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Tthe President proclaimed the reservation of a certain parcel of land in the City of Lapu-Lapu for the

establishment of an export processing zone of the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA).
However, some portions of the land were privately owned by the San Antonio Development
Corporation (San Antonio, for brevity). The EPZA then offered to purchase the said private land from
San Antonio but they failed to reach a sale agreement. The EPZA then sought to expropriate said
private lands. Subsequently, the respondent judge declared the EPZAs lawful right to take the
properties, upon the payment of just compensation. The respondent judge also appointed
commissioners to determine just compensation. The three commissioners recommend the amount
of P15.00 per square meter as just compensation. However, EPZA objected to this on the grounds
that under PD No. 1533, the basis of just compensation shall be fair and according to the fair market
value declared by the owner of the property sought to be expropriated, or by the assessor,
whichever is lower. Therefore, there is no more need to appoint commissioners to determine just
compensation.
Is the basis for the determination of just compensation under PD No. 1533 valid and constitutional?
No. The provisions of the decree on just compensation are unconstitutional and void. The method of
ascertaining just compensation under the said decree constitutes impermissible encroachment on
judicial prerogatives. The courts still have the power and authority to determine just compensation
and may appoint commissioners for such purpose. 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