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ENBANC

ROXAS&COMPANY,INC.,
Petitioner,

versus

DAMBANFSWandthe
DEPARTMENTOFAGRARIAN
REFORM,*
Respondents.

xx
DAMAYAN
NG
MGA
MANGGAGAWANG BUKID SA
ASYENDA
ROXASNATIONAL
FEDERATION
OF
SUGAR
WORKERS(DAMBANFSW),
Petitioner,

versus

SECRETARY OF THE DEPT. OF


AGRARIAN REFORM, ROXAS &
Co., INC. AND/OR ATTY.
MARIANOAMPIL,
Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.149548

G.R.No.167505

Present:

PUNO,C.J.,
CARPIO,
CORONA,
CARPIOMORALES,
CHICONAZARIO,
VELASCO,JR.,
NACHURA,
LEONARDODECASTRO,
BRION,
PERALTA,
BERSAMIN,
DELCASTILLO,
ABAD,and
VILLARAMA,JJ.

Promulgated:

December4,2009

G.R.No.167540

KATIPUNANNGMGA
MAGBUBUKIDSAHACIENDA
ROXAS,INC.(KAMAHARI),rep.
byitsPresidentCARLITOCAISIP,
andDAMAYANNG
MANGGAGAWANGBUKIDSA
ASYENDAROXASNATIONAL
FEDERATIONOFSUGAR
WORKERS(DAMBANFSW),
represntedbyLAUROMARTIN,
Petitioners,

versus

SECRETARYOFTHEDEPT.OF
AGRARIANREFORM,ROXAS&
Co.,INC.,
Respondents.

xx

DEPARTMENTOFLAND
REFORM,FORMERLY
DEPARTMENTOFAGRARIAN
REFORM(DAR),
Petitioner,

versus

ROXAS&CO,INC.,
Respondent.

xx
ROXAS&CO.,INC.,
Petitioner,

versus

G.R.No.167543

G.R.No.167845


DAMBANFSW,
Respondent.

xx

DAMBANFSWREPRESENTED
BYLAUROV.MARTIN,
Petitioner,
versus

ROXAS&CO.,INC.,
Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.169163

G.R.No.179650

DAMBANFSW,
Petitioner,

versus

ROXAS&CO.,INC.,
Respondent.

xx

DECISION
CARPIOMORALES,J.

Themainsubjectofthesevenconsolidatedpetitionsistheapplicationofpetitioner
Roxas&Co.,Inc.(Roxas&Co.)forconversionfromagriculturaltononagriculturaluse
of its three haciendas located in Nasugbu, Batangas containing a total area of almost
3,000hectares.Thefactsarenotnew,theCourthavingearlierresolvedintimatelyrelated
issuesdealingwiththesehaciendas.Thus,inthe1999caseofRoxas&Co.,Inc.v.Court
[1]
ofAppeals, theCourtpresentedthefactsasfollows:


...Roxas&Co.isadomesticcorporationandistheregisteredownerofthree
haciendas, namely, Haciendas Palico, Banilad and Caylaway,all located in
theMunicipalityofNasugbu,Batangas.HaciendaPalicois1,024hectaresinareaandis
registered under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 985.This land is covered by
Tax Declaration Nos. 0465, 0466, 0468, 0470, 0234 and 0354.Hacienda Banilad
is 1,050 hectares in area, registered under TCT No. 924 and covered by Tax
Declaration Nos. 0236, 0237 and 0390. Hacienda Caylaway is867.4571 hectares in
areaandisregisteredunderTCTNos.T44662,T44663,T44664andT44665.

xxxx

OnJuly27,1987,theCongressofthePhilippinesformally convened and took


over legislative power from the President. This Congress passed Republic Act No.
6657,theComprehensiveAgrarianReformLaw(CARL)of1988.TheActwassigned
bythePresidentonJune10,1988andtookeffectonJune15,1988.

Before the laws effectivity, on May 6, 1988, [Roxas & Co.] filed with
respondent DAR avoluntary offer to sell [VOS]Hacienda Caylaway pursuant to the
provisions of E.O. No. 229.Haciendas Palico and Banilad were later placed under
compulsoryacquisitionbyDARinaccordancewiththeCARL.

xxxx

Nevertheless,onAugust6,1992,[Roxas&Co.],throughitsPresident,Eduardo
J. Roxas, sent a letter to the Secretary of DARwithdrawing its VOS of Hacienda
Caylaway.The Sangguniang Bayan of Nasugbu, Batangas allegedly authorized the
reclassificationofHaciendaCaylawayfromagriculturaltononagricultural.Asa
result, petitioner informed respondent DAR that it was applying forconversion of
HaciendaCaylawayfromagriculturaltootheruses.

[2]
xxxx (emphasisandunderscoringsupplied)

The petitions in G.R. Nos. 167540 and167543 nub on the interpretation


ofPresidentialProclamation(PP)1520whichwasissuedonNovember28,1975bythen
PresidentFerdinandMarcos.ThePPreads:

DECLARINGTHEMUNICIPALITIESOFMARAGONDON
ANDTERNATEINCAVITEPROVINCEAND
THEMUNICIPALITYOFNASUGBUINBATANGASASATOURISTZONE,AND
FOROTHERPURPOSES

WHEREAS, certain areasin the sector comprising the Municipalities of


Maragondon and Ternate in Cavite Province and Nasugbu in Batangas have
potential tourism value after being developed into resort complexes for the foreign

anddomesticmarketand

WHEREAS,itisnecessarytoconductthenecessarystudiesandtosegregate
specificgeographicareasforconcentratedeffortsofboththegovernmentandprivate
sectorsindevelopingtheirtourismpotential

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the


Philippines,byvirtueofthepowersvestedinmebytheConstitution,doherebydeclare
theareacomprisingtheMunicipalitiesofMaragondonandTernateinCaviteProvince
andNasugbuinBatangasProvinceasa tourist zone under the administration and
controlofthePhilippineTourismAuthority(PTA)pursuanttoSection5(D)ofP.D.
564.

