Pasco v. Pison-Arceo Agri. Dev. Corp.
G.R. No. 165501
Mar 28, 2006
485 SCRA 514
Respondent, Pison-Arceo Agricultural and Development Corporation, is the registered owner of a parcel of land in Negros Occidental containing more than 100 hectares. Constructed on respondent’s parcel of land are houses which are occupied by its workers. Petitioners, ceased to be employed by respondent by 1987, petitioners were asked to vacate the house they were occupying but they refused, hence, respondent filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against them before the MTCC in Talisay City.
On June 30, 2000, the MTCC of Talisay rendered judgment in favor of respondent.
On August 23, 2000, the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) of Talisay City sent a Notice of Coverage advising respondent that its parcel of land is now covered under Republic Act 6657.
On August 24, 2000 petitioners appealed the MTCC decision in the Unlawful Detainer Case to the RTC, raising for the first time that, respondent’s hacienda is covered by the CARL and they are qualified beneficiaries thereunder; whether they are qualified beneficiaries is material to the determination of whether they are planters or builders or sowers in bad faith; "upon knowledge that the land subject of the unlawful detainer case is an hacienda, it is within the sound discretion of the judge to clarify from the parties whether or not the subject land is covered by [CARL] and whether or not the defendants are qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries"; "it is mandatory on the part of the courts to take judicial notice of agrarian laws"; and the unlawful detainer case, at all events, was prematurely filed as respondent’s right to eject them would arise only after they are reimbursed of their expenses in repairing the house and, therefore, the MTCC has no jurisdiction yet to order their ejectment.
On December 5, 2000, the RTC of Bacolod City affirmed the decision of MTCC Talisay, with modification. Petitioners moved to reconsider, but were denied.
Hence, they elevated the case to the CA. On August 27, 2003, the appellate court denied petitioners’ petition.
In the meantime, the MARO of Talisay City issued on August 24, 2004 a Certification that herein petitioner Jesus Pasco is registered as potential Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) beneficiary in the land owned by respondent.
Yes. The issuance of a Notice of Coverage is merely a preliminary step for the State’s acquisition of the land for agrarian reform purposes and it does not automatically vest title or transfer the ownership of the land to the government.
A Notice of Coverage does not ipso facto render the land subject thereof a land reform area, since during a field investigation the DAR and Land Bank of the Philippines would make a determination as to whether, among other things, "the land will be placed under agrarian reform, the land’s suitability to agriculture."
The owner retains its right to eject unlawful possessors of his land.
As for the registration of petitioners as potential CARP beneficiaries, the same does not help their cause. As "potential" CARP beneficiaries, they are included in the list of those who may be awarded land under the CARP. Nothing in the records of the case shows that the DAR has made an award in favor of petitioners, hence, no rights over the land they occupy can be considered to have vested in their favor in accordance with Section 24 of the CARL which reads: “The rights and responsibilities of the beneficiary shall commence from the time the DAR makes an award of the land to him…”