G.R. No. L-51333 May 18, 1989 RAMONA R. LOCSIN, accompanied by her husband RENATO L. LOCSIN; TERESITA R.

GUANZON, accompanied by her husband ROMEO G. GUANZON; CELINA R. SIBUG; accompanied by her husband CARLOS V. SIBUG; MA. LUISA R. PEREZ, accompanied by her husband JOSE V. PEREZ; EDITHA R. YLANAN, accompanied by her husband CARLOS W. YLANAN; and ANA MARIE R. BENEDICTO, accompanied by her husband JOSE LUIS U. BENEDICTO, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE JUDGE VICENTE P. VALENZUELA, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch III and SPOUSES JOSEPH SCHON, and HELEN BENNETT SCHON, respondents. G.R. No. 52289 May 19, 1989 RAMONA R. LOCSIN, accompanied by her husband RENATO L. LOCSIN; TERESITA R. GUANZON, accompanied by her husband ROMEO G. GUANZON; CELINA R. SIBUG; accompanied by her husband CARLOS V. SIBUG; MA. LUISA R. PEREZ, accompanied by her husband JOSE V. PEREZ; EDITHA R. YLANAN, accompanied by her husband CARLOS W. YLANAN; and ANA MARIE R. BENEDICTO, accompanied by her husband JOSE LUIS U. BENEDICTO, petitioners, vs. CARLOS PANALIGAN, AMADO MARQUEZ, HERBERT PEDROS, ANTONIO FELICIANO, JR., HUGO AGUILOS, ALBERTO GUBATON, JULIA VDA. DE ESQUELITO, SERAFIN JANDOQUELE, SEFERIAS ESQUESIDA, CARLOS DELA CRUZ, ELISEO GELONGOS, ESPINDION JOCSON, SALVADOR MUNUN, ULFIANO ALEGRIA, and IRENEO BALERA, and Spouses JOSEPH SCHON, and HELEN BENNETTE SCHON, respondents. G.R. No. L-51333 May 18, 1989 RAMONA R. LOCSIN, accompanied by her husband RENATO L. LOCSIN; TERESITA R. GUANZON, accompanied by her husband ROMEO G. GUANZON; CELINA R. SIBUG; accompanied by her husband CARLOS V. SIBUG; MA. LUISA R. PEREZ, accompanied by her husband JOSE V. PEREZ; EDITHA R. YLANAN, accompanied by her husband CARLOS W. YLANAN; and ANA MARIE R. BENEDICTO, accompanied by her husband JOSE LUIS U. BENEDICTO, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE JUDGE VICENTE P. VALENZUELA, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch III and SPOUSES JOSEPH SCHON, and HELEN BENNETT SCHON, respondents. Mirano, Mirano & Associates for petitioners in both cases. Jose V. Valmayor & Samuel SM. Lezama for private respondents in G.R. No. 51333. Bonifacio R. Cruz for private respondents in G.R. No. 52289. RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.: There are before us for review the following: (1) the decision of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch 3, in Civil Case No. 13823; and (2) the decision of the Court of Agrarian Relations, 11th Judicial District, in CAR Case No. 76. Both of these decisions dismissed the petitioners' complaints for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioners Ramona R. Locsin, Teresita R. Guanzon, Celina R. Sibug, Ma. Lusia R. Perez, Editha R. Ylanan and Ana Marie R. Benedicto were co-owners of a large tract of agricultural land known as "Hacienda Villa

