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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 127876 December 17, 1999
ROXAS & CO., INC., petitioner,
vs.
TE ONORA!"E COURT O# APPEA"S, DEPARTMENT O# AGRARIAN RE#ORM,
SECRETAR$ O# AGRARIAN RE#ORM, DAR REGIONA" DIRECTOR #OR REGION I%,
MUNICIPA" AGRARIAN RE#ORM O##ICER O# NASUG!U, !ATANGAS &'( DEPARTMENT
O# AGRARIAN RE#ORM AD)UDICATION !OARD, respondents.

PUNO, J.:
This case involves three (3 haciendas in Nasu!bu, Batan!as o"ned b# petitioner and the validit#
of the ac$uisition of these haciendas b# the !overn%ent under Republic Act No. &&'(, the
Co%prehensive A!rarian Refor% )a" of *+,,.
Petitioner Ro-as . Co. is a do%estic corporation and is the re!istered o"ner of three haciendas,
na%el#, /aciendas Palico, Banilad and Ca#la"a#, all located in the Municipalit# of Nasu!bu,
Batan!as. /acienda Palico is *,012 hectares in area and is re!istered under Transfer Certificate
of Title (TCT No. +,'. This land is covered b# Ta- 3eclaration Nos. 02&', 02&&, 02&,, 02(0,
0132 and 03'2. /acienda Banilad is *,0'0 hectares in area, re!istered under TCT No. +12 and
covered b# Ta- 3eclaration Nos. 013&, 013( and 03+0. /acienda Ca#la"a# is ,&(.2'(* hectares
in area and is re!istered under TCT Nos. T422&&1, T422&&3, T422&&2 and T422&&'.
The events of this case occurred durin! the incu%benc# of then President Cora5on C. A$uino. 6n
7ebruar# *+,&, President A$uino issued Procla%ation No. 3 pro%ul!atin! a Provisional
Constitution. As head of the provisional !overn%ent, the President e-ercised le!islative po"er
8until a le!islature is elected and convened under a ne" Constitution.8
1
6n the e-ercise of this
le!islative po"er, the President si!ned on 9ul# 11, *+,(, Procla%ation No. *3* institutin! a
Co%prehensive A!rarian Refor% Pro!ra% and E-ecutive :rder No. 11+ providin! the
%echanis%s necessar# to initiall# i%ple%ent the pro!ra%.
:n 9ul# 1(, *+,(, the Con!ress of the Philippines for%all# convened and too; over le!islative
po"er fro% the President.
2
This Con!ress passed Republic Act No. &&'(, the Co%prehensive
A!rarian Refor% )a" (CAR) of *+,,. The Act "as si!ned b# the President on 9une *0, *+,,
and too; effect on 9une *', *+,,.
Before the la"<s effectivit#, on Ma# &, *+,,, petitioner filed "ith respondent 3AR a voluntar# offer
to sell /acienda Ca#la"a# pursuant to the provisions of E.:. No. 11+. /aciendas Palico and
Banilad "ere later placed under co%pulsor# ac$uisition b# respondent 3AR in accordance "ith
the CAR).
Hacienda Palico
:n =epte%ber 1+, *+,+, respondent 3AR, throu!h respondent Municipal A!rarian Refor% :fficer
(MAR: of Nasu!bu, Batan!as, sent a notice entitled 86nvitation to Parties8 to petitioner. The
6nvitation "as addressed to 89ai%e Pi%entel, /da. Ad%inistrator, /da. Palico.8
*
Therein, the
MAR: invited petitioner to a conference on :ctober &, *+,+ at the 3AR office in Nasu!bu to
discuss the results of the 3AR investi!ation of /acienda Palico, "hich "as 8scheduled for
co%pulsor# ac$uisition this #ear under the Co%prehensive A!rarian Refor% Pro!ra%.8
+
:n :ctober 1', *+,+, the MAR: co%pleted three (3 6nvesti!ation Reports after investi!ation
and ocular inspection of the /acienda. 6n the first Report, the MAR: found that 1(0 hectares
under Ta- 3eclaration Nos. 2&', 2&&, 2&, and 2(0 "ere 8flat to undulatin! (04,> slope8 and
actuall# occupied and cultivated b# 32 tillers of su!arcane.
,
6n the second Report, the MAR:
identified as 8flat to undulatin!8 appro-i%atel# 33+ hectares under Ta- 3eclaration No. 0132
"hich also had several actual occupants and tillers of su!arcane?
6
"hile in the third Report, the
MAR: found appro-i%atel# (' hectare under Ta- 3eclaration No. 03'2 as 8flat to undulatin!8
"ith 33 actual occupants and tillers also of su!arcane.
7
:n :ctober 1(, *+,+, a 8=u%%ar# 6nvesti!ation Report8 "as sub%itted and si!ned @ointl# b# the
MAR:, representatives of the Baran!a# A!rarian Refor% Co%%ittee (BARC and )and Ban; of
the Philippines ()BP, and b# the Provincial A!rarian Refor% :fficer (PAR:. The Report
reco%%ended that 333.0,00 hectares of /acienda Palico be sub@ect to co%pulsor# ac$uisition at
a value of P&,,0(,&11.10.
8
The follo"in! da#, :ctober 1,, *+,+, t"o (1 %ore =u%%ar#
6nvesti!ation Reports "ere sub%itted b# the sa%e officers and representatives. The#
reco%%ended that 1(0.0,(& hectares and ('.3,00 hectares be placed under co%pulsor#
ac$uisition at a co%pensation of P,,*0+,(3+.00 and P1,*,,,*+'.2(, respectivel#.
9
:n 3ece%ber *1, *+,+, respondent 3AR throu!h then 3epart%ent =ecretar# Miria% 3. =antia!o
sent a 8Notice of Ac$uisition8 to petitioner. The Notice "as addressed as follo"sA
Ro-as # Cia, )i%ited
=oriano Bld!., Pla5a Cervantes
Manila, Metro Manila.
1-
Petitioner "as infor%ed that *,013.+++ hectares of its land in /acienda Palico "ere sub@ect to
i%%ediate ac$uisition and distribution b# the !overn%ent under the CAR)? that based on the
3AR<s valuation criteria, the !overn%ent "as offerin! co%pensation of P3.2 %illion for 333.0,00
hectares? that "hether this offer "as to be accepted or re@ected, petitioner "as to infor% the
Bureau of )and Ac$uisition and 3istribution (B)A3 of the 3AR? that in case of petitioner<s
re@ection or failure to repl# "ithin thirt# da#s, respondent 3AR shall conduct su%%ar#
ad%inistrative proceedin!s "ith notice to petitioner to deter%ine @ust co%pensation for the land?
that if petitioner accepts respondent 3AR<s offer, or upon deposit of the co%pensation "ith an
accessible ban; if it re@ects the sa%e, the 3AR shall ta;e i%%ediate possession of the land.
11
Al%ost t"o #ears later, on =epte%ber 1&, *++*, the 3AR Re!ional 3irector sent to the )BP )and
Baluation Mana!er three (3 separate Me%oranda entitled 8Re$uest to :pen Trust Account.8
Each Me%oranda re$uested that a trust account representin! the valuation of three portions of
/acienda Palico be opened in favor of the petitioner in vie" of the latter<s re@ection of its offered
value.
12
Mean"hile in a letter dated Ma# 2, *++3, petitioner applied "ith the 3AR for conversion of
/aciendas Palico and Banilad fro% a!ricultural to non4a!ricultural lands under the provisions of
the CAR).
1*
:n 9ul# *2, *++3, petitioner sent a letter to the 3AR Re!ional 3irector reiteratin! its
re$uest for conversion of the t"o haciendas.
1+
3espite petitioner<s application for conversion, respondent 3AR proceeded "ith the ac$uisition of
the t"o /aciendas. The )BP trust accounts as co%pensation for /acienda Palico "ere replaced
b# respondent 3AR "ith cash and )BP bonds.
1,
:n :ctober 11, *++3, fro% the %other title of
TCT No. +,' of the /acienda, respondent 3AR re!istered Certificate of )and :"nership A"ard
(C):A No. &&'2. :n :ctober 30, *++3, C):A<s "ere distributed to far%er beneficiaries.
16
Hacienda Banilad
:n Au!ust 13, *+,+, respondent 3AR, throu!h respondent MAR: of Nasu!bu, Batan!as, sent a
notice to petitioner addressed as follo"sA
Mr. 9ai%e Pi%entel
/acienda Ad%inistrator
/acienda Banilad
Nasu!bu, Batan!as
17
The MAR: infor%ed Pi%entel that /acienda Banilad "as sub@ect to co%pulsor#
ac$uisition under the CAR)? that should petitioner "ish to avail of the other sche%es
such as Boluntar# :ffer to =ell or Boluntar# )and Transfer, respondent 3AR "as "illin! to
provide assistance thereto.
18
:n =epte%ber *,, *+,+, the MAR: sent an 86nvitation to Parties8 a!ain to Pi%entel invitin! the
latter to attend a conference on =epte%ber 1*, *+,+ at the MAR: :ffice in Nasu!bu to discuss
the results of the MAR:<s investi!ation over /acienda Banilad.
19
:n =epte%ber 1*, *+,+, the sa%e da# the conference "as held, the MAR: sub%itted t"o (1
Reports. 6n his first Report, he found that appro-i%atel# (0+ hectares of land under Ta-
3eclaration Nos. 013( and 013& "ere 8flat to undulatin! (04,> slope.8 :n this area "ere
discovered *&1 actual occupants and tillers of su!arcane.
2-
6n the second Report, it "as found
that appro-i%atel# 13' hectares under Ta- 3eclaration No. 03+0 "ere 8flat to undulatin!,8 on
"hich "ere +1 actual occupants and tillers of su!arcane.
