AGAPITO ROM et al., vs ROXAS AND COMPANY INC. G.R. No. 169331 September 5, 2011 FACTS: On September 30, 1997, respondent sought the exemption of 27 parcels of land located in Brgy. Aga, Nasugbo, Batangas, from the coverage of CARP, pursuant to DAR Administrative Order (AO) No.6, series of 1994. Respondent asserted that Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) covers only agricultural land which is defined under Section 3(c) thereof as ―land devoted to agricultural activity x x x and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land.‖ Prior to the effectivity of the CARL the lands subject of its application were already re-classified as part of the Residential Cluster Area specified in Zone A VII of the Nasugbu Municipal Zoning Ordinance No. 4, Series of 1982, which zoning ordinance was approved by the Human Settlement Regulatory Commission. Respondent cited DOJ Opinion No. 44 (1990) which provides that lands already classified by a valid zoning ordinance for commercial, industrial or residential use, which ordinance was approved prior to the effectivity of the CARL, no longer need conversion clearance from the DAR. The application for exemption was approved by DAR with the condition that the farmers shall maintain in their peaceful possession and cultivation of their respective areas until final determination shall be made on the amount of the disturbance compensation. From this order petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration claiming that the certifications have already been superseded by Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 30, Series of 1993, which classified the area of Barangay Aga as an agricultural zone except for the 50-meter strip from both sides of the National Road with existing roads, which was classified as residential zone. The motions, however, were dismissed by DAR leading aggrieved party to file a petition for certiorari with the CA on the grounds that it acted with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the orders since it has no jurisdiction over the case due to lack of the required proof of disturbance compensation, a condition sine qua non, to grant the exemption. Also, petitioners argued that since respondent had previously voluntarily offered to sell the subject land to the DAR, then they (petitioners) have already acquired a vested right over the subject properties. In a Decision dated April 29, 2005, the CA dismissed the petition for certiorari it being an improper remedy. The CA held that petitioners should have filed a petition for review under Section 1, Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. Even if the certiorari petition is considered as properly filed, the CA ruled that it would still dismiss the same as there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the DAR in issuing the assailed Orders. Thus, this petition for Review on Certiorari. ISSUE: WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR OR GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN AFFIRMING THE GRANT OF RESPONDENT ROXAS‘ APPLICATION FOR EXEMPTION FROM COVERAGE OF THE CARL WITHOUT THE REQUIRED PAYMENT OF DISTURBANCE COMPENSATION, WITHOUT ANY UNDERTAKING TO PAY THE SAID
COMPENSATION AND WITHOUT ANY BOND BEING POSTED BY THE LANDOWNER TO SECURE PAYMENT OF SAID COMPENSATION. HELD: There is no merit in the petition. Remarkably, in its application for exemption in DAR ADM Case No. A-9999-014-98 subject of this case, respondent submitted documents in support of its application for exemption similar to those submitted by it in DAR Administrative Case No. A-9999-008-98 subject of G.R. No. 167505. And, having established through said documents that the 27 parcels of land are within the coverage of the said (Nasugbu) Municipal Zoning Ordinance No. 4, the DAR declared as well that respondent substantially complied with the requirements of DAR AO No. 6, series of 1994 in DAR ADM Case No. A-9999-014-98. The DAR thus granted the application in an Order of the same date and of exactly the same tenor as that issued in DAR Administrative Case No. A-9999-008-98. ―In Natalia Realty, Inc. vs. Department of Agrarian Reform, it was held that lands not devoted to agricultural activity are outside the coverage of CARL including lands previously converted to non-agricultural uses prior to the effectivity of CARL by government agencies other than the DAR.‖ This being the case, respondent is not bound by its previous voluntary offer to sell because the subject properties cannot be the subject of a VOS, they being clearly beyond the CARP‘s coverage. Given this backdrop, we are inclined to uphold the DAR‘s November 6, 2002 Order which granted respondent‘s application for exemption in DAR Administrative Case No. A-9999-014-98 subject of this case. Aside from the fact that this Court in Roxas & Company, Inc. v. DAMBA-NFSW has already upheld the grant of a similar application which, notably, was supported by the same documents submitted in support of the application herein, our own review of the records of this case reveals that there was indeed no error on the part of the DAR in issuing said Order. The documents submitted by respondent to support its application for exemption as well as the Investigation Report of CLUPPI-II clearly show that the 27 parcels of land, specifically identified, were already re-classified as residential prior to the effectivity of the CARL.―Well-settled is the rule that findings of fact of x x x quasi-judicial bodies (like the DAR) which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters, are generally accorded not only great respect but even finality. They are binding upon this Court unless there is a showing of grave abuse of discretion or where it is clearly shown that they were arrived at arbitrarily or in utter disregard of the evidence on record. WHEREFORE, this petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated April 29, 2005 and Resolution dated August 11, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 82709 are AFFIRMED.
ANTONIO VS MANAHAN G.R. No. 176091 August 24, 2011 FACTS: On 16 November 1993, Manahan, the owner of 2 parcel of agricultural land located at San Mateo, Rizal and Antonio entered into a ‖Kasunduang Buwisan sa Sakahan” (Leasehold Agreement) whereby the latter undertook to cultivate the subject parcels for an annual rental of 70 cavans of dried, cleaned and good quality palay, each weighing 44 kilos. The Leasehold Agreement provided, that the land shall be exclusively planted to rice; that Antonio shall neither expand the 12x12 square meter portion on which his house stands nor allow others to construct their homes on the lands in litigation; that the planting and harvest on both parcels shall be simultaneously accomplished by Antonio; and, that Manahan shall be entitled to a three-day prior notice of the harvests done on the property. In 1994, 1996 and 1997, Manahan filed complaints before the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) against Antonio, for such violations of the Leasehold Agreement on the ground that Antonio persisted with the foregoing violations. Manahan filed on 16 September 1997 a Complaint for Ejectment before the Rizal Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (PARAD). Antonio, however, specifically denied the material allegations of the foregoing complaint. On 4 October 1999, Provincial Adjudicator rendered a decision for Manahan based on the following ascertained violations of the Leasehold Agreement committed by Antonio: (a) failure to pay the stipulated rental in full from 1993 to 1998; (b) failure to give Manahan prior notification of impending harvests; and (c) utilization of 3,000 square meters of the property to the planting of kangkong, despite Manahan‘s objections. As a consequence of the foregoing findings, the PARAD ordered the ejectment of Antonio from the landholding, payment of the unpaid lease rental and to surrender the subject land. On appeal, the foregoing decision was initially reversed and set-aside in the 8 January 2004 decision rendered by the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) however, based on the ocular inspection conducted by the DARAB the motion for reconsideration filed by Manahan was granted and DARAB issued the 28 December 2004 Resolution reinstated the PARAD‘s 4 October 1999 decision. On 10 February 2005 Antonio filed a petition for review with the CA arguing that the DARAB gravely erred in finding that he violated the leasehold agreement. The CA rendered the herein assailed 31 October 2006 Decision, dismissing the petition and affirming the DARAB‘s 28 December 2004 Resolution. Antonio‘s motion for reconsideration of said decision was denied for lack of merit in the CA‘s 4 January 2007 resolution, thus, this petition. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT CA ERRED WHEN IT APPLIED SECTION 36 (PARAGRAPHS 3 AND 4) OF RA 3844 AS AUTHORIZED CAUSES FOR DISPOSSESSION OF PETITIONER. HELD: We find the affirmance of the assailed decision in order, despite the partial merit in the petition.
An agricultural leasehold relationship is said to exist upon the concurrence of the following essential requisites: (1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2) the subject matter of the relationship is agricultural land; (3) there is consent between the parties to the relationship; (4) the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; (5) there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and (6) the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee. Once the tenancy relationship is established, the tenant is entitled to security of tenure and cannot be ejected by the landlord unless ordered by the court for causes provided by law. In recognition and protection of the tenant‘s right to security of tenure, the burden of proof is upon the agricultural lessor to show the existence of the lawful causes for ejectment or dispossession under Section 36 of Republic Act No. 3844. The rule is settled that failure to pay the lease rentals must be willful and deliberate in order to be considered as ground for dispossession of an agricultural tenant. While the ―term ‗deliberate‘ is characterized by or results from slow, careful, thorough calculation and consideration of effects and consequences,‖ the term "willful" has been ―defined as one governed by will without yielding to reason or without regard to reason.‖Despite the complaints Manahan filed with the MARO in 1994 and 1996, our perusal of the record shows that Antonio‘s failure to pay and/or incurrence of shortages from the stipulated annual lease rentals of 70 Cavans of palay weighing 40 Kilos cannot be considered willful and deliberate. Even with Manahan‘s rejection of the rentals tendered by Antonio in 1993 and 2001 for supposed poor quality, the receipts on record show that the latter was able to remit the following rentals which were duly received by the former. We find that Antonio‘s dispossession is, however, still warranted by his repeated violations of the terms of the Leasehold Agreement which prohibited, among other matters, the cultivation of other plants on Manahan‘s properties, the expansion of the tenant‘s dwelling as well as the non-synchronized plantings and harvests thereon. Granted that paragraph III (G) of DAR Administrative Order No. 5, Series of 1993 allows the tenant to plant secondary crop on the land provided he shoulders the expenses thereof, Antonio‘s planting of ―kangkong‖ directly flies in the face of the categorical prohibition in the Leasehold Agreement against the planting of other plants on the land and Manahan‘s objections/complaints against the same as early as 24 November 1994. Antonio‘s claim that that ―kangkong‖ grew naturally on the property is belied by the pictures submitted by Manahan and the PARAD‘s finding that a 3,000 square meter portion of the property was devoted to said plant and it was likewise established that Antonio planted other vegetable crops. Fealty to the fact that ―R.A. No. 3844 does not operate to take away completely every landowner‘s rights to his land‖ or ―authorize the agricultural lessee to act in an abusive or excessive manner in derogation of the landowner‘s rights‖ impels us to uphold Antonio‘s dispossession as ordered by the PARAD, the DARAB and the CA. ―Although the agrarian laws afford the opportunity for the landless to break away from the vicious cycle of having to perpetually rely on the kindness of others, a becoming modesty demands that this kindness should at least be reciprocated, in whatever small way, by those benefited by them.‖ WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the appealed decision is, accordingly, AFFIRMED.
CASIMIRO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION VS MATEO G.R. No. 175485 July 27, 2011 FACTS: This case is about a registered parcel of land in Barrio Pulang Lupa, Las Piñas City, originally owned by Isaias Lara, the respondent‘s maternal grandfather. Upon the death of Isaias Lara in 1930, the property passed on to his children. In 1962, the co-heirs effected the transfer of the full and exclusive ownership to Felicidad, an heir, (whose married surname was Lara-Mateo) under an agreement denominated as Pagaayos Na Gawa Sa Labas Ng Hukuman. Felicidad Lara-Mateo had five children, namely: Laura, respondent Renato, Cesar, Candido, Jr. and Leonardo. With the agreement of the entire Lara-Mateo family, a deed of sale covering the property was executed in favor of Laura, who, in 1967, applied for land registration. After the application was granted, OCT was issued in Laura‘s sole name. The property now was used as collateral to secure a succession of loans. Later, she executed a deed of sale in favor of Pe, leading to the issuance of TCT in the name of Pe, who in turn constituted a mortgage on the property in favor of China Banking Corporation (China Bank) as security for a loan. In the end, China Bank foreclosed the mortgage, and consolidated its ownership of the property in 1985 after Pe failed to redeem. On March 4, 1993, Casimiro Development Corporation (CDC) and China Bank executed a deed of absolute sale over the property which resulted to the issuance of TCT No. T-34640 in the name of CDC. On February 28, 1991, Felicidad died intestate and on June of the same year CDC brought an action for unlawful detainer in the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) in Las Piñas City against the respondent‘s siblings, and other occupants of the property. Therein, the defendants maintained that the MeTC did not have jurisdiction over the action because the land was classified as agricultural; that the jurisdiction belonged to the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB). On October 19, 1992, the MeTC ruled in favor of CDC stating that the classification of the land in a tax declaration certificate as a ―fishpond‖ merely refers to the use of the land in question for the purpose of real property taxation. This alone would not be sufficient to bring the land in question under the operation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. The decision of the MeTC was assailed in the RTC via petition for certiorari and prohibition. The RTC resolved against CDC, and held that the MeTC had acted without jurisdiction because the land, being a fishpond, was agricultural; hence, the dispute was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the DARAB pursuant to Republic Act No. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988). CDC appealed to the CA, which, on January 25, 1996, found in favor of CDC, declaring that the MeTC had jurisdiction. As a result, the CA reinstated the decision of the MeTC. On appeal (G.R. No. 128392), the Court affirmed the CA‘s decision in favor of CDC. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE HEIRS ARE CONSIDERED AGRICULTURAL TENANTS OR LESSEE OF CDC.
HELD: We grant the petition. Worthy of mention is that Candido, Jr., Leonardo, and Cesar‘s defense in the ejectment case brought by CDC against them was not predicated on a claim of their ownership of the property, but on their being agricultural lessees or tenants of CDC. Even that defense was ultimately rejected by this Court by observing in G.R. No. 128392 as follows:
With regard to the first element, the petitioners have tried to prove that they are tenants or agricultural lessees of the respondent corporation, CDC, by showing that the land was originally owned by their grandfather, Isaias Lara, who gave them permission to work the land, and that CDC is merely a successor-in-interest of their grandfather. It must be noted that the petitioners failed to adequately prove their grandfather‘s ownership of the land. They merely showed six tax declarations. It has been held by this Court that, as against a transfer certificate of title, tax declarations or receipts are not adequate proofs of ownership. Granting arguendo that the land was really owned by the petitioners‘ grandfather, petitioners did not even attempt to show how the land went from the patrimony of their grandfather to that of CDC. Furthermore, petitioners did not prove, but relied on mere allegation, that they indeed had an agreement with their grandfather to use the land.
As for the third element, there is apparently no consent between the parties. Petitioners were unable to show any proof of consent from CDC to work the land. For the sake of argument, if petitioners were able to prove that their grandfather owned the land, they nonetheless failed to show any proof of consent from their grandfather to work the land. Since the third element was not proven, the fourth element cannot be present since there can be no purpose to a relationship to which the parties have not consented
WHEREFORE, we grant the petition for review on certiorari; set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR. CV No. 71696; dismiss the complaint in Civil Case No. 94-2045; and declare Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-34640 in the name of Casimiro Development Corporation valid and subsisting.
SORIANO VS REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 184282 April 11, 2012 FACTS: The Spouses Francisco and Dalisay Soriano were the registered owners of two parcels of agricultural land located in Hijo, Maco, Compostela Valley Province. In October 1999, the two parcels of land were compulsorily acquired by the government pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) made a preliminary determination of the value of the subject lands. . Petitioners, however, disagreed with the valuation and brought the matter before the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) for a summary administrative proceeding to fix the just compensation. On September 30, 2000, the DARAB rendered its decisions affirming the LBP‘s preliminary determination. notices of the two decisions were received by counsel for petitioners on March 8, 2001 and February 22, 2001, respectively. However, it was only on April 6, 2001 that petitioners filed a petition before the RTC of Tagum City, acting as SAC, for the fixing of just compensation. Thus, the DAR, through the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO) of Tagum City, filed a motion to dismiss the petition. The DAR argued that the petition was filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period provided in Section 11, Rule XIII of the 1994 DARAB Rules of Procedure. On June 27, 2001, the RTC denied the motion to dismiss and declared that the ―DARAB Rules of Procedure must give way to the laws on prescription of actions as mandated by the Civil Code.‖ The DAR sought reconsideration of the order, but its motion was denied on September 24, 2001. Thus, the DAR lodged a petition for certiorari with the CA, alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court. On October 26, 2007, the CA granted the petition and dismissed Agrarian Case. Later, the CA likewise denied petitioners‘ motion for reconsideration. Hence, petitioners filed the present petition alleging that the CA committed serious errors of law. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in setting aside the June 27, 2001 Order of the SAC which denied the DAR‘s motion to dismiss, and in finding that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in not dismissing Agrarian Case No. 64-2001 on the ground that it was filed late. HELD: The petition lacks merit. The appellate court correctly granted the writ of certiorari and nullified the June 27, 2001 Order of the RTC acting as SAC, as the RTC gravely abused its discretion when it denied the motion to dismiss filed by the DAR. Rule XIII, Section 11 of the 1994 DARAB Rules of Procedure, which was then applicable, explicitly provides that:
Section 11. Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. – The decision of the Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration. In Phil. Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals, we explained that the consequence of the said rule is that the adjudicator‘s decision on land valuation attains finality after the lapse of the 15-day period. In Republic v. Court of Appeals, we ruled [U]nder the law, the Land Bank of the Philippines is charged with the initial responsibility of determining the value of lands placed under land reform and the compensation to be paid for their taking. Through notice sent to the landowner pursuant to§16(a) of R.A. No. 6657, the DAR makes an offer. In case the landowner rejects the offer, a summary administrative proceeding is held and afterward the provincial (PARAD), the regional (RARAD) or the central (DARAB) adjudicator as the case may be, depending on the value of the land, fixes the price to be paid for the land.If the landowner does not agree to the price fixed, he may bring the matter to the RTC acting as Special Agrarian Court.This in essence is the procedure for the determination of compensation cases under R.A. No. 6657.In accordance with it, the private respondent‘s case was properly brought by it in the RTC, and it was error for the latter court to have dismissed the case.In the terminology of§57, the RTC, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court, has ―original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners.‖ It would subvert this ―original and exclusive‖ jurisdiction of the RTC for the DAR to vest original jurisdiction in compensation cases in administrative officials and make the RTC an appellate court for the review of administrative decisions. Consequently, although the new rules speak of directly appealing the decision of adjudicators to the RTCs sitting as Special Agrarian Courts, it is clear from§57 that theoriginalandexclusivejurisdiction to determine such cases is in the RTCs. Any effort to transfer such jurisdiction to the adjudicators and to convert the original jurisdiction of the RTCs into appellate jurisdiction would be contrary to§57 and therefore would be void. What adjudicators are empowered to do is only to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation to be paid to landowners, leaving to the courts the ultimate power to decide this question. WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The Decision dated October 26, 2007, and Resolution dated July 29, 2008, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 80551 are AFFIRMED and UPHELD.
GALOPE VS BUGARIN G.R. No. 185669 February 1, 2012 FACTS: Respondent owns a parcel of farm land located in Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija. In a Barangay Case, respondent complained that she lent the land to petitioner in 1992 without an agreement; the later gave nothing in return as a sign of gratitude or monetary consideration for the use of the land. The respondent also claimed that petitioner mortgaged the land to Jose Allingag who allegedly possesses the land and now she wants to recover the land to farm it on her own. Petitioner countered that respondent cannot recover the land yet for he had been farming it for a long time and that he pays rent ranging from P4,000 to P6,000 or 15 cavans of palay per harvest. Since no settlement had occurred, respondent filed a petition for recovery of possession, ejectment and payment of rentals before the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB). After due proceedings, the Provincial Adjudicator dismissed the petition and ruled that petitioner is a tenant entitled to security of tenure. On appeal, the DARAB disagreed with the Adjudicator and ruled that petitioner is not a de jure tenant. The DARAB ordered petitioner to pay rentals and vacate the land, and the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer to assist in computing the rentals. The DARAB found no tenancy relationship between the parties and stressed that the elements of consent and sharing are not present. Petitioner appealed, but the CA affirmed DARAB‘s ruling that no tenancy relationship exists; that the elements of consent and sharing are not present; that respondent‘s act of lending her land without consideration cannot be taken as implied tenancy; and that no receipts prove petitioner‘s payment of rentals. Aggrieved, petitioner filed the instant petition. ISSUE: Whether or not there exists a tenancy relationship between the parties. HELD: We find the petition impressed with merit and we hold that the CA and DARAB erred in ruling that there is no tenancy relationship between the parties. The essential elements of an agricultural tenancy relationship are: (1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2) the subject matter of the relationship is agricultural land; (3) there is consent between the parties to the relationship; (4) the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; (5) there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and (6) the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee. Contrary also to the CA and DARAB pronouncement, respondent‘s act of allowing the petitioner to cultivate her land and receiving rentals therefore indubitably show her consent to an unwritten tenancy agreement. An agricultural leasehold relation is not determined by the explicit provisions of a written contract alone.
