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G.R. No. 170787. September 12, 2012

The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard. Such process requires notice and an
opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered.


Spouses Jocelyn N. Balatbat and Vicente A. Balatbat were found by the PARAD to have landholdings totaling
25.2548 hectares, which consisted of 9.8683 hectares of riceland and 15.3864 hectares of sugarland. The
9.8683 hectares of riceland was covered by land reform.

Out of the 25.2548 hectares of land owned by respondents, 18.2479 hectares or 182,479 square meters
thereof was under Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 6009. Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer Victorino D.
Guevarra found that in OCT No. 6009, 8.6402 hectares or 86,402 square meters was riceland covered by
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 27 and Executive Order (E.O.) No. 228, while 96,077 square meters was

Title Nos. 181464 and 181469, representing Lots 21-0 and 21-1, were utilized by respondents in a
subdivision/condominium project particularly called Carolina Village II, located at San Juan, Sta. Ana,
Pampanga, while Title No. 181462, representing Lot 21-B, was subdivided among the children of respondents.
The exact area of riceland respondents applied for retention is 8.3749 hectares.

Although 8.6402 hectares was subjected to the Operation Land Transfer Program under P.D. No. 27, as
amended by Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 474, this case involves only 2.9941 hectares or 29,941 square
meters thereof, covered under TCT No. 181466-R, and identified as Lot 21-F of the subdivision plan Psd-03-
005059, being a portion of Lot 21 Sta. Ana Cadastre, situated in the Barrio of San Juan, Municipality of Sta.
Ana, Province of Pampanga. The said Lot 21-F, with an area of 29,941 square meters, was transferred to
petitioner as evidenced by TCT No. 25866, which was registered in the Register of Deeds for the Province of
Pampanga on May 30, 1997, pursuant to Emancipation Patent No. 00728063 issued by the DAR on April 18,
1997. Hence, respondents sought to cancel the said emancipation patent on the ground that they applied to
retain the land covered by it. Respondents first filed an Application for Retention of their landholdings under
P.D. No. 27 on December 24, 1975. However, it was not acted upon. In May 1996, respondents received a
letter from Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer Victorino Guevarra informing respondents of a conference for the
determination of the value of their landholdings and the final survey of the land preparatory to the issuance of
emancipation patents. Respondents alleged that they received a Notice of Coverage on OCT No. 6009 under
R.A. No. 6657 and a final notification to landowner, which notices were all issued by Guevarra.

In a letter respondents, reiterated their application for retention to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
Regional Director, Region III, San Fernando Pampanga, thru the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office, San
Fernando, Pampanga. The DAR Regional Director referred respondents application for retention to the
Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer in San Fernando, Pampanga, which application was later endorsed to
Guevarra. After investigation and verification of the landholdings of respondents, Guevarra recommended to
the DAR Provincial Office, San Fernando, Pampanga that respondents' re-application for retention be denied.

The Register of Deeds for the Province of Pampanga issued TCT No. 25866 to petitioner, pursuant to
Emancipation Patent No. 00728063, which is a portion of the land sought to be retained by respondents. This
prompted respondents to file on February 4, 1998 with the DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudication
Board, Region III, San Fernando, Pampanga a Complaint for annulment of emancipation patent, ejectment
and damages against petitioner Crispino Pangilinan, Municipal Land Officer Victorino D. Guevarra, and the DAR
Secretary. Respondents alleged that although Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer Victorino Guevarra knew that
the land cultivated by petitioner is one of those included in their application for retention, Guevarra, acting in
bad faith and without notice to them and in disregard of their rights and in collusion with petitioner,
recommended for the coverage of their land under Operation Land Transfer.

Thereafter, Emancipation Patent No. 00728063 and TCT No. 25866 were unlawfully issued and registered with
the Register of Deeds of Pampanga on May 30, 1997.

Whether or not petitioner was deprived of his right to be heard and was denied due process of law?


NO. Petitioner invokes these rights because he was not personally furnished a copy of the petition in CA-G.R.
SP No. 85017, which copy was furnished to Mr. Fernando Dizon, his legal counsel before the PARAD and the
DARAB. According to petitioner, the legal services rendered to him by Mr. Fernando Dizon in DARAB Case No.
5357-P'98 was merely an accommodation to him in Mr. Dizon's capacity as Legal Officer for the Legal Services
Division of the DAR. Petitioner asserts that after the case was decided and resolved by the DARAB, the legal
assistance extended to him by Mr. Fernando Dizon ended, simply because Mr. Fernando Dizon is not a full-
fledged lawyer, which the respondents knew very well.

Thus, the Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated May 30, 2005, cannot be enforced against him. Petitioner's
contention lacks merit. Petitioner was not denied due process or the right to be heard as he was furnished
with a copy of the petition through his counsel of record, Mr. Fernando Dizon, who was his legal counsel
before the PARAD and the DARAB.

The Court notes that the applicable DARAB New Rules of Procedure (1994) allows a non-lawyer to appear
before the Board or any of its adjudicators if he is a DAR Legal Officer. As Mr. Dizon was his counsel of record
before the PARAD and the DARAB, it may be presumed that petitioner and Mr. Dizon communicated with each
other as Mr. Dizon even filed a Comment to the Petition for Review filed by respondents before the Court of

The filing of the said Comment would show that petitioner was informed by Mr. Dizon that respondents filed a
Petition for Review of the Decision of the DARAB with the Court of Appeals. Hence, it is the responsibility of
petitioner to engage the services of a lawyer to file a Comment in his behalf and to inform the court of any
change of counsel.

