[G.R. No. 16525. November 19, 1921. ]
BONIFACIA DE LOS SANTOS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. FATHER LAUREANO DE LOS REYES, AURELIO LAGMAN, AMSROSIO LAGMAN, SIMEON DUQUE, and MARCELO SANTA CRUZ, Defendants-Appellees.
Luis Pineda for Appellant.
Hartigan & Welch for Appellees.
1. LANDLORD AND TENANT; FORCIBLE ENTRY; RECOVERY OF POSSESSION. — A landlord cannot summarily dispossess his tenant, even for nonpayment of the rental, and until the contract is legally terminated, the tenant has the right to the possession. A tenant may, therefore, institute summary proceedings, under the provisions of section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, even against his Landlord who has taken possession of the land without due process of law and without the consent of the lessee. (Schultz v. Concepcion, 32 Phil., l; Roman Catholic Church v. Familiar, 11 Phil., 310.)
D E C I S I O N
This action was originally commenced in the court of the justice of the peace of Santa Rita, Pampanga, under section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure to recover the possession of a piece of land. The justice of the peace gave judgment in favor of the plaintiff. From that judgment, the defendants appealed, and the Court of First Instance having dismissed the complaint, the plaintiff in turn appealed to this court.
According to the agreed statement of facts, the rural estate described in paragraph 2 of the complaint in this case was given in lease to the plaintiff, Bonifacia de los Santos, by the parish priest of Santa Rita, Pampanga, in May, 1915, for the rental price of P70, payable yearly, under a verbal contract that specified no time, and that Father Braulio Pineda himself received from the lessee, Bonifacia de los Santos, the rents of said estate for the years 1917, and 1918.
In 1919 and under date of March 24 of that year, Father Tomas Dimacali, as parish priest of the town of Santa Rita issued a receipt (Exhibit A) reciting that the plaintiff had paid to him the sum of seventy pesos (1’70) as rental for the period from May, 1919, to May, 1920.
It seems that Father Dimacali received instructions from the Archbishopric of Manila to hand over to Father Laureano de los Reyes the management of the estate, which belongs to a chaplaincy of Santa Rita, and in July, 1919, Father Laureano de los Reyes through his agents, the herein defendants, took possession of the land in question, the subject-matter of the contract of lease.
Supposing that the lease is from year to year, as it began in May, 1915, it should have terminated in May of each subsequent year, unless an extension or implied renewal of the contract has been effected. By virtue of said contract, the plaintiff has been in possession of the land, cultivating it until July, 1919, when she was turned out of possession by the defendants. At that time, the contract of lease was in force, it having been impliedly renewed on account of the plaintiff having paid the rental for that year.
Under such circumstances, can the lessor terminate the contract by requiring the lessee to return the property, and oust her therefrom? Such is the question that presents itself for consideration, which, in our opinion, must be decided in the negative.
The lower court found that upon demand of the defendant, Father Laureano de los Reyes, the plaintiff had delivered the land without any objection on her part, and, therefore, she was not turned out of possession, as alleged in the complaint. We cannot accept this finding, as in our opinion the testimony of the plaintiff, uncontradicted by the defendant, Father Laureano de los Reyes, and corroborated by the witness, Vicente Sibal, establishes the fact that she, the plaintiff, refused to deliver the land, though she did not use any force. Indeed, it is unbelievable that she should deliver the land voluntarily after having paid the rent for the period 1919-1920.
The witness, Father Dimacali, attempted to contradict the contents of Exhibit A, but there being no question as to the authenticity and due execution of said document, the maker thereof cannot legally gainsay what he spontaneously and deliberately stated in writing.
As to whether or not all the land was ready for planting, although not devoid of importance, is not, however, decisive. It is the contract that gives existence to, and supports, the action of the plaintiff. As already stated, the contract was in force during the period from May, 1919, to May, 1920, and the plaintiff being in possession of the land in the month of July, by virtue of the implied renewal of the contract, she was entitled to be respected in her possession.
In the case of Schultz v. Concepcion (32 Phil., 1), this court held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The act of entering and trespassing upon a parcel of tillable land without the knowledge of the person who manages and administers it is an act of usurpation and dispossession of real property, performed by stealth, strategy or fraud, and is provided for in section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 1778. An appeal from a judgment rendered in proceedings brought by the person dispossessed should be filed within the period of five days prescribed by section 88 of the said code and by section 2 of Act No. 1778."cralaw virtua1aw library
And in the case of Roman Catholic Church v. Familiar (11 Phil., 310), this court laid down the following doctrine:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"A landlord can not summarily enter and dispossess his tenant, even for nonpayment of rent, and until the lease is legally terminated the tenant has a right to the posses on. A tenant may, therefore, institute summary proceedings under section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, even against his landlord who has taken possession without due process of law and against the will of the tenant. (Flor Bago v. Garcia, 5 Phil., 524.)"
In view of the foregoing, we are of the opinion, and so decide, that the plaintiff is entitled to the peaceful possession of the leased property during the term of the contract, and, therefore, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed in so far as it affects the defendants Aurelio Lagman, Ambrosio Lagman, Simeon Duque, and Marcelo Santa Cruz, who appear to be mere agents of their codefendant Father Laureano de los Reyes, and reversed as to the latter who is hereby ordered to deliver to the plaintiff, in accordance with the contract, the possession of the land which is the subject-matter of the contract, without special finding as to costs. So ordered.
Johnson, Araullo, Street and Avanceña, JJ., concur.