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FORTRICH V CORONA

Consequently, the case should be referred to and be decided by

ISSUES
WON

Whether or not the aforementioned resolution of the Court (the

this Court en banc, relying on the following constitutional

resolution addressing the MR, wherein the justices voted 2-2)

provision:
13) Art. 8, Sec. 4 (3) - Cases or matters heard by a division shall be

should be referred to the Court en banc

decided or resolved with the concurrence of a majority of the

FACTS
1)

2)

On October 1997, alleged farmer-beneficiaries commenced a

Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the

hunger strike in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform

issues in the case and voted thereon, and in no case without the

compound in Quezon City. They protested the decision of the

concurrence of at least three of such Members.

Office of the President (OP) dated March 29, 1996 which

required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en

approved the conversion of a 144-hectare land from agricultural

banc: Provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down

to agro-industrial/institutional area. Note that this decision

by the Court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may

already became final and executory.


The land is located at San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, owned by

be modified or reversed except by the Court sitting en banc.


DECISION

NQSRMDC (Norberto Quisumbing Sr. Management and

Development Corp). It was leased as a pineapple plantation to


3)

Del Monte.
The Sangguniang

Bayan

of

Sumilao, Bukidnon

4)

interested in the property, and enacted an ordinance converting

investors in order to achieve economic vitality.


Apparently, land conversion issues need to go through the
Department of Agrarian Reform. The DAR rejected the land

ordered the distribution of the property to the farmers.


The case reached the OP. The OP rendered a decision reversing

6)

7)

to issue the so-called Win-Win Resolution, substantially

8)

industrial area only to the extent of forty-four (44) hectares, and

9)

whenever the required number of votes is not obtained.


Conversely, the rule does not apply where, as in this case, the
required three votes is not obtained in the resolution of a motion
for reconsideration.

Hence, the second sentence of the

aforequoted provision speaks only of case and not matter.


The reason is simple. The above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3)
pertains to the disposition of cases by a division. If there is a tie

modifying its earlier Decision (see decision dated March 29,


1996) after it had already become final and executory.
It modified the approval of the land conversion to agro-

Constitution where these words appear.


With the aforesaid rule of construction in mind, it is clear that
only cases are referred to the Court en banc for decision

commanded nationwide attention that even church leaders and


some presidential candidates tried to intervene for their cause.
These events led the OP, through then Deputy Exec. Sec. Corona,

of reddendo singula singulis.


This is true not only in the interpretation of the above-quoted
Article VIII, Section 4(3), but also of the other provisions of the

the DAR and converting the land to agro-indusrial area, which


became the subject of the strike of the farmers.
The hunger strike was dramatic and well-publicized which

between CASES and MATTERS.


CASES are decided.
MATTERS, which include motions, are resolved.
Otherwise put, the word decided must refer to cases; while
the word resolved must refer to matters, applying the rule

conversion and instead opted to put the same under CARP and
5)

A careful reading of the above constitutional provision, however,


reveals the intention of the framers to draw a distinction

became

the said land to industrial/institutional with a view to attract

When the

in the voting, there is no decision. The only way to dispose of

the case then is to refer it to the Court en banc.


On the other hand, if a case has already been decided by the

ordered the remaining one hundred (100) hectares to be

division

distributed to qualified farmer-beneficiaries.


The Supreme Court, in their decision dated April 24, 1998, ruled

reconsideration, the failure of the division to resolve the


motion because of a tie in the voting does not leave the case

for Fortich and company and declared that the Win-Win

undecided. There is still the decision which must stand in view

Resolution is VOID and of no legal effect considering that the

of the failure of the members of the division to muster the

March 29, 1996 resolution of the OP already became final and


executory.

pero rinesolve ng Court through one resolution).


11) The Court, in their Resolution dated Nov. 17, 1998, voted TWOTWO on the separate MRs filed by Corona and Garilao assailing
the April 24, 1998 Decision.
12) Hence, this motion. The respondents pray that this case be

losing

party

files

motion

for

necessary vote for its reconsideration.


Quite plainly, if the voting results in a tie, the motion for
and must therefore be deemed affirmed. Such was the ruling of

10) ALERT This is where the issue relevant to our topic arose:
motions for reconsideration for the said ruling (separate MRs

the

reconsideration is lost. The assailed decision is not reconsidered

___________________________________________________
Aggrieved, respondents Corona and Garilao filed [separate]

and

this Court in the Resolution of November 17, 1998.


Respondents further argue that the issues submitted in their
separate motions for reconsideration are of first impression.
They are arguing that the local government unit concerned still
needs to obtain the approval of DAR when converting land.
However, this was rebutted in the resolution dated November
17, wherein it was expressed that:

referred to the Court en banc. They contend that inasmuch as


their earlier motions for reconsideration (of the Decision dated

Regrettably, the issues presented before us by the movants are

April 24, 1998) were resolved by a vote of two-two, the required

matters of no extraordinary import to merit the attention of the

number to carry a decision, i.e., three, was not met.

Court en banc. In the case of Province of Camarines Sur, et al. vs.

FORTRICH V CORONA

Court of Appeals wherein we held that local government units

accordingly vested appurtenant rights to the land in dispute on

need not obtain the approval of the DAR to convert or reclassify

petitioners as well as on the people of Bukidnon and other parts

lands from agricultural to non-agricultural use.

of the country who stand to be benefited by the development of

The Court voted uninamously in that case, hence, the argument


of the petitioners that their MRs are motions involving first

impression is flawed.
Moreover, a second motion for reconsideration is generally

intervenors have standing to intervene in this case. The Court

prohibited, unless there is a showing of extraordinary persuasive

file is the Win-Win Resolution (note that in that resolution,

reasons and a leave of court is filed. In this case, there was none.
Remember that the Court, in its Decision, upheld the March 29,

pinamigay nga yung lupa sa mga farmers, ngayon, meron silang

said there was none, because the source of their standing to

Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA). Dahil dun, nag

1996 ruling of the OP because it was already final and executory


thus the Win-Win resolution cannot be implemented anymore?

intervene sila).
Why was there no standing on the part of the farmer-intervenors

Well, because of this, there was a litany of protestations on the

who derived their rights from the Win-Win resolution? The

part of respondents and intervenors including entreaties for a

issuance of the CLOA to them does not grant them the requisite

liberal interpretation of the rules.

standing in view of the nullity of the Win-Win Resolution. No

The sentiment was that

legal rights can emanate from a resolution that is null and void.

notwithstanding its importance and far-reaching effects, the case

the property.
Lastly, the Court determines whether or not the farmer-

was disposed of on a mere technicality.


The Court however said that it was not a mere technicality
because the finality of the March 29, 1996 OP Decision

NOTES