Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. !"#$% &une !

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C)*M+ER OF RE*, EST*TE *ND +UI,DERS *SSOCI*TIONS' INC. -CRE+*.' petitioner, vs. T)E SECRET*R/ OF *GR*RI*N REFORM' Respondent. DECISION PERE0' J.: This case is a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition (with application for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction under Rule !" of the #$$% Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, filed by herein petitioner Chamber of Real &state and 'uilders (ssociations, )nc. (CR&'( see*ing to nullify and prohibit the enforcement of +epartment of (grarian Reform (+(R (dministrative ,rder ((, -o. .#/.0, as amended by +(R (, -o. ."/.%, # and +(R 1emorandum -o. 22,0 for having been issued by the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction as some provisions of the aforesaid administrative issuances are illegal and unconstitutional. Petitioner CR&'(, a private non/stoc*, non/profit corporation duly organi5ed and e4isting under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, is the umbrella organi5ation of some 6,".. private corporations, partnerships, single proprietorships and individuals directly or indirectly involved in land and housing development, building and infrastructure construction, materials production and supply, and services in the various related fields of engineering, architecture, community planning and development financing. The 3ecretary of (grarian Reform is named respondent as he is the duly appointive head of the +(R whose administrative issuances are the subject of this petition. The *ntece1ent Facts The 3ecretary of (grarian Reform issued, on 0$ ,ctober #$$%, +(R (, -o. .%/$%, 6 entitled 7,mnibus Rules and Procedures 8overning Conversion of (gricultural 9ands to -on/(gricultural :ses,7 which consolidated all e4isting implementing guidelines related to land use conversion. The aforesaid rules embraced all private agricultural lands regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, and all untitled agricultural lands and agricultural lands reclassified by 9ocal 8overnment :nits (98:s into non/agricultural uses after #" ;une #$22. 3ubse<uently, on 6. 1arch #$$$, the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform issued +(R (, -o. .#/$$, = entitled 7Revised Rules and Regulations on the Conversion of (gricultural 9ands to -on/agricultural :ses,7 amending and updating the previous rules on land use conversion. )ts coverage includes the following agricultural lands, to wit> (# those to be converted to residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and other non/agricultural purposes? (0 those to be devoted to another type of agricultural activity such as livestoc*, poultry, and fishpond @ the effect of which is to e4empt the land from the Comprehensive (grarian Reform Program (C(RP coverage? (6 those to be converted to non/agricultural use other than that previously authori5ed? and (= those reclassified to residential, commercial, industrial, or other non/agricultural uses on or after the effectivity of Republic (ct -o. !!"%" on #" ;une #$22 pursuant to 3ection 0.! of Republic (ct -o. %#!.% and other pertinent laws and regulations, and are to be converted to such uses. ,n 02 Aebruary 0..0, the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform issued another (dministrative ,rder, i.e., +(R (, -o. .#/.0, entitled 70..0 Comprehensive Rules on 9and :se Conversion,7 which further amended +(R (, -o. .%/$% and +(R (, -o. .#/$$, and repealed all issuances inconsistent therewith. The aforesaid +(R (, -o. .#/.0 covers all applications for conversion from agricultural to non/agricultural uses or to another agricultural use. Thereafter, on 0 (ugust 0..%, the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform amended certain provisions 2 of +(R (, -o. .#/.0 by formulating +(R (, -o. ."/.%, particularly addressing land conversion in time of e4igencies and calamities. To address the unabated conversion of prime agricultural lands for real estate development, the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform further issued 1emorandum -o. 22 on #" (pril 0..2, which temporarily suspended the processing and approval of all land use conversion applications.

