Sunday, December 04, 2011

Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Glenn Y. Escandor, et al. G.R. No. 171685, October 11, 2010.

Agrarian Reform; Just Compensation. Although the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is vested with primary jurisdiction under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) of 1988 to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation for lands taken under the CARP, such determination is subject to challenge in the courts.  The CARL vests in the RTCs, sitting as Special Agrarian Courts, original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation.  The jurisdiction of the RTCs is not any less “original and exclusive” because the question is first passed upon by the DAR.  The proceedings before the RTC are not a continuation of the administrative determination. Additionally, the administrative orders providing for the guidelines in determining just compensation are mandatory and not mere guides that the RTC may disregard. Finally, although in some expropriation cases, the Court allowed the imposition of said interest, the same was in the nature of damages for delay in payment which in effect makes the obligation on the part of the government one of forbearance. In this case, respondents are not entitled to interest on the final compensation considering that petitioner promptly deposited the compensation for their lands after they rejected petitioner’s initial valuation. Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Glenn Y. Escandor, et al. G.R. No. 171685, October 11, 2010.

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