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[ GR No. L-13431, Nov 24, 1959 ]



106 Phil. 520

[ G.R. No. L-13431, November 24, 1959 ]




Simeon La Fuente filed a petition before the Court of Agrarian  Relations praying for  his  reinstatement as tenant of a portion of a lot  situated in Himamaylan, Negros Occidental, and for a liquidation of the sugar crop harvested therefrom corresponding to the agricultural year 1956-1957.

The action was  brought against respondent who is the receiver appointed by the Court of First  Instance  of Negros Occidental in Civil Case  No. 2435  He  set  up the defense that petitioner had no right  to work as  tenant on the  land in question  because he Was  placed there  as such by one Francisco Sanicas whose ownership over the land is subject to controversy in said Civil Case No. 2435; that petitioner is now estopped to file this petition because of his failure to assert his right as tenant during the trial of the aforementioned case; and that the whole sugar crop harvested from  the  land in  question for the agricultural year 1956-1957 had  been mortgaged by Francisco Sanicas to the Philippine National Bank to guarantee certain crop loan obtained from the latter.

After the reception of the evidence of both parties, the court, presided over by Judge Pastor de Guzman, rendered judgment (a) declaring  petitioner to be the tenant  of the land in question from 1953 up to 1957; (b)  ordering respondent to pay petitioner the sum of P421.65 as his share of the sugar produce for the agricultural year 1956-1957; and (c) ordering respondent to deliver to petitioner 667.8 kilos of molasses as his share for the same agricultural year or its  equivalent in money computed at the current price in the  locality. It  is from this decision that respondent interposed the present petition for review.

It appears that Lot No. 1687-B of Himamaylan cadastre was originally owned by Juan Labansawa as  evidenced by Original Certificate of Title No. 442 of Negros Occidental. Upon his death, the lot was inherited  by  his brothers and sisters who had been in possession thereof since then up  to 1952.  In  this year, Isabel Senoro, et al, fraudulently executed  a declaration of heirship wherein they declared themselves  to be the heirs of Juan Labansawan by  virtue of which they were  able to secure from the register of deeds the issuance of a new transfer certificate of title in  their name.   So on thereafter, Isabel Senoro, et al. executed a deed of sale in favor of  Socorro Suldivilla married to Francisco Sanicas who in turn secured the issuance of a transfer certificate of title over the land in her name, and armed with this title, the spouses succeeded in ejecting from the lot  the heirs of the original owner.  So  on August 20, 1952, the Labansawan heirs filed a complaint before the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental  against the  spouses Sanicas for the recovery of the property plus damages  (Civil  Case No. 2435"),  In due time, Vicente Cahilo, respondent herein, was appointed by the court receiver of the property in litigation with authority to  administer the same until the final termination  of the case.  After his appointment, respondent took possession of the property and gave notice to petitioner to cease working on the land  as tenant of Francisco Sanicas.  This ejectment gave rise to the present proceedings.

One  of the  questions raised by appellant is that the agrarian court erred in finding that appellee is a tenant of the land in  question from 1953 to February, 1957  for the reason that he was placed there as such by Francisco Sanicas whose  title to  the  property is disputed and  is subject to litigation in a case pending appeal before the Court of Appeals.

To meet this point, suffice it to quote the following finding of the agrarian court: "The Court finds  that the tenancy relationship between the  plaintiff and Francisco Sanicas, former possessor of the land, has been sufficiently established by reliable and convincing evidence.  The negative testimony of the witnesses for the defendant denying  such tenancy relationship cannot prevail over the positive testimony of the plaintiff and his witnesses besides documentary evidence on record to" prove such claim.  The entries found in Exhibit 'D' are, in the opinion of the Court, indubitable writings which deserves such  credence and of which no evidence to the contrary was ever presented by the defendant.  Besides the defendant  Vicente Cahilo admits  having no knowledge  as to whether or  not plaintiff Simeon La fuente is  the tenant of Francisco  Sanicas or  to have inquired from anybody regarding such circumstance when he took over the possession of the property as  receiver."  This is a  question of  fact which we cannot now look into it appearing that the same is supported by substantial evidence.

It is true that petitioner-appellee has not intervened in the civil case wherein the ownership of the property is being litigated between the heirs of the original owner and the spouses Sanicas, but this is because he did not consider it necessary for  he had every reason to expect that the Sanicas would protect his interest.  Even then we believe that such failure cannot be considered as an estoppel on his part to file the present action before  the Court of Agrarian  Relations because his claim for reinstatement and liquidation  of  crop comes under the exclusive jurisdiction of  said court as provided for in Section 21 of Republic Act  1199.

Appellant likewise disputes the finding of the agrarian court to the  effect  that petitioner-appellee  is entitled to a  70%  share of the 1956-1957 sugar crop  and that considering the current price then of sugar said share amounts to P421.65.  We also find  no merit in this  claim for, according to the agrarian court,  in 1953  Francisco Sanicas entered  into an oral contract of tenancy with petitioner-appellee granting the latter a sharing participation of 70% because it was agreed that the tenant  would provide for  all  items of production as well as for the cultivation expenses.  And as regards the liquidation made, the agrarian court  made the following finding:  "As  regards the liquidation  issue, the evidence proved that  in  the  year 1956-1957,  the ratoon crop  (calaanan)  of the plaintiff realized the  quantity of  44.62  piculs  of sugar and  954 kilos of molasses representing the net share of the planter (Francisco Sanicas) (Exhibit A).   The defendant in his capacity as receiver of the property sold said 44.62 piculs of sugar at P13.50  and realized total amount of P603.37. The defendant up to  the  trial of this case has made no accounting of  the  954 kilos of  molasses.  Legally,  the plaintiff herein is entitled to the sum of P421.65 as his share of the  sugar  crop and 667.8  kilos of molasses computed at  their  sharing agreement of 70-30."  This  is also a  question of fact which cannot now  be looked  into it being supported  by  substantial evidence.

The final question  raised  by  appellant refers to  the lack of jurisdiction of the agrarian court  over his person because it is claimed, his sued in his capacity as receiver in Civil Case No. 2435 and as such cannot  be sued without the consent of  the  court.  This contention is also untenable for under  Section 7, Rule 61, "Subject to the control of the  court in which the action is pending, a receiver shall  have  power to bring and defend, as  such,  actions in his own name," and  it  is  precisely  under this  rule that the  present action  was  instituted.  This is more so when the ejectment of appellee was effected  by appellant after he  has taken  over  the property as  receiver in the aforementioned case.

Finding the decision appealed from to be in accordance with  law and  the evidence,  the same is  hereby affirmed, with  costs.

Paras,  C J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Labrador, Endencia, Barrera, and Gutierrez David, JJ.,  concur.