Case Digest: Sta. Rosa Realty Development Corporation vs Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 1125, 26October 12, 2001, 367 SCRA 175
Sta. Rosa Realty Development Corporation vs Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 112526
October 12, 2001
367 SCRA 175
Petitioner, Sta. Rosa Realty Development Corporation (SRRDC) was the registered owner of two parcels of land, situated at Barangay Casile, Cabuyao, Laguna covered by TCT Nos. 81949 and 84891, with a total area of 254.6 hectares.
The parcels of land in Barangay Casile were declared as "PARK" by a Zoning Ordinance adopted by the municipality of Cabuyao in 1979, as certified by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.
On December 12, 1989, Secretary of Agrarian Reform Miriam Defensor Santiago sent two (2) notices of acquisition to petitioner, stating that petitioner's landholdings had been placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
On April 6, 1990, petitioner sent a letter to the Land Bank of the Philippines stating that its property under the aforesaid land titleswere exempt from CARP coverage because they had been classified as watershed area and were the subject of a pending petition for land conversion.
On January 5, 1994, the Sangguniang Bayan of Cabuyao, Laguna issued a Resolution voiding the zoning classification of the land at Barangay Casile as Park and declaring that the land is now classified as agricultural land.
Whether or not the property in question is covered by CARP despite the fact that the entire property formed part of a watershed area prior to the enactment of R. A. No. 6657.
In Natalia Realty, Inc. vs (DAR) Department of Agrarian Reform, the Court held that lands classified as non-agricultural prior to the effectivity of the CARL may not be compulsorily acquired for distribution to farmer beneficiaries.
However, more than the classification of the subject land as PARK is the fact that subsequent studies and survey showed that the parcels of land in question form a vital part of a watershed area.
Another factor that needs to be mentioned is the fact that during the DARAB hearing, petitioner presented proof that the Casile property has slopes of 18% and over, which exempted the land from the coverage of CARL.
Hence, the Court remanded the case to the DARAB for re-evaluation and determination of the nature of the parcels of land involved to resolve the issue of its coverage by the Comprehensive Land Reform Program.In the meantime, the effects of the CLOAs issued by the DAR to supposed farmer beneficiaries shall continue to be stayed by the temporary restraining order issued on December 15, 1993, which shall remain in effect until final decision on the case.