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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No.

169472 January 20, 2009 FRANCISCO LANDICHO, FEDERICO LANDICHO AND BUENAVENTURA LANDICHO, Petitioners, vs. FELIX SIA, Respondent. DECISION PUNO, C.J.: At bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision1 and Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. SP No. 61554, dated February 23, 2005 and July 6, 2005, respectively, reversing the decision of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Adjudication Board (DARAB), in DARAB Case No. 4599. The DARAB decision affirmed with modification the Decision of the Provincial Adjudicator of Region IV, Quezon, in PARAD Case No. IV-QUI-0343-94 dated October 24, 1995, awarding the petitioners disturbance compensation, a home lot consisting of 200 square meters, and damages. The appellate court found that the complaint against the respondent is dismissible for lack of cause of action on the ground of prescription. The instant case involves three parcels of agricultural land located in Barangay Mateona, Tayabas, Quezon, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 135953 - Lot No. 9297,3 TCT No. 135952 - Lot No. 9856,4 and TCT No. 135929 - Lot No. 9895,5 with an aggregate area of approximately 27,287 square meters. The subject parcels of land were originally owned by Loreanne Z. Aragon, Alberto Z. Aragon, Jr., and Alberto Z. Aragon III (Aragons).6 The agricultural land was tenanted by the late Arcadio Landicho from 1949 until his death in 19727after which his tenancy rights were succeeded by his son, petitioner Francisco Landicho.8 The other petitioners, Buenaventura Landicho, Francisco Landicho’s son, and Federico Landicho, Francisco’s brother, helped him cultivate the land.9 On January 31, 1976, Francisco Landicho voluntarily surrendered his tenancy rights over the three parcels of land to Eloisa Zolota, married to Alberto Aragon, through a notarized "Kasulatan sa Pagsasauli ng Gawaing Palayan" (1976 Kasulatan),10 for a consideration of PhP1,000.00. The 1976 Kasulatan provides, viz.: KASULATAN SA PAGSASAULI NG GAWAING PALAYAN HAYAG SA SINUMANG MAKABABASA: Ako, Francisco,[sic] Landicho, may sapat na gulang, may asawa, filipino, at sa ngayon ay naninirahan sa nayon ng Mationa, bayan ng Tayabas, lalawigan ng Quezon, sa bisa ng Kasulatang ito’y NAGSASAYSAY: Na ako ang tunay at rehistradong mangagawa ng tatlong (3) parcelang palayan na may kasamang niogan, na natatayo sa nayon ng Mationa, bayan ng Tayabas, lalawigan ng Quezon, na ang mga sukat, at hangganan nito ay lalong makikilala at matutonton sa mga palatandaang sumusunod: (emphasis supplied) TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE No. T-135953 "A parcel of land (Lot 9297 of the Cad. Survey of Tayabas), with the improvements thereon, situated in the Barrio of Mationa, Municipality of Tayabas, Quezon. x x x containing an area of Four Thousand Three Hundred Eighty Three (4,383) square meters more or less, x x x." TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE No. T-135952 "A parcel of land (Lot 9856 of the Cad. Survey of Tayabas) with the improvements thereon, situated in the Barrio of Mationa, Municipality of Tayabas. x x x containing an area of Nineteen Thousand Thirty Two (19,032) square meters, more or less, x x x." TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE No. T-135929 "A parcel of land (Lot 9895 of the Cadastral Survey of Tayabas), with the improvements thereon, situated in the Barrio of Mationa, Municipality of Tayabas, x x x containing an area of Three Thousand Eight Hundred Seventy Two (3,872) square meters, more or less, x x x." Na sapagkat ako ay mayroon pang ilang palayang ginagawa at alang-alang din sa halagang ISANG LIBONG PISO (P1,000.00), salaping umiiral na ibinayad at tinanggap ko naman ng buong kasiyahan buhat kay Eloisa Zolota, may sapat na gulang, Filipino [sic] kasal kay Alberto Aragon at sa ngayon ay naninirahan din dito sa bayan ng Tayabas, lalawigan ng

[sic] at naninirahan sa bayan ng Tayabas.000.15 Aggrieved. with the improvements thereon. lalawigan ng Quezon. the petitioners first sought the assistance of . 1987 by Francisco Landicho through which he surrendered his tenancy rights to the Aragons for a consideration of PhP3. more or less A parcel of land (Lot 9895 of the Cad. Municipality of Tayabas.032) square meters. at hindi ako makikialam dito. kaya itong naulit na lupa ay aking ISINASAULI at IBINABALIK sa naulit na mayaring nasasabi sa taas nito.: KASULATAN NG PAGSASAULI NG GAWAIN TANTUIN ANG SINUMANG MAKAKABASA NITO: Ako. Upon the sale of the subject land to respondent Felix Sia. ay aking kusang loob na ISASAULI AT IBABALIK sa may-ari nito ang tatlong (3) parcelang palayan na binabanggit sa itaas nito x x x. na ito ay binasa sa akin at naunawaan ko naman ang nilalaman nito. dito ay nagsasalaysay ng mga sumusunod: (emphasis supplied) Na ako ang siyang gumagawa at nagaalaga ng tatlong palagay na lupa na mayroong pagkakaayos gaya ng sumusunod: (emphasis supplied) TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. Quezon.13 The 1987 Kasulatan provides. viz. Aragon. at gayondin mayroong laya silang ipagbili ang naulit na lupa. (emphasis supplied) Na simula ngayon ay mayroong karapatan na sila na kumuha o humanap ng ibang gagawa sa naulit na lupa at hindi na akong makikiaalam dito. the three parcels of land were sold to respondent Felix L.872) square meters. A "Deed of Absolute Sale"14 was executed. may sapat na gulang.000. x x x containing an area of Four Thousand Eight Hundred Three [sic] (4. [sic] ng ito ako’y lumagda sa kasulatang ito ngayong ika 2 ng Hulyo..383) square meters A parcel of land (Lot 9856) of the Cadastral Survey of Tayabas). Survey of Tayabas). whereby the three parcels of land mentioned above were sold. T-135953 A parcel of land (Lot 9897 of the Cad. dito sa bayan ng Tayabas. with the improvements thereon. transferred and conveyed by way of an absolute sale for and in consideration of PhP50. Alberto Aragon III.00. gayondin sapagkat ako ay matanda na at gayondin hindi ko na kayang gumawa sa naulit na