G.R. No. 197115, March 23, 2015
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, Petitioner, v. FEDERICO DACLAN, JOSEFINA COLLADO AND HER HUSBAND FEDERICO DACLAN, TEODORO DACLAN AND MINVILUZ DACLAN AS SURVIVING HEIRS OF DECEASED JOSE DACLAN, Respondents.
[G.R. NO. 197267]
FEDERICO DACLAN, JOSEFINA COLLADO, TEODORO DACLAN AND MINVILUZ DACLAN AS SURVIVING HEIRS OF DECEASED JOSE DACLAN, Petitioners, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND PROVINCE OF LA UNION, REPRESENTED BY ITS PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
Before us are consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari1 assailing: 1) the January 25, 2011 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 90014 which set aside the July 31, 2007 Decision3 of Branch 32 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Agoo, La Union, as well as 2) the CA’s May 30, 2011 Resolution4 denying the parties’ respective Motions for Reconsideration.5
The facts, as found by the CA, are as follows:
Sometime in May 1972, the Agoo Breeding Station (or “breeding station”) was established by the Department of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Region I, for the purpose of breeding cattle that would be distributed to the intended beneficiaries pursuant to the livelihood program of the national government. In support of the said project, plaintiffs6 executed four (4) documents denominated as Deed of Donation in favor of defendant Republic of the Philippines (or “Republic”) donating to the latter four (4) parcels of land, more particularly described in the following Tax Declarations (TD):
These parcels of land are located at Barrio Nazareno, Agoo, La Union. The donation was subject to the conditions that these parcels of land 1) shall be used solely for the establishment of a breeding station, and 2) shall not be used for any other purpose, except with the previous consent of the donors or their heirs.
- TD No. 23769 registered in the name of Federico Daclan covering a [parcel of] land with an area of 15,170 square meters, more or less;
- TD No. 38240 registered in the name of Josefina Collado covering a [parcel of] land with an area of 3,440 square meters, more or less;
- TD No. 27220 registered in the name of Teodoro Daclan covering a [parcel of] land with an area of 2,464 square meters, more or less;
- TD No. 1875 registered in the name of Jose Daclan (deceased father of plaintiff Minviluz Daclan) covering a [parcel of] land with an area of 1,769 square meters, more or less.
Sometime in 1991, the powers and functions of certain government agencies, including those of the Department of Agriculture (DA), were devolved to the local government units pursuant to Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the “Local Government Code”. Thus, defendant Province of La Union (or “Province”) assumed the powers and functions of the DA, in the operation of the breeding station.7
x x x x
- That the land herein mentioned shall be used for the establishment of a breeding station and shall not be used for any other purpose, except with the previous consent of the DONOR or his heirs;
- That in case of non-use, abandonment or cessation of the activities of the BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY, possession or ownership shall automatically revert to the DONOR and all permanent improvements existing thereon shall become the property of the DONOR; x x x9
From information gathered from Ms. Cresencia Isibido, a caretaker of the Agoo Breeding Station, the land had an original area of thirteen (13) hectares. At present though, only eleven point five (11.5) hectares is [sic] being occupied by the Agoo Breeding Station as 1.5 hectares was [sic] occupied by the La Union Medical Center.
At a distance of about 200 meters from the main entrance of the breeding station, an office is located at the south of said lot. Beside the office is a shed where six (6) young goats (kids) are housed. Another shed where goats are housed is located at the northern side of the lot, fronting a water pump station.
It was likewise gathered that at present, the breeding station has a total number of fifty (50) goats. Also, there are six (6) cows roaming in the pasture land. Four (4) of these cows are pregnant. It was clarified that these cows belong to the Cross Australian Bi-Bhraman [sic] breed.
There are four (4) caretakers in the breeding station, all of whom are employed by the provincial government of La Union. They receive salary from the provincial government and they likewise submit monthly reports to the Provincial Veterinarian. These four caretakers are Cresencia Isibido, Manuel Daclan, Ruben Daclan (son of plaintiff Federico Daclan), and Tita Fortes.
