[G.R. NO. 140796 : June 30, 2006]
PURIFICACION PEREZ-ROSARIO, FEDERICO ROSARIO, RICARDO PEREZ, MARIA PAZ PEREZ-PASION, GUALBERTO PEREZ, LADISLAO PEREZ, MARCELO PEREZ and TEODORA PEREZ, Petitioners v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, Adjudication Board of the Department of Agrarian Reform, MERCEDES RESULTAY, BASILIO CAYABYAB, FEDERICO BANIQUED, and MIGUEL RESULTAY (deceased)Substituted by his heir, ARTUTO RESULTAY Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
Before this Court is a Petition for Certiorariunder Rule 65 of the Rules of Court questioning the Decision1 dated January 14, 1999 promulgated by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 43905 which affirmed in toto the Decision dated June 10, 1994 of the Adjudication Board of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DARAB); and the CA Resolution2 dated November 8, 1999 which denied the petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration.
The petition originated from an action for ejectment filed with the DARAB principally on the grounds of non-payment of lease rentals and sub-leasing without the knowledge and consent of the owners of a parcel of agricultural land, consisting of 2.2277 hectares, more or less, devoted to rice and mango production, located at Barangay Obong, Basista, Pangasinan and registered in the name of Nicolasa Tamondong Vda. de Perez, predecessor-in-interest of the petitioners, under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-31822.
The facts declared by the DARAB, as supported by the evidence on record, are clear:
On January 28, 1973, Nicolasa Tamondong Vda. de Perez sold the property with a right to repurchase in favor of [respondent] Miguel Resultay who was already cultivating the subject land under a 50-50 sharing basis of the rice harvest. After said sale, Miguel Resultay stopped delivering the shares to Nicolasa Tamondong and it was during this period or sometime in 1976, that [respondent] Miguel Resultay constituted [respondent] Basilio Cayabyab to work on a one-half (1/2) hectare portion of the land devoted to rice under an agreed lease rental agreement of seven (7) cavans per cropping season (T.S.N., February 16, 1989, pp. 7-9).
On July 15, 1977, Nicolasa Tamondong Vda. de Perez died. She is survived by her children [petitioners herein].
On November 29, 1983, [petitioners] Purificacion and Federico Rosario repurchased the subject property from [respondent] Miguel Resultay in the total amount of
On December 20, 1986, [petitioner] Federico Rosario received from [respondent] Basilio Cayabyab seven (7) cavans at forty-five (45) kilos per cavan of clean and dry palay representing lease rental for 1984 and also seven (7) cavans at forty-five (45) kilos per cavan of clean and dry palay representing lease rental for 1985, or a total of fourteen (14) cavans of clean and dry palay.
On February 1, 1989, [petitioner] Purificacion Rosario received from [respondent] Basilio Cayabyab the total amount of Php 2,511.60 representing the lease rentals for 1985 and 1986.3
On February 16, 1989, [petitioner] Purificacion Rosario received from [respondent] Cayabyab the amount of
On May 25, 1990, [petitioner] Federico Rosario received from [respondent] Cayabyab seven (7) cavans of palay at 45 kilos per cavan.
On December 11, 1990, [petitioner] Federico Rosario received from defendant Cayabyab seven (7) cavans of palay.
Sometime in 1988, [respondent] Miguel Resultay who is already old and senile was paralyzed. However, [the] shares of [petitioner] Purificacion Rosario from the rice harvest were being delivered.
On November 24, 1988, [petitioners] filed the instant complaint for ejectment of defendants from the land on the grounds that: a) [respondent] Miguel Resultay delivered only 33.30 cavans of palay to them (plaintiffs); b) [respondents] Miguel Resultay and Federico Baniqued constructed their own residential houses on the subject landholding without their knowledge and consent; c) [respondent] Miguel Resultay is now old and senile and is no longer capable of doing the necessary manual work; and, d) due to old age, [respondent] Miguel Resultay sub-leased the land to [respondents] Federico Baniqued and Basilio Cayabyab without [petitioners'] knowledge and consent.
