PHILIPPINES: Farmers evicted from their land without due process 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the lack of due process in the eviction of fifty families, nineteen of whom were farmer beneficiaries under the land reform program in Davao City. The eviction and demolition of their homes was executed by a sheriff of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), a quasi-judicial body which hears cases involving land reform. This action was taken despite a pending appeal by the farmers to the same office against the execution of the demolition.

CASE NARRATIVE(According to information received from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)-Mindanao)

In March and April 2010, Adelaido Caminade, a sheriff attached to the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) in Davao City, carried out the eviction and demolition of the homes of 50 families. Nineteen are farmer beneficiaries who had been awarded the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) in 1991 by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

The CLOA covers 39.794 of the total 42.9314 hectares of land located in Santo Niño village of Tugbok District, Davao City. In 1991, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), a government agency responsible in implementing land reform, had subjected the property to Compulsory Acquisition (CA).

Under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform law, 1988, once the property was subjected to a CA, the government could repossess the land. The land owner in this case, the Philippine Banking Corporation (Philbanking), had opposed the CA and appealed for the exemption of their property under the land reform; however, they filed their opposition with the regular court, not with the DAR.

Regular courts have no jurisdiction over cases involving land dispute and implementing the land reform program.

It was only on August 1998 that two persons, Loreto Nicolas and Olimpio Cruz, officially registered their opposition to the DAR in Davao City regarding the recovering of their property for redistribution. They claim to be the lawful owners by virtue of the Deed of Assignment executed by the Philippine Banking Corporation on March 28 1994, who had designated them as assignees and successors. They demanded the cancellation of CLOA that the farmers were holding.

Furthermore, they argued that the contested land should not have been slated for redistribution because it was not classified as agricultural land. Under the law, landholdings that are not classified as agricultural land are exempted from land reform distribution. Also, they claim that the contested area has been classified as Urban/Urbanizing Zone under the approved Comprehensive Zoning Map of the City of Davao.

In May 1999, the DAR issued a decision in favor of Nicolas and Cruz. The famers immediately filed an appeal on June 30 1999 to the appellate board of the DARAB in Quezon City, Metro Manila, asking the latter to reverse their decision. Under the law, the DAR’s decision could not be executed until the case is decided with finality by the court. Any legal action involving the re-disposition of the land should have been put on hold.

However, despite the farmer’s pending appeal, Nicolas and Cruz, allegedly in connivance with the Registry of Deeds in Davao City were able to cancel the two land titles the farmers were holding. The property was divided into six land titles under the names of Nicolas and Cruz. They then sold one of them to another party, Marciano and Judith Tapiador who are husband and wife. In 2005, the legal counsel of the farmers took legal action against Nicolas, Cruz and the Tapiador couple.

After a lengthy court battle and numerous appeals, the Court of Appeals and subsequently the Supreme Court had rendered its decision regarding the lawful owners of the contested land. Firstly, on October 2004, the Court of Appeals held in favor of Nicolas and Cruz as to the ownership of the land. In its decision, however, it ruled that the farmers had the right to:

Maintain the private respondents members of the ARBA and Farmers Association of Davao-KMPI in their peaceful possession and cultivation over their respective landholdings in this case if they and/or predecessors-in-interest were already tenants over the same prior to June 15,1988 and

The decision had also been affirmed by the Supreme Court in its judgment promulgated on October 6 2008.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, the DARAB in Davao City issued a writ of execution on March 2010, over a year after the decision, for the demolition of the houses claiming that their appeal in court had already been denied. The farmers filed a motion for reconsideration with the DARAB to prevent them from executing the writ of demolition.

Under the law, unless the Supreme Court decides with finality in a case, any further legal action must be put on hold. In this instance, the execution of orders/decision of the court, as the case itself was subject to appeal. Thus, the sheriff in pushing through the evictions and demolishing the houses, fruit trees and properties deprived the fundamental rights of the farmers such as housing and food, and is illegal.


The affected families consisted of 250 individuals in their own houses. The area had several fruit trees, some 15 to 20 years old, which the farmers had planted. These were cut down during the demolition process (photo 1). The cutting of the fruits trees deprived the farmers of a source of income. The value of the houses destroyed was estimated at 5 million pesos (USD 107,410).

After the eviction, thirty-nine of the affected families had to build makeshift tents along the road in front of their village hall (photo 2). The City Social Services and Development Office (CSWDO),on two occasions, distributed relief goods of rice, sardines and noodles, after visiting the affected families. However, the families still lack the basic needs of sufficient food, proper housing and clothing. Moreover, they are continuously exposed to the risks of hunger and illness due to their primitive living conditions.

Similar to (AHRC-HAC-006-2010), this case, wherein 28 families had been forcibly evicted the demolition was also illegal and the use of force was disproportionate. Use of excessive force is a clear violation of domestic law and international human rights treaties which the State is obliged to uphold. Often, forced eviction is followed by small amounts of aid given by the government to the victims, with the intention of avoiding responsibility for the injustice of the situation.


The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment n7 (GC), has provided guidelines for those who are affected by eviction orders so that they would have access to legal and administrative remedies and procedures. In addition, they should be granted adequate compensation for any property damaged by the eviction with the government taking appropriate measures to ensure that they are offered adequate alternative housing.