The group left the breeding station at around 3:30pm.
Agoo, La Union, this 14th day of December, 2006.18
To substantiate their claim, the plaintiffs presented the following witnesses whose testimonies are summarized, thus:
REINERIO BELARMINO[,] JR., is 46 years old, married, a resident of Namnama, San Fernando, La Union, and Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture, Region 1.
Dir. Belarmino testified that by virtue of a subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena duces tecum, he brought to Court a photocopy of a letter he issued to Atty. Benjamin Tabios, Legal Consultant of the Department of Agriculture dated October 14, 2003.
Dir. Belarmino said that while he confirmed and affirmed the contents of the letter, he nevertheless could not agree on [sic] one sentence written therein. This pertains to the entry that the artificial breeding station is no longer operational. He explained that although he signed the letter, it was his legal officer who prepared the same.
Further, he said that he had been calling his legal officer since it was the latter who drafted said letter. He clarified that upon personal verification, he found out that it was not the artificial breeding station that was not [operational]. Rather, it was the breeding station that was not operational.
He likewise mentioned that as early as 1993, the Department of Agriculture, particularly the Bureau of Animal Industry, gave up the breeding station because of the devolution. In particular, the operation of the breeding station was transferred to the Province of La Union. However, he affirmed that in the deed of donation, there is no mention of the Province of La Union. Likewise, there is no mention of any successor.
He clarified though that no breeding activity was done by the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal Industry since 1993 because ownership of the breeding station was transferred to the Province of La Union. The transfer was made without the consent of the donors since the transfer was between two government entities.
On the ocular inspection which was conducted, Dir. Belarmino affirmed that at present, there are six cows and fifty (50) goats in the breeding station. However, he clarified that said 50 goats are not the same goats that were turned over to the province of La Union as a result of the devolution.
TEODORO DACLAN, 84 years old, married, retired government employee and a resident of Nazareno, Agoo, La Union, testified that he is one of the plaintiffs in this case.
He said that he executed a Deed of Donation in favor of the Republic of the Philippines, then represented by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. He clarified that as embodied in their complaint, they seek to enforce the common provision that in case of non-use, abandonment or cessation of activities of the Bureau of Animal Industry, possession and ownership of the lots subject of donation shall revert x x x to the donors.
In this respect, he said that the Department of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Animal Industry, has no on-going breeding activity in the above-mentioned lots. He maintained that he came to know of such non-operation of the breeding station as early as thirteen (13) years ago.
He likewise testified that he was never informed of any devolution which transferred the operations of the breeding station from the Bureau of Animal Industry to the Province of La Union. Moreover, his permission was never sought for the use of the donated lots by the Province of La Union.
FEDERICO DACLAN, 83 years old, married, retired employee of the Bureau of Animal Industry and a resident of Brgy. Nazareno, Agoo, La Union, also testified.
He said that he is one of the plaintiffs in this case. Plaintiff Teodoro Daclan is his brother while plaintiff Minviluz Daclan is his niece. His spouse, Josefina Collado, is likewise a co-plaintiff.
He added that he donated a parcel of land with an area of 15,170 square meters located at Nazareno, Agoo, La Union in favor of the Republic of the Philippines through the Secretary of Agriculture.
Further, he reiterated that as embodied in the deed of donation, one of the conditions therein is that the land shall be used as a breeding station and shall not be used for any other purpose, except with the previous consent of the donor or his heirs.
He maintained that since 1993 up to the present, the lot is no longer being used as a breeding station nor has the defendant province of La Union sought his permission for the use of said lot for any other purpose.
JOSEFINA COLLADO, 72 years old, married, housewife and a resident of Nazareno, Agoo, La Union testified that she and her husband donated a parcel of land situated at Nazareno, Agoo, La Union in favor of the Republic of the Philippines through the Secretary of Agriculture.
