In view of the foregoing, the instant petition for Exclusion is denied and it is hereby ordered that the acquisition of the properties under the coverage of CARP be pursued subject to the retention right of the landowner accordant with existing laws, rules, regulations and DAR policies.
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF ALL THE ABOVE, the assailed Order of [the] DAR Regional Director, Region V[,] dated December 8, 1995[,] is accordingly, MODIFIED as follows:
- Dismissing the instant Appeal for lack of merit;
- Ordering the coverage of all the subject lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Accordingly, the MARO concerned, with the assistance of the DA representative, should identify the portions and areas which are not suited for agriculture and exclude the same from the coverage of the program;
- Directing the MARO, through the PARO of Masbate, Masbate, to send Notices of Coverage to AS Arnaiz Realty, Inc. and the Nuestra Señora del Carmen Marble, Inc.;
- Ordering the MARO concerned with the assistance of the BARC concerned, to identify the qualified beneficiaries over the subject lands;
- Directing the DAR Regional Director, Region V, to send a survey team to conduct the necessary survey of the areas of the subject lands which are suited for agriculture and the respective areas which will be allocated to qualified beneficiaries;
- Ordering the DAR employees and officers to respect the landowner's right to retention, if qualified[,] pursuant to existing agrarian laws and allied issuances; and
- Denying the Motion for Ocular Inspection dated April 3, 1996 and reiterated on August 8, 1996 for lack of merit.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED and the appealed order of then DAR Secretary Ernesto D. Garilao dated February 13, 1998, sustaining his earlier order of October 23, 1996 in its entirety, is hereby AFFIRMED.
- THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING IN TOTO THE DECISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM DENYING HEREIN PETITIONER-APPELLANT'S PETITION FOR EXCLUSION OF HER CATTLE RANCH FROM THE COVERAGE OF THE COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM LAW IN COMPLETE DISREGARD OF THE RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT IN THE CASE OF "LUZ FARMS VS. HON. DAR SECRETARY."
- THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT EXCLUDING THE SUBJECT LANDS FROM THE COVERAGE OF THE LAND REFORM PROGRAM, CONSIDERING THAT THEY ARE BESTOWED WITH SLOPES OF 18% OR MORE.10
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Review is DENIED DUE COURSE and ordered DISMISSED. The Decision and Resolution of the Office of the President dated 19 September 2001 and 15 October 2002, respectively, are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
- petitioner was not accorded the requisite due process.13
- the luz farms ruling, as well as the delia Sutton case, should be applied in the instant case.14
- the subject lands are not suitable for agriculture and they are not tenanted aside from the fact that they contain slopes of more than 18%.15
It was also found that petitioner, as lessor, entered into a Contract of Lease dated July 11, 1981 with Monterey Farms Corporation ("Monterey Farms," for brevity), as lessee, over two (2) parcels of land covered by TCT No. 3542 and TCT No. 3543 with an area of seven million three hundred thirty-five thousand six hundred five (7,335,605) square meters for a period of ten (10) years commencing from 15 July 1981. In their Supplemental Agreement of even date executed by the parties, it was stipulated therein that 433 hectares are devoted to marble, gold and other mineral quarry activities of petitioner-lessor, while the coconut and mango trees existing within the leased area shall be maintained and nurtured by the lessee Monterey Farms. During the continuance of the lease agreement with Monterey Farms, petitioner disposed its entire herd (cattle) for Php900,000.00 as admitted in the letter dated 08 May 1990. The subject parcels of land are not directly, actually and exclusively used for pasture. Neither was it shown that, indeed, a herd of cattle for raising purposes existed over the subject lands of petitioner nor was the necessary proof of ownership of any cattle over the same land submitted at the time of filing of the petition for exclusion. In fact, it was found by Secretary Garilao that petitioner's cattle were only acquired recently as shown by the Certificate of Ownership of Large Cattle (in the name of petitioner: in 1996, 78 heads-one year old and 50 heads-three years old; and in 1995, 12 heads-one and a half years old), and that some Certificates were even issued to various owners and not to petitioner.
As noted by the Office of the President, none of the recent documents attached to petitioner's motion for reconsideration would tend to disprove the findings of fact of the DAR Regional Director and the DAR Secretary that at the time of filing of the petition for exclusion from CARP coverage, the subject parcels of land were not devoted to livestock purposes. Clearly, the claim of petitioner that they have been engaged in cattle raising since time immemorial is untenable. Even the photocopies of the purported Certificates of Ownership of Large Cattle attached to herein Petition as Annexes "O" to "O-77" show that they were all issued to petitioner only in 1998, while the photocopies of the other purported Certificates of Ownership of Large Cattle dated "August 11, 197" (Annexes "O-78" to "0-89") are in the name of another person, and not the petitioner.
The contention of petitioner that the presence of the NPAs, bad elements, trespassers and squatters further diminished the land area of the subject lands used by petitioner as pasture land is untenable, because as found by the respondents, this situation did not prevent Monterey Farms from vacating or pulling out of the area before the expiration of the lease agreement and even offered to renew the contract and increase the rentals of the areas occupied by 10% of the lease rate, which offer to renew was, however, denied by petitioner's Board of Directors in a letter dated 08 May 1990.
