Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManilaEN BANCG.R. No. 171101 July 5, 2011HACIENDA LUISITA, INCORPORATED, Petitioner,LUISITA INDUSTRIAL PARK CORPORATION and RIZALCOMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION, Petitioners-in-Intervention,vs.PRESIDENTIAL AGRARIAN REFORM COUNCIL; SECRETARYNASSER PANGANDAMAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIANREFORM; ALYANSA NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG BUKID NGHACIENDA LUISITA, RENE GALANG, NOEL MALLARI, and JULIOSUNIGA1 and his SUPERVISORY GROUP OF THE HACIENDALUISITA, INC. and WINDSOR ANDAYA, Respondents.D E C I S I O NVELASCO, JR., J.:"Land for the landless," a shibboleth the landed gentry doubtless hasreceived with much misgiving, if not resistance, even if only the number ofagrarian suits filed serves to be the norm. Through the years, this battle cryand root of discord continues to reflect the seemingly ceaseless discourseon, and great disparity in, the distribution of land among the people,"dramatizing the increasingly urgent demand of the dispossessed x x x for aplot of earth as their place in the sun." As administrations and politicalalignments change, policies advanced, and agrarian reform laws enacted,the latest being what is considered a comprehensive piece, the face of landreform varies and is masked in myriads of ways. The stated goal, however,remains the same: clear the way for the true freedom of the farmer.Land reform, or the broader term "agrarian reform," has been a governmentpolicy even before the Commonwealth era. In fact, at the onset of theAmerican regime, initial steps toward land reform were already taken toaddress social unrest. Then, under the 1935 Constitution, specificprovisions on social justice and expropriation of landed estates fordistribution to tenants as a solution to land ownership and tenancy issueswere incorporated.In 1955, the Land Reform Act (Republic Act No. [RA] 1400) was passed,setting in motion the expropriation of all tenanted estates.
On August 8, 1963, the Agricultural Land Reform Code (RA 3844) wasenacted, abolishing share tenancy and converting all instances of sharetenancy into leasehold tenancy. RA 3844 created the Land Bank of thePhilippines (LBP) to provide support in all phases of agrarian reform.As its major thrust, RA 3844 aimed to create a system of owner-cultivatorship in rice and corn, supposedly to be accomplished byexpropriating lands in excess of 75 hectares for their eventual resale totenants. The law, however, had this restricting feature: its operations wereconfined mainly to areas in Central Luzon, and its implementation at anylevel of intensity limited to the pilot project in Nueva Ecija.Subsequently, Congress passed the Code of Agrarian Reform (RA 6389)declaring the entire country a land reform area, and providing for theautomatic conversion of tenancy to leasehold tenancy in all areas. From 75hectares, the retention limit was cut down to seven hectares.