The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on Monday maintained that only the Supreme Court can stop the agency from implementing the land reform program and the selection of farmer-beneficiaries despite the filing of land dispute cases to derail the land distribution scheme.
Agrarian Secretary Conrado Estrella III emphasized that it is the “solemn duty” of the DAR to implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and other agrarian reform laws “with full conformity to the constitutional mandates of due process, equal protection, just compensation and social justice.”
Estrella cited Section 55 of the Republic Act No. 6657 of the CARP Law, as amended, for such initiative, saying only the Supreme Court could stop DAR from implementing the CARP through the issuance of a temporary restraining order.
The provision states; “Except for the Supreme Court, no court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or writ of a preliminary injunction against the PARC, the DAR or any of its duly authorized or designated agencies in any case, dispute or controversy arising from, necessary to, or in connection with the application, implementation, enforcement, or interpretation of this Act and other pertinent laws on agrarian reform.”
DAR Undersecretary for field operations Kazel Celeste clarified, however, that each case would be treated differently, depending on its intent and purpose.
“If the protest from CARP coverage or a petition for exemption or exclusion is still pending with the DAR regional office, the Office of the Secretary, or the Office of the President, the land and distribution process shall proceed up to the issuance of the Republic of the Philippines title,” Celeste said.
The process could go as far as issuing and registering certificates of land ownership award and installing the beneficiaries “if the Office of the President affirmed the CARP coverage and denied any motion for reconsideration,” she added.