Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Land Bank of the Philippines vs Pagayatan [GR No. 177190, February 23, 2011]

FACTS: Suntay Estate was subjected to an Operation Land Transfer. A portion of it was also subjected to CARP. However, even after the release of Certificates of Landownership Award to the farmer-beneficiaries under Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the owner of the land remained unpaid. Thus, Lubrica, as assignee of the owner, filed a petition for determination of just compensation with Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD). The latter issued a judgment ordering Land Bank to immediately pay the amount it stated. Land Bank posits that the amount of just compensation to be paid is not the value given by PARAD but that of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

ISSUE: Whether the valuation determined by the PARAD/Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) or the preliminary valuation as determined by the DAR is the proper amount to be deposited under Section 16 of Republic Act No. 6657

HELD: It is the purchase price offered by the DAR in its notice of acquisition of the land that must be deposited in an accessible bank in the name of the landowner before taking possession of the land not the valuation of the PARAD. Moreover, it is only after DAR has made its final determination of the initial valuation of the land that the landowner may resort to the judicial determination of the just compensation for the land and RA 6557 only allows the release of the initial valuation of DAR and the Land Bank to the landowner prior to the determination by the courts of the final just compensation due. Clearly, it is the initial valuation made by the DAR and LBP that is contained in the letter-offer to the landowner under Section 16(a), said valuation of which must be deposited and released to the landowner prior to taking possession of the property.

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