ROXAS & CO., INC. vs COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 127876 December 17, 1999
This case involves three (3) haciendas in Nasugbu, Batangas owned by petitioner and the validity of the acquisition of these haciendas by the government under Republic Act No. 6657, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. Petitioner Roxas & Co. is a domestic corporation and is the registered owner of three haciendas, namely, Haciendas Palico, Banilad and Caylaway, all located in the Municipality of Nasugbu, Batangas. Hacienda Palico is 1,024 hectares in area and is registered under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 985. On May 6, 1988, petitioner filed with respondent DAR a voluntary offer to sell Hacienda Caylaway pursuant to the provisions of E.O. No. 229. Haciendas Palico and Banilad were later placed under compulsory acquisition by respondent DAR in accordance with the CARL.
1. Whether this Court can take cognizance of this petition despite petitioner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
2. Whether the acquisition proceedings over the three haciendas were valid and in accordance with law.
3. Assuming the haciendas may be reclassified from agricultural to non-agricultural, whether this court has the power to rule on this issue.
1. As a general rule, before a party may be allowed to invoke the jurisdiction of the courts of justice, he is expected to have exhausted all means of administrative redress. This is not absolute, however. There are instances when judicial action may be resorted to immediately. Among these exceptions are: (1) when the question raised is purely legal; (2) when the administrative body is in estoppel; (3) when the act complained of is patently illegal; (4) when there is urgent need for judicial intervention; (5) when the respondent acted in disregard of due process; (6) when the respondent is a department secretary whose acts, as an alter ego of the President, bear the implied or assumed approval of the latter; (7) when irreparable damage will be suffered; (8) when there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (9) when strong public interest is involved; (10) when the subject of the controversy is private land; and (11) in quo warranto proceedings.
Petitioner rightly sought immediate redress in the courts. There was a violation of its rights and to require it to exhaust administrative remedies before the DAR itself was not a plain, speedy and adequate remedy. Respondent DAR issued Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA's) to farmer beneficiaries over portions of petitioner's land without just compensation to petitioner. A Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) is evidence of ownership of land by a beneficiary under R.A. 6657, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988.
2. Petitioner's allegation of lack of due process goes into the validity of the acquisition proceedings themselves. Before we rule on this matter, however, there is need to lay down the procedure in the acquisition of private lands under the provisions of the law.
A. Modes of Acquisition of Land under R. A. 6657
B. The Compulsory Acquisition of Haciendas Palico and Banilad
C. The Voluntary Acquisition of Hacienda Caylaway
Finally, the failure of respondent DAR to comply with the requisites of due process in the acquisition proceedings does not give this Court the power to nullify the CLOA's already issued to the farmer beneficiaries. To assume the power is to short-circuit the administrative process, which has yet to run its regular course. Respondent DAR must be given the chance to correct its procedural lapses in the acquisition proceedings. In Hacienda Palico alone, CLOA's were issued to farmer beneficiaries in 1993. Since then until the present, these farmers have been cultivating their lands. It goes against the basic precepts of justice, fairness and equity to deprive these people, through no fault of their own, of the land they till. Anyhow, the farmer beneficiaries hold the property in trust for the rightful owner of the land.
2. The agency charged with the mandate of approving or disapproving applications for conversion is the DAR. At the time petitioner filed its application for conversion, the Rules of Procedure governing the processing and approval of applications for land use conversion was the DAR A.O. No. 2, Series of 1990. Under this A.O., the application for conversion is filed with the MARO where the property is located. The MARO reviews the application and its supporting documents and conducts field investigation and ocular inspection of the property. The findings of the MARO are subject to review and evaluation by the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO). The PARO may conduct further field investigation and submit a supplemental report together with his recommendation to the Regional Agrarian Reform Officer (RARO) who shall review the same. For lands less than five hectares, the RARO shall approve or disapprove applications for conversion. For lands exceeding five hectares, the RARO shall evaluate the PARO Report and forward the records and his report to the Undersecretary for Legal Affairs. Applications over areas exceeding fifty hectares are approved or disapproved by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform.
The petition is granted in part and the acquisition proceedings over the three haciendas are nullified for respondent DAR's failure to observe due process therein. In accordance with the guidelines set forth in this decision and the applicable administrative procedure, the case is hereby remanded to respondent DAR for proper acquisition proceedings and determination of petitioner's application for conversion.
ASSOCIATION OF SMALL LANDOWNERS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC. vs SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM G.R. No. 78742 July 14, 1989
ASSOCIATION OF SMALL LANDOWNERS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC. vs SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM G.R. No. 78742 July 14, 1989
The petitioners( Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc) in this case invoke the right of retention granted by P.D. No. 27 to owners of rice and corn lands not exceeding seven hectares as long as they are cultivating or intend to cultivate the same. Their respective lands do not exceed the statutory limit but are occupied by tenants who are actually cultivating such lands.
