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JAIME MORTA, SR. and PURIFICACION PADILLA, petitioners, vs. JAIME OCCIDENTAL, ATTY. MARIANO BARANDA, JR.

,
and DANIEL CORRAL, respondents.

DECISION
PARDO, J.:

What is before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals and the resolution,[2] denying
petitioners' motion for reconsideration and supplemental motion for reconsideration. In its decision, the Court of Appeals dismissed
the petition for review filed before it, ruling that the cases below fall within the jurisdiction of the DARAB.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
On January 10 and 21, 1994,[3] petitioners Jaime Morta, Sr. and Purificacion Padilla filed two (2) cases [4] for damages with
preliminary injunction, with the Municipal Trial Court, Guinobatan, Albay, against respondents Jaime Occidental, Atty. Mariano
Baranda, Jr. and Daniel Corral, which were consolidated pursuant to Rule 31 of the Revised Rules of Court. In the complaints,
petitioners alleged that respondents through the instigation of Atty. Baranda, gathered pilinuts, anahaw leaves, and coconuts from
their respective land, delivered the produce to Atty. Mariano Baranda, Jr., and destroyed their banana and pineapple plants. In Civil
Case No. 481, petitioners claimed damages amounting to P8,930.00, plus costs of suit; in Civil Case No. 482, petitioners claimed
P9,950.00, as damages. The court considered the cases covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure and ordered respondents to
file their answer.
In their answer, respondents claimed that petitioners were not the owners of the land in question. They alleged that the torrens
titles of the land indicated a certain Gil Opiana as the registered owner. Gil Opiana was the father of Josefina Opiana-Baraclan who
inherited the lots upon the former's death. Respondent Jaime Occidental contended that he was a bona fide tenant of Josefina
Opiana-Baraclan. Respondents stated that there was no annotation on the titles establishing petitioners' right over the land. They
denied harvesting the anahaw leaves and coconuts, as well as delivering the produce to Atty. Baranda, Jr.
Thereafter, the Municipal Trial Court ordered the parties to submit affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence on the
factual issues, together with their respective position papers. After respondents' failure to file their position papers within the
prescribed period, the trial court considered the case submitted for decision.
On March 29, 1994, the Municipal Trial Court rendered decision [5] in favor of petitioners. It held that petitioners had been in
actual, continuous, open and adverse possession of the land in question for forty-five (45) years. The decretal portion of the decision
reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants in
both cases as follows:

1) Ordering the defendants not to molest and disturb the peaceful possession of the plaintiffs in the lands in question situated at San
Rafael, Guinobatan;

2) Condemning the defendants in Civil Cases No. 481 to jointly and severally pay the plaintiffs the total amount of P8,130.00
representing the value of the coconuts, pilinuts and anahaw leaves and for the destroyed plants;

3) Ordering the defendants in Civil Cases No. 481 jointly and severally to reimburse the plaintiffs the amount of P202.00 as legal
expenses incurred in filing this suit;

4) Condemning the defendants in Civil Case No. 482 jointly and severally to pay the plaintiffs the total amount of P9,950.00
representing the value of the coconuts and anahaw leaves;

5) Ordering the said defendants in Civil Case No. 482 to jointly and severally reimburse the plaintiffs the sum of P202.00 as legal
expenses in filing this suit.

Guinobatan, Albay, March 29, 1994.

