Sei sulla pagina 1di 71

(1) CHIAO LIONG TAN, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HON MANUEL T.

MURO, Presiding
Judge, RTC of Manila, Branch 54 and TAN BAN YONG, respondents. [G.R. No. 106251 November 19, 1993]
NOCON, J.:
Petitioner seeks in this petition the reversal of the Court of Appeals' decision dated May 15, 1992 in CA-G.R. CV No. 29982 affirming
the unfavorable decision of the trial court 1 in his suit for replevin and damages.
Petitioner Chiao Liong Tan claims to be the owner of a motor vehicle, particularly described as Isuzu Elf van, 1976 Model with Motor
No. 44999-2 and Chassis No. 9646780 which he purchased in March, 1987. As owner thereof, petitioner says he has been in
possession, enjoyment and utilization of the said motor vehicle until it was taken from him by his older brother, Tan Ban Yong, the
private respondent herein.
Petitioner relies principally on the fact that the Isuzu Elf van is registered in his name under Certificate of Registration No. 1501909.
He claims in his testimony before the trial court that the said vehicle was purchased from Balintawak Isuzu Motor Center for a price of
over P100,000.00; that he sent his brother to pay for the van and the receipt for payment was placed in his (petitioner's) name because
it was his money that was used to pay for the vehicle; that he allowed his brother to use the van because the latter was working for his
company, the CLT Industries; and that his brother later refused to return the van to him and appropriated the same for himself.
On the other hand, private respondent testified that CLT Industries is a family business that was placed in petitioner's name because at
that time he was then leaving for the United States and petitioner is the remaining Filipino in the family residing in the Philippines.
When the family business needed a vehicle in 1987 for use in the delivery of machinery to its customers, he asked petitioner to look
for a vehicle and gave him the amount of P5,000.00 to be deposited as down payment for an Isuzu Elf Van which would be available
in about a month. After a month, he himself paid the whole price out of a loan of P140,000.00 which he obtained from his friend Tan
Pit Sin. Inasmuch as the receipt for the downpayment was placed in the name of petitioner and since he was still on good terms with
him, private respondent allowed the registration of the vehicle in petitioner's name. It was also their understanding that he would keep
the van for himself because CLT Industries was not in a position to pay him. Hence, from the time of the purchase, he had been in
possession of the vehicle including the original registration papers thereof, but allowing petitioner from time to time to use the van for
deliveries of machinery.
Tan Pit Sin who had known private respondent since 1968, not only because they were classmates but also because of their business
dealings with each other, confirmed that private respondent borrowed from him P140,000.00 in March, 1987 to buy an Isuzu Elf van.
In fact, he had borrowed said vehicle for a few times.
Gina Lu, an employee of the Balintawak Isuzu Motors, testified that private respondent paid the balance of the purchase price of the
Isuzu Elf van in the amount of P133,000.00 but the receipt was issued in the name of Chiao Liong Tan to make the records consistent
because it was the latter who made the deposit of P5,000.00. Thereafter, the Isuzu Elf van was released to him.
After hearing, the trial court found for private respondent. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring defendant Tan Ban Yong to be the owner of and entitled to
the possession of the vehicle described in par. 2 of the Complaint, and the plaintiff is hereby ordered to deliver
possession thereof to the said defendant or in the alternative if such delivery cannot be made, to the sum of
P138,000.00 as the value of the vehicle taking into account the depreciation of the vehicle but offset by the inflation
rate; in either alternative, plaintiff is also ordered to pay to said defendant consequential damages of P20,000.00 for
the latter having been deprived of the possession and use of the vehicle and to pay the costs. All amounts adjudged
herein, except costs, shall bear interest at the legal rate from the date of this decision, until delivery of the vehicle or
the alternative payment of the value thereof as well as payment of consequential damages is paid; the interest applies
to the value of the vehicle if return thereof is delayed. No cost. 2
Finding no merit in the appeal, the respondent Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court. Undaunted by his successive
failures, petitioner comes to us and raised the following error allegedly committed by the respondent Court of Appeals, to wit:

1. . . . in finding the testimonies of private respondent's witnesses credible;


2. . . . in disregarding the Certificate of Registration of the subject motor vehicle as proof of ownership by the
petitioner-appellant. 3
Since the Court of Appeals merely affirmed the trial court's assessment of the credibility of the witnesses that testified before it,
petitioner is in effect questioning the factual findings of said court and its appraisal of their testimony which this Court cannot review,
its jurisdiction being limited to questions of law. The considerable weight given to the findings of the trial court is not without any
reason. It had the opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses which is usually not reflected in the transcript of records. The
profundity of the conclusions thus reached is just the result of such observance. When the Court of Appeals affirmed said findings, it
goes to show that no misapprehension of facts was committed as said Court has the power to scrutinize said factual findings under
existing rules of procedure.
In concluding that the testimonies of Tan Ban Yong, Tan Pit Sin and Gina Lu cast doubt on the petitioner's ownership of the motor
vehicle in question, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals attached significance to their respective interlocking accounts on how
the motor vehicle was acquired, complete with the financing source and mode of repayment. Respondent Tan Ban Yong's declaration
that he borrowed P140,000.00 from Tan Pit Sin and paid the balance of the purchase price of the motor vehicle himself to Gina Lu of
the Balintawak Isuzu Motors, is corroborated by the above-mentioned persons themselves. Tan Pit Sin not only confirmed the loan but
also stated that the same was paid in three (3) months; P50,000.00 on the first payment; another P50,000.00 on the second payment
and P40,000.00 on the last payment. 4 Gina Lu, who testified at the instance of petitioner, declared that the downpayment of P5,000.00
was paid by petitioner and so the receipt for the same was issued in his name but the balance of P133,000.00 was paid by private
respondent and to make the record consistent, she issued the receipt in the name of petitioner again.
In contrast to the clear and categorical averments of private respondent and the witnesses in this case negating petitioner's ownership
of the motor vehicle in question, petitioner's averments before the trial court and this Court are not only disparate but conflicting. In
his testimony below, petitioner averred that he used his own money to purchase the motor vehicle by paying the sum of
P100,000.00, 5 which testimony is negated by his admission on page 5 of his petition 6 before this Court that private respondent
borrowed money from Tan Pit Sin with which to purchase the subject motor vehicle. Then, in his pleading before the court below,
particularly in his reply to the answer of private respondent, petitioner alleged that the motor vehicle was intended for his exclusive
use and not to service the family business. 7 And yet , in his petition before this Court, he claimed that the subject motor vehicle was
purchased for CLT Industries, which he solely owned and accordingly, registered in the latter's name. 8 On top of these entangled
averments, petitioner did not have in his possession the Certificate of Registration of the motor vehicle and the official receipt of
payment for the same, thereby lending credence to the claim of private respondent who has possession thereof, that he owns the
subject motor vehicle.
A certificate of registration of a motor vehicle in one's name indeed creates a strong presumption of ownership. For all practical
purposes, the person in whose favor it has been issued is virtually the owner thereof unless proved otherwise. In other words, such
presumption is rebuttable by competent proof.
The New Civil Code recognizes cases of implied trust other than those enumerated therein. 9 Thus, although no specific provision
could be cited to apply to the parties herein, it is undeniable that an implied trust was created when the certificate of registration of the
motor vehicle was placed in the name of the petitioner although the price thereof was not paid by him but by private respondent. The
principle that a trustee who puts a certificate of registration in his name cannot repudiate the trust by relying on the registration is one
of the well-known limitations upon a title. A trust, which derives its strength from the confidence one reposes on another especially
between brothers, does not lose that character simply because of what appears in a legal document.
Even under the Torrens System of land registration, this Court in some instances did away with the irrevocability or indefeasibility of
a certificate of title to prevent injustice against the rightful owner of the property. 10
It is true that the judgment 11 in a replevin suit must only resolve in whom is the right of possession. Primarily, the action of replevin is
possessory in character and determined nothing more than the right of possession. However, when the title to the property is distinctly
put in issue by the defendant's plea and by reason of the policy to settle in one action all the conflicting claims of the parties to the
possession of the property in controversy, the question of ownership may be resolved in the same proceeding.

Procedure-wise, the Court observes that the action by petitioner as plaintiff in the trial court was only one for Replevin and Damages.
Since replevin is only a provisional remedy where the replevin plaintiff claims immediate delivery of personal property pending the
judgment of the trial court in a principal case, 12 the petitioner should have filed in the trial court as a main case an action to recover
possession of the Isuzu Elf van which was in the possession of the private respondent. Logically, the basis of petitioner's cause of
action should have been his ownership of said van.In the State of California, from whose Code of Procedure 13 we copied our rule on
replevin, their old replevin rule which allowed the immediate delivery of the chattel at the commencement of the action upon
application with bond by the replevin plaintiff had already been struck down as early as July 1, 1971 in the case of Blair v.
Pitchess. 14 As in fact, on June 12, 1972 when the United States Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the Florida and
Pennsylvania replevin statutes in Fuentes v. Shevin, 15 most of the states, on their own, changed their replevin statutes to include a
mandatory preliminary hearing before the writ could be issued, similar to our mandatory preliminary hearing before the writ of
preliminary injunction can be issued.16
If that had been the case in this jurisdiction, then the trial judge would have discovered right away at the preliminary hearing that
private respondent should have immediately staked his claim of ownership and that would have created serious doubts about
petitioner's claim of ownership. Most likely, the writ would not have been issued and the complaint would have been dismissed motu
proprio by the trial court upon the discovery that the petitioner did not have a principal case therein. As it is, the complaint proceeded
its course to the detriment of private respondent.
Finally, although a "replevin" action is primarily one for the possession of personality, yet it is sufficiently flexible to authorize a
settlement of all equities between the parties, arising from or growing out of the main controversy. 17Thus, in an action for replevin
where the defendant is adjudged entitled to possession, he need not go to another forum to procure relief for the return of the replevied
property or secure a judgment for the value of the property in case the adjudged return thereof could not be had. Appropriately, the
trial court rendered an alternative judgment.
WHEREFORE, the questioned decision being in accordance with the law, the instant petition for review is hereby DENIED for lack of
merit.
SO ORDERED.

