June 28, 2004
SPECIAL ORDER NO. 453-04
SUBJECT : Modifying Special Orders Nos. 823 and 832 and Providing Guidelines for Rationalizing the Disposition of Applications for Conversion, Exemption, Exclusion, and other Agrarian Law Implementation (ALI) Cases and for Purposes of Ensuring the Integrity of Case Records.
In order to rationalize and fasttrack the disposition of applications for conversion, exemption, exclusion and other ALI cases, Special Order No. 823 (Reconstitution of Center for Land Use Policy Planning and Implementation (CLUPPI) Secretariat) dated October 27, 2003 and Special Order No. 832 (Addendum to the Special Order No. 823 Reconstituting Center for Land Use Policy Planning and Implementation (CLUPPI) Secretariat) dated 3 November 2003 are hereby modified in accordance with the following guidelines:
1. Pursuant to DAR Administrative Order (AO) No. 14 s. 1994, DAR A.O. No. 1, S. 2002, and DAR A.O. No. 4, s. 2003, the CLUPPI shall serve as recommending authority for the applications for agricultural land use conversion and exemption form CARP coverage under DOJ Opinion No. 44 involving lands with areas above five (has.) hectares. With respect to applications covering lands classified as highly restricted for conversion, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) Land Use Technical Committee (PLUTC) is the recommending body. CIAHaT
2. All other applications for exemptions and exclusions shall be governed by and processed in accordance with pertinent rules and regulations such as DAR MC 34, s. 1997 (Issuance of Certificate of Exemption for Lands Subject of VOS and CA and Found Unsuitable for Agricultural Purposes), DAR AO 3, s. 1996 (Reconveyance of Properties Turned Over to DAR Pursuant to EO No. 407/448 and Lands Voluntarily Offered Under Sec. 19 of RA 6657 but Found to be Outside the Coverage of CARP), DAR AO 3, s. 1995 (Exemption/Exclusion of Fishpond and Prawn Farms From the Coverage of the CARL as Amended), DAR AO 9, s. 1993 (Exclusion of Agricultural Lands Used for Livestock, Poultry, and Swine Raising from CARP Coverage), DAR AO 13, s. 1990 (Exemption of Lands from CARP Coverage Under Sec. 10, R.A. No. 6657), as amended by DAR AO 10, s. 1994 (Authorizing All Regional Directors to Hear and Decide Applications for Exemptions for All Land Sizes), and other pertinent rules. HScAEC
3. All cases pertaining to motions for reconsideration, appeals, petitions for revocation, motions for extension of development period and other petitions motions relative to the conversion and exemption/exclusion including post-judgment orders, and other ALI cases shall be disposed of in accordance with the foregoing rules. Such cases shall be transmitted to the Office of the Secretary upon completion of the findings and recommendations of the recommending authorities.
4. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Office of the Secretary may assume jurisdiction and directly resolve flashpoint cases, high impact priority cases, and cases involving priority development projects in which case the corresponding case folders shall be promptly transmitted to the said Office as may be directed.
5. Records transmittal of the appealed cases from the Regional Director to the Office of the Secretary thru the BALA shall strictly comply with Sec. 30 of DAR AO 3, s. 2003 which provides that:
"Sec. 30. Record Transmittal. Upon receipt of the notice of appeal, the DARRO of origin shall arrange each document therein in chronological order according to date of receipt (the first received document in the first page, so on and so forth) until the last received document in the last page); inscribe a page number (by hand or with paginating device) on each page and every page; and thereafter the responsible officer of the DARRO shall affix his initials on each and every page. When for special reasons a particular document in the records requires that it be free from any form or marking, the pagination and affixing of initials shall be made on photocopies thereof; the originals shall be in separate envelopes while photocopies thereof shall form part of the rollo folder. The DARRO shall prepare a table of contents which shall be ahead of the first page of the records and attach a photocopy of the appeal fee receipt in front of the table of contents. Within ten (10) days from the perfection of appeal of the appeal, the DARRO shall transmit the records and all its accompanying envelopes to the BALA. To enforce compliance with this Section, the BALA Director may, after due investigation, recommend disciplinary action against the erring DARRO official including the Regional Director when necessary."
6. For cases within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Secretary, records transmittal thereof from the recommending authorities (BALA, CLUPPI, PPLAO, as the case may be) to Office of the Secretary shall likewise strictly follow the provisions of the above-cited Sec. 30 of DAR A.O. 3, s. 2003 insofar as the pagination, the affixing of initials, and the preparation and inclusion of table of contents of all the documents in the case folders, are concerned. Draft Order and case brief should be sealed in separate envelope together with the electronic file saved in a floppy disk. For conversion, exemption, and exclusion cases, the table of contents to be forwarded to the Office of the Secretary shall likewise include a filled-up checklist of documentary requirements indicating therein the documents present and not present pursuant to pertinent AOs (similar in format to the LUC checklist s. 2002 in DAR Memorandum Circular No. 2, s. 2002). Non-compliance thereof shall result in non-acceptance or remand of the cases without prejudice to the filing of disciplinary actions to the employees or officials concerned if warranted. cHITCS
7. In the disposition of all ALI cases submitted for decision/resolution, the mandated periods established in accordance with pertinent rules shall be strictly observed. In cases, where there are numerous backlogs, cases shall be decided in accordance with aging and Office of the Secretary's Certification for immediate resolution (e.g., flashpoint of high-impact priority cases. Cases certified by the Office of the Secretary for immediate resolution shall be resolved within thirty (30) days from the date of submission of the case for resolution.
8. Within 15 days from the receipt of this Circular, the PPLAO, BALA, CLUPPI, and the OSEC Secretariat are hereby directed to submit an inventory of all pending cases before them in the form of matrix containing such information as title/nature of the case, name of parties, docket number, date of application/appeal, and specific status (e.g. for OCI, submitted for resolution). Case status updates following the same format shall likewise be submitted every first Monday of the month.
9. Within the same period, the OSEC Secretariat is likewise directed to submit an inventory of cases with no findings and recommendations from the recommending authorities pursuant to the pertinent rules and regulations as above-mentioned for remand to the appropriate recommending authorities.
For strict compliance.
Diliman, Quezon City, June 28, 2004.
(SGD.) JOSE MARI B. PONCE