(signed)
JAIME R. REMONTE
Judge[6]
Respondents appealed to the Regional Trial Court, Ligao, Albay. They questioned the trial court's jurisdiction contending that
the case was cognizable by the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudicatory Board (DARAB). They alleged that petitioners engaged
in forum shopping and that the trial court erred in granting the reliefs prayed for.
On August 10, 1994, the Regional Trial Court rendered decision reversing that of the Municipal Trial Court and dismissing the
above cases,[7] ruling that these cases for damages are tenancy-related problems which fall under the original and exclusive
jurisdiction of the DARAB. The court also declared that the filing of Civil Cases Nos. 481 and 482, while a case involving the same
issue was pending before the DARAB, amounted to forum shopping.
On September 9, 1994, petitioners filed a petition for review[8] with the Court of Appeals, contesting the decision of the
Regional Trial Court. On May 31, 1995, the Court of Appeals [9] rendered decision affirming the lower's court ruling that the cases fall
within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of DARAB. However, it ruled that petitioners did not engage in forum shopping.
On June 6, 1995, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration. [10] On June 13, 1995, they filed a supplemental motion for
reconsideration,[11] stressing that there was no tenancy relationship between the parties, as certified by the Municipal Agrarian
Reform Office (MARO).[12]
On December 8, 1995, the Court of Appeals denied the motions. [13]
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.
Petitioners claim that Morta is not a tenant of either Jaime Occidental or Josefina Opiana-Baraclan, as shown by the MARO
certification. They argue that the civil actions for damages are not tenancy-related, and, hence, are properly cognizable by the trial
court, not the DARAB.
We resolve to grant the petition.
It is axiomatic that what determines the nature of an action as well as which court has jurisdiction over it, are the allegations in
the complaint and the character of the relief sought.[14] "Jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined upon the allegations made
in the complaint, irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon a claim asserted therein - a matter resolved only after
and as a result of the trial. Neither can the jurisdiction of the court be made to depend upon the defenses made by the defendant in
his answer or motion to dismiss. If such were the rule, the question of jurisdiction would depend almost entirely upon the
defendant.[15] The complaint filed by petitioners before the Municipal Trial Court is an action for damages for illegal gathering of
anahaw leaves, pilinuts and coconuts, and the destruction of their banana and pineapple plantations. The respondents did not
question the municipal trial court's jurisdiction in their answer. The issue of jurisdiction was raised for the first time on appeal.
For DARAB to have jurisdiction over a case, there must exist a tenancy relationship between the parties. In order for a tenancy
agreement to take hold over a dispute, it would be essential to establish all its indispensable elements, to wit: 1) that the parties are
the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; 2) that the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; 3) that there
is consent between the parties to the relationship; 4) that the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; 5)
that there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and 6) that the harvest is shared between the
landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee.[16] In Vda. de Tangub v. Court of Appeals,[17] we held that the jurisdiction of the
Department of Agrarian Reforms is limited to the following:
a) adjudication of all matters involving implementation of agrarian reform;
b) resolution of agrarian conflicts and land-tenure related problems; and
c) approval and disapproval of the conversion, restructuring or readjustment of agricultural lands into residential,
commercial, industrial, and other non-agricultural uses.
The regional trial court ruled that the issue involved is tenancy-related that falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the
DARAB. It relied on the findings in DARAB Case No. 2413 that Josefina Opiana-Baraclan appears to be the lawful owner of the land
and Jaime Occidental was her recognized tenant. However, petitioner Morta claimed that he is the owner of the land. Thus, there is
even a dispute as to who is the rightful owner of the land, Josefina Opiana-Baraclan or petitioner Morta. The issue of ownership
cannot be settled by the DARAB since it is definitely outside its jurisdiction. Whatever findings made by the DARAB regarding the
ownership of the land are not conclusive to settle the matter. The issue of ownership shall be resolved in a separate proceeding
before the appropriate trial court between the claimants thereof.
At any rate, whoever is declared to be the rightful owner of the land, the case can not be considered as tenancy-related for it
still fails to comply with the other requirements. Assuming arguendo that Josefina Opiana-Baraclan is the owner, then the case is not
between the landowner and tenant. If, however, Morta is the landowner, Occidental can not claim that there is consent to a
landowner-tenant relationship between him and Morta. Thus, for failure to comply with the above requisites, we conclude that the
issue involved is not tenancy-related cognizable by the DARAB.
WHEREFORE, the Court SETS ASIDE the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 35300 and that of the Regional
Trial Court in Civil Cases Nos. 1751 and 1752.
The Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Municipal Trial Court, Guinobatan, Albay, in Civil Cases Nos. 481 and 482, for
damages.
SO ORDERED.
Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., pls. see dissenting opinion.
Melo, J., joins Chief Justice Davide in his dissent.

G.R. No. 103302 August 12, 1993


NATALIA REALTY, INC., AND ESTATE DEVELOPERS AND INVESTORS CORP., petitioners,
vs.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, SEC. BENJAMIN T. LEONG and DIR. WILFREDO LEANO, DAR REGION
IV, respondents.
Lino M. Patajo for petitioners.
The Solicitor General for respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J.:

Are lands already classified for residential, commercial or industrial use, as approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory
Board and its precursor agencies1 prior to 15 June 1988,2 covered by R.A. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law of 1988? This is the pivotal issue in this petition for certiorari assailing the Notice of Coverage3 of the Department of
Agrarian Reform over parcels of land already reserved as townsite areas before the enactment of the law.

Petitioner Natalia Realty, Inc. (NATALIA, for brevity) is the owner of three (3) contiguous parcels of land located in Banaba, Antipolo,
Rizal, with areas of 120.9793 hectares, 1.3205 hectares and 2.7080 hectares, or a total of 125.0078 hectares, and embraced in
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 31527 of the Register of Deeds of the Province of Rizal.

On 18 April 1979, Presidential Proclamation No. 1637 set aside 20,312 hectares of land located in the Municipalities of Antipolo,
San Mateo and Montalban as townsite areas to absorb the population overspill in the metropolis which were designated as the
Lungsod Silangan Townsite. The NATALIA properties are situated within the areas proclaimed as townsite reservation.

Since private landowners were allowed to develop their properties into low-cost housing subdivisions within the reservation,
petitioner Estate Developers and Investors Corporation (EDIC, for brevity), as developer of NATALIA properties, applied for and was
granted preliminary approval and locational clearances by the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission. The necessary permit
for Phase I of the subdivision project, which consisted of 13.2371 hectares, was issued sometime in 1982; 4 for Phase II, with an
area of 80,000 hectares, on 13 October 1983; 5 and for Phase III, which consisted of the remaining 31.7707 hectares, on 25 April
1986.6 Petitioner were likewise issued development permits7 after complying with the requirements. Thus the NATALIA properties
later became the Antipolo Hills Subdivision.

On 15 June 1988, R.A. 6657, otherwise known as the "Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988" (CARL, for brevity), went into
effect. Conformably therewith, respondent Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR, for brevity), through its Municipal Agrarian Reform
Officer, issued on 22 November 1990 a Notice of Coverage on the undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision which
consisted of roughly 90.3307 hectares. NATALIA immediately registered its objection to the notice of Coverage.

EDIC also protested to respondent Director Wilfredo Leano of the DAR Region IV Office and twice wrote him requesting the
cancellation of the Notice of Coverage.

On 17 January 1991, members of the Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Bundok Antipolo, Inc. (SAMBA, for the brevity), filed a complaint
against NATALIA and EDIC before the DAR Regional Adjudicator to restrain petitioners from developing areas under cultivation by
SAMBA members.8 The Regional Adjudicator temporarily restrained petitioners from proceeding with the development of the
subdivision. Petitioners then moved to dismiss the complaint; it was denied. Instead, the Regional Adjudicator issued on 5 March
1991 a Writ of Preliminary Injunction.

