G.R. No. 194168. February 13, 2013 (Case Brief / Digest)

### Title:
Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Spouses Placido and Clara Dy Orilla

### Facts:
The Spouses Orilla owned land in Bohol, which was subject to compulsory acquisition under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) offered compensation, which the Orillas rejected, leading to a series of legal proceedings across various forums. After the Provincial DARAB affirmed LBP’s valuation and being dissatisfied, the Orillas sought a judicial determination of just compensation from the Special Agrarian Court (SAC), which ruled in favor of a higher valuation. LBP’s appeal led to a grant of execution pending appeal by the SAC. The issue escalated through the legal system, each step – from the Court of Appeals (CA) decisions to Supreme Court rulings – addressing but not conclusively settling the disputes over valuation and execution pending appeal.

### Issues:
1. Whether the SAC’s valuation of just compensation was valid.
2. The propriety of executing the SAC’s decision pending appeal.
3. The legal implication of the CA’s annulment of the SAC’s decision on just compensation.

### Court’s Decision:
The Supreme Court held that while it previously deemed the SAC’s granting of execution pending appeal as within discretion, it did not affirm the just compensation amount, which was later annulled by the CA for being without legal basis. It concluded that a void judgment (like the SAC’s original valuation for just compensation) cannot be executed. However, if execution pending appeal had already been made, any excess paid should be returned. The LBP was ordered to release only the initial amount they offered, pending final determination of just compensation by the SAC.

### Doctrine:
A void judgment has no legal effect and cannot be the source of rights or obligations. It can neither confer rights nor impose duties and is considered non-existent legally.

### Class Notes:
– Just Compensation: The compensation for expropriated property must be fair and reflective of the property’s value, taking into account various factors including market value, government valuation, and improvements, among others.
– Execution Pending Appeal: This is permissible but subject to discretion of the court. It’s contingent on the necessity to balance the interests of the parties involved, especially in cases where immediate execution might be justified.
– Void Judgments: A legal principle that indicates a judgment is null if it lacks proper legal basis or authority, having no force or effect legally, and therefore cannot be a source of any legal rights or obligations.

### Historical Background:
This case reflects the judicial interplay in agrarian reform implementation in the Philippines – balancing government’s mandate for land redistribution and ensuring fair compensation for landowners. It underscores the contentious and complex nature of determining just compensation in agrarian reform cases.


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