Lebrudo v. Loyola (G.R. No. 181370; March 9, 2011)


FACTS: Respondent Remedios Loyola (Loyola) owns a 240-square meter parcel of land located in Barangay Milagrosa, Carmona, Cavite, awarded by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) under RA 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. This lot is covered by Certificate of Land Ownership (CLOA) No. 20210 issued in favor of Loyola on 27 December 1990 and duly registered on 14 March 1991 under Transfer of Certificate of Title (TCT)/CLOA No. 998.

On 27 June 1995, petitioner Julian S.Lebrudo (Lebrudo), now deceased and represented by his son, petitioner Reynaldo L.Lebrudo, filed with the Office of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) of Trece Martires City, Cavite, an action for the cancellation of the TCT/CLOA in the name of Loyola and the issuance of another for the one-half portion of the lot inLebrudosfavor. Loyola promised to give Lebrudo the one-half portion of the lot. Thereafter, TCT/CLOA No. 998 was issued in favor of Loyola. In exchange for Lebrudos assistance in redeeming and obtaining a title to the lot, Loyola then allegedly executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 28 December 1989, waiving and transferring her rights over the one-half portion of the lot in favor of Lebrudo. To reiterate her commitment, Loyola allegedly executed two more Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 1 December 1992 and 3 December 1992, committing herself to remove her house constructed on the corresponding one-half portion to be allotted to Lebrudo.

Thereafter, Lebrudo asked Loyola to comply with her promise. However, Loyola refused. Lebrudo eventually filed an action with the PARAD, which granted his petition. The DARAB reversed, which was affirmed by the CA.

ISSUE: Is Lebrudo entitled to the one-half portion of the lot covered by RA 6657 on the basis of the waiver and transfer of rights embodied in the two Sinumpaang Salaysay?HELD: Section 27 of RA 6657, as amended by RA 9700, provides that lands awarded to beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) may not be sold, transferred or conveyed for a period of 10 years. The law enumerated four exceptions: (1) through hereditary succession; (2) to the government; (3) to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP); or (4) to other qualified beneficiaries. In short, during the prohibitory 10-year period, any sale, transfer or conveyance of land reform rights is void, except as allowed by law, in order to prevent a circumvention of agrarian reform laws.

Lebrudos assertion that he is entitled to one-half of the lot by virtue of the two Sinumpaang Salaysay must fail. The law expressly prohibits any sale, transfer or conveyance by farmer-beneficiaries of their land reform rights within 10 years from the grant by the DAR. The law provides for four exceptions and Lebrudo does not fall under any of the exceptions. In Maylemv. Ellano, we held that the waiver of rights and interests over landholdings awarded by the government is invalid for being violative of agrarian reform laws.

Lebrudo asserts that he is a qualified farmer beneficiary who is entitled to the lot under the CARP. DAR Administrative Order No. 3, series of 1990, enumerated the qualifications of a beneficiary: (1) Landless; (2) Filipino citizen; (3) Actual occupant/tiller who is at least 15 years of age or head of the family at the time of filing application; and (4) Has the willingness, ability and aptitude to cultivate and make the land productive. Lebrudodoes not qualify as a beneficiary because of (1) and (3). First,Lebrudois not landless. According to the records, Lebrudowas awarded by the DAR with a home lot consisting of an area of 236 square meters situated at Japtinchay Estate, Bo.Milagrosa, Carmona, Cavite. Next, Lebrudo is not the actual occupant or tiller of the lot at the time of the filing of the application. Loyola and her family were the actual occupants of the lot at the time Loyola applied to be a beneficiary under the CARP.

Finally, a certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible title and after the expiration of the one-year period from the issuance of the registration decree upon which it is based, the title becomes incontrovertible. The bases of Lebrudo's claim,the two (2) Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 28 December 1989 and 3 December 1992,were illegal and void ab initio for being patently intended to circumvent and violate the conditions imposed by the agrarian law. DENIED.