AZARCON V. EUSEBIO- Owner of Crops Pending Harvest

A person who is in possession and who is being ordered to leave a parcel of land while products thereon are pending harvest, has the right to a part of the net harvest.


Victor Eusebio et al. had a dispute over the possession of a certain parcel of public land in the year 1954. Eusebio had filed a lease application for a parcel of containing an area of about 349 hectares. A portion thereof was occupied by. Azarcon and his companions, under a homestead application. The conflict between the lessee and the homesteaders was investigated by the Director of Lands and again by the Secretary of Agriculture and natural Resources.

Before the dispute could be settled, Eusebio filed a complaint in the CFI of Nueva Ecija, alleging that he had acquired a big parcel of land, 349 hectares in area, by lease from the Bureau of Lands (lease application No. V-79) and that while he was in possession thereof, defendants occupied a portion. He prayed that defendants be ordered to vacate the six hectares occupied by them and pay damages.
Azarcon answered the complaint alleging that he is in actual possession of a portion of 24 hectares since 1941 by virtue of a homestead application. He contends that the lease application of Euseboo was subsequent to his homestead application. He had occupied the land since 1941 with interruption during the war and again in 1950 up to the time of the filing of the action. He prayed that the action be dismissed.

The trial court found for Eusebio. Pending the CA case, a writ of execution was issued. In spite of the receipt by the Aznar of the notice of the writ of execution of which commanded defendants "to forthwith remove from said premises and that plaintiff have restitution of the same," defendants-appellants nevertheless entered the land to gather palay which was then pending harvest.


Whether or not Aznar acted in bad faith


While the court order of October 3, 1955 ordered the defendant-appellant to move out from the premises, it did not prohibit them from gathering the crop then existing thereon. Under the law a person who is in possession and who is being ordered to leave a parcel of land while products thereon are pending harvest, has the right to a part of the net harvest, as expressly provided by Article 545 of the Civil Code.

ART. 545. If at the time the good faith ceases, there should be any natural or industrial fruits, the possessor shall have a right to a part of the expenses of cultivation, and to a part of the net harvest, both in proportion to the time of the possession.

As the order of execution did not expressly prohibit the defendants-appellants from gathering the pending fruits, which fruits were the result of their possession and cultivation of the land, it cannot be said that the defendants-appellants committed an act which is clear violation of the courts' order. Besides, the defendants-appellants had presented, after receipt of the order of execution, a motion to set aside the said order of execution, and this motion to stay execution was granted. Defendants furthermore presented a bond in accordance with the order of the court and had it approved by the CFI. It was perhaps in expectation of this resolution of the court setting aside the order of execution that defendants-appellants may have felt justified in entering the land and harvesting the fruits existing thereon.

Again the order of the court setting aside its order to stay execution was issued in the belief that the defendants-appellants had not presented before the CFI of Nueva Ecija and which said court actually approved). Their act in harvesting the pending fruits was not only justified by law but was not expressly prohibited by the court's order, and was even ratified when the court ordered the suspension of the execution.