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G.R. No.

109093 November 20, 1995

LOPE MACHETE, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and CELESTINO VILLALON, respondents.

FACTS: Private respondent Celestino Villalon filed a complaint for collection of back rentals and damages before the RTCof Tagbilaran City against petitioners Lope Machete et al.. The complaint alleged that the parties entered into a leasehold agreement with respect to private respondent's landholdings, under which petitioners were to pay private respondent a certain amount or percentage of their harvests. However, despite repeated demands and with no valid reason, petitioners failed to pay their respective rentals. Private respondent thus prayed that petitioners be ordered to pay him back rentals and damages.

Petitioners moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the trial court over the subject matter. They contended that the case arose out of or was connected with agrarian relations, hence, the subject matter of the complaint fell squarely within the jurisdiction of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the exercise of its quasi-judicial powers under Sec. 1, pars. (a) and (b), Rule II of the Revised Rules of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB).The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, 1 and denied the motion for reconsideration. 2

ISSUE: WON respondent appellate court failed to consider that the agreement involved is an agricultural leasehold contract, hence, the dispute is agrarian in nature.

RULING: The petition is impressed with merit. Section 17 of E.O. 229 8 vested the DAR with quasi-judicial powers to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters as well as exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving implementation of agrarian reform except those falling under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in accordance with law.Section 1, pars. (a) and (b), Rule II of the Revised Rules of the DARAB explicitly provides

Sec. 1. Primary, Original and Appellate Jurisdiction. The Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board shall have primary jurisdiction, both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes, cases, controversies, and matters or incidents involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Court of Appeals as well as its resolution denying reconsideration is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The orders of RTC are REINSTATED. records of this case be immediately transmitted to the appropriate Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) for proper adjudication .

SO ORDERED.

DAMASO SEBASTIAN and TOMASA CARDENAS, petitioners, vs. HON. HORACIO R. MORALES, Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform,

FACTS: Private respondents Leonila Sarenas, Josephine Sarenas-Dayrit, Evangeline Sarenas, et al. are the heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas, who died intestate on June 27, 1986. During his lifetime, Guillermo owned the following agricultural landholdings, all located in Cabanatuan City:1. Agricultural lot with an area of 1.6947 by Juanito Gonzales;2. Agricultural lot with an area of 3.1663
hectares with petitioner Damaso Sebastian as the tenant; and3. Agricultural lot with an area of 2.2723 hectares, with Perfecto Mana as the tenant. In addition to the foregoing properties, Guillermo was also the registered owner of a parcel of agricultural land. This property was, in turn, tenanted by Manuel Valentin and Wenceslao Peneyra.The tenants tilling the farm lots had already issued emancipation patents pursuant to P.D. No. 27.] Private respondents filed an application with the (DAR) Regional Office for retention of over five hectares of the late Guillermos landholdings. Among the lots which private respondents sought to retain under Section 6 of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (R.A. No. 6657)he DAR Regional Office in San Fernando, Pampanga granted private respondents application.

Petitioner Sebastian moved for reconsideration The DAR Regional Director found that the order was contrary to law. He then issued a new order, which instead allowed private respondents to retain a parcel of land with an area of 4.9993 hectares Private respondents then appealed the order .The Secretary of Agrarian Reform set aside the order. Petitioner Sebastian then filed a motion for
reconsideration, but this motion was denied by the DAR ISSUE:: whether or not the dismissal by the Court of Appeals of the petition is valid and proper. RULING: In the instant case, petitioners failed to show any compelling reason for not resorting to the proper remedy. Instead, we find from our perusal of their pleadings before the appellate court that they stoutly and persistently insisted that the extraordinary remedy of certiorari was their correct remedy. First, in instituting CA-G.R. SP No. 51288, petitioners categorically invoked the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to have the questioned orders of the DAR Secretary declared null and void for having been issued and promulgated with grave abuse of discretion . . . a mounting to lack of jurisdiction. Section 61 of R.A. No. 665 clearly mandates that judicial review of DAR orders or decisions are governed by the Rules of Court. The Rules direct that it is Rule 43 that governs the procedure for judicial review of decisions, orders, or resolutions of the DAR Secretary. By pursuing a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 rather than the mandatory petition for review under Rule 43, petitioners opted for the wrong mode of appeal. Pursuant to the fourth paragraph of Supreme Court Circular No. 2-90,[] an appeal taken to the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals by the wrong or inappropriate mode shall be dismissed. Therefore, we hold that the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in dismissing CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 for failure of petitioners to pursue the proper mode of appeal. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals as well as the resolution of the appellate court dated December 10, 1999, is AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.