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SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 195203


April 20, 2015
[Formerly UDK No. 14435]
ANTONIO PAGARIGAN, Petitioner,
vs.
ANGELITA YAGUE and SHIRLEY ASUNCION, Respondents.
DECISION
BRION, J.:
In this petition for review on certiorari, we review the February 11, 2010 decision and December 9, 2010
resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 110552. The CA affirmed the Department of
Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board's (DARAB's) ruling in DARAB Case No. 13848 that likewise affirmed
the Provincial Adjudicator's decision to eject Antonio Pagarigan (petitioner), including all other persons
acting in his behalf, from the subject rice land.
Factual Antecedents
Anastacio Yague (Anastacio), the previous owner of a 21,459 square meter-parcel of rice land located at
Brgy. San Carlos, Paniqui, Tarlac, had initially instituted his stepfather Macario Pagarigan (Macario) as
tenant of the land. Macario, with the help of his son Alfonso Pagarigan (Alfonso), cultivated the land and,
as agreed upon, shared equally the lands yearly harvest with Anastacio.
Allegedly with Anastacios consent, Alfonso became tenant of the land in place of his ailing father sometime
in 1957. Alfonso continued to cultivate the land after Macarios death and religiously delivered to Anastacio
his share in the harvest.
In 1993, Anastacio transferred the title of the subject rice land to his daughters, Angelita Yague and Shirley
Asuncion (respondents).
In succeeding years, the respondents noticed a decline in the number of cavans produced and delivered to
them each year. They claimed that, in 1999, they did not receive any share in the lands harvest.
Upon investigation, the respondents were surprised to find that the petitioner was cultivating the land; they
thought all along that Alfonso (petitioners father) was still the lands tenant and that Antonio was merely
delivering to them their share in the harvest upon Alfonsos instructions. The respondents confronted the
petitioner and demanded that he vacate the property because they did not consent to his institution as
tenant of the land. They also argued that the petitioners house and the two fishponds on the property were
constructed without their knowledge and consent, and that the petitioner even allowed his son to build a
house on the property without first seeking their permission. The petitioner refused to heed the
respondents demand so the dispute was brought to the barangay for conciliation.
Failure of the parties to reach a settlement before the barangay and the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office
resulted in the ejectment complaint the respondents filed against the petitioner before the Office of the
Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator, DARAB, Region III.
In his answer to the ejectment complaint, the petitioner contended that the respondents father Anastacio
consented to his institution as tenant of the land and to the construction of his house on the property. With
respect to the house being occupied by his son, the petitioner claimed that it was built on the property in
1997 originally for use as an animal shelter, and that his sons use was temporary. Also, the petitioner
claimed that the fishponds were constructed in1995 supposedly to serve as a catch basin for water to
irrigate the rice fields without any objection from the respondents.
In a decision dated November 28, 2003, the Provincial Adjudicators office ruled in the respondents favor
after finding that the petitioners cultivation and occupation of the subject rice land was without the
respondents consent. The Provincial Adjudicator ordered the petitioner, and all other persons acting in his
behalf, to vacate the property and peacefully return its possession and occupation to the respondents.
On appeal to the DARAB, the DARAB affirmed the Provincial Adjudicators decision. The petitioner moved
to reconsider but the DARAB denied his motion in a resolution dated January 16, 2009. The petitioner
appealed to the CA.
In a decision dated February 11, 2010, the CA affirmed the DARABs decision and held that the petitioners
status as de jure tenant to the subject rice land was not properly established due to the absence of the
elements of consent and an agreed sharing system of harvest between the parties. The CA held that, other
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than his bare allegation, the petitioner failed to prove that his institution as tenant in 1979 was with the
consent of the respondents father; and that the "acquiescence by the landowners of the petitioners
cultivation of the land does not create an implied tenancy if the former, as in this case, never considered
petitioner Antonio Pagarigan as tenant of the land." Also, it held that the petitioner failed to provide
evidence, such as receipts, that he had been delivering to the respondents their corresponding share in the
lands harvest.
With the denial of his motion for reconsideration with the CA, the petitioner filed the present petition for
review on certiorari where he insists that his institution as tenant of the land was with the consent of the
respondents father. Nevertheless, he argues that an implied tenancy was already created between him
and the respondents because of the latters acceptance of his deliveries of palay. He, likewise, maintains
that he did not fail to deliver to the respondents their share in the harvest but could not present receipts as
evidence thereof because it was never the respondents practice to issue receipts for his deliveries
considering the familial relations between the parties.
Our Ruling
We DENY the present petition for lack of merit.
In his petition before this Court, the petitioner mainly argues that the respondents continued acceptance of
his deliveries of palay constituted as implied acquiescence of his occupation and cultivation of the subject
rice land, thus, he claims that an implied tenancy has been created between him and the respondents. But
for an implied tenancy to arise, it is necessary that all the essential requisites of tenancy must first be
present.
The following are the essential elements of an agricultural tenancy relationship: (1) the parties are the
landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2) the subject matter of the relationship is 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. In our
review of the present case, we agree with the CA that the element of consent from the landowner to the
petitioners tenancy is absent.
We have consistently held that occupancy and cultivation of an agricultural land, no matter how long, will
not ipso facto make one a de jure tenant. Independent and concrete evidence is necessary to prove
personal cultivation, sharing of harvest, or consent of the landowner. We emphasize that the presence of a
tenancy relationship cannot be presumed; the elements for its existence are explicit in law and cannot be
done away with by mere conjectures. Leasehold relationship is not brought about by the mere congruence
of facts but, being a legal relationship, the mutual will of the parties to that relationship should be
primordial.
In the proceedings before the DARAB and the CA, the petitioner consistently failed to provide independent
and concrete evidence to show that the respondents and their father, Anastacio, gave their consent
(impliedly and expressly) to his institution as tenant of the subject rice land. We note that proof of consent
by the landowner/s is largely a matter of evidence, and not a proper subject of a Rule 45 petition. Wellsettled is the rule that only questions of law may be raised by the parties and passed upon by this Court in
a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. In the absence of exceptional circumstances, we
shall rely and give credence to the factual findings of the DARAB on the question of whether the
landowners gave their consent to the petitioner's tenancy, especially when its finding on the matter was
affirmed on appeal to the CA.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for review on certiorari for lack of merit. The decision dated February
11, 2010 and the resolution dated December 9, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 110552
are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice
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FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 155580, July 01, 2015
ROMEO T. CALUZOR, Petitioner, v. DEOGRACIAS LLANILLO AND THE HEIRS OF THE LATE LORENZO
LLANILLO, AND MOLDEX REALTY CORPORTATION, Respondents.

DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
Agricultural tenancy is not presumed. It is established only by adducing evidence showing that all the essential
requisites of the tenancy relationship concur, namely: (a) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or
agricultural lessee; (b) the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; (c) there is consent between
the parties to the relationship; (d) the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; (e)
there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and (f) the harvest is shared between
the landowner and tenant or agricultural lessee. 1
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Antecedents
Lorenzo Llanillo (Lorenzo) owned the parcel of land (land) with an area of 90,101 square meters, more or less,
known as Lot 4196 and situated in Lorna de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan. The land was covered by Transfer Certificate of
Title No. 25864 of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan.
The petitioner averred that Lorenzo took him into the land as a tenant in 1970, giving to him a sketch that
indicated the boundaries of the portion he would be cultivating. To effectively till the land, the petitioner and his
family were allowed to build a makeshift shanty thereon. Even after the death of Lorenzo, the petitioner continued
giving a share of his produce to the family of Lorenzo through Ricardo Martin (Ricardo), Lorenzo's overseer. In
1990, respondent Deogracias Lanillo (Deogracias), the son of Lorenzo, offered to pay the petitioner
P17,000.00/hectare of the cultivated land in exchange for turning his tillage over to Deogracias. In the end,
Deogracias did not pay the petitioner. Instead, on August 5, 1994, Deogracias and persons acting under his orders
forcibly ejected the petitioner and his family by levelling their shanty and plantation with the use of a bulldozer. The
efforts of the Barangay Agrarian Reform Council to conciliate failed; hence, the authority to file a case was issued to
the petitioner.
On September 9, 1994, the petitioner instituted this case against Deogracias in the Office of the Provincial Agrarian
Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) in Malolos, Bulacan,2 demanding the payment of disturbance compensation. He
amended his complaint to implead Moldex Realty Corporation (Moldex) as an additional defendant upon discovering
that the latter had entered the land to develop it into a residential subdivision. He prayed for the restoration of his
possession of the tilled land, and the payment of disturbance compensation.
In his answer,3 Deogracias denied that any tenancy relationship between him and the petitioner existed; and that to
show that the land in controversy had not been tenanted, he presented several documents, namely: (1) the
certification dated May 26, 1994 issued by Municipal Agrarian Region Office (MARO) Eleanor T. Tolentino; 4 (2) the
certification dated September 13, 1978 issued by Team Leader I Armando C. Canlas of Meycauayan, Bulacan; 5 (3)
the Masterlist of Tenants and Landowners as of March 1984; 6 and (4) the Letter dated July 17, 1981 of Lorenzo
Llanillo to the Provincial Assessor's Office requesting a change in the classification of the land. 7
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Meanwhile, on April 12, 1995, the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) granted the application
for the conversion of the land from agricultural to residential and commercial uses filed by Deogarcias, through
Moldex as his attorney-in-fact.
Ruling of the PARAD
On December 13, 1996, the PARAD dismissed the complaint of the petitioner,8 pertinently ruling:
The essential requisites of a tenancy relationship x x x are as follows:

1.

[There] is consent given

2.

The parties are landholder and tenants

3.

There is personal cultivation;

4.

The subject is agricultural land;

5.

The purpose is agricultural production;

6.

There is showing of harvest or payment of fixed amount in money or produces.

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xxxx
After a perusal of the records and evidence presented by both parties, requisites No. 1 and 6 are wanting.

Complainant failed to submit any evidence to prove that the landowners gave their consent for him to work on the
land except the sketch of the land (Exh. "A") which he alleged that Lorenzo Llanillo gave him. A careful scrutiny of
the sketch, however, show that it may be prepared by a surveyor because even the technical description of the land
were indicated therein and the allegation of Romeo Calusor that the landowner drew the sketch before him is
therefore untenable. Complainant failed to submit any certification from the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer that
he is listed as tenants [sic] of the landowners. He also failed to submit any evidence that he has a leasehold
contract with the landowners. Complainant also failed to submit any receipt of payments of his alleged leasehold
rentals. The house of the complainant which he alleged to have been destroyed by the respondent is a makeshift
shanty.
It is a well settled doctrine that mere cultivation without proof of the conditions of tenancy does not suffice to
establish tenancy relationship. (Gepilan vs. Lunico, CA-G.R. SP No. 06738, CAR June 5, 1978). In the case at bar,
complainant Romeo Calusor marked on the land without the express consent of the landowners, represented by
Deogracias Llanillo and without the benefit of any leasehold agreement between the landowners and the
complainant. Consequently, there is a complete absence of landlord-tenant relationship. In the case of Gonzales vs.
Alvarez (G.R. No. 77401, February 1, 1990), the Supreme Court held that:
"The protective mantle of the law extending to legitimate farmers is never meant to cover intruders and squatters
who later on claim to be tenant on the land upon which they squat."
The mere fact that Romeo Calusor works on the land does not make him ipso facto a tenant. It has been ruled that
tenancy cannot be created nor depend upon what the alleged tenant does on the land.
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Tenancy relationship can only be created with the consent of the true and lawful landholders through lawful means
and not by imposition or usurpation (Hilario vs. IAC, 148 SCRA 573).9
Decision of the DARAB
Aggrieved, the petitioner appealed to the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB), 10 which, on June 26, 2000, reversed
the PARAD,11 opining and holding thusly:
The vortex of the controversy is the Issue of whether or not tenancy relationship exists between the parties.
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We rule in the affirmative. Complainant-Appellant Romeo Calusor is a de jure tenant of a portion of the subject land
with an area of three (3) hectares thereof.
In the case at bar, Complainant-Appellant maintained that he has been instituted as an agricultural lessee of the
subject land by the landowner Deogracias Llanilo; that he has been delivering the landowner's share through an
overseer in the person of Ricardo Martin. A receipt is presented to bolster Complainant-Appellant's claim (Annex
"B", p. 127, rollo); that he has been in peaceful possession of the subject parcel of land until it was disturbed by
herein Respondent-Appellees by bulldozing and levelling the subject land thereby destroying the fruit bearing trees
planted by herein Complainant-Appellant.
Justifying his position, Respondent-Appellees argued that Complainant-Appellant is a mere squatter in the subject
landholding; that there is no sharing of the produce between the parties; that the subject property is untenanted as
certified by Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) for Marilao, Bulacan.
After weighing the parties' contrasting arguments and after a close scrutiny of the pieces of evidence adduced, we
are constrained to rule in favor of Complainant-Appellant.
In the case at bar, Complainant-Appellant is a tenant cultivator of the subject property, having been verbally
instituted as such by Deogracias Llanillo. Sec. 166 (25) R.A. 3844, as amended provides:
(25) shared 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 personally with the aid available from members of his immediate
household and the produce thereof to be divided between the landholder and the tenant.
Clearly, the institution of Complainant-Appellant as a tenant in the subject land by Deogracias Llanillo and the
sharing of the produce between the parties sufficiently established tenancy relation between the parties. The
subsequent conveyance or transfer of legal possession of the property from Deogracias Llanillo in favor of his
children does not extinguish Complainant-Appellant's right over his tillage. Section 10, R.A. 3844, as amended finds
application in this case, it provides:
Sec. 10 Agricultural Leasehold Relation Not Extinguished by the 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 agricultural lessor.
Again, the Supreme Court in several cases has sustained the preservation of an agricultural leasehold relationship
between landholder and tenant despite the change of ownership or transfer of legal possession from one person to
another.
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Verily, Complainant-Appellant cannot be validly ejected from the subject premises.


It may be worthy to emphasize that Respondents-Appellants act in bulldozing and levelling the subject property
without securing the prior approval/clearance from the government agencies concerned (HLURB, DENR, DAR)
tantamounts to illegal conversion. Hence, Respondents-Appellees are criminally liable for such act. Since, there is
no legal conversion in the present case, it would be futile to dwell on the issue of award of just compensation.
WHEREFORE, from all the foregoing premises, the appealed decision dated December 13, 1996 is hereby
REVERSED ad SET ASIDE. A new judgment is rendered:
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1. Ordering the reinstatement of Complainant-Appellant to the subject premises; and


2. Ordering Respondents-Appellees to maintain Complainant Appellant in peaceful possession and cultivation of
tillage.
SO ORDERED.12

Decision of the CA

On appeal by Deogracias and Moldex, the CA reversed the ruling of the DARAB and reinstated the PARAD's decision
through the decision promulgated on August 30, 2002, 13viz.:
Per Order of Conversion dated April 12, 1995, the DAR, through then Undersecretary Jose Medina, approved the
application for conversion of the subject landholding (ANNEX 'E" petition, Rollo, pp. 56-58). The application was
granted based on the facts that 1.) the property is no longer suitable for agricultural production as per Certification
dated 8 November 1994 issued by Mr. Renata N. Bulay, Regional Director, Department of Agriculture, sa Fernando,
Pampanga; 2.) the area where the property is located had already been classified as residential/commercial as per
Municipal Ordinance No. 43, Series of 1988; and 3) the MARO, PARO, RD and CLUPPI recommended its approval. x
x x In fact the subject property is now a developed subdivision (ANNEXES "G", - "G-1" & "H" - "H-1")with individual
lots having been sold to different buyers (ANNEXES ""I"-"I-1"). Under such circumstances, there can be no
agricultural tenant on a residential land.
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On the issue of whether or not respondent is entitled to disturbance compensation under Section 36(1) of Republic
Act No. 3844 as amended by R.A. 6389, he must be an agricultural lessee as defined under Section 166 (2) of R.A.
3844. However, the records are bereft of any evidence showing that he is a tenant of petitioner Llanilo.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the DARAB dated 26
June 2000 and its Resolution dated 20 December 2001 are reversed and set aside. Accordingly, the Decision of the
DARAB dated December 13, 1996 is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED. (citations omitted)
Issues
Hence, this special civil action for certiorari commenced by the petitioner on the ground that the CA had gravely
abused its discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when: firstly, it heavily relied on documents that
had not been presented in the PARAD proceedings; and, secondly, it disregarded altogether the evidence on record
proving his tenancy and entitlement to disturbance compensation. 14 He points out that the CA gravely abused its
discretion in considering the order of conversion as its basis for concluding that there was no agricultural tenant on
the land despite the order being presented for the first time only on appeal; and in denying his right to the
disturbance compensation despite abundant showing that he was a tenant.
In its comment,15 Moldex insists that the petitioner resorted to the wrong remedy, arguing that the assailed decision
of the CA, being one determining the merits of the case, was subject to appeal by petition for review
on certiorari within 15 days from notice of the decision; that the petition forcertiorari was an improper remedy; that
after the lapse of the 15-day period, he could not substitute his lost appeal with the special civil action
for certiorari; and that the CA did not commit any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of
jurisdiction considering that he had not been a tenant on the land.
On his part, Deogracias adopted the comment of Moldex.16

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Ruling of the Court


The petition for certiorari is bereft of merit.
First of all, we declare to be correct the respondents' position that the petitioner should have appealed in due
course by filing a petition for review on certiorari instead of bringing the special civil action for certiorari.

