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Agrarian Law and Social Legislation
Atty. Steve Paolo Arellano Mercano

I. Definition
SECTION 3. Definitions. - For the purpose of this Act, unless the context
indicates otherwise:
(a) Agrarian Reform means the redistribution of lands, regardless of
crops or fruits produced, to farmers and regular farm workers who
are landless, irrespective of tenurial arrangement, to include the
totality of factors and support services designed to lift the economic
status of the beneficiaries and all other arrangements alternative to
the physical redistribution of lands, such as production or profit-
sharing, labor administration, and the distribution of shares of stock
which will allow beneficiaries to receive a just share of the fruits of
the lands they work.
b.) 1987 Constitution Article 13
Section 4. The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of
farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they
till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end,
the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to
such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account
ecological, developmental, or equity considerations, and subject to the payment of just
compensation. In determining retention limits, the State shall respect the right of small
landowners. The State shall further provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing.
Section 5. The State shall recognize the right of farmers, farmworkers, and landowners, as well
as cooperatives, and other independent farmers' organizations to participate in the planning,
organization, and management of the program, and shall provide support to agriculture through
appropriate technology and research, and adequate financial, production, marketing, and other
support services.
Section 6. The State shall apply the principles of agrarian reform or stewardship, whenever
applicable in accordance with law, in the disposition or utilization of other natural resources,
including lands of the public domain under lease or concession suitable to agriculture, subject to
prior rights, homestead rights of small settlers, and the rights of indigenous communities to their

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ancestral lands. The State may resettle landless farmers and farmworkers in its own agricultural
estates which shall be distributed to them in the manner provided by law.
Section 7. The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local
communities, to the preferential use of the communal marine and fishing resources, both inland
and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and
research, adequate financial, production, and marketing assistance, and other services. The State
shall also protect, develop, and conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to offshore
fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a
just share from their labor in the utilization of marine and fishing resources.
Section 8. The State shall provide incentives to landowners to invest the proceeds of the agrarian
reform program to promote industrialization, employment creation, and privatization of public
sector enterprises. Financial instruments used as payment for their lands shall be honored as
equity in enterprises of their choice.
C. Other Important Definitions
(b) Agriculture, Agricultural Enterprise or Agricultural Activity means the
cultivation of the soil, planting of crops, growing of fruit trees, including the
harvesting of such farm products, and other farm activities and practices
performed by a farmer in conjunction with such farming operations done by
persons whether natural of juridical. (As amended by R. A. 7881)chan robles virtual
law library
(c) Agricultural Land refers to land devoted to agricultural activity as defined
in this Act and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or
industrial land.
(d) Agrarian Dispute refers to any controversy relating to tenurial
arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise, over
lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes concerning farm workers'
associations or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining,
changing or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial
It includes any controversy relating to compensation of lands acquired under
this Act and other terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from
landowners to farm workers, tenants and other agrarian reform
beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of farm
operator and beneficiary, landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee.
(f) Farmer refers to a natural person whose primary livelihood is cultivation
of land or the production of agricultural crops either by himself, or primarily
with the assistance of his immediate farm household, whether the land is

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owned by him, or by another person under a leasehold or share tenancy
agreement or arrangement with the owner thereof.
(g) Farmworker is a natural person who renders service for value as an
employee or laborer in an agricultural enterprise or farm regardless of
whether his compensation is paid on a daily, weekly, monthly or "pakyaw"
basis. The term includes an individual whose work has ceased as a
consequence of, or in connection with, a pending agrarian dispute who has
not obtained a substantially equivalent and regular farm employment.
(h) Regular Farmworker is a natural person who is employed on a
permanent basis by an agricultural enterprise or farm.
(i) Seasonal Farmworker is a natural person who is employed on a recurrent,
periodic or intermittent basis by an agricultural enterprise or farm, whether
as a permanent or a non-permanent laborer, such as "dumaan", "sacada",
and the like.
(j) Other Farmworker is a farmworker who does not fall under paragraphs
(g), (h) and (i).
(k) Cooperatives shall refer to organizations composed primarily of small
agricultural producers, farmers, farm workers, or other agrarian reform
beneficiaries who voluntarily organize themselves for the purpose of pooling
land, human, technological, financial or other economic resources, and
operated on the principle of one member, one vote. A juridical person may
be a member of a cooperative, with the same rights and duties as a natural
D. CARL applicability depends on the existence of an agrarian dispute;
elements of an agrarian tenancy relationship:

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On January 29, 1998, petitioner as seller, and respondent as buyer, entered into a Banana
Production and Purchase Agreement

(BPPA). The BPPA provided that SEARBEMCO shall sell
exclusively to DOLE, and the latter shall buy from the former, all Cavendish bananas of required
specifications to be planted on the land owned by SEARBEMCO.

On December 11, 2000, DOLE filed a complaint with the RTC against SEARBEMCO, the
spouses Elly and Myrna Abujos (spouses Abujos), and Oribanex Services, Inc. (Oribanex) for
specific performance and damages, with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction and of a temporary restraining order. DOLE alleged that SEARBEMCO sold and
delivered to Oribanex, through the spouses Abujos, the bananas rejected by DOLE, in violation
of paragraph 5(p), Article V of the BPPA which limited the sale of rejected bananas for
"domestic non-export consumption." DOLE further alleged that Oribanex is likewise an exporter
of bananas and is its direct competitor.


