DAR OPINION NO. 04-02
February 20, 2002
DAR OPINION NO. 04-02
Ms. Emily R. Trajano
Dear Ms. Trajano:
This refers to your first indorsement dated 10 July 2001, referring to the Honorable Secretary of Department of Agrarian Reform, for its appropriate action, the complete duplicate records of Criminal Case No. 01-5585 (I.S. No. 00-04452) entitled, Romualda Reyes et al., vs. Dr. Benjamin Pangilinan, for Estafa, attention being invited to the Memorandum of 1st Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Manuel Nov. Duque dated April 19, 2001.
The records purport to show that accused Dr. Pangilinan was, on 04 June 1991, awarded a 372-square meter residential lot in Brgy. Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal, under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP); that he sold the 200 square meter portion of said lot to spouses Arsenio and Romualda Reyes in violation of the ten-year restrictive provision of law against the sale of properties acquired under CARP; and, that respondent refused to transfer the possession of the property to the latter and failed to return the money paid. CSIDEc
Records further show that the Provincial Prosecution Office of Rizal, in its Resolution dated 28 March 2001, found that there is no reason to prosecute respondent for the crime of estafa but there is probable cause to hold respondent liable for violation of Section 27 in relation to Section 74 of Republic Act No. 6657; that an information for said offense was filed with the Regional Trial Court of San Mateo, Rizal, Branch 77, the designated Special Agrarian Court; and, that 1st Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Manuel Nov. Duque, in his Memorandum for the Provincial Prosecutor dated 19 April 2001, suggested that the entire records of this case be forwarded to this Department contending that DOJ prosecutors are not the ones to prosecute said case for reasons stated therein.
We feel honored but have to decline it. The Joint DAR-DOJ Administrative Order No. 05, series of 1994, pertaining to the prosecution of illegal conversion cases, did not, in any manner, remove or delimit the government prosecutors' statutory function and duty to prosecute criminal cases.
Section 5, Rule 110 of the New Rules of Criminal Procedure is categorical, quote:
The phrase "all criminal actions" needs no interpretation, and this includes violation of special laws with penal provisions, such as R.A. No. 6657. HAaScT
The statement in Section 57 of R.A. No. 6657 that Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under said Act did not likewise negate the responsibility of the prosecutory arm of the government over violations thereunder (Manila Railroad Co. vs. Attorney General, 20 Phil. 523).
In view of the above, we accordingly return the records of the case.
Very truly yours,
(SGD.) VIRGILIO R. DE LOS REYES
The Honorable Judge
Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region
Branch 77, Special Agrarian Court
San Mateo, Rizal
The Honorable Provincial Prosecutor
Provincial Prosecution Office of Rizal
PARO Luis Bueno
DAR Provincial Office
Bagumbayan, Teresa, Rizal
The Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer
DAR Municipal Office
Arsenio Reyes & Romualda Reyes
No. 16th 1B 2nd Infantry Division
Camp Capinpin Sampaloc
Dr. Benjamin Pangilinan
33 Amang Rodriguez Avenue