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AGRICULTURAL TENANCY

G.R. No. 72282 July 24, 1989


ANACLETO DE JESUS, petitioner,
vs.
HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, SOCORRO CALIMBAS-MIACO, GUILLERMO CALIMBAS-RODRIGUEZ and
TIRSO CALIMBAS, respondents.

FERNAN, C.J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the resolution of the Court of Appeals promulgated on February 28, 1985 which reconsidered its
previous decision dated July 29, 1984 in A.C. G.R. No. 70261-R entitled "Socorro Calimbas-Miaco v. de Jesus" and reversed the decision of
the Court of First Instance of Bataan (Branch II) dismissing an action for "Recovery of Possession with Damages" for lack of jurisdiction.
The pivotal issue posed by petitioner is whether or not he is an agricultural lessee or a civil law lessee. It is of paramount importance in this
case to appreciate the contradistinction between an agricultural lessee whose security of tenure is guaranteed by the Tenancy Law (Sec. 5(b)
R.A. 1199) and a civil law lessee whose right to work on the land expires in accordance with the terms of the Lease Agreement.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Private respondents are owners of some 7.162 hectares of land in Pilar, Bataan known as Lot No. 513 of Pilar cadastre and covered by TCT
No. T-3975. About four (4) hectares of the above lot is a fishpond possession of which has been in petitioner since 1962 as a lessee. On April
22, 1972, private respondents, as heirs of Spouses Eustacio Calimbas and Modesta Paguio who in their lifetime were the registered owners of
the land, entered into a civil law contract of lease, with petitioner de Jesus and one Felicisima Rodriguez. This contract was to be effective for
2-1/2 years starting January 1, 1972 to July 1, 1974.
Petitioner de Jesus and Felicisima Rodriguez formed a partnership over the fishpond with de Jesus as the industrial partner and Rodriguez as
the capitalist. Upon the expiration of the civil law lease contract on July 1, 1974, Felicisima Rodriguez gave up the lease but petitioner de Jesus
refused to vacate the leased premises despite repeated demands. On December 5, 1975, private respondents filed a complaint for "Recovery of
Possession with Damages" against the petitioner before the Court of First Instance, now Regional Trial Court of Bataan Branch II, docketed as
Civil Case No. 4016, On July 20, 1979, the Court of First Instance of Bataan ruled in favor of petitioner and dismissed the complaint for lack
of jurisdiction. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises above considered, this case is hereby dismissed for lack of jurisdiction without prejudice to the filing of the
same with the proper court with respect to the other incident which is for adjustment and fixing of the rentals. 1
According to the lower court, the fishpond is an agricultural land as held in the case of Tawatao & del Rosario v. Garcia, et al., G.R. No. L-
17649, July 31, 1963 .2 It further held that petitioner is an agricultural lessee and not a civil law lessee, therefore jurisdiction over the dispute
belongs to the Court of Agrarian Relations and not to the Court of First Instance. The bases for holding that petitioner de Jesus is an agricultural
lessee are the following: [1] the land is agricultural; [2] Felicisima Rodriguez testified that she left the lease after the expiration in 1974 and it
was petitioner who managed the fishpond alone, thereby qualifying as an agricultural lessee; and [3] the CFI Judge, motu propio, visited the
fishpond and saw no one but the petitioner working on the fishpond, thereby further strengthening the contention that the land is subject to a
one man cultivation.
Private respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration but it was denied. They appealed to the Intermediate Appellate Court, now Court of
Appeals, and on June 29, 1984, the latter rendered a decision affirming the Court of First Instance of Bataan; to wit:
WHEREFORE, the Order dated July 20, 1979 dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction of the lower court, is hereby AFFIRMED. 3
On Motion for Reconsideration the Intermediate Appellate Court, after a thorough review and assessment of the records for any oversight,
realized its error which was to some extent influenced by the lower court's findings as above discussed and reversed itself in the resolution of
February 23, 1985, holding that petitioner is not an agricultural lessee but a civil law lessee and further ordered the latter to vacate the land. On
the basis of stronger evidence, where petitioner himself admitted that he hired the services of many people other than the members of his family
to cultivate the land, respondent appellate Court ruled that petitioner failed to qualify as an agricultural lessee under the doctrine laid down
in Gabriel v. Pangilinan, 58 SCRA 590 (1974) and as defined in Paragraph 2, Section 166, Chapter XI of the Agricultural Land Reform Code
.4 Moreover, he admitted that he cultivated an adjacent fishpond of 11-1/2 hectares by employing other laborers, whereby he was more correctly
categorized as a business enterpreneur engaged in the fishpond industry.
Hence, the Court of Appeals ruled as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding the Motion for Reconsideration meritorious, the decision sought to be reconsidered is hereby REVERSED
and set aside, except the statement of facts thereof which is hereby incorporated by reference, and a judgment is hereby entered:
1. Declaring the Lease Contract (annex B) between the parties as having been lawfully terminated as of July 1, 1974;
2. Ordering the defendant-appellee and/or any person acting under him, to immediately vacate the land in question including
the fishpond, and restore and deliver the possession thereof to the plaintiffs-appellants in good condition as before;
3. Ordering the defendant-appellee to pay to the plaintiffs-appellants reasonable rentals over the premises at the rate of P
4,000.00 per annum from July 1, 1974 until said appellee shall have completely restored possession thereof to the plaintiffs-
appellants; and
4. Ordering the defendant-appellee to pay plaintiffs-appellants attorney's fees of P 5,000.00 and litigation expenses of P
5,000.00, plus costs.
SO ORDERED. 5
On September 25, 1985, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied. Hence this Petition for Review on certiorari assailing
the Resolution of the Intermediate Appellate Court as not supported by evidence, inconclusive and contrary or violative of applicable laws,
Rules of Court, B.P. 129 and established jurisprudence.
We rule against petitioner.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code was enacted by Congress to institute land reforms in the Philippines. It was passed to establish owner-
cultivatorship and the family size farm as the basis of Philippine agriculture; to achieve a dignified existence for the small farmers free from
pernicious industrial restraints and practices; to make the small farmers more independent, self-reliant and responsible citizens and a source of
a genuine strength in our democratic society. 6
In other words, the Agricultural Land Reform Code was enacted to help the small farmers and to uplift their economic status by providing them
a modest standard of living sufficient to meet a farm family's needs for food, clothing, shelter, education and other basic necessities. The law
further protects the small farmer by conferring upon him security of tenure over the landholding he is working on. The leasehold relation cannot
be extinguished by the mere expiration of the term or period in a leasehold contract or by the sale, alienation or transfer of the legal possession
of the landholding. He can only be ejected by the Court for cause.7 But with this benevolence is his obligation to work on the land by himself
or with the aid of his immediate farm household. By "immediate farm household", the law means the members of the family of the lessee or
lessor and other persons who are dependent upon him for support and who usually help him in his activities. 8
Petitioner de Jesus contends that he is an agricultural lessee because a fishpond is an agricultural land as held in the case of Tawatao v.
Garcia, supra. While this is true, the mere fact that the land is agricultural does not ipso factomake him an agricultural lessee. The law provides
conditions or requisites before he can qualify as one and the land being agricultural is only one of them. Among others, the law is explicit in
requiring the tenant and his immediate family to work the land. 9

1
Thus, petitioner also contends that he is the sole cultivator of the fishpond as supported by the testimony of his former partner, Felicisima
Rodriguez and as found by the trial judge. But on review by the Court of Appeals these allegations gave way to a much stronger evidence-the
judicial admissions of petitioner himself, that he hired many persons to help him cultivate the fishpond. The pertinent portion of his testimony
reads:
Q When you first took possession of the property, how large was this fishpond in question?
A There is only one and a half hectares that could be used sir and this area is the only one that has water.
Q But according to the complainant, the area is now four hectares, can you explain why it has grown to four hectares?
A I had it constructed, this is ricefield and grassland before.
Q Do you mean to tell us that you spent effort and money in improving this fishpond to four hectares?
Atty. Origuera: Leading
Court: Sustained
Q You said you improved the fishpond from one and one-half hectares to four hectares, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you do this by yourself
A With my sons and my father-in-law.
Q You did not employ any other person except your immediate relatives?
A I did sir, I hired many. 10
A disclosure made before the court is a judicial admission and under the rules this cannot be contradicted unless previously shown to have been
made by palpable mistake.11
In the case at bar, there is nothing in the records to show that petitioner committed a palpable mistake in making the above disclosures. Hence,
absent the requisite of personal cultivation, petitioner de Jesus cannot be considered an agricultural lessee. In the case of Evangelista v. Court
of Appeals, 12 this Court held that one cannot be said to be an agricultural lessee if he has not personally or by his farm household cultivated
the land in question.
Moreover, it is an undisputed fact that petitioner is cultivating an adjacent fishpond with a size of 11-1/2 hectares which further proves that he
is not a small farmer but a businessman.
He testified thus:
Q: Do you have any other source of income between 1963 and 1969?
A: There is sir.
Q: What?
A: Fishpond also.
Q: Up to the present?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What is the area of the fishpond in question which are you operating at present excluding this one?
A: Eleven hectares and a half.
Q: Who owns this eleven and a half hectares?
A: Maximo Reyes, sir.
Q: Where is this located?
A: Adjacent, sir.
Q: Do you employ help in operating this eleven and a half hectares?
A: Yes sir.
Q: How many?
A: Sometimes plenty, sometimes few.
Q: You employ help because you cannot work in that eleven and a half hectares yourself?
A: No, sir. 13
Petitioner asserts that the cultivation of another fishpond is irrelevant as the law does not require or prohibit the total absence of other sources
of income. In ruling on this matter, it is of much significance to look into the spirit of the Agricultural Land Reform Code. First and foremost,
the law is meant to assist and help the small farmers as enunciated in its Declaration of Policy. In the case at bar, petitioner de Jesus is not a
small farmer but a businessman. To consider him an agricultural lessee despite the fact that he is cultivating another fishpond with an area of
11-1/2 hectares, and furthermore despite the fact that he does not cultivate the fishpond personally and/ or with the help of his immediate farm
household as defined by law, would render nugatory the letter and intent of the Agricultural Reform Code.
Petitioner further contends that the civil law lease contract he signed in 1972 is unenforceable because his consent was vitiated. We have to
disagree. Under the law on contracts, 14 vitiated consent does not make a contract unenforceable but merely voidable. If indeed petitioner's
consent was vitiated, his remedy would have been to annul the contract for voidable contracts produce legal effects until they are annulled.
The jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance has also been put in issue on the assumption that if petitioner is an agricultural lessee, then the
case should have been filed in the Court of Agrarian Relations. We hold that this issue has now become moot and academic in view of the
passage of B.P. 129. Section 19 of said law provides that the Court of First Instance, now Regional Trial Court, shall have jurisdiction over
cases cognizable by the Court of Agrarian Relations.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the questioned Resolution of the Intermediate Appellate Court, now Court of Appeals, is hereby
affirmed.
SO ORDERED.
Elements
G.R. No. L-62626 July 18, 1984
SPOUSES CAYETANO and PATRICIA TIONGSON, SPOUSES EDWARD and PACITA GO, SPOUSES ROBERTO and MYRNA
LAPERAL III, ELISA R. MANOTOK, SPOUSES IGNACIO and PACITA MANOTOK, SEVERINO MANOTOK, JR., SPOUSES
FAUSTO and MILAGROS MANOTOK, ROSA R. MANOTOK, Minors MIGUEL A. B. SISON and MA. CRISTINA E. SISON,
represented by their judicial guardian FILOMENA M. SISON, SPOUSES MAMERTO and PERPETUA M. BOCANEGRA,
GEORGE M. BOCANEGRA, represented by his judicial guardian MAMERTO BOCANEGRA, SPOUSES FRANCISCO and
FILOMENA SISON, JOSE CLEMENTE MANOTOK, SPOUSES JESUS and THELMA MANOTOK, Minors PHILIP
MANOTOK, MARIA TERESA MANOTOK and RAMON SEVERINO MANOTOK, represented by their judicial guardian
SEVERINO MANOTOK, JR., Minors JESUS JUDE MANOTOK, JR. and JOSE MARIA MANOTOK, represented by their judicial
guardian JESUS MANOTOK, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and TEODORO S. MACAYA, respondents.
Romeo J. Callejo and Gil Venerando R. Racho for petitioners.
David Advincula Jr. and Jose J. Francisco for respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:

2
In this petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of, Appeal declaring the existence of a landholder-tenant relationship and
ordering the private respondent's reinstatement, the petitioners contend that the appellate court committed an error of law in:
1. Disregarding the findings of fact of the Court of Agrarian Relations which are supported by substantial evidence; and
2. Substituting the findings of fact of the Court of Agrarian Relations with its own findings.
Briefly, the facts of the case as found by the Court of Agrarian Relations, Seventh Regional District, Branch 1 at Pasig, Metro Manila are as
follows: Sometime in 1946, the late Severino Manotok donated and transferred to his eight (8) children and two (2) grandchildren namely:
Purificacion Manotok, Eliza Manotok, Perpetua manotok, Filomena Manotok, Severino Manotok, Jr., Jesus Manotok, Rahula Ignacio Manotok,
Severino Manotok III, Fausto Manotok and Rosa Manotok, a thirty-four-hectare lot located in Payong, Old Balara, Quezon City covered by a
certificate of title. Severino Manotok who was appointed judicial guardian of his minor children 'accepted on their behalf the aforesaid donation.
At that time, there were no tenants or other persons occupying the said property.
In that same year, Teodoro Macaya accompanied by Vicente Herrera, the overseer of the property, went to the house of Manotok in Manila and
pleaded that he be allowed to live on the Balara property so that he could at the same time guard the property and prevent the entry of squatters
and the theft of the fruits and produce of the fruit trees planted by the owner. Manotok allowed Macaya to stay in the property as a guard
(bantay) but imposed the conditions that at any time that the owners of the property needed or wanted to take over the property, Macaya and
his family should vacate the property immediately; that while he could raise animals and plant on the property, he could do so only for his
personal needs; that he alone could plant and raise animals on the property; and that the owners would have no responsibility or liability for
said activities of Macaya. Macaya was allowed to use only three (3) hectares. These conditions, however, were not put in writing.
On December 5, 1950, the property-owners organized themselves into a corporation engaged primarily in the real estate business known as the
Manotok Realty, Inc. The owners transferred the 34-hectare lot to the corporation as part of their capital contribution or subscription to the
capital stock of the corporation.
From 1946 to 1956, Macaya did not pay, as he was not required to pay anything to the owners or corporation whether in cash or in kind for his
occupancy or use of the property. However, the corporation noted that the realty taxes on the property had increased considerably and found it
very burdensome to pay the said taxes while on the other hand, Macaya had contributed nothing nor even helped in the payment of the taxes.
Thus, Macaya upon the request of the owners agreed to help by remitting ten (10) cavans of palay every year as his contribution for the payment
of the realty taxes beginning 1957.
On June 5, 1964, the corporation requested Macaya to increase his contribution from ten (10) cavans to twenty (20) cavans of palay effective
1963 because the assessed value of the property had increased considerably. Macaya] agreed.
In 1967, Macaya informed the corporation that he could not afford anymore to deliver any palay because the palay dried up. He further requested
that in the ensuring years, he be allowed to contribute only ten (10) cavans of palay. The corporation said that if that was the case, he might as
well not deliver anymore. Thus, from 1967 up to 1976, Macaya did not deliver any palay.
On January 31, 1974, Manotok Realty, Inc. executed a "Unilateral Deed of Conveyance" of the property in favor of Patricia Tiongson, Pacita
Go, Roberto Laperal III, Elisa Manotok, Rosa Manotok, Perpetua M. Bocanegra, Filomena M. Sison, Severino Manotok, Jr., Jesus Manotok,
Ignacio S. Manotok, Severino Manotok III and Fausto Manotok.
Sometime in 1974, Macaya was informed by the Manotoks that they needed the property to construct their houses thereon. Macaya agreed but
pleaded that he be allowed to harvest first the planted rice before vacating the property.
However, he did not vacate the property as verbally promised and instead expanded the area he was working on.
In 1976, the Manotoks once more told Macaya to vacate the entire property including those portions tilled by him. At this point, Macaya had
increased his area from three (3) hectares to six (6) hectares without the knowledge and consent of the owners. As he was being compelled to
vacate the property, Macaya brought the matter to the Department (now Ministry) of Agrarian Reforms. The Manotoks, during the conference
before the officials of the Department insisted that Macaya and his family vacate the property. They threatened to bulldoze Macaya's
landholding including his house, thus prompting Macaya to file an action for peaceful possession, injunction, and damages with preliminary
injunction before the Court of Agrarian Relations.
The sole issue to be resolved in the present petition is whether or not a tenancy relationship exists between the parties. The Court of Agrarian
Relations found that Macaya is not and has never been a share or leasehold tenant of Severino Manotok nor of his successors-in-interest over
the property or any portion or portions thereof but has only been hired as a watchman or guard (bantay) over the same. On Macaya's appeal
from the said decision, the respondent appellate court declared the existence of an agricultural tenancy relationship and ordered Macaya's
reinstatement to his landholding.
Since what is involved ed is agricultural tenancy, we refer to Republic Act No. 1199 as amended by Republic Act No. 2263. Section 3 thereof
defines agricultural tenancy as:
xxx xxx xxx
... 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, either in produce or in money, or in both.
Thus, the essential requisites of tenancy relationship are: 1) the parties are the landholder and the tenant; 2) the subject is agricultural land; 3)
there is consent; 4) the purpose is agricultural production; and 5) there is consideration (Agustin, Code of Agrarian Reforms of the Philippines,
1981, p. 19). As
xxx xxx xxx
All these requisites are necessary in order to create tenancy relationship between the parties and the absence of one or more requisites
do not make the alleged tenant a de facto tenant, as contra-distinguished from a de jure tenant, This is so because unless a person has
established his status as a de jure tenant, he is not entitled to security of tenure nor is he covered by the Land Reform Program of the
Government under existing tenancy laws. ...
The key factor in ascertaining whether or not there is a landowner-tenant relationship in this case is the nature of the disputed property.
Is the thirty-four (34) hectare lot, of which the six (6) hectares occupied by the private respondent form a part, against agricultural land? If not,
the rules on agrarian reform do not apply.
From the year 1948 up to the present, the tax declarations of real property and the annual receipts for real estate taxes paid have always classified
the land as "residential". The property is in Balara, Quezon City, Metro Manila, not far from the correctly held by the trial court:
University of the Philippines and near some fast growing residential subdivisions. The Manotok family is engaged in the business of developing
subdivisions in Metro Manila, not in farming.
The trial court observed that a panoramic view of the property shows that the entire 34 hectares is rolling forestal land without any flat portions
except the small area which could be planted to palay. The photographs of the disputed area show that flush to the plantings of the private
respondent are adobe walls separating expensive looking houses and residential lots from the palay and newly plowed soil. Alongside the
plowed or narrowed soil are concrete culverts for the drainage of residential subdivisions. The much bigger portions of the property are not
suitable for palay or even vegetable crops.
The trial court noted that in a letter dated April 12, 1977, the City Engineer of Quezon City certified on the basis of records in his office that
the property in question falls within the category of "Residential I Zone."
The respondent court ignored all the above considerations and noted instead that the appellees never presented the tax declarations for the
previous year, particularly for 1946, the year when Macaya began cultivating the property. It held that while the petitioners at that time might
have envisioned a panoramic residential area of the disputed property, then cogonal with some forest, that vision could not materialize due to
3
the snail pace of urban development to the peripheral areas of Quezon City where the disputed property is also located and pending the
consequent rise of land values. As a matter of fact, it found that the houses found thereon were constructed only in the 70's.
Whatever "visions" the owners may have had in 1946, the fact remains that the land has always been officially classified as "residential" since
1948. The areas surrounding the disputed six hectares are now dotted with residences and, apparently, only this case has kept the property in
question from being developed together with the rest of the lot to which it belongs. The fact that a caretaker plants rice or corn on a residential
lot in the middle of a residential subdivision in the heart of a metropolitan area cannot by any strained interpretation of law convert it into
agricultural land and subject it to the agrarian reform program.
On this score alone, the decision of the respondent court deserves to be reversed.
Another requisite is that the parties must be landholder and tenant. Rep. Act No. 11 99 as amended defines a landholder —
Sec. 5(b) A landholder shall mean a person, natural or juridical, who, either as owner, lessee, usufructuary, or legal possessor, lets or
grants to another the use or cultivation of his land for a consideration either in shares under the share tenancy system, or a price certain
under the leasehold tenancy system.
On the other hand, a tenant is defined as —
Sec. 5(a) A tenant shall mean a person who, himself and with the aid available from within his immediate farm 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 under the share tenancy system or paying to the landholder a price certain in produce or in money or both, under the
leasehold tenancy system.
Under these definitions, may Macaya be considered as a tenant and Manotok as a landholder? Significant, as the trial court noted, is that the
parties have not agreed as to their contributions of the several items of productions such as expenses for transplanting, fertilizers, weeding and
application of insecticides, etc. In the absence of an agreement as to the respective contributions of the parties or other terms and conditions of
their tenancy agreement, the lower court concluded that no tenancy relationship was entered into between them as tenant and landholder.
On this matter, the respondent Appellate Court disagreed. It held that:
... Whether the appellant was instituted as tenant therein or as bantay, as the appellees preferred to call him, the inevitable fact is that
appellant cleared, cultivated and developed the once unproductive and Idle property for agricultural production. Appellant and Don
Severino have agreed and followed a system of sharing the produce of the land whereby, the former takes care of all expenses for
cultivation and production, and the latter is only entitled to 10 cavans of rice per harvest. This is the essense of leasehold tenancy.
It should be noted, however, that from 1967 to the present, Macaya did not deliver any cavans of palay to the petitioners as the latter felt that if
Macaya could no longer deliver the twenty (20) cavans of palay, he might as well not deliver any. The decision of the petitioners not to ask for
anymore contributions from Macaya reveals that there was no tenancy relationship ever agreed upon by the parties. Neither can such relationship
be implied from the facts as there was no agreed system of sharing the produce of the property. Moreover, from 1946 to 1956 at which time,
Macaya was also planting rice, there was no payment whatsoever. At the most and during the limited period when it was in force, the
arrangement was a civil lease where the lessee for a fixed price leases the property while the lessor has no responsibility whatsoever for the
problems of production and enters into no agreement as to the sharing of the costs of fertilizers, irrigation, seedlings, and other items. The
private respondent, however, has long stopped in paying the annual rents and violated the agreement when he expanded the area he was allowed
to use. Moreover, the duration of the temporary arrangement had expired by its very terms.
Going over the third requisite which is consent, the trial court observed that the property in question previous to 1946 had never been tenanted.
During that year, Vicente Herrera was the overseer. Under these circumstances, coupled by the fact that the land is forested and rolling, the
lower court could not see its way clear to sustain Macaya's contention that Manotok had given his consent to enter into a verbal tenancy contract
with him. The lower court further considered the fact that the amount of ten (10) cavans of palay given by Macaya to the owners from 1957 to
1964 which was later increased to twenty (20) cavans of palay from 1964 to 1966 was grossly disproportionate to the amount of taxes paid by
the owners. The lot was taxed as residential land in a metropolitan area. There was clearly no intention on the part of the owners to devote the
property for agricultural production but only for residential purposes. Thus, together with the third requisite, the fourth requisite which is the
purpose was also not present.
The last requisite is consideration. This is the produce to be divided between the landholder and tenant in proportion to their respective
contributions. We agree with the trial court that this was also absent.
As earlier stated, the main thrust of petitioners' argument is that the law makes it mandatory upon the respondent Court of Appeals to affirm
the decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations if the findings of fact in said decision are supported by substantial evidence, and the conclusions
stated therein are not clearly against the law and jurisprudence. On the other hand, private respondent contends that the findings of the Court
of Agrarian Relations are based not on substantial evidence alone but also on a misconstrued or misinterpreted evidence, which as a result
thereof, make the conclusions of the Court of Agrarian Relations clearly contrary to law and jurisprudence.
After painstakingly going over the records of the case, we find no valid and cogent reason which justifies the appellate court's deviation from
the findings and conclusions of the lower court. It is quite clear from the 44-page decision of the trial court, that the latter has taken extra care
and effort in weighing the evidence of both parties of the case. We find the conclusions of the respondent appellate court to be speculative and
conjectural.
It bears re-emphasizing that from 1946 to 1956, there was no agreement as to any system of sharing the produce of the land. The petitioners
did not get anything from the harvest and private respondent Macaya was using and cultivating the land free from any charge or expense. The
situation was rather strange had there been a tenancy agreement between Don Severino and Macaya.
From 1957 to 1964, Macaya was requested to contribute ten (10) cavans a year for the payment of the realty taxes. The receipts of these
contributions are evidenced by the following exhibits quoted below:
(a) Exhibit "4" adopted and marked as Exhibit "K" for plaintiff (Macaya):
Ukol sa taon 1961
Tinanggap naniin kay G. Teodoro Macaya ang sampung (10) cavan na palay bilang tulong niya sa pagbabayad ng
amillaramiento sa lupa ng corporation na nasa Payong, Q.C. na kaniyang binabantayan.
(b) Exhibit "9" adopted and marked as Exhibit "L" for plaintiff (Macaya):
Tinanggap namin kay Ginoong Teodoro Macaya ang TATLONG (3) kabang palay bilang kapupunan sa
DALAWAMPUNG (20) kabang palay na kanyang tulong sa pagbabayad ng amillaramiento para sa taong 1963 ng
lupang ari ng Manotok Realty, Inc. na nasa Payong, Quezon City, na kanyang binabantayan samantalang hindi pa
ginagawang SUBDIVISION PANGTIRAHAN.
c) Exhibit "10" adopted and marked as Exhibit "N" for plaintiff (Macaya):
Tinanggap namin kay Ginoong Teodoro Macaya ang DALAWAMPUNG (20) kabang palay na kanyang tulong sa
pagbabayad ng amillaramiento para sa taong 1964 ng lupang ari ng Manotok Realty Inc., na nasa Payong, Quezon
City, na kanyang binabantayan samantalang hindi pa ginagawang SUBDIVISION PANG TAHANAN.
d) Exhibit "11" adopted and marked as Exhibit "M" for plaintiff (Macaya):
Tinanggap namin kay Ginoong Teodoro Macaya ang DALAWAMPUNG (20) kabang ng palay na kanyang tulong
sa pagbabayad ng amillaramiento para sa taong 1965 ng lupang ari ng Manotok Realty, Inc., na nasa Payong, Quezon
City, na kanyang binabantayan samantalang hindi pa ginagawang SUBDIVISION PANG TAHANAN.

4
From the above-quoted exhibits, it clearly appears that the payment of the cavans of palay was Macaya's contribution for the payment of the
real estate taxes; that the nature of the work of Macaya is that of a watchman or guard (bantay); and, that the services of Macaya as such
watchman or guard (bantay) shall continue until the property shall be converted into a subdivision for residential purposes.
The respondent appellate court disregarded the receipts as self-serving. While it is true that the receipts were prepared by petitioner Perpetua
M. Bocanegra, Macaya nevertheless signed them voluntarily. Besides, the receipts were written in the vernacular and do not require knowledge
of the law to fully grasp their implications.
Furthermore, the conclusion of the respondent appellate court to the effect that the receipts having been prepared by one of the petitioners who
happens to be a lawyer must have been so worded so as to conceal the real import of the transaction is highly speculative. There was nothing
to conceal in the first place since the primary objective of the petitioners in allowing Macaya to live on the property was for security purposes.
The presence of Macaya would serve to protect the property from squatters. In return, the request of Macaya to raise food on the property and
cultivate a three-hectare portion while it was not being developed for housing purposes was granted.
We can understand the sympathy and compassion which courts of justice must feel for people in the same plight as Mr. Macaya and his family.
However, the petitioners have been overly generous and understanding of Macaya's problems. For ten years from 1946 to 1956, he lived on the
property, raising animals and planting crops for personal use, with only his services as "bantay" compensating for the use of another's property.
From 1967 to the present, he did not contribute to the real estate taxes even as he dealt with the land as if it were his own. He abused the
generosity of the petitioners when he expanded the permitted area for cultivation from three hectares to six or eight hectares. Mr. Macaya has
refused to vacate extremely valuable residential land contrary to the clear agreement when he was allowed to enter it. The facts of the case
show that even Mr. Macaya did not consider himself as a true and lawful tenant and did not hold himself out as one until he was asked to vacate
the property.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the
decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 70736 March 16, 1987
BONIFACIO L. HILARIO and EDUARDA M. BUENCAMINO HILARIO, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT AND SALVADOR BALTAZAR, respondents.
Bonifacio L. Hilario for petitioners.
Alberto Mala, Jr. for private respondent.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Court of Appeals' decision declaring Salvador Baltazar a leasehold tenant entitled to security of
tenure on a parcel of land consisting of 1,740 square meters.
On January 13, 1981, Salvador Baltazar filed a verified complaint with the Court of Agrarian Relations, Branch VI at Baliuag, Bulacan alleging
that since January, 1955 he had been in continuous possession as a share tenant of a parcel of land with an area of about 2 hectares situated in
San Miguel, Bulacan, which was previously owned by one Socorro Vda. de Balagtas; that on or about December 27, 1980, and thereafter, the
spouses Hilario began to threaten him to desist from entering and cultivating a portion of the aforesaid land with an area of 4,000 square meters
and otherwise committed acts in violation of his security of tenure; that the Hilarios were contemplating the putting up of a fence around the
said portion of 4,000 square meters and that unless restrained by the court, they would continue to do so to his great irreparable injury.
Baltazar claims that he became a tenant of Socorro P. Vda. de Balagtas on the latter's two-hectare landholding located at San Juan, San Miguel,
Bulacan by virtue of a "Kasunduan" executed between them on January 8, 1979, He states that he erected his house and planted "halaman," the
produce of which was divided at 70-30 and 50-50 (sic) in his favor. After the death of Socorro P. Vda. de Balagtas, he allegedly gave the share
pertaining to the landowner to her daughter Corazon Pengzon. It was only in December, 1980 that he came to know that a portion of the 2
hectares or 4,000 square meters is already owned by the Hilarios.
On the other hand, the petitioners aver that they acquired the landholding of 4,000 square meters from the Philippine National Bank (PNB)
after it had been foreclosed by virtue of a deed of sale executed between Bonifacio Hilario and the PNB. The former owner Corazon Pengzon
testified that she owned only two lots-Lot 427-B with an area of 841 square meters and Lot 427-C with an area of 899 square meters with a
total area of 1,740 square meters. The other 2 lots were owned by Ruben Ocampo and Juan Mendoza. She further testified that in 1964 at the
time of the partition of the property, she declared the property for classification purposes as "bakuran" located in the Poblacion and had no
knowledge that there were other things planted in it except bananas and pomelos.
On November 27, 1981, the Court of Agrarian Relations (CAR) in determining whether or not respondent Baltazar is the tenant of the petitioners
ruled that the land in question is not an agricultural landholding but plain "bakuran," hence, Baltazar is not a tenant on the land.
On January 30, 1982, the Court of Appeals, however, remanded the case to the lower court for further proceedings on the ground that the
findings of the Court of Agrarian Relations (CAR) were not supported by substantial evidence.
In compliance with the order of the Court of Appeals, the CAR admitted additional evidence.
On December 19, 1983, the CAR admitted the petitioners' third party complaint filed with leave against the Philippine National Bank (PNB)
which states that in the event that judgment would be rendered against them under the original complaint, the PNB must contribute, indemnify,
and reimburse the spouses the full amount of the judgment.
On the basis of the parties' and their witnesses' affidavits containing detailed narrations of facts and documentary exhibits which served as their
direct testimonies pursuant to PD 946, the CAR found that there was no tenancy relationship existing between Baltazar and the former owner,
Corazon Pengzon. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring plaintiff not to be a tenant on the landholding described in the complaint and
ordering his ejectment therefrom.
The third-party complaint is hereby dismissed for lack of merit. (pp. 25- 26, Rollo)
Again, respondent Salvador Baltazar appealed to the then Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC).
The IAC, however, reversed the decision of the CAR and held that:
... [T]he decision appealed from is hereby SET ASIDE, and another one entered declaring plaintiff-appellant ii leasehold tenant entitled
to security of tenure on the land in question consisting of 1,740 square meters. Costs against defendants-appellees. (p. 31, Rollo)
Consequently, the spouses Hilarios filed this petition for review making the following assignments of errors:
I. THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN DISTURBING THE FINDINGS OF FACTS AND DECISION OF THE COURT
OF AGRARIAN RELATIONS (CAR) WHICH IS SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.
II. THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN SUBSTITUTION (SIC) THE FINDINGS OF FACTS OF CAR, OF ITS OWN
FINDINGS.
III. THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN NOT AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF CAR, FINDING THE LOTS IN
QUESTION WITH AN AREA OF 1,740 SQUARE METERS AS RESIDENTIAL LOT AND PRIVATE RESPONDENT NOT TO BE A
TENANT.
We agree with the respondent court when it stated that it can affirm on appeal the findings of the CAR only if there is substantial evidence to
support them. However, after a careful consideration of the records of the case, we find no valid reason to deviate from the findings of the CAR.

5
The evidence presented by the petitioners is more than sufficient to justify the conclusion that private respondent Salvador Baltazar is not a
tenant of the landholding in question.
Salvador Baltazar claims: that he is working on the land in question pursuant to a "kasunduan" executed between him and Socorro Balagtas.
The contract covers a two-hectare parcel of land. The disputed landholding is only 4,000 square meters more or less, although Baltazar claims
that this area is a portion of the two hectares in the contract. He testified that sometime in 1965, he relinquished 1.5 hectares of the two hectares
subject of the "kasunduan" to Nemesio Ocampo, Juan Mendoza, Miguel Ocampo and Miguel Viola and what remained under his cultivation
was 1/2 hectare owned by Corazon Pengson. He stated that when Socorro Balagtas died, no new contract was executed. However, he insists
that the old contract was continued between Corazon Pengson and himself. (Rollo, p. 23).
This claim is controverted by the testimony of Corazon Pengson herself which we quote as follows:
Q After the death of your mother in 1965, what step, if any, have you taken, regarding this subject landholding or after the death of
your mother how did you —
Q ... administer this landholding in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, etc?
A What I did is to fix the title of ownership, sir.
COURT:
Q What else?
A None other, Your Honor.
Q After the death of your mother in 1962, have you seen Mr. Salvador Baltazar in this landholding in question?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q What was he doing?
WITNESS:
A We are neighbors, Your Honor, sometimes he visits and goes to our place and we used to meet there, Your Honor.
Q What was the purpose of his visit and your meeting in this landholding?
A Sometimes when he visits our place he tens us that there are some bananas to be harvested and sometimes there are other fruits,
your Honor.
Q You mean to say he stays in this subject landholding consisting of 7,000 square meters?
A After the survey it turned out-
A . . . that he is occupying another lot which I learned that property does not belong to us, Your Honor.
Q what was your arrangement regarding his stay in that landholding which you don't own?
A He said that he had a contract with my late mother which I don't know; in order not to cause any trouble because I will be bothered
in my business, I told him to continue, Your Honor.
Q What do you mean when you-
COURT:
(continuing)
. . .told him to continue?
A What I mean to say is that he can stay there although I don't understand the contract with my mother, Your Honor.
Q Was he paying rentals for his stay in that lot?
A No, Your Honor (T.S.N., pp. 15-19, hearing of August 5, 1981).
Corazon Pengson further explained that she did not receive any share from the produce of the land from 1964 up to the filing of the case and
she would not have accepted any share from the produce of the land because she knew pretty well that she was no longer the owner of the lot
since 1974 when it was foreclosed by the bank and later on purchased by the spouses Hilarios.
We note the CAR's finding:
Tenancy relationship is indivisible. The two-hectare land subject of plaintiff's alleged contract with Socorro Balagtas having been
parcelled into seven (7) and possession thereof relinquished/surrendered in 1965 results in the termination of plaintiff's tenancy
relationship with the previous owner/landholder. Such being the case, he cannot now claim that the landholding in question consisting
of 4,000 square meters, more or less, is being cultivated by him under the old contract. The owner thereof Corazon Pengson has no
tenancy relationship with him (plaintiff). (p. 25, Rollo)
From the foregoing, it is clear that Coraz•n Pengson did not give her consent to Baltazar to work on her land consisting of only 1,740 square
meters. We agree with the CAR when it said:
The law accords the landholder the right to initially choose his tenant to work on his land. For this reason, tenancy relationship can
only be created with the consent of the true and lawful landholder through lawful means and not by imposition or usurpation. So the
mere cultivation of the land by usurper cannot confer upon him any legal right to work the land as tenant and enjoy the protection of
security of tenure of the law (Spouses Tiongson v. Court of Appeals, 130 SCRA 482) (Ibid)
And in the case of Tuazon v. Court of Appeals (118 SCRA 484), this Court had the occasion to explain:
xxx xxx xxx
... Tenancy is not a purely factual relationship dependent on what the alleged tenant does upon the land. It is also a legal relationship.
The intent of the parties, the understanding when the farmer is installed, and, as in this case, their written agreements, provided these
are complied with and are not contrary to law, are even more important."
The respondent court ruled that the fact that the land in question is located in the poblacion does not necessarily make it residential.
The conclusion is purely speculative and conjectural, We note that the evidence presented by the petitioners sufficiently establishes that the
land in question is residential and not agricultural.
As we stated in Tiongson v. Court of Appeals (supra) "the key factor in ascertaining whether or not there is a landowner-tenant relationship in
this case is the nature of the disputed property."
The records show that the disputed property, only 1,740 square meters in area, is actually located in the poblacion of San Miguel, Bulacan not
far from the municipal building and the church. It is divided into two lots-Lot 427-B with an area of 841 square meters and Lot 427-C with an
area of 899 square meters. Two other lots which the respondent claims to cultivate as "tenant" were originally owned by Ruben Ocampo and
Juan Mendoza, not Corazon Pengson, through whom the respondent traces his alleged tenancy rights.
Respondent Baltazar is a full-time government employee working in the Bureau of Plant Industry.
The disputed lots were acquired at a foreclosure sale from the Philippine National Bank. They were purchased as residential lots and the deed
of sale describes them as "residential." The inspection and appraisal report of the PNB classified the land as residential. The declaration of real
property on the basis of which taxes are paid and approved by the Acting Provincial Assessor of Bulacan classifies the land as residential. The
tax declarations show that the 841 square meter lot is assessed for tax purposes at P25,236.00 while the 899 square meter lot is assessed at
P26,920.00. The owner states that the land has only bananas and pomelos on it. But even if the claim of the private respondent that some corn
was planted on the lots is true, this does not convert residential land into agricultural land.
The presumption assumed by the appellate court, that a parcel of land which is located in a poblacion is not necessary devoted to residential
purposes, is wrong. It should be the other way around. A lot inside the poblacion should be presumed residential or commercial or non-
agricultural unless there is clearly preponderant evidence to show that it is agricultural.
The respondent court also failed to note that the alleged tenant pays no rental or share to the landowners. Baltazar made a vague allegation that
he shared 70-30 and 50-50 of the produce in his favor. The former owner flatly denied that she ever received anything from him,
6
The requirements set by law for the existence of a tenancy relationship, to wit: (1) The parties are the landholder and tenant; (2) The subject is
agricultural land; (3) The purpose is agricultural production; and (4) There is consideration; have not been met by the private respondent.
We held in Tiongson v. Court of Appeals, cited above that:
All these requisites are necessary in order to create tenancy relationship between the parties and the absence of one or more requisites
do not make the alleged tenant a de facto tenant as contra-distinguished from a de jure tenant. This is so because unless a person has
established his status as a dejure tenant, he is not entitled to security of tenure nor is he covered by the Land Reform Program of the
Government under existing tenancy laws ... (emphasis supplied).
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the
decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 95318 June 11, 1991
LOURDES PEÑA QUA, assisted by her husband, JAMES QUA, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (SECOND DIVISION), CARMEN CARILLO, EDUARDO CARILLO, JOSEPHINE
CARILLO, REBECCA CARILLO, MARIA CEPRES, CECILIO CEPRES and SALVADOR CARILLO, JR., respondents.
Brotamonte Law Office for petitioner.
Isabel E. Florin for private respondents