21
The results of these Reports "ere discussed at the conference. Present in the conference "ere
representatives of the prospective far%er beneficiaries, the BARC, the )BP, and 9ai%e Pi%entel
on behalf of the lando"ner.
22
After the %eetin!, on the sa%e da#, =epte%ber 1*, *+,+, a
=u%%ar# 6nvesti!ation Report "as sub%itted @ointl# b# the MAR:, representatives of the BARC,
)BP, and the PAR:. The# reco%%ended that after ocular inspection of the propert#, 132.&2+,
hectares under Ta- 3eclaration No. 03+0 be sub@ect to co%pulsor# ac$uisition and distribution b#
C):A.
2*
The follo"in! da#, =epte%ber 11, *+,+, a second =u%%ar# 6nvesti!ation "as
sub%itted b# the sa%e officers. The# reco%%ended that (3(.1'+0 hectares under Ta-
3eclaration Nos. 013& and 013( be li;e"ise placed under co%pulsor# ac$uisition for distribution.
2+
:n 3ece%ber *1, *+,+, respondent 3AR, throu!h the 3epart%ent =ecretar#, sent to petitioner
t"o (1 separate 8Notices of Ac$uisition8 over /acienda Banilad. These Notices "ere sent on the
sa%e da# as the Notice of Ac$uisition over /acienda Palico. Cnli;e the Notice over /acienda
Palico, ho"ever, the Notices over /acienda Banilad "ere addressed toA
Ro-as # Cia. )i%ited
(th 7loor, Cacho4Don5ales Bld!. *0* A!uirre =t., )e!.
Ma;ati, Metro Manila.
2,
Respondent 3AR offered petitioner co%pensation of P*',*0,,++'.'1 for (1+.2*+0
hectares and P2,21,,2+&.00 for 132.&2+, hectares.
26
:n =epte%ber 1&, *++*, the 3AR Re!ional 3irector sent to the )BP )and Baluation Mana!er a
8Re$uest to :pen Trust Account8 in petitioner<s na%e as co%pensation for 132.&2+3 hectares of
/acienda Banilad.
27
A second 8Re$uest to :pen Trust Account8 "as sent on Nove%ber *,, *++*
over (13.2*30 hectares of said /acienda.
28
:n 3ece%ber *,, *++*, the )BP certified that the a%ounts of P2,21,,2+&.20 and P1*,132,2&,.(,
in cash and )BP bonds had been ear%ar;ed as co%pensation for petitioner<s land in /acienda
Banilad.
29
:n Ma# 2, *++3, petitioner applied for conversion of both /aciendas Palico and Banilad.
Hacienda Caylaway
/acienda Ca#la"a# "as voluntaril# offered for sale to the !overn%ent on Ma# &, *+,, before the
effectivit# of the CAR). The /acienda has a total area of ,&(.2'(* hectares and is covered b#
four (2 titles E TCT Nos. T422&&1, T422&&3, T422&&2 and T422&&'. :n 9anuar# *1, *+,+,
respondent 3AR, throu!h the Re!ional 3irector for Re!ion 6B, sent to petitioner t"o (1 separate
Resolutions acceptin! petitioner<s voluntar# offer to sell /acienda Ca#la"a#, particularl# TCT
Nos. T422&&2 and T422&&3.
*-
The Resolutions "ere addressed toA
Ro-as . Co%pan#, 6nc.
(th 7lr. Cacho4Don5ales Bld!.
A!uirre, )e!aspi Billa!e
Ma;ati, M. M
*1
:n =epte%ber 2, *++0, the 3AR Re!ional 3irector issued t"o separate Me%oranda to the )BP
Re!ional Mana!er re$uestin! for the valuation of the land under TCT Nos. T422&&2 and T422&&3.
*2
:n the sa%e da#, respondent 3AR, throu!h the Re!ional 3irector, sent to petitioner a 8Notice
of Ac$uisition8 over 12*.&((( hectares under TCT No. T422&&2 and '33.,*,0 hectares under
TCT No. T422&&3.
**
)i;e the Resolutions of Acceptance, the Notice of Ac$uisition "as addressed
to petitioner at its office in Ma;ati, Metro Manila.
Nevertheless, on Au!ust &, *++1, petitioner, throu!h its President, Eduardo 9. Ro-as, sent a letter
to the =ecretar# of respondent 3AR "ithdra"in! its B:= of /acienda Ca#la"a#. The
=an!!unian! Ba#an of Nasu!bu, Batan!as alle!edl# authori5ed the reclassification of /acienda
Ca#la"a# fro% a!ricultural to non4a!ricultural. As a result, petitioner infor%ed respondent 3AR
that it "as appl#in! for conversion of /acienda Ca#la"a# fro% a!ricultural to other
uses.
*+
6n a letter dated =epte%ber 1,, *++1, respondent 3AR =ecretar# infor%ed petitioner that a
reclassification of the land "ould not e-e%pt it fro% a!rarian refor%. Respondent =ecretar# also
denied petitioner<s "ithdra"al of the B:= on the !round that "ithdra"al could onl# be based on
specific !rounds such as unsuitabilit# of the soil for a!riculture, or if the slope of the land is over
*, de!rees and that the land is undeveloped.
*,
3espite the denial of the B:= "ithdra"al of /acienda Ca#la"a#, on Ma# **, *++3, petitioner filed
its application for conversion of both /aciendas Palico and Banilad.
*6
:n 9ul# *2, *++3,
petitioner, throu!h its President, Eduardo Ro-as, reiterated its re$uest to "ithdra" the B:= over
/acienda Ca#la"a# in li!ht of the follo"in!A
* Certification issued b# Conrado 6. Don5ales, :fficer4in4Char!e, 3epart%ent of
A!riculture, Re!ion 2, 2th 7loor, AT6 (BA Bld!., 3ili%an, Fue5on Cit# dated
March *, *++3 statin! that the lands sub@ect of referenced titles 8are not feasible
and econo%icall# sound for further a!ricultural develop%ent.
1 Resolution No. *+ of the =an!!unian! Ba#an of Nasu!bu, Batan!as
approvin! the Gonin! :rdinance reclassif#in! areas covered b# the referenced
titles to non4a!ricultural "hich "as enacted after e-tensive consultation "ith
!overn%ent a!encies, includin! Hthe 3epart%ent of A!rarian Refor%I, and the
re$uisite public hearin!s.
3 Resolution No. *0& of the =an!!unian! Panlala"i!an of Batan!as dated
March ,, *++3 approvin! the Gonin! :rdinance enacted b# the Municipalit# of
Nasu!bu.
2 )etter dated 3ece%ber *', *++1 issued b# Re#naldo C. Darcia of the
Municipal Plannin! . 3evelop%ent, Coordinator and 3eputi5ed Gonin!
Ad%inistrator addressed to Mrs. Alicia P. )o!arta advisin! that the Municipalit# of
Nasu!bu, Batan!as has no ob@ection to the conversion of the lands sub@ect of
referenced titles to non4a!ricultural.
*7
:n Au!ust 12, *++3 petitioner instituted Case No. N400*(4+&42& (BA "ith respondent 3AR
Ad@udication Board (3ARAB pra#in! for the cancellation of the C):A<s issued b# respondent
3AR in the na%e of several persons. Petitioner alle!ed that the Municipalit# of Nasu!bu, "here
the haciendas are located, had been declared a tourist 5one, that the land is not suitable for
a!ricultural production, and that the =an!!unian! Ba#an of Nasu!bu had reclassified the land to
non4a!ricultural.
6n a Resolution dated :ctober *2, *++3, respondent 3ARAB held that the case involved the
pre@udicial $uestion of "hether the propert# "as sub@ect to a!rarian refor%, hence, this $uestion
should be sub%itted to the :ffice of the =ecretar# of A!rarian Refor% for deter%ination.
*8
:n :ctober 1+, *++3, petitioner filed "ith the Court of Appeals CA4D.R. =P No. 312,2. 6t
$uestioned the e-propriation of its properties under the CAR) and the denial of due process in
the ac$uisition of its landholdin!s.
Mean"hile, the petition for conversion of the three haciendas "as denied b# the MAR: on
Nove%ber ,, *++3.
Petitioner<s petition "as dis%issed b# the Court of Appeals on April 1,, *++2.
*9
Petitioner %oved
for reconsideration but the %otion "as denied on 9anuar# *(, *++( b# respondent court.
+-
/ence, this recourse. Petitioner assi!ns the follo"in! errorsA
A. RE=P:N3ENT C:CRT :7 APPEA)= DRABE)J ERRE3 6N /:)36ND T/AT
PET6T6:NER<= CAC=E :7 ACT6:N 6= PREMATCRE 7:R 7A6)CRE T:
EK/AC=T A3M6N6=TRAT6BE REME36E= 6N B6EL :7 T/E PATENT
6))EDA)6TJ :7 T/E RE=P:N3ENT=< ACT=, T/E 6RREPARAB)E 3AMADE
CAC=E3 BJ =A63 6))EDA) ACT=, AN3 T/E AB=ENCE :7 A P)A6N, =PEE3J
AN3 A3EFCATE REME3J 6N T/E :R36NARJ C:CR=E :7 )AL E A)) :7
L/6C/ ARE EKCEPT6:N= T: T/E =A63 3:CTR6NE.
