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PROVINCE OF CAMARINES SUR vs. CA and TITO B.

DATO
FACTS: In January 1, 1960 - private respondent Dato was appointed as Private Agent
by the then Gov. of Camarines Sur, Apolonio Maleniza.
October 12, 1972 - Dato was promoted and appointed Assistant Provincial Warden
by then Gov. Felix Alfelor, Sr. Dato had no civil service eligibility for the position he
was appointed to, thus, he could not be legally extended a permanent appointment.
He was extended a temporary appointment, which was renewed annually.
January 1, 1974 Gov. Alfelor approved the change in Dato's employment status
from temporary to permanent upon the latter's representation that he passed the
civil service examination for supervising security guards. Said change of status
however, was not favorably acted upon by the Civil Service Commission (CSC)
reasoning that Dato did not possess the necessary civil service eligibility for the
office he was appointed to. His appointment remained temporary and no other
appointment was extended to him.
March 16, 1976 Dato was indefinitely suspended by Gov. Alfelor after criminal
charges were filed against him and a prison guard for allegedly conniving and/or
consenting to evasion of sentence of some detention prisoners who escaped from
confinement. Two years after the request for change of status was made, Mr. Lope
B. Rama, head of the Camarines Sur Unit of the Civil ServiceCommission, wrote the
Gov. a letter informing him that the status of private respondent Dato has been
changed from temporary to permanent, the latter having passed the examination
for Supervising Security Guard. The change of status was to be made retroactive to
June 11, 1974, the date of release of said examination.
Sangguniang Panlalawigan, suppressed the appropriation for the position of
Assistant Provincial Warden and deleted private respondent's name from the
petitioner's plantilla. Dato was subsequently acquitted of the charges against him.
Consequently, he requested the Gov. for reinstatement and backwages. His request
was not heeded. Dato filed an action before the RTC.
RTC Decision: Ordered the payment of backwages of Dato equivalent to five years.
Province of Camarines Sur appealed the decision to the CA.
CA: Affirmed RTCs decision. Hence the present petition.
ISSUE: W/N Dato was a permanent employee of petitioner Province of Camarines
Sur at the time he was suspended on March 16, 1976.
Petitioners contention: When Gov. Alfelor recommended to CSC the change in the
employment status of private respondent from temporary to permanent, which the
CSC approved as only temporary pending validation of the results of private
respondent's examination for supervising security guard, private respondent's
appointment in effect remained temporary. Hence, his subsequent qualification for

civil service eligibility did not ipso facto convert his temporary status to that of
permanent.
SC Held: Agrees with Petitioners contentions. Dato, being merely a temporary
employee, is not entitled to his claim for backwages for the entire period of his
suspension.
Ratio: At the time Dato was appointed Assistant Provincial Warden on January 1,
1974, he had not yet qualified in an appropriate examination for the
aforementioned position. Such lack of a civil service eligibility made his
appointment temporary and without a fixed and definite term and is dependent
entirely upon the pleasure of the appointing power.
The fact that private respondent obtained civil service eligibility later on is of no
moment as his having passed the supervising security guard examination, did not
ipso facto convert his temporary appointment into a permanent one.
What is required is a new appointment since a permanent appointment is not a
continuation of the temporary appointment these are two distinct acts of the
appointing authority
The letter communicated by Mr. Lope Rama to the Gov. of Camarines Sur is a clear
arrogation of power properly belonging to the appointing authority. CSC has the
power to approve or disapprove an appointment set before it. It does not have the
power to make the appointment itself or to direct the appointing authority to
change the employment status of an employee. CSC should have ended its
participation in the appointment of private respondent on January 1, 1974 when it
confirmed the temporary status of the latter who lacked the proper civil service
eligibility. When it issued the foregoing communication on March 19, 1976, it
stepped on the toes of the appointing authority, thereby encroaching on the
discretion vested solely upon the latter.
Republic of the Philippines Rep. by the Department of Agrarian Reform vs. Hon.
Court of Appeals and
Green City Estate Development Corporation
G.R. No. 139592 (October 5, 2000)
Facts: The five (5) parcels of land in issue with a combined area of 112.0577
hectares situated at Barangay Punta, Municipality of Jala-Jala, Province of Rizal were
acquired by private respondent through purchase on May 26, 1994 from Marcela
Borja vda. de Torres. The tax declarations classified the properties as agricultural.
On June 16, 1994, petitioner DAR issued a Notice of Coverage of the subject parcels
of land under compulsory acquisition pursuant to Section 7, Chapter II of R.A. No.
6657 or the Comprehensive Land Reform Law of 1988 (CARL). Private respondent

