DOJ OPINION NO. 101, s. 1995
October 5, 1995
Mr. Jesli A. Lapuz
Land Bank of the Philippines
319 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue
S i r :
This has reference to your request for interpretation of the last paragraph of Section 6 of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (R.A. No. 6657), which provides:
"Upon the effectivity of this Act, any sale, disposition, lease, management, contract or transfer of possession of private lands executed by the original landowner in violation of this Act shall be pull and void: Provided, however, that those executed prior to this Act shall be valid only when registered with the Register of Deeds within a period of three (3) months after the effectivity of this Act. Thereafter, all Registers of Deeds shall inform the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) within three (3) days of any transaction involving agricultural lands in excess of five (5) hectares."
Specifically, your query is whether or not "Land Bank can recognize the vendee, transferee or assignee under the registered or unregistered deeds of sale, transfer or assignment executed after the effectivity of R.A. 6657 on June 15, 1988 as the proper party who is entitled to receive the proceeds of the compensation claim, or do we recognize the former owner who has already sold, transferred or assigned his ownership over the property and has received compensation therefor."
It appears that your query was precipitated by the receipt by your office of compensation claim folders from DAR involving transactions under the voluntary offer for sale (VOS) scheme and the compulsory acquisition scheme wherein the land sold to DAR had been the subject of sale, transfer or assignment by the original landowner after the effectivity of R.A. No. 6657. We assume, since this is not clear from your letter, that there is a divergence of positions between the Land Bank and DAR as to the proper payees who should received the compensation for the lands thus acquired by DAR.
We regret we have to decline rendition of opinion on your query. Under Section 50 of R.A. No. 6657, DAR shall have "exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform." The resolution of your query would inevitably impinge upon the action already taken by DAR on the compensation claims forwarded to the Land Bank. As a matter of policy, this Department does not render opinion on matters which fall within the primary jurisdiction of another office or agency, in this case, the DAR, whose rulings and actuations are not subject to its revisory authority (Sec. of Justice Opns. No. 67 and 69, s. 1979; No. 97, s 1982; No. 20, s. 1988; and Nos. 91 and 156, s. 1993).
Moreover, the subject matter of your query involves the substantive rights of private parties, the compensation claimants in this case. Since the opinion of the Secretary of Justice is merely advisory in nature, his opinion would have no binding effect upon said private parties, who, if adversely affected by such opinion may take issue therewith and contest it before the courts (Id., Opns., No. 156, s. 1990; No. 148, s. 1993; No. 3, s. 1994 and No. 6, s. 1995).
It is suggested that the matter be threshed out between the Land Bank and DAR taking into account the purposes and objectives of the CARP, primordial of which is the expeditious distribution of agricultural land to all qualified beneficiaries.
Very truly yours,
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR.