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LUCIA RODRIGUEZ AND G.R. No.

171972 Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) which has


PRUDENCIA RODRIGUEZ, jurisdiction over the case and not the MTC.[13]
versus
TERESITA V. SALVADOR On July 10, 2003, the preliminary conference was terminated and
the parties were ordered to submit their respective position papers together
DEL CASTILLO, J.: with the affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence to support their
respective claims.[14]
Agricultural tenancy is not presumed but must be proven by the person
alleging it. Ruling of the Municipal Trial Court

This Petition for Certiorari[1] under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court On September 10, 2003, the MTC promulgated a
assails the August 24, 2005 Decision[2] and the February 20, 2006 Decision[15] finding the existence of an agricultural tenancy relationship
Resolution[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA G.R. SP No. between the parties, and thereby, dismissing the complaint for lack of
86599. However, per Resolution[4] of this Court dated August 30, 2006, the jurisdiction. Pertinent portions of the Decision read:
instant petition shall be treated as a Petition for Review on Certiorari under
Rule 45 of the same Rules. Based on the facts presented, it is established that
defendant Lucia Rodriguez and her husband Serapio
Factual Antecedents Rodriguez were instituted as agricultural tenants on the lot
in question by the original owner who was the predecessor-
On May 22, 2003, respondent Teresita V. Salvador filed a in-interest of herein plaintiff Teresita Salvador. The consent
Complaint for Unlawful Detainer,[5] docketed as Civil Case No. 330, given by [the]original owner to constitute [defendants] as
against petitioners Lucia (Lucia) and Prudencia Rodriguez, mother and agricultural tenants of subject landholdings binds plaintiff
daughter, respectively before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of who as successor-in-interest of the original owner Cristino
Dalaguete, Cebu.[6] Respondent alleged that she is the absolute owner of a Salvador steps into the latters shoes acquiring not only his
parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P- rights but also his obligations towards the herein
27140[7] issued by virtue of Free Patent No. (VII-5) 2646 in the name of the defendants. In the instant case, the consent to tenurial
Heirs of Cristino Salvador represented by Teresita Salvador;[8] that arrangement between the parties is inferred from the fact
petitioners acquired possession of the subject land by mere tolerance of her that the plaintiff and her successors-in-interest had received
predecessors-in-interest;[9] and that despite several verbal and written their share of the harvests of the property in dispute from
demands made by her, petitioners refused to vacate the subject land.[10] the defendants.

In their Answer,[11] petitioners interposed the defense of agricultural Moreover, dispossession of agricultural tenants can
tenancy. Lucia claimed that she and her deceased husband, Serapio, entered only be ordered by the Court for causes expressly provided
the subject land with the consent and permission of respondents under Sec. 36 of R.A. 3844. However, this Court has no
predecessors-in-interest, siblings Cristino and Sana Salvador, under the jurisdiction over detainer case involving agricultural
agreement that Lucia and Serapio would devote the property to agricultural tenants as ejectment and dispossession of said tenants is
production and share the produce with the Salvador siblings.[12] Since there within the primary and exclusive jurisdiction of the
is a tenancy relationship between the parties, petitioners argued that it is the Department of Agrarian Reform and Agricultural Board
(DARAB). ([S]ee Sec. 1(1.4) DARAB 2003 Rules of Thus, respondent filed a Petition for Review[24] with the CA,
Procedure[.]) docketed as CA G.R. SP No. 86599.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Ruling of the Court of Appeals


instant complaint is hereby ordered DISMISSED for lack
of jurisdiction. On August 24, 2005, the CA rendered judgment in favor of
respondent. It ruled that no tenancy relationship exists between the parties
SO ORDERED.[16] because petitioners failed to prove that respondent or her predecessors-in-
interest consented to the tenancy relationship.[25] The CA likewise gave no
probative value to the affidavits
Aggrieved, respondent filed an appeal, docketed as Civil Case No. of petitioners witnesses as it found their statements insufficient to establish
AV-1237, with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Argao, Cebu, Branch petitioners status as agricultural tenants.[26] If at all, the affidavits merely
26.[17] showed that petitioners occupied the subject land with the consent of the
original owners.[27] And since petitioners are occupying the subject land by
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court mere tolerance, they are bound by an implied promise to vacate the same
upon demand by the respondent.[28] Failing to do so, petitioners are liable to
On January 12, 2004, the RTC rendered a Decision[18] remanding pay damages.[29] Thus, the CA disposed of the case in this manner:
the case to
the MTC for preliminary hearing to determine whether tenancy relationship WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing
exists between the parties. premises, judgment is hereby rendered by us SETTING
ASIDE, as we hereby set aside, the decision rendered by
Petitioners moved for reconsideration[19] arguing that the purpose of the RTC of Argao, Cebu on June 23, 2004 in Civil Case
a preliminary hearing was served by the parties submission of their No. AV-1237 and ORDERING the remand of this case to
respective position papers and other supporting evidence. the MTC of Dalaguete, Cebu for the purpose of
determining the amount of actual damages suffered by the
On June 23, 2004, the RTC granted the reconsideration and [respondent] by reason of the [petitioners] refusal and
affirmed the MTC Decision dated September 10, 2003. The fallo of the failure to turn over to [respondent] the possession and
new Decision[20] reads: enjoyment of the land and, then, to make such award of
damages to the [respondent].
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is
GRANTED. The Decision dated September 10, 2003 of SO ORDERED.[30]
the Municipal Trial Court of Dalaguete, Cebu, is
hereby AFFIRMED.
Issues
[21]
IT IS SO DECIDED.

