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Rights of agricultural tenants

By Balita | April 2, 2011 0 Comment

Q. Hi Attorney, I want to ask you about my family’s right over a tenanted


agricultural land back home. My father was a farmer. He passed away in 1986 and
since then our eldest brother took his place and did the work at the farm until
now.

My father was a tenant farmer. My mother is still alive. Can you please tell us
about the present Agrarian law as my mother is claiming her legal right over the
tenanted property in case the owner sells it? Our eldest brother works hard at the
farm and shouldering all the expenses and he’s the only one in our family who
deals with the owner of the farm.

Now, my mother and brother are in a war path. My mother wants an equal share
when the farm will be sold by the owner. My mother didn’t contribute anything to
the farm and all expenses and farm inputs were shouldered by my brother all
those years. He really worked so hard in the farm.

Please give us some advice. I don’t want my family to fight over this matter.
Particularly about money. Perhaps if you can just explain what the law says on the
matter, I’m sure our family will be glad to follow what the law says. Thank you so
much and more power! Victoria.

Ans:
By way of background, kindly take notice that as a rule, when tenancy is
established, the sale or conveyance of the property which is being the subject of
the tenancy is not extinguished. This is so because the tenant enjoys security of
tenure over the tenanted land. Such relationship can only be extinguished or
terminated by the tenant personally or for having abandoned the property being
tilled and/or gross violation of the terms of the tenancy and the law it. Should
there’ll be a sale; the new owner has to respect the existing tenancy. ( Sec.12 –RA
3844, See also Share Tenancy Act- RA 1199 ).

Under Section 9 of the Republic Act 3844 (The Agricultural Land Reform Code )
the death or permanent incapacity of an agricultural tenant/lessee( which is your
deceased father ) did not extinguished the tenancy. Under such circumstance, the
owner of the agricultural land shall within one month form such death or
permanent incapacity , have the right to choose the replacement of the
tenant/lessee from the amongst the qualified persons as provided for by law.

The qualified persons are to be chosen from the heirs of the deceased tenant, in
the following order, to wit: a) The surviving spouse; b) the eldest direct
descendant by consanguinity(by blood); or the next eldest descendant or
descendants in the order of their age.

From the facts you have mentioned, it appears that upon the death of your
father, your brother immediately succeeded your father in cultivating the land,
without the objection of the landowner. This could imply that the land owner,
chose your brother over your mother(the surviving spouse) to till the land and to
succeed your father. This imprimatur is also made evident by the fact that it is
only your brother who deals with the landowner since 1986 up to the present.
Moreover, the law also requires that whoever tills the land a tenant or
agricultural lessee including the successor of the deceased, MUST PERSONALLY
CULTIVATE THE LAND. Now, there is no showing that your mother personally
cultivated the land and as such she is deemed disqualified as a “tenant” under the
ambit and scope of the law.

Your mother’s view that she wants a share of the property in case it is sold is
misplaced. As mentioned earlier, the sale and conveyance of the property does
not extinguished the tenancy. And considering that the tenancy still exist what is
there to be claimed? If at all, the right of your mother over the tenanted property
is only the order of priority in case of death or permanent incapacity of the tenant
tiller/cultivator.

However, as mentioned above, this right is not absolute, as the law requires that
whoever succeeds the tenant from amongst the heirs , MUST PERSONALLY
CULTIVATE THE LAND as chosen by the landowner.

In view of the foregoing, it is my view that the claim of your mother is not
tenable. Thank you for writing and best regards.