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FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. NO. 157903 : October 11, 2007]


LAND AN! OF T"# $"ILI$$IN#S, Petitioner, v. F#D#RI%O %.
S&NTA', Re(re)e*te+ b, -.) A))./*ee, 0OS#FINA
L&RI%A, Respondent.
D # % I S I O N
SANDOVAL1G&TI#RR#2, J.:
For our resolution is the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing
the Amended Decision
1
dated February 5, 2! and Resolution dated A"ril
1, 2! of the #ourt of A""eals in #A$%.R. &P 'o. (15, entitled )*and
+an, of the Phili""ines, "etitioner, v. -on. .rnesto P. Pagayatan, in his
ca"acity as ./ecutive 0udge, R1#, +ranch 23, &an 0ose, 4ccidental
5indoro6 Federico #. &untay, re"resented by his assignee, 0osefina
*ubrica6 De"artment of Agrarian Reform6 and Regional Agrarian Reform
Ad7udicator #onchita #. 5i89as, res"ondents.)
1he facts are:
Federico &untay ;married to #ristina Aguinaldo$&untay<, herein
res"ondent, re"resented by his assignee, 0osefina *ubrica, is the
registered owner of a "arcel of land with a total area of !,3=2.2=5
hectares situated in &ta. *ucia, &ablayan, 4ccidental 5indoro, covered by
1ransfer #ertificate of 1itle 'o. 1$!1 of the Registry of Deeds of
5amburao, same "rovince.
&ometime in 1>(2, the De"artment of Agrarian Reform ;DAR<, "ursuant
to the government?s land reform "rogram under Presidential Decree 'o.
2(,
2
e/"ro"riated >2=.1>11 hectares of res"ondent?s "ro"erty. 1he
"ortion e/"ro"riated consisted mostly of lowland and non$irrigated
riceland.
1he *and +an, of the Phili""ines
!
;*and +an,<, herein "etitioner, and the
DAR fi/ed the value of the e/"ro"riated land at P2,251,121.3=
or P2,2>(.5 "er hectare.
Res"ondent re7ected "etitioner?s valuation as being unconscionably low
and tantamount to ta,ing his "ro"erty without due "rocess. -e then filed
with the 4ffice of the Regional Agrarian Reform Ad7udicator ;RARAD<,
Region @A, De"artment of Agrarian Reform Ad7udication +oard ;DARA+<, a
"etition for the determination of 7ust com"ensation against "etitioner and
the DAR, doc,eted as DARA+ #ase 'o. A$25$1$.
4n 0anuary 22, 21, after conducting summary administrative
"roceedings, the RARAD rendered a Decision
2
fi/ing the 7ust
com"ensation for the e/"ro"riated land at P15(,521,>51.! and directing
"etitioner to "ay res"ondent the said amount.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the
RARAD in an 4rder dated 5arch 12, 21.
4n A"ril 2, 21, "etitioner filed with the Regional 1rial #ourt ;R1#<,
+ranch 23, &an 0ose, 4ccidental 5indoro, sitting as a &"ecial Agrarian
#ourt, a Petition for 0udicial Determination of 0ust #om"ensation against
res"ondent and the RARAD, doc,eted as Agrarian #ase 'o. R$1221.
Petitioner "rayed that the 7ust com"ensation for res"ondent?s
e/"ro"riated land be fi/ed at P2,251,121.3( only.
Res"ondent filed a motion to dismiss the "etition mainly on the ground
that it was filed beyond the 15$day reglementary "eriod as reBuired by
&ection 11,
5
Rule C@@@ of the 'ew Rules of Procedure of DARA+. -ence,
the RARAD Decision had attained finality.
5eanwhile, on 5ay 22, 21, the RARAD, u"on res"ondent?s motion,
issued an 4rder in DARA+ #ase 'o. A$25$1$ declaring that the
Decision of 0anuary 22, 21 had become final and e/ecutory. Petitioner
moved for reconsideration contending that the Decision did not attain
finality because it is the R1# that finally determines the 7ust com"ensation
of the e/"ro"riated "ro"erty6 and that when it filed with the R1# its
"etition for determination of 7ust com"ensation, the RARAD had no more
7urisdiction over the DARA+ case. -owever, the RARAD denied "etitioner?s
motion for reconsideration in an 4rder dated 0uly 1, 21. 4n 0uly 1=,
21, the RARAD issued a writ of e/ecution directing the sheriff of
DARA+$Region @A to im"lement the Decision.