The right to land ensured under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is a right of peasants enshrined in Article XIII of Constitution of the Philippines. A study conducted in 2007 revealed that the government failed to implement the CARP to ensure that the peasants are assured the right to food and land. This report published in 2007 by the German Technical Assistance revealed how administrative mismanagement and lack of adequate resources account for the government’s failure to implement CARP and guarantee this right.

Please join us in asking the government to provide immediate relief to the victims and to investigate this case of eviction and demolition.

Please be informed that the AHRC has written a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food and on the Right of Adequate Housing.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Call for a guarantee of right to land for the peasants in Davao

Name of victims: 50 families (250 individuals). 19 families are members of the Agrarian Reforms Beneficiaries Association (ARBA) and are represented by Mrs. Josephine Omictin.
Name of the person in charge of the demolition: Sheriff Adelaido Caminade employed by the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board, Davao City
Date of incident: March 30-31 and April 7 - 8 2010
Place of incident: Barangay (village) Santo Niño, Tugbok District, Davao City, Mindanao

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the eviction of farmers and the demolition of their homes in the absence of due process in Davao City, Mindanao.

According to the information I have received from the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), in March and April 2010, Sheriff Adelaido Caminade, a sheriff attached to the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) in Davao City, forcibly evicted 50 families comprising 250 individuals from their houses in Tugbok District, Mindanao. For four days, the sheriff, accompanied by police officers and a demolition team, bulldozed the houses of the victims. Their fruit trees were also cut down depriving the families of a source of income. The estimated value of the houses destroyed amounts to PHP 5 millions (USD 107,410). 

I am aware that in June 1991, these parcels of land were placed under the governments Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme (CARP),and awarded to the 70 ‘farmers-beneficiaries’ belonging to the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (ARBA) or the Farmers Association of Davao City. A Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) was issued under the name of both organizations. I know that nineteen families who were forcibly evicted were CLOA holders issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform.

I know that after the first two days of demolition, on April 5, 2010 the ARBA, represented by Mrs. Josephine Omictin, filed a Motion for Reconsideration regarding the Writ of Demolition. It is disappointing that despite the pending motion, Sheriff Caminade and his team nevertheless proceeded in demolishing their houses and cutting their fruit trees ignoring the legal process.

When they filed a complaint against the DARAB Adjudicator and Sheriff with the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao in Davao City, Region XI for executing the demolition, their complaint was denied. This has rendered the affected farmers no legal option of holding legally accountable the sheriff, the DARAB officials and the demolition team.

I am also deeply concerned by the disproportionate use of force by the demolition team to clear the area. The destruction of peoples homes and the cutting down of income-producing fruit trees is totally unacceptable. There is a lack of due process which has caused tremendous damage and loss of livelihood to the affected farmers violating their right of property and security. I am therefore demanding an investigation into this matter, particularly in the hasty actions taken by the sheriff. If it is found that the sheriff abused his power by illegally resorting to eviction, demolition and excessive use of force, sanctions must be imposed on him.

I urge you to conduct an immediate inquiry into the action taken by Sheriff Adelaido Caminade in pursuing demolition despite a pending appeal. Also, adequate relief and relocation assistance should be made available to the affected farmers pending the resolution of their case.

I am aware that the nineteen families are legal occupants of the land after they were granted CLOA by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) almost twenty years ago; and that they had been occupying the land before 1991. However, while I understand that there is a continuing legal battle for the ownership of the land, the farmer's right to occupy the land should also be upheld until the case is resolved with finality by the SC. There has been no such observation in this case.

I am deeply concerned that the affected families have to endure living in makeshift tents they themselves built along the side of the road after their eviction. The assistance that they received so far is few kilos of rice, canned goods and noodles from the City Social Services and Development Office (CSWDO). When they sought help from Office of the City Housing in Davao City, they were told that no help for temporary relocation can be expected. It appears that the Barangay officials, headed by their village Chieftain Mr. Asilo Torrejos, failed to submit reports to their office and were asked to come back after two weeks.

I am disappointed by the failure of the authorities to provide adequate assistance to the farmers in their immediate need. The evicted families are composed of poor households whose income comes from raising domestic animals, fruit trees or their jobs as labourers and bicycle rickshaw drivers. Thus, the government's failure, particularly the city government of Davao, and the complicity of the DAR to permit this violation of the farmer's rights, is inexcusable.

Yours sincerely,


1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. The Chairperson 
Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council
15th Floor Banco De Oro Bldg.,
Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Tel: +63 2 811 4159

3. The Commissioner
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188

4. Deputy Director General Jesus A. Verzosa
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
Fax: +63 2724 8763
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763

5. Mrs. Leila de Lima
Department of Justice (DoJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
Fax: +63 2 521 1614

6. Mr. Emilio Gonzalez
Deputy Ombudsman
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military
and Other Law Enforcement Offices
3rd Floor, Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman
1104 Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 926 8747
Tel: +63 2 926 9032

7. Mrs. Celia Capadocia-Yangco
Acting Secretary
Department of Social Welfare and Development
DSWD Bldg., Constitution Hills, Batasan Complex,
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 931 8191 / 931 8068
Telefax: +63 2 931 8191

8. Datu Nasser C. Pangandaman, Al Hadj
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
Eliptical Road, Diliman
Quezon City 1104, Metro Manila
Fax: +63 2 929 3088
Tel: +63 2 929 3460 / 930 0380

Thank you.

Right to Food Programme (
Asian Human Rights Commission (
Document Type : Hunger Alert Case
Document ID : AHRC-HAC-007-2010
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Land rights, Right to food,