We stated in Heirs of Roque F. Tabuena v. Land Bank of the Philippines22 that “once an expropriation proceeding for the acquisition of private agricultural lands is commenced by the DAR, the indispensable role of LBP begins.”23 In Heirs of Lorenzo and Carmen Vidad v. Land Bank of the Philippines,24 we thoroughly explained the important role of LBP in expropriation proceedings under RA 6657. We held that LBP is not merely a nominal party in the determination of just compensation, but an indispensable participant in such proceedings. As such, LBP possessed the legal personality to institute a petition for determination of just compensation in the SAC. We ruled:
There is likewise no merit in petitioners’ allegation that LBP lacks locus standi to file a case with the SAC, separate and independent from the DAR. In Heirs of Roque F. Tabuena v. Land Bank of the Philippines, we ruled that the LBP is an indispensable party in expropriation proceedings under RA 6657, and thus, has the legal personality to question the determination of just compensation, independent of the DAR. x x x
LBP is an agency created primarily to provide financial support in all phases of agrarian reform pursuant to Section 74 of Republic Act (RA) No. 3844 and Section 64 of RA No. 6657. It is vested with the primary responsibility and authority in the valuation and compensation of covered landholdings to carry out the full implementation of the Agrarian Reform Program. It may agree with the DAR and the land owner as to the amount of just compensation to be paid to the latter and may also disagree with them and bring the matter to court for judicial determination.
Once an expropriation proceeding for the acquisition of private agricultural lands is commenced by the DAR, the indispensable role of LBP begins, which clearly shows that there would never be a judicial determination of just compensation absent respondent LBP’s participation. Logically, it follows that respondent [LBP] is an indispensable party in an action for the determination of just compensation in cases arising from agrarian reform program; as such, it can file an appeal independently of DAR.
x x x
It is evident from the afore-quoted jurisprudence that the role of LBP in the CARP is more than just the ministerial duty of keeping and disbursing the Agrarian Reform Funds. As the Court had previously declared, the LBP is primarily responsible for the valuation and determination of compensation for all private lands. It has the discretion to approve or reject the land valuation and just compensation for a private agricultural land placed under the CARP. In case the LBP disagrees with the valuation of land and determination of just compensation by a party, the DAR, or even the courts, the LBP not only has the right, but the duty, to challenge the same, by appeal to the Court of Appeals or to this Court, if appropriate.25 (Emphasis supplied; citations omitted)
It is therefore beyond dispute that LBP has the legal personality to institute the petition for determination of just compensation before the SAC. Hence, the Court of Appeals did not err in setting aside the dismissal of LBP’s petition for determination of just compensation and remanding the instant case to the SAC for trial on the merits.