GANCAYCO, J.:
This case deals with the issue of whether or not private respondents possess the status of agricultural tenants entitled to, among others, the use
and possession of a home lot.
Respondent Court of Appeals,1 in denying due course to the petition for certiorari filed by petitioner, stated the antecedents of this case in the
lower courts as follows:
. . . [O]n July 17, 1986, petitioner Lourdes Peña Qua filed a complaint for ejectment with damages against private respondents claiming
that she is the owner of a parcel of residential land, Lot No. 2099 of the Malinao Cadastre, situated at Poblacion, Tinapi, Malinao,
Albay, with an area of 346 square meters, which is registered in her name under TCT T-70368; that inside the land in question is an
auto repair shop and three houses, all owned by private respondents; and that said respondents' stay in the land was by mere tolerance
and they are in fact nothing but squatters who settled on the land without any agreement between her (sic), paying no rents to her nor
realty taxes to the government.
In their answer, private respondent Carmen Carillo, surviving spouse of the late Salvador Carillo (and [respectively the] mother and
mother-in-law of the other [private] respondents), alleged that the lot in question is a farm lot [home lot] because she and her late
husband were tenants of the same including the two other lots adjoining the lot in question, Lots No. 2060 and 2446, which also belong
to petitioner; that as tenants, they could not just be ejected without cause; that it was not petitioner who instituted them as tenants in
the land in question but the former owner, Leovigildo Peña who permitted the construction of the auto repair shop, the house of Carmen
Carillo and the other two houses.
After trial, the Municipal Court [found private respondents to be mere squatters and] rendered judgment 2ordering . . . [them] to vacate
and remove their houses and [the] auto repair shop from the lot in question and to pay the petitioner attorney's fees and a monthly
rental of P200.00.
On appeal to respondent [Regional Trial] Court, the judgment was modified by ordering the case dismissed [insofar as] Carmen Carillo
[was concerned being qualified as an agricultural tenant and] declaring that the home lot and her house standing thereon should be
respected.3
Believing that even private respondent Carmen Carillo does not qualify as an agricultural tenant, petitioner pursues her cause before this
forum citing only one ground for the entertainment of her petition, to wit:
THAT PUBLIC RESPONDENT [Court of Appeal] COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND ACTED CONTRARY
TO THE ADMITTED FACTS AND APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE, AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION, FOR
DENYING DUE COURSE TO THE PETITIONER'S CRY FOR JUSTICE AND FOR DISMISSING THE PETITION. 4
The Court agrees and finds that respondent Court of Appeals committed a grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the petition for review of the
decision of the Regional Trial Court, the same being replete with inconsistencies and unfounded conclusions. Because of this jurisdictional
issue raised by petitioner, the Court hereby treats this petition as a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.5
The Regional Trial Court6 made the following observations:
The land in question is a measly three hundred forty six (346) square meters and adjoining another two (2) lots which are separately
titled having two thousand four hundred thirteen (2,413) square meters and eight thousand two hundred ninety eight (8,298) square
meters –– the three (3) lots having a total area of eleven thousand fifty seven (11,057) square meters, more or less, or over a hectare
of land owned by the plaintiff or by her predecessors-in-interest.
In the 346 square meters lot stand (sic) four (4) structures, [to wit]: an auto repair shop, a house of [private respondent] Carmen Carillo
and two (2) other houses owned or occupied by the rest of the [private respondents] . . .; in other words, the [private respondents]
almost converted the entire area as their home lot for their personal aggrandizement, believing that they are all tenants of the
[petitioner].
Claimed, the defendants planted five hundred (500) coconut trees and only fifty (50) coconut trees survived in the land in question
and/or in the entire area of the three lots. Such an evidence (sic) is very untruthful, unless it is a seed bed for coconut trees as the area
is so limited. But found standing in the area in question or in the entire three (3) lots are only seven (7) coconut trees, the harvest of
which is [allegedly] 2/3 share for the [petitioner] and the 1/3 share for the [private respondents]. The share, if ever there was/were,
could not even suffice [to pay] the amount of taxes of the land (sic) paid religiously by the [petitioner] yearly.7 (Emphasis supplied.)
It is clear from the foregoing that the source of livelihood of private respondents is not derived from the lots they are allegedly tenanting. This
conclusion is further supported by private respondent Carmen Carillo's assertion that the auto repair shop was constructed with the consent of
petitioner's predecessor-in-interest for whom her husband served as a driver-mechanic.8
From private respondents' manner of caring for the lots, it is also apparent that making the same agriculturally viable was not the main purpose
of their occupancy, or else they should have immediately replanted coconut trees in place of those that did not survive. Indeed, the location of
their auto repair shop being near the poblacion and along the highway, private respondents chose to neglect the cultivation and propagation of
coconuts, having earned, through the automobile repair shop, more than enough not only for their livelihood but also for the construction of
two other dwelling houses thereon. It is also intimated by the Regional Trial Court that there is no direct evidence to confirm that the parties
herein observed the sharing scheme allegedly set-up between private respondents and petitioner's predecessor-in-interest.
Notwithstanding the foregoing indicia of a non-agricultural tenancy relationship, however, the Regional Trial Court decided in favor of private
respondent Carmen Carillo and ruled, thus:
In View of the Foregoing, and Premises considered, the Court renders judgment:

7
1. Ordering defendants, namely: Eduardo Carillo, Josephine P. Carillo, Rebecca Carillo, Maria Cepres, Cecilio Cepres and Salvador
Carillo, Jr., to vacate and remove their two (2) houses and the auto repair shop from the premises in question, and restoring the area
to the lawful owner, the herein plaintiff;
2. Ordering said six defendants to pay the plaintiff jointly and severally the amount of Four Thousand (P4,000.00) Pesos as attorney's
fees and litigation expenses;
3. Ordering said six defendants to pay plaintiff the sum of One Hundred Seventy One Pesos and Thirty Six Centavos (P171.36)
monthly, for the use of the area in question, commencing July 17, 1986 the date the plaintiff filed this action in Court, up to the time
the defendants vacate the area in question and restore the same to the plaintiff peacefully.
4. And ordering said six (6) defendants to pay the costs proportionately.
The case against defendant, Carmen Carillon is hereby ordered DISMISSED. The home lot and where her house stands is respected.
And without pronouncement as to its costs (sic).
IT IS SO ORDERED.9 (Emphasis supplied.)
Without explaining why, the Regional Trial Court chose not to believe the findings of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court and instead, adopted
the recommendation of the Regional Director for Region V, acting for the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, without making
separate findings and arriving at an independent conclusion as to the nature of the relationship between the parties in this case. This is evident
in the following excerpt of the judgment of the Regional Trial Court:
The dispositive part of the Resolution of this Civil Case No. T-1317 for Ejectment with Damages, Referral Case No. 880054 states
and is quoted verbatim:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we are constrained to issue the following resolutions:
1) Certifying this case as NOT PROPER FOR TRIAL in as far as the home lot and house built thereon by the spouses Carmen
Carillo (sic);
2) Advising the plaintiff to institute proper cause of action in as far as the auto repair shop and the two (2) houses erected on
her landholdings by the children of tenant-farmer Salvador Carillo since they appear as not the lawful tenants thereat.
SO RESOLVED.
xxx xxx xxx
From the foregoing dispositive part of the resolution penned down by the Regional Director, it defines and explains the status of each
of the defendants.10
Time and again, the Court has ruled that, as regards relations between litigants in land cases, the findings and conclusions of the Secretary of
Agrarian Reform, being preliminary in nature, are not in any way binding on the trial courts 11 which must endeavor to arrive at their own
independent conclusions.
Had the Regional Trial Court hearkened to this doctrine, proceeded to so conduct its own investigation and examined the facts of this case, a
contrary conclusion would have been reached, and the findings of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, sustained, particularly when the
circumstances obtaining in this case are examined in the light of the essential requisites set by law for the existence of a tenancy relationship,
thus: (1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject is agricultural land; (3) the purpose is agricultural production; and (4) there
is consideration.12 It is also understood that (5) there is consent to the tenant to work on the land, that (6) there is personal cultivation by him
and that the consideration consists of sharing the harvest.13
It is contended by petitioner that the parcel of land occupied by private respondents, Lot No. 2099, with an area of only 346 square meters is
residential in nature, being situated near the poblacion of Malinao, Albay, and as evidenced by the tax declaration obtained by petitioner to this
effect.1âwphi1 Indeed, the municipal trial court judge ordered the ejectment of the private respondents on this basis. On the other hand, private
respondents aver that the lot is agricultural being bounded by two other agricultural lands planted to coconuts titled in the name of petitioner
and all three parcels being cultivated by them.
The Court is not prepared to affirm the residential status of the land merely on the basis of the tax declaration, in the absence of further showing
that all the requirements for conversion of the use of land from agricultural to residential prevailing at the start of the controversy in this case
have been fully satisfied.14
Be that as it may and recognizing the consent to the presence of private respondents on the property as given by petitioner's predecessor-in-
interest, the situation obtaining in this case still lacks, as discussed earlier, three of the afore-enumerated requisites, namely: agricultural
production, personal cultivation and sharing of harvests.
The Court reiterates the ruling in Tiongson v. Court of Appeals,15 that
All these requisites are necessary in order to create tenancy relationship between the parties and the absence of one or more requisites
do (sic) not make the alleged tenant a de facto tenant as contradistinguished from a de jure tenant. This is so because unless a person
has established his status as a de jure tenant, he is not entitled to security of tenure nor is he covered by the Land Reform Program of
the Government under existing tenancy laws.
Under the foregoing, private respondent Carmen Carillo is not entitled to be considered an agricultural tenant. Therefore, she may be not
allowed the use of a home lot, a privilege granted by Section 35 of Republic Act No. 3844, as amended, in relation to Section 22 (3) of Republic
Act No. 1199, as amended,16 only to persons satisfying the qualifications of agricultural tenants of coconut lands.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby SET ASIDE and a new one is issued
REINSTATING the decision of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Malinao-Tiwi, Albay, Fifth Judicial Region dated 19 August 1987. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-44570 May 30, 1986
MANUEL GUERRERO and MARIA GUERRERO, petitioners,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and APOLINARIO BENITEZ, respondents.
A.D. Guerrero for petitioners.
Bureau of Legal Assistance for private respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


Whether or not a tenancy relationship exists between the parties Manuel Guerrero, et al and Apolinario Benitez, et al. as to determine their
respective rights and obligations to one another is the issue in this petition to review the decision of the then Court of Appeals, now the
Intermediate Appellate Court, which affirmed in toto the decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations in CAR Case No. 6793-NE (SA-Q) '73,
the dispositive portion of which reads:
In view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:
(1) ordering defendants-spouses Manuel and Maria Guerrero to reinstate plaintiff Apolinario Benitez to the 10-hectare portion of the
16-hectare coconut holding in question, located at Bo. San Joaquin, Maria Aurora Sub-province Quezon and to maintain said plaintiff
in the peaceful possession and cultivation thereof, with all the rights accorded and obligations imposed upon him by law;
(2) ordering defendants Paulino and Rogelio both surnamed Latigay to vacate the said ten-hectare portion and deliver possession
thereof to plaintiff Apolinario Benitez;
8
(3) ordering defendants-spouses Manuel and Maria Guerrero to pay damages to plaintiffs in the amount of P14,911.20 beginning from
July, 1973 and to pay the same amount every year thereafter until plaintiff is effectively reinstated to the ten-hectare portion;
(4) denying plaintiff-tenants' prayer for reconstruction of the copra cottage: and
(5) ordering defendants-spouses Manuel and Maria Guerrero to pay plaintiff the amount of P200.00 by way of litigation expenses.
All other claims of the parties are denied. With costs against defendants-spouses.
The petitioners adopt the respondent court's findings of fact excepting, however, to its conclusion that tenancy relations exist between the
petitioners and the respondents, thus:
In 1969, plaintiff Apolinario Benitez was taken by defendants- spouses Manuel and Maria Guerrero to take care of their 60 heads of
cows which were grazing within their 21-hectare coconut plantation situated at Bo. San Joaquin, Maria Aurora, Subprovince of Aurora,
Quezon. Plaintiff was allowed for that purpose to put up a hut within the plantation where he and his family stayed. In addition to
attending to the cows, he was made to clean the already fruitbearing coconut trees, burn dried leaves and grass and to do such other
similar chores. During harvest time which usually comes every three months, he was also made to pick coconuts and gather the fallen
ones from a 16-hectare portion of the 21-hectare plantation. He had to husk and split the nuts and then process its meat into copra in
defendants' copra kiln. For his work related to the coconuts, he shared 1/3 of the proceeds from the copra he processed and sold in the
market. For attending to the cows he was paid P500 a year.
Sometime in the early part of 1973, plaintiff was refrained from gathering nuts from the 10-hectare portion of the 16-hectare part of
the plantation from where he used to gather nuts. He felt aggrieved by the acts of defendants and he brought the matter to the attention
of the Office of Special Unit in the Office of the President in Malacanang, Manila. This led to an execution of an agreement, now
marked as Exh. D, whereby defendants agreed, among others, to let plaintiff work on the 16-hectare portion of the plantation as tenant
thereon and that their relationship will be guided by the provisions of republic Act No. 1199. The Agricultural Tenancy Act of the
Philippines.
Then in July, 1973, he was again refrained from gathering nuts from the 10-hectare portion of the plantation with threats of bodily
harm if he persists to gather fruits therefrom. Defendant spouses, the Guerreros, then assigned defendants Rogelio and Paulino Latigay
to do the gathering of the nuts and the processing thereof into copra. Defendants Guerreros also caused to be demolished a part of the
cottage where plaintiff and his family lived, thus, making plaintiffs feel that they (defendants) meant business. Hence, this case for
reinstatement with damages.
The lower court formulated four (4) issues by which it was guided in the resolution of the questions raised by the pleadings and
evidence and we pertinently quote as follows:
(1) whether or not plaintiff is the tenant on the coconut landholding in question consisting of sixteen (16) hectares;
(2) In The affirmative, whether or not he was unlawfully dispossessed of ten (10) hectare thereof;
(3) Whether or not the parties are entitled to actual and moral damages, attorney's fees and litigation expenses.
This petition for review poses the following questions of law:
I
Whether or not with the passage of Presidential Decree 1038 only last October 21, 1976, Republic Act 6389 otherwise known as the
Code of Agrarian Reforms has repealed in their entirety the Agricultural Tenancy Act (Republic Act 1199) and the Agricultural Reform
Code (Republic Act 3844) abrogating or nullifying therefore all agricultural share tenancy agreements over all kinds of lands, as the
one involved in the case at bar-over coconut plantation-and hence, the complaint below as well as the challenged decision by the courts
below, based as they are on such share tenancy agreements, have lost their validity cessante ratio legis, cessat ipsa lex.
II
Assuming arguendo that said laws have not thus been repealed, is respondent Benitez hereunder the undisputed fact of the case as
found by the courts below a share tenant within the purview of the said laws, i.e., Republic Acts 1199 and 3844, or a mere farmhand
or farm worker as such relationship were extensively discussed in Delos Reyes vs. Espinelli, 30 SCRA 574. (Copied verbatim from
Petition, p. 31- rollo)
Petitioner insists in this petition that Benitez was a mere farmhand or laborer who was dismissed as an employee from the landholding in
question and not ousted therefrom as tenant. Whether a person is a tenant or not is basically a question of fact and the findings of the respondent
court and the trial court are, generally, entitled to respect and non-disturbance.
The law defines "agricultural tenancy" 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, either in produce or in money, or in
both (Section 3, Republic Act 1199, The Agricultural tenancy Act, as amended.)
With petitioner reference to this case, "share tenancy" exists whenever two persons agree on a joint undertaking for agricultural production
wherein one party furnishes the land and the other his labor, with either or both contributing any one or several of the items of production, the
tenant cultivating the land with the aid of labor available from members of his immediate farm household, and the produce thereof to be divided
between the landholder and the tenant in proportion to their respective contributions (Sec. 4, RA 1199; Sec. 166(25) RA 3844, Agricultural
Land Reform Code).
In contrast, a farmhand or agricultural laborer is "any agricultural salary or piece worker but is not limited to a farmworker of a particular farm
employer unless this Code expressly provides otherwise, and any individual whose work has ceased as a consequence of, or in connection with,
a current agrarian dispute or an unfair labor practice and who has not obtained a substantially equivalent and regular employment" (Sec. 166(15)
RA 3844, Agricultural Land Reform Code).
The petitioners contend that the two courts below applied erroneous definitions of "tenancy" found in repealed laws. They assert that the
Agricultural Tenancy Act and the Agricultural Land Reform Code have been superseded by the Code of Agrarian Reforms, Rep. Act 6389,
which the trial court and the Court of Appeals failed to cite and apply.
There is no question that the latest law on land and tenancy reforms seeks to abolish agricultural share tenancy as the basic relationship
governing farmers and landowners in the country.
On August 8, 1963, Republic Act 3844 abolished and outlawed share tenancy and put in its stead the agricultural leasehold system. On
September 10, 1971, Republic Act 6389 amending Republic Act 3844 declared share tenancy relationships as contrary to public policy. On the
basis of this national policy, the petitioner asserts that no cause of action exists in the case at bar and the lower court's committed grave error
in upholding the respondent's status as share tenant in the petitioners' landholding.
The petitioners' arguments are regressive and, if followed, would turn back the advances in agrarian reform law. The repeal of the Agricultural
Tenancy Act and the Agricultural Land Reform Code mark the movement not only towards the leasehold system but towards eventual
ownership of land by its tillers. The phasing out of share tenancy was never intended to mean a reversion of tenants into mere farmhands or
hired laborers with no tenurial rights whatsoever.
It is important to note that the Agricultural Tenancy Act (RA 1199) and the Agricultural Land Reform Code (RA 3844) have not been entirely
repealed by the Code of Agrarian Reform (RA 6389) even if the same have been substantially modified by the latter.
However, even assuming such an abrogation of the law, the rule that the repeal of a statute defeats all actions pending under the repealed statute
is a mere general principle. Among the established exceptions are when vested rights are affected and obligations of contract are impaired.
(Aisporna vs. Court of Appeals, 108 SCRA 481).
The records establish the private respondents' status as agricultural tenants under the legal definitions.
9
Respondent Benitez has physically possessed the landholding continuously from 1969 until he was ejected from it. Such possession of
longstanding is an essential distinction between a mere agricultural laborer and a real tenant within the meaning of the tenancy law (Moreno,
Philippine Law Dictionary, 1972 Edition), a tenant being one who, has the temporary use and occupation of land or tenements belonging to
another (Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Vol. II, p. 3254) for the purpose of production (Sec. 3, Republic Act 1199; delos Reyes vs. Espinelli, 30
SCRA 574). Respondent Benitez lives on the landholding. He built his house as an annex to the petitioner's copra kiln. A hired laborer would
not build his own house at his expense at the risk of losing the same upon his dismissal or termination any time. Such conduct is more consistent
with that of an agricultural tenant who enjoys security of tenure under the law.
Cultivation is another important factor in determining the existence of tenancy relationships. It is admitted that it had been one Conrado
Caruruan, with others, who had originally cleared the land in question and planted the coconut trees, with the respondent coming to work in the
landholding only after the same were already fruit bearing. The mere fact that it was not respondent Benitez who had actually seeded the land
does not mean that he is not a tenant of the land. The definition of cultivation is not limited merely to the tilling, plowing or harrowing of the
land. It includes the promotion of growth and the care of the plants, or husbanding the ground to forward the products of the earth by general
industry. The raising of coconuts is a unique agricultural enterprise. Unlike rice, the planting of coconut seedlings does not need harrowing and
plowing. Holes are merely dug on the ground of sufficient depth and distance, the seedlings placed in the holes and the surface thereof covered
by soil. Some coconut trees are planted only every thirty to a hundred years. The major work in raising coconuts begins when the coconut trees
are already fruitbearing. Then it is cultivated by smudging or smoking the plantation, taking care of the coconut trees, applying fertilizer,
weeding and watering, thereby increasing the produce. The fact that respondent Benitez, together with his family, handles all phases of
farmwork from clearing the landholding to the processing of copra, although at times with the aid of hired laborers, thereby cultivating the land,
shows that he is a tenant, not a mere farm laborer. (delos Reyes vs. Espinelli, supra Marcelo vs. de Leon, 105 Phil. 1175).
Further indicating the existence of a tenancy relationship between petitioners and respondent is their agreement to share the produce or harvest
on a "tercio basis" that is, a 1/3 to 2/3 sharing in favor of the petitioner-landowners. Though not a positive indication of the existence of tenancy
relations perse the sharing of harvest taken together with other factors characteristic of tenancy shown to be present in the case at bar,
strengthens the claim of respondent that indeed, he is a tenant. The case of delos Reyes vs. Espinelli (supra) clearly explains the matter thus:
The agricultural laborer works for the employer, and for his labor he receives a salary or wage, regardless of whether the employer
makes a profit. On the other hand, the share tenant par ticipates in the agricultural produce. His share is necessarily dependent on the
amount of harvest.
Hence, the lower court's computation of damages in favor of respondent based on the number of normal harvests. In most cases, we have
considered the system of sharing produce as convincing evidence of tenancy relations.
The petitioners entered into an agreement on May 2, 1973 which in clear and categorical terms establishes respondent as a tenant, to wit:
AGREEMENT
This agreement entered into by and between Manuel Guerrero hereinafter referred to as the landowner and Apolinario Benitez
hereinafter referred to as tenant.
xxx xxx xxx
The petitioners, however, contend that the word "tenant" in the aforequoted agreement was used to mean a hired laborer farm employee as
understood agreed upon by the parties. The fact that their relationship would be guided by the provisions of Republic Act 1199 or the
Agricultural Tenancy Act of the Philippines militates against such an assertion. It would be an absurdity for Republic Act 1199 to govern an
employer-employee relationship. If as the petitioners insist a meaning other than its general acceptation had been given the word "tenant", the
instrument should have so stated '. Aided by a lawyer, the petitioners, nor the respondent could not be said to have misconstrued the same. In
clear and categorical terms, the private respondent appears to be nothing else but a tenant:
Finally, comes the admission by the petitioners' counsel of the respondent's status as tenant:
ATTY. ESTEBAN:
Q You said you are living at San Joaquin, who cause the sowing of the lumber you made as annex in the house?
ATTY. NALUNDASAN
Please remember that under the law, tenant is given the right to live in the holding in question. We admit him as tenant.
xxxxxxxxx
(Apolinario Benitez on Redirect, TSN, June 25, 1974, pp. 4950).
The respondent's status as agricultural tenant should be without question.
Once a tenancy relationship is established, the tenant has the right to continue working until such relationship is extinguished according to law.
The Agricultural Tenancy Act of 1954 (Republic Act 1199), the Agricultural Land Reform Code of 1963 (Republic Act 3844), the Code of
Agrarian Reforms (Republic Act 6389) and Presidential Decree 1038 (Strengthening the Security of Tenure of Tenant Tillers in Non-Rice/Corn
Producing Agricultural Lands) all provide for the security of tenure of agricultural tenants. Ejectment may be effected only for causes provided
by law, to wit:
l) Violation or failure of the tenant to comply with any of the terms and conditions of the tenancy contract or any of the provisions of
the Agricultural Tenancy Act;
2) The tenant's failure to pay the agreed rental or to deliver the landholder's share unless the tenant's failure is caused by a fortuitous
event or force majeure;
3) Use by the tenant of the land for purposes other than that specified by the agreement of the parties;
4) Failure of the tenant to follow proven farm practices:
5) Serious injury to the land caused by the negligence of the tenant;
6) Conviction by a competent court of a tenant or any member of his immediate family or farm household of a crime against the
landholder or a member of his immediate family. (Section 50, Rep. Act 1199).
None of the above causes exists in the case at bar. The respondent has been unlawfully deprived of his right to security of tenure and the Court
of Agrarian Reforms did not err in ordering the reinstatement of respondent as tenant and granting him damages therefor.
Before we close this case, it is pertinent to reiterate that the respondent's right as share tenant do not end with the abolition of share tenancy. As
the law seeks to "uplift the farmers from poverty, ignorance and stagnation to make them dignified, self-reliant, strong and responsible citizens
... active participants in nation-building", agricultural share tenants are given the right to leasehold tenancy as a first step towards the ultimate
status of owner-cultivator, a goal sought to be achieved by the government program of land reform.
It is true that leasehold tenancy for coconut lands and sugar lands has not yet been implemented. The policy makers of government are still
studying the feasibility of its application and the consequences of its implementation. Legislation still has to be enacted. Nonetheless, wherever
it may be implemented, the eventual goal of having strong and independent farmers working on lands which they own remains. The petitioners'
arguments which would use the enactment of the Agrarian Reform Code as the basis for setting back or eliminating the tenurial rights of the
tenant have no merit.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The decision of the appellate court is AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 79416 September 5, 1989
ROSALINA BONIFACIO, surviving wife; and children GABRIEL, PONCIANO, TIBURCIO, BEATRIZ, GENEROSA,
SILVERIA, LEONARDO, FELOMENA, ENCARNACION and LEONILA, all surnamed BONIFACIO, petitioners,
vs.
10
HON. NATIVIDAD G. DIZON, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Branch XIII, Malolos, Bulacan and
PASTORA SAN MIGUEL, respondents.

FERNAN, C.J.:
The issue raised in the instant petition for certiorari certified to us by the Court of Appeals in its resolution 1 dated November 28, 1986 in CA-
G.R. SP No. 10033 as involving a pure question of law is phrased by petitioners, thus:
WHETHER OR NOT, THE FAVORABLE JUDGMENT OBTAINED BY THE DECEDENT IS INHERITED BY THE
COMPULSORY HEIRS, THEREBY VESTING TO THE LATTER, ALL THE RIGHTS CONFERRED BY THE JUDGMENT TO
(sic) THE DECEDENT. 2
The favorable judgment adverted to by petitioners traces its origin to the complaint filed on July 1, 1968 by Olimpio Bonifacio before the then
Court of Agrarian Relations, Fifth Regional District, Branch I-A of Baliwag, Bulacan, seeking the ejectment of private respondent Pastora San
Miguel from Bonifacio's two-hectare agricultural land situated at Patubig, Marilao, Bulacan and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
T-27298. The ground relied upon therefor was personal cultivation under Section 36 (1) of R.A. 3844, otherwise known as the Agricultural
Land Reform Code (CAR Case No. 2160-B'68).
After trial on the merits, judgment was rendered therein on September 18, 1970 by Judge Manuel Jn. Serapio:
1. Granting authority to plaintiff OLIMPIO BONIFACIO to eject defendant PASTORA SAN MIGUEL from the landholding in
question situated at Patubig, Marilao, Bulacan with an area of two (2) hectares, more or less, and consequently, ordering said defendant
to vacate the same landholding and deliver possession thereof to said plaintiff for the latter's personal cultivation, subject to the
provisions of Section 25 of R.A. 3844; and
2. Dismissing all other claims and counterclaims of the parties. 3
On appeal by private respondent Pastora San Miguel, the Court of Appeals 4 modified said judgment with respect to her counterclaim by
ordering Olimpio Bonifacio to pay her the amount of P 1,376.00. The judgment was affirmed in all other respects. 5
Still dissatisfied, private respondent Pastora San Miguel sought relief from this Court. During the pendency of her petition, on August 7, 1983,
Olimpio Bonifacio died. As no notice of such death was given to the Court, no order for the substitution of his heirs was made. On July 31,
1985, the Court En Banc resolved to deny private respondent's petition for lack of merit and to affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals. 6
Subsequently, petitioners Rosalina Bonifacio, as surviving wife, and Gabriel, Ponciano, Tiburcio, Beatriz, Generosa, Silveria, Leonardo,
Felomena, Encarnacion and Leonila all surnamed Bonifacio, as children and heirs of Olimpio Bonifacio, moved for the execution of the decision
in CAR Case No. 2160-B'68 before the respondent Regional Trial Court of Bulacan. A writ of execution was issued on February 20, 1986 and
on March 6, 1986, the Deputy Sheriff submitted his Report (Partial Delivery of Possession), stating in part that except for a portion thereof
occupied by the house of Pastora San Miguel which the latter refused to vacate, he had delivered the land subject matter of the action to Rosalina
Bonifacio as surviving wife of Olimpio Bonifacio.
Thereafter, private respondent Pastora San Miguel moved to quash the writ of execution. This was opposed by petitioners who in turn sought
the issuance of a writ of demolition and an order declaring Pastora San Miguel in contempt of court for allegedly re-entering the subject land.
After hearing, respondent Judge Natividad G. Dizon issued a resolution on July 15, 1986, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the implementation of the writ of execution of the Decision dated September 18, 1970 made by the Sheriff of this
Court, per directive contained in our Order of February 18, 1986, is hereby declared null and void; the "Motion for Demolition" filed
by plaintiff is hereby denied; and, the "Petition for Contempt" likewise denied.
SO ORDERED. 7
Petitioners assail this resolution in the petition for certiorari filed before the Court of Appeals, which as stated earlier, was certified to us
pursuant to Section 9 (3) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 in relation to Section 5 (2) [e], Art. X of the 1973 Constitution and Rule 50, Sec. 3 of the
Revised Rules of Court.
Petitioners contend that respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack of jurisdiction in ruling that the decision in
CAR Case No. 2160-B'68 can no longer be executed as said action is purely personal in character and therefore cannot, upon Olimpio
Bonifacio's death, be inherited by his heirs. They assert that CAR Case No. 2160-B'68, being an ejectment case and not one of those specifically
provided by law to be purely personal, survives the death of a party. Furthermore, as under Rule 39, Section 49 (b) of the Rules of Court, a
judgment is binding not only upon the parties but also on their successors-in-interest, petitioners are entitled to enforce the decision in CAR
Case No. 2160-B'68.
Private respondent, on the other hand, places stress on the fact that the action under consideration is not an ordinary ejectment case but an
agrarian case for the ejectment of an agricultural lessee. She theorizes that the right being asserted in the action is personal to Olimpio Bonifacio,
which necessarily died with him. She further contends that the non-substitution of Olimpio Bonifacio by his heirs rendered the proceedings
taken after his death null and void. She also points to certain supervening events which allegedly prohibit execution of the judgment in CAR
Case No. 2160-B'68, to wit: the amendment of Section 36 (1), R.A. 3844 by R.A. No. 6389 and 2) the promulgation of P.D. No. 27.
Private respondent is correct in characterizing CAR Case No. 2160-B'68 as more than an ordinary ejectment case. It is, indeed, an agrarian case
for the ejectment of an agricultural lessee, which in the light of the public policy involved, is more closely and strictly regulated by the State.
This factor, however, does not operate to bar the application to the instant case of the general rule that an ejectment case survives the death of
a party. 8
Much of the problem lies in the term "personal cultivation" by which the ground for ejectment under Section 36 (1) of R.A. 3844 was loosely
referred. As it is, the term gave the impression that the ejectment of an agricultural lessee was allowed only if and when the landowner-lessor
and no other opted to cultivate the landholding; thereby giving use to a bigger misconception that the right of cultivation pertained exclusively
to the landowner-lessor, and therefore his personal right alone. A reading of Section 36 (1), R.A. 3844 however readily demonstrates the fallacy
of this interpretation. Said section provides:
Sec. 36. Possession of Landholding; Exceptions. — Notwithstanding any agreement as to the period or future surrender of the land,
an agricultural lessee shall continue in the enjoyment and possession of his landholding except when his dispossession has been
authorized by the Court in a judgment that is final and executory if after due hearing it is shown that:
(1) The agricultural lessor-owner or a member of the immediate family will personally cultivate the landholding or will convert the
landholding, if suitably located, into residential, factory, hospital or school site or other useful non-agricultural purposes . . . .
Under this provision, ejectment of an agricultural lessee was authorized not only when the landowner-lessor desired to cultivate the landholding,
but also when a member of his immediate family so desired. In so providing, the law clearly did not intend to limit the right of cultivation
strictly and personally to the landowner but to extend the exercise of such right to the members of his immediate family. Clearly then, the right
of cultivation as a ground for ejectment was not a right exclusive and personal to the landowner-lessor. To say otherwise would be to put to
naught the right of cultivation likewise conferred upon the landowner's immediate family members.
The right of cultivation was extended to the landowner's immediate family members evidently to place the landowner-lessor in parity with the
agricultural lessee who was (and still is) allowed to cultivate the land with the aid of his farm household. In this regard, it must be observed
that an agricultural lessee who cultivates the landholding with the aid of his immediate farm household is within the contemplation of the law
engaged in "personal cultivation."
Thus, whether used in reference to the agricultural lessor or lessee, the term "personal cultivation" cannot be given a restricted connotation to
mean a right personal and exclusive to either lessor or lessee. In either case, the right extends to the members of the lessor's or lessee's immediate
family members.
11
Petitioners are not only the heirs and successors-in-interest, but the immediate family members of the deceased landowner-lessor as well. The
right to cultivate the landholding asserted in CAR Case No. 2160-B'68 not being a purely personal right of the deceased landowner-lessor, the
same was transmitted to petitioners as heirs and successors-in-interest. Petitioners are entitled to the enforcement of the judgment in CAR Case
No. 2160-B'68.
Rules of procedure make it the duty of the attorney to inform the court promptly of his client's death, incapacity or incompetency during the
pendency of the action and to give the name and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian or other legal representative. 9 In case of a
party's death, the court, if the action survives, shall then order upon proper notice the legal representatives of the deceased to appear and to be
substituted for the deceased within a period of 30 days or within such time as may be granted.10
In the case at bar, Olimpio Bonifacio's death during the pendency of private respondent's petition was not communicated to the Court. As ruled
by this Court in the case of Florendo, Jr. vs. Coloma, supra, involving substantially the same facts and issue:
. . . The petitioners challenge the proceeding in the Court of Appeals after the death of the plaintiff-appellant Adela Salindon. They
are of the opinion that since there was no legal representative substituted for Salindon after her death, the appellate court lost its
jurisdiction over the case and consequently, the proceedings in the said court are null and void. This argument is without merit.
There is no dispute that an ejectment case survives the death of a party. The supervening death of plaintiff-appellant Salindon did not
extinguish her civil personality (Republic v. Bagtas 6 SCRA 242; Vda. de Haberes v. Court of Appeals, 104 SCRA 534). . . .
xxx xxx xxx
In the case at bar, Salindon's counsel after her death on December 11, 1976 failed to inform the court of Salindon's death. The appellate
court could not be expected to know or take judicial notice of the death of Salindon without the proper manifestation from Salindon's
counsel. In such a case and considering that the supervening death of appellant did not extinguish her civil personality, the appellate
court was well within its jurisdiction to proceed as it did with the case. There is no showing that the appellate court's proceedings in
the case were tainted with irregularities.
Private respondent's challenge against the proceedings held after Olimpio Bonifacio's death cannot therefore be heeded.
Neither can private respondent derive comfort from the amendment of Section 36 (1) of R.A. 3844 by Section 7 of R.A. No. 6389 11 and the
promulgation of P.D. No. 27. 12 In Nilo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-34586, April 2, 1984,128 SCRA 519, we categorically ruled that both
R.A. No. 6389 and P.D. No. 27 cannot be applied retroactively under the general rule that statutes have no retroactive effect unless otherwise
provided therein.
There being no cogent reason to nullify the implementation of the writ of execution in CAR Case No. 2160-B'68, respondent judge acted with
grave abuse of discretion in having done so. The writ prayed for should issue.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed resolution dated July 15, 1986 is hereby SET ASIDE. The immediate execution of the
decision in CAR Case No. 2160-B'68 is ordered. This decision is immediately executory. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-14697 January 28, 1961
SILVINO LASTIMOZA and HONORATA GONZALES, petitioners,
vs.
HON. RAMON BLANCO, Judge of the Court of Agrarian Relations, Eighth Regional District, Iloilo City and NESTOR
PANADA, respondents.
Ramon A. Gonzales for petitioners.
Nostratis & Sioson for respondent Court of Agrarian Relations.
Jose L. Castigador for respondent Nestor Panada
GUTIERREZ DAVID, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction to annul certain orders of Hon. Ramon Blanco, as Judge of the Court
of Agrarian Relations and to restrain him from further proceeding with CAR Case No. 724. Iloilo, for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter
in controversy. Giving due course to the petition, this Court issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for upon petitioner's filing a bond
of P200.00.
The facts of the case are not disputed. On September 22, 1956, the Court of First Instance of Iloilo in Land Registration Case No. N.341
(G.L.R.O. Rec. No. N.10795) adjudicated in favor of Silvino Lastimoza and his wife Honorata Gonzales, herein petitioners, a parcel of land
identified as Lot No.14 of Plan PSU-87977. On April 12, 1957, Original Certificate of Title No. 01204 covering the same was issued by the
Register of Deeds of the province in their names. They were, subsequently, or on July 29, 1958, placed in possession of the land by writ of
possession, the sheriff of the province ejecting therefrom Perfecto, Rosalina, Encarnacion, Lucila and Lydia, all surnamed Gallego.
On September 13, 1958, herein respondent Nestor Panada, claiming to be a tenant since the start of the 1956-57 agricultural year of Perfecto
Gallego, one of those ousted by the writ of possession, filed against herein petitioners a petition with the Court of Agrarian Relations praying,
among other things, that he be maintained as tenant on about 2 hectares of the land in question (Case No. 724. Iloilo). As prayed for in the
petition, the Agrarian Court issued an interlocutory order directing the JAGO officer or his authorized representative to supervise the harvest
and threshing of the palay crops standing on the landholding, and to deposit, after deducting the expenses therefor, the net produce in a bonded
warehouse.
On September 18, 1958, petitioners filed a motion to lift the interlocutory order, and on the following day, moved to dismiss the case on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, it being alleged that there was no tenancy relationship between them and respondent
Nestor Panada. Both motions, however were denied and reconsideration of the orders of denial having been also denied, the petitioners filed
the present petition for certiorariand prohibition.
We find the petition meritorious.
It is not disputed that respondent Nestor Panada worked on a portion of the land in question by virtue of a so called oral contract of tenancy
with Perfecto Gallego who was then in possession of the land. The latter, however, was ejected from the land after the same had been adjudicated
in a land registration proceeding to herein petitioners by the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, and title hereto issued in their names. Since that
court has, in effect, ruled that Perfecto Gallego, the supposed former landholder, was an unlawful, possessor and intruder, respondent Nestor
Panada cannot now invoke the security of tenure guaranteed in section 9 of the Tenancy Law (Republic Act No. 1199) and claim that petitioners,
as the prevailing party in the land registration proceeding, are duty bound to maintain him as their tenant. Said section 9 of the Tenancy Law
— in providing that "the sale or alienation of the land do not of themselves extinguish the tenancy relationship," for in such cases, "the purchaser
or transferee shall assume the rights and obligations of the former landholder in relation to the tenant," obviously assumes the existence of a
valid tenancy relation between the former landholder and his tenants, and contemplates privity of contract or alienation of valid title be it of
ownership or possession, between the old landholder and the new. In the instant case, there can be no question that there is no privity of contract
or alienation in the sense contemplated by section 9 of the Tenancy Law between Perfecto Gallego, the alleged former landholder and herein
petitioners. Neither can it be pretended that there was a valid tenancy relation between said Perfecto Gallego and respondent Panada. Tenancy
relationship can only be created with the consent of the true and lawful landholder who is either the "owner, lessee, usufructuary or legal
possessor of the land" (sec. 5[b], Rep. Act No. 1199), and not thru the acts of the supposed landholder who has no right to the land subject of
the tenancy. Perfecto Gallego, the alleged former landholder, having been ousted by writ of possession issued by a competent court and virtually
declared a usurper or intruder, respondent Panada, as his tenant, can have no better right and claim security of tenure, a guarantee afforded only
to tenants de jure. To rule otherwise, would be to pave the way for fraudulent collusions among the unscrupulous to the prejudice of the true
and lawful landholder. Such anomalous and absurd result certainly could not have been the intention of Congress.
12
It being evident for the reasons above stated that herein petitioners are not legally bound to assume the former landholder's rights and obligations
in relation to his tenants, it results that there is no tenancy relationship between the parties in this case, and consequently, the Agrarian Court
erred in assuming jurisdiction to hear and determine respondent Panada's complaint or petition.
WHEREFORE, the petition for a writ of prohibition is granted, the orders complained of are set aside and the petition filed with the Agrarian
Court by respondent Panada is dismissed, with costs against him.
JAIME SANCHEZ, JR., G.R. No. 171346
Petitioner, Present:

YNARES-
- versus - SANTIAGO, J.,Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
ZENAIDA F. MARIN, JESUS NICASIO F. NACHURA, and
MARIN, JOSE DAVID F. MARIN, MARIA REYES, JJ.
BERNADETTE F. MARIN, PAUL PETER F.
MARIN and PHILIP LUIS F. MARIN, Promulgated:
Respondents.
October 19, 2007
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to reverse and set
aside (1) the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 61955, dated 23 May 2005, which granted in part the petition filed before
it by herein respondents and thereby annulled and set aside the Decision[2]rendered by the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board
(DARAB) dated 25 September 2000 in DARAB Cases No. 3799 (Reg. Case No. IV-QI-0175-91) and No. 3800 (Reg. Case No. IV-QI-0167-
91); and (2) the Resolution[3] of the appellate court, dated 25 January 2006, which denied herein petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.