B. RE=P:N3ENT C:CRT :7 APPEA)= DRABE)J ERRE3 6N /:)36ND T/AT
PET6T6:NER<= )AN3/:)36ND= ARE =CB9ECT T: C:BERADE CN3ER T/E
C:MPRE/EN=6BE ADRAR6AN RE7:RM )AL, 6N B6EL :7 T/E
CN36=PCTE3 7ACT T/AT PET6T6:NER<= )AN3/:)36ND= /ABE BEEN
C:NBERTE3 T: N:N4ADR6CC)TCRA) C=E= BJ PRE=63ENT6A)
PR:C)AMAT6:N N:. *'10 L/6C/ 3EC)ARE3 T/E MCN6C6PA)6TJ
NA=CDBC, BATANDA= A= A T:CR6=T G:NE, AN3 T/E G:N6ND
:R36NANCE :7 T/E MCN6C6PA)6TJ :7 NA=CDBC RE4C)A==67J6ND
CERTA6N P:RT6:N= :7 PET6T6:NER<= )AN3/:)36ND= A= N:N4
ADR6CC)TCRA), B:T/ :7 L/6C/ P)ACE =A63 )AN3/:)36ND= :CT=63E
T/E =C:PE :7 ADRAR6AN RE7:RM, :R AT T/E BERJ )EA=T ENT6T)E
PET6T6:NER T: APP)J 7:R C:NBER=6:N A= C:NCE3E3 BJ
RE=P:N3ENT 3AR.
C. RE=P:N3ENT C:CRT :7 APPEA)= DRABE)J ERRE3 L/EN 6T 7A6)E3
T: 3EC)ARE T/E PR:CEE36ND= BE7:RE RE=P:N3ENT 3AR B:63 7:R
7A6)CRE T: :B=ERBE 3CE PR:CE==, C:N=63ER6ND T/AT
RE=P:N3ENT= B)ATANT)J 36=REDAR3E3 T/E PR:CE3CRE 7:R T/E
ACFC6=6T6:N :7 PR6BATE )AN3= CN3ER R.A. &&'(, M:RE
PART6CC)AR)J, 6N 7A6)6ND T: D6BE 3CE N:T6CE T: T/E PET6T6:NER
AN3 T: PR:PER)J 63ENT67J T/E =PEC676C AREA= =:CD/T T: BE
ACFC6RE3.
3. RE=P:N3ENT C:CRT :7 APPEA)= DRABE)J ERRE3 L/EN 6T 7A6)E3
T: REC:DN6GE T/AT PET6T6:NER LA= BRAGEN)J AN3 6))EDA))J
3EPR6BE3 :7 6T= PR:PERTJ L6T/:CT 9C=T C:MPEN=AT6:N,
C:N=63ER6ND T/AT PET6T6:NER LA= N:T PA63 9C=T C:MPEN=AT6:N
BE7:RE 6T LA= CNCEREM:N6:C=)J =TR6PPE3 :7 6T= )AN3/:)36ND=
T/R:CD/ T/E 6==CANCE :7 C):A<= T: A))EDE3 7ARMER
BENE76C6AR6E=, 6N B6:)AT6:N :7 R.A. &&'(.
+1
The assi!ned errors involve three (3 principal issuesA (* "hether this Court can ta;e co!ni5ance
of this petition despite petitioner<s failure to e-haust ad%inistrative re%edies? (1 "hether the
ac$uisition proceedin!s over the three haciendas "ere valid and in accordance "ith la"? and (3
assu%in! the haciendas %a# be reclassified fro% a!ricultural to non4a!ricultural, "hether this
court has the po"er to rule on this issue.
6. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies.
6n its first assi!ned error, petitioner clai%s that respondent Court of Appeals !ravel# erred in
findin! that petitioner failed to e-haust ad%inistrative re%edies. As a !eneral rule, before a part#
%a# be allo"ed to invo;e the @urisdiction of the courts of @ustice, he is e-pected to have
e-hausted all %eans of ad%inistrative redress. This is not absolute, ho"ever. There are instances
"hen @udicial action %a# be resorted to i%%ediatel#. A%on! these e-ceptions areA (* "hen the
$uestion raised is purel# le!al? (1 "hen the ad%inistrative bod# is in estoppel? (3 "hen the act
co%plained of is patentl# ille!al? (2 "hen there is ur!ent need for @udicial intervention? (' "hen
the respondent acted in disre!ard of due process? (& "hen the respondent is a depart%ent
secretar# "hose acts, as an alter e!o of the President, bear the i%plied or assu%ed approval of
the latter? (( "hen irreparable da%a!e "ill be suffered? (, "hen there is no other plain, speed#
and ade$uate re%ed#? (+ "hen stron! public interest is involved? (*0 "hen the sub@ect of the
controvers# is private land? and (** in quo warranto proceedin!s.
+2
Petitioner ri!htl# sou!ht i%%ediate redress in the courts. There "as a violation of its ri!hts and to
re$uire it to e-haust ad%inistrative re%edies before the 3AR itself "as not a plain, speed# and
ade$uate re%ed#.
Respondent 3AR issued Certificates of )and :"nership A"ard (C):A<s to far%er beneficiaries
over portions of petitioner<s land "ithout @ust co%pensation to petitioner. A Certificate of )and
:"nership A"ard (C):A is evidence of o"nership of land b# a beneficiar# under R.A. &&'(, the
Co%prehensive A!rarian Refor% )a" of *+,,.
+*
Before this %a# be a"arded to a far%er
beneficiar#, the land %ust first be ac$uired b# the =tate fro% the lando"ner and o"nership
transferred to the for%er. The transfer of possession and o"nership of the land to the !overn%ent
are conditioned upon the receipt b# the lando"ner of the correspondin! pa#%ent or deposit b#
the 3AR of the co%pensation "ith an accessible ban;. Cntil then, title re%ains "ith the
lando"ner.
++
There "as no receipt b# petitioner of an# co%pensation for an# of the lands
ac$uired b# the !overn%ent.
The ;ind of co%pensation to be paid the lando"ner is also specific. The la" provides that the
deposit %ust be %ade onl# in 8cash8 or 8)BP bonds.8
+,
Respondent 3AR<s openin! of trust
account deposits in petitioner< s na%e "ith the )and Ban; of the Philippines does not constitute
pa#%ent under the la". Trust account deposits are not cash or )BP bonds. The replace%ent of
the trust account "ith cash or )BP bonds did not ipso facto cure the lac; of co%pensation? for
essentiall#, the deter%ination of this co%pensation "as %arred b# lac; of due process. 6n fact, in
the entire ac$uisition proceedin!s, respondent 3AR disre!arded the basic re$uire%ents of
ad%inistrative due process. Cnder these circu%stances, the issuance of the C):A<s to far%er
beneficiaries necessitated i%%ediate @udicial action on the part of the petitioner.
66. The Validity of the Acquisition Proceedins !ver the Haciendas.
Petitioner<s alle!ation of lac; of due process !oes into the validit# of the ac$uisition proceedin!s
the%selves. Before "e rule on this %atter, ho"ever, there is need to la# do"n the procedure in
the ac$uisition of private lands under the provisions of the la".
A. "odes of Acquisition of #and under R$ A$ %%&'
Republic Act No. &&'(, the Co%prehensive A!rarian Refor% )a" of *+,, (CAR), provides for
t"o (1 %odes of ac$uisition of private landA co%pulsor# and voluntar#. The procedure for the
co%pulsor# ac$uisition of private lands is set forth in =ection *& of R.A. &&'(, vi(A
=ec. *&. Procedure for Acquisition of Private #ands. E 7or purposes of
ac$uisition of private lands, the follo"in! procedures shall be follo"edA
a. After havin identified the land, the landowners and the
)eneficiaries, the *AR shall send its notice to acquire the land to
the owners thereof+ )y personal delivery or reistered mail+ and
post the same in a conspicuous place in the %unicipal buildin!
and baran!a# hall of the place "here the propert# is located.
=aid notice shall contain the offer of the 3AR to pa# a
correspondin! value in accordance "ith the valuation set forth in
=ections *(, *,, and other pertinent provisions hereof.
b Lithin thirt# (30 da#s fro% the date of receipt of "ritten notice
b# personal deliver# or re!istered %ail, the lando"ner, his
ad%inistrator or representative shall infor% the 3AR of his
acceptance or re@ection of the offer.
c 6f the lando"ner accepts the offer of the 3AR, the )BP shall
pa# the lando"ner the purchase price of the land "ithin thirt#
(30 da#s after he e-ecutes and delivers a deed of transfer in
favor of the Dovern%ent and surrenders the Certificate of Title
and other %uni%ents of title.
d 6n case of re@ection or failure to repl#, the 3AR shall conduct
su%%ar# ad%inistrative proceedin!s to deter%ine the
co%pensation for the land re$uirin! the lando"ner, the )BP and
other interested parties to sub%it evidence as to the @ust
co%pensation for the land, "ithin fifteen (*' da#s fro% receipt of
the notice. After the e-piration of the above period, the %atter is
dee%ed sub%itted for decision. The 3AR shall decide the case
"ithin thirt# (30 da#s after it is sub%itted for decision.
e Cpon receipt b# the lando"ner of the correspondin! pa#%ent,
or, in case of re@ection or no response fro% the lando"ner, upon
the deposit "ith an accessible ban; desi!nated b# the 3AR of
the co%pensation in cash or in )BP bonds in accordance "ith
this Act, the 3AR shall ta;e i%%ediate possession of the land
and shall re$uest the proper Re!ister of 3eeds to issue a
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT in the na%e of the Republic of
the Philippines. The 3AR shall thereafter proceed "ith the
redistribution of the land to the $ualified beneficiaries.
f An# part# "ho disa!rees "ith the decision %a# brin! the
%atter to the court of proper @urisdiction for final deter%ination of
@ust co%pensation.
6n the co%pulsor# ac$uisition of private lands, the landholdin!, the lando"ners and the far%er
beneficiaries %ust first be identified. After identification, the 3AR shall send a Notice of
Ac$uisition to the lando"ner, b# personal deliver# or re!istered %ail, and post it in a conspicuous
place in the %unicipal buildin! and baran!a# hall of the place "here the propert# is located.
