Case Digest: Land Bank v. Nable

G.R. No. 176692 : June 27, 2012




Veronica Atega Nable (Nable) was the sole owner of a landholding consisting of three contiguous agricultural lots situated in Barangay Taligaman, Butuan City and covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-5 whose total area aggregated to 129.4615 hectares which she inherited from her late parents.

In 1993, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) compulsorily acquired a portion of the landholding with an area of 127.3365 hectares pursuant to Republic Act No. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, or CARL). Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) valued the affected landholding at only ₱5,125,036.05 but Nable rejected the valuation.

The said valuation by the LBP was later affirmed by the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB). After DARAB denied her motion for consideration, Nable instituted against DAR and LBP a petition for the judicial determination of just compensation in the RTC in Butuan City, praying that the affected landholding and its improvements be valued at ₱350,000.00/hectare, for an aggregate valuation of₱44,567,775.00.

During pre-trial, the parties agreed to refer the determination of just compensation to a board of commissioners, who submitted a written report to the RTC on June 27, 2003 recommending ₱57,660,058.00 as the just compensation for Nable.

On November 26, 2004 The RTC rendered its judgment in favor of Nable. The RTC later denied LBPs motion for reconsideration.

On appeal, the CA in denying LBPs petition for review affirmed the RTCs judgment with modifications with respect to the amount of just compensation of the subject property is P36,159,855.00 less the amount ofP5,125,036.05 paid by petitioner to private respondent.

Hence, this appeal.


Whether or not the CA and the RTC disregarded Section 17, R.A. No. 6657, and DAR AO No. 5, Series of 1998?


The appeal lacks merit.

POLITICAL LAW: determination of just compensation

The Congress, in the enactment of R.A. No. 6657 (particularly Sec. 17 thereof) to implement Sec. 4. Art. XIII, of the Constitution, has defined the parameters for the determination of just compensation.

The Congress has thereby required that any determination of just compensation should consider the following factors, namely: (a) the cost of the acquisition of the land; (b) the current value of like properties; (c) the nature, actual use and income of the land; (d) the sworn valuation by the owner; (e) the tax declarations; (f) the assessment made by government assessors; (g) the social and economic benefits contributed to the property by the farmers and farmworkers and by the Government; and (h) the fact of the non-payment of any taxes or loans secured from any government financing institution on the land.

On the other hand, pursuant to its rule-making power under Section 49 of Republic Act No. 6657, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) promulgated DAR Administrative Order (AO) No. 6, Series of 1992, DAR AO No. 11, Series of 1994 (to amend AO No. 6), and DAR AO No. 5, Series of 1998 (to amend AO No. 11) ostensibly to translate the factors provided under Section 17 in a basic formula. It is relevant to note that the Court has consistently regarded reliance on the formulae under these AOs to be mandatory.

Thus, DAR AO No. 5 is of relevance whose formula of just compensation governs the valuation of lands subject of acquisition whether under voluntary offer to sell (VOS) or compulsory acquisition (CA).

In the case at bar, The RTC found that the entire landholding was prime coconut land located along the national highway planted to 95 fruit-bearing coconut trees per hectare, more or less, or a total of 12,153 fruit-bearing coconut trees. It ascertained Nables just compensation by considering the affected landholdings nature, location, value and the volume of the produce, and by applying the formula under DAR AO No. 5, Series of 1998.

The CA affirmed the RTCs valuation upon finding that the evidence on record substantiated the valuation, but saw the need to correct the amount from ₱26,523,180.00 to ₱31,034,819.00 because of the RTCs honest error in calculation.

POLITICAL LAW: farming experience and thumb method of conversion for determining just compensation

The Court finds nothing objectionable or irregular in the use by the RTC of the assailed the farming experience and the thumb method of conversion tests. Such tests are not inconsistent or incompatible with the factors listed in Section 17 of Republic Act No. 6657.

Although Section 17 of Republic Act No. 6657 has not explicitly mentioned the farming experience and thethumb method of conversion as methods in the determination of just compensation, LBP cannot deny that such methods were directly relevant to the factors listed in Section 17, particularly those on the nature, actual use and income of the landholding.

REMEDIAL LAW: factual findings of the RTC are conclusive on the Court

Factual findings and conclusions of the RTC, when affirmed by the CA, are conclusive on the Court. The Court will only step to review the findings of the CA only when there are compelling reasons to do so, such as any of the following:

1. When the factual findings of the CA and the RTC are contradictory;

2.When the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures;

3.When the inference made by the CA is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible;

4.When there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts;

5.When the CA, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case, and such findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee;

6.When the judgment of the CA is premised on a misapprehension of facts;

7.When the CA fails to notice certain relevant facts that, if properly considered, will justify a different conclusion;

8.When the findings of fact are themselves conflicting;

9.When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of the specific evidence on which they are based; and,

10.When the findings of fact of the CA are premised on the absence of evidence, but such findings are contradicted by the evidence on record.

Considering that LBP has not shown and established the attendance of any of the foregoing compelling reasons to justify a review of the findings of fact of the CA, the Court will do not disturb the findings of fact of the CA and the RTC.

REMEDIAL LAW: timely objection

Any objection to evidence must be timely raised in the course of the proceedings in which the evidence is first offered. This enables the adverse party to meet the objection to his evidence, as well as grants to the trial court the opportunity to pass upon and rule on the objection. The objection to evidence cannot be made for the first time on appeal, both because the party who has failed to timely object becomes estopped from raising the objection afterwards; and because to assail the judgment of the lower court upon a cause as to which the lower court had no opportunity to pass upon and rule is contrary to basic fairness and procedural orderliness.

Anent Wilma Rubis affidavit, LBP did not object to its presentation during the trial. LBP objected to the affidavit for the first time only on appeal in the CA. Expectedly, the CA rejected its tardy objection, and further deemed LBPs failure to timely object to respondents introduction of (the) affidavit as an implied admission of the affidavit itself.

The Court agrees with the CAs rejection of LBPs objection to the affidavit.

The decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.