(2) FELIPE CALUB and RICARDO VALENCIA, DEPARTMENT of ENVIRONMENT and NATURAL RESOURCES
(DENR), CATBALOGAN, SAMAR, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, MANUELA T. BABALCON, and CONSTANCIO
ABUGANDA, respondents. [G.R. No. 115634. April 27, 2000]
QUISUMBING, J.:
For review is the decision .[1] dated May 27, 1994, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29191, denying the petition filed by
herein petitioners for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, in order to annul the Order dated May 27, 1992, by the Regional Trial
Court of Catbalogan, Samar. Said Order had denied petitioners (a) Motion to Dismiss the replevin case filed by herein private
respondents, as well as (b) petitioners Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of said trial court dated April 24, 1992, granting an
application for a Writ of replevin..[2] h Y
The pertinent facts of the case, borne by the records, are as follows:
On January 28, 1992, the Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Team of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office
(CENRO) of the DENR apprehended two (2) motor vehicles, described as follows:
"1. Motor Vehicle with Plate No. HAK-733 loaded with one thousand and twenty six (1,026) board feet of illegally
sourced lumber valued at P8,544.75, being driven by one Pio Gabon and owned by [a certain] Jose Vargas.
2. Motor Vehicle with Plate No. FCN-143 loaded with one thousand two hundred twenty four and ninety seven
(1,224.97) board feet of illegally-sourced lumber valued at P9,187.27, being driven by one Constancio Abuganda
and owned by [a certain] Manuela Babalcon. ".[3]

Constancio Abuganda and Pio Gabon, the drivers of the vehicles, failed to present proper documents and/or licenses. Thus, the
apprehending team seized and impounded the vehicles and its load of lumber at the DENR-PENR (Department of Environment and
Natural Resources-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources) Office in Catbalogan. .[4] Seizure receipts were issued but the
drivers refused to accept the receipts..[5] Felipe Calub, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, then filed before the
Provincial Prosecutors Office in Samar, a criminal complaint against Abuganda, in Criminal Case No. 3795, for violation of Section
68 [78), Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order 277, otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code. [6] Mis sc
On January 31, 1992, the impounded vehicles were forcibly taken by Gabon and Abuganda from the custody of the DENR, prompting
DENR Officer Calub this time to file a criminal complaint for grave coercion against Gabon and Abuganda. The complaint was,
however, dismissed by the Public Prosecutor..[7]
On February 11, 1992, one of the two vehicles, with plate number FCN 143, was again apprehended by a composite team of DENRCENR in Catbalogan and Philippine Army elements of the 802nd Infantry Brigade at Barangay Buray, Paranas, Samar. It was again
loaded with forest products with an equivalent volume of 1,005.47 board feet, valued at P10,054.70. Calub duly filed a criminal
complaint against Constancio Abuganda, a certain Abegonia, and several John Does, in Criminal Case No. 3625, for violation of
Section 68 [78], Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order 277, otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code. .[8]
In Criminal Cases Nos. 3795 and 3625, however, Abegonia and Abuganda were acquitted on the ground of reasonable doubt. But note
the trial court ordered that a copy of the decision be furnished the Secretary of Justice, in order that the necessary criminal action may
be filed against Noe Pagarao and all other persons responsible for violation of the Revised Forestry Code. For it appeared that it was
Pagarao who chartered the subject vehicle and ordered that cut timber be loaded on it..[9]
Subsequently, herein private respondents Manuela Babalcon, the vehicle owner, and Constancio Abuganda, the driver, filed a
complaint for the recovery of possession of the two (2) impounded vehicles with an application for replevin against herein petitioners
before the RTC of Catbalogan. The trial court granted the application for replevin and issued the corresponding writ in an Order dated
April 24, 1992..[10] Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss which was denied by the trial court.[11]
Thus, on June 15, 1992, petitioners filed with the Supreme Court the present Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with
application for Preliminary Injunction and/or a Temporary Restraining Order. The Court issued a TRO, enjoining respondent RTC
judge from conducting further proceedings in the civil case for replevin; and enjoining private respondents from taking or attempting
to take the motor vehicles and forest products seized from the custody of the petitioners. The Court further instructed the petitioners to
see to it that the motor vehicles and other forest products seized are kept in a secured place and protected from deterioration, said
property being incustodia legis and subject to the direct order of the Supreme Court..[12] In a Resolution issued on September 28, 1992,
the Court referred said petition to respondent appellate court for appropriate disposition..[13]
On May 27, 1994, the Court of Appeals denied said petition for lack of merit. It ruled that the mere seizure of a motor vehicle pursuant
to the authority granted by Section 68 [78] of P.D. No. 705 as amended by E.O. No. 277 does not automatically place said conveyance
in custodia legis. According to the appellate court, such authority of the Department Head of the DENR or his duly authorized
representative to order the confiscation and disposition of illegally obtained forest products and the conveyance used for that purpose
is not absolute and unqualified. It is subject to pertinent laws, regulations, or policies on that matter, added the appellate court. The
DENR Administrative Order No. 59, series of 1990, is one such regulation, the appellate court said. For it prescribes the guidelines in
the confiscation, forfeiture and disposition of conveyances used in the commission of offenses penalized under Section 68 [78] of P.D.
No. 705 as amended by E.O. No. 277..[14]
Additionally, respondent Court of Appeals noted that the petitioners failed to observe the procedure outlined in DENR Administrative
Order No. 59, series of 1990. They were unable to submit a report of the seizure to the DENR Secretary, to give a written notice to the
owner of the vehicle, and to render a report of their findings and recommendations to the Secretary. Moreover, petitioners failure to
comply with the procedure laid down by DENR Administrative Order No. 59, series of 1990, was confirmed by the admission of
petitioners counsel that no confiscation order has been issued prior to the seizure of the vehicle and the filing of the replevin suit.
Therefore, in failing to follow such procedure, according to the appellate court, the subject vehicles could not be considered
in custodia legis..[15]

Respondent Court of Appeals also found no merit in petitioners claim that private respondents complaint for replevin is a suit against
the State. Accordingly, petitioners could not shield themselves under the principle of state immunity as the property sought to be
recovered in the instant suit had not yet been lawfully adjudged forfeited in favor of the government. Moreover, according to
respondent appellate court, there could be no pecuniary liability nor loss of property that could ensue against the government. It
reasoned that a suit against a public officer who acted illegally or beyond the scope of his authority could not be considered a suit
against the State; and that a public officer might be sued for illegally seizing or withholding the possession of the property of another. .
[16]

Respondent court brushed aside other grounds raised by petitioners based on the claim that the subject vehicles were validly seized
and held in custody because they were contradicted by its own findings..[17] Their petition was found without merit.[18] Rtc spped
Now, before us, the petitioners assign the following errors:.[19]
(1) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT MERE SEIZURE OF A CONVEYANCE
PURSUANT TO SECTION 68-A [78-A] OF P.D. NO. 705 AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 277 DOES
NOT PLACE SAID CONVEYANCE IN CUSTODIA LEGIS;
(2) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE OPERATIVE ACT GIVING RISE FOR
THE SUBJECT CONVEYANCE TO BE IN CUSTODIA LEGIS IS ITS LAWFUL SEIZURE BY THE DENR
PURSUANT TO SECTION 68-A [78-A] OF P.D. NO. 705, AS AMENDED BY E.O. NO. 277; AND
(3) THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE COMPLAINT FOR REPLEVIN AGAINST
THE PETITIONERS IS NOT A SUIT AGAINST THE STATE.
In brief, the pertinent issues for our consideration are:
(1) Whether or not the DENR-seized motor vehicle, with plate number FCN 143, is in custodia legis.
(2) Whether or not the complaint for the recovery of possession of impounded vehicles, with an application for replevin, is a suit
against the State.
We will now resolve both issues.
The Revised Forestry Code authorizes the DENR to seize all conveyances used in the commission of an offense in violation of Section
78. Section 78 states:
Sec. 78. Cutting, Gathering, and or Collecting Timber, or Other Forest Products without License. Any person who
shall cut, gather, collect, remove timber or other forest products from any forestland, or timber from alienable or
disposable public land, or from private land, without any authority, or possess timber or other forest products
without the legal documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations, shall be punished with the
penalties imposed under Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Codeslx mis
The Court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of the timber or any forest products cut,
gathered, collected, removed, or possessed, as well as the machinery, equipment, implements and tools illegally used
in the area where the timber or forest products are found.
This provision makes mere possession of timber or other forest products without the accompanying legal documents unlawful and
punishable with the penalties imposed for the crime of theft, as prescribed in Articles 309-310 of the Revised Penal Code. In the
present case, the subject vehicles were loaded with forest products at the time of the seizure. But admittedly no permit evidencing
authority to possess and transport said load of forest products was duly presented. These products, in turn, were deemed illegally
sourced. Thus there was a prima facie violation of Section 68 [78] of the Revised Forestry Code, although as found by the trial court,
the persons responsible for said violation were not the ones charged by the public prosecutor.