filed with the DAR Regional Office an application for exemption of the land from
agrarian reform pursuant to DAR Administrative Order No. 6, series of 1994 and DOJ
Opinion No. 44, series of 1990. The DAR Regional Director recommended a denial of
the said petition on the ground that private respondent "ailed to substantiate their
(sic) allegation that the properties are indeed in the Municipality's residential and
forest conservation zone and that portions of the properties are neither irrigated nor
irrigable".
Private respondent filed an Amended Petition for Exemption/Exclusion from CARP
coverage, this time alleging that the property is within the residential and forest
conservation zones and offering a portion of about 15 hectares of land (irrigated
riceland) to sell to farmer beneficiaries or to DAR. On October 19, 1995, the DAR
Secretary issued an Order denying the application for exemption. Private
respondent moved for reconsideration but the same was likewise denied. Appeal
was made to the Court of Appeals.
The latter in turn created a commission to conduct ocular inspection and survey.
DAR likewise constituted its own team to conduct an inspection and thereafter
objected to the report filed by the commission.
On December 9, 1998, the Court of Appeals issued its Decision reversing the
Assailed DAR Orders and declaring the mountainous and residential portions of the
petitioner's land to be exempt from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
(CARP). Hence, this petition for review.
Issue: Whether or not the landholdings subject of this controversy are exempt from
CARL coverage?
Held: There is no law or jurisprudence that holds that the land classification
embodied in the tax declarations is conclusive and final nor would proscribe any
further inquiry. Furthermore, the tax declarations are clearly not the sole basis of
the classification of the land. In fact, DAR Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 1994
lists other documents, aside from tax declarations, that must be submitted when
applying for exemption from CARP. In Halili vs. Court of Appeals, we sustained the
trial court when it ruled that the classification made by the Land Regulatory Board
of the land in question outweighed the classification stated in the tax declaration.
The classification of the Board in said case was more recent than that of the tax
declaration and was based on the present condition of the property and the
community thereat.
The commissioner's report on the actual condition of the properties confirms the
fact that the properties are not wholly agricultural. In essence, the report of the
commission showed that the land of private respondent consists of a mountainous
area with an average 28 degree slope containing 66.5 hectares; a level, unirrigated
area of 34 hectares of which 5 to 6 hectares are planted to palay; and a residential
area of 8 hectares. The finding that 66.5 hectares of the 112.0577 hectares of land

of private respondent have an average slope of 28 degrees provides another cogent


reason to exempt these portions of the properties from the CARL. Section 10 of the
CARL is clear on this point when it provides that "all lands with eighteen percent
(18%) slope and over, except those already developed shall be exempt from the
coverage of this Act."
Petitioner DAR and the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) contest the finding of
the Court of Appeals that the subject parcels of land have a mountainous slope on
the ground that this conclusion was allegedly arrived at in a manner not in accord
with established surveying procedures. They also bewail the consideration given by
the Court of Appeals to the "slope" issue since this matter was allegedly never
raised before the DAR and the Court of Appeals. Petitioner DAR and the OSG thus
claim that laches had already set in.
As pointed out earlier, the crux of the controversy is whether the subject parcels of
land in issue are exempt from the coverage of the CARL. The determination of the
classification and physical condition of the lands is therefore material in the
disposition of this case, for which purpose the Court of Appeals constituted the
commission to inspect and survey said properties. Petitioner DAR did not object to
the creation of a team of commissioners when it very well knew that the survey and
ocular inspection would eventually involve the determination of the slope of the
subject parcels of land. It is the protestation of petitioner that comes at a belated
hour. The team of commissioners appointed by respondent court was composed of
persons who were mutually acceptable to the parties. Thus, in the absence of any
irregularity in the survey and inspection of the subject properties, and none is
alleged, the report of the commissioners deserves full faith and credit and we find
no reversible error in the reliance by the appellate court upon said report.
CONVERSION/DISTURBANCE COMPENSATION, IN THE EVENT THAT TENANTED LAND
IS CONVERTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 36 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3844, THE ONLY
RELIEF AVAILABLE TO THE RESPONDENTS IS THE PAYMENT OF A DISTURBANCE
COMPENSATION EQUIVALENT TO FIVE TIMES THE AVERAGE OF THE GROSS
HARVESTS OF THE LANDHOLDING DURING THE LAST FIVE PRECEDING CALENDARYEARS. IN THIS CASE, THE AWARD OF A 75 SQUARE METER HOMELOT WAS MERELY
MADE IN LIEU OF THE AFOREMENTIONED DISTURBANCE COMPENSATION.
DAR v. DECS
Petition for review on certiorari to set aside decision of CA which denied petitioners
motion for reconsideration -Lot No.2509 and Lot No. 817-D consists of an aggregate
area of 189.2462 hectares located at Hacienda Fe, Escalante, Negros Occidental and
Brgy. Gen. Luna, Sagay, Negros Occidental, respectively. On October 21, 1921, these
lands were donated by Esteban
Jalandoni to respondent DECS. Titles were
transferred in the name of respondent DECS.

