ADM. CASE NO. A-9999-05-TA-127-07
[ADM. CASE NO. A-9999-05-TA-127-07. July 1, 2011.]
IN RE: PETITION FOR DISQUALIFICATION AS FARMER BENEFICIARY AND TRANSFER ACTION
ARIEL B. GAMOSA, petitioner-appellant, vs. FELIX CANDELARIA, ISAIAS PRANZO and LEONARDO ROBLES, respondents-appellees.
For resolution before this Office are two (2) Motions for Reconsideration dated 21 May 1 and 2 July 2009 2 filed by Respondents-Appellees Felix Candelaria and Leonardo Robles, and the heirs of the late Isaias Pranzo (hereafter referred to as Candelaria, Robles and Pranzo), respectively, assailing the Order 3 dated 27 April 2009 issued by then Secretary Nasser C. Pangandaman.
The dispositive portion of the assailed Order is hereunder quoted as follows:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Appeal is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Order dated 29 August 2007 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new Order is hereby issued to read as follows:
1. DECLARING respondents-appellees Felix Candelaria, Isaias Pranzo and Leonardo Robles DISQUALIFIED to become beneficiaries of Lot Nos. 717-12, 717-38 and 717-28 of Subdivision Plan Bsd-05-001429 (OLT) owned by the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres located in San Felipe, Naga City.
2. DECLARING petitioner-appellant Ariel B. Gamosa as the QUALIFIED beneficiary of Lot Nos. 717-12, 717-38 and 717-28 of Subdivision Plan Bsd-05-001429 (OLT).
3. DIRECTING the PARO of DARPO Camarines Sur and the MARO of DAR Naga City to issue the corresponding Emancipation Patent to Ariel B. Gamosa as beneficiary over the subject landholding.
4. DIRECTING PARO/MARO concerned and/or the petitioner-appellant to file and initiate the necessary proceeding in the proper forum for the cancellation of E.P. No. 426759 (TCT No. 1408) issued to respondent-appellee Felix Candelaria.
Felix Candelaria and Leonardo Robles seek reconsideration on the following grounds: that there was no abandonment of the subject landholdings by the respondent-appellees; that laches is not applicable in this case; that Ariel B. Gamosa (hereafter referred to as Gamosa) is not qualified to be a beneficiary of the subject landholding under P.D. 27; that the cancellation of E.P. No. 416759 (TCT No. 1408) issued to Candelaria and the issuance of the Emancipation Patent to Gamosa is in error; that the certificates of titles issued to respondents-appellees can no longer be cancelled as they are indefeasible; and that the Office of the DAR Secretary seriously erred in disqualifying the respondents-appellees as farmer beneficiaries.
On the other hand, the Heirs of Isaias Pranzo seek reconsideration on the ground that the Certification dated 5 August 2008 of BARC Chairman Manuel V. Morano, which was made the basis of the DAR Secretary in reversing the Regional Director's Order dated 29 August 2007 is a sham because petitioner-appellant Gamosa is a full time employee of the church and not a cultivator of the subject landholding. They further alleged that it is Antonio Gamosa, father of Ariel Gamosa who was actually cultivating the subject landholding. As proof of their claim, they submitted an affidavit executed by BARC Chairman Manuel V. Morana recanting his previous certification.
This Office finds merit in the Motion for Reconsideration, but only insofar as Felix Candelaria is concerned.
It must be noted that of the three respondents, only Candelaria was issued an Emancipation Patent (EP) 4 on 26 November 1991 over a 9,130 square meter-portion of the subject lot. This shows that even prior to the institution of Gamosa as tenant of the entire lot covering 2.9179 hectares by Angelito Santos, the Archdiocese's tenant-administrator, Candelaria was already deemed the owner of a portion thereof and his title thereto had already become indefeasible and no longer subject to collateral attack. This principle of indefeasibility of EPs was recognized by the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Estribillo, et al. vs. DAR and Hacienda Maria, Inc., 5 when it ruled that an EP, much like Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) and patents, inasmuch as the same are enrolled in the Torrens System, is entitled to all the safeguards under Section 38 of the Public Land Act.
In the case under consideration, Gamosa filed his complaint only in 2004, or more than thirteen (13) years from the issuance of Felix Candelaria's EP. Clearly, at the time that the complaint for disqualification and transfer action was brought, the subject EP has become irrevocable and indefeasible.