Respondent sought reconsideration[22] but it was denied by the RTC Hence, this petition raising the following issues:
in an Order[23] dated August 18, 2004.
I.
WHETHER X X X THE COURT OF APPEALS Our Ruling
ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF The petition lacks merit.
JURISDICTION IN RULING THAT PETITIONERS- Agricultural tenancy
DEFENDANTS ARE NOT TENANTS OF relationship does not exist
THE SUBJECT LAND. in the instant case.

II.
WHETHER X X X SUCH RULING OF THE COURT Agricultural tenancy exists when all the following requisites are
OF APPEALS HAS FACTUAL AND LEGAL BASIS present: 1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural
AND IS SUPPORTED WITH SUBSTANTIAL lessee; 2) the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; 3)
EVIDENCE.[31] 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
Petitioners Arguments cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and 6) the harvest
is shared between landowner and tenant or agricultural lessee.[39]
Petitioners contend that under Section 5[32] of Republic Act No.
3844, otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code, tenancy In this case, to prove that an agricultural tenancy relationship exists
may be constituted by agreement of the parties either orally or in writing, between the parties, petitioners submitted as evidence the affidavits of
expressly or impliedly.[33] In this case, there was an implied consent to petitioner Lucia and their neighbors. In her affidavit,[40] petitioner Lucia
constitute a tenancy relationship as respondent and her predecessors-in- declared that she and her late husband occupied the subject land with the
interest allowed petitioners to cultivate the land and share the harvest with consent and permission of the original owners and that their agreement was
the landowners for more than 40 years.[34] that she and her late husband would cultivate the subject land, devote it to
agricultural production, share the harvest with the landowners on a 50-50
Petitioners further argue that the CA erred in disregarding the basis, and at the same time watch over the land. Witness Alejandro Arias
affidavits executed by their witnesses as these are sufficient to prove the attested in his affidavit[41] that petitioner Lucia and her husband, Serapio,
existence of a tenancy relationship.[35] Petitioners claim that their witnesses have been cultivating the subject land since 1960; that after the demise of
had personal knowledge of the cultivation and the sharing of harvest.[36] Serapio, petitioner Lucia and her children continued to cultivate the subject
land; and that when respondents predecessors-in-interest were still alive, he
Respondents Arguments would often see them and respondent get some of the harvest.The
affidavit[42] of witness Conseso Muoz stated, in essence, that petitioner
Respondent, on the other hand, maintains that petitioners are not Lucia has been in peaceful possession and cultivation of the subject
agricultural tenants because mere cultivation of an agricultural land does property since 1960 and that the harvest was divided into two parts, for the
not make the tiller an agricultural tenant.[37]Respondent insists that her landowner and for petitioner Lucia.
predecessors-in-interest merely tolerated petitioners occupation of the
subject land.[38] The statements in the affidavits presented by the petitioners are not
sufficient to prove the existence of an agricultural tenancy.

As correctly found by the CA, the element of consent is


lacking.[43] Except for the self-serving affidavit of Lucia, no other evidence
was submitted to show that respondents predecessors-in-interest consented sustained as a mere possessor, or those caused by the loss of the use and
to a tenancy relationship with petitioners. Self-serving statements, however, occupation of the property, and not the damages which [she] may have
will not suffice to prove consent of the landowner; independent evidence is suffered but which have no direct relation to [her] loss of material
necessary.[44] possession.[49]

Aside from consent, petitioners also failed to prove sharing of WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed August 24,
harvest. The affidavits of petitioners neighbors declaring that respondent 2005 Decision and the February 20, 2006 Resolution of the Court of
and her predecessors-in-interest received their share in the harvest are not Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 86599 are AFFIRMED. This case is
sufficient. Petitioners should have presented receipts or any other evidence ordered REMANDED to the Municipal Trial Court of Dalaguete, Cebu, to
to show that there was sharing of harvest[45] and that there was an agreed determine the amount of damages suffered by respondent by reason of the
system of sharing between them and the landowners.[46] refusal and failure of petitioners to turn over the possession of the subject
land, with utmost dispatch consistent with the above disquisition.
As we have often said, mere occupation or cultivation of an
agricultural land will not ipso facto make the tiller an agricultural SO ORDERED.
tenant.[47] It is incumbent upon a person who claims to be an agricultural
tenant to prove by substantial evidence all the requisites of agricultural
tenancy.[48]

In the instant case, petitioners failed to prove consent and sharing of


harvest between the parties. Consequently, their defense of agricultural
tenancy must fail. The MTC has jurisdiction over the instant case. No error
can therefore be attributed to the CA in reversing and setting aside the
dismissal of respondents complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Accordingly,
the remand of the case to the MTC for the determination of the amount of
damages due respondent is proper.

Respondent is entitled to
the fair rental value or the
reasonable compensation
for the use and
occupation of the subject
land.

We must, however, clarify that the only damage that can be


recovered [by respondent] is the fair rental value or the reasonable
compensation for the use and occupation of the leased property. The reason
for this is that [in forcible entry or unlawful detainer cases], the only issue
raised in ejectment cases is that of rightful possession; hence, the damages
which could be recovered are those which the [respondent] could have
JUAN GALOPE - versus – tenure. The Adjudicator said substantial evidence prove the tenancy
CRESENCIA BUGARIN, represented by relationship between petitioner and respondent. The Adjudicator
CELSO RABANG noted the certification of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
that petitioner is the registered farmer of the land; that Barangay
Tanods said that petitioner is the tenant of the land; that Jose
VILLARAMA, JR., J.: Allingag affirmed petitioners possession and cultivation of the land;
that Allingag also stated that petitioner hired him only as farm helper;
Petitioner Juan Galope appeals the Decision[1] dated September 26, and that respondents own witness, Cesar Andres, said that petitioner
2008 and Resolution[2] dated December 12, 2008 of the Court of is a farmer of the land.[7]
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 97143. The CA ruled that there is
no tenancy relationship between petitioner and respondent Cresencia
Bugarin. On appeal, the DARAB disagreed with the Adjudicator and ruled that
petitioner is not a de jure tenant. The DARAB ordered petitioner to
pay rentals and vacate the land, and the Municipal Agrarian Reform
The facts and antecedent proceedings are as follows: Officer to assist in computing the rentals.