The PTA shall identifywelldefined geographic areas within the zone


withpotentialtourismvalue,whereinoptimumuseofnaturalassetsandattractions,
aswellasexistingfacilitiesandconcentrationofeffortsandlimitedresourcesofboth
governmentandprivatesectormaybeaffectedandrealizedinordertogenerateforeign
exchangeaswellasothertouristreceipts.

Any duly established military reservation existing within the zone shall be
excludedfromthisproclamation.

Allproclamation,decreesorexecutiveordersinconsistentherewitharehereby
revokedormodifiedaccordingly.(emphasisandunderscoringsupplied).

The incidents which spawned the filing of the petitions in G.R. Nos. 149548,
167505,167845,169163and179650arestatedinthedissentingopinionofJusticeMinita
ChicoNazario,theoriginaldraftofwhichwasmadethebasisoftheCourtsdeliberations.
Essentially, Roxas & Co. filed its application for conversion of its
threehaciendasfromargriculturaltononagriculturalontheassumptionthattheissuance
of PP 1520 which declared Nasugbu, Batangas as a tourism zone, reclassified them to
nonagricultural uses. Its pending application notwithstanding, the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued Certificates of Land OwnershipAward (CLOAs) to the
farmerbeneficiariesinthethreehaciendasincludingCLOA No. 6654 which was issued
onOctober15,1993covering513.983hectares,thesubjectofG.R.No.167505.

The application for conversion of Roxas & Co. was the subject of the above
statedRoxas&Co.,Inc.v.CourtofAppealswhichtheCourtremandedtotheDARforthe
observanceofproperacquisitionproceedings.Asreflectedintheabovequotedstatement
of facts in said case, during the pendency before the DAR of itsapplication for
conversionfollowingitsremandtotheDARoronMay16,2000,Roxas&Co.filedwith

theDARanapplicationforexemptionfromthecoverageoftheComprehensiveAgrarian
Reform Program (CARP) of 1988 on the basis of PP 1520 and of DARAdministrative
[3]
Order (AO) No. 6, Series of 1994 which states that all lands already classified as
commercial, industrial, or residential before the effectivity of CARP no longer need
conversionclearancefromtheDAR.

It bears mentioning at this juncture that on April 18, 1982, the Sangguniang
Bayan of Nasugbu enacted Municipal Zoning Ordinance No. 4 (Nasugbu MZO No.
4)which was approved on May 4, 1983 by the Human Settlements Regulation
Commission,nowtheHousingandLandUseRegulatoryBoard(HLURB).
TherecordsshowthatSangguniangBayan andAssociation of Barangay Captains
ofNasugbufiledbeforethisCourtpetitionsforinterventionwhichwere,however,denied
[4]
byResolutionofJune5,2006forlackofstanding.

After the seven present petitions were consolidated and referred to the Court en
[5]
banc, oralargumentswereconductedonJuly7,2009.

Thecoreissuesare:

1. Whether PP 1520 reclassified in 1975 all lands in the MaragondonTernate


Nasugbu tourism zone to nonagricultural use to exempt Roxas & Co.s
threehaciendasinNasugbufromCARPcoverage
2.WhetherNasugbuMSONo.4,Seriesof1982exemptedcertainlotsinHacienda
PalicofromCARPcoverageand

3.WhetherthepartialandcompletecancellationsbytheDARofCLOANo.6654
subjectofG.R.No.167505isvalid.

TheCourtshalldiscusstheissuesinseriatim.

I. PP 1520 DID NOT AUTOMATICALLY CONVERT THE AGRICULTURAL


LANDS IN THE THREE MUNICIPALITIES INCLUDING NASUGBU TO
NONAGRICULTURALLANDS.

Roxas & Co. contends that PP 1520 declared the three municipalities as each
constituting a tourism zone, reclassified all lands therein to tourism and, therefore,
convertedtheirusetononagriculturalpurposes.

TodeterminethechiefintentofPP1520,referencetothewhereasclausesisinorder.By
andlarge,areferencetothecongressionaldeliberationrecordswouldprovideguidancein
dissecting the intent of legislation. But since PP 1520 emanated from the legislative
powers of then President Marcos during martial rule, reference to the whereas
[6]
clausescannotbedispensedwith.

The perambulatory clauses of PP 1520 identified only certain areas in the sector
comprisingthe[threeMunicipalitiesthat]havepotentialtourismvalueandmandatedthe
conductofnecessarystudiesandthesegregationofspecificgeographicareastoachieve
its purpose. Which is why the PP directed the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) to
identifywhatthosepotentialtourismareasare.Ifallthelandsinthosetourismzoneswere
tobewhollyconvertedtononagriculturaluse,therewouldhavebeennoneedforthePP
todirectthePTAtoidentifywhatthosespecificgeographicareasare.