Petitioners NATALIA and EDIC elevated their cause to the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB); however, on 16 December 1991 the
DARAB merely remanded the case to the Regional Adjudicator for further proceedings. 9

In the interim, NATALIA wrote respondent Secretary of Agrarian Reform reiterating its request to set aside the Notice of Coverage.
Neither respondent Secretary nor respondent Director took action on the protest-letters, thus compelling petitioners to institute this
proceeding more than a year thereafter.

NATALIA and EDIC both impute grave abuse of discretion to respondent DAR for including undedeveloped portions of the Antipolo
Hills Subdivision within the coverage of the CARL. They argue that NATALIA properties already ceased to be agricultural lands
when they were included in the areas reserved by presidential fiat for the townsite reservation.

Public respondents through the Office of the Solicitor General dispute this contention. They maintain that the permits granted
petitioners were not valid and binding because they did not comply with the implementing Standards, Rules and Regulations of P.D.
957, otherwise known as "The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective Decree," in that no application for conversion of the
NATALIA lands from agricultural residential was ever filed with the DAR. In other words, there was no valid conversion. Moreover,
public respondents allege that the instant petition was prematurely filed because the case instituted by SAMBA against petitioners
before the DAR Regional Adjudicator has not yet terminated. Respondents conclude, as a consequence, that petitioners failed to
fully exhaust administrative remedies available to them before coming to court.
The petition is impressed with merit. A cursory reading of the Preliminary Approval and Locational Clearances as well as the
Development Permits granted petitioners for Phases I, II and III of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision reveals that contrary to the claim of
public respondents, petitioners NATALIA and EDIC did in fact comply with all the requirements of law.

Petitioners first secured favorable recommendations from the Lungsod Silangan Development Corporation, the agency tasked to
oversee the implementation of the development of the townsite reservation, before applying for the necessary permits from the
Human Settlements Regulatory
Commission. 10 And, in all permits granted to petitioners, the Commission
stated invariably therein that the applications were in "conformance" 11 or "conformity" 12 or "conforming" 13 with the implementing
Standards, Rules and Regulations of P.D. 957. Hence, the argument of public respondents that not all of the requirements were
complied with cannot be sustained.

As a matter of fact, there was even no need for petitioners to secure a clearance or prior approval from DAR. The NATALIA
properties were within the areas set aside for the Lungsod Silangan Reservation. Since Presidential Proclamation No. 1637 created
the townsite reservation for the purpose of providing additional housing to the burgeoning population of Metro Manila, it in effect
converted for residential use what were erstwhile agricultural lands provided all requisites were met. And, in the case at bar, there
was compliance with all relevant rules and requirements. Even in their applications for the development of the Antipolo Hills
Subdivision, the predecessor agency of HLURB noted that petitioners NATALIA and EDIC complied with all the requirements
prescribed by P.D. 957.

The implementing Standards, Rules and Regulations of P.D. 957 applied to all subdivisions and condominiums in general. On the
other hand, Presidential Proclamation No. 1637 referred only to the Lungsod Silangan Reservation, which makes it a special law. It
is a basic tenet in statutory construction that between a general law and a special law, the latter prevails. 14

Interestingly, the Office of the Solicitor General does not contest the conversion of portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision which
have already been developed. 15 Of course, this is contrary to its earlier position that there was no valid conversion. The applications
for the developed and undeveloped portions of subject subdivision were similarly situated. Consequently, both did not need prior
DAR approval.

We now determine whether such lands are covered by the CARL. Section 4 of R.A. 6657 provides that the CARL shall "cover,
regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands." As to what constitutes
"agricultural land," it is referred to as "land devoted to agricultural activity as defined in this Act and not classified as mineral, forest,
residential, commercial or industrial land." 16 The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission confirm this limitation. "Agricultural
lands" are only those lands which are "arable and suitable agricultural lands" and "do not include commercial, industrial and
residential lands." 17

Based on the foregoing, it is clear that the undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision cannot in any language be
considered as "agricultural lands." These lots were intended for residential use. They ceased to be agricultural lands upon approval
of their inclusion in the Lungsod Silangan Reservation. Even today, the areas in question continued to be developed as a low-cost
housing subdivision, albeit at a snail's pace. This can readily be gleaned from the fact that SAMBA members even instituted an
action to restrain petitioners from continuing with such development. The enormity of the resources needed for developing a
subdivision may have delayed its completion but this does not detract from the fact that these lands are still residential lands and
outside the ambit of the CARL.

Indeed, lands not devoted to agricultural activity are outside the coverage of CARL. These include lands previously converted to
non-agricultural uses prior to the effectivity of CARL by government agencies other than respondent DAR. In its Revised Rules and
Regulations Governing Conversion of Private Agricultural Lands to Non-Agricultural Uses, 18 DAR itself defined "agricultural land"
thus —

. . . Agricultural lands refers to those devoted to agricultural activity as defined in R.A. 6657 and not classified as
mineral or forest by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its predecessor
agencies, and not classified in town plans and zoning ordinances as approved by the Housing and Land Use
Regulatory Board (HLURB) and its preceding competent authorities prior to 15 June 1988 for residential,
commercial or industrial use.

Since the NATALIA lands were converted prior to 15 June 1988, respondent DAR is bound by such conversion. It was therefore
error to include the undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision within the coverage of CARL.

