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G.R. No. 132767. January 18, 2000.

* parties are then required to submit evidence as to the just compensation for the
land. The DAR adjudicator decides the case within 30 days after it is submitted for
PHILIPPINE VETERANS BANK, petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT OF decision. If the landowner finds the price unsatisfactory, he may bring the matter
APPEALS, HON. SECRETARY OF THE DEPT. OF AGRARIAN REFORM, directly to the appropriate Regional Trial Court.
DEPT. OF AGRARIAN REFORM ADJUDICATION BOARD, DAVAO
CITY and LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. Same; Same; Same; It is error to think that, because of Rule XIII, §11, the original
and exclusive jurisdiction given to the courts to decide petitions for determination
Administrative Law; Courts; Jurisdiction; Nothing contradictory between the of just compensation has thereby been transformed into an appellate
provision of §50 granting the Department of Agrarian Reform primary jurisdiction.—As we held in Republic v. Court of Appeals, this rule is an
jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate “agrarian reform matters” and exclusive acknowledgment by the DARAB that the power to decide just compensation cases
original jurisdiction over “all matters involving the implementation of agrarian for the taking of lands under R.A. No. 6657 is vested in the courts. It is error to
reform” which includes the determination of questions of just compensation, and think that, because of Rule XIII, §11, the original and exclusive jurisdiction given
the provision of §57 granting Regional Trial Courts “original and exclu- to the courts to decide petitions for determination of just compensation has
thereby been transformed into an appellate jurisdiction. It only means that, in
accordance with settled
________________
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* SECOND DIVISION.

140 VOL. 322, JANUARY 18, 2000 141


Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals
140 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals principles of administrative law, primary jurisdiction is vested in the DAR as an
administrative agency to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable
compensation to be paid for the lands taken under the Comprehensive Agrarian
sive jurisdiction” over (1) all petitions for the determination of just compensation Reform Program, but such determination is subject to challenge in the courts.
to landowner, and (2) prosecutions of criminal offenses under Republic Act No.
6657.—There is nothing contradictory between the provision of §50 granting the Same; Same; Same; Resort to the courts cannot be foreclosed on the theory that
DAR primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate “agrarian reform matters” courts are the guarantors of the legality of administrative action.—The
and exclusive original jurisdiction over “all matters involving the implementation jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts is not any less “original and exclusive”
of agrarian reform,” which includes the determination of questions of just because the question is first passed upon by the DAR, as the judicial proceedings
compensation, and the provision of §57 granting Regional Trial Courts “original are not a continuation of the administrative determination. For that matter, the
and exclusive jurisdiction” over (1) all petitions for the determination of just law may provide that the decision of the DAR is final and unappealable.
compensation to landowner, and (2) prosecutions of criminal offenses under R.A. Nevertheless, resort to the courts cannot be foreclosed on the theory that courts
No. 6657. The first refers to administrative proceedings, while the second refers to are the guarantors of the legality of administrative action.
judicial proceedings. Under R.A. No. 6657, the Land Bank of the Philippines is
charged with the preliminary determination of the value of lands placed under land
reform program and the compensation to be paid for their taking. It initiates the PETITION for review on certiorari of a division of the Court of Appeals.
acquisition of agricultural lands by notifying the landowner of the government’s
intention to acquire his land and the valuation of the same as determined by the The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Land Bank. Within 30 days from receipt of notice, the landowner shall inform the
DAR of his acceptance or rejection of the offer. In the event the landowner rejects Andres, Cariaga & Associates Law Offices for petitioner.
the offer, a summary administrative proceeding is held by the provincial (PARAD),
the regional (RARAD) or the central (DARAB) adjudicator, as the case may be,
depending on the value of the land, for the purpose of determining the Edelino B. Mong for Land Bank.
compensation for the land. The landowner, the Land Bank, and other interested

1
MENDOZA, J.: one (1) motion for reconsideration shall be allowed. Any order, ruling or decision
shall be final after the lapse of fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy thereof.
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals, 1 dated August
28, 1997, affirming the dismissal by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Tagum, On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the decision was affirmed. It was held that:
Davao, of the petition for judicial determination of the just compensation filed by
petitioner for the taking of its property under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Jurisdiction over land valuation cases is lodged in the Department of Agrarian
Program. Reform Adjudication Board, as is plainly provided under Rule II of the DARAB
Revised Rules of Procedure.
The facts are as follows:
Section 1. Primary and Exclusive Original and Appellate Jurisdiction.—The
________________ Board shall have primary and exclu-

1Per Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and concurred in by Justices Consuelo ________________
Ynares-Santiago (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court), and Demetrio G.
Demetria. 2 Dated February 23, 1995; RTC Records, pp. 54-55.

