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As can clearly be gleaned from the foregoing provision, the
remedy of relief from judgment can only be resorted to on
grounds of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence.
Negligence to be excusable must be one which ordinary
diligence and prudence could not have guarded against.
counsels admission that he simply scanned and signed the
Motion for Reconsideration for Agrarian Case No. 2005,
Regional Trial Court of Pampanga, Branch 48, not knowing, or
unmindful that it had no notice of hearing speaks volumes of his
arrant negligence, and cannot in any manner be deemed to
constitute excusable negligence.

In accordance with settled principles of administrative law, primary

jurisdiction is vested in the DAR to determine in a preliminary
manner the just compensation for the lands taken under the agrarian
reform program, but such determination is subject to challenge
before the courts. The resolution of just compensation cases for the
taking of lands under agrarian reform is, after all, essentially a
judicial function.
Sec. 17. Determination of Just Compensation.In determining just
compensation, the cost of acquisition of the land, the current value of
like properties, its nature, actual use and income, the sworn
valuation by the owner, the tax declarations, and the assessment
made by government assessors shall be considered. The social and
economic benefits contributed by the farmers and the farm-workers
and by the Government to the property as well as the non-payment
of taxes or loans secured from any government financing institution
on the said land shall be considered as additional factors to
determine its valuation.


The records reveal that Land Banks contention is not entirely true. In
fact, private respondents did write a letter[18] to the DAR Secretary
objecting to the land valuation summary submitted by the Municipal
Agrarian Reform Office and requesting a conference for the purpose
of fixing just compensation. The letter, however, was left unanswered
prompting private respondents to file a petition directly with the trial

It would certainly be inequitable to determine just compensation

based on the guideline provided by PD 27 and EO 228 considering
the DARs failure to determine the just compensation for a
considerable length of time. That just compensation should be
determined in accordance with RA 6657, and not PD 27 or EO 228,
is especially imperative considering that just compensation should be
the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the
expropriator, the equivalent being real, substantial, full and

At any rate, in Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals,[19] we

declared that there is nothing contradictory between the DARs
primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform
matters and exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving
the implementation of agrarian reform, which includes the
determination of questions of just compensation, and the original and
exclusive jurisdiction of regional trial courts over all petitions for the
determination of just compensation. The first refers to administrative
proceedings, while the second refers to judicial proceedings.

In this case, the trial court arrived at the just compensation due
private respondents for their property, taking into account its nature
as irrigated land, location along the highway, market value,
assessors value and the volume and value of its produce. This Court
is convinced that the trial court correctly determined the amount of
just compensation due private respondents in accordance with, and
guided by, RA 6657 and existing jurisprudence.

2. Lubrica
t held that the formula to compute the just compensation should be:
Land Value = 2.5 x Average Gross Production x Government
Support Price. Specifically, it held that the value of the government
support price for the corresponding agricultural produce (rice and
corn) should be computed at the time of the legal taking of the
subject agricultural land, that is, on October 21, 1972 when
landowners were effectively deprived of ownership over their
properties by virtue of P.D. No. 27. According to the Court of
Appeals, the PARAD incorrectly used the amounts of P500 and
P300 which are the prevailing government support price for palay
and corn, respectively, at the time of payment, instead of P35 and
P31, the prevailing government support price at the time of the taking
in 1972.
Petitioners insist that the determination of just compensation should
be based on the value of the expropriated properties at the time of
payment. Respondent LBP, on the other hand, claims that the value
of the realties should be computed as of October 21, 1972 when
P.D. No. 27 took effect.
In the instant case, petitioners were deprived of their properties in
1972 but have yet to receive the just compensation therefor. The
parcels of land were already subdivided and distributed to the
farmer-beneficiaries thereby immediately depriving petitioners of
their use. Under the circumstances, it would be highly inequitable on
the part of the petitioners to compute the just compensation using
the values at the time of the taking in 1972, and not at the time of the
payment, considering that the government and the farmerbeneficiaries have already benefited from the land although
ownership thereof have not yet been transferred in their names.
Petitioners were deprived of their properties without payment of just

compensation which, under the law, is a prerequisite before the

property can be taken away from its owners.1[27] The transfer of
possession and ownership of the land to the government are
conditioned upon the receipt by the landowner of the corresponding
payment or deposit by the DAR of the compensation with an
accessible bank.
Our ruling in Association of Small Landowners in the
Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform2[29] is instructive,