-DECS leased the lands to Anglo Agricultural Corporation for 10 agricultural crop
years, commencing from crop year 1984-1985 to crop year 1993-1994. The contract
of lease was subsequently renewed for another 10 agricultural crop years,
commencing from crop year 1995-1996 to crop year 2004-2005.
-June 10, 1993: Eugenio Alpar et.al, claim to be permanent and regular farm
workers of the subject lands, filed a petition for Compulsory Agrarian Reform
Program (CARP) coverage with the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) of
Escalante.
-After investigation, MARO Jacinto R. Piosa, sent a Notice of Coverage to
respondent DECS, stating that the lands are covered by CARP and inviting its
representatives for a conference with the farmer beneficiaries. Then, MARO Piosa
submitted his report to OIC- PARO Stephen M. Leonidas, who recommended to the
DAR Regional Director the approval of the coverage of the landholdings.
-August 7, 1998: DAR Regional Director Andres approved the recommendation and
directed Provincial Agrarian Reform Office to facilitate acquisition and distribution of
landholdings to qualified beneficiaries.
-DECS appealed the case to the Secretary of Agrarian Reform which affirmed the
Order of the Regional Director.
-Aggrieved DECS filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, which set
aside the decision of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform. Hence, the instant petition
for review.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the subject properties are exempt from the coverage of Republic
Act No. 6657/ Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1998 (CARL)NO
2. Whether or not the farmers are qualified beneficiaries of CARP--YES
The general policy under CARL is to cover as much lands suitable for agriculture as
possible.
Section 4 of R.A. No. 6657 sets out the coverage of CARP. The program shall:
cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and
private agricultural lands as provided in Proclamation No. 131 and Executive Order
No. 229, including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture.
Following lands are covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program :
(a) All alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for
agriculture. No reclassification of forest or mineral lands to agricultural lands shall
be undertaken after the approval of this Act until Congress, taking into account,

ecological, developmental and equity considerations, shall have determined by law,


the specific limits of the public domain;
(b) All lands of the public domain in excess of the specific limits as determined by
Congress in the preceding paragraph;
(c) All other lands owned by the Government devoted to or suitable for agriculture;
and
(d) All private lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture regardless of the
agricultural products raised or that can be raised thereon.
Section 3(c): agricultural land- land devoted to agricultural activity as defined in
this Act and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial
land. agriculture or agricultural activity - means the cultivation of the soil,
planting of crops, growing of fruit trees, raising of livestock, poultry or fish,
including the harvesting of such farm products, and other farm activities, and
practices performed by a farmer in conjunction with such farming operations done
by persons whether natural or juridical.
The records of the case show that the subject properties were formerly private
agricultural lands owned by the late Esteban Jalandoni, and were donated to
respondent DECS. From that time until they were leased to Anglo Agricultural
Corporation, the lands continued to be agricultural primarily planted to sugarcane,
albeit part of the public domain being owned by an agency of the government.
There is no legislative or presidential act, before and after the enactment of R.A. No.
6657, classifying the said lands as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or
industrial land. Indubitably, the subject lands fall under the classification of lands of
the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture.
-DECS: sought exemption from CARP coverage on the ground that all the income
derived from its contract of lease with Anglo Agricultural Corporation were actually,
directly and exclusively used for educational purposes.
-DAR: the lands subject are not exempt from the CARP coverage because the same
are not actually, directly and exclusively used as school sites or campuses, as they
are in fact leased to Anglo Agricultural Corporation. Further, to be exempt from the
coverage, it is the land per se, not the income derived that must be actually,
directly and exclusively used for educational purposes.
HELD: I. We agree with the petitioner DAR that they are not exempted.
Section 10 of R.A. No. 6657 enumerates the types of lands which are exempted
from the coverage of CARP as well as the purposes of their exemption:
c) Lands actually, directly and exclusively used and found to be necessary for
national defense, school sites and campuses, including experimental farm stations