It is clear that the CA promulgated the assailed decision in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction to review and
pass upon the DARAB 's adjudication by of the petitioner's appeal of the PARAD's ruling. As such, his only proper
recourse from such decision of the CA was to further appeal to the Court by petition for review on certiorari under
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.17 Despite his allegation of grave abuse of discretion against the CA, he could not
come to the Court by special civil action forcertiorari. The remedies of appeal and certiorari were mutually
exclusive, for the special civil action for certiorari, being an extraordinary remedy, is available only if there is no
appeal, or other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 18 In certiorari, only errors of
jurisdiction are to be addressed by the higher court, such that a review of the facts and evidence is not done; but,
in appeal, the superior court corrects errors of judgment, and in so doing reviews issues of fact and law to cure
errors in the appreciation and evaluation of the evidence. 19 Based on such distinctions, certiorari cannot be a
substitute for a lost appeal.
It is obvious that all that the petitioner wants the Court to do is to revisit and review the facts and records
supposedly substantiating his claim of tenancy and his demand for consequential disturbance compensation. He has
not thereby raised any jurisdictional error by the CA, and has not shown how the CA capriciously or whimsically
exercised its judgment as to be guilty of gravely abusing its discretion. It is not amiss to point out that the settled
meaning of grave abuse of discretion is the arbitrary or despotic exercise of power due to passion, prejudice or
personal hostility; or the whimsical, arbitrary, or capricious exercise of power that amounts to an evasion or refusal
to perform a positive duty enjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of law.20 In that regard, the abuse of
discretion must be shown to be patent and gross in order for the act to be struck down as having been done with
grave abuse of discretion.21 Yet, none of such categories characterized the act of the CA.
Neither did the petitioner's averment of the denial of due process - predicated on the CA's reliance on the
conversion order despite said order not being among the documents presented during the trial 22- justify the resort
to certiorari. It appears that the CA cited the conversion order not to deny his claim of being the tenant but only to
accent the land conversion as a fact. Indeed, as the CA found, he presented nothing to substantiate his claim of
having been the tenant of Leonardo. Under the circumstances, the CA did not act either arbitrarily or whimsically.
Secondly, the petitioner's insistence on his being the tenant of Leonardo and on his entitlement to disturbance
compensation required factual and legal bases. The term tenant has a distinct meaning under the law. Section 5
subparagraph (a) of R.A. No. 1199 provides:
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 or ascertainable in produce or in money or both, under the leasehold tenancy system.
For tenancy relationship to exist, therefore, the following elements must be shown to concur, to wit: (1) the parties
are the landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject matter is agricultural land; (3) there is consent between the
parties to the relationship; (4) the purpose is 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
landowner and tenant or agricultural lessee.23 The presence of all these elements must be proved by substantial
evidence;24 this means that the absence of one will not make an alleged tenant a de jure tenant.25 Unless a person
has established his status as a de jure tenant, he is not entitled to security of tenure or to be covered by the Land
Reform Program of the Government under existing tenancy laws. 26
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Being the party alleging the existence of the tenancy relationship, the petitioner carried the burden of proving the
allegation of his tenancy.27 According to Berenguer, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,28 to wit:
It is a matter of jurisprudence that tenancy is not purely a factual relationship dependent on what the alleged
tenant does upon the land but more importantly a legal relationship. (Tuazon v. Court of Appeals, 118 SCRA 484)
Under Section 3 of Republic Act No. 1199, otherwise known as the Agricultural Tenancy Act, the term "agricultural
tenancy" is defined as
[T]he 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 with 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.
In establishing the tenancy relationship, therefore, independent evidence, not self-serving statements, should
prove, among others, the consent of the landowner to the relationship, and the sharing of harvests. 29
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The third and sixth elements of agricultural tenancy were not shown to be presented in this case.
To prove the element of consent between the parties, the petitioner testified that Lorenzo had allowed him to
cultivate the land by giving to him the sketch 30 of the lot31 in order to delineate the portion for his tillage. Yet, the
sketch did not establish that Lorenzo had categorically taken the petitioner in as his agricultural tenant. This
element demanded that the landowner and the tenant should have agreed to the relationship freely and voluntarily,
with neither of them unduly imposing his will on the other. The petitioner did not make such a showing of consent.

The sixth element was not also established. Even assuming that Lorenzo had verbally permitted the petitioner to
cultivate his land, no tenancy relationship between them thereby set in because they had not admittedly discussed
any fruit sharing scheme, with Lorenzo simply telling him simply that he would just ask his share from him. 32 The
petitioner disclosed that he did not see Lorenzo again from the time he had received the sketch until Lorenzo's
death.33 Although the petitioner asserted that he had continued sharing the fruits of his cultivation through Ricardo,
Lorenzo's caretaker, even after Lorenzo's death, producing the list of produce to support his claim, 34 the list did not
indicate Ricardo's receiving the fruits listed therein. The petitioner did not also contain Ricardo's authority to receive
Leonardo's share.
We underscore that harvest sharing is a vital element of every tenancy. Common sense dictated, indeed, that the
petitioner, if he were the de jure tenant that he represented himself to be, should fully know his arrangement with
the landowner. But he did not sufficiently and persuasively show such arrangement. His inability to specify the
sharing arrangement was inconceivable inasmuch as he had depended on the arrangement for his own sustenance
and that of his own family. The absence of the clear-cut sharing agreement between him and Lorenzo could only
signify that the latter had merely tolerated his having tilled the land sans tenancy. Such manner of tillage did not
make him ade jure tenant, because, as the Court observed in Estate of Pastor M. Samson v. Susano:35
It has been repeatedly held that occupancy and cultivation of an agricultural land will not ipso facto make one a de
jure tenant. Independent and concrete evidence is necessary to prove personal cultivation, sharing of harvest, or
consent of the landowner. Substantial evidence necessary to establish the fact of sharing cannot be satisfied by a
mere scintilla of evidence; there must be concrete evidence on record adequate to prove the element of sharing. To
prove sharing of harvests, a receipt or any other credible evidence must be presented, because self serving
statements are inadequate. Tenancy relationship cannot be presumed; the elements for its existence are explicit in
law and cannot be done away with by conjectures. Leasehold relationship is not brought about by the mere
congruence of facts but, being a legal relationship, the mutual will of the parties to that relationship should be
primordial. For implied tenancy to arise it is necessary that all the essential requisites of tenancy must be present.
Consequently, the CA rightly declared the DARAB to have erred in its appreciation of the evidence on the existence
of the tenancy relationship.
With the restoration of his possession having become physically impossible because of the conversion of the land
being already a fact, could the petitioner be granted disturbance compensation?
If tenanted land is converted pursuant to Section 36 of Republic Act No. 3844, as amended by Republic Act No.
6389, the dispossessed tenant is entitled to the payment of disturbance compensation. 36 Reflecting this statutory
right, the conversion order presented by Moldex included the condition for the payment of disturbance
compensation to any farmer beneficiary thereby affected.
Yet, the query has to be answered in the negative because the petitioner was not entitled to disturbance
compensation because he was not the de jure tenant of the landowner.
It is timely to remind that any claim for disturbance compensation to be validly made by a de juretenant must meet
the procedural and substantive conditions listed in Section 25 of Republic Act No. 3844, to wit:
Section 25. Right to be Indemnified for Labor - The agricultural lessee shall have the right to be indemnified for the
cost and expenses incurred in the cultivation, planting or harvesting and other expenses incidental to
the improvement of his crop in case he surrenders or abandons his landholding for just cause or is
ejected therefrom. In addition, he has the right to be indemnified for one-half of the necessary and useful
improvements made by him on the landholding: Provided, That these improvements arc tangible and
have not yet lost their utility at the time of surrender and/or abandonment of the landholding, at which
time their value shall be determined for the purpose of the indemnity for improvements. (Emphasis
supplied)
In short, the de jure tenant should allege and prove, firstly, the cost and expenses incurred in the cultivation,
planting or harvesting and other expenses incidental to the improvement of his crop; and, secondly, the necessary
and useful improvements made in cultivating the land. Without the allegation and proof, the demand for indemnity
may be denied.
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In fine, the CA did not err in reversing and setting aside the decision of the DARAB and reinstating the decision of
the PARAD.
WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the petition for certiorari for lack of merit; and ORDERS the petitioner to
pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.

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Sereno, C.J., Leonardo-De Castro, Perez, and Perlas-Berna


SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 192270, January 26, 2015


IRENE D. OFILADA, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES RUBEN ANDAL AND MIRAFLOR ANDAL, Respondents.
DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assails the July 13, 2009 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R.
CV3 No. 101603 which: (1) granted the Petition for Review 4 filed therein; (2) reversed and set aside the August 28,
2007 Decision5 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Lucena City, Branch 56 in SPEC. CIV. ACTION 2007-01-A,
affirming in toto the February 27, 2007 Decision6 of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of San Antonio, Quezon in Civil
Case No. 188 which, in turn, ordered the ejectment of respondents spouses Ruben Andal and Miraflor Andal
(spouses Andal) from the properties of petitioner Irene Ofilada (Irene); and, (3) declared the said MTC Decision null
and void for lack of jurisdiction.
Also questioned in this Petition is the CAs May 6, 2010 Resolution 7 denying Irenes Motion for Reconsideration of
the assailed CA Decision.
Factual Antecedents
Irene, together with her husband Carlos Ofilada (Carlos), bought from the heirs of Teresita Liwag (Teresita) a
27,974-square meter parcel of land principally planted with rambutan, a number of coconut trees and other fruitbearing plants located in Barrio Puri, Tiaong, Quezon. The sale is evidenced by a February 13, 1997 Extra-Judicial
Settlement of Estate with Absolute Sale8 wherein respondent Miraflor Andal (Miraflor), who brokered the sale of the
property, signed as tenant. Apparently, ten days prior to the sale, Miraflor appeared before Anastacio Lajara
(Anastacio), the thenBarangay Agrarian Reform Council (BARC) Chairman of Barangay Puri, San Antonio, and
executed aPagpapatunay9 stating that:
Sa kinauukulan:
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Ito ay pagpapatunay na si Miraflor Andal ay kusang[-]loob na dumulog sa aking tanggapan upang ipagbigay[-]alam
na ang lupa na pag-aari ni TERESITA LIWAG x x x ay walang tenant o magtatrabaho at hiniling niya na ang
nasabing lupa ay mapalipat sa pangalan ng mga bumili na walang iba kundi sina Carlos at Irene Ofilada.
Pinagtitibay nya na wala na siyang paghahabol na ano man laban sa may-ari o kahalili nito sa karapatan sapagkat
siya ay tumanggap na ng kaukulang halaga hinggil sa naging pagtatrabaho niya sa nasabing lupa at gayon din ang
kanyang mga magulang.
SA KATUNAYAN NG LAHAT NG ITO ay ako ay nagbibigay ng pahintulot na ang nasabing lupa ay mapagbili na at
mapatala sa bagong may-ari na ligtas sa ano mang pananagutan. 10
Two weeks after the sale or on February 27, 1997, Miraflor, with the consent of her husband, respondent Ruben
Andal (Ruben), executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay11 wherein she acknowledged Irene and Carlos as the new owners
of the property. While it was stated therein that she will continue to take care of the property, she nevertheless
waived any tenancy rights that she and her husband might have over the land, viz.:
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1.

NA AKO ang [n]agtatrabaho o tenant sa lupang pag-aari ni TERESITA LIWAG at ang nasabing lupa ay
matatagpuan sa Brgy. Puri, San Antonio, Quezon x x x

2.

NA AKO ay kusang loob na nag-alok sa tagapagmana ng may-ari ng lupa na pinangatawanan ni Ginoong


JOSE LIWAG na ipagbili na ang nasabing lupa sa mag-asawang CARLOS OFILADA at IRENE OFILADA
sapagkat magpapatuloy naman ang aking pangangalaga sa nasabing lupa;

3.

NA AKO at ang aking asawa ay kusang loob na sumang[-]ayon na ang Titulo ng [na]sabing lupa ay
mapalipat sa mga bumili at simula sa araw na ito ay matahimik kong isinusulit ang pamomosesyon sa mga
bagong may-ari;

4.

