MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DOJ) sees no legal or constitutional impediments to moves in the House of Representatives to extend anew the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), which is set to expire on June 30.
The House committee on agrarian reform had asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to comment on two measures on the CARL, including one proposed by Representatives Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro and Maximo Rodriguez Jr. of Abante party-list.
The two lawmakers have authored House Bill No. 3305 to amend Section 7 of Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the CARL of 1988, to extend the law from June 30, 2014, to June 30, 2019, and allow the Department of Agrarian Reform and Presidential Agrarian Reform Council to complete the acquisition and distribution of agricultural lands.
In her legal opinion dated Feb. 19 and addressed to the agrarian reform committee chair, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, De Lima acknowledged that while CARL would expire on June 30, agrarian reform could still be initiated because the Constitution “does not provide the prescription for the institution of agrarian reform in the country.”
“Thus, we find no legal or constitutional objection to House Bill No. 3305 to complete the implementation of agrarian reform provided the DAR must clearly set forth the inventory of all agricultural lands still to be covered under CARP,” De Lima said.