Be that as it may, the Secretary of Justice, responding to a query by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform, noted in an Opinion 19 that
lands covered by Presidential Proclamation No. 1637, inter alia, of which the NATALIA lands are part, having been reserved for
townsite purposes "to be developed as human settlements by the proper land and housing agency," are "not deemed 'agricultural
lands' within the meaning and intent of Section 3 (c) of R.A. No. 6657. " Not being deemed "agricultural lands," they are outside the
coverage of CARL.
Anent the argument that there was failure to exhaust administrative remedies in the instant petition, suffice it to say that the issues
raised in the case filed by SAMBA members differ from those of petitioners. The former involve possession; the latter, the propriety
of including under the operation of CARL lands already converted for residential use prior to its effectivity.

Besides, petitioners were not supposed to wait until public respondents acted on their letter-protests, this after sitting it out for almost
a year. Given the official indifference, which under the circumstances could have continued forever, petitioners had to act to assert
and protect their interests. 20

In fine, we rule for petitioners and hold that public respondents gravely abused their discretion in issuing the assailed Notice of
Coverage of 22 November 1990 by of lands over which they no longer have jurisdiction.

WHEREFORE, the petition for Certiorari is GRANTED. The Notice of Coverage of 22 November 1990 by virtue of which
undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision were placed under CARL coverage is hereby SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.

LUZ FARMS, Petitioner, vs.


THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, Respondent.