Respondent owns a parcel of land located in Sto. Domingo, Nueva The DARAB found no tenancy relationship between the parties and
Ecija, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. NT- stressed that the elements of consent and sharing are not present. The
229582.[3] Petitioner farms the land.[4] DARAB noted petitioners failure to prove his payment of rentals by
appropriate receipts, and said that the affidavits of Allingag, Rolando
In Barangay Case No. 99-6, respondent complained that she lent the Alejo and Angelito dela Cruz are self-serving and are not concrete
land to petitioner in 1992 without an agreement, that what she proof to rebut the allegation of nonpayment of rentals. The DARAB
receives in return from petitioner is insignificant, and that she wants added that respondents intention to lend her land to petitioner cannot
to recover the land to farm it on her own. Petitioner countered that be taken as implied tenancy for such lending was without
respondent cannot recover the land yet for he had been farming it for consideration.[8]
a long time and that he pays rent ranging from P4,000 to P6,000 or
15 cavans of palay per harvest. The case was not settled.[5] Petitioner appealed, but the CA affirmed DARABs ruling that no
tenancy relationship exists; that the elements of consent and sharing
Represented by Celso Rabang, respondent filed a petition for are not present; that respondents act of lending her land without
recovery of possession, ejectment and payment of rentals before the consideration cannot be taken as implied tenancy; and that no
Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), receipts prove petitioners payment of rentals.[9]
docketed as DARAB Case No. 9378. Rabang claimed that
respondent lent the land to petitioner in 1991 and that the latter gave Aggrieved, petitioner filed the instant petition. Petitioner alleges that
nothing in return as a sign of gratitude or monetary consideration for the CA erred
the use of the land. Rabang also claimed that petitioner mortgaged [I.]
the land to Jose Allingag who allegedly possesses the land.[6]
x x x IN AFFIRMING IN TOTO THE DECISION OF
After due proceedings, the Provincial Adjudicator dismissed the THE DARAB AND IN FAILING TO CONSIDER
petition and ruled that petitioner is a tenant entitled to security of
THE TOTALITY OF THE EVIDENCE OF THE We find the petition impressed with merit and we hold that the CA
PETITIONER THAT HE IS INDEED A TENANT[;] and DARAB erred in ruling that there is no tenancy relationship
between the parties.
[II.]
The essential elements of an agricultural tenancy relationship are: (1)
x x x IN RELYING MAINLY ON THE ABSENCE the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2)
OF RECEIPTS OF THE PAYMENTS OF LEASE the subject matter of the relationship is agricultural land; (3) there is
RENTALS IN DECLARING THE ABSENCE OF consent between the parties to the relationship; (4) the purpose of the
CONSENT AND SHARING TO ESTABLISH A relationship is to bring about agricultural production; (5) there is
TENANCY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee;
PETITIONER AND THE RESPONDENT[; AND] and (6) the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or
agricultural lessee.[13]
[III.]