[Respondents] controverted the allegations of [petitioners] by averring that: 1) [respondent] Federico Baniqued is only a hired farm worker who constructed a shanty inside the disputed landholding for the purpose of guarding the plants inside the land; 2) [respondent] Miguel Resultay has been cultivating the land since 1973 and he had constructed his house on the land itself; 3) the net harvest during the agricultural year of 1987 was twenty-one (21) cavans and one (1) can, and it was divided into 50-50 basis; 4) [respondent] Basilio Cayabyab is an agricultural lessee on a portion of one-half hectare of the land paying a lease rental of seven (7) cavans of palay; and 5) the lease rental of seven (7) cavans which is being paid by Basilio Cayabyab is excessive and unjustifiable considering that he can produce 14 to 18 cavans of palay.4
The Office of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator identified the issues as follows: first, whether respondent Miguel Resultay or his wife, respondent Mercedes Resultay, is entitled to remain as agricultural lessee of the land in question with respondent Federico Baniqued as their hired farm worker; and, second, whether respondent Basilio Cayabyab is entitled to remain as an agricultural lessee on the one-half hectare riceland portion of the landholding in question.5
On June 14, 1991, the Office of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator promulgated its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
In support of the foregoing, the Office of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator held that although respondent Mercedes Resultay succeeded respondent Miguel Resultay after a stroke which caused his paralysis, she did not perform the farm work on the land in question; that, for this reason, she hired respondent Federico Baniqued to work for her; that the hiring of respondent Baniqued amounted to a "substantial non-compliance of her obligation" as an agricultural tenant and a ground for dispossession under Section 36, paragraph 2,7 of Republic Act No. 3844, as amended; that although the receipt of the lease rentals by petitioner Federico Rosario is indicative of respondent Cayabyab's status as an agricultural lessee on the one-half hectare riceland portion, he should be evicted on the ground of deliberate refusal to pay rental; that respondent Baniqued is merely a hired farm laborer and, thus, he "has no better right than (respondent) spouses Miguel Resultay and Mercedes Resultay who hired him;" and that the non-riceland portion where respondent spouses Resultay reside does not appear to have been subleased or given to any third party for farm work and, hence, they should remain in possession of the same.8
Respondents appealed to the DARAB. On June 10, 1994, the DARAB promulgated its decision, the decretal portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment dated June 14, 1991 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Miguel and Mercedes Resultay are declared to be agricultural tenants on the land they till. Likewise, Basilio Cayabyab is maintained in peaceful possession and enjoyment of the land he tills as an agricultural lessee. The responsible officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform in the Province of Pangasinan, specifically in the Municipality of Basista, Pangasinan are hereby ordered to fix the lease rental on the land being cultivated by Miguel and Mercedes Resultay in accordance with pertinent agrarian laws, rules and regulations.
IT IS SO ORDERED.9
The DARAB declared that respondent Cayabyab is a bona fide agricultural lessee; that he substantially complied with his obligation to deliver the landholders' share and was not remiss in paying the rentals whenever they fell due; that he could not be faulted for seemingly delayed payment of lease rentals after the institution of the complaint on November 24, 1988, nor could he be blamed for the confusion in the accounting and liquidation of harvests since the petitioners gave rise to it by refusing to receive promptly his tender of lease rentals; that petitioner Purificacion Rosario herself admitted in her testimony that she received the rental payments; that the conclusion that respondent Mercedes Resultay, as successor of her old and paralyzed husband Miguel Resultay, did not herself perform the farm work on the land had no factual basis; that the burden to prove the averment that she did not actually perform her obligations as an agricultural tenant rested with the petitioners and they failed to discharge that burden; that the hiring of the services of a farm laborer to do certain piece work or on an occasional basis is not prohibited by law, as long as the agricultural tenant herself cultivates the farm and manages it with due diligence; that the hiring of a farm laborer to do a certain phase of farming is, in itself, a generally accepted practice in a farming community; that respondent Mercedes Resultay had faithfully and religiously shared the rice produce with the petitioners; that there is no legal impediment for respondent Miguel Resultay to build his house within the landholding, and neither did petitioners adduce any concrete evidence to show that respondent Baniqued had constructed a house thereon, since Baniqued, who is only a farm helper, merely built a shanty which is not a dwelling contemplated by law; that petitioners failed to prove the existence of any other lawful cause for the ejectment of the respondents; and that since the juridical relationship between the parties appears to be a share tenancy which is contrary to law and public policy, it should be converted to a leasehold pursuant to law and existing rules and regulations.