NA kami ay kusang[-]loob na tumatalikod na sa karapatan ko bilang tenant na kahit kailan [ay] hindi na
maghahabol laban sa dating may-ari o sa kaniyang mga tagapagmana sapagkat wala silang ano mang
pananagutan sa amin at gayon[din] ang bagong may-ari na mag-asawang CARLOS OFILADA at IRENE
OFILADA;12
Eventually, the land was registered in the names of Irene and Carlos. 13
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Eight years later or in October 2005, Irene filed against the spouses Andal a Complaint 14 for Ejectment and
Damages before the MTC of San Antonio, Quezon. She averred that aside from the aforementioned property, she
and Carlos also acquired an 8,640-square meter ricefield located in Pulo, San Antonio, Quezon. For humanitarian
reasons, she acceded to the spouses Andals request to take care of her two parcels of land, provided that they
would not be considered as tenants. To stress the fact that neither she nor the spouses Andal intended that the

latter be deemed as tenants, Irene pointed to the following: (1) the condition for her purchase of the property in
Tiaong that the same should not have any tenants; and (2) Miraflors execution of a Sinumpaang Salaysay wherein
she waived any tenancy rights that she and her husband might have over the said property.
In their Answer,15 the spouses Andal denied Irenes allegations and claimed that they were tenants of Irenes
predecessor-in-interest and continued to be such despite the transfer of ownership of the properties to Irene. They
likewise contended that since the suit is an action to dispossess them as tenants, it is not the MTC which has
jurisdiction over the complaint but the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB).
Rejecting the tenancy claim, Irene averred in her Memorandum 16 that her real properties are not covered by
agrarian reform laws as they are within the retention limit allowed by law. She again stressed that the spouses
Andal had already voluntarily surrendered their rights as tenants way back in 1997 as evidenced by
the Pagpapatunay and the Sinumpaang Salaysay. She added the said spouses voluntarily waived their rights and
received P1.1 million as commission for brokering the sale of the Tiaong property to her. This was after Irene made
clear that the sale would not materialize and, consequently spouses Andal would not get the commission, if the
property has tenants. Irene averred that the spouses Andals receipt of the said amount of money, being
advantageous to them, is a valid ground for termination of tenancy relations.
Ruling of the Municipal Trial Court
Prior to the preliminary conference, the MTC heard the respective sides of the parties for a preliminary
determination of the existence of tenancy.
The spouses Andal, in support of their claim that the controversy should be resolved by the DARAB because of the
issue of tenancy, submitted the following evidence to prove their status as Irenes tenants: (1) their December 19,
2005 Affidavit17 attesting that: a) they agreed to act as agents for the sale of the lands on the condition that they
would remain as tenants; b) they personally cultivated Irenes lands and; c) they have been receiving 1/4 shares of
the proceeds of the sales of the coconut, rambutan, and harvested palay; (2) the December 19, 2005 Affidavit18 of
Anastacio corroborating the spouses Andals statements in their affidavit of even date; (3) a receipt 19 dated July 27,
2005 showing that Irene received from the spouses Andal P9,694.00 as her share in the harvest equivalent to 30
sacks of palay and; 4) a February 27, 1997 Affidavit of Landholding20 executed by Irene and Carlos, the second
paragraph of which provides:
2. That we hereby testify that said parcel of land containing an area of 27,974 Square Meters is the only parcel of
agricultural land registered in our names; and we hereby agree that the same tenant Miraflor Andal, will
continue as a tenant, over the said parcel of land. (Emphasis supplied)
On the other hand, Irene insisted that the spouses Andal are not tenants but mere caretakers of her lands. She
disputed the documentary evidence of the said spouses as follows: (1) it is thePagpapatunay issued by Anastacio in
1997 and furnished the Registry of Deeds of Lucena City and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) which must be
considered as more credible evidence over his apparently fabricated affidavit executed at a later time (2005); (2)
the share in the produce of the lands as reflected in the receipt was the only share given to her by the spouses
Andal throughout the eight years that they took care of her properties; and, (3) the copy of the Affidavit of
Landholding presented by the spouses Andal contained in the second paragraph thereof an insertion made through
a manual typewriter. Irene claimed that the said insertion which reads and we [Irene and Carlos]hereby agree,
that the same tenant Miraflor Andal, will continue as a tenant, over the said parcel of land, was made without her
knowledge and consent. In fact, her copy21 of the said document does not contain such inserted portion.
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In its August 14, 2006 Order,22 the MTC found no prima facie showing of tenancy relations between the parties and
proceeded with the case.
On February 27, 2007, the MTC rendered its Decision23 holding that spouses Andal failed to adduce proof that they
are tenants. It gave weight to the Pagpapatunay issued by Anastacio in 1997 as against the affidavit he executed in
2005 which it found ambivalent as to whether spouses Andal are working as tenants on the lands of Irene. The MTC
did not also accord any evidentiary weight to the copy of the Affidavit of Landholding presented by spouses Andal
because of the doubtful insertion. Hence, it concluded that the spouses Andal were in possession of the properties
by mere tolerance of Irene. It ultimately ruled:
WHEREFORE, on the basis of the foregoing findings, the Court hereby renders judgment in favor of the plaintiff and
against the defendants, ordering:
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a) Defendants and all other persons living in said premises without permission of the plaintiff, to vacate and restore
to the plaintiff the peaceful possession and occupation of the landholdings in question;
b) Defendants to pay the plaintiff the amount of P30,000.00 as attorneys and appearance fees[;]
c) Defendants to pay the plaintiff the amount of P80,000.00 as actual damages.

SO ORDERED.24
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
Resolving the appeal of the spouses Andal, the RTC in its August 28, 2007
Decision25 affirmed in toto the MTC ruling. The motion for reconsideration thereto was also denied in the RTC
Resolution26 dated November 22, 2007.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The CA, on the other hand, took a different view of the case. In its assailed Decision 27 of July 13, 2009, the CA
ratiocinated that since the existence of tenancy relations between the previous owners of the properties and the
spouses Andal is undisputed, the question of whether the said spouses may be dispossessed therefrom constitutes
an agrarian dispute despite the severance of such relations. This is considering that severance of the tenurial
arrangement does not render the action beyond the ambit of an agrarian dispute and, hence, jurisdiction over the
same remains with the DARAB. In support of its conclusion, the CA cited the cases of Rivera v. David28 and Spouses
Amurao v. Spouses Villalobos.29
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The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:


WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Lucena
City, Branch 56, in Special Civil Case No. 2007-01-A, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision dated 27
February 2007 of the Municipal Trial Court of San Antonio, Quezon in Civil Case No. 188, is declared NULL and VOID
for lack of jurisdiction.
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SO ORDERED.30
Irene filed a Motion for Reconsideration,31 which was denied in the CA Resolution32 dated May 6, 2010.
Hence, this Petition.

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The Issue
Forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases fall under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the metropolitan trial
courts, municipal trial courts, and the municipal circuit trial courts. 33 On the other hand, the DAR is vested with
primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and has exclusive original jurisdiction over
all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform. 34 As DARs adjudicating arm,35 it is the DARAB that has
exclusive and original jurisdiction involving all agrarian disputes. Republic Act (RA) No. 6657, Section 3(d) defines
an agrarian dispute as follows:
(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.
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It includes any controversy relating to compensation of lands acquired under this Act 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.
The term also refers to any controversy relating to, among others, tenancy over lands devoted to agriculture.36

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Significantly, Rule II of the 2009 DARAB Rules of Procedure reads:


SECTION 1. Primary and Exclusive Original and Appellate Jurisdiction. The Board shall have primary and exclusive
jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes involving the
implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) under R.A. No. 6657, as amended by R.A.
No. 9700, E.O. Nos. 228, 229, and 129-A, R.A. No. 3844 as amended by R.A. 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:
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a. The rights and obligations of persons, whether natural or juridical, engaged in the management, cultivation, and
use of all agricultural lands covered by R.A. No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law
(CARL), as amended, and other related agrarian laws; x x x
xxxx
d. Those cases involving the ejectment and dispossession of tenants and/or leaseholders;

With the above points on jurisdictions having been laid, the Court now resolves the crucial issue in the case of
whether tenancy relationship between Irene and the spouses Andal exists as to strip off the MTC of its jurisdiction
over Irenes suit for unlawful detainer.
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Our Ruling
We grant the Petition.
The factual circumstances in Rivera and Amurao clearly make out cases involving agrarian dispute.
As the CA relied on Rivera and Amurao, it is wise to revisit the factual milieu of the said cases.
In its assailed Decision, the CA quoted the following pronouncement which was restated 37 in Rivera, viz:
Even if the tenurial arrangement has been severed, the action still involves an incident arising from the landlord
and tenant relationship. Where the case involves the dispossession by a former landlord of a former tenant of the
land claimed to have been given as compensation in consideration of the renunciation of the tenurial rights, there
clearly exists an agrarian dispute. On this point the Court has already ruled:
Indeed, Section 21 of Republic Act No. 1199, provides that all cases involving the dispossession of a tenant by the
landlord or by a third party and/or the settlement and disposition of disputes arising from the relationship of
landlord and tenant shall be under the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Agrarian Relations. This
jurisdiction does not require the continuance of the relationship of landlord and tenant at the time of the dispute.
The same may have arisen, and oftentimes arises, precisely from the previous termination of such relationship. If
the same existed immediately, or shortly, before the controversy and the subject matter thereof is whether or not
said relationship has been lawfully terminated, or if the dispute otherwise springs or originates from the relationship
of landlord and tenant, the litigation is (then) cognizable only by the Court of Agrarian Relations 38
In the said case, Agustin Rivera (Agustin) was in possession of a 1.8-hectare portion of the 5-hectare lot owned in
common by the heirs of Cristino and Consolacion David, and these heirs demanded that he vacate the premises.
Thus, Agustin filed a Complaint to Maintain Peaceful Possession before the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudication
Board (PARAB). He averred that his possession of the property was, originally, as registered tenant of the said
heirs predecessor-in-interest, Cristino, as evidenced by the certification issued by the Municipal Agrarian Reform
Office (MARO). Subsequently in 1957, he became the lot owner because the spouses Cristino and Consolacion
David gave him the 1.8-hectare land as his disturbance compensation, in exchange for the renunciation of his
tenurial rights. On the other hand, Nemesio David (Nemesio), one of the heirs, argued that the DAR has no
jurisdiction over the case as the same only involves the issue of ownership of the land.
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The DAR (thru the PARAB and the DARAB) assumed jurisdiction over the case and went on to render judgments in
favor of Agustin. The CA, however, ruled that the DAR no longer had any jurisdiction on the ground that the alleged
tenancy, per Agustins own admission, had already ended in 1957. Thus, it set aside the respective decisions of the
PARAB and the DARAB. The Court, though, did not agree with the CA on the issue of jurisdiction. Although it denied
Agustins appeal because he was not able to sufficiently prove his ownership of the land, DARs jurisdiction over the
case was nevertheless upheld. And it was at that point that the above-quoted pronouncement was restated.
Indeed in Rivera, the severance of the tenancy relations when the suit was filed did not matter because the prior
agricultural tenancy served as the juridical tie which compelled the characterization of the controversy as an
agrarian dispute. This is due to the fact that the land from which Agustin was being dispossessed was claimed to
have been owned by him by way of disturbance compensation given to him as a former tenant by his former
landlord.
On the other hand, in Amurao, the spouses Amurao bought in 1987 from a certain Ruperto Endozo a parcel of land
which was then tenanted by the spouses Villalobos. The spouses Amurao allowed the spouses Villalobos to continue
working on the land until such time that their need for the same arises. In 1994, the therein parties executed
a Kasulatan in which the spouses Villalobos promised to surrender the possession of the lot should the spouses
Amurao need it, while the latter, in return, bound themselves to give the spouses Villalobos a 1,000-sqm. portion of
the land. But because the spouses Villalobos reneged on their promise in accordance with the Kasulatan, the
spouses Amurao filed an ejectment case against them before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC). On the
defense that the issue concerns an agrarian dispute, the spouses Villalobos questioned the trial courts jurisdiction.
Both the MCTC and the RTC upheld their jurisdiction over the case but the CA ruled otherwise.
Before this Court, the spouses Amurao argued that the tenancy relationship between them and the spouses
Villalobos was terminated upon the execution of the Kasulatan. Hence, there can be no agrarian dispute between
them over which the DAR can take cognizance of. The Court held:
The instant case undeniably involves a controversy involving tenurial arrangements because the Kasulatan will
definitely modify, nay terminate the same. Even assuming that the tenancy relationship between the parties had
ceased due to the Kasulatan, there still exists an agrarian dispute because the action involves an incident arising
from the landlord and tenant relationship.
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xxxx
In the case at bar, petitioners claim that the tenancy relationship has been terminated by the Kasulatan is of no
moment. As long as the subject matter of the dispute is the legality of the termination of the relationship, or if the
dispute originates from such relationship, the case is cognizable by the DAR, through the DARAB. The severance of
the tenurial arrangement will not render the action beyond the ambit of an agrarian dispute. 39
To restate, what brought Rivera under the ambit of an agrarian dispute is the fact that the land from which Agustin
was being dispossessed of by the heirs of his former landlord is claimed to have been given to him by the said
former landlord as consideration for the renunciation of his tenurial rights. While in Amurao, it was the issue of
whether the Kasulatan entered into by the parties terminated the landlord-tenant relationship between them.
Clearly, as the action in both cases involved an incident arising from landlord-tenant relationship, the severance or
alleged severance of such relationship did not take them beyond the ambit of an agrarian dispute and,
consequently, it is DAR which has jurisdiction over the said cases.
Rivera and Amurao are not on all fours with the present case.
Here, Irene claims that there can be no agrarian dispute since there exists no landlord-tenant relationship between
her and the spouses Andal. If ever such a relationship existed, it was between the former owner of the properties
and the spouses Andal and the same had already been renounced by Miraflor prior to Irenes acquisition of the
properties. The CA, however, ruled that even if the landlord-tenant relationship between the previous owner and
the spouses Andal had already ceased, the action to dispossess the latter from the subject properties still involves
an agrarian dispute, as held in Rivera and Amurao.
Suffice it to say, however, that the present case is not on all fours with Rivera and Amurao.
As already discussed, in Rivera, the land involved is claimed to have been given to the former tenant by the former
landlord by way of disturbance compensation. Hence, even if the landlord-tenant relationship was asserted to have
been severed as early as 1957, the Court considered the action as arising from an agrarian dispute, the rightful
possession of the land being an incident of such previous landlord-tenant relationship. In the present case, there is
no claim that the subject properties were given to the spouses Andal by their former landlord as a form of
disturbance compensation. While the spouses Andal in this case refuse to surrender the properties to Irene on the
ground that they are tenants of the same just like in Amurao, it cannot be gainsaid that in Amurao, the tenancy
relations between the former owners of the property involved therein and the spouses Villalobos, had, undisputedly,
been continued by and between the said spouses and the spouses Amurao when the latter acquired the property.
And it was on that supposition that the Court held that even if theKasulatan executed by the spouses Amurao and
the spouses Villalobos terminated the tenancy relationship between them, the action of the former to dispossess
the latter from the property tenanted involved an agrarian dispute. However, in this case, unlike in Amurao the
severance of the tenancy relations between the former owners of the properties and the spouses Andal, as well as
the non-existence of a similar relationship between the said spouses and Irene as the new owner, were sufficiently
shown as will be discussed below. Hence, the said pronouncement made in Amurao finds no application in this case.
The tenancy relationship between the former owners of the properties and the spouses Andal was clearly severed
prior to Irenes purchase of the same; no such relationship was subsequently created between Irene and the
spouses Andal.
Certainly telling are the Pagpapatunay and the Sinumpaang Salaysay which were voluntarily executed and never
impugned by the spouses Andal. Both contain express declarations that at the time Irene and her husband bought
the property, the tenancy then existing between the heirs of Teresita as former owners and the spouses Andal as
tenants had already ceased, and that no tenancy relations would continue between the latter and the new owner,
Irene. Notably, the Sinumpaang Salaysay, being a public document, is evidence of the facts in the clear unequivocal
manner therein expressed and has in its favor the presumption of regularity.40 The spouses Andal are bound by
their admissions against their own interest.
Indeed, while a tenancy relationship cannot be extinguished by the sale, alienation, or transfer of the legal
possession of the landholding,41 the same may nevertheless be terminated due to circumstances more
advantageous to the tenant and his/her family.42 Here, records show that Miraflor, who brokered the sale between
the heirs of Teresita and Irene, voluntarily executed, days prior to the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with
Absolute Sale, her Pagpapatunay before the BARC Chairman stating that she and her parents have already received
a sufficient consideration for her to release her former landlord and the purchaser of the lot from liability. As later
disclosed by Irene during trial, such sufficient consideration amounted to P1.1 million by way of disturbance
compensation, a factual allegation which was again never refuted by the spouses Andal before the lower court and
was found to be an uncontroverted fact by the CA. To the Court, the said amount is adequate enough for the
spouses Andal to relinquish their rights as tenants. In fine, it can be reasonably concluded that the tenancy
relationship between the previous owners and the spouses Andal had already been severed.