The corresponding authority of the DENR to seize all conveyances used in the commission of an offense in violation of Section 78 of
the Revised Forestry Code is pursuant to Sections 78-A and 89 of the same Code. They read as follows: Sc
Sec. 78-A. Administrative Authority of the Department Head or His Duly Authorized Representative to Order
Confiscation. -- In all cases of violation of this Code or other forest laws, rules and regulations, the Department
Head or his duly authorized representative, may order the confiscation of any forest products illegally cut, gathered,
removed, or possessed or abandoned, and all conveyances used either by land, water or air in the commission of the
offense and to dispose of the same in accordance with pertinent laws, regulations or policies on the matter.
Sec. 89. Arrest; Institution of criminal actions. -- A forest officer or employee of the Bureau [Department] or any
personnel of the Philippine Constabulary/Philippine National Police shall arrest even without warrantany person
who has committed or is committing in his presence any of the offenses defined in this Chapter. He shall also seize
and confiscate, in favor of the Government, the tools and equipment used in committing the offense... [Emphasis
supplied.]
Note that DENR Administrative Order No. 59, series of 1990, implements Sections 78-A and 89 of the Forestry Code, as follows:
Sec. 2. Conveyances Subject to Confiscation and Forfeiture. -- All conveyances used in the transport of any forest
product obtained or gathered illegally whether or not covered with transport documents, found spurious or irregular
in accordance with Sec. 68-A [78-A] of P.D. No. 705, shall be confiscated in favor of the government or disposed of
in accordance with pertinent laws, regulations or policies on the matter.
Sec. 4. Who are Authorized to Seize Conveyance. -- The Secretary or his duly authorized representative such as the
forest officers and/or natural resources officers, or deputized officers of the DENR are authorized to seize said
conveyances subject to policies and guidelines pertinent thereto. Deputized military personnel and officials of other
agencies apprehending illegal logs and other forest products and their conveyances shall notify the nearest DENR
field offices, and turn over said forest products and conveyances for proper action and disposition. In case where the
apprehension is made by DENR field officer, the conveyance shall be deposited with the nearest
CENRO/PENRO/RED Office as the case may be, for safekeeping wherever it is most convenient and secured.
[Emphasis supplied.]
Upon apprehension of the illegally-cut timber while being transported without pertinent documents that could evidence title to or right
to possession of said timber, a warrantless seizure of the involved vehicles and their load was allowed under Section 78 and 89 of the
Revised Forestry Code. Slxs c
Note further that petitioners failure to observe the procedure outlined in DENR Administrative Order No. 59, series of 1990 was
justifiably explained. Petitioners did not submit a report of the seizure to the Secretary nor give a written notice to the owner of the
vehicle because on the 3rd day following the seizure, Gabon and Abuganda, drivers of the seized vehicles, forcibly took the
impounded vehicles from the custody of the DENR. Then again, when one of the motor vehicles was apprehended and impounded for
the second time, the petitioners, again were not able to report the seizure to the DENR Secretary nor give a written notice to the owner
of the vehicle because private respondents immediately went to court and applied for a writ of replevin. The seizure of the vehicles
and their load was done upon their apprehension for a violation of the Revised Forestry Code. It would be absurd to require a
confiscation order or notice and hearing before said seizure could be effected under the circumstances.
Since there was a violation of the Revised Forestry Code and the seizure was in accordance with law, in our view the subject vehicles
were validly deemed in custodia legis. It could not be subject to an action for replevin. For it is property lawfully taken by virtue of
legal process and considered in the custody of the law, and not otherwise..[20]
In Mamanteo, et. al. v. Deputy Sheriff Magumun, A.M. No. P-98-1264, promulgated on July 28, 1999, the case involves property to be
seized by a Deputy Sheriff in a replevin suit. But said property were already impounded by the DENR due to violation of forestry laws
and, in fact, already forfeited in favor of the government by order of the DENR. We said that such property was deemed in custodia
legis. The sheriff could not insist on seizing the property already subject of a prior warrant of seizure. The appropriate action should be

for the sheriff to inform the trial court of the situation by way of partial Sheriffs Return, and wait for the judges instructions on the
proper procedure to be observed.
Note that property that is validly deposited in custodia legis cannot be the subject of a replevin suit. In Mamanteo v. Deputy Sheriff
Magumun, we elucidated further:
". . . the writ of replevin has been repeatedly used by unscrupulous plaintiffs to retrieve their chattel earlier taken for
violation of the Tariff and Customs Code, tax assessment, attachment or execution. Officers of the court, from the
presiding judge to the sheriff, are implored to be vigilant in their execution of the law otherwise, as in this case,
valid seizure and forfeiture proceedings could easily be undermined by the simple devise of a writ of replevin..." .
[21]
Scslx
On the second issue, is the complaint for the recovery of possession of the two impounded vehicles, with an application for replevin, a
suit against the State?
Well established is the doctrine that the State may not be sued without its consent. .[22] And a suit against a public officer for his official
acts is, in effect, a suit against the State if its purpose is to hold the State ultimately liable. .[23]However, the protection afforded to
public officers by this doctrine generally applies only to activities within the scope of their authority in good faith and without
willfulness, malice or corruption.[24] In the present case, the acts for which the petitioners are being called to account were performed
by them in the discharge of their official duties. The acts in question are clearly official in nature. [25] In implementing and enforcing
Sections 78-A and 89 of the Forestry Code through the seizure carried out, petitioners were performing their duties and functions as
officers of the DENR, and did so within the limits of their authority. There was no malice nor bad faith on their part. Hence, a suit
against the petitioners who represent the DENR is a suit against the State. It cannot prosper without the States consent.
Given the circumstances in this case, we need not pursue the Office of the Solicitor Generals line for the defense of petitioners
concerning exhaustion of administrative remedies. We ought only to recall that exhaustion must be raised at the earliest time possible,
even before filing the answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim, by a motion to dismiss. .[26] If not invoked at the proper
time, this ground for dismissal could be deemed waived and the court could take cognizance of the case and try it. [27] Mesm
ACCORDINGLY, the Petition is GRANTED, and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 29191 is SET
ASIDE. Consequently, the Order issued by the Regional Trial Court of Catbalogan, dated May 27, 1992, and the Writ of replevin
issued in the Order dated April 24, 1992, are ANNULLED. The Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court of Catbalogan, Branch 29, is
directed to take possession of the subject motor vehicle, with plate number FCN 143, for delivery to the custody of and appropriate
disposition by petitioners. Let a copy of this decision be provided the Honorable Secretary of Justice for his appropriate action, against
any and all persons responsible for the abovecited violation of the Revised Forestry Code.
Costs against private respondents.
SO ORDERED.
(3) EUFEMIA SARMIENTO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and GENEROSA S. CRUZ, respondents.
[G.R. No. 116192 November 16, 1995]
REGALADO, J.:
The judgment promulgated on February 28, 1994 by respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R SP No. 32263 1reversing the decision of
the regional trial court, as well as its resolution of June 29, 1994 denying herein petitioner's motion for reconsideration, are assailed in
this petition for review on certiorari.

This case originated from a complaint for ejectment with damages filed by herein private respondent Generosa S. Cruz, as plaintiff,
against herein petitioner Eufemia Sarmiento, as defendant, in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dinalupihan-Hermosa, Bataan as
Civil Case No. 899, which complaint alleges these material facts:
xxx xxx xxx
2. That the plaintiff acquired by purchase a parcel of land known as Lot No. 2-A of the subd. plan, Psd-03-0345
being a portion of Lot 2, covered by TCT No. T-147219, located at Bo. Mabuco, Hermosa, Bataan, containing as
area of 280 square meters, xerox copy of the title is hereto attached as Annex "A" hereof and for taxation purposes,
the same is declared in the name of the plaintiff, xerox copy of the tax declaration is hereto attached as Annex "B" of
this complaint;
3. That the adjacent lot of plaintiff is still owned by the family of Atty. Gonzalo Nuguid but the same is being used
and occupied by the defendant where a house was constructed thereon;
4. That when the plaintiff caused the relocation of her lot herein mentioned, it was found out by the Geodetic
Engineer that the defendant is encroaching on her lot for about 71 square meters, copy of the relocation sketch by
said surveyor is hereto attached as Annex "C" hereof;
5. That when the plaintiff talked to the defendant that she would like to remove the old fence so that she could
construct a new fence which will cover the true area of her property, the defendant vehemently refused to let the
plaintiff remov(e) the said fence and menacingly alleged that if plaintiff remove(d) the said fence to construct a new
one, she would take action against the plaintiff legally or otherwise;
6. For fear that plaintiff may be charged in court should she insist on removing the fence encroaching on her
property, plaintiff now seeks judicial relief;
7. That plaintiff refer(red) this matter to the Katarungang Pambarangay of Mabuco for settlement, however, the
efforts of the Lupon Tagapamayapa turned futile, as evidenced by a certification to file action issued by the Lupon
secretary and attested by the Lupon Chairman, copy of the certification to file action is hereto attached as Annex "D"
hereof;
8. Plaintiff as much as possible would like to avoid court litigation because she is poor but nevertheless she
consulted the undersigned counsel and a demand letter was sent to the defendant for conference and/or settlement
but the defendant stood pat that she will not allow the removal of the fence, thus depriving the plaintiff of the use
and possession of the said portion of her lot (71 square meters) which is being occupied by the defendant for several
years, xerox copy of the demand letter is hereto attached as Annex "E" of this complaint;
9. That by virtue of the willful refusal of the defendant to allow the plaintiff to have the fence dismantled and/or to
be removed, the plaintiff is deprived of the possession and she was forced to hire the services of counsel for which
she contracted to pay the sum of P2,000.00 plus acceptance of P1,000.00 until the termination of this case before
this Honorable Court. 2
xxx xxx xxx
On January 21, 1993, the trial court, on motion, issued an order giving the defendant to file her answer to the complaint. 3 This was
opposed by the plaintiff therein on the ground that Section 15(e) of the Rule on Summary Procedure does not allow the filing of
motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other papers. 4 Nonetheless, defendant filed on January 29, 1993 her
"Answer with Motion to Dismiss." 5 Plaintiff filed and ex-parte motion reiterating her contention that the filing by defendant of her
aforesaid answer with motion was barred for reason that her preceding motion for extension of time to file an answer is a prohibited
pleading. 6 On February 4, 1993, the trial court, finding merit in plaintiff'sex-parte motion, ordered that defendant's answer be stricken
from the records for having been filed out of time. 7 The case was then submitted for decision.

On February 18, 1993, the trial court rendered its decision with the following decretal portion:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant, ordering the latter:
1. To vacate the area being encroached (upon) by the defendant and allowing the plaintiff to remove the old fence
permanently and (to) make the necessary enclosure of the area pertaining to the herein plaintiff containing an area of
280 square meters, more or less;
2. Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P1,500.00 as attorney's fees. No pronouncement as to
damages;
3. To pay the cost(s) of this suit. 8 (Corrections in parentheses supplied.)
Defendant filed a motion for the reconsideration of said judgment, but the same was denied by the trial court for lack of merit in its
order dated March 2, 1993. 9
On appeal to the Regional Trial Court of Dinalupihan Bataan, Branch 5, in Civil Case No DH-121-93, defendant assailed the
jurisdiction of the court a quo. On June 21, 1993, said lower appellate court rendered judgment, stating in part as follows:
A perusal of the records of the case and the memorandum of appeal of the adversaries led this court to the opinion
that the court a quo did not acquire jurisdiction to hear, try and decide the instant appealed case based on (the)
reason that the said case should be one of question of ownership oraccion rei(vin)dicatoria rather than that of
forcible entry as the(re) was no allegation of prior possession by the plaintiff (of) the disputed lot as required by law
and jurisprudence. Absence of allegations and proof by the plaintiff in forcible entry case of prior possession of the
disputed lot (sic) cannot be said that defendant dispossesses her of the same, thus, the legal remedy sought by the
plaintiff is not the proper one as it should have been accion publiciana or accion rei(vin)dicatoria, as the case may
be, and the forum of which is the Regional Trial Court.
This Court declines to venture into other issues raised by the defendant/appellant considering that the resolution on
jurisdiction renders the same moot and academic. 10 (Corrections in parentheses ours.)
Therein plaintiffs motion for reconsideration having been denied in said lower court's order dated August 12, 1993, 11 she elevated the
case to the Supreme Court through a petition for review on certiorari, purportedly on pure questions of law. This Court, treating the
petition as a special civil action for certiorari, referred the case to respondent Court of Appeals for proper determination and
disposition pursuant to Section 9(1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. 12
On February 28, 1994, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment in CA-G.R. SP No. 32263 13 reversing the decision of the regional trial
court and reinstating that of the municipal circuit trial court, hence the present petition.
The chief issue for our resolution is whether or not the court of origin had jurisdiction over the ejectment case. Well-settled is the rule
that the jurisdiction of the court, as well as the nature of the action, are determined by the averments in the complaint. 14 Accordingly,
the issue in the instant case can only be properly resolved by an examination and evaluation of the allegations in the complaint in Civil
Case No. 899 of said trial court.
A careful reading of the facts averred in said complaint filed by herein private respondent reveals that the action is neither one of
forcible entry nor of unlawful detainer but essentially involves a boundary dispute which must be resolved in an accion
reivindicatoria on the issue of ownership over the disputed 71 square meters involved.
Forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases are two distinct actions defined in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. In forcible
entry, one is deprived of physical possession of land or building by means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth. In
unlawful detainer, one unlawfully withholds possession thereof after the expiration or termination of his right to hold possession under
any contract, express or implied. In forcible entity, the possession is illegal from the beginning and the basic inquiry centers on who