Hence, from the foregoing disquisitions, petitioner's contention that the respondents failed to apply the doctrine laid down in Luz Farms v. Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform is without merit. In said Luz Farms case, it was held that Section 11 of R.A. 6657 which includes "private agricultural lands devoted to commercial livestock, poultry and swine-raising" in the definition of "commercial farms" is invalid, to the extent that the aforecited agro-industrial activities are made to be covered by the agrarian reform program of the State. Thus, the High Court declared as null and void, for being unconstitutional, Sections 3(b), 11, 13 and 32 of Republic Act No. 6657 insofar as the inclusion of the raising of livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage, as well as the Implementing Rules and Guidelines promulgated in accordance therewith. As clearly found by the respondents, the petitioner, in the instant case, failed to show that the subject lands have been devoted for commercial livestock-raising. (Emphasis supplied.)22
First. From the foregoing narration of facts, it is established that the properties were not directly, actually, exclusively used for pasture.
Second. Luz Farms v. Honorable Secretary of Agrarian Reform meritoriously provides that livestock or poultry-raising is not similar to crop or tree planting. Land is not the primary source in this undertaking and represents no more than five percent (5%) of the total investments of commercial livestock and poultry raisers. Lands support the buildings and other amenities attendant to the raising of animals and birds. The use of the land is incidental to, but not the principal factor or consideration in, this industry (Rollo p. 11).
The facts, as stated, shows that not all of the portions of the properties leased to Monterey Farms Corp. were devoted to, or actually, directly, exclusively used for, allegedly, as a cattle feed lot/nor for the raising of livestock. In fact, the landholding covered by TCT-6930 is presently owned by another juridical person, the Nuestra Señora del Carmen Marble, Inc. The Field Investigation Report dated June 3, 1993 by the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer and [the] Land Bank of the Philippines on Lot 3, TCT T-3543, provides that it is predominantly cultivated, below 18% slope with only 44.2470 hectares above 18% slope. The area is planted to corn, coconut and other crops.
Third. Based on the documents presented, there is no clear and convincing proof that [AZ] Arnaiz Realty intended and manifested its intention of maintaining, utilizing the whole area for cattle ranching, when it established a realty corporation with its primary purpose to acquire by purchase lease, or otherwise, lands and interest in lands and to own, hold improve, develop and manage agricultural land or real estate so acquired for the purpose of mortgaging, leasing and disposing such lands and by transferring the aforementioned parcel of land to another juridical person. In fact, when it leased the property to Monterey Farms Corp. it disposed and/or sold the entire herd (cattle) for P900,000.00 as admitted in a letter to Monterey Farms dated May 8, 1992.
Fourth. The Certifications issued by the PNP Provincial Director, dated December 9, 1993, that the Province of Masbate has been under CTs/NPAs expanded area from 1983-1992, may be true. However, this situation did not prevent the Monterey Farms from vacating or pulling out of the area before the expiration of lease agreement. It offered to renew the contract and increase the rentals of the areas occupied by 10% of the present lease rate. This was denied by the Board of Directors in a letter dated May 8, 1990. After the Corporation vacated the leased premises, tillers actually occupied the areas as reported by Carlos Grande, Regional Field Task Force Chief, DAR V. This is a clear indication that the peace and order situation in Masbate was not the primary reason for the discontinuance of any business activity in the area, nor it can be attributed to force majeure. From 1991 until early part of 1994, no activity insofar as livestock raising have been instituted by the [AZ] Arnaiz Realty Corporation. The alleged resumption of operations of [AZ] Arnaiz Realty in 1994, after the issuance of the Adm. Order No. 9-94 is not substantiated by clear and convincing set of evidence. Proof of ownership of livestock, Certification from the Director, Department of Agriculture, that the livestock project is of greater economic value than the present agricultural use were not submitted before this Office. Its present use by herein petitioner of 109.8385 hectares is, therefore, unauthorized, under Adm. Order No. 9-94, for no Petition for Exclusion was approved by this Office.
Fifth. The Corporation showed no proof that it has legal personality to file the Petition for Exclusion with respect to the landholding covered by TCT 3542, the property being registered in the name of Nuestra Señora del Carmen Marble, Inc. Therefore, the property shall be covered by CARP.23
* Designated as an additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, per Raffle dated July 1, 2010.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Celia C. Librea-Leagogo, with Associate Justices Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and Lucas P. Bersamin (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court), concurring; rollo, pp. 147- 174.
2 Id. at 320-321.
3 Rollo, pp. 32-38.
4 Id. at 49-60.
5 Id. at 64-69.
6 Id. at 68-69.
7 Id. at 78-79.
8 Id. at 81-86.
9 Id. at 90-91.
10 Id. at 118.
11 Id. at 147-174.
12 Id. at 320-321.
13 Id. at 422.
14 Id. at 427.
16 G.R. No. 86889, December 4, 1990, 192 SCRA 51.
17 G.R. No. 162070, October 19, 2005, 473 SCRA 392.
18 Orbase v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 175115, December 23, 2009.
19 Marcelo v. Bungubung, G.R. No. 175201, April 23, 2008, 552 SCRA 589, 603.
20 Zacarias v. National Police Commission, G.R. No. 119847, October 24, 2003, 414 SCRA 387, 393; Stayfast Philippines Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 81480, February 9, 1993, 218 SCRA 596; Villareal v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 97505, March 1, 1993, 219 SCRA 293; Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corp. v. Torres, G.R. No. 98050, March 17, 1994, 231 SCRA 335.
21 Samalio v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 140079, March 31, 2005, 454 SCRA 463, 473.
22 Rollo, pp. 167-169.
23 Rollo, pp. 35-37.
24 Padunan v. Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board, G.R. No. 132163, January 28, 2003, 396 SCRA 196, 201.
25 Department of Agrarian Reform v. Uy, G.R. No. 169277, February 9, 2007, 515 SCRA 376, 402.
26 Milestone Realty and Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 135999, April 19, 2002, 381 SCRA 406, 415.