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CA denies Lapanday’s application for TRO, preliminary injunction

QUEZON CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) welcomed the resolution rendered by the Eighth Division of the Court of Appeals, dated Jan. 6, to deny the application of the Lapanday Foods Corp. for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction on the Cease and Desist Order (CDO) issued by DAR Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano last Dec. 16.

Following the request of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc. (MARBAI) for intervention, the agrarian reform chief issued the CDO “prohibiting Lapanday, its security guards, and all persons acting for and in their behalf, from forcibly evicting the members MARBAI and from disturbing their peaceful possession and occupation of the property.”

Lapanday challenged the CDO through a Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals, and questioned DAR’s jurisdiction to issue such order stating that it is not granted by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) or Republic Act No. 6657.

However, the resolution issued by the court deemed it appropriate to deny Lapanday’s application for TRO and/or preliminary injunction citing that “it may very well give rise to a tug-of-war scenario over the physical possession of the land allocated by the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (Davao del Norte) to MARBAI members.”

Furthermore, the court affirmed that the maintenance of peace and order in the subject landholding is paramount. “Measures undertaken to ensure such condition as directed in the Cease and Desist Order should not be interfered until the final adjudication of the merits of the petition,” the resolution said.

Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Luis Pañgulayan asserted that the DAR Secretary has the original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving agrarian law implementation and primary jurisdiction to adjudicate on matters involving agrarian disputes.

The farmers’ encampment in the disputed area have been the subject of several attacks by alleged goons of Lapanday last December. MARBAI members were reportedly dispossessed of the 145-hectare banana plantation when around 300 security guards forced them out of the landholdings on the last day of 2016.

Earlier at a farmers’ campout in Davao City, Mariano warned Lapanday of contempt if the banana farmers of Tagum are not reinstated to their lands immediately. He promised that no one can prevent DAR from installing the farmers to their farms and announced that he will personally lead their installation.

“The CDO is based on the quasi-judicial powers of the secretary. Any person who ignores or violates the CDO is guilty of contempt. It is time to summon the contempt powers of the DAR Secretary through the proper petition to protect the rights and interest of the MARBAI members,” Pañgulayan added.(DAR)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/1141485868001/ca-denies-lapanday-s-application-for-tro-preliminary-injunction#sthash.MLr0piE6.dpuf


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