Herein petitioner Jaime Sanchez, Jr. is an agricultural tenant of a 10-hectare fishpond sited at Barangay Talao-Talao, Lucena City,
which was previously owned by David Felix, the ascendant of herein respondents. Herein respondent Zenaida F. Marin is the civil law lessee
of the subject fishpond and the mother of respondents Jesus Nicasio, Jose David, Maria Bernadette, Paul Peter and Philip Luis, all surnamed
Marin, who are now the registered owners[4] of the said fishpond.

The controversy in this case arose from the following facts:

In 1977, the petitioner was instituted as a tenant of the subject fishpond by its previous registered owner David Felix. The sharing
agreement was on a 50/50 basis after deducting the expenses from the gross harvest. A few years thereafter, David Felix sold and transferred
ownership of the subject fishpond to respondents Jesus Nicasio, Jose David, Maria Bernadette, Paul Peter and Philip Luis, all surnamed Marin,
to whom a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-43289,[5] covering the subject fishpond, was issued. The aforesaid respondents, as the new
owners of the fishpond, entered into a civil law lease agreement dated 24 June 1985 with their mother and co-respondent Zenaida F. Marin,
which was renewable yearly.

Subsequently, Zenaida F. Marin, as a lessee of the subject fishpond, made an arrangement with the petitioner wherein the latter would
receive a regular salary and a 20% share in the net profit of the fishpond from January 1985 to June 1986. The reason why the agreement was
with a period was to be consistent with the lease agreement entered into between respondent Zenaida F. Marin and her children, herein
respondents Jesus Nicasio, Jose David, Maria Bernadette, Paul Peter and Philip Luis, all surnamed Marin.[6]However, after the expiration of
the first lease agreement between respondent Zenaida F. Marin and her children, and before a new lease agreement could be made, the petitioner
was ordered by Zenaida F. Marin to vacate the premises but he refused to do so. He asserted that he was a tenant of the fishpond and not a mere
contractual worker; hence, he had the right to its peaceful possession and security of tenure.

On 21 July 1986, the petitioner filed a Complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lucena City, Branch 53, which was
docketed as Agrarian Case No. 86-8, in which he asked the court to declare him as a tenant of the subject fishpond. On 20 July 1987, the RTC
of Lucena City rendered a Decision[7] in favor of the petitioner, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the [herein petitioner] as the agricultural tenant, not a
hired contractual worker on the [subject fishpond], and therefore, entitled to the security of tenure under Section 7 [8] of
Republic Act No. 1199[9] and to continue possession of the premises and shall enjoy the rights and privileges accorded by
law.[10](Emphasis supplied.)

Dissatisfied, the aforesaid Decision was appealed by respondent Zenaida F. Marin to the appellate court, in which it was docketed as
CA-G.R. SP (CAR) No. 14421. In a Decision[11] dated 11 September 1989, the appellate court affirmed in toto the Decision of the RTC of
Lucena City. No other recourse being taken therefrom, the said Decision of the Court of Appeals later became final and executory.

Having been declared as an agricultural tenant on the subject fishpond, the petitioner, on 15 March 1991, filed before the Provincial
Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) Region IV a Petition for the fixing of the leasehold rentals for his use of the subject fishpond
at P30,000.00 per annum, docketed as DARAB Case No. IV-QI-0175-91.It was alleged therein by the petitioner that under Section 12 of
Republic Act No. 6657[12] and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Administrative Order No. 4, Series of 1989, he had the option to convert
his status as share-crop tenant into an agricultural lessee by paying a fixed lease rental on the fishpond. He further claimed that the respondents
posited no objection to the amount of P30,000.00 as a yearly lease rental. Yet, in an Answer filed by the respondents, they insisted that
fishponds, like the subject matter of this case, were not yet within the purview of the law on leasehold. They likewise refuted the fact that they
agreed to fix the lease rental at P30,000.00 per annum. Although they admitted that the petitioner was indeed declared as an agricultural tenant
of the fishpond, they, however, argued that the petitioner should already be ejected therefrom for his failure to pay the rent.

13
Thus, on 17 April 1991, respondent Zenaida F. Marin filed a Complaint before the PARAD Region IV, docketed as DARAB Case
No. IV-QI-0167-91, primarily to eject the petitioner from the fishpond because of the latters failure to pay the rent and to make an accounting,
in violation of Sections 17 and 50 of Republic Act No. 1199. She also sought to compel the petitioner to pay the total amount of P650,000.00
representing the lease rentals from 1 July 1985 to 30 June 1991 and to make an accounting of the total production or income of the subject
fishpond from 1 August 1987 to 25 October 1991.

The petitioner denied having any liability to respondent Zenaida F. Marin in the amount of P650,000.00 as rental arrears. He stressed
that he failed to pay the lease rentals from July 1987 to July 1989 because he failed to harvest anything from the fishpond during the said period
due to respondent Zenaida F. Marins refusal to defray the expenses of production. Accordingly, he cannot be evicted on the basis of non-
payment of rent because his obligation to pay the same merely depends on the actual harvest made. Similarly, the petitioner emphasized that
from March 1989 to September 1990, he deposited the rent due respondent Zenaida F. Marin in Philippine National Bank (PNB) Account No.
66375[13] under the name of the Deputy Sheriff of the RTC of Lucena City, Branch 53, and respondent Zenaida F. Marin withdrew the said
amount.

Considering that the two cases involved the same parties and the same subject matter, the Provincial Adjudicator consolidated the
same. On 2 March 1993, he rendered a Decision[14] in favor of the petitioner. Its dispositive portion reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered:

xxxx

3. Ordering that [petitioner] be maintained in the peaceful possession of subject farm-holding.[15]

Respondents moved for the reconsideration of the aforementioned Decision but the same was denied in a Joint Order, [16] dated 15 May 1995,
rendered by the Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (RARAD).

Aggrieved, respondents appealed the PARAD Decision dated 2 March 1993 to the DARAB, reiterating their position that the fishpond was
excluded from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government. The cases before the DARAB were
docketed as DARAB Cases No. 3799 (Reg. Case No. IV-QI-0175-91) and No. 3800 (Reg. Case No. IV-QI-0167-91).

On 25 September 2000, the DARAB rendered a Decision affirming in toto the Decision of the Provincial Adjudicator dated 2 March
1993.

Still refusing to admit defeat, respondents filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Review of the aforesaid DARAB Decision
maintaining that the DARAB grossly erred in not finding that substantial evidence exists to warrant the dispossession of the petitioner from the
subject fishpond.

On 23 May 2005, the appellate court rendered its assailed Decision wherein it granted in part the Petition of the respondents by
annulling and setting aside the DARAB Decision dated 25 September 2000 on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. The appellate court ruled that
Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7881,[17] amending Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657, excluded private lands actually, directly and exclusively
used for prawn farms and fishponds from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL); clearly then, the operation of a
fishpond is no longer considered an agricultural activity, and a parcel of land devoted to fishpond operation is not anymore an agricultural
land. Additionally, the appellate court declared that under Section 1, Rule II of the 2003 DARAB Rules of Procedure, governing proceedings
before the DARAB and its different regional and provincial adjudicators, the DARAB et al.s jurisdictions were limited only to agrarian disputes
or controversies and matters or incidents involving the implementation of Republic Act No. 6657, Republic Act No. 3844 and other agrarian
laws. Consequently, the disputes involved in DARAB Cases No. 3799 and No. 3800 were not agrarian disputes, and since the DARAB, et al.
then acted without jurisdiction when they heard and adjudicated the aforesaid cases, their decisions and orders therein were null and void. There
is, however, no obstacle for the opposing parties to institute the proper action before the regular courts. Lastly, the appellate court held that the
petitioner cannot avail himself of the protection under Section 2(b) of Republic Act No. 7881, which protects vested rights of those who have
already been issued a CLOA, for the reason that the petitioner had not shown that he had been issued a CLOA to the subject fishpond as an
agrarian reform beneficiary.

Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the aforesaid Decision, but it was denied in a Resolution dated 25 January 2006.

Hence, this Petition.

Petitioner presents the following issues for this Courts resolution:

I. Whether the burden of proof to show that a fishpond is not an agricultural land rests on the
agricultural lessor.

II. Whether this burden was sufficiently discharged by the respondents.

III. Whether the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform should first determine
the exclusion of a fishpond from the coverage of CARP before it could be finally said that it is indeed excluded
therefrom.

IV. Whether the subject fishpond is covered by the [CARL].

V. Assuming that the fishpond is not covered by the CARL, whether the [DARAB] has jurisdiction
over the case.

Petitioner maintains his contention that Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended by Republic Act No. 7881, which was the
basis of the appellate court in declaring that the subject fishpond was not an agricultural land, does not mention any presumption as regards the
exemption of prawn farms and fishponds from the coverage of the CARL. According to him, before a fishpond can be considered exempted
from the coverage of Republic Act No. 6657, two things must concur, to wit: (1) the fishpond has not been distributed; and (2) a CLOA has
been issued to the agrarian reform beneficiaries under the CARP. And the burden of proof to establish the existence of the aforesaid elements
falls upon the agricultural lessor. Absent any of these two elements, the fishpond will remain within the coverage of Republic Act No. 6657. He
14
also argues that Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended by Republic Act No. 7881, cannot be given retroactive effect. Neither can it
prevail over a right which has already been vested in him by virtue of the final and executory Decision dated 11 September 1989 of the Court
of Appeals, affirming the Decision dated 20 July 1987 of the Lucena City RTC, which declared him as an agricultural tenant of the subject
fishpond and therefore entitled to security of tenure. Similarly, petitioner contends that respondents unsubstantiated claim that no CLOA had
been issued to him was not enough to discharge their burden of proving that the subject fishpond was already exempted from the coverage of
the CARL.

Petitioner further avers that although Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657 already provides that prawn farms and fishponds are
exempted from the coverage of the CARL, the said provision of law still has to be construed in relation to Section 3, Rule II of the 2003
DARAB Rules of Procedure, which requires an application for exemption to be filed before the Office of the Secretary of the DAR to determine
if prawn farms and fishponds are indeed excluded from the coverage of the CARL. And considering that the respondents failed to file the said
application for exemption, petitioner then alleges that the subject fishpond cannot be considered excluded from the coverage of the CARL.

Finally, petitioner argues that granting arguendo that the subject fishpond was excluded from the coverage of the CARL, still, the
DARAB had jurisdiction over his case.Petitioner asserts that his status as an agricultural tenant of the subject fishpond has long been
settled. And being a tenant, he has various rights which are recognized and protected under the law, among which is his right to security of
tenure. Thus, when the respondents filed a Complaint before DARAB Region IV to eject him from the fishpond, in violation of his rights, it
cannot be denied that an agrarian dispute arose between him and the respondents and the same properly fell within the jurisdiction of the
DARAB.And so, even though the fishpond was excluded from the coverage of the CARL, the petitioner asserts that it does not necessarily
follow that no tenancy relation existed between him and the respondents and it cannot be used as basis to deprive the DARAB of its jurisdiction
over the present case.

In sum, the issues in this case may be summarized as follows:

I. Whether the subject fishpond is exempted/excluded from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program of the government by virtue of the amendments introduced by R.A. No. 7881 to R.A. No. 6657.

II. Granting that the subject fishpond is exempted/excluded from the coverage of the CARL, whether the
DARAB has jurisdiction over the case.

The Petition is meritorious.

The Court of Appeals grounded its Decision on this Courts pronouncements in Romero v. Tan.[18] In the said case, this Court traced
the classification of fishponds for agrarian reform purposes. Section 166(1) of Republic Act No. 3844[19] defined an agricultural land as land
devoted to any growth, including but not limited to crop lands, salt beds, fish ponds, idle land and abandoned land. Thus, it is beyond cavil that
under this law, fishponds were considered agricultural lands. Even when Republic Act No. 6657 entitled, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Law of 1988, took effect on 15 June 1988, fishponds were still considered as agricultural land. However, when Republic Act No. 7881 was
passed by Congress on 20 February 1995, it amended several provisions of Republic Act No. 6657. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7881
amended Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657 by expressly exempting/excluding private lands actually, directly and exclusively used
for prawn farms and fishponds from the coverage of the CARL.Section 3(c) of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended, now defines agricultural
land as land devoted to agricultural activity and not otherwise classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land. As to
what constitutes an agricultural activity is defined by Section 3(b) of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended, as the cultivation of the soil, planting
of crops, growing of fruit trees, including the harvesting of such farm products, and other farm activities and practices performed by a
farmer in conjunction with such farming operations done by persons whether natural or juridical. By virtue of the foregoing amendments,
the operation of fishponds is no longer considered an agricultural activity, and a parcel of land devoted to fishpond operation is no
longer an agricultural land.[20]

Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended by Republic Act No. 7881, explicitly provides:

SEC. 10. Exemptions and Exclusions.

x x x x.

b) Private lands actually, directly and exclusively used for prawn farms and fishponds shall be exempt from
the coverage of this Act: Provided, That said prawn farms and fishponds have not been distributed and Certificate of
Land Ownership Award (CLOA) issued to agrarian reform beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program.
In cases where the fishponds or prawn farms have been subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, by
voluntary offer to sell, or commercial farms deferment or notices of compulsory acquisition, a simple and absolute majority
of the actual regular workers or tenants must consent to the exemption within one (1) year from the effectivity of this
Act. When the workers or tenants do not agree to this exemption, the fishponds or prawn farms shall be distributed collectively
to the workers-beneficiaries or tenants who shall form a cooperative or association to manage the same

In cases where the fishponds or prawn farms have not been subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law,
the consent of the farm workers shall no longer be necessary; however, the provision of Section 32-A hereof on incentives
shall apply. (Emphasis supplied.)

From the afore-quoted provision, it is crystal clear that fishponds are excluded/exempted from the coverage of the CARL. This Court
affirmed such exemption/exclusion in Atlas Fertilizer Corp. v. Secretary, Department of Agrarian Reform.[21] In view of the foregoing, it is
beyond doubt that the subject fishpond is indeed now exempted/excluded from the coverage of the CARL. Thus, the contention of the petitioner
that the subject fishpond cannot be exempted/excluded from CARL coverage because respondents failed to prove that the fishpond has not yet
been distributed and a CLOA has been issued to the beneficiary of the agrarian reform, as required by Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657, as
amended by Republic Act No. 7881, is now unavailing. Moreover, this Court notes that the DARAB already made a finding in its Decision that
no CLOA had been issued to the petitioner as a beneficiary of the fishpond. Neither was the fishpond voluntarily offered for sale to the
petitioner. Section 54 of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended, expressly states that the findings of fact of the DARAB shall be final and
conclusive if based on substantial evidence. Since the issue as to whether a CLOA has been issued to the petitioner is a question of fact, and
being convinced that the findings of the DARAB on such issue was not based on mere surmises or conjectures, this Court upholds the
15
same. Similarly, in this case, the character of the land was never put in issue as it has long been settled that the 10-hectare lot was indeed used
actually, directly and exclusively as fishponds. Hence, it is not necessary for the respondents to file an application for the exemption of the
subject fishpond from the coverage of the CARL, contrary to the claim of the petitioner.

Even as we recognize that the fishpond is not covered by the CARL, pursuant to Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended by
Republic Act No. 7881, this Court, nonetheless, does not agree in the conclusion arrived at by the Court of Appeals that since the subject
fishpond is no longer an agricultural land, it follows then that there can be no tenurial arrangement affecting the parties in this case. And in
view of the fact that there is no agrarian dispute cognizable by the DARAB, then the DARAB had no jurisdiction to resolve petitioners case.

It bears emphasis that the status of the petitioner as a tenant in the subject fishpond and his right to security of tenure were already
previously settled in the Decision dated 20 July 1987 of the RTC of Lucena City in Agrarian Case No. 86-8, which was affirmed by the Court
of Appeals in its Decision dated 11 September 1989. Having been declared as a tenant with the right to security of tenure as provided in Section
35[22] of Republic Act No. 3844 in relation to Section 7 of Republic Act No. 1199, the law enforced at the time of the filing of the Complaint
before the RTC of Lucena City, the petitioner has acquired a vested right over the subject fishpond, which right or interest has become fixed
and established and is no longer open to doubt or controversy. [23] Therefore, even if fishponds, like the subject matter of this case, were later
excluded/exempted from the coverage of the CARL as expressly provided in Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended by Republic
Act No. 7881, and despite the fact that no CLOA has been issued to the petitioner, the same cannot defeat the aforesaid vested right already
granted and acquired by the petitioner long before the passage of Republic Act No. 7881. And being in the nature of a substantive law, the
amendments introduced by Republic Act No. 7881 to Republic Act No. 6657 in the year 1995 cannot be given a retroactive application as to
deprive the petitioner of his rights under the previous agrarian legislation. [24]

Verily, DAR Administrative Order No. 3, Series of 1995, expressly respects and acknowledges the tenancy relationship that existed
between the parties prior to the amendments made to Republic Act No. 6657 by Republic Act No. 7881, that is, before fishponds and prawn
farms were exempted/excluded from the coverage of the CARL. The aforesaid DAR Administrative Order provides:

II. POLICY STATEMENT

D. Acts of harassment by landowners intended to eject or remove the workers or tenants or the loss of their rights,
benefits and privileges to which they are entitled shall be sanctioned and dealt with under existing laws, rules and
regulations.
E. Fishpond or prawn farmworkers affected by exemption/exclusion have the option to remain as workers or
become beneficiaries in other agricultural lands.

A worker who chooses to remain in the exempted area shall remain therin and shall be entitled to such rights, benefits
and privileges granted to farmworkers under existing laws, decrees, and executive orders. (Emphasis
supplied.)

Indubitably, despite the amendments to Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6657, the petitioners right to tenancy and security of tenure over the
subject fishpond must still be honored.

This Court likewise affirms that the DARAB correctly assumed jurisdiction over the case, contrary to the declaration made by the appellate
court in its Decision. Notably, the present case was instituted as early as 1991 when the petitioner filed a Petition before the PARAD for the
fixing of his lease rental on the subject fishpond. Respondents subsequently filed a countercharge against the petitioner for the accounting,
collection of sums of money, and dispossession. At such point, the law applicable was Republic Act No. 6657, wherein fishponds and prawn
farms were not yet exempted/excluded from the CARL coverage. Evidently, there was an agrarian dispute existing between the petitioner and
the respondents, cognizable by the PARAD at the time it rendered its Decision on 2 March 1993 in favor of the petitioner. On 20 February
1995, however, Republic Act No. 7881 came into being which expressly exempted/excluded fishponds and prawn farms from the coverage of
the CARL. In effect, cases involving fishponds and prawn farms are no longer considered agrarian disputes as to make the case fall within the
jurisdiction of the DARAB or its Adjudicators. Nevertheless, considering that prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. 7881, this case
was already pending appeal before the DARAB, the aforesaid amendments then cannot be made to apply as to divest the DARAB of its
jurisdiction over the case. It is well-settled that once jurisdiction is acquired by the court, it remains with it until the full termination of the
case.[25]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision and the Resolution of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 61955, dated 23 May 2005 and 25 January 2006, respectively, which annulled and set aside the Decision of the DARAB,
dated 25 September 2000, for lack of jurisdiction, are herebyREVERSED AND SET ASIDE. Thus, the said Decision of the DARAB dated 25
September 2000 is hereby REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 86889. December 4, 1990.]

LUZ FARMS, Petitioner, v. THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, Respondent.

Enrique M. Belo for petitioner.

DECISION

PARAS, J.:

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.
16
As gathered from the records, the factual background of this case, is as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

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).chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

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:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

(a) Section 3(b) which includes the "raising of livestock (and poultry)" in the definition of "Agricultural, Agricultural Enterprise or Agricultural
Activity."cralaw virtua1aw library

(b) Section 11 which defines "commercial farms" as "private agricultural lands devoted to commercial, livestock, poultry and swine raising . .
."cralaw virtua1aw library

(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 . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library

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.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library

The constitutional provision under consideration reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

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
17
of this Court in the case of the Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. 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:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"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. v. Land Tenure Administration, 31 SCRA
413 [1970]).chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

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. v. 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:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
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:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
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
18
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).chanrobles virtual
lawlibrary

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. 191538 December 11, 2013
WELLER JOPSON, Petitioner,
vs.
FABIAN O. MENDEZ, JR. and DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court are the Decision1 dated July 9, 2009 and Resolution2 dated
February 12, 2010 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 70781.
The facts, as found by the CA, are as follows:
Spouses Laura S. Pascual (Laura) an~ Jose H. Mendoza (Jose) owned a parcel ofland situated at Naga City, Camarines Sur. The property had
an aggregate area of one hundred one thousand forty-five (101,045) square meters and was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.
687. On 26 December 1961, the said property was subdivided into sixtythree (63) lots through a judicially approved subdivision and became
part of Laura Subdivision. Thus, TCT No. 687 was cancelled and, in its stead, TCT No. 986 (covering 31 lots), TCT No. 987 (covering 31 lots)
and TCT No. 988 (covering 1 lot) were issued.
On 4 January 1992, spouses Laura and Jose conveyed to respondent Development Bank of the Philippines (respondent DBP), by way of dacion
en pago, the parcel of land covered by TCT No. 986 (subject landholding) which has an area of eight thousand nine hundred forty-six (8,946)
square meters. The transfer was evidenced by a Deed of Conveyance of Real Estate Property in Payment of Debt. As a consequence, the
Registry of Deeds of Naga City cancelled TCT No. 986 and issued TCT No. 1149 in favor of respondent DBP.
Sometime in the year 1990, respondent DBP published an Invitation to Bid for the conveyance of the subject landholding covered by TCT No.
1149. On 28 December 1990, the said property was sold for ₱1.2M to petitioner Fabian O. Mendez, Jr. x x x as the highest bidder. Thus, TCT
No. 1149 was cancelled and, in lieu of it, TCT No. 21190 was issued to [respondent Mendez].
Sometime in 1991, a Complaint was filed by x x x Weller Jopson x x x with the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) of Camarines
Sur. It was directed against respondent DBP, [respondent Mendez] and Leonardo Tominio (Leonardo) for annulment of sale,
preemption/redemption and reinstatement with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or restraining order with damages.
In essence, [petitioner] alleged that he is a bona fide tenant-farmer of the parcel of land subject of the sale between respondent DBP and
[respondent Mendez]; his father Melchor Jopson (Melchor), was the original tenant of subject landholding appointed as such by the spouses
Laura and Jose in 1947; in 1967, he succeeded his father in cultivating the subject landholding now covered by the present TCT No. 21190
when his father became ill; from 1967 up to December 1990, he laboriously tilled and cultivated the parcel of land and religiously shared the
harvest with respondent DBP through its representatives or employees; on 20 December 1990, a certain Leonardo, acting upon the instructions
of [respondent Mendez], unlawfully entered the subject landholding and ejected him from the same; the sale of the subject landholding by
respondent DBP to petitioner is void because the latter is not qualified to acquire the same under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6657; the sale of the
parcel of land is also violative of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 360, series of 1989, in relation to Section 1 of E.O. No. 407 dated 14 June 1990;
he was deprived of his preferential right to buy the parcel of land he tenanted under reasonable terms and conditions as provided for by Section
11, R.A. No. 3844; in the alternative, he also has the right to redeem the parcel of land from petitioner at a reasonable price pursuant to Section
12, R.A. No. 3844; the forcible entry by Leonardo upon the instructions of [respondent Mendez] desecrated his right to security of tenure and
deprivation of his livelihood; he is entitled to the award of actual damages, moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and litigation
expenses; a writ of preliminary injunction should be issued to prevent petitioner or his agents from disposing of the parcel of land.
In his Answer dated 5 November 1991, [respondent Mendez] denied [petitioner]’s allegations and asseverated that the latter has no cause of
action against him; [petitioner] is guilty of laches (or estoppel) for not having questioned the auction sale of the parcel of land; the PARAD had
no jurisdiction over the case because the parcel of land subject of the sale is no longer classified as agricultural and it is not located in an
agricultural zone; as compulsory counterclaim, he is entitled to the award of moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and litigation
expenses; as cross-claim against respondent DBP, he prayed that in the event judgment is rendered in [petitioner]’s favor, respondent DBP
19
should shoulder all the monetary awards that will be granted to [petitioner], return to him the purchase price with interest, reimburse him all
the expenses that he incurred relative to the purchase of the parcel of land and the improvements thereon, compensate him for lost business
opportunities and pay him for the reliefs in his counterclaim.
Leonardo, in his Answer dated 24 January 1992, denied [petitioner]’s allegations and averred that he was already in possession of the parcel of
land even before 20 December 1990, long before he knew [respondent Mendez]; it was [petitioner], claiming to be respondent DBP’s caretaker,
who placed him in the subject landholding; as counterclaim, he should be awarded moral damages, attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.
In its Amended Answer dated 15 June 1992, respondent DBP alleged that [respondent Mendez] accepted the sale will full knowledge of the
extent and nature of the right, title and interest of the former, thus, he should be the one to assume the risk of any liability, or the extent thereof,
when he purchased the subject landholding.
On 8 October 1993, [respondent Mendez] filed a Motion to Maintain Status Quo Ante Litem and to Cite Complainant in Contempt as [petitioner]
forcibly entered the parcel of land in the company of armed men. The motion was resolved by granting [respondent Mendez’s] request and
ordering [petitioner] to vacate the parcel of land. [Respondent Mendez] was, however, ordered to post a cash bond in the amount of ₱10,000.00
to answer for any damage [petitioner] may incur upon the issuance of the order to vacate. 3
In a Decision4 dated August 25, 1995, the PARAD declared the sale of the subject property between respondents as a nullity and ordered
respondent DBP to execute the necessary Deed of Transfer of the parcel of land in favor of the Republic of the Philippines. It held that while
the subject landholding is situated within a district classified as secondary commercial zone and its subdivision was judicially approved, the
same was not duly converted to non-agricultural use as prescribed by law. Resultantly, the Register of Deeds of Naga City was ordered to
cancel TCT No. 21190. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. Declaring the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by respondent Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in favor of corespondent
Fabian Mendez contrary to law and therefore a nullity;
2. Ordering DBP to execute the necessary Deed of Transfer in favor of the Republic of the Philippines represented by the Department
of Agrarian Reform and surrender to the latter possession of subject landholding for coverage under E.O. No. 947;
3. Ordering DBP to return the purchase price of ₱1,200,000.00 to co-respondent Fabian Mendez;
4. Denying the claim for redemption and reinstatement by petitioner;
5. Ordering the Clerk of the Board, DARAB, Naga City to return to Fabian Mendez the cash bond of ₱10,000.00;
6. Dismissing all other claims for lack of merit.
7. Ordering the Register of Deeds, Naga City to cancel TCT No. 21190.
SO ORDERED.5
Respondents moved for reconsideration of the aforesaid decision and argued that the parcel of land is no longer agricultural per Zoning
Ordinance No. 603 adopted on December 20, 1978.
In a Resolution6 dated February 26, 1996, the PARAD reversed its earlier ruling and declared that the parcel of land in question is duly classified
and zonified as non-agricultural land in accordance with pertinent laws and guidelines.
Petitioner, thereafter, filed a Notice of Appeal with the DARAB.
In a Decision7 dated January 25, 2000, the DARAB reversed the PARAD’s ruling and held that there is a tenancy relationship between
respondent DBP and petitioner as evidenced by the sharing of harvest between them. Thus, petitioner is not a mere caretaker but a bona
fide tenant. It, however, did not sustain petitioner’s claim for redemption of the subject landholding since he failed to consign with the PARAD
a reasonable amount to cover the price of the land. It held as follows:
WHEREFORE, on the basis of the foregoing, the assailed Order is hereby REVERSED and a new one entered:
1. Declaring petitioner-appellant entitled to reinstatement to the subject landholding; and
2. Directing Fabian Mendez and all other persons in his behalf or under his authority to maintain petitioner-appellant in peaceful
possession and cultivation of the subject-landholding as agricultural lessee thereof.
SO ORDERED.8
Respondent Mendez filed a motion for reconsideration against said decision, while petitioner filed a Petition for Review with the CA advancing
the argument that the PARAD and the DARAB erred and gravely abused their discretion in denying his right of redemption of the parcel of
land. In a Decision dated November 29, 2001, the CA denied petitioner’s petition.
In a Resolution9 dated April 26, 2002, the DARAB denied respondent Mendez’s motion for reconsideration. Accordingly, respondent Mendez
filed an appeal with the CA.
In a Decision dated July 9, 2009, the CA nullified and set aside the decision and resolution of the DARAB.1âwphi1 The fallo reads:
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the challenged Decision and Resolution
of the DARAB, dated 25 January 2000 and 26 April 2002, respectively, are NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. The complaint of respondent
Jopson before the PARAD is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.10
Unfazed, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration. However, the same was denied in a Resolution dated February 12, 2010.
Thus, the present petition wherein petitioner raises the following issues for our resolution:
1. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR OF LAW WHEN IT DISREGARDED THE
SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE RULE BY OVERTURNING THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE DARAB THAT PETITIONER IS
A BONAFIDE AGRICULTURAL TENANT OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.
2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PARAD AND THE DARAB HAVE
NO JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE.11
In essence, the issues are: (1) whether petitioner is a bona fide tenant of the subject property, and (2) whether the PARAD and DARAB have
jurisdiction over the present case.
At the outset, it must be emphasized that in order for a tenancy agreement to arise, it is essential to establish all its indispensable elements, viz.:
(1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2) the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; (3) there
is consent between the parties to the relationship; (4) the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; (5) there is
personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and (6) the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or
agricultural lessee. All these requisites are necessary to create a tenancy relationship, and the absence of one or more requisites will not make
the alleged tenant a de facto tenant.12
In this case, however, the facts substantiating a de jure tenancy are missing.
First, besides petitioner’s bare assertion that a tenancy relationship exists between him and respondent DBP, no other concrete proof was
presented by petitioner to demonstrate the relationship of petitioner and respondent DBP as tenant and landowner. In fact, respondent DBP
resolutely argued that petitioner is not a tenant but a mere caretaker of the subject landholding.
Second, the subject matter of the relationship is not an agricultural land but a commercial land. Section 3 (c) of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
6657,13 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), states that "an agricultural land refers to land devoted to
agricultural activity as defined therein and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land."
As per Certification by the Office of the Zoning Administrator of Naga City, the subject landholding covered by TCT No. 21190 is classified
as secondary commercial zone based on Zoning Ordinance No. 603 adopted on December 20, 1978 by the City Council and approved by the
National Coordinating Council for Town Planning and Zoning, Human Settlements Commission on September 24, 1980. Thus, the
20
reclassification of the subject landholding from agricultural to commercial removes it from the ambit of agricultural land over which petitioner
claims a tenancy relationship is founded.
As extensively discussed by the CA –
Indeed, the subject landholding is no longer an agricultural land despite its being planted with palay. It had long been reclassified as a
commercial land and it even forms part of Laura Subdivision. Whatever the landowner does to the subject landholding, like plant it with palay,
does not convert it to an agricultural land nor divest it of its actual classification. x x x
xxxx
The reclassification of the subject landholding from agricultural to non-agricultural by the City Council of Naga City through a zoning ordinance
is undoubtedly binding to remove it from the coverage of the CARL. "In Natalia Realty, Inc. v. Department of Agrarian Reform, it was held
that lands not devoted to agricultural activity are outside the coverage of CARL including lands previously converted to non-agricultural uses
prior to the effectivity of CARL by government agencies other than DAR. This rule has been reiterated in a number of subsequent cases. Despite
claims that the areas have been devoted for agricultural production, the Court has upheld the ‘non-agricultural’ classification made by the NHA
over housing and resettlement projects, zoning ordinances passed by local government units classifying residential areas, and certifications over
watershed areas issued by the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR)." In addition, the power of the City Council of Naga City to adopt zoning ordinances is validly recognized under the law.
xxx
xxxx
Furthermore, the reclassification of the subject landholding does not need a conversion clearance from the DAR for it to be legal since such
reclassification occurred prior to 15 June 1988, the effectivity of R.A. No. 6657. As it is, only land classifications or reclassifications which
occur from 15 June 1988 onwards require conversion clearance from the DAR.
x x x 14
Third, the essential element of consent is absent. In the present case, no proof was presented that respondent DBP recognized or hired petitioner
as its legitimate tenant. Besides petitioner’s self-serving assertions that he succeeded his father in tilling the subject landholding, no other
concrete evidence was presented to prove consent of the landowner.
Anent the second issue, we rule that the PARAD and the DARAB have no jurisdiction over petitioner’s claim.
Specifically, the PARAD and the DARAB have primary and exclusive jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all
agrarian disputes involving the implementation of the CARL under R.A. No. 6657. Thus, the jurisdiction of the PARAD and the DARAB is
only limited to cases involving agrarian disputes, including incidents arising from the implementation of agrarian laws. 15 Section 3 (d) of R.A.
No. 6657 defines an agrarian dispute in this wise:
xxxx
(d) Agrarian dispute refers to any controversy relating to tenurial arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise, over
lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes concerning farmworkers’ associations or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing,
maintaining, changing or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements. It includes any controversy relating to
compensation of lands acquired under R.A. 6657 and other terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowners to farmworkers,
tenants and other agrarian reform beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of farm operator and beneficiary,
landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee.
From the foregoing, it is clear that no agrarian dispute exists in the instant case, since what is involved is not an agricultural land and no tenancy
relationship exists between petitioner and respondent DBP.
As aptly held by the CA, for the DARAB to have jurisdiction over a case, there must be a tenancy relationship between the parties. Perforce,
the ruling of the PARAD, as well as the decision and resolution of the DARAB which were rendered without jurisdiction, are without force
and effect.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision dated July 9, 2009 and Resolution dated February 12,
2010 of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 70781, are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 192026 October 1, 2014
AUTOMAT REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, LITO CECILIA AND LEONOR LIM, Petitioners,
vs.
SPOUSES MARCIANO DELA CRUZ, SR. AND OFELIA DELA CRUZ, Respondents.
DECISION
LEONEN, J.:
Before us is a petition for review1 assailing the Court of Appeals' August 19, 2009 decision2 affirming the Department of Agrarian Reform
Adjudication Board (DARAB) in finding the Spouses Dela Cruz to be lawful tenants, and its April 14, 2010 resolution denying reconsideration.
Petitioners pray that the Court of Appeals' decision and resolution be set aside and a new one be issued nullifying the DARAB's February 8,
2005 decision3 and June 30, 2006 resolution,4 and reinstating the August 28, 2001 decision5 of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator
(PARAD) for Laguna that dismissed the petition to maintain peaceful possession with injunction filed by respondent Spouses Dela Cruz
(respondent spouses).6
The facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows.
Petitioner Automat Realty and Development Corporation (Automat) is the registered owner of two parcels of land located in Barangay Malitlit,
Sta. Rosa, Laguna, covered by TCT Nos. T-210027 and T-209077.7
Automat acquired the 49,503-square-meter parcel of land covered by TCT No. T-209077 from El Sol Realty and Development Corporation in
1990. In the same year, Automat also acquired the 24,562-square-meter parcel of land covered by TCT No. T-210027 from Ofelia
Carpo.8 Petitioner Leonor Lim (petitioner Lim) was the real estate broker behind Automat’s purchase of the property. Respondent spouses
sometimes referred to petitioner Lim some Sta. Rosareal estate properties available for sale. They received a share in the broker's fees either
from the seller or buyer.9
The land was not occupied in 1990 when it was purchased by Automat. Respondent Ofelia dela Cruz volunteered her services to petitioner Lim
as caretaker to prevent informal settlers from entering the property. Automat agreed, through its authorized administrator, petitioner Lim, on
the condition that the caretaker would voluntarily vacate the premises upon Automat’s demand.10
Respondent spouses’ family stayed in the property as rent-paying tenants. They cultivated and improved the land. They shared the produced
palay with Automat through its authorized agent, petitioner Lito Cecilia (petitioner Cecilia). He also remitted the rentals paid by respondent
Ofelia Dela Cruz to petitioner Lim in Makati and to Automat's office in Quezon City. 11
Sometime in August 2000, Automat asked respondent spouses to vacate the premises as it was preparing the groundwork for developing the
property.12
Respondent spouses refused to vacate unless they were paid compensation. They claimed "they were agricultural tenants [who] enjoyed security
of tenure under the law."13
On October 19, 2000, respondent spouses filed a petition for maintenance of peaceful possession withprayer for preliminary mandatory
injunction and/or temporary restraining order against Automat before the PARAD for Laguna. 14
Automat had recovered possession ofthe property before respondent spouses filed their petition, and it continues to have possession at present.15

21
On August 28, 2001, the PARAD dismissed the complaint. It declared, among other things, that "no agricultural tenancy can be established
between [the parties] under the attending factual circumstances." 16 The PARAD found it undisputed that when petitioners entered the property
in 1990, it was already classified as residential, commercial, and industrial land. Thus, "it is legally impossible for [the property] to be the
subject of an agricultural tenancy relation[ship]." 17
On February 8, 2005, the DARAB reversed and set aside the PARAD's decision. It declared respondent spouses as de juretenants of the
landholding, thus, protected by security of tenure. 18 It ordered Automat "to maintain [the spouses] in peacefulpossession and cultivation of the
landholding."19
Automat, petitioner Lim, and petitioner Cecilia appealed with the Court of Appeals, 20 arguing that (a) the DARAB had no jurisdiction since the
property is not agricultural land, (b) the board’s finding that respondent spouses are de juretenants was not supported by evidence, and (c) the
essential requisites for a valid agricultural tenancy relationship are not present. 21
On August 19, 2009, the Court of Appeals affirmed the DARAB without prejudice to petitioners’ right to seek recourse from the Department
of Agrarian Reform Secretary on the other issues.22
The Court of Appeals, like the DARAB, gave more weight to the following documentary evidence: 23 (a) Municipal Agrarian Reform Office’s
Job H. Candinado’s October 18, 2000 certification stating that respondent spouses are the actual tillers of the land; 24 (b) sworn statements by
Norma S. Bartolozo, Ricardo M. Saturno, and Resurrection E. Federiso who are residents and owners of the adjoining lots; 25 (c) Irrigation
Superintendent Cesar C. Amador’s certification on the irrigation service fee paid by respondent spouses; 26 and (d) checks paid by respondent
spouses as proof of rental.27 Petitioners filed for reconsideration.28 Meanwhile, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region IV-A
CALABARZON issued two orders, both dated March 30, 2010, exempting the property from coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program (CARP).29
On April 16, 2010, petitioners filed a supplemental motion for reconsideration informing the Court of Appeals of these exemption orders.30
Two days earlier or on April 14,2010, the Court of Appeals had denied reconsideration. On May 4, 2010, it noted without action the
supplemental motion for reconsideration.31
Hence, petitioners Automat, Leonor Lim, and Lito Cecilia appealed before this court.
Petitioners submit that the Court of Appeals erred in applying Sta. Ana v. Carpo 32 in support of its ruling that the parcels of land are agricultural
in nature and that an agricultural tenancy relationship existed between Automat and respondent spouses.33 They also argue that the DAR
exemption orders confirmed their "consistent position that the DARAB never had jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case."34
Respondent spouses counter that the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that a tenancy relationship existed between Automat and respondent
spouses.35 They argue that an implied contract of tenancy was created when they were allowed to till the land for 10 years. 36 Consequently,
they are entitled to security of tenure as tenants.37 They add that the "subsequent reclassification of agricultural lands into non-agricultural
[land] after the effectivity of the (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law) CARL does not automatically remove the land from the coverage of
the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program [as a] valid certificate of exemption o[r] exclusion, or a duly approved conversion order, must
first be secured."38
The issues for resolution are as follows:
I. Whether an agricultural tenancy relationship exists between Automat and respondent spouses; and
II. Whether the DAR exemption orders have an effect on the DARAB’s earlier exercise of jurisdiction.
I
No agricultural tenancy relationship
The elements to constitute a tenancy relationship are the following: "(1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2)
the subject matter of the relationship isagricultural land; (3) there is consent between the parties to the relationship; (4) the purpose of the
relationship is to bring about agricultural production; (5) there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee;and (6) the
harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee." 39
There must be substantial evidence on the presence of all these requisites; otherwise, there is no de jure tenant. 40Only those who have established
de jure tenant status are entitled to security of tenure and coverage under tenancy laws. 41
Well-settled is the rule that he who alleges must prove.42 Respondent spouses filed the petition before the PARAD, praying to be maintained
in peaceful possession of the property. They were the ones claiming they had a tenancy relationship with Automat. Thus, they had the burden
of proof to show that such relationship existed.
I.A
Actual tillers
On the first requisite, respondent spouses contend that the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) Officer Job A. Candanido issued a
certification on October 18, 2000 that respondent spouses are the actual tillers of the land. 43Three farmers of adjacent lands44 testified on the
same fact — that respondent spouses are the actual tillers.45Irrigation Superintendent Cesar Amador also issued a certification that respondent
spouses paid the irrigation service fees.46
Petitioners counter with MARO Officer Candanido’s March 23, 2001 amended certification. This later certification states that there are "No
Records of Tenancy or written Agricultural Leasehold Contract to any farmer/tiller"47 in relation to the property.
This court has held that a MARO certification "concerning the presence or the absence of a tenancy relationship between the contending parties,
is considered merely preliminary or provisional, hence, such certification does not bind the judiciary." 48
The amended certification does not bind this court. Several elements must be present before the courts can conclude that a tenancy relationship
exists. MARO certifications are limited to factual determinations such as the presence of actual tillers. It cannot make legal conclusions on the
existence of a tenancy agreement.
Thus, petitioners’ reliance on the amended MARO certification fails to persuade.
Nevertheless, the finding in the original MARO certification on the presence of actual tillers is closely related to the nature of the land. This
brings us to the second requisite that the property must be agricultural land.
I.B
Not agricultural land
Petitioners submit that the two parcels of land were classified as industrial prior to the effectivity of CARL on June 15, 1988. This was done
through the Municipal Zoning Ordinance of Sta. Rosa Laguna No. XVIII, series of 1981, approved on December 2, 1981 by the then Human
Settlements Regulatory Commission, now the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board or HLURB. 49 This classification was reiterated in the
town plan or Zoning Ordinance No. 20-91 of Sta. Rosa, Laguna, approving the town plan classifying the lands situated in Barangay Malitlit as
industrial land.50
Respondent spouses counter that the reclassification of the lands into non-agricultural was done in 1995, after the effectivity of CARL, by
virtue of Sangguniang Bayan Resolution as approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 811, seriesof 1995. Section 20 of the
Local Government Code51 governs the reclassification of land in that "[a] city or municipality may, through an ordinance passed by the
Sanggunian after conducting public hearing for the purpose, authorize [sic] the reclassification of agricultural lands. . . ."52
Respondent spouses then argue that a subsequent reclassification does not automatically remove the land from CARP coverage. "A valid
certificate of exemption [or] exclusion,or a duly approved conversion order, must first be secured. . . ." 53
The land in this case cannot be considered as agricultural land.