lupa. Sia by the spouses Alberto P. DIGPI NG KANANG HINLALAKI FRANCISCO LANDICHO Manggagawa Notwithstanding the execution of the 1976 Kasulatan. filipino. Quezon. Hin’ki FRANCISCO LANDICHO Manggagawa On the same day as the execution of the 1987 Kasulatan. taong 1976.00. Diin ng Kgg.Quezon. the Aragons. ay nilalagdaan ko ito ngayong ika-31 ng Enero. situated in the Barrio of Mationa. he converted the same to a residential subdivision without a DAR Clearance and ejected the petitioners from the subject land. situated in the Barrio of Mationa. asawa ni Lucia Reyes. Alberto Aragon. with the improvements thereon. x x x containing an area of Nineteen Thousand Thirty Two (19. Aragon and Eloisa Zolota Aragon by virtue of a general power of attorney executed in their favor by their children. the petitioners continued cultivating the subject landholdings11 until 1987 when another notarized "Kasulatan ng Pagsasauli ng Gawaing Palayan" (1987 Kasulatan)12 was executed on July 2. Municipality of Tayabas.(emphasis supplied) SA KATUNAYAN ng lahat. Survey of Tayabas). situated in the Barrio of Mationa. FRANCISCO LANDICHO. lalawigan ng Quezon. Jr. more or less Naitong [sic] naulit na lupa ay pagaari nila Loreanne Z. Municipality of Tayabas x x x containing an area of Three Thousand Eight Hundred Seventy Two (3. /[sic]1987 dito sa Tayabas. (emphasis supplied) SA KATUNAYAN NG LAHAT.

During the mediation conference held at the DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Office on July 22. in the Report and Recommendation19 of DAR Provincial Legal Officer III. However. it was found that the petitioners had no claim for tenancy rights over the subject parcels of land. Ayon din sa ulat. DAR Region IV Director Percival C. a Memorandum20 was issued by Legal Officer II.) Percival C.. Cabuyao BARC Chairman Brgy. Legal Division of Lucena City17 alleging that they are the tenants of the parcels of land owned by respondent Felix Sia and claimed that they are entitled to a disturbance compensation. who surrendered his tenancy rights to the former owner. 1994. Sultan. sa pamamagitan ng kasulatan sa pagsasauli ng gawaing palayan ay isinuko na ni G. On February 15. petitioners Buenaventura and Federico Landicho filed another Protest before the DAR Legal Division. Jr. It was likewise found that Federico and Buenaventura are not tenants of the land in question but are merely farm helpers of the legitimate tenant. Jr. Francisco Landicho ang kanyang mga karapatan bilang kasama at magsasaka sa lupang pinaguusapan. Cabuyao. Jr. Maraming salamat po sa inyong pagsulat at sana ay nabigyang linaw namin ang inyong hinaing. Dandumum D. Rosalio J. Petitioners Federico Landicho and Buenaventura Landicho then filed a protest before the DAR PARO. since they were executed by Francisco through the insidious words.16 who in turn brought the matter to the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO) of Quezon. Tayabas. Quezon Mahal na G. x x x. ikinalulungkot po naming ipaalam sa inyo na wala tayong sapat na batayan upang magawa ito. ang magkapatid na Buenaventura at Federico ay hindi kasama o walang ugnayang kasama (tenancy relationship) sa may-ari ng lupa sapagkat ang kanilang ama ang siyang may karapatan at lehitimong kasama. Mationa. he surrendered his tenancy rights by virtue of the 1976 and 1987 Kasulatan. . 1976 and that they were unlawfully ejected from the subject land by virtue of the 1976 and 1987 Kasulatan which they allege to be invalid.22 The letter23 states: Ika-25 ng Abril 1994 G. Dissatisfied with the ruling of the DAR PARO of Lucena City. dated October 1. who was allowed and permitted to work on the subject land and that both he and Federico had not secured the permission of the landowner to farm the land. it was found that they are merely farm helpers of Francisco Landicho and are not entitled to disturbance compensation. Federico Landicho and Buenaventura Landicho filed a Complaint24 against Alberto Aragon. the Aragons.Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC) Chairman Rosalio Cabuyao. Metro Manila. Buenaventura at Federico Landicho. Jr.. 1994. It was also stated in the letter that it is only Francisco Landicho who is the legitimate tenant of the land owned by the Aragons. xxxx Hinggil naman sa pagbibigay ng disturbance compensation kina G. 1992.00. in connivance with respondent Sia. 1992. Pasig. Region IV. (Sgd.. Dalugdug wrote a letter. Rolando Roldan.18 Thus. undue influence and strategy employed by the Aragons. it was affirmed by Buenaventura that it was only Francisco Landicho. petitioners Francisco Landicho. It was held by the DAR Provincial Legal Officer that Francisco Landicho is the legal and bona fide tenant of the parcels of land but he cannot be awarded disturbance compensation because he voluntarily surrendered his tenancy rights over the said properties twice. Francisco Landicho. During an interview with Buenaventura Landicho conducted by Legal Officer II Dandumum Sultan. 1993.21 In response to the complaint of BARC Chairman Rosalio Cabuyao. Ayon sa pagsisiyasat na isinagawa ng aming kawani. stating that the results of an investigation conducted by their representatives revealed that Buenaventura Landicho and Federico Landicho are not tenants of the subject land and are thus not entitled to disturbance compensation. his father. In the case of Buenaventura and Federico Landicho. Kami po ay lumiham sa inyo upang ipaabot sa inyo ang pinakahuling ulat mula sa aming PARO sa Quezon I [sic] hinggil sa inyong iniharap na reklamo na ayon po sa inyo ay hindi binibigyang pansin ni Atty. Ernesto M. Dalugdug Direktor Pangrehiyon On June 10. it was admitted by Francisco Landicho that he voluntarily surrendered his tenancy rights over the subject parcels of land in consideration of PhP3. Sumasainyo. which also dismissed the protest of the petitioners.000. dated April 25. Alberto Aragon III and Felix Sia before the DARAB for fixing and payment of disturbance compensation and awarding of home lot. through the 1976 and the 1987 Kasulatan. The petitioners allege that they are tenants of the subject land since January 31. Arro.

