G.R. No. 203204, November 20, 2013
HEIRS OF ROMULO D. SANDUETA, namely: GLORIA SANDUETA ELOPRE, HEIRS OF JOSEPHINE S. NADALA, represented by ROY S. NADALA, HOFBOWER ANDUETA, NERISA SANDUETA MICUBO, OSCAR SANDUETA, MARILYN SANDUETA VELASCO, RONALD SANDUETA, AND NAPOLEON SANDUETA, Petitioners, v. DOMINGO ROBLES, HEIRS OF TEODORO ABAN, namely: NERIO ABAN, VIRGINIO ABAN, SUSANA ABAN, AND DAVID ABAN; HEIRS OF EUFRECENA* GALEZA, namely: CESAR GALEZA, NESTOR GALEZA, ANGELA GALEZA, JUSTO GALEZA, KIA GALEZA PONCE, PORFERIA GALEZA NALZARO, ROSARIO GALEZA VELASCO, HERMINIA GALEZA GUERRERO, AND NONA GALEZA NACARIO, Respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
P.D. No. 27, which implemented the Operation Land Transfer (OLT) Program, covers tenanted rice or corn lands. The requisites for coverage under the OLT program are the following: (1) the land must be devoted to rice or corn crops; and (2) there must be a system of share–crop or lease–tenancy obtaining therein. If either requisite is absent, a landowner may apply for exemption. If either of these requisites is absent, the land is not covered under OLT. Hence, a landowner need not apply for retention where his ownership over the entire landholding is intact and undisturbed. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
WHEREAS, last year I ordered that small landowners of tenanted rice/corn lands with areas of less than twenty–four hectares but above seven hectares shall retain not more than seven hectares of such lands except when they own other agricultural lands containing more than seven hectares or land used for residential, commercial, industrial or other urban purposes from which they derive adequate income to support themselves and their families;
WHEREAS, the Department of Agrarian Reform found that in the course of implementing my directive there are many landowners of tenanted rice/corn lands with areas of seven hectares or less who also own other agricultural lands containing more than seven hectares or lands used for residential, commercial, industrial or other urban purposes where they derive adequate income to support themselves and their families;
WHEREAS, it is therefore necessary to cover said lands under the Land Transfer Program of the government to emancipate the tenant–farmers therein.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, do hereby order the following:
1. You shall undertake to place under the Land Transfer Program of the government pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 27, all tenanted rice/corn lands with areas of seven hectares or less belonging to landowners who own other agricultural lands of more than seven hectares in aggregate areas or lands used for residential, commercial, industrial or other urban purposes from which they derive adequate income to support themselves and their families.
2. Landowners who may choose to be paid the cost of their lands by the Land Bank of the Philippines shall be paid in accordance with the mode of payment provided in Letter of Instructions No. 273 dated May 7, 1973.35 (Emphases and underscoring supplied)
(a) other agricultural lands of more than seven (7) has. in aggregate areas; or
(b) lands used used for residential, commercial, industrial or other urban purposes from which they derive adequate income to support themselves and their families.
* “Eufrecina” in some parts of the records. See CA rollo, p. 63.
1Rollo, pp. 10–30.
2 Id. at 31–38. Penned by Associate Justice Edgardo T. Lloren, with Associate Justices Zenaida T. Galapate–Laguilles and Maria Elisa Sempio Diy, concurring.
3 CA rollo, pp. 37–43. Signed by Secretary Nasser C. Pangandaman.
4 Id. at 23.
5 Id. at 38.
6 Id. at 62. Including the dorsal portion.
7 Id. at 23–24.
8 Id. at 25.
9 “DECREEING THE EMANCIPATION OF TENANTS FROM THE BONDAGE OF THE SOIL, TRANSFERRING TO THEM THE OWNERSHIP OF THE LAND THEY TILL AND PROVIDING THE INSTRUMENTS AND MECHANISM THEREFOR.”
10 CA rollo, pp. 23–24.
11 Id. at 52–59. Dated June 30, 2005.
12 “AN ACT INSTITUTING A COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM PROGRAM TO PROMOTE SOCIAL JUSTICE AND INDUSTRIALIZATION, PROVINDING THE MECHANISM FOR ITS IMPLEMENTATION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES."
13 256 Phil. 777 (1989).