..11&RC)(9. commercial or industrial land.:R)3+)CT).A 9. in turn. -. industrial or other non/agricultural uses before #" . . planting of crops. to residential.#/. and other farm activities and practices performed by a farmer in conjunction with such farming operations done by a person whether natural or juridical.une #$22 are considered to be agricultural lands for purposes of conversion.-3T)T:T).C(9 (:T.TB&R -. issued +(R (.. CB&TB&R TB& +(R 3&CR&T(RD B(3 . ..0.0. -. )). -o. CB&TB&R G+(R (.T&CT). petitioner avows that the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform acted without jurisdiction as he has no authority to e4pand or enlarge the legal signification of the term agricultural lands through +(R (. (3 (1&-+&+H E).'y reason thereof.-/(8R)C:9T:R(9 :3&3. E. industrial. from agricultural to non/ agricultural uses or to another agricultural use. residential.1D .'D )33:)-8 (-+ &-A. 2=6".R(-+:1 -. 4 4 4. (3 (1&-+&+H CB)CB 3&&I T. which. .RC)-8 G+(R (. commercial.. )E.0.C9(:3&G3H .C&33 (-+ &J:(9 PR. such as> 4444 6. !!"% and Republic (ct -o.&FC&33 . CB&TB&R 1&1. or otherwise.R .9(T&G3H TB& 9.#/.. this petition. commercial. as amended.#/.(-+ 8R(E&9D (':3&+ B)3 +)3CR&T). 22 )3 ( E(9)+ &F&RC)3& . unemployment and illegal s<uatting problems to the substantial prejudice not only of the petitioner and its members but more so of the whole nation. -. (3 (1&-+&+H E). which states> 3ection 6. Applicability of Rules.:R)3+)CT).E&R 9(-+3 TB(T B(E& '&&. industrial.. -o.7 )n effect.R&C9(33)A)&+ (3 R&3)+&-T)(9. or other non/agricultural uses on o2 afte2 the effecti3it4 of R* 5567 on 6 &une %!!. and not classified by the law as mineral.R A. CB&TB&R G+(R (. C. growing of fruit trees.A P. lands reclassified from agricultural to residential.-.C(9 8. The Issues )n its 1emorandum. )-+:3TR)(9. Petitioner holds that under Republic (ct -o.A B)3 .0.E&R-1&-T :-)T3. he included in the definition of agricultural lands 7lands not reclassified as residential.C&R. petitioner posits the following issues> ). poultry or fish. .#/.#/. .7 Chen the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform. commercial. however. )n so doing. aggravated the housing shortage.-.= Conversion of agricultural lands or areas that have been reclassified by the 98: or by way of a Presidential Proclamation.0.9(T&G3H TB& +:& PR. #. redistribution. K These guidelines shall apply to all applications for conversion.A TB& C.une #$22.9)C& P. Bence. raising of livestoc*. . G&mphasis suppliedH. forest. as amended. or other non/agricultural uses after #" . ))). the term agricultural lands refers to 7lands devoted to or suitable for the cultivation of the soil. R&8:9(T& R&C9(33)A)&+ 9(-+3. CB&TB&R TB& +(R 3&CR&T(RD (CT&+ ). petitioner claims that there is an actual slow down of housing projects. including the harvesting of such farm products.. $ The subject of the submission that the +(R 3ecretary gravely abused his discretion is (. .