operated by public or private schools for educational purposes, , shall be exempt


from the coverage of this Act.
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In order to be exempt from the coverage : 1) the land must be actually, directly,
and exclusively used and found to be necessary; and
2) the purpose is for school sites and campuses, including experimental farm
stations operated by public or private schools for educational purposes.
The importance of the phrase actually, directly, and exclusively used and found to
be necessary
cannot be understated. The words of the law are clear and unambiguous. The
plain meaning rule or
verba legis is applicable. Where the words of a statute are clear, plain and free from
ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted
interpretation.
We are not unaware of our ruling in the case of Central Mindanao University
v.Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board, wherein we declared the land
subject exempt from CARP coverage. However, DECS reliance is misplaced because
the factual circumstances are different in the case at bar.
1st , in the CMU case, the land involved was not alienable and disposable land of
the public domain because it was reserved by the late President Carlos P. Garcia
under Proc. No. 476 for the use of Mindanao Agricultural College (now CMU). In this
case, however, the lands fall under the category of alienable and disposable lands
of the public domain suitable for agriculture.
2nd, in the CMU case, the land was actually, directly and exclusively used and found
to be necessary for school sites and campuses. Although a portion of it was being
used by the Philippine Packing Corporation (now Del Monte Phils., Inc.) under a
Management and Development Agreement, the undertaking was that the land
shall be used by the Philippine Packing Corporation as part of the CMU research
program, with direct participation of faculty and students. The retention of the land
was found to be necessary for the present and future educational needs. On the
other hand, the lands in this case were not actually and exclusively utilized as
school sites and campuses. They were leased to Anglo Agricultural Corporation, not
for educational but business purposes. Also, it was the income and not the lands
that was directly used for the repairs and renovations of the schools.
II. We disagree with the Court of Appeals finding that they were not qualified
beneficiaries.

The identification of actual and potential beneficiaries under CARP is vested in the
Secretary of Agrarian Reform pursuant to Section 15, R.A. No. 6657: SECTION 15.
Registration of Beneficiaries. The DAR in coordination with the Barangay
Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC) as organized in this Act, shall register all
agricultural lessees, tenants and farmworkers who are qualified to be beneficiaries
of the CARP. These potential beneficiaries with the assistance of the BARC and the
DAR shall provide the following data:
(a) names and members of their immediate farm household;
(b) owners or administrators of the lands they work on and the length of tenurial
relationship;
(c) location and area of the land they work;
(d) crops planted; and
(e) their share in the harvest or amount of rental paid or wages received.
A copy of the registry or list of all potential CARP beneficiaries in the barangay shall
be posted in the barangay hall, school or other public buildings in the barangay
where it shall be open to inspection by the public at all reasonable hours.
In the case at bar, the BARC certified that the farmers were potential CARP
beneficiaries of the subject properties. Further, on November 23, 1994, the
Secretary of Agrarian Reform through the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO)
issued a Notice of Coverage placing the subject properties under CARP. Since the
identification and selection of CARP beneficiaries are matters involving strictly the
administrative implementation of the CARP, it behooves the courts to exercise great
caution in substituting its own determination of the issue, unless there is grave
abuse of discretion committed by the administrative agency. In this case, there was
none.
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is the bastion of social justice
of
poor landless farmers, the mechanism designed to redistribute to the
underprivileged the natural right to toil the earth, and to liberate them from
oppressive tenancy. The objective of the State is that: landless farmers and
farmworkers will receive the highest consideration to promote social justice and to
move the nation toward sound rural development and industrialization.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, thepetition is GRANTED. The decision of the
Court of Appeals dated October 29, 2002, in CA-G.R. SP No. 64378 is REVERSED and
SET ASIDE . The decision dated August 30, 2000 of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform
placing the subject lands under CARP coverage , is REINSTATED.

