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[ GR No. L-13065, Dec 29, 1959 ]



106 Phil. 825

[ G. R. No. L-13065, December 29, 1959 ]




Lino  Sales and  Visitacion Salud are appealing the decision of  the Court  of Agrarian Relations in CAR Case No. 103  (Batangas 1957), dismissing their  petition to  eject respondent tenant Maximo Macatangay and ordering  them to maintain him in the peaceful possession and cultivation of their landholding.   The appeal is based  on the claim that the appealed decision is not supported by substantial evidence.

Respondent Macatangay had been a tenant of petitioners- appellants  since 1939.  Sometime in April 1955, he  was removed as tenant and the land was given to  Santiago Villalobos  in May of the  same  year.  Dissatisfied  with his  dismissal, Maximo filed an action against herein petitioners  for reinstatement and  damages  in the Court of Industrial  Relations on April  18, 1955,  docketed as  CIR Case  No.  5674-R.  Upon the  creation  of  the Court of Agrarian Relations (Republic Act 1267, as  amended by Republic Act 1409), the case was transferred  to said Agrarian Court.  Judgment was rendered  in said  case in favor of Maximo,  ordering petitioners herein  as  landlords to reinstate him  as  tenant  on  the land  in question  and to pay  him the sum of P482.10,  corresponding to his 60 per cent share of the harvest from April 8, 1955 when he was dismissed, to the date of his reinstatement at the rate of P11.00 per cavan.  On November  28,  1956, a writ of execution was issued and served on petitioners on December 13, 1956,

Ostensibly, the execution was carried out, including the payment of  the P482.10 to  Maximo, the petitioners promising to immediately reinstate Maximo as tenant.  It is a  fact, however, that the  new  tenant,  Villalobos, had planted the  landholding to rice, and  at the  time of the issuance of the execution, had a standing rice crop thereon, consisting  of  two varieties, one  to be  harvested  in January 1957 and the other in March of the same year. So, it was  agreed that Villalobos be allowed to harvest his crop, and that after the harvest,  the landlords, petitioners herein, would actually reinstate Maximo.  On the basis  of said verbal  agreement, Maximo refrained from taking possession of the land and waited for the termination of the  harvest by Villalobos and  for notification by the landlords of the day when he would be reinstated by them. It would appear that he was  not notified, and so, he did not immediately occupy  the land for purposes  of cultivation, following the harvest in March 1957.  Because of this, petitioners herein  forthwith filed  a petition with the Agrarian Court,  CAR Case No. 103 (Batangas 1957). to eject Maximo Macatangay on the ground that although he had been reinstated as tenant, on December 13, 1956, he thereafter abandoned the landholding and failed to work and cultivate it for the agricultural period from January to April, 1957, thereby depriving them of the harvest.

Maximo denied the allegations of petitioners and claimed that as already stated, his reinstatement as tenant was postponed until after the harvest of  the crop planted by Villalobos. The Agrarian Court found as a  fact  that Maximo  was not  actually reinstated  as tenant on said landholding after the harvest in January and March, 1957, so that it cannot be said that he had  abandoned the land since  abandonment presupposes  actual and previous possession of the landholding.  As already said,  the basis  of the appeal is that  the finding of the Agrarian Court was not  supported by  substantial evidence.   For  purposes  of reference,  we  reproduce the  findings  of  the  Agrarian Court.
"It is duly  established  by evidence that  the  respondent  was reinstated to  his  landholding upon the enforcement of the writ of execution issue in CIR Case  No. 5674-R, on  December 13, 1956. Upon his reinstatement the respondent was entitled  to take material possession  of the Iandholding in question  on said  date, but in view of the  demand  of Santiago Villalobos,  for payment of  his compensation  of the labor performed by him in the cultivation and raising of the  standing crop  thereon, the petitioners  and the  respondent have  agreed  that the former shall  actually reinstate  the latter  to said  landholding  after the harvest of  said  crop.  This agreement was  admitted by the petitioner Visitacion Salud de Sales.

'Q. Do you mean to say that your agreement with  the respondent and Santiago  Villalobos was that the respondent should be reinstated actually  in the landholding in question  after the harvest of the standing crop on  December 13,  1956?

'A. Our agreement was that,  the  respondent  shall be reinstated as tenant after the harvest of the standing crop  in January  with respect to  the  one-half planted  to wagwag variety  and after the harvest in March on  the  one-half portion planted to  pinorsigue.' (t.s.n.  June 11, 1957, pp. 104.)

"Under the aforementioned agreement  the  petitioners were duty bound  to notify the respondent of the  dates of the  harvest of the crop  standing on the landholding as of December 13, 1956, and to reinstate the  latter after said harvests.  These were  not done by the petitioners.

"Consequently,  the   respondent was not  actually  reinstated  to said  landholding after the harvests of January and  March, 1957.
If the  respondent was  not  actually  reinstated to his  landholding, how  could  he  abandon something which  was not turned  over  to him.  Abandonment of a landholding  by a tenant presupposes  previous actual possession thereof.

"We, therefore, hold  that the respondent  is not guilty of abandonment of the landholding in question  as  charged by the petitioner."
We  have carefully examined the  record of this case and we are convinced  that the appealed decision is supported by substantial evidence.  Maximo could not have abandoned the land in question so as to give rise to his ejectment therefrom for the reason that he was never actually reinstated.  But in spite of this, lack of reinstatement, Maximo just the same went to the land several times in April 1957, after Villalobos had harvested his crop, in order to prepare the land for cultivation, but that instead of allowing  him to work and cultivate the land, petitioners filed the present action for  ejectment.  It is most unlikely that if Maximo had  really been reinstated and placed in possession of the landholding, that he would abandon it, because he depended upon its cultivation for his livelihood, and in fact, he fought his landlords in  court to get it back.

We  agree with the  trial court that  Maximo had not abandoned the land, and therefore, could not be ejected therefrom.

In view of the foregoing, the  decision appealed  from is hereby affirmed, with costs.

Paras, C. J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L.,  Endencia, Barrera, and Gutierrez David, JJ., concur.