The next question now is whether a new tenancy relationship between Irene and the spouses Andal was
subsequently formed. This becomes crucial because for the DARAB to have jurisdiction over the case, there must be
a tenancy relationship between the parties.43
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Evidence is necessary to prove the allegation of tenancy. The principal factor in determining whether a tenancy
relationship exists is intent. Tenancy is not a purely factual relationship dependent on what the alleged tenant does
upon the land. It is also a legal relationship.44
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An allegation of tenancy before the MTC does not automatically deprive the court of its jurisdiction. Basic is the rule
that:
x x x the material averments in the complaint determine the jurisdiction of a court. x x x a court does not lose
jurisdiction over an ejectment suit by the simple expedient of a party raising as a defense therein the alleged
existence of a tenancy relationship between the parties. The court continues to have the authority to hear and
evaluate the evidence, precisely to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction, and, if, after hearing, tenancy is
shown to exist, it shall dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. 45
The Court agrees with the conclusion of both the MTC and the RTC that for dearth of evidence, tenurial relationship
between the parties was not sufficiently shown. Thus, the said courts correctly assumed jurisdiction over the
ejectment case.
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The fact alone of working on anothers landholding does not raise a presumption of the existence of agricultural
tenancy. For tenancy to be proven, all indispensable elements must be established, the absence of one or more
requisites will not make the alleged tenant a de facto one. These are: 1) the parties are the landowner and the
tenant; 2) the subject is agricultural land; 3) there is consent by the landowner; 4) the purpose is agricultural
production; 5) there is personal cultivation; and 6) there is sharing of the harvests. 46
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The Pagpapatunay and the Sinumpaang Salaysay both support Irenes claim that she purchased the landholdings
only on the condition that there will be no tenants. Her refusal to give her consent to any tenancy relationship is
glaring. On the other hand, the spouses Andal, in their attempt to prove tenancy, submitted their copy of the
February 27, 1997 Affidavit of Landholding, which contains an inserted statement that Irene and Carlos agree that
the same tenant Miraflor Andal, will continue as tenant, over the said parcel of land. However, serious doubt is cast
on the authenticity of said inserted statement considering that it does not bear the respective initials/signatures of
Carlos and Irene attesting their conformity thereto. More importantly, Irenes copy of the said document does not
contain the same insertion.
Anent the proof of sharing of harvest, what the spouses Andal merely presented was a single receipt dated July 27,
2005 representing Irenes share in the harvest. This even militates against the spouses Andals claim of tenancy
considering that they did not present the receipts for the alleged sharing system prior to 2005 or from 1997, the
year when Irene purchased the land. Notably, the receipt they submitted is dated July 27, 2005 or just a few
months before the filing of the complaint. To the Courts mind, such act of the spouses Andal to give Irene a share
is a mere afterthought, the same having been done during the time that Irene was already making serious
demands for them to account for the produce of the lands and vacate the properties. Be that as it may, the Court
stresses that it is not unusual for a landowner to receive the produce of the land from a caretaker who sows
thereon. The fact of receipt, without an agreed system of sharing, does not ipso facto create a tenancy.47
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In sum, the Court holds that absent any tenurial relationship between them, the spouses Andals possession of
Irenes properties was by mere tolerance of the latter. The action to dispossess the spouses Andal therefrom is
therefore a clear case of summary action for ejectment cognizable by the regular courts.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The July 13, 2009 Decision and May 6, 2010 Resolution of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 101603 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The August 28, 2007 Decision of the Regional
Trial Court, Lucena City, Branch 56 in SPEC CIV. ACTION 2007-01-A affirmingin toto the February 27, 2007 Decision
of the Municipal Trial Court of San Antonio, Quezon in Civil Case No. 188, is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

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Velasco, Jr.,* Peralta,** Mendoza, and Leonen, JJ., concur.

SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 78214 December 5, 1988
YOLANDA CABALLES, petitioner,
vs.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, HON. HEHERSON T. ALVAREZ and BIENVENIDO
ABAJON,respondents.

SARMIENTO, J.:
Before us is a petition for certiorari seeking the annulment of an Order issued by the public respondent
Ministry of Agrarian Reform , now the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), through its then Minister, the
Hon. Heherson Alvarez, finding the existence of a tenancy relationship between the herein petitioner and
the private respondent and certifying the criminal case for malicious mischief filed by the petitioner against
the private respondent as not proper for trial.
The facts as gathered by the MAR are as follows:
The landholding subject of the controversy, which consists of only sixty (60) square meters (20 meters x 3
meters) was acquired by the spouses Arturo and Yolanda Caballes, the latter being the petitioner herein, by
virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale dated July 24, 1978 executed by Andrea Alicaba Millenes This
landholding is part of Lot No. 3109-C, which has a total area of about 500 square meters, situated at
Lawaan Talisay, Cebu. The remainder of Lot No. 3109-C was subseconsequently sold to the said spouses
by Macario Alicaba and the other members of the Millenes family, thus consolidating ownership over the
entire (500-square meter) property in favor of the petitioner.
In 1975, before the sale in favor of the Caballes spouses, private respondent Bienvenido Abajon
constructed his house on a portion of the said landholding, paying a monthly rental of P2.00 to the owner,
Andrea Millenes. The landowner likewise allowed Abajon to plant on a portion of the land, agreeing that the
produce thereof would be shared by both on a fitfy-fifty basis. From 1975-1977, Abajon planted corn and
bananas on the landholding. In 1978, he stopped planting corn but continued to plant bananas and camote.
During those four years, he paid the P2.00 rental for the lot occupied by his house, and delivered 50% of
the produce to Andrea Millenes.
Sometime in March 1979, after the property was sold, the new owners, Arturo and Yolanda Caballes, told
Abajon that the poultry they intended to build would be close to his house and pursuaded him to transfer
his dwelling to the opposite or southern portion of the landholding. Abajon offered to pay the new owners
rental on the land occupied by his house, but his offer was not accepted. Later, the new owners asked
Abajon to vacate the premises, saying that they needed the property. But Abajon refused to leave. The
parties had a confrontation before the Barangay Captain of Lawaan in Talisay, Cebu but failed to reach an
agreement. All the efforts exerted by the landowners to oust Abajon from the landholding were in vain as
the latter simply refused to budge.
On April 1, 1982, the landowner, Yolanda Caballes, executed an Affidavit stating that immediately after she
reprimanded Abajon for harvesting bananas and jackfruit from the property without her knowledge, the
latter, with malicious and ill intent, cut down the banana plants on the property worth about P50.00. A
criminal case for malicious mischief was filed against Abajon and which was docketed as Criminal Case
No. 4003. Obviously, all the planting on the property, including that of the banana plants, had been done by
Abajon. On September 30, 1982, upon motion of the defense in open court pursuant to PD 1038, the trial
court ordered the referral of the case to the Regional Office No. VII of the then MAR for a preliminary
determination of the relationship between the parties. As a result, the Regional Director of MAR Regional
VII, issued a certification 1 dated January 24, 1 983, stating that said Criminal Case No. 4003 was not proper for
hearing on the bases of the following findings:
That herein accused is a bona-fide tenant of the land owned by the complaining witness,
which is devoted to bananas;
That thin case is filed patently to harass and/or eject the tenant from his farmholding, which
act is prohibited by law; and
That this arose out of or is connected with agrarian relations.
From the said certification, the petitioner appealed to the then MAR, now the respondent DAR. Acting on
said appeal, the respondent DAR, through its then Minister Conrado Estrella, reversed the previous
certification in its Order 2 of February 3, 1986, declaring Criminal Case No. 4003 as proper for trial as "the land
involved is a residential lot consisting of only 60 square meters whereon the house of the accused is constructed
and within the industrial zone of the town as evinced from the Certification issued by the Zoning Administrator of
Talisay, Cebu."
Upon motion for reconsideration filed by Abajon, the respondent DAR, through its new Minister, herein
respondent Heherson Alvarez, issued an Orders dated November 15, 1986, setting aside the previous

Order 3dated February 3, 1986, and certifying said criminal case as not proper for trial, finding the existence of a
tenancy relationship between the parties, and that the case was designed to harass the accused into vacating
his tillage.
In the summary investigation conducted by the DAR, the former landowner, Andrea Millenes, testified that
Bienvenido Abajon dutifully gave her 50% share of the produce of the land under his cultivation. The
grandson of Andrea Millenes, Roger Millenes, corroborated the testimony of the former, stating that he
received said share from Abajon. Roger Millenes further testified that the present owners received in his
presence a bunch of bananas from the accused representing or 50% of the two bunches of bananas
gathered after Caballes had acquired the property. 4
From these factual findings, the DAR concluded that Abajon was a tenant of Andrea Millenes, the former
owner, who had testified that she shared the produce of the land with Abajon as truer thereof. 5 Thus,
invoking Sec. 10 of RA 3844, as amended, which provides that "[T]he 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"; and that "(I)n 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," the MAR ruled that 'the new
owners are legally bound to respect the tenancy, notwithstanding their claim that the portion tilled by Abajon was
small, consisting merely of three (3) meters wide and twenty (20) meters long, or a total of sixty (60) square
meters." 6
Hence, this petition for certiorari alleging that:
I. Respondents DAR and Hon. Heherson T. Alvarez committed "grave abuse of power and discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction" in holding that private respondent Abajon is an agricultural tenant even if
he is cultivating only a 60-square meter (3 x 20 meters) portion of a commercial lot of the petitioner.
II. Public respondents gravely erred in holding that Criminal Case No. 4003 is not proper for trial and
hearing by the court. 7
We hold that the private respondent cannot avail of the benefits afforded by RA 3844, as amended. To
invest him with the status of a tenant is preposterous.
Section 2 of said law provides:
It is the policy of the State:
(1) To establish cooperative-cultivatorship among those who live and work on the land as
tillers, 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;
xxx xxx xxx
RA 3844, as amended, defines an economic family-size farm as "an area of farm land that permits efficient
use of labor and capital resources of the farm family and will produce an income sufficient to provide a
modest standard of living to meet a farm family's needs for food, clothing, shelter, and education with
possible allowance for payment of yearly installments on the land, and reasonable reserves to absorb
yearly fluctuations in income." 8
The private respondent only occupied a miniscule portion (60 square meters) of the 500-square meter lot.
Sixty square meters of land planted to bananas, camote, and corn cannot by any stretch of the imagination
be considered as an economic family-size farm. Surely, planting camote, bananas, and corn on a sixtysquare meter piece of land can not produce an income sufficient to provide a modest standard of living to
meet the farm family's basic needs. The private respondent himself admitted that he did not depend on the
products of the land because it was too small, and that he took on carpentry jobs on the side. 9 Thus, the
order sought to be reviewed is patently contrary to the declared policy of the law stated above.
The DAR found that the private respondent shared the produce of the land with the former owner, Andrea
Millenes. This led or misled, the public respondents to conclude that a tenancy relationship existed
between the petitioner and the private respondent because, the public respondents continue, by operation
of Sec. 10 of R.A. 3844, as amended, the petitioner new owner is subrogated to the rights and substituted
to the obligations of the supposed agricultural lessor (the former owner).
We disagree.
The essential requisites of a tenancy relationship are:

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.
All these requisites must concur in order to create a tenancy relationship between the parties. The absence
of one does not make an occupant of a parcel of land, or a cultivator thereof, or a planter thereon, 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. 10
Therefore, the fact of sharing alone is not sufficient to establish a tenancy relationship. Certainly, it is not
unusual for a landowner to accept some of the produce of his land from someone who plants certain crops
thereon. This is a typical and laudable provinciano trait of sharing or patikim, a native way of expressing
gratitude for favor received. This, however, does not automatically make the tiller-sharer a tenant thereof
specially when the area tilled is only 60, or even 500, square meters and located in an urban area and in.
the heart of an industrial or commercial zone at that. Tenancy status arises only if an occupant of a parcel
of land has been given its possession for the primary purpose of agricultural production. The circumstances
of this case indicate that the private respondent's status is more of a caretaker who was allowed by the
owner out of benevolence or compassion to live in the premises and to have a garden of some sort at its
southwestern side rather than a tenant of the said portion.
Agricultural production as the primary purpose being absent in the arrangement, it is clear that the private
respondent was never a tenant of the former owner, Andrea Millenes. Consequently, Sec. 10 of RA of 3844,
as amended, does not apply. Simply stated, the private respondent is not a tenant of the herein petitioner.
Anent the second assignment of error, the petitioner argues that since Abajon, is not an agricultural tenant,
the criminal case for malicious mischief filed against him should be declared as proper for trial so that
proceedings in the lower court can resume.
Notwithstanding our ruling that the private respondent is not a tenant of the petitioner, we hold that the
remand of the case to the lower court for the resumption of the criminal proceedings is not in the interest of
justice. Remand to the Municipal Court of Talisay, Cebu, would not serve the ends of justice at all, nor is it
necessary, because this High Tribunal is in a position to resolve with finality the dispute before it. This
Court, in the public interest, and towards the expeditious administration of justice, has decided to act on the
merits and dispose of the case with finality. 11
The criminal case for malicious mischief filed by the petitioner against the private respondent for allegedly
cutting down banana trees worth a measly P50.00 will take up much of the time and attention of the
municipal court to the prejudice of other more pressing cases pending therein. Furthermore, the private
respondent will have to incur unnecessary expenses to finance his legal battle against the petitioner if
proceedings in the court below were to resume. Court litigants have decried the long and unnecessary
delay in the resolution of their cases and the consequent costs of such litigations. The poor, particularly, are
victims of this unjust judicial dawdle, Impoverished that they are they must deal with unjust legal
procrastination which they can only interpret as harassment or intimidation brought about by their poverty,
deprivation, and despair. It must be the mission of the Court to remove the misperceptions aggrieved
people have of the nature of the dispensation of justice. If justice can be meted out now, why wait for it to
drop gently from heaven? Thus, considering that this case involves a mere bagatelle the Court finds it
proper and compelling to decide it here and now, instead of further deferring its final termination.
As found by the DAR, the case for malicious mischief stemmed from the petitioner's affidavit stating that
after she reprimanded private respondent Abajon for harvesting bananas and jackfruit from the property
without her knowledge, the latter, with ill intent, cut the banana trees on the property worth about P50.00.
This was corroborated by a certain Anita Duaban, a friend of the petitioner, who likewise executed an
affidavit to the effect that she saw the private respondent indiscriminately cutting the banana trees. 12
The Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides that "any person who shall deliberately cause to the
property of another any damage not falling within the terms of the next preceding chapter shall be guilty of
malicious mischief." 13

The elements of the crime of malicious mischief are:


1. The offender deliberately caused damage to the property of another;
2. The damage caused did not constitute arson or crimes involving destruction;
3. The damage was caused maliciously by the offender.
After a review of the facts and circumstances of this case, we rule that the aforesaid criminal case against
the private respondent be dismissed.
The private respondent can not be held criminally liable for malicious mischief in cutting the banana trees
because, as an authorized occupant or possessor of the land, and as planter of the banana trees, he owns
said crops including the fruits thereof The private respondent's possession of the land is not illegal or in bad
faith because he was snowed by the previous owners to enter and occupy the premises. In other words,
the private respondent worked the land in dispute with the consent of the previous and present owners.
Consequently, whatever the private respondent planted and cultivated on that piece of property belonged to
him and not to the landowner. Thus, an essential element of the crime of malicious mischief, which is
"damage deliberately caused to the property of another," is absent because the private respondent merely
cut down his own plantings.
WHEREFORE, the Order of public respondents dated November 15, 1986 is SET ASIDE and Criminal
Case No. 4003, is hereby DISMISSED. Let a copy of this decision be sent to the Municipal Trial Court of
Talisay, Cebu for appropriate action. This Decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Paras, Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-27797 August 26, 1974
TRINIDAD GABRIEL, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
EUSEBIO PANGILINAN, defendant-appellant.
Mariano Manahan, Jr. for plaintiff-appellee.
Virgilio M. Pablo for defendant-appellant.
Armando M. Laki for movant.
ZALDIVAR, J.:p
This appeal from the decision, dated December 26, 1963, of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga in its
Civil Case No. 1823, was certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals for the reason that the jurisdiction of
an inferior court is involved.
During the pendency of this case before this Court, under date of April 29, 1972, Atty. Virgilio M. Pablo,
counsel for the appellant Eusebio Pangilinan, gave notice to this Court that said appellant died on April 3,
1964, and was survived by his children, who are his legal heirs, namely: Salvador Pangilinan, Santos
Pangilinan, Mariano Pangilinan, Carlos Pangilinan and Pilar Pangilinan de Avante. For the purposes of this
case the appellant Eusebio Pangilinan, therefore, is substituted by his heirs herein named.
Under date of November 20, 1973, Atty. Amando M. Laki filed a motion with this Court advising that
appellee Trinidad Gabriel died on June 14, 1967, and was survived by her heirs and successors-in-interest,
namely: Corazon O. Gabriel, married to Lamberto Ignacio; Ernesto O. Gabriel; Ester O. Gabriel, married to
Emmanuel Padua; Generoso O. Gabriel, Marciano O. Gabriel and Pablo O. Gabriel, and prayed that
appellee Trinidad Gabriel be substituted by her heirs herein named. By order of this Court of December 4,
1973 the prayer for substitution was granted.
In its resolution dated April 19, 1967 certifying the case to this Court, the Court of Appeals made the
following findings, which We adopt:
On June 18, 1960 Trinidad Gabriel filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of
Pampanga against Eusebio Pangilinan alleging that she is the owner of a fishpond situated
in barrio Sta. Ursula, Betis, Pampanga and measuring about 169,507 square meters; that
sometime during the last war she entered into an oral contract of lease thereof with the

defendant on a year to year basis, i.e., from January 1 to December 31, at a rental of
P1,200, plus the amount of real estate taxes, payable in advance in the month of January;
that desiring to develop and cultivate the fishpond by herself, she notified the defendant in a
letter dated June 26, 1957 that she was terminating the contract as of December 31, 1957;
that upon request of the defendant, she extended the lease for another year; that on
November 19, 1958 she again wrote the defendant that he should surrender possession of
the fishpond on January 1, 1959, which demand he however ignored. Plaintiff accordingly
prayed that the defendant be ordered to restore the possession of the fishpond to her and
to pay her P1,200, plus the amount of real estate taxes, a year from 1959, attorney's fees
and costs.
The defendant moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the trial court
had no jurisdiction over the case which properly pertains to the Court of Agrarian Relations,
there being an agricultural leasehold tenancy relationship between the parties. Upon
opposition by the plaintiff, the motion was denied. The defendant thereafter filed his answer
with counterclaim alleging, inter alia, that the land in question was originally leased to him,
also verbally, by the plaintiff's father, Potenciano Gabriel in 1923 for as long as the
defendant wanted subject to the condition that he would convert the major portion into a
fishpond and the part which was already a fishpond be improved at his expense which
would be reimbursed by Potenciano Gabriel or his heirs at the termination of the lease for
whatever cause; that when the plaintiff became the owner of the property through
inheritance, she told the defendant that she would honor her father's contract with the
defendant, and likewise assured him that he could continue leasing the property, whose
original rental of P400.00 a year had been progressively increased to P1,200.00, for as long
as he wanted since she was not in a position to attend to it personally. As a special defense,
the defendant reiterated the alleged lack of jurisdiction of the trial court to take cognizance
of the case.
On February 12, 1962 the trial court issued an order herein below quoted in full:
The plaintiff sinks to eject the defendant from the fishpond described in the complaint which
is under lease to the said defendant, who, however, refuses to vacate. Instead, he has
impugned the jurisdiction of this Court contending that the action should have been filed
with the Court of Agrarian Relations, which has original and exclusive jurisdiction, as their
relationship is one of leasehold tenancy.
After the motion to dismiss was denied on the basis of the allegations of the complaint, the
parties were ordered to adduce evidence for the purpose of determining which Court shall
take cognizance of the case.
It appears that the fishpond is presently in the possession of the defendant, who originally
leased it from the father of the plaintiff. Upon the death of the said father, the fishpond was
inherited by the plaintiff. It is now covered by T.C.T. No. 1634 and is registered in her name.
It contains an area of 169,507.00 square meters. The rental is on a yearly basis.
It also appears that the defendant has ceased to work personally with the aid of helpers the
aforecited fishpond since 1956 he became ill and incapacitated. His daughter, Pilar
Pangilinan, took over. She testified that she helps her father in administering the leased
property, conveying his instructions to the workers, Urbano Maninang, Isidro Bernal and
Marciano Maninang. The names of Ire, Juan and Aguedo Viada have been mentioned as
the laborers who were paid for the repair of the dikes. Bernardo Cayanan, a nephew of the
defendant, acts as the watcher. He has lived separately since he got married. Excepting
Pilar Pangilinan. who is residing near the fishpond, the other children of the defendant are
all professions; a lawyer, an engineer, and a priest all residing in Manila. None of these
persons has been seen working on the fishpond.
The above are the material and pertinent facts upon which we enter this order.
After a study of the facts and in the light of the provisions of the Tenancy Law, Republic Act
No. 1199, particularly Sections 4 and 9, as amended. it seems clear that his case does not
fall within the purview of said Act. The lease contract is manifestly a civil lease governed by
the New Civil Code. Considering the area of the fishpond, 16 hectares, more or less, the

fact that neither the defendant, who is physically incapacitated, or his daughter is
Personally cultivating the fishpond or through the employment of mechanical farm
implements, and the further fact that the persons named above are not members of the
immediate farm household of the defendant, the conclusion is that no tenancy relationship
exists between the plaintiff and the defendant as defined by Republic Act No. 1199, as
amended.
We are, therefore, of the opinion and so hold that this Court is vested with jurisdiction to try
and decide this case. After this order has become final, the plaintiff may request for the
setting of the initial trial.
The defendant does not contest the findings of facts therein made by the trial court.
After the parties adduced their respective evidence on the merits, decision was rendered
wherein the trial court Pursuant to Article 1197 of the Civil Code, fixed the period of the low
up to June 30, 1964, the defendant on said date to surrender possession of the fishpond to
the plaintiff and to pay the rentals due the latter. The plaintiff, on her part, was required
upon surrender of on to her, to pay the defendant the sum of P1,000.00 as reimbursement
of the expenses he incurred in improving the fishpond, and upon failure by either party to
pay the amount due the other, the same would bear interest at the legal rate until full
payment is made.
A reconsideration by the defendant having been denied, he appealed to this Court and
assigned the following errors:
1. The lower court erred in considering the relationship of appellee and appellant as that of
a civil lease, in accordance with the Civil Code of the Philippines and not a leasehold
tenancy under Rep. Act No. 1199 as amended.
2. The lower court erred in not holding that the Court of First Instance is without jurisdiction,
the cue being that of an agrarian relation in nature pursuant to Rep Act. NO. 1199 as
amended.
3. The lower court erred in appreciating the evidence of the appellant particularly the basis
for the expenditure for the development of the fishpond in question.
4. The lower court erred in rendering judgment in favor of the appellant in them easily
amount of one thousand pesos for reimbursement and for seven hundred pesos for the cost
of the floodgate.
Anent the question of jurisdiction, it is an admitted fact that plaintiff leased the fishpond to the defendant in
1943 without a fixed term, the annual rental payable at the end of the year (Exhibit C, Deposition of plaintiff,
Dec. 13, 1962, pp. 2 and 3). It is likewise undisputed that the work in the fishpond consisted in letting out
the water so algae (lumut) would grow or if algae would not grow, getting some from the river and putting
them in the fishpond, changing the dirty water with fresh water, repairing leaks in the dikes, and planting of
fingerlings and attending to them; that these were done by defendant, with some help; that he personally
attended to the fishpond until 1956 when he became ill; that thereafter his nephew Bernardo Cayanan, who
was living with him, helped in the work to be done in the fishpond and his daughter Pilar Pangilinan helped
in the management, conveying his instructions to the workers (t.s.n., pp. 4-8, Magat).
Upon the foregoing facts, the defendant insists that the relationship between the parties is an agricultural
leasehold tenancy governed by Republic Act No. 1199, as amended, pursuant to section 35 of Republic Act
No. 3844, and the present case is therefore within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of
Agrarian Relations. Plaintiff, on the other hand, maintains in effect that since defendant has ceased to work
the fishpond personally or with the aid of the members of his immediate farm household (Section 4,
Republic Act No. 1199) the tenancy relationship between the parties has been extinguished (Section 9, id.)
and become of civil lease and therefore the trial court properly assumed jurisdiction over the case.
It does appear that the controversy on the issue of jurisdiction calls for the interpretation of cultivating or
working the land by the tenant personally or with the aid of the members of his immediate farm household. 1
Those are the findings and conclusions of facts made by the Court of Appeals which, as a general rule,
bind this Court. 2
1. Let Us now discuss the issues raised in this appeal. First, was the relationship between the appellee and
appellant a leasehold tenancy or a civil law lease?

There are important differences between a leasehold tenancy and a civil law lease. The subject matter of
leasehold tenancy is limited to agricultural land; that of civil law lease may be either rural or urban property.
As to attention and cultivation, the law requires the leasehold tenant to personally attend to, and cultivate
the agricultural land, whereas the civil law lessee need not personally cultivate or work the thing leased. As
to purpose, the landholding in leasehold tenancy is devoted to agriculture, whereas in civil law lease, the
purpose may be for any other lawful pursuits. As to the law that governs, the civil law lease is governed by
the Civil Code, whereas leasehold tenancy is governed by special laws. 3
In order that leasehold tenancy under the Agricultural Tenancy Act may exist, the following requisites must
concur.
1. That the land worked by the tenant is an agricultural land;
2. That the land is susceptible of cultivation by a single person together with members of his immediate
farm household;
3. That the land must be cultivated by the tenant either personally or with the aid of labor available from
members of his immediate farm household;
4. That the land belongs to another; and
5. That the use of the land by the tenant is for a consideration of a fixed amount in money or in produce or
in both. 4
Were the foregoing requisites present in the instant case?
There is no doubt that the land in question is agricultural land. It is a fishpond and the Agricultural Tenancy
Act, which refers to "agricultural land", specifically mentions fishponds and prescribes the consideration for
the use thereof. Thus Section 46(c) of said Act provides that "the consideration for the use of sugar lands,
fishponds, salt beds and of lands devoted to the raising of livestock shall be governed by stipulation
between the parties". This Court has already ruled that "land in which fish is produced is classified as
agricultural land." 5 The mere fact, however, that a person works an agricultural land does not necessarily make
him a leasehold tenant within the purview of section 4 of Republic Act No. 1199. He may still be a civil law lessee
unless the other requisites as above enumerated are complied with.
Regarding the second requisite, it is to be noted that the land in question has an area of 169,507 square
meters, or roughly 17 hectares of fishpond. The question of whether such a big parcel of land is susceptible
of being worked by the appellant's family or not has not been raised, and We see no need of tarrying on
this point. So, We pass to the third requisite, to wit, whether the tenant himself personally or with the aid of
his immediate family worked the land.
Assuming that appellant had previously entered in 1923 into an agreement of leasehold tenancy with
Potenciano Gabriel, appellee's father, such tenancy agreement was severed in 1956 when he ceased to
work the fishpond personally because he became ill and incapacitated. Not even did the members of
appellant's immediate farm household work the land in question. Only the members of the family of the
tenant and such other persons, whether related to the tenant or not, who are dependent upon him for
support and who usually help him to operate the farm enterprise are included in the term "immediate farm
household" 6 The record shows who helped work the land in question, and We quote:
It also appears that the defendant has ceased to work personally with the aid of helpers the
aforecited fishpond since 1956 when he became ill and incapacitated. His daughter, Pilar
Pangilinan took over. She testified that she helps her father in administering the leased
property, conveying his instructions to the workers, Urbano Maninang, Isidro Bernal and
Marciano Maninang. The names of Ire, Juan and Aguedo Viada have been mentioned as
the laborers who were paid for the repair of the dikes. Bernardo Cayanan, a nephew of the
defendant, acts as the watcher. He has lived separately since he got married. Excepting
Pilar Pangilinan, who is residing near the fishpond, the other children of the defendant are
all professionals: a lawyer, an engineer, and a priest all residing in Manila. None of these
persons has been seen working on the fishpond. 7
The law is explicit in requiring the tenant and his immediate family to work the land. Thus Section 5 (a) of
Republic Act No. 1199, as amended, 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 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. Section 8 of the same Act limits the relation of landholder and tenant to the
person who furnishes the land and to the person who actually works the land himself with the aid of labor
available from within his immediate farm household. Finally, Section 4 of the same Act requires for the
existence of leasehold tenancy that the tenant and his immediate farm household work the land. It 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, undertakes to cultivate a piece of agricultural land susceptible
of cultivation by a single person together with members of his immediate farm household, belonging to, or
legally possessed by, another in consideration of a fixed amount in money or in produce or in both.
A person, in order to be considered a tenant, must himself and with the aid available from his immediate
farm household cultivate the land. Persons, therefore, who do not actually work the land cannot be
considered tenants;8 and he who hires others whom he pays for doing the cultivation of the land, ceases to
hold, and is considered as having abandoned the land as tenant within the meaning of sections 5 and 8 of
Republic Act. No. 1199, and ceases to enjoy the status, rights, and privileges of one.
We are, therefore, constrained to agree with the court a quo that the relationship between the appellee
Trinidad Gabriel and appellant Eusebio Pangilinan was not a leasehold tenancy under Republic Act No.
1199. Hence, this case was not within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Agrarian
Relations. 9
2. Regarding the second assignment of error, We accordingly rule that the Court of First Instance correctly
assumed jurisdiction over the case at bar, this being a case of civil law lease.
3. We deem it unnecessary to discuss the third and fourth assigned errors as these are issues involving
findings of facts which have been settled by the lower court, and unless there is grave abuse of discretion,
which we do not find in the record of the case, We shall not venture to discuss the merits of the factual
findings of the court a quo.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga in its Civil Case
No. 1823, appealed from, is affirmed, with costs against the appellants.
This decision should apply to the heirs and successors-in-interest of the original parties, as named in this
decision. In consonance with the decision of the lower court, the heirs and successors-in-interest of
appellant Eusebio Pangilinan should deliver the possession of the fishpond in question to the heirs and
successors-in-interest of appellee Trinidad Gabriel; and said heirs and successors-in-interest of appellant
Eusebio Pangilinan should pay the heirs and successors-in-interest of appellee Trinidad Gabriel the
accrued rentals. From January 1, 1960, at the rate of P1,200.00 a year, until the actual delivery of the
possession of the fishpond as herein ordered, with interest at the legal rate until full payment is made.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Fernando, Antonio, Fernandez and Aquino, JJ., concur.
Barredo, J., took no part

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 104774-75. October 8, 1997]
ZACARIAS OARDE and PRESENTACION MOLAR, petitioners, vs. COURT
OF APPEALS, SPOUSES WILFREDO and LOURDES GUERRERO and
SPOUSES ROGELIO and VILMA MOLAR, respondents.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

Trial and appellate courts determine the existence (or nonexistence) of a


tenancy relationship on the basis of the evidence presented by the
parties. Certifications of administrative agencies and officers declaring the
existence of a tenancy relation are merely provisional. They are persuasive but not
binding on courts, which must make their own findings.
The Case

This principle is stressed by this Court as it rules on the instant petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the February 26,
1992 Decision of Respondent Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 29453-54, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is set aside and another one entered as follows:
In Civil Case No. 7975:
(1) Plaintiff Zacarias Oarde is ordered reinstated as lawful tenant-tiller of Lot 17 of the
Agrarian Reform Project for Barangay Gotob, Camalig, Albay and restored immediately to
the possession thereof.
(2) Defendants Rogelio Molar and Vilma Molar are ordered to pay damages to plaintiff
Zacarias Oarde in the sum ofP5,850.00.
The decision of the court a quo dismissing the complaint of Presentacion Molar in Civil
Case No. 7960 is hereby affirmed.
No pronouncement as to costs.
Although Oarde was reinstated as tenant by the Court of Appeals, he is
nonetheless dissatisfied and claims a larger amount of damages. On the other
hand, Molar desires to be recognized as a tenant of private respondents and to be
granted damages for her eviction. Hence, this recourse to this Court.
The Facts
The Court finds that the facts and allegations of the contending parties are fairly
recited in the trial courts decision, viz.:
The plaintiffs [petitioners herein] seek to enjoin the defendants [private respondents herein]
from removing the former as tenant-tillers of the land in question and are likewise
requesting for damages, as a result of their dislocation from the land.
The following facts are admitted by the parties:
[1]

[2]

[3]

[4]

1. Their identity;
2. That the original tenant-tiller of the land was Francisco Molar, father of the plaintiff
Presentacion Molar, and father-in-law of the other plaintiff Zacarias Oarde;
3. That the eldest and only son of Francisco Molar is Basilio Molar;
4. That defendant Rogelio Molar is the grandson of Francisco Molar, the former being the son
of Basilio Molar;
5. That defendant spouses Wilfredo Guerrero and Lourdes Guerrero sold the herein involved
parcels of land to the defendant spouses Rogelio Molar and Vilma Molar sometime in
October 1987.