Lithin thirt# da#s fro% receipt of the Notice of Ac$uisition, the lando"ner, his ad%inistrator or
representative shall infor% the 3AR of his acceptance or re@ection of the offer. 6f the lando"ner
accepts, he e-ecutes and delivers a deed of transfer in favor of the !overn%ent and surrenders
the certificate of title. Lithin thirt# da#s fro% the e-ecution of the deed of transfer, the )and Ban;
of the Philippines ()BP pa#s the o"ner the purchase price. 6f the lando"ner re@ects the 3AR<s
offer or fails to %a;e a repl#, the 3AR conducts su%%ar# ad%inistrative proceedin!s to
deter%ine @ust co%pensation for the land. The lando"ner, the )BP representative and other
interested parties %a# sub%it evidence on @ust co%pensation "ithin fifteen da#s fro% notice.
Lithin thirt# da#s fro% sub%ission, the 3AR shall decide the case and infor% the o"ner of its
decision and the a%ount of @ust co%pensation. Cpon receipt b# the o"ner of the correspondin!
pa#%ent, or, in case of re@ection or lac; of response fro% the latter, the 3AR shall deposit the
co%pensation in cash or in )BP bonds "ith an accessible ban;. The 3AR shall i%%ediatel# ta;e
possession of the land and cause the issuance of a transfer certificate of title in the na%e of the
Republic of the Philippines. The land shall then be redistributed to the far%er beneficiaries. An#
part# %a# $uestion the decision of the 3AR in the re!ular courts for final deter%ination of @ust
co%pensation.
The 3AR has %ade co%pulsor# ac$uisition the priorit# %ode of the land ac$uisition to hasten the
i%ple%entation of the Co%prehensive A!rarian Refor% Pro!ra% (CARP.
+6
Cnder =ection *& of
the CAR), the first step in co%pulsor# ac$uisition is the identification of the land, the lando"ners
and the beneficiaries. However, the law is silent on how the identification process must )e made.
To fill in this ap, the *AR issued on ,uly -%, ./0/ Administrative !rder 1o. .-, 2eries or ./0/,
which set the operatin procedure in the identification of such lands. The procedure is as follo"sA
66. :PERAT6ND PR:CE3CRE
A. The "unicipal Ararian Reform !fficer, with the assistance of the pertinent
Baranay Ararian Reform Committee 3BARC4, shallA
*. Cpdate the %asterlist of all a!ricultural lands covered under
the CARP in his area of responsibilit#. The %asterlist shall
include such infor%ation as re$uired under the attached CARP
Masterlist 7or% "hich shall include the na%e of the lando"ner,
landholdin! area, TCTM:CT nu%ber, and ta- declaration nu%ber.
1. Prepare a Co%pulsor# Ac$uisition Case 7older (CAC7 for
each title (:CTMTCT or landholdin! covered under Phase 6 and
66 of the CARP e-cept those for "hich the lando"ners have
alread# filed applications to avail of other %odes of land
ac$uisition. A case folder shall contain the follo"in! dul#
acco%plished for%sA
a CARP CA 7or% * E MAR: 6nvesti!ation
Report
b CARP CA 7or% 1 E =u%%ar# 6nvesti!ation
Report of 7indin!s and Evaluation
c CARP CA 7or% 3 E Applicant<s 6nfor%ation
=heet
d CARP CA 7or% 2 E Beneficiaries
Cnderta;in!
e CARP CA 7or% ' E Trans%ittal Report to the
PAR:
The MAR:MBARC shall certif# that all infor%ation contained in
the above4%entioned for%s have been e-a%ined and verified b#
hi% and that the sa%e are true and correct.
3. 2end a 1otice of Coverae and a letter of invitation to a
conference5meetin to the landowner covered )y the
Compulsory Case Acquisition 6older. 7nvitations to the said
conference5meetin shall also )e sent to the prospective farmer8
)eneficiaries, the BARC representative3s4, the #and Ban9 of the
Philippines 3#BP4 representative, and other interested parties to
discuss the inputs to the valuation of the property. He shall
discuss the "AR!5BARC investiation report and solicit the
views, o):ection, areements or suestions of the participants
thereon. The landowner shall also )e as9ed to indicate his
retention area. The minutes of the meetin shall )e sined )y all
participants in the conference and shall form an interal part of
the CAC6.
2. =ub%it all co%pleted case folders to the Provincial A!rarian
Refor% :fficer (PAR:.
B. The PAR! shallA
*. Ensure that the individual case folders are for"arded to hi% b#
his MAR:s.
1. 6%%ediatel# upon receipt of a case folder, co%pute the
valuation of the land in accordance "ith A.:. No. &, =eries of
*+,,.
+7
The valuation "or;sheet and the related CAC7 valuation
for%s shall be dul# certified correct b# the PAR: and all the
personnel "ho participated in the acco%plish%ent of these
for%s.
3. 6n all cases, the PAR: %a# validate the report of the MAR:
throu!h ocular inspection and verification of the propert#. This
ocular inspection and verification shall be %andator# "hen the
co%puted value e-ceeds N '00,000 per estate.
2. Cpon deter%ination of the valuation, for"ard the case folder,
to!ether "ith the dul# acco%plished valuation for%s and his
reco%%endations, to the Central :ffice. The )BP representative
and the MAR: concerned shall be furnished a cop# each of his
report.
C. *AR Central !ffice, specifically throuh the Bureau of #and
Acquisition and *istri)ution 3B#A*4, shallA
*. Lithin three da#s fro% receipt of the case folder fro% the
PAR:, revie", evaluate and deter%ine the final land valuation of
the propert# covered b# the case folder. A su%%ar# revie" and
evaluation report shall be prepared and dul# certified b# the
B)A3 3irector and the personnel directl# participatin! in the
revie" and final valuation.
1. Prepare, for the si!nature of the =ecretar# or her dul#
authori5ed representative, a Notice of Ac$uisition (CARP CA
7or% , for the sub@ect propert#. =erve the Notice to the
lando"ner personall# or throu!h re!istered %ail "ithin three
da#s fro% its approval. The Notice shall include, a%on! others,
the area sub@ect of co%pulsor# ac$uisition, and the a%ount of
@ust co%pensation offered b# 3AR.
3. =hould the lando"ner accept the 3AR<s offered value, the
B)A3 shall prepare and sub%it to the =ecretar# for approval the
:rder of Ac$uisition. /o"ever, in case of re@ection or non4repl#,
the 3AR Ad@udication Board (3ARAB shall conduct a su%%ar#
ad%inistrative hearin! to deter%ine @ust co%pensation, in
accordance "ith the procedures provided under Ad%inistrative
:rder No. *3, =eries of *+,+. 6%%ediatel# upon receipt of the
3ARAB<s decision on @ust co%pensation, the B)A3 shall prepare
and sub%it to the =ecretar# for approval the re$uired :rder of
Ac$uisition.
2. Cpon the lando"ner<s receipt of pa#%ent, in case of
acceptance, or upon deposit of pa#%ent in the desi!nated ban;,
in case of re@ection or non4response, the =ecretar# shall
i%%ediatel# direct the pertinent Re!ister of 3eeds to issue the
correspondin! Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT in the na%e of
the Republic of the Philippines. :nce the propert# is transferred,
the 3AR, throu!h the PAR:, shall ta;e possession of the land
for redistribution to $ualified beneficiaries.
Ad%inistrative :rder No. *1, =eries of *+,+ re$uires that the Municipal A!rarian Refor% :fficer
(MAR: ;eep an updated %aster list of all a!ricultural lands under the CARP in his area of
responsibilit# containin! all the re$uired infor%ation. The MAR: prepares a Co%pulsor#
Ac$uisition Case 7older (CAC7 for each title covered b# CARP. The MAR: then sends the
lando"ner a 8Notice of Covera!e8 and a 8letter of invitation8 to a 8conferenceM%eetin!8 over the
land covered b# the CAC7. /e also sends invitations to the prospective far%er4beneficiaries the
representatives of the Baran!a# A!rarian Refor% Co%%ittee (BARC, the )and Ban; of the
Philippines ()BP and other interested parties to discuss the inputs to the valuation of the
propert# and solicit vie"s, su!!estions, ob@ections or a!ree%ents of the parties. At the %eetin!,
the lando"ner is as;ed to indicate his retention area.
The MAR: shall %a;e a report of the case to the Provincial A!rarian Refor% :fficer (PAR: "ho
shall co%plete the valuation of the land. :cular inspection and verification of the propert# b# the
PAR: shall be %andator# "hen the co%puted value of the estate e-ceeds P'00,000.00. Cpon
deter%ination of the valuation, the PAR: shall for"ard all papers to!ether "ith his
reco%%endation to the Central :ffice of the 3AR. The 3AR Central :ffice, specificall#, the
Bureau of )and Ac$uisition and 3istribution (B)A3, shall revie", evaluate and deter%ine the final
land valuation of the propert#. The B)A3 shall prepare, on the si!nature of the =ecretar# or his
dul# authori5ed representative, a Notice of Ac$uisition for the sub@ect propert#.
+8
7ro% this point,
the provisions of =ection *& of R.A. &&'( then appl#.
+9
7or a valid i%ple%entation of the CAR pro!ra%, t"o notices are re$uiredA (* the 1otice of
Coverae and letter of invitation to a preli%inar# conference sent to the lando"ner, the
representatives of the BARC, )BP, far%er beneficiaries and other interested parties pursuant to
3AR A.:. No. *1, =eries of *+,+? and (1 the 1otice of Acquisition sent to the lando"ner under
=ection *& of the CAR).
The i%portance of the first notice, i.e., the Notice of Covera!e and the letter of invitation to the
conference, and its actual conduct cannot be understated. The# are steps desi!ned to co%pl#
"ith the re$uire%ents of ad%inistrative due process. The i%ple%entation of the CAR) is an
e-ercise of the =tate<s police po"er and the po"er of e%inent do%ain. To the e-tent that the
CAR) prescribes retention li%its to the lando"ners, there is an e-ercise of police po"er for the
re!ulation of private propert# in accordance "ith the Constitution.