DAR vs Delia Sutton


FACTS:
The case at bar 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, CARL took effect.
In view of the Luz Farms ruling, 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.
MARO inspected respondents land and found that it was devoted solely to cattleraising and breeding. He recommended to the DAR Secretary that it be exempted
from the coverage of the CARL.
DAR ignored their request
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 animalland ratio.
DAR Secretary Garilao issued an Order partially granting the application of
respondents for exemption from the coverage of CARL. Respondents moved for
reconsideration. They contend that their entire landholding should be exempted as
it is devoted exclusively to cattle-raising. Their motion was denied.
Office of the President affirmed the order of DAR
On appeal, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the respondents. It declared DAR
A.O. No. 9, s. 1993, void for being contrary to the intent of the 1987 Constitutional
Commission to exclude livestock farms from the land reform program of the
government.
ISSUE: Whether or not DAR A.O. No. 9, series of 1993, which prescribes a maximum
retention limit for owners of lands devoted to livestock raising is constitutional.
HELD:
Assailed AO is unconstitutional.

In the case at bar, we find that 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.
Roxas and Company, Inc. vs. DAMBA-NSFW and DAR
FACTS:
Roxas & Co. is a domestic corporation and is the registered owner of three
haciendas. On July 27, 1987, the Congress of the Philippines formally convened and
took over legislative power from the President. This Congress 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 laws 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. On August 6, 1992 [Roxas &
Co.], through its President, sent a letter to theSecretary of DAR withdrawing its
VOS of Hacienda Caylaway.
The Sangguniang Bayan of Nasugbu, Batangas allegedly authorized
reclassification of Hacienda Caylaway from agricultural to non-agricultural

the

As a result, petitioner informed respondent DAR that it was applying for conversion
of Hacienda Caylaway from agricultural to other uses. The petitions nub on the
interpretation of Presidential Proclamation (PP) 1520 reads: DECLARING THE
MUNICIPALITIES OF MARAGONDON AND TERNATE IN CAVITE PROVINCE AND THE
MUNICIPALITY OF NASUGBU IN BATANGAS AS A TOURISTZONE, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES Essentially, Roxas & Co. filed its application for conversion of its three
haciendas from agricultural to non-agricultural on the assumption that the issuance
of PP 1520 which declared Nasugbu,
Batangas as a tourism zone, reclassified them to non-agricultural uses. Its pending
application notwithstanding, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued
Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to the farmer-beneficiaries in the
three haciendas including CLOA No. 6654 which was issued on October 15, 1993
covering 513.983 hectares, the subject of G.R. No. 167505. 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.