The issue to be determined as per order of the Court dated 15 September 1988 in Civil Case
No. 7975, and order dated 27 June 1988 in Civil Case No. 7960, is whether plaintiffs in
both cases are tenants of defendants in possession of the land and cannot be ejected
therefrom except for cause.
It is the claim of the plaintiffs that they are [tenant-tillers] of the land in question.
Plaintiff Zacarias Oarde, testified that he began to till the land in question on April 29, 1964
when he got married to the daughter of Francisco Molar, and to substantiate his claim, he

presented as one of his witnesses Gregorio Magnaye, an employee of the Bureau of


Lands. He was the Chief of a Survey Team that conducted the survey in Gotob. The other
members were technicians from the DAR.
He testified on cross-examination that in preparing the Summary Lists of the tenant-tillers
in Gotob, Camalig, Albay, they conducted a barrio assembly. They arrived at the conclusion
that certain persons were tilling certain properties owned by other persons because that was
the listing of the DAR technicians (p. 11, tsn, Nov. 16, 1988). Before the survey was
conducted, they gathered the tenants together with the barangay officials and interviewed
them if they are the ones cultivating the property. The ones listed in the Summary Lists
were the ones whose names were given by the barrio officials (p. 13, tsn. Nov. 16,
1988). Based on their survey, Zacarias Oarde was tilling two lots, Lots 17 and 18. These
were the areas pointed to by Pedro Cervantes (p. 15, tsn. Nov. 16, 1988). (Zacarias,
however, when he testified claims that he is tilling only one lot, Lot 17) Witness Magnaye
alleged that as far as the property being tilled by Zacarias is concerned, information was
given by Pedro Cervantes (p. 19). During the survey, Zacarias Oarde was not
around. Zacarias admitted that when the survey was made, he was not present.
Another witness presented was Gregorio Medina. He was the President of the Samahang
Nayon of Gotob in 1977. He knows the plaintiff Zacarias Oarde because the latter is a
member of the Samahang Nayon. He alleged that he is not very particular about the land
that the farmer-members till, but when they register for membership, he is informed that
they are leaseholders (p. 2, tsn. 8 Dec. 1988). He signed this Exhibit A, in 1977, when he
was called by the DAR personnel to their office. The document was already prepared. He
did not read the contents. He really does not know if Zacarias was doing the farming all by
himself because several people are tilling the land aside from Zacarias. Zacarias likewise
works on the field of others. He had no hand in the preparation of the lists and he was not
present when the persons included therein signed their names. He likewise did not verify
whether the persons in the list were really farmers of the landholdings as mentioned
therein. He knows for a fact that the former farmer of these lands in question was Francisco
Molar.
Another witness presented was Gil Nabio. He testified that he personally knows Zacarias
Oarde being a neighbor. Zacarias is tilling a land owned by Atty. Wilfredo Guerrero and
saw him working on the field.
The wife, Melicia Oarde, likewise took the witness stand and testified that as tenant-tillers,
they gave the owners share to Atty. Wilfredo Guerrero.
On the claim of plaintiff Presentacion Molar in Civil Case 7960, she alleged that she is a
tenant-lessee of the land in question previously owned by Atty. Wilfredo Guerrero. She
started tilling the land in 1965. Before, she owned a carabao but sold it. She caused the land
to be worked on Pakyaw basis, hiring different persons for different work. She actually does
not till the land (p. 16, tsn. July 11, 1989).
According to Zacarias Oarde who testified in behalf of Presentaction (sic), the latter began
tilling in 1968. She is not married and she only hires laborers to till the land. It was
Francisco Molar who distributed to his children the land they are farming. Presentacion

hires laborers to prepare and plant the land. She does not actually till the land (p. 18, tsn.
May 16, 1989).
Jose Neo, an employee of the DAR, testified that he did not in any way participate in the
preparation of the document presented in evidence. He did not know whether it is genuine
or a tampered one.
On the other hand, defendants in both cases claim that plaintiffs Presentacion Molar and
Zacarias Oarde are not tenant-tillers of the land in question.
Basilio Molar, a witness for the defendants testified that Atty. Wilfredo Guerrero owns only
one parcel of land in Gotob and this was previously farmed by his father Francisco
Molar. After Francisco Molars death, the land was tilled by witness Basilio
Molar. Presentacion Molar and Zacarias Oarde are only helpers. From the share of the
tenant-tiller Francisco Molar, Presentacion and Zacarias get their share.
Another witness was Ernesto Nares. He was one of the buyers of the property together with
Rogelio Molar.
On cross-examination he stated that Zacarias Oarde and Presentacion Molar are not tillers
of any land, whether coconut or riceland (p. 6, tsn, Nov. 3, 1989).
Rogelio Molar and defendant Wilfredo Guerrero likewise took the witness stand but their
testimony centered on the denials that Presentacion Molar and Zacarias Oarde are tenants of
the land.
The trial court held that Petitioners Molar and Oarde were not lawful tenants of
private respondents. As noted above, public respondent affirmed the trial courts
ruling in regard to Petitioner Molar, but reversed it with respect to Petitioner
Oarde. It ordered the reinstatement of Oarde as a tenant and awarded him
damages in the sum of P5,850.00.
Before us, Petitioner Molar prays that she be declared as a lawful tenant,
and Petitioner Oarde asks that the damages awarded to him be increased
from P5,850.00 to P13,850.00. Private respondents do not question the Decision of
public respondent.
The Issues
Petitioners list the following assignment of errors in their petition and
memorandum:
I. The appellate court erred in not giving credence and probative value to the official and
public documents showing Presentacion Molar as the registered tenant-tiller of the lot in
question.
II. The appellate court erred in notconsidering (sic) substantial facts, the testimonial
evidence and admissions that greatly affected the result of this case.
III. The appellate court erred in not applying the provsions (sic) of the New CARP Law
(RA 6657) and other applicable laws and jurisprudence favorable to tenant-tiller,
Presentacion Molar.
IV. The appellate court erred in not computing correctly the total share that Zacarias Oarde
was deprived of since October 1987 to the present.
[5]

[6]

[7]

V. The appellate court erred in not awarding actual damages, attorneys fees, litigation
expenses, moral and exemplary damages to plaintiffs.
To avoid needless repetition, the Court believes that the issues may be
condensed into three:
1. Is Petitioner Molar a lawful tenant?
2. Is the award to Petitioner Oarde of P5,850 as his lawful share in the harvests of his tilled
land from October 1987 to May 1991 correct?
3. Are petitioners entitled to moral and exemplary damages as well as attorneys fees and
litigation expenses?

The Courts Ruling


The appeal has no merit.
First Issue: Is Petitioner Molar a
Lawful Tenant-Tiller?
The essential requisites of a tenancy relationship are the following: (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. All these must concur to establish
the juridical relationship of tenancy.
Markedly absent in the case of Petitioner Molar is the element of personal
cultivation. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that Molar herself did
not actually cultivate the land, nor did her immediate family or farm
household. Instead, she hired other people to do all phases of farm work. Even
her co-petitioner testified that she did not actually till the land and that she merely
paid laborers to perform such task. Thus, public respondent aptly held:
The trial court noted that Presentacion made inconsistent answers when asked when she
began tilling the land, before she finally declared that she started tilling the property way
back in 1965 (tsn, July 1, 1989). However, the element of personal cultivation is essential
for an agricultural leasehold; that is, that there should be personal cultivation by the tenant
or by his immediate farm household or members of the family of the lessee or other persons
who are dependent upon him for support or who usually help him in his activities
(Evangelista vs. CA, 158 SCRA 41). The law is explicit in requiring the tenant and his
immediate family to work the land (Bonifacio vs. Dizon, 177 SCRA 294), and the lessee
cannot hire many persons to help him cultivate the land (De Jesus vs. IAC, 175 SCRA 559).
In this case, Zacarias Oarde, testifying for Presentacion Molar, (tsn, May 16, 1989) declared
that Presentacion does not actually till the land but she pays laborers to till the land (p. 12);
she is single, owns no working animals, nor farm implements (p. 9). Presentacion herself
admitted that she has the property tenanted on pakyaw basis meaning that she hires different
persons for harrowing, for plowing, and for harvesting and that she did not actually till the
land, but merely pays others because (I) am a woman; she owns a small store (tsn, July 11,
1989, pp. 16-19).
[8]

[9]

[10]

[11]

We agree with the trial court that We cannot have a case where a landlord is divested of his
landholding and somebody else is installed to become a new landlord. (Underscoring
supplied.)
We stress that both the respondent appellate court and the trial court found that
Petitioner Molar was not a tenant of Private Respondent Wilfredo
Guerrero. Petitioners are in effect asking this Court to assess the evidentiary basis
of the foregoing factual conclusion. This we cannot do. In Fuentes vs. Court of
Appeals, we explained that only questions of law could be raised in a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court:
Jurisprudence teaches us that (a)s a rule, the jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought to it
from the Court of Appeals x x x is limited to the review and revision of errors of law
allegedly committed by the appellate court, as its findings of fact are deemed conclusive. As
such this Court is not duty-bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence already
considered in the proceedings below. This rule, however, is not without exceptions. The
findings of fact of the Court of Appeals, which are as a general rule deemed conclusive,
may admit of review by this Court:
(1) when the factual findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are contradictory;
(2) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures;
(3) when the inference made by the Court of Appeals from its findings of fact is manifestly
mistaken, absurd, or impossible;
(4) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts;
(5) when the appellate court, in making its findings, goes beyond the issues of the case, and
such findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee;
(6) when the judgment of the Court of Appeals is premised on a misapprehension of facts;
(7) when the Court of Appeals fails to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly
considered, will justify a different conclusion;
(8) when the findings of fact are themselves conflicting;
(9) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of the specific evidence on
which they are based; and
(10) when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of
evidence but such findings are contradicted by the evidence on record.
Whether Petitioner Molar was a tenant-tiller is a question of fact. Molar has not
shown that her case falls under any of the recognized exceptions to the ironclad
rule that only questions of law may be raised before this Court in a petition for
review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
In any event, Petitioner Molar submitted the following documentary exhibits to
support her claim that she was a tenant:
Exhibit A Summary List of Rice and Corn Lands
A-1 Signature of defendant Rogelio Molar
A-2 Signature of the Barangay Captain
[12]

[13]

[14]

[15]

A-3 Signature of the President, Samahang Nayon


B Addendum Index Log Sheet
B-1 Lot 17 & 18
C Police Blotter re: complaint of plaintiffs-appellants
C-1 Signature of Jose Segovia, Team Leader I, DAR
D Parcellary Map[p]ing Sheet
E Letter of Atty. Lladoc of DAR to the Station Commander, Camalig, Albay
G DAR letter to parties re: Mediation Conference.
She adds that she has been a registered tenant-tiller of Lot 1 since 1977 as
evidenced by certifications from a team leader of the Department of Agrarian
Reform (DAR). These documents, she argues, show that she was a tenant of the
land in question because factual findings of administrative agencies are entitled to
great respect and even accorded finality. Petitioner Molar prays that we give
credence to these documents in her favor, in the same way that the Respondent
Court did in favor of Petitioner Oarde. She also contends that Don Pepe Henson
Enterprises vs. Pangilinan is on all fours with the present controversy, specifically
citing the following pronouncement of the Court therein:
We also note that private respondents have already been listed as farmer beneficiaries of the
Land Transfer program of the government, as certified by the Team Office of the Ministry
of Agrarian Reform. This fact reaffirms the conclusion of tenancy reached in this case, and
strengthens our view that these tillers of the soil are to be respected in the cultivation of
their landholdings.
We are not impressed by petitioners reliance on numerous certifications of administrative
agencies that she was a tenant of Lot 1. Assessing the evidence in hand, both lower courts
concluded that Petitioner Molar was not a tenant. The certifications issued by administrative
agencies or officers that a certain person is a tenant are merely provisional and not
conclusive on courts, as ruled by this Court in Cuao vs. Court of Appeals,
citing Puertollano vs. IAC
Secondly, the certification issued by Mr. Eugenio Bernardo of the MAR (Ministry of
Agrarian Reform) is very much like the certifications issued by the Secretary of Agrarian
Reform and other officials of the Ministry and later the Department of Agrarian Reform
concerning the existence of tenancy relationships in respect of agricultural lands from
which persons, who claim to be tenants, are sought to be ejected. It is well-settled that the
findings of or certifications issued by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform, or his authorized
representative, in a given locality concerning the presence or absence of a tenancy
relationship between the contending parties is merely preliminary or provisional and is not
binding upon the courts. Thus, in Puertollano, et al. v. Hon. Intermediate Appellate
Court, et al., this Court held that:
From the foregoing provisions of the law [Section 2 P.D. No. 316 and Section 2 P.D. No.
1038], it is clear that the trial court cannot take cognizance of any ejectment case or any
other case designed to harass or remove a tenant in an agricultural land primarily devoted
[16]

[17]

[18]

[19]

[20]

to rice and corn without first referring the same to the Secretary of Agrarian Reform or his
authorized representative in the locality for a preliminary determination of the relationship
between the contending parties. If said officer finds that the case is proper for determination
by the court it shall so certify and thence said court may assume jurisdiction over the
dispute or controversy. Such preliminary determination of the relationship however, is not
binding upon the court. Said court may after due hearing confirm, reverse or modify said
preliminary determination as the evidence and substantial merit of the case may
warrant. (Emphasis supplied)
Furthermore, these documents were based merely on bare ex parte allegations
of different persons. Even worse, Molars own witness, Jose Neo, an employee of
DAR, testified that he did not in any way participate in the preparation of the
document presented in evidence.
In Don Pepe Henson Enterprises, cited by petitioners, the conclusion of this
Court on the existence of a tenancy relationship was based on the evidence
presented before the trial court and not on the certifications issued by the DAR;
said certifications merely reaffirm[ed] and strengthen[ed] the conclusion of the
court. In other words, the cited case is inapplicable to the present controversy
because Petitioner Molar has not convinced us that she was a tenant in the first
place.
Petitioner Molar further argues that Respondent Court failed to apply the
following laws:
1. Section 6, RA 6657
2. Section 106, PD 1529
3. Section 10, RA 3844
4. Section 9, RA 1199 as Amended by RA 2263
5. Section 4, PD 583
6. Section 12, RA 6389
The foregoing provisions enumerate the benefits available to a
tenant. Presentation Molar cannot claim such benefits because, precisely, she
failed to prove that she was a tenant at all.
Second Issue: Share of Petitioner Oarde from Harvests
Petitioner Oarde contends that Respondent Court erred in computing the award
due him. He claims it should be P13,850.00, not P5,800.00, representing the loss
of 70 cavans of palay for the period October 1987 to May 1991 (filing of Brief)
priced at P195.00 [each] or a total of P13,850.00, corresponding to seven (7)
harvest seasons for three and one-half years (3 1/2) counted from October 1987 to
May 1991.
We are not convinced. A party is entitled to adequate compensation only
for duly proved pecuniary lossactually suffered by him or her. Such damages, to be
recoverable, must not only be capable of proof, but mustactually be proved with a
reasonable degree of certainty. Damages cannot be presumed or premised on
[21]

[22]

[23]

[24]

[25]

[26]

[27]

[28]