has the prior possession de facto. In unlawful detainer, the possession was originally lawful but became unlawful by the expiration or
termination of the right to possess, hence the issue of rightful possession is decisive for, in such action, the defendant is in actual
possession and the plaintiffs cause of action is the termination of the defendant's right to continue in possession. 15
What determines the cause of action is the nature of defendant's entry into the land. If the entry is illegal, then the action which may be
filed against the intruder within one year therefrom is forcible entry. If, on the other hand, the entry is legal but the possession
thereafter became illegal, the case is one of unlawful detainer which must be filed within one year from the date of the last demand. 16
In the case at bar, the complaint does not characterize herein petitioner's alleged entry into the land, that is, whether the same was legal
or illegal. It does not state how petitioner entered upon the land and constructed the house and the fence thereon. It is also silent on
whether petitioner's possession became legal before private respondent made a demand on her to remove the fence. The complaint
merely avers that the lot being occupied by petitioner is owned by a third person, not a party to the case, and that said lot is enclosed
by a fence which private respondent claims is an encroachment on the adjacent lot belonging to her.
Furthermore, it is also alleged and admitted in the complaint that the said fence was already in existence on that lot at the time private
respondent bought her own lot and it was only after a relocation survey was made that it was found out that petitioner is allegedly
encroaching on the lot of the former. Consequently, there is here no contract, express or implied, between petitioner and private
respondent as would qualify it as a case of unlawful detainer. Neither was it alleged that the possession of the disputed portion of said
lot was acquired by petitioner through force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth to make out a case of forcible entry.
Private respondent cannot now belatedly claim that petitioner's possession of the controverted portion was by mere tolerance since that
fact was never alleged in the former's basic complaint, and this argument was raised in her later pleadings more as an afterthought.
Also, it would be absurd to argue that private respondent tolerated a state of affairs of which she was not even then aware. Finally, to
categorize a cause of action as one constitutive of unlawful detainer, plaintiff's supposed acts of tolerance must have been present right
from the start of the possession which is later sought to be recovered. 17
Indeed, and this was definitely not the situation that obtained in and gave rise to the ejectment suit, to hold otherwise would espouse a
dangerous doctrine, for two reasons: First. Forcible entry into the land is an open challenge to the right of the lawful possessor, the
violation of which right authorizes the speedy redress in the inferior court provided for in the Rules. If a period of one year from the
forcible entry is allowed to lapse before suit is filed, then the remedy ceases to be speedy and the aggrieved possessor is deemed to
have waived his right to seek relief in the inferior court. Second. If a forcible entry action in the inferior court is allowed after the lapse
of a number of years, then the result may well be that no action of forcible entry can really prescribe. No matter how long such
defendant is in physical possession, plaintiff will merely make a demand, bring suit in the inferior court upon a plea of tolerance to
prevent prescription from setting in and summarily throw him out of the land. Such a conclusion is unreasonable, especially if we
bear in mind the postulates that proceedings of forcible entry and unlawful detainer are summary in nature, and that the one year timebar to the suit is but in pursuance of the summary nature of the action. 18
To give the court jurisdiction to effect the ejectment of an occupant or deforciant on the land, it is necessary that the complaint should
embody such a statement of facts as brings the party clearly within the class of cases for which the statutes provide a remedy, as these
proceedings are summary in nature. 19 The complaint must show enough on its face to give the court jurisdiction without resort to
parol testimony. 20
The jurisdictional facts must appear on the face of the complaint. When the complaint fails to aver facts constitutive of forcible entry
or unlawful detainer, as where it does not state how entry was effected or how and when dispossession started, as in the case at bar, the
remedy should either be an accion publiciana or an accion reivindicatoria in the proper regional trial
court. 21
If private respondent is indeed the owner of the premises subject of this suit and she was unlawfully deprived of the real right of
possession or the ownership thereof, she should present her claim before the regional trial court in an accion publiciana or an accion
reivindicatoria, and not before the municipal trial court in a summary proceeding of unlawful detainer or forcible entry. For even if
one is the owner of the property, the possession thereof cannot be wrested from another who had been in the physical or material
possession of the same for more than one year by resorting to a summary action for ejectment. This is especially true where his

possession thereof was not obtained through the means or held under the circumstances contemplated by the rules on summary
ejectment.
We have held that in giving recognition to the action of forcible entry and unlawful detainer, the purpose of the law is to protect the
person who in fact has actual possession; and in case of a controverted proprietary right, the law requires the parties to preserve
the status quo until one or the other sees fit to invoke the decision of a court of competent jurisdiction upon the question of
ownership. 22
On the foregoing premises and with these conclusions, it is unnecessary to pass upon the other issues raised in the petition at bar.
ACCORDINGLY, the instant petition is GRANTED, and the judgment of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 32263 is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Dinalupihan, Bataan, Branch 5, in Civil Case No. DH121-93 is REINSTATED, without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

(4) TERESITA BONGATO, petitioner, vs. Spouses SEVERO A. MALVAR and TRINIDAD MALVAR, respondents.

[G.R. No. 141614. August 14, 2002]

PANGANIBAN, J.:
An action for forcible entry is a quieting process that is summary in nature. It is designed to recover physical possession in
speedy proceedings that are restrictive in nature, scope and time limits. The one-year bar within which to bring the suit is prescribed
to complement its summary nature. Thus, after the one-year period has lapsed, plaintiffs can no longer avail themselves of the
summary proceedings in the municipal trial court but must litigate, in the normal course, in the regional trial court in an ordinary
action to recover possession, or to recover both ownership and possession.
Statement of the Case
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the December 16, 1998
Decision[1] and the September 1, 1999 Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 34204. The decretal portion of the
Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby dismissed for lack of merit. Costs against petitioner.[3]
The assailed Resolution denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
The CA sustained the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City (Branch 4), which had disposed thus:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court hereby affirms the decision of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 2
penned by the Honorable Santos Rod. Cedro and the Writ of Execution issued on the 24 th day of August 1993 upon order of the
Honorable Rosarito F. Dabalos (Record, p. 42, Folio II) can now be served on the defendant.[4]
The Facts

The factual antecedents of the case are summarized by the Court of Appeals as follows:
The spouses Severo and Trinidad Malvar filed a complaint for forcible entry against petitioner Teresita Bongato, alleging that
petitioner Bongato unlawfully entered a parcel of land covered by TCT No. RT-16200 belonging to the said spouses and erected
thereon a house of light materials. The petitioner filed a motion for extension of time to file an answer which the MTCC denied; it
being proscribed under the Rule on Summary Procedure, and likewise containing no notice of hearing. With a new counsel, Atty.
Viador C. Viajar, petitioner filed an answer which the MTCC disregarded, the same having been filed beyond the ten-day
reglementary period. Later, with still another counsel, Atty. Jesus G. Chavez of the Public Attorneys Office, petitioner filed a motion
to dismiss which the MTCC denied as being contrary to the Rule on Summary Procedure.
Thereafter, the MTCC rendered a decision ordering petitioner to vacate the land in question, and to pay rentals, attorneys fees, and
the costs of the suit. The decision was affirmed by respondent RTC judge. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration.
On March 4, 1994, respondent Judge issued an order granting the motion for reconsideration only insofar as to determine the
location of the houses involved in this civil case so that the Court will know whether they are located on one and the same lot or a lot
different from that involved in the criminal case for Anti-Squatting. In the same order, respondent Judge disallowed any extension
and warned that if the survey is not made, the court might consider the same abandoned and the writ of execution would be issued.
The criminal case for anti-squatting (Crim. Case No. 4659) was filed by private respondents Malvar against petitioner Bongato. The
case is still pending with the Regional Trial Court, Branch I, Butuan City.
On March 28, 1994, petitioner filed a motion for extension of the March 29, 1994 deadline for the submission of the relocation
survey and to move the deadline to April 15, 1994, as the engineer concerned, Engr. Lumarda, could not conduct his survey during the
Holy Week, he being a lay minister and parish council member.
On April 7, 1994, respondent Judge noted that no survey report was submitted and ordered the record of the case returned to the court
of origin for disposal.[5] (Citations omitted)
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The CA held that the lot referred to in the present controversy was different from that involved in the anti-squatting case. [6] It
further ruled that the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) had jurisdiction, and that it did not err in rejecting petitioners Motion to
Dismiss. The appellate court reasoned that the MTCC had passed upon the issue of ownership of the property merely to determine
possession -- an action that did not oust the latter of its jurisdiction.[7]
Unsatisfied with the CA Decision, petitioner lodged this Petition.[8]
Issues
In her Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues for this Courts consideration:
I
Whether or not the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion in not finding that the trial court lacked jurisdiction since the
Complaint was filed beyond the one-year period from date of alleged entry;
II
Whether or not the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion in ruling that the Motion to Dismiss was a prohibited pleading. [9]
This Courts Ruling

The Petition is meritorious.