Moreover, this Office finds no substantial evidence that will support Gamosa's claim that Candelaria abandoned his area of tillage which will justify his disqualification and the eventual cancellation of his EP. The declaration of Fr. Zosimo Sañado (hereafter referred to as Fr. Sañado), the administrator of the Archdiocese, in his Affidavit dated 2/9/06, 6 that Candelaria received disturbance compensation for the surrender of his property to Ercelida Perez is not supported by any other evidence on record. The records 7 only categorically confirm the acts of abandonment, through voluntary surrender, of Candelaria's co-respondents Pranzo and Robles, but not that of Candelaria. The disqualification of a beneficiary must be based on solid grounds and not simply on the statements of Fr. Sañado which were not corroborated by other pieces of evidence.
With regard to the disqualification of Isaias Pranzo and Leonardo Robles, this Office finds conclusive proof to show that they have indeed abandoned their area of cultivation designated as Lot 717-38 and Lot 717-28, respectively.
Voluntary surrender and abandonment are grounds for disqualifying farmer beneficiaries. DAR Administrative Order No. 2, Series of 1994 provides that:
"Grounds for the cancellation of the registered EPs or CLOAs may include but not limited to the following:
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5. sale, transfer, lease, or other forms of conveyance by a beneficiary of the right to use or any other usufructuary right over the land acquired by virtue of being a beneficiary . . .
xxx xxx xxx
8. Neglect or abandonment of the awarded land continuously for a period of two (2) calendar years as determined by the Secretary or his authorized representative."
A thorough review of the records of the case show that the Order was not solely anchored on the Certification 8 issued by the BARC Chairman that petitioner-appellant Gamosa is the actual possessor and cultivator of the farmlots in question. There were other evidence on record, including, but not limited to the Voluntary Surrender and Kasunduan executed by Pranzo and Robles, which sufficiently establish Gamosa's rights to be a qualified beneficiary of the landholding. The recantation 9 of the BARC Chairman Manuel V. Morano is thus not sufficient to overturn the assailed Order of 27 April 2009 ("Order") disqualifying Pranzo and Robles as beneficiaries over Lot 717-38 and Lot 717-28. Clearly, the foregoing documents show that Isaias Pranzo and Leonardo Robles voluntarily surrendered and abandoned the farmlots awarded to them.
Although Pranzo and Robles contend that the aforementioned documents were secured through fraud and they were forcibly ousted and prevented from cultivating the landholdings in question, these remain bare allegations as the record is bereft of any evidence in support thereof.
Instead, the record shows that, as noted in the assailed Order, no positive action was undertaken by Isaias Pranzo and Leonardo Robles to repossess the land since the surrender thereof in 1987 which gives credence to the voluntariness of the act.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motions for Reconsideration are hereby PARTIALLY GRANTED. Accordingly, the Order dated 27 April 2009 is hereby MODIFIED to read as follows.
1. MAINTAINING Emancipation Patent No. 426759 issued to Felix Candelaria over Lot 717-12 of Subdivision Plan Bsd-05-001429 (OLT) owned by the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres located in San Felipe, Naga City, containing an area of 9,130 square meters, more or less;
2. DECLARING Respondent-Appellees Isaias Pranzo and Leonardo DISQUALIFIED to become beneficiaries of Lot Nos. 717-38 and 717-28 of Subdivision Plan Bsd-05-001429 (OLT) owned by the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres located in San Felipe, Naga City, containing an area of 9,087 square meters and 10,962 square meters, respectively;
3. DECLARING Petitioner-Appellant Ariel B. Gamosa as the QUALIFIED beneficiary over Lot Nos. 717-38 and 717-28 of Subdivision Plan Bsd-05-001429 (OLT).
Diliman, Quezon City, July 1, 2011.
(SGD.) VIRGILIO R. DE LOS REYES
1. Rollo, p. 150.
2. Rollo, p. 179.
3. Rollo, p. 113.
4. Emancipation Patent No. 426759, registered on 31 March 2000, Rollo, p. 28.
5. G.R. No. 159674, June 30, 2006.
6. Rollo, p. 159-160.
7. Voluntary Surrender dated 10 December 1990 executed by Cecilia Franzo, rollo, p. 157; Kasunduan dated 27 August 1987 executed by Fr. Sañado and Cecilia Franzo, rollo, p. 155; Voluntary Surrender dated 4 December 1987, executed by Leonardo Robles, rollo, p. 154; Kasunduan dated 27 August 1987, executed by Fr. Sañado and Leonardo Robles, rollo, p 153.
8. Rollo, p. 158.
9. Rollo, p. 174-175.