,-
But "here, to carr# out such
re!ulation, the o"ners are deprived of lands the# o"n in e-cess of the %a-i%u% area allo"ed,
there is also a ta;in! under the po"er of e%inent do%ain. The ta;in! conte%plated is not a %ere
li%itation of the use of the land. Lhat is re$uired is the surrender of the title to and ph#sical
possession of the said e-cess and all beneficial ri!hts accruin! to the o"ner in favor of the far%er
beneficiar#.
,1
The Bill of Ri!hts provides that 8HnIo person shall be deprived of life, libert# or
propert# "ithout due process of la".8
,2
The CAR) "as not intended to ta;e a"a# propert#
"ithout due process of la".
,*
The e-ercise of the po"er of e%inent do%ain re$uires that due
process be observed in the ta;in! of private propert#.
3AR A.:. No. *1, =eries of *+,+, fro% "hence the Notice of Covera!e first sprun!, "as
a%ended in *++0 b# 3AR A.:. No. +, =eries of *++0 and in *++3 b# 3AR A.:. No. *, =eries of
*++3. The 1otice of Coverae and letter of invitation to the conference meetin were expanded
and amplified in said amendments.
3AR A.:. No. +, =eries of *++0 entitled 8Revised Rules Dovernin! the Ac$uisition of A!ricultural
)ands =ub@ect of Boluntar# :ffer to =ell and Co%pulsor# Ac$uisition Pursuant to R.A. &&'(,8
re$uires thatA
B. MAR:
*. Receives the dul# acco%plished CARP 7or%
Nos. * . *.* includin! supportin! docu%ents.
1. Dathers basic o"nership docu%ents listed
under *.a or *.b above and prepares
correspondin! B:C7MCAC7 b#
lando"nerMlandholdin!.
3. NotifiesMinvites the lando"ner and
representatives of the )BP, 3ENR, BARC and
prospective beneficiaries of the schedule of
ocular inspection of the propert# at least one
"ee; in advance.
2. MAR:M)AN3 BANO 76E)3 :776CEMBARC
a 6dentif# the land and
lando"ner, and deter%ine the
suitabilit# for a!riculture and
productivit# of the land and
@ointl# prepare 7ield
6nvesti!ation Report (CARP
7or% No. 1, includin! the )and
Cse Map of the propert#.
b 6ntervie" applicants and
assist the% in the preparation of
the Application 7or Potential
CARP Beneficiar# (CARP 7or%
No. 3.
c =creen prospective far%er4
beneficiaries and for those
found $ualified, cause the
si!nin! of the respective
Application to Purchase and
7ar%er<s Cnderta;in! (CARP
7or% No. 2.
d Co%plete the 7ield
6nvesti!ation Report based on
the result of the ocular
inspectionMinvesti!ation of the
propert# and docu%ents
sub%itted. =ee to it that 7ield
6nvesti!ation Report is dul#
acco%plished and si!ned b# all
concerned.
'. MAR:
a Assists the 3ENR =urve#
Part# in the conduct of a
boundar#M subdivision surve#
delineatin! areas covered b#
:)T, retention, sub@ect of B:=,
CA (b# phases, if possible,
infrastructures, etc., "hichever
is applicable.
b =ends Notice of Covera!e
(CARP 7or% No. ' to
lando"ner concerned or his dul#
authori5ed representative
invitin! hi% for a conference.
c =ends 6nvitation )etter
(CARP 7or% No. & for a
conferenceMpublic hearin! to
prospective far%er4
beneficiaries, lando"ner,
representatives of BARC, )BP,
3ENR, 3A, ND:<s, far%ers<
or!ani5ations and other
interested parties to discuss the
follo"in! %attersA
Result of 7ield
6nvesti!ation
6nputs to
valuation
6ssues raised
Co%%entsMreco
%%endations
b# all parties
concerned.
d Prepares =u%%ar# of
Minutes of the conferenceMpublic
hearin! to be !uided b# CARP
7or% No. (.
e 7or"ards the co%pleted
B:C7MCAC7 to the Provincial
A!rarian Refor% :ffice (PAR:
usin! CARP 7or% No. ,
(Trans%ittal Me%o to PAR:.
--- --- ---
3AR A.:. No. +, =eries of *++0 la#s do"n the rules on both Boluntar# :ffer to =ell (B:= and
Co%pulsor# Ac$uisition (CA transactions involvin! lands enu%erated under =ection ( of the
CAR).
,+
6n both B:= and CA. transactions, the MAR: prepares the Boluntar# :ffer to =ell Case
7older (B:C7 and the Co%pulsor# Ac$uisition Case 7older (CAC7, as the case %a# be, over a
particular landholdin!. The MAR: notifies the lando"ner as "ell as representatives of the )BP,
BARC and prospective beneficiaries of the date of the ocular inspection of the propert# at least
one "ee; before the scheduled date and invites the% to attend the sa%e. The MAR:, )BP or
BARC conducts the ocular inspection and investi!ation b# identif#in! the land and lando"ner,
deter%inin! the suitabilit# of the land for a!riculture and productivit#, intervie"in! and screenin!
prospective far%er beneficiaries. Based on its investi!ation, the MAR:, )BP or BARC prepares
the 7ield 6nvesti!ation Report "hich shall be si!ned b# all parties concerned. 6n addition to the
field investi!ation, a boundar# or subdivision surve# of the land %a# also be conducted b# a
=urve# Part# of the 3epart%ent of Environ%ent and Natural Resources (3ENR to be assisted b#
the MAR:.
,,
This surve# shall delineate the areas covered b# :peration )and Transfer (:)T,
areas retained b# the lando"ner, areas "ith infrastructure, and the areas sub@ect to B:= and CA.
After the surve# and field investi!ation, the MAR: sends a 8Notice of Covera!e8 to the lando"ner
or his dul# authori5ed representative invitin! hi% to a conference or public hearin! "ith the far%er
beneficiaries, representatives of the BARC, )BP, 3ENR, 3epart%ent of A!riculture (3A, non4
!overn%ent or!ani5ations, far%er<s or!ani5ations and other interested parties. At the public
hearin!, the parties shall discuss the results of the field investi!ation, issues that %a# be raised in
relation thereto, inputs to the valuation of the sub@ect landholdin!, and other co%%ents and
reco%%endations b# all parties concerned. The Minutes of the conferenceMpublic hearin! shall
for% part of the B:C7 or CAC7 "hich files shall be for"arded b# the MAR: to the PAR:. The
PAR: revie"s, evaluates and validates the 7ield 6nvesti!ation Report and other docu%ents in the
B:C7MCAC7. /e then for"ards the records to the RAR: for another revie".
3AR A.:. No. +, =eries of *++0 "as a%ended b# 3AR A.:. No. *, =eries of *++3. 3AR A.:. No.
*, =eries of *++3 provided, a%on! others, thatA
6B. :PERAT6ND PR:CE3CRE=A
=teps Responsible Activit# 7or%sM
A!enc#MCnit 3ocu%ent
(re$uire%ents
A. 7dentification and
*ocumentation
--- --- ---
' 3ARM: 6ssue Notice of Covera!e CARP
to ): b# personal deliver# 7or% No. 1
"ith proof of service, or
re!istered %ail "ith return
card, infor%in! hi% that his
propert# is no" under CARP
covera!e and for ): to select
his retention area, if he desires
to avail of his ri!ht of retention?
and at the sa%e ti%e invites hi%
to @oin the field investi!ation to
be conducted on his propert#
"hich should be scheduled at
least t"o "ee;s in advance of
said notice.
A cop# of said Notice shall CARP
be posted for at least one 7or% No. *(
"ee; on the bulletin board of
the %unicipal and baran!a#
halls "here the propert# is
located. )DC office concerned
notifies 3AR about co%pliance
"ith postin! re$uire%ents thru
return indorse%ent on CARP
7or% No. *(.
& 3ARM: =end notice to the )BP, CARP
BARC, 3ENR representatives 7or% No. 3
and prospective ARBs of the schedule of the field investi!ation
to be conducted on the sub@ect
propert#.
( 3ARM: Lith the participation of CARP
BARC the ):, representatives of 7or% No. 2
)BP the )BP, BARC, 3ENR )and Cse
3ENR and prospective ARBs, Map
)ocal :ffice conducts the investi!ation on
sub@ect propert# to identif#
the landholdin!, deter%ines
its suitabilit# and productivit#?
and @ointl# prepares the 7ield
6nvesti!ation Report (76R
and )and Cse Map. /o"ever,
the field investi!ation shall
proceed even if the ):, the
representatives of the 3ENR and
prospective ARBs are not available
provided, the# "ere !iven due
notice of the ti%e and date of
investi!ation to be conducted.
=i%ilarl#, if the )BP representative
is not available or could not co%e
on the scheduled date, the field
investi!ation shall also be conducted,
after "hich the dul# acco%plished
Part 6 of CARP 7or% No. 2 shall
be for"arded to the )BP
representative for validation. 6f he a!rees
to the ocular inspection report of 3AR,
he si!ns the 76R (Part 6 and
acco%plishes Part 66 thereof.
6n the event that there is a
difference or variance bet"een
the findin!s of the 3AR and the
)BP as to the propriet# of
coverin! the land under CARP,
"hether in "hole or in part, on
the issue of suitabilit# to a!riculture,
de!ree of develop%ent or slope,
and on issues affectin! idle lands,
the conflict shall be resolved b#
a co%posite tea% of 3AR, )BP,
3ENR and 3A "hich shall @ointl#
conduct further investi!ation
thereon. The tea% shall sub%it its
report of findin!s "hich shall be
bindin! to both 3AR and )BP,
pursuant to 9oint Me%orandu%
Circular of the 3AR, )BP, 3ENR
and 3A dated 1( 9anuar# *++1.
