Action and competition or the fair value of the

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action and competition; or the fair value of the property; as between one who receives and one who desires to sell it, fixed at the time of the actual taking by the government. It is settled that the amount of just compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the taking, which usually coincides with the commencement of the expropriation proceedings. Where the institution of the action precedes entry into the property, the amount of just compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the filing of the complaint. In this case, in arriving at the amount of just compensation, both the RTC and the CA relied heavily on the Board of Commissioners’ Report dated September 15, 2003, which, in turn, was arrived at after conducting an ocular inspection of the subject properties on August 27, 2003. However, the Board of
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POLITICAL LAW CASE DIGESTS 176 Commissioners’ recommendation as to the amount of just compensation was based on the prevailing market value of the subject properties in 2003. What escaped the attention of the lower courts is that the prevailing market value of the subject properties in 2003 cannot be used to determine the amount of just compensation considering that the Complaint for expropriation was filed by NPC on December 2, 1997. Further, the Court notes that the Board of Commissioners, in its Report dated September 15, 2003, merely alleged that its members arrived at the amount of P1,000.00 per sq m as just compensation for the subject properties based on actual sales, presumably of surrounding parcels of land, and on the opinion of “reliable persons” that were interviewed. However, the Report dated September 15, 2003 is not supported by any corroborative documents such as sworn declarations of the “reliable persons” that were supposedly interviewed. The Court has consistently ruled that just compensation cannot be arrived at arbitrarily; several factors must be considered such as, but not limited to, acquisition cost, current market value of like properties, tax value of the condemned property, its size, shape, and location. But before these factors can be considered and given weight, the same must be supported by documentary evidence. The amount of just compensation could only be attained by using reliable and actual data as bases for fixing the value of the condemned property. A commissioners’ report of land prices which is not based on any documentary evidence is manifestly hearsay and should be disregarded by the court. Under the Rules of Court, any evidence whether oral or documentary is hearsay if its probative value is not based on the personal knowledge of the witness, but on that of some other person who is not on the witness stand. A commissioners’ report of land prices is considered as evidence in the determination of the amount of just compensation due the land owner in expropriation cases. The recommended amount of just compensation contained in the commissioners’ repor t of land prices, in turn, is based on various factors such
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