This is a petition for prohibition with prayer for restraining order and/or preliminary and permanent injunction against the Honorable
Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform for acting without jurisdiction in enforcing the assailed provisions of R.A. No. 6657,
otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 and in promulgating the Guidelines and Procedure
Implementing Production and Profit Sharing under R.A. No. 6657, insofar as the same apply to herein petitioner, and further from
performing an act in violation of the constitutional rights of the petitioner.
As gathered from the records, the factual background of this case, is as follows:
On June 10, 1988, the President of the Philippines approved R.A. No. 6657, which includes the raising of livestock, poultry and
swine in its coverage (Rollo, p. 80).
On January 2, 1989, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform promulgated the Guidelines and Procedures Implementing Production and
Profit Sharing as embodied in Sections 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 (Rollo, p. 80).
On January 9, 1989, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform promulgated its Rules and Regulations implementing Section 11 of R.A. No.
6657 (Commercial Farms). (Rollo, p. 81).
Luz Farms, petitioner in this case, is a corporation engaged in the livestock and poultry business and together with others in the
same business allegedly stands to be adversely affected by the enforcement of Section 3(b), Section 11, Section 13, Section 16(d)
and 17 and Section 32 of R.A. No. 6657 otherwise known as Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and of the Guidelines and
Procedures Implementing Production and Profit Sharing under R.A. No. 6657 promulgated on January 2, 1989 and the Rules and
Regulations Implementing Section 11 thereof as promulgated by the DAR on January 9, 1989 (Rollo, pp. 2-36).: rd
Hence, this petition praying that aforesaid laws, guidelines and rules be declared unconstitutional. Meanwhile, it is also prayed that a
writ of preliminary injunction or restraining order be issued enjoining public respondents from enforcing the same, insofar as they are
made to apply to Luz Farms and other livestock and poultry raisers.
This Court in its Resolution dated July 4, 1939 resolved to deny, among others, Luz Farms' prayer for the issuance of a preliminary
injunction in its Manifestation dated May 26, and 31, 1989. (Rollo, p. 98).
Later, however, this Court in its Resolution dated August 24, 1989 resolved to grant said Motion for Reconsideration regarding the
injunctive relief, after the filing and approval by this Court of an injunction bond in the amount of P100,000.00. This Court also gave
due course to the petition and required the parties to file their respective memoranda (Rollo, p. 119).
The petitioner filed its Memorandum on September 6, 1989 (Rollo, pp. 131-168).
On December 22, 1989, the Solicitor General adopted his Comment to the petition as his Memorandum (Rollo, pp. 186-187).
Luz Farms questions the following provisions of R.A. 6657, insofar as they are made to apply to it:
(a) Section 3(b) which includes the "raising of livestock (and poultry)" in the definition of "Agricultural, Agricultural Enterprise
or Agricultural Activity."
(b) Section 11 which defines "commercial farms" as "private agricultural lands devoted to commercial, livestock, poultry and
swine raising . . ."
(c) Section 13 which calls upon petitioner to execute a production-sharing plan.
(d) Section 16(d) and 17 which vest on the Department of Agrarian Reform the authority to summarily determine the just
compensation to be paid for lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.
(e) Section 32 which spells out the production-sharing plan mentioned in Section 13 —
". . . (W)hereby three percent (3%) of the gross sales from the production of such lands are distributed within sixty (60)
days of the end of the fiscal year as compensation to regular and other farmworkers in such lands over and above the
compensation they currently receive: Provided, That these individuals or entities realize gross sales in excess of five million
pesos per annum unless the DAR, upon proper application, determine a lower ceiling.
In the event that the individual or entity realizes a profit, an additional ten (10%) of the net profit after tax shall be distributed
to said regular and other farmworkers within ninety (90) days of the end of the fiscal year . . ."
The main issue in this petition is the constitutionality of Sections 3(b), 11, 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 (the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law of 1988), insofar as the said law includes the raising of livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage as well as the
Implementing Rules and Guidelines promulgated in accordance therewith.:-cralaw
The constitutional provision under consideration reads as follows:
ARTICLE XIII
x x x
AGRARIAN AND NATURAL RESOURCES REFORM
Section 4. The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular
farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to
receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all
agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into
account ecological, developmental, or equity considerations, and subject to the payment of just compensation. In
determining retention limits, the State shall respect the rights of small landowners. The State shall further provide
incentives for voluntary land-sharing.
x x x"
Luz Farms contended that it does not seek the nullification of R.A. 6657 in its entirety. In fact, it acknowledges the
correctness of the decision of this Court in the case of the Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc.
vs. Secretary of Agrarian Reform (G.R. 78742, 14 July 1989) affirming the constitutionality of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law. It, however, argued that Congress in enacting the said law has transcended the mandate of the Constitution,
in including land devoted to the raising of livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage (Rollo, p. 131). Livestock or poultry
raising is not similar to crop or tree farming. Land is not the primary resource in this undertaking and represents no more
than five percent (5%) of the total investment of commercial livestock and poultry raisers. Indeed, there are many owners of
residential lands all over the country who use available space in their residence for commercial livestock and raising
purposes, under "contract-growing arrangements," whereby processing corporations and other commercial livestock and
poultry raisers (Rollo, p. 10). Lands support the buildings and other amenities attendant to the raising of animals and birds.
The use of land is incidental to but not the principal factor or consideration in productivity in this industry. Including
backyard raisers, about 80% of those in commercial livestock and poultry production occupy five hectares or less. The
remaining 20% are mostly corporate farms (Rollo, p. 11).
On the other hand, the public respondent argued that livestock and poultry raising is embraced in the term "agriculture" and the
inclusion of such enterprise under Section 3(b) of R.A. 6657 is proper. He cited that Webster's International Dictionary, Second
Edition (1954), defines the following words:
"Agriculture — the art or science of cultivating the ground and raising and harvesting crops, often, including also, feeding,
breeding and management of livestock, tillage, husbandry, farming.
It includes farming, horticulture, forestry, dairying, sugarmaking . . .
Livestock — domestic animals used or raised on a farm, especially for profit.
Farm — a plot or tract of land devoted to the raising of domestic or other animals." (Rollo, pp. 82-83).
The petition is impressed with merit.
The question raised is one of constitutional construction. The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter
assure the realization of the purpose of the framers in the adoption of the Constitution (J.M. Tuazon & Co. vs. Land Tenure
Administration, 31 SCRA 413 [1970]).: rd
Ascertainment of the meaning of the provision of Constitution begins with the language of the document itself. The words used in the
Constitution are to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed in which case the significance thus
attached to them prevails (J.M. Tuazon & Co. vs. Land Tenure Administration, 31 SCRA 413 [1970]).
It is generally held that, in construing constitutional provisions which are ambiguous or of doubtful meaning, the courts may consider
the debates in the constitutional convention as throwing light on the intent of the framers of the Constitution. It is true that the intent
of the convention is not controlling by itself, but as its proceeding was preliminary to the adoption by the people of the Constitution
the understanding of the convention as to what was meant by the terms of the constitutional provision which was the subject of the
deliberation, goes a long way toward explaining the understanding of the people when they ratified it (Aquino, Jr. v. Enrile, 59 SCRA
183 [1974]).
The transcripts of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 on the meaning of the word "agricultural," clearly show
that it was never the intention of the framers of the Constitution to include livestock and poultry industry in the coverage of the
constitutionally-mandated agrarian reform program of the Government.
The Committee adopted the definition of "agricultural land" as defined under Section 166 of R.A. 3844, as laud devoted to any
growth, including but not limited to crop lands, saltbeds, fishponds, idle and abandoned land (Record, CONCOM, August 7, 1986,
Vol. III, p. 11).
The intention of the Committee is to limit the application of the word "agriculture." Commissioner Jamir proposed to insert the word
"ARABLE" to distinguish this kind of agricultural land from such lands as commercial and industrial lands and residential properties
because all of them fall under the general classification of the word "agricultural". This proposal, however, was not considered
because the Committee contemplated that agricultural lands are limited to arable and suitable agricultural lands and therefore, do
not include commercial, industrial and residential lands (Record, CONCOM, August 7, 1986, Vol. III, p. 30).
In the interpellation, then Commissioner Regalado (now a Supreme Court Justice), posed several questions, among others, quoted
as follows:
x x x
"Line 19 refers to genuine reform program founded on the primary right of farmers and farmworkers. I wonder if it means
that leasehold tenancy is thereby proscribed under this provision because it speaks of the primary right of farmers and
farmworkers to own directly or collectively the lands they till. As also mentioned by Commissioner Tadeo, farmworkers
include those who work in piggeries and poultry projects.
I was wondering whether I am wrong in my appreciation that if somebody puts up a piggery or a poultry project and for that
purpose hires farmworkers therein, these farmworkers will automatically have the right to own eventually, directly or
ultimately or collectively, the land on which the piggeries and poultry projects were constructed. (Record, CONCOM,
August 2, 1986, p. 618).
x x x
The questions were answered and explained in the statement of then Commissioner Tadeo, quoted as follows:
x x x
"Sa pangalawang katanungan ng Ginoo ay medyo hindi kami nagkaunawaan. Ipinaaalam ko kay Commissioner Regalado
na hindi namin inilagay ang agricultural worker sa kadahilanang kasama rito ang piggery, poultry at livestock workers. Ang
inilagay namin dito ay farm worker kaya hindi kasama ang piggery, poultry at livestock workers (Record, CONCOM, August
2, 1986, Vol. II, p. 621).
It is evident from the foregoing discussion that Section II of R.A. 6657 which includes "private agricultural lands devoted to
commercial livestock, poultry and swine raising" in the definition of "commercial farms" is invalid, to the extent that the aforecited
agro-industrial activities are made to be covered by the agrarian reform program of the State. There is simply no reason to include
livestock and poultry lands in the coverage of agrarian reform. (Rollo, p. 21).
Hence, there is merit in Luz Farms' argument that the requirement in Sections 13 and 32 of R.A. 6657 directing "corporate farms"
which include livestock and poultry raisers to execute and implement "production-sharing plans" (pending final redistribution of their
landholdings) whereby they are called upon to distribute from three percent (3%) of their gross sales and ten percent (10%) of their
net profits to their workers as additional compensation is unreasonable for being confiscatory, and therefore violative of due process
(Rollo, p. 21).:-cralaw
It has been established that this Court will assume jurisdiction over a constitutional question only if it is shown that the essential
requisites of a judicial inquiry into such a question are first satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual case or controversy involving a
conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination, the constitutional question must have been opportunely raised by the
proper party, and the resolution of the question is unavoidably necessary to the decision of the case itself (Association of Small
Landowners of the Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, G.R. 78742; Acuna v. Arroyo, G.R. 79310; Pabico v. Juico,
G.R. 79744; Manaay v. Juico, G.R. 79777, 14 July 1989, 175 SCRA 343).
However, despite the inhibitions pressing upon the Court when confronted with constitutional issues, it will not hesitate to declare a
law or act invalid when it is convinced that this must be done. In arriving at this conclusion, its only criterion will be the Constitution
and God as its conscience gives it in the light to probe its meaning and discover its purpose. Personal motives and political
considerations are irrelevancies that cannot influence its decisions. Blandishment is as ineffectual as intimidation, for all the
awesome power of the Congress and Executive, the Court will not hesitate "to make the hammer fall heavily," where the acts of
these departments, or of any official, betray the people's will as expressed in the Constitution (Association of Small Landowners of
the Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, G.R. 78742; Acuna v. Arroyo, G.R. 79310; Pabico v. Juico, G.R. 79744;
Manaay v. Juico, G.R. 79777, 14 July 1989).
Thus, where the legislature or the executive acts beyond the scope of its constitutional powers, it becomes the duty of the judiciary
to declare what the other branches of the government had assumed to do, as void. This is the essence of judicial power conferred
by the Constitution "(I)n one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law" (Art. VIII, Section 1 of the 1935
Constitution; Article X, Section I of the 1973 Constitution and which was adopted as part of the Freedom Constitution, and Article
VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution) and which power this Court has exercised in many instances (Demetria v. Alba, 148 SCRA
208 [1987]).
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. Sections 3(b), 11, 13 and 32 of R.A. No. 6657 insofar as the
inclusion of the raising of livestock, poultry and swine in its coverage as well as the Implementing Rules and Guidelines promulgated
in accordance therewith, are hereby DECLARED null and void for being unconstitutional and the writ of preliminary injunction issued
is hereby MADE permanent.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-16439 July 20, 1961