On February 11, 1997, the DARAB denied petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration.
On April 16, 1997, petitioners filed a Petition for Review with the CA, raising the following grounds:
On January 14, 1999, the CA rendered the assailed Decision which affirmed in toto the DARAB ruling. In particular, the CA agreed with the DARAB that no factual basis supported the averment that respondent Mercedes Resultay did not comply with her obligations as an agricultural tenant; that the hiring of a farm helper in itself is not prohibited; that the land in question had not been abandoned as it is actively being cultivated by the respondents; that respondent spouses have been paying their shares and rentals to the landowners, herein petitioners; that respondent Mercedes Resultay succeeded her incapacitated husband, co-respondent Miguel Resultay, by operation of law; that respondent Cayabyab is a bona fide agricultural lessee on the one-half hectare riceland portion; that the evidence clearly shows that he paid the lease rentals from 1984 to 1989; that there was no delay in payment; that petitioner Purificacion Rosario admitted the receipt of these payments; that while the withdrawal of deposited rentals by the petitioners litis pendentia should not be construed as a recognition of the tenancy relationship between them and respondent Cayabyab, the fact that petitioner Federico Rosario received on December 20, 1986 the lease rental pertaining to 1984 as well as the rental for 1986 is indeed indicative of respondent Cayabyab's status as an agricultural lessee of the one-half hectare; and that respondent Cayabyab had no conscious intent to unlawfully deprive the landholders of their share in the farm proceeds, considering that they had received from Cayabyab in 1989 and 1990 the rentals for the other years.11
Petitioners moved to reconsider, but the CA denied the motion through its Resolution dated November 8, 1999, a copy of which was received by the petitioners on November 15, 1999.
Twenty-two days later, or on December 7, 1999, petitioners filed the instant Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65.
Petitioners raise the following issues before this Court:
Meanwhile, on May 30, 2002, Arturo Resultay, one of the children of respondent Miguel Resultay, as well as respondent Cayabyab, filed a Manifestation and Motion with the Court stating that respondent Miguel Resultay had passed away on July 6, 1993. Hence, as prayed for, Miguel Resultay is deemed substituted by Arturo Resultay. The parties submitted their respective memoranda.
The instant Petition for Certiorari "based on Rule 65" must fail.
Under Rule 65, the petitioners must show that they have no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law against the error that they seek to correct. A remedy is considered "plain, speedy, and adequate" if it will promptly relieve the petitioners from the injurious effects of the judgment and the acts of the lower court or agency.13 In this case, an appeal under Rule 45 by way of Petition for Review on Certiorari was not only available but also a speedy and adequate remedy.14 When the petitioners received on November 15, 1999 a copy of the CA Resolution dated November 8, 1999 denying their Motion for Reconsideration, and absent any motion for extension, they had until November 30, 1999, or 15 days later, within which to perfect their appeal. They did not. What they chose to do was to file a "Petition for Certiorari" "based on Section 1, Rule 65" on December 7, 1999, repeating in essence the issues and arguments already heard by the CA. The petitioners cannot lodge a special civil action of certiorari to make good the loss of the right of ordinary appeal. In view of this serious procedural error, the instant petition should be dismissed.
Under Rule 45, the reglementary period to appeal is 15 days from notice of judgment or denial of the motion for reconsideration. Rule 45 is clear that decisions, final orders or resolutions of the CA in any case, i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or proceedings involved, may be appealed to this Court by filing a Petition for Review, which would be but a continuation of the appellate process over the original case.15 A special civil action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court will not cure the failure to timely file a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.16 The remedies of appeal in the ordinary course of law and that of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court are mutually exclusive and not alternative or cumulative.17 A petition under Rule 65 is an independent action that cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost remedy of an ordinary appeal, including that under Rule 45, especially if such loss or lapse was occasioned by one's own
neglect or error in the choice of remedies.18 And under Section 5(f) of Rule 56 of the Rules of Court, an error in the choice or mode of appeal, as in this case, merits an outright dismissal.
