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Case Digest: Land Bank of the Philippines vs De Leon, 388 SCRA 537 ,G.R. No. 143275, September 10, 2002
Land Bank of the Philippines vs. De Leon
388 SCRA 537 ,
G.R. No. 143275
September 10, 2002
Respondents Arlene de Leon and Bernardo de Leon are the registered owners of a parcel of land situated at San Agustin, Concepcion, Tarlac which was voluntarily offered for sale to the government at P50,000.00 per hectare. DAR made a counter offer of P17,656.20 per hectare, or a total amount of P884,877.54, but the same was rejected. Another offer was made by DAR increasing the amount to P1,565,369.35. In view of the respondents’ failure to respond to the new offer made by DAR, the DARAB took cognizance of the case pursuant to Sec. 16 (d) of RA 6657. Subsequently, the DARAB issued an Order directing LBP to recompute the value of the subject property in accordance with DAR Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 1992. LBP arrived at the recomputed value of the aggregate amount of P2,491,731.65 which respondents again rejected.
On October 27, 1994, LBP filed with RTC petition to fix just compensation.On December 19, 1997, RTC fixed just compensation as follows:
a. P1,260,000.00 for the 16.69 hectares of riceland;
b. P2,957,250.00 for the 30.4160 hectares of sugarland.
On March 17, 1998, the DAR filed in the CA a petition for review of the decision of the SAC.
Petitioner LBP also initiated in the CA an appeal of the same decision of the SAC by filing a notice of appeal.
CA dismissed the ordinary appeal instituted by petitioner LBP, reasoning that “the mode of appeal followed by the petitioner was erroneous considering that Section 60 of RA 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, mandates that appeals from decisions of Special Agrarian Courts should be by petition for review. Therefore, the notice of appeal filed by LBP was ineffectual and did not stop the running of the period of appeal.”
Whether or not CA erred in ruling that Section 60 of RA 6657 provides the proper mode for the review of the decisions of the Special Agrarian Courts despite Section 61 of RA 6657 which expressly mandates that the rules of court shall govern the review of the decisions of the Special Agrarian Courts by the Court of Appeals.
No. The case at bar requires an interpretation of Sections 60 and 61 of RA 6657. The said provisions provide that:
Section 60. Appeals, - An appeal may be taken from the decision of the Special Agrarian Courts by filing a petition for review with the Court of Appeals within fifteen (15) days from receipt of notice of the decision; otherwise, the decision shall become final.
Section 61.- Procedure in Review. Review by the Court of appeals or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, shall be governed by the Rules of Court. The Court of Appeals, however, may require the parties to file simultaneous memoranda within a period of fifteen (15) days from notice, after which the case is deemed submitted for decision.
Respondent spouses point to Section 60 of RA 6657 to support their view that the mode of appeal initiated by petitioner LBP was erroneous. On the other hand, petitioner LBP believes that the mode of appeal it used is permissible under Section 61 of the same law.What indeed is the proper mode of appeal from decisions of the Regional Trial Courts, sitting as Special Agrarian Courts, in the determination of just compensation an appeal by way of a petition for review or an ordinary appeal.
Section 2 of Rule 41 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure provides for three modes of appeal, to wit:
Sec. 2. Modes of Appeal.
(a) Ordinary appeal. The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the court which rendered the judgment or final order appealed from and serving a copy thereof upon the adverse party. No record on appeal shall be required except in special proceedings and other cases or multiple or separate appeals where the law or these Rules so require. In such cases, the record on appeal shall be filed and served in like manner.
(b) Petition for Review. The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction shall be by petition for review in accordance with Rule 42.
(c) Appeal by Certiorari. In all cases where only questions of law are raised or involved, the appeal shall be to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45.
A petition for review, not an ordinary appeal, is the proper procedure in effecting an appeal from decisions of the Regional Trial Courts acting as Special Agrarian Courts in cases involving the determination of just compensation to the landowners concerned. Section 60 of RA 6657 clearly and categorically states that the said mode of appeal should be adopted. There is no room for a contrary interpretation. Where the law is clear and categorical, there is no room for construction, but only application.