they were free from tenants since Francisco had already relinquished his tenancy rights therein through the execution of public documents. premises considered. 2005. the Aragons recognized only Francisco as their former tenant until he surrendered his tenancy rights through the 1976 Kasulatan and finally surrendered the land upon the execution of the 1987 Kasulatan. 1994. that the claim is barred by prior judgment. They assert that there was no undue advantage exerted over petitioner Francisco Landicho since the 1976 and the 1987 Kasulatan were written in Tagalog.In their Answer25 dated July 7. alleged that when he bought the subject parcels of land. the petitioners were dispossessed of the land that they have been cultivating. 1994. and that the tenant-landlord relationship between Francisco Landicho and the Aragons also ended upon the surrender of his tenancy rights through the 1976 and 1987 Kasulatan.000.000. consequently. 1995. a language understood by Francisco. No pronounce [sic] as to cost. The Court of Appeals found that the essential requisites are not present to establish a tenancy relationship between petitioners Buenaventura and Federico Landicho and the Aragons. Dimacali ruled that against their will. 2. He also ruled that it is not necessary to decide on the issue of whether Federico and Buenaventura are merely farm helpers of Francisco. Furthermore. and.00 as moral damages and P5. nor is it essential to determine whether the 1976 and 1987 Kasulatan are valid. The dispositive portion 30 of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. denying the motion for reconsideration. is hereby directed to file criminal charges for illegal conversion against defendants-appellants. 26 They raised the defense that the petitioners have no cause of action on the grounds of prescription. The Court of Appeals also ruled that even assuming that the petitioners have a cause of action. Provincial Adjudicator Oscar C.31 which issued a decision32 on September 18. The DARAB did not give credit to the report and recommendation of Legal Officer III Ernesto M. that Francisco Landicho voluntarily surrendered his tenancy rights. No Pronouncement as to Costs. he assumed to exercise the rights and obligations that pertain to the previous owners. The Aragons and respondent Sia appealed the foregoing decision to the DARAB. 27 On the other hand. which rendered a decision 36on February 23. 2005. 2005 that set aside the decision of the DARAB and dismissed the complaint. and estoppel. The Court of Appeals issued a Resolution39 on July 6. 2000 that affirmed in part the decision of the Provincial Adjudicator. and deleted the award of disturbance compensation on the basis of the finding that the petitioners are still bona fide tenants in their respective landholdings. Jr. is hereby affirmed with MODIFICATION in so far as the disturbance compensation which is not obtaining in the case at bar considering that plaintiffs-appellees are still bona fide tenants in their respective landholdings. defendant Felix Sia to pay each of the plaintiffs a disturbance compensation equivalent to five (5) years based from the average normal harvest to be determined by the MARO concerned who is hereby required to make a report to this Office within one (1) month from receipt hereof. no tenancy relationship also exists between the petitioners and respondent Felix Sia. The dispositive portion34 of the DARAB decision provides: WHEREFORE. respondent Felix Sia. Sultan. Arro and Legal Officer II Dandumum D. in his Answer with Counterclaim28 dated July 11. the same had already prescribed since the complaint was only filed seven years from the time the cause of action accrued. defendant Felix Sia to provide each plaintiff a homelot [sic] of 200 square meters in the subject landholdings. . laches. 1995.33 The DARAB found that a tenancy relationship exists between the petitioners and the Aragons and that when Felix Sia became the owner of the subject land. SO ORDERED. in favor of the petitioners. After the filing of the parties’ respective position papers. the DAR-BALA of Quezon Province in coordination with the Office of the DAR Secretary. the appealed decision dated October 24. 3. SO ORDERED. IV-QUI-0343-94. if circumstances may still warrant.37 On March 22. Felix Sia then filed a Petition for Review 35 under Rule 43 with the Court of Appeals. and that the claim has been abandoned or otherwise extinguished. the following are hereby ordered: 1. defendants to pay the plaintiffs jointly and severally the sum of P10. the DAR Provincial Adjudicator of Region IV rendered a decision in PARAD Case No.29 dated October 24.00 as exemplary damages. premises considered. the petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration38 of the Court of Appeals decision.

