CA grants Aboitiz clan petition to exclude parts of land from CARP
MANILA, Philippines–The Court of Appeals has granted the bid of the Aboitiz clan to exclude 59 hectares of property from the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) coverage. In a 14-page decision by the appeals court’s special 11th division through Associate Justice Victoria Isabel Paredes, the petition filed bythe Aboitiz family led by Jaime Jose Aboitiz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Aboitiz Power Corporation has merit thus reversing the Office of the President’s ruling in 2012.
The appellate court noted that the petitioners main business was cattle-raising and not agricultural business.
“Petitioners have sufficiently shown that the subject lot had been devoted to livestock raising even before the passage of the CARL (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law), and that one of the main consideration for the lease of Lapanday way back in 1975 was to gain access to bananas which replaced the cumbersome method of milling rice and corn to produce bran mixed with molasses and pasture grass, and then used as feed for its cattle herd,” the appeals court said.
The appeals court said the presence of banana trees did not mean that the property was used for agriculture purposes.
“It could not have been the intention of the framers of the Constitution that lands exclusively devoted to livestock which, in the interm, were planted. [with] bananas to address a cattle raisers’ need for food for their cattle and which finally became new grazing land for their cattle would be covered by CARP,” the appeals court added.
Based on the records, the Aboitiz family bought the cattle ranch from Enrique Zobel back in 1970.
On May 2, 2000, the DAR granted a portion of the application but increased the CARP coverage from 51 hectares to 59.09 hectares.
It denied the motion for reconsdieration filed by the Aboitiz family, prompting it to appeal the matter before the OP, but the latter denied the same in a decision on Sept. 7, 2012.
“In the instant case, we find that, contrary to the findings of the OP and its subalterns, the subject lot had always been actually devoted exclusively to livestock farming, with an interim agricultural activity for livestock feeds, even before the enactment of the CARP and thus, exempt from its coverage,” the appeals court said in reversing the OP’s decision.
Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Vicente S.E. Veloso and Pedro Corales.RELATED STORY