TheCourthadinfactpasseduponasimilarmatterbefore.ThusinDARv.Franco,
[7]
itpronounced:

Thus, the DAR Regional Office VII, in coordination with the Philippine
Tourism Authority, has to determine precisely which areas are for tourism
developmentandexcludedfromtheOperationLandTransferandtheComprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program. And suffice it to state here that the Court has repeatedly
ruledthatlandsalreadyclassifiedasnonagriculturalbeforetheenactmentofRA6657
[8]
on15June1988donotneedanyconversionclearance. (emphasisandunderscoring
supplied).


While the above pronouncement in Franco is an obiter, it should not be ignored in the
resolutionofthepresentpetitionssinceitreflectsamorerationalandjustinterpretationof
PP1520.Thereisnoprohibitioninembracingtherationaleofanobiterdictuminsettling
controversies,orinconsideringrelatedproclamationsestablishingtourismzones.

[9]
IntheabovecitedcaseofRoxas&Co.v.CA, theCourtmadeitclearthatthepowerto
determinewhether Haciendas Palico,Banilad and Caylaway are nonagricultural, hence,
exempt from the coverage of the [ComprehensiveAgrarian Reform Law] lies with the
[10]
[Department ofAgrarian Reform], not with this Court.
The DAR, an administrative
body of special competence, denied, by Order of October 22, 2001, the application for
CARPexemptionofRoxas&Co.,itfindingthatPP1520didnotautomaticallyreclassify
allthelandsintheaffectedmunicipalitiesfromtheiroriginaluses.ItappearsthatthePTA
hadnotyet,atthattime,identifiedthespecificgeographicareasfortourismdevelopment
and had no pending tourism development projects in the areas. Further, report from the
Center for Land Use Policy Planning and Implementation (CLUPPI) indicated that the
[11]
areaswereplantedwithsugarcaneandothercrops.

[12]
Relatedly,theDAR,byMemorandumCircularNo.7,Seriesof2004,
came up with
clarificatoryguidelinesandthereindecreedthat

A.xxxx.

B. Proclamations declaring general areas such as whole provinces,


municipalities,barangays,islandsorpeninsulasastouristzonesthatmerely:

(1) recognize certain still unidentified areas within the covered provinces,
municipalities,barangays,islands,orpeninsulastobewithpotentialtourismvalueand
charge the Philippine Tourism Authority with the task to identify/delineate specific
geographic areas within the zone with potential tourism value and to coordinate said
areasdevelopmentor

(2) recognize the potential value of identified spots located within the general
areadeclaredastouristzone(i.e.xxxx)anddirectthePhilippineTourismAuthorityto
coordinatesaidareasdevelopment

couldnotberegardedaseffectinganautomaticreclassificationoftheentiretyofthe
land area declared as tourist zone. This is so because reclassification of lands
denotes their allocation into some specific use and providing for the manner of
their utilization and disposition (Sec. 20, Local Government Code) or the act of
specifyinghowagriculturallandsshallbeutilizedfornonagriculturalusessuchas
residential, industrial, or commercial, as embodied in the land use plan. (Joint
HLURB,DAR,DA,DILGMemo.CircularPrescribingGuidelinesforMC54,S.1995,
Sec.2)

Aproclamationthatmerelyrecognizesthepotentialtourismvalueofcertainareas
withinthegeneralareadeclaredastouristzoneclearlydoesnotallocate,reserve,or
intendtheentiretyofthelandareaofthezonefornonagriculturalpurposes.Neither
doessaidproclamationdirectthatotherwiseCARPablelandswithinthezoneshall
alreadybeusedforpurposesotherthanagricultural.

Moreover,toviewthesekindsofproclamationasareclassificationfornonagricultural
purposesofentireprovinces,municipalities,barangays,islands,orpeninsulaswouldbe
unreasonableasitamountstoanautomaticandsweepingexemptionfromCARPinthe
name of tourism development.The same would also undermine the land use
reclassification powers vested in local government units in conjunction with pertinent
agenciesofgovernment.

C. There being no reclassification, it is clear that said


proclamations/issuances, assuming [these] took effect before June 15, 1988, could
notsupplyabasisforexemptionoftheentiretyofthelandsembracedthereinfrom
CARPcoveragexxxx.

D.xxxx.(underscoringintheoriginalemphasisanditalicssupplied)

The DARs reading into these general proclamations of tourism zones deserves
utmostconsideration,moreespeciallyinthepresentpetitionswhichinvolvevasttractsof
agriculturalland.Toreiterate,PP 1520 merely recognized the potential tourism value of
certain areas within the general area declared as tourism zones. It did not reclassify the
areastononagriculturaluse.

ApartfromPP1520,therearesimilarlywordedproclamationsdeclaringthewhole
ofIlocosNorteandBataanProvinces,Camiguin,PuertoPrinsesa,Siquijor,PanglaoIsland,
parts of Cebu City and Municipalities of Argao and Dalaguete in Cebu Province as
[13]
tourismzones.

Indubitably, these proclamations, particularly those pertaining to the Provinces of


Ilocos Norte and Bataan, did not intend to reclassify all agricultural lands into non

agricultural lands in one fell swoop. The Court takes notice of how the agrarian reform
program wasand still isimplemented in these provinces since there are lands that do not
haveanytourismpotentialandaremoreappropriateforagriculturalutilization.