142 143

142 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOL. 322, JANUARY 18, 2000 143
Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals

Petitioner Philippine Veterans Bank owned four parcels of land in Tagum, Davao, sive jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all
which are covered by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-38666, T-38667, T-6236, agrarian disputes, involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian
and T-27591. The lands were taken by the Department of Agrarian Reform for Reform Program (CARP) under Republic Act No. 6657, Executive Order Nos. 228,
distribution to landless farmers pursuant to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform 229, and 129-A, Republic Act No. 3844 as amended by Republic Act No. 6389,
Law (R.A. No. 6657). Dissatisfied with the valuation of the land made by Presidential Decree No. 27 and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules
respondents Land Bank of the Philippines and the Department of Agrarian Reform and regulations. Specifically, such jurisdiction shall include but not be limited to
Adjudication Board (DARAB), petitioner filed a petition for a determination of the the following:
just compensation for its property. The petition was filed on January 26, 1994 with
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Tagum, Davao, which on February 23, 1995,
dismissed the petition on the ground that it was filed beyond the 15-day ....
reglementary period for filing appeals from the orders of the DARAB. Its
order2states in pertinent parts: b) The valuation of land, and determination and payment of just compensation,
fixing and collection of lease rentals, disturbance compensation, amortization
Since this case was filed only on January 26, 1994, the fifteenday period provided payments, and similar disputes concerning the functions of the Land Bank of the
for under Section 51 of Republic Act 6657 which is the Comprehensive Agrarian Philippines.
Reform Law within which to appeal, already lapsed.
....
Section 51 of Republic Act No. 6657 provides:
The above provision does not negate the original and exclusive jurisdiction vested
Section 51. Finality of Determination.—Any case or controversy before it (DAR) in Special Agrarian Court over all petitions for the determination of just
shall be decided within thirty (30) days after it is submitted for resolution. Only compensation to landowners as provided in Section 51 of R.A. 6657.

2
Note, however, must be taken of Rule XIII. Section 11 of the DARAB Rules of as Special Agrarian Courts and, therefore, a petition for the fixing of just
Procedure, which specifically states that, compensation can be filed beyond the 15-day period of appeal provided from the
decision of the DAR adjudicator.
The decision of this Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination
and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall On the other hand, respondents argue that actions for the fixing of just
be brought directly to the Regional Trial Court designated as Special Agrarian compensation must be filed in the appropriate courts within 15 days from receipt
Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall of the decision of the DAR adjudicator, otherwise such decision becomes final and
be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration. executory, pursuant to §51 of R.A. No. 6657.

.... Petitioner’s contention has no merit.

In pursuance thereof, it is clear that the right of a landowner who disagrees with The pertinent provisions of R.A. No. 6657 provides:
the valuation fixed by the DAR to file a petition for the judicial fixing of just
compensation before special agrarian courts must be exercised within the period SEC. 50. Quasi-Judicial Power of the DAR.—The DAR is hereby vested with
provided in Rule XIII, Section 11. primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and
shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the
In this case, appellant neither gives information regarding the date of its receipt of implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive
the questioned Order of the DAR Provincial Adjudicator, nor disputes the jurisdiction of the
conclusion made by the trial court that, “(s)ince this case was filed only on January
26, 1994, the fifteen-day period provided for under Section 51 of Republic Act 6657 ________________

144 3 CA Decision, pp. 3-4; Rollo, pp. 27-28.