ISSUES: Whether PP 1520 reclassified in 1975 all lands in the Maragondon-TernateNasugbu tourism zone to non- agricultural useto exempt Roxas & Co.s three
haciendas in Nasugbu from CARP coverage;
RULING: PP 1520 DID NOT AUTOMATICALLY CONVERT THE AGRICULTURAL LANDS IN
THE THREE MUNICIPALITIES INCLUDINGNASUGBU TO NON-AGRICULTURAL LANDS.
Roxas & Co. contends that PP 1520 declared the three municipalities as each
constituting a tourism zone, reclassified all landstherein to tourism and, therefore,
converted their use to non-agricultural purposes.The perambulatory clauses of PP
1520 identified only "certain areas in the sector comprising the [three Municipalities
that] havepotential tourism value" and mandated the conduct of "necessary
studies" and the segregation of "specific geographic areas" toachieve its purpose.
Which is why the PP directed the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) to identify what
those potential tourismareas are. If all the lands in those tourism zones were to be
wholly converted to non-agricultural use, there would have been noneed for the PP
to direct the PTA to identify what those "specific geographic areas" are.In the abovecited case of Roxas & Co. v. CA, the Court made it clear that the "power to
determine whether Haciendas Palico,Banilad and Caylaway are non-agricultural,
hence, exempt from the coverage of the [Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law] lies
withthe [Department of Agrarian Reform], not with this Court." The DAR, an
administrative body of special competence, denied, byOrder, the application for
CARP exemption of Roxas & Co., it finding that PP 1520 did not automatically
reclassify all the lands in theaffected municipalities from their original uses. It
appears that the PTA had not yet, at that time, identified the "specific geographic
areas" for tourism development and had no pending tourism development projects
in the areas. Further, report from the Center for Land Use Policy Planning and
Implementation (CLUPPI) indicated that the areas were planted with sugar cane and
other crops.
Relatedly, the DAR, by Memorandum Circular No. 7, Series of 2004,12 came up with
clarificatory guidelines and therein decreed thatB. Proclamations declaring general
areas such as whole provinces, municipalities, barangays, islands or peninsulas
astourist zones that merely:(1) recognize certain still unidentified areas within the
covered provinces, municipalities, barangays, islands, or peninsulasto be with
potential tourism value and charge the Philippine Tourism Authority with the task to
identify/delineate specificgeographic areas within the zone with potential tourism
value and to coordinate said areas development; or
(2) recognize the potential value of identified spots located within the general area
declared as tourist zone (i.e. x x x x)and direct the Philippine Tourism Authority to
coordinate said areas development;could not be regarded as effecting an automatic
reclassification of the entirety of the land area declared as tourist zone. This is
sobecause "reclassification of lands" denotes their allocation into some specific

use and "providing for the manner of their utilizationand disposition (Sec. 20, Local
Government Code) or the "act of specifying how agricultural lands shall be utilized
for non-agricultural uses such as residential, industrial, or commercial, as embodied
in the land use plan." A proclamation that merelyrecognizes 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 nonagricultural purposes. Neither does said proclamation direct thatotherwise 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 thename of tourism development. The same would also
undermine the land use reclassification powers vested in local governmentunits in
conjunction with pertinent agencies of government.C. There being no
reclassification, it is clear that said proclamations/issuances, assuming [these] took
effect before June 15, 1988,could not supply a basis for exemption of the entirety of
the lands embraced therein from CARP coverageD. The DARs reading into these
general proclamations of tourism zones deserves utmost consideration, more
especially in thepresent petitions which involve vast tracts of agricultural land. 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
MILESTONE FARMS, INC., Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, Respondent.
NACHURA, J.:
FACTS:
On June 10, 1988, a new agrarian reform law, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6657,
otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), took effect,
which included the raising of livestock, poultry, and swine in its coverage. However,
on December 4, 1990, this Court, sitting en banc, ruled in Luz Farms v. Secretary of
the Department of Agrarian Reform that agricultural lands devoted to livestock,
poultry, and/or swine raising are excluded from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program (CARP). Thus, in May 1993, petitioner applied for the exemption/exclusion
of its 316.0422-hectare property

The DARs Land Use Conversion and Exemption Committee (LUCEC) recommended
the exemption of petitioners 316.0422-hectare property from the coverage of
CARP, which was then adopted by DAR Regional Director Dalugdug.

Petitioner filed a complaint for Forcible Entry against Balajadia and company before
the Municipal Circuit Trial Court. The MCTC ruled in favor of petitioner, but the
decision was later reversed by the RTC. The CA, however, reinstated the MCTCs
ruling, ordering Balajadia and all defendants therein to vacate portions of the
property.

Meanwhile, R.A. No. 6657 was amended by R.A. No. 7881 which provided that
private agricultural lands devoted to livestock, poultry, and swine raising were
excluded from the coverage of the CARL. Due to this, DAR Secretary Garilao issued
an Order exempting from CARP only 240.9776 hectares of the 316.0422 hectares
previously exempted by Director Dalugdug. This was reinstated by the Office of the
President.

Meanwhile, six months earlier, or on November 4, 2004, without the knowledge of


the CA as the parties did not inform the appellate court then DAR Secretary Rene
C. Villa (Secretary Villa) issued DAR Conversion Order No. CON-0410-0016
(Conversion Order), granting petitioners application to convert portions of the
316.0422-hectare property from agricultural to residential and golf courses use.

ISSUE: Whether or not the use and disposition of that land is already beyond DARs
jurisdiction.

HELD:

The petition lacks merit.

