Case Digest: Luz Farms v. Secretary of DAR (G.R No. 86889, December 4, 1990)

[AGRA LAW]

Case Digest: Luz Farms v. Secretary of DAR (G.R No. 86889, December 4, 1990)

FACTS:

In 1988, RA 6657 was approved by the Pres. of the Philippines. It includes the raising of livestock, poultry, and swine in its coverage. Luz Farms is a corporation engaged in the livestock and poultry business allegedly stands to be adversely affected by the enforcement of some provisions of CARP. Luz Farms questions the following provisions of RA 6657, insofar as they are made to apply to it:

(a)     Section 3(b) which includes the “raising of livestock (and poultry)” in the definition of “Agricultural, Agricultural Enterprise or Agricultural Activity.

(b)     Section 11 which defines “commercial farms” as “private agricultural lands devoted to commercial, livestock, poultry and swine raising . . .”

(c)     Section 13 which calls upon petitioner to execute a production-sharing plan.

(d)     Section 16(d) and 17 which vest on the Department of Agrarian Reform the authority to summarily determine the just compensation to be paid for lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law

(e)     Section 32 which spells out the production-sharing plan mentioned in Section 13

“. . . (W)hereby three percent (3%) of the gross sales from the production of such lands are distributed within sixty (60) days of the end of the fiscal year as compensation to regular and other farmworkers in such lands over and above the compensation they currently receive xxx

Luz Farms: argued that livestock or poultry raising is not similar to crop or tree farming. Land is not the primary resource in this undertaking and represents no more than five percent (5%) of the total investment of commercial livestock and poultry raisers.

DAR: argued that livestock and poultry raising is embraced in the term “agriculture” and the inclusion of such enterprise under Section 3(b) of R.A. 6657 is proper. He cited that Webster’s International Dictionary, Second Edition (1954), defines the following words:

“Agriculture — the art or science of cultivating the ground and raising and harvesting crops, often, including also, feeding, breeding and management of livestock, tillage, husbandry, farming.

It includes farming, horticulture, forestry, dairying, sugarmaking . . .

Livestock — domestic animals used or raised on a farm, especially for profit.

Farm — a plot or tract of land devoted to the raising of domestic or other animals.” (Rollo, pp. 82-83).

Hence, this petition praying that aforesaid laws, guidelines and rules be declared unconstitutional. It is also prayed that a writ of preliminary injunction or restraining order be issued enjoining public respondents from enforcing the same, insofar as they are made to apply to Luz Farms and other livestock and poultry raisers.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Sections 3(b), 11, 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 are constitutional.

HELD:

Sections 3(b), 11, 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 insofar as the inclusion of the raising of livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage as well as the Implementing Rules and Guidelines promulgated in accordance therewith, are DECLARED null and void for being unconstitutional and the writ of preliminary injunction issued is hereby MADE permanent.

Section II of R.A. 6657 which includes “private agricultural lands devoted to commercial livestock, poultry and swine raising” in the definition of “commercial farms” is invalid, to the extent that the aforecited agro-industrial activities are made to be covered by the agrarian reform program of the State. There is simply no reason to include livestock and poultry lands in the coverage of agrarian reform.

The transcripts of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 on the meaning of the word “agricultural,” clearly show that it was never the intention of the framers of the Constitution to include livestock and poultry industry in the coverage of the constitutionally-mandated agrarian reform program of the Government.