Record No.25 Ha.Regalado" located in Barrio Panubigan. Antonio Feliciano. Ireneo Balera TOTAL 2.55 Ha. Amado Marquez 3.50 Ha. by Binalbagan River. 1.R. 4.25 Ha. Seferias Esquesida 12. 133). and S. 2 . by Lots 2-F and 2-A of the subdivision plan. 1. Hulo Aguilos 8.07464 hectares. Serafin Jandoquele 11. known as Lot No. being a portion of Lot 2 (remaining portion) described in plan II-6992.90 Ha. 1. T-494 and there more particularly described in the following terms: TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. on the NW. was subject to the lifetime usufructuary rights of respondent Helen Schon:.555 Ha. by Lot 2-A of the subdivision plan.70 Ha. 1. Jr. 2. by Lot 2-E of the subdivision plan. G. 8.00 Ha... Carlos Panaligan 2.. 2.5884 Ha. The bulk of this lot was cultivated by the following lessees-tenants who customarily delivered the rental to Helen Schon: TENANTS 1. 1. 5.O. 3. 3. Ulfiano Alegria 17. Espindion Jocson 15. Salvador Munon 16. 5. Herbert Pedros 4. 2. Alberto Gubaton 7. Negros Occidental..L.35 Ha. Municipality of Canlaon Province of Negros Occidental. 56.. de Esquelito 9.00 Ha. Carlos de la Cruz 13 Eliseo Gelongos 14.. T-494 A parcel of land (Lot 2-G) of the subdivision plan Psd-28446. Carlos Panaligan 10.50 Ha. Julia Vda. 5.033.containing an area of THREE MILLION THIRTY-THREE THOUSAND AND FORTY EIGHT (3.85 Ha.. Bounded on the N.50 Ha.048) square meters. 1. 8. Hugo Aguilos 6. The tract of land was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. .00 Ha.30 Ha. more or less. Sheet 2. on the E. on the W. situated in the Barrio of Panubigan. 1 A portion of this land.00 Ha.32 Ha. 2-C-A-3 and consisting of an area of 60. Canlaon City.

Respondents further argued that. In their Answer. Dismissal of Civil Case No. the respondents Schon once again asserted lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case. in their Answer filed on 12 July 1978. 946 dated 17 June 1976. after the onset of the martial law administration of former President Marcos. i.. 13828. 13823. Civil Case No. The respondent tenants. until full payment of the amortization payments computed by the DAR. Upon the other hand. including the portion thereof subject to Helen Schon's usufructuary rights. and given the facts involved in Civil Case No. In this complaint before the Agrarian Court. 3 Petitioners through counsel sought the opinion of the DAR as to who (petitioners or respondent Helen Schon) should be entitled to receive the rental payments which continued to be made by the respondent tenants to Helen Schon. petitioners impleaded as corespondents of the spouses Schon the tenants who were cultivating the land burdened with the usufruct of Helen Schon. CAR Case No. That jurisdiction. 13828 in the then Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental. There petitioners claimed that since the land subject to Helen Schon's usufructuary rights was among the parcels of land which colectively had been declared by the DAR as a land reform area pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 11th Judicial District. decreeing the "Emancipation of Tenants. 27.On 22 October 1972. the respondents Schon contended that under the provisions of Section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 76. petitioners filed against the spouses Joseph and Helen Schon Civil Case No.e. upon the assumption arguendo that the Court of First Instance did have jurisdiction. 27 was promulgated. Petitioners sought in that case to recover from the Schons all such previous rentals or the money value thereof. 5 2. fell within the scope of "Operation Land Transfer. and the necessary parcellary map sketch was made and submitted to the Bureau of Lands Office in Dumaguete City. Petitioners prayed that the respondent tenants be required to pay to petitioners (rather than to the spouses Schon) all future rentals beginning with the crop year of 1978 and every year thereafter. 13823 and CAR Case No. 3. Court of Agrarian Relations Approximately five (5) months after filing their complaint before the Negros Occidental Court of First Instance." In consequence. petitioners filed a second complaint on 13 October 1978. which issue did not constitute an agrarian dispute and therefore had to be litigated elsewhere. Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental On 22 May 1978. Respondents contended that the dispute between petitioners and respondents Schon related to the continued existence or termination of the usufructuary rights of Helen Schon. for their part. this time with the Court of Agrarian Relations. since such land had already been brought within the ambit of "Operation Land Transfer". this time on the part of the Court of Agrarian Relations. and prayed that the petitioners and the usufructuary be required to litigate among themselves their respective rights before the proper court. staff members of the Department of Agrarian Relations Identified the tenant-tillers of said land. beginning from 21 October 1972. 76 . agreed with the Schons that there was no tenancy relationship existing in respect of the land cultivated by them. was vested in the CAR instead. the Schon spouses urged. the Court of First Instance was bereft of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case. before the regular courts of first instance. Presidential Decree No. Article 609 of the Civil Code must in any case be applied by that court in resolving the case . San Carlos City. for collection of rentals plus damages with prayer for preliminary injunction. and prayed for injunction to prevent the respondents from collecting any further rental payments from the tenants of the land involved. as constituting or forming part of the amortization payments for the land to be made by the tenants.owners and not to the usufructuary." The tract of land owned in common by the petitioners. the rental payments which the respondent spouses had been colecting from the tenants really pertained and should be delivered to petitioners. 4 1. The DAR District Officer rendered an opinion on 30 May 1977 that the rental payments as of 22 October 1972 were properly considered as amortization payments for the land and as such should pertain to the land.

