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Gelos v. CA
G.R. No. 86186, May 08, 1992, 208 SCRA 608 (1992)
The subject land is a 25,000 square meter farmland situated in Cabuyao, Laguna, and belonging originally to private respondent Ernesto Alzona and his parents in equal shares. On July 5, 1970, they entered into a written contract with petitioner Gelos employing him as their laborer on the land at the stipulated daily wage of P5.00.
The contract of employment dated July 5, 1970, written in Tagalog and entitled "Kasunduan ng Upahang Araw," provides that "ang Ikalawang Panig (meaning Gelos) ay may ibig na magpaupa sa paggawa sa halagang P5.00 sa bawa't araw, walong oras na trabaho" (The Second Party desires to lease his services at the rate of P5.00 per day, eight hours of work) and that"Ipinatatanto ng Ikalawang Panig na siya ay hindi kasama sa bukid kundi upahan lamang na binabayaran sa bawa't araw ng kanyang paggawa sa bukid na nabanggit.'' (The Second Party makes it known that he is not a farm tenant but only a hired laborer who is paid for every day of work on the said farm.)
On September 4, 1973, after Alzona had bought his parents' share and acquired full ownership of the land, he wrote Gelos to inform him of the termination of his services and to demand that he vacate the property. Gelos refused and continued working on the land.
On October 1, 1973, Gelos went to the Court of Agrarian Relations and asked for the fixing of the agricultural lease rental on the property. He later withdrew the case and went to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, which granted his petition.
For his part, Alzona filed a complaint for illegal detainer against Gelos in the Municipal Court of Cabuyao, but this action was declared "not proper for trial" by the Ministry of Agrarian Reform because of the existence of a tenancy relationship between the parties. Alzona was rebuffed for the same reason when he sought the assistance of the Ministry of Labor and later when he filed a complaint with the Court of Agrarian Relations for a declaration of non-tenancy and damages against Gelos. On appeal to the Office of the President, however, the complaint was declared proper for trial and so reinstated.
RTC found Gelos to be a tenant of the subject property and entitled to remain thereon as such.
CA reversed RTC decision.
Whether or not petitioner is a tenant of the private respondent and entitled to the benefits of tenancy laws and not only a hired laborer whose right to occupy the subject land ended with the termination of their contract of employment
No. It is not the nature of the work involved but the intention of the parties that determines the relationship between them.
The indications of an employer-employee relationship are:
1. the selection and engagement of the employee;
2. the payment of wages;
3. the power of dismissal; and
4. the power to control the employee's conduct –– although the latter is the most important element.
Tenancy relationship is distinguished from farm employer-farm worker relationship in that: "In farm employer-farm worker relationship, the lease is one of labor with the agricultural laborer as the lessor of his services and the farm employer as the lessee thereof. In tenancy relationship, it is the landowner who is the lessor, and the tenant the lessee of agricultural land. The agricultural worker works for the farm employer and for his labor be receives a salary or wage regardless of whether the employer makes a profit. On the other hand, the tenant derives his income from the agricultural produce or harvest."
Here, the private respondent, instead of receiving payment of rentals or sharing in the produce of the land, paid the petitioner lump sums for specific kinds of work on the subject lot or gave him vales, or advance payment of his wages as laborer thereon.