WHETHER OR NOT AN ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY, SUCH AS THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM CAN ISSUE AN ORDER WHICH HAS A FORCE AND EFFECT OF A WRIT OF DEMOLITION

The instant petition is accompanied by a prayer for the issuance of a restraining order to maintain the status quo and to prevent private respondent from committing acts of demolition against petitioners’ properties. Before the prayer for a restraining order could be resolved, petitioners filed a motion to declare the Order of Execution null and void for want of jurisdiction because as per cadastral survey conducted by the Land Management Services Division of the DENR, private respondent’s Lot No. 16306 is within the site of the Kotkot-Lusaran Watershed and petitioners’ homelots are among those listed as within the premises of the same watershed reservation. Petitioners manifested their intention to request for a declaration of status as tenured migrants with the DENR.

On August 12, 1996, the Court issued a Resolution, granting petitioners’ prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order enjoining the Court of Appeals and the DAR from enforcing the questioned Decision and Resolution in CA-G.R. SP No. 37333.[7]

On October 16, 1996, the Court resolved to deny the petition for failure of petitioners to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals had committed any reversible error in rendering the assailed Decision.[8] Petitioners moved for the reconsideration of the denial on the ground that the DAR has no jurisdiction over the property in question since it is a portion of a watershed. On August 25, 1999, the Court resolved to grant petitioners’ motion for reconsideration, reinstate the petition and require respondents to file their respective comments on the petition.

Petitioner contends that the DAR Regional Director is not authorized to issue the questioned Order of Execution because only the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), the quasi-judicial arm of the DAR, is empowered to issue a writ having the effect of a writ of demolition. Petitioners also opine that the Order of Execution suffers from procedural defects as it was issued without notice and hearing to determine key issues such as the relocation site for the displaced farmers, the expenses for relocation, and who should be liable therefor, among others.

The petition is meritorious.

The Court finds that the December 22, 1994 Order of Execution issued by the DAR Regional Director suffers from jurisdictional and procedural defects as it directed the relocation of petitioners without first conducting a hearing or survey to determine the portion of the subject property excluded from the CARP.

A writ of execution should conform to the dispositive portion of the decision to be executed, and the execution is void if it is in excess of and beyond the original judgment or award, for it is a settled general principle that a writ of execution must conform strictly with every essential particular of the judgment promulgated.[9] It may not vary the terms of the judgment it seeks to enforce. Nor may it go beyond the terms of the judgment sought to be executed.[10] Where the writ of execution is not in harmony with and exceeds the judgment which gives it life, the writ has pro tanto no validity.[11]

The Order of Execution does not conform to the tenor of the orders supposed to be implemented. The twin orders dated August 30, 1994 and November 29, 1994 merely declared that only 808 hectares of the Complex would be excluded from the CARP’s coverage and directed that a survey be made to delineate the area. In the Order dated November 29, 1994, the DAR Secretary clarified that a table survey is necessary to identify the farmers affected by the exclusion from the CARP coverage. Neither order categorically declared that private respondent’s property is excluded from the CARP, wholly or partially, or that petitioners would be affected by the exemption. Hence, the indispensability of the survey. However, as admitted by respondent DAR Secretary in his order affirming the assailed Order of Execution, no survey was conducted by the appropriate DAR officials.

The August 30, 1994 Order directed the suspension of development activities in the area exempted from the CARP coverage pending actual relocation of the farmers and recommended the creation of temporary usufructuary agreements on the excluded area. The import of these directives suggests that an immediate relocation of the farmers would be premature since a survey is yet to be undertaken and a possible contentious proceeding would follow once the exact boundaries of the properties to be excluded from the CARP are identified. As a matter of fact, in his Comment on the instant petition, respondent DAR Secretary explained that the orders did “not outrightly contemplate demolition which, under the Rules, would require a separate order issuable only after notice and hearing and in compliance with the prescribed conditions.”[12] On the other hand, the questioned Order of Execution directed the immediate relocation of herein petitioners and even enjoined the Philippine National Police to assist the DAR personnel in its implementation. This significant variance alone indubitably demonstrates that the Order of Execution goes beyond the content and tenor of the orders sought to be implemented.

Petitioners’ contention that the authority to issue the Order of Execution is vested with the DARAB and not with the DAR Regional Director is likewise correct.

A Regional Director is the head of a DAR Regional Office which, under the Administrative Code of 1987, is responsible for “supporting the field units and supervising program implementation of the Department within the region.” The function of the DAR Regional Office includes “[implementing] laws, policies, plans, rules and regulations of the Department in the regional area.” A similar function is delegated to the DAR Regional Offices under Executive Order No. 129-A.[13] Thus, the functions of the DAR Regional Director are purely administrative, that is, to put into operation agrarian laws and fill out the details necessary for their implementation, and not adjudicatory.

On the other hand, when a dispute arises between parties affected by the operation of agrarian laws, the controversy should be settled in an adversarial proceeding before the DARAB, the quasi-judicial arm of the DAR.[14] A function becomes judicial or quasi-judicial in nature when the exercise thereof involves the determination of rights and obligations of the parties.

In issuing the questioned Order of Execution, the DAR Regional Director overstepped the limits of his office and crossed the realm of adjudication. While the orders sought to be implemented merely directed the survey of the areas to be excluded from the CARP, the Order of Execution, however, included the search for a relocation site for the benefit of farmers who would be affected by the order of exemption and the determination of appropriate disturbance compensation. Thus, the DAR Regional Director turned what was supposed to be an administrative process into an adjudicatory proceeding. The relocation of occupants is normally conducted with the issuance of a writ of demolition, an act which is within the competence of the DARAB.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 37333 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the Order of Execution issued by the DAR Regional Director on December 22, 1994 is likewise NULLIFIED. Costs against private respondent.

SO ORDERED.

SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 125202, January 31, 2006 ]ERNESTO INGLES, MAXIMO CANOY, ISMAEL BONTILAO, CONRADO BONTILAO, SERGIO CANOY, ZALDY CANOY, REMITSOR CANOY, ROBERTO CANOY, RODULFO NABLE, GUILLERMO BORRES, ENRIQUE BORRES, LOBERTA BONTILAO, AND NESTOR PIALDA, PETITIONERS, VS. MANUEL CANTOS, DAR SECRETARY ERNESTO GARILAO, AND DAR VII REGIONAL DIRECTOR ELMO BANARES, RESPONDENTS. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

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