144 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED 145


Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals
VOL. 322, JANUARY 18, 2000 145
which is the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law within which to appeal already Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals
lapsed.” The court a quo’s conclusion therefore stands. It did not commit an error
in dismissing the petition filed by Philippine Veterans Bank for having been filed
out of time.3 Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) . . . .
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but its motion was likewise denied.
Hence, this petition for review. Petitioner raises the following issue: SEC. 57. Special Jurisdiction.—The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and
exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation
to landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The
SHOULD A PETITION FOR THE JUDICIAL FIXING OF JUST COMPENSATION Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special Agrarian Courts,
BEFORE SPECIAL AGRARIAN COURT BE [FILED] WITHIN THE PERIOD unless modified by this Act.
PROVIDED IN RULE XIII, SECTION 11 OF THE DARAB RULES OF
PROCEDURE AND BEFORE THE DECISION OF THE DAR PROVINCIAL
ADJUDICATOR BECOMES FINAL AND EXECUTORY? The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special
jurisdiction within thirty (30) days from submission of the case for decision.
Petitioner argues that DAR adjudicators have no jurisdiction to determine the just
compensation for the taking of lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform There is nothing contradictory between the provision of §50 granting the DAR
Program, because such jurisdiction is vested in Regional Trial Courts designated primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate “agrarian reform matters” and
exclusive original jurisdiction over “all matters involving the implementation of
3
agrarian reform,” which includes the determination of questions of just As we held in Republic v. Court of Appeals,9 this rule is an acknowledgment by the
compensation, and the provision of §57 granting Regional Trial Courts “original DARAB that the power to decide just compensation cases for the taking of lands
and exclusive jurisdiction” over (1) all petitions for the determination of just under R.A. No. 6657 is vested in the courts. It is error to think that, because of Rule
compensation to landowner, and (2) prosecutions of criminal offenses under R.A. XIII, §11, the original and exclusive jurisdiction given to the courts to decide
No. 6657.4 The first refers to administrative proceedings, while the second refers petitions for determination of just compensation has thereby been transformed
to judicial proceedings. Under R.A. No. 6657, the Land Bank of the Philippines is into an appellate jurisdiction. It only means that, in accordance with settled
charged with the preliminary determination of the value of lands placed under land principles of administrative law, primary jurisdiction is vested in the DAR as an
reform program and the compensation to be paid for their taking. It initiates the administrative agency to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable
acquisition of agricultural lands by notifying the landowner of the government’s compensation to be paid for the lands taken under the Comprehensive Agrarian
intention to acquire his land and the valuation of the same as determined by the Reform Program, but such determination is subject to challenge in the courts.
Land Bank.5 Within 30 days from receipt of notice, the landowner shall inform the
DAR of his acceptance or rejection of the offer.6 In the event the landowner rejects ________________
the offer, a summary administrative proceeding is held by the provincial (PARAD),
the regional (RARAD) or the central (DARAB) adjudicator, as the case may be, de- 7 Id., §16(d).
________________ 8 Id., §16(f) in relation to §57.
4 Quismundo v. Court of Appeals, 201 SCRA 609 (1991). 9 263 SCRA 750 (1996).
5 R.A. No. 6657, §16(a).
147
6 Id., §16(b).
VOL. 322, JANUARY 18, 2000 147
146 Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals

146 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED The jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts is not any less “original and exclusive”
because the question is first passed upon by the DAR, as the judicial proceedings
Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals
are not a continuation of the administrative determination. For that matter, the
law may provide that the decision of the DAR is final and unappealable.
pending on the value of the land, for the purpose of determining the compensation Nevertheless, resort to the courts cannot be foreclosed on the theory that courts
for the land. The landowner, the Land Bank, and other interested parties are then are the guarantors of the legality of administrative action.10
required to submit evidence as to the just compensation for the land. The DAR
adjudicator decides the case within 30 days after it is submitted for decision.7 If the Accordingly, as the petition in the Regional Trial Court was filed beyond the 15-day
landowner finds the price unsatisfactory, he may bring the matter directly to the period provided in Rule XIII, §11 of the Rules of Procedure of the DARAB, the trial
appropriate Regional Trial Court.8 court correctly dismissed the case and the Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the
order of dismissal.
To implement the provisions of R.A. No. 6657, particularly §50 thereof, Rule XIII,
§11 of the DARAB Rules of Procedure provides: WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.

Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and Payment of Just SO ORDERED.


Compensation.—The decision of the Adjudicator on land valuation and
preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be
appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts Bellosillo (Chairman), Quisumbing, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the
notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration. Judgment affirmed.
4
Note.—Doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not warrant a court to arrogate unto
itself the authority to resolve a controversy the jurisdiction over which is initially
lodged with an administrative body of special competence. (Paat vs. Court of
Appeals, 266 SCRA 167 [1997])

——o0o——

________________

10 See San Miguel Brewery v. Secretary of Labor, 64 SCRA 56 (1975).

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