P a g e | 10
Section 5 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3844, otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code, recognizes that an agricultural leasehold relation may exist upon an oral agreement. Thus, all the elements of an agricultural tenancy relationship are present. Respondent is the landowner; petitioner is her tenant. The subject matter of their relationship is agricultural land, a farm land. They mutually agreed to the cultivation of the land by petitioner and share in the harvest. The purpose of their relationship is clearly to bring about agricultural production. After the harvest, petitioner pays rental consisting of palay or its equivalent in cash. Respondent‘s motion to supervise harvesting and threshing, processes in palay farming, further confirms the purpose of their agreement. Lastly, petitioner‘s personal cultivation of the land is conceded by respondent who likewise never denied the fact that they share in the harvest. The principle of a tenancy relationship, once established, entitles the tenant to a security of tenure. The tenant can only be ejected from the agricultural landholding on grounds provided by law. WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition and REVERSE the Decision dated September 26, 2008 and Resolution dated December 12, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 97143. The petition filed by respondent Cresencia Bugarin in hereby DISMISSED insofar as petitioner Juan Galope is concerned.
P a g e | 11
LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES VS SUNTAY G.R. No. 188376 December 14, 2011 FACTS: Respondent Federico Suntay (Suntay) owned land situated in Sta. Lucia, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro with a total area of 3,682.0285 hectares. In 1972, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) expropriated 948.1911 hectares of Suntay‘s land pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 27. Petitioner Land Bank and DAR fixed the value of the expropriated portion at P4,497.50/hectare, for a total valuation of P4,251,141.68. Rejecting the valuation, however, Suntay filed a petition for determination of just compensation in the Office of the Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (RARAD) of Region IV, DARAB. Miñas rendered a decision fixing the total just compensation for the expropriated portion at P157, 541,951.30. Land Bank moved for reconsideration, but RARAD Miñas denied its motion on March 14, 2001. It received the denial on March 26, 2001. On April 20, 2001, Land Bank brought a petition for the judicial determination of just compensation in the RTC in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro as a Special Agrarian Court, impleading Suntay and RARAD Miñas. On October 29, 2008, Suntay presented to RARAD Miñas in DARAB Case No. V-0405-0001-00 his urgent ex parte manifestation and motion to resume interrupted execution, citing Land Bank v. Martinez (G.R. No. 169008, July 31, 2008, 560 SCRA 776). Immediately, on October 30, 2008, RARAD Miñas granted Suntay‘s urgent ex parte manifestation and motion, and ordered the DARAB sheriffs to resume their implementation of the alias writ of execution issued in DARAB Case No. V-0405-0001-00. The DARAB sheriffs forthwith served a demand to comply dated October 30, 2008 on the Philippine Depository and Trust Corporation (PDTC) and Securities Transfer Services, Inc. (STSI). on October 31, 2008, PDTC filed a manifestation and compliance in the office of the RARAD, Region IV, stating that it had already ―issued a written notice‖ to Land Bank ―to uplift the assets involved‖ and that ―it ha(d) caused the subject assets to be outside the disposition‖ of Land Bank. In response, Land Bank wrote back on November 3, 2008 to request PDTC to disregard the DARAB sheriffs‘ demand to comply. Given the foregoing, Land Bank commenced on November 12, 2008 a special civil action for certiorari in the CA (CA-G.R. SP No. 106104), alleging that RARAD Miñas had ―committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in rendering ex parte the assailed Order dated October 30, 2008 as it varies, modifies or alters the Supreme Court Decision dated October 11, 2007, which had become final and executory;‖ and that the DARAB sheriffs had ―committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing to, and serving on, the Philippine Depository and Trust Corporation, a copy of the Demand to Comply dated October 30, 2008 notwithstanding the unquestioned finality of the Supreme Court‘s decision dated October 11, 2007.‖ On November 28, 2008, before the CA could act on Land Bank‘s application for TRO, MERALCO cancelled Land Bank‘s 42,002,750 shares of stock and issued new stock certificates in the name of Lubrica. MERALCO recorded the transfer of ownership of the affected stocks in its stock and transfer book. Without yet being aware of the transfers, the CA issued a TRO on December 4, 2008 to
P a g e | 12
prevent the implementation of RARAD Miñas‘ order dated October 30, 2008. Land Bank then sought the approval of its bond for that purpose. On December 24, 2008, the CA denied Land Bank‘s very urgent motion to resolve and supplemental motion. On May 5, 2010, Land Bank filed an urgent verified motion for the issuance of a TRO or writ of preliminary injunction, seeking thereby to enjoin MERALCO, its Corporate Secretary, and its Assistant Corporate Secretary, pending the proceedings and until the resolution of the case, from releasing on May 11, 2010 and thereafter the cash dividends pertaining to the disputed shares in favor of Lubrica or any person acting on her behalf. Lubrica opposed Land Bank‘s motion. ISSUE: Whether or not the manner of execution of RARAD Miñas‘ order dated October 30, 2008 was lawful. HELD: The appeal has merit. The writs of execution issued by RARAD Miñas and the manner of their enforcement by the DARAB sheriffs did not accord with the applicable law and the rules of DARAB; hence, they were invalid and ineffectual. In Land Bank v. Suntay (G.R. No. 157903), the Court directed the parties on October 24, 2005 to maintain the status quo prior to the issuance of the alias writ of execution, holding that all actions done in compliance or in connection with the alias writ of execution were ―DEEMED QUASHED, and therefore, of no force and effect.‖ On October 25, 2005, RARAD Miñas herself quashed the acts done pursuant to her writ of execution, declaring that ―all actions done in compliance or in connection with the xxx Writ‖ issued by her ―are DEEMED QUASHED, and therefore, of no force and effect.‖ As a result, the following acts done in compliance with or pursuant to the writ of execution issued ex parte by RARAD Miñas on September 14, 2005 were expressly quashed and rendered of no force and effect A further cause that invalidated the execution effected against Land Bank‘s MERALCO shares derived from the statutory and reglementary provisions governing the payment of any award for just compensation. At the outset, we hold that Land Bank‘s liability under the CARP was to be satisfied only from the ARF. The ARF was first envisioned in Proclamation No. 131 issued on July 22, 1987 by President Aquino to institute the Government‘s centerpiece Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, to wit: Section 2. Agrarian Reform Fund. - There is hereby created a special fund, to be known as the Agrarian Reform fund, an initial amount of FIFTY BILLION PESOS (P50,000,000,000.00) to cover the estimated cost of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program from 1987 to 1992 which shall be sourced from the receipts of the sale of the assets of the Asset Privatization Trust receipts of illgotten wealth received through the Presidential Commission on Good Government and such other sources as government may deem appropriate. The amounts collected and accruing to this special
P a g e | 13
fund shall be considered automatically appropriated for the purpose authorized in this proclamation. Executive Order No. 229 implemented the creation of the ARF, viz: Section 20. Agrarian Reform Fund. - As provided in Proclamation No. 131 dated July 22, 1987, a special fund is created, known as The Agrarian Reform Fund, an initial amount of FIFTY BILLION PESOS (P50 billion) to cover the estimated cost of the CARP from 1987 to 1992 which shall be sourced from the receipts of the sale of the assets of the Asset Privatization Trust (APT) and receipts of the sale of ill-gotten wealth recovered through the Presidential Commission on Good Government and such other sources as government may deem appropriate. The amount collected and accruing to this special fund shall be considered automatically appropriated for the purpose authorized in this Order. Subsequently, Republic Act No. 9700 amended the CARL in order to strengthen and extend the CARP. It is notable that Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9700 expressly provided that ―all just compensation payments to landowners, including execution of judgments therefore, shall only be sourced from the Agrarian Reform Fund;‖ The enactments of the Legislature decreed that the money to be paid to the landowner as just compensation for the taking of his land is to be taken only from the ARF. As such, the liability is not the personal liability of Land Bank, but its liability only as the administrator of the ARF. In fact, Section 10, Rule 19 of the 2003 DARAB Rules of Procedure, reiterates that the satisfaction of a judgment for just compensation by writ of execution should be from the ARF in the custody of Land Bank, to wit: Section 10. Execution of judgments for Just Compensation which have become Final and Executory. – The Sheriff shall enforce a writ of execution of a final judgment for compensation by demanding for the payment of the amount stated in the writ of execution in cash and bonds against the Agrarian Reform Fund in the custody of LBP [Land Bank of the Philippines] in accordance with RA 6657 xxx. The prior determination of whether the asset of Land Bank sought to be levied to respond to a judgment liability under the CARP in favor of the landowner was demanded by its being a banking institution created by law, possessed with universal or expanded commercial banking powers by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 251. As a regular bank, Land Bank isunder the supervision and regulation of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Being the official depository of Government funds, Land Bank is also invested with duties and responsibilities related to the implementation of the CARP, mainly as the administrator of the ARF. Given its discrete functions and capacities under the laws, Land Bank‘s assets and properties must necessarily come under segregation, namely: (a) those arising from its proprietary functions as a regular banking or financial institution; and (b) those arising from its being the administrator of the ARF. WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari, and REVERSE the Decision promulgated June 5, 2009 in CA-G.R. SP No. 106104.
P a g e | 14
ACCORDINGLY, the Court: (a) DIRECTS the Regional Trial Court, Branch 46, in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro to continue the proceedings for the determination of the just compensation of Federico Suntay‘s expropriated property in Agrarian Case No. R-1241; (b) QUASHES and NULLIFIES the orders issued in DARAB Case No. V-0405-0001-00 on September 14, 2005 (granting Suntay‘s ex parte motion for the issuance of analias writ of execution) and October 30, 2008 by RARAD Conchita C. Miñas (directing the DARAB sheriffs ―to resume the interrupted execution of the Alias Writ in this case on September 14, 2005‖), and all acts performed pursuant thereto; (c) AFFIRMS and REITERATES the order issued on October 25, 2005 by RARAD Miñas (deeming to be quashed and of no force and effect ―all actions done in compliance or in connection with‖ the writ of execution issued by her), and the order issued on December 17, 2008 by RARAD Marivic Casabar (directing MERALCO to cancel the stock certificates issued to Josefina Lubrica and to any of her transferees or assignees, and to restore the ownership of the shares to Land Bank and to record the restoration in MERALCO‘s stock and transfer book; and the Philippine Stock Exchange, Philippine Depository and Trust Corporation, Securities Transfer Services, Inc., and the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corporation and Subsidiaries (PDS Group), and any stockbroker, dealer, or agent of MERALCO shares to stop trading or dealing on the shares); (d) DECLARES Land Bank fully entitled to all the dividends accruing to its levied MERALCO shares of stocks as if no levy on execution and auction were made involving such shares of stocks; (e) COMMANDS the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to investigate the actuations of Atty. Conchita C. Miñas in DARAB Case No. V-0405-0001-00, and to determine if she was administratively liable as a member of the Philippine Bar; and (f) ORDERS the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board to conduct a thorough investigation of the sheriffs who participated in the irregularities noted in this Decision, and to proceed against them if warranted.
P a g e | 15
LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES VS ESTATE OF J. AMADO ARANETA G.R. No. 161796 February 8, 2012 FACTS: At the heart of the controversy is a large tract of land, denominated as Lot No. 23 of the Montalban Cadastre, located in Brgy. Mascap, Montalban, Rizal. On June 21, 1974, then President Marcos issued Proclamation 1283, carving out a wide expanse from the Watershed Reservation in Antipolo, Rizal and reserving the segregated area for townsite purposes, ―subject to private rights, if any there be.‖ Then came the amendatory issuance, Proclamation 1637 dated April 18, 1977, thereby increasing the size of the reservation, designated as ―Lungsod Silangan Townsite‖ (LS Townsite), by 20.312 hectares and revising its technical description so as to include, within its coverage, other lands in the municipalities of San Mateo and Montalban, Rizal to absorb ―the population overspill in Greater Manila Area,‖ but again ―subject to private rights, if any there be.‖ On November 9, 1977, Letter of Instructions No. (LOI) 625 addressed to several agencies was issued for the implementation of the aforementioned proclamations. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), in particular, was directed to initiate condemnation proceedings for the acquisition of private lands within the new townsite, among which was Lot 23. Prior to LOI 625, on October 21, 1972, PD 27 (Tenant’s Emancipation Decree) was issued. In line with this program, the tenants of Doronilla (Lot 23) tilling portions of his property, who claimed their primary crops to be rice and/or corn, organized themselves into farmers‘ cooperatives or Samahang Nayons and applied for certificates of land transfer (CLTs). The DAR, to which the processed applications were forwarded, processed 106 CLTs involving 100 tenants-beneficiaries covering 73 hectares out of the total 1,645 hectares of Lot 23. However, out of the 106 CLTs generated, only 75 CLTs had actually been distributed. On June 6, 1979, Doronilla issued a Certification, copy furnished the Agrarian Reform Office, among other agencies, listing seventy-nine (79) ―bona fide planters‖ he allegedly permitted to occupy a portion of his land. Earlier, or on March 15, 1983, J. Amado Araneta, now deceased, acquired ownership of the subject Doronilla property by virtue of court litigation. A little over a week later, he had OCT No. 7924 canceled and secured the issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. N-70860 in his name. On July 22, 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Proclamation No. 131 instituting the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Thereafter, then DAR Undersecretary, ordered the Regional Director of DAR Region IV to proceed with the OLT coverage and final survey of the Doronilla property. On July 27, 1989, Jorge L. Araneta, as heir of J. Amado Araneta and administrator of his estate, wrote the DAR Secretary requesting approval, for reasons stated in the covering letter, of the conversion of Lot 23 from agricultural to commercial, industrial and other non-agricultural uses. On December 12, 1989, DAR issued a ―Notice of Acquisition‖ addressed to Doronilla, covering 7.53 hectares of the land now covered by TCT No. 216746 and offering compensation at a valuation stated in the notice. Alarmed by the turn of events whereby DAR was having its property, or a portion of it, surveyed, incidental to effecting compulsory land acquisition, the Araneta Estate addressed a letter to DAR dated June 27, 1990, formally protesting the series of land surveys being conducted by the Bureau of Lands on what is now its property. It claimed that the CARL
P a g e | 16
does not cover the said property, being part of the LS Townsite reservation, apart from being mountainous, with a slope of more than 70 degrees and containing commercial quantities of marble deposit. On November 29, 1991, the Office of the Provincial Adjudication Board of Rizal set a hearing to determine the just compensation for the subject property. Notwithstanding Araneta‘s protest against the compulsory agrarian reform coverage and acquisition of the property in question, the Land Bank, nonetheless, proceeded to approve, on January 21, 1992, the land transfer claim covering 1,266 hectares. On February 26, 1992, Land Bank notified Araneta of its entitlement, upon its compliance with certain requirements, of the amount of PhP 3,324,412.05, representing just compensation for its covered parcels of land. Sometime in April 1992, Araneta filed with the DARAB an action against the DAR and Land Bank for Cancellation of Compulsory Coverage under PD 27 and Exemption from CARL Coverage of the erstwhile Doronilla property. Thereafter, DARAB turned over the case folder to the Rizal Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD). By Decision dated October 17, 1994, Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (RARAD) ruled against Araneta, denying its bid to have its property excluded from OLT coverage and/or the compulsory scheme under CARL. Therefrom, Araneta appealed to the DARAB proper. In due time, the DARAB, following the RARAD‘s line that the intervenor-appellees were deemed owners of the land they tilled as of October 21, 1972, rendered a Decision dated February 7, 2001 affirming in toto that of the RARAD‘s decision. Subsequently, Araneta went to the CA via a petition for review under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure on the stated principal issue of whether or not the DARAB in its appealed decision unduly expanded the scope of coverage of PD 27. By Decision of September 19, 2003, the CA set aside the Decision of the DARAB, in effect nullifying all the individual farm lots awards thus made by the DARAB ostensibly in favor of the named intervenor-appellees and necessarily all other unnamed awardees. in December 2009, or some six (6) years after the CA rendered its appealed judgment, Duran and eight others, as self-styled petitioners-intervenors, came to this Court on a petition for review under Rule 45. ISSUE: Whether or not CA committed serious errors of law when it gave imprimatur to the virtual conversion through Proclamation Nos. 1283 & 1637 of erstwhile agricultural lands to residential use without the requisite expropriation/condemnation proceedings pursuant to LOI No. 625. HELD: We find the petitions partly meritorious. Several basic premises should be made clear at the outset. Immediately prior to the promulgation of PD 27 in October 1972, the 1,645-hectare Doronilla property, or a large portion of it, was indisputably agricultural, some parts devoted to rice and/or corn production tilled by Doronilla‘s tenants. Doronilla, in fact, provided concerned government agencies with a list of seventy-nine (79) names he considered bona fide ―planters‖ of his land. These planters, who may reasonably be considered tenant-farmers, had purposely, so it seems, organized themselves into Samahang Nayon(s) so that the DAR could start processing their applications under the PD 27 OLT program. CLTs were eventually generated covering 73 hectares, with about 75 CLTs
P a g e | 17
actually distributed to the tenant-beneficiaries. However, upon the issuance of Proclamation 1637, ―all activities related to the OLT were stopped.‖ The discontinuance of the OLT processing was obviously DAR‘s way of acknowledging the implication of the townsite proclamation on the agricultural classification of the Doronilla property. It ought to be emphasized, as a general proposition, however, that the former agricultural lands of Doronilla––situated as they were within areas duly set aside for townsite purposes, by virtue particularly of Proclamation 1637–– were converted for residential use. By the terms of Natalia Realty, Inc., they would be exempt from land reform and, by necessarily corollary, beyond DAR‘s or DARAB‘s jurisdictional reach. Guided by the foregoing doctrinal pronouncement, the key date to reckon, as a preliminary matter, is the precise time when Doronilla‘s Lot 23, now Araneta‘s property, ceased to be agricultural. This is the same crucial cut-off date for considering the existence of ―private rights‖ of farmers, if any, to the property in question. This, in turn, means the date when Proclamation 1637 establishing LS Townsite was issued: April 18, 1977. From then on, the entire Lot 23 was, for all intents and purposes, considered residential, exempted ordinarily from land reform, albeit parts of the lot may still be actually suitable for agricultural purposes. Both the Natalia lands, as determined in Natalia Realty, Inc., and the Doronilla property are situated within the same area covered by Proclamation 1637; thus, the principles regarding the classification of the land within the Townsite stated in Natalia Realty, Inc. apply mutatis mutandis to the instant case. To restate a basic postulate, the provisions of RA 6657 apply only to agricultural lands under which category the Doronilla property, during the period material, no longer falls, having been effectively classified as residential by force of Proclamation 1637. It ceased, following Natalia Realty, Inc., to be agricultural land upon approval of its inclusion in the LS Townsite Reservation pursuant to the said reclassifying presidential issuance. In this regard, the Court cites with approval the following excerpts from the appealed CA decision: The above [Natalia Realty, Inc.] ruling was reiterated in National Housing Authority vs. Allarde where the Supreme Court held that lands reserved for, converted to, nonagricultural uses by government agencies other than the [DAR], prior to the effectivity of [RA] 6657 x x x are not considered and treated as agricultural lands and therefore, outside the ambit of said law. Summarizing, the farmer-beneficiaries who were given the 75 CLTs prior to the issuance of Proclamation 1283, as amended by Proclamation 1637, are deemed full owners of the lots covered by 75 CLTs vis-à-vis the real registered owner. The farmer-beneficiaries have private rights over said lots as they were deemed owners prior to the establishment of the LS Townsite reservation or at least are subrogated to the rights of the registered lot owner. Those farmer-beneficiaries who were issued CLTs or EPs after June 21, 1974 when Proclamation 1283, as amended, became effective do not acquire rights over the lots they were claiming under PD 27 or RA 6657, because the lots have already been reclassified as residential and are beyond the compulsory coverage for agrarian reform under RA 6657. Perforce, the said CLTs or EPs issued after June 21, 1974 have to be annulled and invalidated for want of legal basis, since the lots in
P a g e | 18
question are no longer subject to agrarian reform due to the reclassification of the erstwhile Doronilla estate to non-agricultural purposes. WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby partly DENIED. The CA Decision dated September 19, 2003, as effectively reiterated in its Resolution of January 22, 2004 and April 2, 2004, is AFFIRMED with the modification that the 75 CLTs issued prior to the effectivity of Presidential Proclamation No. 1283 on June 21, 1974 are declared legal and valid. The other CLTs, EPs, CLOAs issued by DAR involving the subject property are hereby CANCELED and NULLIFIED. The Land Bank and DAR are hereby ordered to COMPUTE the just compensation of the land subject of the 75 CLTs and PAY the just compensation to the Estate of J. Amado Araneta.