But even if this Court should excuse the procedural lapse in the interest of substantial justice, the same result obtains, because the decisions and resolutions of the DARAB and CA, as well as their findings of fact, are in accord with law and jurisprudence.
The determination of personal cultivation is a factual issue and requires the exercise of a function not within the province of this Court. Well established is the rule that in an appeal via certiorari, only questions of law may be reviewed.19 And so, too, is the rule that in agrarian cases, the only function of the appellate courts is to determine whether the findings of fact of the agrarian courts, such as the DARAB or, its predecessor, the Court of Agrarian Relations, are supported by substantial evidence, and where they are so supported, such findings are conclusive and binding upon the appellate courts.20
Petitioners insist that respondent spouses Miguel and Mercedes Resultay did not perform in their personal capacity the major phases of the farm work over the land in question, but through hired hands. Both the CA and the DARAB are of the same opinion that this negative averment has no factual basis. While it is conceded in all quarters that respondent Baniqued is a hired farm worker, from this fact alone, it cannot be inferred that respondent Mercedes Resultay is not actually performing her obligations as an agricultural tenant or, stated otherwise, that she did not cultivate the land in person or through other members of the immediate household. Under Section 37 of Republic Act No. 3844, as amended, and coupled with the fact that the petitioners are the complainants themselves, the burden of proof to show the existence of a lawful cause for the ejectment of an agricultural lessee rests upon them, since they are the agricultural lessors.21 This proceeds from the principle that a tenancy relationship, once established, entitles the tenant to a security of tenure. She can only be ejected from the agricultural landholding on grounds provided by law.22 Section 36 of the same law enumerates the grounds for dispossession of the tenant's landholding.
Sec. 36. Possession of Landholding; Exceptions. - Notwithstanding any agreement as to the period or future surrender, of the land, an agricultural lessee shall continue in the enjoyment and possession of his landholding except when his dispossession has been authorized by the Court in a judgment that is final and executory if after due hearing it is shown that:
A person, in order to be considered a tenant, must himself and with the aid available from his immediate farm household cultivate the land. Persons, therefore, who do not actually work the land cannot be considered tenants; and he who hires others whom he pays for doing the cultivation of the land, ceases to hold, and is considered as having abandoned the land as tenant within the meaning of sections 5 and 8 of Republic Act No. 1199, and ceases to enjoy the status, rights, and privileges of one.
But precisely, as discussed above, it falls upon the
petitioners to demonstrate through substantial evidence that the respondents did not actually cultivate the land in order to consider the latter as having abandoned the same. It does not follow that, if the tenant hires a farm worker to do certain phases of the farm work, then the tenant entirely ceases all cultivation.
Respondent Baniqued himself testified that he was being paid for a certain phase of work.25
In the recent past, the Court has held that the employment of farm laborers to perform some aspects of farm work does not preclude the existence of an agricultural leasehold relationship, provided that an agricultural lessee does not leave the entire process of cultivation in the hands of hired helpers. Indeed, while the law explicitly requires the agricultural lessee and his immediate family to work on the land, this Court nevertheless has declared that the hiring of farm laborers by the tenant on a temporary, occasional, or emergency basis does not negate the existence of the element of "personal cultivation" essential in a tenancy or agricultural leasehold relationship.26
The foregoing pronouncements are nothing new; the Court, quoting established authority, has recognized as far back in 1962
that the mere fact that the agricultural lessee did not do all the work himself but temporarily utilized the services of others to help him, does not mean that he violated the requirements provided by law and jurisprudence; it would have been otherwise
had the lessee entirely entrusted the work to other persons and
employed laborers on a permanent basis. The law does not prohibit the tenant or the landowner who works the land himself to avail occasionally of the help of others.27
Petitioners maintain that respondent spouses Resultay sub-leased a portion of the land in question to respondent Cayabyab, and that the employment of a sub-lessee who is not a member of the tenant's immediate household, and without the knowledge and consent of the landowner, is prohibited by law.28 To support this contention, petitioners refer to a decision rendered by the CA.29 Further, petitioners aver that respondent Cayabyab deliberately refused to pay the lease rentals for the period covering 1986 to 1989. Even if Cayabyab attempted to pay the rentals by depositing them during the pendency of the case, petitioners argue, their withdrawal, however, was made with leave of court, prompted by extreme human needs, and on the condition that the receipts shall not be used as evidence of any tenancy relationship.
