G.R. No. 176549, 20 January 2016, 781 SCRA 301
The land in dispute is originally part of the agricultural land owned by Roman De Jesus. Petitioner Pablo Mendoza became the tenant of the land by virtue of a Contrato King Pamamuisan executed between him and Roman. On November 7, 1979, Roman died leaving the entire 73.3157 hectares to his surviving wife Alberta Constales, and their two sons Mario and Antonio De Jesus. On June 26, 1986, Mario sold approximately 70.4788 hectares to respondent Romeo C. Carriedo.
The area sold to Carriedo included the land tenanted by Mendoza (TCT No. 17680). Mendoza alleged that the sale took place without his knowledge and consent. Carriedo sold all of these landholdings to the Peoples’ Livelihood Foundation, Inc. (PLFI), except the land tenanted by Mendoza. The landholding covered by TCT No. 17680 with an area of 12.1065 hectares was divided into sub-lots. 7.1065 hectares was transferred to Bernabe Buscayno et al. through a Deed of Transfer under PD No. 27. And the remaining lots consisting of approximately 5.0001 hectares and which is the land being occupied by Mendoza, were registered in the name of Carriedo.
Carriedo then filed a Complaint for Ejectment and Collection of Unpaid Rentals against Mendoza. A decision was rendered in favor of Carriedo and declared him as the absolute owner of the five(5) hectare land. Mendoza then filed a Petition for Redemption. The CA ruled that Carriedo’s ownership of the land had been conclusively established and even affirmed by this Court. Mendoza, his daughter Corazon Mendoza and Orlando Gomez filed a Petition for Coverage of the land under RA No. 6657. They claimed that they had been in physical and material possession of the land as tenants since 1956, and made the land productive. However, the CA declared the land as Carriedo’s retained area.
Hence, this petition.
Whether Carriedo has the right to retain the land.
YES, Carriedo did not waive his right of retention over the land.
The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes landowner retention rights under Article XIII, Section 4. Further, Sec.6 of RA No. 6657 implements this directive, thus:Section 6. Retention Limits. — Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person may own or retain, directly or indirectly, any public or private agricultural land, the size of which shall vary according to factors governing a viable family-size farm, such as commodity produced, terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case shall retention by the landowner exceed five (5) hectares.
To interpret Section 6 of RA No. 6657, DAR issued Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 2003 (DAR AO 02-03), which provides for the instances when a landowner is deemed to have waived his right of retention. Petitioners claim that Carriedo lose his right of retention by disposing of his agricultural land on the ground of paragraph 4 Section 6 of RA No. 6657 (6.4 Execution of a Landowner Tenant Production Agreement and Farmer’s Undertaking (LTPA-FU) or Application to Purchase and Farmer’s Undertaking (APFU) covering subject property).
However, Section 6 clearly shows that the disposition of agricultural land is not an act constituting waiver of the right of retention. Thus, as correctly held by the CA, Carriedo “[n]ever committed any of the acts or omissions above-stated (DAR AO 02-03). Not even the sale made by the herein petitioner in favor of PLFI can be considered as a waiver of his right of retention. Likewise, the Records of the present case is bereft of any showing that the herein petitioner expressly waived (in writing) his right of retention as required under sub-section 6.3, section 6, DAR Administrative Order No. 02-S.2003.”
Under the facts of this case, the reasonable reading of Sections 6, 70 and 73 (a) of RA No. 6657 clearly do not provide that a sale or disposition of land in excess of 5 hectares results in a forfeiture of the five hectare retention area. In relation to the constitutional right of retention, the consequence of nullity pertains to the area/s which were sold, or owned by the transferee, in excess of the 5-hectare land ceiling. Thus, the CA was correct in declaring that the land is Carriedo’s retained area. Item no. 4 of DAR AO 05-06 imposes a penalty where none was provided by law. As a necessary consequence of the invalidity of Item no. 4 of DAR AO 05-06 for being ultra vires, we hold that Carriedo did not waive his right to retain the land, nor can he be considered to be in estoppel.
*Case Digest by Doreena Pauline V. Aranal, JD – 4, Andres Bonifacio College, SY 2019 – 2020