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EMILIA MICKING VDA. DE CORONEL and BENJAMIN CORONEL - versus - MIGUEL TANJANGCO, JR.

Petition for cancellation of certificate of land transfer and for ejectment filed by respondent Miguel Tanjangco, Jr.

FACTS: Miguel Tanjangco, Jr. was the owner of parcels of land found in Sta. Monica, Hagono , !ulacan. these pieces of propert were "eing culti#ated " petitioner $%ilia Mic&ing Coronel and her hus"and as agricultural lessees, and when the latter died $%ilia was gi#en, " force of the go#ern%ent's Operation Land Transfer, a certificate of land transfer (C)T* co#ering the lots. +#er ti%e saltwater graduall saturated the propert , %a&ing it unsuita"le for rice culti#ation. Hence, Coronel agreed with Tanjangco, Jr to con#ert the lots into a fish far% for a consideration of ,-,...... and relin/uishing their rights as tenants. Coronel leased a portion of lot Jess Santos for a ter% of fi#e ears and then to 0ionisio Tori"io, "oth of who% successi#el operated fishing ponds on the land. 1hen Tanjangco, Jr learned a"out these leases, he de%anded that petitioners #acate the lots. The de%and went unheeded. Tanjangco, Jr was, thus, urged to "ring the %atter "efore the Barangay Agrarian 2efor% Co%%ittee, et the parties could not a%ica"l settle their issues "efore the said "od . 3t is e#ident fro% the records that Ministr of Agrarian 2efor% (MA2* granted Tanjangco Jr's petition to retain se#en hectares of inherited land ac/uired fro% his grandparents, Adriano and Juana Tanjangco 4 the parents of Miguel, Sr. of which the lots in dispute is included. 3t was declared e5e%pt fro% Operation Land Transfer the lots su"ject of the petition and directed that e5isting tenants in the co#ered area "e %aintained in their peaceful possession as agricultural lessees. ,ro#incial adjudicator's noted that the %atter of cancelling petitioners' C)T was alread water under the "ridge in #iew of the MA2's directi#e to cancel it along with all the other e5isting C)Ts. it was found that petitioners' relin/uish%ent of rights, coupled with the con#ersion of the lots into fishing ponds, as well as the #oluntar surrender of possession to Jess Santos, had #alidl ter%inated e5isting tenurial rights. Aggrie#ed, petitioners appealed to the 0A2-Central Adjudication !oard (0A2-CA!* which re#ersed the decision of the pro#incial adjudicator, holding that petitioners were alread dee%ed owners of the su"ject propert on the effecti#e date of ,residential 0ecree (,.0* 6o. 78 and that the pro#isions in the law on prohi"ited transfers and relin/uish%ent of land awards should appl to the transactions entered into " the parties. Following the denial of his %otion for reconsideration, respondent ele#ated the %atter to the Court of Appeals #ia a petition for re#iew. The Court of Appeal pointed out that inas%uch as Miguel, Sr. had failed to e5ercise his right of retention during his lifeti%e, respondent, as successor-in-interest ac/uired such right which he could therefore e5ercise as he in fact did. Thus, it noted, when the MA2 ordered the cancellation of $%ilia's C)T affecting )ot 6o. 9: and affir%ed respondent's retention rights, petitioners "eca%e leaseholders on the propert "ut their rights as such would ter%inate on the e5ecution of the ;<:. =asunduan where" the relin/uished their rights for a consideration in accordance with Sections : and 7: of 2.A. 6o. 9:>>. As to )ot 6os. 98 and 9<, the appellate court held that petitioners re%ained to "e the owners thereof and saw no reason to cancel petitioners' title thereto since proof was lac&ing to the effect that petitioners had surrendered these lots to Tanjangco Jr. !oth parties %o#ed for reconsideration which the Court of Appeals denied. Hence, this petition. 2?)36@: To "egin with, it is conceded that )ot 6os. 98, 9: and 9< ha#e all co%e under the land redistri"ution s ste% of 2.A. 6o. 9:>>; and the go#ern%ent's Operation Land Transfer under ,.0. 6o. 78.7 3t is li&ewise conceded, as the parties the%sel#es do, that a certificate of land transfer has pre#iousl "een issued in fa#or of Coronel. Howe#er, Coronel's eject%ent fro% the landholding is sought on account of the alleged relin/uish%ent of tenurial rights which the had e5ecuted in accordance with the pro#isions of Sections 78 and 9- of 2.A. 6o. 9:>>. ,etitioners argue that the agree%ent was not intended to effect a ter%ination of their tenurial rights on )ot 6o. 9:. A %ere fleeting glance at the ;<:. Kasunduan suggests not a hint that petitioners, for a %onetar consideration, agreed to relin/uish their rights as agricultural lessees and there" surrender possession of the land to respondent. 1hat co%es clear
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fro% the foregoing is that respondent and petitioners %erel agreed, as the latter had pre#iousl suggested to the for%er, to operate fishing ponds on )ot 6o. 9: and instead of culti#ating rice, conduct fish far%ing thereon. 3t is e#ident fro% the records that the lease agree%ent o#er )ot 6o. 9: in fa#or of Jess Santos was e5ecuted not " petitioners "ut rather " respondent hi%self. 3t was respondent's na%e that appears therein as the lessor, with Jess Santos acceding to operate a fishing pond on the land. 1ith respect to the lease agree%ent with 0aniel Tori"io e5ecuted after the e5piration of the first lease, we find that although it was !o Coronel who signed in as lessor, still, this will not suffice as a ground to dispossess petitioners of the three lots and eject the% fro% the propert inas%uch as, to reiterate, dispossession on account of ha#ing e%plo ed a su"lessee under Sections 9- and 78 of 2.A. 6o. 9:>> re/uires a final judg%ent of the court in that respect. +ur law on agrarian refor% is a legislated pro%ise to e%ancipate poor far% fa%ilies fro% the "ondage of the soil. ,.0. 6o. 78 was pro%ulgated in the e5act sa%e spirit, with %echanis%s which hope to forestall a re#ersion to the anti/uated and ine/uita"le feudal s ste% of land ownership. 3t ai%s to ensure the continued possession, culti#ation and enjo %ent " the "eneficiar of the land that he tills which would certainl not "e possi"le where the for%er owner is allowed to reac/uire the land at an ti%e following the award in contra#ention of the go#ern%entAs o"jecti#e to e%ancipate tenantfar%ers fro% the "ondage of the soil. 3n order to ensure the tenant-far%erAs continued enjo %ent and possession of the propert , the e5plicit ter%s of ,.0. 6o. 78 prohi"it the transfer " the tenant of the ownership, rights or possession of a landholding to other persons, or the surrender of the sa%e to the for%er landowner. 3n other words, a tenant-far%er %a not transfer his ownership or possession of, or his rights to the propert , e5cept onl in fa#or of the go#ern%ent or " hereditar succession in fa#or of his successors. An other transfer of the land grant is a #iolation of this proscription and is, therefore, null and #oid. 0ecision of the Court of Appeals is MODI!IED. ,etitioners' entitle%ent to the possession and culti#ation of )ot 6o. 9: as agricultural lessee in accordance with the Jul 78, ;<:- +rder of the Ministr of Agrarian 2efor% in MA2C+ Ad%. Case 6o. 333-;>8>-:-, is A!!IRMED.