%oing bac, to Agrarian #ase 'o. R$1221 before the R1#, ./ecutive 0udge
.rnesto P. Pagayatan issued an 4rder
3
dated August 3, 21, dismissing
the *and +an,?s "etition for being late. Petitioner "rom"tly filed a motion
for reconsideration maintaining that its "etition is a se"arate action and
did not emanate from the case before the RARAD. @n an 4rder dated
August !1, 21, the R1# denied the motion.
1hus, on &e"tember 1, 21, "etitioner filed with the R1# a 'otice of
A""eal.
(
4n 0anuary 1=, 22, the R1# issued an 4rder dismissing the 'otice of
A""eal on the ground that the "ro"er mode of a""eal is a Petition for
Review, "ursuant to &ection 3 of Re"ublic Act ;R.A.< 'o. 335( ;1he
#om"rehensive Agrarian Reform *aw<, thus:
&.#1@4' 3. Appeals. $ An a""eal may be ta,en from the decision
of the &"ecial Agrarian #ourts by filing a Petition for Review with the
#ourt of A""eals within fifteen ;15< days from recei"t of the
decision6 otherwise the decision shall become final.
/ / /.
Petitioner?s motion for reconsideration was li,ewise denied by the R1# in
its 4rder dated 5arch =, 22.
1his "rom"ted "etitioner to file with the #ourt of A""eals a Petition
for Certiorari, doc,eted as #A$%.R. &P 'o. (15, now sub7ect of the
instant case. Petitioner alleged that the R1# committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lac, or e/cess of 7urisdiction in dismissing its
notice of a""eal6 and that decisions or final orders of the R1#s, acting as
&"ecial Agrarian #ourts, are not a""ealable to the #ourt of A""eals
through a Petition for Review but through a mere notice of a""eal.
4n 0uly 1>, 22, the #ourt of A""eals rendered its Decision
=
;1< granting
the Petition for Certiorari6 ;2< nullifying the R1# 4rders dated 0anuary 1=,
22 and 5arch =, 22 dismissing "etitioner?s 'otice of A""eal6 ;!<
entering a new 7udgment giving due course to "etitioner?s notice of
a""eal6 and ;2< en7oining "ermanently the R1# from enforcing its twin
4rders, as well as the RARAD from enforcing the writ of e/ecution issued
in DARA+ #ase 'o. A$25$1$.
Res"ondent filed a motion for reconsideration maintaining that "etitioner
resorted to a wrong mode of a""eal6 hence, the R1# did not commit
grave abuse of discretion in dismissing its notice of a""eal. Res"ondent
cited this #ourt?s Decision dated &e"tember 1, 22 in %.R. 'o. 12!2(5,
entitled Land Bank of the Philippines v. Arlene De Leon and Bernardo de
Leon,
>
holding that the "ro"er mode of a""eal from a Decision of the R1#
acting as a &"ecial Agrarian #ourt shall be by way of a Petition for
Review .
Finding merit in res"ondent?s motion for reconsideration, the #ourt of
A""eals rendered an Amended Decision dated February 5, 2!
dismissing the "etition for certiorari in #A$%.R. &P 'o. (15, thus:
D-.R.F4R., "remises considered, the "resent 5otion for
Reconsideration is hereby %RA'1.D. #onseBuently, the "resent
"etition is hereby DIS3ISS#D.
1he in7unction issued by this #ourt en7oining ;a< res"ondent
./ecutive 0udge from enforcing his 4rders dated 0anuary 1=, 22
and 5arch =, 22 in Agrarian #ase 'o. R$12216 and ;b<
res"ondent Regional Agrarian Reform Ad7udicator #onchita &.
5i89as from enforcing the Drit of ./ecution dated 0uly 1=, 21
issued in DARA+ #ase 'o. A$25$1$, are hereby R#VO!#D
4*+ S#T ASID#.
&4 4RD.R.D.
1
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the #ourt
of A""eals in its Resolution
11
dated A"ril 1, 2!.
-ence, this "etition.
Petitioner contends that the #ourt of A""eals erred in a""lying our ruling
in Arlene De Leon since it has not yet become final and e/ecutory, and in
affirming the R1# 4rder of 0anuary 1=, 22 dismissing its notice of
a""eal. For his "art, res"ondent "rays that the "resent "etition be denied
for lac, of merit.
5eanwhile, on 4ctober 12, 25, u"on "etitioner?s urgent
motionEa""lication, we issued a 1em"orary Restraining 4rder en7oining
the RARAD from im"lementing the Decision dated 0anuary 22, 21 until
this case is finally decided.
12
1he cr5c.46 .))5e for our resolution is whether the R1# erred in
dismissing the *and +an,?s "etition for the determination of 7ust
com"ensation.