As petitioner had a counsel of record, service was properly made upon the said counsel, absent any
notification by petitioner to the court of circumstances requiring service upon petitioner himself. The essence
of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard. Such process requires notice and an opportunity to be
heard before judgment is rendered.

In this case, petitioner was not denied due process as he was able to file a comment before the Court of
Appeals through his counsel of record, DAR Legal Officer Dizon. Moreover, records show that petitioner, with
the assistance of two lawyers, Atty. Paul S. Maglalang and Atty. Jord Achaes R. David, filed a motion for
reconsideration of the decision of the Court of Appeals. Hence, there was no violation of such rights.

JOSELITO C. BORROMEO v. JUAN T. MINA G.R. No. 193747 June 5, 2013

TOPIC/ DOCTRINE; A void contract is equivalent to nothing; it produces no civil effect; and it does not create,
modify or extinguish a juridical relation.

Petitioner, Borromeo, claiming that he is the owner of the subject land, filed a petition before the
Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO) of Isabela, to seek the cancellation of Minas title based on
emancipation patent and to seek exemption from the coverage of the governments OLT program
under PD 27.
He purchased the said property from its previous owner, Garcia, as evidenced by a notarized deed of
sale. He claimed that since his total agricultural landholdings was only 3.3635 hectares which is below
the retention limits under both PD 27 and Republic Act No. 6647 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Law of 1988) it should have been excluded from the coverage of the OLT program.
The Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) issued a report indicating that the property was
erroneously identified by the office as the property of petitioners father, the late Cipriano Borromeo.
The property was never actually owned by Cipriano, as its true owner was Garcia who later sold the
same to petitioner. The MARO recommended that the subject landholding be exempted from the
coverage of the OLT. The PARO adopted the recommendation and accordingly cancelled
respondents emancipation patent.
Respondent filed an administrative appeal to the DAR regional director, who held that the petitioner,
being the true owner of the property, had the right to impugn its coverage from the governments OLT
program. He declared that the subject landholding to be exempt from OLT coverage because it is
below the retention limits. This was upheld by the DAR Secretary.
CA reversed the DAR Secretarys ruling. It said that the said sale to be null and void for being a
prohibited transaction under PD 27 which prohibits the transfers or alienation of covered agricultural
lands after October 21, 1972, except to the tenant- beneficiaries thereof, of which petitioner was not.

Issue: w/n petitioner can seek exemption from OLT coverage and whether he can seek the cancellation of
Minas emancipation patent. (NO)

HELD: NO, PD 27 prohibits the transfer of ownership over tenanted rice and/or corn lands after October 21,
1972 except only in favor of the actual tenant tillers thereon. The sale by Garcia to petitioner is null and
void. Petitioner cannot assert any right over the subject landholding, such as his present claim for landholding
exemption, because his title springs from a null and void source. A void contract is equivalent to nothing; it
produces no civil effect; and it does not create, modify or extinguish a juridical relation. Hence,
notwithstanding the erroneous identification of the subject landholding by the MARO as owned by Cipriano
Borromeo, the fact remains that petitioner had no right to file a petition for landholding exemption since the
sale of the said property to him by Garcia in 1982 is null and void. Proceeding from this, the finding that
petitioners total agricultural landholdings is way below the retention limits set forth by law thus, becomes
irrelevant to his claim for landholding exemption precisely because he has no right over the aforementioned

ASLP VS. SEC. OF AGRARIAN REFORM [175 SCRA 343; G.R. NO. 78742; 14 JUL 1989]


Several petitions are the root of the case:

A petition alleging the constitutionality of PD No. 27, EO 228 and 229 and RA 6657. Subjects of the petition
are a 9-hectare and 5 hectare Riceland worked by four tenants. Tenants were declared full owners by EO 228
as qualified farmers under PD 27. The petitioners now contend that President Aquino usurped the legislatures

A petition by landowners and sugarplanters in Victorias Mill Negros Occidental against Proclamation 131 and
EO 229. Proclamation 131 is the creation of Agrarian Reform Fund with initial fund of P50Billion.

A petition by owners of land which was placed by the DAR under the coverage of Operation Land Transfer.

A petition invoking the right of retention under PD 27 to owners of rice and corn lands not exceeding seven


Whether or Not the aforementioned EOs, PD, and RA were constitutional.


The promulgation of PD 27 by President Marcos was valid in exercise of Police power and eminent domain.

The power of President Aquino to promulgate Proc. 131 and EO 228 and 229 was authorized under Sec. 6 of
the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution. Therefore it is a valid exercise of Police Power and Eminent
RA 6657 is likewise valid. The carrying out of the regulation under CARP becomes necessary to deprive owners
of whatever lands they may own in excess of the maximum area allowed, there is definitely a taking under the
power of eminent domain for which payment of just compensation is imperative. The taking contemplated is
not a mere limitation of the use of the land. What is required is the surrender of the title and the physical
possession of said excess and all beneficial rights accruing to the owner in favour of the farmer.

A statute may be sustained under the police power only if there is concurrence of the lawful subject and the

Subject and purpose of the Agrarian Reform Law is valid, however what is to be determined is the method
employed to achieve it.