(ccording to petitioner. 1ore so. -o. -o. (s its final argument. as amended. There is after all a hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals.#/.#= (rticle F of the #$2% Philippine Constitution. unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor will be directed.0.0. as amended. such concurrence does not give the petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. ( direct invocation of the 3upreme CourtLs original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor. .#/. industrial or other non/agricultural uses on or after #" . and also serves as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the e4traordinary writs. justify the availment of the e4traordinary remedy of writ of certiorari. intended or otherwise. There is deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law because under +(R (. with the Court of (ppeals. which in some instances had to be remanded or referred to the lower court as the proper forum under the rules of procedure.#! citing People v. was made in violation of 3ection !" ## of Republic (ct -o. commercial. Petitioner similarly avers that the promulgation and enforcement of +(R (.#/.e. . prohibition. The Cou2t8s Rulin9 This petition must be dismissed. Republic (ct -o. its validity or constitutionality may be <uestioned.#/. habeas corpus and injunction. -o.#/. The said 3ection 0. -o.une #$22. .#$ of +(R (. #0 (rticle ) of +(R (. -o.0. #6 (rticle )) and 3ection 0. .#% this Court made the following pronouncements> This CourtMs original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is not e4clusive. <uo warranto.. violates 3ection 0. in issuing and enforcing +(R (. This concurrence of jurisdiction is not.0. lands that are not within +(RLs jurisdiction are unjustly. .#/. to residential. constitute deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law. petitioner avows that +(R 1emorandum -o. calling for the e4ercise of its primary jurisdiction.0.#$. or as better e<uipped to resolve the issues because this Court is not a trier of facts. 'eing a mere administrative issuance. #2 (&mphasis supplied. such as cases of national interest and of serious implications. to be ta*en as according to parties see*ing any of the writs an absolute. !!"% or in any other provision of law that confers to the +(R the jurisdiction or authority to re<uire that non/awarded lands or reclassified lands be submitted to its conversion authority. as amended. Thus. !!"%. and to prevent further over/crowding of the CourtLs doc*et. otherwise.#/. #" )n Heirs of Bertuldo Binog v.0. 1elicor. i. however. because it was not provided therein that reclassification by 98:s shall be subject to conversion procedures or re<uirements. %#!. 22 is not a valid e4ercise of police power for it is the prerogative of the legislature and that it is unconstitutional because it suspended the land use conversion without any basis. of Republic (ct -o. Primarily.0. Petitioner further asseverates that 3ection 0. )t is shared by this Court with Regional Trial Courts and with the Court of (ppeals. petitioner contends that +(R (. -o. )n the same breath. there is nothing in 3ection !" of Republic (ct -o. and those against the latter. The rationale for this rule is two/fold> (a it would be an imposition upon the precious time of this Court? and (b it would cause an inevitable and resultant delay. )t is a policy necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the CourtLs time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its e4clusive jurisdiction. or to the Constitution. mandamus.0. Cuaresma. although this Court. or that the +(RLs approval or clearance must be secured to effect reclassification. !!"% because it covers all applications for conversion from agricultural to non/agricultural uses or to other agricultural uses.. ma*ing reclassification of agricultural lands subject to the re<uirements and procedure for land use conversion. such as the conversion of agricultural lands or areas that have been reclassified by the 98:s or by way of Presidential Proclamations. it must conform to the statute it see*s to implement.-o. This is GanH established policy. the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction. arbitrarily and oppressively prohibited or restricted from legitimate use on pain of administrative and criminal penalties. ( becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of e4traordinary writs against first level (7inferior7 courts should be filed with the Regional Trial Court. there is discrimination and violation of the e<ual protection clause of the Constitution because the aforesaid administrative order is patently biased in favor of the peasantry at the e4pense of all other sectors of society. . as amended. as amended. in the adjudication of cases. clearly and specifically set out in the petition. and e4ceptional and compelling circumstances. as amended. the Court of (ppeals and the Regional Trial Courts have concurrent jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari. also contravenes the constitutional mandate on local autonomy under 3ection 0". . . #$ This Court thus reaffirms the judicial policy that it will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts.