both the petitioners and the respondent agree that he was recognized by the Aragons as a bona fide tenant of the subject land when he continued the cultivation of the land after the death of his father Arcadio in 1972. which were divided among them for cultivation in this wise: TCT No. The DARAB found that a landlord-tenant relationship exists between the petitioners and the respondent and ruled in this wise: However. 135953 with Lot No. it is asserted by the petitioners that they have been cultivating the three lots.tenanted by Buenaventura Landicho.. 135953. which thus validly extinguished the tenancy relationship. As a general rule. Anyone in his right mind for that matter. 135929 and that he voluntarily surrendered his tenancy rights upon the execution of the 1987 Kasulatan. would not even thought [sic] of filing a complaint if they have already abandoned or surrendered the subject landholdings in favor of herein defendants-appellants. this Petition for Review on Certiorari40 of the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals with the following assignment of errors:41 The Honorable Court of Appeals erred: 1.tenanted by Federico Landicho TCT No. The petitioners assert that the Aragons. When it gave due course to the petition and consequently granted the same. through insidious words and machinations.51 With respect to Buenaventura and Federico Landicho. 135952 and TCT No.50 They aver that the 1976 and 1987 Kasulatan were voluntarily executed by Francisco Landicho and that he willingly surrendered his tenancy rights. and (2) whether or not the cause of action of the petitioners already prescribed at the time of the filing of the complaint.54 The DARAB did not give credit to the report and recommendation of the DAR Provincial Legal Officer and DAR Provincial Adjudicator of Region IV that Francisco Landicho voluntarily surrendered his tenancy rights through the 1987 Kasulatan and that Federico and Buenaventura Landicho were merely farm helpers. which is essentially a question of fact.45 In determining the existence of a tenancy relationship between the petitioners and the respondent. plaintiffs-appellees Francisco Landicho et. The case before us involves the determination of whether the petitioners are tenants of the land purchased by the respondent. took advantage of Francisco Landicho’s illiteracy and old age in order to make him sign the 1976 and 1987 Kasulatan. 47 The Aragons and respondent Felix Sia deny that they took advantage of petitioner Francisco Landicho and the respondent also denies employing any fraudulent scheme48 since both the 1976 and the 1987 Kasulatan were written in Tagalog.. since the findings of facts of the DARAB and the Court of Appeals contradict each other. 135952 with Lot No. TCT No. would suddenly lose interest in it for good time [sic] when they know that full ownership over the same would soon be in their hands. a language understood by Francisco Landicho. The parties filed their respective Memoranda42 which both raised the following issues:43 (1) whether or not the petitioners are bona fide tenants of the land purchased by the respondent. 9895. questions of fact are not proper in a petition under Rule 45. [sic] al.46 The dispute between the parties arose when the petitioners were ejected from the land on the basis of the 1976 and the 1987 Kasulatan. With respect to Francisco.Hence. would not waste time[.] effort and money especially if he is poor to prosecute an unworthy action. The Court of Appeals also agreed with the PARO and the Region IV DAR that Federico and . the validity of which cannot be collaterally attacked. the predecessors-in-interest of the respondent. 9897. When it disregarded the finding of facts [sic] of the DARAB that petitioners are bonafide [sic] tenants of the land purchased by herein respondent and therefore entitled to security of tenure. Besides. We find it hard to believe that plaintiffs-appellees who have been tilling the land in question for so long a time. the validity of which is questioned by the petitioners. it is crucial to go through the evidence and documents on record as a matter of exception to the rule. and 2.tenanted by Francisco Landicho TCT No. We deny the petition. 9896. 135929 with Lot No.52 They claim that there was an implied tenancy relationship because the Aragons have personal knowledge of the fact that the petitioners were the ones who cultivated the land53 and they were in continuous possession of the land until sometime in 1987 when they were unlawfully ejected by virtue of the invalid 1987 Kasulatan. it is necessary to make a distinction between petitioner Francisco Landicho and petitioners Buenaventura and Federico Landicho. 55 The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the DARAB and agreed with the ruling of the DAR PARO and the Region IV DAR Legal Division that only petitioner Francisco Landicho was the tenant of all of the three lots covered by TCT No.44 But.49 They further argue that these are public documents.

all of the following essential requisites must be present: (1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant.60 Not all of these requisites obtain in the case at bar. it was held in the an agreed system of sharing. or paying to the landholder a price certain or ascertainable in produce or in money or both. although Federico and Buenaventura claim that they are tenants of "Lot No. sharing of harvests. as: x x x a person who. who was allowed and permitted to work on the subject land and that both he and Federico had not secured the permission of the landowner to farm the land. (2) the subject matter is agricultural land. it is stated that during an interview conducted with Buenaventura Landicho.58 The existence of a tenancy relationship cannot be presumed and claims that one is a tenant do not automatically give rise to security of tenure. 9896 and Lot No. under the leasehold tenancy system. his father. with the latter's consent for purposes of production. (6) there is sharing of the harvests between the parties. there is no other independent and concrete evidence in the record of the case that would sustain the finding that Federico and Buenaventura are tenants of the Aragons. aside from self-serving statements. there was no evidence presented to establish the presence of the essential requisites of a tenancy relationship other than the self-serving statements of the petitioners. Jr. in the Memorandum of DAR Region IV Legal Officer II Dandumum Sultan. and.. cultivates the land belonging to. Moldex Realty. v. expressly or impliedly.65 This is supported by the evidence on record where.64The DARAB’s inferences are without basis and are purely speculative. or possessed by. to undertake jointly the cultivation of a land belonging to the landholder." 61 respectively. sharing the produce with the landholder under the share tenancy system. It was not shown that Federico and Buenaventura cultivated the land with the consent of the landowners. both the 1976 and the 1987 Kasulatan only mentioned Francisco as the tenant of the subject parcels of land. Acquiescence by the landowner of their cultivation of the land does not create an implied tenancy if the landowners have never considered petitioners Federico and Buenaventura as tenants of the land .59 For a tenancy relationship to exist. such as receipts. without does not ipso facto create a tenancy. There is no tenancy relationship between the Aragons and petitioners Federico and Buenaventura without the essential elements of consent and sharing of agricultural produce. 