x x x WHEN IT FOUND THAT THE PETITIONER The CA and DARAB ruling that there is no sharing of harvest is
HAS NOT DISCHARGED THE BURDEN [OF] based on the absence of receipts to show petitioners payment of
PROVING BY WAY OF SUBSTANTIAL rentals. We are constrained to reverse them on this point. The matter
EVIDENCE HIS ALLEGATIONS OF TENANCY of rental receipts is not an issue given respondents admission that she
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RESPONDENT.[10] receives rentals from petitioner. To recall, respondents complaint
in Barangay Case No. 99-6 was that the rental or the amount she
receives from petitioner is not much.[14] This fact is evident on the
The main issue to be resolved is whether there exists a tenancy record[15] of said case which is signed by respondent and was even
relationship between the parties. attached as Annex D of her DARAB petition. Consequently, we are
thus unable to agree with DARABs ruling that the affidavits[16] of
witnesses that petitioner pays 15 cavans of palay or the equivalent
Petitioner submits that substantial evidence proves the tenancy
thereof in pesos as rent are not concrete proof to rebut the allegation
relationship between him and respondent. Specifically, he points out
of nonpayment of rentals. Indeed, respondents admission confirms
that (1) his possession of the land is undisputed; (2) the DAR
their statement that rentals are in fact being paid. Such admission
certified that he is the registered farmer of the land; and (3) receipts
belies the claim of respondents representative, Celso Rabang, that
prove his payment of irrigation fees. On the absence of receipts as
petitioner paid nothing for the use of the land.
proof of rental payments, he urges us to take judicial notice of an
alleged practice in the provinces that payments between relatives are
not supported by receipts. He also calls our attention to the affidavits Contrary also to the CA and DARAB pronouncement, respondents
of Jose Allingag, Rolando Alejo and Angelito dela Cruz attesting that act of allowing the petitioner to cultivate her land and receiving
he pays 15 cavans of palay to respondent.[11] rentals therefor indubitably show her consent to an unwritten tenancy
agreement. An agricultural leasehold relation is not determined by
the explicit provisions of a written contract alone.[17] Section 5[18] of
In her comment, respondent says that no new issues and substantial
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3844, otherwise known as the Agricultural
matters are raised in the petition. She thus prays that we deny the
Land Reform Code, recognizes that an agricultural leasehold relation
petition for lack of merit.[12]
may exist upon an oral agreement.
Thus, all the elements of an agricultural tenancy relationship are suitably located, into residential, factory, hospital or
present. Respondent is the landowner; petitioner is her tenant. The school site or other useful non-agricultural
subject matter of their relationship is agricultural land, a farm purposes: Provided; That the agricultural lessee shall
land.[19] They mutually agreed to the cultivation of the land by be entitled to disturbance compensation equivalent to
petitioner and share in the harvest. The purpose of their relationship five years rental on his landholding in addition to his
is clearly to bring about agricultural production. After the harvest, rights under Sections [25] and [34], except when the
petitioner pays rental consisting of palay or its equivalent in land owned and leased by the agricultural lessor is not
cash. Respondents motion[20] to supervise harvesting and threshing, more than five hectares, in which case instead of
processes in palay farming, further confirms the purpose of their disturbance compensation the lessee may be entitled
agreement. Lastly, petitioners personal cultivation of the land[21] is to an advance notice of at least one agricultural year
conceded by respondent who likewise never denied the fact that they before ejectment proceedings are filed against
share in the harvest. him: Provided, further, That should the landholder not
cultivate the land himself for three years or fail to
Petitioners status as a de jure tenant having been established, we now substantially carry out such conversion within one
address the issue of whether there is a valid ground to eject petitioner year after the dispossession of the tenant, it shall be
from the land. presumed that he acted in bad faith and the tenant
shall have the right to demand possession of the land
and recover damages for any loss incurred by him
Respondent, as landowner/agricultural lessor, has the burden to prove because of said dispossession;
the existence of a lawful cause for the ejectment of petitioner, the
tenant/agricultural lessee.[22] This rule proceeds from the principle (2) The agricultural lessee failed to substantially
that a tenancy relationship, once established, entitles the tenant to a comply with any of the terms and conditions of the
security of tenure.[23] The tenant can only be ejected from the contract or any of the provisions of this Code unless
agricultural landholding on grounds provided by law.[24] his failure is caused by fortuitous event or force
majeure;
Section 36 of R.A. No. 3844 enumerates these grounds, to wit:
(3) The agricultural lessee planted crops or used the
SEC. 36. Possession of Landholding; landholding for a purpose other than what had been
Exceptions. Notwithstanding any agreement as to the previously agreed upon;
period or future surrender of the land, an agricultural
lessee shall continue in the enjoyment and possession (4) The agricultural lessee failed to adopt proven farm
of his landholding except when his dispossession has practices as determined under paragraph 3 of Section
been authorized by the Court in a judgment that is [29];
final and executory if after due hearing it is shown
that: (5) The land or other substantial permanent
improvement thereon is substantially damaged or
(1) The agricultural lessor-owner or a member of his destroyed or has unreasonably deteriorated through
immediate family will personally cultivate the the fault or negligence of the agricultural lessee;
landholding or will convert the landholding, if
(6) The agricultural lessee does not pay the lease the land, we have nevertheless declared that the hiring of farm
rental when it falls due: Provided, That if the non- laborers by the tenant on a temporary, occasional, or emergency basis
payment of the rental shall be due to crop failure to does not negate the existence of the element of personal cultivation
the extent of seventy-five per centum as a result of a essential in a tenancy or agricultural leasehold relationship.[29] There
fortuitous event, the non-payment shall not be a is no showing that petitioner has left the entire process of cultivating
ground for dispossession, although the obligation to the land to Allingag. In fact, respondent has admitted that petitioner
pay the rental due that particular crop is not thereby still farms the land.[30]
extinguished; or
On respondents claim that she will cultivate the land, it is no longer a
(7) The lessee employed a sub-lessee on his valid ground to eject petitioner. The original provision of Section 36
landholding in violation of the terms of paragraph 2 of (1) of R.A. No. 3844 has been removed from the statute
Section [27]. books[31] after its amendment by Section 7 of R.A. No.
6389[32] on September 10, 1971, to wit:
Through Rabang, respondent alleged (1) nonpayment of any
SEC. 7. Section 36 (1) of the same Code is hereby
consideration, (2) lack of tenancy relationship, (3) petitioner
amended to read as follows:
mortgaged the land to Allingag who allegedly possesses the land, and
(4) she will manage/cultivate the land.[25] None of these grounds were (1) The landholding is declared by the department
proven by the respondent. head upon recommendation of the National Planning
Commission to be suited for residential, commercial,
As aforesaid, respondent herself admitted petitioners payment of industrial or some other urban purposes: Provided,
rentals. We also found that a tenancy relationship exists between the That the agricultural lessee shall be entitled to
parties. disturbance compensation equivalent to five times the
average of the gross harvests on his landholding
On the supposed mortgage, Allingag himself denied it in his during the last five preceding calendar years.
affidavit.[26] No such a deed of mortgage was submitted in
evidence. Rabangs claim is based on a hearsay statement of Cesar
Since respondent failed to prove nonpayment of rentals, petitioner
Andres that he came to know the mortgage from residents of the
may not be ejected from the landholding. We emphasize, however,
place where the land is located.[27]
that as long as the tenancy relationship subsists, petitioner must
continue paying rentals. For the law provides that nonpayment of
That Allingag possesses the land is also based on Andress hearsay lease rental, if proven, is a valid ground to dispossess him of
statement. On the contrary, Allingag stated in his affidavit that he is respondents land.Henceforth, petitioner should see to it that his rental
merely petitioners farm helper.[28] We have held that the employment payments are properly covered by receipts.
of farm laborers to perform some aspects of work does not preclude
the existence of an agricultural leasehold relationship, provided that
Finally, the records show that Allingag, petitioners co-respondent in
an agricultural lessee does not leave the entire process of cultivation
DARAB Case No. 9378, did not join petitioners appeal to the CA. If
in the hands of hired helpers. Indeed, while the law explicitly
Allingag did not file a separate appeal, the DARAB decision had
requires the agricultural lessee and his immediate family to work on
become final as to him. We cannot grant him any relief.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition and REVERSE the DECISION
Decision dated September 26, 2008 and Resolution dated December
12, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 97143.
NACHURA, J.:
The petition filed by respondent Cresencia Bugarin in DARAB Case
No. 9378 is hereby DISMISSED insofar as petitioner Juan Galope is Before this Court is a Petition[1] for Review
concerned. on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil
Procedure seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals
No pronouncement as to costs. (CA) Decision[2] dated April 12, 2005 which reversed the
Decision[3]
SO ORDERED.