Relatedly, a reference to the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995

[14]
provides a

parallelorientationontheissue.UndersaidAct,severaltownsandcitiesencompassingthe
[15]
whole Philippines were readily identified as economic zones.
To uphold Roxas &
Co.sreadingofPP1520wouldseeatotalreclassificationofpracticallyalltheagricultural
landsinthecountrytononagriculturaluse.Propitiously,thelegislaturehadtheforesight
[16]
toincludeabailoutprovisioninSection31ofsaidActforlandconversion.
Thesame
cannot be said of PP 1520, despite the existence of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 27 or
[17]
theTenantEmancipationDecree,
whichistheprecursoroftheCARP.

Interestingly,thenPresidentMarcosalsoissuedonSeptember 26, 1972 PD No. 2


[18]
which declared the entire Philippines as land reform area.
Such declaration did not
intendtoreclassifyalllandsintheentirecountrytoagriculturallands.PresidentMarcos,
aboutamonthlateroronOctober21,1972,issuedPD27whichdecreedthatallprivate
agriculturallandsprimarilydevotedtoriceandcornweredeemedawardedtotheirtenant
farmers.

Giventhesemartiallaweradecreesandconsideringthesociopoliticalbackdropat
the time PP 1520 was issued in 1975, it is inconceivable that PP 1520, as well as other
similarly worded proclamations which are completely silent on the aspect of
reclassificationofthelandsinthosetourismzones,wouldnullifythegainsalreadythen
achievedbyPD27.

Evenso,Roxas&Co.turnstoNataliaRealtyv.DARandNHAv.Allardetosupport
itsposition.ThesecasesarenotevencloselysimilartothepetitionsinG.R.Nos.167540
and167543.Theonlytimethatthesecasesmayfindapplicationtosaidpetitionsiswhen
thePTAactually identifies welldefined geographic areas within the zone with potential

tourismvalue.

In remotely tying these two immediatelycited cases that involve specific and
definedtownsitereservationsforthehousingprogramoftheNationalHousingAuthority
to the present petitions, Roxas & Co. cites Letter of Instructions No. 352 issued on
December22,1975whichstatesthatthesurveyandtechnicaldescriptionofthetourism
zonesshallbeconsideredanintegralpartofPP1520.Therewere,however,atthetimeno
surveysandtechnicaldelineationsyetoftheintendedtourismareas.

On hindsight, Natalia and Allarde find application in the petitions in G.R. Nos.
179650 & 167505, which petitions are anchored on the extenuating effects ofNasugbu
MZONo.4,butnotinthepetitionsinG.R.Nos.167540&167543bearingonPP1520,as
willlaterbediscussed.

Of significance also in the present petitions is the issuance on August 3,


[19]
2007ofExecutiveOrderNo.647
byPresidentArroyowhichproclaimedtheareasin
the Nasugbu Tourism Development Plan as Special Tourism Zone. Pursuant to said
ExecutiveOrder,thePTAcompleteditsvalidationof21outof42barangaysastourism
priority areas, hence, it is only after such completion that these identified lands may be
subjectedtoreclassificationproceedings.

It bears emphasis that a mere reclassification of an agricultural land


doesnotautomaticallyallowalandownertochangeitsusesincethereisstillthatprocess
[20]
ofconversionbeforeoneispermittedtouseitforotherpurposes.
TourismAct,andnottoPP1520,forpossibleexemption.
II. ROXAS & CO.S APPLICATION INDAR ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. A
999914297 FOR CARP EXEMPTION IN HACIENDA PALICO SUBJECT
OF G.R. NO. 179650 CANNOT BE GRANTED IN VIEW OF
DISCREPANCIES IN THE LOCATION AND IDENTITY OF THE
SUBJECTPARCELSOFLAND.

Since PP 1520 did not automatically convert Haciendas Caylaway,

Banilad andPalico into nonagricultural estates, can Roxas & Co. invoke in the
alternativeNasugbu MZO No. 4, which reclassified in 1982 the haciendas to non
agriculturalusetoexcludesixparcelsoflandinHaciendaPalicofromCARPcoverage?

ByRoxas&Co.scontention,theaffectedsixparcelsoflandwhicharethesubject
ofDARAdministrativeCaseNo.A999914297and nineparcelsoflandwhicharethe
subject of DARAdministrative Case No. A999900898 involved in G.R. No. 167505,
allinHaciendaPalico,havebeenreclassifiedtononagriculturalusesviaNasugbuMZO
No.4whichwasapprovedbytheforerunnerofHLURB.

Roxas&Co.scontentionfails.

Tobesure,theCourthadonseveraloccasionsdecreedthatalocalgovernmentunit
hasthepowertoclassifyandconvertlandfromagriculturaltononagriculturalpriortothe
[23]
effectivity of the CARL.
InAgrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association v. Nicolas,
[24]
itreiteratedthat

...thefactsobtaininginthiscasearesimilartothoseinNataliaRealty. Both
subjectlandsformpartofanareadesignatedfornonagriculturalpurposes.Bothwere
classified as nonagricultural lands prior to June 15, 1988, the date of effectivity of
CARL.

xxxx

Inthecaseunderreview,thesubjectparcelsoflandswerereclassifiedwithinan
urban zone as per approved Official Comprehensive Zoning Map of the City
ofDavao.ThereclassificationwasembodiedinCityOrdinanceNo.363,Seriesof
1982. As such, the subject parcels of land are considered nonagricultural and
may be utilized for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes. The
[25]
reclassification was later approved by the HLURB.
(emphasis, italics and
underscoringsupplied)

[26]
The DAR Secretary
denied the application for exemption of Roxas & Co.,
however,inthiswise:


Initially, CLUPPI2 based [its] evaluation on the lot nos. as appearing in
CLOANo.6654.However,forpurposesofclarityandtoensurethattheareaapplied
for exemption is indeed part ofTCT No.T60034, CLUPPI2 sought to clarify with
[Roxas&Co.]theoriginofTCTNo.T60034.InaletterdatedMay28,1998,[Roxas
&Co.]explainsthatportionsofTCTNo.T985,themothertitle,wassubdividedinto
125lotspursuanttoPD27.Atotalof947.8417wasretainedbythelandownersand
was subsequently registered underTCT No. 49946.[[Roxas & Co.] further explains
thatTCTNo.49946wasfurthersubdividedintoseverallots(Lot125AtoLot125P)
with Lot No. 125N registered under TCT No. 60034.[A] review of the titles,
however,showsthatthe origin ofT49946 isT783 and notT985.On the other
hand,theoriginofT60034islistedas59946,andnotT49946.Thediscrepancies
were attributed by [Roxas & Co.] to typographical errors which were
acknowledgedandinitialled[sic]bytheROD.Perverification,thediscrepancies.
[27]
..cannotbeascertained.
(emphasisandunderscoringsupplied)

IndenyingRoxas&Co.smotionforreconsideration,theDARSecretaryheld:

Thelandholdingscoveredbytheaforesaidtitlesdonotcorrespondtothe
Certification dated February 11, 1998 of the [HLURB] , the Certification dated
September 12, 1996 issued by the Municipal Planning and Development
Coordinator,andtheCertificationsdatedJuly31,1997andMay27,1997issued
bytheNationalIrrigationAuthority.ThecertificationswereissuedforLotNos.21,
24,28,31,32and34.Thus,itwasnotevenpossibletoissueexemptionclearanceover
thelotscoveredbyTCTNos.60019to60023.

Furthermore, we alsonote the discrepancies between the certifications


issuedbytheHLURBandtheMunicipalPlanningDevelopmentCoordinatoras
[28]
totheareaofthespecificlots.
(emphasisandunderscoringsupplied)

InaffirmingtheDARSecretarysdenialofRoxas&Co.sapplicationforexemption,
theCourtofAppeals,inCAG.R.SPNo.63146subjectofG.R.No.179650,observed:

Intheinstantcase,aperusalofthedocumentsbeforeusshowsthatthereis
noindicationthatthesaidTCTsrefertothesamepropertiesappliedforexemptionby
[Roxas&Co.]Itistruethatthecertificationsrefer,amongothers,toDARLotNos.
21,24,28,31,32and34Butthesecertificationscontainnothingtoshowthatthese
lotsarethesameasLots125A,125B,125C,125Dand125EcoveredbyTCT
Nos. 60019, 60020, 60021, 60022 and 60023, respetively.While [Roxas & Co.]
claimsthatDARLotNos.21,24and31correspondtotheaforementionedTCTs
submittedtotheDARnoevidencewaspresentedtosubstantiatesuchallegation.

Moreover, [Roxas & Co.] failed to submit TCT 634 which it claims
coversDARLotNos.28,32and24.(TSN,April24,2001,pp.4344)


xxxx

[Roxas & Co.] also claims that subject properties are located at Barangay
Cogunan and Lumbangan and that these properties are part of the zone classified as
Industrial under Municipal Ordinance No. 4, Series of 1982 of
theMunicipalityofNasugbu,Batangas..ascrutinyofthesaidOrdinanceshowsthat
only Barangays Talangan and Lumbangan of the said municipality were
classifiedasIndustrialZonesBarangayCogunanwasnotincluded.xxxx.Infact,
theTCTssubmittedby[Roxas&Co.]showthatthepropertiescoveredbysaidtitles
[29]
arealllocatedatBarrioLumbangan.
(emphasisandunderscoringsupplied)

Its foregoing findings notwithstanding, the appellate court still allowed Roxas & Co. to
adduceadditionalevidencetosupportitsapplicationforexemptionunderNasugbu MZO
No.4.

Meanwhile,Roxas&Co.appealedtheappellatecourtsdecisioninCAG.R.No.SP
No. 63146 affirming the DAR Secretarys denial of its application for CARP exemption
inHaciendaPalico(nowthesubjectofG.R.No.149548).

When Roxas & Co. sought the reopening of the proceedings in DAR
Administrative Case No. A999914297 (subject of G.R. No. 179650), and offered
additionalevidenceinsupportofitsapplicationforCARPexemption,theDARSecretary,
thistime,granteditsapplicationforthesixlotsincludingLotNo.36sincetheadditional
documentsofferedbyRoxas&Co.mentionedthesaidlot.

[30]
In granting the application, the DAR Secretary
examined anew the evidence
submittedbyRoxas&Co.whichconsistedmainlyofcertificationsfromvariouslocaland
[31]
national government agencies.
Petitioner in G.R. Nos. 167505, 167540, 169163 and
179650,DamayanNgMgaManggagawangBukidSaAsyendaRoxasNationalFederation
ofSugarWorkers(DAMBANFSW),theorganizationofthefarmerbeneficiaries,moved
tohavethegrantoftheapplicationreconsideredbutthesamewasdeniedbytheDARby
OrderofDecember12,2003,hence,itfiledapetitionforcertiorari before the Court of
Appeals,docketedasCAG.R.SPNo.82225,ongroundsofforumshoppingandgrave

abuse of discretion. The appellate court, by Decision of October 31, 2006, ruled that
DAMBANFSW availed of the wrong mode of appeal. At all events, it dismissed its
petitionasitupheldtheDARSecretarysrulingthatRoxas&Co.didnotcommitforum
shopping,hence,thepetitionofDAMBANGSWinG.R.No.179650.