First Issue:
MTCC Jurisdiction
Petitioner claims that the MTCC had no jurisdiction, because the Complaint for forcible entry was filed only in 1992 or beyond
the one-year period provided under the Rules of Civil Procedure. [10] She avers that in Criminal Case No. 4659 for anti-squatting,
Respondent Severo Malvar alleged in his Sworn Statement that petitioner had illegally entered his land sometime in the first week of
January 1987. [11]
On the other hand, respondents contend that the subject of the anti-squatting case is different from the parcel of land involved
here.[12]
Before tackling the issue directly, it is worthwhile to restate three basic legal principles. First, in forcible entry, one employs
force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth to deprive another of physical possession of land or building. [13] Thus, the plaintiff must
allege and prove prior physical possession of the property in litigation until deprived thereof by the defendant.
[14]
This requirement implies that the possession of the disputed land by the latter was unlawful from the beginning. [15] The sole
question for resolution hinges on the physical or material possession (possession de facto) of the property. Neither a claim of juridical
possession (possession de jure) nor an averment of ownership[16] by the defendant can outrightly prevent the court from taking
cognizance of the case.[17] Ejectment cases proceed independently of any claim of ownership, and the plaintiff needs merely to prove
prior possessionde facto and undue deprivation thereof.[18]
Second, as a general rule, courts do not take judicial notice of the evidence presented in other proceedings, even if these have
been tried or are pending in the same court or before the same judge. [19] There are exceptions to this rule. Ordinarily, an appellate
court cannot refer to the record in another case to ascertain a fact not shown in the record of the case before it, [20] yet, it has been held
that it may consult decisions in other proceedings, in order to look for the law that is determinative of or applicable to the case under
review.[21] In some instances, courts have also taken judicial notice of proceedings in other cases that are closely connected to the
matter in controversy.[22]These cases may be so closely interwoven, or so clearly interdependent, as to invoke a rule of judicial
notice.[23]
Third, factual findings of trial courts, especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are binding on the Supreme
Court. Indeed, the review of such findings is not a function that this Court normally undertakes. [24] However, this Rule is not absolute;
it admits of exceptions, such as (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when a lower
courts inference from its factual findings is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion in
the appreciation of facts; (4) when the findings of the appellate court go beyond the issues of the case, run contrary to the admissions
of the parties to the case, or fail to notice certain relevant facts which -- if properly considered -- will justify a different conclusion; (5)
when there is a misappreciation of facts; (6) when the findings of fact are conclusions without mention of the specific evidence on
which they are based, are premised on the absence of evidence, or are contradicted by evidence on record.[25]
Respondents in the present Petition filed three cases against petitioner: (1) Criminal Case No. 4659 for violation of PD No.
772[26] (filed on October 2, 1991), in which petitioner was acquitted on the ground of good faith; (2) Civil Case No. 5681 for forcible
entry (filed on July 10, 1992) which was resolved by the MTCC on October 26, 1992. [27] (3) Criminal Case No. 5734 for Violation of
PD No. 1096[28] (filed on July 15, 1993), wherein petitioner was again acquitted.
We agree with respondents that Lot 10-A, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-16200 [29] and registered under
the name of Severo Malvar, is different from Lot 1 which is covered by TCT No. RT-15993 [30] and registered under the name of Severo
Malvar also. However, we cannot ignore the Decision[31] dated April 30, 1996 in Criminal Case No. 4659 for violation of PD 772; or
the Decision[32] dated November 26, 1997 in Criminal Case No. 5734 for violation of PD 1096. The property involved in these two
criminal cases and in the instant case for forcible entry is one and the same -- petitioners house.

The allegation of petitioner that there is only one house involved in these three cases has not been controverted by
respondents. Neither was there evidence presented to prove that, indeed, she had constructed one house on Lot 1 and another on Lot
10-A. On the contrary, she correctly points out that the house involved in these three cases is found on one and the same location.
Verily, in his Sworn Statement[33] submitted in Criminal Case No. 4659, Respondent Severo Malvar stated that petitioners house was
located in front of the Museum and just behind the City Hall. On the other hand, in the Complaint [34] for forcible entry, the subject
property was said to be located along Doongan Road and right in front of the Regional National Museum and not far behind the City
Hall of Butuan City. Lastly, the Decision[35] in Criminal Case No. 5734 stated that the building inspector, Engineer Margarita Burias,
had responded to a verbal complaint involving a structure built near the Museum in Upper Doongan, Butuan City.
Based on these factual antecedents, there is cogent basis for petitioners contention that the MTCC lacked jurisdiction in this
case.
First, respondents allege that the subject house was built by petitioner on Lot 10-A covered by TCT No. 16200. This allegation
is belied by the sketch plan [36] dated June 16, 1994, submitted by Engineer Regino A. Lomarda Jr. To recall, in an Order [37] dated
March 4, 1994, the RTC had required petitioner to submit a relocation survey of Lot 10-A to determine the location of the house and to
ascertain if it was the same house involved in Criminal Case No. 4659 for anti-squatting. However, because of the Holy Week,
petitioner failed to submit the relocation survey within the period provided by the RTC. In the said sketch plan that was offered in
evidence as Exhibit 5 in the anti-squatting case, Engineer Lomarda Jr. certified that the hut of Teresita Bongato is not within Lot
10-A as shown in this plan as relocated by the undersigned based [o]n TCT No. RT-1576 of Benjamin Eva, et al. and [o]n TCT No.
RT-16200 of Lot 10-A of Severo Malvar.
Second, according to the Decision in Criminal Case No. 4659, petitioners house is actually located on Lot 1, the parcel of land
previously covered by TCT No. RT-15993 and subject of the anti-squatting case. The RTC Judge in said case ruled:
The lot on which accuseds house is standing was formerly covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-15993 dated January 24,
1983 in the name of Severo Malvar, and superseded by Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-24589 dated December 3, 1991 in the
name of Butuan Land Developers Group, Inc.[38]
Third, petitioners house had actually been in existence prior to February 1992, the alleged date of illegal entry. Thus, in
Criminal Case No. 5734 for violation of PD 1096, the RTC Judge opined as follows:
Firstly, the prosecution has not proven that the accused had constructed or for that matter was constructing the questioned house in
February of 1992, since it was never stated that when the complaint was lodged with the City Engineers Office, that the house
occupied by the accused was under construction or under renovation. The fact that Engr. Burias even admitted that she had no
knowledge of when the structure was built implicitly indicates that the same was completely erected or constructed before Engr.
Burias visit, or even for that matter, before the complaint was filed.[39]
That the house of petitioner had been constructed by her father and that she had merely continued to reside therein was upheld by
the Decision, which we quote:
Suffice it to state, however, that We are convinced, given the testimonial evidence offered that the house in question was not built by
the accused, but by her father, Jacinto Bongato sometime in 1935; that accused merely lived in the house as a member of Jacinto
Bongatos family until the death of her parents, whereupon, she continued to reside in the said house and now claims to be its
owner.[40]
Fourth, Respondent Severo Malvar admitted in Criminal Case No. 4659 that he had knowledge of petitioners house since
January 1987. We quote from his testimony:
Q Earlier, Judge Malvar, you told this Honorable Court that you discovered sometime in January 1987, the accused was
occupying your property consisting of 348 square meters. What did you do upon discovering that the accused already
occupied a portion of your property without your knowledge?

I want to demolish her house. I told her that I am the owner of the land and she is looking for the hectare that was not sold
by her father to me.

Q And upon being informed by Teresita Bongato that they were looking for the hectare lot which was not sold to you by her
father, what did you say to her?
A

I told her to remove her house. Then after that, I was so busy with the squatters along Satorre Street of the Malvar Village that
kept me so busy. It was only last year that we were able to attend to this.[41]

It is wise to be reminded that forcible entry is a quieting process, and that the restrictive time bar is prescribed to complement the
summary nature of such process.[42] Indeed, the one-year period within which to bring an action for forcible entry is generally counted
from the date of actual entry to the land. However, when entry is made through stealth, then the one-year period is counted from the
time the plaintiff learned about it. [43] After the lapse of the one-year period, the party dispossessed of a parcel of land may file either
an accion publiciana, which is a plenary action to recover the right of possession; or an accion reivindicatoria, which is an action to
recover ownership as well as possession.[44]
On the basis of the foregoing facts, it is clear that the cause of action for forcible entry filed by respondents had already
prescribed when they filed the Complaint for ejectment on July 10, 1992. [45] Hence, even if Severo Malvar may be the owner of the
land, possession thereof cannot be wrested through a summary action for ejectment of petitioner, who had been occupying it for more
than one (1) year.[46] Respondents should have presented their suit before the RTC in an accion publiciana or
an accion reivindicatoria, not before the MTCC in summary proceedings for forcible entry. [47] Their cause of action for forcible entry
had prescribed already, and the MTCC had no more jurisdiction to hear and decide it.[48]
Second Issue:
Motion to Dismiss
Petitioner further argues that a motion to dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter is not a prohibited
pleading, but is allowed under Sec. 19(a) of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure.[49] We agree.
The Rule on Summary Procedure was promulgated specifically to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination of
cases.[50] The speedy resolution of unlawful detainer cases is a matter of public policy,[51] and the Rule should equally apply with
full force to forcible entry cases, in which possession of the premises is already illegal from the start. [52] For this reason, the Rule
frowns upon delays and prohibits altogether the filing of motions for extension of time. Consistently, Section 6 was added to give the
trial court the power to render judgment, even motu proprio, upon the failure of a defendant to file an answer within the reglementary
period.[53] However, as forcible entry and detainer cases are summary in nature and involve disturbances of the social order, procedural
technicalities should be carefully avoided[54] and should not be allowed to override substantial justice.[55]
Pursuant to Section 36[56] of BP 129,[57] the Court on June 16, 1983, promulgated the Rule on Summary Procedure in Special
Cases.[58] Under this Rule, a motion to dismiss or quash is a prohibited pleading. Under the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary
Procedure, however,[59] a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter is an exception to the rule on
prohibited pleadings:
SEC. 19. Prohibited pleadings and motions. The following pleadings, motions, or petitions shall not be allowed in the cases
covered by this Rule:
(a)

xxx

Motion to dismiss the complaint or to quash the complaint or information except on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter, or failure to comply with the preceding section;
xxx

x x x

Further, a courts lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter cannot be waived by the parties or cured by their silence,
acquiescence or even express consent.[60] A party may assail the jurisdiction of the court over the action at any stage of the proceedings
and even on appeal.[61] That the MTCC can take cognizance of a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, even if an
answer has been belatedly filed we likewise held in Bayog v. Natino:[62]
The Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, as well as its predecessor, do not provide that an answer filed after the reglementary
period should be expunged from the records. As a matter of fact, there is no provision for an entry of default if a defendant fails to
answer. It must likewise be pointed out that MAGDATOs defense of lack of jurisdiction may have even been raised in a motion to
dismiss as an exception to the rule on prohibited pleadings in the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. Such a motion is allowed
under paragraph (a) thereof, x x x.
In the case at bar, the MTCC should have squarely ruled on the issue of jurisdiction, instead of erroneously holding that it was a
prohibited pleading under the Rule on Summary Procedure.[63] Because the Complaint for forcible entry was filed on July 10, 1992, the
1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure was applicable.
Finally, the MTCC should have taken into account petitioners Answer,[64] in which she averred that she had been in constant
occupation on said land in question since birth on March 17, 1941 up to the present, being an heir of the late Emiliana Eva-Bongato,
who inherited said property from her father Raymundo Eva with considerable improvements thereon. It should have heard and
received the evidence adduced by the parties for the precise purpose of determining whether or not it possessed jurisdiction over the
subject matter.[65] And after such hearing, it could have dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. [66] In this way, the long, drawn out
proceedings that took place in this case could have been avoided.[67]
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed Decision ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The Complaint for forcible
entry is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

