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DOJ OPINION NO. 026, s. 2006
April 3, 2006



Secretary Nasser C. Pangandaman

DAR Secretary and Chairman

PARC Executive Committee

Presidential Agrarian Reform Council

DAR Bldg., Elliptical Road

Diliman, Quezon City



This has reference to your predecessor's letter in connection with a pending proposal from Atty. Eduardo F. Hernandez, landowner representative to the PARC, to use the current Government Support Prices (GSPs), instead of the 1972 GSPs, in the valuation formula for rice and corn lands covered under Presidential Decree No. 27. 1    DaTISc

It appears that the proposal was based on the Supreme Court (SC) Ruling [Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) vs. Court of Appeals (CA) and Jose Pascual, G.R. No. 128557, December 29, 1999] {Pascual Case for brevity}, which affirmed the valuation of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) of Cagayan over the landholding of respondent Pascual using the 1992 GSPs of P300 and P250 for each cavan of palay and corn, respectively.

It was also stated that the LBP, in its letter dated 05 November 2002, posited, among others, that the SC Decision on the Pascual case could not provide sufficient legal basis for the adoption of the said proposal in view of the earlier SC Ruling affirming a CA Decision (LBP vs. Hon. David C. Naval, as Judge RTC of Naga City, Branch 21, and Olap B. Benosa, et. al., CA-G.R. SP No. 36961, September 29, 1995) {Benosa Case for brevity}, that the use of the 1972 GSPs of P35.00 and P31.00 per cavan or rice and corn, respectively, instead of the current GSPs, was in keeping with the basic rule in eminent domain that just compensation shall be determined as of the time of taking of the property. 

Finally, it was stated that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), in its undated Memorandum to the PARC ExCom, is of the opinion that what constitutes just compensation is the value of the property at the time of the taking as manifested by the CA Decision and as affirmed by the SC Resolution in the Benosa Case. Moreover, in its Memorandum to the PARC ExCom dated 02 October 2004, it cited the case of Rolando Sigre vs. Court of Appeals and Lilia Y. Gonzales (G.R. No. 109568, August 8, 2002) as the latest SC Ruling on the matter and not the Pascual Case.

Hence, the instant request on whether or not the Pascual Case can be adopted as a basis to revise the formula for the valuation of P.D. No. 27-covered lands and that granting the Pascual Case can stand, can the formula be changed without amending the law?

With deep regret, the Secretary of Justice has to decline the instant request. The resolution of the issue raised would inevitably involve a look into the Decision rendered by the Supreme Court, which Decision, is already final and executory. Any opinion that we may render thereon could be construed as an unwarranted intrusion into the exercise of the judicial powers and functions pertaining to the Supreme Court, a separate and coordinate branch of the government which is beyond the revisory or appellate authority of the Secretary of Justice, 2 and could subject this Office to criticism for violation of the independence of the judiciary. 3 If clarification of the Decision is necessary, the query should, under existing rules, be addressed to the said Court.

Moreover, the resolution of the issues raised would necessarily involve a review of the actions taken by LBP, which is beyond the revisory authority of the Secretary of Justice. By established policy and precedents, this Department has desisted from passing upon the official actuations/rulings of any government official, over whom this Department has neither supervisory nor revisory authority. 4 

Finally, the specific issues raised in the instant request necessarily affect the substantive rights of the parties concerned, i.e. the landowners, upon whom the opinion of the Secretary of Justice has no binding effect and would, in all probability, contest the same in court if the opinion turns out to be adverse to their interest. This Office does not render opinion or give legal advice on a matter that is justiciable in nature or which may be the subject of a judicial controversy. 5 

However, for your information and guidance only, we would like to give some of our observations and invite you to some portions of the decision in the Pascual Case, to wit:   DSETac

". . . . In the instant case, petitioner participated in the valuation proceedings held in the office of the PARAD through its counsel, Atty Eduard Javier. It did not appeal the decision of PARAD which became final and executory. As a matter of fact, petitioner even stated in its Petition that "it is willing to pay the value determined by the PARAD PROVIDED that the farmer-beneficiaries concur thereto. . . . . But as we have already stated, there is no need for such concurrence. . . . .

xxx                    xxx                    xxx

In the decision of PARAD, however, the Land Value (LV) of private respondent's property was computed using the GSP for 1992, which is P300.00 per cavan of palay and P250.00 per cavan of corn. . . .

xxx                    xxx                    xxx

Hence, the formula in AO No. 13 could no longer be applied since the PARAD already used a higher GSP. 6 " (emphasis supplied)

Moreover, in other cases, the Supreme Court also ruled:

"A judgement contrary to the express provisions of law is erroneous but it is not void. Once it becomes final and executory, it is as binding and effective as any judgment and, though erroneous, will be enforced as a valid judgment in accordance with its dispositions." 7 

xxx                    xxx                    xxx

"It is well-established in our jurisdiction that the decisions and orders of administrative agencies, rendered pursuant to their quasi-judicial authority, have upon their finality, the force and binding effect of a final judgment within the purview of the doctrine of res judicata. The rule of res judicata which forbids the reopening of a matter once judicially determined by competent authority applies as well to the judicial and quasi judicial acts of public, executive or administrative offices and boards acting within their jurisdiction as to the judgments" of court having general judicial powers." 8 (emphasis supplied)

Finally, it may be stressed that a law is repealed only upon the enactment by the Legislature of a new law which either amends or completely repeals a law dealing on the same subject matter. Moreover, a law enjoys the presumption of validity, constitutionality and will continue to be in effect unless it has been declared otherwise by the courts. A perusal of the Decision of the SC in the Pascual Case would reveal that it did not invalidate the formula for the valuation of lands covered by P.D. No. 27 as further implemented under Executive Order No. 228 9 dated 17 July 1987, but merely says that since there was a failure to appeal the valuation made by PARAD, such valuation became final and executory between the parties.

Please be guided accordingly.

Very truly yours,




  1.       Decreeing the Emancipation of Tenants from the Bondage of the Soil, Transferring to Them the Ownership of the Land They Till and Providing the Instruments and Mechanism therefor.

  2.       Secretary of Justice Op. No. 8, current series, citing Opinions.

  3.       Id., Op. No. 14, s. 1989

  4.       Id., Op. No. 107, s. 1994; No. 19, s. 1996; No. 3, s. 1999.

  5.       Id., Nos. 31, 45, and 76, s. 1997 and No. 3 s. 1999.

  6.       LBP v. CA, 321 SCRA, pp. 642 and 645.

  7.       Florenz D. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium Vol. 1, p. 376 citing case, 8th Revised ed.

  8.       Ruben E. Agpalo, Philippine Administrative Law, pp. 295-296 citing cases, 1999 ed.

  9.       Decreeing Full Land Ownership to Qualified Farmer Beneficiaries Covered by Presidential Decree No. 27, Determining the Value of Remaining Unvalued Rice and Corn Lands Subject of P.D. No. 27, and Providing for the Manner of Payment by the Farmer Beneficiary and Mode of Compensation to the Landowner.


Department of Agrarian Reform
Elliptical Road, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. No.: (632) 928-7031 to 39

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