22
First, it is undisputed that the DAR Region IV-A CALABARZON had already issued two orders,54 both dated March 30, 2010, exempting the
property from CARP coverage.55 These orders were submitted before the Court of Appeals 56 and raised again before this court. The orders
provide in part:
Department of Justice Opinion No. 44, series of 1990 ruled that "Lands already classified as commercial, industrial or residential use and
approved by the HLURB prior to the effectivity of RA No. 6657 on June 15, 1988 no longer need any conversion clearance. Moreover, the
term agricultural lands as defined in Section 3 (c) of RA 6657 do not include those lands already classified as mineral, forest, residential,
commercial or industrial. The case at hand shows that the subject property is within the non-agricultural zone prior to 15 June 1988.
Further, said lands reclassified to non-agricultural prior to June 15, 1988 ceased to be considered as"agricultural lands" and removed from the
coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
After a careful evaluation of the documents presented, this office finds substantial compliance by the applicant with the documentary
requirements prescribed under DAR Administrative Order No. 04, Series of 2003. 57 (Emphasis supplied)
The exemption orders clearly provide that the lands were reclassified to non-agricultural prior to June 15, 1988, or prior to the effectivity of
Republic Act No. 6657 known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (CARL). 58
Section 3(c) of the CARL defines "agricultural land" as "land devoted to agricultural activity as defined in this Act and not classified as mineral,
forest, residential, commercial or industrial land."
This meaning was further explained by DAR Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1990, otherwise known as the Revised Rules and
Regulations Governing Conversion of Private Agricultural Lands to NonAgricultural Uses:
. . . . Agricultural land 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.59 (Emphasis in the original)
While the earlier Republic Act No. 3844,60 otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code, focuses on actual use of the land when it
defines "agricultural land"as "land devoted to any growth, including but not limited to crop lands, salt beds, fish ponds, idle land61 and
abandoned land62 as defined in paragraphs 18 and 19 of this Section, respectively," 63 this must be read with the later Republic Act No. 6675
(CARL) that qualifies the definition with land classifications.
Second, in Sta. Ana v. Carpo64 cited at length by the Court of Appeals, this court found that the PARAD and the Court of Appeals both acted
without jurisdiction in ruling that "the land had become non-agricultural based on a zoning ordinance of 1981 – on the strength of a mere
vicinity map."65
In Sta. Ana, the land owner had the burdenof proof in filing a complaint for ejectment due to non-payment of lease rentals. In the instant case,
respondent spouses have the burden of proving all elements of tenancy in filing their petition to be maintained in peaceful possession of the
property. Unlike the facts in Sta. Ana, respondent spouses do not contend that the reclassification of the land was by a "mere vicinity map."
Their contention is that it was made only in 1995, thus, the land remains within CARP coverage unless petitioners secure a certificate of
exemption or exclusion, or a duly approved conversion order.
As earlier discussed, petitioners have secured exemption orders for the lands.
I.C
Consent; nature of relationship
Respondent spouses allege that petitioners "never contest[ed] nor refute[d] [respondent’s] cultivation and occupation of residence in the land
(since 1990) for the past ten (10) years or so." 66 This brings us to the third requisite on consent.
Respondent spouses argue that petitioners’ inaction or failure to refute their occupation and cultivation of the land for the past 10 years, coupled
with the acceptance of payments for use of the land, is "indicative of consent, if not acquiescence to . . . tenancy relations." 67 They contend that
a "[t]enancy relationship may be deemed established by implied agreement [when a] land owner allows another [to] cultivate his land in the
concept of a tenant for a period of ten (10) years." 68 They add that Automat cannot deny the authority of administrator, petitioner Cecilia, whose
acts are binding on the land owner.69
On the other hand, petitioners argue that the acts of the parties "taken in their entirety must be demonstrative of an intent to continue a prior
tenancy relationship established by the landholder." 70 There should be "no issue . . . [on] the authority of the overseer to establish a real right
over the land."71
Petitioners contend that there is no prior tenancy relationship to speak of between respondent spouses and Automat. Petitioner Cecilia executed
an affidavit submitted to the DARAB categorically denying respondent spouses’ allegations that he instituted them as agricultural
tenants.72 Petitioner Lim executed a similar affidavit "debunking [respondent spouses’] claim that they were instituted as agricultural
tenants."73 Petitioners, thus, emphasize that petitioners Cecilia and Lim’s authority to establish a real right over the land has been properly
questioned, and no special power of attorney74 has been presented by respondent spouses on such authority. 75
The PARAD agreed in that "it would be totally behind [sic] human comprehension for Automat to institutea tenant on their untenanted lands
[as] [i]t has been of public knowledge that landowners were paying millions of pesos a hectare just to get rid of their tenants in Sta.Rosa, Laguna
since 1989 so that they could fully and freely [dispose] and [use] their lands. . . . it would be easier for this Office to believe and be convinced
that, in deed [sic], if ever petitioners were allowed entry into the land it would be for any other purposes other than the establishment of a
tenancy [relationship]."76
This court has ruled that "[t]enancyis not a purely factual relationship dependent on what the alleged tenant does upon the land [but] is also a
legal relationship."77 Tenancy relationship cannot bepresumed. The allegation of its existence must be proven by evidence, and working on
another’s landholding raises no presumption of an agricultural tenancy. 78 Consequently, the landowner’s consent to an agricultural tenancy
relationship must be shown.
While this court agrees with the conclusion that no agricultural tenancy relationship can exist in thiscase, we find that the element of consent
in establishing a relationship, not necessarily of agricultural tenancy, is present.
This court finds that Automat consented to a relationship with respondent spouses when (a) through petitioner Lim,it constituted respondent
Ofelia dela Cruz as caretaker of the property with the understanding that she would vacate when asked by Automat, and (b) it accepted rental
payments from respondent spouses.
First, petitioner Lim executed an affidavit stating that "Mrs. Ofelia dela Cruz or Nida volunteered to act as caretakerof the properties bought by
Automat Realty only for the purpose ofpreventing squatters from entering the same and on the understandingthat she would vacate the properties
voluntarily when asked todo so by Automat Realty." 79
Automat confirmed this agreement entered into by petitioner Lim on its behalf when it included such allegation in the statement of facts in its
memorandum with this court.80
While Automat questioned petitioners Lim and Cecilia’s authority to establish a real right over the property in that "[r]espondents had not
shown any special power of attorney showing that Cecilia was authorized by Automat Realty to install any agricultural tenant on the latter’s
properties,"81 it never denied giving consent to installing respondent spouses as caretakers of the land.
Second, while both petitioners Lim and Cecilia denied in their affidavits being the authorized administrator of Automat, 82 petitioner Cecilia
nevertheless confirms accepting checks as rental payments from respondent spouses for convenience, considering that he often went to Makati
where petitioner Lim holds office and Quezon City where Automat has its office. 83
Automat never denied receipt of these rentals.

23
Respondent spouses’ petition for maintenance of peaceful possession filed with the PARAD alleged that "as regards the sharing arrangement
derived from the rice/palay harvests, petitioners were verbally instructed to deliver the same to . . . Lito Cecilia who was authorized to collect
for and in behalf of Automat every cropping period, the amount of Fifteen Thousand Five Hundred Pesos covering the two (2) parcels of
land."84 They attached photocopies of five (5) checks in the name of Automat for the following amounts: (a) 8,000.00 dated December 31,
1993; (b) 7,500.00 dated December 31, 1993; (c) 7,500.00 dated January 5, 1995; (d) 8,000.00 dated January 10, 1995; and (e) 7,500.00 dated
June 22, 1997.85
I.C.1
Civil lease
Automat is considered to haveconsented to a civil lease.86
Article 1643 of the Civil Code provides that "[i]n the lease of things, one of the parties binds himself to giveto another the enjoyment or use of
a thing for a price certain, and for a period which may be definite or indefinite. . . ."
The Civil Code accommodates unwritten lease agreements such as Article 1682 that provides: "The lease of a piece of rural land, when its
duration has not been fixed, is understood to have been for all the time necessary for the gathering of the fruitswhich the whole estate leased
may yield in one year, or which it may yield once, although two or more years may have to elapse for the purpose."
On the other hand, Article 1687 statesthat "[i]f the period for the lease has not been fixed, it is understood to be from year to year, if the rent
agreed upon is annual; from month to month, if it is monthly; from week to week, if the rent is weekly; and from day to day, if the rent is to be
paid daily. . . ." Applying this provision, "the contract expires at the end of such month [year, week, or day] unless prior thereto, the extension
of said term has been sought by appropriate action and judgment is, eventually, rendered therein granting the relief." 87
Under the statute of frauds, an unwritten lease agreement for a period of more than one year is unenforceable unless ratified. 88
Respondent spouses were allowed to stay in the property as caretakers and, in turn, they paid petitioners rent for their use of the property.
Petitioners’ acceptance of rental payments may be considered as Ratification89 of an unwritten lease agreement whose period depends on their
agreed frequency of rental payments.
I.C.2
Builder, planter, sower
In the alternative, if the facts can show that the proper case involves the Civil Code provisions on builders, planters, and sowers, respondent
spouses may be considered as builders, planters, or sowers in good faith, provided such is proven before the proper court.
Article 448 of the Civil Code provides that if the landowner opts to "appropriate as his own the works, sowing or planting," he must pay
indemnity to the builder, planter, or sower in good faith in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code:
ART. 448. The owner of the land on which anything has been built, sown or planted in good faith, shall have the right to appropriate as his own
the works, sowing or planting, after payment of the indemnity provided for in articles 546 and 548, or to oblige the one who built or planted to
pay the price of the land, and the one who sowed, the proper rent. However, the builder or planter cannot be obligedto buy the land ifits value
is considerably more than that of the building or trees. In such case, he shall pay reasonable rent, if the owner of the land does not choose to
appropriate the building ortrees after proper indemnity. The parties shall agree upon the terms of the lease and in case of disagreement, the
court shall fix the terms thereof.
....
ART. 546. Necessary expenses shall be refunded to every possessor; but only the possessor ingood faith may retain the thing until he has been
reimbursed therefor.
Useful expenses shall be refunded only to the possessor in good faith with the same right of retention, the person who has defeated him in the
possession having the option of refunding the amount of the expenses or of paying the increase in value which the thing may have acquired by
reason thereof.
....
Art. 548. Expenses for pure luxury or mere pleasure shall not be refunded to the possessor in good faith; but he may remove the ornaments with
which he has embellished the principal thing if it suffers no injury thereby, and ifhis successor in the possession does not prefer to refund the
amount expended. (Emphasis supplied)
Article 448 of the Civil Code on builders, planters, and sowers in good faith applies when these parties have a claim of title over the
property.90 This court has expanded this limited definition in jurisprudence:
This Court has ruled that this provision covers only cases in which the builders, sowers or planters believe themselves to be owners of the land
or, at least, to have a claim of title thereto. It does not apply when the interest is merely that of a holder,such as a mere tenant, agent or
usufructuary. From these pronouncements, good faith is identified by the belief that the land is owned; or that — by some title — one has the
right to build, plant, or sow thereon.
However, in some special cases, this Court has used Article 448 by recognizing good faith beyond this limited definition. Thus, in Del Campo
v. Abesia, this provision was applied to whose house — despite having been built at the time he was still co-owner — overlapped with the land
of another. This article was also applied to cases wherein a builder had constructed improvements with the consent of the owner. The Court
ruled that the law deemed the builder tobe in good faith. In Sarmiento v. Agana, the builders were found to be in good faith despite their reliance
on the consent of another, whom they had mistakenly believed to be the owner of the land. 91 (Emphasis supplied)
Respondent spouses alleged in their petition before the PARAD that they "introduced various agricultural improvements purposely to make the
said landholdings productive, harvests ofwhich were remitted and delivered to . . . AUTOMAT through its administrator LITO CECILIA. . .
."92 The Court of Appeals’ recitation offacts also state that respondent spouses "cultivated the area, improved the same and shared the palay
produced therein to the owner, Automat,through its authorized agent, Lito Cecilia." 93
Petitioners allege in their memorandumbefore this court that at the time Automat purchased the property, these "were not irrigated and they
were not planted to rice or any other agricultural crop." 94 No further allegations were made on whether the property was planted with trees or
crops after its purchase in 1990, until respondent spouses were asked to vacate in 2000. However, this court is not a trier of facts and can only
entertain questions of law.95This court also applies the rule that damages must be proven in order to be awarded. 96
The causes of action of respondent spouses, if these can be supported by the facts and evidence, may be pursued in the proper case either under
builder, planter, or sower provisions, or civil lease provisions before the proper court.
II
DARAB jurisdiction
Petitioners submit that in light of the exemption orders, "[a]s a matter of law, the subject properties were never subject to the jurisdiction of the
DARAB, which issued the decision erroneously affirmed by the Court of Appeals." 97
In the same breath, petitioners recognize the PARAD’s jurisdiction in praying that this court "reinstat[e] the Decision of the Provincial Agrarian
Reform Adjudication (PARAD) for the Province of Laguna dated August 28, 2001 in Reg Case No. R-0403-0041, dismissing the ‘Petition to
Maintain Peaceful Possession with Injunction’ filed by the respondents." 98
The DARAB has "primary and exclusive jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes involving
the implementation of the [CARP] . . . and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules and regulations:" 99
RULE II
Jurisdiction Of The Adjudication Board
SECTION 1. Primary and Exclusive Original and Appellate Jurisdiction.– The Board shall have primary and exclusive jurisdiction, both
original and appellate, todetermine and adjudicate all agrarian disputesinvolving the implementation ofthe Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
24
Program (CARP) under Republic Act No. 6657, Executive Order Nos. 228, 229, and 129-A, Republic Act No. 3844 as amended by Republic
Act No. 6389, Presidential Decree No. 27 and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules and regulations. Specifically, such jurisdiction
shall include but not be limited to cases involving the following:
a) The rights and obligations of persons, whether natural or juridical, engaged in the management, cultivation and use of all agricultural
lands covered by the CARP and other agrarian laws;
b) The valuation of land, and the preliminary determination and payment of just compensation,fixing and collection of lease rentals,
disturbance compensation, amortization payments, and similar disputes concerning the functions of the Land Bank of the Philippines
(LBP);
c) The annulment or cancellation oflease contracts or deeds of sale or their amendments involving lands under the administration and
disposition of the DAR or LBP;
d) Those cases arising from, or connected with membership or representation in compact farms, farmers’ cooperatives and other
registered farmers’ associations or organizations, related to lands covered by the CARP and other agrarian laws;
e) Those involving the sale, alienation, mortgage, foreclosure, pre-emption and redemption of agricultural lands under the coverage
of the CARP orother agrarian laws;
f) Those involving the issuance, correction and cancellation of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) and Emancipation
Patents (EPs) which are registered with the Land Registration Authority;
g) Those cases previously falling under the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the defunct Court of Agrarian Relations under Section
12 of Presidential No. 946, except sub-paragraph (q) thereof and Presidential Decree No. 815.
It is understood that the aforementioned cases, complaints or petitions were filed with the DARAB after August 29, 1987.
Matters involving strictly the administrative implementation of Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law (CARL) of 1988 and other agrarian laws as enunciated by pertinent rules shall be the exclusive prerogative of and cognizable by
the Secretary of the DAR.
h) And such other agrarian cases, disputes, matters or concerns referred to it by the Secretary of the DAR.
SECTION 2. Jurisdiction of the Regional and Provincial Adjudicators. – The RARAD and the PARAD shall have concurrent original
jurisdiction with the Board to hear, determine and adjudicate all agrarian cases and disputes, and incidents in connection therewith, arising
within their assigned territorial jurisdiction.100 (Emphasis supplied)
"Agrarian dispute" has been defined under Section 3(d) of Republic Act No. 6657 101 as referring to "any controversy relating to tenurial
arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise, over lands devoted to agriculture. . . ."
This court has held that "jurisdiction of a tribunal, including a quasijudicial office or government agency, over the nature and subject matter of
a petition or complaint is determined by the material allegationstherein and the character of the relief prayed for irrespective of whether the
petitioner or complainant is entitled to any or all such reliefs." 102
The petition filed by respondent spouses before the PARAD alleged that "AUTOMAT REALTY AND DEV’T CORP. . . is the registered
owner of two (2) parcels of agricultural land. . .", 103 respondent spouses were "instituted as tenant-tillers of the two (2) parcels of rice
landholdings by . . . AUTOMAT through its authorized administrator LITO CECILIA", 104 and that "shares of the harvests of . . . AUTOMAT
were paid and delivered in the form of checks payable in cash in the name of . . . AUTOMAT. . . ." 105
However, jurisdiction is conferred by law, and "an order or decision rendered by a tribunal or agency without jurisdiction is a total nullity."106
The DAR exemption orders have determined with certainty that the lands were reclassified as non-agricultural prior to June 15, 1988.
Consequently, the petition filed by respondent spouses in 2000 before the PARAD did not involve "lands devoted to agriculture" and,
necessarily, it could not have involved any controversy relating to such land.1âwphi1Absent an "agrarian dispute," the instant case cannot fall
under the limited jurisdiction of the DARAB as a quasi-judicial body. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals' August
19, 2009 decision and April 14, 2010 resolution are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The PARAD's decision dated August 28, 2001 and DARAB's
decision dated February 8, 2005 are declared NULL and VOID for lack of jurisdiction, without prejudice to the filing of a civil case with the
proper court.
SO ORDERED.
Establishment
[G.R. No. 137509. August 15, 2001]
PEVET ADALID FELIZARDO, RONEMAR FELIZARDO, PERFECTO ADALID and VENERANDA ADALID, petitioners,
vs. SIEGFREDO FERNANDEZ, respondent.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 46748, which affirmed the judgment of the
Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), upholding the ruling of its Regional Adjudicator in DARAB Case No. X (07)
818.
The petition stems from a complaint[1] for illegal ejectment, reinstatement, and damages filed by respondent Siegfredo Fernandez against
petitioners Ronemar and Pevet Adalid Felizardo (Felizardos) and Perfecto and Veneranda Adalid (Adalids), owners of a two-hectare agricultural
land situated in Barangay Garang, Tangub City, Province of Misamis Occidental, of which 1.5 hectares tenanted by respondents father used
for planting coconut and corn since the early 1930s.
In 1981, when Policarpo was already 74 years old, the task of working on the tenanted land fell on his son, respondent Siegfredo, who
was the only member of the household then living with Policarpo. For close to 15 years and even while his father was still alive, Siegfredo
cultivated the land, harvested the coconuts, and sold the copra to buyers in Tangub City. During those years, the pesadas were placed in
Siegfredos name and the latter observed the same 1/3-2/3 sharing arrangement of the copra produce with the landowners, as his father previously
did.
After Policarpo passed away on August 31, 1995, the Felizardos and Adalidschildren of the landowners and acting as attorneys-in-fact of
the Adalids who were then already residing in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A sought to eject Siegfredo from the land he was tilling. The
Felizardos refused to recognize Siegfredo as the lawful successor to Policarpos tenancy rights and instead, appointed Asuncion Fernandez
Espinosa, Siegfredos 65-year old elder sister, as tenant.
Subsequently, in October 1995, the Felizardos and Adalids brought criminal charges against Siegfredo for usurpation and qualified theft
before the regular courts. While these cases were pending, the landowners harvested the coconuts on November 6, 1995, sold the same and
excluded Siegfredo in the sharing arrangement of 1/3-2/3 scheme.[2]
Siegfredo then filed this present case before the Regional Adjudication Board (Region 10) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
against the Adalids and Felizardos. Siegfredo alleged that by virtue of successional tenancy rights, he is the lawful tenant of the land. He pointed
out that he substituted his father and assumed cultivation of the land for 15 long years without objection from the landowners. Therefore, he
became a bona fide tenant and could not be ejected because he is the lawful tenant.
Siegfredo also claimed that there is no other qualified successor to his fathers leasehold right because all his eight elder siblings were no
longer members of Policarpos immediate farm household. Asuncion, in particular, was already of advanced age and could not be expected to
work on the land personally. She lived elsewhere in Tangub City and has never helped their father in the farm nor been a farmworker in her
entire life.[3]

25
On the other hand, the Felizardos and Adalids denied Siegfredos tenancy status and insisted that after Policarpos death, they had the right
to choose who among the Fernandez siblings would succeed Policarpo in the latters agricultural leasehold rights. They asserted that the right
to choose the agricultural lessor belonged to the landowner in accordance with Section 9 of Republic Act No. 3844 or the Agricultural Land
Reform Code.[4] They stressed that they have already appointed Asuncion to continue Policarpos agricultural lease on September 22, 1995. A
leasehold contract was also entered into on October 24, 1995 between Asuncion and the landowners, copy of which was already furnished to
the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) in Tangub City. [5]
On March 26, 1996, the Regional Adjudicator ruled in favor of Siegfredo and disposed of the case thus:
WHEREFORE, decision is hereby rendered as follows:
1. Ordering the immediate reinstatement of complainant as the Bonafide tenant-lessee to the subject landholding;
2. Ordering the cancellation of the existing leasehold contract between defendants and one Asuncion Espinosa, and in lieu thereof, the
execution of a leasehold contract as between herein complainant and defendants;
3. Ordering the respondents to account for and pay to the complainant his share or the amount in excess of his rentals after deducting the
expenses in the harvest of November, 1995 and February 1996 based on the pesadas from the copra buyer;
4. Ordering respondents to pay the amount of P10,000 as in (sic) Attorneys Fees and the amount of P5,000 as litigation expenses.
SO ORDERED.[6]
The Regional Adjudicator held that the landowners right to choose a lessor under Section 9 of R.A. No. 3844 is circumscribed by the
requirements that the prospective lessor must be able to cultivate the land personally and be a member of the original tenants immediate farm
household. Based on these factors, the Adjudicator declared that Asuncion does not qualify to take over Policarpos leasehold right.Moreover,
the Adjudicator noted that the landowners did not object to Siegfredos tillage of the land and they accepted their share in the harvest proceeds
from Siegfredo for 15 years. According to the Adjudicator, they impliedly consented to the new tenancy relationship under Section 7 of Republic
Act No. 1199[7]or the Agricultural Tenancy Act, as amended.
On appeal to the DARAB, where the case was docketed as DARAB Case No. 4983, the Board affirmed the findings of the Regional
Adjudicator.[8] The Court of Appeals, to which the case was subsequently elevated, agreed with the DARAB. [9]
Hence, this recourse.
Petitioners submit the following questions of law for our resolution:
1. Whether or not under the law the right to choose to succeed the tenancy right of a tenant belongs to the landowner or not (sic).
2. Whether or not respondent Siegfredo Fernandez during the lifetime of his father can already be considered as a tenant as allegedly he was
already the one doing the duties of his father until his death in 1995. [10]
The issue to be determined in this case is whether Siegfredo has acquired the status of agricultural tenant which would preclude petitioners
from exercising their right to choose Asuncion as Policarpos successor after the latters death.
Petitioners mainly contend that their right to choose a tenant successor under Section 9 of RA No. 3844 is subsisting, despite the fact that
Siegfredo took over his fathers landholding as early as 1981.They maintain that they did not object to Siegfredos personal cultivation of the
land for 15 years because they believed that during that period, Siegfredo was merely aiding Policarpo as member of the latters immediate farm
household. They argue that could not be construed as having impliedly consented to a leasehold relation with Siegfredo under Section 7 of R.A.
No. 1199, since Policarpo was then still alive and was not declared to be permanently incapacitated.
Respondent, on the other hand, insists that he is the sole qualified successor to Policarpos leasehold, being the only immediate member
of the farm household who personally cultivated the land during the latters lifetime. According to respondent, the landowner concededly has
the right to choose a tenant successor under Section 9 of R.A. No. 3844, but only if there were two or more qualified prospective lessors from
among the original tenants descendants. Besides, according to respondent, petitioners did not question his assumption of Policarpos leasehold
obligations for many years. Consequently, he concludes that they could not now belatedly deny his status as tenant of the land.
As found by the appellate court and the proper agencies below, the evidence on record strongly suggests that respondent became Policarpos
tenant successor by implied consent of petitioners. On this point, we are in agreement.
Petitioners assert that for 15 years, they thought that respondent was merely helping Policarpo in the latters personal cultivation of the
land. In our view, however, the period of 15 years is too long a time to hold on to such a thought which appears to be only an unverified
assumption. The undisputed fact, as found by the DARAB, is that respondent worked on the land since 1981 because his father could no longer
do so. Respondent did not merely aid his father in the latters farm work, but completely took over that work since Policarpo was already very
old and incapable to continue farming. Section 5 (p) [11] of R.A. No. 1199 defines incapacity as any cause or circumstance which prevents the
tenant from fulfilling his contractual obligations. Respondent fully assumed his fathers leasehold obligations for 15 years precisely because
Policarpo could no longer perform his duties as petitioners tenant and respondent is the only member remaining of the original tenants immediate
farm household.
The Regional Adjudicator correctly took judicial notice of the fact that at the age of 74 Policarpo was not able and could not reasonably
be expected to till the land anymore.[12] Petitioners were not unaware of this circumstance since they already dealt with, and received the lands
proceeds from respondent. The incapacity of Policarpo to attend to farm work had been evident to petitioners. The prevailing situation in the
farm and the length of time which had lapsed from the time respondent assumed the tenancy work until his fathers death amply support that
conclusion.
A tenancy relationship may be established either verbally or in writing, expressly or impliedly, in accordance with Section 7 of R.A. No.
1199. As aptly held by the Regional Adjudicator:
the transfer and/or delega tion of such tenancy obligations to herein complainant [respondent] was in conformity to the general practice
among farmers, especially so in the case of complainant who had been assisting his father in the farmworks (sic). When defendants failed to
intervene or object to this development, and continued to accept their shares as proferred by the new cultivator, they have thereby impliedly
consented to it giving rise to the new tenancy relationship with the complainant.[13]
Although petitioners did not expressly give their consent to a leasehold relation with respondent, in our view petitioners consented to the
tenancy albeit impliedly by allowing respondent to cultivate the landholding in question and by receiving from him the landowners share of the
harvest over a considerable length of time.
While it is true that Section 9 of R.A. No. 3844 gives the lessor/landowner the right to choose a tenant successor in case of death or
incapacity of the original tenant, in this case we agree that said right could no longer be exercised by petitioners. Not only have they allowed
the lapse of a long period of time before attempting to exercise said right, it was also found that the successor they had allegedly chosen,
Asuncion Fernandez Espinosa, was not qualified to succeed Policarpo because (a) she was no longer a member of the latters immediate farm
household; and (b) she could not and did not, at any time, personally cultivate the land as shown by her unexplained absence during the harvests
subsequent to respondents dispossession. Note also that in 1995, she was already 65 years old.
Moreover, we agree that to recognize petitioners right to choose the tenant at this point could result in material loss, grave damage and
great injustice to respondent. Accordingly, we find applicable in this instance the equitable principle of estoppel by laches in respondents favor.
Laches is defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence,
could or should have been done earlier. It is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that
the party entitled thereto has either abandoned or declined to assert it. The principle of laches is based on grounds of public policy which
requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims. It is principally directed against the unfairness of permitting an alleged
right or claim to be enforced.[14] It concerns itself with whether or not by reason of long inaction or inexcusable neglect, a person claiming a

26
right should be barred from asserting the same, because to allow him to do so would be unjust to the person against whom such right is sought
to be enforced.[15]
In the present case, allowing petitioners to dispossess respondent would clearly prejudice the tiller, who poured time and energy to ensure
that his fathers leasehold remained productive not merely for respondents advantage, but for petitioners as well. For almost 15 years, petitioners
did not object to respondents farm work which accrued to their own benefit. It would thus be utterly unfair for petitioners now to eject respondent
from the land he has been tilling for 15 years, simply because of petitioners choice of respondents sister, Asuncion, as Policarpos
successor.[16] Besides, as correctly observed by the Regional Adjudicator, to give petitioners the right to exercise that choice would merely
result in the unnecessary displacement of respondent who, after years of labor, now has an undeniable stake on the land. Given the practical
circumstances as well as the legal and equitable considerations in this case, we are in agreement with the Court of Appeals, the DARAB, and
the Regional Adjudicator that respondents leasehold rights deserve to be protected and maintained.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 46748 is AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Rights of Agricultural Lessee (RA No. 3844, as amended)
Security of tenure
G.R. No. 88113 October 23, 1992
SPOUSES TITUS L. ENDAYA and GLENDA TRINIDAD; SPOUSES RICO L. ENDAYA and NANETTE AQUINO; and SPOUSES
JOSEPHINE L. ENDAYA and LEANDRO BANTUG, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and PEDRO FIDELI, respondents.

ROMERO, J.:
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-.G.R. No. 15724 dated April 26, 19891 reversing
the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Tanauan, Batangas (Branch 6) in Civil Case No. T-4302 and holding that private respondent is an
agricultural lessee in the land of petitioner whose security of tenure must be respected by the latter.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
The Spouses Natividad Trinidad and Cesar San Diego owned a piece of agricultural land consisting of 20,200 square meters situated at San
Pioquinto, Malvar, Batangas, devoted to rice and corn. As far back as 1934, private respondent Fideli has been cultivating this land as a tenant
of the Spouses respondent Fideli has been cultivating this land as a tenant of the Spouses San Diego under a fifty-fifty (50-50) sharing
agreement. This fact, petitioners do not dispute.
On May 2, 1974, a lease contract was executed between the Spouses San Diego and one Regino Cassanova for a period of four years from May
1974 up to May 1978. 3 The lease contract obliged Cassanova to pay P400.00 per hectare per annum and gave him the authority to oversee the
planting of crops on the land. 4 Private respondent signed this lease contract as one of two witnesses. 5
The lease contract was subsequently renewed to last until May 1980 but the rental was raised to P600.00. Again, private respondent signed the
contract as witness. 6
During the entire duration of the lease contract between the Spouses San Diego and Cassanova, private respondent continuously cultivated the
land, sharing equally with Cassanova the net produce of the harvests.
On January 6, 1980, the Spouses San Diego sold the land to petitioners for the sum of P26,000.00. The sale was registered with the Register of
Deeds of Batangas and a Transfer Certificate of Title was duly issued on January 7, 1981. 7 Private respondent continued to farm the land
although petitioners claim that private respondent was told immediately after the sale to vacate the land. 8 In any case, it is undisputed that
private respondent deposited with the Luzon Development Bank an amount of about P8,000.00 as partial payment of the landowner's share in
the harvest for the years 1980 until 1985. 9
Due to petitioners persistent demand for private respondent to vacate the land, private respondent filed in April 1985 a complaint 10 with the
Regional Trial Court of Tanauan, Batangas praying that he be declared the agricultural tenant of petitioners.
After trial, the trial court decided in favor of petitioners by holding that private respondent is not an agricultural lessee of the land now owned
by petitioners. The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing plaintiff's complaint to be declared a tenant of the landholding consisting of
20,200 square meters, located at San Pioquinto, Malvar, Batangas, and owned by the defendants; ordering Pedro Fideli to vacate the
landholding deliver possession thereof to the defendants; and ordering the amount of P8,000.00 deposited under Account No.
2940029826 Civil Case No. T-430 to be withdrawn and delivered to the defendants, No. pronouncement as to costs.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC decision and declared private respondent to be the agricultural lessee of the subject
landholding. Hence, this petition wherein private respondent's status as an agricultural lessee and his security of tenure as such are being
disputed by petitioners.
Petitioners impugn the Court of Appeals' declaration that private respondent is an agricultural lessee of the subject landholding contending that
when the original landowners, the Spouses San Diego, entered into a lease contract with Regino Cassanova, the agricultural leasehold
relationship between the Spouses San Diego and private respondent, the existence of which petitioners do not dispute, was thereby terminated.
Petitioners argue that a landowner cannot have a civil law lease contract with one person and at the same time have an agricultural leasehold
agreement with another over the same land. It is further argued that because private respondent consented to the lease contract between the
Spouses San Diego and Cassanova, signing as he did the lease agreement and the renewal contract as witness thereof, private respondent has
waived his rights as an agricultural lessee.
These contentions are without merit.
R.A. No. 3844 (1963), as amended By R.A. No. 6839 (1971), which is the relevant law governing the events at hand, abolished share tenancy
throughout the Philippines from 1971 and established the agricultural leasehold system by operation of law. 11 Section 7 of the said law gave
agricultural lessees security of tenure by providing the following: "The agricultural leasehold relation once established shall confer upon the
agricultural lessee the right to continue working on the landholding until such leasehold relation is extinguished. The agricultural lessee shall
be entitled to security of tenure on his landholding and cannot be ejected therefrom unless authorized by the Court for causes herein
provided." 12 The fact that the landowner entered into a civil lease contract over the subject landholding and gave the lessee the authority to
oversee the farming of the land, as was done in this case, is not among the causes provided by law for the extinguishment of the agricultural
leasehold relation. 13 On the contrary, Section 10 of the law provides:
Sec. 10. Agricultural Leasehold Relation Not Extinguished by Expiration of Period, etc. — The agricultural leasehold relation under
this code shall not be extinguished by mere expiration of the term or period in a leasehold contract nor by the sale, alienation or transfer
of the legal possession of the landholding. In case the agricultural lessor sells, alienates or transfers the legal possession of the
landholding, the purchaser or transferee thereof shall be subrogated to the rights and substituted to the obligations of the agricultural
lessor.
Hence, transactions involving the agricultural land over which an agricultural leasehold subsists resulting in change of ownership, e.g., sale, or
transfer of legal possession, such as lease, will not terminate the right of the agricultural lessee who is given protection by the law by making
such rights enforceable against the transferee or the landowner's successor in interest. 14