ANTONIO GELUZ, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and OSCAR LAZO, respondents.
Mariano H. de Joya for petitioner.
A.P. Salvador for respondents.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:

This petition for certiorari brings up for review question whether the husband of a woman, who voluntarily procured her abortion,
could recover damages from physician who caused the same.

The litigation was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila by respondent Oscar Lazo, the of Nita Villanueva, against
petitioner Antonio Geluz, a physician. Convinced of the merits of the complaint upon the evidence adduced, the trial court rendered
judgment favor of plaintiff Lazo and against defendant Geluz, ordering the latter to pay P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00 attorney's
fees and the costs of the suit. On appeal, Court of Appeals, in a special division of five, sustained the award by a majority vote of
three justices as against two, who rendered a separate dissenting opinion.

The facts are set forth in the majority opinion as follows:

Nita Villanueva came to know the defendant (Antonio Geluz) for the first time in 1948 — through her aunt Paula Yambot. In
1950 she became pregnant by her present husband before they were legally married. Desiring to conceal her pregnancy
from her parent, and acting on the advice of her aunt, she had herself aborted by the defendant. After her marriage with the
plaintiff, she again became pregnant. As she was then employed in the Commission on Elections and her pregnancy
proved to be inconvenient, she had herself aborted again by the defendant in October 1953. Less than two years later, she
again became pregnant. On February 21, 1955, accompanied by her sister Purificacion and the latter's daughter Lucida,
she again repaired to the defendant's clinic on Carriedo and P. Gomez streets in Manila, where the three met the
defendant and his wife. Nita was again aborted, of a two-month old foetus, in consideration of the sum of fifty pesos,
Philippine currency. The plaintiff was at this time in the province of Cagayan, campaigning for his election to the provincial
board; he did not know of, nor gave his consent, to the abortion.

It is the third and last abortion that constitutes plaintiff's basis in filing this action and award of damages. Upon application of the
defendant Geluz we granted certiorari.

The Court of Appeals and the trial court predicated the award of damages in the sum of P3,000.06 upon the provisions of the initial
paragraph of Article 2206 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. This we believe to be error, for the said article, in fixing a minimum
award of P3,000.00 for the death of a person, does not cover the case of an unborn foetus that is not endowed with personality.
Under the system of our Civil Code, "la criatura abortiva no alcanza la categoria de persona natural y en consscuencia es un ser no
nacido a la vida del Derecho" (Casso-Cervera, "Diccionario de Derecho Privado", Vol. 1, p. 49), being incapable of having rights and
obligations.

Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains primarily to the one injured, it is easy to see
that if no action for such damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn child on account of the injuries it received, no such
right of action could derivatively accrue to its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf of the unborn
child, the same was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to anyone can take place from on that lacked juridical
personality (or juridical capacity as distinguished from capacity to act). It is no answer to invoke the provisional personality of a
conceived child (conceptus pro nato habetur) under Article 40 of the Civil Code, because that same article expressly limits such
provisional personality by imposing the condition that the child should be subsequently born alive: "provided it be born later with the
condition specified in the following article". In the present case, there is no dispute that the child was dead when separated from its
mother's womb.