CIVIL LAW: DAR jurisdiction

To succumb to petitioners contention that when a land is declared exempt from


the CARP on the ground that it is not agricultural as of the time the CARL took
effect, the use and disposition of that land is entirely and forever beyond DARs
jurisdiction is dangerous, suggestive of self-regulation. Precisely, it is the DAR
Secretary who is vested with such jurisdiction and authority to exempt and/or

exclude a property from CARP coverage based on the factual circumstances of each
case and in accordance with law and applicable jurisprudence. In addition, albeit
parenthetically, Secretary Villa had already granted the conversion into residential
and golf courses use of nearly one-half of the entire area originally claimed as
exempt from CARP coverage because it was allegedly devoted to livestock
production.

Petition is DENIED.
Secretary Florencio Abad
Department of Agrarian Reform
Diliman, Quezon City

Sir:

This refers to your letter of the 13th instant stating your "position that prior to
the passage of R.A. 6657, the Department of Agrarian Reform had the authority to
classify and declare which agricultural lands are suitable for non-agricultural
purposes, and to approve or disapprove applications for conversion from agricultural
to non-agricultural uses."

In support of the foregoing view, you contend that under R.A. No. 3844, as
amended, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is empowered to "determine
and declare an agricultural land to be suited for residential, commercial, industrial
or some other urban purpose" and to "convert agricultural land from agricultural to
non-agricultural purposes"; that P.D. No. 583, as amended by P.D. No. 815 "affirms
that the conversion of agricultural lands shall be allowed only upon previous
authorization of the [DAR]; with respect to tenanted rice and corn lands"; that a
Memorandum of Agreement dated May 13, 1977 between the DAR, the Department
of Local Government and Community Development and the then Human
Settlements Commission "further affirms the authority of the [DAR] to allow or
disallow conversion of agricultural lands"; that E.O. No. 129-A expressly invests the
DAR with exclusive authority to approve or disapprove conversion of agricultural
lands for residential, commercial, industrial and other land uses'; and that while in

the final version of House Bill 400, Section 9 thereof provided that lands devoted to
"residential, housing, commercial and industrial sites classified as such by the
municipal and city development councils as already approved by the Housing and
Land Use Regulatory Board, in their respective zoning development plans" be
exempted from the coverage of the Agrarian Reform program, this clause was
deleted from Section 10 of the final version of the consolidated bill stating the
exemptions from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

We take it that your query has been prompted by the study previously made
by this Department for Executive Secretary Catalino Macaraig Jr. and Secretary
Vicente Jayme (Memorandum dated February 14, 1990) which upheld the authority
of the DAR to authorize conversions of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses as
of June 15, 1988, the date of effectivity of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law
(R.A. No. 6657). it is your position that the authority of DAR to authorize such
conversion existed even prior to June 15, 1988 or as early as 1963 under the
Agricultural Land Reform Code (R.A. No. 3844; as amended).

It should be made clear at the outset that the aforementioned study of this
Department was based on facts and issues arising from the implementation of the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). While there is no specific and
express authority given to DAR in the CARP law to approve or disapprove conversion
of agricultural lands to non- agricultural uses, because Section 65 only refers to
conversions effected after five years from date of the award, we opined that the
authority of the DAR to approve or disapprove conversions of agricultural lands to
non-agricultural uses applies only to conversions made on or after June 15, 1988,
the date of effectivity of R.A. No. 6657, solely on the basis of our interpretation of
DAR's mandate and the comprehensive coverage of the land reform program. Thus,
we said:

"Being vested with exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the
implementation of agrarian reform, it is believed to be the agrarian reform law's
intention that any conversion of a private agricultural land to non- agricultural uses
should be cleared beforehand by the DAR. True, the DAR's express power over land
use conversion is limited to cases in which agricultural lands already awarded have,
after five years, ceased to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural
purposes, or the locality has become urbanized and the land will have a greater
economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes. But to suggest
that these are the only instances when the DAR can require conversion clearances
would open a loophole in the R.A. No. 6657, which every landowner may use to
evade compliance with the agrarian reform program. Hence, it should logically

follow from the said department's express duty and function to execute and enforce
the said statute that any reclassification of a private land as a residential,
commercial or industrial property should first be cleared by the DAR."

