Friday, August 7, 2009

THE DARAB…. the COURT for the DAR OR of the DAR

(First of many series)

In this prolix age, practically everything a person does and owns affects the public interest directly or at least vicariously, unavoidably drawing him within the embrace of the law. Increasingly, he is hemmed in by all manner of statutory and procedural platforms required by law. That is why, all over the world, you will observe every country including the Philippines has provided different courts with specific issues as their respective jurisdictions in order for individuals seeking relief from courts will know where to file their cases.

In the Philippines, we have the labor courts for labor cases; civil courts for civil cases (no penalty of imprisonment) and criminal cases (with penalty of imprisonment); and agrarian courts, which is the DARAB (Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board), for agrarian cases, e.g. where the subject matter involve is agricultural lands, and all matters or incidents involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, Extension with reforms or CARPER (R.A. 9700).

As Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) since my appointment in November 1990 up to this writing, covering six DAR Secretaries from Honorables Garilao, Morales, Pagdanganan, Braganza, Villa, and presently Pangandaman, and for credential purposes, with my unsurpassed record as the consistent number 1 performer for six (6) consecutive years from 2003 to 2008 (October 6, 2008 issue of the Manila Bulletin), I will venture to talk about the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board or DARAB, which I served with the same position as PARAD for almost nineteen (19) years now.

The DARAB like all courts of the land under its aegis is a special court created to handle cases only involving agrarian issues, meaning, where the subject matter is public and private lands which are agricultural in nature, and all matters and issues connected with the implementation of the CARPER except those falling under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The key factor for determination is whether the subject matter in dispute is agricultural land. Therefore, if the land involve is not agricultural in nature, the parties should not file their cases before the DARAB. Please see the following authorities: BACALING v MUYA, G.R. No. 148404-5, April 11, 2002; PASONG BAYABAS FARMERS ASSO., ET AL., G.R. No. 142359 and 142980, May 25, 2004; PROVINCE OF CAMARINES SUR v COUR OF APPEALS, G.R. No. 103125, May 17, 1993; NATALIA REALTY v DAR, G.R. No. 103302, August 12, 1993; FORTICH vs. CORONA, G.R. No. 131457, Nov. 17,1998; FORTICH vs. CORONA, G.R. No. 131457; GONZALES, ET AL.vs. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL., G.R. No. 36213, June 29, 1989.

The DARAB is a co-equal body with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) and its decisions are beyond the RTC’s control (SPRINGFIELD DEVT. CORP., INC., ET AL. VS. HON.PRES. JUDGE ETC., ET AL. G.R. No. 142628. February 6, 2007). As to its role to the CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms, R.A. 9700), the DARAB, is the Adjudicatory arm of the DAR and was mandated by law to determine disputes between and among litigants, landowners and tenants, tillers, and farmer beneficiaries over agricultural lands covered under the CARPER of the government, and protecting the parties against arbitrary or oppressive action by the DAR administrative agency which was mandated by law to implement the CARPER. The DARAB stands between the citizens and the DAR officials, among others, as a bulwark against executive excesses and misuse or abuse of power by the DAR administrative agency in connection with its implementation of the CARPER.

The E.Os 229, 129-A, and later R.A. 6657, the laws creating the DARAB are basically a charter of limitations of the DAR administrative agency and enshrine a system of separation of powers and checks and balances from its counterpart, the DARAB, under which no one is the law nor above the law. It ordains the weaker department, the DARAB, as the guardian and arbiter of the legal and property rights in agrarian disputes. It postulates and requires a free and independent body, the DARAB, sworn to defend and enforce the CARPER without fear or favor. Like His Holiness, the Pope, the DARAB has no battalions, tanks or guns to enforce its decisions. Its strength lies in that its verdicts would be obeyed by the sheer moral force and truth of its judgments for as long as it kept the faith and confidence reposed in it by the people through the law upon which it was created to render justice and sustained its moral conviction that through the DARAB, justice and the voice of reason and truth would prevail in the end.

To elucidate further, the DAR has dual functions in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL, now CARPER), namely:

1. The implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) based on the law, which is the task performed by the DAR Administrative Agency; and

2. Adjudication of agrarian cases, and all matters and disputes involving the implementation of CARPER, which is the function exercised by the DARAB.

Therefore, the DAR is divided into two branches, these are: the administrative agency, on the one hand, and the DARAB, on the other hand, and each is independent from each other because one is exercising incompatible duties and responsibilities in every point from each other. However, when it comes to judicial issue in agrarian reform, the DARAB is supreme. It is because it is vested with the power to annul the acts of the DAR administrative agency when not conformable to the fundamental law. This is the reason for what some quarters call the doctrine of judicial supremacy. Circumstantially, the DAR administrative agency cannot intrude into the function of the DARAB without running afoul of the independence thereof. Otherwise, this would be inimical to the public interest since a cabal between the DAR administrative agency and the DARAB would be perceived and or, that the administrative agency is exercising complete and absolute control over the DARAB.

Pursuant to the foregoing premises, the purpose for the enactment of E.Os 229, and later R.A. 6657, and now R.A. 9700, is to provide a sensible equilibrium against suspicion by the landowners of bias and collusion between the administrative agency and the DARAB since they are both under the umbrella of the DAR. Correspondingly, the administrative agency cannot muscle into the turf of the DARAB by whatever moral dominance otherwise the purpose for which the law was designed would be put to naught.