JOAQUIN SOLIMAN, LAZARO G.R. No. 169589 of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board
ALMARIO, ISIDRO ALMARIO, (DARAB) dated January 15, 2004 and reinstated the
BALDOMERO ALMARIO, Present: Decision[4] of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator
DEMETRIO SOLIMAN, (PARAD) of San Fernando, Pampanga dated August 16,
ROMEO ABARIN, YNARES-
SANTIAGO, J., 1995.
ERNESTO TAPANG and
CRISOSTOMO ABARIN, Chairperson,
Petitioners, CHICO-NAZARIO, The Facts
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA, and The respondents recount the antecedents, as follows:
- versus - PERALTA, JJ.

The property subject of this case is situated at Cabalantian,


PAMPANGA SUGAR Bacolor, Pampanga, with an area of ten (10) hectares, more
DEVELOPMENT COMPANY or less, previously covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
(PASUDECO), INC. and GERRY Promulgated: (TCT) No. 70829-R (subject property) and formerly owned
RODRIGUEZ, by one Dalmacio Sicat (Dalmacio).
Respondents.
June 16, 2009
On December 2, 1969, Dalmacio offered to sell the subject
property to respondent Pampanga Sugar Development
Company (PASUDECO), a domestic corporation engaged
in sugar milling, to be used as a housing complex for TCT Nos. 110325-R,[12] 110326-R[13] and 110327-
PASUDECO's laborers and employees. The land was R[14] were registered in favor of PASUDECO. However,
offered for sale at the price of P8.00 per square meter.[5] On due to financial setbacks suffered after the imposition of
January 26, 1970, Dalmacio reduced the price to P5.00 per Martial Law in 1972, PASUDECO deferred the
square meter.[6] In a meeting held on April 15, 1970, the construction of the housing project. PASUDECO averred
Board of Directors of PASUDECO issued Board that no person was authorized to occupy and/or cultivate
Resolution No. 057[7]authorizing the purchase of the the subject property.
subject property at P4.00 per square meter.
On the other hand, the petitioners have a totally different
[8]
On May 22, 1970, Dalmacio and his tenants jointly filed version.
a Petition[9] with the then Court of Agrarian Relations
(CAR), San Fernando, Pampanga, seeking approval of the Petitioners Joaquin Soliman, Lazaro Almario, Isidro
voluntary surrender of the subject property with payment of Almario, Baldomero Almario, Demetrio Soliman, Romeo
disturbance compensation. On the same date, the Abarin, Ernesto Tapang and Crisostomo Abarin
CAR rendered (petitioners) claimed that, sometime in November 1970,
they started working on the subject property with a
corresponding area of tillage, as certified to by the
a Decision,[10] approving the voluntary surrender of the Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC) on
subject property by the tenants to Dalmacio, thus, December 6, 1989, to wit: (1) Lazaro Almario with an area
terminating their tenancy relationship effective May 21, of 1.65 hectares;[15] (2) Demetrio Soliman with an area of
1970, the date when the parties entered into the agreement. 1.70 hectares;[16] (3) Crisostomo Abarin with an area of
On May 22, 1970, a Deed[11] of Sale with Mortgage was 1.10 hectares;[17] (4) Baldomero Almario with an area of
executed between Dalmacio and PASUDECO. Thereafter, 1.5 hectares;[18] (5) Isidro Almario with an area of 1.5
the documents needed for the conversion of the land to hectares;[19] (6) Romeo Abarin with an area of 0.400
residential purposes were prepared, such as the subdivision hectare;[20] and (7) Ernesto Tapang with an area of .6500
layout with specifications as to the size of each lot; hectare.[21] A Certification[22] dated December 28, 1989 was
topographic survey; monumenting of all corners of the also issued by the Samahang Nayon in favor of petitioner
subdivision lots; and approval of the plan including the Joaquin Soliman with respect to the remaining area of 1.5
technical description of the land. No trespassing signs were hectares. Likewise, on December 28, 1989, the Barangay
also installed around the premises. Thus, on May 31, 1974, Chairperson of Macabacle, Bacolor, Pampanga, certified
that the eight (8) petitioners had been the actual tenant- The real controversy arose when PASUDECO decided to
tillers of the subject property from 1970 up to the pursue the development of the property into a housing
present,[23] and that petitioner Baldomero Almario project for its employees in the latter part of April 1990. On
(Baldomero) was issued Certificate of Land Transfer May 14, 1990, petitioners filed a Complaint[28] for
(CLT) No. 0-043466[24] with an area of 3.2185 hectares on Maintenance of Peaceful Possession with a Prayer for the
July 22, 1981. issuance of a Preliminary Injunction against Gerry before
the PARAD to restrain him from harassing and molesting
The Ocular Inspection and the Investigation petitioners in their respective landholdings. Petitioners
[25]
Report issued by the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer alleged that Gerry, together with armed men, entered the
(MARO) on March 13, 1990 showed that since 1970, property and destroyed some of their crops. Traversing the
petitioners cultivated the subject property, allegedly complaint, Gerry raised as one of his defenses the fact that
managed by the late respondent Gerry Rodriguez (Gerry), PASUDECO was the owner of the subject property. Thus,
manager of PASUDECO from 1970-1991. Petitioners on November 26, 1990, petitioners filed their Amended
alleged that in 1970, Gerry made one Ciriaco Almario Complaint[29] impleading PASUDECO as a party-
(Ciriaco) his overseer/caretaker, tasked to collect lease defendant. Meanwhile, PASUDECO asserted that
rentals from petitioners. In turn, Ciriaco remitted the rentals petitioners were not tenants but merely interlopers,
to Gerry. On May 14, 1990, Ciriaco certified that usurpers and/or intruders into the subject property.
petitioners were the actual tenant-tillers
[26]