1199. (5) there is personal cultivation by the tenant. ruling that they were considered as part of the bona fide tenant’s immediate farm household and for this reason. Inc. The Court of Appeals correctly held that only Francisco was the bona fide tenant of the land in question and that Federico and Buenaventura were just farm helpers of Francisco. (3) there is consent between the parties. as a result of which relationship the tenant acquires the right to continue working on and cultivating the land. another."69 share of their harvest to the was a sharing of the harvest the harvest. (4) the purpose is agricultural production. The essential element of consent is absent because the landowners never recognized petitioners Federico and Buenaventura Landicho as legitimate tenants of the subject land. Independent evidence. and there was no mention of petitioners Federico and Buenaventura.67 And. the Aragons cannot be faulted for not questioning their possession and cultivation of the subject landholdings. must be presented to show that there between the landowner and the tenant. as part of his immediate farm household.56 We agree with the Court of Appeals and give credence to the findings of the DAR PARO and Region IV DAR.62 A tiller or a farmworker does not automatically become an agricultural tenant recognized under agrarian laws by mere occupation or cultivation of an agricultural land.63 The DARAB did not cite any evidence to show the existence of the requisites of a tenancy relationship and merely based the conclusion that the petitioners are tenants of the Aragons on the weak reasoning that filing a complaint is inconsistent with the voluntary surrender of the landholdings and that it is unlikely that petitioners would suddenly lose interest in the subject land when they know that ownership would soon be transferred to them. The petitioners cannot rely on their self-serving statements to prove the existence of a tenancy relationship because independent and concrete evidence. And. and except for its sweeping conclusion. assuming the landowners received a share of case of Cornelio de Jesus. he disclosed that it was only Francisco Landicho.Buenaventura Landicho were merely farm helpers of Francisco. 9897.66 There was also no evidence presented to show that Federico and Buenaventura gave a Aragons. A tenant is defined under Section 5(a) of Republic Act No. or consent of the landowner. himself and with the aid available from within his immediate farm household. is needed to prove personal cultivation.57 A tenancy relationship arises between a landholder and a tenant once they agree.68 that "[t]he fact of receipt.70 Neither can we give any weight to the petitioners’ contention that there was an implied tenancy by reason alone of their continuous cultivation of the land. et al. otherwise known as the Agricultural Tenancy Act of the Philippines. simply because they continuously cultivated and openly occupied the subject land. Furthermore.

In the case of Epitacio Sialana v. the 1976 and the 1987 Kasulatan are presumed valid. they already filed a protest before the DAR Legal Division of Lucena prior to their Complaint before the DARAB. the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals under review are hereby AFFIRMED without pronouncement as to costs. 83 Even assuming that they have a cause of action.73 This conclusion finds basis in the investigation conducted by the PARO.77 The 1987 Kasulatan also states that the contents of the document were read to him and that he understands the same. (2) Voluntary surrender of the landholding by the agricultural lessee. Mary Y. written notice of which shall be served three months in advance. otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code. the petitioners’ complaint against the respondent is dismissible on the ground of prescription and for lack of cause of action. They were written in an uncomplicated manner and clearly stated that he is returning the land that he has been cultivating to the landowners because he is already old and could no longer work on the land. . intelligently. Both the 1976 and the 1987 Kasulatan were also written in Tagalog.000. Coming now to the second issue of prescription.74 The tenancy relationship was validly extinguished through the execution of the 1987 Kasulatan and upon the voluntary surrender of the landholdings pursuant to Section 8 of Republic Act No. is also contrary to the records of the case. Avila.00. It is also important to note that both the 1976 and 1987 Kasulatan are duly notarized and are considered as public documents evidencing the surrender of Francisco’s tenancy rights over the subject landholdings. — The agricultural leasehold relation established under this Code shall be extinguished by: (1) Abandonment of the landholding without the knowledge of the agricultural lessor. this arose in 1987 when they were ejected from the landholdings they were cultivating which means that it took them about five (5) years to file a protest before the DAR Legal Division of Lucena. They were executed with all the legal formalities of a public document and thus the legal presumption of the regularity and validity of the Kasulatan are retained in the absence of full. their cause of action has already prescribed.78 Strong evidence is required to prove a defect of a public instrument.82 The records of the case show that the protest before the DAR Legal Division of Lucena was filed sometime in 1992 when the case was set for a mediation conference. — An action to enforce any cause of action under this Code shall be barred if not commenced within three years after such cause of action accrued. specifically provides that: SECTION 38. Statute of Limitations. IN VIEW WHEREOF. 3844. or (3) Absence of the persons under Section nine to succeed to the lessee. aside from being unsubstantiated. and fairly protecting her property rights. the actuations of the parties taken in their entirety must be demonstrative of an intent to continue a prior lease established by the landholder x x x. otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code. et al.and if the essential requisites of a tenancy relationship are lacking. Clearly.80 This contention cannot be sustained."76 The petitioners’ contention that the Aragons employed fraud. petitioner Francisco Landicho admitted that he voluntarily surrendered his tenancy rights over the subject parcels of land in consideration of PhP3."72 With respect to petitioner Francisco Landicho. Accordingly. 3844. he voluntarily surrendered his tenancy rights when he knowingly and freely executed the 1987 Kasulatan. where during the mediation conference. in the event of death or permanent incapacity of the lessee. It is only when such age or infirmities impair the mental faculties to such extent as to prevent one from properly. An action to enforce rights as an agricultural tenant is barred by prescription if not filed within three (3) years. which is the language understood by Francisco Landicho. and it took them seven (7) years to file a Complaint before the DARAB. Extinguishment of Agricultural Leasehold Relation. 79 and since such strong and convincing evidence was not presented in the instant case. There was no intention to institute the petitioners as agricultural tenants. the petitioners argue that they did not sleep on their rights because although the Complaint with the DARAB was filed on June 10. to wit: SECTION 8.81Section 38 of Republic Act No. 1994. is she considered incapacitated.75 The petitioners also failed to support their claim that the Aragons took advantage of Francisco’s old age and illiteracy and employed fraudulent schemes in order to deceive him into signing the Kasulatan.71 it was held that "x x x for an implied tenancy to come about. the Court of Appeals also correctly held that although Francisco was the legal tenant of the subject land. It has been held that "[a] person is not incapacitated to contract merely because of advanced years or by reason of physical infirmities. clear and convincing evidence to overcome such presumption.

