Republic v. Bok (G.R. No. 191448; November 16, 2011)

CASE DIGEST: REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SPS. TAN SONG BOK and JOSEFINA S. TAN, et al. (G.R. No. 191448; November 16, 2011).

FACTS: On November 10, 2000, the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court, Angeles, for Expropriation of the following parcels of land, the owners of the same are herein respondents, to become an integral part of the Luzon Expressway (NLE) Project.

On November 18, 2002, plaintiff-appellant filed its Comment/Objection to the Consolidated Committee Report arguing that the amounts recommended by the committee did not constitute fair and just equivalent of the properties sought to be expropriated because there was no sufficient basis for the recommended prices as no document or any deed of sale involving similar property was presented to show the current selling price and that the commissioners did not consider other factors such as tax declarations, zonal valuation and actual use of the lands.

On April 14, 2004, after due hearing, the RTC rendered a decision declaring that the petitioner has the right to condemn for public use the affected properties of the respondents upon payment of just compensation. In this regard, the trial court adopted the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Appraisals[3] (the Committee) in its Consolidated Committee Report (the Report)[4] dated September 20, 2003, as being reflective of the true, fair and just compensation for the expropriation of the affected properties of the respondents.

Not in conformity with the RTC decision, the petitioner elevated the matter to the CA.
On February 19, 2010, the CA rendered a decision affirming the RTC decision with modification.

Finding the CA decision unacceptable, the petitioner filed this petition for review raising the following

ISSUE: [1] Was petitioner deprived of its right to due process?
[2] Had the RTC and the CA sufficient basis in arriving at the questioned amount of just compensation of the subject properties?

HELD: After a careful review of the records, the Court resolves the first issue in the negative and the second issue in the affirmative.


Clearly, the petitioner was afforded due process. The pleadings it submitted and the testimonial evidence presented during the several hearings conducted all prove that the petitioner was given its day in court. The Court notes that the RTC acceded to the petitioners request, over the respondents objection, for the reconvening of the Committee for reception of evidence and further proceedings. It also heard and allowed both sides to present evidence during theclarificatory hearings and rendered a decision based on the evidence presented. GENERALLY, FINDINGS OF FACTS CANNOT BE REVIEWED UNDER RULE 45

On the second issue, the Court reiterates the rule, even in expropriation cases, that "questions of facts are beyond the pale of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court as a petition for review may only raise questions of law. Here, there is no reason for this Court to deviate from the same because an evaluation of the facts and evidence presented does not persuade the Court to deviate from the findings of fact of the two courts below. The lower courts properly appreciated the evidence submitted by both parties as regards the true value of the expropriated lots at the time of taking.