January 09, 2019 at 10:00 pm
Rio N. Araja
The Department of Agrarian Reform on Wednesday stood firm on its ground that a certificate of land ownership award is as good as a Torrens certificate of title.
Secretary Jon Castriciones said land titles issued to farmer-beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program is a sufficient proof of land ownership.
He welcomed a recent decision of the Supreme Court upholding the authority and jurisdiction of the agrarian reform department to decide on cases involving the issuance, recall or cancellation of CLOAs.
“We salute the justices who made the decision in favor of the department. It gives us motivation and justification to continue with our work. We cannot be hampered by any action that would delay the delivery of our main advocacies—land for the landless, agrarian justice and support services to our farmers,” he said.
“We are hoping to pursue our work because the law is behind us and the law is supporting our advocacies,” he added.
The high court earlier ruled a CLOA was an evidence of land ownership.
“A CLOA ‘is a document evidencing ownership of the land granted or awarded to the beneficiary by the [Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)], and contains the restrictions and conditions provided for in the [Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL)] and other applicable laws,’” the decision read.
In the DAR and Pablo Mendoza vs. Romeo C. Carriedo (G.R. No. 176549, October 10, 2018) ruling, the Supreme Court reversed its 2016 decision that a CLOA was not equivalent to a Torrens certificate of title, rendering it as voidable.
In a motion for reconsideration, DAR said CLOAs and even emancipation patents could also be a status of a certificate of land transfer, a part of the preparatory steps for the eventual issuance of a certificate of title.
Also in its ruling, the Supreme Court validated DAR’s policy on landowner’s right of retention.