Hacienda Luisita v. PARC
G.R. No. 171101, Jul 05, 2011, 653 SCRA 154 (2011)
In 1957, the Spanish owners of the Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas (Tabacalera) sold to Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) Hacienda Luisita and their controlling interest in the sugar mill within the hacienda. The Philippine Government, through the Central Bank of the Philippines, aided the buyer to obtain a dollar loan from a US bank. Also, the GSIS Board of Trustees extended loan in favour of TADECO with a condition that said lots shall be divided at cost to the tenants, should there be any, under Land Tenure Act. In 1963, the Agricultural Land Reform Code (RA 3844) was enacted, abolishing share tenancy and converting it to leasehold tenancy. Subsequently, Congress passed the Code of Agrarian Reform (RA 6389) declaring the entire country a land reform area. A month after the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, President Marcos allowed tenant-farmers to purchase the land they tilled or to change from shared-tenancy to fixed-rent leasehold tenancy. In 1980, the Martial Law Administration filed a suit before the RTC of Manila against TADECO to surrender Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform (now the DAR) for its distribution to farmers. The RTC ordered TADECO to surrender the hacienda to the MAR.Then during the time of President Corazon C. Aquino, after Marcos was ousted, she instituted Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and created the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) as its policy-making body, thru RA 6657 (CARP Law of 1988) ushering a new process of land classification, acquisition, and distribution. Consequently, the CA dismissed the case the Marcos administration initially instituted and won against TADECO, et al. However, the dismissal was conditioned that there be an approval of a stock distribution plan (SDP) to be submitted, approved by PARC, and implemented as an alternative mode of land distribution, and failure to comply will cause the revival of previous decision. Thereafter, the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) was formed as a spin-off corporation to facilitate the SDP.
In 1989, about 93% of the Farmworkers-beneficiaries (FWBs) accepted and signed the proposed SDOP. Then, Stock Distribution Option Agreement (SDOA) was entered into by TADECO/HLI and 5,848 qualified FWBs. A referendum conducted by DAR showed that 5,177 FWBs out of 5,315 participants opted to receive shares in the HLI.
A petition (Petisyon) was then filed for the revocation and nullification of the SDOA and the distribution of the lands. The Petisyon was filed by the AMBALA (composing about 80% of the 5,339 FWBs of Hacienda Luisita). DAR constituted a Special Task Force toattend to the issues relating to the SDP of HLI and the latter found that HLI failed to comply with their undertakings.
On December 22, 2005, PARC affirmed the recommendation of DAR to recall/revoke the SDOP of TADECO/HLI and the land be placed under compulsory coverage or mandated land acquisition.
Whether or not PARC has jurisdiction to recall or revoke HLI’s SDP.
Yes. Under Sec. 31 of RA 6657, as implemented by DAO 10, the authority to approve the plan for stock distribution of the corporate landowner belongs to PARC. However, contrary to petitioner HLI’s posture, PARC also has the power to revoke the SDP which it previously approved. It may be, as urged, that RA 6657 or other executive issuances on agrarian reform do not explicitly vest the PARC with the power to revoke/recall an approved SDP. Such power or authority, however, is deemed possessed by PARC under the principle of necessary implication, a basic postulate that what is implied in a statute is as much a part of it as that which is expressed.
Following the doctrine of necessary implication, it may be stated that the conferment of express power to approve a plan for stock distribution of the agricultural land of corporate owners necessarily includes the power to revoke or recall the approval of the plan.