@t is clear that the R1# treated the "etition for the determination of 7ust
com"ensation as an 4((e46from the RARAD Decision in DARA+ #ase 'o.
A$25$1$. @n dismissing the "etition for being filed out of time, the
R1# relied on &ection 11, Rule C@@@ of the DARA+ 'ew Rules of Procedure
which "rovides:
&ection 11. Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and
Payment of Just Compensation. $ 1he decision of the Ad7udicator on
land valuation and "reliminary determination and "ayment of 7ust
com"ensation shall not be a""ealable to the +oard FDe"artment of
Agrarian Reform Ad7udication +oard ;DARA+<G but shall be brought
directly to the Regional 1rial #ourts designated as &"ecial Agrarian
#ourts within fifteen ;15< days from recei"t of the notice thereof.
Any "arty shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration.
1he R1# erred in dismissing the *and +an,?s "etition. @t bears stressing
that the "etition is *ot an4((e46 from the RARAD final Decision but
an or./.*46 4ct.o* for the determination of the 7ust com"ensation for
res"ondent?s e/"ro"riated "ro"erty, over which the R1#
has or./.*46 ande7c65).8e 7urisdiction. 1his is clear from &ection 5( of
R.A. 'o. 335( which "rovides:
&ection 5(. Special Jurisdiction. $ 1he &"ecial Agrarian #ourts Fthe
designated Regional 1rial #ourtsG shall
have or./.*46 and e7c65).8e 7urisdiction over 466 (et.t.o*) 9or t-e
+eter:.*4t.o* o9 ;5)t co:(e*)4t.o* to 64*+o<*er), and the
"rosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. 1he Rules of
#ourt shall a""ly to all "roceedings before the &"ecial Agrarian
#ourts, unless modified by this Act.
1he &"ecial Agrarian #ourts shall decide all a""ro"riate cases under
their s"ecial 7urisdiction within thirty ;!< days from submission of
the case for decision. ;nderscorin! supplied<cralawlibrary
Parenthetically, the above "rovision is not in conflict with &ection 5 of
the same R.A. 'o. 335( which states:
&ection 5. "uasi#$udicial Po%ers of the DAR. $ 1he DAR is hereby
vested with "rimary 7urisdiction to determine and ad7udicate
agrarian reform matters and shall have e/clusive original
7urisdiction over all matters involving the im"lementation of
agrarian reform, e/ce"t those falling under the e/clusive 7urisdiction
of the De"artment of Agriculture ;DA< and the De"artment of
.nvironment and 'atural Resources ;D.'R< / / /.
@n Repu&lic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals,
1!
we held that &ection
5 must be construed in harmony with &ection 5( by considering cases
involving the determination of 7ust com"ensation and criminal cases for
violations of R.A. 'o. 335( as e/ce"ted from the "lenitude of "ower
conferred u"on the DAR. @ndeed, there is a reason for this distinction. 1he
DAR is an administrative agency which cannot be granted 7urisdiction over
cases of eminent domain ;such as ta,ing of land under R.A. 'o. 335(<
and over criminal cases. 1hus, in Land Bank of the Philippines v.
Celada,
12
'(port Processin! )one Authority v. Dulay
15
and Sumulon! v.
*uerrero,
13
we held that the valuation of "ro"erty in eminent domain is
essentially a 7udicial function which cannot be vested in administrative
agencies. Also, in Scoty+s Department Store, et al. v. -icaller,
1(
we struc,
down a law granting the then #ourt of @ndustrial Relations 7urisdiction to
try criminal cases for violations of the @ndustrial Peace Act.
1=
1he "rocedure for the determination of 7ust com"ensation cases under
R.A. 'o. 335(, as summariHed in *andban, of the Philippines v. Banal,
1>
is
that .*.t.466,, the *and +an, is charged with the res"onsibility of
determining the value of lands "laced under land reform and the
com"ensation to be "aid for their ta,ing under the voluntary offer to sell
or com"ulsory acBuisition arrangement.
2
1he DAR, relying on the *and
+an,?s determination of the land valuation and com"ensation, then ma,es
an offer through a notice sent to the landowner.
21
@f the landowner
acce"ts the offer, the *and +an, shall "ay him the "urchase "rice of the
land after he e/ecutes and delivers a deed of transfer and surrenders the
certificate of title in favor of the government.
22
@n case the landowner
re7ects the offer or fails to re"ly thereto, the DAR ad7udicator
2!
conducts
summary administrative "roceedings to determine the com"ensation for
the land by reBuiring the landowner, the *and +an, and other interested
"arties to submit evidence as to the 7ust com"ensation for the land.
