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On May 22, 2003, respondent Teresita V. Salvador filed a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer, docketed as Civil Case No. 330, against petitioners Lucia (Lucia) and Prudencia Rodriguez, mother and daughter, respectively before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Dalaguete, Cebu. Respondent alleged that she is the absolute owner of a parcel of land covered by Original Certificateof Title (OCT) No. P27140 issued by virtue of Free Patent No. (VII5) 2646 in the name of the Heirs of Cristino Salvador represented by Teresita Salvador; that petitioners acquired possession of the subject land by mere tolerance of her predecessors-in-interest; and that despite several verbal and written demands made by her, petitioners refused to vacate the subject land.
On July 10, 2003, the preliminary conference was terminated and the parties were ordered to submit their respective position papers together with the affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence to support their respective claims.
On September 10, 2003, the MTC promulgated a Decision finding the existence of an agricultural tenancy relationship between the parties, and thereby, dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.
Aggrieved, respondent filed an appeal with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). On January 12, 2004, the RTC rendered a Decision remanding the case to the MTC for preliminary hearing to determine whether tenancy relationship exists between the parties. Petitioners moved for reconsideration arguing that the purpose of a preliminary hearing was served by the parties’ submission of their respective position papers and other supporting evidence.On June 23, 2004, the RTC granted the reconsideration and affirmed the MTC Decision dated September 10, 2003. Respondent sought reconsideration but it was denied by the RTC.
Thus, respondent filed a Petition for Review with the CA. the CA rendered judgment in favor of respondent. It ruled that no tenancy relationship exists between the parties because petitioners failed to prove that respondent or her predecessors-in-interest consented to the tenancy relationship. The CA likewise gave no probative value to the affidavits of petitioners’ witnesses as it found their statements insufficient to establish petitioners’ status as agricultural tenants. If at all, the affidavits merely showed that petitioners occupied the subject land with the consent of the original owners. And since petitioners are occupying the subject land by mere tolerance, they are bound by an implied promise to vacate the same upon demand by the respondent. Failing to do so, petitioners are liable to pay damages.
. WON land owner can still exercise their right of retention over subject 4.1685 ha riceland despite the fact that a previous decision denying petition for exemption under PD 27 had long been executory.
WON distinction between exemption from agrarian reform coverage and the right of retentionWON distinction between exemption from agrarian reform coverage and the right of retention
YES. Petitioner heirs of Eudosia Daez may exercise their right of retention over the subject 4.1685 riceland.
In the landmark case of Association of Small Landowners in the Phil., Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform 23 , we held that landowners who have not yet exercised their retention rights under P.D. No. 27 are entitled to the new retention rights under R.A. No. 6657 24 . We disregarded the August 27, 1985 deadline imposed by DAR Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1985 on landowners covered by OLT. However, if a landowner filed his application for retention after August 27, 1985 but he had previously filed the sworn statements required by LOI Nos. 41, 45 and 52, he is still entitled to the retention limit of seven (7) hectares under P.D. No. 27. 25 Otherwise, he is only entitled to retain five (5) hectares under R.A. No. 6657.
Sec. 6 of R.A. No. 6657, which provides, viz.:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
SECTION 6. Retention Limits — Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person may own or retain, directly or indirectly, any public or private agricultural land, the size of which shallvary according to factors governing a viable family-size, such as commodity produced, terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case shall retention by the landowner exceed five (5) hectares. Three (3) hectares may be awarded to each child of the landowner, subject to the following qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years of age; and (2) that he is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm; Provided, That landowners whose land have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder, further, That original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as long as they continue to cultivate said homestead.
The right to choose the area to be retained, which shall be compact or contiguous, shall pertain to the landowner. Provided, however, That in case the area selected for retention by the landowner is tenanted, the tenant shall have the option to choose whether to remain therein or be a beneficiary in the same or another agricultural land with similar or comparable features. In case the tenant chooses to remain in the retained area, he shall be considered a lease holder and shall lose his right to be a beneficiary under this Act. In case the tenant chooses to be a beneficiary in another agricultural land, he loses his right as a lease holder to the land retained by the landowner. The tenant must exercise this option within a period of one (1) year from the time the landowner manifests his choice of the area for retention.