Judge Quijano !adilla"06 on government contract involving moderni5ation and computeri5ation of votersL registration list? (d 'u*lod ng Iawaning &))' v. is not authori5ed and invalid with respect to the particular proceeding. as well as 1emorandum -o. &4cess of jurisdiction as distinguished from absence of jurisdiction means that an act. 1oreover.0" on the so/called 7Cin/Cin Resolution7 of the . and 1emorandum -o. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction? and (6 there is no appeal or any plain. law. !!"%.0% The present petition should have been initially filed in the Court of (ppeals in strict observance of the doctrine on the hierarchy of courts. in other words. (0 Review. jurisdiction. presidential decree. Purganan. in essence. 0! )n the case at bench. prejudice. ( Petition for Certiorari is a special civil action that may be invo*ed only against a tribunal. (&mphasis supplied. or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of Court may provide. board. Bon. it see*s the declaration by this Court of the unconstitutionality or illegality of the <uestioned +(R (. revise. 0= on status and e4istence of a public office? and (e Bon. The 3ecretary of (grarian Reform in issuing the assailed +(R (. 22 did so in accordance with his mandate to implement the land use conversion provisions of Republic (ct -o. proclamation. and habeas corpus. 60 8rave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical e4ercise of judgment as is e<uivalent to lac* of jurisdiction or. -o. thus. reverse. this Petition is still dismissible. where the power is e4ercised in an arbitrary manner by reason of passion. this Petition must necessarily fail because this Court does not have original jurisdiction over a Petition for +eclaratory Relief even if only <uestions of law are involved. as amended.#/. 22. 1elicor.0. . 6. final judgments and orders of lower courts in> (a (ll cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty.> . -o. vi5. )n the process.#/. order. Romulo. though within the general power of a tribunal. Namora. board. 00 on bail in e4tradition proceedings? (c Commission on Elections v.&4ceptional and compelling circumstances were held present in the following cases> (a Chave5 v. Aortich v. Bon. &ven if the petitioner has properly observed the doctrine of judicial hierarchy. a board. board or officer. the petitioner fails to meet the above/mentioned re<uisites for the proper invocation of a Petition for Certiorari under Rule !". he neither acted in any judicial or <uasi/judicial capacity nor assumed unto himself any performance of judicial or <uasi/judicial prerogative. Corona. 3ection #. and over petitions for certiorari. mandamus. although the instant petition is styled as a Petition for Certiorari. petitioner failed to specifically and sufficiently set forth special and important reasons to justify direct recourse to this Court and why this Court should give due course to this petition in the first instance. speedy. because the conditions which alone authori5e the e4ercise of the general power in respect of it are wanting.0. <uo warranto. or an officer e4ercising judicial or <uasi/judicial functions? (0 such tribunal. Rule !" of the #$$% Revised Rules of Civil Procedure is e4plicit on this matter. )t. or officer has acted without or in e4cess of jurisdiction. not original. modify. )t means lac* of power to e4ercise authority. 6# Cithout jurisdiction means lac* or want of legal power. or regulation is in <uestion. and ade<uate remedy in the ordinary course of law. instruction. Cith that. other public ministers and consuls. )ts principal office is only to *eep the inferior court within the parameters of its jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing such a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction. 0# on citi5ensL right to bear arms? (b 8overnment of GtheH :nited 3tates of (merica v. or officer e4ercising judicial functions.ffice of the President which modified the approval of the conversion to agro/industrial area. Bon. or personal hostility. 66 )n the case before this Court. Aailure to do so is sufficient cause for the dismissal of this petition. ". prohibition. considered either in general or with reference to a particular matter. and it must be so patent or gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. The 3upreme Court shall have the following powers> (# &4ercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors. international or e4ecutive agreement. ordinance. 3ec. (rticle E))) of the #$2% Philippine Constitution provides> 3ec. 0$ The essential re<uisites for a Petition for Certiorari under Rule !" are> (# the writ is directed against a tribunal. . hereby failing to fulfill the conditions set forth in Heirs of Bertuldo Binog v. parta*es of the nature of a Petition for +eclaratory Relief over which this Court has only appellate. as amended. 02 3ection ". right or authority to hear and determine a cause or causes. The special civil action for certiorari is intended for the correction of errors of jurisdiction only or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction.

