You are on page 1of 3

REPUBLIC (DAR) v.

COURT OF APPEALS (1996)


Mendoza, J.
Summary
Acil Corporation rejected the price offered by the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator
(PARAD) as compensation for the lands that the Government took under RA 6657
(Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law). From PARAD, Acil Corp. went directly to the RTC
(sitting as a Special Agrarian Court) through a Petition for Just Compensation, which the
Government sought to dismiss, arguing that the matter should first be brought to the
Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB). The Supreme Court sustained
the Petition and held that the decision of just compensation cases for the taking of lands
under RA 6657 is a power vested in the courts and 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.
Facts
Private respondent Acil Corp. owned hectares of land in Davao del Norte, which the
government took pursuant to RA 6657.
Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) initially valued the lands for a total of P439,105.39.
It appears, however, in the Statement of Agricultural Landholdings which Acil Corp.
had earlier filed with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), a lower Fair Value
Acceptable to Landowner was stated.
Based on this Statement, LBP valued Acil Corp.s lands at P390,557.84
(P15,311.79/hectare) as the total compensation to be paid for the lands.
Acil Corp. rejected the governments offer, pointing out that nearby lands were
valued at the higher price of P24,717.40/hectare. The matter was brought before the
Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD).
PARAD sustained the initial valuation made by the LBP.
Acil Corp. filed a Petition for Just Compensation in the RTC of Tagum, Davao del Norte,
sitting as a Special Agrarian Court, praying that DAR be ordered to pay P24,717.40/
hectare.
RTC dismissed the petition, citing the following:
o Acil Corp. should have appealed to the Department of Agrarian Reform
Adjudication Board (DARAB), pursuant to the latter's Revised Rules of
Procedure, before recourse to RTC could be had.
o In violation of the DARABs rules of procedure the petition had been filed more
than 15 days after notice of the decision of the PARAD.
After denial of its MR, Acil Corp. went to the Court of Appeals via petition for
certiorari, contending that a petition for just compensation under RA 6657 falls under
the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the RTC.
CA ruled in favor of Acil Corp. and remanded the case to the RTC for further
proceedings.
In turn, the government, through the DAR, filed this petition for review on certiorari,
arguing that:
o In cases involving claims for just compensation under RA 6657 an appeal from
the decision of PARAD to the DARAB must first be made before a landowner
can resort to the RTC.

o
o
o

They cite 50 of RA 6657 1 and argue that the fixing of just compensation for
the taking of lands under RA 6657 is a matter involving the implementation
of agrarian reform within the contemplation of this provision.
16(f) of RA 6657, which provides that any party who disagrees to the
decision of the DAR may bring the matter to the court of proper jurisdiction for
final determination of just compensation, confirms their construction of 50.
DARAB Rules likewise provide that decisions of agrarian reform adjudicators
may only be appealed to the DARAB.

Issue: WON in cases involving claims for just compensation under RA 6657 an appeal from
the decision of PARAD to the DARAB must first be made before a landowner can resort to the
RTC
Held/Ratio: NO.
It is true that 50 of RA 6657 grants the DAR primary jurisdiction to determine and
adjudicate agrarian reform matters and exclusive original jurisdiction over all
matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under
the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and the DENR.
It is also true, however that 57 of the same law provides that Special Agrarian
Courts, which are RTCs, are given original and exclusive jurisdiction over two
categories of cases:
o All petitions for the determination of just compensation to
landowners, and
o The prosecution of all criminal offenses under RA 6657
The provision of 50 must be construed in harmony with 57 by considering cases
involving the determination of just compensation and criminal cases for violations of
RA 6657 as excepted from the plenitude of power conferred on the DAR.
There is a reason for this distinction. DAR is an administrative agency which
cannot be granted jurisdiction over cases of eminent domain (for such are
takings under RA 6657) and over criminal cases.
o EPZA v. Duly and Sumulong v. Guerrero: The valuation of property in eminent
domain is essentially a judicial function which cannot be vested in
administrative agencies.
o Scotys Department Store v. Micaller : SC struck down a law granting the then
Court of Industrial Relations jurisdiction to try criminal cases for violations of
the Industrial Peace Act.
With regard to DARAB Rules only a statute can confer jurisdiction on courts and
administrative agencies; rules of procedure cannot.
o It is noteworthy that the New Rules of Procedure of the DARAB (adopted
on May 30, 1994) now provide that in the event a landowner is not
satisfied with a decision of an agrarian adjudicator, the landowner
can bring the matter directly to the RTC sitting as Special Agrarian
Court.
o This is an acknowledgment by the DARAB that the decision of just
compensation cases for the taking of lands under RA 6657 is a power vested
in the courts.
Thus, under the law:
o LBP 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.
1

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)

o
o

DAR makes an offer.


If 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.