Later. It was originally known as Royal Savings Bank. Petitioner. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. respectively. the Central Bank ordered its closure on 9 July 1984. and a new one entered DISMISSING NLRC NCR CA No.R. No. GSIS FAMILY BANK (Comsavings Bank) and THE HON. he was appointed as Business Development and Public Relations (BDPR) Officer of the entire respondent bank. Oversight Committee and Investigating Committee of the respondent bank.5 On 23 October 1997.7 In 1987. the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. No. the assailed NLRC Decision dated January 30. J. In 1983 and the early part of 1984. and was subsequently assigned to other branches of respondent bank within the Province of Cavite. 037015-03 (NLRC NCR Case.4 In addition to his regular duties as BDPR Officer. 07-05075-2002). GSIS infused . DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO. Eventually. 2004. respondent bank underwent serious liquidity problems and was placed by the Central Bank of the Philippines (Central Bank) under receivership. the respondent bank was reopened under the control and management of the Commercial Bank of Manila and was then renamed as Comsavings Bank. in their Decisions dated 30 January 2004 and 30 June 2003. No pronouncement as to costs. he rose from the ranks and was promoted as branch manager of the Gen. is a banking institution duly authorized and existing as such under the Philippine laws. Trias Branch.SO ORDERED.6 Respondent bank. vs.3 The factual and procedural antecedents of this instant petition are as follows: Petitioner was employed by the respondent bank as utility clerk on 1 February 1971. 2007 RICARDO PORTUGUEZ. The dispositive portion of the assailed decision of the appellate court reads: IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING. Finally. However. the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) acquired the interest of the Commercial Bank of Manila in the respondent bank and together with the Central Bank and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC). he was designated as Acting Assistant Vice-President and at the same time Officer-In-Charge of the respondent bank on 15 June 1998. on the other hand. of the Decision1dated 25 April 2005 and the Resolution2 dated 25 August 2005 of the Court of Appeals. due to the continued inability to maintain a state of liquidity. petitioner was designated as a member of the Procurement Bidding and Awards Committee (PBAC). 2004. COURT OF APPEALS. that respondent GSIS Family Bank is guilty of the illegal dismissal of petitioner Ricardo Portuguez. 169570 March 2.: For resolution is a Petition for Review by Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. are RECALLED and SET ASIDE. After two months. The assailed Decision and Resolution reversed the findings of both the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the Labor Arbiter. together with the Resolution dated June 22. petitioner was temporarily assigned as caretaker of respondent bank. Respondents.

petitioner opted to avail himself of this retirement package. In a Decision15 dated 30 January 2004. respondent bank appealed the adverse decision to the NLRC which adopted in toto the findings of the Labor Arbiter. – representing differentials. issued a Writ of Execution19 for the satisfaction of the NLRC decision dated 30 January 2004. however.000. the designation of petitioner as Officer-In-Charge and caretaker of respondent bank was recalled.17 Shortly thereafter.00 – representing backwages. was retained. Acting on the application for TRO. Las Piñas City Branch. and intense pressure he had received from the new management through Macalino.324 Million as retirement pay.9 In line with its policy to attain financial stability.a substantial amount of fresh capital into respondent bank in order to ensure its effective rehabilitation. supposedly. was prematurely declared final and executory and was entered into judgment on 6 August 2004. judgment is hereby rendered.11 In his Position Paper. unfair treatment. the NLRC dismissed the appeal and found the decision of the Labor Arbiter to be sufficiently supported by the facts on record and law on the matter. Incorporated with its petition was the Urgent Application for the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Resultantly.12 petitioner alleged that due to discrimination. the Labor Arbiter adjudged the respondent bank guilty of illegal dismissal. on 16 September 2004.884. respondent bank came up with an early voluntary retirement program. the satisfaction of the Writ of Execution dated 16 September 2004 issued by the Labor Arbiter was tolled for a period of 60 days. petitioner filed a complaint against the respondent bank and Macalino for constructive dismissal and underpayment of wages.10 On 11 July 2002. On the same date. Amando Macalino (Macalino) was appointed as President of the respondent bank on 21 December 1998. 13th month pay and retirement benefits before the Labor Arbiter.0 0 443. In a Decision13 dated 30 June 2003.32 500.333. Thus.148. GSIS took over the control and management of the respondent bank that was renamed as GSIS Family Savings Bank.00 400.21 . under protest. Pending resolution of its petition and application for the issuance of TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction before the appellate court. and received the amount of P1. – representing separation pay.000. on 16 August 2004. Respondent bank’s Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied by the NLRC in its Resolution16 dated 22 June 2004 for failing to show that patent or palpable errors have been committed in the assailed decision. – representing damages. Respondents are jointly and solidarily liable to pay RICARDO PORTUGUEZ the following: P1. Concomitantly. the Labor Arbiter.280. 33 1.000. respondent bank timely elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals through a Special Civil Action for Certiorari18 under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. Other claims are dismissed for lack of merit. exemplary Ten percent of the total award as attorney’s fees. In view of Macalino’s appointment. respondent bank adopted measures directed to cut down administrative overhead expenses through streamlining. National Capital Region is made part of this Decision. The NLRC Resolution dated 22 June 2004. his appointment as Acting Assistant Vice-President. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. On 15 April 2001. denying respondent bank’s motion for reconsideration. he was forced to retire at the prime of his life. salary – representing moral damages.14 Aggrieved. the Court of Appeals enjoined the implementation of the NLRC decision dated 30 January 2004 and therefore. a Notice of Garnishment20 was served on the manager/cashier of respondent bank in the Pamplona Uno. The detailed computation of the Computation & Examination Unit.8 Accordingly. finding complainant to have been illegally dismissed.