the naked owners. BOTH ARE DISMISSED FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION (pp. Helen Bennett-Schon belongs to the category of a landowner. The Court of First Instance held that it was the Court of Agrarian Relations that had jurisdiction over the case. the Agrarian Court rendered a decision dismissing petitioners' complaint in CAR Case No. since she is the recipient of any and all fruit derived from the land of which the plaintiffs are the naked owners.-G.. the agricultural leasehold relation is not limited to that of a purely landlord and tenant relationship. instructions. (b) Questions involving rights granted and obligations im posed by law. THE LATTER BEING ONLY A REPLAY OF THE FORMER. there is as between the two contending parties. on one hand. however. the other. The . SP No. necessarily.. the then Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental issued an order also dismissing the complaint of petitioners on the same ground of lack of jurisdiction to hear and decide that case. In a Decision dated 27 November 1979. it is the considered stand of this Court that it is not the proper forum both with respect to the second amended complaint and with respect to the petition for appointment of a receiver. 1972 was to be considered as amortization payment to the land and as such should pertain to the land owners and not to the usufructuary. a determination should first be made as to the nature of the lease rentals that were being paid to the defendants by the tenants-lessees.. The usufruct lasts for as long as Helen Bennett-Schon lives. the Provincial Chairman of Operation Land Transfer rendered an opinion that the rentals as of October 21. 76. Consequently.. orders. 13823.A. no agrarian dispute which this Court may take cognizance of. the beneficial owner ² hose controversy revolves on who of them should receive the rentals being paid by the tenants or lessees on the land in question. the Court of Appeals ruled that since the only issue presented in the appeal was whether or not the Court of Agrarian Relations had jurisdiction to try and decide CAR Case No. as follows: (a) Cases involving the rights and obligation of persons in cultivation and use of agricultural land . There is no question that on May 30. 27 as amended . On 16 March 1979. the defendants herein (Annex 'B' of the Complaint). Therefore..On 15 February 1979.. We turn to Civil Case No. who is the usufructuary of the same land. The Court of Agrarian Relations held that it had no jurisdiction to decide the case: . . Locsin. WHEREFORE.. 1977. and Helen BennettSchon. et al. It could be seen from the above that the jurisdiction given to the Court of Agrarian Relations is so broad and sweeping as to cover the issue involved in the present case. Under the circumstances. 76. and rationalized this position in the following manner: In determining whether this Court has jurisdiction. rules and regulations issued and promulgations in relation to the agrarian reform program . (c) Cases involving the collection of amortization on payment for lands acquired under Presidential Decree No. 09-440. the appeal being there docketed as C. Section 12 of Presidential Decree No... RESOLVING BOTH THE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT AND THE PETITION FOR APPOINTMENT OF A RECEIVER..R.. this case actually is a dispute between two landowners ² one. For all legal intents and purposes. and the naked owners of 101 hectares of subject agricultural land. on the other. it is crystal clear that the contending parties are actually Ramona R. the appeal raised "a pure question of law" and certified the case to the Supreme Court for the latter's disposition. 7-8 Decision) 6 Petitioners appealed the decision of the Agrarian Court to the Court of Appeals.. 946 enumerates the case that falls under the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Agrarian Relations. presidential decrees..

² Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: xxx xxx xxx (7) In all civil actions and special proceedings falling within the exclusive origin al jurisdiction of juvenile and domestic relations courts and of the courts of agrarian relations as now provided by law. 52289 were consolidated by a Resolution of this Court dated 16 June 1982. xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied) The Regional Trial Courts have full authority and jurisdiction to interpret and apply both the mass of statutes and rules and regulations relating to land reform and the general civil law. of course. happily. including the law on usufruct. 129 abolished the Courts of Agrarian Relations and did not re-create them. Beyond the question of jurisdiction over the subject matter. Unlike a regional trial court sitting as a probate court. 8 Section 19. 51333 and G. Both the Court of First Instance and the agrarian Court were persuaded by the adroit and disingenuous pleading of respondent Schon's counsel. the substantive question of twhether the peitioner as naked owners of the land subjected to the beneficial owner's right of Helen Schon. 129 which was enacted by the Batasang Pambansa on 10 August 1981 and fully implemented on 14 February 1983. instructions. 49 provides such answerxxxxxxxxx Questions involving rights granted and obligations imposed by the law.agricultural leasehold relationship is established also with respect to the person who furnished the landholding either as owner. 13823 and CAR Case No. 51333. presidential decrees. 7 The above order of the Negros Occidental Court of First Instance was brought directly to us by petitioners on a Petition for Review in G. .R. rules and regulations issued and promulgations in relation to the agrarian reform program. Jurisdiction over both cases is clearly vested in the appropiate Regional Trial Court in view of the provisions of Section 19(7) of Batas Pambansa Blg. The consolidated cases present the question of which court had jurisdiction to decide one and the other case. The search for an answer need not be deferred as reference to Par.R. It might as well be asked whether the opinion of the Provincial Chairman of Operation Land Transfer previously adverted to and which is now one of the issues in this incident would involve the determination of the rights granted and obligations imposed in relation to the agrarian reform program. is. Blg. a region al trial court seized of an agrarian dispute and interpreting and applying statutes and administrative rules and regulations concerning land reform and the sliminations of agricultural tenancy relationships. the determination of the nature of the payment made by the tenants to the defendants herein is a question which involved the right of the tenants in relation to the land reform program of the government. no longer a live one. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. No. The issue of which court is vested with jurisdiction over Civil Case no. 76 is.P. usufructuary or legal possessor and the person who cultivates the same. civil lessee. continues to act as a court of general and plenary jurisdiction. became entitled to the payment's made by the tenants or lessees of such land from and after the property was declared part of a land reform area. No. Clearly. Section 44 of b. (b) of Presidential Decree No. G. No. orders.R.

and to FURNISH the Solicitor General a copy of their respective memoranda.J. Emphasis supplied.. No. 5 Article 609.We note that resolution of the underlying substantive issues here raised requires examination of both land reform statutes and related rules and regulations (and as well the practice of the relevant administrative agency or executive department) and the Civil Code provisions on usufruct. SO ORDERED.R. 19-20.R.. and considering that the pleadings and the records of theses two (2) cases are bare of any substantial discussion by the parties on both issues. Fortuna Mariculture Corporation. C. 51333 and 52289 to file simultaneous memoranda addressing the substantive issues identified above. we shall require the parties to file memoranda on the issues above indicated. 8 Enriquez vs. Footnotes 1 Rollo of G. 51333. the Court Resolved to: (1) REQUIRE the petition and private respondents in G. underscoring supplied. . 52289. that those issues are primarily. 5. 31. and the direct the Solicitor General to intervene in these cases and to file a memorandum addressing the same issues. the Court feels it would not be prudent to resolve those issues without further proceedings. and (2) to DIRECT the Solicitor General to file a motion for intervention on behalf of the government and a memorandum on the same substantive questions within thirty (30) days from receipt of petitioners' and private respondents' memoranda. 4. p.. pp. however. Gutierrez. or to pay the usufructuary the legal interest on the amount of the indemnity for the whole period of the usufruct. No. Mindful of the length of timewhich has gone by since the first of the consolidated cases reched this Court. 51333. JJ. 7 Rollo of G. Jr. 4 Id. and in the effort to render expeditious justice.R. We are convinced. Should the thing in usufruct be expropriated for public use. 3 Rollo of G. 51333. 6 Rollo of G. Bidin and Cortes. p. if not wholly. pp. issues of law rather than of fact and that hence there appears no need to remand these cases to the Regional Trial Court for further proceedings there. 34. p. Fernan. No..R. within thirty (30) days from notice hereof. of the nature and importance of the first issue. we have considered whether we should now confront and resolve the issue relating to the legal character of the payments made by the respondents tenants-lessees since 21 October 1972 to respondent Helen Schon. 2 Rollo of G. ACCORDINGLY. concur.R. 72-73. as well as the issue relating to the possible application of Article 609 of the Civil Code. the owner shall be obliged either to replace it with another thing of the same value and of similar conditions.R. Instead. however. Because. No. No. Nos. p. If the owner chooses the later alternative. 51333. he shall give security for the payment of the interest. Annex "A" of Petition. 158 SCRA 651 (1988).

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