It is true that P.D. No. 27 expressly ordered

the emancipation of tenant-farmer as October 21,
1972 and declared that he shall be deemed the
owner of a portion of land consisting of a familysized farm except that no title to the land owned by
him was to be actually issued to him unless and until
he had become a full-fledged member of a duly
recognized farmers cooperative. It was understood,
however, that full payment of the just compensation
also had to be made first, conformably to the
constitutional requirement.
When E.O. No. 228, categorically stated in
its Section 1 that:
farmerbeneficiaries are now deemed full

owners as of October 21, 1972 of

the land they acquired by virtue of
(Emphasis supplied.)
it was obviously referring to lands already validly
acquired under the said decree, after proof of fullfledged membership in the farmers cooperatives and
full payment of just compensation. x x
Corollarily, we held in Land Bank of the Philippines v.
Celada3[33] that the above provision was converted into a formula

Aggrieved by the alleged lapses of the DAR and the Landbank with
respect to the valuation and payment of compensation for their land
pursuant to the provisions of RA 6657, private respondents filed with
this Court a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus with prayer for
preliminary mandatory injunction. Private respondents questioned
the validity of DAR Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 1992 and
DAR Administrative Order No. 9, Series of 1990, and sought to
compel the DAR to expedite the pending summary administrative
proceedings to finally determine the just compensation of their
properties, and the Landbank to deposit in cash and bonds the
amounts respectively "earmarked", "reserved" and "deposited in trust
accounts" for private respondents, and to allow them to withdraw the

by the DAR through Administrative Order No. 05, S. 1998, to wit:

Land Value (LV) = (Capitalized Net Income x 0.6) +

(Comparable Sales x 0.3) +
Declaration x 0.1)


Private respondents are landowners whose landholdings were
acquired by the DAR and subjected to transfer schemes to
qualified beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law (CARL, Republic Act No. 6657).

It is very explicit therefrom that the deposit must be made only in

"cash" or in "LBP bonds". Nowhere does it appear nor can it be
inferred that the deposit can be made in any other form. If it were the
intention to include a "trust account" among the valid modes of
deposit, that should have been made express, or at least, qualifying
words ought to have appeared from which it can be fairly deduced
that a "trust account" is allowed. In sum, there is no ambiguity in
Section 16(e) of RA 6657 to warrant an expanded construction of the
term "deposit".
The conclusive effect of administrative construction is not absolute.
Action of an administrative agency may be disturbed or set aside by
the judicial department if there is an error of law, a grave abuse of
power or lack of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion clearly
conflicting with either the letter or the spirit of a legislative enactment.
In this regard, it must be stressed that the function of promulgating
rules and regulations may be legitimately exercised only for the
purpose of carrying the provisions of the law into effect. The power of
administrative agencies is thus confined to implementing the law or
putting it into effect. Corollary to this is that administrative regulations
cannot extend
the law and amend a legislative enactment, 19 for settled is the rule
that administrative regulations must be in harmony with the
provisions of the law. And in case there is a discrepancy between the

basic law and an implementing rule or regulation, it is the former that

. that title to the property expropriated shall pass from the
owner to the expropriator only upon full payment of the just
The attempt to make a distinction between the deposit of
compensation under Section 16(e) of RA 6657 and determination of
just compensation under Section 18 is unacceptable. To withhold the
right of the landowners to appropriate the amounts already deposited
in their behalf as compensation for their properties simply because
they rejected the DAR's valuation, and notwithstanding that they
have already been deprived of the possession and use of such
properties, is an oppressive exercise of eminent domain. The
irresistible expropriation of private respondents' properties was
painful enough for them. But petitioner DAR rubbed it in all the more
by withholding that which rightfully belongs to private respondents in
exchange for the taking, under an authority (the "Association" case)
that is, however, misplaced. This is misery twice bestowed on private
respondents, which the Court must rectify.
Hence, we find it unnecessary to distinguish between provisional
compensation under Section 16(e) and final compensation under
Section 18 for purposes of exercising the landowners' right to
appropriate the same. The immediate effect in both situations is the
same, the landowner is deprived of the use and possession of his
property for which he should be fairly and immediately compensated.
Fittingly, we reiterate the cardinal rule that:
. . . within the context of the State's inherent power
of eminent domain, just compensation means not
only the correct determination of the amount to be
paid to the owner of the land but also the payment of
the land within a reasonable time from its taking.
Without prompt payment, compensation cannot be
considered "just" for the property owner is made to
suffer the consequence of being immediately
deprived of his land while being made to wait for a

decade or more before actually receiving the amount

necessary to cope with his loss.