. After scrupulously examining the contrasting positions of the parties. For the purpose of clarity and intelligibility. respondent bank maintains that petitioner was not coerced to resign but voluntarily opted to avail himself of the early retirement program and was duly paid his retirement benefits. we find the records of the case bereft of evidence to substantiate the conclusions reached by both the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC that petitioner was constructively dismissed from employment. Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court limits the office of a Petition for Review to questions of law and leaves the factual issues as found by the quasi-judicial bodies. Constructive dismissal or constructive discharge has been defined as quitting because continued employment is rendered impossible. subjected him to all forms of unbearable harassment that can be mustered in order to force him to resign. and are considered binding on this Court. when sufficiently supported by evidence on record. In contrast.25 For the resolution of this Court are the following issues: I. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT DECLARED THAT PETITIONER IS NOT ENTITLED TO SALARY DIFFERENTIAL. including his office. this Court will make an infinitesimal scrunity of the records and recalibrate and reevaluate the evidence presented by the parties all over again. on one hand. and the conflicting decisions of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. II.23 Similarly ill-fated was Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration which was denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution24 dated 25 August 2005. through Macalino. Neither was it shown that there was a decrease in salary and privileges or downgrading of petitioner’s rank. On 25 April 2005. respondent bank cannot therefore grant him the salary and benefits accorded to such position. therefore. the Court of Appeals stressed that there was no showing that petitioner’s separation from employment was due to involuntary resignation or forced severance. that when the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC are inconsistent with that of the Court of Appeals. 30In the case at bar. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT DECLARED THAT PETITIONER WAS NOT CONSTRUCTIVELY DISMISSED FROM EMPLOYMENT. however. are accorded respect if not finality.27 As borne by the records.Eventually. who are deemed to have acquired expertise on the matters within their jurisdiction. there is a need to review the records to determine which of them should be preferred as more conformable to evidentiary facts. the appellate court issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction22 permanently enjoining the execution of the NLRC decision dated 30 January 2004 until the final resolution of the case. What can be clearly deduced from the evidence was that until his voluntary retirement in 2001. Respondent bank allegedly granted much higher salary to the newly hired bank officers compared to what he was receiving during his tenure. Hence. Settled then is the fact that petitioner suffered no demotion in rank or diminution in pay that could give rise to a cause of action against respondent bank for constructive dismissal under this definition. this instant Petition for Review on Certiorari. petitioner was holding the position of Acting Assistant Vice-President and was receiving the salary and benefits accorded thereto. In finding that petitioner was not constructively dismissed from employment. Petitioner specifically claims that he was deprived of his salary and other benefits and privileges appurtenant to his position as the Acting Assistant Vice-President. unreasonable or unlikely.29 Substantively. Before we delve into the merits of the case. It posits that petitioner was merely holding the position of Assistant Vice-President in acting capacity subject to the ratification of the respondent bank’s Board of Directors and since his appointment has never been ratified by the Board. and the appellate court. We have already repeatedly held that this Court is not a trier of facts. on the other. it is best to underscore that the factual findings of the NLRC affirming those of the Labor Arbiter. as long as they are supported by evidence. the Court of Appeals resolved the controversy by reversing the judgment of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC and ruling out constructive dismissal considering that petitioner’s separation from service was voluntary on his part when he chose to avail himself of the respondent bank’s early retirement program and received the amount of P1. a demotion in rank or diminution in pay was never raised as an issue.28 We never fail to stress as well that when the rulings of the labor tribunal and the appellate court are in conflict. as an offer involving a demotion in rank and a diminution in pay. we are constrained to analyze and weigh the evidence again.26 It is equally true. and those of the Court of Appeals. petitioner alleges that respondent bank.324 Million as retirement pay. it appears that there is a divergence between the findings of the Labor Arbiter as affirmed by the NLRC.