of the subject property. Moreover, Trial on the merits ensued. In the process, the PARAD
petitioners deposited their alleged rentals with the Land conducted an ocular inspection and found that the subject
Bank of the Philippines (LBP) in San Fernando, Pampanga, property was planted with palay measuring one (1) foot
as land amortizations, in varying amounts, from 1989 high. There were also several dikes or pilapil dividing the
subject property. The PARAD also observed that there was
to 1993, as shown by the official receipts issued by a big sign installed therein, reading Future Site of
LBP.[27] Thus, petitioners averred that from 1970 up to PASUDECO Employees Housing Project.[30]
1990 or for a period of almost twenty (20) years, they had
been in actual and peaceful possession and cultivation of
the subject property. The PARAD's Ruling
On August 16, 1995, the PARAD dismissed petitioners' The DARAB's Ruling
complaint and denied their application for the writ of
preliminary injunction. The PARAD held that petitioners On January 15, 2004, the DARAB rendered its Decision in
had not shown direct and convincing proof that they were favor of the petitioners, reversing the findings and
tenants of the subject property. Petitioners could not show conclusions of the PARAD. The DARAB held that,
any receipt proving payment of lease rentals either to without the approval of the conversion application filed by
PASUDECO or Gerry. In addition to the absence of PASUDECO, it could not be substantiated that the subject
sharing, the PARAD ruled that there was no consent given property was indeed residential property intended for
by PASUDECO in order to create a tenancy relationship in housing purposes. Because of this, and the fact that
favor of the petitioners. petitioners tilled the subject property for almost twenty (20)
years, the same remained agricultural in character.
Aggrieved, petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal with the Moreover, the DARAB held that, contrary to the findings
DARAB on September 7, 1995 on the following grounds: of the PARAD, the elements of consent and sharing were
(a) that the PARAD abused its discretion by ignoring or present in this case. The DARAB, citing Section 5 of
disregarding evidence which, if considered, would result in Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3844,[33]ratiocinated that
a decision favorable to the petitioners; and (b) that there petitioners entered the subject property in 1970 upon the
were errors in the findings of fact from which equally request of Ciriaco who, with the consent of Gerry as
erroneous conclusions were drawn, which, if not corrected manager of PASUDECO, was authorized to look for
on appeal, would cause grave and irreparable damage or people to cultivate the subject property. Petitioners
injury to the petitioners. cultivated the same and shared their harvests with
PASUDECO, received by Gerry through Ciriaco. Later on,
While the case was pending resolution before the DARAB, when Gerry refused to accept their lease rentals, petitioners
the subject property was devastated by lahar due to the deposited the money with LBP. The DARAB opined that
eruption of Mount Pinatubo sometime in October 1995. As these pieces of evidence established the fact of consent and
a result, the farming activities on the subject property sharing. While express consent was not given, the fact that
ceased. Shortly thereafter, PASUDECO fenced the subject Gerry accepted the lease rentals for a considerable number
property and placed additional signs thereon, indicating of years signified an implied consent which, in turn, bound
that the same was private property.[31] At present, the PASUDECO.
subject property is unoccupied and uncultivated.[32]
PASUDECO filed a Motion for Reconsideration[34] which
was, however, denied by the DARAB in its Hence, the instant Petition assigning the following errors:
Resolution[35] dated May 21, 2004. Thus, PASUDECO
went to the CA for recourse.[36] However, some of the I. The Honorable Court of Appeals failed to
records were found missing, as certified by the DARAB on appreciate the facts of the case when it
ruled that the occupation of the
June 22, 2004.[37] petitioners of the subject lot was without
The CA's Ruling the consent of the respondents, express
or implied.
On April 12, 2005, the CA reversed the DARAB's ruling
and reinstated the PARAD's decision. The CA held that, II. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in
while the subject property was agricultural, there was no applying the principles laid down in the
tenancy relationship between the parties, express or cases of Hilario v. [Intermediate
Appellate Court]and Bernas v. Court of
implied. The CA concurred in the findings of the PARAD Appeals and [in] consequently ruling that
and found no credible evidence to support the contention there is no tenancy relation between the
that petitioners were de jure tenants inasmuch as the parties.
elements of consent and sharing were absent. Citing these
Court's rulings in Hilario v. Intermediate Appellate III. The Honorable Court of Appeals failed to
Court[38] and Bernas v. Court of Appeals,[39] the CA appreciate the provision[s] of Section
5[,] Republic Act No. 3844 which
reiterated that tenancy is not merely a factual relationship
provides for the establishment of
but also a legal relationship; hence, the fact that agricultural leasehold relation by mere
PASUDECO, being the owner of the subject property, was operation of law.
uninvolved in and oblivious to petitioners' cultivation
thereof, tenancy relations did not exist. Thus, the CA IV. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred
concluded that in the absence of any tenancy relationship when it ruled that the instant case [does]
not fall under the jurisdiction of the
between the parties, the case was outside the jurisdiction of
Department of Agrarian Reform
the DARAB. Adjudication [Board].[42]

Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration,[40] which This submission boils down to the sole issue of whether
was denied by the CA in its Resolution[41] dated August 3, petitioners are de jure tenants of the subject property.
2005.
Our Ruling
Pertinent are Sections 4 and 5 of Republic Act No. 3844 as
The instant Petition is bereft of merit. amended, which provide:

Tenants are defined as persons who in themselves and with SEC. 4. Abolition of Agricultural Share
the aid available from within their immediate farm Tenancy. Agricultural share tenancy, as herein
defined, is hereby declared to be contrary to
households cultivate the land belonging to or possessed by
public policy and shall be
another, with the latter's consent, for purposes of abolished: Provided, That existing share
production, sharing the produce with the landholder under tenancy contracts may continue in force and
the share tenancy system, or paying to the landholder a effect in any region or locality, to be governed
price certain or ascertainable in produce or money or both in the meantime by the pertinent provisions of
under the leasehold tenancy system.[43] Republic Act Numbered Eleven hundred and
ninety-nine, as amended, until the end of the
agricultural year when the National Land
Based on the foregoing definition of a tenant, entrenched in Reform Council proclaims that all the
jurisprudence are the following essential elements of government machineries and agencies in that
tenancy: 1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or region or locality relating to leasehold
agricultural lessee; 2) the subject matter of the relationship envisioned in this Code are operating, unless
is an agricultural land; 3) there is consent between the such contracts provide for a shorter period or
parties to the relationship; 4) the purpose of the relationship the tenant sooner exercises his option to elect
the leasehold system: Provided, further, That in
is to bring about agricultural production; 5) there is order not to jeopardize international
personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural commitments, lands devoted to crops covered
lessee; and 6) the harvest is shared between landowner and by marketing allotments shall be made the
tenant or agricultural lessee.[44] The presence of all these subject of a separate proclamation that adequate
elements must be proved by substantial evidence. Unless a provisions, such as the organization of
person has established his status as a de jure tenant, he is cooperatives, marketing agreements, or other
similar workable arrangements, have been
not entitled to security of tenure and is not covered by the
made to insure efficient management on all
Land Reform Program of the Government under existing matters requiring synchronization of the
tenancy laws.[45] Tenancy relationship cannot be presumed. agricultural with the processing phases of such
Claims that one is a tenant do not automatically give rise to crops: Provided, furthermore, That where the
security of tenure.[46] agricultural share tenancy contract has ceased
to be operative by virtue of this Code, or where Under R.A. 3844, two modes are provided for
such a tenancy contract has been entered into in in the establishment of an agricultural leasehold
violation of the provisions of this Code and is, relation: (1) by operation of law in accordance
therefore, null and void, and the tenant with Section 4 of the said act; or (2) by oral or
continues in possession of the land for written agreement, either express or implied.
cultivation, there shall be presumed to exist a
leasehold relationship under the provisions of By operation of law simply means the
this Code, without prejudice to the right of the abolition of the agricultural share tenancy
landowner and the former tenant to enter into system and the conversion of share tenancy
any other lawful contract in relation to the land relations into leasehold relations. The other
formerly under tenancy contract, as long as in method is the agricultural leasehold contract,
the interim the security of tenure of the former which may either be oral or in writing.
tenant under Republic Act Numbered Eleven
hundred and ninety-nine, as amended, and as
provided in this Code, is not Rather, consistent with the parties' assertions, what we
impaired: Provided, finally, That if a lawful lea have here is an alleged case of tenancy by implied
sehold tenancy contract was entered into prior consent. As such, crucial for the creation of tenancy
to the effectivity of this Code, the rights and relations would be the existence of two of the essential
obligations arising therefrom shall continue to elements, namely, consent and sharing and/or payment of
subsist until modified by the parties in
lease rentals.
accordance with the provisions of this Code.

