSO PEPITO LONGAKIT, PONCIANA BATOON, AND GREGORIA SABROSO, Petitioners, v. INAKI A. LARRAZABAL ENTERPRISES, REPRESENTED BY INAKI P. LARRAZABAL, JR., THE HONORABLE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, REGIONAL OFFICE NO. VIII, TACLOBAN CITY AND THE HONORABLE SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, QUEZON CITY IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHAIRMAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM ADJUDICATION BOARD (DARAB), Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 208314, August 23, 2017 - ANTONIO B. MANANSALA, Petitioner, v. MARLOW NAVIGATION PHILS., INC./MARLOW NAVIGATION CO. LTD./CYPRUS, AND/OR EILEEN MORALES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 214771, August 09, 2017 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RUBEN "ROBIN" BONGBONGA Y NALOS, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 196564, August 07, 2017 - GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS), Petitioner, v. ALBERT M. VELASCO, Respondent.