(5)

EUGENIO DE LA CRUZ, petitioner,


VILLANUEVA, respondents.

vs. COURT

OF APPEALS,

and

CRISTINA

MADLANGSAKAY

[G.R. No. 120652. February 11, 1998]

ROMERO, J.:
The oft-debated issue of ownership based on acquisitive prescription submits itself before the Court anew, involving a four
hundred and seven (407) square meter residential lot located at Barangay San Jose, Bulacan, Bulacan. Petitioner Eugenio De La Cruz
claims to be the owner and actual possessor of the lot, having possessed and occupied it openly, publicly, notoriously, adversely
against the whole world, and in the concept of an owner, for more than thirty years, [1] at the commencement of this controversy on
September 28, 1987. Private respondent Cristina Madlangsakay Villanueva is a purchaser of the same lot from the Ramos brothers,
Rogelio and Augusto, Jr., who claim to be successors-in-interest of a previous possessor of the same.
In October 1959, petitioner contracted a loan from the parents of private respondent, Anastacio Sakay and Lourdes Manuel, in
the amount of one thousand pesos (P1,000.00), mortgaging the disputed land as security. Sometime in 1973, the land became the
subject of an application for registration under the Land Registration Act (Act No. 496) [2] by the Ramos brothers. They insisted that,
under said Act, they had a better claim than petitioner, being successors-in-interest of a previous possessor of the land. Petitioner
seasonably opposed the application which, after trial, was denied on the ground that the land, not having been reclassified for other

purposes, remained part of the forest reserve, hence, inalienable. [3] Consequently, the opposition was dismissed. Shortly thereafter, the
brothers successfully pursued the reclassification of the land and were granted ownership of the same. It was after this occurrence that
private respondent came to purchase the disputed land from the Ramoses.
Oblivious of the Ramoses success in claiming the land, petitioner was later surprised to learn that its ownership had been
bestowed upon them, and that it was subsequently sold to private respondent. Petitioner, as plaintiff in Civil Case No. 520-M-87,
entitled Eugenio De La Cruz versus Cristina Madlangsakay Villanueva, filed a complaint on September 28, 1987 for reconveyance
with damages against private respondent, defendant therein. The complaint was dismissed.
On appeal, plaintiff-appellant elucidated that an uncle of his had given the land to his mother, after having purchased it from a
Cecilio Espiritu in 1930.[4] He sought a reversal of the decision of the lower court, praying for a reconveyance of the land in his
favor. The appealed decision was affirmed in toto by the appellate court. A motion for reconsideration, for lack of merit, did not
prosper.
The persistent petitioner, filing this petition for review, opined that the questioned decision of the trial court was incompatible
with the ruling in Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Miguel Marcelo, et al.,[5] where this Court held that the primary right of a private
individual who possessed and cultivated the land in good faith, much prior to its classification, must be recognized and should not be
prejudiced by after-events which could not have been anticipated. [6] He relies on the equitable principle of estoppel, alleging that, by
virtue of the contract of mortgage, private respondent and her parents thereby tacitly acknowledged him as the true and lawful owner
of the mortgaged property. As such, they are estopped from claiming for themselves the disputed land. He prays for the reconveyance
of the lot in his favor; moral damages in the amount of ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00); exemplary damages of like amount; and
attorneys fees of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), plus one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) per court appearance and the costs of the
suit.[7]
This petition cannot be given due course.
The several decades when petitioner possessed and occupied the land in question may not be considered in his favor after
all. In an action for reconveyance, what is sought is the transfer of the property which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered
in another persons name, to its rightful and legal owner, or to one with a better right. This (sic) is what reconveyance is all about.[8]
The crucial point for resolution is this: Is petitioner vested with a better right over the residential lot to which he devoted an
abundance of time, effort and resources in fencing and cultivating the same? It is sad that even the magnanimous compassion of this
Court cannot offer him any spark of consolation for his assiduous preservation and enhancement of the property.
We answer in the negative.
Unfortunately for him, Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Miguel Marcelo, et al. [9] is inapplicable in the present case. In said
case, the disputed land was classified after the possession and cultivation in good faith of the applicant. The Court stated that the
primary right of a private individual who possessed and cultivated the land in good faith much prior to such classification must be
recognized and should not be prejudiced by after-events which could not have been anticipated. [10] Land Classification Project No. 3
was certified by the Director of Lands on December 22, 1924, whereas the possession thereof commenced as early as 1909.
[11]
Petitioner therein was not deprived of his possessory rights by the subsequent classification of the land. Although the classification
of lands is a government prerogative which it may opt to exercise to the detriment of another, still, private interests regarding the same
are not prejudiced and the possessor in good faith is respected in his right not be disturbed. This was the auspicious situation of
petitioner in the abovecited case.
Here, petitioner possessed and occupied the land after it had been declared by the Government as part of the forest zone. In fact,
the land remained part of the forest reserve until such time that it was reclassified into alienable or disposable land at the behest of the
Ramoses. As succinctly stated by this Court in Director of Lands vs. Court of Appeals, [12] a positive act of the Government is needed
to declassify land which is classified as forest, and to convert it into alienable or disposable land for other purposes. Until such lands
have been properly declared to be available for other purposes, there is no disposable land to speak of. [13] Absent the fact of
declassification prior to the possession and cultivation in good faith by petitioner, the property occupied by him remained classified as
forest or timberland, which he could not have acquired by prescription.[14]

Clearly, the effort to apply Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Miguel Marcelo, et al. in the case at bar is futile. No similarity of
facts or events exist which would merit its application to the case presented by petitioner.
Neither may the rewards of prescription be successfully invoked by petitioner, as it is an iron-clad dictum that prescription can
never lie against the Government. The lengthy occupation of the disputed land by petitioner cannot be counted in his favor, as it
remained part of the patrimonial property of the State, which property, as stated earlier, is inalienable and indisposable. Under Article
1113 of the Civil Code:
All things which are within the commerce of men are susceptible of prescription, unless otherwise provided. Property of the
State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. (Italics supplied).
Further, jurisprudence is replete with cases which iterate that forest lands or forest reserves are not capable of private
appropriation, and possession thereof, however long, cannot convert them into private property.[15]Possession of the residential lot by
petitioner, whether spanning decades or centuries, could never ripen into ownership. This Court is constrained to abide by the latin
maxim (d)ura lex, sed lex.[16]
The fact that the disputed land was used for a dual private purpose, namely, as a residential lot and as part of the ricemill business
of private respondents parents, is immaterial. As held in Heirs of Jose Amunategui vs. Director of Forestry, [17] the classification of
forest land, or any land for that matter, is descriptive of its legal nature or status, and does not have to be descriptive of what the land
actually looks like.
Recourse to the principle of estoppel must likewise fail. Petitioner invokes this principle in light of the contract of mortgage
between him and the parents of private respondent. While it is true that the mortgagees, having entered into a contract with petitioner
as mortgagor, are estopped from questioning the latters ownership of the mortgaged property and his concomitant capacity to alienate
or encumber the same,[18] it must be considered that, in the first place, petitioner did not possess such capacity to encumber the land at
the time for the stark reason that it had been classified as a forest land and remained a part of the patrimonial property of the
State. Assuming, without admitting, that the mortgagees cannot subsequently question the fact of ownership of petitioner after having
dealt with him in that capacity, still, petitioner was never vested with the proprietary power to encumber the property. In fact, even if
the mortgagees continued to acknowledge petitioner as the owner of the disputed land, in the eyes of the law, the latter can never be
presumed to be owner.
WHEREFORE, considering the foregoing, we are bound by the findings of the appellate court and are constrained to AFFIRM
the same in toto. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

(6) PHILIPPINE ECONOMIC ZONE AUTHORITY (PEZA), petitioner, vs. HON. RUMOLDO R. FERNANDEZ, Regional
Trial Court of Lapu-Lapu City (Branch 54); and the Heirs of the Deceased Spouses JUAN CUIZON and
FLORENTINA RAPAYA, respondents.
[G.R. No. 138971. June 6, 2001]
PANGANIBAN, J.:
An action for reconveyance of land, an equitable remedy recognized under our land registration laws, is subject to the applicable
rules on prescription. Moreover, the right to pursue such reivindicatory action may be defeated when the property sought to be
recovered has been conveyed to an innocent purchaser for value.
The Case

Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to set aside the June 8,
1999 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 47575. In the said Decision, the CA sustained the January 12,
1998[2] and the March 31, 1998 [3] Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Lapu-Lapu City (Branch 54) in Civil Case No. 4534-L, which
denied petitioners Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Reconsideration, respectively. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads
as follows:
WHEREFORE, [there being] no abuse of discretion committed by respondent court, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.
The Facts
The subject of the present controversy is Lot No. 4673 of the Opon Cadastre situated in Lapu-Lapu City, covered by Original
Certificate of Title (OCT) No. RO-2537 (May 19, 1982) and registered in the names of Florentina Rapaya, Victorino Cuizon, Isidro
Cuizon, Ursula Cuizon, Benito Lozano, Isabel Lozano, Pelagia Lozano, Augusto Lozano, Valeriano Ybaez, Jesus Ybaez, Numeriano
Ybaez, Martino Ybaez, Eutiquio Patalinghug, Celedonio Patalinghug, Santiago Patalinghug and Silvino Patalinghug. The lot has an
area of 11,345 square meters, more or less.
On May 15, 1982, Jorgea Igot-Soroo, Frisca Booc and Felix Cuizon executed an Extrajudicial Partition, in which they declared
themselves as the only surviving heirs of the registered owners of the aforesaid lot. Consequently, they were issued TCT No. 12467
on July 8, 1982.
Considering that the said lot was among the objects of expropriation proceedings docketed as Civil Case No 510-L and pending
before it, Branch XVI of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lapu-Lapu City rendered a partial Decision on August 11, 1982. In that
Decision, the RTC approved the Compromise Agreement entered into between the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) and the
new registered owners of Lot No. 4673; namely, Jorgea Igot-Soroo, Frisca Booc and Felix Cuizon. In accordance with the approved
Compromise Agreement, EPZA would pay P68,070 as just compensation for the expropriation of the subject property, which was to
be used for an export processing zone to be established in Lapu-Lapu City.
As a consequence of the RTC Decision, petitioner acquired title over Lot No. 4673 and the corresponding Transfer Certificate of
Title (TCT) No. 12788 issued by the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City on October 13, 1982.
On July 29, 1996, private respondents filed with the RTC of Lapu-Lapu City a Complaint for Nullity of Documents, Redemption
and Damages against petitioner and Jorgea-Igot Soroo et al. Docketed as Civil Case No. 4534-L, the Complaint alleged that herein
private respondents had been excluded from the extrajudicial settlement of the estate. It likewise sought the nullification of several
documents, including TCT No. 12788 dated October 13, 1992, issued in the name of herein petitioner.
On February 17, 1997, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint on the ground of prescription. This Motion was
denied by respondent judge in the Order dated January 12, 1998. A Motion for Reconsideration thereof was likewise denied in the
Order dated March 31, 1998.
On April 30, 1998, petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals through a Petition for Certiorari. As earlier noted, the
CA dismissed the Petition.
Hence, this recourse.[4]
The CA Ruling
In denying the Petition, the CA ratiocinated as follows:
Civil Case No. 4534-L although instituted in the guise of a complaint for Nullity of Documents, Redemption and Damages is in
effect an action for reconveyance of the property to plaintiffs of a portion which rightfully belong to them. It would be against good
reason and conscience not to hold that defendants, Francisca Frisca Booc, heirs of deceased Jorg[e]a Igot-Soronio and heirs of Felix
Cuizon committed a breach of trust which enabled them to execute a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition[,] Special Power of Attorney and

Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of EPZA to the prejudice of the plaintiffs as their co-heirs. Therefore, in an action like this case, the
private respondents may be ordered to make reconveyance of the property to the person rightfully entitled to it.
It is undeniable that defendants defrauded plaintiffs by falsely representing that they were the only heirs of deceased Juan Cuizon and
Florentina Rapaya, succeeded in having the original title cancelled and enabling them to appropriate the land in favor of EPZA and a
new one issued in the name of the latter (EPZA). This way of acquiring title create[s] what is called constructive trust in favor of the
defrauded party and grants the latter the right to vindicate [itself] x x x regardless of the lapse of time. Thus, it has been held that if a
person obtain(s) a legal title to the property by fraud or concealment, courts of equity will impress upon the title a so called trust in
favor of the defrauded party. In fact, it has long been held that a co-heir who through fraud, succeeds in obtaining a certificate of title
in his name to the prejudice of his co-heirs, is deemed to hold the land in trust for the latter. The excluded heirs action is
imprescriptible.
And if the action involve(s) the declaration of the nullity or inexistence of a void or inexistent contract which became the basis for
the fraudulent registration of the subject property, then the action is imprescriptible. This finds codal support in Article 1410 of the
Civil Code, which declares that the action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a void contract does not prescribe.
As to the constructive notice rule alleged by the petitioner, (the) Supreme Court in the case of Juan vs. Zuniga, citing Sevilla vs.
Angeles, has this to say:
'While this ruling is correct as applied to ordinary actions by recovery of real property which is covered by a torrens title
upon the theory that its registration under our registration system has the effect of constructive notice to the whole world,
the same cannot be applied x x x when the purpose of the action is to compel a trustee to convey the property registered in
his name for the benefit of the cestui que trust. In other words, the defense of prescription cannot be set up in an action
whose purpose is to recover property held by a person for the benefit of another.
The Issues
Petitioner interposes the following issues for the consideration of this Court:
I
Whether or not the appellate court erred in not holding that private respondents claim against expropriated property had prescribed.
II
Whether or not the appellate court erred in not holding that reconveyance does not lie against the expropriated property. [5]
The Courts Ruling
The Petition is meritorious.
First Issue: Prescription
Petitioner avers that private respondents claim against the subject property has already prescribed, because the two-year period
within which an unduly excluded heir may seek a new settlement of the estate had already lapsed by the time private respondents filed
their action with the trial court. Petitioner further argues that private respondents received constructive notice in view of the
registration of the extrajudicial partition with the Registry of Deeds. According to petitioner, the two-year period commenced from
July 8, 1982, the date of inscription of the extrajudicial settlement on OCT No. 2537.
The pertinent provisions of Section 4, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, are reproduced for easy reference, as follows:

Section 4. Liability of distributees and estate. - If it shall appear at any time within two (2) years after the settlement and
distribution of an estate in accordance with the provisions of either of the first two sections of this rule, that an heir or other person
has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation in the estate, such heir or such other person may compel the settlement of the
estate in the courts in the manner hereinafter provided for the purpose of satisfying such lawful participation . And if within the
same time of two (2) years, it shall appear that there are debts outstanding against the estate which have not been paid, or that an heir
or other person has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation payable in money, the court having jurisdiction of the estate may,
by order for that purpose, after hearing, settle the amount of such debts or lawful participation and order how much and in what
manner each distributee shall contribute in the payment thereof, and may issue execution, if circumstances require, against the bond
provided in the preceding section or against the real estate belonging to the deceased, or both. Such bond and such real estate shall
remain charged with a liability to creditors, heirs, or other persons for the full period of two (2) years after such distribution,
notwithstanding any transfers of real estate that may have been made. (Emphasis supplied)
A perusal of the foregoing provision will show that persons unduly deprived of their lawful participation in a settlement may
assert their claim only within the two-year period after the settlement and distribution of the estate. This prescription period does not
apply, however, to those who had no part in or had no notice of the settlement. Section 4, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, is not meant
to be a statute of limitations. Moreover, by no reason or logic can one contend that an extrajudicial partition, being merely an ex
parte proceeding, would affect third persons who had no knowledge thereof. [6] Be that as it may, it cannot be denied, either, that by its
registration in the manner provided by law, a transaction may be known actually or constructively.
In the present case, private respondents are deemed to have been constructively notified of the extrajudicial settlement by reason
of its registration and annotation in the certificate of title over the subject lot. From the time of registration, private respondents had
two (2) years or until July 8, 1984, within which to file their objections or to demand the appropriate settlement of the estate.
On the matter of constructive notice vis--vis prescription of an action to contest an extrajudicial partition, a leading authority on
land registration elucidates as follows:
While it may be true that an extrajudicial partition is an ex parte proceeding, yet after its registration under the Torrens
system and the annotation on the new certificate of title of the contingent liability of the estate for a period of two years as prescribed
in Rule 74, Section 4, of the Rules of Court, by operation of law a constructive notice is deemed made to all the world, so that upon
the expiration of said period all third persons should be barred [from going] after the particular property, except where title thereto
still remains in the names of the alleged heirs who executed the partition tainted with fraud, or their transferees who may not qualify as
innocent purchasers for value. If the liability of the registered property should extend indefinitely beyond that period, then such
constructive notice which binds the whole world by virtue of registration would be meaningless and illusory. x x x.[7] (Emphasis
supplied)
The only exception to the above-mentioned prescription is when the title remains in the hands of the heirs who have fraudulently
caused the partition of the subject property or in those of their transferees who cannot be considered innocent purchasers for value.
In this regard, title to the property in the present case was no longer in the name of the allegedly fraudulent heirs, but already in
that of an innocent purchaser for value the government. Moreover, the government is presumed to have acted in good faith in the
acquisition of the lot, considering that title thereto was obtained through a Compromise Agreement judicially approved in proper
expropriation proceedings.
Even assuming that there was in fact fraud on the part of the other heirs, private respondents may proceed only against the
defrauding heirs, not against petitioner which had no participation in or knowledge of the alleged fraud. The fact that the co-heirs
title to the property was fraudulently secured cannot prejudice the rights of petitioner which, absent any showing that it had knowledge
or participation in the irregularity, is considered a purchaser in good faith and for value.[8]
The remedy of an owner alleged to have been prejudiced or fraudulently deprived of property that was subsequently sold to an
innocent purchaser for value is an action for damages against the person or persons who perpetrated the fraud.[9]
Second Issue: Limitations on Reconveyance

The law recognizes the right of a person, who, by adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud, is deprived of an
estate or an interest therein. [10] Although a review of the decree of registration is no longer possible after the one-year period from its
entry expires, still available is an equitable remedy to compel the reconveyance of property to those who may have been wrongfully
deprived of it.[11] This equitable remedy afforded by law is not without limitations, however.
An action for reconveyance resulting from fraud prescribes four years from the discovery of the fraud; such discovery is deemed
to have taken place upon the issuance of the certificate of title over the property. Registration of real property is considered a
constructive notice to all persons and, thus, the four-year period shall be counted therefrom.[12] Clearly then, private respondents
action for reconveyance based on fraud has already prescribed, considering that title to said property had been issued way back on
August 11, 1982, while the reivindicatory suit was instituted only on July 29, 1996.
Even an action for reconveyance based on an implied or a constructive trust would have already prescribed just the same,
because such action prescribes ten (10) years from the alleged fraudulent registration or date of issuance of the certificate of title over
the property.[13] The imprescriptibility of an action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust applies only when the
plaintiff or the person enforcing the trust is in possession of the property. In effect, the action for reconveyance is an action to quiet
the property title, which does not prescribe. [14] Undisputedly, private respondents are not in possession of the disputed property. In
fact, they do not even claim to be in possession of it, even if to do so would enable them to justify the imprescriptibility of their action.
Accordingly, the CA Decisions reliance on Juan v. Zuiga,[15] as regards the imprescriptibility of an action for reconveyance
based on implied or constructive trust, is utterly misplaced in the light of the foregoing rulings of the Court declaring a ten-year period
of prescription for such action. Moreover, the principle enunciated therein has no application to the instant case, considering that the
supposed trustee herein has effectively repudiated the so-called trust by directly performing an act of ownership; that is, by
conveying the property to the government through expropriation. An action to compel, for the benefit of the cestui que trust, the
conveyance of property registered in the trustees name does not prescribe unless the trustee repudiates the trust.[16]Thus, private
respondents cannot invoke the imprescriptibility of their action for reconveyance, irrespective of their basis for it.
Finally, it must be remembered that reconveyance is a remedy of those whose property has been wrongfully or erroneously
registered in the name of another. Such recourse, however, cannot be availed of once the property has passed to an innocent purchaser
for value. For an action for reconveyance to prosper, the property should not have passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser for
value.[17]
Indubitably, we find that the property has already been conveyed to the government in appropriate expropriation proceedings, the
regularity or validity of which has not been questioned. Petitioner should, therefore, enjoy the security afforded to innocent third
persons under our registration laws. Equally important, its title to the property must be rightfully preserved.
Hence, private respondents action to recover the subject property from the government cannot be maintained, not only because
of the prescription of the action, but on account of the protection given to innocent purchasers for value granted under our land
registration laws. Indeed, the inevitable consequences of the Torrens system of land registration must be upheld in order to give
stability to it and provide finality to land disputes.
This ruling notwithstanding, private respondents are not without recourse. They may sue for damages their co-heirs who have
allegedly perpetrated fraud in Civil Case No. 4534-L pending before the RTC. The right and the extent of damages to be awarded to
private respondents shall be determined by the trial court, subject to the evidence duly established during the proceedings.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals REVERSED. The Orders
of the Regional Trial Court of Lapu-Lapu City (Branch 54) in Civil Case No. 4534-L, dated January 12, 1998 and March 31, 1998,
are SET ASIDE and the said Civil Case, as against petitioner, is DISMISSED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

