DENR chief urged to resolve decades-old land dispute

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has intervened to resolve the decades-old land dispute  involving a group of farmers that had laid claim on some 20 hectares  of agricultural lands in Tanay, Rizal.

Norlito Eneran, Director for Legal Affairs Services of the DENR-Central Office has directed the Regional Executive Director of DENR- CALABARZON regional office, to act on the pending petition for the cancellation of Survey Plan and Cancellation of the Application of Free patents  in the name of Lualhati Kintanar and Maharlika Kintanar docketed as DENR  Case No. 1V-6480 and DENR Case No. IV-6633.

The protestants include the heirs of Roman Samonte, Lutgardo Pagalunan, Rogelio Ilagan and Edgardo Asuncion and Yolanda Asuncion had earlier asked OIC-DENR Secretary Jim sampulna to act on the pending resolution of the case before the Legal Division of the DENR-CALABARZON Regional Office.   

The protestants sought the help of Sampulna after the Legal Division of DENR-CALABARZON regional office failed to resolve the  aforementioned case after it was remanded to the latter by DENR-CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria on May 21, 2021.        

The protestants led by Alfredo Samonte went to DENR Central Office last January and sought the help of the DENR official to expedite the resolution of the case.

The case stemmed from the disputed property containing some 20 hectares of agricultural land in Barangay Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal which had been the subject litigation  since 1953.

The property was originally claimed by then Municipal Trial Court Judge Esteban Garcia who applied for Homestead Patent with the Bureau of Lands despite the opposition of the protestants who were the actual occupants in the area.

The heirs of Esteban Garcia later sold the property to Roman Kintanar on April 7, 1984 without taking into consideration to diligently conduct ocular inspection on the property to determine if there are occupants and adverse claimants.

Inspite of the pending resolution of the disputed property,  Kintanar was able secure  a subdivision survey for the land which was approved by the DENR in 2003 for the application of Free Patents.

In 2004, Kintanar withdrew the application for Free Patents after he brought the case before the Regional Trial Court Branch 78 in Morong, Rizal where he filed an Application for Judicial Confirmation and Registration for the disputed property.

In 2015, the court granted the withdrawal of the Application for Judicial Confirmation upon the motion filed by  Kintanar.      

The court even cited the forum shopping strategy of Kintanar to secure procedural advantage in their claims over the contested property.

In 2016,  Kintanar applied for Public Land Survey on the property which was approved by Engr. Daniel delos Santos, chief of Surveys and Control Unit of the DENR-Community Environment and Natural Office.

Kintanar had submitted affidavits of two witnesses, Mary Joy Cariaga and Louella Aggarao who claimed that they are residents in the area and attested  that Kintanar and other applicants are the actual occupants of the contested property since 1945.

On the contrary, Antonio Pitoral, the punong barangay of Tandang Kutyo issued a certification that Samonte and other protestants were the actual occupants in the area .

He also certified that Cariaga and Aggarao were not bonafide residents of Barangay Tandang Kutyo.

Based on the premise that they are the actual and legitimate claimants, the protestants filed  a petition with the DENR-CALABARZON regional office for the cancellation of the Survey Plan Ccs-04-007761 and Free Patents Nos.  045812-16-8250 in favor of Maharlika Kintanar; 045812-16-8251 in favor of Maharlika Kintanar; 045812-16-8259 in favor of Lualhati Kintanar and 045812-16-8260 under the name of Lualhati Kintanar.    

Alfredo  Samonte thanked Sampulna for taking action on their plea to expedite the resolution of the case.

“We’re just poor farmers who had been deprived of rights to own a parcel of land that we can develop for agricultural production,” Samonte lamented.  


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