Final determination of just compensation constitutionally reserved to courts

P.D. No. 1533 determines the just compensation in expropriation cases to be fair and current market value declared by the owner of the property sought to be expropriated or such market value as determined by the assessor, whichever is lower. As such, the determination of just compensation, by virtue of the enactment of P.D. No. 1533, was converted from being a judicial prerogative to an executive decision. Because the executive determination of just compensation in eminent domain proceedings renders the courts inutile in a matter which under the Constitution is reserved to them for final determination, this Court declared P.D. No. 1533 to be unconstitutional and void in the case of Export Processing Zonw Authority v. Dulay, 149 SCRA 305 (1987). Similar provisions regarding executive determination of just compensation found in Presidential Decree Nos. 42, 76, 464, 794, 1224, 1259, 1313, and 1517 were therefore likewise nullified for being unconstitutional. In the light of the declared unconstitutionality of P.D. No. 76, P.D. No. 1533 and P.D. No. 42 insofar as they sanction executive determination of just compensation in expropriation cases, it is imperative that aby right to the immediate possession of the subject property, accruing to respondent VISCA, must be firmly grounded on a valid compliance with Section 2 of Rule 67, i.e., there must be a deposit with the National or Provincial Treasurer of the value of the subject property as provisionally and promptly ascertained and fixed by the court having jurisdiction of the proceedings. [G.R. Nos. 56219 & 56220. November 27, 1996]