The prevailing American jurisprudence is to the same effect; and it is generally held that recovery can not had for the death of an
unborn child (Stafford vs. Roadway Transit Co., 70 F. Supp. 555; Dietrich vs. Northampton, 52 Am. Rep. 242; and numerous cases
collated in the editorial note, 10 ALR, (2d) 639).

This is not to say that the parents are not entitled to collect any damages at all. But such damages must be those inflicted directly
upon them, as distinguished from the injury or violation of the rights of the deceased, his right to life and physical integrity. Because
the parents can not expect either help, support or services from an unborn child, they would normally be limited to moral damages
for the illegal arrest of the normal development of the spes hominis that was the foetus, i.e., on account of distress and anguish
attendant to its loss, and the disappointment of their parental expectations (Civ. Code Art. 2217), as well as to exemplary damages,
if the circumstances should warrant them (Art. 2230). But in the case before us, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals have
not found any basis for an award of moral damages, evidently because the appellee's indifference to the previous abortions of his
wife, also caused by the appellant herein, clearly indicates that he was unconcerned with the frustration of his parental hopes and
affections. The lower court expressly found, and the majority opinion of the Court of Appeals did not contradict it, that the appellee
was aware of the second abortion; and the probabilities are that he was likewise aware of the first. Yet despite the suspicious
repetition of the event, he appeared to have taken no steps to investigate or pinpoint the causes thereof, and secure the punishment
of the responsible practitioner. Even after learning of the third abortion, the appellee does not seem to have taken interest in the
administrative and criminal cases against the appellant. His only concern appears to have been directed at obtaining from the doctor
a large money payment, since he sued for P50,000.00 damages and P3,000.00 attorney's fees, an "indemnity" claim that, under the
circumstances of record, was clearly exaggerated.

The dissenting Justices of the Court of Appeals have aptly remarked that:

It seems to us that the normal reaction of a husband who righteously feels outraged by the abortion which his wife has
deliberately sought at the hands of a physician would be highminded rather than mercenary; and that his primary concern
would be to see to it that the medical profession was purged of an unworthy member rather than turn his wife's indiscretion
to personal profit, and with that idea in mind to press either the administrative or the criminal cases he had filed, or both,
instead of abandoning them in favor of a civil action for damages of which not only he, but also his wife, would be the
beneficiaries.

It is unquestionable that the appellant's act in provoking the abortion of appellee's wife, without medical necessity to warrant it, was
a criminal and morally reprehensible act, that can not be too severely condemned; and the consent of the woman or that of her
husband does not excuse it. But the immorality or illegality of the act does not justify an award of damage that, under the
circumstances on record, have no factual or legal basis.

The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint ordered dismissed. Without costs.

Let a copy of this decision be furnished to the Department of Justice and the Board of Medical Examiners for their information and
such investigation and action against the appellee Antonio Geluz as the facts may warrant.

G.R. No. 85611 April 6, 1990


VICTORIANO ZAMORAS, petitioner,
vs.
ROQUE SU, JR., ANITA SU HORTELLANO and NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, respondents.

GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:

The issue in this petition is whether, upon the established facts, the petitioner was an employee or tenant of the private respondents.

The petitioner, Victoriano Zamoras, was hired by the respondent, Roque Su, Jr., in 1957 as overseer of his coconut land in
Asenario, Dapitan City. Zamoras was charged with the task of having the land titled in Su's name, and of assigning portions to be
worked by tenants, supervising the cleaning, planting, care and cultivation of the land, the harvesting of coconuts and selling of the
copra. As compensation, Su paid Zamoras a salary of P2,400 per month plus one-third (1/3) of the proceeds of the sales of copra
which normally occurred every two months. Another one-third of the proceeds went to the tenants and the other third to Su. This
system of sharing was regularly observed up to September, 1981. As the coconut plantation yielded an average harvest of 21,000
nuts worth P18,900, based on the current market price of P3 per kilo, Zamoras' share amounted to P6,300 every two months.

In May, 1981, Su informed Zamoras in writing that he obtained a loan from the other respondent, Anita Su Hortellano, and that he
authorized her to harvest the coconuts from his property "while the loan was outstanding" (p. 8, Rollo). Su sent Zamoras a letter
dated May 29, 1981 informing him that he was being laid-off temporarily until Su could obtain a loan from the Development Bank of
the Philippines with which to pay Anita. However, Zamoras was not allowed anymore to work as overseer of the plantation. Without
his knowledge and consent, Hortellano harvested the coconuts without giving him his one-third share of the copra sales.

On August 8, 1983, Zamoras filed in the Regional Arbitration Branch of the Ministry of Labor and Employment in Zamboanga City a
complaint against Roque Su, Jr. and Anita Su Hortellano for illegal termination and breach of contract with damages of not less than
P75,600 as his uncollected share of the copra sales from September 15, 1981 to August 1983.

The officer-in-charge of the NLRC Sub-Regional Office in Dipolog City who investigated the case submitted the following findings
which were adopted by the Labor Arbiter
The record would show that the respondent, Atty. Roque Su, Jr., is a resident of 976-A Gerardo Avenue Extension, Lahug, Cebu
City and at the same time an employee in the government up to the present, while the land wherein the complainant herein was
employed by the respondent as overseer of the land since 1957 up to and until his termination from the service sometime in
September 1981 without just cause or causes duly authorized by law and after due process. That to prove that complainant was the
overseer of the land owned by the respondent are the sworn declaration of the three witnesses, namely: Vicente Amor, Narcisa
Arocha, and Wilfredo Bernaldes who are presently working as tenants of the respondent. That the three witnesses testified that they
knew the complainant personally who has been working as overseer of the land because it was through him, the complainant, that
they were allowed to work and/or occupy the land as tenants ever since up to the present. In fact, they further declared that they do
not know personally the owner of the land and besides, they have not seen personally the said owner as their dealing were directly
done thru the complainant. That they always received their share of the produce from the complainant for every two months up to
1981.

xxx xxx xxx

It is very clear in the evidence of record that complainant was an employee of the respondent. This fact is even admitted by the
respondent in his answer by way of controverting the claim of the complainant. (pp. 44-45, Rollo.)