[29]

conjecture or even logic. In making an award, courts must point out specific facts
which show a basis for the amount of compensatory or actual damages. The
claim of 70 cavans of palay is based on the unsubstantiated allegation that the
subject riceland yielded two harvests a year. We need only to quote thefinding of
the appellate court to show the folly of Oardes peroration on this point:
In their brief, the plaintiff-appellant Oarde seeks actual damages corresponding to the loss
he suffered for failing to get his share of the produce since October 1987 - alleging that his
average share is 10 cavanes. Melicia Oarde testified that since October 1987, they were not
able to get their share of the produce, averaging 10 cavanes of palay (after deducting the
landowners share) for the third planting season (tsn, Dec. 9, 1988, p. 8). There is no other
credible evidence of record pertinent to the claim of pecuniary loss of 70 cavanes based on
the alleged prevailing price of P184.00 to P197.00 per cavan of palay. Accordingly, the
award for actual damages on the basis of the unlawful dispossession by the vendee
defendants Rogelio and Vilma Molar is calculated at 30 cavanes at the average price
of P195.00 prevailing at that time (not disputed by appellee) or P5,580.00.
Third Issue: Damages, Litigation Costs and Attorneys Fees
Petitioners plead that they were dispossessed of their landholding and
compelled to litigate and incur expenses in the prosecution of this suit, which entitle
them to attorneys fees under Article 2208 of the Civil Code. Further, they also pray
for an award of P6,000.00 as actual expenses and the additional amount
ofP4,000.00 which they incurred in this appeal. Petitioners claim P10,000.00 as
moral damages for their economic, physical and emotional sufferings which were
the inevitable and proximate result of their being ousted from the land without any
justifiable cause. They leave to the sound discretion of this Court their claim for
exemplary or corrective damages.
Respondent Court denied the claims for moral and exemplary damages and
attorneys fees x x x for lack of legal and/or factual basis. We find no error in such
ruling.
The award of attorneys fees depends upon the circumstances of each case and
lies within the discretion of the court. We scoured the records and, like the Court of
Appeals, found no legal, factual or equitable justification for the award of attorneys
fees.
Likewise, we deny the claim for moral and exemplary damages. Aside from the
naked allegations of physical and emotional sufferings, petitioners failed to
substantiate their claims. Likewise, exemplary damages are imposed not to enrich
one party or impoverish another, but to serve as a deterrent against or as a
negative incentive to socially deleterious actions. In this case, no harmful act can
be attributed to the private respondents which warrants the award of exemplary
damages.
WHEREFORE,
the
petition
is
hereby DENIED. The
assailed DECISION is AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
[30]

[31]

[32]

[33]

[34]

Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), Romero, Melo, and Francisco, JJ., concur.


FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 95318
June 11, 1991
LOURDES PEA 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, 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 Pea 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
Pea 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 ordering . . . [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.
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.
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.
The Regional Trial Court 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
1

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. (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.
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 poblacionand 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:
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. (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:
7

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.
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 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. 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.
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. 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.
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, 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, 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 MalinaoTiwi, Albay, Fifth Judicial Region dated 19 August 1987. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, Cruz, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
10

11

12

13

1wphi1

14

15

16

FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 108941. July 6, 2000]

REYNALDO BEJASA AND ERLINDA BEJASA, petitioners, vs. THE


HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, Special Sixteenth Division, ISABEL
CANDELARIA and JAMIE DINGLASAN,respondents.
DECISION
PARDO, J.:
This is a petition assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the
decision of the Regional Trial Court, Calapan, Oriental Mindoro and ordering
petitioners Reynaldo and Erlinda Bejasa (hereinafter referred to as "the Bejasas")
to surrender the possession of the disputed landholdings to respondent Isabel
Candelaria ("hereinafter referred to as Candelaria") and to pay her annual rental
from 1986, attorneys fees, litigation expenses and costs.
Inescapably, the appeal involves the determination of a factual issue. Whether a
person is a tenant is a factual question. The factual conclusions of the trial court
and the Court of Appeals are contradictory and we are constrained to review the
same.
We state the undisputed incidents.
This case involves two (2) parcels of land covered by TCT No. T-58191 and TCT
No. T-59172, measuring 16 hectares and 6 hectares more or less, situated in
Barangay Del Pilar, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro. The parcels of land are indisputably
owned by Isabel Candelaria.
On October 20, 1974, Candelaria entered into a three-year lease agreement over
the land with Pio Malabanan (hereinafter referred to as "Malabanan"). In the
contract, Malabanan agreed among other things: "to clear, clean and cultivate the
land, to purchase or procure calamansi, citrus and rambutan seeds or seedlings, to
attend and care for whatever plants are thereon existing, to make the necessary
harvest of fruits, etc."
Sometime in 1973, Malabanan hired the Bejasas to plant on the land and to clear it.
The Bejasas claim that they planted citrus, calamansi, rambutan and banana trees
on the land and shouldered all expenses of production.
On May 3, 1977, Candelaria gave Malabanan a six-year usufruct over the land,
modifying their first agreement. As per the agreement, Malabanan was under no
obligation to share the harvests with Candelaria.
Sometime in 1983, Malabanan died.
On September 21, 1984, Candelaria constituted respondent Jaime Dinglasan
(hereinafter referred to as "Jaime) as her attorney-in-fact, having powers of
administration over the disputed land.
On October 26, 1984, Candelaria entered into a new lease contract over the land
with Victoria Dinglasan, Jaimes wife (hereinafter referred to as "Victoria"). The
contract had a term of one year.
[1]

[2]

[3]

[4]

[5]

[6]

[7]

[8]

[9]

[10]

[11]

[12]

On December 30, 1984, the Bejasas agreed to pay Victoria rent of P15,000.00 in
consideration of an "aryenduhan" or "pakyaw na bunga" agreement, with a term of
one year. The agreement is below quoted:
"Ako si Victoria Dinglasan bilang tagapamahala ni Isabel Candelaria ay
ipinaaryendo kay Reynaldo Bejasa ang lupang dating aryendo ni Pio
Malabanan sa nasabing Ginang Buhat sa ika-30 ng Disyembre 1984
hanggang Ika-30 ng Disyembre 1985. Ako ay tumanggap sa kanya ng
pitong libong piso at ito ay daragdagan pa niya ng walong libong piso
(P8,000) dito sa katapusan ng buwan ng Disyembre 1984.
[13]

[14]

(signed)
Reynaldo Bejasa

(signed)
Victoria Dinglasan

"Witness
"(unintelligible)
"(unintelligible)"
During the first week of December 1984, the Bejasas paid Victoria P7,000.00 as
agreed. The balance of P8,000.00 was not fully paid. Only the amount of P4,000.00
was paid on January 11, 1985.
After the aryenduhan expired, despite Victorias demand to vacate the land, the
Bejasas continued to stay on the land and did not give any consideration for its
use, be it in the form of rent or a shared harvest.
On April 7, 1987, Candelaria and the Dinglasans again entered into a three-year
lease agreement over the land. The special power of attorney in favor of Jaime
was also renewed by Candelaria on the same date.
On April 30, 1987, Jaime filed a complaint before the Commission on the
Settlement of Land Problems ("COSLAP"), Calapan, Oriental Mindoro seeking
ejectment of the Bejasas.
On May 26, 1987, COSLAP dismissed the complaint.
Sometime in June 1987, Jaime filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court,
Calapan Oriental, Mindoro against the Bejasas for "Recovery of possession with
preliminary mandatory injunction and damages." The case was referred to the
Department of Agrarian Reform ("DAR").
On December 28, 1987, the DAR certified that the case was not proper for trial
before the civil courts.
The trial court dismissed Jaimes complaint, including the Bejasas counterclaim for
leasehold, home lot and damages.
On February 15, 1988, the Bejasas filed with the Regional Trial Court of Calapan,
Oriental Mindoro a complaint for "confirmation of leasehold and home lot with
recovery of damages." against Isabel Candelaria and Jaime Dinglasan.
On February 20, 1991, after trial, the trial court ruled in favor of the Bejasas. First,
they reasoned that a tenancy relationship was established. This relationship can
be created by and between a "person who furnishes the landholding as owner, civil
[15]

[16]

[17]

[18]

[19]

[20]

[21]

[22]

[23]

[24]

law lessee, usufructuary, or legal possessor and the person who personally
cultivates the same." Second, as bona-fide tenant-tillers, the Bejasas have
security of tenure. The lower court ruled:
"ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs
and against the defendants, as follows:
"(1) Ordering the defendants to maintain plaintiffs in the peaceful
possession and cultivation of the lands in question and to respect
plaintiffs security of tenure on the landholdings of Isabel Candelaria
and the home lot presently occupied by them;
"(2) Confirming the leasehold tenancy system between the plaintiffs as
the lawful tenant-tillers and the landholder, Isabel Candelaria, with the
same lease rental of P20,000.00 per calendar year for the use of the
lands in question and thereafter, same landholdings be placed under
the operation land transfer pursuant to Republic Act No. 6657;
"(3) Ordering the defendants to pay jointly and severally the plaintiffs
the amount of P115,500.00 representing the sale of calamansi which
were unlawfully gathered by Jaime Dinglasan and his men for the
period July to December, 1987 and which were supported by receipts
and duly proven, with formal written accounting, plus the sum of
P346,500.00 representing the would-be harvests on citrus, calamansi,
rambutan and bananas for the years 1988, 1989 and 1990, with legal
rate of interest thereon from the date of the filing of the instant
complaint until fully paid;
"(4) Ordering the defendants to pay plaintiffs jointly and severally the
amount of P30,000.00 as attorneys fee and expenses of litigation; and
"(5) Authorizing the plaintiffs as tenant-farmers to litigate as pauper not
only in this Court but up to the appellate courts in accordance with
Section 16 of P. D. No. 946.
"SO ORDERED."
On February 20, 1991, respondents filed their notice of appeal.
On February 9, 1993, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision reversing the
trial courts ruling. Reasoning: First, not all requisites necessary for a leasehold
tenancy relationship were met. There was no consent given by the landowner.
The consent of former civil law lessee, Malabanan, was not enough to create a
tenancy relationship. Second, when Malabanan engaged the services of the
Bejasas, he only constituted them as mere overseers and did not make them
"permanent tenants". Verily, even Malabanan knew that his contract with
Candelaria prohibited sublease. Third, the contract ("aryenduhan") between the
Bejasas and Victoria, by its very terms, expired after one year. The contract did not
provide for sharing of harvests, means of production, personal cultivation and the
like. Fourth, sharing of harvest was not proven. The testimony of Reynaldo Bejasa
on this point is self-serving. Fifth, the element of personal cultivation was not
[25]

[26]

[27]

[28]

[29]

[30]

[31]

[32]

[33]

proven. Reynaldo Bejasa himself admitted that he hired laborers to clear and
cultivate the land. The Court of Appeals disposed of the case, thus:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgment appealed from is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The interlocutory order issued on
September 5, 1988 is DISSOLVED and the appellees are hereby
ordered to surrender possession of the disputed landholdings to
appellant Isabel Candelaria and pay her the amount of P15,000.00 in
annual rents commencing from 1986 plus attorneys fees and litigation
expenses of P35,000.00 and costs.
"SO ORDERED."
Hence, this appeal filed on March 3, 1993.
The issue raised is whether there is a tenancy relationship in favor of the Bejasas.
The elements of a tenancy relationship are:
(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.
After examining the three relevant relationships in this case, we find that there is no
tenancy relationship between the parties.
Malabanan and the Bejasas. True, Malabanan (as Candelarias usufructuary)
allowed the Bejasas to stay on and cultivate the land.
However, even if we assume that he had the authority to give consent to the
creation of a tenancy relation, still, no such relation existed.
There was no proof that they shared the harvests.
Reynaldo Bejasa testified that as consideration for the possession of the land, he
agreed to deliver the landowners share (1/5 of the harvest) to Malabanan. Only
Reynaldo Bejasas word was presented to prove this. Even this is cast into
suspicion. At one time Reynaldo categorically stated that 25% of the harvest went
to him, that 25% was for Malabanan and 50% went to the landowner, Candelaria.
Later on he stated that the landowners share was merely one fifth.
In Chico v. Court of Appeals, we faulted private respondents for failing to prove
sharing of harvests since "no receipt, or any other evidence was presented." We
added that "Self serving statements ... are inadequate; proof must be adduced."
Candelaria and the Bejasas. Between them, there is no tenancy relationship.
Candelaria as landowner never gave her consent.
The Bejasas admit that prior to 1984, they had no contact with Candelaria. They
acknowledge that Candelaria could argue that she did not know of Malabanans
arrangement with them. True enough Candelaria disavowed any knowledge that
[34]

[35]

[36]

[37]

[38]

[39]

[40]

[41]

[42]

[43]

[44]

[45]

the Bejasas during Malabanans lease possessed the land. However, the Bejasas
claim that this defect was cured when Candelaria agreed to lease the land to the
Bejasas for P20,000.00 per annum, when Malabanan died in 1983. We do not
agree. In a tenancy agreement, consideration should be in the form of harvest
sharing. Even assuming that Candelaria agreed to lease it out to the Bejasas for
P20,000 per year, such agreement did not create a tenancy relationship, but a
mere civil law lease.
Dinglasan and the Bejasas. Even assuming that the Dinglasans had the authority
as civil law lessees of the land to bind it in a tenancy agreement, there is no proof
that they did.
Again, there was no agreement as to harvest sharing. The only agreement
between them is the "aryenduhan", which states in no uncertain terms the
monetary consideration to be paid, and the term of the contract.
Not all the elements of tenancy being met, we deny the petition.
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the decision of the Court of Appeals of February 9,
1993, in toto.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
FIRST DIVISION
[46]

[47]

[48]

[49]

PEDRITO SALMORIN, G.R. No. 169691


Petitioner,
Present:
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
CARPIO,
- v e r s u s - CORONA,
AZCUNA and
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, JJ.
DR. PEDRO ZALDIVAR,
Respondent. Promulgated:
July 23, 2008
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
R E S O LUTIO N
CORONA, J.:

In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
petitioner Pedrito Salmorin assails the January 31, 2005 decision [1] and September 8,
2005 resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA).
On July 15, 1989, respondent Dr. Pedro Zaldivar, as legal possessor[3] of Lot No.
7481-H[4]situated in Mapatag, Hamtic, Antique, entered into an agreement (Kasugtanan)
[5]

with Salmorin designating him as administrator of the lot with a monthly salary

of P150. Salmorin allegedly did not comply with the terms of the Kasugtanan when he
failed to till the vacant areas. [6] This compelled Zaldivar to terminate his services and
eject him from the lot. When Salmorin refused to vacate the property, Zaldivar filed a
complaint for unlawful detainer against him in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court
(MCTC) of Tobias Fornier-Anini-y-Hamtic. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case
No. 229-H.
In his answer, Salmorin alleged the existence of a tenancy relationship between
him and Zaldivar. Thus, he claimed that the case was an agrarian matter over which the
MCTC had no jurisdiction.
After an examination of the position papers submitted by the parties, the MCTC
found that the case was in the nature of an agrarian dispute and dismissed the case for
lack of jurisdiction.
Zaldivar appealed to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Jose, Antique which
ruled in his favor. The RTC found that the consent of the landowner and sharing of the
harvest, which were requisites for the existence of a tenancy relationship, [7] did not exist.
Thus, it ruled that the MCTC had jurisdiction over the case and ordered the
reinstatement of Civil Case No. 229-H.

