Case Digest: Estate of Vda. De Panlilio vs Dizon G.R. No. 148777, Oct. 18, 2007, 536 SCRA 565 (2007)
Estate of Vda. De Panlilio vs Dizon
G.R. No. 148777, Oct. 18, 2007, 536 SCRA 565 (2007)
Encarnacion Vda. De Panlilio is the owner of the disputed landholdings over a vast tract of land, with an aggregate area of 115.41 hectares called Hacienda Masamat located in Masamat, Mexico, Pampanga.
On April 19, 1961, Panlilio entered into a contract of lease over the said landholdings with Paulina Mercado, wife of Panlilio’s nephew, covering agricultural years from 1961 to 1979.
Sometime in 1973, pursuant to the OLT under PD 27, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued thirty eight (38) Certificates of Land Transfer (CLTs) to Panlilio’s tenants.
On November 26, 1973, lessee Paulina Mercado filed a letter-complaint with the DAR questioning the issuance of CLTs to Panlilio’s tenants, alleging, among others, that the DAR should not have issued the CLTs since the land involved was principally being planted with sugar and was outside the coverage of PD 27. She claimed thatrespondents surreptitiously planted palay (rice plant) instead of sugar in order to bring the land within the purview of the law. After proper investigation, the DAR concluded that the CLTs were "properly and regularly issued."
Paulina Mercado likewise filed a similar complaint with the Court of Agrarian Relations (CAR) at San Fernando, Pampanga.
On December 4, 1976, the tenants of the portion of the land planted with sugar cane petitioned the DAR to cause the reversion of their sugarland to riceland so that it may be covered by the Agrarian Reform Law. The petition was with the conformity of Panlilio.
On January 12, 1977, Panlilio executed an Affidavit, partly quoted as follows: “That it is my desire that my entire subject property which is referred to as Hacienda Masamat be placed under the coverage of P.D. 27 without exception and that thereafter the same be sold to tenant-petitioners.”
On January 20, 1977, by virtue of the said Affidavit, the DAR Secretary ordered the distribution of all land transfer certificates.
On March 17, 1978, CAR dismissed complaint of Paulina Mercado (lessee) on the basis of the action of the DAR Secretary.On December 29, 1986, Panlilio died.
In 1993, the DAR issued Emancipation Patents (EPs) to the tenants of Panlilio.
In June 1994, Bacolod City RTC, Branch 49 appointed petitioner George Lizares as executor of the estate of Panlilio.
On February 28, 1994, petitioner Lizares filed complaint with PARAD, Region III, for annulment of coverage of landholdings under PD 27.
On April 10, 1995, petitioner filed with the PARAD three more complaints for cancellation of EPs. Upon petitioner’s motion, all the cases were consolidated.
On November 14, 1995, PARAD dismissed Lizares’ complaint on the strength of the January 12, 1977 Affidavit of Panlilio. In addition, the PARAD relied on the report of the DAR and the Bureau of Lands personnel that the subject landholding is devoted to palay. And, finally, PARAD applied the equitable remedy of laches, in that Panlilio failed during her lifetime to bring to the attention of the DAR and CAR her February 3, 1977 Affidavit31 ostensibly revoking her previous January 12, 1977 Affidavit.
The DARAB likewise disregarded petitioner Lizares’ Motion for Reconsideration.On April 11, 2000, CA sustained petitioner’s position, but reversed its decision on November 29, 2000.
1. Whether or not there is valid waiver through the January 12, 1977 Affidavit
2. Whether or not Court of Appeal acted with grave abuse of discretion in declaring the transfer made by the private respondents to third persons valid
YES, the subject land was properly covered by Presidential Decree 27 since Panlilio surrendered said lot to the DAR for coverage under Presidential Decree 27 pursuant to her January 12, 1977 Affidavit.
While PD 27 clearly applies to private agricultural lands primarily devoted to rice and corn under a system of sharecrop or lease-tenancy, whether classified as landed estate or not, it does not preclude nor prohibit the disposition of landholdings planted with other crops to the tenants by express will of the landowner under PD 27.
YES. Thus, Presidential Decree 27 is clear that after full payment and title to the land is acquired, the land shall not be transferred except to the heirs of the beneficiary or the Government. If the amortizations for the land have not yet been paid, then there can be no transfer to anybody since the lot is still owned by the Government. The prohibition against transfers to persons other than the heirs of other qualified beneficiaries stems from the policy of the Government to develop generations of farmers to attain its avowed goal to have an adequate and sustained agricultural production.
Thus, it is plain to see that Sec. 6 of EO 228, part of which reads “Ownership of lands acquired by farmer-beneficiary may be transferred after full payment of amortizations,” principallydeals with payment of amortization and not on who qualify as legal transferees of lands acquired under Presidential Decree No 27.