to wit: Mr. miserably failed to substantiate his claim.000. 38 It bears stressing. petitioner avers that he was discriminated against by the respondent bank in terms of payment of salary and grant of benefits and allowances. such self-serving and unsubstantiated declaration is insufficient to establish a case before quasi-judicial bodies. No proof was likewise presented by petitioner to show that the functions. that this legal principle presupposes that there is indeed an involuntary separation from employment and the facts attendant to such forced separation was clearly established. Petitioner likewise failed to present any proof tending to show that he was discriminated against by the respondent bank. petitioner asseverates that in cases of constructive dismissal. Upon careful perusal of the position papers. even if other equally reasonable minds might opine otherwise. at the very least. was way below what the newly hired bank officers were enjoying. it must be established that. 37 And failing to discharge such presumption. the burden of proof rests on the employer to show that the employee was dismissed on a valid and just cause. What is undisputed is the fact that petitioner availed himself of respondent bank’s early voluntary retirement program and accordingly received his retirement pay in the amount of P1. In several cases.000 basic pay and P4. We are not unaware of the statutory rule that in illegal dismissal cases. This legal principle has no application in the instant controversy for as we have succinctly pointed above. While he vigorously cried that the newly hired bank officers were afforded higher salaries and benefits compared to what he was earning. Portuguez has reliably learned that Bank records could show that your newly hired officers are being paid the basic salaries in the range of P25.32 Thus. Petitioner strenuously argues that while the newly hired bank officers were given higher salaries and fat allowances.000 to P30.36 It is beyond question that the evidence presented by petitioner cannot be considered as substantial evidence. petitioner failed to establish that indeed he was discriminated against and on account of such discrimination.31 It is upon the aforementioned legal tenet that petitioner anchored his case. he was forced to sever his employment from the respondent bank. even just verify his claim. petitioner failed to establish that he possessed the same skills. in fact. however. was ever submitted by petitioner to buttress the very premise of his position that there was discrimination. and second. petitioner. Well-entrenched is the rule that the quantum of evidence required to establish a fact in quasi-judicial bodies is substantial evidence. Consequently. Again. is that constructive dismissal does not always take the form of demotion in rank or diminution in pay. however. No evidence was ever offered by petitioner to prove the amount of salaries and bonuses actually enjoyed by the newly hired bank officers. substantial or otherwise. first. duties and responsibilities he was performing are the same as those of the newly hired bank officers. respondent bank should be adjudged guilty of illegal dismissal. Indubitably. competencies and expertise as those of the newly hired bank officers so as to eliminate any possibility of substantial distinction that may warrant the unequal treatment between them. It is indeed true that the demand letter made reference to bank records upon which petitioner purportedly derived his allegation but no such bank records were ever presented as evidence at any stage of the proceedings. In addition. Substantial evidence is such amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. insensibility or disdain by an employer may become so unbearable on the part of the employee so as to foreclose any choice on his part except to resign from such employment. Discrimination has been defined as the failure to treat all persons equally when no reasonable distinction can be found between those favored and those not favored. we have ruled that the act of a clear discrimination. petitioner’s case is devoid of substance to convince even the unreasonable minds. except for his bare allegations contained in his demand letter34 dated 20 February 2001. according to him.000 allowance for the position of Acting Assistant Vice-President which. the employer has the onus probandi to show that the employee’s separation from employment is not motivated by discrimination.33 Apropos thereto. the burden of proof will not vest on respondent bank to prove the legality of petitioner’s separation from employment but aptly remains with the petitioner to prove his allegation that his availment of the early voluntary retirement program was. or effected as a form of punishment or demotion without sufficient cause. made in bad faith. there is no reasonable distinction or classification that can be obtained between persons belonging to the same class. including the evidence appended thereon. for evidently the records are stripped of supporting proofs to. done involuntarily. Stated differently. We do not agree. we are not persuaded. before a claim for discrimination can prosper. . persons belonging to the same class have not been treated alike. as in the case at bar.324 Million under such program. he was merely paid the amount of P15. Verily. we find that no evidence.Worthy to stress. however.35 Such bare and sweeping statement contains nothing but empty imputation of a fact that could hardly be given any evidentiary weight by this Court. memoranda and other pleadings submitted by petitioner from the Labor Arbiter up to this Court.

(Emphases supplied. we have already laid down that findings of fact of quasi-judicial bodies are conclusive and are not subject to review by the Court. The Decision dated 25 April 2005. not he who denies.) Verily. and existing jurisprudence. while inexorably committed towards the protection of the working class from exploitation and unfair treatment. we should not be unmindful of the legal norm that justice is in every case for the deserving. the proverbial hen that lays the golden egg. petitioners were burdened to prove their allegation that respondents dismissed them from their employment. Roosevelt Service Center. that we are but bound to uphold the working class in every labor dispute brought before this Court for our resolution. positive or convincing evidence in the present case to support his claims.43 It should be remembered that the Philippine Constitution. While our laws endeavor to give life to the constitutional policy on social justice and on the protection of labor. the Labor Arbiter mainly hinges its ruling on the Constitutional dogma that due to the lopsided power of capital over labor. must prove. however. We must bear in mind the legal dictum that. both rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. but in the case at bar. we are constrained to deny petitioner’s claim for salary differentials. the applicable law. on the one hand. and the Resolution dated 25 August 2005. Indeed. SO ORDERED. 85723. . "he who asserts.As we have explicitly ruled in Machica v.44 The presumption in favor of labor cannot defeat the very purpose for which our labor laws exist: to balance the conflicting interest of labor and management and to guaranty that labor and management stand on equal footing when bargaining in good faith with each other. However. the State shall intervene as an equalizer consistent with the social justice policy affording protection to labor. the facts and the evidence did not establish even at least a rational basis for how much the standard compensation for the said position must be. Petitioner’s incessant reliance on the findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC is equally unavailing. the instant petition is DENIED. thus.R."40 In the same breath. SP No. Inc. positive and convincing. on the other. The rule that the employer bears the burden of proof in illegal dismissal cases finds no application here because the respondents deny having dismissed the petitioners. We are not unmindful that the amount of P19. No costs. WHEREFORE. petitioner did not present any clear. in view of the foregoing. it does not mean.000 a month may not be commensurate compensation to the position of Acting Assistant Vice-President. to be dispensed with in light of established facts. and the maintenance of the legal rights of capital. nevertheless mandates the policy of social justice so as to strike a balance between an avowed predilection for labor. are hereby AFFIRMED. he never presented any evidence at all other than his own self-serving declarations. At the outset. we must be vigilant in striking down any attempt of the management to exploit or oppress the working class. 41 In finding that respondent bank is guilty of constructive dismissal.42 While we agree with the Labor Arbiter that in light of this Constitutional mandate. It is not enough that petitioner perceived that he was receiving a very low salary in the absence of a comparative standard upon which he can peg his supposed commensurate compensation. not to tilt the scale to favor one over the other. It must be stressed that the evidence to prove this fact must be clear.39: The rule is that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it. Indeed. The law also recognizes that management has rights which are also entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of fair play. this rule does not apply if such findings are tainted with mistake or not supported by evidence. it does not mean that every labor dispute will be decided in favor of the workers.