These mixed questions of fact and law are interrelated, and have been correctly resolved by the CA and the DARAB whose decisions are supported by substantial evidence as it appears on the record. This Court affirms the CA decision which, in turn, upheld in toto the DARAB's finding that respondent Cayabyab is a bona fide agricultural lessee,30 as well as the finding that he duly paid the rentals, to wit:
There is no factual basis which shall lead to a conclusion that [respondent] Basilio Cayabyab deliberately refused to pay the lease rentals on the land for the cropping years of 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989. Evidence on records clearly show[s] that Basilio Cayabyab was not remiss of his obligation to pay lease rentals when they fall due. For the cropping years of 1984 and 1985, he paid to [petitioner] Federico Rosario a total amount of fourteen (14) cavans as evidenced by a receipt dated December 20, 1986 (Exhibit "3", Defendants). The lease rentals due for the cropping years of 1986 and 1987 in the total amount of fourteen (14) cavans were deposited by [respondent Cayabyab] with Gangano's Family Rice Mill at Malimpec, Bayambang, Pangasinan on November 28, 1986. These rentals which were converted into its money equivalent of Php 2,511.60 were received by [petitioner] Purificacion Rosario on February 1, 1989 (Exh. "1" Defendants). The act of depositing the lease rentals due on the land supports the claim of [respondent] Cayabyab that [petitioners], specifically Purificacion Rosario, refused to accept payment of lease rentals from the former. This fact becomes evident from the allegations contained in the complaint itself and also from the declaration of [petitioners] and their witnesses themselves that [respondent] Cayabyab is not a tenant on the land but a mere sub-lessee who was instituted by [respondents] Miguel and Mercedes Resultay without the knowledge and consent of [petitioners]. One should not lose sight of the correct conclusion arrived at in the assailed [DARAB] decision that [respondent] Cayabyab is a bona fide agricultural lessee.
The lease rentals due for 1988 harvest season amounting to seven (7) cavans was deposited by [respondent] Cayabyab with the Rural Bank of San Carlos (T.S.N., February 1, 1989, pp. 2-3), but it was withdrawn and acknowledged to have been received by [petitioner] Rosario on February 16, 1994 (Exh. "4", Defendants, p. 8, Rollo). The lease rental due for the 1989 harvest season amounting to seven (7) cavans was received by [petitioner] Federico Rosario on May 25, 1990. Thus, the total amount of lease rentals due for a period of (6) years from 1984 to 1989 was forty-two (42) cavans. Documentary proof such as receipts show that [respondent] Cayabyab paid exactly forty-two cavans during this period of time. He could not be faulted for the seemingly delayed payment of lease rentals after the institution of the complaint on November 24, 1988, nor could he be blamed for the confusion in the accounting and liquidation of harvests since, as discussed earlier, [petitioners] gave rise to it by refusing to receive promptly the tender of lease rentals made by [respondent] Cayabyab. x x x
x x x Finally, the issue on payment of lease rentals is undoubtedly resolved by the admission of [petitioner] Purificacion Rosario herself when she testified in the following manner'
Q - So, in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989 nagdedeliver sa inyo si Cayabyab ng renta sa lupa.
A - Opo.
Q - Sigurado kayo?cralawlibrary
A - Until 1991 pala." (T.S.N., September 29, 1992, p. 7).
