Bongbong Marcos orders DAR to resolve ‘vintage’ agrarian reform cases
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to resolve pending “vintage” agrarian reform cases, the agency’s Secretary Conrado Estrella III said on Tuesday.
Estrella said “vintage” cases are those that have been pending from three to 20 years already, adding that there are currently 240 such cases.
“‘Yan ang marching order ng ating Pangulo — ‘Ayusin na ninyo iyan at kung maaari ay wala nang vintage cases because, iyon nga, justice delayed is justice denied.’ Iyan ang sabi ng ating Pangulo,” he said.
(That is the marching order of the President — to resolve vintage cases because justice delayed is justice denied. That is what the President said.)
The DAR chief said there are 2,400 cases still under the Agrarian Law Implementation division, half of which may be resolved soon.
He added that he is set to sign the resolution of 200 more cases by Wednesday, after announcing that DAR has resolved the pending case on Hacienda Tinang.
Lack of lawyers
Estrella lamented the lack of lawyers who could work on pending agrarian reform cases, saying the agency still needs 64 lawyers, of which 30 would be stationed in the Central Office to focus on resolving these pending cases.
“Kaya hindi kami makaarangkada ay kulang kami sa mga abogado and we can only hire lawyers initially na ang suweldo is only P50,000 and it will be difficult for us to hire credible and capable lawyers with only P50,000 a month,” he said.
(That’s why we can’t go full force, because we lack lawyers and we can only hire lawyers that have initially a salary of only P50,000 and it will be difficult for us to hire credible and capable lawyers with only P50,000 a month.)
“What we did in the Agrarian Reform is that iyong mga positions that are unfilled ‘no, we abolished these positions and we merged some of these positions and then we created other positions with higher salaries,” Estrella added.
(What we did is we abolished unfilled positions and we merged some of these positions and then we created other positions with higher salaries.)
He said the vacant positions in the legal department have salaries of at least P84,000.
DAR still has around 500,000 hectares of land to distribute, Estrella said, and the agency aims to finish this backlog before 2028 or the end of Marcos’ term.