Case Digest: Milestone Farms vs. Office of the President

G.R. No. 182332 : February 23, 2011




On June 10, 1988, a new agrarian reform law, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), took effect, which included the raising of livestock, poultry, and swine in its coverage. However, on December 4, 1990, this Court, sitting en banc, ruled in Luz Farms v. Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform that agricultural lands devoted to livestock, poultry, and/or swine raising are excluded from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Thus, in May 1993, petitioner applied for the exemption/exclusion of its 316.0422-hectare property

The DAR’s Land Use Conversion and Exemption Committee (LUCEC) recommended the exemption of petitioner’s 316.0422-hectare property from the coverage of CARP, which was then adopted by DAR Regional Director Dalugdug.

Petitioner filed a complaint for Forcible Entry against Balajadia and company before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court. The MCTC ruled in favor of petitioner, but the decision was later reversed by the RTC. The CA, however, reinstated the MCTC’s ruling, ordering Balajadia and all defendants therein to vacate portions of the property.

Meanwhile, R.A. No. 6657 was amended by R.A. No. 7881 which provided that private agricultural lands devoted to livestock, poultry, and swine raising were excluded from the coverage of the CARL. Due to this, DAR Secretary Garilao issued an Order exempting from CARP only 240.9776 hectares of the 316.0422 hectares previously exempted by Director Dalugdug. This was reinstated by the Office of the President.

Meanwhile, six months earlier, or on November 4, 2004, without the knowledge of the CA – as the parties did not inform the appellate court – then DAR Secretary Rene C. Villa (Secretary Villa) issued DAR Conversion Order No. CON-0410-0016 (Conversion Order), granting petitioner’s application to convert portions of the 316.0422-hectare property from agricultural to residential and golf courses use.

ISSUE: Whether or not the use and disposition of that land is already beyond DAR’s jurisdiction.


The petition lacks merit.

CIVIL LAW: DAR jurisdiction

To succumb to petitioner’s contention that “when a land is declared exempt from the CARP on the ground that it is not agricultural as of the time the CARL took effect, the use and disposition of that land is entirely and forever beyond DAR’s jurisdiction” is dangerous, suggestive of self-regulation. Precisely, it is the DAR Secretary who is vested with such jurisdiction and authority to exempt and/or exclude a property from CARP coverage based on the factual circumstances of each case and in accordance with law and applicable jurisprudence. In addition, albeit parenthetically, Secretary Villa had already granted the conversion into residential and golf courses use of nearly one-half of the entire area originally claimed as exempt from CARP coverage because it was allegedly devoted to livestock production.

Petition is DENIED.