We find no cogent reason to find otherwise than the above quoted findings of public respondent Adjudication Board.31 (emphasis supplied)
With respect to the question of whether the withdrawals made with leave of court may prejudice the petitioners, the CA aptly held:32
Furthermore, while it is true that the approved withdrawal of the deposited rentals thereon by the [petitioners] should not be construed as recognition of tenancy relationship, it is likewise true that the act of [petitioner] Federico Rosario in receiving from [respondent] Basilio Cayabyab on December 20, 1986 the lease rental of seven (7) cavans of palay for 1984 and another seven (7) cavans of palay for 1986 is indicative of his being [an] agricultural lessee of the one-half (1/2) hectare riceland portion of the land in question. Besides, it should be noted, that in cases for ejectment of a tenant for failure to pay lease rentals, there must be a conscious intent to unlawfully deprive the landholder of his share, which is not so in the case at bar especially considering that, on February 1, 1989, [petitioner] Purificacion Rosario received from [respondent] Basilio Cayabyab the total amount of Php 2,511.60 representing the lease rentals for 1985 and 1986, and on February 16, 1989, the amount of Php 1,228.50 representing the lease rental for 1988; on May 25, 1989, [petitioner] Federico Rosario received from [respondent] Cayabyab seven (7) cavans of palay at 45 kilos per cavan; and on December 11, 1990, [petitioner] Federico Rosario received from [respondent] Cayabyab seven (7) cavans of palay.
This Court has held that rental payments are factual issues beyond the reach of an appeal via certiorari, as only questions of law may be reviewed.33 Likewise, the question of whether a person is an agricultural tenant or not is basically a question of fact.34
Apart from the foregoing findings of the courts a quo, there is evidence on the record, unrebutted by petitioners and confirmed by the DARAB, showing that respondent Miguel Resultay constituted respondent Cayabyab as an agricultural lessee by virtue of a contract of lease entered into by them at the time the former owned the land as vendee a retro before its redemption by the petitioners in 1983.35 Hence, when the petitioners repurchased the land, they are deemed to have assumed this lease by virtue of subrogation. Respondent Cayabyab himself testified that at the time of the redemption and reversion of ownership, he was made to sign a receipt describing the parcel he cultivated in order to acknowledge that he had received the land from the petitioners and their predecessor-in-interest.36
As stated above, in agrarian cases, when the appellate courts confirm that the findings of fact of the agrarian courts are borne out by the record or based on substantial evidence, such findings are conclusive and binding on the appellate courts.37 Accordingly, this Court will not disturb the factual findings of the DARAB, as affirmed by the CA, that respondent Cayabyab was an agricultural lessee of the subject land, considering that this conclusion was supported by substantial evidence.38
As correctly noted by the DARAB, it appears that the juridical relationship of the parties is still governed by agricultural share tenancy. The relationship should be converted into a leasehold. On August 8, 1963, R.A. No. 3844, the Agricultural Land Reform Code, abolished and outlawed share tenancy and put in its stead the agricultural leasehold system. On September 10, 1971, R.A. No. 6389, amending R.A. No. 3844, declared share tenancy relationships as contrary to public policy. R.A. No. 3844, as amended by R.A. No. 6389, is the governing statute in this case.39 Petitioners filed their complaint on November 24, 1988 or long after the approval of R.A. No. 6389 but before R.A. No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. Notably, R.A. No. 6657 only expressly repealed Section 35 of R.A. No. 3844.40
Sections 4 and 541 of R.A. No. 3844 provide for the automatic conversion of share tenancy to agricultural leasehold. The lease rental should be determined in accordance with Section 1242 of R.A. No. 6657 in relation to Section 3443 of R.A. No. 3844, as amended, and existing rules and regulations.
It is an established social and economic fact that the escalation of poverty is the driving force behind the political disturbances that have in the past compromised the peace and security of the people as well as the continuity of the national order. To subdue these acute disturbances, the legislature over the course of the history of the nation passed a series of laws calculated to accelerate agrarian reform, ultimately to raise the material standards of living and eliminate discontent.44 Agrarian reform is a perceived solution to social instability. The edicts of social justice found in the Constitution and the public policies that underwrite them, the extraordinary national experience, and the prevailing national consciousness, all command the great departments of government to tilt the balance in favor of the poor and underprivileged whenever reasonable doubt arises in the interpretation of the law. But annexed to the great and sacred charge of protecting the weak is the diametric function to put every effort to arrive at an equitable solution for all parties concerned: the jural postulates of social justice cannot shield illegal acts, nor do they sanction false sympathy towards a certain class, nor yet should they deny justice to the landowner whenever truth and justice happen to be on her side.45 In the occupation of the legal questions in all agrarian disputes whose outcomes can significantly affect societal harmony, the considerations of social advantage must be weighed,46 an inquiry into the prevailing social interests is necessary in the adjustment
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.
Costs against petitioners.
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