[G.R. No. 139051. June 26, 2000]
KSMP, INC. vs. DARAB, et al.
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court
dated JUN 26 2000.
G.R. No. 139051 (Kooperatiba
ng Sandigan ng Magsasakang Pilipino, Inc. (KSMP) vs. Department of Agrarian
Reform Adjudication Board, et al.)
Petitioner questions the
dismissal of its complaint-in-intervention filed in DARAB Case No. 0335 before
the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) "Group
Developers, Inc., Bio-Loop Farms, Inc., Petitioners vs. Secretary of Agrarian
Reform, Land Bank of the Philippines, Respondents; Kooperatiba ng Sandigan ng
Magsasakang Pilipino, Inc. (KSMP), Intervenor vs. Gonzalo Puyat and Sons, Group
Developers, Inc., Secretary, department of Agrarian Reform and Land Bank of the
On February 25, 1975, the
private respondents filed with the Ministry of Agrarian Reform (MAR) a request
for conversion of 1,837.30 hectares of agricultural land situated in Nasugbu,
Batangas, into residential, commercial, industrial and other urban purposes.
After surveys and investigations
made by the Department of Local Government and Community Development (DLGCD)
and the Agrarian Reform District Officer, the DAR through Secretary Conrado
Estrella issued an order on May 27, 1975 stating that:
(T)he subject land is not economically suited for agricultural cultivation, the
parcels of land subject hereof are hereby declared suitable for residential,
economical, industrial and other urban purposes and the request of the
petitioner for conversion thereof to non-agricultural use is hereby given due
course, subject however, to the payment of the disturbance compensation to the
tenant-tillers, if there are any, according to law."1 Rollo, p. 50.
To this Order, a motion for
reconsideration was filed by fifteen (15) occupants, assisted by the Federation
of Free Farmers (FFF) who claimed to be tenants of a forty-four-hectare portion
of the subject landholding.
Prior to this, or on November
27, 1975, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued a Proclamation No. 1520
declaring the Municipalities of Maragondon and Ternate, Cavite and Nasugbu,
Batangas as tourist zone. The proclamation declared and reserved the area as
more suitable for residential, commercial, industrial and urban uses.2 Id., at 105.
In December 1989, apparently
unaware of the conversion orders and the presidential proclamation, then DAR
Secretary Miriam Defensor-Santiago, issued Notices of Acquisition, dated
December 14-27, 1989, making the subject land available for immediate
acquisition and distribution by the government to tenant-beneficiaries/actual
Consequently, the private
respondents filed their objections to these Santiago notices.
On January 22, 1991, Secretary
Benjamin T. Leong who succeeded Secretary Santiago issued an Order finally
resolving the motion for reconsideration earlier interposed by the fifteen
movants. The dispositive portion of the Order reads as follows:
Based on these findings and recommendations of the DLGCD and the DAR
by the District Officer which were concurred in by the DAR Regional Director of
Region IV, and by the Chief of Land Acquisition Division of the DAR, the
questioned Order was issued on May 27, 1975.
In fine, on November 27, 1975, or before the movants filed the instant
motion for reconsideration, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued
Proclamation No. 1520, declaring the municipalities of Maragondon and Ternate
in the province of Batangas as tourist zone. Precisely the landholdings
in issue are included in said proclamation. Up to now this office is not aware
that said issuance has been repealed or amended.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, Order is hereby issued denying the
instant motion for reconsideration and affirming the Order dated May 27, 1975
issued by then Secretary Conrado F. Estrella.3 Id.,
On May 14, 1991, the private
respondents filed a Petition with the DARAB docketed as DARAB Case No. 0335 for
the purpose of implementing the Conversion Orders. The petition suggested the
manner of execution and to lift/invalidate the Santiago notices as it was being
exploited and/or causing chaos in view of the Leong Order of January 22, 1991.
On November 24, 1991,
petitioners KSMP filed a Complaint-in-Intervention, the subject of the
On April 21, 1998, the DAR
issued a decision, disposing to wit:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the complaint-in-intervention is dismissed
because as far as the Dar is concerned the conversion orders dated May 27, 1975
and January 22, 1991 have become final and executory to which the Board has no
jurisdiction to review, amend or to declare their nullity.4 Id., at 92.
Thus, on May 29, 1998, KSMP
filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals docketed as
G.R. No. 47813 imputing to the DARAB grave abuse of discretion in holding that
it has no jurisdiction over the matter subject of petitioner's
complaint-in-intervention.5 Id., at 14.
On June 17, 1999, the CA
promulgated a decision holding that the petition was not sufficient in form and
in substance for failure to conform to Sec. 6 Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure6 Sec. 6. Contents of the petition.- The
petition for review shall x x x be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate
original or a certificate true copy of the award, judgment, final order or
resolution appealed from, together with certified true copies of such material
portions of the record referred to therein and other supporting papers; xxx
petitioner having failed to attach to its supposed
"Complaint-in-Intervention" its alleged "tenancy
arrangement" with private respondents and copies of the Conversion Orders
dated May 27, 1975 and January 22, 1991. At the same time, the CA upheld the
findings of the DARAB that the Estrella-Leong Orders for the conversion of the
land had long become final and executory.
The motion for reconsideration
Hence, this petition.
Respondents were required to
file their Comments to which petitioner filed a Reply thereto, averring that
the issue is merely a question of procedure - whether or not the
complaint-in-intervention was done during the pendency of the case in
accordance with the rules.
We find no merit in the petition.
Petitioner cannot deny that its
complaint-in-intervention, in effect, seeks to nullify the Conversion Orders
and to recognize its rights as tenants of the land in question. The
complaint-in-intervention prayed among others, to wit:
declare as withdrawn, cancelled or annulled the conversion orders of May 27,
1975 and January 22, 1991 of then Secretaries, Conrado Estrella and Benjamin
Ordering respondent Secretary to implement the Notice of Acquisition of then
Sec. Miriam Defensor Santiago dated December, 1989 in favor of the petitioners
tenants-beneficiaries/actual tillers involving the agricultural lands in
question;7 Rollo, p. 29.
We find no error with the ruling
of the CA that petitioner's cause is lost considering that the Conversion
Orders have long become final and executory. There was, therefore, no more case
to which it could intervene. The complain-in-intervention was, therefore,
correctly dismissed pursuant to the 19976 Rules of Civil Procedure.8 Rule 19. Sec. 2. Time to intervene.- The motion to intervene
may be filed at any time before rendition of the judgment by the trial court.
xxx Petitioner's insistence that there was no final disposition yet of
the conversion case, as in fact, DARAB CASE No. 0335 was initiated by the
private respondents is untenable. A perusal of the records reveal that DARAB
Case No. 0335 was filed by the private respondents for the purpose of
implementing the Conversion Orders particularly the final fixing of the
disturbance compensation to legitimate farmer-occupants. The
complaint-in-intervention, however, puts in issue petitioner's alleged tenancy
relationship and security of tenure which the DARAB does not have any
Furthermore, petitioner, a
juridical entity, has no personality to file the instant petition nor to
intervene in the case as the real parties-in-interest are the members thereof
who were not even recognized as the rightful tenants occupying the subject
land. As observed by the DAR, "members of petitioners are merely holding
on to an expectancy that they will become the beneficiaries assuming that the
land is still CARPable." 9 Rollo, p. 193. The fact, however, remains that the
land in question has already been excluded from the purview of the
Comprehensive Agrarian reform Law (CARL) by the Estrella and Leong Orders which
had long become final and executory.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING,
the Court resolved to DENY the petition for lack of merit.
Very truly yours,
Clerk of Court