P a g e | 19
LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES VS SEVERINO LISTANA SR. G.R. No. 152611 August 5, 2003 FACTS: Respondent Severino Listana is the owner of a parcel of land containing an area of 246.0561 hectares, located in Inlagadian, Casiguran, Sorsogon, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-20193. He voluntarily offered to sell the said land to the government, through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), under Section 20 of R.A. 6657, also known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (CARL). The DAR valued the property at P5,871,689.03, which was however rejected by the respondent. Hence, the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) of Sorsogon commenced summary administrative proceedings to determine the just compensation of the land. On October 14, 1998, the DARAB rendered a Decision ordering Land Bank of the Philippines to set aside prior valuation and a new valuation in the amount of (P10,956,963.25) for the acquired area of 240.9066 hectares. The Land Bank of the Philippines is hereby ordered to pay the same to the landowner in the manner provided for by law. Thereafter, a Writ of Execution was issued by the PARAD directing the manager of Land Bank to pay the respondent the aforesaid amount as just compensation. On September 2, 1999, respondent filed a Motion for Contempt with the PARAD, alleging that petitioner Land Bank failed to comply with the Writ of Execution issued on June 18, 1999. On August of the same year, the motion for contempt was granted by the PARAD. Meanwhile, on September 6, 1999, petitioner Land Bank filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court (SAC), for the determination of just compensation. Petitioner Land Bank filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforequoted Order which was however denied by the PARAD on September 20, 2000. Thus, petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal with the PARAD, manifesting its intention to appeal the decision to the DARAB Central. On the other hand, the Special Agrarian Court dismissed the petition for the determination of just compensation filed by petitioner Land Bank in an Order dated October 25, 2000. Petitioner‘s Motion for Reconsideration of said dismissal was likewise denied. In a Resolution dated November 27, 2000, PARAD Capellan denied due course to petitioner‘s Notice of Appeal and ordered the issuance of an Alias Writ of Execution for the payment of the adjudged amount of just compensation to respondent. On January 3, 2001, he directed the issuance of an arrest order against Manager Alex A. Lorayes. Petitioner Land Bank filed a petition for injunction before the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon, Sorsogon, with application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain PARAD Capellan from issuing the order of arrest. On January 29, 2001, the trial court issued an Order requiring the respondent Provincial Adjudicator of the DARAB or anyone acting in its stead is enjoined as it is hereby enjoined from enforcing its order of arrest against Mr. Alex A. Lorayes pending the final termination of the case before RTC Branch 52, Sorsogon upon the posting of a cash bond by the Land Bank. Thus, respondent filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals on December 11, 2001. The Court of Appeals rendered the assailed decision which nullified the Orders of the Regional Trial Court. Hence, the instant petition for review.
P a g e | 20
ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE PARAD ORDER OF CONTEMPT WAS PATENTLY NULL AND VOID, AS IT ATTEMPTED TO ENFORCE COMPLIANCE WITH THE PARAD DECISION THAT WAS ADMITTEDLY NOT FINAL AND EXECUTORY, AS THE MATTER OF JUST COMPENSATION BEFORE THE SPECIAL AGRARIAN COURT WAS ON APPEAL WITH THE COURT OF APPEALS HELD: Evidently, quasi-judicial agencies that have the power to cite persons for indirect contempt pursuant to Rule 71 of the Rules of Court can only do so by initiating them in the proper Regional Trial Court. It is not within their jurisdiction and competence to decide the indirect contempt cases. These matters are still within the province of the Regional Trial Courts. In the present case, the indirect contempt charge was filed, not with the Regional Trial Court, but with the PARAD, and it was the PARAD that cited Mr. Lorayes with indirect contempt. Hence, the contempt proceedings initiated through an unverified ―Motion for Contempt‖ filed by the respondent with the PARAD were invalid for the following reasons: First, the Rules of Court clearly require the filing of a verified petition with the Regional Trial Court, which was not complied with in this case. The charge was not initiated by the PARAD motu proprio; rather, it was by a motion filed by respondent. Second, neither the PARAD nor the DARAB have jurisdiction to decide the contempt charge filed by the respondent. The issuance of a warrant of arrest was beyond the power of the PARAD and the DARAB. Consequently, all the proceedings that stemmed from respondent‘s ―Motion for Contempt,‖ specifically the Orders of the PARAD dated August 20, 2000 and January 3, 2001 for the arrest of Alex A. Lorayes, are null and void. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for review is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 65276, dated December 11, 2001, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Order of the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon, Sorsogon, Branch 51, dated January 29, 2001, which enjoined the Provincial Adjudicator of the DARAB or anyone acting in its stead from enforcing its order of arrest against Mr. Alex A. Lorayes pending the final termination of the case before Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon, Sorsogon, Branch 52, is REINSTATED
P a g e | 21
RODRIGUEZ VS SALVADOR G.R. No. 171972 June 8, 2011 FACTS: On May 22, 2003, respondent Teresita V. Salvador filed a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer against petitioners Lucia (Lucia) and Prudencia Rodriguez, mother and daughter, respectively before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Dalaguete, Cebu. Respondent alleged that she is the absolute owner of a parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title issued by virtue of Free Patent in the name of the Heirs of Cristino Salvador represented by Teresita Salvador and that petitioners acquired possession of the subject land by mere tolerance of her predecessors-in-interest; and that despite several verbal and written demands made by her, petitioners refused to vacate the subject land. Petitioners interposed the defense of agricultural tenancy. Lucia claimed that she and her deceased husband, Serapio, entered the subject land with the consent and permission of respondent‘s predecessors-in-interest, siblings Cristino and Sana Salvador, under the agreement that Lucia and Serapio would devote the property to agricultural production and share the produce with the Salvador siblings. Since there is a tenancy relationship between the parties, petitioners argued that it is the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) which has jurisdiction over the case and not the MTC. On September 10, 2003, the MTC promulgated a Decision finding the existence of an agricultural tenancy relationship between the parties, and thereby, dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Aggrieved, respondent filed an appeal, with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Argao, Cebu. On January 12, 2004, the RTC rendered a Decision remanding the case to the MTC for preliminary hearing to determine whether tenancy relationship exists between the parties. Petitioners moved for reconsideration arguing that the purpose of a preliminary hearing was served by the parties‘ submission of their respective position papers and other supporting evidence. On June 23, 2004, the RTC granted the reconsideration and affirmed the MTC Decision dated September 10, 2003. Respondent sought for reconsideration but was denied. Thus, respondent filed a Petition for review with the CA. On August 24, 2005, the CA rendered judgment in favor of respondent. It ruled that no tenancy relationship exists between the parties because petitioners failed to prove that respondent or her predecessors-ininterest consented to the tenancy relationship. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN RULING THAT PETITIONERSDEFENDANTS ARE NOT TENANTS OF THE SUBJECT LAND. HELD: The petition lacks merit. Agricultural tenancy relationship does not exist in the instant case.
P a g e | 22
Agricultural tenancy exists when all the following requisites are present: 1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; 2) the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; 3) there is consent between the parties to the relationship; 4) the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; 5) there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and 6) the harvest is shared between landowner and tenant or agricultural lessee. As correctly found by the CA, the element of consent is lacking. Except for the self-serving affidavit of Lucia, no other evidence was submitted to show that respondent‘s predecessors-in-interest consented to a tenancy relationship with petitioners. Self-serving statements, however, will not suffice to prove consent of the landowner; independent evidence is necessary. Aside from consent, petitioners also failed to prove sharing of harvest. The affidavits of petitioners‘ neighbors declaring that respondent and her predecessors-in-interest received their share in the harvest are not sufficient. Petitioners should have presented receipts or any other evidence to show that there was sharing of harvest and that there was an agreed system of sharing between them and the landowners. As we have often said, mere occupation or cultivation of an agricultural land will not ipso facto make the tiller an agricultural tenant. It is incumbent upon a person who claims to be an agricultural tenant to prove by substantial evidence all the requisites of agricultural tenancy. In the instant case, petitioners failed to prove consent and sharing of harvest between the parties. Consequently, their defense of agricultural tenancy must fail. The MTC has jurisdiction over the instant case. No error can therefore be attributed to the CA in reversing and setting aside the dismissal of respondent‘s complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Accordingly, the remand of the case to the MTC for the determination of the amount of damages due respondent is proper. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed August 24, 2005 Decision and the February 20, 2006 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 86599 are AFFIRMED. This case is ordered REMANDED to the Municipal Trial Court of Dalaguete, Cebu, to determine the amount of damages suffered by respondent by reason of the refusal and failure of petitioners to turn over the possession of the subject land, with utmost dispatch consistent with the above disquisition.
P a g e | 23
Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) v. Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), et al., G.R. No. 171101 April 24, 2012 FACTS: Before the Court are the Motion to Clarify and Reconsider Resolution of November 22, 2011 dated December 16, 2011 filed by petitioner Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) and the Motion for Reconsideration/Clarification dated December 9, 2011 filed by private respondents Noel Mallari, Julio Suniga, Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. and Windsor Andaya (collectively referred to as ―Mallari, et al.‖). In Our July 5, 2011 Decision in the above-captioned case, this Court denied the petition for review filed by HLI and affirmed the assailed Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) Resolution No. 2005-32-01 dated December 22, 2005 and PARC Resolution No. 2006-34-01 dated May 3, 2006 with the modification that the original 6,296 qualified farmworker-beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita (FWBs) shall have the option to remain as stockholders of HLI. Upon separate motions of the parties for reconsideration, the Court, by Resolution of November 22, 2011, recalled and set aside the option thus granted to the original FWBs to remain as stockholders of HLI, while maintaining that all the benefits and homelots received by all the FWBs shall be respected with no obligation to refund or return them. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT IN DETERMINING THE JUST COMPENSATION, THE DATE OF ―TAKING‖ IS NOVEMBER 21, 1989, WHEN PARC APPROVED HLI‘s SDP [STOCK DISPTRIBUTION PLAN] ―IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THIS IS THE TIME THAT THE FWBs WERE CONSIDERED TO OWN AND POSSESS THE AGRICULTURAL LANDS IN HACIENDA LUISITA. HELD: In the instant case, the issue on just compensation and the grounds HLI and Mallari, et al. rely upon in support of their respective stance on the matter had been previously raised by them in their first motion for reconsideration and fully passed upon by the Court in its November 22, 2011 Resolution. The similarities in the issues then and now presented and the grounds invoked are at once easily discernible from a perusal of the November 22, 2011 Resolution. Considering that the issue on just compensation has already been passed upon and denied by the Court in its November 22, 2011 Resolution, a subsequent motion touching on the same issue undeniably partakes of a second motion for reconsideration, hence, a prohibited pleading, and as such, the motion or plea must be denied. Nonetheless, even if we entertain said motion and examine the arguments raised by HLI and Mallari, et al. one last time, the result will be the same.Sec. 4, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution expressly provides that the taking of land for use in the agrarian reform program of the government is conditioned on the payment of just compensation. Just compensation has been defined as ―the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator.‖The measure is not the taker‘s gain, but the owner‘s loss. In determining just compensation,
P a g e | 24
the price or value of the property at the time it was taken from the owner and appropriated by the government shall be the basis. If the government takes possession of the land before the institution of expropriation proceedings, the value should be fixed as of the time of the taking of said possession, not of the filing of the complaint. In Land Bank of the Philippines v. Livioco, the Court held that ―the ‗time of taking‘ is the time when the landowner was deprived of the use and benefit of his property, such as when title is transferred to the Republic.‖ It should be noted, however, that ―taking‖ does not only take place upon the issuance of title either in the name of the Republic or the beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). ―Taking‖ also occurs when agricultural lands are voluntarily offered by a landowner and approved by PARC for CARP coverage through the stock distribution scheme, as in the instant case. Thus, HLI‘s submitting its SDP for approval is an acknowledgment on its part that the agricultural lands of Hacienda Luisita are covered by CARP. However, it was the PARC approval which should be considered as the effective date of ―taking‖ as it was only during this time that the government officially confirmed the CARP coverage of these lands. Indeed, stock distribution option and compulsory land acquisition are two (2) different modalities under the agrarian reform program. Nonetheless, both share the same end goal, that is, to have ―a more equitable distribution and ownership of land, with due regard to the rights of landowners to just compensation. As regards the issue on when ―taking‖ occurred with respect to the agricultural lands in question, We, however, maintain that this Court can rule, as it has in fact already ruled on its reckoning date, that is, November 21, 1989, the date of issuance of PARC Resolution No. 89-12-2, based on the above-mentioned disquisitions. The investment on SACs of original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners will not preclude the Court from ruling upon a matter that may already be resolved based on the records before Us. Even though the compensation due to HLI will still be preliminarily determined by DAR and LBP, subject to review by the RTC acting as a SAC, the fact that the reckoning point of ―taking‖ is already fixed at a certain date should already hasten the proceedings and not further cause undue hardship on the parties, especially the qualified FWBs. By a vote of 8-6, the Court affirmed its ruling that the date of ―taking‖ in determining just compensation is November 21, 1989 when PARC approved HLI‘s stock option plan. As regards the issue of interest on just compensation, We also leave this matter to the DAR and the LBP, subject to review by the RTC acting as a SAC. Option will not ensure control over agricultural lands. The Court agrees that the option given to the qualified FWBs whether to remain as stockholders of HLI or opt for land distribution is neither iniquitous nor prejudicial to the FWBs. Nonetheless, the Court is not unmindful of the policy on agrarian reform that control over the agricultural land must always be in the hands of the farmers. Contrary to the stance of HLI, both the Constitution and RA 6657 intended the
P a g e | 25
farmers, individually or collectively, to have control over the agricultural lands of HLI; otherwise, all these rhetoric about agrarian reform will be rendered for naught. Based on the provisions, the notion of farmers and regular farmworkers having the right to own directly or collectively the lands they till is abundantly clear. We have extensively discussed this ideal in Our July 5, 2011 Decision. Clearly, workers‘ cooperatives or associations under Sec. 29 of RA 6657 and corporations or associations under the succeeding Sec. 31, as differentiated from individual farmers, are authorized vehicles for the collective ownership of agricultural land. Cooperatives can be registered with the Cooperative Development Authority and acquire legal personality of their own, while corporations are juridical persons under the Corporation Code. Thus, Sec. 31 is constitutional as it simply implements Sec. 4 of Art. XIII of the Constitution that land can be owned COLLECTIVELY by farmers. Even the framers of the l987 Constitution are in unison with respect to the two (2) modes of ownership of agricultural lands tilled by farmers––DIRECT and COLLECTIVE. As aforequoted, there is collective ownership as long as there is a concerted group work by the farmers on the land, regardless of whether the landowner is a cooperative, association or corporation composed of farmers. However, this definition of collective ownership should be read in light of the clear policy of the law on agrarian reform, which is to emancipate the tiller from the bondage of the soil and empower the common people. Worth noting too is its noble goal of rectifying ―the acute imbalance in the distribution of this precious resource among our people.‖ Accordingly, HLI‘s insistent view that control need not be in the hands of the farmers translates to allowing it to run roughshod against the very reason for the enactment of agrarian reform laws and leave the farmers in their shackles with sheer lip service to look forward to. Notably, it has been this Court‘s consistent stand that control over the agricultural land must always be in the hands of the farmers FWBs Entitled to Proceeds of Sale. This claim is bereft of merit. It cannot be denied that the adverted 500-hectare converted land and the SCTEX lot once formed part of what would have been agrarian-distributable lands, in fine subject to compulsory CARP coverage. And, as stated in our July 5, 2011 Decision, were it not for the approval of the SDP by PARC, these large parcels of land would have been distributed and ownership transferred to the FWBs, subject to payment of just compensation, given that, as of 1989, the subject 4,915 hectares of Hacienda Luisita were already covered by CARP. Accordingly, the proceeds realized from the sale and/or disposition thereof should accrue for the benefit of the FWBs, less deductions of the 3% of the proceeds of said transfers that were paid to the FWBs, the taxes and expenses relating to the transfer of titles to the transferees, and the expenditures incurred by HLI and Centennary Holdings, Inc. for legitimate corporate purposes, as prescribed in our November 22, 2011 Resolution. Homelots
P a g e | 26
In the present recourse, HLI also harps on the fact that since the homelots given to the FWBs do not form part of the 4,915.75 hectares covered by the SDP, then the value of these homelots should, with the revocation of the SDP, be paid to Tadeco as the landowner. We disagree. As We have explained in Our July 5, 2011 Decision, the distribution of homelots is required under RA 6657 only for corporations or business associations owning or operating farms which opted for land distribution. This is provided under Sec. 30 of RA 6657 Since none of the above-quoted provisions made reference to corporations which opted for stock distribution under Sec. 31 of RA 6657, then it is apparent that said corporations are not obliged to provide for homelots. Nonetheless, HLI undertook to ―subdivide and allocate for free and without charge among the qualified family-beneficiaries x x x residential or homelots of not more than 240 sq. m. each, with each family beneficiary being assured of receiving and owning a homelot in the barrio or barangay where it actually resides.‖ In fact, HLI was able to distribute homelots to some if not all of the FWBs. Thus, in our November 22, 2011 Resolution, We declared that the homelots already received by the FWBs shall be respected with no obligation to refund or to return them. The Court, by a unanimous vote, resolved to maintain its ruling that the FWBs shall retain ownership of the homelots given to them with no obligation to pay for the value of said lots. However, since the SDP was already revoked with finality, the Court directs the government through the DAR to pay HLI the just compensation for said homelots in consonance with Sec. 4, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution that the taking of land for use in the agrarian reform program is ―subject to the payment of just compensation.‖ Just compensation should be paid to HLI instead of Tadeco in view of the Deed of Assignment and Conveyance dated March 22, 1989 executed between Tadeco and HLI, where Tadeco transferred and conveyed to HLI the titles over the lots in question. DAR is ordered to compute the just compensation of the homelots in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations. WHEREFORE, the Motion to Clarify and Reconsider Resolution of November 22, 2011 dated December 16, 2011 filed by petitioner Hacienda Luisita, Inc. and theMotion for Reconsideration/Clarification dated December 9, 2011 filed by private respondents Noel Mallari, Julio Suniga, Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. and Windsor Andaya are hereby DENIED with this qualification: the July 5, 2011 Decision, as modified by the November 22, 2011 Resolution, is FURTHER MODIFIED in that the government, through DAR, is ordered to pay Hacienda Luisita, Inc. the just compensation for the 240-square meter homelots distributed to the FWBs. The July 5, 2011 Decision, as modified by the November 22, 2011 Resolution and further modified by this Resolution is declared FINAL and EXECUTORY. The entry of judgment of said decision shall be made upon the time of the promulgation of this Resolution.