Whether or not RTC has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint of DOLE,
considering that the case involves an agrarian dispute within the exclusive jurisdiction of the


DOLEs complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the regular courts, not the DARAB.
SEARBEMCO mainly relies on Section 50

of RA No. 6657 and the characterization of the
controversy as an agrarian dispute or as an agrarian reform matter in contending that the
present controversy falls within the competence of the DARAB and not of the regular courts.

The BPPA, SEARBEMCO claims, is a joint venture and a production, processing and marketing
agreement, as defined under Section 5 (c) (i) and (ii) of DAR AO No. 2-99; hence, any dispute
arising from the BPPA is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the DARAB. SEARBEMCO also
asserts that the parties relationship in the present case is not only that of buyer and seller, but
also that of supplier of land covered by the CARP and of manpower on the part of
SEARBEMCO, and supplier of agricultural inputs, financing and technological expertise on the

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part of DOLE. Therefore, SEARBEMCO concludes that the BPPA is not an ordinary contract,
but one that involves an agrarian element and, as such, is imbued with public interest.

Additionally, the inclusion of third parties in the complaint supports our declaration that the
present case does not fall under DARABs jurisdiction. DARABs quasi-judicial powers under
Section 50 of RA No. 6657 may be invoked only when there is prior certification from
the Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (or BARC) that the dispute has been submitted to it
for mediation and conciliation, without any success of settlement. Since the present dispute
need not be referred to arbitration (including mediation or conciliation) because of the inclusion
of third parties, neither SEARBEMCO nor DOLE will be able to present the requisite BARC
certification that is necessary to invoke DARABs jurisdiction; hence, there will be no compliance
with Section 53 of RA No. 6657.


THE petitioner filed a complaint with the (MTC) of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija against respondent
Narciso Germino for forcible entry, claiming that they were the registered owners of a five-
hectare parcel of land in Soledad, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija (subject property). On his answer,
respondent claimed, among others, that his brother, was the plaintiffs' agricultural lessee and he
merely helped the latter in the cultivation as a member of the immediate farm household. After
several postponements, the plaintiffs filed a motion to remand the case to the Department of
Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), in view of the tenancy issue raised by
respondent Narciso. The MTC issued an order remanding the case to the DARAB for further
proceedings. PARAD found that the respondents were mere usurpers of the subject property,
and ordered the respondents to vacate the subject property, and pay the plaintiffs 500 cavans of
palay as actual damages. On appeal to DARAB, respondent argued that the case should have
been dismissed because the MTC's referral to the DARAB was void with the enactment of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6657. DARAB affirmed the PARAD decision. CA, however, set aside
the DARAB decision and remanded the case to the MTC for further proceedings.


Whether the MTC or the DARAB has jurisdiction over the case.


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The CA committed no reversible error in setting aside the DARAB decision. While we lament the
lapse of time this forcible entry case has been pending resolution, we are not in a position to
resolve the dispute between the parties since the evidence required in courts is different from
that of administrative agencies.

It is a basic rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the allegations in the
complaint. It is determined exclusively by the Constitution and the law. It cannot be conferred by
the voluntary act or agreement of the parties, or acquired through or waived, enlarged or
diminished by their act or omission, nor conferred by the acquiescence of the court. Well to
emphasize, it is neither for the court nor the parties to violate or disregard the rule, this matter
being legislative in character. Under Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691,
the MTC shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful
detainer. Furthermore, allegation of tenancy does not divest the MTC of jurisdiction.

Under Section 50 of R.A. No. 6657, as well as Section 34 of Executive Order No. 129-A, the
DARAB has primary and exclusive jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and
adjudicate all agrarian disputes involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program, and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules and regulations.

An agrarian dispute refers to any controversy relating to, among others, tenancy over lands
devoted to agriculture. For a case to involve an agrarian dispute, the following essential
requisites of an agricultural tenancy relationship must be present: (1) the parties are the
landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject is agricultural land; (3) there is consent; (4) the
purpose is agricultural production; (5) there is personal cultivation; and (6) there is sharing of
harvest or payment of rental.

