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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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0918-9120137 / 9315497 / 927-9487

03 January 2009



The reported decision of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to allow Senate Joint Resolution No. 19 to “lapse into law” is effectively a veto of the projected six-month extension of the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which excluded compulsory acquisition of private agricultural lands.


I have earlier urged the President to veto the joint resolution for limiting the LAD extension to voluntary offer to sell (VOS) and voluntary land transfer (VLT), which makes agrarian coverage at the sole option of landowners and consequently unconstitutional.


The LAD expired after midnight of December 31, 2008 without President Macapagal-Arroyo seasonably approving the joint resolution.


Even if the President allows the joint resolution to “lapse into law” by January 22, 2009 or 30 days after the enrolled copy of the joint resolution was officially received by the Office of the President on December 23, 2008 , there is no more LAD to extend because it has already earlier expired.


Once the deadline sought to be extended has expired, no belated extension could be effected.


The joint resolution could only be allowed to “lapse into law” without the President’s explicit approval if there is sufficient intervening time before the expiration of the deadline and the lapsing into effectivity of the joint resolution.


The requisite intervening period is absent because the LAD expired immediately after December 31, 2008 and the anticipated “lapsing into law” of the joint resolution will still occur on January 22, 2009 or twenty two days after the actual expiration of the LAD.


The joint resolution now belongs to the archives of failed measures and the legislative process is ripe for the enactment of House Bill No. 4077, the original Lagman extension bill, which should now be converted into a LAD revival measure including compulsory acquisition.


After the LAD had expired, the appropriate step is to revive it, which must be done in fealty to the constitutional mandate for the “just distribution of all agricultural lands”, of which 1.3 million hectares are still subject to coverage.