P a g e | 27
Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Court of Appeals, The Secretary of DAR, DARAB, Davao City and Land Bank of the Philippines G.R. No. 132767 (January 18, 2000)
FACTS: Petitioner Philippine Veterans Bank owned four parcels of land in Tagum, Davao which were taken by the Department of Agrarian Reform for distribution to landless farmers pursuant to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (R.A. No. 6657). Dissatisfied with the valuation of the Land Bank of the Philippines and the DARAB, petitioner filed a petition for determination of the just compensation for its property with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Tagum, Davao on January 26, 1994. The RTC dismissed the petition on the ground that it was filed beyond the 15-day reglamentary period for filing appeals from the orders of the DARAB. The Decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Hence, this Petition for Review. ISSUE: Whether or not the Special Agrarian Courts are considered appellate courts in the determination of just compensation HELD: No. To implement the provisions of R.A. No. 6657, particularly Section 50 thereof, Rule XIII, Section 11 of the DARAB Rules of Procedure provides: "Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. — The decision of the adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration." As we held in Republic vs. Court of Appeals, this Rule is an acknowledgement by the DARAB that the power to decide just compensation cases for the taking of lands under R.A. No. 6657 is vested in the Courts. It is error to think that, because of Rule XIII, Sec. 11, the original and exclusive jurisdiction given to the courts to decide petitions for determination of just compensation has thereby been transformed into an appellate jurisdiction. It only means that, in accordance with settled principles of administrative law, primary jurisdiction is vested in the DAR as an administrative agency to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation to be paid for the lands taken under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, but such determination is subject to challenge in the courts. The jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts is not any less "original and exclusive" because the question is first passed upon by the DAR, as the judicial proceedings are not a continuation of the administrative
P a g e | 28
determination. For that matter, the law may provide that the decision of the DAR is final and unappealable. Nevertheless, resort to the courts cannot be foreclosed on the theory that courts are the guarantors of the legality of administrative action. Accordingly, as the petition in the Regional Trial Court was filed beyond the 15-day period provided in Rule XIII, 11 of the Rules of Procedure of the DARAB, the trial court correctly dismissed the case and the Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the order of dismissal. JURISDICTION: THE ORIGINAL AND EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION TO DECIDE JUST COMPENSATION CASES REMAINS WITH THE SPECIAL AGRARIAN COURT WHILE ONLY THE PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION THEREOF IS VESTED WITH THE DARAB; RESORT TO THE COURTS CANNOT BE FORECLOSED ON THE THEORY THAT THE COURTS ARE THE GUARANTORS OF THE LEGALITY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION.
P a g e | 29
Gerardo Rupa Sr. vs. The Honorable Court of Appeals and Magin Salipot G.R. No. 80129 (January 25, 2000)
FACTS: The case at bar involves an action for redemption with damages filed by Gerardo Rupa Sr. against Magin Salipot. Rupa claimed that he had been a tenant of a parcel of coconut land formerly owned by Vicente Lim and Patrocinia Yu Lim for more than twenty (20) years now, sharing the harvests on a 50%-50% basis. Also, that he is the overseer over four parcels of coconut land owned by the Lim spouses. However, without any prior written notice, the land tenanted by the petitioner was sold to Magin Salipot for P5,000.00 in January 1981. Petitioner averred that he only learned of the sale on February 16, 1981, and that he sought assistance with the local office of Agrarian Reform for the redemption of the questioned property and even deposited the amount of P5,000.00 with the trial court. However, the Regional Trial Court of Masbate rendered a decision dismissing the complaint on the ground that Rupa was not a tenant of the subject property and thus, not entitled to a right of redemption over the same. On appeal, the Court of Appeals finds, in substance, that there is no clear and convincing evidence to show that plaintiff was a share tenant of the spouses Lim and that Rupa is bound by his admission in Criminal Case No. 532-U, entitled People of the Philippines. vs. Mariano Luzong filed six months after the instant case wherein he admitted that he was the overseer and administrator of the five parcels of land owned by the Lim spouses. Thus, negating his claim of tenancy. The CA therefore affirmed on appeal the decision of the lower court. Hence, this petition seeking the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner is a lawful tenant of the land or a mere overseer thereof. HELD: In the case at bar, we find that there are compelling reasons for this Court to apply the exception of nonconclusiveness of the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts on the ground that the "findings of fact of both courts is premised on the supposed absence of evidence but is in actuality contradicted by evidence on record." A careful examination of the record reveals that, indeed, both the trial court and the appellate court overlooked and disregarded the overwhelming evidence in favor of Rupa and instead relied mainly on the statements made in the decision in another case. A tenant is defined under Section 5 (a) of Republic Act No. 1199 as a person who himself and with the aid available from within his immediate farm household cultivates the land belonging to or possessed by another, with the latter's consent, for purposes of production, sharing the produce with the landholder under the share tenancy system, or paying to the landholder a price certain or ascertainable in produce or in
P a g e | 30
money or both under the leasehold tenancy system. Briefly stated, for this relationship to exist, it is necessary that: 1.
The parties are the landowner and the tenant;
The subject is agricultural land;
There is consent;
The purpose is agricultural production;
There is personal cultivation; and
There is sharing of harvests.
Upon proof of the existence of the tenancy relationship, Rupa could avail of the benefits afforded by R.A. No. 3844, as amended, particularly, Section 12 thereof which reads: "SECTION 12. Lessee's right of redemption. — In case the landholding is sold to a third person without the knowledge of the agricultural lessee, the latter shall have the right to redeem the same at a reasonable price and consideration: Provided, That the entire landholding sold must be redeemed: Provided, further, That where there are two or more agricultural lessees, each shall be entitled to said right of redemption only to the extent of the area actually cultivated by him. The right of redemption under this Section may be exercised within two years from the registration of the sale, and shall have priority over any other right of legal redemption." As correctly pointed out by the CA, this right of redemption is validly exercised upon compliance with the following requirements: a) the redemptioner must be an agricultural lessee or share tenant; b) the land must have been sold by the owner to a third party without prior written notice of the sale given to the lessee or lessees and the DAR in accordance with Section 11, RA 3844, as amended; c) only the area cultivated by the agricultural lessee may be redeemed; d) the right of redemption must be exercised within 180 days from notice; and e) there must be an actual tender or valid consignation of the entire amount which is the reasonable price of the land sought to be redeemed. The statements made in the decision that "[Rupa] claimed that he was made administrator by the Lim spouses of their five (5) parcels of land in Armenia, Uson, Masbate" and that the "prosecution witnesses in that case, namely, Pablito Arnilla and Antonieta Rongasan admitted that they were hired laborers of Rupa in tilling the land in question" should not have been relied upon by the CA to conclusively disprove the tenancy relationship. First of all, we must look at the context in which these statements were made. The admission made by Rupa as stated in the decision was made, as mentioned earlier, in a criminal case for malicious mischief which Rupa filed against one Mariano Luzong, son-in-law of Salipot, on the ground that the latter destroyed the banana and cassava plants growing in Rupa's farm. Said statement was apparently made to prove
P a g e | 31
Rupa's standing to file the complaint and to prove how he could have witnessed the destruction made by said person. Second, in claiming that he was administrator of the property, Rupa, a farmer of limited education must have used the word "administrator" in a loose sense to mean one taking care of a certain piece of property by clearing and planting on the same. As aptly pointed out by counsel for Rupa during the trial, with no objection from the counsel of Salipot, "under common usage in the locality, the term administrator is used interchangeably with tenancy. Third, the CA did not bother to explain its finding on the "inherent incompatibility" between being a tenantfarmer and an administrator or overseer. According to Rupa, he was tenant of one parcel of land belonging to the Lim spouses and administrator or overseer of the other four parcels of land owned by the said spouses. Salipot and his witnesses had interchangeably claimed Rupa to be an overseer and a copra agent or copra buyer. As overseer, he may have been receiving a fixed salary. As tenant under our legal definition, he may have been sharing the harvests with the landowner. This may well lead a person to find an incompatibility between the two. However, one could in fact be overseer of a parcel of land, supervising the laborers therein and receiving a fixed salary for one's services, and at the same time, act as tenant farmer in another landholding. Fourth, the testimony of the prosecution witnesses that they were "hired laborers" should not have been given significant weight by the CA. The rule is well-settled that the rights of a person cannot be prejudiced by the declaration, act or omission of another, except as provided by the Rules of Court in cases of admission by a co-partner, agent, conspirator and privies. The said witnesses do not come under any of these exceptions. As regards the certificate issued by the Office of the Treasurer to the effect that Rupa was a copra buyer from May 19, 1978 to October 10, 1979, we find that this does not necessarily rule out Rupa's claim that he was a tenant-farmer since 1962. Rupa has satisfactorily explained that "pursuing two or three lines of work is nothing new. In coconut lands, harvest seasons come far and in between, and the tenant can always engage in the business of copra-buying in the interim." Moreover, the dates indicated therein cover only a short period of time as against Rupa's claim that he was tenant from 1963 until his ejectment sometime in 1981. We are therefore constrained to overturn the appealed judgment insofar as it ruled that the records do not establish Rupa's status as an agricultural tenant. Indeed, the testimony of Rupa and his witnesses in open court, in our view, had not been convincingly rebutted and we have no reason to doubt the veracity of the testimonies of his witnesses. Certainly, the passing statements contained in the decision in the criminal case for malicious mischief cannot overcome the evidentiary value of the testimonies of said witnesses. A meticulous review of the record would have found overwhelming evidence in favor of Rupa. A scrutiny of the entire evidence on hand would be in line with the State's policy of achieving a dignified existence for the small farmers free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices.
P a g e | 32
Raymundo T. Magdaluyo vs. Atty. Enrique L. Nace Adm. Case No. 3808 (February 2, 2000)
FACTS: Complainant accused respondent of acts amounting to deceit and gross misconduct. Respondent was one of the squatters living in one of the complainant's parcels of land situated in Antipolo, Rizal. Allegedly, when complainant offered to relocate the squatters, the latter refused and instead filed a complaint before the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (PARAB) claiming to be tenants therein. Three months later, the squatters again including respondent also filed a case before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo for the annulment or cancellation of complainant's land titles. This time, claiming to be owners and not mere tenants of the land. They traced their alleged ownership to an old Spanish title. Because of the conflicting causes of action, both cases were dismissed. Complainant filed a case against respondent accusing him of having deliberately committed a falsehood and of forum-shopping praying that proper disciplinary sanctions be imposed against the latter. ISSUE: WON respondent acts amount to deceit and gross misconduct. HELD: After referral of the matter to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the findings of the former are as follows: ". . . while it may be true that different causes of action are indeed involved, it is their total inconsistency, nay, total opposition with each other which raises doubts about the respondent's sincerity. It escapes this Commission [on Bar Discipline] how Respondent can, in good faith, allege to be a lawful tenant one moment, and be an owner the next. Respondent herein, as a lawyer, was remiss in his duty to correctly inform the court of the law and the facts of this case. He failed to allege in his complaint the fact that a prior dispute had existed between the parties before the PARAB, thus deceiving the court and giving it an inaccurate appreciation of facts. Lastly, respondent was delinquent in his duty as a lawyer to maintain only such suits as appears to him to be just and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable. It has long been settled that Spanish titles cannot be used as evidence of land ownership. Yet respondent dares raise the same in his complaint to defeat Complainant's duly registered certificate of title. Any lawyer should know that a Spanish title would have no legal leg to stand on in the face of Transfer Certificate of Title over the same parcel of land."
P a g e | 33
The Court concurs with the IBP's findings and recommendations being fully supported by evidence on record. Clearly, respondent violated the prohibition in the Code of Professional Responsibility against engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. He was indeed, less than sincere in asserting two conflicting rights over a portion of land that, in all probability, he knew not to be his. As a lawyer, respondent is bound by his oath not to do falsehood or consent to its commission and to conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion. The lawyer‘s oath is a source of obligations and violation thereof is a ground for suspension, disbarment or other disciplinary action. Said acts are clearly in violation of his lawyer's oath that the court will not tolerate.
P a g e | 34
Eudosia Daez and/or Her heirs, Represented by Adriano D. Daez vs. Court of Appeals, Macario Sorientes, Apolonia Mediana, Rogelio Macatulad and Manuel Umali G.R. No. 133507 (February 17, 2000)
FACTS: • Eudosia Daez applied for exemption of her 4.1685 hectare riceland in Brgy. Lawa, Meycauayan, Bulacan being cultivated by the herein respondents. DAR Undersecretary Jose C. Medina denied the application for exemption upon finding that the subject land is covered under LOI 474, the petitioner's total properties having exceeded the 7-hectare limit provided by law. • The Secretary of DAR, Benjamin T. Leong, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court all affirmed the said Order and disregarded an Affidavit executed by the respondents stating that they are not the tenants of the land. Their findings was that the Affidavit was merely issued under duress. In the meantime, Emancipation Patents (EPs) were issued to the respondents. • Undaunted, Daez next filed an application for retention of the same riceland under R.A. No. 6657. DAR Region III OIC-Director Eugenio B. Bernardo allowed her to retain the subject riceland but denied the application of her children to retain three (3) hectares each for failure to prove actual tillage or direct management thereof. This order was set aside by the DAR Secretary Ernesto Garilao but reinstated on appeal by the Office of the President. The Court of Appeals again reversed this Decision and ordered the reinstatement of the previous Decision of DAR Secretary Ernesto D. Garilao. Hence, this Appeal. ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner can still file a petition for retention of the subject landholdings, despite the fact that a previous decision denying the petition for exemption had long become final and executory HELD: • It is incorrect to posit that an application for exemption and an application for retention are one and the same thing. Being distinct remedies, finality of judgment in one does not preclude the subsequent institution of the other. There was, thus, no procedural impediment to the application filed by Eudosia Daez for the retention of the subject 4.1865 hectare riceland, even after her appeal for exemption of the same land was denied in a decision that became final and executory. • The right of retention is a constitutionally guaranteed right, which is subject to qualification by the legislature. It serves to mitigate the effects of compulsory land acquisition by balancing the rights of the landowner and the tenant by implementing the doctrine that social justice was not meant to perpetrate an injustice against the landowner. A retained area as its name denotes, is land which is not supposed to anymore leave the landowner's dominion, thus, sparing the government from the inconvenience of taking land only to return it to the landowner afterwards, which would be a pointless process.
P a g e | 35
• The issuance of EPs and CLOAs to beneficiaries does not absolutely bar the landowner from retaining the area covered thereby. Under Administrative Order No. 2, Series of 1994, an EP or CLOA may be cancelled if the land covered is later found to be part of the landowner's retained area. RETENTION/EXEMPTION, AN APPLICATION FOR EXEMPTION AND AN APPLICATION FOR RETENTION ARE DISTINCT REMEDIES IN LAW. FINALITY OF JUDGMENT IN ONE DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE SUBSEQUENT INSTITUTION OF THE OTHER
P a g e | 36
Bayani Bautista vs. Patricia Araneta G.R. No. 135829 (February 22, 2000)
FACTS: • In essence, the plaintiff averred that he had been the lawful tenant of a three (3) hectare parcel of land owned by Gregorio Araneta II since 1978. In April 1991, a group of armed security guards, allegedly, were sent by herein defendant Patricia Araneta, successor of Gregorio Araneta II and warned plaintiff to vacate and to stop cultivating the subject landholding. Plaintiff prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to enjoin the defendant from the continued employment of threats and harassments against his person, for the issuance of a permanent preliminary injunction during the pendency of the case, for the maintenance of status quo and for the recognition of his right as tenant of the land. • Defendant to summarize, denied all the allegations of the plaintiff and stated that the property belonged to Consuelo A. de Cuesta Auxilum Christianorum Foundation Incorporated and leased to defendant for the development of a bio-dynamic farm and ultimately for the establishment of a training center for bio-dynamic agriculture in the Philippines and humid tropics in Asia. The land also does not fall under CARL because it has more than 18% slope. During an ocular inspection, defendant learned of the presence of the plaintiff. The former invited the latter to join the project but he declined and agreed to leave the premises. However, the plaintiff changed his mind and refused to leave. Efforts at conciliation did not push through and instead a Complaint for Peaceful Possession with prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction was filed by the plaintiff. • The PARAD ruled in favor of the plaintiff (petitioner) and declared him as a bonafide tenant. On appeal, the DARAB affirmed the said Decision. However, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the DARAB. Hence, this Appeal. • Petitioner contends that in 1978, he entered into an oral tenancy agreement with Gregorio Araneta II whom he has known and believed as the owner of the land. And that he regularly delivered to Gregorio forty (40) cavans from the harvest through Lino Tocio. Petitioner, likewise relies on the certification (ARPT and MARO) that he is a tenant on the landholding. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner is a lawful tenant of the subject landholding HELD: •
The Appeal lacks merit.
P a g e | 37
• "His reliance on the certifications issued in his favor is misplaced because they do not prove that the landowner made him his tenant. As the Court of Appeals aptly observed, they only show that petitioner is in possession of the land. The certifications do not disclose how and why he became a tenant." • In sum, respondent and the landowner are not bound by the alleged agricultural leasehold agreement between petitioner and Gregorio. In the 1961 case of Lastimoza vs. Blanco, we ruled that "tenancy relationship can only be created with the consent of the true and lawful landholder who is either the 'owner, lessee, usufructuary or legal possessor of the land' (sec. 5 [b], Rep. Act No. 1199), and not thru the acts of the supposed landholder who has no right to the land subject of the tenancy. . . . To rule otherwise, would be to pave the way for fraudulent collusions among the unscrupulous to the prejudice of the true and lawful landholder." • Lastly, we cannot sustain petitioner's argument that he is a tenant by virtue of the factual finding of the DARAB. As discussed above, DARAB mainly relied on the certifications issued in favor of petitioner in holding that he is a tenant in the disputed landholding. In Oarde vs. Court of Appeals, we held that certifications issued by administrative agencies or officers that a certain person is a tenant are merely provisional and not conclusive on the courts. This Court is not necessarily bound by these findings specially if they are mere conclusions that are not supported by substantial evidence. TENANCY RELATIONSHIP CAN ONLY BE CREATED WITH THE CONSENT OF THE TRUE AND LAWFUL LANDHOLDER WHO IS EITHER THE OWNER, LESSEE, USUFRUCTUARY OR LEGAL POSSESSOR OF THE LAND
P a g e | 38
Heirs of the Late Herman Rey Santos vs. Court of Appeals, et al. G.R. No. 109992; March 7, 2000 FACTS: The case involves a parcel of land in Parulan, Plaridel, Bulacan which was levied on execution by the Municipal Trial Court of Plaridel, Bulacan on October 24, 1989 and subsequently sold at public auction on September 20, 1990 with Herman Rey Santos now substituted by his heirs and represented by his widow Arsenia Garcia vda. de Santos, as the sole bidder for P34,532.50.
Private respondent Exequiel Garcia failed to exercise his right of redemption within the reglementary period. On April 1, 1992, respondent filed a Petition for Injunction and Damages with an application for the issuance of a preliminary injunction with the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) docketed as DARAB Case No. 369-BUL '92 praying that petitioner be enjoined from preventing private respondent from gathering the mango fruits lest they "over-mature and become useless".
The Provincial Adjudicator Erasmo SP. Cruz of the DARAB issued an Order allowing the gathering of the mango fruits and directing that the proceeds thereof be deposited with the Adjudication Board. Then on April 27, 1992, private respondent filed a Petition for Consignation before the RTC of Bulacan, in an apparent attempt to redeem his land. The petition was dismissed.
