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Government won't settle with Stateland over right-of-way issue - Reyes

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula Updated April 18, 2009 12:00 AM []

MANILA, Philippines - The government will not settle with Stateland Inc. for any right-of-way (ROW) issue, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said yesterday.

Reyes, in a statement, said National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) has decided not to settle its ROW case (National Power Corp. vs. Stateland, Inc.) against American Realty Corp. (now Stateland, Inc.) which will compel the former to pay the latter P190, 991,040.

TransCo acquired the case from Napocor during the implementation of the EPIRA Law (Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or RA 9136) which mandated the separation of power generation and transmission duties among other things.

The TransCo board, through Reyes, affirmed their vehement stance not to settle with Stateland. “This is just not acceptable,” Reyes said about the case.

The complaint, which the Napocor filed against Stateland, Inc. on Aug. 16, 1993, expropriated a portion of ARC’s property for the Kalayaan-San Jose 500k EHV Transmission Line. The total area of the property was 41,884 sqm, of which only 8,865 sqm was affected.

“This will only set a precedent for future claims based on current values and not on values when the properties were taken. We are trying to prevent that,” Reyes said. “We will elevate this case to the Court of Appeals (CA) through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) if need be,” Reyes said.

The property, which was first classified as agricultural in 1993, had a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) zonal valuation of P300/sqm.

A year after it was then classified as residential with a BIR zonal valuation of P390/sqm. At the time of the release of the provisional deposit (16,463,500.00) on July 18, 2008, the BIR zonal valuation in 2000 was P480/sqm while the court decision wanted TransCo to pay P2,400/sqm (based on equitable grounds, RA 8974 (An Act To Facilitate the Right-Of-Way, Site, or Location for National Government Infrastructure Projects and for Other Purposes) and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), and inevitable undue delay).

However, TransCo came up with a fair market value of P1,680/sqm which was derived from an average of three values: P480/sqm, P1,900/sqm (Napocor), and P2,446/sqm (private appraiser valuation in 2007).

In a decision dated Sept. 1, 2008, just compensation for the property was made at P2,400/sqm for the 8,865 sqm property.

A 12 percent interest from 1993 to present will be added to that amount. Additionally, consequential damages for the remaining 33, 219 sqm, and six percent interest from 1993 will also be paid out by TransCo.

Napocor filed a motion for reconsideration and argued that the basis for determination of just compensation should be based on the nature and classification of the property at the time of filing. Stateland, Inc., on the other hand, is anticipating a higher valuation.

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