Tenancy, a legal relationship

Tenancy is a legal relationship established by the existence of particular facts as required by law.[1] For a tenancy relationship to exist between the parties, the following essential elements must be shown:
  1. The parties are the landowner and the tenant;
  2. The subject matter is agricultural land;
  3. There is consent between the parties;
  4. The purpose is agricultural production;
  5. There is personal cultivation by the tenant; and
  6. There is sharing of the harvests between the parties.[2]
All the above elements must concur in order to create a tenancy relationship. Thus, the absence of one makes an occupant of a parcel of land, a cultivator or a planter thereon, NOT A DE JURE TENANT who would otherwise be entitled to security of tenure under existing tenancy laws.[3]

The burden of proof rests on the one claiming to be a tenant to prove his affirmative allegation by substantial evidence. His failure to show in a satisfactory manner the facts upon which he bases his claim would put the opposite party under no obligation to prove his exception or defense. The rule applies to civil and administrative cases.[4]

In this relation, it bears stressing that the right to hire a tenant is basically a personal right of a landowner, except as may be provided by law.[5] Hence, the consent of the landowner should be secured prior to the installation of tenants.[6]

In the case of Quintos v. DAR (G.R. NO. 185838, February 10, 2014), the PARAD, the DARAB and the CA all held that a tenancy relationship exists between GCFI and the 53 KAMIFCI members who were allegedly installed as tenants by APT, the “legal possessor” of the mango orchard at that time. Records are, however, bereft of any showing that APT was authorized by the property’s landowner, GCFI, to install tenants thereon. To be sure, APT only assumed the rights of the original mortgagees in the case, i.e., PNB and DBP, which, however, have yet to exercise their right to foreclose the mortgaged properties due to the RTC’s order enjoining the same.It is settled that a mortgagee does not become the owner of the mortgaged property until he has foreclosed the mortgage and, thereafter, purchased the property at the foreclosure sale.[7]

With the foreclosure proceedings having been enjoined, APT could not have been regarded as the “landowner” of the subject property. Thus, since the consent of the standing landowner, GCFI, had not been secured by APT in this case, it had no authority to enter into any tenancy agreement with the KAMIFCI members.

It is well to note that a reliance on Section 6[8] of RA 3844,[9] as amended, does not dilute the propriety of this conclusion. In Valencia v. CA (Valencia),[10] the Supreme Court explained that the said section already “assumes that there is already an existing agricultural leasehold relation,” consistent with the “personal character” of the tenancy relationship, viz.:[11]
When Sec. 6 provides that the agricultural leasehold relations shall be limited to the person who furnishes the landholding, either as owner, civil law lessee, usufructuary, or legal possessor, and the person who personally cultivates the same, it assumes that there is already an existing agricultural leasehold relation, i.e., a tenant or agricultural lessee already works the land. The epigraph of Sec. 6 merely states who are “Parties to Agricultural Leasehold Relations,” which assumes that there is already a leasehold tenant on the land; x x x.

To better understand Sec. 6, let us refer to its precursor, Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 1199, as amended. Again, Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 1199 assumes the existence of a tenancy relation. As its epigraph suggests, it is a "Limitation of Relation," and the purpose is merely to limit the tenancy "to the person who furnishes the land, either as owner, lessee, usufructuary, or legal possessor, and to the person who actually works the land himself with the aid of labor available from within his immediate farm household." Once the tenancy relation is established, the parties to that relation are limited to the persons therein stated. Obviously, inherent in the right of landholders to install a tenant is their authority to do so; otherwise, without such authority, x x x landholders cannot install a tenant on the landholding. Neither Sec. 6 of R.A. No. 3844 nor Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 1199 automatically authorizes the persons named therein to employ a tenant on the landholding. xxx
Noted authority on land reform, Dean Jeremias U. Montemayor, explains the rationale for Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 1199, the precursor of Sec. 6 of R.A. No. 3844: "Since the law establishes a special relationship in tenancy with important consequences, it properly pinpoints the persons to whom said relationship shall apply. The spirit of the law is to prevent both landholder absenteeism and tenant absenteeism. Thus, it would seem that the discretionary powers and important duties of the landholder, like the choice of crop or seed, cannot be left to the will or capacity of an agent or overseer, just as the cultivation of the land cannot be entrusted by the tenant to some other people. Tenancy relationship has been held to be of a personal character."

[1] Salmorin v. Dr. Zaldivar, 581 Phil. 531, 538 (2008).

[2] Estate of Pastor M. Samson v. Susano, G.R. Nos. 179024 and 179086, May 30, 2011, 649 SCRA 345, 365.

[3] Reyes v. Spouses Joson, 551 Phil. 345, 352 (2007).

[4] See Soliman v. Pampanga Sugar Development Company (PASUDECO), Inc., G.R. No. 169589, June 16, 2009, 589 SCRA 236, 249-250.

[5] Valencia v. CA, 449 Phil. 711, 730 (2003); VHJ Construction and Development Corp. v. CA, 480 Phil. 28, 38 (2004); Sumawang v. Engr. De Guzman, 481 Phil. 239, 247 (2004); Pag-asa Fishpond Corp. v. Jimenez, 578 Phil. 106, 130 (2008).

[6] See Pag-asa Fishpond Corporation v. Jimenez, id. at 134.

[7] Ramirez v. CA, 456 Phil. 345, 353.

[8] Section 6. Parties to Agricultural Leasehold Relation - The agricultural leasehold relation shall be limited to the person who furnishes the landholding, either as owner, civil law lessee, usufructuary, or legal possessor, and the person who personally cultivates the same.

[9] Entitled “AN ACT TO ORDAIN THE AGRICULTURAL LAND REFORM CODE AND TO INSTITUTE LAND REFORMS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INCLUDING THE ABOLITION OF TENANCY AND THE CHANNELING OF CAPITAL INTO INDUSTRY, PROVIDE FOR THE NECESSARY IMPLEMENTING AGENCIES, APPROPRIATE FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.”

[10] Supra note 47.

[11] Id. at 730-732.

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