In all cases, the security of tenure of the farmers or farmworkers on the land prior to the approval of this Act shall be respected.Upon the effectivity of this Act, any sale, disposition, lease, management contract or transfer of possession of private lands executed by the original landowner in violation of this Act shall be null and void; Provided, however, That those executed prior to this Act shall be valid only when registered with the Register of Deeds within a period of three (3) months after the effectivity of this Act. Thereafter, all Register of Deeds shall inform the DAR within thirty (30) days of any transaction involving agricultural lands in excess of five (5) hectares" 26 .
defines the nature and incidents of a landowner’s right of retention. For as long as the area to be retained is compact or contiguous and it does not exceed the retention ceiling of five (5) hectares, a landowner’s choice of the area to be retained, must prevail. Moreover, Administrative Order No. 4, series of 1991, 27 which supplies the details for the exercise of a landowner’s retention rights, likewise-recognizes no limit to the prerogative of the landowner, although he is persuaded to retain other lands instead to avoid dislocation of farmers.
Without doubt, this right of retention may be exercised over tenanted land despite even the issuance of Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT) to farmer-beneficiaries. 28 What must be protected, however, is the right of the tenants to opt to either stay on the land chosen to be retained by the landowner or be a beneficiary in another agricultural land with similar or comparable features.
NO. Exemption and retention in agrarian reform are two (2) distinct concepts. Hence, it is incorrect to posit that an application for exemption and an application for retention are one and the same thing. Being distinct remedies, finality ofjudgment in one does not preclude the subsequent institution of the other. There was, thus, no procedural impediment to the application filed by Eudosia Daez for the retention of the subject 4.1865-hectare riceland, even after her appeal for exemption of the same land was denied in a decision that became final and executory.
P.D. No. 27, which implemented the Operation Land Transfer (OLT) Program, covers tenanted rice or corn lands. The requisites for coverage under the OLT program are the following: (1) the land must be devoted to rice or corn crops; and (2) there must be a system of share-crop or lease-tenancy obtaining therein. If either requisite is absent, a landowner may apply for exemption. If either of these requisites is absent, the land is not covered under OLT. Hence, a landowner need not apply for retention where his ownership over the entire landholding is intact and undisturbed.
P.D. No. 27 grants each tenant of covered lands a five (5)-hectare lot, or in case the land is irrigated, a three (3)-hectare lot constituting a family size farm. However, said law allows a covered landowner to retain not more than seven (7) hectares of his land if his aggregate landholding does not exceed twenty-four (24) hectares. Otherwise, his entire landholding is covered without him being entitled to any retention right 20 .
Consequently, a landowner may keep his entire covered landholding if its aggregate size does not exceed the retention limit of seven (7) hectares. In effect, his land will not be covered at all by the OLT program although all requisites for coverage are present. LOI No. 474 clarified the effective coverage of OLT to include tenanted rice or corn lands of seven (7) hectares or less, if the landowner owns other agricultural lands of more than seven (7) hectares. The term"other agricultural lands" refers to lands other than tenanted rice or corn lands from which the landowner derives adequate income to support his family.chanrobles virtuallawlibrary
Thus, on one hand, exemption from coverage of OLT lies if: (1) the land is not devoted to rice or corn crops even if it is tenanted; or (2) the land is untenanted even though it is devoted to rice or corn crops.
On the other hand, the requisites for the exercise by the landowner of his right of retention are the following: (1) the land must be devoted to rice or corn crops; (2) there must be a system of share-crop or lease-tenancy obtaining therein; and (3) the size of the landholding must not exceed twenty-four (24) hectares, or it could be more than twenty-four (24) hectares provided that at least seven (7) hectares thereof are covered lands and more than seven (7) hectares of it consist of "other agricultural lands" .
Clearly, then, the requisites for the grant of an application for exemption from coverage of OLT and those for the grant of an application for the exercise of a landowner’s right of retention, are different.