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SC affirms compensation for Valenzuela property affected by C-5 Northern Link project

/ 09:41 PM February 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippine — The Supreme Court has affirmed the Court of Appeals decision to award over P15 million in just compensation to the owners of a 3,045-square meter property affected by the construction of the C-5 Northern Link Project (Segment 8.1), which will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the North Luzon Expressway in Valenzuela.

In an 11-page decision penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the high court’s Third Division affirmed the 2016 appeals court ruling which states that “the just compensation for 3,045 square meters of the expropriated property is P5,000 per square meter, or a total of P15,225,000, less the initial deposit of P3,654,000, along with interest.”

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The high court said it found “no cogent reason to reverse the findings of the CA, insofar as the amount of just compensation is concerned.”

“In the absence, moreover, of any legal basis to the contrary, or any objection from the parties, the Court further affirms the appellate court’s imposition of legal interest, as well as its deletion of the payment of commissioner’s fee and the award of attorney’s fees for being in accord with applicable law and recent jurisprudence,” the high court added.

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The case started in 2007 from an expropriation complaint filed by the government through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The DPWH sought to expropriate a 3,856-square meter lot located in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City. The government wants to peg the price of the property to P1,200 per square meter based on the zonal value, but the owner insisted that it should be P2,150 per square meter.

The Valenzuela court appointed Board of Commissioners who recommended that the just compensation should be P5,000 per square meter. The government lost its case before the lower court, prompting it to elevate it to the Court of Appeals. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

In affirming the appeals court and the RTC decisions, the high court said there was nothing arbitrary about the P5,000 per square meter recommended by the Board of Commissioners as it was reached in consideration of the property’s size, location, accessibility, as well as the zonal valuation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, among other things.

The Court found as “plain and simplistic” the Republic-DPWH’s claim that the subject property must be valued at a significantly lower price because it was occupied by informal settlers and per the opinion of a certain Fe Pesebre.

The Court explained that “just compensation, in expropriation cases, is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the loss of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. Its true measure is not the taker’s gain, but the owner’s loss. The word ‘just’ is used to modify the meaning of the word ‘compensation’ to convey the idea that the equivalent to be given for the property to be taken shall be real, substantial, full and ample.” /ee

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TAGS: C-5 Northern Link project, Just Compensation, news, Philippines, Supreme Court, Valenzuela property
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