On July 30, 1986, the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision holding that Zamoras, as overseer of the respondent's plantation, was a
regular employee whose services were necessary and desirable to the usual trade or business of his employer. The Labor Arbiter
held that the dismissal of Zamoras was without just cause, hence, illegal. The private respondents were ordered to reinstate him to
his former position as overseer of the plantation and to pay him backwages equivalent to P31,975.83 in the event that he opted not
to be reinstated or that his reinstatement was not feasible.

The private respondents appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission, alleging that the Labor Arbiter erred:

1. in disregarding respondents' evidence (a financial report showing the yearly copra sales from 1973 to 1977), proving that
complainant's one-third share of the copra sales amounted to P5,985.16 only and not P6,300 per harvest;

2. in not holding that the complainant can no longer be reinstated for he is already dead; and

3. in not finding that no employer-employee relationship existed between the parties.

On September 16, 1988, the NLRC rendered a decision reversing the Labor Arbiter. It held that "the right to control test used in
determining the existence of an employer-employee relationship is unavailing in the instant case and that what exists between the
parties is a landlord-tenant relationship" (p. 32, Rollo), because such functions as introducing permanent improvements on the land,
assigning portions to tenants, supervising the cleaning, planting, care and cultivation of the plants, and deciding where and to whom
to sell the copra are attributes of a landlord-tenant relationship, hence, jurisdiction over the case rests with the Court of Agrarian
Relations.

Zamoras filed this petition, assailing the NLRC's decision.

There is merit in the petition.

The NLRC's conclusion that a landlord-tenant relationship existed between Su and Zamoras is not supported by the evidence which
shows that Zamoras was hired by Su not as a tenant but as overseer of his coconut plantation. As overseer, Zamoras hired the
tenants and assigned their respective portions which they cultivated under Zamoras' supervision. The tenants dealt directly with
Zamoras and received their one-third share of the copra produce from him. The evidence also shows that Zamoras, aside from
doing administrative work for Su, regularly managed the sale of copra processed by the tenants. There is no evidence that Zamoras
cultivated any portion of Su's land personally or with the aid of his immediate farm household. In fact the respondents never raised
the issue of tenancy in their answer.

Under Section 5 (a) of R.A. No. 1199, a tenant is "a person who by himself, or with the aid available from within his immediate
household, cultivates the land belonging to or possessed by another, with the latter's consent for purposes of production, sharing the
produce with the landholder or for a price certain or ascertainable in produce or in money or both, under the leasehold tenancy
system" (Matienzo vs. Servidad, 107 SCRA 276). Agricultural tenancy is defined as "the physical possession by a person of land
devoted to agriculture, belonging to or legally possessed by another for the purpose of production through the labor of the former
and of the members of his immediate farm household in consideration of which the former agrees to share the harvest with the latter
or to pay a price certain or ascertainable, whether in produce or in money, or both" (Sec. 3, R.A. No. 1199; 50 O.G. 4655-56; Miguel
Carag vs. CA, et al., 151 SCRA 44).

The essential requisites of a tenancy relationship are: (1) the parties are the landholder and the tenant; (2) the subject is the
agricultural holding; (3) there is consent between the parties; (4) the purpose is agricultural production; (5) there is personal
cultivation by the tenant; and (6) there is a sharing of harvests between landlord and tenant (Antonio Castro vs. CA and De la Cruz,
G.R. L-34613, January 26, 1989; Tiongson vs. CA, 130 SCRA 482; Guerrero vs. CA, 142 SCRA 138).

The element of personal cultivation of the land, or with the aid of his farm household, essential in establishing a landlord-tenant or a
lessor-lessee relationship, is absent in the relationship between Su and Zamoras (Co vs. IAC, 162 SCRA 390; Graza vs. CA, 163
SCRA 39), for Zamoras did not cultivate any part of Su's plantation either by himself or with the help of his household.

On the other hand, the following circumstances are indicative of an employer-employee relationship between them:

1. Zamoras was selected and hired by Su as overseer of the coconut plantation.

2. His duties were specified by Su.

3. Su controlled and supervised the performance of his duties. He determined to whom Zamoras should sell the copra
produced from the plantation.

4. Su paid Zamoras a salary of P2,400 per month plus one-third of the copra sales every two months as compensation for
managing the plantation.

Since Zamoras was an employee, not a tenant of Su, it is the NLRC, not the Court of Agrarian Relations, that has jurisdiction to try
and decide Zamora's complaint for illegal dismissal (Art. 217, Labor Code; Manila Mandarin Employees Union vs. NLRC, 154 SCRA
368; Jacqueline Industries Dunhill Bags Industries, et al. vs. NLRC, et al., 69 SCRA 242).

WHEREFORE, the assailed decision is reversed and a new one is entered, declaring Zamoras to be an employee of respondent
Roque Su, Jr. and that his dismissal was illegal and without lawful cause. He is entitled to reinstatement with backwages, but
because he is dead and may no longer be reinstated, the private respondents are ordered to pay to his heirs the backwages due
him, as well as his share of the copra sales from the plantation for a period of three (3) years from his illegal dismissal in September,
1981, plus separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. Costs against the private respondents.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Medialdea, JJ., concur.