Meanwhile, one Pantaleon Antonio filed on May 18, 1992, a Motion to intervene with the DARAB claiming that "he is affected in his rights and interests as the party who tended and had the mango trees bear fruits this season".
On May 7, 1992 private respondent filed a complaint for Annulment/Cancellation of Sale and Document, Redemption with Damages and Preliminary Writ of Injunction against Herman Rey Santos, the Deputy Sheriff of Bulacan and the Register of Deeds of Bulacan.
The DARAB suspended the hearing on Pantaleon Antonio's motion for intervention pending the resolution of the ownership issue. On July 8, 1992, intervenor this time filed with the DARAB, a motion to withdraw intervenor's deposited share. The Motion was granted and intervenor was allowed to withdraw P87,300.00 out of the P174,650.00 harvests proceeds with intervenor Antonio being recognized as the duly constituted
P a g e | 39
tenant of the land. The Court of Appeals affirmed these orders of the DARAB. Hence, the instant petition for review on Certiorari.
ISSUE: WON the PARAD/DARAB has jurisdiction to rule on ancillary matters even when the question of ownership is pending resolution with the Regional Trial Courts
HELD: Rule II, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of Procedure of the DARAB, provides: SECTION 1. Primary, Original and Appellate Jurisdiction. — The Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board shall have primary jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes, cases, controversies, and matters or incidents involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program under Republic Act No. 6657, Executive Order Nos. 229, 228 and 129-A, Republic Act No. 3844 as amended by Republic Act No. 6389, P.D. No. 27 and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules and regulations. (Emphasis supplied)
"Agrarian dispute" is defined under Section 3(d) of Republic Act No. 6657 (CARP Law), as: (d) Agrarian Dispute refers to any controversy relating to tenurial arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise, over lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes concerning farmworkers associations or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements. It includes any controversy relating to compensation of lands acquired under this Act and other terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowners to farmworkers, tenants and other agrarian reform beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of farm operator and beneficiary, landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee.
Clearly, no agrarian dispute is involved in this case. In fact, both are contending parties for the ownership of the subject property.
In the case of Morta v. Occidental, et al., this Court held:
P a g e | 40
For DARAB to have jurisdiction over a case, there must exist a tenancy relationship between the parties. In order for a tenancy agreement to take hold over a dispute, it would be essential to establish all its indispensable elements, to wit: 1) that the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; 2) that the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; 3) that there is consent between the parties to the relationship; 4) that the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; 5) that there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and 6) that the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee. In Vda. de Tangub v. Court of Appeals (191 SCRA 885), we held that the jurisdiction of the Department of Agrarian Reform is limited to the following: a) adjudication of all matters involving implementation of agrarian reform; b) resolution of agrarian conflicts and land tenure related problems; and c) approval and disapproval of the conversion, restructuring or readjustment of agricultural lands into residential, commercial, industrial, and other non-agricultural uses.
Petitioners and private respondent have no tenurial, leasehold, or any agrarian relations whatsoever that could have brought this controversy under the ambit of agrarian reform laws. Consequently, the DARAB has no jurisdiction over the controversy and should not have taken cognizance of private respondent's petition for injunction in the first place.
The issue of who can harvest the mangoes and when they can be harvested is an incident ancillary to the main petition for injunction. As such, it is dependent on the main case. Inasmuch as the DARAB has no jurisdiction to hear and decide the controversy between the parties, necessarily, the motion for intervention loses the leg on which it can stand. This issue, after all, can be resolved by the trial court, which has the jurisdiction to order the gathering of the mango fruits and depositing the proceeds with it, considering that an action has already been filed before it on the specific issue of ownership.
P a g e | 41
Gavino Corpuz vs. Spouses Geronimo Grospe and Hilaria Grospe G.R. No. 135297; June 8, 2000
FACTS: Petitioner Gavino Corpuz was a farmer-beneficiary under the Operation Land Transfer (OLT) Program of the DAR. Petitioner mortgaged the subject land to pay for his wife's hospitalization on January 20, 1982 in favor of Virginia de Leon. Upon the expiration of the contract, he again mortgaged the property to respondent Hilaria Grospe [wife of Geronimo Grospe] for a period of four years (from December 5, 1986 to December 5, 1990) to guarantee a loan of P32,500.00. The parties even executed a "Kasunduan sa Pagpapahiram ng Lupang Sakahan" which allowed the respondents to use and/or cultivate the land during the duration of the mortgage. Petitioner instituted an action for recovery of possession with the DARAB against the respondents averring that the latter entered the disputed land by force and intimidation and destroyed the palay planted on the land.
Respondents in their answer, claimed that the petitioner himself allowed them to take over the possession and cultivation of the property until the latter has paid his loan. However, instead of paying his loan, petitioner had allegedly executed a "Waiver of Rights" over the landholding. Petitioner denied waiving his rights and claimed that his and his children's signatures appearing on the waiver were forgeries.
The PARAD ruled that petitioner abandoned and surrendered the landholding to the Samahang Nayon ng Malaya, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija which in turn, had passed Resolution Nos. 16 and 27 recommending the reallocation of the said lots to the respondent spouses who were the "most qualified farmer(s)beneficiaries".
The DARAB affirmed the Provincial Adjudicator's decision. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but the same was denied. Likewise, petitioner's appeal and subsequent reconsideration thereof were denied by the Court of Appeals. Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: WON the signatures of petitioners on the waiver are null and void for being contrary to agrarian laws
P a g e | 42
HELD: The waiver of rights is null and void for being contrary to our Agrarian Reform Laws. However, voluntary surrender of the landholding in favor of the Samahang Nayon constitutes the valid ground for the abandonment of rights under PD 27.
We have already ruled that the sale or transfer of rights over a property covered by a Certificate of Land Transfer is void except when the alienation is made in favor of the government or through hereditary succession. This ruling is intended to prevent a reversion to the old feudal system in which the landowners reacquired vast tracts of land, thus, negating the government's program of freeing the tenant from the bondage of the soil.
Abandonment requires (a) a clear and absolute intention to renounce a right or claim or to desert a right or property; and (b) an external act by which that intention is expressed or carried into effect. The intention to abandon implies a departure, with the avowed intent of never returning, resuming or claiming the right and the interest that have been abandoned.
The Waiver was void. Furthermore, the mortgage expired after four years. Thus, the private respondents were obligated to return possession of the landholding to the petitioner. At bottom, we see on the part of the petitioner no clear, absolute or irrevocable intent to abandon. His surrender of possession did not amount to abandonment because there was an obligation on the part of private respondents to return possession upon full payment of the loan.
However, the nullity of the Waiver does not save the case for him because there is a clear showing that he voluntarily surrendered his landholding to the Samahang Nayon which, under the present circumstances, may qualify as a surrender or transfer, to the government, of his rights under the agrarian laws.
PD 27 provides that title to land acquired pursuant to the land reform program shall not be transferable except through hereditary succession or to the government, in accordance with the provisions of existing laws and regulations. Section 8 of R.A. No. 3844 also provides that "[t]he agricultural leasehold relation . . . shall be extinguished by: . . . (2) [v]oluntary surrender of the landholding by the agricultural lessee . . . ."
P a g e | 43
To repeat, the land was surrendered to the government, not transferred to another private person. It was the government, through the DAR, which awarded the landholding to the private respondents who were declared as qualified beneficiaries under the agrarian laws. Voluntary surrender, as a mode of extinguishment of tenancy relations, does not require court approval as long as it is convincingly and sufficiently proved by competent evidence.
Petitioner's voluntary surrender to the Samahang Nayon qualifies as a surrender or transfer to the government because such action forms part of the mechanism for the disposition and the reallocation of farmholdings of tenant-farmers who refuse to become beneficiaries of PD 27. Under Memorandum Circular No. 8-80 of the then Ministry of Agrarian Reform, the Samahan shall, upon notice from the agrarian reform team leader, recommend other tenant-farmers who shall be substituted to all rights and obligations of the abandoning or surrendering tenant-farmer. Besides, these cooperatives are established to provide a strong social and economic organization to ensure that the tenant-farmers will enjoy on a lasting basis the benefits of agrarian reform.
P a g e | 44
Jaime P. Corpin vs. Amor S. Vivar and the Honorable Court of Appeals G.R. No. 137350; June 19, 2000
FACTS: Petitioner filed a complaint for ejectment against the private respondent with the Municipal Trial Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan. For failure to timely file his Answer with Motion to Dismiss the court deemed the case submitted for judgment and rendered a decision ordering private respondent to vacate the land in dispute. Private respondent appealed the case to the Regional Trial Court and submitted documents to support his claim that he is a tenant of the petitioner's lot. The Regional Trial Court in turn, dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Subsequently, petitioner filed a Petition for Review of the said Decision with the Court of Appeals. The latter upheld the Regional Trial Court's finding and dismissed the petition for lack of merit. Hence, this Petition.
ISSUE: WON the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in ruling that there was a landlord-tenant relationship between the parties
HELD: In the case of Bayog vs. Natino which the appellate court cited, we held that the metropolitan circuit trial court, which dismissed defendant's Answer for having been filed out of time and decided the case based on the allegations in the complaint, should not have disregarded defendant's Answer and should have heard and received the evidence for the purpose of determining whether or not it had jurisdiction over the case.
What were presented to the municipal trial court were limited to the following: (1) Pagtitibay dated February 21, 1996 signed by Angel Torres, Chairman of the BARC of Tabang; (2) Affidavit of Dr. Teodoro Placido dated April 22, 1996; (3) Sinumpaang Salaysay of Ambrosio T. Mendoza dated April 22, 1996; and (4) Sinumpaang Salaysay of private respondent dated April 22, 1996.
Considering the foregoing, it is clear that there is a need to conduct a hearing whereby both parties may present evidence which may shed light on the issue of the municipal trial court's jurisdiction over the case.
P a g e | 45
Consequently, the Regional Trial Court's finding that there exists a landlord-tenant relationship between petitioner and respondent, which was based on the documents attached by private respondent to his memoranda in the Regional Trial Court only on appeal and were not previously presented to the municipal trial court in the original case, must be set aside.
The records of the case must be remanded to the Municipal Trial Court and hear the issue of jurisdiction.
P a g e | 46
Kooperatiba ng Sandigan ng Magsasakang Pilipino, Inc. (KSMP) vs. DARAB, et al.
G.R. No. 139051; June 26, 2000 FACTS: The case stemmed from the Order by then DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella granting the request for conversion of 1,837.30 hectares of agricultural land situated in Nasugbu, Batangas into residential, commercial, industrial and other urban purposes. In essence, the Order stated that the subject land is not economically suited for agricultural cultivation and that if there are any tenant-tillers, disturbance compensation should be paid to them in accordance with law. Fifteen (15) occupants assisted by the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) claiming to be tenants of a fortyfour (44) hectare portion filed a motion for reconsideration of the said Order. But prior to such, former President Ferdinand B. Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1520 on November 27, 1975 declaring the Municipalities of Maragondon and Ternate, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas as tourist zones more suitable for residential, commercial, industrial and urban uses. Apparently unaware of the conversion orders and presidential proclamation, then DAR Secretary Miriam Defensor-Santiago issued Notices of Acquisition. Private respondents, Gonzalo Puyat and Sons, filed their objections to these Santiago notices. Thereafter, Secretary Benjamin T. Leong who succeeded Secretary Santiago ruled on the validity of the questioned Order and denied the Motion for Reconsideration holding that pursuant to Proclamation No. 1520, Maragondon, Ternate and Nasugbu are declared as tourist zones. Meanwhile, the private respondents filed a Petition with the DARAB for the purpose of implementing the Conversion Orders which in effect suggested the manner of invalidating the Santiago Notices as it was contrary to the Leong Order. Petitioner KSMP filed a complaint-in-intervention on the aforementioned case. This was dismissed by the DAR. Subsequently, KSMP filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals imputing grave abuse of discretion on the DARAB. The CA dismissed the same. Hence, this Petition.
ISSUE: WON the petitioners are the proper parties in interest in the subject controversy
HELD: Petitioner's insistence that there was no final disposition yet of the conversion case, as in fact, DARAB Case No. 0335 was initiated by the private respondents is untenable. A perusal of the records reveal that
P a g e | 47
DARAB Case No. 0335 was filed by the private respondents for the purpose of implementing the Conversion Orders particularly the fixing of the final disturbance compensation to the legitimate farmeroccupants. The complaint-in-intervention, however, puts in issue petitioner's alleged tenancy relationship and security of tenure which the DARAB does not have any jurisdiction. Furthermore, petitioner, a juridical entity, has no personality to file the instant petition to intervene in the case as the real parties-in-interest are the members thereof who were not even recognized as the rightful tenants occupying the subject land. As observed by the DAR, "members of petitioner are merely holding on to an expectancy that they will become the beneficiaries assuming that the land is still CARPable." The fact, however, remains that the land in question has already been excluded from the purview of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) by the Estrella and Leong Orders which had long become final and executory.
P a g e | 48
Reynaldo Bejasa and Erlinda Bejasa vs. The Honorable Court of Appeals, et al. G.R. No. 108941; July 6, 2000
FACTS: Isabel Candelaria is the owner of two (2) parcels of land covered by TCT No. T-58191 and TCT No. T59172 measuring 16 hectares and 6 hectares, more or less, situated in Barangay Del Pilar, Naiyan, Oriental Mindoro. Candelaria entered into a three-year lease agreement on the land with Pio Malabanan. The contract stipulated that Malabanan will clear, clean and cultivate the land, purchase and plant calamansi, citrus and rambutan seeds and make the necessary harvests of fruits. Sometime in 1973, Malabanan hired the Bejasas to plant on the land and clear it. Candelaria gave Malabanan a six-year usufruct over the land, modifying their first agreement. Malabanan was under no obligation to share the harvests with Candelaria. In 1983, Malabanan died. On September 21, 1984, Candelaria constituted respondent Jaime Dinglasan as her attorney-in-fact having powers of administration over the disputed property. On October 26, 1984, Candelaria entered into a new lease contract over the land with Victoria Dinglasan,Jaime's wife, for a period of one year. Meanwhile, the Bejasas agreed to pay rent to Victoria of P15,000.00 in consideration of an "Aryenduhan" or "pakyaw na bunga" also for a term of one year. The Bejasas were unable to pay the full amount of the consideration. After the aryenduhan expired, despite Victoria's demand to vacate the land, the Bejasas continued to stay on the land and did not give any consideration for its use. On April 7, 1987, Candelaria and the Dinglasan again entered into a three-year lease agreement over the land. The special power of attorney in favor of Jaime Dinglasan was also renewed by Candelaria on the same date. Jaime filed a complaint before the Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP), Calapan, Oriental Mindoro seeking the ejectment of the Bejasas. COSLAP dismissed the case. Sometime on June 1987, Jaime filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court, Calapan, Oriental Mindoro against the Bejasas for "Recovery of Possession with Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and Damages". The case was however referred to the DAR who in turn certified that the case was not proper for trial before the civil courts. The trial court dismissed the complaint including the Bejasas' counterclaim for leasehold and damages. The Bejasas then filed with the Regional Trial Court a complaint for "confirmation of leasehold and homelot with recovery of damages" against Isabel Candelaria and Jaime Dinglasan. The Trial Court ruled in favor of the Bejasas reasoning that a tenancy relationship was created between the parties and that as bona-fide tenant-tillers, the Bejasas have security of tenure.
P a g e | 49
Respondents appealed the aforementioned decision. On February 9, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision reversing the trial court's ruling. Hence, this Appeal.
ISSUE: WON there is a tenancy relationship created in favor of the Bejasas
HELD: The elements of a tenancy relationship are the following: (1)
the parties are the landowner and the tenant;
the subject is agricultural land;
there is consent;
the purpose is agricultural production;
there is personal cultivation; and
there is sharing of harvests.
After examining the three relevant relationships in this case, we find that there is no tenancy relationship between the parties. Malabanan and the Bejasas. True, Malabanan (as Candelaria's usufructuary) allowed the Bejasas to stay on and cultivate the land. However, even if we assume that he had the authority to give consent to the creation of a tenancy relation, still, no such relation existed. There was no proof that they shared the harvests. In Chico v. Court of Appeals, we faulted private respondents for failing to prove sharing of harvests since "no receipt, or any other evidence was presented." We added that "Self serving statements . . . are inadequate; proof must be adduced." Candelaria and the Bejasas. Between them, there is no tenancy relationship. Candelaria as landowner never gave her consent. The Bejasas admit that prior to 1984, they had no contact with Candelaria. They acknowledge that Candelaria could argue that she did not know of Malabanan's arrangement with them. True enough Candelaria disavowed any knowledge that the Bejasas during Malabanan's lease possessed the land. However, the Bejasas claim that this defect was cured when Candelaria agreed to lease the land to the
P a g e | 50
Bejasas for P20,000.00 per annum, when Malabanan died in 1983. We do not agree. In a tenancy agreement, consideration should be in the form of harvest sharing. Even assuming that Candelaria agreed to lease it out to the Bejasas for P20,000 per year, such agreement did not create a tenancy relationship, but a mere civil law lease. Dinglasan and the Bejasas. Even assuming that the Dinglasans had the authority as civil law lessees of the land to bind it in a tenancy agreement, there is no proof that they did. Again, there was no agreement as to harvest sharing. The only agreement between them is the "aryenduhan", which states in no uncertain terms the monetary consideration to be paid, and the term of the contract.
P a g e | 51
Department of Agrarian Reform vs. Philippine Communications Satellite Corp. G.R. No. 152640; June 15, 2006 FACTS: The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is seeking the nullification of the Decision and Resolution, dated November 23, 2001 and March 7, 2002, respectively, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 57435, entitled "Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT) v. DAR." The controversy involves a parcel of land owned by respondent PHILCOMSAT situated within the area which had been declared a security zone under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1845, as amended by P.D. No. 1848, entitled "Declaring the Area within a Radius of Three Kilometers surrounding the Satellite Earth Station in Baras, Rizal, a Security Zone," which is subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of the government. Pursuant to the decree, the Ministry of National Defense promulgated the Revised Rules and Regulations to Implement P.D. No. 1845 dated 30 April 1982, as amended, Declaring the Philippine Earth Station (PES) Security Zone. In view of this, the metes and bounds of PHILCOMSAT's satellite earth station in Baras, Rizal, were delineated. In 1992, a Notice of Coverage was sent to PHILCOMSAT by petitioner DAR informing the former that the land in question shall be placed under CARP's compulsory acquisition scheme. On January 28, 1994, PHILCOMSAT wrote to DAR seeking an exemption of the subject property from CARP coverage, insisting that the land will be utilized for the expansion of its operations. Respondent's application for exemption from CARP coverage was evaluated by DAR. During the pendency of the application, then DAR Secretary Ernesto D. Garilao, in a letter dated March 21, 1994, suggested that respondent enter into a usufructuary agreement with the occupants of the subject property until such time that it will have to use the property for its planned expansion. The occupants, however, refused to enter into such an agreement. Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tanay, Rizal, in its Resolution No. 65-94 that was endorsed to DAR, moved for the coverage of the 700-hectare PHILCOMSAT property within the security zone under CARP. The Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer of Teresa, Rizal further opined that subjecting the surrounding agricultural area within the security zone under CARP will not be detrimental to the operations of PHILCOMSAT. An Order was issued by then Secretary Garilao rejecting PHILCOMSAT's application for exemption from CARP. Having been denied, PHILCOMSAT filed a Petition for Review with the Court of Appeals to which the appellate court granted. Consequently, DAR moved for reconsideration but the same was denied hence this petition.