, 3ARM: =creen prospective ARBs
BARC and causes the si!nin! of CARP
the Application of Purchase 7or% No. '
and 7ar%er<s Cnderta;in!
(AP7C.
+ 3ARM: 7urnishes a cop# of the CARP
dul# acco%plished 76R to 7or% No. 2
the lando"ner b# personal
deliver# "ith proof of
service or re!istered %ail
"ill return card and posts
a cop# thereof for at least
one "ee; on the bulletin
board of the %unicipal
and baran!a# halls "here
the propert# is located.
)DC office concerned CARP
notifies 3AR about 7or% No. *(
co%pliance "ith postin!
re$uire%ent thru return
endorse%ent on CARP
7or% No. *(.
B. #and 2urvey
*0 3ARM: Conducts peri%eter or Peri%eter
AndMor se!re!ation surve# or
3ENR delineatin! areas covered =e!re!ation
)ocal :ffice b# :)T, 8uncarpable =urve# Plan
areas such as *,> slope
and above, unproductiveM
unsuitable to a!riculture,
retention, infrastructure.
6n case of se!re!ation or
subdivision surve#, the
plan shall be approved
b# 3ENR4)M=.
C. Review and Completion
of *ocuments
**. 3ARM: 7or"ard B:C7MCAC7 CARP
to 3ARP:. 7or% No. &
--- --- ---.
3AR A.:. No. *, =eries of *++3, %odified the identification process and increased the nu%ber of
!overn%ent a!encies involved in the identification and delineation of the land sub@ect to
ac$uisition.
,6
This ti%e, the Notice of Covera!e is sent to the lando"ner before the conduct of the
field investi!ation and the sendin! %ust co%pl# "ith specific re$uire%ents. Representatives of
the 3AR Municipal :ffice (3ARM: %ust send the Notice of Covera!e to the lando"ner b#
8personal deliver# "ith proof of service, or b# re!istered %ail "ith return card,8 infor%in! hi% that
his propert# is under CARP covera!e and that if he desires to avail of his ri!ht of retention, he
%a# choose "hich area he shall retain. The Notice of Covera!e shall also invite the lando"ner to
attend the field investi!ation to be scheduled at least t"o "ee;s fro% notice. The field
investi!ation is for the purpose of identif#in! the landholdin! and deter%inin! its suitabilit# for
a!riculture and its productivit#. A cop# of the Notice of Covera!e shall be posted for at least one
"ee; on the bulletin board of the %unicipal and baran!a# halls "here the propert# is located. The
date of the field investi!ation shall also be sent b# the 3AR Municipal :ffice to representatives of
the )BP, BARC, 3ENR and prospective far%er beneficiaries. The field investi!ation shall be
conducted on the date set "ith the participation of the lando"ner and the various representatives.
6f the lando"ner and other representatives are absent, the field investi!ation shall proceed,
provided the# "ere dul# notified thereof. =hould there be a variance bet"een the findin!s of the
3AR and the )BP as to "hether the land be placed under a!rarian refor%, the land<s suitabilit# to
a!riculture, the de!ree or develop%ent of the slope, etc., the conflict shall be resolved b# a
co%posite tea% of the 3AR, )BP, 3ENR and 3A "hich shall @ointl# conduct further investi!ation.
The tea%<s findin!s shall be bindin! on both 3AR and )BP. After the field investi!ation, the 3AR
Municipal :ffice shall prepare the 7ield 6nvesti!ation Report and )and Cse Map, a cop# of "hich
shall be furnished the lando"ner 8b# personal deliver# "ith proof of service or re!istered %ail "ith
return card.8 Another cop# of the Report and Map shall li;e"ise be posted for at least one "ee; in
the %unicipal or baran!a# halls "here the propert# is located.
Clearl# then, the notice re$uire%ents under the CAR) are not confined to the Notice of
Ac$uisition set forth in =ection *& of the la". The# also include the Notice of Covera!e first laid
do"n in 3AR A.:. No. *1, =eries of *+,+ and subse$uentl# a%ended in 3AR A.:. No. +, =eries
of *++0 and 3AR A.:. No. *, =eries of *++3. This Notice of Covera!e does not %erel# notif# the
lando"ner that his propert# shall be placed under CARP and that he is entitled to e-ercise his
retention ri!ht? it also notifies hi%, pursuant to 3AR A.:. No. +, =eries of *++0, that a public
hearin!, shall be conducted "here he and representatives of the concerned sectors of societ#
%a# attend to discuss the results of the field investi!ation, the land valuation and other pertinent
%atters. Cnder 3AR A.:. No. *, =eries of *++3, the Notice of Covera!e also infor%s the
lando"ner that a field investi!ation of his landholdin! shall be conducted "here he and the other
representatives %a# be present.
B. The Compulsory Acquisition of Haciendas Palico and Banilad
6n the case at bar, respondent 3AR clai%s that it, throu!h MAR: )eopoldo C. )e@ano, sent a
letter of invitation entitled 86nvitation to Parties8 dated =epte%ber 1+, *+,+ to petitioner
corporation, throu!h 9ai%e Pi%entel, the ad%inistrator of /acienda Palico.
,7
The invitation "as
received on the sa%e da# it "as sent as indicated b# a si!nature and the date received at the
botto% left corner of said invitation. Lith re!ard to /acienda Banilad, respondent 3AR clai%s that
9ai%e Pi%entel, ad%inistrator also of /acienda Banilad, "as notified and sent an invitation to the
conference. Pi%entel actuall# attended the conference on =epte%ber 1*, *+,+ and si!ned the
Minutes of the %eetin! on behalf of petitioner corporation.
,8
The Minutes "as also si!ned b# the
representatives of the BARC, the )BP and far%er beneficiaries.
,9
No letter of invitation "as sent
or conference %eetin! held "ith respect to /acienda Ca#la"a# because it "as sub@ect to a
Boluntar# :ffer to =ell to respondent 3AR.
6-
Lhen respondent 3AR, throu!h the Municipal A!rarian Refor% :fficer (MAR:, sent to the
various parties the Notice of Covera!e and invitation to the conference, 3AR A.:. No. *1, =eries
of *+,+ "as alread# in effect %ore than a %onth earlier. The :peratin! Procedure in 3AR
Ad%inistrative :rder No. *1 does not specif# ho" notices or letters of invitation shall be sent to
the lando"ner, the representatives of the BARC, the )BP, the far%er beneficiaries and other
interested parties. The procedure in the sendin of these notices is important to comply with the
requisites of due process especially when the owner, as in this case, is a :uridical entity.
Petitioner is a do%estic
corporation,
61
and therefore, has a personalit# separate and distinct fro% its shareholders,
officers and e%plo#ees.
The Notice of Ac$uisition in =ection *& of the CAR) is re$uired to be sent to the lando"ner b#
8personal deliver# or re!istered %ail.8 ;hether the landowner )e a natural or :uridical person to
whose address the 1otice may )e sent )y personal delivery or reistered mail, the law does not
distinuish. The 3AR Ad%inistrative :rders also do not distin!uish. 6n the proceedin!s before the
3AR, the distinction bet"een natural and @uridical persons in the sendin! of notices %a# be found
in the Revised Rules of Procedure of the 3AR Ad@udication Board (3ARAB. =ervice of pleadin!s
before the 3ARAB is !overned b# =ection &, Rule B of the 3ARAB Revised Rules of Procedure.
Notices and pleadin!s are served on private do%estic corporations or partnerships in the
follo"in! %annerA
=ec. &. 2ervice upon Private *omestic Corporation or Partnership. E 6f the
defendant is a corporation or!ani5ed under the la"s of the Philippines or a
partnership dul# re!istered, service %a# be %ade on the president, %ana!er,
secretar#, cashier, a!ent, or an# of its directors or partners.
=i%ilarl#, the Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines, in =ection *3, Rule *2 providesA
=ec. *3. 2ervice upon private domestic corporation or partnership. E 6f the
defendant is a corporation or!ani5ed under the la"s of the Philippines or a
partnership dul# re!istered, service %a# be %ade on the president, %ana!er,
secretar#, cashier, a!ent, or an# of its directors.
=u%%onses, pleadin!s and notices in cases a!ainst a private do%estic corporation before the
3ARAB and the re!ular courts are served on the president, %ana!er, secretar#, cashier, a!ent or
an# of its directors. These persons are those throu!h "ho% the private do%estic corporation or
partnership is capable of action.
62
,aime Pimentel is not the president, manaer, secretary, cashier or director of petitioner
corporation. 7s he, as administrator of the two Haciendas, considered an aent of the
corporationP
The purpose of all rules for service of process on a corporation is to %a;e it reasonabl# certain
that the corporation "ill receive pro%pt and proper notice in an action a!ainst it.
6*
=ervice %ust
be %ade on a representative so inte!rated "ith the corporation as to %a;e it a priori supposable
that he "ill reali5e his responsibilities and ;no" "hat he should do "ith an# le!al papers served
on hi%,
6+
and brin! ho%e to the corporation notice of the filin! of the action.
6,
Petitioner<s
evidence does not sho" the official duties of 9ai%e Pi%entel as ad%inistrator of petitioner<s
haciendas. The evidence does not indicate "hether Pi%entel<s duties is so inte!rated "ith the
corporation that he "ould i%%ediatel# reali5e his responsibilities and ;no" "hat he should do
"ith an# le!al papers served on hi%. At the ti%e the notices "ere sent and the preli%inar#
conference conducted, petitioner<s principal place of business "as listed in respondent 3AR<s
records as 8=oriano Bld!., Pla5a Cervantes, Manila,8
66
and 8(th 7lr. Cacho4Don5ales Bld!., *0*
A!uirre =t., Ma;ati, Metro Manila.8
67
Pi%entel did not hold office at the principal place of business
of petitioner. Neither did he e-ercise his functions in Pla5a Cervantes, Manila nor in Cacho4
Don5ales Bld!., Ma;ati, Metro Manila. /e perfor%ed his official functions and actuall# resided in
the haciendas in Nasu!bu, Batan!as, a place over t"o hundred ;ilo%eters a"a# fro% Metro
Manila.
Curiousl#, respondent 3AR had infor%ation of the address of petitioner<s principal place of
business. The Notices of Ac$uisition over /aciendas Palico and Banilad "ere addressed to
petitioner at its offices in Manila and Ma;ati. These Notices "ere sent barel# three to four %onths
after Pi%entel "as notified of the preli%inar# conference.
68
Lh# respondent 3AR chose to notif#
Pi%entel instead of the officers of the corporation "as not e-plained b# the said respondent.
Nevertheless, assu%in! that Pi%entel "as an a!ent of petitioner corporation, and the notices and
letters of invitation "ere validl# served on petitioner throu!h hi%, there is no sho"in! that
Pi%entel hi%self "as dul# authori5ed to attend the conference %eetin! "ith the MAR:, BARC
and )BP representatives and far%er beneficiaries for purposes of co%pulsor# ac$uisition of
petitioner<s landholdin!s. Even respondent 3AR<s evidence does not indicate this authorit#. :n
the contrar#, petitioner clai%s that it had no ;no"led!e of the letter4invitation, hence, could not
have !iven Pi%entel the authorit# to bind it to "hatever %atters "ere discussed or a!reed upon
b# the parties at the preli%inar# conference or public hearin!. Notabl#, one #ear after Pi%entel
"as infor%ed of the preli%inar# conference, 3AR A.:. No. +, =eries of *++0 "as issued and this
re$uired that the Notice of Covera!e %ust be sent 8to the lando"ner concerned or his duly
authori(ed representative.8
69
Assu%in! further that petitioner "as dul# notified of the CARP covera!e of its haciendas, the
areas found actuall# sub@ect to CARP "ere not properl# identified before the# "ere ta;en over b#
respondent 3AR. Respondents insist that the lands "ere identified because the# are all
re!istered propert# and the technical description in their respective titles specifies their %etes and
bounds. Respondents ad%it at the sa%e ti%e, ho"ever, that not all areas in the haciendas "ere
placed under the co%prehensive a!rarian refor% pro!ra% invariabl# b# reason of elevation or
character or use of the land.
7-
The ac$uisition of the landholdin!s did not cover the entire e-panse of the t"o haciendas, but
onl# portions thereof. /acienda Palico has an area of *,012 hectares and onl# &,,.('(& hectares
"ere tar!etted for ac$uisition. /acienda Banilad has an area of *,0'0 hectares but onl# +&2.0&,,
hectares "ere sub@ect to CARP. The haciendas are not entirel# a!ricultural lands. 6n fact, the
various ta- declarations over the haciendas describe the landholdin!s as 8su!arland,8 and 8forest,
su!arland, pasture land, horticulture and "oodland.8
71
Cnder =ection *& of the CAR), the sendin! of the Notice of Ac$uisition specificall# re$uires that
the land sub@ect to land refor% be first identified. The t"o haciendas in the instant case cover vast
tracts of land. Before Notices of Ac$uisition "ere sent to petitioner, ho"ever, the e-act areas of
the landholdin!s "ere not properl# se!re!ated and delineated. <pon receipt of this notice,
therefore, petitioner corporation had no idea which portions of its estate were su):ect to
compulsory acquisition, which portions it could rihtfully retain, whether these retained portions
were compact or contiuous, and which portions were excluded from CARP coverae. Even
respondent 3AR<s evidence does not sho" that petitioner, throu!h its dul# authori5ed
representative, "as notified of an# ocular inspection and investi!ation that "as to be conducted
b# respondent 3AR. Neither is there proof that petitioner "as !iven the opportunit# to at least
choose and identif# its retention area in those portions to be ac$uired co%pulsoril#. The ri!ht of
retention and ho" this ri!ht is e-ercised, is !uaranteed in =ection & of the CAR), vi(A
=ec. &. Retention #imits. E . . . .
The ri!ht to choose the area to be retained, "hich shall be co%pact or
conti!uous, shall pertain to the lando"ner? Provided+ however, That in case the
area selected for retention b# the lando"ner is tenanted, the tenant shall have
the option to choose "hether to re%ain therein or be a beneficiar# in the sa%e or
another a!ricultural land "ith si%ilar or co%parable features. 6n case the tenant
chooses to re%ain in the retained area, he shall be considered a leaseholder and
shall lose his ri!ht to be a beneficiar# under this Act. 6n case the tenant chooses
to be a beneficiar# in another a!ricultural land, he loses his ri!ht as a leaseholder
to the land retained b# the lando"ner. The tenant %ust e-ercise this option "ithin
a period of one (* #ear fro% the ti%e the lando"ner %anifests his choice of the
area for retention.
Cnder the la", a lando"ner %a# retain not %ore than five hectares out of the total area of his
a!ricultural land sub@ect to CARP. The ri!ht to choose the area to be retained, "hich shall be
co%pact or conti!uous, pertains to the lando"ner. 6f the area chosen for retention is tenanted, the
tenant shall have the option to choose "hether to re%ain on the portion or be a beneficiar# in the
sa%e or another a!ricultural land "ith si%ilar or co%parable features.
C. The Voluntary Acquisition of Hacienda Caylaway
Petitioner "as also left in the dar; "ith respect to /acienda Ca#la"a#, "hich "as the sub@ect of a
Boluntar# :ffer to =ell (B:=. The B:= in the instant case "as %ade on Ma# &, *+,,,
72
before
the effectivit# of R.A. &&'( on 9une *', *+,,. B:= transactions "ere first !overned b# 3AR
Ad%inistrative :rder No. *+, series of *+,+,
7*
and under this order, all B:= filed before 9une *',
*+,, shall be heard and processed in accordance "ith the procedure provided for in E-ecutive
:rder No. 11+, thusA
666. All B:= transactions "hich are no" pendin! before the 3AR and for "hich no
pa#%ent has been %ade shall be sub@ect to the notice and hearin! re$uire%ents
provided in Ad%inistrative :rder No. *1, =eries of *+,+, dated 1& 9ul# *+,+,
=ection 66, =ubsection A, para!raph 3.
All B:= filed before *' 9une *+,,, the date of effectivit# of the CAR), shall be
heard and processed in accordance "ith the procedure provided for in E-ecutive
:rder No. 11+.
--- --- ---.
=ec. + of E.:. 11+ providesA
=ec. +. Voluntary !ffer to 2ell. E The !overn%ent shall purchase all a!ricultural
lands it dee%s productive and suitable to far%er cultivation voluntaril# offered for
sale to it at a valuation deter%ined in accordance "ith =ection &. =uch
transaction shall be e-e%pt fro% the pa#%ent of capital !ains ta- and other ta-es
and fees.
E-ecutive :rder 11+ does not contain the procedure for the identification of private land as set
forth in 3AR A.:. No. *1, =eries of *+,+. =ection ' of E.:. 11+ %erel# reiterates the procedure
of acquisition in =ection *&, R.A. &&'(. 6n other "ords, the E.:. is silent as to the procedure for
the identification of the land, the notice of covera!e and the preli%inar# conference "ith the
lando"ner, representatives of the BARC, the )BP and far%er beneficiaries. 3oes this %ean that
these re$uire%ents %a# be dispensed "ith re!ard to B:= filed before 9une *', *+,,P The
ans"er is no.
7irst of all, the sa%e E.:. 11+, li;e =ection *& of the CAR), re$uires that the land, lando"ner and
beneficiaries of the land sub@ect to a!rarian refor% be identified before the notice of ac$uisition
should be issued.
7+
/acienda Ca#la"a# "as voluntaril# offered for sale in *+,+. The /acienda
has a total area of ,&(.2'(* hectares and is covered b# four (2 titles. 6n t"o separate
Resolutions both dated 9anuar# *1, *+,+, respondent 3AR, throu!h the Re!ional 3irector,
for%all# accepted the B:= over the t"o of these four
titles.
7,
The land covered b# t"o titles has an area of ,''.'1'( hectares, but onl# &2,.,'22
hectares thereof fell "ithin the covera!e of R.A. &&'(.
76
Petitioner clai%s it does not ;no" "here
these portions are located.
Respondent 3AR, on the other hand, avers that surve#s on the land covered b# the four titles
"ere conducted in *+,+, and that petitioner, as lando"ner, "as not denied participation therein,
The results of the surve# and the land valuation su%%ar# report, ho"ever, do not indicate
"hether notices to attend the sa%e "ere actuall# sent to and received b# petitioner or its dul#
authori5ed representative.
77
To reiterate, E-ecutive :rder No. 11+ does not la# do"n the
operatin! procedure, %uch less the notice re$uire%ents, before the B:= is accepted b#
respondent 3AR. Notice to the lando"ner, ho"ever, cannot be dispensed "ith. 6t is part of
ad%inistrative due process and is an essential re$uisite to enable the lando"ner hi%self to
e-ercise, at the ver# least, his ri!ht of retention !uaranteed under the CAR).
777. The Conversion of the three Haciendas.
6t is petitioner<s clai% that the three haciendas are not sub@ect to a!rarian refor% because the#
have been declared for touris%, not a!ricultural
purposes.
78
6n *+(', then President Marcos issued Procla%ation No. *'10 declarin! the
%unicipalit# of Nasu!bu, Batan!as a tourist 5one. )ands in Nasu!bu, includin! the sub@ect
haciendas, "ere alle!edl# reclassified as non4a!ricultural *3 #ears before the effectivit# of R. A.
No. &&'(.