It is conceded that under the laws in force prior to the enactment and effective
date of R.A. No. 6657, the DAR had likewise the authority, to authorize conversions
of agricultural lands to other uses, but always in coordination with other concerned
agencies. Under R.A. No. 3344, as amended by R.A. No. 6389, an agricultural lessee
may, by order of the court, be dispossessed of his landholding if after due hearing, it
is shown that the "landholding is declared by the [DAR] upon the recommendation
of the National Planning Commission to be suited for residential, commercial,
industrial or some other urban purposes."

Likewise, under various Presidential Decrees (P.D. Nos. 583, 815 and 946)
which were issued to give teeth to the implementation of the agrarian reform
program decreed in P.D. No. 27, the DAR was empowered to authorize conversions
of tenanted agricultural lands, specifically those planted to rice and/or corn, to other
agricultural or to non-agricultural uses, "subject to studies on zoning of the Human
Settlements Commissions" (HSC). This non-exclusive authority of the DAR under the
aforesaid laws was, as you have correctly pointed out, recognized and reaffirmed by
other concerned agencies, such as the Department of Local Government and
Community Development (DLGCD) and the then Human Settlements Commission
(HSC) in a Memorandum of Agreement executed by the DAR and these two
agencies on May 13, 1977, which is an admission that with respect to land use
planning and conversions, the authority is not exclusive to any particular agency
but is a coordinated effort of all concerned agencies.

It is significant to mention that in 1978, the then Ministry of Human


Settlements was granted authority to review and ratify land use plans and zoning
ordinance of local governments and to approve development proposals which
include land use conversions (see LOI No. 729 [1978]). This was followed by P.D. No.
648 (1981) which conferred upon the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission
(the predecessors of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board [HLURB] the
authority to promulgate zoning and other land use control standards and guidelines
which shall govern land use plans and zoning ordinances of local governments,
subdivision or estate development projects of both the public and private sector and
urban renewal plans, programs and projects; as well as to review, evaluate and
approve or disapprove comprehensive land use development plans and zoning
components of civil works and infrastructure projects, of national, regional and local

governments, subdivisions, condominiums or estate development projects including


industrial estates.

P.D. No. 583, as amended by P.D. No. 815, and the 1977 Memorandum of
Agreement, abovementioned, cannot therefore, be construed as sources of
authority of the DAR; these issuances merely affirmed whatever power DAR had at
the time of their adoption.

With respect to your observation that E.O. No. 129-A also empowered the DAR
to approve or disapprove conversions of agricultural lands into non-agricultural uses
as of July 22, 1987, it is our view that E.O. No. 129-A likewise did not provide a new
source of power of DAR with respect to conversion but it merely recognized and
reaffirmed the existence of such power as granted under existing laws. This is
clearly inferrable from the following provision of E.O. No. 129-A to wit:

"Sec. 5.
Powers and Functions. Pursuant to the mandate of the Department,
and in order to ensure the successful implementation of the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program, the Department is hereby authorized to:

1)
Have exclusive authority to approve or disapprove conversion of agricultural
lands for residential, commercial, industrial and other land uses as may be provided
by law" (Emphasis supplied.)

Anent the observation regarding the alleged deletion of residential, housing,


commercial and industrial sites classified by the HLURB in the final version of the
CARP bill, we fail to see how this circumstances could substantiate your position
that DAR's authority to reclassify or approve conversions of agricultural lands to
non-agricultural uses already existed prior to June 15, 1988. Surely, it is clear that
the alleged deletion was necessary to avoid a redundancy in the CARP law whose
coverage is expressly limited to "all public and private agricultural lands" and "other
lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture" (Sec. 4, R.A. No. 6657). Section
3(c) of R.A. No. 6657 defines "agricultural land" as that "devoted to agricultural
activity as defined in the Act and not classified as mineral forest, residential,
commercial or industrial land."

Based on the foregoing premises, we reiterate the view that with respect to
conversions of agricultural lands covered by R.A. No. 6657 to non-agricultural uses,
the authority of DAR to approve such conversions may be exercised from the date of
the law's effectivity on June 15, 1988. This conclusion is based on a liberal
interpretation of R.A. No. 6657 in the light of DAR's mandate and the extensive
coverage of the agrarian reform program.

Very truly yours,

FRANKLIN M. DRILON

Secretary