SC Rules On Valenzuela Expropriation Case

The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Valenzuela City government to pay the full amount of PHP6,000 per square meter instead of only PHP400 to a couple whose 1,203-square meter lot was expropriated by the city nine years ago for the construction of a public school building.

In a resolution made available to the public recently, the SC’s third division upheld the Court of Appeals (CA) which in turn upheld the 2011 ruling of the regional trial court on the payment of just compensation at PHP6,000 per square meter or a total of PHP7.2 million to spouses Silvino Abacan and Remedios Lazaro Abacan. The rulings by the high court turns down the appeal filed by the city government.

Valenzuela City in 2009 offered to purchase the Abacan property in Barangay Dalandanan at PHP400 per square meter or a total of PHP481,200, an offer rejected by the couple.

The Sangguniang Panglungsod passed an ordinance authorizing Gatchalian to initiate expropriation proceedings. The Abacan spouses told the RTC that the offer was below the zonal valuation set by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The city government then issued to the couple a check for PHP72,180 representing 15 per cent of the total fair market value of the property.

On September 30, 2010, the RTC issued a writ of possession in favor of Valenzuela City with a ruling that the city has the right to take the property for the construction of a school building.

The trial court then appointed three commissioners to determine just compensation. The commissioners set the just compensation at PHP7,500 per square-meter which was opposed by the city government. On Nov. 17, 2011, the RTC handed down a decision which ordered the city government to pay the Abacan spouses PHP7.2 million for their 1,203-square meter lot at PHP6,000 per square meter.

The SC cited the RTC’s decision as upheld by the CA. “Inasmuch as the determination of just compensation is a judicial function, we see no plausible reason to disturb the RTC’s findings as to the valuation of the subject property.” (PNA)

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