board. hold hearings. industrial or other non/agricultural uses before #" . Aurthermore. and 1emorandum -o. 22 were done in the e4ercise of his <uasi/legislative and administrative functions and not of judicial or <uasi/judicial functions. board. which this Court has only appellate and not original jurisdiction.7 :nder +(R (. Juasi/judicial function.rder -o.#/.#/.#/. 6" The 3ecretary of (grarian Reform does not fall within the ambit of a tribunal. board. even if the Court will set aside procedural infirmities.#/. -o. rules and regulations and priorities for agrarian reform implementation. !!"%.76! (t any rate. it is necessary that there be a law that gives rise to some specific rights of persons or property under which adverse claims to such rights are made. Petition for certiorari. 7never issued e4cept in the e4ercise of judicial discretion. Petitioner cannot simply allege grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction and then invo*e certiorari to declare the aforesaid administrative issuances unconstitutional and illegal.. 1ore so. the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform never made any adjudication of rights of the parties. the ade<uate and proper remedy for the petitioner therefor is to file a Petition for +eclaratory Relief. and there is no appeal. or officer may e4ercise judicial or <uasi/judicial acts. restructuring or readjustment of agricultural lands into non/agricultural uses.. as amended. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction. 22. the instant petition should still be dismissed. is 7a term which applies to the actions. 3ection "(c of the said e4ecutive order authori5ed the +(R to establish and promulgate operational policies. . (s such.3&CT).rder -o. ==. Aurther. as this Court has previously discussed.0.une #$227 have been included in the definition of agricultural lands.ustice . commercial. clarified that after the effectivity of Republic (ct -o. #avvphi# ( tribunal. or officer is said to be e4ercising judicial function where it has the power to determine what the law is and what the legal rights of the parties are. the instant petition in essence see*s the declaration by this Court of the unconstitutionality or illegality of the <uestioned +(R (. which is to promulgate rules and regulations for agrarian reform implementation and that includes the authority to define agricultural lands for purposes of land use conversion. -o. 3ection "(l of the same e4ecutive order has given the +(R the e4clusive authority to approve or disapprove conversion of agricultural lands for residential. . as amended. !!"% on #" . and ade<uate remedy in the ordinary course of law. )n issuing the aforesaid administrative issuances.0. never demandable as a matter of right.0. alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment must be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal. board or officer. it can never be said that the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform had acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction in issuing and enforcing +(R (. nor any plain. or officer e4ercising judicial or <uasi/ judicial functions. and 1emorandum -o. )t is beyond the province of certiorari to declare the aforesaid administrative issuances unconstitutional and illegal because certiorari is confined only to the determination of the e4istence of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction. a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court. of public administrative officers or bodies 4 4 4 re<uired to investigate facts or ascertain the e4istence of facts. and then underta*es to determine these <uestions and adjudicate upon the rights of the parties. 22 for he never e4ercised any judicial or <uasi/judicial functions but merely his <uasi/ legislative and administrative functions. )n so doing. . and 1emorandum -o. &mphasis must be given to the fact that the writ of certiorari dealt with in Rule !" of the #$$% Revised Rules of Civil Procedure is a prerogative writ. and the controversy ensuing therefrom is brought before a tribunal. 3eries of #$$. etc. industrial. &4ecutive . #0$/(6% vested upon the +(R the responsibility of implementing the C(RP.0. on the other hand.7 6= 'efore a tribunal. commercial. discretion.pinion -o. Thus. 3ection =(* thereof authori5ed the +(R to approve or disapprove the conversion. K Chen any tribunal. Pursuant to the said mandate and to ensure the successful implementation of the C(RP. as amended. as amended.#. #0$/(. board or officer e4ercising judicial or <uasi/judicial functions has acted without or in e4cess of its or his jurisdiction. merely refers to the category of agricultural lands that may be the subject for conversion to non/agricultural uses and is not in any way confined to agricultural lands in the conte4t of land redistribution as provided for under Republic (ct -o. -o.une #$22 the +(R has been given the authority .. the definition of agricultural lands under +(R (. speedy. board. 3ection % of the aforesaid e4ecutive order clearly provides that 7the authority and responsibility for the e4ercise of the mandate of the G+(RH and the discharge of its powers and functions shall be vested in the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform 4 4 4. The issuance and enforcement by the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform of the <uestioned +(R (.pinion has been recogni5ed in many cases decided by this Court. and draw conclusions from them as a basis for their official action and to e4ercise discretion of a judicial nature. and other land uses as may be provided for by law. . -o.#/.0. or officer clothed with power and authority to determine the law and adjudicate the respective rights of the contending parties. which . as amended. -o. . 3imilarly. +epartment of . the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform merely acted within the scope of his authority stated in the aforesaid sections of &4ecutive . 7lands not reclassified as residential.

