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Santos v. Land Bank
G.R. No. 137431
Sep 07, 2000
340 SCRA 59 (2000)
Petitioner, Edgardo Santos was owner of properties which were taken by DAR under P.D. No. 27 in 1972.
On August 12, 1997, RTC rendered judgment: (1) fixing the amount of P49,241,876.00 to be the just compensation and (2) ordering LBP to pay plaintiff the amount of P45,698,805.34 Philippine currency, in the manner provided by R.A. 6657, by way of full payment of the said just compensation.A preliminary valuation in the amount of P3,543,070.66 had in fact been previously released by the Land Bank in cash and bond
On December 24, 1997 LBP released the amount of P3,621,023.01 in cash and Land Bank Bond No. AR-0002206 in the amount of P41,128,024.81 to the petitioner.
Petitioner filed a motion for the issuance of an alias writ of execution before the Regional Trial Court, praying that the payment of the compensation be in proportion of P8,629,179.36 in bonds and P32,499,745 in cash, alleging that the cash portion should include the amounts in the Decision representing the interest payments.
The Regional Trial Court issued an Order on March 20, 1998 for the Land Bank to release the balance of P41,128,024.81 from the garnished amount in cash or certified check. Land Bank moved for a reconsideration.
Regional Trial Court presided over by a new judge, resolved the two motions on April 24, 1998. It held that the payment of just compensation must be computed in the manner provided for in Section 18, Republic Act No. 6657.
The CA upheld the questioned April 24, 1998 Order of the trial court.
Whether or not a trial court decision directing the payment of such compensation "P45,698,805.34 PESOS, Philippine currency, in the manner provided by R.A. 6657" was illegally amended by an order, issued during the execution proceedings, that such amount shall be paid in cash and bonds.
No. The April 24, 1998 Order was not an illegal amendment of the August 12, 1997 judgment which had become final and executory. The reason is that the Order did not revise, correct, or alter the Decision. Rather, the Order iterated and made clear the essence of the final judgment.
However, it is clear from the August 12, 1997 judgment that the compensation was to be paid "in the manner provided by RA 6657."10 Pursuant to Section 18 of the same law, payment was to be in cash and bonds, as indicated below:
"Section 18. Valuation and Mode of Compensation. -- The LBP shall compensate the landowner in such amount as may beagreed upon by the landowner and the DAR and LBP, in accordance with the criteria provided for in Sections 16 and 17, and other pertinent provisions hereof, or as may be finally determined by the court, as the just compensation for the land.
"The compensation shall be paid in one of the following modes, at the option of the landowner:
(1) Cash payment, under the following terms and conditions
(a) For lands above fifty(50) hectares, insofar as the excess hectarage is concerned.
Twenty-five percent (25%) cash, the balance to be paid in government financial instruments negotiable at any time
(b) For lands above twenty-four (24) hectares and up to fifty (50) hectares
Thirty-percent (30%) cash, the balance to be paid in government financial instruments negotiable at anytime."
Respondent bank was obliged to follow the mandate of the August 12, 1997 judgment. Hence, its compliance with the Writ of Execution and the Notice of Garnishment ought to have been construed as an agreement to pay petitioner in the manner set forth in Republic Act No. 6657. Its compliance was not an undertaking to pay in cash because such act would have been a deviation from the dictum of the final judgment, to which execution must conform. Paying in cash, as petitioner demands, is not compatible with such judgment.