P a g e | 52
WON the subject property of PHILCOMSAT which had been declared a security zone under P.D. No. 1845m as amended by P.D. No. 1848, can be subjected to CARP
HELD: P.D. No. 1845, as amended by P.D. No. 1848, was issued way before the effectivity of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. The same was issued in 1982 pursuant to an exigency to create a security zone in the surrounding areas of PHILCOMSAT's satellite earth station in order to ensure its security and uninterrupted operation considering the vital role of the earth station in the country's telecommunications and national development. P.D. No. 1848, amending P.D. No. 1845, subjected the security zone to the authority of the Ministry of National Defense, consequently conferring on the Minister of National Defense the power and authority to determine who can occupy the areas within the security zone, and how the lands shall be utilized. The area, however, should be exempt from CARP coverage by virtue of P.D. No. 1845, as amended, which, as stated earlier, declared the area to be a security zone under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of National Defense. It is evident from the very wording of the law that the government recognized the crucial role of PHILCOMSAT's operations to national security, thereby necessitating the protection of its operations from unnecessary and even anticipated disruption. Thus, every statute is understood, by implication, to contain all such provisions as may be necessary to effectuate its object and purpose, or to make effective rights, powers, privileges or jurisdiction which it grants, including all such collateral and subsidiary consequences as may be fairly and logically inferred from its terms. Section 10 of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law or R.A. No. 6657, as amended, provides that lands actually, directly and exclusively used and found to be necessary for national defense shall be exempt from the coverage of the Act. The determination as to whether or not the subject property is actually, directly, and exclusively used for national defense usually entails a finding of fact which this Court will not normally delve into considering that, subject to certain exceptions, in a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the Court is called upon to review only errors of law. Suffice it to state, however, that as a matter of principle, it cannot seriously be denied that the act of securing a vital communication facility is an act of national defense. Hence, the law, by segregating an area for purposes of a security zone for such facilities, in effect devoted that area to national defense. Exemption from CARP coverage of a landholding declared as a security zone.
P a g e | 53
Islanders CARP-Farmers Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. vs. Lapanday Agricultural and Development Corporation G.R. No. 159089; May 3, 2006 FACTS: On March 8, 1993, a certain Ramon Cajegas entered into a Joint Production Agreement for Islanders CarpFarmer Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. with Lapanday Agricultural and Development Corporation. Almost three years after, petitioner], represented by its alleged chairman, Manuel K. Asta, filed a complaint with the RTC for Declaration of Nullity, Mandamus, Damages, with prayer for Preliminary Injunction against respondent. Petitioner subsequently filed an amended complaint with leave of court alleging that the persons, who executed the contract were not authorized by it. Respondent then filed a Motion to Dismiss stating that the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) has primary, exclusive, and original jurisdiction. On August 21, 1996, respondent then filed a case at the DARAB for Breach of Contract, Specific Performance, and Injunction with Restraining Order, Damages and Attorney‘s Fees. The DARAB decided the case in favor of respondent declaring the Joint Production Agreement as valid and binding. The RTC then issued its decision on October 18, 1999 dismissing the case. Finding the relationship between the parties to be agricultural leasehold, the Court of Appeals held that the issue fell squarely within the jurisdiction of the DARAB. Hence, the appellate court ruled that the RTC had correctly dismissed the Complaint filed by petitioner. Petitioner contends that, there being no tenancy or leasehold relationship between the parties, this case does not constitute an agrarian dispute that falls within the DARAB‘s jurisdiction.
ISSUE: WON DARAB has jurisdiction over the controversy
HELD: The subject matter of the present controversy falls squarely within the jurisdiction of the DARAB. In question are the rights and obligations of two juridical persons engaged in the management, cultivation and use of agricultural land acquired through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government.
In the present case, the fifth element of personal cultivation is clearly absent. Petitioner is thus correct in claiming that the relationship between the parties is not one of tenancy or agricultural leasehold.
P a g e | 54
Nevertheless, we believe that the present controversy still falls within the sphere of agrarian disputes. An agrarian dispute "refers to any controversy relating to tenurial arrangements — whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise — over lands devoted to agriculture. Such disputes include those concerning farm workers' associations or representations of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements. Also included is any controversy relating to the terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowners to farm workers, tenants and other agrarian reform beneficiaries.
The assailed Joint Production Agreement is a type of joint economic enterprise. Joint economic enterprises are partnerships or arrangements entered into by Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) land beneficiaries and investors to implement agribusiness enterprises in agrarian reform areas.
Jurisdiction over the present controversy lies with the DARAB. As the RTC had correctly dismissed the case on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, it was superfluous for the trial court and the Court of Appeals for that matter to have ruled further on the issue of the validity of the agreement.
P a g e | 55
Land Bank of the Philippines, et. al. vs. Hon. Saludanes, et. al. G.R. No. 146581; December 13, 2005
FACTS: The instant case stemmed from twenty one (21) petitions for just compensation filed on April 6, 1999 by several landowners with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Tagum City, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court. The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), herein petitioner and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) were impleaded as respondents. The petitions involve several tracts of land forming part of a banana plantation operated by the AMS Group of Companies, one of herein respondents. Pursuant to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the landowners offered to sell these parcels of land to the government. The LBP filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari. In a Resolution, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for having been filed thirty-two (32) days beyond the sixty (60) day period prescribed by the Rules of Court. Petitioner bank admits that its petition before the Court of Appeals was indeed filed thirty-two (32) days late. However, it pleads for an exemption from the operation of Section 4, Rule 65 by reasons of justice and equity. Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari.
ISSUE: WON the petition of Land Bank has merit.
HELD: No. The petition is denied outright. The Court has the power to suspend its Rules, however, it has not shown any compelling reason why we should do so. Moreover, records reveal that petitioner has paid respondents the amounts specified in the joint Decision of the Special Agrarian Court. This has rendered the case moot and academic. Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, provides: SEC. 4. When and where petition filed. – The petition may be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the sixty day period shall be counted notice of the denial of said motion. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
P a g e | 56
Heirs of Julian Dela Cruz and Leonora Talaro, as represented by Maximino dela Cruz vs. Heirs of Alberto Cruz, as represented by Benedicto U. Cruz G.R. No. 162890; November 22, 2005
FACTS: The Republic of the Philippines acquired the De Leon Estate in Nueva Ecija for resale to deserving tenants and landless farmers. The property was under the administration of the Land Tenure Administration and later the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). In 1950, the DAR allocated a portion of the property in favor of Julian dela Cruz who was a tenant thereon. By virtue of an Agreement to Sell, the DAR issued Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT) in his favor as the qualified allocatee of the landholding. Julian bound and obliged himself to pay the amortizations over the land in 30 annual installments. He cultivated the property and made payments to the government for a period of almost 20 years. He died in 1979 and was survived by his wife, Leonora Talaro-dela Cruz and their 10 children, including Mario and Maximino dela Cruz. Mario administered the landholding, until their mother executed a private document declaring that, with the consent of her children, she had sold the land in favor of Alberto Cruz. Alberto took possession of the landholding and cultivated it over a period of 10 years without any protest from Leonora and her children. He then filed an application to purchase the property with the DAR. The Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) recommended that the landholding be declared vacant and disposable to a qualified applicant and the approval of Alberto's application to purchase the property. The Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) issued an Order approving the recommendation of the MARO. He directed the cancellation of Julian's CLT and declared that his rights be forfeited in favor of the government under the agreement. The DAR Secretary signed and issued CLOA over the property in favor of Alberto Cruz, and the certificate was registered with the Land Registration Authority (LRA). Sometime in 1996, Maximino, one of the surviving children of Julian, discovered that the landholding had already been registered in the name of Alberto Cruz. On October 10, 1996, Leonora and her 10 children, with the assistance of the DAR Bureau of Legal Assistance, filed a petition with the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) for the nullification of the order of the PARO, CLOA and TCT issued in favor of Alberto Cruz. After due proceedings, the PARAD granted the petition in a Decision declaring the petitioners as the rightful allocatees of the property, and directed the MARO to cancel CLOA and issue another in favor of the petitioners. Alberto was ordered to vacate the property. The PARAD also directed the Register of Deeds of Nueva Ecija to cancel the said title and issue a new one over the landholding in favor of the petitioners. Alberto appealed the decision to the DARAB, which affirmed the ruling of the PARAD.
P a g e | 57
ISSUE: WON the DARAB has jurisdiction over matters involving the issuance, correction and cancellation of registered CLOAs.
HELD: The petition is denied for lack of merit. It is axiomatic that the jurisdiction of a tribunal, including a quasi-judicial officer or government agency, over the nature and subject matter of a petition or complaint is determined by the material allegations therein and the character of the relief prayed for, irrespective of whether the petitioner or complainant is entitled to any or all such reliefs. Jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of an action is conferred by the Constitution and the law, and not by the consent or waiver of the parties where the court otherwise would have no jurisdiction over the nature or subject matter of the action. Nor can it be acquired through, or waived by, any act or omission of the parties. Moreover, estoppel does not apply to confer jurisdiction to a tribunal that has none over the cause of action. The failure of the parties to challenge the jurisdiction of the DARAB does not prevent the court from addressing the issue, especially where the DARAB's lack of jurisdiction is apparent on the face of the complaint or petition. Indeed, the jurisdiction of the court or tribunal is not affected by the defenses or theories set up by the defendant or respondent in his answer or motion to dismiss. Jurisdiction should be determined by considering not only the status or the relationship of the parties but also the nature of the issues or questions that is the subject of the controversy. If the issues between the parties are intertwined with the resolution of an issue within the exclusive jurisdiction of the DARAB, such dispute must be addressed and resolved by the DARAB. The proceedings before a court or tribunal without jurisdiction, including its decision, are null and void, hence, susceptible to direct and collateral attacks. However, the Court agrees with the ruling of the CA that the dispute between the petitioners and the respondents over the validity of the November 16, 1990 Order of the PARO, CLOA No. 51750, and TCT No. CLOA-0-3035 and the cancellation thereof is not agrarian in nature. The petitioners themselves categorically admitted in their pleadings that there was no landlord-tenancy relationship between them and Alberto over the landholding. Nor did they have any tenurial, leasehold, or agrarian relations whatsoever when petitioners Leonora and her son Mario executed the deed of sale in May 1980 in favor of Alberto, nor when the petitioners filed their petition with the DARAB. The sole tenantbeneficiary over the landholding was Julian dela Cruz. There is no showing that before the execution of the deed of transfer/sale, Alberto was a tenant or farmer, or that he was landless. The Court agrees with the petitioners' contention that, under Section 2 (f), Rule II of the DARAB Rules of Procedure, the DARAB has jurisdiction over cases involving the issuance, correction and cancellation of CLOAs which were "registered" with the LRA. However, for the DARAB to have jurisdiction in such cases, they must relate to an agrarian dispute between landowner and tenants to whom CLOAs have been issued
P a g e | 58
by the DAR Secretary. The cases involving the issuance, correction and cancellation of the CLOAs by the DAR in the administrative implementation of agrarian reform laws, rules and regulations to parties who are not agricultural tenants or lessees are within the jurisdiction of the DAR and not of the DARAB. In the present case, the DAR Secretary approved CLOA No. 51750 in the name of Alberto in the exercise of his administrative powers and in the implementation of the agrarian reform laws. The approval was based on the Report of the MARO, the November 16, 1990 Order of the PARO and the recommendation of the DAR Director of the Bureau of Land Acquisition and Distribution, over whom the DAR Secretary has supervision and control. The DAR Secretary also had the authority to withdraw the CLOA upon a finding that the same is contrary to law and DAR orders, circulars and memoranda.
P a g e | 59
Department of Agrarian Reform, represented by Secretary Jose Mari B. Ponce (OIC) vs. Delia T. Sutton, Ella T. Sutton-Soliman and Harry T. Sutton G.R. No. 162070; October 19, 2005
FACTS: This is a petition for review filed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals, dated September 19, 2003 and February 4, 2004, respectively, which declared DAR Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 9, series of 1993, null and void for being violative of the Constitution. The case involves a land in Aroroy, Masbate, inherited by respondents which has been devoted exclusively to cow and calf breeding. On October 26, 1987, pursuant to the then existing agrarian reform program of the government, respondents made a voluntary offer to sell (VOS) their landholdings to petitioner DAR to avail of certain incentives under the law. On June 10, 1988, a new agrarian law, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6657, also known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) of 1988, took effect. It included in its coverage farms used for raising livestock, poultry and swine. On December 4, 1990, in an en banc decision in the case of Luz Farms v. Secretary of DAR, the Court ruled that lands devoted to livestock and poultry-raising are not included in the definition of agricultural land and declared as unconstitutional certain provisions of the CARL insofar as they included livestock farms in the coverage of agrarian reform. In view of this, respondents filed with petitioner DAR a formal request to withdraw their VOS as their landholding was devoted exclusively to cattle-raising and thus exempted from the coverage of the CARL. On December 21, 1992, the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer of Aroroy, Masbate, inspected respondents' land and found that it was devoted solely to cattle-raising and breeding. He recommended to the DAR Secretary that it be exempted from the coverage of the CARL. On April 27, 1993, respondents reiterated to petitioner DAR the withdrawal of their VOS and requested the return of the supporting papers they submitted in connection therewith. Petitioner ignored such request. On December 27, 1993, DAR issued A.O. No. 9, series of 1993, which provided that only portions of private agricultural lands used for the raising of livestock, poultry and swine as of June 15, 1988 shall be excluded from the coverage of the CARL. In determining the area of land to be excluded, the A.O. fixed the following retention limits, viz.: 1:1 animal-land ratio and a ratio of 1.7815 hectares for livestock infrastructure for every 21 heads of cattle shall likewise be excluded from the operations of the CARL.
P a g e | 60
On February 4, 1994, respondents wrote the DAR Secretary and advised him to consider as final and irrevocable the withdrawal of their VOS as, under the Luz Farms doctrine, their entire landholding is exempted from the CARL. On September 14, 1995, then DAR Secretary Ernesto D. Garilao issued an Order partially granting the application of respondents for exemption from the coverage of CARL. Applying the retention limits outlined in the DAR A.O. No. 9, petitioner exempted 1,209 hectares of respondents' land for grazing purposes, and a maximum of 102.5635 hectares for infrastructure. Petitioner ordered the rest of respondents' landholding to be segregated and placed under Compulsory Acquisition. Respondents moved for reconsideration, contending that their entire landholding should be exempted as it is devoted exclusively to cattle-raising. Said motion was denied. Respondents filed a notice of appeal with the Office of the President assailing: (1) the reasonableness and validity of DAR A.O. No. 9, s. 1993, which provided for a ratio between land and livestock in determining the land area qualified for exclusion from the CARL, and (2) the constitutionality of DAR A.O. No. 9, s. 1993, in view of the Luz Farms case which declared cattle-raising lands excluded from the coverage of agrarian reform. The OP affirmed the impugned order. On appeal to CA, the CA ruled in favor of respondents and declared A.O. No. 9, Series of 1993 as void.
ISSUE: WON DAR Administrative Order No. 09, Series of 1993 which prescribes a maximum retention for owners of lands devoted to livestock raising is constitutional
HELD: The impugned A.O. is invalid as it contravenes the Constitution. The A.O. sought to regulate livestock farms by including them in the coverage of agrarian reform and prescribing a maximum retention limit for their ownership. However, the deliberations of the 1987 Constitutional Commission show a clear intent to exclude, inter alia, all lands exclusively devoted to livestock, swine and poultry-raising. The Court clarified in the Luz Farms case that livestock, swine and poultry-raising are industrial activities and do not fall within the definition of "agriculture" or "agricultural activity." The raising of livestock, swine and poultry is different from crop or tree farming. It is an industrial, not an agricultural, activity. A great portion of the investment in this enterprise is in the form of industrial fixed assets, such as: animal housing structures and facilities, drainage, waterers and blowers, feedmill with grinders, mixers, conveyors, exhausts and generators, extensive warehousing facilities for feeds and other supplies, anti-pollution equipment like bio-gas and digester plants augmented by lagoons and concrete ponds, deepwells, elevated water tanks, pumphouses, sprayers, and other technological appurtenance.
P a g e | 61
Petitioner DAR has no power to regulate livestock farms which have been exempted by the Constitution from the coverage of agrarian reform. It has exceeded its power in issuing the assailed A.O. Moreover, it is a fundamental rule of statutory construction that the reenactment of a statute by Congress without substantial change is an implied legislative approval and adoption of the previous law. On the other hand, by making a new law, Congress seeks to supersede an earlier one. In the case at bar, after the passage of the 1988 CARL, Congress enacted R.A. No. 7881 which amended certain provisions of the CARL. Specifically, the new law changed the definition of the terms "agricultural activity" and "commercial farming" by dropping from its coverage lands that are devoted to commercial livestock, poultry and swineraising. With this significant modification, Congress clearly sought to align the provisions of our agrarian laws with the intent of the 1987 Constitutional Commission to exclude livestock farms from the coverage of agrarian reform. It is doctrinal that rules of administrative bodies must be in harmony with the provisions of the Constitution. They cannot amend or extend the Constitution. To be valid, they must conform to and be consistent with the Constitution. In case of conflict between an administrative order and the provisions of the Constitution, the latter prevails. The assailed A.O. of petitioner DAR was properly stricken down as unconstitutional as it enlarges the coverage of agrarian reform beyond the scope intended by the 1987 Constitution.
P a g e | 62
Hospicio De San Jose de Barili, Cebu City vs. Department of Agrarian Reform G.R. No. 140847; September 23, 2005
FACTS: Petitioner Hospicio de San Jose de Barili ("Hospicio") is a charitable organization created as a body corporate in 1925 by Act No. 3239. The law was enacted in order to formally accept the offer made by Pedro Cui and Benigna Cui to establish a home for the care and support, free of charge, of indigent invalids and incapacitated and helpless persons. The Department of Agrarian Reform Regional Office (DARRO) Region VII issued an order ordaining that two parcels of land owned by the Hospicio be placed under Operation Land Transfer in favor of twenty-two (22) tillers thereof as beneficiaries. Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 27, a land reform law, was cited as legal basis for the order. The Hospicio filed a motion for the reconsideration of the order with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary, citing the aforementioned Section 4 of Act No. 3239. It argued that Act No. 3239 is a special law, which could not have been repealed by P.D. No. 27, a general law, or by the latter's general repealing clause. The DAR Secretary rejected the motion for reconsideration in an Order held that P.D. No. 27 was a special law, as it applied only to particular individuals in the State, specifically the tenants of rice and corn lands. Moreover, P.D. No. 27, which covered all rice and corn lands, provides no exemptions based on the manner of acquisition of the land by the landowner. The Order of the DAR Secretary was assailed in a Petition for Certiorari filed with the Court of Appeals which the latter, the Court of Appeals and hereby, the Court of Appeals affirmed the DAR Secretary's issuance. It sustained the position of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) position that Section 4 of Act No. 3239 was expressly repealed not only by P.D. No. 27, but also by Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, both laws being explicit in mandating the distribution of agricultural lands to qualified beneficiaries. The Court of Appeals further noted that the subject lands did not fall among the exemptions provided under Section 10 of Rep. Act No. 6657. The appellate court brought into play the aims of land reform, affirming as it did "the need to distribute and create an economic equilibrium among the inhabitants of this land, most especially those with less privilege in life, our peasant farmer." Unsatisfied with the Court of Appeals' Decision, petitioner filed Petition for Review.
ISSUE: WON provision in Section 4 of Act No. 3239 prohibiting the sale of the properties donated to the charitable organization that was incorporated by the same law bars the implementation of agrarian reform laws as regards said properties
P a g e | 63
HELD: Under Section 4 of the CARL, place under coverage are all public and private agricultural lands regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, subject to the exempted lands listed in Section 10 thereof. We agree with the Court of Appeals that neither P.D. No. 27 nor the CARL exempts the lands of the Hospicio or other charitable institutions from the coverage of agrarian reform. Ultimately, the result arrived at in the assailed issuances should be affirmed. Nonetheless, both the DAR Secretary and the appellate court failed to appreciate what to this Court is indeed the decisive legal dimension of the case.