SEC. 5. Establishment of Agricultural After a meticulous review of the records, we find that the
Leasehold Relation. The agricultural leasehold elements of consent and sharing and/or payment of lease
relation shall be established by operation of law rentals are absent in this case.
in accordance with Section four of this Code
and, in other cases, either orally or in writing,
Tenancy relationship can only be created with the consent
expressly or impliedly.
of the true and lawful landholder who is either the owner,
lessee, usufructuary or legal possessor of the property, and
not through the acts of the supposed landholder who has no
The pronouncement of the DARAB that there is, in this
right to the property subject of the tenancy. To rule
case, tenancy by operation of law under Section 5 of R.A.
otherwise would allow collusion among the unscrupulous
No. 3844 is not correct. In Reyes v. Reyes,[47] we held:
to the prejudice of the true and lawful landholder.[48] As
duly found by the PARAD and the CA, Gerry was not The certifications attesting to petitioners' alleged status
authorized to enter into a tenancy relationship with the as de jure tenants are insufficient. In a given locality, the
petitioners. In fact, there is no proof that he, indeed, entered certification issued by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform or
into one. Other than their bare assertions, petitioners rely an authorized representative, like the MARO or the BARC,
on the certification of Ciriaco who, likewise, failed to concerning the presence or the absence of a tenancy
substantiate his claim that Gerry authorized him to select relationship between the contending parties, is considered
individuals and install them as tenants of the subject merely preliminary or provisional, hence, such certification
property. Absent substantial evidence showing Ciriaco's does not bind the judiciary.[51]
authority from PASUDECO, or even from Gerry, to give
consent to the creation of a tenancy relationship, his actions The onus rests on the petitioners to prove their affirmative
could not give rise to an implied tenancy.[49] allegation of tenancy, which they failed to discharge with
substantial evidence. Simply put, he who makes an
Likewise, the alleged sharing and/or payment of lease affirmative allegation of an issue has the burden of proving
rentals was not substantiated other than by the deposit- the same, and in the case of the plaintiff in a civil case, the
payments with the LBP, which petitioners characterized as burden of proof never parts. The same rule applies to
amortizations. We cannot close our eyes to the absence of administrative cases. In fact, if the complainant, upon
any proof of payment prior to the deposit-payments with whom rests the burden of proving his cause of action, fails
LBP. Not a single receipt was ever issued by Gerry, duly to show in a satisfactory manner the facts upon which he
acknowledging payment of these rentals from Ciriaco who, bases his claim, the respondent is under no obligation to
allegedly, personally collected the same from the prove his exception or defense.[52]
petitioners. Notably, the fact of working on another's Petitioners' assertion that they were allowed to cultivate the
landholding, standing alone, does not raise a presumption subject property without opposition, does not mean that
of the existence of agricultural tenancy. Substantial PASUDECO impliedly recognized the existence of a
evidence necessary to establish the fact of sharing cannot leasehold relation. Occupancy and continued possession of
be satisfied by a mere scintilla of evidence; there must be the land will not ipso facto make one a de jure tenant,
concrete evidence on record adequate to prove the element because the principal factor in determining whether a
of sharing. Thus, to prove sharing of harvests, a receipt or tenancy relationship exists is intent.[53] This much we said
any other credible evidence must be presented, because in VHJ Construction and Development Corporation v.
self-serving statements are inadequate.[50] Court of Appeals,[54] where we held that:
Indeed, a tenancy relationship cannot be the property. There is likewise no evidence to
presumed. There must be evidence to prove this suggest that the respondents ever dealt directly
allegation. The principal factor in determining with and acted upon the instruction of
whether a tenancy relationship exists is intent. PASUDECO with respect to the cultivation of
Tenancy is not a purely the property.
factual relationship dependent on what the
alleged tenant does upon the land. It is also a Second, it is indeed inconceivable, as petitioner
legal relationship. As we ruled in Chico v. claims, for the respondents to allow petitioners
Court of Appeals[347 SCRA 35 (2000)]: to work on the property considering that before
its purchase, the prior owner, Dalmacio Sicat,
"Each of the elements hereinbefore mentioned sought for the voluntary surrender of the
is essential to create a de jure leasehold or landholding agreement with the previous
tenancy relationship between the parties. This tenants of the property so that the same can be
de jure relationship, in turn, is the terra sold to PASUDECO free from tenancy. This
firma for a security of tenure between the proves to be true considering that it is
landlord and the tenant. The leasehold undisputed that the subject property was
relationship is not brought about by a mere offered for sale by Dalmacio Sicat to the
congruence of facts but, being a legal petitioner in order for the latter to build its low
relationship, the mutual will of the parties to cost housing project thereon.
that relationship should be primordial."
Third, the certifications issued by Isidro S.
Thus, the intent of the parties, the Almario as BARC Chairman of Agdiman,
understanding when the farmer is installed, and Bacolor, Pampanga to the effect that
their written agreements, provided these are respondents were actually cultivating he subject
complied with and are not contrary to law, are property deserves scant consideration. Said
even more important. certifications can easily be considered as self-
Thus, we agree with the following findings of the CA: serving since the issuing officer is himself one
of the respondents who claimed to be tenants of
the subject property and it is quite natural for
him not to declare anything which is adverse to
First, there is no credible evidence to show that his interest. The same scant consideration can
the alleged caretaker, Ciriaco Almario, was also be accorded to the certification issued by
designated by PASUDECO or its manager, the Barangay Captain of Macabacle, Bacolor,
Gerry Rodriguez, to facilitate the cultivation of Pampanga, As it was held in Esquivel v. Reyes [
G.R. No. 152957, September 8, 2003, 410
SCRA 404 ]. Obviously, the barangay captain Finally, the long period of petitioners' alleged cultivation of
or the mayor whose attestation appears on the the subject property cannot give rise to equitable
document was not the proper authority to make
estoppel. It should be remembered that estoppel in pais, or
such
determination. Even certifications issued by ad equitable estoppel arises when one, by his acts,
ministrative agencies and/or officials representations or admissions or by his silence when he
concerning the presence or the absence of a ought to speak out, intentionally or through culpable
tenancy relationship are merely preliminary or negligence, induces another to believe certain facts to exist
provisional and are not binding on the courts. and the other rightfully relies and acts on such beliefs so
that he will be prejudiced if the former is permitted to deny
xxxx the existence of such facts. The real office of the equitable
norm of estoppel is limited to supplying deficiency in the
Not a single piece of traceable evidence was
shown by respondents when and how much are law, but it should not supplant positive law. The elements
the rental payments that they supposedly paid for the existence of a tenancy relationship are explicit in the
before 1988. In fact, they neither mentioned the law and these elements cannot be done away with by
terms and conditions of their oral tenancy conjectures.[56]
agreement, i.e. kind of agricultural crops to be
planted, if indeed it existed; nor did they WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is DENIED and the
mention that such payments were made in the
Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. S.P. No.
form of harvest sharing equivalent to a certain
percentage agreed upon by the parties. While 84405 dated April 15, 2005 is AFFIRMED. No costs.
there were indeed payments made with the
Land Bank of the Philippines in varying SO ORDERED.
amounts starting 1988 and thereafter, it cannot
be ignored that such payments were
precipitated only by PASUDECOs resistance of
respondents presence in the subject
property. Thus, we concede to the Adjudicator
a quos finding that said payment was made
only as afterthought.[55]