Whileordinarilyfindingsoffactsofquasijudicialagenciesaregenerallyaccorded
great weight and even finality by the Court if supported by substantial evidence in
[32]
recognition of their expertise on the specific matters under their consideration,
this
legalpreceptcannotbemadetoapplyinG.R.No.179650.

Even as the existence and validity ofNasugbu MZO No. 4 had already been
established,thereremainsindisputetheissueofwhethertheparcelsoflandinvolvedin
DARAdministrative Case No.A999914297 subject of G.R. No. 179650 are actually
withinthesaidzoningordinance.

TheCourtfindsthattheDARSecretaryindeedcommittedgraveabuseofdiscretion
when he ignored the glaring inconsistencies in the certifications submitted early on by
Roxas&Co.insupportofitsapplicationvisvisthecertificationsitlatersubmittedwhen
theDARSecretaryreopenedDARAdministrativeCaseNo.A999914297.

Notably, then DAR Secretary Horacio Morales, on one hand, observed that the
landholdingscoveredbytheaforesaidtitlesdonotcorrespondtotheCertificationdated
February11,1998ofthe[HLURB],theCertificationdatedSeptember12,1996issuedby
the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator, and the Certifications dated July
31,1997andMay27,1997issuedbytheNationalIrrigationAuthority.Ontheotherhand,
then Secretary Hernani Braganza relied on a different set of certifications which were
issuedlateroronSeptember19,1996.

In this regard, the Court finds in order the observation of DAMBANFSW that
Roxas&Co.shouldhavesubmittedthecomprehensivelanduseplanandpointedtherein
the exact locations of the properties to prove that indeed they are within the area of
coverageofNasugbuMZONo.4.


ThepetitionsinG.R.Nos.179650&149548mustbedistinguishedfromJunio v.
[33]
Garilao
wherein the certifications submitted in support of the application for
exemption of the therein subject lot were mainly considered on the presumption of
regularityintheirissuance,therebeingnodoubtonthelocationandidentityofthesubject
[34]
lot.
InG.R.No.179650,thereexistuncertaintiesonthelocationandidentitiesofthe
propertiesbeingappliedforexemption.

G.R.No.179650&G.R.No.149548mustaccordinglybedeniedforlackofmerit.

III. ROXAS & CO.S APPLICATION FOR CARP EXEMPTION IN DAR


ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO.A999900898 FOR THE NINE PARCELS
OF LAND IN HACIENDA PALICO SUBJECT OF G.R. NO.
167505SHOULDBEGRANTED.

The Court, however, takes a different stance with respect to Roxas & Co.s
application for CARP exemption in DAR Administrative Case No. A999900898
overnineparcelsoflandidentifiedasLotNos.20,13,37,19B,45,47,49,481and482
whichareportionsofTCTNo.985covering45.9771hectaresinHaciendaPalico,subject
ofG.R.No.167505.

Initsapplication,Roxas&Co.submittedthefollowingdocuments:

1.Letterapplicationdated29September1997signedbyElinoSJ.Napigkit,
for and on behalf of Roxas & Company, Inc., seeking exemption from
CARPcoverageofsubjectlandholdings

2. Secretarys Certificate dated September 2002 executed by Mariano M.


Ampil III, Corporate Secretary of Roxas & Company, Inc., indicating a
Board Resolution authorizing him to represent the corporation in its
application for exemption with the DAR. The same Board Resolution
revokedtheauthorizationpreviouslygrantedtotheSierraManagement&
ResourcesCorporation

3. Photocopy of TCT No. 985 and its corresponding Tax Declaration No.
0401

4.Locationandvicinitymapsofsubjectlandholdings

5.Certificationdated10July1997issuedbyReynaldoGarcia,Municipal
Planning and Development Coordinator (MPDC) and Zoning
Administrator of Nasugbu, Batangas, stating that the subject parcels
oflandarewithintheUrbanCoreZoneasspecifiedinZoneA.VIIof
Municipal Zoning Ordinance No. 4, Series of 1982, approved by the
Human Settlements Regulatory Commission (HSRC), now the Housing
and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), under Resolution No. 123,
Seriesof1983,dated4May1983

6. Two(2)Certificationsbothdated31August1998,issuedbyAlfredo
TanII,Director,HLURB,RegionIV,statingthatthesubjectparcelsof
land appear to be within the Residential clusterArea as specified in
Zone VII of Municipal Zoning Ordinance No. 4, Series of 1982,
approved under HSRC Resolution No. 123, Series of 1983, dated 4 May
[35]
1983

xxxx(emphasisandunderscoringsupplied)

By Order of November 6, 2002, the DAR Secretary granted the application for
exemptionbutissuedthefollowingconditions:

1.Thefarmeroccupantswithinsubjectparcelsoflandshallbemaintainedin
theirpeacefulpossessionandcultivationoftheirrespectiveareasoftillage
until a final determination has been made on the amount of disturbance
compensationdueandentitlementofsuchfarmeroccupantstheretobythe
PARADofBatangas

2.Nodevelopmentshallbeundertakenwithinthesubjectparcelsoflanduntil
the appropriate disturbance compensation has been paid to the farmer
occupantswhoaredeterminedbythePARADtobeentitledthereto.Proof
of paymentofdisturbance compensation shall be submitted tothisOffice
withinten(10)daysfromsuchpaymentand

3. ThecancellationoftheCLOAissuedtothefarmerbeneficiariesshallbe
[36]
subjectofaseparateproceedingbeforethePARADofBatangas.