Agrarian reform is justified under the State's inherent power of eminent domain that enables it to forcibly acquire private lands intended for public use upon payment of just compensation to the owner. It has even been characterized as beyond the traditional exercise of eminent domain, but a revolutionary kind of expropriation.
This characterization is warranted whether the expropriation is operative under the CARL or P.D. No. 27, as both laws are keyed into the same governmental objective. Moreover, under both laws, the landowner is entitled to just compensation for the properties taken. The twin process of expropriation of lands under agrarian reform and the payment of just compensation is akin to a forced sale, which has been aptly described in common law jurisdictions as "sale made under the process of the court, and in the mode prescribed by law," and "which is not the voluntary act of the owner, such as to satisfy a debt, whether of a mortgage, judgment, tax lien, etc."
Thus, we can hardly characterize the acquisition of the subject properties from the Hospicio for the benefit of the tenants as a sale, within the contemplation of Section 4 of Act No. 3239. The transfer arises from compulsion of law, and not the desire of any parties. Even if the Hospicio had voluntarily offered to surrender its properties to agrarian reform, the resulting transaction would not be considered as a conventional sale, since the obligation is created not out of the mandate of the parties, but the will of the law. Regrettably, the DAR Secretary and the Court of Appeals failed to apply that sound principle, preferring to rely instead on the conclusion that Section 4 was repealed by P.D. No. 27 and the CARL.
Nonetheless, even assuming for the nonce that Section 4 contemplates even forced sales such as those through expropriation, we would agree with the DAR Secretary and the Court of Appeals that Section 4 is deemed repealed by P.D. No. 27 and the CARL.
P a g e | 64
Jose Luis Ros, et. al. vs. DAR, et. al. G.R. No. 132477; August 31, 2005
FACTS: The case stems from a denial of the application for conversion before the Regional Office of DAR Region 7 disallowing the application for conversion filed by petitioners, owners/developers of several parcels of land located in Balamban, Cebu. The application was based on Municipal Ordinance No. 101 passed by the Mun. Council of Balamban, Cebu which reclassified such lands as industrial lands. Said ordinance was approved by the Provincial Board of Cebu on April 3, 1995. Because of such disapproval, Petitioners filed with the RTC of Toledo City a complaint for Injunction with application of TRO and a Writ of Preliminary Injunction. RTC dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction ruling that it is DAR which has jurisdiction citing Section 20 of the Local Government Code.
Petitioners claim that local grants have the power to reclassify portions of their agricultural lands, subject to the conditions set forth in Section 20 of the Local Government Code that if agricultural lands sought to be reclassified by the local government is one which has already been brought under the coverage of the CARL and/or which has been distributed to ARBs, then such reclassification must be confirmed by the DAR pursuant to its authority under Section 65 of the CARL, in order for the reclassification to become effective, that if the land sought to be reclassified is not covered by CARL and not distributed to ARBs, then no confirmation from DAR is necessary.
ISSUE: WON the reclassification of the subject lands is beyond the jurisdiction of the DAR
HELD: After the passage of R.A. No. 6657, agricultural lands, through reclassification, have to go through the process of conversion, jurisdiction over which is vested in the DAR. However, agricultural lands already reclassified before the effectivity of R.A. No. 6657 are exempted from conversion. Conversion is the act of changing the current use of a piece of agricultural land into some other use as approved by DAR. Reclassification is the act of specifying how agricultural lands shall be utilized, for non-agricultural uses such as residential, industrial, commercial, as embodied in the land use plan, subject to the requirements and procedure for land use conversion.
P a g e | 65
R.A. No. 6657 took effect on 15 June 1988 and Municipal Ordinance No. 101, which reclassified the subject land, was passed on 25 March 1992, and the Provincial Ordinance No. 95-8 of the Provincial Board of Cebu, which adopted Municipal Ordinance No. 101 was passed on 03 April 1995, long after R.A. No. 6657 has taken effect. To further clarify any doubt on its authority, DAR issued Administrative Order No. 12 dated October 1994 which provides for the consolidated and revised rules and procedures governing conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses.
The authority of DAR to approve conversions of agricultural lands covered by Republic Act No. 6657 to non-agricultural uses has not been pierced by the passage of the Local Government Code. The code explicitly provides that nothing in this section shall be construed as repealing or modifying in any manner the provisions of Republic Act No. 6657.
P a g e | 66
Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Hon. Eli G. C. Natividad G.R. No. 127198; May 16, 2005
FACTS: Private respondents filed a petition before the trial court for the determination of just compensation for their agricultural lands situated in Arayat, Pampanga, which were acquired by the government pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 27 (PD 27). The petition named as respondents the DAR and Land Bank. With leave of court, the petition was amended to implead as co-respondents the registered tenants of the land.
According to Land Bank, private respondents should have sought the reconsideration of the DAR's valuation of their properties. Private respondents thus failed to exhaust administrative remedies when they filed a petition for the determination of just compensation directly with the trial court. Land Bank also insists that the trial court erred in declaring that PD 27 and Executive Order No. 228 (EO 228) are mere guidelines in the determination of just compensation, and in relying on private respondents' evidence of the valuation of the properties at the time of possession in 1993 and not on Land Bank's evidence of the value thereof as of the time of acquisition in 1972.
ISSUE: WON the trial court has jurisdiction in determination of just compensation
HELD: In Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals, we declared that there is nothing contradictory between the DAR's primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform, which includes the determination of questions of just compensation, and the original and exclusive jurisdiction of regional trial courts over all petitions for the determination of just compensation. The first refers to administrative proceedings, while the second refers to judicial proceedings.
In accordance with settled principles of administrative law, primary jurisdiction is vested in the DAR to determine in a preliminary manner the just compensation for the lands taken under the agrarian reform program, but such determination is subject to challenge before the courts. The resolution of just compensation cases for the taking of lands under agrarian reform is, after all, essentially a judicial function.
P a g e | 67
Thus, the trial did not err in taking cognizance of the case as the determination of just compensation is a function addressed to the courts of justice.
It would certainly be inequitable to determine just compensation based on the guideline provided by PD 27 and EO 228 considering the DAR's failure to determine the just compensation for a considerable length of time. That just compensation should be determined in accordance with RA 6657, and not PD 27 or EO 228, is especially imperative considering that just compensation should be the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator, the equivalent being real, substantial, full and ample.
In this case, the trial court arrived at the just compensation due private respondents for their property, taking into account its nature as irrigated land, location along the highway, market value, assessor's value and the volume and value of its produce. This Court is convinced that the trial court correctly determined the amount of just compensation due private respondents in accordance with, and guided by, RA 6657 and existing jurisprudence.
P a g e | 68
Department of Agrarian Reform vs. Roberto J. Cuenca G.R. No. 154112; September 23, 2004
FACTS: Private respondent Roberto J. Cuenca is the registered owner of a parcel of land situated in Brgy. Haguimit, La Carlota City and devoted principally to the planting of sugar cane. Noe Fortunado, Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) of La Carlota City issued and sent a NOTICE OF COVERAGE to private respondent Cuenca placing the above-described landholding under the compulsory coverage of R.A. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Private respondent Cuenca filed with the Regional Trial Court, a complaint against Noe Fortunado and Land Bank of the Philippines for 'Annulment of Notice of Coverage and Declaration of Unconstitutionality of E.O. No. 405, Series of 1990, With Preliminary Injunction and Restraining Order.
MARO Noe Fortunado filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the court a quo has no jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of the action, pursuant to R.A. 6657.
In an order dated 16 February 2000, the respondent Judge denied MARO Noe Fortunado's motion to dismiss and issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction directing Fortunado and all persons acting in his behalf to cease and desist from implementing the Notice of Coverage, and the LBP from proceeding with the determination of the value of the subject land.
ISSUE: WON DAR has jurisdiction over all controversies involving the implementation of Agrarian Reform program.
HELD: The Petition has merit. The issue involves the implementation of agrarian reform, a matter over which the DAR has original and exclusive jurisdiction, pursuant to Section 50 of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (R.A. No. 6657)
P a g e | 69
All controversies on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), even though they raise questions that are also legal or constitutional in nature. All doubts should be resolved in favor of the DAR, since the law has granted it special and original authority to hear and adjudicate agrarian matters
Having declared the RTCs to be without jurisdiction over the instant case, it follows that the RTC of La Carlota City (Branch 63) was devoid of authority to issue the assailed Writ of Preliminary Injunction. That Writ must perforce be stricken down as a nullity. Such nullity is particularly true in the light of the express prohibitory provisions of the CARP and this Court's Administrative Circular Nos. 29-2002 and 38-2002. These Circulars enjoin all trial judges to strictly observe Section 68 of RA 6657, which reads:
"Section 68. Immunity of Government Agencies from Undue Interference. — No injunction, restraining order, prohibition or mandamus shall be issued by the lower courts against the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in their implementation of the program."
P a g e | 70
Pasong Bayabas Farmers Assoc., Inc., et al. vs. The Hon. Court of Appeals, et al. G.R. No. 142359; May 25, 2004
FACTS: Sometime in 1964, Lakeview Development Corporation (LDC) bought a parcel of land located at Barrio Kabilang-Baybay, Carmona, Cavite. On September 20, 1977, the aforesaid titles were cancelled issued to and in the name of the LDC's successor, the Credito Asiatic, Incorporated (CAI). The LDC/CAI undertook to develop its 75-hectare property into a residential and industrial estate, where industrial sites and a low cost housing project.
Considering the parcel of land to be not covered by P.D. 27, it being untenanted and not devoted to the production of palay and/or corn as reported by the Agrarian Reform Team Leader concerned and favorably recommended for conversion by him and further, by the Regional Director for Region IV, Pasig, Metro Manila, and considering further, that the parcel of land subject hereof was found to be suitable for conversion to residential subdivision by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.
ISSUE: WON the property subject of the suit is covered by the Agrarian Reform Law (CARL)?
HELD: The contention of the petitioners has no merit. Only Agricultural lands are covered by CARP. Under Section 3(c) of Rep. Act No. 6657, agricultural lands refer to lands devoted to agriculture as conferred in the said law and not classified as industrial land. Agricultural lands are only those lands which are arable or suitable lands that do not include commercial, industrial and residential lands. Section 4(e) of the law provides that it covers all private lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture regardless of the agricultural products raised or that can be raised thereon. Rep. Act No. 6657 took effect only on June 15, 1988.
When Agrarian Reform Minister Conrado F. Estrella confirmed the reclassification of the property by the Municipal Council of Carmona to non-agricultural land, the application of the private respondent/LDC for the conversion of 35.80 hectares of the property covered by TCT No. 62972 into non-agricultural land, he did so pursuant to his authority under Rep. Act No. 3844, as amended, by P.D. No. 815 and P.D. No. 946.
P a g e | 71
The jurisdiction of a tribunal or quasi-judicial body over the subject matter is determined by the averments of the complaint/petition and the law extant at the time of the commencement of the suit/complaint/petition. All proceedings before a tribunal or quasi-judicial agency bereft of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action are null and void.
P a g e | 72
VICENTE ADRIANO vs. ALICE TANCO et. al G.R. No. 168164; July 5, 2010
FACTS: On December 18, 1975, respondent Alice Tanco purchased a parcel of land devoted to Mango plantation consisting of 28.4692 hectares located in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Later on, it was partitioned among the respondents. Controversy arose when Alice sent to Vicente a letter dated January 16, 1995 informing him that subject landholding is not covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). She asked him to vacate the property as soon as possible. Seeing the letter of Alice as a threat to his peaceful possession of subject farmland which might impair his security of tenure as a tenant, Vicente filed before the regional office of DARAB in Region III a Complaint for Maintenance of Peaceful Possession with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. The PARAD rendered a Decision in favor of Vicente which was affirmed by the DARAB. This was reversed and set aside by the Court of Appeals.
ISSUE: WON the findings of the PARAD and the DARAB that petitioner is a bona fide tenant is supported by substantial evidence.
HELD: The findings of the agrarian tribunals that tenancy relationship exists are not supported by substantial evidence. Tenancy relationship is a juridical tie which arises between a landowner and a tenant once they agree, expressly or impliedly, to undertake jointly the cultivation of a land belonging to the landowner, as a result of which relationship the tenant acquires the right to continue working on and cultivating the land. The existence of a tenancy relationship cannot be presumed and allegations that one is a tenant do not automatically give rise to security of tenure. For tenancy relationship to exist, the following essential requisites must be present: (1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject matter is agricultural land; (3) there is consent between the parties; (4) the purpose is agricultural production; (5) there is personal cultivation by the tenant; and, (6) there is sharing of the harvests between the parties.25 All the requisites must concur in order to establish the existence of tenancy relationship, and the absence of one or more requisites is fatal. After a thorough evaluation of the records of this case, we affirm the findings of the CA that the essential requisites of consent and sharing are lacking. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED.
P a g e | 73
CREBA vs. THE SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM G.R. No. 183409; June 18, 2010
FACTS: The Secretary of Agrarian Reform issued "Omnibus Rules and Procedures Governing Conversion of Agricultural Lands to Non-Agricultural Uses," which consolidated all existing implementing guidelines related to land use conversion. The aforesaid rules embraced all private agricultural lands regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, and all untitled agricultural lands and agricultural lands reclassified by Local Government Units (LGUs) into non-agricultural uses after 15 June 1988. Subsequently, on 30 March 1999, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform issued DAR AO No. 01-99, entitled "Revised Rules and Regulations on the Conversion of Agricultural Lands to Non-agricultural Uses," amending and updating the previous rules on land use conversion. Its coverage includes the following agricultural lands, to wit: (1) those to be converted to residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and other non-agricultural purposes; (2) those to be devoted to another type of agricultural activity such as livestock, poultry, and fishpond ─ the effect of which is to exempt the land from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) coverage; (3) those to be converted to non-agricultural use other than that previously authorized; and (4) those reclassified to residential, commercial, industrial, or other nonagricultural uses on or after the effectivity of Republic Act No. 6657 on 15 June 1988 pursuant to Section 20 of Republic Act No. 7160 and other pertinent laws and regulations, and are to be converted to such uses.
By reason thereof, petitioner claims that there is an actual slowdown of housing projects, which, in turn, aggravated the housing shortage, unemployment and illegal squatting problems to the substantial prejudice not only of the petitioner and its members but more so of the whole nation.
ISSUE: WON DAR AO NO. 01-02, as amended, violates the constitution
HELD: The petition was dismissed. The authority of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform to include "lands not reclassified as residential, commercial, industrial or other non-agricultural uses before 15 June 1988" in the definition of agricultural lands finds basis in jurisprudence. In Ros v. Department of Agrarian Reform, this Court has enunciated that after the passage of Republic Act No. 6657, agricultural lands, though
P a g e | 74
reclassified, have to go through the process of conversion, jurisdiction over which is vested in the DAR. However, agricultural lands, which are already reclassified before the effectivity of Republic Act No. 6657 which is 15 June 1988, are exempted from conversion. It bears stressing that the said date of effectivity of Republic Act No. 6657 served as the cut-off period for automatic reclassifications or rezoning of agricultural lands that no longer require any DAR conversion clearance or authority. It necessarily follows that any reclassification made thereafter can be the subject of DAR‘s conversion authority. Having recognized the DAR‘s conversion authority over lands reclassified after 15 June 1988, it can no longer be argued that the Secretary of Agrarian Reform was wrongfully given the authority and power to include "lands not reclassified as residential, commercial, industrial or other non-agricultural uses before 15 June 1988" in the definition of agricultural lands. Such inclusion does not unduly expand or enlarge the definition of agricultural lands; instead, it made clear what are the lands that can be the subject of DAR‘s conversion authority, thus, serving the very purpose of the land use conversion provisions of Republic Act No. 6657.It is clear from the aforesaid distinction between reclassification and conversion that agricultural lands though reclassified to residential, commercial, industrial or other non-agricultural uses must still undergo the process of conversion before they can be used for the purpose to which they are intended.
P a g e | 75
National Highway Authority vs. DARAB G.R. No. 175200; May 4, 2010
FACTS: In 1960, the estate of the late C.N. Hodges (Estate) asked Mateo Villaruz (Villaruz) to work as tenant of the Estate‘s 7-hectare rice field in Bacolod, to prevent squatters from occupying the land. In 1976, squatters settled in 4 hectares of the land. In 1985, the NHA bought the land when the bank foreclosed the Estate‘s mortgage over the same. Villaruz asked the PARAD to recognize him as tenant-beneficiary under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 271 and to retain his possession of the 3-hectare portion of the land. According to Villaruz, since the NHA stepped into the shoes of the Estate, the NHA assumed responsibility for maintaining his tenancy over the land by way of subrogation pursuant to Section 10 of Republic Act No. 3844. According to the PARAD, the exemption under Section 1 of P.D. 1472 applied only to lands already acquired by the NHA when P.D. 1472 took effect on 11 June 1978. Based on the ―whereas‖ clause of that presidential decree, the intent was to preserve properties that the NHA already acquired on or before June 11, 1978. The exemption, therefore, did not apply to the subject land since the NHA bought it in 1985. Court of Appeals nonetheless upheld the PARAD and DARAB decisions. Accordingly, the situation in this case differed from what P.D. 1472 contemplated; since Villaruz was already a tenant of the subject land when the NHA acquired it, the exemption did not apply. Consequently, the NHA filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court.
ISSUE: WON the land acquired by the NHA, was exempt from the coverage of agrarian reform
HELD: P.D. 1472 exempts from land reform those lands that the NHA acquired for its housing and resettlement programs whether it acquired those lands when the law took effect or afterwards. The language of the exemption is clear: the exemption covers ―lands or property acquired x x x or to be acquired‖ by NHA. Its Section 1 does not make any distinction whether the land the NHA acquired is tenanted or not. When the law does not distinguish, no distinction should be made.
P a g e | 76
In addition, Section 1 of P.D. 1472 provides that the NHA shall not be liable for disturbance compensation. Since only tenants working on agricultural lands can claim disturbance compensation, the exemption assumes that the NHA may have to acquire such kinds of land for its housing program. If the exemption from payment of disturbance compensation applied only to untenanted lands, then such exemption would be meaningless or a superfluity.
If the ruling of the Court of Appeals were to be upheld, the NHA would have to allow Villaruz and his successors-in-interest to work on the subject land as agricultural tenants for as long as they liked without any chance of getting an emancipation patent over it under P.D. 27. This would be antithetical to the objectives of the agrarian reform program. As for the NHA, it would become an agricultural lessor with no right to use the land for the purpose for which it bought the same. This, in turn, would become prejudicial to the government‘s housing projects.
While the Court was mindful of the plight of tenant-farmers like Villaruz, it was incumbent upon it to weigh their rights against the government‘s interest in meeting the housing needs of then greater majority.
P a g e | 77
Heirs of Vidad vs. Land Bank of the Philippines G.R. No. 166461; April 30, 2010
FACTS: Petitioners are the owners of a land located in Barangay Masipi East, Cabagan, Isabela, the land was voluntarily offered for sale to the government under the CARL of 1988. LBP computed the initial value of the land at P2,961,333.03. Petitioners rejected the valuation. Petitioners filed a Petition for Review with the DARAB which dismissed the petition. Petitioners filed a second petition for review asking for re-evaluation of the land. LBP revalued the land however, petitioner similarly rejected this offer. Unable to agree on revalued proposal, petitioners instituted before the RARAD to determine the just compensation for their land. Petitioners manifested their acceptance thereof. On the other hand, LBP filed a petition for determination of just compensation with the RTC, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court. Petitioners moved to dismiss LBP‘s petition on the ground that they already accepted the RARAD‘s decision. The SAC rendered a decision fixing the just compensation at P5,626,724.47. Petitioners questioned the authority of the SAC to give due course to the petition of LBP, claiming that the RARAD has concurrent jurisdiction with the SAC over just compensation cases involving lands covered by RA 6657. Hence, the RARAD‘s decision, being a final determination of the appraisal of just compensation by the DARAB, should be appealed to this Court and not the SAC. LBP insists that the RARAD/DARAB decision is merely a preliminary valuation, since the courts have the ultimate power to decide the question on just compensation.