Nevertheless, even if the DARAB and its Adjudicators are absolutely dependent for their existence on the DAR as to logistics to run their offices and personnel, in my almost nineteen (19) years of service as Adjudicator, I have never been approached, pressured, influenced, intimidated, much less, forced by any DAR officials to decide the cases I handled one way or the other. That is why, the DARAB from its inception in 1991, it has remained the repositories of judicial power whose judges are sworn and committed to render impartial justice to all alike who seek the enforcement or protection of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong, without fear or favor and removed from the pressures of power and prejudice.

Regarding the perception whether the DARAB is the court for the DAR or of the DAR, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, my straightforward answer is that the DARAB is the Court of the DAR.


In this proud land, I was taught to fight, grow strong, and learn how to win. I became strong I never thought I could lose. But life’s battles are hard to conquer. I found myself a man whose dreams have all deserted. A proud land as no one wants you when you lose (abeto a. salcedo, jr.).

On my next post, the author will discuss the latest amendment found in current primary law on agrarian reform, which is the CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Extension with Reforms), R.A. 9700, signed by the President on August 7, 2009. This will enable everyone, especially lawyers, to understand and be updated regarding the important features of the LAW. Because they will be explained clearly in simple words by the author who is a Judge/Adjudicator for nineteen (19) years already in the DARAB and a consistent and unsurpassed number one performer from 2003 to 2008, and the most senior of all the Judges/Adjudicators in the DARAB throughout the country, he speaks and writes with authority regarding agrarian reform and related topics. You can ask questions in the comment found below if you wish. Please spread the news regarding my blog site because it is only here that you will know and understand clearly all about agrarian reform and other topics of interest. To find my blog, type on the website portion, NOT on the search portion


  1. Oct. 16/2009

    Our case started in 2005, a decision was handed in July 2008. An appeal was filed right after. However, a new judge was assigned. The decision of the previous judge was reaffirm. Again the defendants wrote a letter of appeal to the DARAB in Quezon City. Is this the right venue for appeal after the final decision of the provincial DARAB?

    Your response shall be highly apprrciated.

    Yours respectfully,

    1. yes..ofcourse!why not?

  2. Sir,
    My sister's case started when the DARAB Adjudicator of Region VIII approved a compromise agreement between my younger brother, who is not the tenant, my sister is and the landowner administrator. The compromise agreement was approved because they believe that my younger brother, who happend to be named after my late father, was the legal tenant named in the Leasehold Contract. The truth is the Leasehold Contract made in 1981 was in our late father's name (a copy of which my sister has kept) not our younger brother. After the death of our father in 1984, the landowner did not appoint a new tenant. Our mother took over the tenancy of the agricultural rice land in dispute. Because of our mother inability to physically till the land, this younger sister of mine, who is older than our younger brother who voluntarily surrendered the land in dispute, with the help of her husband, were the only people tilling/cultivating the land up to the present. Our mother passed away in 2005, again the landowner did not appoint a new tenant. My younger sister and her husband continues to till the land. A week or two after the agreement was submitted to the Regional Office of DAR, a claim has been submitted to the Regional Office of DAR not to approve the agreement. With the claim, a statement from my younger brother to revoke the agreement was attached. However,despite all the documentations submitted to the Region, it seems like it wasn't taken into account, the agreement was still spproved. Is this the right decision by the DARAB Adjudicator? Your opinion will be greatly appreciated.

    Yours sincerely,

    Minda (Australia)

  3. Dear Sir,

    Just a follow up to my first post, I would like to know "what is the purpose of the CARPER" if the DAR administrative agency who are mandated by law to impliment the CARPER and the DARAB who are mandated by law to enforce the implimentation of CARPER by the DAR administrative agency, have not followed the correct procedure relating to my sister's case in this matter? My sister's legal counsel has submitted every documentations required by DAR and DARAB, such as possession paper, etc., prior to the approval of the compromise agreement on time and before the deadline and yet those documentations wasn't even looked at. And just recently my sister and few other people has been subpoena to appear in court for theft and malicous theft becasue they harvested the crop that they planted in the current harvest season, April 2010. Now, where is justice here? I'd like to know. Thank you. Your informal advice will be greatly appreciated. I am determined to help my sister, no matter what, in this matter because I believe she has done nothing wrong but work for a living.


    Minda (Australia)

  4. still they appeal againts you until....

  5. stop bothering the end your looser

  6. This August 2014 the DAR resurveyed the lot of my grandmother basing on the data found in the May 2000 approved survey plan of DAR. It came out that the area became more than 50 percent lesser in the resurvey. I knew this was a problem because I have in my position the TCT I've requested from LRA in late 2013, where, the lot area is clearly shown. Well of course, the TCT was issued by the DAR also way back July 1977 and revision reflected in it. Will the DARAB consider an issuance for survey adjustment basing on the TCT?

  7. There was an error. The second to the last sentence should read:Well of course, the TCT was also issued by the DAR, way back July 1977 and "no" revision reflected in it.

  8. Is darab approval needed in the transfer of cloa title to tct if the transfer is due to deed of sale. Thanks and I appreciate much for your quick response.

  9. The PARAD ordered the cancellation of a TCT upon petition for cancellation using a forged waiver of right in favor of the petitioner. The decision was made known to the registered owner only after more than years because he was never notified of the said Petition. What is the remedy of the registered owner because his title is soon to be cancelled because of the PARAD decision? Thank you sir.

  10. Hi...i have printed your blog and gave it to Ret. Col. Noble to ask him if what your saying is true but he denied it.. Col. Noble is close to me so I would definitely believe him.
    Now, could you really prove to me that what your saying is true?


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