27
Illustrative of the legal principles outlined above is Catorce v. Court of Appeals 15 where the person holding a mortgage over the farm land
subject of an agricultural leasehold took possession thereof pursuant to the mortgage and ousted the agricultural lessee. Upon complaint for
reinstatement filed by the agricultural lessee, the then Court of Agrarian Relations ordered the mortgagee to deliver possession over the land to
the agricultural lessee but his decision was reversed by the Court of Appeals. In reversing the Court of Appeals' judgment and reinstating the
Agrarian Court's decision, the Court, through Justice Melencio-Herrera, noted, among other considerations, that "tenants are guaranteed security
of tenure, meaning, the continued enjoyment and possession of their landholding except when their dispossession had been authorized by virtue
of a final and executory judgment, which is not so in the case at bar." 16 Implicit in the decision is the recognition that the transfer of possession
to the mortgage did not terminate the agricultural leasehold nor prejudice the security of tenure of the agricultural lessee.
Closer, to although not identical with the factual setting of the case at bar is Novesteras v. Court of Appeals. 17Petitioner in said case was a share
tenant of the respondent over two parcels of land. Respondent entered into a contract of civil lease with Rosenda Porculas for a term of three
years. Porculas did not farm the land himself but left it to petitioner to till the land. After the expiration of the lease between respondent and
Porculas, petitioner entered into an agreement denominated as a contract of civil lease with respondent. On expiration of this lease contract,
respondent denied petitioner possession over the land. Resolving the rights and obligations of the parties, the Court, through Justice Paras, held
that the petitioner therein became an agricultural tenant of respondent by virtue of R.A. No. 3844 (1963), as amended by R.A. No 6839 (1971).
The lease contract between the respondent and Porculas did not terminate the agricultural leasehold relationship between petitioner and
respondent. If at all, the said lease agreement, coupled by the fact that Porculas allowed petitioner to continue cultivating in his capacity as
tenant of the subject landholding, served to strengthen petitioner's security of tenure as an agricultural tenant of the farmland in question.
Accordingly, the subsequent contract between petitioner and respondent denominated as a contract of civil lease was held by the Court to be in
fact an agricultural leasehold agreement.
Again, in Coconut Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc. (COCOMA) v. Court of Appeals, 18 it was held that the agricultural leasehold is
preserved, notwithstanding the transfer of the legal possession of the subject landholding, with the transferee, COCOMA in that case, being
accountable to the agricultural lessees for their rights. The Court, through Justice Padilla, summarized the rule as follows:
There is also no question that, in this case, there was a transfer of the legal possession of the land from one landholder to another (Fule
to petitioner COCOMA). In connection therewith, Republic Act 3844, Sec. 10 states:
Sec. 10. Agricultural Leasehold Relation Not Extinguished by Expiration of Period, etc. — The agricultural leasehold relation
under this Code shall not be extinguished by mere expiration of the term or period in a leasehold contract nor by the sale,
alienation or transfer of the legal possession of the landholding. In case the agricultural lessor sells, alienates or transfers the
legal possession of the landholding, purchaser or transferee thereof shall be subrogated to the rights and substituted to the
obligations of the agricultural lessor.
Further, in several cases, this Court sustained the preservation of the landholder-tenant relationship, in cases of transfer of legal
possession:
. . . in case of transfer or in case of lease, as in the instant case, the tenancy relationship between the landowner and his tenant
should be preserved in order to insure the well-being of the tenant or protect him from being unjustly dispossessed by the
transferee or purchaser of the land; in other words, the purpose of the law in question is to maintain the tenants in the peaceful
possession and cultivation of the land or afford them protection against unjustified dismissal from their holdings. (Primero v.
CAR, 101 Phil. 675);
It is our considered judgment, since the return by the lessee of the leased property to the lessor upon the expiration of the
contract involves also a transfer of legal possession, and taking into account the manifest intent of the lawmaking body in
amending the law, i.e., to provide the tenant with security of tenure in all cases of transfer of legal possession, that the instant
case falls within and is governed by the provisions of Section 9 of Republic Act 1199, as amended by Republic Act 2263.
(Joya v. Pareja, 106 Phil, 645).
. . . that the tenant may proceed against the transferee of the land to enforce obligation incurred by the former landholder such
obligation . . . falls upon the assignee or transferee of the land pursuant to Sec. 9 abovementioned. Since respondent are in
turn free to proceed against the former landholder for reimbursement, it is not iniquitous to hold them responsible to the
tenant for said obligations. Moreover, it is the purpose of Republic Act 1199, particularly Sec. 9 thereof, to insure that the
right of the tenant to receive his lawful share of the produce to receive this lawful share of the produce of the land is
unhampered by the transfer of said land from one landholder to another. (Almarinez v. Potenciano, 120 Phil.
1154.). 19
In the instant case, private respondent has been cultivating the subject farm landholding with a fifty-fifty (50-50) sharing arrangement with the
Spouses San Diego, petitioners' predecessors-in-interest. The passage of R.A. 6839 in 1971, amending R.A. 3844 (1963), secured to private
respondent all the rights pertaining to an agricultural lessee. The execution of a lease agreement between the Spouses San Diego and Regino
Cassanova in 1974 did not terminate private respondent's status as an agricultural lessee. The fact that private respondent knew of, and consented
to, the said lease contract by signing as witness to the agreement may not be construed as a waiver of his rights as an agricultural lessee. On the
contrary, it was his right to know about the lease contract since, as a result of the agreement, he had to deal with a new person instead of with
the owners directly as he used to. No provision may be found in the lease contract and the renewal contract even intimating that private
respondent has waived his rights as an agricultural lessee. Militating against petitioners' theory that the agricultural leasehold was terminated
or waived upon the execution of the lease agreement between the San Diegos and Cassanova is the fact the latter desisted from personally
cultivating the land but left it to private respondent to undertake the farming, the produce of the land being shared between Cassanova and
private respondent, while the former paid P400.00 and later P600.00 per hectare per annum to the San Diegos, as agreed upon in the lease
contract.
Petitioners, however, insist that private respondent can no longer be considered the agricultural lessee of their farm land because after they
purchased the land from the Spouses San Diego in 1980, private respondent did not secure their permission to cultivate the land as agricultural
lessee.
It is true that the Court has ruled that agricultural tenancy is not created where the consent the true and lawful owners is absent. 20 But this
doctrine contemplates a situation where an untenanted farm land is cultivated without the landowner's knowledge or against her will or although
permission to work on the farm was given, there was no intention to constitute the worker as the agricultural lessee of the farm land. 21 The rule
finds no application in the case at bar where the petitioners are successors-in-interest to a tenanted land over which an agricultural leasehold
has long been established. The consent given by the original owners to constitute private respondent as the agricultural lessee of the subject
landholding binds private respondents whom as successors-in-interest of the Spouses San Diego, step into the latter's shows, acquiring not only
their rights but also their obligations. 22
Contradicting their position that no agricultural leasehold exists over the land they acquired from the Spouses San Diego, petitioners also pray
for the termination of the tenancy of private respondent allegedly due to: (a) non-payment of the agricultural lease rental; and (b) animosity
between the landowners and the agricultural lessee. The Court, however, observes that nowhere in the petitioners' Answer to private respondent's
Complaint or in the other pleadings filed before the trial court did petitioners allege grounds for the termination of the agricultural leasehold.
Well-settled is the rule that issues not raised in the trial court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. 23
In fine, the Court, after a painstaking examination of the entire records of the case and taking into account the applicable law, as well as the
relevant jurisprudence, rules that private respondent is the agricultural lessee over the land owned by petitioners. As such, private respondent's
security of tenure must be respected by petitioners.
28
The Court, however, notes from the records of the case that private respondent has unilaterally decided to pay only 25% of the net harvests to
petitioners. 24 Since the agreement of private respondent with the Spouses San Diego, the original owners, was for a fifty-fifty (50-50) sharing
of the net produce of the land, the same sharing agreement should be maintained between petitioners and private respondents, without prejudice
to a renegotiation of the terms of the leasehold agreement.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is DISMISSED and the decision of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED. Private respondent is
hereby ordered to pay the back rentals from 1980 until 1992 plus interest at the legal rate. An accounting of the production of the subject
landholding is to be made by private respondent to the Regional Trial Court of Tanauan, Batangas which shall determine the amount due to
petitioners based on the rate ordered above.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 135999. April 19, 2002]
MILESTONE REALTY and CO., INC. and WILLIAM L. PEREZ, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, DELIA RAZON
PEA and RAYMUNDO EUGENIO, respondents.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
Petitioners Milestone Realty & Co., Inc. (Milestone for brevity) and William Perez seek the reversal of the decision [1] dated May 29, 1998
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP NO. 39987. Said decision affirmed that of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board
(DARAB),[2] which had declared respondent Delia Razon Pea as the bona fide tenant of a lot in Bulacan, and voided the sale of said lot thereby
reversing the decision of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD).[3]
The facts as culled from the records are as follows:
Spouses Alfonso Olympia and Carolina Zacarias and Spouses Claro Zacarias and Cristina Lorenzo were the co-owners of an agricultural
land identified as Lot 616 of the Malinta Estate. Said lot has an area of 23,703 square meters, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT)
No. 26019, located at Karuhatan, Valenzuela, Bulacan, now Valenzuela City. Eventually, Carolina became the owner of the property by virtue
of a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement executed on October 17, 1976 by the heirs of Alfonso Olympia, one of whom is Francisco Olympia, on
their respective shares after Alfonsos death and by an Affidavit of Settlement executed on June 24, 1992 by the spouses Claro and Cristina
Zacarias on their shares in the property.
Meanwhile, Anacleto Pea who was a tenant of the property and a holder of a Certificate of Agricultural Leasehold issued on February 23,
1982, had a house constructed on the lot. He had several children on the first marriage, among whom are Emilio Pea and Celia Segovia, who
also had their houses constructed on the property. On February 4, 1986, Anacleto, who was already 78 years old and a widower, married Delia
Razon, then only 29 years old. On February 17, 1990, Anacleto died intestate and was survived by Delia and his children in his first marriage,
including Emilio.
Emilio and Delia, the latter with the help of respondent Raymundo Eugenio, her son-in-law, continued tilling and cultivating the
property. On January 22, 1992, Emilio signed a handwritten declaration that he was the tenant in the land and he was returning the landholding
to Carolina Zacarias in consideration of the sum of P1,500,000 as disturbance compensation. He initially opted for a 1,000 square meter homelot
but later changed his mind. After receipt of the money, he executed a Katibayang Paglilipat ng Pag-mamay-ari.
In the meantime, petitioner William Perez, Joseph Lim, Willy Lim, Winston Lim, Edgar Lim, and Jaime Lim established Milestone as
incorporators, in order to acquire and develop the aforesaid property and the adjacent parcel, Lot No. 617 of the Malinta Estate.
On July 30, 1992, Carolina Zacarias executed a deed of sale transfering the Lot No. 616 to petitioner Milestone for P7,110,000. TCT No.
26019 was cancelled and in lieu thereof, TCT No. 25433 was issued in the name of Milestone. On the same date, the adjoining Lot No. 617
covered by TCT No. V-25431 was issued under the name of petitioner William Perez who subsequently sold the same to Milestone on the basis
of which TCT No. V-26481 was issued to it. Thus, Milestone became the owner of the adjoining lots, Lot Nos. 616 and 617 of the Malinta
Estate with a total area of three (3) hectares.Development of the property then commenced.
On October 13, 1992, private respondents Delia Razon Pea and Raymundo Eugenio filed a complaint against Emilio Pea, Carolina
Zacarias and her brother Francisco Olympia, and William Perez with the PARAD, which was amended on January 6, 1993 to implead Milestone
as respondent, praying inter alia to declare as null and void the sale by Carolina to Perez and by the latter to Milestone, and to recognize and
respect the tenancy of private respondents Delia and Raymundo.
In her answer, Carolina Zacarias declared that she chose Emilio Pea as her tenant-beneficiary on the said property within 30 days after
the death of Anacleto, conformably with Section 9 of Republic Act No. 3844.[4] On July 28, 1993, the PARAD rendered a decision dismissing
the complaint as follows:[5]
WHEREFORE, upon the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. Dismissing the instant complaint;
2. Dissolving the writ of Preliminary Injunction issued on May 24, 1993;
3. Directing the Cashier of the DAR Regional Office at Pasig, Metro Manila to release to the Petitioners or their duly authorized
representative, the cash bond posted in the amount of Fifteen Thousand Pesos [P15,000.00].
4. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
In the decision, the PARAD ruled that the order of preference cited in Section 9 of Republic Act 3844 is not absolute and may be
disregarded for valid cause.[6] It also took note that Emilios two siblings have openly recognized Emilio as the legitimate successor to Anacletos
tenancy rights.[7]
Delia Razon Pea and Raymundo Eugenio appealed from the PARADs decision to the DARAB. On September 5, 1995, the DARAB
reversed the decision of PARAD, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated July 28, 1993 is REVERSED.
Judgment is issued:
1. Declaring Delia Razon Pea the bona-fide tenant over the landholding in question;
2. Declaring the series of purchase and sale of the landholding in question as illegal, hence, null and void;
3. Directing the Register of Deeds to cancel TCT No. V-26485 and all subsequent titles obtained thereafter over the landholding
named under William L. Perez and Milestone Realty and Co., Inc.;
4. Allowing Delia Razon Pea to exercise her right of redemption over the land within the prescribed period granted by law;
5. Enjoining all Respondents-Appellees to desist from further disturbing Delia Razon Pea in the peaceful possession and cultivation
of the land;
6. Directing the DAR-DOJ Task Force on Illegal Conversion to file appropriate charges before the Special Agrarian Court as regards
the criminal aspect of this case.
SO ORDERED. [8]
In reversing the PARADs decision, the DARAB noted that Carolinas affidavit did not show any categorical admission that she made her
choice within the one (1) month period except to state that when Anacleto died, the right of the deceased was inherited by Emilio Pea which
could only mean that she recognized Emilio Pea by force of circumstance under a nebulous time frame.[9]
In a petition for review to the Court of Appeals, the latter affirmed the DARABs decision, thus:
We are convinced, beyond cavil, in the present recourse, that the Petitioners Carolina Olympia and Francisco Olympia failed to choose,
within the statutory period therefor, any tenant in substitution of Anacleto Pea, the erstwhile deceased tenant on the landholding, and that,
29
without prior or simultaneous notice to Private Respondent Delia Pea, the Petitioners made their choice of Petitioner Emilio Pea as substitute
tenant only in January, 1992, after they had agreed to sell the property to the Petitioner Milestone Realty & Co., Inc.
IN SUM, then, We find no reversible error committed by the DARAB under its oppunged Decision.
IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Petition is denied due course and is hereby dismissed. The appealed Decision is hereby
AFFIRMED. With costs against the Petitioners.
SO ORDERED.[10]
Subsequently, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the CAs decision. Said motion was denied on October 12, 1998.
Hence, this petition assigning the following errors allegedly committed by respondent Court of Appeals: [11]
I
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND APPLICATION OF SECTION 9 OF REPUBLIC ACT 3844 BY
HOLDING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT DELIA RAZON PEA HAS SUCCEEDED TO HER DECEASED HUSBANDS
LEASEHOLD RIGHT BY OPERATION OF LAW.
II
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DECLARING THE SALE BY THE LANDOWNER TO PETITIONER
WILLIAM L. PEREZ, AND BY THE LATTER TO PETITIONER MILESTONE REALTY & CO., INC. AS NULL AND VOID,
AND IN ORDERING THE CANCELLATION OF THEIR RESPECTIVE TITLES. [12]
These two assigned errors tendered issues articulated in petitioners memorandum as follows:
1. Whether or not Emilio Pea was validly chosen by Carolina Zacarias as the new tenant over the landholding under dispute within one
(1) month from the death of his father Anacleto, as prescribed by Section 9 of R.A. 3844, as amended;
2. Whether or not Delia Razon Pea was a bona fide or de jure tenant over the landholding in question to be accorded the alleged rights to
security of tenure and of redemption under the agrarian reform laws;
3. Whether or not Emilio Pea validly renounced or otherwise caused the extinction of his tenancy rights over the subject property;
4. Whether or not the sales of the subject property by Carolina Zacarias to William Perez and by the latter to Milestone were null and
void, hence merited the declaration of nullity and cancellation of the respondents respective titles;
5. Whether or not illegal conversion was committed by Milestone.
In sum, we find the following relevant issues now for our resolution:
1. Whether or not Delia Razon Pea has a right of first priority over Emilio Pea in succeeding to the tenancy rights of Anacleto over the
subject landholding.
2. Whether or not the sales of the subject lots by Carolina Zacarias to William Perez and then to Milestone are null and void.
At the outset, it bears stressing that there appears to be no dispute as to tenancy relationship between Carolina Zacarias and the late
Anacleto Pea. The controversy centers on who is the rightful and legal successor to Anacletos tenancy rights. Relevant to the resolution of the
first issue is Section 9 of Republic Act No. 3844, otherwise known as the Code of Agrarian Reforms, which provides as follows:
SEC. 9. Agricultural Leasehold Relation Not Extinguished by Death or Incapacity of the Parties. - In case of death or permanent incapacity
of the agricultural lessee to work his landholding, the leasehold shall continue between the agricultural lessor and the person who can
cultivate the landholding personally, chosen by the agricultural lessor within one month from such death or permanent incapacity, from
among the following: (a) the surviving spouse; (b) the eldest direct descendant by consanguinity; or (c) the next eldest descendant or
descendants in the order of their age: Provided, That in case the death or permanent incapacity of the agricultural lessee occurs during the
agricultural year, such choice shall be exercised at the end of that agricultural year: Provided, further, That in the event the agricultural lessor
fails to exercise his choice within the periods herein provided, the priority shall be in accordance with the order herein established.
In case of death or permanent incapacity of the agricultural lessor, the leasehold shall bind his legal heirs.
Petitioners contend that Section 9 does not require any form or manner in which the choice should be made. [13] They assail the Court of
Appeals for heavily relying on the findings of the DARAB that there was no convincing proof that Carolina exercised her right to choose from
among the qualified heirs a replacement for the deceased tenant, [14] when in fact a choice was made. In support thereof, petitioners invoke
Carolinas affidavit and her Answer to the complaint in the PARAD, both dated November 16, 1992 where Carolina recognized Emilio Pea as
the successor to Anacletos tenancy rights.Petitioners argued that Delia could not have qualified as a successor-tenant to Anacleto due to lack
of personal cultivation.[15] Further, she had not been paying rent on the land.
Responding to petitioners contentions, respondents argue that Carolina did not choose the successor to Anacletos tenancy rights within
one month from the death of Anacleto. Respondents note that it was only after the lapse of two (2) years from the death of Anacleto on February
17, 1990, that both Carolina and Emilio claimed in their respective affidavits that Emilio inherited the rights of Anacleto as a
tenant.[16] According to respondents, such inaction to make a choice within the time frame required by law is equivalent to waiver on Carolinas
part to choose a substitute tenant.[17] Also, it appears that Carolina made the choice in favor of Emilio Pea only by force of circumstance, i.e.,
when she was in the process of negotiating the sale of the land to petitioners Perez and Milestone. [18]
On this score, we agree with private respondents. As found by both the DARAB and the Court of Appeals, Carolina had failed to exercise
her right to choose a substitute for the deceased tenant, from among those qualified, within the statutory period. [19] No cogent reason compels
us to disturb the findings of the Court of Appeals. As a general rule, findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are final and conclusive and cannot
be reviewed on appeal by the Supreme Court, provided they are borne out by the record or based on substantial evidence.[20]
Section 9 of Republic Act No. 3844 is clear and unequivocal in providing for the rules on succession to tenancy rights. A close examination
of the provision leaves no doubt as to its rationale of providing for continuity in agricultural leasehold relation in case of death or incapacity of
a party. To this end, it provides that in case of death or permanent incapacity of the agricultural lessee to work his landholding, the leasehold
shall continue between the agricultural lessor and the person who can cultivate the landholding personally. In the same vein, the leasehold shall
bind the legal heirs of the agricultural lessor in case of death or permanent incapacity of the latter. It is to achieve this continuity of relationship
that the agricultural lessor is mandated by law to choose a successor-tenant within one month from the death or incapacity of the agricultural
lessee from among the following: (1) surviving spouse; (2) eldest direct descendant by consanguinity; or (3) the next eldest direct descendant
or descendants in the order of their age. Should the lessor fail to exercise his choice within one month from the death of the tenant, the priority
shall be in accordance with the aforementioned order. In Manuel vs. Court of Appeals,[21] we ruled that:
Agricultural leasehold relationship is not extinguished by the death or incapacity of the parties. In case the agricultural lessee dies or is
incapacitated, the leasehold relation shall continue between the agricultural lessor and any of the legal heirs of the agricultural lessee who can
cultivate the landholding personally, in the order of preference provided under Section 9 of Republic Act 3844, as chosen by the lessor within
one month from such death or permanent incapacity. Since petitioner Rodolfo Manuel failed to exercise his right of choice within the
statutory period, Edwardos widow Enriqueta, who is first in the order of preference and who continued working on the landholding upon
her husbands death, succeeded him as agricultural lessee. Thus, Enriqueta is subrogated to the rights of her husband and could exercise
every right Eduardo had as agricultural lessee, including the rights of pre-emption and redemption.
Applying Section 9 of Republic Act 3844, in the light of prevailing jurisprudence, it is undeniable that respondent Delia Razon Pea, the
surviving spouse of the original tenant, Anacleto Pea, is the first in the order of preference to succeed to the tenancy rights of her husband
because the lessor, Carolina Zacarias, failed to exercise her right of choice within the one month period from the time of Anacletos death.
Petitioners cannot find succor in the declarations of Emilio Pea and the affidavit of Carolina Zacarias, stating that Emilio succeeded to the
tenancy rights of Anacleto. In the first place, Carolinas affidavit and her Answer filed before the PARAD were both executed in 1992, or almost
30
two years after the death of Anacleto on February 17, 1990, way beyond the one month period provided for in Section 9 of Republic Act
3844. Secondly, as found by the DARAB, a scrutiny of Carolinas declaration will show that she never categorically averred that she made her
choice within the one (1) month period. Instead, she narrated passively that when Anacleto died, the right of the deceased was inherited by
Emilio Pea, prompting the DARAB to conclude it merely connotes that she recognized Emilio Pea by force of circumstance under a nebulous
time frame.[22]
Petitioners further argue that Delia cannot qualify as tenant even on the assumption that she was the rightful successor to Anacletos
tenancy rights, because she did not personally cultivate the land and did not pay rent. In essence, petitioners urge this Court to ascertain and
evaluate certain material facts which, however are not within the province of this Court to consider in a petition for review. Determination of
personal cultivation and rental payments are factual issues beyond the reach of this petition. Well established is the rule that in an appeal
via certiorari, only questions of law may be reviewed.[23]
On the second issue, however, we are unable to agree with the ruling of respondent Court of Appeals and of DARAB that the sale of the
land in question should be declared null and void. There is no legal basis for such declaration. Lest it be forgotten, it is Carolina Zacarias who
is the owner of the subject land and both Emilio Pea and Delia Razon Pea only succeeded to the tenancy rights of Anacleto.
As an owner, Carolina has the right to dispose of the property without other limitations than those established by law. [24] This attribute of
ownership is impliedly recognized in Sections 10, 11 and 12 of Republic Act No. 3844, [25] where the law allows the agricultural lessor to sell
the landholding, with or without the knowledge of the agricultural lessee and at the same time recognizes the right of preemption and redemption
of the agricultural lessee. Thus, the existence of tenancy rights of agricultural lessee cannot affect nor derogate from the right of the agricultural
lessor as owner to dispose of the property. The only right of the agricultural lessee or his successor in interest is the right of preemption and/or
redemption.
In the case at bar, it is undisputed that Carolina became the absolute owner of the subject landholding by virtue of Deed of Extrajudicial
Settlement and Affidavit of Settlement executed by the other heirs of Alfonso Olympia and Spouses Claro and Cristina Zacarias. As the owner,
it is within her right to execute a deed of sale of said landholding, without prejudice however to the tenancy rights and the right of redemption
of Delia Razon Pea. In Manuel,[26] we held that the tenancy relationship is not affected or severed by the change of ownership. The new owner
is under the obligation to respect and maintain the tenants landholding. In turn, Delia Razon Pea, as the successor tenant, has the legal right of
redemption. This right of redemption is statutory in character. It attaches to a particular landholding by operation of law. [27]
Finally, as to the question of illegal conversion of the land, suffice it to state that such determination is not within the jurisdiction of this
Court and is not proper in a petition for review on certiorari as it requires evaluation and examination of pertinent facts.
WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 39987 is
AFFIRMED in so far as it recognizes Delia Razon Pea as the successor of Anacleto Pea as the tenant, thereby allowing her to exercise her right
of redemption over the land within the prescribed period granted by law. However, said decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as it
declared the sale of said landholding null and void. IN LIEU THEREOF, SAID SALE BY CAROLINA ZACARIAS IS HEREBY DECLARED
VALID, SUBJECT TO THE TENANCY RIGHTS AND RIGHT OF REDEMPTION by the TENANT-LESSEE, private respondent Delia
Razon Pea.
No pronouncements as to costs
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-19760 April 30, 1964
MARCELO VILLAVIZA, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.
JUDGE TOMAS PANGANIBAN, ET AL., respondents.
Alejandro C. Villaviza for petitioners.
Ipac and Fajardo for respondent Judge Tomas Panganiban.
Manuel Cordero for other respondents.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Review of the decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations, Cabanatuan City, in its Case No. 2088-NE-60, the dispositive portion of which
reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering respondent Quirino Capalad to pay the petitioners as follows:
1. Jose Aguilar P297.00
2. Agapito Neuda 264.75
3. Sixto Malarulat 264.25
4. Rafael Alamon 164.00
5. Petronilo Aguilar 335.25
6. Eulogio Samaniego 219.00
7. Castor Rufino 234.00
The following respondents are hereby ordered to vacate their respective landholdings in favor of the petitioners, subject to the
provisions of pars. 3 and 4, Sec. 22, R.A. No. 1199, as amended, the indemnity in the aforestated paragraphs, supra, shall be paid by
respondent Quirino Capalad:
Respondents Petitioners

1. Alejo Pramel 1. Jose Aguilar

2. Severino Padilla 2. Agapito Neuda

3. Domingo Villaviza 3. Rafael Alamon

4. Marcelo Villaviza 4. Petronilo Aguilar

5. Cirilo Ramos 5. Eulogio Samaniego

6. Ciriaco Pizaro 6. Castor Rufino

7. Cesario Villaviza ) 7. Sixto Malarulat

Ben Morelos )

Juan Morelos )
SO ORDERED.

31
The lower court found that the above-named respondents (petitioners below) were tenants since 1944 in a riceland situated in Aliaga, Nueva
Ecija, and owned by Domingo Fajardo. Fajardo gave out the land for lease (civil lease) to the petitioner, Quirino Capalad, starting with the crop
year 1955-56. The said lessee, in June, 1955, plowed the land by machinery, and installed, as his tenants his above-named in this Court, so that
when the respondents went back to their respective landholdings to prepare them for planting they found the land already cultivated. The
respondents-tenants demanded their reinstatement, but everytime they did, which they did yearly until the present suit was filed, Quirino
Capalad promised but never fulfilled, to reinstate them for the agricultural year following said demands.
As grounds for the petition for review, the petitioners claim grave abuse of discretion by the Agrarian Court and a lack of substantive evidence
to support its findings.
The above claim is wild and reckless and definitely without merit, since the decision itself contains the recitals of the testimonies of the witnesses
upon which the court based its findings, and the petitioners do not question the existence and adequacy of these testimonies. That the court
believed the evidence for the respondents rather than those for the petitioners is the tenancy court's prerogative, and, as a reviewing court, the
Supreme Court will not weigh anew the evidence; all that this Court is called upon to do, insofar as the evidence is concerned is to find out if
the conclusion of the lower court is supported by substantive evidence; and the present case is, as hereinbefore explained.
A tenant's right to be respected in his tenure under Republic Act 1199, as amended, is an obligation of the landholder created by law, and an
action for violation thereof prescribes in ten years under No. 2 of Article 1144 of the Civil Code. The respondents were ousted from their
landholdings in June, 1955, they filed the present action on 31 March 1960; therefore, the period of limitation had not expired.
The tenancy court found that the ejected tenants-respondents have engaged in gainful occupations since their illegal ejectment and had delayed
the filing of the case, and for these reasons the court made an award for damages against Quirino Capalad equivalent to only two harvests based
on the landholder's share for the crop year 1954-1955. 1äwphï1.ñët
The premises for the award are erroneous. Under section 27(1) of Republic Act 1199, as amended, a tenant's earnings may not be deducted
from the damages because the said section positively provides that the tenant's freedom to earn elsewhere is to be added ("in addition") to his
right to damages in case of illegal ejectment (Lustre, et al. vs. CAR, et al., L-19654, March 21, 1964). Nor can it be said that the respondents-
tenants are guilty of laches for having unnecessarily delayed to Capalad's promises to reinstate them.
The amount of the award to each respondent should not, however, be disturbed because the respondents' non-appeal from the decision indicates
their satisfaction therewith and a waiver of any amounts other than those indicated in the decision (David V. de la Cruz, et al., L-11656, 18
April 1958; Dy, et al. vs. Kuizon, L-16654, 30 Nov. 1961).
FOR THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the decision under review is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitioners.
Pre-emption and Redemption
[G.R. No. 80129. January 25, 2000]
GERARDO RUPA, SR., petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and MAGIN SALIPOT, respondent.
DECISION
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision [1] of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated June 5, 1987, affirming the dismissal by
the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, Branch 46, of the Complaint for Redemption with Damages filed by herein petitioner Gerardo Rupa, Sr.
(RUPA) against herein private respondent Magin Salipot (SALIPOT).
The antecedents as found by the CA are as follows:
"1) On March 26, 1981, herein petitioner Gerardo Rupa filed an action for redemption with damages against Magin Salipot before the
then Court of Agrarian Relations, Tenth Regional District, Branch IV, Sorsogon, Sorsogon, claiming that he was the agricultural share
tenant for more than 20 years of a parcel of coconut land [2] formerly owned by Vicente Lim and Patrocinia Yu Lim; that since he
assumed tenancy over the questioned property, he was the one watching, taking care of and cleaning the coconut plantation; he also
gathers coconuts every three months and processes them into copra which he shares with the Lim spouses under a 50-50% sharing
basis; that aside from being a share tenant, he is also the overseer of four parcels of coconut land situated in the sitios of Minuswang
and Comunal, Armenia, Uson, Masbate also owned by the Lim spouses; that the Lim spouses, however, sold the property to herein
respondent Magin Salipot without any prior written or verbal notice to the petitioner in the sum of P5,000.00 sometime in January
1981 (Annex A, Deed of Absolute Sale, Petition); that on February 16, 1981, petitioner came to know about the sale of the property
to the respondent when he was informed in writing by the former landowner, and wanting to buy the property for himself, petitioner
sought the assistance of the local office of Agrarian Reform at Masbate, Masbate, but no agreement was reached; that the petitioner
manifesting his willingness to redeem the questioned property in the same amount of P5,000.00 bought by respondent, deposited the
amount with the trial court (Annex "B", Petition). Petitioner, thus, prayed for judgment authorizing his right of redemption over the
property including his shares of the harvest, damages and expenses arising herein.
2) On April 14, 1981, respondent Magin Salipot filed his answer denying petitioners allegation of tenancy over the questioned property
and claimed that petitioner was hired every now and then to oversee the copra-making of the laborers of spouses Lim, with
remuneration based on the weight of copra produced. In his affirmative and special defenses, respondent claimed that he bought the
registered parcel of land from the spouses Lim who in turn bought the same from the original registered owner Diego Prieto, who was
issued OCT-1853, and since both deeds of sale, one executed by Diego Prieto in favor of the Lim spouses and the second, by the Lim
spouses to herein respondent, have not yet been registered or legally conveyed to respondent, the action for redemption filed by the
petitioner against respondent is pre-mature; that petitioner had never been a tenant of spouses Lim over the land in question; that the
right of redemption had already been lost by laches or non-use, because more than 180 days had lapsed since petitioner had actual
knowledge of the sale in favor of respondent.
xxx."[3]
After hearing, the Regional Trial Court of Masbate (which had taken over the Court of Agrarian Relations pursuant to BP 129) rendered a
decision dated July 17, 1985, dismissing the complaint on the ground that RUPA was not a tenant of the subject property, thus, not entitled to
exercise the right of redemption over the same. RUPA was also held liable in attorneys fees in the amount of P5, 000.00 and P3, 000.00 as
litigation expenses. RUPA filed a notice of appeal. The CA required the parties to file their memoranda within a non-extendible period of 15
days from notice thereof, after which the case shall be considered submitted for decision with or without memoranda. [4] SALIPOT manifested
that he was adopting the memorandum filed with the court a quo, while no memorandum was received from RUPA.[5]The decision of the trial
court was affirmed in toto by the CA in its judgment promulgated on June 5, 1987, holding as follows:
"xxx, this Court finds, as the court a quo also held, that there is no clear and convincing evidence to show that plaintiff was a share tenant of
spouses Lim. The admission made by plaintiff Gerardo Rupa in Criminal Case No. 532-U, entitled People of the Philippines vs. Mariano
Luzong, filed six months after this instant case was instituted, negates his claim of tenancy. Plaintiff RUPA, during the proceedings in the
Criminal Case, admitted that he was the overseer and the administrator of five (5) parcels of land, one of which is this land in question, owned
by the Lim spouses in Armenia, Uson, Masbate. This was aptly discussed by the lower court in its decision as follows:
"After an impartial scrutiny and evaluation of the facts and the law involved, the Court finds and so rules that, by a preponderance of
proof, plaintiff Gerardo Rupa, Sr., either on July 30, 1979 or in January, 1980 (when the two identical deeds of sale involving the same
land in dispute were respectively executed by the Lim spouses in favor of defendant Magin Salipot) was actually not a share-tenant
but the overseer and administrator of the Lim spouses of their five (5) parcels of land in Armenia, Uson, Masbate, in the light of his
own admission of such fact and status, under oath, in no less than a solemn judicial proceeding which officially commenced on
September 9, 1981, particularly in Criminal Case No. 532-U of the MCTC of Dimasalang-Palanas-Uson (Exhs. 6 and 6-A), more so
32
because seven (7) months earlier, or specifically on March 21, 1981, he had already commenced the case at bar in Sorsogon, Sorsogon,
precisely to ventilate his alleged right of redemption as an ousted share tenant of the lands former owner. The Court notes quite
emphatically that herein plaintiff, in making such an admission against his own interest, was fully aware of the pendency of this instant
suit but such fact notwithstanding, he nevertheless disclosed under oath that he was, indeed, the overseer and administrator (not a mere
share-tenant of the Lim spouses, the two status being inherently incompatible (pp. 100-101 Expediente, Decision )."
The act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact, may be given in evidence against him (Section 22, Rule 130 of the
Rules of Court). At the time the plaintiff-appellant admitted that he was the administrator of Vicente Lim, he had already instituted
the action for redemption with damages against Magin Salipot, wherein he alleged that he was the share-tenant of the Lim spouses.
Knowing fully well that his right of legal redemption is based on his status as share-tenant, he still admitted, six months later, in Crim.
Case 532-U, that he was the administrator of five (5) parcels of land owned by the Lim spouses in Armenia, Uson, Masbate. His
admission, which is clearly adverse to his own interest, constitutes an admission receivable against him. A mans act, conduct and
declaration, whenever made, if voluntary, is admissible against him for it is fair to presume that they correspond with the truth, and it
is his fault if they do not (US vs. Ching Po, 23 Phil. 578, 583).
Futhermore, the observation of the court a quo is correct in taking judicial notice of the proceedings in other causes, because of their
close connection with the matter in controversy. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 5, 1980 ed. P. 48)
Aside from his own admission that he was the administrator of the Lim spouses, there is no clear and positive proof that Gerardo Rupa
performed the duties of a tenant in personally tilling and cultivating the land which he allegedly tenanted. From the decision rendered
in Crim. Case 532-U, prosecution witnesses Pablito Arnilla and Antonieta Rongasan admitted that they were the hired laborers of
Gerardo Rupa in tilling the land in question (Under R.A. 1199, a share tenant must personally till the land, possibly with the aid of the
immediate farm household). The aforenamed witnesses may not have been aware of the implication in admitting that they were the
hired laborers of Gerardo Rupa. Their admission detracts from the veracity of the claim of Gerardo Rupa that he personally tilled and
cultivated the land as share tenant. As found by the trial court in the said criminal case, "the said piece of evidence (referring to the
admissions) of the prosecution is sufficient to create doubt that there is motive on their part, to testify falsely in favor of the complainant
Gerardo Rupa, who is so interested in redeeming the property of Magin Salipot wherein Mariano Luzong is the tenant (Exh. 6, page
4)."
As to Gerardo Rupas claim of tenancy, Republic Act 1199, which governs the relations between landholders and tenants of coconut
lands, defines a tenant as a person who, himself and with the aid available from within his immediate farm household, cultivates the
land belonging to, or possessed by another with the latters consent for purposes of production and sharing the produce with the
landholder under the share tenancy system (Sec. 5 (a) RA 1199). A person who does not work or till the land is not a tenant (Rural
Progress Administration v. Dimson, L-6068, April 26, 1955; Juanito Viernes v. Rodrigo Reyes, CA-GR No. SP-05989, Feb. 24, 1977).
For a person to be considered a tenant, one must perform personally all the phases of cultivation with the aid of the immediate members
of his family. Thus, if a tenant merely hires laborers to do all the labor, he is deemed to have waived or abandoned his tenancy rights
over the land (Pellejera vs. Lopes. CA-GR No. SP-06719, Oct. 28, 1971). Thus, absent personal cultivation on the part of the plaintiff,
no share tenancy relationship can be said to exist between the Lim spouses and Gerardo Rupa.
There is further evidences to show that Gerardo Rupa could not have been the tenant of the Lim spouses over the lot in question at the
time of the sale. In his testimony, Vicente Lim, owner of the land in question, testified that Gerardo Rupa was his comprador or agent
of copra, and had never been his tenant. He also stated that the plaintiff was the administrator of his five parcels of land in Arsenia,
Uson, Masbate (TSN, March 11, 1985, p. 14). This claim is corroborated by the Municipal Treasurer of the Municipality of Uson,
Masbate, certifying that Gerardo Rupa had been engaged in business as copra buyer of Armenia, Uson, Masbate from May 19, 1978
to October 10, 1979 (Exh. 4)."[6]
Hence, this petition was filed to seek a reversal of the decision of the CA. According to RUPA, the CA erred in declaring that he is not a share
tenant based on passing statements contained in a decision in another case and on the certificate issued by the Office of the Municipal Treasurer
that RUPA was engaged in business as copra buyer from May 19, 1978 to October 10, 1979. Consequently, this Court is asked to determine
the real status of RUPA, who claims to be a tenant of the subject land and entitled to the benefits of tenancy laws. SALIPOT objects, contending
that the instant petition should be dismissed considering that the issue raised is factual and that the admission made by RUPA in the course of
a judicial proceeding is a substitute for and reason to dispense with the actual proof of facts.
We do not agree with the contentions of private respondent SALIPOT. The CA committed reversible error in relying mainly on statements
made in a decision in another case, and, secondarily on the certificate of the Municipal Treasurer as basis for establishing the status of petitioner
as share-tenant in the subject land.
True, whether a person is a tenant or not is basically a question of fact and the findings of the respondent CA and the trial court are, generally,
entitled to respect and non-disturbance.[7] In Talavera vs. Court of Appeals,[8] this Court held that a factual conclusion made by the trial court
that a person is a tenant farmer, if it is supported by the minimum evidence demanded by law, is final and conclusive and cannot be reversed
by the appellate tribunals except for compelling reasons. Inversely, a factual conclusion by the appellate court that the evidence fails to establish
the status of a person as a tenant farmer is conclusive on the parties and carries even more weight when said court affirms the factual findings
of the trial court. In the case at bar, however, we find there are such compelling reasons for this Court to apply the exception of non-
conclusiveness of the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts on the ground that the "findings of fact of both courts is premised on the
supposed absence of evidence but is in actuality contradicted by evidence on record."[9] A careful examination of the record reveals that, indeed,
both the trial court and the appellate court overlooked and disregarded the overwhelming evidence in favor of RUPA and instead relied mainly
on the statements made in the decision in another case.
A tenant is defined under Section 5 (a) of Republic Act No. 1199 as a person who himself and with the aid available from within his immediate
farm household cultivates the land belonging to or possessed by another, with the latters consent, for purposes of production, sharing the
produce with the landholder under the share tenancy system, or paying to the landholder a price certain or ascertainable in produce or in money
or both under the leasehold tenancy system. Briefly stated, for this relationship to exist, it is necessary that:
1.......The parties are the landowner and the tenant;
2.......The subject is agricultural land;
3.......There is consent;
4.......The purpose is agricultural production;
5.......There is personal cultivation; and
6.......There is sharing of harvests.[10]
Upon proof of the existence of the tenancy relationship, RUPA could avail of the benefits afforded by RA 3844 [11], as amended, particularly,
Section 12 thereof which reads:
"SEC. 12. Lessees right of redemption. In case the landholding is sold to a third person without the knowledge of the agricultural
lessee, the latter shall have the right to redeem the same at a reasonable price and consideration: Provided, That the entire landholding
sold must be redeemed: Provided, further, That where there are two or more agricultural lessees, each shall be entitled to said right of
redemption only to the extent of the area actually cultivated by him. The right of redemption under this Section may be exercised
within two years from the registration of the sale, and shall have priority over any other right of legal redemption."
As correctly pointed out by the CA, this right of redemption is validly exercised upon compliance with the following requirements: a) the
redemptioner must be an agricultural lessee or share tenant; b) the land must have been sold by the owner to a third party without prior written
33
notice of the sale given to the lessee or lessees and the DAR in accordance with sec. 11, RA 3844, as amended; c) only the area cultivated by
the agricultural lessee may be redeemed; d)the right of redemption must be exercised within 180 days from notice; and e) there must be an
actual tender or valid consignation of the entire amount which is the reasonable price of the land sought to be redeemed. [12]
However, as aforesaid, the CA failed to take into account the other material evidence on record to arrive at its finding that RUPA was not a
tenant-farmer. The decision dated March 11, 1985 relied upon by the CA stemmed from Criminal Case No. 532-U for Malicious Mischief
which was instituted upon a complaint filed by RUPA against one Mariano Luzong who happens to be the son-in-law of SALIPOT. According
to RUPA, Mariano Luzong destroyed the banana and cassava plants in his farm in Armenia, Uson, Masbate. It was stated in the decision that
RUPA "claimed that he is the administrator of the five parcels of land owned by Patrocinio Lim in Armenia, Uson, Masbate" [13]; and that the
"prosecution witnesses, Pablito Arnilla, and Antonieta Bongasan, the alleged eyewitnesses to the destruction of the banana plants and cassava
plants admitted being hired laborers of Gerardo Rupa in tilling the latters farm." [14]
It is believed that the statements in the said decision are not sufficient basis to overcome the rights of RUPA as provided in the Constitution
and agrarian statutes and upheld by this Court. The essence of agricultural tenancy lies in the establishment of owner-cultivatorship and the
economic family-size farm as the basis of Philippine agriculture, and as a consequence, divert landlord capital in agriculture to industrial
development.[15]
The statements made in the decision that "[Rupa] claimed that he was made administrator by the Lim spouses of their five (5) parcels of land
in Armenia, Uson, Masbate" and that the "prosecution witnesses in that case, namely, Pablito Arnilla and Antonieta Rongasan admitted that
they were hired laborers of Rupa in tilling the land in question" should not have been relied upon by the CA to conclusively disprove the
tenancy relationship.
First of all, we must look at the context in which these statements were made. The admission made by RUPA as stated in the decision was
made, as mentioned earlier, in a criminal case for malicious mischief which RUPA filed against one Mariano Luzong, son-in-law of SALIPOT,
on the ground that the latter destroyed the banana and cassava plants growing in RUPAs farm. Said statement was apparently made to prove
RUPAs standing to file the complaint and to prove how he could have witnessed the destruction made by said person.
Second, in claiming that he was administrator of the property, RUPA, a farmer of limited education must have used the word "administrator"
in a loose sense to mean one taking care of a certain piece of property by clearing and planting on the same. As aptly pointed out by counsel
for RUPA during the trial, with no objection from the counsel of SALIPOT, "under common usage in the locality, the term administrator is
used interchangeably with tenancy.[16]
Third, the CA did not bother to explain its finding on the "inherent incompatibility" between being a tenant-farmer and an administrator or
overseer. According to RUPA, he was tenant of one parcel of land belonging to the Lim spouses and administrator or overseer of the other four
parcels of land owned by the said spouses. SALIPOT and his witnesses had interchangeably claimed RUPA to be an overseer and a copra agent
or copra buyer. As overseer, he may have been receiving a fixed salary. As tenant under our legal definition, he may have been sharing the
harvests with the landowner. This may well lead a person to find an incompatibility between the two. However, one could in fact be overseer
of a parcel of land, supervising the laborers therein and receiving a fixed salary for ones services, and at the same time, act as tenant farmer in
another landholding.
Fourth, the testimony of the prosecution witnesses that they were "hired laborers" should not have been given significant weight by the CA.
The rule is well-settled that the rights of a person cannot be prejudiced by the declaration, act or omission of another, except as provided by the
Rules of Court in cases of admission by a co-partner, agent, conspirator and privies. The said witnesses do not come under any of these
exceptions.[17]
As regards the certificate issued by the Office of the Treasurer to the effect that RUPA was a copra buyer from May 19, 1978 to October 10,
1979, we find that this does not necessarily rule out RUPAs claim that he was tenant-farmer since 1962. RUPA has satisfactorily explained that
"pursuing two or three lines of work is nothing new. In coconut lands, harvest seasons come far and in between, and the tenant can always
engage in the business of copra-buying in the interim."[18] Moreover, the dates indicated therein cover only a short period of time as against
RUPAs claim that he was tenant from 1963 until his ejectment sometime in 1981.
We are therefore constrained to overturn the appealed judgment insofar as it ruled that the records do not establish RUPAS status as an
agricultural tenant. Indeed, the testimony of RUPA and his witnesses in open court, in our view, had not been convincingly rebutted and we
have no reason to doubt the veracity of the testimonies of his witnesses. Certainly, the passing statements contained in the decision in the
criminal case for malicious mischief cannot overcome the evidentiary value of the testimonies of said witnesses. A meticulous review of the
record would have found overwhelming evidence in favor of RUPA. A scrutiny of the entire evidence on hand would be in line with the States
policy of achieving a dignified existence for the small farmers free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices. [19]
RUPAs evidence to prove the tenancy relationship consisted of his own testimony and those of his witnesses Jose V. Seraspi, Gregorio Mortal,
Hermogenes Mahinay and Alfredo Patotoy. The foregoing evidence comes from persons actually residing where the land is located from whose
declarations it appears that RUPA has physically possessed the landholding continuously from 1963 until he was ejected from it. RUPA lives
on the landholding and he has built a house next to the copra kiln. It has also been established that RUPA has cultivated the land from the time
he has taken possession thereof in 1963, although there may have already been existing coconut trees in the landholding. At this point it is apt
to quote the disquisition of this Court in Guerrero vs. Court of Appeals[20] regarding the cultivation of coconuts, to wit:
"The definition of cultivation is not limited merely to the tilling, plowing or harrowing of the land. It includes the promotion of growth
and the care of the plants, or husbanding the ground to forward the products of the earth by general industry. The raising of coconuts
is a unique agricultural enterprise. Unlike rice, the planting of coconut seedlings does not need harrowing and plowing. Holes are
merely dug on the ground of sufficient depth and distance; the seedlings placed in the holes and the surface thereof covered by soil.
Some coconut trees are planted only every thirty to a hundred years. The major work in raising coconuts begins when the coconut
trees are already fruit-bearing. Then it is cultivated by smudging or smoking the plantation, taking care of the coconut trees, applying
fertilizer, weeding and watering, thereby increasing the produce."
The fact that RUPA has been planting coconut seedlings and minor crops in the vacant portions of the subject land as well as cleaning and
gathering coconuts to process them into copra is borne out by the records. Further indicating the tenancy relationship between the landlord and
RUPA is their agreement to share 50/50. The sharing arrangement taken together with other factors characteristic of tenancy shown to be
present in the case at bar, strengthens the claim of RUPA that indeed, he is a tenant.
On the other hand, the stand of SALIPOT that RUPA was merely a copra agent and overseer and that one Hermogenes Mahinay was the tenant
of the Lims from 1963 up to the time he bought the subject land in 1979 is belied by the records. SALIPOT offered in evidence his own
testimony and those of witnesses Arnulfo Morata, Felipe Gelordo, Mariano Luzong and Vicente Lim, Sr. to support this version.
SALIPOT testified that he is a farmer and resident of Armenia, Uson, Masbate; that Hermogenes Mahinay was the tenant of the Lims since
1962 until 1979 when he purchased the property; that he bought the property in July 29 or 30, 1979; that two deeds of sale were executed over
the same property, one in July 30, 1979 and another in January 1981, because he had not yet paid in full the purchase price; that RUPA was the
copra agent of Lim.[21]
Vicente Lim, Sr. corroborated the said testimony of SALIPOT. [22] Arnulfo Morata (MORATA) and Felipe Gelordo (GELORDO) testified that
they were both farmers residing in Armenia, Uson, Masbate; both stated that it was Hermogenes Mahinay who tenanted the landholding; and
that RUPA was merely the overseer of the same. According to MORATA he always passes by the subject landholding because his own land is
at the far end of the area but he never saw RUPA in the subject land. [23] However, on cross-examination, he stated that the first time he saw
Mahinay in the land in question was only in 1979. [24] On the other hand, according to GELORDO, he is familiar with the facts of the case as