ISSUE: WON RTC, sitting as SAC, has jurisdiction in just compensation cases
HELD: The procedure for the determination of just compensation under RA 6657, commences with LBP determining the value of the lands under the land reform program. Using LBP‘s valuation, the DAR makes an offer to the landowner through a notice sent to the landowner, pursuant to Section 16(a) of RA 6657. In case the landowner rejects the offer, the DAR adjudicator conducts a summary administrative proceeding to determine the compensation for the land by requiring the landowner, the LBP and other interested parties to submit evidence as to the just compensation for the land. A party who disagrees with the decision of the DAR adjudicator may bring the matter to the RTC designated as a Special Agrarian Court for final determination of just compensation.
P a g e | 78
Contrary to petitioners‘ argument, the PARAD/RARAD/DARAB do not exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the SAC in just compensation cases. The determination of just compensation is judicial in nature. Clearly, under Section 50, DAR has primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the DA and the DENR. Further exception to the DAR‘s original and exclusive jurisdiction are all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under RA No. 6657, which are within the jurisdiction of the RTC sitting as a Special Agrarian Court. Thus, jurisdiction on just compensation cases for the taking of lands under RA No. 6657 is vested in the courts. In a number of cases, the Court has upheld the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC, sitting as SAC, over all petitions for determination of just compensation to landowners in accordance with Section 57 of RA No. 6657. In fact, RA 6657 does not make DAR‘s valuation absolutely binding as the amount payable by LBP. A reading of Section 18 of RA 6657 shows that the courts, and not the DAR, make the final determination of just compensation. It is well-settled that the DAR‘s land valuation is only preliminary and is not, by any means, final and conclusive upon the landowner or any other interested party. The courts will still have the right to review with finality the determination in the exercise of what is admittedly a judicial function. It must be emphasized that the taking of property under RA 6657 is an exercise of the State‘s power of eminent domain. The valuation of property or determination of just compensation in eminent domain proceedings is essentially a judicial function which is vested with the courts and not with administrative agencies. When the parties cannot agree on the amount of just compensation, only the exercise of judicial power can settle the dispute with binding effect on the winning and losing parties. On the other hand, the determination of just compensation in the RARAD/DARAB requires the voluntary agreement of the parties. Unless the parties agree, there is no settlement of the dispute before the RARAD/DARAB, except if the aggrieved party fails to file a petition for just compensation on time before the RTC. LBP thus correctly filed a petition for determination of just compensation with the SAC, which has the original and exclusive jurisdiction in just compensation cases under RA 6657. DAR‘s valuation, being preliminary in nature, could not have attained finality, as it is only the courts that can resolve the issue on just compensation. Consequently, the SAC properly took cognizance of LBP‘s petition for determination of just compensation. WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition.
P a g e | 79
Romanita Concha vs. Paulino Rubio G.R. No. 162446; March 29, 2010
FACTS: The subject landholding was placed under the Compulsory Acquisition Scheme of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government. The Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer of Tiaong, Quezon, named as beneficiaries, viz: IRENEO CONCHA, BRAULIO DE TORRES, LAZARO CONCHA, et. Al. Respondents filed a complaint for declaration of their tenancy and their identification as beneficiaries and for disqualification of the petitioners to become beneficiaries over the subject landholding. They alleged that they are the tenants thereof and have not relinquished their rights over the same, as they returned the monetary awards given by the landowners Petitioners argue that the DARAB is not clothed with the power or authority to resolve the issue involving the identification and selection of qualified farmer-beneficiaries since the same is an Agrarian Law Implementation case, thus, an administrative function falling within the jurisdiction of the DAR Secretary.
ISSUE: WON DARAB has jurisdiction to resolve the issue involving the identification and selection of qualified farmer-beneficiaries of a land covered by the CARP
HELD: The petition is meritorious. As held in Lercana v. Jalandoni, the Court was categorical in ruling that the identification and selection of CARP beneficiaries are matters involving strictly the administrative implementation of the CARP, a matter exclusively cognizable by the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, and beyond the jurisdiction of the DARAB.
Even a perusal of the DARAB Revised Rules shows that matters strictly involving the administrative implementation of the CARP and other agrarian laws and regulations, are the exclusive prerogative of, and cognizable by, the Secretary of the DAR. Rule II of the said Rules read: SECTION 1. Primary, Original and Appellate Jurisdiction. – The Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board shall have primary jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes, cases, controversies, and matters or incidents involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian
P a g e | 80
Reform Program under Republic Act No. 6657, Executive Order Nos. 229, 228 and 129-A, Republic Act No. 3844 as amended by Republic Act No. 6389, Presidential Decree No. 27 and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules and regulations.
The administrative function of the DAR is manifest in Administrative Order No. 06-00, which provides for the Rules of Procedure for Agrarian Law Implementation Cases. Under said Rules of Procedure, the DAR Secretary has exclusive jurisdiction over identification, qualification or disqualification of potential farmerbeneficiaries. Section 2 of the said Rules specifically provides,inter alia, that: SECTION 2. Cases Covered. - These Rules shall govern cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the DAR Secretary which shall include the following: x x x (b) Identification, qualification or disqualification of potential farmer-beneficiaries; x x x
Based on the foregoing, the conclusion is certain that the DARAB had no jurisdiction to identify who between the parties should be recognized as the beneficiaries of the land in dispute, as it was a purely administrative function of the DAR. Wherefore, the petition is granted.
P a g e | 81
Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Bases Conversion Development Authority G.R. No. 173085; January 19, 2011
FACTS: Sometime in 2003 respondent Bases Conversion Development Authority, a government corporation, filed several expropriation actions before the various branches of the RTC of Angeles City, for acquisition of lands needed for the construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project.
Respondents are Armando Simbillo, Christian Marcelo, Rolando David, Ricardo Bucud, Pablo Santos, Agrifina Enriquez, Conrado Espeleta, Catgerube Castro, Carlito Mercado, and Alfredo Suarez. All of them are the registered owners of the expropriated lands that they acquired as beneficiaries of the comprehensive agrarian reform program.
Land Bank of the Philippines, another respondent herein, is the mortgagee of the lands by virtue of the loans it extended for their acquisition. The lands in these cases were located in Porac and Floridablanca, Pampanga.
Upon notice of the filing of the case, petitioner herein, move for intervention before the RTC which was also denied by said court. PVB then filed its motion for reconsideration but Branch 58 denied the same, prompting the bank to file a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. The CA on its decision rendered dismissed the petition for lack of merit. Hence this case.
ISSUE: WON intervention in the expropriation cases allowed
HELD: YES. PVB‘s point regarding the authority of the court in expropriation cases to hear and adjudicate conflicting claims over the ownership of the lands involved in such cases is valid. But such rule obviously cannot apply to PVB for the following reasons:
P a g e | 82
1. At the time PVB tried to intervene in the expropriation cases, its conflict with the farmer beneficiaries who held CLOAs, EPs, or TCTs emanating from such titles were already pending before Angeles City RTC, a co-equal branch of the same court. Branch 58 had no authority to pre-empt Branch 62 of its power to hear and adjudicate claims that were already pending before it.
2. Of course, subsequently, after the CA dismissed PVB‘s petition on January 26, 2006, the latter filed a motion for reconsideration, pointing out that it had in the meantime already withdrawn the actions it filed with Branch 62 after learning from the decision of the Supreme Court in Department of Agrarian Reform v. Cuenca, that jurisdiction over cases involving the annulment of CLOAs and EPs were vested by Republic Act 6657 in the DARAB.
Branch 58 would still have no power to adjudicate the issues of ownership presented by the PVB‘s intervention.
Section 9 above empowers the court to order payment to itself of the proceeds of the expropriation whenever questions of ownership are yet to be settled. There is no reason why this rule should not be applied even where the settlement of such questions is to be made by another tribunal. Denied.
P a g e | 83
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. SALVADOR N. LOPEZ AGRI-BUSINESS CORP G.R. No. 178895; January 10, 2011
FACTS: On August 2, 1991, Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) Socorro C. Salga issued a Notice of Coverage to petitioner with regards to the aforementioned landholdings which were subsequently placed under Compulsory Acquisition pursuant to R.A. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law).
Petitioner filed with the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO), Davao Oriental, an Application for Exemption of the lots from CARP coverage. It alleged that pursuant to the case of Luz Farms v. DAR Secretary said parcels of land are exempted from coverage as the said parcels of land with a total area of 110.5455 hectares are used for grazing and habitat of petitioner‘s 105 heads of cattle, 5 carabaos, 11 horses, 9 heads of goats and 18 heads of swine, prior to the effectivity of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).
On December 13, 1992 and March 1, 1993, the MARO conducted an onsite investigation on the two parcels of land confirming the presence of the livestock as enumerated.
ISSUE: WON the Lopez and Limot lands of SNLABC can be considered grazing lands for its livestock business and are thus exempted from the coverage of the CARL
HELD: Lands devoted to the raising of livestock, poultry and swine are classified as industrial, not agricultural, and thus exempt from agrarian reform. In Luz Farms v. Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, 192 SCRA 51 (1990), the Court declared unconstitutional the CARL provisions that included lands devoted to livestock under the coverage of the CARP. The transcripts of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 on the meaning of the word ―agricultural‖ showed that it was never the intention of the framers of the Constitution to include the livestock and poultry industry in the coverage of the constitutionally mandated agrarian reform program of the government. Thus, lands devoted to the raising of livestock, poultry and swine have been classified as industrial, not agricultural, and thus exempt from agrarian reform.
P a g e | 84
WHEREFORE, the Petitions of the Department of Agra-rian Reform and the Salvador N. Lopez AgriBusiness Corp. are DISMISSED, and the rulings of the Court of Appeals and the DAR Regional Director are hereby AFFIRMED.
P a g e | 85
Roxas and Company, Inc. vs. DAMBA-NSFW and DAR G.R. No. 149548; December 14, 2010
FACTS: Roxas & Co. is a domestic corporation and is the registered owner of three haciendas. Congress of the Philippines passed Republic Act No. 6657, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) of 1988. The Act was signed by the President on June 10, 1988 and took effect on June 15, 1988. Before the law‘s Effectivity, on May 6, 1988, Roxas & Co. filed with respondent DAR a voluntary offer to sell [VOS] Hacienda Caylaway pursuant to the provisions of E.O. No. 229. Haciendas Palico and Banilad were later placed under compulsory acquisition by DAR in accordance with the CARL. Roxas & Co., through its President, sent a letter to the Secretary of DAR withdrawing its VOS of Hacienda Caylaway. The Sangguniang Bayan of Nasugbu, Batangas allegedly authorized the reclassification of Hacienda Caylaway from agricultural to non-agricultural. As a result, petitioner informed respondent DAR that it was applying for conversion of Hacienda Caylaway from agricultural to other uses.
Roxas & Co. filed with the DAR an application for exemption from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of 1988 on the basis of PP 1520 and of DAR Administrative Order (AO) No. 6, Series of 1994 which states that all lands already classified as commercial, industrial, or residential before the Effectivity of CARP no longer need conversion clearance from the DAR.
ISSUE: WON PP 1520 reclassified all lands in 1975 exempt Roxas & Co.‘s three haciendas in Nasugbu from CARP coverage.
HELD: P 1520 did not automatically convert the agricultural lands in the three municipalities including Nasugbu to non-agricultural lands.
The perambulatory clauses of PP 1520 identified only "certain areas in the sector comprising the [three Municipalities that] have potential tourism value" and mandated the conduct of "necessary studies" and the segregation of "specific geographic areas" to achieve its purpose. If all the lands in those tourism zones
P a g e | 86
were to be wholly converted to non-agricultural use, there would have been no need for the PP to direct the PTA to identify what those "specific geographic areas" are.
A proclamation that merely recognizes the potential tourism value of certain areas within the general area declared as tourist zone clearly does not allocate, reserve, or intend the entirety of the land area of the zone for non-agricultural purposes. Neither does said proclamation direct that otherwise CARPable lands within the zone shall already be used for purposes other than agricultural. Moreover, to view these kinds of proclamation as a reclassification for non-agricultural purposes of entire provinces, municipalities, barangays, islands, or peninsulas would be unreasonable as it amounts to an automatic and sweeping exemption from CARP in the name of tourism development. The same would also undermine the land use reclassification powers vested in local government units in conjunction with pertinent agencies of government. To reiterate, PP 1520 merely recognized the "potential tourism value" of certain areas within the general area declared as tourism zones. It did not reclassify the areas to non-agricultural use. A mere reclassification of an agricultural land does not automatically allow a landowner to change its use since there is still that process of conversion before one is permitted to use it for other purposes.
P a g e | 87
Mendoza vs. Germino G.R. No. 165676; November 22, 2010
FACTS: On June 27, 1988, the petitioner and Aurora C. Mendoza (plaintiffs) filed a complaint with the Municipal Trial Court of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija against respondent Narciso Germino for forcible entry; that they were the registered owners of a five-hectare parcel of land (subject property). Sometime in 1988, respondent Narciso unlawfully entered the subject property by means of strategy and stealth, and without their knowledge or consent. Despite the plaintiffs‘ repeated demands, respondent Narciso refused to vacate the subject property.
Respondent Narciso filed his answer, claiming, among others, that his brother, respondent Benigno Germino, was the plaintiffs‘ agricultural lessee and he merely helped the latter in the cultivation as a member of the immediate farm household. The decision was affirmed by the DARAB. Defendants appealed the case to the CA. The CA set aside the decision of the DARAB contending that the case was recovery of possession and not tenancy. Because of Narciso's allegation of tenancy the plaintiffs move to remand the case to the DARAB. Without conducting a conference the MTC remanded the case to the DARAB.
Subsequently plaintiff filed an amended complaint to the PARAD. The amendment included Benigno as defendant. The plaintiffs alleged that it was not Benigno who is the lessee of the property but it was Efren Bernardo. The PARAD decided in plaintiff favor.
ISSUE: WON the MTC or DARAB has jurisdiction over the case.
HELD: The MTC has the jurisdiction over the case. As a general rule jurisdiction is conferred by law and determined by the allegation in the complaint. A careful perusal of petitioner's complaint manifest that their cause of action is for forcible entry and damages. Thus despite the allegation of Narciso in his answer of tenancy relationship, still the MTC has jurisdiction.
P a g e | 88
The court explains: "Although respondent Narciso averred tenancy as an affirmative and/or special defense in his answer, this did not automatically divest the MTC of jurisdiction over the complaint. It continued to have the authority to hear the case precisely to determine whether it had jurisdiction to dispose of the ejectment suit on its merits. After all, jurisdiction is not affected by the pleas or the theories set up by the defendant in an answer or a motion to dismiss. Otherwise, jurisdiction would become dependent almost entirely upon the whims of the defendant.
In the present case, instead of conducting a preliminary conference, the MTC immediately referred the case to the DARAB. This was contrary to the rules. Besides, Section 2 of P.D. No. 316, which required the referral of a land dispute case to the Department of Agrarian Reform for the preliminary determination of the existence of an agricultural tenancy relationship, has indeed been repealed by Section 76 of R.A. No. 6657 in 1988.
Neither did the amendment of the complaint confer jurisdiction on the DARAB. The plaintiffs alleged in the amended complaint that the subject property was previously tilled by Efren Bernardo, and the respondents took possession by strategy and stealth, without their knowledge and consent. In the absence of any allegation of a tenancy relationship between the parties, the action was for recovery of possession of real property that was within the jurisdiction of the regular courts.
P a g e | 89
APO Fruits Corp. et al vs. Court of Appeals, Land Bank of the Philippines G.R. No. 164195; July 12, 2010
FACTS: AFC and Hijo Plantation Inc. were owners of 5 parcels of land located in San Isidro, Tagum, Davao. The two voluntarily offered to sell the properties to the DAR. DAR offered P86.9M for AFC‘s land and P164.40 for HPI‘s land. AFC, HPI and DAR cannot agree on a price hence the Complaint for Determination of Just Compensation was filed before the DAR Adjudication Board. The DARAB failed to render a decision on the valuation of the land for three years. But nevertheless, the government deposited P26M into AFC‘s account and P45M into HPI‘s account as down payment in 1996. The DAR also caused the titling of the land in the name of the Republic of the Philippines. Later, titles were given to farmers under the CARP.
Due to DARAB‘s failure to adjudicate, AFC and HPI filed a complaint for determination of just compensation before the RTC of Davao which rendered a decision in favor of AFC and HPI. The RTC ruled, based on the reports it gathered from assessors, that the purchase price should be higher than what was offered by DAR; that the purchase price should be at P103.33/ sq. m; that DAR is to pay AFC and HPI a total of P1.38B. DAR appealed to the CA, the CA reversed the RTC.
ISSUE: WON there was just compensation
HELD: No. AFC‘s and HPI‘s land were taken in 1996 without just compensation. DARAB, an agency of the DAR which was commissioned by law to determine just compensation, sat on the cases for three years, which was the reason that AFC and HPI filed the cases before the RTC. The RTC‘s finding is to be sustained as it based its ruling on evidence. DAR was given chance to support its ruling on why the purchase price should be at a lower amount but DAR failed to present such evidence. To allow the taking of landowners‘ properties, and to leave them empty-handed while government withholds compensation is undoubtedly oppressive.
The concept of just compensation embraces not only the correct determination of the amount to be paid to the owners of the land, but also the payment of the land within a reasonable time from its taking. Without
P a g e | 90
prompt payment, compensation cannot be considered ―just‖ inasmuch as the property owner is being made to suffer the consequences of being immediately deprived of his land while being made to wait for a decade or more before actually receiving the amount necessary to cope with his loss.
Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. It has been repeatedly stressed by this Court that the measure is not the taker‘s gain but the owner‘s loss. The word ―just‖ is used to intensify the meaning of the word ―compensation‖ to convey the idea that the equivalent to be rendered for the property to be taken shall be real, substantial, full, and ample.
The power of expropriation is by no means absolute (as indeed no power is absolute). The limitation is found in the constitutional injunction that ―private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation‖ and in the abundant jurisprudence that has evolved from the interpretation of this principle. Basically, the requirements for a proper exercise of the power are: (1) public use and (2) just compensation.
Section 57 of Republic Act No. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law) provides: SEC. 57. Special Jurisdiction. – The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special Agrarian Courts, unless modified by this Act Section 17 of Republic Act No. 6657, which is particularly relevant, providing as it does the guideposts for the determination of just compensation, reads, as follows:
Sec. 17. Determination of Just Compensation. – In determining just compensation, the cost of acquisition of the land, the current value of like properties, its nature, actual use and income, the sworn valuation by the owner, the tax declarations, and the assessment made by government assessors shall be considered. The social and economic benefits contributed by the farmers and the farm-workers and by the Government to the property as well as the non-payment of taxes or loans secured from any government financing institution on the said land shall be considered as additional factors to determine its valuation.
Note should be taken that in said Appraisal Report, permanent improvements on AFC‘s and HPI‘s lands have been introduced and found existing, e.g., all weather-road network, airstrip, pier, irrigation system, packing houses, among others, wherein substantial amount of capital funding have been invested in putting them up.
P a g e | 91
The agricultural properties of AFC and HPI are just a stone‘s throw from the residential and/or industrial sections of Tagum City, a fact DAR should never ignore. The market value of the property (plus the consequential damages less consequential benefits) is determined by such factors as the value of like properties, its actual or potential use, its size, shape and location.