thus.$ case of Ro4as O Company.== )t is clear from the aforesaid distinction between reclassification and conversion that agricultural lands though reclassified to residential. agricultural lands. it made clear what are the lands that can be the subject of +(RLs conversion authority. therefore. Bowever. commercial. +(1'(/-A3C and the +epartment of (grarian Reform. !!"%. industrial or other non/agricultural uses before #" . industrial or other non/agricultural uses before #" .to approve land conversion. =0 This Court held in (larcon v. !!"% on #" . emphasis must be given to the fact that +(RLs conversion authority can only be e4ercised after the effectivity of Republic (ct -o. (s e4plained in +(R 1emorandum Circular -o. is the authority to include in the definition of agricultural lands 7lands not reclassified as residential. are e4empted from conversion. series of #$$. !!"% which every landowner may use to evade compliance with the agrarian reform program. or the locality has become urbani5ed and the land will have a greater economic value for residential. industrial or other non/agricultural uses must still undergo the process of conversion before they can be used for the purpose to which they are intended. Be has to undergo the process of conversion before he is permitted to use the agricultural land for other purposes. reclassification of agricultural lands is already subject to +(RLs conversion authority.une #$22 is specious. !!"%. %.une #$22 should first be cleared by the +(R.une #$22. which are already reclassified before the effectivity of Republic (ct -o. serving the very purpose of the land use conversion provisions of Republic (ct -o..62 Concomitant to such authority. -evertheless. . )nc. v.pinion -o.ustice . agricultural lands. as it covers even those non/awarded lands and reclassified lands by the 98:s or by way of Presidential Proclamations on or after #" . therefore.=. -o. commercial. a mere reclassification of an agricultural land does not automatically allow a landowner to change its use. )t is of no moment whether the reclassification of agricultural lands to residential. =% reclassification of lands denotes their allocation into some specific use and providing for the manner of their utili5ation and disposition or the act of specifying how agricultural lands shall be utili5ed for non/agricultural uses such as residential. Conversion and reclassification differ from each other. commercial. The argument of the petitioner that +(R (.une #$22.. industrial. commercial. )t bears stressing that the act of reclassifying agricultural lands to non/agricultural uses simply specifies how agricultural lands shall be utili5ed for non/agricultural uses and does not automatically convert agricultural lands to non/ agricultural uses or for other purposes. on or after the effectivity of Republic (ct -o. )n Ros v.une #$227 for purposes of land use conversion. was made in violation of 3ection !" of Republic (ct -o. commercial. To suggest. !!"% is limited to cases in which agricultural lands already awarded have.une #$227 in the definition of agricultural lands. industrial. )t should logically follow.=" The said date served as the cut/off period for automatic reclassification or re5oning of agricultural lands that no longer re<uire any +(R conversion clearance or authority. .0. commercial or industrial purposes.une #$227 in the definition of agricultural lands finds basis in jurisprudence. subject to the re<uirements and procedures for land use conversion. 6$ this Court has enunciated that after the passage of Republic (ct -o. from the said departmentLs e4press duty and function to e4ecute and enforce the said statute that any reclassification of a private land as a residential. )t bears stressing that the said date of effectivity of Republic (ct -o. !!"% which is #" . or commercial. Conversion is the act of changing the current use of a piece of agricultural land into some other use as approved by the +(R while reclassification is the act of specifying how agricultural lands shall be utili5ed for non/agricultural uses such as residential. however. the authority of the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform to include 7lands not reclassified as residential. Baving recogni5ed the +(RLs conversion authority over lands reclassified after #" . as embodied in the land use plan. to be used for the purpose to which they are intended there is still a need to change the current use thereof through the process of conversion. !!"% on #" . The authority to do so is vested in the +(R. Aor reclassified agricultural lands. have to go through the process of conversion. !!"% served as the cut/off period for automatic reclassifications or re5oning of agricultural lands that no longer re<uire any +(R conversion clearance or authority. commercial or industrial property. though reclassified. 3uch inclusion does not unduly e4pand or enlarge the definition of agricultural lands? instead. after five years. =! Thereafter. )n the same vein. Court of (ppeals=6 that reclassification of lands does not suffice. =# )t necessarily follows that any reclassification made thereafter can be the subject of +(RLs conversion authority. industrial or other non/ agricultural uses was done by the 98:s or by way of Presidential Proclamations because either way they must still undergo conversion process. therefore. Conversion is needed to change the current use of reclassified agricultural lands. it can no longer be argued that the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform was wrongfully given the authority and power to include 7lands not reclassified as residential. )n view thereof. it is true that the +(RLs e4press power over land use conversion provided for under 3ection !" of Republic (ct -o. (s e4plained in +epartment of . that these are the only instances that the +(R can re<uire conversion clearances would open a loophole in Republic (ct -o. !!"%. ==. as amended.#/. cited in the 0.une #$22. ceased to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes. +epartment of (grarian Reform. 3eries of #$$=. and commercial. Reclassification alone will not suffice to use the agricultural lands for other purposes. industrial or other non/agricultural uses before #" . as embodied in the land use plan. jurisdiction over which is vested in the +(R.