She said that at present, there is no breeding activity being conducted on said lot. She added that there has been no breeding activity for a long time now. Further, she clarified that she and the other plaintiffs were never notified of a devolution so much so that the operation of the breeding station was transferred to defendant Province of La Union. Also, the defendant Province of La Union never secured their consent for the use of the lot for any other purpose other than a breeding station.
MINVILUZ DACLAN, 75 years old, single, retired teacher and resident of San Pedro, Agoo, La Union testified that she is the [daughter] of the late Jose Daclan. She said that during the lifetime of her father, she was aware of a Deed of Donation executed by her father in favor of the Republic of the Philippines represented by the then Secretary of Agriculture.
She said that the lot subject of the donation is situated in Nazareno, Agoo, La Union. Likewise, she testified that the donation was premised on the condition that a breeding station is to be established in said property. However, she maintained that there is no such breeding station.
Further, she was not aware if her father gave his consent for the use of the property for any other purpose other than for a breeding station. She emphasized that her father gave his consent only for the use of a breeding station. Likewise, she has not been consulted nor her permission sought for if the land can be used for any other purpose other than for breeding.
The defendant Province of La Union presented the following witnesses whose testimonies are summarized, thus:
CRESENCIA ISIBIDO, 58 years old, single, government employee and a resident of San Pedro, Agoo, La Union testified that she is employed at the Office of the Veterinarian, particularly at the Agoo Breeding Station at Nazareno, Agoo, La Union.
Particularly, she has been employed thereat since August 28, 1974, initially as Farm Worker and now, as Farm Foreman. As foreman, she exercises supervision over her co-employees and over all animals in the breeding station. She clarified that in 1989, there were six (6) personnel assigned at the breeding station. She likewise clarified that from 1974 until 1989, she received her salary from the Bureau of Animal Industry.
During the devolution of 1993, she started receiving her salary from the provincial government of La Union. She added though that even after devolution took place, the operation of the Agoo Breeding Station continued.
Likewise, she testified that from the time she was promoted as farm foreman, goats, cattle and swine were being maintained at the breeding station. She recalled that there were about twenty (20) cattle, seventy (70) goats and eight (8) swine.
When the devolution took place, she specified that the activities in the breeding station included production of animals, forage and artificial insemination. She said that the cattles in the breeding station were either subjected to natural insemination or artificial insemination. Upon the other hand, goats are subjected to natural insemination. Aside from artificial or natural insemination, greasing is also being conducted in the breeding station.
DR. NIDA GAPUZ, 47 years old, married, Provincial Veterinarian and a resident of Bauang, La Union testified that she is the provincial veterinarian of the province of La Union since October, 2006. Prior to her appointment as provincial veterinarian, she was the Supervisor Agriculturist of the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office. Again, prior to her appointment as supervisor agriculturist, she was Agricultural Center Chief II of the same office.
She recalled that in 1983, their office was under the Department of Agriculture Regional Office. Thereafter, they were transferred to the Provincial Office of the Department of Agriculture. She said that at that time, the Agoo Breeding Station was already existing.
Thereafter, with the advent of devolution, the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian was created and eventually, they were separated from the Department of Agriculture.
Further, she testified that in her capacity as Agricultural Center Chief II, she handled the facilities for the Agoo Breeding Station and the La Union Breeding Station, both of which are under the office of the provincial veterinarian.
She mentioned that she used to visit the Agoo Breeding Station at least two (2) times a month. She added that natural as well as artificial insemination activities were conducted in said breeding station. As such, she explained that one of the purpose[s] of the breeding station is to reproduce and disperse animals.
At present, she said that the breeding station engages in goat dispersal and cattle production. There are no swine since swine production was phased out because of the establishment of the La Union Medical Center within the vicinity of the breeding station.