34
he stays on a parcel of land opposite the subject landholding. He stated that he did not see RUPA occupy the subject landholding.[25] But on
cross-examination, GELORDO admitted that the matters he was testifying on were told to him by SALIPOT. [26]
It is odd that MORATA and GELORDO testified that they never saw RUPA in the subject landholding of which SALIPOT alleged RUPA to
have been an administrator. Even more strange is the testimony of MORATA that he only saw Mahinay in the subject land sometime in 1979
contrary to SALIPOTs claim that he has been tenant of the subject land since 1962. Further, GELORDO admitted that he was testifying on
matters as told to him by SALIPOT. The testimonies of MORATA and GELORDO are clearly flawed and detract from their credibility.
Over and above the foregoing, RUPA has successfully rebutted the claims of SALIPOT in presenting Hermogenes Mahinay himself in his
favor. Hermogenes Mahinay himself testified that he is a farmer and resident of Malamag, Pio V. Corpus, Masbate and presently, Armenia,
Uson, Masbate; that he knows the parties in the case; that he transferred from Pio V. Corpus to Armenia, Uson in 1972; that RUPA was the
one working the subject land; that he stayed in the land in question for less than a year; that he was never a tenant of the subject land from 1962
to 1979 contrary to the claim of SALIPOT. [27] On cross-examination, he reiterated that he was never a tenant but RUPA was; that he executed
an affidavit that RUPA was never a tenant in the land in question without reading the same because he doesn't know how to read and write;
that he affixed his thumb mark anyway because he was told that the contents were good; that he was just told to affix his thumb mark.[28] There
is no reason to doubt the credibility of this witness who has candidly and straightforwardly denied ever being a tenant of the subject
land.
We are also inclined to believe the position of RUPA that he came to know of the sale of the land to SALIPOT only on February 16, 1981 as
evidenced by a letter of the same date of the former landowner Patrocenia Yu Lim to RUPA informing the latter to give up possession of the
land to SALIPOT as the land had already been sold to the latter. [29] Thus, the action for redemption commenced on March 26, 1981 was filed
within the six-month reglementary period. SALIPOT is likewise estopped from claiming that the true purchase price is P15,000.00 instead
of P5,000.00 as reflected in the deed of sale, which was admittedly done to lower the tax liabilities of the parties to the sale. [30] We cannot
countenance this act of misstating the true purchase price as a means to circumvent our tax laws. Hence, SALIPOT cannot claim that the amount
of P5,000.00 consignated by RUPA is inadequate for purposes of exercising the right of redemption.
RUPA has since passed away and the right now devolves to his heirs, as the right to redeem is a property right which is transmissible to the
heirs.[31] The issue on damages and share of harvests was not raised before the CA for failure of RUPA to file his memorandum, hence, we
cannot pass upon the same. It is well-settled that a party is not permitted to raise before the Supreme Court an issue which he did not raise in
the Court of Appeals.[32]
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed that of the Regional Trial Court, is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-21812 April 29, 1966
PAZ TORRES DE CONEJERO and ENRIQUE CONEJERO, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, VISITACION A. DE RAFFIÑAN and ENRIQUE TORRES, respondents.
Recto Law Offices for petitioners.
Quintin Paredes and Nicolas Belmonte for respondents.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Petitioners, spouses Paz Torres and Enrique Conejero, petitioned for the review and setting aside a decision rendered by the Court of Appeals,
in its Case CA-G.R. No. 19634-R, dismissing their action to compel respondents Miguel Raffiñan and his wife, Visitacion A. de Raffiñan, to
permit redemption of an undivided half interest in a property in Cebu City which had been sold to said respondents by their co-respondent,
Enrique Torres, brother and co-owner of petitioner Paz Torres de Conejero.
Shorn of unessentials, the facts found by the Court of Appeals, in its decision under review, are that Paz Torres and Enrique Torres were co-
owners pro indiviso of a lot and building in Cebu City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 197-A1230 (T-3827), that both had inherited
from their deceased parents. As of September 15, 1949, Enrique Torres sold his half interest to the Raffiñan spouses for P13,000, with right to
repurchase within one year. Subsequent advances by the vendees a retro increased their claims against Enrique Torres, and finally, on April 3,
1951 (six months after the expiration of the right to repurchase), said Enrique executed a deed of absolute sale of the same half interest in the
property in favor of the Raffiñans for P28,000. This deed of absolute sale (Exhibit "3-A") had not been brought to the attention of Enrique's
sister and co-owner, Paz Torres de Conejero, nor of her husband, until August 19, 1952, when Enrique Torres showed his brother-in-law,
Enrique Conejero1, a copy of the deed of absolute sale (Exhibit "C") of his share of the property in favor of the Raffiñans. Conejero forthwith
went to the buyers, offering to redeem his brother-in-law's share, which offer he latter raised to P29,000.00 and afterwards to P34,000.
Amicable settlement not having been attained, the Conejeros filed, on October 4, 1952, a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Cebu,
seeking to be declared entitled to redeem the half interest of Enrique Torres; to which the Raffiñans made answer, claiming absolute title to the
property in dispute and pleading that plaintiffs lost their right of redemption because they failed to exercise it within the statutory period.
The court of first instance found the deed of sale to be an equitable mortgage, and declared the plaintiffs Conejero entitled to redeem Enrique's
half interest for P34,000. Upon appeal by the defendants, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the court of first instance, found that
the deed in favor of the Raffiñans was a true sale, and declared as follows:
The pertinent provision of the law reads:
"The right of legal re-emption or redemption shall not be exercised except within thirty days from the notice in writing by the
prospective vendor, or by the vendor, as the case may be. The deed of sale shall not be recorded in the Registry of Property, unless
accompanied by an affidavit of the vendor that he has given written notice thereof to all possible redemptioners.
"The right of redemption of co-owners excludes that of adjoining owners" (Art. 1623).
Appellants claim — appellees denying — that a written notice of the sale had been sent to the latter. We will concede that the evidence does
not sufficiently show that a written notice was in fact given to the appellees; but this point is not decisive for the reason that ultimately, according
to appellees, themselves, they came to know of the sale on August 19, 1952, on which date they immediately made an offer to redeem the
property. Appellees argue that their offer to redeem the property on the first day they came to know of the sale on August 19, 1952, and
subsequently on September 7 and 8, 1952, has preserved their right of legal redemption as the 30-day period provided for by law had not lapsed.
On the other hand, the appellants claim that as early as April 3, 1951, the date of the absolute sale of the property by Enrique Torres in favor of
the Raffiñans, the appellees already know of the sale, so that when the offer to redeem was made on August 19, 1952, the 30-day period
provided by law had already lapsed. Taken together, all the circumstances we find in the case indeed will guide us into forming the conclusion
that while appellees might not have received a written notice they could not have failed to have actual and personal knowledge of the sale much
earlier than August 19, 1952. But in view of our opinion directed at another phase of the question involved, we will not rule on their respective
claims as to whether or not there was notice within the 30-day period. To us, this point is inconsequential.
Under the circumstances, what is more substantial and decisive is — was there a valid and effective offer to redeem? The law grants unto the
co-owner of a property the right of redemption. But in so granting that right, the law intended that the offer must be valid and effective,
accompanied by an actual tender of an acceptable redemption price. In the case at bar, the evidence shows that the appellees had offered only
P10,000.00 in check with which to redeem the property with a promise to pay the balance by means of a loan which they would apply for and
obtain from the bank. We hold that the offer was not in pursuance of a legal and effective exercise of the right of redemption as contemplated
by law; hence, refusal of the offer on the part of the appellants is justified. The conditions precedent for the valid exercise of the right do not
exist.
35
We are now asked by petitioners Conejero to reverse and set aside the foregoing decision of the Court of Appeals, on the basis of two
propositions advanced by them, to wit: (a) that no written notice of the sale to the Raffiñans having been given by Enrique Torres to his sister
and co-owner, Paz T. de Conejero, the latter's light to exercise legal redemption has not expired, in fact, it has not even started to run; and (b)
that in legal redemption no tender of the redemption price is required, mere demand to allow redemption being sufficient to preserve the
redemptioner's right.
With regard to the written notice, we agree with petitioners that such notice is indispensable, and that, in view of the terms in which Article of
the Philippine Civil Code is couched, mere knowledge of the sale, acquired in some other manner by the redemptioner, does not satisfy the
statute. The written notice was obviously exacted by the Code to remove all uncertainty as to the sale, its terms and its validity, and to quiet
any doubts that the alienation is not definitive. The statute not having provided for any alternative, the method of notification prescribed remains
exclusive.
Upon the other hand, Article 1623 does not prescribe any particular form of notice, nor any distinctive method for notifying the redemptioner.
So long, therefore, as the latter is informed in writing of the sale and the particulars thereof, the 30 days for redemption start running, and the
redemptioner has no real cause to complain. In the case at bar, the redemptioners (now petitioners) admit that on August 19, 1952 the co-owner-
vendor, Enrique Torres, showed and gave Enrique Conejero (who was acting for and on behalf of his wife, Paz Torres) a copy of the 1951 deed
of sale in favor of respondents Raffiñan. The furnishing of this copy was equivalent to the giving of written notice required by law: it came
from the vendor and made available in writing the details and finality of the sale. In fact, as argued for the respondents at bar, it served all the
purposes of the written notice, in a more authentic manner than any other writing could have done. As a necessary consequence, the 30-day
period for the legal redemption by co-owner Paz Torres (retracto de comuneros) began to run its coursed from and after August 19, 1952,
ending on September 18, of the same year.
The next query is: did petitioners effectuate all the steps required for the redemption? We agree with the Court of Appeals that they did not, for
they failed to make a valid tender of the price of the sale paid by the Raffiñans within the period fixed by law. Conejero merely offered a check
for P10,000, which was not even legal tender and which the Raffiñans rejected, in lieu of the price of P28,000 recited by the deed of sale. The
factual finding of the Court of Appeals to this effect is final and conclusive. Nor were the vendees obligated to accept Conejero's promise to
pay the balance by means of a loan to be obtained in future from a bank. Bona fide redemption necessarily imports a seasonable and valid tender
of the entire repurchase price, and this was not done. There is no cogent reason for requiring the vendee to accept payment by installments from
a redemptioner, as it would ultimately result in an indefinite extension of the 30-day redemption period, when the purpose of the law in fixing
a short and definite term is clearly to avoid prolonged and anti-economic uncertainty as to ownership of the thing sold (Cf. Torrijos vs.
Crisologo, et al., G.R. No. L-1773, Sept. 29, 1962).
Petitioners Conejero urge that, under the provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines, a valid tender of the redemption (or repurchase) price
is not required, citing De la Cruz vs. Marcelino, 84 Phil. 709, and Torio vs. Rosario, 93 Phil. 800. Close scrutiny of these cases reveals that the
Supreme Court held therein that a judicial demand, by action filed within the redemption period and accompanied by consignation in Court of
the redemption price, can take the place of a personal tender to the vendee of the redemption money under the Civil Code of 1889, because the
nine-day redemption period allowed thereunder was so short as to render it impractical that in every case the redemptioner should be required
to seek out and offer the redemption price personally to the buyer. Under the present Civil Code, the urgency is greatly lessened by the
prolongation of the redemption period to 30 days, instead of the 9 previously allowed; and the petitioners herein have neither filed suit within
the 30-day redemption period nor made consignation of the price. While they received copy of the deed of sale on August 19, 1952, complaint
was only filed on October 4, 1952.
It is, likewise, argued that tender of the price is excused because Article 1620 of the new Civil Code allows the redemptioner to pay only a
reasonable price if the price of alienation is grossly excessive, and that the reasonableness of the price to be paid can only be determined by the
courts. We think that the right of a redemptioner to pay a reasonable price under Article 1620 does not excuse him from the duty to make proper
tender of the price that can be honestly deemed reasonable under the circumstances, without prejudice to final arbitration by the courts; nor
does it authorize said redemptioner to demand that the vendee accept payment by installments, as petitioners have sought to do. At any rate,
the petitioners, in making their offer to redeem, never contested the reasonableness of the price recited in the deed of sale. In fact, they even
offered more, and were willing to pay as much as P34,000.
It is not difficult to discern why the redemption price should either be fully offered in legal tender or else validly consigned in court. Only by
such means can the buyer become certain that the offer to redeem is one made seriously and in good faith. A buyer can not be expected to
entertain an offer of redemption without attendant evidence that the redemptioner can, and is willing to accomplish the repurchase immediately.
A different rule would leave the buyer open to harassment by speculators or crackpots, as well as to unnecessary prolongation of the redemption
period, contrary to the policy of the law. While consignation of the tendered price is not always necessary because legal redemption is not made
to discharge a pre-existing debt (Asturias Sugar Central vs. Cane Molasses Co., 60 Phil. 253), a valid tender is indispensable, for the reasons
already stated. Of course, consignation of the price would remove all controversy as to the redemptioner's ability to pay at the proper
time.1äwphï1.ñët
We find no substantial error in the decision appealed from, and the same is hereby affirmed. Petitioners Conejero shall pay the costs.
Termination of the Leasehold
G.R. No. L-20700 February 27, 1969
FIDEL TEODORO, petitioner,
vs.
FELIX MACARAEG and COURT OF AGRARIAN RELATIONS, Second Regional District, Sala II, respondents.
Jose A. Buendia and Agustin A. Pelmoka for petitioner.
Jesus A. Garcia for respondent Felix Macaraeg.
CASTRO, J.:
Before us for review, upon a petition for certiorari, are the decision of the respondent Court of Agrarian Relations of September 7, 1962 in
CAR case 558-Gba. 68 (Nueva Ecija), ordering the herein petitioner Fidel Teodoro to reinstate the herein private respondent Felix Macaraeg
(the petitioner in the agrarian court) to his "former landhoding ... and to keep him as the true and lawful tenant in accordance with law," and
the resolution of the same court of November 27, 1962 condemning Teodoro to pay or deliver to Macaraeg as damages "82 cavans of palay or
its equivalent value in the amount of P820.00 computed at the rate of P10.00 per cavan, plus interest at 10% until fully paid."
We turn to the factual milieu.
On June 7, 1961 Macaraeg filed a petition with the Court of Agrarian Relations (Second Regional District, sala II, Guimba, Nueva Ecija)
praying, inter alia, that (1) an interlocutory order be issued to restrain Teodoro and Jose Niegos (the respondents below), from ejecting him
from his landholding pending resolution of his petition; and (2) after due trial, he be maintained as the lawful tenant in the disputed landholding.
Macaraeg alleged that he is a leasehold tenant of Teodoro cultivating a farmholding situated in the municipality of Talugtug, Nueva Ecija, of
an area of four (4) hectares devoted to rice culture, and that he has worked said land "as a tenant for the last seven years"; that on March 2,
1961 he received a letter from Teodoro and his wife advising him that the aforesaid landholding will be given to another tenant, on the pretext
that he (Macaraeg) "is contracting be a tenant of another in said landholding"; that forthwith, Teodoro placed a new tenant, Jose Niegos, in the
disputed land; that subsequently, Niegos repeatedly forbade him from working on said riceland; that in order to avoid trouble, he refrained from
forcibly entering the landholding, but with the advent of the planting season, it became imperative that the agrarian court order his reinstatement
and restrain Teodoro and Niegos from committing further acts of dispossession.

36
In his answer with counterclaim dated June 19, 1961, Teodoro categorically denied that Macaraeg was his tenant, claiming that "ever since he
became the owner of around 39 hectares of riceland in Kalisitan, Talugtug, N. Ecija, he had always leased all of it under civil lease and he had
never given any portion of it under tenancy." He further alleged that after the expiration of his lease contract with Macaraeg in January, 1961,
his wife twice notified Macaraeg to renew his contract for the then incoming agricultural year 1961-62, but the latter "verbally told Mrs. Teodoro
that he was no longer interested to work on the land and he was giving it up as he had left the place already." Teodoro also claims that it was
only after Macaraeg had abandoned the farmland that he decided to lease it to Niegos.
On his part, Niegos seasonably answered, disclaming any knowledge that Macaraeg is the tenant of Teodoro, and averring that he entered the
landholding in good faith clothed with the proper authority from the other respondent (Teodoro) and with the consent and confirmity of the
petitioner (Macaraeg) who allowed him to work on the same"; and that Macaraeg "has no more interests in the cultivation of the landholding
as could be gleaned from his actuations, like the failure to clean the land during the months of March and April, and his failure to prepare his
seed bed in the month of May which is the period for broadcasting seedling in the community".
On February 6, 1962, when the hearing of the present controversy was nearing completion in the respondent agrarian court but before the case
was submitted for decision, Macaraeg filed a "supplemental petition", claiming damages as a a result of his dispossession. Said petition was
given due course by the court commissioner and the requisite hearing was set for March 9, 1962. Both Teodoro and Niegos interposed their
respective answers, identically asserting that the same was filed out of time and that the failure of Macaraeg to claim earlier his alleged damages
amounted to a fatal neglect which could no longer be cured at that very late stage of the proceedings. Nonetheless, hearing on the said petition
was disclosed that as "a result of his (Macaraeg's) ejectment, he became destitute" since he had no "income except from those derived from
transplanting and reaping wherein he earned the amount of P30.00". It was further proved that "for the aqricultural year 1961-62, Jose Niegos
realized a gross harvest of 110 cavans out of which he paid his rental to Fidel Teodoro in the amount of 42 cavans and 23 kilos."
On September 7, 1962 the decision under review was rendered, with the following dispositive portion:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of petitioner Felix Macaraeg and
against respondents Fidel Teodoro and Jose Niegos in the tenor and disposition hereinbelow provided, to wit:
1. Jose Niegos is hereby ordered to vacate the landholding in question with an approximate area of four (4) hectares, situated at Barrio
Kalisitan, Talugtug Nueva Ecija, in favor of herein petitioner and to refrain from molesting or in any manner disturbing his peaceful
possession and cultivation thereof, subject to the condition that said respondent shall have harvested and threshed his crop which he
planted for the current agricultural year;
2. Conformably with the preceding paragraph, Fidel Teodoro is hereby ordered to reinstate said petitioner to his former landholding
aforestated and to keep him as the true and lawful tenant in accordance with law;
3. Declaring Exhibit A as a leasehold tenancy contract between the parties for the agricultural year 1960-61 as the term is understood
under our tenancy law; as a consequence hereof, Exhibit 4-Teodoro and Exhibit 5-Niegos, i.e. contract of lease between Fidel Teodoro
and Jose Niegos is hereby declared void and of no legal effect; and
4. Dismissing petitioner's claim for damages as embodied in his supplemental petition.
Teodoro and Niegos filed separate motions for reconsideration which were denied by the respondent agrarian court in its resolution of November
27, 1962. However, in the same resolution, the court a quo reconsidered, upon motion of Macaraeg, its ruling denying the latter's prayer for
damages, thus:
With respect to petitioner's claim for damages as embodied in his supplemental petition, wherein evidence was adduced in support
thereof, we believe that its admission is in accordance with Section 2, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines, same not being
for the purpose of delaying the proceedings. And, the fact that the Court of Agrarian Relations shall not be bound strictly by the
technical rules of evidence but "shall act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of the case", we believe that the evidence
to support the claim for damages received during the hearings before the court commissioner is meritorious (Secs. 10 and 11 RA 1267,
as amended). Hence, petitioner is entitled to recover damages claimed by him from his landholder in the amount of 85 cavans of palay
which is equal to the two years rental of his landholding less his earnings during the same period in the amount of P30.00 only or is
equivalent to 3 cavans of palay. In fine, Fidel Teodoro is liable to pay to petitioner the amount of 82 cavans of palay or its cash value
of P820.00, computed at P10.00 per cavan plus interest at 10% until fully paid.
After Teodoro's motion to reconsider the foregoing resolution was denied, he interposed on January 5, 1963 the present petition, imputing to
the court the following errors:
1. In holding that Macaraeg became a tenant of Teodoro by virtue of the "Contract of Lease" which they executed in April, 1960;
2. Assuming that the foregoing contract was in effect a leasehold tenancy agreement making Macaraeg a tenant of Teodoro in not
finding the former guilty of abandonment, an act which terminated their tenancy relation; and
3. In condemning Teodoro to pay damages to Macaraeg for the alleged dispossession, despite the fact that the claim for damages
embodied in the abovementioned "Supplemental Petition" below were about to be terminated.
The pertinent provisions of the disputed "Contract of Lease" between Teodoro and Macaraeg read as follows:
That the LESSOR is the registered owner of a certain parcel of land situated at Talugtug, Nueva Ecija, containing an area of THIRTY
NINE (39) HECTARES, more or less;
That for and in consideration of the rental of Nine (9) cavans of palay per hectare for one agricultural year, the LESSOR hereby lets
and leases and the LESSEE hereby accepts an undivided portion 4 ½ Hectares of the abovementioned property under the following
terms and conditions:
1. That this contract of lease shall only be for the agricultural year 1960-61;
2. That the LESSEE shall give a guaranty to answer for the payment of the lease consideration of this contract;
3. That the rental of 38.7 cavans of palay per hectare shall be paid unto the LESSOR not later than January, 1961;
4. That the corresponding rental must be brought to the Poblacion of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, to be deposited to any bonded Warehouse
at the expense of the LESSEE and in the name of the LESSOR;
5. That the rental must be of the same variety as that produced by the LESSEE;
6. That the LESSOR shall pay for the real property taxes corresponding to the property leased;
7. That violation of any of the terms of this contract shall be sufficient ground to terminate the same with damages against the guilty
party;
8. That the property leased shall be used or utilized for agricultural enterprise only;
9. That in case of default on the part of the LESSEE to pay the lease consideration when the same becomes due and payable and the
collection for the same reaches the court, the LESSEE hereby binds himself to pay the cost of the suit including reasonable attorney's
fees. (Emphasis supplied)
I. Teodoro contends that the language and tenor of the aforesaid contract clearly manifest the intention of the parties to enter into an ordinary
civil lease contract, not a leasehold tenancy agreement as alleged by Macaraeg and sustained by the agrarian court. To start with, Teodoro
stresses, the parties denominated the said covenant as a "Contract of Lease", which assigned title discloses their mutual intention to execute an
ordinary lease contract, for, otherwise, if they had intended to create a leasehold tenancy relation, they could have accordingly captioned their
agreement "with the word tenancy or some other word of similar import". Moreover, Teodoro points out that "in the contract of lease in question
it is significant to note that the words landlord and tenant were conspicuous by their complete absence".
The foregoing stance assumed by Teodoro is patently untenable, in the face of the principal features and stipulations of the contract in
controversy and the pertinent provisions of existing law on leasehold tenancy. It bears emphasis that the title, label or rubric given to a contract
37
cannot be used to camouflage the real import of an agreement as evinced by its main provisions. Moreover, it is basic that a contract is what
the law defines it to be, and not what it is called by the contracting parties. 1
As correctly expressed by the respondent court, "viewed from the four corners of Exhibit A, we have no doubt that the leasehold tenancy
contract entered into between petitioner (Macaraeg) and Fidel Teodoro is a pure and simple leasehold tenancy contract as the term is understood
under our tenancy laws." This observation of the agrarian court finds anchor in the pertinent provision of the Agricultural Tenancy Act. Thus,
section 4 of Rep. Act 1199, as amended by Rep. Act 2263, provides that
Leasehold tenancy exists when a person who, either personally or with the aid of labor available from members of his immediate farm
household, undertaken to cultivate a piece of agricultural land susceptible of cultivation by a single person together with members of
his immediate farm household, belonging to a legally possessed by another in consideration of a fixed amount in money or in produced
or in both.
Furthermore, section 42 of the Agricultural Tenancy Act defines a landlord-lessor as
Any person, natural or judicial, either as owner, lessee, usufructuary or legal possessor of agricultural land, who lets, leases or rents to
another said property for purposes of agricultural production and for a price certain of ascertainable either in amount of money or
produced;
while a tenant-lessee is defined as
any person who, with the consent of the former (landlord-lessor), tills, cultivates or operates said land, susceptible of cultivation by
one individual, personally or with the aid of labor available from among his own immediate farm household.
Gleaned from the foregoing provisions, the following could be synthesized as the principal elements of a lease-hold tenancy contract or relation:
1. The object of the contract or the relationship is an agricultural land which is leased or rented for the purpose of agricultural
production;
2. The size of the landholding must be such that it is susceptible of personal cultivation by a single person with assistance from the
members of his immediate farm household;
3. The tenant-lessee must actually and personally till, cultivate or operate said land, solely or with the aid of labor from his immediate
farm household; and
4. The landlord-lessor, who is either the lawful owner or the legal possessor of the land, leases the same to the tenant-lessee for a price
certain or ascertainable either in a amount of money or produce.
Reverting to the controverted "Contract of Lease", we are of the consensus that it indubitably contains the forgoing essential elements of a
leasehold tenancy agreement.
The landholding in dispute is unmistakably an agricultural land devoted to agricultural production. More specifically, the parties stipulated that
"the property leased shall be used or utilized for agricultural enterprise only". (Emphasis supplied). Furthermore, the parties also agreed that
the farmland must be used for rice production as could be inferred from the stipulation that "the rental of nine (9) cavans of palay per hectare
for one agricultural year ... must be of the same variety (of palay) as that produced by the LESSEE". (Emphasis supplied)
The land is definitely susceptible of cultivation by a single person as it is of an area of only four and A half (4-½) hectares. This Court has
held 2 that even a bigger area may be cultivated personally by the tenant, singly or with the help of the members of his immediate farm household.
From the stipulation that "the rental must be of the same variety as that produced by the LESSEE", it can reasonably be inferred that the intention
of the parties was that Macaraeg personally work the land, which he did as found by the Agrarian Court, thus: "In the instant
case, petitioner (Macaraeg) cultivated the landholding belonging to said respondent (Teodoro) for the agricultural year 1960-61 in
consideration of a fixed annual rental." (Emphasis supplied) Moreover, there is no evidence that Macaraeg did not personally cultivate the land
in dispute. Neither did Teodoro allege, much less prove, that Macaraeg availed of outside assistance in the cultivation of the said riceland.
Teodoro is the registered owner of the disputed landholding and he delivered the possession thereof to Macaraeg in consideration of a rental
certain to be paid in produce. Evidently, there was a valid leasehold tenancy agreement. Moreover, the provision that the rental be accounted
in terms of produce — 9 cavans per hectare — is an unmistakable earmark, considering the other stipulations, that the parties did actually enter
into a leasehold tenancy relation.
Teodoro further argues, however, that the aforesaid "Contract of Lease" cannot possibly be construed as establishing a leasehold tenancy
relation because the parties themselves ignored and repudiated the very essence of tenancy — security of tenure — when they stipulated that
"this agreement shall only be for the agricultural year 1960-61".
This argument is unacceptable. The mere fact that the parties fixed and limited the duration of their lease contract to only one agricultural year,
does not remove the relationship which they created from the purview of leasehold tenancy, considering the general import of their agreement
which irreversibly leads to and clearly justifies tenancy coverage. It is fundamental that the tenant-lessee's security of tenure subsists
notwithstanding the termination of the contract which initially established the tenancy relation. In the language of the law, the "expiration of
the period of the contract as fixed by the parties ... does not of itself extinguish the relationship". 3 This is a "practical consequence of the
distinction between the tenancy contract which is fixed by the parties, and the tenancy relationship which is maintained and governed by law".
4 Furthermore, section 49 of the Agricultural Tenancy Act provides that
Notwithstanding any agreement or provision of law as to the period of future surrender of the land, in all cases where land devoted to
any agricultural purpose is held under any system of tenancy, the tenant shall not be dispossessed of his holdings by the landholder
except for any of the causes hereinafter enumerated and only after the same has been proved before and the dispossession is authorized
bye the court." (Emphasis supplied)
The abovecited provision does not permit the parties to stipulate at what future time the tenant shall leave or surrender the land. Thus, this Court
has held 5 that an agreement whereby the tenant was required to return to the landlord his landholding after one crop year cannot justify the
tenant's dispossession after the said period because such agreement is expressly proscribed by law.
Still vehemently contending that he never intended to enter into any tenancy relation with Macaraeg, Teodoro finally argues that construing the
abovementioned "Contract of Lease" as a leasehold tenancy agreement would amount to a judicial negation of his freedom to contract.
Needless to stress, this Court frowns upon and rejects any attempt to nullify the legitimate exercise of the right to contract. We agree with
Teodoro that as a landholder he has full liberty to enter into a civil lease contract covering his property. What we want to indelibly impress,
however, is that once a landowner enters into a contract of lease whereby his land is to be devoted to agricultural production and said landholding
is susceptible of personal cultivation by the lessee, solely or with help of labor coming from his immediate farm household, then such contract
is of the very essence of a leasehold agreement, and perforce comes under the direct coverage of the tenancy laws. Otherwise, it would be easy
to subvert, under the guise of the liberty to contract, the intendment of the law of protecting the underprivileged and ordinarily credulous farmer
from the unscrupulous schemes and pernicious practices of the landed gentry.
II. We now come to the second assignment of error. Teodoro posits that granting the establishment of a leasehold tenancy relation between him
and Macaraeg by virtue of the aforesaid "Contract of Lease", the agrarian court nevertheless erred in not finding Macaraeg guilty of
abandonment, an act which terminates the tenancy relation and justifies the ejectment of the tenant. In support of his thesis, Teodoro points out
that Macaraeg committed a positive act of abandonment when he offered to vacate his leasehold in favor of a certain Luciano Claus, and only
after "he could not have his own way of placing Luciano Claus as his successor" did he try to "recover the land holding". Assuming the veracity
of the foregoing allegation, a tenant's offer or intention to surrender his hold on the condition that the person named by him should be accepted
as his successor, does not of itself constitute abandonment of his farmland.
"The word 'abandon', in its ordinary sense, means to forsake entirely; to forsake or renounce utterly. The dictionaries trace this word to the root
idea of 'putting under a ban'. The emphasis is on the finality and the publicity with which some thing or body is thus put in the control of
38
another, and hence the meaning of giving up absolutely, with intent never again to resume or claim one's rights or interests." 6 In other words,
the act of abandonment constitutes actual, absolute and irrevocable desertion of one's right or property. In the case at bar, Macaraeg merely
intended to vacate his leasehold possession on the condition that a certain Claus be taken as his successor. Hence, his act did not constitute
desertion of his leasehold as it was a mere intended surrender of the same. And as correctly espoused by the counsel for the respondent court,
it is "only through the actual surrender of the land that tenancy relation terminates; no amount of intention to surrender severs the relationship".
Furthermore, the said act of Macaraeg was not an absolute renunciation of his leasehold possession, as it was in fact clearly conditional.
However, Teodoro also claims, with characteristic certitude that Macaraeg did actually abandon work on the land in dispute and that even the
decision under review contains a finding to this effect. We find no statement in the agrarian court's decision sustaining Teodoro's view. On the
contrary, we perceive truth in the respondent court's counsel's manifestation that
The only times that the tenant herein did not work the land were (1) during the time it was undergoing its regular dry season fallow,
and, ... (2) after he was prohibited from plowing the land by a certain Niegos, an agent of petitioner. Failure to cultivate during the dry
season fallow definitely does not amount to abandonment (Cf. De la Cruz vs. Asociacion Zangera Casilan et al., 83 Phil. 214).
Likewise, failure to cultivate the land by reason of the forcible prohibition to do so by a third party cannot also amount to abandonment,
for abandonment presupposes free will.
Anent the charge of abandonment, it is also pertinent to note that four days after Macaraeg received a letter from Teodoro and his wife advising
him that the landholding in question will be given to another tenant, he lost no time in inquiring from the Tenancy Mediation Commission at
Cabanatuan City about his rights as a leasehold tenant. It would appear therefore that Macaraeg's immediate reaction to his landlord's design to
dispossess him negates the act of abandonment imputed to him.
Moreover, Teodoro's pretension that Macaraeg had abandoned the disputed landholding was squarely rejected by the agrarian court, thus:
In the instant case, while petitioner had intentions to surrender his landholding to respondent after the harvest for the agricultural (year)
1960-61 which led the latter to advise the former not to give his landholding to Luciano Claus, yet that surrender did not
materialize because said petitioner had apparently changed his mind. For as early as March 6, 1961, petitioner went to the Office of
the Tenancy Mediation Commission, Cabanatuan City for consultation. As a matter of fact, said Commission wrote a letter to Fidel
Teodoro and his wife advising them to enjoin their overseer, Benito Ismael, from ejecting petitioner.
During the intervening period, Fidel Teodoro and his wife entered into another lease contract of tenancy with Jose Niegos. For this
reason, Mariano Niegos, son of Jose Niegos, prevented petitioner from plowing his landholding when he found him in the premises
on June 1, 1961. However, notwithstading this incident, Fidel Teodoro opened the door for negotiations. In fact, as late as June 23,
1961, when petitioner went to the house of Fidel Teodoro in Manila, a conference was set for that purpose at the house of Benito
Ismael in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija which did not take place because of the absence of petitioner. Under these circumstances, it appears to
our mind that while negotiations for settlement were still pending, yet petitioner has not, in truth and in fact, surrendered his
landholding. (Emphasis supplied)
We are not at liberty to reverse the foregoing finding of fact in the absence of any proof that it is unfounded or was arbitrarily arrived at or that
the Court had failed to consider important evidence to the contrary. 7 This Court has consistently ruled that the findings of fact of the Court of
Agrarian Relations will not be disturbed on appeal where there is substantial evidence to support them. 8 In the case at bar, the finding of fact
by the by the respondent court anent the issue of abandonment rests on substantial evidence.
III. Toward the end of the proceedings in the respondent court, Macaraeg interposed a pleading which he denominated "supplemental petition",
wherein he asked for damages as a result of his dispossession. The said "supplemental petition" was given due course by the hearing
commissioner and Macaraeg was allowed to present evidence in support thereof. On the basis of the evidence thus adduced, the respondent
court awarded damages to Macaraeg as decreed in its abovementioned resolution of November 27, 1962.
Teodoro maintains that the respondent court erred in admitting the said "supplemental pleading" on the basis of section 2, Rule 17 (now section
3 of Rule 10 of the Revised Rules of Court) which exclusively pertains to amendment of pleadings, and has nothing to do with the interposition
of supplemental pleadings which is separately governed by section 5 of Rule 17 (now section 5 of Rule 10). Teodoro avers, moreover, that
since Macaraeg filed his claim for damages only when the hearing below was about to end, his inaction must be considered as a waiver of such
claim or that he should be considered guilty of fatal negligence.
In resolving this last assignment of error, attentions must be centered on the liberal policy which frees the Court of Agrarian Relations from the
fetters of formalistic procedure. As aptly observed in one case, 9
Social justice would be a meaningless term if in a situation like the present, an element of rigidity would be affixed to procedure
precepts and made to cover the matter. Flexibility should not be ruled out. Precisely, what is sought to be accomplished, by such a
fundamental principle expressly so declared by the Constitution (Art. II, sec. 5) is the effectiveness of the community's effort to assist
the economically underprivileged. For under existing conditions, without such succor and support, they might not, unaided, be able to
secure justice for themselves....
Moreover, there is equally the obligation on the part of the State to afford protection to labor. The responsibility is incumbent then,
not only on the legislative and executive branches but also on the judiciary, to translate this pledge into a living reality. The present
case is an appropriate occasion for the discharge of such a trust. To preclude relief under the circumstances herein disclosed would be
to fail to submit to the dictates of a plain constitutional duty. That we should not allow to happen.
Since the abovementioned "supplemental pleading" was filed without intent to delay the proceedings, the agrarian court exercised sound
discretion in giving it due course in order that "the real matter in dispute and all matters in the action in dispute between the parties may, as far
as possible, be completely determined in a single proceeding". Moreover Teodoro has no reason to complain, for he was accorded every
opportunity to controvert Macaraeg's claim for damages, but apparently he did not, as in fact he does not here traverse the substantiality of the
award.lawphi1.nêt
Significantly, the Court of Agrarian Relations is not restricted to the specific relief claimed or demanding made by the parties to the dispute,
but may include in the order or decision any matter or determination which may be deemed necessary and expedient for the purpose of settling
the dispute or of preventing further disputes, provided said matter for determination has been established by competent evidence during the
hearing". 10 In words, the respondent court could have determined Macaraeg's claim for damages even without his "supplemental petition",
provided there was proof to substantiate such claim (and such requisite evidence was not wanting). Hence if the agrarian court could, have
awarded damages in favor of Macaraeg even in the absence of a specific prayer; then there is no conceivable reason to bar the respondent court
from granting the same with the interposition of the aforesaid "supplemental petition" which explicitly and unmistakeably prays for damages
resulting from Macaraeg's dispossession.
We hasten to modify however, the award of damages in so far as it deducts from the total amount recoverable by Macaraeg the sum of P30 or
its equivalent of 3 cavans of palay, representing his earnings during the period of his unlawful ejectment. This part of the award contravenes
section 27(1) of the Agricultural Tenancy Act which makes the erring landlord "liable to the tenant for damages to the extent of the landholder's
participation in the harvest in addition to the tenant's right under Section twenty-two of this Act". And section 22(1) provides that the "tenant
shall be free to work elsewhere whenever the nature of his farm obligations warrants his temporary absence from his holdings". Consequently,
Macaraeg's measly earning of P30 during the period of his dispossession should not be deducted from the total amount of damages due to him.
Interpreting the abovecited section 27(1) in relation to section 22(1), this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes held that
The earnings of the tenants during the period of unlawful ejectment are not now deductible from the award of damages. In the case
of Potenciano vs. Estefani L-7690, promulgated on 27 July 1955, this Court, on grounds of equity, ruled to deduct such income but
said case was decided under the prior law, Act 4054. The above-quoted Section 27(1) of Republic Act No. 1199, as amended, which
39
is the one applicable to the present case, not only provides for a quantum of damages to the tenant, based on the landlord's share in the
harvest, but adds thereto his right under section 22, which states:
(1) the tenant shall be free to work elsewhere whenever the nature of his farm obligations warrants his temporary absence from his
holdings.
This right, although already granted under section 20 of Act 4054, was not then a right additional to the recovery of damages
consequent to unlawful dismissal, but under Republic Act 1199, as amended, it is to be added to the damages recoverable.11
ACCORDINGLY, the decision and resolution under review are hereby affirmed, with the sole modification that the earnings of the herein
respondent during the period of his dispossession shall not be deducted from the award of damages. Cost against the petitioner.
G.R. No. 77830 February 27, 1990
VICTOR TALAVERA and VISITACION AGUSTIN TALAVERA, petitioners,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and JOSE LAXAMANA, respondents.
Wilfredo I. Untalan counsel for petitioners.
Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance for private respondent.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


