Sta. Rosa vs. CA, GR 112526, Oct. 12, 2001   121 SCRA 254

Facts: Petitioner was the registered owner of two parcels of land, MARO issued a notice of coverage to petitioner and invited its officials or representatives to a conference. During the meeting It was the consensus and recommendation of the assembly that the landholding of SRRDC be placed under compulsory acquisition. Petitioner filed a “Protest and Objection” to the compulsory acquisition of the property. Secretary of Agrarian Reform sent two notices of acquisition to petitioner. Secretary of Agrarian Reform sent two 2 notices of acquisition to petitioner, stating that petitioner’s landholdings covered by TCT Nos. 81949 and 84891, containing an area of 188.2858 and 58.5800 hectares, valued at P4,417,735.65 and P1,220,229.93, respectively, had been placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. petitioner SRRDC in two letters 2 separately addressed to Secretary Florencio B. Abad and the Director, Bureau of Land Acquisition and Distribution, sent its formal protest, protesting not only the amount of compensation offered by DAR for the property but also the two (2) notices of acquisition. Secretary Abad referred the case to the DARAB for summary proceedings to determine just compensation. Petitioner sent a letter to the Land Bank of the Philippines stating that its property under the aforesaid land titles were exempt from CARP coverage because they had been classified as watershed area and were the subject of a pending petition for land conversion. Office of the Secretary, DAR, through the Undersecretary for Operations (Assistant Secretary for Luzon Operations) and the Regional Director of Region IV, submitted a report answering the two issues raised. According to them, firstly, by virtue of the issuance of the notice of coverage on August 11, 1989, and notice of acquisition on December 12, 1989, the property is covered under compulsory acquisition. Secondly, Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1990, Section IV D also supports the DAR position on the coverage of the said property. During the consideration of the case by the Board, there was no pending petition for land conversion specifically concerning the parcels of land in question. The Board sent a notice of hearing to all the parties interested, setting the hearing for the administrative valuation of the subject parcels of land. However, SRRDC submitted a petition to the Board for the latter to resolve SRRDC’s petition for exemption from CARP coverage before any administrative valuation of their landholding could be had by the Board. The initial DARAB hearing of the case was held and subsequently, different dates of hearing were set without objection from counsel of SRRDC. Adrian Avilado Antazo

Issue: Whether the respondents complied with the procedural requirement of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law?Adrian Avilado Antazo

Held: No, we held that failed to comply with the requirements of the CARP Law. for its part, conditions the transfer of possession and ownership of the land to the government on receipt of the landowner of the corresponding payment or the deposit by the DAR of the compensation in cash or LBP bonds with an accessible bank. Until then, title also remains with the landowner. No outright change of ownership is contemplated either. DAR has executed the taking of the property in question. However, payment of just compensation was not in accordance with the procedural requirement. The law required payment in cash or LBP bonds, not by trust account as was done by DAR.Adrian Avilado Antazo

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