22
A
"arty who disagrees with the Decision of the DAR ad7udicator may bring
the matter to the R1# designated as a &"ecial Agrarian #ourt
25
for the
determination of 7ust com"ensation.
23
@n determining 7ust com"ensation,
the R1# is reBuired to consider several factors enumerated in &ection 1(
of R.A. 'o. 335(. 1hese factors have been translated into a basic formula
in DAR Administrative 4rder ;A.4.< 'o. 3, &eries of 1>>2, as amended by
DAR A.4. 'o. 11, &eries of 1>>2, issued "ursuant to the DAR?s rule$
ma,ing "ower to carry out the ob7ect and "ur"oses of R.A. 'o. 335(.
1he formula in determining the 7ust com"ensation of the e/"ro"riated
"ro"erty, as laid down inLand&ank of the Philippines v. Banal,
2(
is as
follows:
*A I ;#'@ / .3< J ;#& / .!< J ;5A / .1<
*A I *and Aalue
#'@ I #a"italiHed 'et @ncome
#& I #om"arable &ales
5A I 5ar,et Aalue "er 1a/ Declaration
1he above formula shall be used if all the three factors are "resent,
relevant and a""licable.
A.1 Dhen the #& factor is not "resent and #'@ and 5A are
a""licable, the formula shall be:
*A I ;#'@ / .>< J ;5A / .1<
A.2 Dhen the #'@ factor is not "resent, and #& and 5A are
a""licable, the formula shall be:
*A I ;#& / .>< J ;5A / .1<
A.! Dhen both the #& and #'@ are not "resent and only 5A is
a""licable, the formula shall be:
*A I 5A / 2
/ / / the determination of 7ust com"ensation involves the
e/amination of the following factors s"ecified in &ection 1( of R.A.
335(, as amended:
1. the cost of the acBuisition of the land6
2. the current value of li,e "ro"erties6
!. its nature, actual use and income6
2. the sworn valuation by the owner6 the ta/ declarations6
5. the assessment made by government assessors6
3. the social and economic benefits contributed by the farmers
and the farmwor,ers and by the government to the "ro"erty6
andcralawlibrary
(. the non$"ayment of ta/es or loans secured from any
government financing institution on the said land, if any.
4bviously, these factors involve 94ct546 matters which can be
established only during a hearing wherein the contending "arties
"resent their res"ective evidence. @n fact, to underscore the
intricate nature of determining the valuation of the land, &ection 5=
of the same law even authoriHes the &"ecial Agrarian #ourts to
a""oint commissioners for such "ur"ose.
@n the instant case, the *and +an, "ro"erly instituted its "etition for the
determination of 7ust com"ensation before the R1# in accordance with
R.A. 'o. 335(. 1he R1# erred in dismissing the "etition. 1o re"eat,
&ection 5( of R.A. 'o. 335( is e/"licit in vesting the R1#, acting as a
&"ecial Agrarian #ourt, )original and e/clusive 7urisdiction over all
"etitions for the determination of 7ust com"ensation to landowners.) As
we held in Repu&lic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals:
2=
/ / /. @t would subvert this )original and e/clusive) 7urisdiction of
the R1# for the DAR to vest original 7urisdiction in com"ensation
cases in administrative officials and ma,e the R1# an a""ellate
court for the review of administrative decisions.
#onseBuently, although the new rules F&ection 11, Rule C@@@ of the
DARA+ 'ew Rules of ProcedureG s"ea, of directly a""ealing the
decision of ad7udicators to the R1#s sitting as &"ecial Agrarian
#ourts, it is clear from &ection 5( that the original and e/clusive
7urisdiction to determine such cases is in the R1#s. A*, e99ort to
tr4*)9er )5c- ;5r.)+.ct.o* to t-e 4+;5+.c4tor) 4*+ to co*8ert
t-e or./.*46 ;5r.)+.ct.o* o9 t-e RT%) .*to 4((e664te
;5r.)+.ct.o* <o56+ be co*tr4r, to Sect.o* 57 4*+ t-ere9ore
<o56+ be 8o.+. Dhat ad7udicators are em"owered to do is only to
determine in a "reliminary manner the reasonable com"ensation to
be "aid to landowners, leaving to the courts the ultimate "ower to
decide this Buestion. ;nderscorin! supplied<cralawlibrary
="#R#FOR#, we GRANT the instant Petition for Review on #ertiorari.