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E. Constitutionality of the CARL
Association of Small Landowners vs Sec. of Dar
Equal Protection
These are 3 cases consolidated questioning the constitutionality of the Agrarian Reform Act.
Article XIII on Social Justice and Human Rights includes a call for the adoption by the State of
an agrarian reform program. The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program
founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or
collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the
fruits thereof. RA 3844, Agricultural Land Reform Code, had already been enacted by Congress
on August 8, 1963. This was substantially superseded almost a decade later by PD 27, which was
promulgated on Oct 21, 1972, along with martial law, to provide for the compulsory acquisition
of private lands for distribution among tenant-farmers and to specify maximum retention limits
for landowners. On July 17, 1987, Cory issued EO 228, declaring full land ownership in favor of
the beneficiaries of PD 27 and providing for the valuation of still unvalued lands covered by the
decree as well as the manner of their payment. This was followed on July 22, 1987 by PP 131,
instituting a comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP), and EO 229, providing the
mechanics for its implementation. Afterwhich is the enactment of RA 6657, Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, which Cory signed on June 10. This law, while considerably
changing the earlier mentioned enactments, nevertheless gives them suppletory effect insofar as
they are not inconsistent with its provisions.
In considering the rentals as advance payment on the land, the executive order also deprives the
petitioners of their property rights as protected by due process. The equal protection clause is
also violated because the order places the burden of solving the agrarian problems on the owners
only of agricultural lands. No similar obligation is imposed on the owners of other properties.
The petitioners maintain that in declaring the beneficiaries under PD 27 to be the owners of the
lands occupied by them, EO 228 ignored judicial prerogatives and so violated due process.
Worse, the measure would not solve the agrarian problem because even the small farmers are
deprived of their lands and the retention rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
In his comment the Sol-Gen asserted that the alleged violation of the equal protection clause, the
sugar planters have failed to show that they belong to a different class and should be differently
treated. The Comment also suggests the possibility of Congress first distributing public
agricultural lands and scheduling the expropriation of private agricultural lands later. From this
viewpoint, the petition for prohibition would be premature.
ISSUE: Whether or not there was a violation of the equal protection clause.
HELD: The SC ruled affirming the Sol-Gen. The argument of the small farmers that they have
been denied equal protection because of the absence of retention limits has also become
academic under Sec 6 of RA 6657. Significantly, they too have not questioned the area of such
limits. There is also the complaint that they should not be made to share the burden of agrarian
reform, an objection also made by the sugar planters on the ground that they belong to a

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particular class with particular interests of their own. However, no evidence has been submitted
to the Court that the requisites of a valid classification have been violated.
Classification has been defined as the grouping of persons or things similar to each other in
certain particulars and different from each other in these same particulars. To be valid, it must
conform to the following requirements:
(1) it must be based on substantial distinctions;
(2) it must be germane to the purposes of the law;
(3) it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and
(4) it must apply equally to all the members of the class.
The Court finds that all these requisites have been met by the measures here challenged as
arbitrary and discriminatory.
Equal protection simply means that all persons or things similarly situated must be treated alike
both as to the rights conferred and the liabilities imposed. The petitioners have not shown that
they belong to a different class and entitled to a different treatment. The argument that not only
landowners but also owners of other properties must be made to share the burden of
implementing land reform must be rejected. There is a substantial distinction between these two
classes of owners that is clearly visible except to those who will not see. There is no need to
elaborate on this matter. In any event, the Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a
valid classification. Its decision is accorded recognition and respect by the courts of justice
except only where its discretion is abused to the detriment of the Bill of Rights.

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Luz Farms v. DAR
GR No. 86889
4 December 1990
Paras, J.
In 1988, RA 6657 was
approved by the
President of the
Philippines. It includes
the raising of livestock,
poultry, and swine in its

In 1989, the Secretary
of Agrarian Reform
promulgated the IRR of
Secs. 11, 13, and 39 of
the said law.

Luz Farms, a
corporation engaged in
the livestock and
poultry business,
allegedly stands to be
adversely affected by
the enforcement of
certain sections of RA
6657, of the Guidelines
and Procedures
Production and Profit
Sharing under RA 6657,
and of the IRR of
Section 11. It prays that
the aforesaid statutes be
W/N the CARL
should include the
raising of livestock,
poultry and swine in
its coverage.

W/N the requirement
in Sections 13 and 32
of RA 6657 directing
corporate farms to
execute and
plans is unreasonable
for being confiscatory
and violative of due
process, with respect
to livestock and
poultry raisers.

Separate Opinion:
Sarmiento, J.
W/N the assailed
provisions violate the
equal protection
clause of the
NO. It was never the
intention of the framers of
the Constitution to include
the livestock and poultry
industry in the coverage of
the agrarian reform program
of the government. The
intention of the Committee
was to limit the application
of the word agriculture.
Thus, Section II of RA 6657
which includes private
agricultural lands devoted to
commercial livestock,
poultry, and swine raising
in the definition of
commercial farms is
invalid, to the extent that the
aforecited agro-industrial
activities are made to be
covered by the agrarian
reform program of the State.

YES. As there is no reason
to include livestock and
poultry lands in the
coverage of agrarian reform,
there is no need to call upon
them to distribute from 3%
of their gross sales and 10%
of their net profits to their
workers as additional

NO. Substantial distinctions
exist between land directed
purely to cultivation and
harvesting of fruits or crops
and land exclusively used
for livestock, poultry and
swine raising that make real
1. There are no
tenants nor
landlords in
livestock and
2. Livestock and
poultry do not
sprout from land;
3. Land is not a
primary resource;
4. Livestock and
poultry production
are industrial
5. Livestock and
farmworkers are
covered by
Raising of livestock,
poultry, and swine
are excluded from
the coverage of the

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minimum wage
law rather than by
tenancy law.