Agrarian Legal Services

ALS



 

One of the Major Final Outputs of DAR is the Agrarian Legal Services (ALS).  This is complemented with two programs, namely: agrarian legal assistance (ALA) under the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance (BALA) and adjudication of agrarian cases under the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB).
 
Under RA 6657, DAR is vested with the primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate reform matters and to extend free legal assistance to farmer-beneficiaries affected by agrarian cases. The delivery of agrarian justice has two features: the Adjudication of Cases and Agrarian Legal Assistance.

Agrarian legal assistance is comprised of resolution of agrarian law implementation (ALI) cases, ARB representation before judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, and mediation and conciliation. On the other hand, Adjudication of Cases involves the resolution of cases by the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) and any of its salas.

There are three types of cases under this program namely: judicial or court cases, quasi-judicial, and cases related to agrarian law implementation (ALI). The first two types involve representation of farmers by DAR lawyers before the regular courts and DAR Adjudication Board, respectively. The third type involves the administrative rendering of decision on exemption, conversion and retention.

The DAR at present utilizes more aggressive alternative dispute resolution techniques in mediation to reduce conflicts maturing into court cases. The general objective is to persuade the contending parties to settle their disputes amicably or out of court before the DAR.

ALS is divided into two (2) components: Legal Advisory and Enforcement.

Legal Advisory involves legal services provided to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) and landowner clients such as mediation and representation in judicial and quasi judicial courts. As per measurement for the agency’s final scorecards on this MFO, clients who rate the legal service as good or better and requests for legal services which are responded to within 15 days are included.

Enforcement, on the other hand, includes: agrarian cases acted upon for adjudication or resolution; and resolution of annual Agrarian Law Implementation (ALI) caseloads.  Adjudication within 3 months of agrarian related cases is assessed under this MFO.

Strategic Directives on ALS:

Adjudication of Agrarian Cases
  • Speed up the resolution of DARAB cases through weekly deliberation of cases, effective utilization of cases templates for DARAB and prioritizing cases like flashpoint cases, LAD-related cases, land valuation cases, cases subject of compromise agreement/withdrawal of appeal/dismissible for lack of jurisdiction and motion for reconsideration;
  • Implementation of Adjudicator’s Performance Evaluation System (Score Card) per MC No. 01 series of 2013;
  • Provision of support to Land Tenure Improvement component by ensuring completeness of cases folders involving EP/CLOA cancellation and other CARP-related issued time;
  • Full operationalization and utilization of Legal Case Monitoring System (LCMS);
  • Revision/amendments of DARAB Rules and Procedures to effectively guide the DAR adjudicators in various legal activities while relosolving cases;
  • Formuation of Policy/systems & legal framework to institutionalize arrangements on lease rental deposits in the cunstody of adjudicators and other matters; and
  • Aggressive utilization of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Scheme in resolving DARAB cases.

Agrarian Legal Assistance

  • Prioritize LAD-related, ageing, flashpoint cases, and big areas in the disposition and resolution of Agrarian Reform (AR) cases;
  • Utilize Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to reduced conflicts growing into court cases;
  • Strengthen linkages between the Legal, DARAB, Operation groups to avoid recurrence of legal problems on LAD;
  • Undertake PBD lawyering to ensure ARB’s free and informed consent on agribusiness agreements and their acquisition of profits out of land based contracts;
  • Develop common working templates and legal outlines;
  • Improve capabilities of DAR lawyer and legal officer;
  • Tap information, communication technology (ICT) to enhance legal work on;
  • Strengthen the legal team to enhance support to operations;
  •  Enhancement of Legal framework;
  • Full operationalization of Legal Case  Monitoring Systems; and
  • Continuous update of the Legal Monitoring System.