G.R. No. 235736. March 21, 2018


After a judicious study of the case, the Court resolves to DENY the instant petition and AFFIRM the August 22, 2017 Decision[1] and November 21, 2017 Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 107332 for failure of petitioners Heirs of Eusebio Pasalo, namely: Florencio and Iso Pasalo (petitioners) to sufficiently show that the CA committed any reversible error in holding that respondent Laureana G. Fontanilla (Respondent) has (a) a cause of action for recovery of possession against petitioners; and (b) a possessory right over the subject property located at San Jose, San Jacinto, Pangasinan (subject land).

As correctly ruled by the CA, respondent had sufficiently alleged a complaint for recovery of possession,[3] having pleaded: (a) ownership over the subject land which she solely inherited from her mother Maria Cayabyab as shown in her Affidavit of Self-Adjudication[4] dated November 27, 2009; (b) petitioners' occupation was through tolerance; and (c) the demands to vacate, the last of which was on December 8, 2011, were ignored. Moreover, the CA aptly found the absence of tenancy relationship between respondent and petitioners as may be gleaned from the complaint. In fact, petitioners never claimed to be tenants or sharing harvests in the form of rentals with respondent, invoking instead ownership through public and adverse possession since the time of their predecessor in 1968, which they failed to establish by preponderance of evidence. It is basic that "[i]n order to classify a matter as an agrarian dispute which falls under the jurisdiction of the [Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board], it must be first shown that a tenancy relationship exists between the parties. For such relationship to be proven, it is essential to establish all its indispensable elements, namely: (a) that the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (b) that the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; (c) that there is consent between the parties to the relationship; (d) that the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; (e) that there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and (f) that the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee," which were not shown in this case.
SO ORDERED. (PERALTA, J., recused himself from the case as his spouse penned the assailed Court of Appeals Decision and Resolution. DEL CASTILLO, J., designated as additional member per Raffle dated January 15, 2018)."

[1] Rollo, pp. 87-98. Penned by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta with Associate Justices Elihu A. YbaƱez and Carmelita Salandanan Manahan concurring.

[2] Id. at 34-35.

[3] It is well-settled that the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the action is determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the law at the time the action was commenced, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the claims or reliefs sought therein and regardless of the defenses set up in the court or upon a motion to dismiss by the defendant. (See Heirs of Amistoso v. Vallecer, G.R. No. 227124, December 6, 2017)

[4] Rollo, p. 88. Refer to footnote 4.

[5] See Heirs of Amistoso v. Vallecer, G.R. No. 227124, December 6, 2017.