September 16, 2005
DAR MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 02-05
TO : The Undersecretary for Field Operations
The Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Legal Affairs
Provincial Agrarian Reform Officers
Municipal Agrarian Reform Officers
SUBJECT : Full Implementation and Continuation of the Land Acquisition and Distribution Process Pursuant to the Provisions of DAR Memorandum Circular Nos. 6 and 9, Series of 2004 and the Supreme Court Ruling in the Cuenca Case
On 03 March 2004, DAR Memorandum Circular No. 6, Series of 2004 [Clarificatory Guidelines on the Effect of Injunctions and Temporary Restraining Orders Issued by the Regular Courts on Acquisition and Distribution of Lands Under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)] was issued in response to well-founded and verified information that the availment of injunctions and temporary restraining orders (TROs) before the regular courts has been unduly utilized as a strategy to obstruct, impede, delay or otherwise render ineffective the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program to the detriment of the concerned farmer-beneficiaries. ICASEH
Said guideline affirmed the policy against the issuance by regular courts of TROs and injunctions directed against the PARC 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 the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) and other pertinent laws on agrarian reform, as enunciated under Section 35 of R.A. 6657.
In view thereof, it enjoined that all concerned DAR officials and employees should continue with the acquisition and distribution process despite the threat of, or actual issuance of temporary restraining orders or injunctions issued by the regular courts in order to obstruct, impede, delay or otherwise render ineffective the said process.
On 13 May 2004, DAR Memorandum Circular No. 9, Series of 2004 (Supplemental Guidelines to Memorandum Circular No. 06, Series of 2004, Providing Legal Assistance to DAR Officials and Employees Unjustly Charged in Court or Other Government Bodies in the Performance of their Duties, and Creating the Legal Support Fund for the Purpose) was subsequently issued bolstering DAR M.C. No. 6, Series of 2004. It further clarified the effect of injunctions and temporary restraining orders issued by regular courts on the acquisition and distribution of lands under the CARP.
However, notwithstanding the two (2) aforementioned guidelines, CARP implementors continue to be apprehensive in fully implementing the acquisition and distribution process for fear of retaliatory or contempt actions by the landowners and regular court judges who issued the TROs and/or injunctions.
The issue has now been laid to rest with the issuance of the Supreme Court Ruling in DAR vs. Cuenca (G.R. No. 154112 dated 23 September 2004) which has already become final and executory by virtue of the Entry of Judgment dated 09 March 2005, the adjudicatory and dispositive portion of which provide, to wit: TaDAIS
"Having declared the RTCs to be without jurisdiction over the instant case, it follows that the RTC of La Carlota City (Branch 63) was devoid of authority to issue the assailed Writ of Preliminary Injunction. That Writ must perforce be stricken down as a nullity. Such nullity is particularly true in the light of the express prohibitory provisions of the CARP and this Court's Administrative Circular Nos. 29-2002 and 36-2002. These Circulars enjoin all trial judges to strictly observe Section 68 of RA 6657, which reads:
Section 68. Immunity of Government Agencies from Undue Interference. — No injunction, restraining order, prohibition or mandamus shall be issued by the to lower courts against the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in their implementation of the program.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED, and the challenged Decision and Resolution REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the February 16, 2000 Order of the Regional Trial Court of La Carlota City (Branch 63) is ANNULLED and a new one entered, DISMISSING the Complaint in Civil Case 713. The Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein is also expressly VOIDED. No costs. TCcDaE
WHEREFORE, the aforementioned Ruling of the Supreme Court in DAR vs. Cuenca is hereby INVOKED, thus, you are hereby DIRECTED TO CONTINUE the acquisition and distribution process of lands subject of CARP coverage despite the threat of, or actual issuance of temporary restraining orders or injunctions issued by the regular courts in order to obstruct, impede, delay or otherwise render ineffective the said process.
This Memorandum Circular amends or repeals all issuances inconsistent herewith.
Strict compliance is hereby enjoined.
Done in Diliman, Quezon City, September 16, 2005.
(SGD.) NASSER C. PANGANDAMAN