BABAWIIN | DAR ready to take back Batangas property linked to Binay if it's an illegally sold CARP land

on . Posted in DAR In The News
interaksyonlogoMANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is ready to take back the 350-hectare landholding in Rosario, Batangas being linked to Vice President Jejomar Binay if the agency finds out that the property had been placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program but was illegally sold by farmer-beneficiaries (FB) of the CARP.

DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said this on Tuesday, explaining that if the FBs, who are holders of certificates of landownership award (CLOA), illegally sold the Batangas property, the sale would be considered “null and void” and would give basis for the department to cancel the FBs’ CLOA, put back the landholding under the CARP, and distribute the property to other qualified FBs.  

“If binenta ng CLOA holder na walang clearance…ang sinasabi ng batas null and void…Kung CLOA holder ang nagbenta, magpa-file ng cancellation ng titulo [If the land was sold by the CLOA holder without clearance, the law says it’s null and void. If it was the CLOA holder who sold the land, a case will be filed for the cancellation of the title]” said Delos Reyes.

Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 states that agricultural landholdings acquired by FBs “may not be sold, transferred or conveyed through hereditary succession, or to the govermebt or the LBP (Land Bank of the Philippines) or to other qualified beneficiaries for a period of 10 years.”

Last week, DAR Undersecretary  for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao told that DAR "records will show that in five of the six barangays, CLOAs had already been issued." Parungao was pertaining to the barangays where the Rosario property is located. 

"It is most likely, therefore, that portions of the property have been distributed under the CARP.  Of course, we can only make a definitive determination on the matter once we obtain the said official documents or technical descriptions," added Parungao. 

No record of exemption, exclusion, conversion

The Batangas property that has been developed into an agri-tourism park is now being managed by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. The president of Sunchamp is Antonio Tiu, who is accused of being Binay’s frontman.

However, Delos Reyes said on Tuesday that based on the DAR’s initial investigation, the agency had no record that the Batangas property had been exempted or excluded from the CARP or had been converted from purely agricultural to non-agricultural use with clearance from the DAR.

Walang nag-apply o humingi ng permiso na magpalit-gamit…mula sa lupang sakahan gagawingcommercial, industrial…Walang ganoong permit na pinalabas ang DAR. Ito ay kailangan para magpalit-gamit ka na agri-tourism…walang rehistro sa agri-tourism,” said Delos Reyes.

[Nobody applied or sought permit to change the use of the land from agricultural to commercial or industrial. The DAR did not issue any permit. This is needed to change the use of the land to agri-tourism but there was no record that its use had been converted into agri-tourism.]

Section 65 of R.A. 6657 states that, “After the lapse of five (5) years from its award, when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes, or the locality has become urbanized and the land will have a greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, the DAR, upon application of the beneficiary or the landowner, with due notice to the affected parties, and subject to existing laws, may authorize the reclassification or conversion of the land and its disposition: Provided, That the beneficiary shall have fully paid his obligation.”

No record of landowner who ‘sold’ land

Earlier, Binay’s lawyer Martin Subido said that last year, Laureano R. Gregorio Jr., the purported owner of the Batangas farm, had entered into a memorandum of agreement with Sunchamp for the acquisition of all of Gregorio’s rights over the landholding. 

In 1994, Binay and wife Elenita were listed in the records of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as among the board of directors of Agri-Fortuna Inc., said to be the owner of the Rosario property.

According Subido, Binay and his wife were incorporators of Agri-Fortuna for a paid-up capital of P50,000.

Subido said that in 1995, the Binay couple sold their shares in Agri-Fortuna to Gregorio, who subscribed to additional capital that would allow him to own 60 percent of the company.

According to Binay’s camp, Gregorio made additional investments in 2008 that gave him 97 percent ownership of Agri-Fortuna. According to Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, the spokesperson Binay, Gregorio “is the original owner” of the property in Rosario, Batangas.

But the DAR chief said the agency had no record of Laureano Gregorio Jr. either as a beneficiary of the CARP or as a landowner in Rosario, Batangas, particularly in the six barangays in the town where the property being managed by Tiu’s firm is located.

Earlier, Tiu claimed that he had bought a 145-hectare lot from Laureano in Rosario town. Tiu later admitted to the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommitee that he was not yet the owner of Laureno’s purported property in Rosario town because he had no land title as proof of ownership and that he only had usufruct rights over the property.

Agri lands can’t be sold, leased upon CARP’s effectivity

If the sale indeed took place between Gregorio and Tiu’s firm in 2013, and the sale involved an agricultural landholding under the CARP, the sale could also be null and void.

In a recent emailed reply to’s queries about the Rosario property, DAR Undersecretary Anthony Parungao explained that under Section 6 of R.A. 6657, “any sale, disposition, lease, management, contract, or transfer of possession of private lands by the original landowner in violation of CARP shall be null and void, unless these transactions were executed before the effectivity of R.A. No. 6657 and registered with the Register of Deed within a period of three months after its effectivity.”

R.A. No. 6657 took effect on June 15, 1988. The purported sale of the Gregorio property to Tiu’s firm took place last year or 25 years after R.A. 6657 became effective.

Owning agri lands of more than 5 hectares is prohibited

Also, Parungao said that Section 73 of the same law prohibits the sale and/or ownership of an agricultural landholding of more than five hectares.

“Under R.A. No. 6657, as amended, any sale of agricultural land that will result in the buyer’s ownership of an aggregate area of more than five hectares is not valid,” said Parungao.

“Under the CARP, no person, whether natural or juridical, can own more than 5 hectares of agricultural lands.  (Incidentally, this rule on retention limits applies on or after 15 June 19987, the date of the effectivity of the CARP,” he added.