146733 January 13, 2004 FACTS: This case is a consolidated petition of one seeking review of the decision of CA modifying the decision of RTC acting as a Special Agrarian Court, and another for mandamus to compel the RTC to issue a writ of execution and to direct Judge Caspillo to inhibit. Feliciano F. Wycoco is the registered owner of a 94.1690 hectare land. Wycoco voluntarily offered to sell the land to the Department of Agrarian Reform for P14.9 million. DAR offered P2,280,159.82. The area which the DAR offered to acquire excluded idle lands, river and road located therein. Wycoco rejected the offer, prompting the DAR to indorse the case to the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) for the purpose of fixing the just compensation in a summary administrative proceeding. Thereafter, the DARAB requested LBP to open a trust account in the name of Wycoco and deposited the compensation offered by DAR. In the meantime, the property was distributed to farmer-beneficiaries. On April 13, 1993, Wycoco filed the instant case for determination of just compensation with the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City against DAR and LBP. On March 9, 1994, the DARAB dismissed the case on its hand to give way to the determination of just compensation by the RTC. Meanwhile, DAR and LBP filed their respective answered that the valuation of Wycoco’s property was in accordance with law and that the latter failed to exhaust administrative remedies by not participating in the summary administrative proceedings before the DARAB which has primary jurisdiction over determination of land valuation. On November 14, 1995, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of Wycoco. It ruled that there is no need to present evidence in support of the land valuation in as much as it is of public knowledge that the prevailing market value of agricultural lands sold in Licab, Nueva Ecija is from P135,000.00 to 150,000.00 per hectare. The court thus took judicial notice thereof and fixed the compensation for the entire 94.1690 hectare land at P142,500.00 per hectare or a total of P13,428,082.00. It also awarded Wycoco actual damages for unrealized profits plus legal interest. The DAR and the LBP filed separate petitions before the Court of Appeals. The petition brought by DAR on jurisdictional and procedural issues was dismissed. This prompted Wycoco to file a petition for mandamus before this Court praying that the

Yes. 2. No. – The Special Agrarian Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners.1690 hectare land which was found to have been previously sold by Wycoco to the Republic.3672 hectare portion of the 94. and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. whether or not the compensation arrived at supported by evidence. Assuming that it acquired jurisdiction.Quasi-judicial Powers of the DAR. the compensation arrived is not supported by evidence. The petition brought by LBP on both substantive and procedural grounds was likewise dismissed by the Court of Appeals. LBP contended that the Court of Appeals erred in its ruling. ISSUES: 1. 4. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988) provides: Section 50.Special Jurisdiction. Whether or not the RTC acquired jurisdiction over the case acting as Special Agrarian Court. – 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. and that Judge Caspillo be compelled to inhibit himself from hearing the case. the Court of Appeals modified its decision by deducting from the compensation due to Wycoco the amount corresponding to the 3. Whether or not Wycoco can compel DAR to purchase the entire land. except those falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)…. However. the trial court took judicial notice of the alleged prevailing market value of agricultural lands without apprising the parties of its intention to take . Whether or not the awards of interest and damages for unrealized profits is valid. the RTC acting as Special Agrarian Court. acquired jurisdiction of the case. 2. Sections 50 and 57 of Republic Act No. Section 57.decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City be executed. In arriving at the valuation of Wycoco’s land. HELD: 1. 3.

Wycoco’s claim for payment of interest is partly meritorious. acting as Special Agrarian Court cannot be enforced because there is a need to remand the case to the trial court for determination of just compensation. on its own initiative. The conversion should be retroactive in application in order to rectify the error committed by the DAR in opening a trust account and to grant the landowners the benefits concomitant to payment in cash or LBP bonds. 3. Likewise. The interest earnings accruing on the deposit account of landowners would suffice to compensate them pending payment of just compensation. When Hearing Necessary. Rule 129 of the Rules on Evidence provides: Sec. Wycoco’s petition for mandamus in G. 4. Caspillo was denied for lack of basis. on its own initiative. or on request of a party. After trial and before judgment or on appeal. . The trial court should have allowed the parties to present evidence thereon instead of practically assuming a valuation without basis.judicial notice thereof. The trust account opened as the mode of payment of just compensation should be converted to a deposit account. No. or on request of a party. the case was remanded for determination of just compensation. The award of actual damages for unrealized profits should be deleted because Wycoco failed to show proof of loss. Otherwise. The decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City. Since other factors were not considered. petitioner’s right to payment of just and valid compensation for the expropriation of his property would be violated. 3. 146733 was dismissed. No. the proper court. the DAR cannot be compelled to purchase the entire property voluntarily offered by Wycoco. That Wycoco will suffer damages by the DAR’s non-acquisition of the approximately 10 hectare portion of the entire land which was found to be not suitable for agriculture is no justification to compel DAR to acquire the whole area. may take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is decisive of a material issue in the case. Section 3. the court. the prayer for the inhibition of Judge Rodrigo S. The power to determine whether a parcel of land may come within the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program is essentially lodged with the DAR. – During the trial.R. Only the market value was taken into account in determining the just compensation. Yes. Judicial Notice. may announce its intention to take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful