NAPOCOR v. Tiangco GR No. 170846, February 6, 2007

Facts:

Herein respondents are the owners of a parcel of land in Barangay Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal and registered in their names. petitioner NPC requires the respondents’ aforementioned property, across which its 500Kv Kalayaan-San Jose Transmission Line Project will traverse. NPC’s Segregation Plan for the purpose shows that the desired right-of-way will cut through the respondents’ land. After repeated unsuccessful negotiations with the respondents, NPC filed with the RTC a complaint for expropriation against them which the RTC issued Condemnation Order, granting NPC the right to take possession of the area sought to be expropriated. Which RTC subsequently ordered directing NPC to pay and deposit with the Rizal Provincial Treasurer an amount representing the temporary provisional value of the area subject of the expropriation prior to the possession. The RTC rendered judgment expropriating in favor of [NPC] a parcel of land covering a total area and ordered the amount of P40,594.07 as just compensation for the 19,423 square meters of land affected by the expropriations; and the amount of P324,750.00 as reasonable compensation for the improvements on the land expropriated. The respondents moved for reconsideration, presenting for the first time a document entitled “BIR Circular of Appraisal,” which shows that for the year 1985, 1992, 1994 that the lands valued at ₱30.00, ₱80.00, ₱100.00 per square meter respectively. NPC and the respondents went on appeal to the CA whereat the separate appeals who modified the decision of the RTC that the compensation awarded for the 19,423 square meters of land affected is increased to ₱116,538.00, and the reasonable compensation for the improvements thereon is likewise increased to P325,025.00.

Issue: Whether the Just Compensation Is it to be based on the 1984 or the 1993 valuation?

Held: Neither of the two determinations made by the the CA and RTC is therefore correct. A new one must be arrived at, taking into consideration the foregoing pronouncements.

Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. In this case, this simply means the property’s fair market value at the time of the filing of the complaint, or “that sum of money which a person desirous but not compelled to buy, and an owner willing but not compelled to sell, would agree on as a price to be given and received therefor.” The measure is not the taker’s gain, but the owner’s loss.

In the determination of such value, the court is not limited to the assessed value of the property or to the schedule of market values determined by the provincial or city appraisal committee; these values consist but one factor in the judicial valuation of the property. The nature and character of the land at the time of its taking is the principal criterion for determining how much just compensation should be given to the landowner All the facts as to the condition of the property and its surroundings, as well as its improvements and capabilities, should be considered.

 

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