Tenants seek DA 7’s aid vs. 2 execs-A A +A
Sunday, March 17, 2013
THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Central Visayas was asked to investigate the alleged failure of its two officials to assist the “distressed tenants” of an agricultural land in Liloan town, Cebu.
Lawyer Ramon Ceniza filed a complaint before DAR 7 accusing municipal agrarian reform officer Manuel Bartolaba and provincial agrarian reform officer Isagani Yee of neglect of duty, abuse of authority and failure to assist his clients.
Ceniza first filed the complaint against Bartolaba and Yee before the anti-graft office, but Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol referred the matter to DAR 7 Director Rodolfo T. Inson for appropriate action.
In the complaint, Ceniza said his clients Remedios Maglasang and her children are tenants of Lot 3721, comprised of 22,242 square meters, in Liloan, Cebu. The agricultural land is registered under the names of Jennifer Siao Lim and Marivic Tan Lim.
Ceniza said his clients are agricultural tenants of the property since 1974. They are facing an ejectment stemming from the decision of the lower court.
But Ceniza said the DAR officials invoked the retention rights of the land ownership despite the owner’s lack of intention to manage or cultivate the land.
The agrarian reform officers issued a memorandum upholding the retention rights of the landowners, which according to Ceniza, violates Republic Act 3844, or the Agricultural Land Reform Code.
Ceniza also cited the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Paris vs. Alfeche, which provides that “tenant farmers are already deemed owners of the land they till, although they are still required to pay the cost of the land, including interest, within 15 years before the title is transferred to them.”
Under the agrarian law, Ceniza said the Maglasangs, being the tenants and tillers of the land for about 39 years, are considered “qualified beneficiaries” pursuant to RA 6657, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 17, 2013.