. however. Ce reiterate that reclassification is different from conversion. commercial.0. (ny reclassification. and? (0 issuing and enforcing +(R (. .7 shall not be affected by the said reclassification and the conversion of such lands into other purposes shall be governed by 3ection !" of said (ct.une #$22 in the definition of agricultural lands under +(R (. commercial. etc. commercial. as amended.. as amended.#/. Section ($ of Republic *ct No. further.0. public school. ". )t is different.e. Clearly from the foregoing. providing that the reclassification of agricultural lands by 98:s shall be subject to the re<uirements of land use conversion procedure or that +(RLs approval or clearance must be secured to effect reclassification. five percent ("P > Provided.une #$22 must undergo the process of conversion. -o. they must still undergo conversion before they can be used for other purposes.0. as amended. despite having undergone reclassification. the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform did not act without jurisdiction or in e4cess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac* or e4cess of jurisdiction in (# including lands not reclassified as residential. 3tated differently. +(R (. notwithstanding the reclassification of agricultural lands to non/agricultural uses. did not violate the autonomy of the 98:s. (gricultural lands that are reclassified to non/agricultural uses do not ipso facto allow the landowner thereof to use the same for such purpose.(. such as school sites. public agricultural lands already reserved for public use or purpose no longer form part of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture. Reclassification alone will not suffice and does not automatically allow the landowner to change its use. the landowner of such reclassified agricultural lands must apply for conversion before the +(R in order to use the same for the said purpose. through an ordinance passed by the sanggunian after conducting public hearings for the purpose. That agricultural lands distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries pursuant to Republic (ct -umbered 3i4ty/si4 hundred fifty/seven (R. )t must still undergo conversion process before the landowner can use such agricultural lands for such purpose. industrial or for other non/agricultural uses on or after #" . K (a ( city or municipality may. conversion is no longer necessary.une #$22.. 3imilarly. otherwise *nown as 7The Comprehensive (grarian Reform 9aw. they are outside the coverage of the C(RP and it logically follows that they are also beyond the conversion authority of the +(R. 7 5$ states that: 3&CT). 1ore so.#/. when through Presidential Proclamations public agricultural lands have been reserved in whole or in part for public use or purpose. conversion is another.which is mandated to preserve and maintain agricultural lands with increased productivity. =2 Reclassification of agricultural lands is one thing. -o. subjecting to +(RLs jurisdiction for conversion lands which had already been reclassified as residential. . therefore. (s such. -o. &stonilo. because in such a case. they will be segregated from the reservations and transferred to the +(R for distribution to <ualified beneficiaries under the C(RP. directly and e4clusively used for such public purpose for which they have been reserved. reservation of public agricultural lands for public use or purpose in effect converted the same to such use without undergoing any conversion process and that they must be actually. needs conversion clearance from the +(R. 4444 . authori5e the reclassification of agricultural lands and provide for the manner of their utili5ation or disposition in the following cases> (# when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes as determined by the +epartment of (griculture or (0 where the land shall have substantially greater economic value for residential. despite having reclassified into school sites.0. as determined by the sanggunian concerned> Provided. of agricultural lands to residential..=$ only a positive act of the President is needed to segregate or reserve a piece of land of the public domain for a public purpose. That such reclassification shall be limited to the following percentage of the total agricultural land area at the time of the passage of the ordinance> 4444 (6 Aor fourth to si4th class municipalities. !!"% . Reclassification of 9ands. industrial or other non/agricultural uses before #" . commercial. . Thus. i. before agricultural lands may be used for other purposes. -o. &ven reclassification of agricultural lands by way of Presidential Proclamations to non/agricultural uses. or industrial purposes. industrial or other non/agricultural uses either by the 98:s or by way of Presidential Proclamations enacted on or after #" .#/. otherwise. "# Bence. (s held in Republic v.