Salmorin appealed the RTC decision to the CA but the latter upheld the decision
of the RTC. He now seeks a reversal of the RTC and CA decisions.
Salmorin argues that the regular court had no jurisdiction over the case and
Zaldivar had no right to possess the subject property.
We disagree.
On one hand, the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board has
primary and exclusive jurisdiction over agrarian related cases, i.e., rights and obligations
of persons, whether natural or juridical, engaged in the management, cultivation and use
of all agricultural lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and other
related agrarian laws, or those cases involving the ejectment and dispossession of
tenants and/or leaseholders.[8] On the other, Section 33 (2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,
as amended by Republic Act 7691, provides that exclusive original jurisdiction over
cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer is lodged with the metropolitan trial courts,
municipal trial courts and MCTCs.
It is well-settled that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of the
action is determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the law,
irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the claims or
reliefs sought therein.[9]
In his complaint, Zaldivar alleged the following:
(1) he possessed the subject lot;
(2) he instituted Salmorin as administrator thereof;
(3) Salmorin failed to administer the subject lot by not having the vacant areas
thereof planted;

(4) for Salmorins failure to administer the subject lot, Salmorins service as
administrator was terminated;
(5) he adviced Salmorin through registered mail to leave or vacate the subject lot
and
(6) Salmorin refused to vacate the subject lot without justification.
Thus, Zaldivars complaint concerned the unlawful detainer by Salmorin of the
subject lot. This matter is properly within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. The
allegation of tenancy in Salmorins answer did not automatically deprive the MCTC of
its jurisdiction. In Hilado et al. v. Chavez et al.,[10]we ruled:
[T]hat the jurisdiction of the court over the nature of the action and the
subject matter thereof cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up
in the court or upon a motion to dismiss. Otherwise, the question of
jurisdiction would depend almost entirely on the defendant. xxx The [MTCC]
does not lose its jurisdiction over an ejectment case by the simple expedient of
a party raising as defense therein the alleged existence of a tenancy
relationship between the parties. But it is the duty of the court to receive
evidence to determine the allegations of tenancy. If after hearing, tenancy had
in fact been shown to be the real issue, the court should dismiss the case for
lack of jurisdiction. (emphasis supplied; citations omitted)

Contrary to the findings of the MCTC, both the RTC and the CA found that there
was no tenancy relationship between Salmorin and Zaldivar. A tenancy relationship
cannot be presumed.[11] In Saul v. Suarez, [12] we held:
There must be evidence to prove the tenancy relations such that all its
indispensable elements must be established, to wit: (1) the parties are the
landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject is agricultural land; (3) there is
consent by the landowner; (4) the purpose is agricultural production; (5) there
is personal cultivation; and (6) there is sharing of the harvests. All these
requisites are necessary to create tenancy relationship, and the absence of one
or more requisites will not make the alleged tenant a de facto tenant.

All these elements must concur. It is not enough that they are alleged. To divest
the MCTC of jurisdiction, these elements must all be shown to be present.[13]
Tenancy is a legal relationship established by the existence of particular facts as
required by law. In this case, the RTC and CA correctly found that the third and sixth
elements, namely, consent of the landowner and sharing of the harvests, respectively,
were absent. We find no compelling reason to disturb the factual findings of the RTC
and the CA.
The fact alone of working on another's landholding does not raise a presumption
of the existence of agricultural tenancy.[14] There must be substantial evidence on record
adequate to prove the element of sharing. Moreover, in Rivera v. Santiago,[15] we
stressed:
[T]hat it is not unusual for a landowner to receive the produce of the land from
a caretaker who sows thereon. The fact of receipt, without an agreed system of
sharing, does not ipso facto create a tenancy.
Salmorins attempt to persuade us by way of a certification coming from the
Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee attesting that he was a bona fide tenant of
Zaldivar deserves scant consideration. Certifications issued by municipal agrarian
reform officers are not binding on the courts. This rule was articulated in Bautista v.
Mag-isa vda. de Villena: [16]
In a given locality, merely preliminary or provisional are the certifications or
findings of the secretary of agrarian reform (or of an authorized
representative) concerning the presence or the absence of a tenancy
relationship between the contending parties; hence, such certifications do not
bind the judiciary.

We note that agricultural share tenancy was declared contrary to public policy
and, thus, abolished by the passage of RA 3844, as amended. Share tenancy exists:

[W]henever 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 personally 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. [17]

In alleging that he is a tenant of Zaldivar, Salmorin (in his affidavit dated April 26,
2000)[18]relates that their arrangement was for him to do all the cultivation and that the
expenses therefore will be deducted from the harvest. The rest of the harvest will be
divided equally between himself and Zaldivar. If Salmorins version was to be believed,
their arrangement was clearly one of agricultural share tenancy. For being contrary to
law, Salmorins assertion should not be given merit.
Since the MCTC has jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 229-H, we will refrain from
discussing the right of Zaldivar to possess Lot No. 7481-H as it is more correctly the
subject of the appropriate action in the trial court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The January 31, 2005 and
September 8, 2005 resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. Civil Case No.
229-H is hereby REINSTATED. The case is REMANDED to the Municipal Circuit
Trial Court of Tobias Fornier-Anini-y-Hamtic which is directed to proceed with and
finish the case as expeditiously as possible.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice

FIRST DIVISION

DOMINGO C. SUAREZ, G.R. No. 166664


Petitioner,
Present:
Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman),
- versus - Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago,
Carpio, and
Azcuna, JJ.
LEO B. SAUL, ROGER S. BRILLO,
EFRAIN S. BRILLO, ELENO S. Promulgated:
BRILLO and IGNACIO G. PELAEZ,
Respondents. October 20, 2005
x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This petition assails the August 31, 2004 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 71516 affirming in full the December 14, 2000 DARAB Decision in DARAB
Case No. 5468; as well as its January 6, 2005 Resolution denying petitioners motion for
reconsideration.
Petitioner Domingo C. Suarez owns a 23-hectare agricultural land in Sitio Spring,
Poblacion Tboli, South Cotabato registered under OCT No. (P-31540) P-11967. [1] On
August 8, 1995, a complaint for reinstatement with preliminary mandatory injunction,
recovery of possession and damages[2] was filed against him and Tboli Agro-Industrial
Development, Inc. (TADI) before the Office of the Provincial Adjudicator, Department
of Agrarian Reform Adjudicatory Board (DARAB), by respondents Leo B. Saul, Roger
S. Brillo, Efrain S. Brillo, Eleno S. Brillo and Ignacio G. Pelaez.
Respondents alleged that they were agricultural tenants in petitioners land on a 25-75
sharing agreement; that after two croppings, petitioner voluntarily offered the land for
sale to the government under a Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) dated February 20, 1993;
[3]
that they signed the documents for the transfer of the land under the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) as farmer-beneficiaries, and petitioner, as landowner;

and that the sale was approved by the local Land Valuation Office of the Land Bank of
the Philippines (LBP).
Respondents claimed that while the VOS was being processed, they were summarily
ejected from the property by TADI after the latter entered into a Grower Agreement with
Contract to Buy[4] with petitioner thereby depriving them of their landholdings.
Petitioner filed an Answer contending that respondents were installed as tenants, not by
him, but by Wennie[5] Gonzaga of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in
Koronadal, South Cotabato. He admitted that he voluntarily offered his land for sale to
the government under the CARP but denied knowledge of the certification issued by the
LBP. He denied the existence of a growers contract between him and TADI over the
subject land.[6]
For its part, TADI claimed that its growers contract with petitioner covered parcels of
land different from those being claimed by respondents.[7]
In due course, the Regional Adjudicator issued an Order[8] dated July 18, 1996
dismissing the complaint for lack of merit. The adjudicator found that respondents failed
to prove their alleged tenancy over petitioners land. While they were identified as
potential farmer-beneficiaries of the land subject of the VOS, they only have an inchoate
right to the land since its coverage under the CARP has yet to be completed.[9]
On appeal, the DARAB Central Office rendered a Decision [10] reversing the
Regional Adjudicator. It observed that petitioner admitted that respondents were his
tenants. It further held that:
... it is in fact immaterial whether the subject landholding is covered by the
alleged growers contract or not. What is clear in the instant case is the fact that
herein appellants were illegally ejected from their respective tenanted lands. If
indeed the subject land is not covered by the growers contract, if theres any,
the act of defendant-appellee TADI in ejecting the tenants-appellants was
beyond authority, hence, illegal. Assuming arguendo that the subject
landholding is truly covered in the said contract, the contracting parties are
required under the law to respect the tenurial rights of the tenants therein. [11]

The DARAB thus disposed:

WHEREFORE, the appealed Order is hereby SET ASIDE and a NEW


JUDGMENT is rendered:
1. Declaring the plaintiffs-appellants as bona fide tenants of the subject
landholding;
2. Ordering the MARO and other concerned DAR Officers to determine the
disturbance compensation from the time of actual ejectment of herein
plaintiffs-appellants until the time of actual reinstatement, after the last harvest
of pineapple, to be awarded to herein plaintiffs-appellants; and
3. Ordering the reinstatement of herein plaintiff-appellants in their respective
original landholdings after harvest.
SO ORDERED.[12]
Petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals which, on August 31, 2004,
rendered a Decision affirming the DARAB. [13] Upon denial of the motion for
reconsideration,[14] petitioner filed the instant petition.

The issues for resolution are: (a) whether respondents are bona fide agricultural tenants
under the law; and (b) whether petitioner illegally ejected respondents from their
landholdings.
Petitioner contends that there is no basis in holding that respondents were his
tenants. He denies having admitted that they were his tenants, and insists that there is no
proof to prove the existence of tenancy relations. He asserts that he did not eject
respondents from their landholdings by entering into a growers contract over the subject
land with TADI.
Indeed, there is nothing in the records to suggest that respondents were petitioners bona
fide tenants prior to their designation by the DAR as potential farmer-beneficiaries under
the CARP. There is no evidence to prove tenancy arrangement between petitioner and
respondents before the formers voluntary offer to convey the land to the government.
In holding that respondents were bona fide tenants of petitioner, the DARAB and the
appellate court relied solely on the alleged admission in petitioners answer to the
complaint, to wit:
3. Defendant admits the averments in paragraph IV of the complaint. [15]

The fourth paragraph of the complaint states:


4. That plaintiffs were instituted sometime in 1993 and were given three (3)
hectares each respectively, while for plaintiff Roger Brillo was given 2
hectares; the sharing of the parties involved was 25-75 in favor of the tenants;
after for two croppings defendant D. Suarez approached and offered the land
by Voluntary Offer to Sale (VOS) last November 1993 in our favor (plaintiffstenants) and the papers for VOS was processed in the office of Department
[of] Agrarian Reform (DAR) Koronadal, South Cotabato; [16]
We find that the above admission was taken out of context. While petitioner
admitted that respondents were tenants in the land, he qualified in paragraph 2 of his
answer that it was Wennie Gonzaga of the DAR who installed them as such. Clearly, it
was the DAR who placed respondents in actual possession of the land upon petitioners
offer to transfer the same to the government. Other than this supposed admission, there
is no evidence on record to prove the tenancy relations. Respondents did not substantiate
their claim with evidence to show that they were agricultural tenants in petitioners land.
They did not allege actual cultivation or specify the crop produced thereby. Neither did
they mention how much of the produce was delivered to petitioner or submit receipts to
prove the purported 25-75 sharing of harvests. They did not state, much less prove, the
circumstances of their agreement with petitioner as to the alleged tenancy relationship.
Thus, there is no basis to the claim that they are agricultural tenants on the property.

In VHJ Construction and Development Corporation v. Court of Appeals,[17] we


held that a tenancy relationship cannot be presumed. There must be evidence to prove
the tenancy relations such that all its indispensable elements must be established, to wit:
(1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant; (2) the subject is agricultural land; (3)
there is consent by the landowner; (4) the purpose is agricultural production; (5) there is
personal cultivation; and (6) there is sharing of the harvests. All these requisites are
necessary to create tenancy relationship, and the absence of one or more requisites will
not make the alleged tenant a de facto tenant.
The DARABs reliance on the ruling in Tizon v. Cabagon, et al.[18] that the
landowners admission of the fact of tenancy relationship is conclusive is misplaced.
In Tizon, there was actual proof of tenancy relationship as the landowner therein
categorically admitted in the petition that respondents were her tenants. She also
testified in open court that respondents were managing or in charge of the lands.
Respondents therein proved actual cultivation and there was sharing of harvests.

On the contrary, there is no independent evidence in this case to prove any of the
requisites of a tenancy relationship. The DARAB and the appellate court merely relied
on petitioners alleged admission which we have disregarded.
Even assuming that a tenancy relationship exists between petitioner and
respondents, we find that the latter has no cause of action against petitioner. It should be
noted that the complaint for ejectment was brought against petitioner based on the
growers contract he had executed with TADI.[19] Respondents alleged that petitioner
deprived them of their landholdings by entering into a growers contract, thereby
allowing TADI to plant pineapples in respondents lands. However, an examination of the
contract reveals that it pertains to other lands and not the land being claimed by
respondents.
Petitioners application for VOS covers the land that respondents are claiming as
their landholdings and measures 13.9269 hectares, and is covered by OCT No. (P31540) P-11967.[20] The tax declaration and sketch plan describe the lot as Cadastral Lot
No. 111-B, Pls-555, and bounded on the northeast by Lot Nos. 108 and 105; on the
southeast by Lot No. 114; on the southwest by Lot Nos. 112 and 113; and on the
northwest by Lot No. 111-A.[21]
On the other hand, the lands subject of the growers contract between petitioner
and TADI are Lot No. 117, Pls-555[22] covered by TCT No. T-26810, Lot No. 119-E,
Psd-017487[23] covered by TCT No. T-41460[24] and Lot No. 119-F, Psd-11017487[25] covered by TCT No. T-41461.[26]
It is clear therefore that the subject matter of the growers contract did not include the
land subject of the VOS. Thus, petitioner could not have caused respondents ejectment
from the subject property by virtue of his transactions with TADI, since he never
authorized the latter to plant on the subject land. Respondents ejectment from the land
was not pursuant to the contract petitioner had entered into with TADI who appears to
have entered the land without petitioners consent.
Thus, it was error for the appellate court to affirm DARABs conclusion that it is
immaterial whether the subject landholding is covered by the alleged growers contract or
not. It is, in every sense, material to the determination of the case because petitioner is
sought to be held liable for respondents ejectment due allegedly to the contract. If the

disputed land is not the subject of the contract, as in fact it is not, then respondents
cannot claim that petitioner illegally ejected them from the land. Consequently, they
have no cause of action against petitioner, since the latter did not commit any act that
resulted in their dispossession.
Respondents cause of action is against TADI as it is the latter who allegedly planted
pineapples in the land occupied by respondents, when it is clear that its contract with
petitioner covered different lots. The DARAB itself observed that (i)f indeed the subject
land is not covered by the growers contract ..., the act of defendant-appellee TADI in
ejecting the tenants-appellants was beyond authority, hence, illegal.[27]Respondents
should have thus brought the action only against TADI who alone caused their expulsion
from the land in question.
In this regard, respondents should have filed the instant case before the regular courts
and not the DARAB considering that the only act complained of by respondents is
TADIs alleged intrusion into the subject land. Thus, respondents cause of action is
actually one for forcible entry. The allegation that they were deprived of their
landholdings due to the growers contract will not automatically make the case an
agrarian dispute that would call for the application of tenancy laws and the assumption
of jurisdiction by the DARAB.[28]
In order for a dispute to fall under the jurisdiction of the DARAB, the controversy
must relate 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. [29] There must be a
tenancy relationship between the party litigants for the DARAB to validly take
cognizance of a controversy.[30]
In this case, there is no showing that there exists a tenancy relationship between
petitioner and respondents. Likewise, respondents have no tenancy relationship with
TADI, against whom they principally have a cause of action. The controversy is civil in
nature since it involves the issue of material possession, independent of any question
pertaining to agricultural tenancy. Hence, the case falls outside the jurisdiction of
DARAB; it is cognizable by the regular courts.[31]
Though the parties do not challenge DARABs jurisdiction, the Court may motu
proprio consider the issue of jurisdiction. The Court has discretion to determine

whether DARAB validly acquired jurisdiction over the case since jurisdiction over the
subject matter is conferred only by law.[32]

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