According to P.D. No. 316, which was promulgated in implementation of P.D. No. 27:
No tenant-farmer in agricultural lands primarily devoted to rice and corn shall be ejected or removed from his farmholding until such time as the respective rights of the tenant- farmers and the landowner shall have been determined in accordance with the rules and regulations implementing P.D. No. 27.
The petitioners claim they cannot eject their tenants and so are unable to enjoy their right of retention because the Department of Agrarian Reform has so far not issued the implementing rules required under the above-quoted decree.
Whether the P.D. No. 27 is unconstitutional.
The promulgation of P.D. No. 27 by President Marcos in the exercise of his powers under martial law has already been sustained in Gonzales v. Estrella and we find no reason to modify or reverse it on that issue. As for the power of President Aquino to promulgate Proc. No. 131 and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229, the same was authorized under Section 6 of the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution, quoted above.
The said measures were issued by President Aquino before July 27, 1987, when the Congress of the Philippines was formally convened and took over legislative power from her. They are not "midnight" enactments intended to pre-empt the legislature because E.O. No. 228 was issued on July 17, 1987, and the other measures, i.e., Proc. No. 131 and E.O. No. 229, were both issued on July 22, 1987. Neither is it correct to say that these measures ceased to be valid when she lost her legislative power for, like any statute, they continue to be in force unless modified or repealed by subsequent law or declared invalid by the courts. A statute does not ipso facto become inoperative simply because of the dissolution of the legislature that enacted it. By the same token, President Aquino's loss of legislative power did not have the effect of invalidating all the measures enacted by her when and as long as she possessed it.
The Court holds as follows:
1. R.A. No. 6657, P.D. No. 27, Proc. No. 131, and E.O. Nos. 228 and 229 are SUSTAINED against all the constitutional objections raised in the herein petitions.
2. Title to all expropriated properties shall be transferred to the State only upon full payment of compensation to their respective owners.
3. All rights previously acquired by the tenant- farmers under P.D. No. 27 are retained and recognized.
4. Landowners who were unable to exercise their rights of retention under P.D. No. 27 shall enjoy the retention rights granted by R.A. No. 6657 under the conditions therein prescribed.
5. Subject to the above-mentioned rulings all the petitions are DISMISSED.
Heirs of Leonilo P. Nuñez Sr. v Heirs of Gabino T. Villanoza, G.R. No. 21866, April 26, 2017, 825 SCRA 264
Heirs of Leonilo P. Nuñez Sr. v Heirs of Gabino T. Villanoza,
G.R. No. 21866, April 26, 2017, 825 SCRA 264
Leonilo Sebastian Nuñez (Sebastian) owned a land measuring "more or less" 2.833 hectares (28,333 square meters) located at Barangay Castellano, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. This land was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. NT-143003 and was registered on March 16, 1976 to "Leonilo Sebastian . . . married to Valentina Averia."
On July 7, 1976, Sebastian mortgaged this property to then ComSavings Bank or Royal Savings and Loan Association, now GSIS Family Bank, to secure a loan. His loan matured on June 30, 1978, but the bank did nothing to collect the payment due at that time.
In 1981, tenant-farmer Gabino T. Villanoza (Villanoza) started tilling Sebastian's land.
It was only on December 11, 1997, about 19 years after the maturity of Sebastian's loan, that GSIS Family Bank extrajudicially foreclosed his mortgaged properties including the land tenanted by Villanoza. A public auction was held, and GSIS Family Bank emerged as "the highest and only bidder."
Sebastian's land title was cancelled and TCT No. NT-271267 was issued in the name of the new owner, GSIS Family Bank.
On June 20, 2000, Sebastian filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court to annul the extrajudicial foreclosure sale. Sebastian argued that an action to foreclose the mortgage prescribed after 10 years. GSIS Family Bank's right of action accrued on June 30, 1978, but it only foreclosed the property 19 years later. Thus, its right to foreclose the property was already barred.
While the case was pending at the Regional Trial Court, the Department of Agrarian Reform sent a notice of coverage under Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program to GSIS Family Bank, then landowner of the disputed property. Neither GSIS Family Bank nor Sebastian exercised any right of retention within 60 days from this notice of coverage.
1. Whether the Court of Appeals properly exercised its appellate jurisdiction.
2. Whether Nuñez v. GSIS Family Bank binds respondents.
3. Whether petitioners have a right of retention over the land measuring "more or less" 2.833 hectares awarded to farmer beneficiary Gabino T. Villanoza?