Likewise, she said that at present, there are seven (7) heads of cattle being raised in the breeding station. Of these, two (2) are pregnant. There are also forty-six (46) heads of goats.
ATTY. MAURO CABADING, 53 years old, married, Provincial Assessor and a resident of San Fernando City, La Union testified that he is familiar with the Agoo Breeding Station because he took photographs thereof sometime last year.
He explained that he was directed by the governor and the provincial administrator to take photographs of the breeding station to determine whether the allegations contained in the complaint filed by herein plaintiffs [are] true or not. He then proceeded to the Agoo Breeding Station accompanied by his driver and a personnel from the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office.
He maintained that he can recognize the photographs taken at the breeding station since it was his camera that was used in taking pictures. He then started identifying the photographs, making mention of those which depicted cows, goats and houses for cows and goats. Also, he said that the [owner] of the goats and cows seen at the photographs he took is the provincial government of La Union.19
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court hereby renders judgment DISMISSING this instant case for specific performance.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the assailed July 31, 2007 decision of Branch 32 of the Regional Trial Court of Agoo, La Union is hereby SET ASIDE. The donation insofar as the 1.5 hectare portion of the donated parcels of land that is now being used by the La Union Medical Center for its medical facility, hence no longer being used for the purpose for which the donation was constituted, is hereby declared revoked. Accordingly, possession and ownership of that particular portion of the donated parcels of land shall revert to the donor/s or their heir/s.
By the Republic in G.R. No. 197115 I.
THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT PETITIONER VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS OF THE DEEDS OF DONATION.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DIRECTING THE PETITIONER TO RETURN PORTION/S OF THE PARCEL/S OF LAND DONATED BY RESPONDENTS AND/OR THEIR FOREBEARS BASED ON AN UNESTABLISHED INFERENCE.24
By the Daclans in G.R. No. 197267 A.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS DID NOT DECIDE THE MAIN ISSUES RAISED BY THE PETITIONERS IN THE TRIAL COURT AND BEFORE IT.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE ESTABLISHED FACTS AND THE APPLICABLE LAWS AND JURISPRUDENCE.25
* Per Special Order No. 1955 dated March 23, 2015.
** Per Special Order No. 1956 dated March 23, 2015.
1Rollo, G.R. No. 197115, pp. 12-36; G.R. No. 197267, pp. 8-42.
2Rollo, G.R. No. 197115, pp. 38-48; penned by Associate Justice Sesinando E. Villon and concurred in by Associate Justices Stephen C. Cruz and Amy C. Lazaro-Javier.
3 Id. at 72-87; penned by Judge Clifton U. Ganay.
4 Id. at 50.
5 CA rollo, pp. 174-192.
6 Petitioners in G.R. No. 197267.
7Rollo, G.R. No. 197267, pp. 184-185.
8 Records, pp. 7-10.
10 Id. at 11; Rollo, G.R. No. 197267, p. 189.
11Rollo, G.R. No. 197115, pp. 27, 29, 44; G.R. No. 197267, p. 189; Records, pp. 227-228, 343.
12 Records, p. 11.
13 Id. at 63-69.
14 Id. at 84-87.
15 Id. at 102-103.
16 Id. at 88-91.
17 Id. at 227-228; prepared and signed by Commissioner Dante R. Evangelista.
18 Id. at 228.
19 Id. at 344-351.
20Rollo, G.R. No. 197115, pp. 72-87.
21 Id. at 87.
22 Id. at 47.
23 Id. at 136.
24 Id. at 18-19.
25 Id., G.R. No. 197267, p. 18.
26 Id. at 235-251.
27 Id. at 19.
28 Id. at 32-33.
29 Id. at 235-251.
30 Id. at 263-265.
31Peligrino v. People, 415 Phil. 94, 121-122 (2001).
32 LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE of 1991, Section 17(e).
33 Id., Section 17(i).
34 CIVIL CODE, Article 1311.