!!"% to non/agricultural uses has been validly recogni5ed by said 3ection 0. )n providing administrative and criminal penalties in the said administrative order. 3uch measure was made in order to ensure that there are enough agricultural lands in which rice . %#!. < The follo=in9 a2e p2ohibite1: 4444 (c The conversion by any landowner of his agricultural land into any non/agricultural use with intent to avoid the application of this (ct to his landholdings and to disposes his tenant farmers of the land tilled by them? 4444 (f The sale. The afore<uoted provisions of law show that the power of the 98:s to reclassify agricultural lands is not absolute. and an accessory penalty of forfeiture of the land and any improvement thereon. or automatic disapproval of pending and subse<uent conversion applications that they may file with the +(R.. Penalties.(. !!"%. . -o.. -o. of Republic (ct -o.e. after determining.. of Republic *ct No. !!"%. @ (ny person who *nowingly or willfully violates the provisions of this (ct shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than one (# month to not more than three (6 years or a fine of not less than one thousand pesos (P#.... are imposed upon the illegal or premature conversion of lands within +(RLs jurisdiction. P2ohibite1 *cts an1 O. 7nothing in this section shall be construed as repealing or modifying in any manner the provisions of Republic (ct -o.issions. thus> Sec.7 The petitionerLs argument that +(R 1emorandum -o. Contrary to petitionerLs assertions. commercial. or a fine e<uivalent to one hundred percent (#.. (ny person found guilty of premature or illegal conversion shall be penali5ed with imprisonment of two (0 to si4 (! years.. -o.une #$$2.0. as it suspends the land use conversion without any basis. or both. at the discretion of the court. 22 is unconstitutional. transfer or conveyance by a beneficiary of the right to use or any other usufructuary right over the land he ac<uired by virtue of being a beneficiary. as amended. 7lands not reclassified as residential.. stands on hollow ground. the officer responsible therefor shall be criminally liable. 'lac*listing. as amended. that violation of this law has been committed> a. i. as well as the e<ual protection clause of the Constitution. the +(R may impose the following penalties. !!"%.. or both. in an administrative proceedings.#/. K 4 4 4. Consolation or withdrawal of the authori5ation for land use conversion? and b. industrial or for other non/agricultural uses before #" .. !#"6' =hich specificall4 p2o3i1es: . The authority of the +(R to approve conversion of agricultural lands covered by Republic (ct -o. *n1 Section Sec.7 +(R (. %=..(e -othing in this 3ection shall be construed as repealing. )t bears emphasis that said 1emorandum -o. the administrative and criminal penalties provided for under +(R (.#/. by e4plicitly providing therein that. at the discretion of the court. and not more than fifteen thousand pesos (P#". or modifying in any manner the provisions of R. )n addition. the 3ecretary of (grarian Reform simply implements the provisions of 3ections %6 and %= of Republic (ct -o.P of the governmentMs investment cost. in order to circumvent the provisions of this (ct. )f the offender is a corporation or association. does not also violate the due process clause.. . Penalty for Agricultural Inactivity and Premature Conversion.0. amending.. 4444 3ec. 7". 22 was issued upon the instruction of the President in order to address the unabated conversion of prime agricultural lands for real estate development because of the worsening rice shortage in the country at that time. .

>)EREFORE' premises considered. Costs against petitioner.cultivation and production may be carried into. thus. SO ORDERED. . The issuance of said 1emorandum -o. 22 was made pursuant to the general welfare of the public. the instant Petition for Certiorari is +)31)33&+. it cannot be argued that it was made without any basis.