1. The Court of Appeals properly exercised its jurisdiction in finding that "Leonilo P. Nuñez, Sr." was different from "Leonilo Sebastian Nuñez." Contrary to petitioners' allegations, the Court of Appeals could not be estopped simply because the issue was never raised before the Department of Agrarian Reform. In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals is empowered to have an independent finding of fact or adopt those set forth in the decision appealed from. This is true especially when the factual finding on the matter contradicts the evidence on record.
2. This Court cannot apply Nuñez v. GSIS Family Bank in petitioners' favor or to respondents' prejudice.
First, neither Villanoza nor his heirs were impleaded in that case. Villanoza and his heirs were non-parties to the mortgage and did not participate in the proceedings for foreclosure and annulment of foreclosure of mortgage. No person can be affected by any proceeding to which he or she is a stranger. Being complete strangers in that case, respondents are not bound by the judgment rendered by this Court.
Second, the Court of Appeals properly found that petitioners did not furnish timely and sufficient evidence to prove that "Leonilo P. Nuñez, Sr." was also "Leonilo Sebastian Nuñez."
In their defense, petitioners aver that they sought for the execution of Nuñez v. GSIS Family Bank, only that the sheriff did not implement it. However, they did not show any evidence to prove their claim. "Bare allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to proof." The one alleging a fact has the burden of proving it.
3. Assuming that Sebastian could properly exercise his retention right, this could not cover
the land awarded to Villanoza. Petitioners cite Santiago, et al. v. Ortiz-Luiz to claim that an emancipation grant cannot "defeat the right of the heirs of the deceased landowner to retain the [land]." However, in that case, this Court denied the landowner's retention right for exceeding what the law provides. There is no cogent reason why this Court should rule differently in this case.
Finally, the issuance of the title to Villanoza could no longer be revoked or set aside by Secretary Pangandaman. Acquiring the lot in good faith, Villanoza registered his Certificate of Land Ownership Award title under the Torrens system. He was issued a new and regular title, TCT No. NT-299755, in fee simple; that is to say, it is an absolute title, without qualification or restriction.
The petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals' Decision dated September 26, 2014 and Resolution dated June 4, 2015 in CA-G.R. SP No. 130544, which affirmed the Office of the President's Decision dated August 11, 2011 and reinstated the Department of Agrarian Reform Regional Director's Order dated February 23, 2005, are AFFIRMED.
Case Digest: NATALIA REALTY, INC., AND ESTATE DEVELOPERS AND INVESTORS CORP. vs DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, G.R. No. 103302 August 12, 1993
NATALIA REALTY, INC., AND ESTATE DEVELOPERS AND INVESTORS CORP. vs
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM
G.R. No. 103302 August 12, 1993
Petitioner Natalia Realty, Inc. is the owner of three (3) contiguous parcels of land located in Banaba, Antipolo, Rizal, with areas of 120.9793 hectares, 1.3205 hectares and 2.7080 hectares, or a total of 125.0078 hectares, and embraced in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 31527 of the Register of Deeds of the Province of Rizal.
On 18 April 1979, Presidential Proclamation No. 1637 set aside 20,312 hectares of land located in the Municipalities of Antipolo, San Mateo and Montalban as townsite areas to absorb the population overspill in the metropolis which were designated as the Lungsod Silangan Townsite. The NATALIA properties are situated within the areas proclaimed as townsite reservation.
Since private landowners were allowed to develop their properties into low-cost housing subdivisions within the reservation, petitioner Estate Developers and Investors Corporation, as developer of NATALIA properties, applied for and was granted preliminary approval and locational clearances by the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission. The necessary permit for Phase I of the subdivision project, which consisted of 13.2371 hectares, was issued sometime in 1982; for Phase II, with an area of 80,000 hectares, on 13 October 1983; and for Phase III, which consisted of the remaining 31.7707 hectares, on 25 April 1986. Petitioner were likewise issued development permits after complying with the requirements. Thus the NATALIA properties later became the Antipolo Hills Subdivision.
Whether or not DAR incurred grave abuse of discretion for including undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision within the coverage of the CARL.
Yes. Since the NATALIA lands were converted prior to 15 June 1988, respondent DAR is bound by such conversion. It was therefore error to include the undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision within the coverage of CARL.
Lands not devoted to agricultural activity are outside the coverage of CARL. These include lands previously converted to non-agricultural uses prior to the effectivity of CARL by government agencies other than respondent DAR.
Supreme Court rule for petitioners and hold that public respondents gravely abused their discretion in issuing the assailed Notice of Coverage of 22 November 1990 by of lands over which they no longer have jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, the petition for Certiorari is GRANTED. The Notice of Coverage of 22 November 1990 by virtue of which undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision were placed under CARL coverage is hereby SET ASIDE.