The Court is asked to examine whether or not the Court of Appeals committed reversible error in its finding that there was no voluntary
surrender of the landholding in question on the part of respondent Laxamana as tenant.
This petition for review on certiorari assails the decision of the respondent appellate court which affirmed in toto the judgment rendered by the
Regional Trial Court of the Third Judicial Region, Branch LXVI, Capas, Tarlac on July 21, 1986.
The dispositive portion of the trial court's decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and ordering the defendants:
(1) To reinstate Jose Laxamana as their tenant on the landholding in question;
(2) To pay him the sum of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) value of 50 cavans of palay at the rate of P100.00 per cavan as his
share for the agricultural year 1984-85;
(3) To continue paying him the same amount as damages, every agricultural year thereafter until his actual reinstatement. (CA
Decision, p. 2; Rollo, p. 16)
The facts pertinent to the case at bar are as follows:
On July 10, 1984, an action for recovery of possession was instituted by the private respondent against the petitioners over a parcel of
agricultural land with an area of 21,081 square meters located at Brgy. Sto. Domingo 11, Sitio Tambo, Capas, Tarlac.
The complaint alleged, among others, that respondent Laxamana had been a bonafide tenant of the aforesaid parcel of land since 1958 until the
petitioners took possession thereof sometime in 1984; that respondent Laxamana had been in continuous possession and cultivation of the said
landholding since 1958 but the petitioners, for unknown reasons and without the knowledge of respondent Laxamana, planted palay thereon in
1984 through force and intimidation after plowing and harrowing were done by respondent Laxamana; and that due to the petitioners' illegal
actions, respondent Laxamana suffered damages in the amount of P500.00 and the price equivalent to sixty-five (65) cavans of palay per
agricultural year from the time of his dispossession until his reinstatement as tenant over the landholding in question.
In their answer, the petitioners counter-alleged, among others, that their tenancy relationship with respondent Laxamana was terminated
pursuant to a document captioned "Casunduan" executed on March 30, 1973 whereby the latter sold his rights and interests over the agricultural
landholding under litigation for a consideration of P1,000.00; that respondent Laxamana was not actually a tenant of the petitioners and
whatever tenancy rights the former had exercised over the landholding in question were voluntarily surrendered by him upon the execution of
the aforesaid document; that respondent Laxamana had only himself to blame for the litigation expenses resulting from his baseless and patently
frivolous complaint; and that respondent Laxamana was no longer entitled to the amount equivalent to 65 cavans of palay per agricultural year
as claimed since he was no longer a tenant of the petitioners.
After trial, the private respondent obtained a favorable judgment from which the petitioners appealed to the respondent Court.
In a decision promulgated on March 3, 1987, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's holding that the Casunduan even if assumed to
be valid did not constitute "voluntary surrender" as contemplated by law, hence, respondent Laxamana ought to be reinstated as tenant of the
petitioners' landholding.
Consequently, this petition was filed to seek a reversal of the decision of the appellate court. According to the petitioners, the Court of Appeals
erred:
I
IN HOLDING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT DID NOT VOLUNTARILY SURRENDER THE LANDHOLDING IN QUESTION.
II
IN OVERLOOKING THE PROBATIVE VALUE OF A WRITTEN INSTRUMENT ENTITLED 'CASUNDUAN' WHICH SHOWS
VOLUNTARY SURRENDER. (Rollo, p. 4)
The petitioners bolster their claim that respondent Laxamana is no longer their tenant over the landholding in question by invoking the rule on
parol evidence with respect to the probative value of the "Casunduan" executed by respondent Laxamana on March 30, 1973. They further
argue that the execution of the "Casunduan" clearly showed the intention of respondent Laxamana to surrender whatever rights he had as tenant
over the said landholding. Hence, we are presented with the issue of whether or not by virtue of the "Casunduan" dated March 30, 1973,
respondent Laxamana as tenant is deemed to have surrendered voluntarily the subject landholding to its owners — the petitioners.
The evidence on record and the petitioners' arguments are not enough to overcome the rights of the private respondent provided in the
Constitution and agrarian statutes which have been upheld by this Court.
The very essence of agricultural tenancy lies in the cardinal rule that an agricultural tenant enjoys security of tenurial status. The Code of
Agrarian Reforms of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 3844, as amended) specifically enumerates the grounds for the extinguishment of
agricultural leasehold relations. Section 8 of the said Code provides:
Extinguishment of agricultural leasehold relation. — The agricultural leasehold relation established under this Code shall be
extinguished by:
(1) Abandonment of the landholding without the knowledge of the agricultural lessor;
(2) Voluntary surrender of the land holding by the agricultural lessee, written notice of which shall be served three months in
advance; or
(3) Absence of the persons under Section rune to succeed to the lessee, in the event of death or permanent incapacity of the
lessee.
The petitioners invoke voluntary surrender under Paragraph 2 of Section 8 as the reason for the end of the tenancy relationship.
Voluntary surrender, as a mode of extinguishment of tenancy relations, does not require any court authorization considering that it involves the
tenant's own volition. (see Jacinto v. Court of Appeals, 87 SCRA 263 [1978]). To protect the tenant's right to security of tenure, voluntary
surrender, as contemplated by law, must be convincingly and sufficiently proved by competent evidence. The tenant's intention to surrender
the landholding cannot be presumed, much less determined by mere implication. Otherwise, the right of a tenant to security of tenure becomes
an illusory one.

40
Standing by itself, the March 30, 1973 Casunduan indicates, as contended by the petitioners, a voluntary relinquishment of tenancy rights. It
states that on his own initiative, Jose Laxamana went to the Talaveras and requested that he be allowed to sell his "puesto cung asican" or "the
plot I am farming" to the couple. A subscribing witness, Ermela Lumanlan testified on the voluntary sale of tenancy rights for P1,000.00, her
signing as a witness at the bottom of the contract, and Laxamana's signing the document.
The argument of the private respondent that under Section 28 of the Agrarian Reform Code, a voluntary surrender to be valid must be "due to
circumstances more advantageous to him and his family" is double-edged. There appears no question that Laxamana needed money to pay for
the expenses incident to the illness of his wife which led to her death. The money was to his advantage.
The basic issue in this case is-what did Laxamana give up in return for the P1,000.00? The case is marked by poor handling at the trial stage
and it is not clear whether or not the P1,000.00 was a result of the usual paternalistic arrangements between landlords and tenants where the
latter meekly approach the landlords in their hours of need or something else.
In the first place, the agreement was prepared by petitioner Visitacion A. Talavera. Laxamana could hardly sign his own name. He was clearly
at a disadvantage in the execution of the contract and the wording of the agreement. The intention to give up the landholding must be gleaned
from evidence in addition to the document which was signed by an ignorant and illiterate peasant in an hour of emotional stress and financial
need.
Second, and most important, Laxamana continued to work on the farm from 1973 up to 1984 when the petitioners ejected him. As stated by
the appellate court, why did it take the petitioners more than ten years to enforce the Casunduan?
The Talaveras claim that they cultivated the land themselves from 1973 to 1984 when the complaint was filed. This claim is belied by Exhibits
A and B. In Exhibit A, barangay captain Francisco Manayang reports to the team leader of the Ministry of Agrarian Reform that, per his own
personal knowledge, Jose Laxamana has been tilling the disputed land since 1958. Exhibit B is an affidavit to the same effect by Manayang,
Mr. Porfirio Manabat who is president of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, and a certain Romeo dela Cruz all of whom are
residents of the barangay where the land is located. Significantly, Laxamana is a resident of Sitio Tambo, Barangay Sto. Domingo II where the
disputed land is situated while the Talaveras reside in another barangay, Arangureng, of Capas, Tarlac. We see no reason why the factual
findings of the trial court and the appellate court should be reversed insofar as the continuous cultivation from 1973 to 1984 is concerned.
Third, it is not shown why Laxamana should voluntarily give up his sole source of livelihood even if he needed money to pay off his debts. Or
what he did from 1973 to 1984 if the claim of the Talaveras that they worked the land themselves is correct. We are more inclined to believe
that Laxamana was forced by circumstances to sign something he did not fully understand and then went right back to the farm and continued
to work on it until 1984.
It is true that Cristobal Gamido, Jr., officer-in-charge of the Agrarian Reform Team issued on May 8, 1986 a certification that the contested
land is not tenanted. However, the basis for the certification whether or not Mr. Gamido merely read the Casunduan literally is not shown. It
cannot overcome the more convincing evidence of persons actually residing where the land is located.
Tenancy relations cannot be bargained away except for the strong reasons provided by law which must be convincingly shown by evidence in
line with the State's policy of achieving a dignified existence for the small farmers free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices
(Sec. 2 [2], Code of Agrarian Reforms).
We, therefore, rule that except for compelling reasons clearly proved the determination that a person is a tenant-farmer, a factual conclusion
made by the trial court on the basis of evidence directly available to it, will not be reversed on appeal and will be binding on us. (see Macaraeg
v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 48008, January 20, 1989; Co v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 162 SCRA 390 [1988]).
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 3,
1987 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Lawful consideration/Determination of lease rentals
HEIRS OF ENRIQUE TAN, SR., G.R. No. 145568 - versus - REYNALDA POLLESCAS,
November 17, 2005
x-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---x
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
Before the Court is a petition for review[1] of the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals promulgated on 31 August 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 48823.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board ordering petitioners to respect
respondents possession and cultivation of the land.
The Antecedents
Petitioners Norma Tan, Jeanette Tan, Julieta Tan, Rommel[3] Tan and Enrique Tan, Jr. (Tan Heirs) are co-owners of a coconut farmland
(Land) located at Labo, Ozamis City with an area of 25,780 square meters. [4]
Esteban Pollescas (Esteban) was the original tenant of the Land. Upon Estebans death in 1991, his son Enrique Pollescas (Enrique)
succeeded him and was appointed as tenant by the landowner Enrique Tan (Tan). [5]
However, respondent Reynalda Pollescas (Reynalda), Estebans surviving second spouse, demanded that Tan recognize her as Estebans
successor. Tan did not accede. Thus, Reynalda filed with the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board of Ozamis City (DARAB-
Ozamis) a complaint for Annulment of Compromise Agreement, Quieting of Tenancy Relationship and damages. [6]
In its Decision dated 28 April 1993, the DARAB-Ozamis declared Reynalda as the lawful tenant of the Land. The DARAB-Ozamis
apportioned the harvests between the Tan Heirs and Reynalda based on the customary sharing system which is 2/3 to the landowner and 1/3 to
the tenant.[7]
On the following harvest dates, 11 and 19 of June, 9 September, 6 and 13 of December 1993, Reynalda failed to deliver to the Tan
Heirs 2/3 of the harvests amounting to P3,656.70. The Tan Heirs demanded Reynalda to pay such amount. [8] However, Reynalda ignored the
demand.
Consequently, the Tan Heirs filed a complaint for estafa against Reynalda with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Ozamis City,
Branch 2.[9] The trial court found Reynalda guilty of estafa[10] and sentenced her to five months of arresto mayor maximum to two years
of prision correccional minimum and ordered her to pay the Tan Heirs P3,656.70, the amount which she misappropriated.[11]
Subsequently, for Reynaldas continued failure to deliver their share, the Tan Heirs filed with the DARAB, Misamis Occidental
(DARAB-Misamis Occidental) an ejectment case.[12]
On 18 September 1996, the DARAB-Misamis Occidental[13] ruled in favor of the Tan Heirs. The DARAB-Misamis Occidental
disposed of the case in this wise:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, decision is hereby rendered terminating the tenancy relationship of herein
parties.
Consequently, respondent Reynalda Pollescas is ordered to vacate the subject landholding and turn-over its
possession and cultivation to the plaintiffs.
The MARO of Ozamis City is likewise ordered to investigate and verify in the subject landholding if there are actual
farmer-cultivators in the area who may qualify as lessees thereof, who then should be placed under leasehold pursuant to the
mandate of Section 12, R.A. 6657.
SO ORDERED.[14]
41
Aggrieved by the decision, Reynalda appealed to the DARAB, Diliman, Quezon City (DARAB). The DARAB reversed the decision
of the DARAB-Misamis Occidental, to wit:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed decision dated 18 September 1996 is hereby REVERSED and
SET ASIDE and a new one is rendered ordering the landowners to respect the peaceful possession and cultivation of the
subject landholding.
Respondent-Appellant is hereby ordered to pay her unpaid leasehold rentals.
SO ORDERED.[15]
The Tan Heirs appealed the decision of the DARAB to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the
DARAB ordering the Tan Heirs to respect Reynaldas possession and cultivation of the Land.
Hence, this petition.
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
In affirming the decision of the DARAB, the Court of Appeals cited Roxas y Cia v. Cabatuando, et al.[16] where this Court held that x x x mere
failure of a tenant to pay the landholders share does not necessarily give the latter the right to eject the former when there is lack of deliberate
intent on the part of the tenant to pay x x x.
The Court of Appeals held that Reynaldas failure to deliver the full amount of the Tan Heirs share could not be considered as a willful and
deliberate intent to deprive the Tan Heirs of their share. The Court of Appeals held that Reynalda honestly believed that she was entitled to a
share of the harvests in 1992-1993 while the case for Annulment of Compromise Agreement was pending before the DARAB-Ozamis. Reynalda
also believed that she could effect a set-off for her 1992-1993 share from the 1994 share of the Tan Heirs.
The Court of Appeals further declared that the rental must be legal to consider non-payment of such as a ground for ejectment. The appellate
court stated that:
x x x for a tenants failure to pay rental to come within the intendment of the law as a ground for ejectment, it is
imperative that the rental must be legal. What the law contemplates is the deliberate failure of the tenant to pay the legal
rental, not the failure to pay an illegal rental. A stipulation in a leasehold contract requiring a lessee to pay an amount in
excess of the amount allowed by law is considered contrary to law, morals or public policy. Such contract is null and void as
to the excess.
It is noteworthy that Section 34 of RA 3844 provides that the consideration for the lease of riceland and lands devoted to
other crops shall not be more than the equivalent of twenty-five per centum of the average normal harvest. The tenant is
obliged to pay a maximum of 25% of the normal harvest and not two thirds as in the case at bar. Thus, even admitting that a
set-off was effected in favor of respondent for her 1992-1993 share, yet enough is left to cover the 25% share of the petitioners
for the 1994 crop.[17]
Citing Section 8 of Republic Act No. 3844 (RA 3844), the Court of Appeals also held [t]here is nothing in the law that makes failure to deliver
share a ground for extinguishment of leasehold agreement.[18] Reynaldas failure to deliver fully the share of the Tan Heirs is not sufficient to
disturb the agricultural leasehold relation.[19]
The Issues
In their Memorandum, the Tan Heirs raise the following issues:
I
WHETHER THERE IS NO EXCEPTION TO THE GROUNDS FOR EXTINGUISHMENT OF LEASEHOLD RELATION
UNDER SECTION 8 OF RA 3844.
II
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS CORRECTLY RULED THAT REYNALDA IS OBLIGED TO PAY ONLY 1/4
OR 25% OF THE NORMAL HARVEST AND NOT 2/3 WHEN THE SUBJECT LAND WAS NOT YET PLACED
UNDER THE LEASEHOLD SYSTEM PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF RA 6657.[20]
The Ruling of the Court
The petition lacks merit.
At the outset, the Court declares that RA 6657 is the governing statute in this case.
On 8 August 1963, RA 3844 or the Agricultural Land Reform Code [21] abolished and outlawed share tenancy and put in its stead the
agricultural leasehold system.[22] On 10 September 1971, Republic Act No. 6389 (RA 6389) amending RA 3844 (RA 3844 as amended) declared
share tenancy relationships as contrary to public policy.[23] RA 6389 did not entirely repeal Republic Act No. 1199 [24] and RA 3844 even if RA
6389 substantially modified them.[25] Subsequently, Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (RA 6657)
took effect on 15 June 1988. RA 6657 only expressly repealed Section 35 of RA 3844 as amended. [26] Thus, RA 6657 is the prevailing law in
this case. The harvests in dispute are for the years 1992-1993 or after the effectivity of RA 6657.
No ground for dispossession of landholding
Section 7 of RA 3844 as amended provides that once there is a leasehold relationship, as in the present case, the landowner cannot
eject the agricultural tenant from the land unless authorized by the court for causes provided by law. [27] RA 3844 as amended expressly
recognizes and protects an agricultural leasehold tenants right to security of tenure.[28]
Section 36 of RA 3844 as amended enumerates the grounds for dispossession of the tenants landholding, to wit:

SEC. 36. Possession of Landholding; Exceptions.Notwithstanding any agreement as to the period or future
surrender of the land, an agricultural lessee shall continue in the enjoyment and possession of his landholding except when
his dispossession has been authorized by the Court in a judgment that is final and executory if after due hearing it is shown
that:

(1) The landholding is declared by the department head upon recommendation of the National Planning
Commission to be suited for residential, commercial, industrial or some other urban purposes: Provided, That the
agricultural lessee shall be entitled to disturbance compensation equivalent to five times the average of the gross harvests
on his landholding during the last five preceding calendar years;

(2) The agricultural lessee failed to substantially comply with any of the terms and conditions of the contract or
any of the provisions of this Code unless his failure is caused by fortuitous event or force majeure;

(3) The agricultural lessee planted crops or used the landholding for a purpose other than what had been previously
agreed upon;

(4) The agricultural lessee failed to adopt proven farm practices as determined under paragraph 3 of Section
twenty-nine;

42
(5) The land or other substantial permanent improvement thereon is substantially damaged or destroyed or has
unreasonably deteriorated through the fault or negligence of the agricultural lessee;

(6) The agricultural lessee does not pay the lease rental when it falls due: Provided, That if the non-payment of the
rental shall be due to crop failure to the extent of seventy-five per centum as a result of a fortuitous event, the non-payment
shall not be a ground for dispossession, although the obligation to pay the rental due that particular crop is not thereby
extinguished; or

(7) The lessee employed a sub-lessee on his landholding in violation of the terms of paragraph 2 of Section twenty-seven.
In the instant case, the Tan Heirs seek Reynaldas ejectment from the Land on the ground of non-payment of lease rental.
The Court agrees with the Court of Appeals that for non-payment of the lease rental to be a valid ground to dispossess the agricultural
lessee of the landholding, the amount of the lease rental must first of all be lawful. If the amount of lease rental claimed exceeds the limit
allowed by law, non-payment of lease rental cannot be a ground to dispossess the agricultural lessee of the landholding.
Section 34 of RA 3844 as amended[29] mandates that not x x x more than 25% of the average normal harvest shall constitute the just
and fair rental for leasehold. In this case, the Tan Heirs demanded Reynalda to deliver 2/3 of the harvest as lease rental, which clearly exceeded
the 25% maximum amount prescribed by law. Therefore, the Tan Heirs cannot validly dispossess Reynalda of the landholding for non-payment
of rental precisely because the lease rental claimed by the Tan Heirs is unlawful.
Even assuming Reynalda agreed to deliver 2/3 of the harvest as lease rental, Reynalda is not obliged to pay such lease rental for being
unlawful. There is no legal basis to demand payment of such unlawful lease rental. The courts will not enforce payment of a lease rental that
violates the law. There was no validly fixed lease rental demandable at the time of the harvests. Thus, Reynalda was never in default.
Reynalda and the Tan Heirs failed to agree on a lawful lease rental. Accordingly, the DAR must first fix the provisional lease rental
payable by Reynalda to the Tan Heirs pursuant to the second paragraph of Section 34 of RA 3844 as amended. [30] Until the DAR has fixed the
provisional lease rental, Reynalda cannot be in default in the payment of lease rental since such amount is not yet determined. There can be no
delay in the payment of an undetermined lease rental because it is impossible to pay an undetermined amount. That Reynalda is not yet in
default in the payment of the lease rental is a basic reason why she cannot be lawfully ejected from the Land for non-payment of rental.[31]

No ground for extinguishment of leasehold relation


The Court also holds that there is no ground for the extinguishment of leasehold relation in this case.
Only in the instances stated in Sections 8 and 28 of RA 3844 as amended can leasehold relation be terminated. These provisions read:
SEC. 8. Extinguishment of Agricultural Leasehold Relation.The agricultural leasehold relation established under this Code
shall be extinguished by:

(1) Abandonment of the landholding without the knowledge of the agricultural lessor
(2) Voluntary surrender of the landholding by the agricultural lessee, written notice of which shall be served
three months in advance; or
(3) Absence of the persons under Section nine to succeed to the lessee, in the event of death or permanent
incapacity of the lessee.
SEC. 28. Termination of Leasehold by Agricultural Lessee During Agricultural Year.The agricultural lessee may terminate
the leasehold during the agricultural year for any of the following causes:
(1) Cruel, inhuman or offensive treatment of the agricultural lessee or any member of his immediate farm
household by the agricultural lessor or his representative with the knowledge and consent of the lessor;
(2) Non-compliance on the part of the agricultural lessor with any of the obligations imposed upon him by
the provisions of this Code or by his contract with the agricultural lessee;
(3) Compulsion of the agricultural lessee or any member of his immediate farm household by the
agricultural lessor to do any work or render any service not in any way connected with farm work or even without compulsion
if no compensation is paid;
(4) Commission of a crime by the agricultural lessor or his representative against the agricultural lessee or
any member of his immediate farm household; or
(5) Voluntary surrender due to circumstances more advantageous to him and his family.
The case of Garchitorena v. Panganiban which the Tan Heirs invoked to justify the extinguishment of leasehold relation does not
appear on page 339 of Volume 8 of the Supreme Court Reports Annotated. What is printed on such page is the case of Republic v. Perez with
docket number L-16112 and promulgated on 29 June 1963. For making a wrong citation, the Court admonishes Atty. Jesus S. Anonat, counsel
for the Tan Heirs, to be more careful when citing jurisprudence. The Court reminds him of his duty not to knowingly misquote the text of a
decision or authority[32] lest he be guilty of misleading the Court.
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS the assailed Decision dated 31 August 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. SP No. 48823. The Court REMANDS this case to the Department of Agrarian Reform for the determination of the provisional lease
rental. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Share tenancy, abolition
G.R. No. L-25326 May 29, 1970
IGMIDIO HIDALGO and MARTINA ROSALES, petitioners,
vs.
POLICARPIO HIDALGO, SERGIO DIMAANO, MARIA ARDE, SATURNINO HIDALGO, BERNARDINA MARQUEZ,
VICENTE DIMAANO, ARCADIA DIMAANO, TEODULA DIMAANO, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS and THE PROVINCIAL
ASSESSOR OF THE PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, respondents.
G.R. No. L-25327 May 29, 1970
HILARIO AGUILA and ADELA HIDALGO, petitioners,
vs.
POLICARPIO HIDALGO, SERGIO DIMAANO, MARIA ARDE, SATURNINO HIDALGO, BERNARDINA MARQUEZ,
VICENTE DIMAANO, ARCADIA DIMAANO, TEODULA DIMAANO, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS and THE PROVINCIAL
ASSESSOR OF THE PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, respondents.
Jose O. Lara for petitioners.
Pedro Panganiban y Tolentino for respondents.

TEEHANKEE, J.:

43
Two petitions for review of decisions of the Court of Agrarian Relations dismissing petitioners' actions as sharetenants for the enforcerment of
the right to redeem agricultural lands, under the provisions of section 12 of the Agricultural Land Reform Code. As the same issue of law is
involved and the original landowner and vendees in both cases are the same, the two cases are herein jointly decided.
Respondent-vendor Policarpio Hidalgo was until the time of the execution of the deeds of sale on September 27, 1963 and March 2, 1964 in
favor of his seven above-named private co-respondents, the owner of the 22,876-square meter and 7,638-square meter agricultural parcels of
land situated in Lumil, San Jose, Batangas, described in the decisions under review.
In Case L-25326, respondent-vendor sold the 22,876-square meter parcel of land, together with two other parcels of land for P4,000.00.
Petitioners-spouses Igmidio Hidalgo and Martina Resales, as tenants thereof, alleging that the parcel worked by them as tenants is fairly worth
P1,500.00, "taking into account the respective areas, productivities, accessibilities, and assessed values of three lots, seek by way of redemption
the execution of a deed of sale for the same amount of P1,500.00 by respondents-vendees1 in their favor.
In Case L-25327, respondent-vendor sold the 7,638-square meter parcel of land for P750.00, and petitioners-spouses Hilario Aguila and Adela
Hidalgo as tenants thereof, seek by way of redemption the execution of a deed of sale for the same price of P750.00 by respondents-vendees in
their favor.
As stated in the decisions under review, since the parties stipulated on the facts in both cases, petitioners-tenants have for several years been
working on the lands as share tenants. No 90-day notice of intention to sell the lands for the exercise of the right of pre-emption prescribed by
section 11 of the Agricultural Land Reform Code (Republic Act No. 3844, enacted on August 8, 1963) was given by respondent-vendor to
petitioners-tenants. Subsequently, the deeds of sale executed by respondent-vendor were registered by respondents register of deeds and
provincial assessor of Batangas in the records of their respective offices notwithstanding the non-execution by respondent-vendor of the
affidavit required by section 13 of the Land Reform Code. 2 The actions for redemption were timely filled on March 26, 1965 by petitioners-
tenants within the two-year prescriptive period from registration of the sale, prescribed by section 12 of the said Code.
The agrarian court rendered on July 19, 1965 two identical decisions dismissing the petitions for redemption.
It correctly focused on the sole issue of law as follows: "(T)he only issue in this case is whether or not plaintiffs, as share tenants, are entitled
to redeem the parcel of land they are working from the purchasers thereof, where no notice was previously given to them by the vendor, who
was their landholder, of the latter's intention to sell the property and where the vendor did not execute the affidavit required by Sec. 13 of
Republic Act No. 3844 before the registration of the deed of sale. In other words, is the right of redemption granted by Sec. 12 of Republic Act
No. 3844 applicable to share tenants?"
But proceeding from several erroneous assumptions and premises, it arrived at its erroneous conclusion that the right of redemption granted by
section 12 of the Land Reform Code is available to leasehold tenants only but not to share tenants, and thus dismissed the petitions: "(S)ec 12
of Republic Act No. 3844, which comes under Chapter I of said Act, under the heading 'Agricultural Leasehold System,' reads as follows:
'SEC. 12. Lessee's Right of Redemption. — In case the landholding is sold to a third person without the knowledge of the agricultural
lessee, the latter shall have the right to redeem the same at a reasonable price and consideration: Provided: further, That where there
are two or more agricultural lessees, each shall be entitled to said right of redemption only to the extent of the area actually cultivated
by him. The right of redemption under this Section may be exercised within two years from the registration of the sale, and shall have
priority over any other right of legal redemption.'
The systems of agricultural tenancy recognized in this jurisdiction are share tenancy and leasehold tenancy. (Sec. 4, Republic Act No.
1199; Sec. 4, Republic Act No. 3844). A share tenant is altogether different from a leasehold tenant and their respective rights and
obligations are not co-extensive or co-equal. (See Secs. 22 to 41, inclusive, and Secs. 42 to 48, inclusive, of Republic Act No. 1199;
see also Secs. 4 to 38, inclusive, of Republic Act No. 3844).
It is our considered view that the right of redemption granted by Section 12 of Republic Act No. 3844 is applicable to leasehold tenants
only, but not to share tenants, because said provision of law clearly, definitely, and unequivocally grants said right to the 'agricultural
lessee,' and to nobody else. In enacting the Agricultural Land Reform Code, Congress was fully aware of the existence of sharetenancy
and in fact provided for the abolition of the agricultural share tenancy system. (Sec. 4, Republic Act No. 3844.) If it were the intention
of Congress to grant the right of redemption to sharetenants, it would have unmistakably and unequivocally done so. We cannot extend
said right to sharetenants through judicial legislation, wherever our sympathies may lie.
The agrarian court fell into several erroneous assumptions and premises in holding that agricultural share tenancy remains recognized in this
jurisdiction; that "a share tenant is altogether different from a leasehold tenant and their respective rights and obligations are not co-extensive
or co-equal"; and that the right of redemption granted by section 12 of the Land Reform Code" is applicable to leasehold tenants only, but not
to share tenants, because said provision of law clearly, definitely, and unequivocally grants said right to the 'agricultural lessee,' and to nobody
else."
1. The very essence of the Agricultural Land Reform Code is the abolition of agricultural share tenancy as proclaimed in its title. Section 4 of
the Code expressly outlaws agricultural share tenancy as "contrary to public policy" and decrees its abolition. 3 Section 2 of the Code expressly
declares it to be the policy of the State, inter alia, "to establish owner cultivatorship and the economic family-size farm as the basis of Philippine
agriculture and, as a consequence, divert landlord capital in agriculture to industrial development; to achieve a dignified existence for the small
farmers free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices; ... and to make the small farmers more independent, self-reliant and
responsible citizens, and a source of strength in our democratic society." 4 It was error, therefore, for the agrarian court to state the premise after
the Land Reform Code had already been enacted, that "the systems of agricultural tenancy recognized in this jurisdiction are share tenancy
and leasehold tenancy." A more accurate statement of the premise is that based on the transitory provision in the first proviso of section 4 of
the Code, i.e. that existing share tenancy contracts are allowed to continue temporarily in force and effect, notwithstanding their express
abolition, until whichever of the following events occurs earlier: (a) the end of the agricultural year when the National Land Reform Council
makes the proclamation declaring the region or locality a land reform area; or (b) the shorter period provided in the share tenancy contracts
expires; or (c) the share tenant sooner exercises his option to elect the leasehold system.
In anticipation of the expiration of share tenancy contracts — whether by contractual stipulation or the tenant's exercise of his option to elect
the leasehold system instead or by virtue of their nullity — occuring before the proclamation of the locality as a land reform area, the same
section 4 has further declared in the third proviso thereof that in such event, the tenant shall continue in possession of the land for cultivation
and "there shall be presumed to exist a leasehold relationship under the provisions of this Code."
2. The foregoing exposes the error of the agrarian court's corollary premise that "a share tenant is altogether different from a leasehold tenant."
The agrarian court's dictum that "their respective rights and obligations are not co-extensive or co-equal "refer to their contractual relations
with the landowner, with respect to the contributions given, management, division or payment of the produce. 5
But the Land Reform Code forges by operation of law, between the landowner and the farmer — be a leaseholdtenant or temporarily
a share tenant — a vinculum juris with certain vital juridical consequences, such as security of tenure of the tenant and the tenant's right to
continue in possession of the land he works despite the expiration of the contract or the sale or transfer of the land to third persons, and now,
more basically, the farmer's pre-emptive right to buy the land he cultivates under section 11 of the Code6 as well as the right to redeem the land,
if sold to a third person without his knowledge, under section 12 of the Code.
This is an essential and indispensable mandate of the Code to implement the state's policy of establishing owner-cultivatorship and to achieve
a dignified and self-reliant existence for the small farmers that would make them a pillar of strength of our Republic. Aside from expropriation
by the Land Authority of private agricultural land for resale in economic family-size farm units "to bona fide tenants, occupants and qualified
farmers,"7 the purchase by farmers of the lands cultivated by them, when the owner decides to sell the same — through rights of pre-emption
and redemption — are the only means prescribed by the Code to achieve the declared policy of the State.
44
3. The agrarian court therefore facilely let itself fall into the error of concluding that the right of redemption (as well as necessarily the right of
pre-emption) imposed by the Code is available to leasehold tenants only and excludes share tenants for the literal reason that the Code grants
said rights only to the "agricultural lessee and to nobody else." For one, it immediately comes to mind that the Code did not mention tenants,
whether leasehold or sharetenants, because it outlaws share tenancy and envisions the agricultural leasehold system as its replacement. Thus,
Chapter I of the Code, comprising sections 4 to 38, extensively deals with the establishment of "agriculturalleasehold relation," defines the
parties thereto and the rights and obligations of the "agricultural lessor" and of the "agricultural lessee" (without the slightest mention
of leasehold tenants) and the statutory consideration or rental for the leasehold to be paid by the lessee. There is a studied omission in the Code
of the use of the term tenant in deference to the "abolition of tenancy" as proclaimed in the very title of the Code, and the elevation of the
tenant's status to that of lessee.
Then, the terms "agricultural lessor" and "agricultural lessee" are consistently used throughout the Chapter and carried over the particular
sections (11 and 12) on pre-emption and redemption. The agrarian court's literal construction would wreak havoc on and defeat the proclaimed
and announced legislative intent and policy of the State of establishing owner-cultivatorship for the farmers, who invariably were all share
tenants before the enactment of the Code and whom the Code would now uplift to the status of lessees.
A graphic instance of this fallacy would be found in section 11 providing that "In case the agricultural lessor decides to sell the landholding
the agricultural lessee shall have the preferential right to buy the same under reasonable terms and conditions." It will be seen that the term
"agricultural lessor" is here used interchangeably with the term "landowner"; which conflicts with the Code's definition of "agricultural lessor"
to mean "a person natural or juridical, who, either as owner, civil law lessee, usufructuary, or legal possessor, lets or grants to another the
cultivation and use of his land for a price certains." 8 Obviously, the Code precisely referred to the "agricultural lessor (who) decides to sell the
landholding," when it could have more precisely referred to the "landowner," who alone as such, rather than a civil law lessee, usufructuary or
legal possessor, could sell the landholding, but it certainly cannot be logically contended that the imprecision should defeat the clear spirit and
intent of the provision.
4. We have, here, then a case of where the true intent of the law is clear that calls for the application of the cardinal rule of statutory construction
that such intent or spirit must prevail over the letter thereof, for whatever is within the spirit of a statute is within the statute, since adherence
to the letter would result in absurdity, injustice and contradictions and would defeat the plain and vital purpose of the statute.
Section 11 of the Code providing for the "agricultural lessee's" preferential right to buy the land he cultivates provides expressly that "the entire
landholding offered for sale must be pre-empted by the Land Authority if the landowner so desires, unless the majority of the lessees object to
such acquisition," presumably for being beyond their capabilities. Taken together with the provisions of Chapter III of the Code on the
organization and functions of the Land Authority and Chapter VII on the Land Project Administration and the creation and functions of the
National Land Reform Council, (in which chapters the legislature obviously was not laboring under the inhibition of referring to the
term tenants as it was in Chapter I establishing the agricultural leasehold system and decreeing the abolition of share tenancy, 9 the Code's
intent, policy and objective to give both agricultural lessees and farmers who transitionally continue to be share tenants notwithstanding the
Code's enactment, the same priority and preferential rights over the lands under their cultivation, in the event of acquisition of the lands, by
expropriation or voluntary sale, for distribution or resale that may be initiated by the Land Authority or the National Land Reform Council, are
clearly and expressly stated.
Thus Chapter III, section 51 of the Code decrees it the responsibility of the Land Authority "(1) To initiate and prosecute expropriation
proceedings for the acquisition of private agricultural lands as defined in Section one hundred sixty-six of chapter XI of this Code for the
purpose of subdivision into economic family — size farm units and resale of said farm units to bona fide tenants, occupants and qualified
farmers ... and "(2) To help bona fide farmers without lands of agricultural owner-cultivators of uneconomic-size farms to acquire and own
economic family-size farm units ...."
Similarly, Chapter VII, section 128 of the Code, in enjoining the National Land Reform Council to formulate the necessary rules and regulations
to implement the Code's provisions for selection of agricultural land to be acquired and distributed and of the beneficiaries of the family farms,
ordains the giving of the same priority "to the actual occupants personally cultivating the land either as agricultural lessees or otherwise with
respect to the area under their cultivation."
5. It would certainly result in absurdity, contradictions and injustice if a share tenant would be denied the rights of pre-emption and redemption
which he seeks to exercise on his own resources, notwithstanding that the National Land Reform Council has not yet proclaimed that all the
government machineries and agencies in the region or locality envisioned in the Code are operating — which machineries and agencies,
particularly, the Land Bank were precisely created "to finance the acquisition by the Government of landed estates for division and resale to
small landholders, as well as the purchase of the landholding by the agricultural lessee from the landowner." 10 The non-operation in the interval
of the Land Bank and the government machineries and agencies in the region which are envisioned in the Code to assist the share tenant in
shedding off the yoke of tenancy and afford him the financial assistance to exercise his option of electing the leasehold system and his
preferential right of purchasing the land cultivated by him could not possibly have been intended by Congress to prevent the exercise of any of
these vital rights by a share tenant who is able to do so, e.g. to purchase the land, on his own and without government assistance. It would be
absurd and unjust that while the government is unable to render such assistance, the share tenant would be deemed deprived of the very rights
granted him by the Code which he is in a position to exercise even without government assistance.
6. Herein lies the distinction between the present case and Basbas vs. Entena 11 where the Court upheld the agrarian court's dismissal of the
therein tenant's action to redeem the landholding sold to a third party by virtue of the tenant's failure to tender payment or consign the purchase
price of the property. There, the tenant-redemptioner was shown by the evidence to have no funds and had merely applied for them to the Land
Authority which was not yet operating in the locality and hence, the Court held that no part of the Code "indicates or even hints that the 2-year
redemption period will not commence to run (indefinitely) until the tenant obtains financing from the Land Bank, or stops the tenant from
securing redemption funds from some other source." 12 In the present case, the petitioners-tenants' possession of funds and compliance with the
requirements of redemption are not questioned, the case having been submitted and decided on the sole legal issue of the right of redemption
being available to them as share tenants. The clear and logical implication of Basbas is where the tenant has his own resources or secures
redemption funds from sources other than the Land Bank or government agencies under the Code, the fact that the locality has not been
proclaimed a land reform area and that such government machineries and agencies are not operating therein is of no relevance and cannot
prejudice the tenant's rights under the Code to redeem the landholding.
7. Even from the landowner's practical and equitable viewpoint, the landowner is not prejudiced in the least by recognizing the share tenant's
right of redemption. The landowner, having decided to sell his land, has gotten his price therefor from his vendees. (The same holds true in
case of the tenant's exercise of the pre-emptive right by the tenant who is called upon to pay the landowner the price, if reasonable, within
ninety days from the landowner's written notice.) As for the vendees, neither are they prejudiced for they will get back from the tenant-
redemptioner the price that they paid the vendor, if reasonable, since the Code grants the agricultural lessee or tenant the top priority of
redemption of the landholding cultivated by him and expressly decrees that the same "shall have priority over any other right of legal
redemption." In the absence of any provision in the Code as to manner of and amounts payable on redemption, the pertinent provisions of the
Civil Code apply in a suppletory character. 13 Hence, the vendees would be entitled to receive from the redemptioners the amount of their
purchase besides "(1) the expenses of the contract, and any other legitimate payments made by reason of the sale; (and) (2) the necessary and
useful expenses made on the thing sold." 14
8. The historical background for the enactment of the Code's provisions on pre-emption and redemption further strengthens the Court's opinion.
It is noted by Dean Montemayor 15 that "(T)his is a new right which has not been granted to tenants under the Agricultural Tenancy Act. It
further bolsters the security of tenure of the agricultural lessee and further encourages agricultural lessees to become owner-cultivators.
45
In the past, a landlord often ostensibly sold his land being cultivated by his tenant to another tenant, who in turn filed a petition for
ejectment against the first tenant on the ground of personal cultivation. While many of such sales were simulated, there was a formal
transfer of title in every case, and the first tenant was invariably ordered ejected.
There is indication in this case of the same pattern of sale by the landowner to another tenant, 16 in order to effect the ejectment of petitioners-
tenants. This is further bolstered by the fact that the sales were executed by respondent-vendor on September 27, 1963 and March 2, 1954
shortly after the enactment on August 8, 1963 of the Land Reform Code — which furnishes still another reason for upholding ... petitioners-
tenants' right of redemption, for certainly a landowner cannot be permitted to defeat the Code's clear intent by precipitately disposing of his
lands, even before the tenant has been given the time to exercise his newly granted option to elect the new agricultural leasehold system
established by the Code as a replacement for the share tenancy outlawed by it.
9. Clearly then, the Code intended, as above discussed, to afford the farmers' who transitionally continued to be share tenants after its enactment
but who inexorably would be agricultural lessees by virtue of the Code's proclaimed abolition of tenancy, the same priority and preferential
right as those other share tenants, who upon the enactment of the Code or soon thereafter were earlier converted by fortuitous circumstance into
agricultural lessees, to acquire the lands under their cultivation in the event of their voluntary sale by the owner or of their acquisition, by
expropriation or otherwise, by the Land Authority. It then becomes the court's duty to enforce the intent and will of the Code, for "... (I)n fact,
the spirit or intention of a statute prevails over the letter thereof.' (Tañada vs. Cuenco, L-10520, Feb. 23, 1957, citing 82 C.J.S., p. 526.) A
statute 'should be construed according to its spirit or intention, disregarding as far as necessary, the letter of the law.' (Lopez & Sons, Inc. vs.
Court of Tax Appeals, 100 Phil. 855.) By this, we do not correct the act of the Legislature, but rather ... carry out and give due course to 'its
intent.' (Lopez & Sons, Inc. vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 100 Phil. 850)." 17 The Court has consistently held in line with authoritative principles
of statutory construction that, it will reject a narrow and literal interpretation, such as that given by the agrarian court, that would defeat and
frustrate rather than foster and give life to the law's declared policy and intent. 18 Finally, under the established jurisprudence of the Court, in
the interpretation of tenancy and labor legislation, it will be guided by more than just an inquiry into the letter of the law as against its spirit
and will ultimately resolve grave doubts in favor of the tenant and worker. 19
The agrarian court's dismissal of the cases at bar should therefore be reversed and petitioners-tenants' right to redeem the landholdings
recognized section 12 of the Code.
In Case L-25326, however, the deed of sale executed by respondent-vendor in favor of respondents-vendees for the price of P4,000.00 covers
three parcels of land, while what is sought to be redeemed is only the first parcel of land of 22,876 square meters, described in the deed.
Petitioners-tenants' allegation that the proportionate worth of said parcel "taking into account the respective areas, productivities, accessibilities
and assessed values of the three lots," is P1,500.00, was traversed by respondents in their answer, with the claim that "the said land is fairly
worth P20,000.00. 20 While the vendor would be bound by, and cannot claim more than, the price stated in the deed, and the Code precisely
provides that the farmer shall have "the preferential right to buy the (landholding) under reasonable terms and conditions" or "redeem the same
at a reasonable price and consideration" 21 with a view to affording the farmer the right to seek judicial assistance and relief to fix such
reasonable price and terms when the landowner places in the notice to sell or deed an excessive or exorbitant amount in collusion with the
vendee, we note that in this case the deed of sale itself acknowledged that the selling price of P4,000.00 therein stated was not the fair price
since an additional consideration therein stated was that the vendees would support the vendor during his lifetime and take care of him, should
he fall ill, and even assumed the expenses of his burial upon his death:
Ang halagang P4,000.00 ay hindi kaulat sa tunay na halaga ng mga lupa subalit ang mga bumili ay may katungkulan na sostentohin
ako habang ako'y nabubuhay, ipaanyo at ipagamot ako kung ako ay may sakit, saka ipalibing ako kung ako ay mamatay sa kanilang
gastos at ito ay isa sa alang-alang o consideracion ng bilihang ito.
Under these circumstances, since the agrarian court did not rule upon conflicting claims of the parties as to what was the proportionate worth
of the parcel of land in the stated price of P4,000.00 — whether P1,500.00 as claimed by petitioners or a little bit more, considering the
proportionate values of the two other parcels, but the whole total is not to exceed the stated price of P4,000.00, since the vendor is bound
thereby — and likewise, what was the additional proportionate worth of the expenses assumed by the vendees, assuming that petitioners are
not willing to assume the same obligation, the case should be remanded to the agrarian court solely for the purpose of determining the reasonable
price and consideration to be paid by petitioners for redeeming the landholding, in accordance with these observations.
In Case L-25327, there is no question as to the price of P750.00 paid by the vendees and no additional consideration or expenses, unlike in
Case L-25326, supra, assumed by the vendees. Hence, petitioners therein are entitled to redeem the landholding for the same stated price.
ACCORDINGLY, the decisions appealed from are hereby reversed, and the petitions to redeem the subject landholdings are granted.
In Case L-25326, however, the case is remanded to the agrarian court solely for determining the reasonable price to be paid by petitioners
therein to respondents-vendees for redemption of the landholding in accordance with the observations hereinabove made.
No pronouncement as to costs.
G.R. No. L-44570 May 30, 1986
MANUEL GUERRERO and MARIA GUERRERO, petitioners,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and APOLINARIO BENITEZ, respondents.
A.D. Guerrero for petitioners.
Bureau of Legal Assistance for private respondents.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
Whether or not a tenancy relationship exists between the parties Manuel Guerrero, et al and Apolinario Benitez, et al. as to determine their
respective rights and obligations to one another is the issue in this petition to review the decision of the then Court of Appeals, now the
Intermediate Appellate Court, which affirmed in toto the decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations in CAR Case No. 6793-NE (SA-Q) '73,
the dispositive portion of which reads:
In view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:
(1) ordering defendants-spouses Manuel and Maria Guerrero to reinstate plaintiff Apolinario Benitez to the 10-hectare portion of the
16-hectare coconut holding in question, located at Bo. San Joaquin, Maria Aurora Sub-province Quezon and to maintain said plaintiff
in the peaceful possession and cultivation thereof, with all the rights accorded and obligations imposed upon him by law;
(2) ordering defendants Paulino and Rogelio both surnamed Latigay to vacate the said ten-hectare portion and deliver possession
thereof to plaintiff Apolinario Benitez;
(3) ordering defendants-spouses Manuel and Maria Guerrero to pay damages to plaintiffs in the amount of P14,911.20 beginning from
July, 1973 and to pay the same amount every year thereafter until plaintiff is effectively reinstated to the ten-hectare portion;
(4) denying plaintiff-tenants' prayer for reconstruction of the copra cottage: and
(5) ordering defendants-spouses Manuel and Maria Guerrero to pay plaintiff the amount of P200.00 by way of litigation expenses.
All other claims of the parties are denied. With costs against defendants-spouses.
The petitioners adopt the respondent court's findings of fact excepting, however, to its conclusion that tenancy relations exist between the
petitioners and the respondents, thus:
In 1969, plaintiff Apolinario Benitez was taken by defendants- spouses Manuel and Maria Guerrero to take care of their 60 heads of
cows which were grazing within their 21-hectare coconut plantation situated at Bo. San Joaquin, Maria Aurora, Subprovince of Aurora,
Quezon. Plaintiff was allowed for that purpose to put up a hut within the plantation where he and his family stayed. In addition to
attending to the cows, he was made to clean the already fruitbearing coconut trees, burn dried leaves and grass and to do such other
46
similar chores. During harvest time which usually comes every three months, he was also made to pick coconuts and gather the fallen
ones from a 16-hectare portion of the 21-hectare plantation. He had to husk and split the nuts and then process its meat into copra in
defendants' copra kiln. For his work related to the coconuts, he shared 1/3 of the proceeds from the copra he processed and sold in the
market. For attending to the cows he was paid P500 a year.
Sometime in the early part of 1973, plaintiff was refrained from gathering nuts from the 10-hectare portion of the 16-hectare part of
the plantation from where he used to gather nuts. He felt aggrieved by the acts of defendants and he brought the matter to the attention
of the Office of Special Unit in the Office of the President in Malacanang, Manila. This led to an execution of an agreement, now
marked as Exh. D, whereby defendants agreed, among others, to let plaintiff work on the 16-hectare portion of the plantation as tenant
thereon and that their relationship will be guided by the provisions of republic Act No. 1199. The Agricultural Tenancy Act of the
Philippines.
Then in July, 1973, he was again refrained from gathering nuts from the 10-hectare portion of the plantation with threats of bodily
harm if he persists to gather fruits therefrom. Defendant spouses, the Guerreros, then assigned defendants Rogelio and Paulino Latigay
to do the gathering of the nuts and the processing thereof into copra. Defendants Guerreros also caused to be demolished a part of the
cottage where plaintiff and his family lived, thus, making plaintiffs feel that they (defendants) meant business. Hence, this case for
reinstatement with damages.
The lower court formulated four (4) issues by which it was guided in the resolution of the questions raised by the pleadings and
evidence and we pertinently quote as follows:
(1) whether or not plaintiff is the tenant on the coconut landholding in question consisting of sixteen (16) hectares;
(2) In The affirmative, whether or not he was unlawfully dispossessed of ten (10) hectare thereof;
(3) Whether or not the parties are entitled to actual and moral damages, attorney's fees and litigation expenses.
This petition for review poses the following questions of law:
I
Whether or not with the passage of Presidential Decree 1038 only last October 21, 1976, Republic Act 6389 otherwise known as the
Code of Agrarian Reforms has repealed in their entirety the Agricultural Tenancy Act (Republic Act 1199) and the Agricultural Reform
Code (Republic Act 3844) abrogating or nullifying therefore all agricultural share tenancy agreements over all kinds of lands, as the
one involved in the case at bar-over coconut plantation-and hence, the complaint below as well as the challenged decision by the courts
below, based as they are on such share tenancy agreements, have lost their validity cessante ratio legis, cessat ipsa lex.
II
Assuming arguendo that said laws have not thus been repealed, is respondent Benitez hereunder the undisputed fact of the case as
found by the courts below a share tenant within the purview of the said laws, i.e., Republic Acts 1199 and 3844, or a mere farmhand
or farm worker as such relationship were extensively discussed in Delos Reyes vs. Espinelli, 30 SCRA 574. (Copied verbatim from
Petition, p. 31- rollo)
Petitioner insists in this petition that Benitez was a mere farmhand or laborer who was dismissed as an employee from the landholding in
question and not ousted therefrom as tenant. Whether a person is a tenant or not is basically a question of fact and the findings of the respondent
court and the trial court are, generally, entitled to respect and non-disturbance.
The law defines "agricultural tenancy" 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, either in produce or in money, or in
both (Section 3, Republic Act 1199, The Agricultural tenancy Act, as amended.)
With petitioner reference to this case, "share tenancy" exists whenever two persons agree on a joint undertaking for agricultural production
wherein one party furnishes the land and the other his labor, with either or both contributing any one or several of the items of production, the
tenant cultivating the land with the aid of labor available from members of his immediate farm household, and the produce thereof to be divided
between the landholder and the tenant in proportion to their respective contributions (Sec. 4, RA 1199; Sec. 166(25) RA 3844, Agricultural
Land Reform Code).
In contrast, a farmhand or agricultural laborer is "any agricultural salary or piece worker but is not limited to a farmworker of a particular farm
employer unless this Code expressly provides otherwise, and any individual whose work has ceased as a consequence of, or in connection with,
a current agrarian dispute or an unfair labor practice and who has not obtained a substantially equivalent and regular employment" (Sec. 166(15)
RA 3844, Agricultural Land Reform Code).
The petitioners contend that the two courts below applied erroneous definitions of "tenancy" found in repealed laws. They assert that the
Agricultural Tenancy Act and the Agricultural Land Reform Code have been superseded by the Code of Agrarian Reforms, Rep. Act 6389,
which the trial court and the Court of Appeals failed to cite and apply.
There is no question that the latest law on land and tenancy reforms seeks to abolish agricultural share tenancy as the basic relationship
governing farmers and landowners in the country.
On August 8, 1963, Republic Act 3844 abolished and outlawed share tenancy and put in its stead the agricultural leasehold system. On
September 10, 1971, Republic Act 6389 amending Republic Act 3844 declared share tenancy relationships as contrary to public policy. On the
basis of this national policy, the petitioner asserts that no cause of action exists in the case at bar and the lower court's committed grave error
in upholding the respondent's status as share tenant in the petitioners' landholding.
The petitioners' arguments are regressive and, if followed, would turn back the advances in agrarian reform law. The repeal of the Agricultural
Tenancy Act and the Agricultural Land Reform Code mark the movement not only towards the leasehold system but towards eventual
ownership of land by its tillers. The phasing out of share tenancy was never intended to mean a reversion of tenants into mere farmhands or
hired laborers with no tenurial rights whatsoever.
It is important to note that the Agricultural Tenancy Act (RA 1199) and the Agricultural Land Reform Code (RA 3844) have not been entirely
repealed by the Code of Agrarian Reform (RA 6389) even if the same have been substantially modified by the latter.
However, even assuming such an abrogation of the law, the rule that the repeal of a statute defeats all actions pending under the repealed statute
is a mere general principle. Among the established exceptions are when vested rights are affected and obligations of contract are impaired.
(Aisporna vs. Court of Appeals, 108 SCRA 481).
The records establish the private respondents' status as agricultural tenants under the legal definitions.
Respondent Benitez has physically possessed the landholding continuously from 1969 until he was ejected from it. Such possession of
longstanding is an essential distinction between a mere agricultural laborer and a real tenant within the meaning of the tenancy law (Moreno,
Philippine Law Dictionary, 1972 Edition), a tenant being one who, has the temporary use and occupation of land or tenements belonging to
another (Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Vol. II, p. 3254) for the purpose of production (Sec. 3, Republic Act 1199; delos Reyes vs. Espinelli, 30
SCRA 574). Respondent Benitez lives on the landholding. He built his house as an annex to the petitioner's copra kiln. A hired laborer would
not build his own house at his expense at the risk of losing the same upon his dismissal or termination any time. Such conduct is more consistent
with that of an agricultural tenant who enjoys security of tenure under the law.
Cultivation is another important factor in determining the existence of tenancy relationships. It is admitted that it had been one Conrado
Caruruan, with others, who had originally cleared the land in question and planted the coconut trees, with the respondent coming to work in the
landholding only after the same were already fruit bearing. The mere fact that it was not respondent Benitez who had actually seeded the land
does not mean that he is not a tenant of the land. The definition of cultivation is not limited merely to the tilling, plowing or harrowing of the
47
land. It includes the promotion of growth and the care of the plants, or husbanding the ground to forward the products of the earth by general
industry. The raising of coconuts is a unique agricultural enterprise. Unlike rice, the planting of coconut seedlings does not need harrowing and
plowing. Holes are merely dug on the ground of sufficient depth and distance, the seedlings placed in the holes and the surface thereof covered
by soil. Some coconut trees are planted only every thirty to a hundred years. The major work in raising coconuts begins when the coconut trees
are already fruitbearing. Then it is cultivated by smudging or smoking the plantation, taking care of the coconut trees, applying fertilizer,
weeding and watering, thereby increasing the produce. The fact that respondent Benitez, together with his family, handles all phases of
farmwork from clearing the landholding to the processing of copra, although at times with the aid of hired laborers, thereby cultivating the land,
shows that he is a tenant, not a mere farm laborer. (delos Reyes vs. Espinelli, supra Marcelo vs. de Leon, 105 Phil. 1175).
Further indicating the existence of a tenancy relationship between petitioners and respondent is their agreement to share the produce or harvest
on a "tercio basis" that is, a 1/3 to 2/3 sharing in favor of the petitioner-landowners. Though not a positive indication of the existence of tenancy
relations perse the sharing of harvest taken together with other factors characteristic of tenancy shown to be present in the case at bar,
strengthens the claim of respondent that indeed, he is a tenant. The case of delos Reyes vs. Espinelli (supra) clearly explains the matter thus:
The agricultural laborer works for the employer, and for his labor he receives a salary or wage, regardless of whether the employer
makes a profit. On the other hand, the share tenant par ticipates in the agricultural produce. His share is necessarily dependent on the
amount of harvest.
Hence, the lower court's computation of damages in favor of respondent based on the number of normal harvests. In most cases, we have
considered the system of sharing produce as convincing evidence of tenancy relations.
The petitioners entered into an agreement on May 2, 1973 which in clear and categorical terms establishes respondent as a tenant, to wit:
AGREEMENT
This agreement entered into by and between Manuel Guerrero hereinafter referred to as the landowner and Apolinario Benitez
hereinafter referred to as tenant.
xxx xxx xxx
The petitioners, however, contend that the word "tenant" in the aforequoted agreement was used to mean a hired laborer farm employee as
understood agreed upon by the parties. The fact that their relationship would be guided by the provisions of Republic Act 1199 or the
Agricultural Tenancy Act of the Philippines militates against such an assertion. It would be an absurdity for Republic Act 1199 to govern an
employer-employee relationship. If as the petitioners insist a meaning other than its general acceptation had been given the word "tenant", the
instrument should have so stated '. Aided by a lawyer, the petitioners, nor the respondent could not be said to have misconstrued the same. In
clear and categorical terms, the private respondent appears to be nothing else but a tenant:
Finally, comes the admission by the petitioners' counsel of the respondent's status as tenant:
ATTY. ESTEBAN:
Q You said you are living at San Joaquin, who cause the sowing of the lumber you made as annex in the house?
ATTY. NALUNDASAN
Please remember that under the law, tenant is given the right to live in the holding in question. We admit him as tenant.
xxxxxxxxx
(Apolinario Benitez on Redirect, TSN, June 25, 1974, pp. 4950).
The respondent's status as agricultural tenant should be without question.
Once a tenancy relationship is established, the tenant has the right to continue working until such relationship is extinguished according to law.
The Agricultural Tenancy Act of 1954 (Republic Act 1199), the Agricultural Land Reform Code of 1963 (Republic Act 3844), the Code of
Agrarian Reforms (Republic Act 6389) and Presidential Decree 1038 (Strengthening the Security of Tenure of Tenant Tillers in Non-Rice/Corn
Producing Agricultural Lands) all provide for the security of tenure of agricultural tenants. Ejectment may be effected only for causes provided
by law, to wit:
l) Violation or failure of the tenant to comply with any of the terms and conditions of the tenancy contract or any of the provisions of
the Agricultural Tenancy Act;
2) The tenant's failure to pay the agreed rental or to deliver the landholder's share unless the tenant's failure is caused by a fortuitous
event or force majeure;
3) Use by the tenant of the land for purposes other than that specified by the agreement of the parties;
4) Failure of the tenant to follow proven farm practices:
5) Serious injury to the land caused by the negligence of the tenant;
6) Conviction by a competent court of a tenant or any member of his immediate family or farm household of a crime against the
landholder or a member of his immediate family. (Section 50, Rep. Act 1199).
None of the above causes exists in the case at bar. The respondent has been unlawfully deprived of his right to security of tenure and the Court
of Agrarian Reforms did not err in ordering the reinstatement of respondent as tenant and granting him damages therefor.
Before we close this case, it is pertinent to reiterate that the respondent's right as share tenant do not end with the abolition of share tenancy. As
the law seeks to "uplift the farmers from poverty, ignorance and stagnation to make them dignified, self-reliant, strong and responsible citizens
... active participants in nation-building", agricultural share tenants are given the right to leasehold tenancy as a first step towards the ultimate
status of owner-cultivator, a goal sought to be achieved by the government program of land reform.
It is true that leasehold tenancy for coconut lands and sugar lands has not yet been implemented. The policy makers of government are still
studying the feasibility of its application and the consequences of its implementation. Legislation still has to be enacted. Nonetheless, wherever
it may be implemented, the eventual goal of having strong and independent farmers working on lands which they own remains. The petitioners'
arguments which would use the enactment of the Agrarian Reform Code as the basis for setting back or eliminating the tenurial rights of the
tenant have no merit.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The decision of the appellate court is AFFIRMED. No costs.
Statute of Limitations
G.R. No. 180476 June 26, 2013
RAYMUNDO CODERIAS, as represented by his Attorney-In-Fact, MARLON M. CODERIAS, Petitioner,
vs.
ESTATE OF JUAN CIDOCO, represented by its Administrator, DR. RAUL R. CARAG, Respondent.
DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
The Court cannot sanction the use of force to evict beneficiaries of land reform. Eviction using force is reversion to the feudal system, where
the landed elite have free rein over their poor vassals. In effect, might is right.
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 seeks the reversal of the April 27, 2007 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) and its November 5,
2007 Resolution3 denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration4 in CA-G.R. SP No. 86149.
Factual Antecedents
The deceased Juan O. Chioco (Chioco) owned a 4-hectare farm in Lupao, Nueva Ecija (the farm). As tiller of the farm, 5 petitioner Raymundo
Coderias was issued a Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT) on April 26, 1974. 6
In 1980, individuals connected with Chioco – who was a former Governor of Nueva Ecija – threatened to kill petitioner if he did not leave the
farm. His standing crops (corn and vegetables) and house were bulldozed. For fear of his life, petitioner, together with his family, left the farm.7
48
In 1993 upon learning of Chioco’s death, petitioner and his family re-established themselves on the farm.8 On March 9, 19959 petitioner filed
with the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) in Talavera, Nueva Ecija a Petition 10 against respondent Chioco’s
estate praying that his possession and cultivation of the farm be respected; that the corresponding agricultural leasehold contract between them
be executed; that he be awarded actual damages for the destruction of his house, his standing crops, unrealized harvest from 1980 up to 1993,
attorney’s fees and costs of litigation.11 The case was docketed as DARAB Case No. 1572-NNE-95.
Respondent moved to dismiss12 the Petition, contending that petitioner’s cause of action has prescribed under Section 38 13 of Republic Act
(RA) No. 3844,14 as amended, since the alleged dispossession took place in 1980 but the Petition was filed only in 1995, or beyond the statutory
three-year period for filing such claims. Petitioner filed an opposition15 arguing that his tenure/tillage should be deemed uninterrupted since his
departure was due to threats made by Chioco’s henchmen; thus, the three-year prescriptive period should not be applied to his case.
Ruling of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD)
On September 10, 1996, the PARAD issued a Decision16 dismissing the Petition on the ground of prescription. It adopted respondent’s
argument, adding that although petitioner was forcibly evicted from the farm, he was not without remedy under the law to assert his rights. Yet,
he filed the Petition only after 14 years, or in 1995. He is thus guilty of laches and is deemed to have abandoned his rights and privileges under
the agrarian laws.
Ruling of the DARAB
Petitioner appealed17 to the DARAB, which appeal was docketed as DARAB Case No. 6066.
On December 8, 2003, the DARAB issued a Decision, 18 decreeing as follows:
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby set aside. A new judgment is entered:
1. Ordering the Respondent-Appellee to respect and maintain the Petitioner-Appellant in his peaceful possession and cultivation of
the subject landholding; and
2. Ordering the Respondent-Appellee to reimburse Raymundo Coderias of the money equivalent representing the latter’s unrealized
harvest from 1980 to 1993 or if he has not been allowed to re-enter up to the time this decision is rendered then his share from the
harvest should be computed from 1980 to the present, and ordering the MARO of the municipality to assist the parties in the
computation thereof.
SO ORDERED.19
Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration20 which, in an August 3, 2004 Resolution,21 the DARAB denied.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Respondent went up to the CA by Petition for Review, 22 insisting that petitioner’s cause of action has been barred by prescription and laches.
On April 27, 2007, the CA rendered the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads, as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision, dated December 8, 2003, and the Resolution, dated August 3, 2004, of the
DARABCentral Office in DARAB Case No. 6066 are hereby SET ASIDE. The Decision, dated September 10, 1996 of the Provincial
Adjudicator in DARAB Case No. 1572 ‘NNE’ 95 is ordered REINSTATED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.23
The CA held that undoubtedly, a tenancy relation existed between Chioco and petitioner under RA 3844.24Nevertheless, it found that petitioner’s
action had prescribed, in that the complained acts occurred in 1980 but petitioner filed DARAB Case No. 1572-NNE-95 only in 1995, or beyond
the three-year prescriptive period under Section 38 of RA 3844. The CA held that this delayed action by petitioner amounts to laches as well.25
On May 23, 2007, petitioner filed a Manifestation with Motion for Reconsideration. 26 However, the CA denied the same via the assailed
November 5, 2007 Resolution.
Petitioner thus timely filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari.
Issue
In this Petition which seeks a reversal of the CA pronouncement and reinstatement of the December 8, 2003 DARAB Decision, petitioner
submits this lone issue for the Court’s resolution:
AS A RULE, THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE COURT OF APPEALS ARE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE AND CANNOT BE
REVIEWED ON APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT. HOWEVER, THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE COURT OF APPEALS MAY
BE REVIEWED BY THE SUPREME COURT ON APPEAL BY CERTIORARI WHERE THERE IS GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION.
AT BAR, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN FINDING THAT PRESCRIPTION
HAD SET IN SINCE IT DISREGARD [sic] THE PRINCIPLE LAID DOWN IN SECTIONS 3, 3.1, AND 3.2, RULE I OF THE 2003 DARAB
RULES OF PROCEDURE.27
Petitioner’s Arguments
Petitioner contends in his Petition and Reply28 that the three-year prescriptive period under Section 38 of RA 3844 should be counted from the
time that the intimidation by Chioco ceased upon his death. Petitioner argues that while the intimidation and threats against him and his family
continued, the prescriptive period to file a case under RA 3844 should not run.
Petitioner adds that Section 38 should not be applied to his case, as Sections 3, 3.1 and 3.2, Rule I29 of the 2003 DARAB Rules of Procedure
allow for the relaxation of technical rules, procedures, and evidence, as well as the adoption of measures that are appropriate and applicable to
agrarian disputes. He likewise cites the pronouncement of the DARAB to the effect that Section 38 is not applicable because the case filed was
precisely to obtain security and protection from Chioco’s acts of intimidation against him, which continued until Chioco’s death in 1993. Since
it was Chioco’s threats and intimidation which drove him away and kept him from returning to the farm and filing the appropriate case, petitioner
suggests that the applicable prescriptive period should be reckoned from the time that he returned to the farm when the threats and intimidation
ceased.
Respondent’s Arguments
Respondent, in its Comment,30 insists that petitioner’s cause of action had prescribed. It also argues that, as correctly found by the CA, Section
38 of RA 3844 should apply in determining whether petitioner’s cause of action has prescribed. RA 3844 is a special law and its provisions on
prescription – not those of the Civil Code, which is a general law – should apply to the parties’ agrarian dispute.
Our Ruling
The Court grants the Petition.
Petitioner availed of the remedy of Petition for Review on Certiorari, but claimed that the CA committed grave abuse of discretion, which
accusation properly pertains to an original Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65. However, this should not affect his case for the CA committed
a glaring error on a question of law which must be reversed.
It must be recalled from the facts that the farm has been placed under the coverage of RA 3844. It is also undisputed that a tenancy relation
existed between Chioco and petitioner. In fact, a CLT had been issued in favor of the petitioner; thus, petitioner already had an expectant right
to the farm.31 A CLT serves as "a provisional title of ownership over the landholding while the lot owner is awaiting full payment of just
compensation or for as long as the tenant-farmer is an amortizing owner. This certificate proves inchoate ownership of an agricultural land
primarily devoted to rice and corn production. It is issued in order for the tenant-farmer to acquire the land he was tilling."32Since the farm is
considered expropriated and placed under the coverage of the land reform law, 33 Chioco had no right to evict petitioner and enter the property.
More significantly, Chioco had no right to claim that petitioner’s cause of action had prescribed.
x x x The Land Reform Code forges by operation of law, between the landowner and the farmer — be he a leasehold tenant or temporarily a
share tenant — a vinculum juris with certain vital consequences, such as security of tenure of the tenant and the tenant's right to continue in
possession of the land he works despite the expiration of the contract or the sale or transfer of the land to third persons, and now, more basically,
49
the farmer's pre-emptive right to buy the land he cultivates under Section 11 of the Code, as well as the right to redeem the land, if sold to a
third person without his knowledge, under Section 12 of this Code.
To strengthen the security of tenure of tenants, Section 10 of R.A. No. 3844 provides that the agricultural leasehold relation shall not be
extinguished by the sale, alienation or transfer of the legal possession of the landholding. With unyielding consistency, we have held that
transactions involving the agricultural land over which an agricultural leasehold subsists resulting in change of ownership, such as the sale or
transfer of legal possession, will not terminate the rights of the agricultural lessee who is given protection by the law by making such rights
enforceable against the transferee or the landowner's successor in interest. x x x
In addition, Section 7 of the law enunciates the principle of security of tenure of the tenant, such that it prescribes that the relationship of
landholder and tenant can only be terminated for causes provided by law. x x x Security of tenure is a legal concession to agricultural lessees
which they value as life itself and deprivation of their landholdings is tantamount to deprivation of their only means of livelihood. Perforce, the
termination of the leasehold relationship can take place only for causes provided by law. x x x 34 (Emphasis supplied and citations omitted)
The CA has failed to recognize this vinculum juris, this juridical tie, that exists between the petitioner and Chioco, which the latter is bound to
respect.
Under Section 8 of RA 3844, the agricultural leasehold relation shall be extinguished only under any of the following three circumstances, to
wit: "(1) abandonment of the landholding without the knowledge of the agricultural lessor; (2) voluntary surrender of the landholding by the
agricultural lessee, written notice of which shall be served three months in advance; or (3) absence of the persons under Section 9 to succeed
the lessee x x x." None of these is obtaining in this case. In particular, petitioner cannot be said to have abandoned the landholding. It will be
recalled that Chioco forcibly ejected him from the property through threats and intimidation. His house was bulldozed and his crops were
destroyed. Petitioner left the farm in 1980 and returned only in 1993 upon learning of Chioco’s death. Two years after, or in 1995, he filed the
instant Petition.
Indeed, Section 38 of RA 3844 specifically provides that "an action to enforce any cause of action under this Code shall be barred if not
commenced within three years after such cause of action accrued." In this case, we deem it proper to reckon petitioner’s cause of action to have
accrued only upon his knowledge of the death of Chioco in 1993, and not at the time he was forcibly ejected from the landholding in 1980. For
as long as the intimidation and threats to petitioner’s life and limb existed, petitioner had a cause of action against Chioco to enforce the
recognition of this juridical tie. Since the threats and intimidation ended with Chioco’s death, petitioner’s obligation to file a case to assert his
rights as grantee of the farm under the agrarian laws within the prescriptive period commenced. These rights, as enumerated above, include the
right to security of tenure, to continue in possession of the land he works despite the expiration of the contract or the sale or transfer of the land
to third persons, the pre-emptive right to buy the land, as well as the right to redeem the land, if sold to a third person without his knowledge.
Petitioner may not be faulted for acting only after Chioco passed away for his life and the lives of members of his family are not worth gambling
for a piece of land. The bulldozing of his house – his castle – is only an example of the fate that could befall them. Under the circumstances, it
is therefore understandable that instead of fighting for the farm, petitioner opted to leave and keep his family safe. Any man who cherishes his
family more than the most valuable material thing in his life would have done the same.
Force and intimidation restrict or hinder the exercise of the will, and so long as they exist, petitioner is deprived of his free will. He could not
occupy his farm, plant his crops, tend to them, and harvest them. He could not file an agrarian case against Chioco, for that meant having to
return to Nueva Ecija. He could not file the case anywhere else; any other agrarian tribunal or agency would have declined to exercise
jurisdiction.
Notably, on various instances, we have set aside technicalities for reasons of equity. We are inclined to apply the same liberality in view of the
peculiar situation in this case.35
It is worth reiterating at this juncture that respondent had no right to claim prescription because a CLT had already been issued in favor of
petitioner. The farm is considered expropriated and placed under the coverage of the land reform law. As such, respondent had neither the right
to evict petitioner nor to claim prescription. In Catorce v. Court of Appeals, 36 this Court succinctly held:
Petitioner had been adjudged the bona fide tenant of the landholding in question. Not only did respondent fail to controvert this fact, but he
even impliedly admitted the same in his Answer to petitioner’s Complaint when he raised, as one of his defenses, the alleged voluntary surrender
of the landholding by petitioner. Respondent Court should have taken this fact into consideration for tenants are guaranteed security of tenure,
meaning, the continued enjoyment and possession of their landholding except when their dispossession had been authorized by virtue of a final
and executory judgment, which is not so in the case at bar.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code has been designed to promote economic and social stability. Being a social legislation, it must be
interpreted liberally to give full force and effect to its clear intent, which is ‘to achieve a dignified existence for the small farmers’ and to make
them ‘more independent, self-reliant and responsible citizens, and a source of genuine strength in our democratic society’. 37
At any rate, respondent cannot legally invoke the strict application of the rules on prescription because the failure of petitioner to immediately
file the Petition was due to its own maneuvers.38 This Court should not allow respondent to profit from its threats and intimidation. Besides, if
we subscribe to respondent’s ratiocination that petitioner’s cause of action had already prescribed, it would lead to an absurd situation wherein
a tenant who was unlawfully deprived of his landholding would be barred from pursuing his rightful claim against the transgressor.39
We have ruled time and again that litigants should have the amplest opportunity for a proper and just disposition of their cause – free, as much
as possible, from the constraints of procedural technicalities. In the interest of its equity jurisdiction, the Court may disregard procedural lapses
so that a case may be resolved on its merits. Rules of procedure should promote, not defeat, substantial justice. Hence, the Court may opt to
apply the Rules liberally to resolve substantial issues raised by the parties.
Rules of procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense, for they are adopted to help secure, not override, substantial justice,
and thereby defeat their very ends. Indeed, rules of procedure are mere tools designed to expedite the resolution of cases and other matters
pending in court. A strict and rigid application of the rules that would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote justice
must be avoided.40
"It is a better rule that courts, under the principle of equity, will not be guided or bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of
laches when to do so, manifest wrong or injustice would result." 41 It must also be emphasized that "the statute of limitations has been devised
to operate primarily against those who slept on their rights and not against those desirous to act but cannot do so for causes beyond their
control."42
Petitioner’s tenure on the farm should be deemed uninterrupted since he could not set foot thereon. And if he could not make the required
payments to Chioco or the Land Bank of the Philippines, petitioner should not be faulted. And, since his tenure is deemed uninterrupted, any
benefit or advantage from the land should accrue to him as well.
Our law on agrarian reform is a legislated promise to emancipate poor farm families from the bondage of the soil. P.D. No. 27 was promulgated
in the exact same spirit, with mechanisms which hope to forestall a reversion to the antiquated and inequitable feudal system of land ownership.
It aims to ensure the continued possession, cultivation and enjoyment by the beneficiary of the land that he tills which would certainly not be
possible where the former owner is allowed to reacquire the land at any time following the award – in contravention of the government’s
objective to emancipate tenant-farmers from the bondage of the soil.43
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The April 27, 2007 Decision and November 5, 2007 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. SP No. 86149 are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The December 8, 2003 Decision of the Department of Agrarian Reform
Adjudication Board is ordered REINSTATED and AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

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