Caballes vs DAR
G.R. No. 78214, Dec. 5, 1988, 168 SCRA 254 (1988)
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 thosefour 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.
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.
Regional Director of MAR Regional VII, issued a certification dated January 24, 1983, stating that said Criminal Case 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.
Whether or not 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.
No. 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;
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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."
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 sixty-square 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. Thus, the order sought to be reviewed is patently contrary to the declared policy of the law stated above.
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.
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.