Agrarian Jurisprudence

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No date suppliedAGRARIAN REFORM LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE (A DAR-UNDP SARDIC PUBLICATIONAGRARIAN LAW AND JURISPRUDENCEPREFACE This book has inauspicious beginnings. The original intent of the UNDP-SARDIC project, which eventually bore this book, was to map out special areas for policy reform in agrarian reform law. But as the project team delved deeper into the subject, the long unaddressed need for an organized and systematic presentation of agrarian law and existing jurisprudence was again put to fore. In response to that problem, the project team and the UNDP-SARDIC project decided to widen the scope of the project and, thus, what came of it was not only a map of the difficult problem areas in the law's implementation but also this book.TcH Any foray into the complicated, and often contentious, arena that is agrarian reform law necessitates a complete and well-grounded grasp of the basics. If anything, our study revealed that, even after decades, agrarian reform law remains vastly misunderstood and under-appreciated not only by stakeholders but by agrarian reform law implementors themselves. This is largely due to the dearth of materials on the matter. Over the years, laws and their implementing rules have been refined and promulgated to reflect the lessons learned and the changing times. Simultaneously, the Supreme Court issued rulings that elucidate and interpret the law, as well as repudiate portions thereof. The rights and obligations of the different stakeholders have been constantly redefined and readjusted. Despite these exciting developments, however, there has been little done to mesh all these pieces of knowledge into an organized whole. This book is an effort towards that end. In a nutshell, this book is a humble attempt in summing up years of agrarian reform law implementation. This book intends to reach out to all sectors and stakeholders to heighten their understanding and appreciation of the agrarian reform in the Philippines, and hopefully help refine the terms of the ongoing debates among them. This book hopes to appeal to both familiar and unfamiliar on the subject. It attempts to present, in an academic fashion, all relevant agrarian reform laws, DAR implementing rules, and pertinent judicial declarations on the matter. Hopefully, this will provide a holistic framework for understanding agrarian law. Extra effort was also exerted to demonstrate agrarian reform in action by giving concrete illustrations and discussion from an operational perspective. Interspersed with the theoretical discussions are the various operational issues and difficulties that DAR implementors faced or are still facing. The authors would like to thank the UNDP-SARDIC project management team for providing the financial and logistic support to see this project through.the members of DAR's management committee who shared with the project team their invaluable insights and experience in agrarian reform implementation. Their contribution in making this book complete and insightful is immeasurable.the DAR-PPLAO support staff for providing administrative and secretariat support; andAntonio Ramos who served as auditor for this project. This is but a first step. We derive inspiration from the words of T.S. Eliot:We shall not cease from explorationAnd the end of all our exploringWill be to arrive where we startedAnd know the place for the first time[From "Little Gidding"] THE AUTHORSCHAPTER 1Coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform ProgramThe Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is implemented byRepublic Act No. 6657(1988) otherwise known as the "Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law". Prior to its enactment on 10 June 1988, President Corazon C. Aquino issuedProclamation No. 131(1987) instituting a comprehensive agrarian reform program, andExecutive Order No. 229(1987) providing the mechanics for its implementation.RA 6657took effect on 15 June 1988.While expressly repealing specific provisions of prior enactments on agrarian reform,RA 6657provides that the provisions ofRA 3844(1963),Presidential Decree No. 27(1972) andPD 266(1973),EO 228(1987) andEO 229(1987) and other laws not inconsistent with it shall have suppletory effect.RA 6657was enacted pursuant to the constitutional mandate enshrined in Section 4, Art. XIII of the1987 Constitution, which provides:SEC. 4. The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account ecological, developmental, or equity considerations, and subject to the payment of just compensation. In determining retention limits, the State shall respect the right of small landowners. The State shall further provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing. The constitutionality ofRA 6657has been upheld inAssociation of Small Landowners v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 342 (1989)and companion cases. The Supreme Court held that the requirement of public use has already been settled by the Constitution itself. It noted that "[n]o less than the 1987 Charter calls for agrarian reform which is the reason why private agricultural lands are to be taken from their owners, subject to the prescribed retention limits." (at 378) WhileRA 6657itself has been held constitutional, the Supreme Court in a subsequent case,Luz Farms v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, 192 SCRA 51 (1990), declared unconstitutional Sec. 3 (b), 10 and 11 thereof in so far as they include lands devoted to the raising of livestock, swine and poultry within its coverage. As a result of this ruling, Congress enactedRA 7881(1995) amending these provisions and incorporating new provisions to existing ones. The amendments adopted theLuzdoctrine by removing livestock, swine and poultry farms from CARP coverage.Scope of CARP TheConstitutionin Sec. 4, Art. XIII, mandates the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits that the Congress may prescribe, taking into account ecological, developmental or equity considerations and subject to the payment of just compensation. Prior toRA 6657, the operative law on land distribution wasPD 27(1972). However,PD 27is limited in scope, covering only tenanted private agricultural lands primarily devoted to rice and corn operating under a system of share-crop or lease tenancy, whether classified as landed estate or not. The constitutional provision therefore expanded the scope of agrarian reform to cover all agricultural lands.RA 6657operationalized this constitutional mandate and provides in Sec. 4 thereof that the CARP shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands, as provided inProclamation No. 131andEO 229including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture. More specifically, the following lands are covered by CARP:a)All alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture;b)All lands of the public domain in excess of the specific limits as determined by Congress in Sec. 4 (a) ofRA 6657;c)All other lands owned by the government devoted to or suitable for agriculture; andd)All private lands devoted or suitable for agriculture regardless of the agricultural products raised or that can be raised thereon (Rep. Act No. 6657[1988], Sec. 4). Definition of agricultural land Sec. 3 (c) ofRA 6657defines agricultural lands as follows:(c) Agricultural Land refers to land devoted to agricultural activity as defined in this Act and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land. Sec. 3 (b) ofRA 6657, as amended byRA 7881(1995), defines "agricultural activity" as follows:(b) Agriculture, Agriculture Enterprise or Agricultural Activity means cultivation of soil, planting of crops, growing of fruit trees, including the harvesting of such farm products, and other farm activities and practices performed by a farmer in conjunction with such farming operations done by persons whether natural or juridical. InNatalia v. DAR, 225 SCRA 278 (1993), the Supreme Court held:Section 4 of RA 6657 provides that the CARL "shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands." As to what constitutes "agricultural land," it is referred to as "land devoted to agricultural activity as defined in this Act and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land." The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission confirm this limitation. "Agricultural lands" are only those lands which are "arable and suitable agricultural lands" and "do not include commercial and industrial lands" (at 282, 283).Agricultural lands reclassified by local governments into "forest conservation zones" Agricultural lands reclassified by local government units (LGUs) into "forest conservation zones" even prior to the effectivity ofCARLdo not become forest land under Sec. 3 (c) ofRA 6657as to be exempted from CARP coverage. It should be noted that under the Constitution, lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural, forest or timber, mineral lands and national parks (CONST., Art. XII, Sec. 3). These classifications are called primary classifications or "classification in the first instance." The same provision of the Constitution also provides that agricultural lands of the public domain may be further classified according to the uses to which they may be devoted. This further classification of agricultural land is referred to as secondary classification. The responsibility over primary classi