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Lucia Mapa vda. de dela Cruz, et al. vs.

Adjuto Abille
G.R. No. 130196 (February 26, 2001)

Facts: • To cut a long story short, Herminio Abille filed a Petition for Exemption under Operation Land Transfer (OLT) of
his landholdings alleging that he had beendeprived of his constitutional right to due process since DAR did not notify him
or his representatives of the OLT coverage of his lot. • On April 19, 1989, DAR Regional Director Antonio Nuesa, Region
I, San Fernando,La Union issued an Order denying the petition for exemption and instead merelygranted Herminio Abille
a right of retention of not more than seven (7) hectares. OnJuly 24, 1989, Herminio Abille selected the seven-hectare
retention area whichincluded the area covered by CLT No. 0-064711, hence, said CLT was automaticallycancelled. Even
the Tax Declaration issued in the name of Balbino dela Cruz wascancelled and re-issued in favor of Herminio Abille. •
Meanwhile, petitioners who are the compulsory heirs of Balbino dela Cruz filedwith the DAR a petition for issuance of
Emancipation Patent. In his comment,respondent Adjuto Abille representing Herminio Abille prayed for the dismissal of
the petition by reason of the DAR Order dated April 19, 1989. On the basis of such,on October 21, 1992, Regional
Director Eligio P. Pacis issued an Order denying the petition for issuance of Emancipation Patent. Petitioners filed a
motion for reconsideration praying that another Order be issued declaring as null and void theOrder dated April 19, 1989
on the basis of absence of due process of law. Theysought the reinstatement of CLT No. 0-064711 and the issuance of
an emancipation patent in their favor as compulsory heirs of the late Balbino dela Cruz. • The motion for reconsideration
was treated as an Appeal and elevated to theSecretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform who rendered a Decision
dismissingthe instant motion for lack of merit and instead ordered the preparation of Certificatesof Agricultural Leasehold
(CALs) to the tenants as lessees thereat. Petitioners movedfor reconsideration but the same was denied. They filed a
petition for review with theCourt of Appeals which was also dismissed by the CA in a Decision promulgatedonDecember
5, 1996. Petitioners moved for reconsideration but the same was denied.Hence, this petition.

Issue: • Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in denying the petition for issuance of emancipation patent filed by the
heirs of Balbino dela Cruz?

Held: • We agree with the Court of Appeals that although the petitioners were not given theopportunity to be heard when
Regional Director Antonio Nuesa in his Order datedApril 19, 1989 ordered the cancellation of Certificate of Land Transfer
No. 0-064711on the retained area, nevertheless, in their petition for issuance of an emancipation patent, petitioners were
given such opportunity as they raised in issue the validity of the cancellation of the said CLT, which was resolved by DAR
Regional Director Eligio P. Pacis in his Order dated October 21, 1992, and also in their (petitioners')motion for
reconsideration, which was treated as an appeal by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform and resolved in his Order dated
June 20, 1994. The ess