DAMBANSFW moved for reconsideration but the DAR Secretary denied the
same and explained further why CLOA holders need not be informed of the pending
applicationforexemptioninthiswise:


As regards the first ground raised by [DAMBANSFW], it should be
rememberedthatanapplicationforCARPexemptionpursuanttoDOJOpinion
No.44,seriesof1990,asimplementedbyDARAdministrativeOrderNo.6,
seriesof1994,isnonadversarialornonlitigiousinnature.Hence,applicantis
correct in saying that nowhere in the rules is it required that occupants of a
landholding should be notified of an initiated or pending exemption
application.

xxxx

With regard [to] the allegation that oppositorsmovants are already


CLOAholdersofsubjectpropert[ies]anddeservetobenotified,asowners,of
theinitiatedquestionedexemptionapplication,isofnomoment.TheSupreme
CourtinthecaseofRoxas[&]Co.,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals,321SCRA106,
held:
We stress that the failure of respondent DAR to comply with the
requisites of due process in the acquisition proceedings does not give this
Court the power to nullify the CLOAs already issued to the farmer
beneficiaries.xxxx.Anyhow,thefarmer[]beneficiariesholdthepropertyin
trustfortherightfulowneroftheland.

Since subject landholding has been validly determined to be CARP


exempt,therefore,thepreviousissuanceoftheCLOAofoppositorsmovantsis
erroneous.Hence, similar to the situation of the abovequoted Supreme Court
Decision, oppositorsmovants only hold the property in trust for the rightful
ownersofthelandandarenottheownersofsubjectlandholdingwhoshould
be notified of the exemption application of applicant Roxas & Company,
Incorporated.

Finally, this Office finds no substantial basis to reverse the assailed


Orders since there is substantial compliance by the applicant with the
requirements for the issuance of exemption clearance under DAR AO 6
[37]
(1994).

OnDAMBANSFWspetitionforcertiorari,theCourtofAppeals,notingthatthepetition
wasbelatedlyfiled,sustained,byDecisionofDecember20,1994andResolutionof May
[38]
7, 2007,
the DAR Secretarys finding that Roxas & Co. had substantially complied
withtheprerequisitesofDARAO6,Seriesof1994.Hence,DAMBANFSWspetitionin
G.R.No.167505.

TheCourtfindsnoreversibleerrorintheCourtofAppealsassailedissuances,the
ordersoftheDARSecretarywhichitsustainedbeingamplysupportedbyevidence.

IV.THECLOAsISSUEDBYTHEDARinADMINISTRATIVECASENO. A9999
00898SUBJECTOFG.R.No.179650TOTHEFARMERBENEFICIARIES
INVOLVING THE NINE PARCELS OF LAND IN HACIENDA PALICO
MUSTBECANCELLED.

Turning now to the validity of the issuance of CLOAs in Hacienda Palico vis
visthepresentdispositions: It bears recalling that in DARAdministrative Case Nos.A
999900898 andA999914297 (G.R. No. 179650), the Court ruled for Roxas & Co.s
grantofexemptioninDARAdministrativeCaseNo.A999900898butdeniedthegrant
of exemption in DAR Administrative Case No. A999914297 for reasons already
discussed. It follows that the CLOAs issued to the farmerbeneficiaries in DAR
AdministrativeCaseNo.A999900898mustbecancelled.

But first, the Court digresses. The assertion of DAMBANSFW that the petitions
forpartialandcompletecancellationsoftheCLOAssubjectofDARABCaseNos.R401
0032001toR4010052001andNo.4012392001violatedtheearlierorderinRoxasv.
CourtofAppealsdoesnotlie.NowheredidtheCourtthereinpronouncethattheCLOAs
issuedcannotandshouldnotbecancelled,whatwasinvolvedthereinbeingthelegalityof
the acquisition proceedings. The Court merely reiterated that it is the DAR which has
primaryjurisdictiontoruleonthevalidityofCLOAs.Thusitheld:

. . . [t]he failure of respondent DAR to comply with the requisites of due


processintheacquisitionproceedingsdoesnotgivethisCourtthepowertonullifythe
[CLOAs]alreadyissuedtothefarmerbeneficiaries.Toassumethepoweristoshort
circuit the administrative process, which has yet to run its regular course.Respondent
DAR must be given the chance to correct its procedural lapses in the acquisition
proceedings.xxxx.Anyhow,thefarmerbeneficiariesholdthepropertyintrustforthe
[39]
rightfulowneroftheland.

On the procedural question raised by Roxas & Co. on the appellate courts
relaxationoftherulesbygivingduecoursetoDAMBANFSWsappealinCAG.R.SP

No.72198,thesubjectofG.R.No.167845:

Indeed,theperfectionofanappealwithinthestatutoryperiodisjurisdictionaland
[40]
failuretodosorenderstheassaileddecisionfinalandexecutory.
Arelaxationofthe
[41]
rulesmay,however,formeritoriousreasons,beallowedintheinterestofjustice.
The
Court finds that in giving due course to DAMBANSFWs appeal, the appellate court
committednoreversibleerror.Consideritsratiocination:

x x x x. To deny [DAMBANSFW]s appeal with the PARAD will not only


affecttheirrightovertheparceloflandsubjectofthispetitionwithanareaof103.1436
hectares,butalsothatofthewholeareacoveredbyCLOANo.6654sincethePARAD
renderedaJointResolutionoftheMotionforReconsiderationfiledbythe[DAMBA
NSFW]withregardto[Roxas&Co.]sapplicationforpartialandtotalcancellationof
the CLOA in DARAB Cases No. R4010032001 to R4010052001 and No. 401
2392001.Thereisapressingneedforanextensivediscussionoftheissuesas raised
by both parties as the matter of canceling CLOA No. 6654 is of utmost importance,
involvingasitdoestheprobabledisplacementofhundredsoffarmerbeneficiariesand
theirfamilies.xxxx(underscoringsupplied)

Unlike courts of justice, the DARAB, as a quasijudicial body, is not bound to


strictly observe rules of procedure and evidence. To strictly enforce rules on appeals in
this case would render to naught the Courts dispositions on the other issues in these
consolidatedpetitions.
In the main, there is no logical recourse except to cancel the CLOAs issued for
thenineparcelsoflandidentifiedasLotNos.20,13,37,19B,45,47,49,481and482
which are portions of TCT No. 985 covering 45.9771 hectares in Hacienda Palico (or
those covered by DARAdministrative Case No.A999900898). As for the rest of the
CLOAs,theyshouldberespectedsinceRoxas&Co.,asshowninthediscussioninG.R.
Nos. 167540, 167543 and 167505, failed to prove that the other lots inHacienda
Palicoandtheothertwohaciendas,asidefromtheabovementionedninelots,areCARP
exempt.

[42]
Conformably, Republic Act No. 3844(R.A. No. 3844), as amended,
mandates
that disturbance compensation be given to tenants of parcels of land upon finding that

(t)he landholding is declared by the department head upon recommendation of the


NationalPlanningCommissiontobesuitedforresidential,commercial,industrialorsome
[43]
otherurbanpurposes.
Inaddition,DARAONo.6,Seriesof1994directsthepayment
of disturbance compensation before the application for exemption may be completely
granted.

Roxas & Co. is thus mandated to firstsatisfy the disturbance compensation of


affectedfarmerbeneficiariesintheareascoveredbythenineparcelsoflandsinDARAO
No.A999900898beforetheCLOAscoveringthemcanbecancelled.Anditisenjoined
tostrictlyfollowtheinstructionsofR.A.No.3844.

Finally then, and in view of the Courts dispositions in G.R. Nos. 179650 and
167505, the May 27, 2001 Decision of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator
[44]
(PARAD)
in DARAB Case No. 4012392001 ordering the total cancellation of
CLOANo.6654,subjectofG.R.No.169163,isSETASIDEexceptwithrespecttothe
CLOAsissuedforLotNos.20,13,37,19B,45,47,49,481and482whichareportions
ofTCTNo.985covering45.9771hectaresinHaciendaPalico(orthosecoveredbyDAR
Administrative Case No. A999900898). It goes without saying that the motion for
reconsiderationofDAMBANFSWisgrantedtothusvacatetheCourtsOctober19,2005
Resolution dismissing DAMBANFSWs petition for review of the appellate courts
[45]
DecisioninCAG.R.SPNo.75952

WHEREFORE,

1) In G.R. No. 167540, the CourtREVERSES and SETS ASIDE the November
[46]
24, 2003 Decision
and March 18, 2005 Resolution of the Court ofAppeals in CA
G.R. SP No. 72131 which declared that Presidential Proclamation No. 1520 reclassified
the lands in the municipalities of Nasugbu in Batangas and Maragondon andTernate in
Cavitetononagriculturaluse

2) The Court accordingly GRANTSthe Motion for Reconsideration of the


Department of Agrarian Reform in G.R. No. 167543 and REVERSES and SETS
ASIDEitsResolutionofJuly20,2005
3)InG.R.No.149548,theCourtDENIESthepetitionforreviewofRoxas&Co.
forlackofmerit

4) In G.R. No. 179650, the CourtGRANTS the petition for review of DAMBA
NSFWandREVERSESandSETSASIDEtheOctober31,2006DecisionandAugust16,
2007ResolutionoftheCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.SPNo.82225

5) In G.R. No. 167505, the CourtDENIES the petition for review of DAMBA
NSFWandAFFIRMStheDecember20,2004DecisionandMarch7,2005Resolutionof
theCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.SPNo.82226

6) In G.R. No. 167845, the CourtDENIES Roxas & Co.s petition for review for
lack of merit and AFFIRMS theSeptember 10, 2004 Decision and April 14,
2005ResolutionoftheCourtofAppeals

7) In G.R. No. 169163, the CourtSETS ASIDE the Decisions of the Provincial
Agrarian Reform Adjudicator in DARAB Case No. 4012392001 ordering the
cancellationofCLOANo.6654andDARABCasesNos.R4010032001toNo.R401
0052001 granting the partial cancellation of CLOA No. 6654. The CLOAs issued
for Lots No. 21 No. 24, No. 26, No. 31, No. 32 and No. 34 or those covered by DAR
AdministrativeCaseNo.A999914297)remainand

8) Roxas & Co. is ORDERED to pay the disturbance compensation of affected


farmerbeneficiaries in the areas covered by the nine parcels of lands in DAR
AdministrativeCaseNo.A999900898beforetheCLOAsthereincanbecancelled,and
isENJOINEDtostrictlyfollowthemandateofR.A.No.3844.
Nopronouncementastocosts.
SOORDERED.

CONCHITACARPIOMORALES
AssociateJustice