14 CA rollo, pp. 56–57.
15 Id. at 32–33.
16 Id. at 39.
17 Id. at 22–30.
18 Id. at 27.
19 Id. at 29.
20 SEC. 22. Qualified Beneficiaries. – The Lands covered by the CARD shall be distributed as much as possible to landless residents of the same barangay, or in the absence thereof, landless residents of the same municipality in the following order of priority:
(a) agricultural lessees and share tenants;
(b) regular farm workers;
(c) seasonal farm workers;
(d) other farm workers;
(e) actual tillers or occupants of public lands;
(f) collective or cooperatives of the above beneficiaries; and
(g) others directly working on the land.
Provided, however, That the children of landowners who are qualified under Section 6 of this Act shall be given preference in the distribution of the land of their parents; and: Provided, further, that actual tenant–tillers in the landholding shall not be ejected or removed therefrom.
Beneficiaries under Presidential Decree No. 27 who have culpably sold, disposed of, or abandoned their land are disqualified to become beneficiaries under their program.
A basic qualification of a beneficiary shall be his willingness, aptitude and ability to cultivate and make land as productive as possible. The DAR shall adopt a system of monitoring the record or performance of each beneficiary, so that any beneficiary guilty of negligence or misuse of the land or any support extended to him shall forfeit his right to continue as such beneficiary. The DAR shall submit periodic reports on the performance of the beneficiaries to the PARC.
If, due to landowner’s retention rights or to the number of tenants, lessees, or workers on the land, there is not enough land to accommodate any or some of them, they may be granted ownership of other lands available for distribution under this Act, at the option of the beneficiaries.
Farmers already in place and those not accommodated in the distribution of privately–owned lands will be given preferential rights in the distribution of lands from the public domain.
21 CA rollo, p. 29.
22 Id. at 32–36.
23 Id at 35. In consonance with DAR Administrative Order No. 05, series of 2000 (Revised Rules and Procedures for the Exercise of Retention Right by Landowners).
24 Id. at 34.
25 Id. at 34–35.
26Rollo, pp. 31–38.
27 Id. at 37–38.
28 CA rollo, pp. 156–160. Dated May 21, 2012.
29 Id. at 39–40. Penned by Associatae Justice Edgardo T. Lloren, with Associate Justices Edgardo A. Camello and Maria Elisa Sempio Diy, concurring.
30Santiago v. Ortiz–Luis, G.R. Nos. 186184 & 186988, September 20, 2010, 630 SCRA 670, 678, citing Section 4, Article XIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which reads as follows: “The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account ecological, developmental or equity considerations and subject to the payment of just compensation. In determining retention limits, the State shall respect the right of small landowners. The State shall further provide incentives for voluntary land–sharing.” (Emphasis supplied)
31 382 Phil. 742 (2000).
32 PD 27 provides:
x x x
The tenant farmer, whether in land classified as landed estate or not, shall be deemed owner of a portion constituting a family–size farm of five (5) hectares if not irrigated and three (3) hectares if irrigated;
In all cases, the landowner may retain an area of not more than seven (7) hectares if such landowner is cultivating such area or will now cultivate it;
x x x x.
33 SEC. 6. Retention Limits. – Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person may own or retain, directly, any public or private agricultural land, the size of which shall vary according to factors governing a viable family–sized farm, such as commodity produced, terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case shall the retention by the landowner exceed five (5) hectares. Three (3) hectares may be awarded to each child of the landowner, subject to the following qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years of age; and (2) that he is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm: Provided, That landowners whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder; Provided, further, That original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as long as they continue to cultivate said homestead.
The right to choose the area to be retained, which shall be compact or contiguous, shall pertain, to the landowner: Provided, however, That in case the area selected for retention by the landowner is tenanted, the tenant shall have the option to choose whether to remain therein or be a beneficiary in the same or another agricultural land with similar or comparable features. In case the tenant chooses to remain in the retained area, he shall be considered a leaseholder and shall lose his right to be a beneficiary under this Act. In case the tenant chooses to be a beneficiary in another agricultural land, he loses his right as a leaseholder to the land retained by the landowner. The tenant must exercise this option within a period of one (1) year from the time the landowner manifests his choice of the area for retention.
34 See G.R. No. 136466, November 25, 2009, 605 SCRA 294, 304.
35 LOI 474 dated October 21, 1976. See also Ministry Memorandum Circular No. 18–81 entitled, “Clarificatory Guidelines on Coverage of P.D. No. 27 and Retention by Small Landowners.”
36 Supra note 30, at 681.
37 Supra note 13, at 826.
38 Supra note 34, at 313.