1he assailed Amended Decision dated February 5, 2! and Resolution
dated A"ril 1, 2! of the #ourt of A""eals in #A$%.R. &P 'o. (15
are R#V#RS#D. 1he 4rders dated 0anuary 1=, 22 and 5arch =, 22
issued by the R1# in Agrarian #ase 'o. R$1221 are N&LLIFI#D. 1he R1#
is 4RD.R.D to conduct further "roceedings to determine the 7ust
com"ensation of res"ondent?s e/"ro"riated "ro"erty in accordance with
the guidelines set by this #ourt in Land&ank of the Philippines v. Banal.
2>
'o "ronouncement as to costs.
SO ORD#R#D.
$5*o, C.J., Chairperson, %oro*4, A>c5*4, G4rc.4, JJ., co*c5r.
Endnotes:
1
Penned by Associate 0ustice 5artin &. Aillarama, 0r. and concurred
in by Associate 0ustice #onrado 5. AasBueH, 0r. and Associate
0ustice 5ariano #. Del #astillo, Rollo, "". 2=$!2.
2
Decreeing 1he .manci"ation of 1enants from the +ondage of the
&oil, 1ransferring to 1hem the 4wnershi" of the *and 1hey 1ill and
Providing the @nstruments and 5echanism 1herefor.
!
1his ban, is a government financial institution organiHed and
e/isting by virtue of Re"ublic Act 'o. !=22, as amended. @t is one of
the government agencies or instrumentalities im"lementing the
#om"rehensive Agrarian Reform Program ;#ARP< instituted by
Re"ublic Act 'o. 335(, and the designated financial intermediary
and custodian of the Agrarian Reform Fund.
2
Rollo, "". 1(2$1=3.
5
&ection 11. *and Aaluation and Preliminary Determination and
Payment of 0ust #om"ensation. $ 1he decision of the Ad7udicator on
land valuation and "reliminary determination and "ayment of 7ust
com"ensation shall not be a""ealable to the +oard FDe"artment of
Agrarian Reform Ad7udication +oard ;DARA+<G but shall be brought
directly to the Regional 1rial #ourts designated as &"ecial Agrarian
#ourts within fifteen ;15< days from recei"t of the notice thereof.
Any "arty shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration.
3
Rollo, "". 2!$25.
(
@d., "". 23$2=.
=
Anne/ )%,) Petition, id., "". (, (=$(>.
>
%.R. 'o. 12!2(5, &e"tember 1, 22, !== &#RA 5!(.
1
Anne/ )A,) Petition, Rollo, "". 23, !1.
11
Anne/ )+,) id., "". !!$!5.
12
Rollo, ". 5>2.
1!
!!1 Phil. 1(, 1(2$1(5 ;1>>3<.
12
%.R. 'o. 132=(3, 0anuary 2!, 23, 2(> &#RA 2>5, 52$55.
15
'o. *$5>3!, A"ril 2>, 1>=(, 12> &#RA !5.
13
'o. *$2=3=5, &e"tember !, 1>=(, 152 &#RA 231.
1(
>> Phil. (32 ;1>53<.
1=
#ited in Re"ublic of the Phili""ines v. #ourt of A""eals, su"ra,
footnote 1!, "". 1(5$1(3.
1>
%.R. 'o. 12!2(3, 0uly 2, 22, 2!2 &#RA 52!, 52=$52>6 see
also Re"ublic of the Phili""ines v. #ourt of A""eals, su"ra.
2
&ec. 1, ./ecutive 4rder 'o. 25 dated 0une 12, 1>>.
21
&ec. 13;a< of R.A. 'o. 335(, as amended.
22
&ec. 13;c<, id.
2!
1he Provincial Agrarian Reform Ad7udicator ;PARAD< and the
Regional Agrarian Reform Ad7udicator ;RARAD<, de"ending on the
value of the land within their res"ective territorial 7urisdiction ;&ec.
2, Rule @@, DARA+ Rules of Procedure<.
22
&ec. 13;d<, of R.A. 'o. 335(, as amended.
25
&ec. 53, id.
23
&ec. 13;f<, in relation to &ec. 5(, id.
2(
%.R. 'o. 12!2(3, 0uly 2, 22, 2!2 &#RA 52!.
2=
&u"ra, footnote 1!, "". 1(($1(=. &ee also *and +an, of the
Phili""ines v. #elada, su"ra, footnote 12, ". 526 *and +an, of the
Phili""ines v. #ourt of A""eals, %.R. 'o. 123!!2, 'ovember 13,
1>>>, !1= &#RA 122, 152.
2>
&u"ra, footnote 1>.