79
6n *++3, the Re!ional 3irector for Re!ion 6B of the 3epart%ent of A!riculture certified
that the haciendas are not feasible and sound for a!ricultural develop%ent.
8-
:n March 10, *++1,
pursuant to Procla%ation No. *'10, the =an!!unian! Ba#an of Nasu!bu, Batan!as adopted
Resolution No. *+ reclassif#in! certain areas of Nasu!bu as non4a!ricultural.
81
This Resolution
approved Municipal :rdinance No. *+, =eries of *++1, the Revised Gonin! :rdinance of
Nasu!bu
82
"hich 5onin! ordinance "as based on a )and Cse Plan for Plannin! Areas for Ne"
3evelop%ent alle!edl# prepared b# the Cniversit# of the Philippines.
8*
Resolution No. *+ of the
=an!!unian! Ba#an "as approved b# the =an!!unian! Panlala"i!an of Batan!as on March ,,
*++3.
8+
Petitioner clai%s that procla%ation No. *'10 "as also upheld b# respondent 3AR in *++* "hen it
approved conversion of *,,1( hectares in Nasu!bu into a tourist area ;no"n as the Batulao
Resort Co%ple-, and *3.'1 hectares in Baran!a# Ca#la"a# as "ithin the potential tourist belt.
8,

Petitioner present evidence before us that these areas are ad@acent to the haciendas sub@ect of
this petition, hence, the haciendas should li;e"ise be converted. Petitioner ur!es this Court to
ta;e co!ni5ance of the conversion proceedin!s and rule accordin!l#.
6
;e do not aree. Respondent *AR=s failure to o)serve due process in the acquisition of
petitioner=s landholdins does not ipso facto ive this Court the power to ad:udicate over
petitioner=s application for conversion of its haciendas from aricultural to non8aricultural. The
aency chared with the mandate of approvin or disapprovin applications for conversion is the
*AR.
At the ti%e petitioner filed its application for conversion, the Rules of Procedure !overnin! the
processin! and approval of applications for land use conversion "as the 3AR A.:. No. 1, =eries
of *++0. Cnder this A.:., the application for conversion is filed "ith the MAR: "here the propert#
is located. The MAR: revie"s the application and its supportin! docu%ents and conducts field
investi!ation and ocular inspection of the propert#. The findin!s of the MAR: are sub@ect to
revie" and evaluation b# the Provincial A!rarian Refor% :fficer (PAR:. The PAR: %a# conduct
further field investi!ation and sub%it a supple%ental report to!ether "ith his reco%%endation to
the Re!ional A!rarian Refor% :fficer (RAR: "ho shall revie" the sa%e. 7or lands less than five
hectares, the RAR: shall approve or disapprove applications for conversion. 7or lands e-ceedin!
five hectares, the RAR: shall evaluate the PAR: Report and for"ard the records and his report
to the Cndersecretar# for )e!al Affairs. Applications over areas e-ceedin! fift# hectares are
approved or disapproved b# the =ecretar# of A!rarian Refor%.
The 3AR<s %andate over applications for conversion "as first laid do"n in =ection 2 (@ and
=ection ' (l of E-ecutive :rder No. *1+4A, =eries of *+,( and reiterated in the CAR) and
Me%orandu% Circular No. '2, =eries of *++3 of the :ffice of the President. The 3AR<s
@urisdiction over applications for conversion is provided as follo"sA
A. The 3epart%ent of A!rarian Refor% (3AR is %andated to
8approve or disapprove applications for conversion, restructurin!
or read@ust%ent of a!ricultural lands into non4a!ricultural uses,8
pursuant to =ection 2 (@ of E-ecutive :rder No. *1+4A, =eries of
*+,(.
B. =ec. ' (l of E.:. *1+4A, =eries of *+,(, vests in the 3AR,
e-clusive authorit# to approve or disapprove applications for
conversion of a!ricultural lands for residential, co%%ercial,
industrial and other land uses.
C. =ec. &' of R.A. No. &&'(, other"ise ;no"n as the
Co%prehensive A!rarian Refor% )a" of *+,,, li;e"ise
e%po"ers the 3AR to authori5e under certain conditions, the
conversion of a!ricultural lands.
3. =ec. 2 of Me%orandu% Circular No. '2, =eries of *++3 of the
:ffice of the President, provides that 8action on applications for
land use conversion on individual landholdin!s shall re%ain as
the responsibilit# of the 3AR, "hich shall utili5e as its pri%ar#
reference, docu%ents on the co%prehensive land use plans and
acco%pan#in! ordinances passed upon and approved b# the
local !overn%ent units concerned, to!ether "ith the National
)and Cse Polic#, pursuant to R.A. No. &&'( and E.:. No. *1+4A.
87
Applications for conversion "ere initiall# !overned b# 3AR A.:. No. *, =eries of *++0 entitled
8Revised Rules and Re!ulations Dovernin! Conversion of Private A!ricultural )ands and Non4
A!ricultural Cses,8 and 3AR A.:. No. 1, =eries of *++0 entitled 8Rules of Procedure Dovernin!
the Processin! and Approval of Applications for )and Cse Conversion.8 These A.:.<s and other
i%ple%entin! !uidelines, includin! Presidential issuances and national policies related to land
use conversion have been consolidated in 3AR A.:. No. 0(, =eries of *++(. Cnder this recent
issuance, the !uidin! principle in land use conversion isA
to preserve pri%e a!ricultural lands for food production "hile, at the sa%e ti%e,
reco!ni5in! the need of the other sectors of societ# (housin!, industr# and
co%%erce for land, "hen coincidin! "ith the ob@ectives of the Co%prehensive
A!rarian Refor% )a" to pro%ote social @ustice, industriali5ation and the opti%u%
use of land as a national resource for public "elfare.
88
8)and Cse8 refers to the %anner of utili5ation of land, includin! its allocation, develop%ent and
%ana!e%ent. 8)and Cse Conversion8 refers to the act or process of chan!in! the current use of
a piece of a!ricultural land into so%e other use as approved b# the 3AR.
89
The conversion of
a!ricultural land to uses other than a!ricultural re$uires field investi!ation and conferences "ith
the occupants of the land. The# involve factual findin!s and hi!hl# technical %atters "ithin the
special trainin! and e-pertise of the 3AR. 3AR A.:. No. (, =eries of *++( la#s do"n "ith
specificit# ho" the 3AR %ust !o about its tas;. This ti%e, the field investi!ation is not conducted
b# the MAR: but b# a special tas; force, ;no"n as the Center for )and Cse Polic# Plannin! and
6%ple%entation (C)CPP643AR Central :ffice. The procedure is that once an application for
conversion is filed, the C)CPP6 prepares the Notice of Postin!. The MAR: onl# posts the notice
and thereafter issues a certificate to the fact of postin!. The C)CPP6 conducts the field
investi!ation and dialo!ues "ith the applicants and the far%er beneficiaries to ascertain the
infor%ation necessar# for the processin! of the application. The Chair%an of the C)CPP6
deliberates on the %erits of the investi!ation report and reco%%ends the appropriate action. This
reco%%endation is trans%itted to the Re!ional 3irector, thru the Cndersecretar#, or =ecretar# of
A!rarian Refor%. Applications involvin! %ore than fift# hectares are approved or disapproved b#
the =ecretar#. The procedure does not end "ith the =ecretar#, ho"ever. The :rder provides that
the decision of the =ecretar# %a# be appealed to the :ffice of the President or the Court of
Appeals, as the case %a# be, vi(A
Appeal fro% the decision of the Cndersecretar# shall be %ade to the =ecretar#,
and fro% the =ecretar# to the :ffice of the President or the Court of Appeals as
the case %a# be. The %ode of appealM%otion for reconsideration, and the appeal
fee, fro% Cndersecretar# to the :ffice of the =ecretar# shall be the sa%e as that
of the Re!ional 3irector to the :ffice of the =ecretar#.
9-
6ndeed, the doctrine of pri%ar# @urisdiction does not "arrant a court to arro!ate unto itself
authorit# to resolve a controvers# the @urisdiction over "hich is initiall# lod!ed "ith an
ad%inistrative bod# of special co%petence.
91
Respondent 3AR is in a better position to resolve
petitioner<s application for conversion, bein! pri%aril# the a!enc# possessin! the necessar#
e-pertise on the %atter. The po"er to deter%ine "hether /aciendas Palico, Banilad and
Ca#la"a# are non4a!ricultural, hence, e-e%pt fro% the covera!e of the CAR) lies "ith the 3AR,
not "ith this Court.
7inall#, "e stress that the failure of respondent 3AR to co%pl# "ith the re$uisites of due process
in the ac$uisition proceedin!s does not !ive this Court the po"er to nullif# the C):A<s alread#
issued to the far%er beneficiaries. To assu%e the po"er is to short4circuit the ad%inistrative
process, "hich has #et to run its re!ular course. Respondent 3AR %ust be !iven the chance to
correct its procedural lapses in the ac$uisition proceedin!s. 6n /acienda Palico alone, C):A<s
"ere issued to *(( far%er beneficiaries in *++3.
92
=ince then until the present, these far%ers
have been cultivatin! their lands.
9*
6t !oes a!ainst the basic precepts of @ustice, fairness and
e$uit# to deprive these people, throu!h no fault of their o"n, of the land the# till. An#ho", the
far%er beneficiaries hold the propert# in trust for the ri!htful o"ner of the land.
6N B6EL L/ERE:7, the petition is !ranted in part and the ac$uisition proceedin!s over the three
haciendas are nullified for respondent 3AR<s failure to observe due process therein. 6n
accordance "ith the !uidelines set forth in this decision and the applicable ad%inistrative
procedure, the case is hereb# re%anded to respondent 3AR for proper ac$uisition proceedin!s
and deter%ination of petitioner<s application for conversion.
=: :R3ERE3.