(7) TERESITA V. IDOLOR, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, SPS. GUMERSINDO DE GUZMAN and
ILUMINADA DE GUZMAN and HON. PRUDENCIO CASTILLO, JR., Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court,
National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 220, Quezon City, respondents.
[G.R. No. 141853. February 7, 2001]
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner Teresita Idolor which seeks to set aside the decision [1] of the
respondent Court of Appeals which reversed the Order[2]of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City[3]granting Idolors prayer for the
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and the resolution denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. [4]
On March 21, 1994, to secure a loan of P520,000.00, petitioner Teresita Idolor executed in favor of private respondent
Gumersindo De Guzman a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage with right of extra-judicial foreclosure upon failure to redeem the mortgage
on or before September 20, 1994. The object of said mortgage is a 200-square meter property with improvements located at 66 Ilocos
Sur Street, Barangay Ramon Magsaysay, Quezon City covered by TCT No. 25659.
On September 21, 1996, private respondent Iluminada de Guzman, wife of Gumersindo de Guzman, filed a complaint against
petitioner Idolor before the Office of the Barangay Captain of Barangay Ramon Magsaysay, Quezon City, which resulted in a
Kasunduang Pag-aayos which agreement is quoted in full[5]:
Kami, ang (mga) may sumbong at (mga) ipinagsusumbong sa usaping binabanggit sa itaas, ay nagkakasundo sa pamamagitan nito na
ayusin ang aming alitan gaya ng sumusunod:
Na ako si Teresita V. Idolor of legal age ay nakahiram ng halagang P520,000.00 noong September 20, 1994.
Na ang nasabing halaga ay may nakasanlang titulo ng lupa (TCT No. 25659) under Registry receipt 3420 dated July 15, 1996.
Na ako si Teresita V. Idolor ay humihingi ng 90 days palugit (grace period) to settle the said amount.
Failure to settle the above account on or before December 21, 1996, I agree to execute a deed of sale with the agreement to repurchase
without interest within one year.
Total amount of P1,233,288.23 inclusive of interest earned.
At nangangako kami na tutupad na tunay at matapat sa mga katakdaan ng pag-aayos na inilahad sa itaas.
Petitioner failed to comply with her undertaking; thus private respondent Gumersindo filed a motion for execution before the
Office of the Barangay captain who subsequently issued a certification to file action.
On March 21, 1997, respondent Gumersindo De Guzman filed an extra judicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage pursuant
to the parties agreement set forth in the real estate mortgage dated March 21, 1994.
On May 23, 1997, the mortgaged property was sold in a public auction to respondent Gumersindo, as the highest bidder and
consequently, the Sheriffs Certificate of Sale was registered with the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City on June 23, 1997.
On June 25, 1998, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 220, a complaint for annulment of
Sheriffs Certificate of Sale with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a writ of preliminary injunction
against private respondents, Deputy Sheriffs Marino Cachero and Rodolfo Lescano and the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City alleging
among others alleged irregularity and lack of notice in the extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings subject of the real estate
mortgage. In the meantime, a temporary restraining order was issued by the trial court.

On July 28, 1998, the trial court issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining private respondents, the Deputy Sheriffs and
the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City from causing the issuance of a final deed of sale and consolidation of ownership of the subject
property in favor of the De Guzman spouses. The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the de Guzman spouses.
Spouses de Guzman filed with the respondent Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari seeking annulment of the trial courts
order dated July 28, 1998 which granted the issuance of a preliminary injunction.
On September 28, 1999, the respondent court granted the petition and annulled the assailed writ of preliminary
injunction. Teresita Idolor filed her motion for reconsideration which was denied in a resolution dated February 4, 2000.
Hence this petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner Teresita V. Idolor. The issues raised by petitioner are: whether or
not the respondent Court of Appeals erred in ruling (I) that petitioner has no more proprietary right to the issuance of the writ of
injunction, (2) that the Kasunduang Pag-aayos did not ipso facto result in novation of the real estate mortgage, (3) that the
Kasunduang Pag-aayos is merely a promissory note of petitioner to private respondent spouses; and (4) that the questioned writ of
preliminary injunction was issued with grave abuse of discretion.
The core issue in this petition is whether or not the respondent Court erred in finding that the trial court committed grave abuse
of discretion in enjoining the private and public respondents from causing the issuance of a final deed of sale and consolidation of
ownership of the subject parcel of land in favor of private respondents.
Petitioner claims that her proprietary right over the subject parcel of land was not yet lost since her right to redeem the subject
land for a period of one year had neither lapsed nor run as the sheriffs certificate of sale was null and void; that petitioner and the
general public have not been validly notified of the auction sale conducted by respondent sheriffs; that the newspaper utilized in the
publication of the notice of sale was not a newspaper of general circulation.
We do not agree.
Injunction is a preservative remedy aimed at protecting substantive rights and interests. [6] Before an injunction can be issued, it is
essential that the following requisites be present: 1) there must be a right in esse or the existence of a right to be protected; 2) the act
against which the injunction is to be directed is a violation of such right. [7] Hence the existence of a right violated, is a prerequisite to
the granting of an injunction. Injunction is not designed to protect contingent or future rights. Failure to establish either the existence
of a clear and positive right which should be judicially protected through the writ of injunction or that the defendant has committed or
has attempted to commit any act which has endangered or tends to endanger the existence of said right, is a sufficient ground for
denying the injunction.[8] The controlling reason for the existence of the judicial power to issue the writ is that the court may thereby
prevent a threatened or continuous irremediable injury to some of the parties before their claims can be thoroughly investigated and
advisedly adjudicated.[9] It is to be resorted to only when there is a pressing necessity to avoid injurious consequences which cannot be
remedied under any standard of compensation.[10]
In the instant case, we agree with the respondent Court that petitioner has no more proprietary right to speak of over the
foreclosed property to entitle her to the issuance of a writ of injunction. It appears that the mortgaged property was sold in a public
auction to private respondent Gumersindo on May 23, 1997 and the sheriffs certificate of sale was registered with the Registry of
Deeds of Quezon City on June 23, 1997. Petitioner had one year from the registration of the sheriffs sale to redeem the property but
she failed to exercise her right on or before June 23, 1998, thus spouses de Guzman are now entitled to a conveyance and possession
of the foreclosed property. When petitioner filed her complaint for annulment of sheriffs sale against private respondents with prayer
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction on June 25, 1998, she failed to show sufficient interest or title in the property
sought to be protected as her right of redemption had already expired on June 23, 1998, i.e. two (2) days before the filing of the
complaint. It is always a ground for denying injunction that the party seeking it has insufficient title or interest to sustain it, and no
claim to the ultimate relief sought - in other words, that she shows no equity. [11] The possibility of irreparable damage without proof of
actual existing right is not a ground for an injunction.[12]
Petitioners allegation regarding the invalidity of the sheriffs sale dwells on the merits of the case; We cannot rule on the same
considering that the matter should be resolved during the trial on the merits.

Petitioner next contends that the execution of the Kasunduang Pag-aayos dated September 21, 1996 between her and spouses
de Guzman before the Office of the Lupon Tagapamayapa showed the express and unequivocal intention of the parties to novate or
modify the real estate mortgage; that a comparison of the real estate mortgage dated March 21, 1994 and the Kasunduang Pag-aayos
dated September 21, 1996 revealed the irreconciliable incompatibility between them, i.e., that under the first agreement, the amount
due was five hundred twenty thousand (P520,000) pesos only payable by petitioner within six (6) months, after which it shall earn
interest at the legal rate per annum and non-payment of which within the stipulated period, private respondents have the right to extrajudicially foreclose the real estate mortgage while under the second agreement, the amount due was one million two hundred thirty
three thousand two hundred eighty eight and 23/100 (P1,233,288.23) inclusive of interest, payable within 90 days and in case of non
payment of the same on or before December 21, 1996, petitioner should execute a deed of sale with right to repurchase within one
year without interest; that the second agreement Kasunduang Pag-aayos was a valid new contract as it was duly executed by the
parties and it changed the principal conditions of petitioners original obligations. Petitioner insists that the Kasunduang Pag-aayos
was not a mere promissory note contrary to respondent courts conclusion since it was entered by the parties before the Lupon
Tagapamayapa which has the effect of a final judgment.[13]
We are not persuaded.
Novation is the extinguishment of an obligation by the substitution or change of the obligation by a subsequent one which
terminates it, either by changing its objects or principal conditions, or by substituting a new debtor in place of the old one, or by
subrogating a third person to the rights of the creditor.[14] Under the law, novation is never presumed. The parties to a contract must
expressly agree that they are abrogating their old contract in favor of a new one. [15] Accordingly, it was held that no novation of a
contract had occurred when the new agreement entered into between the parties was intended to give life to the old one. [16]
A review of the Kasunduang Pag-aayos which is quoted earlier does not support petitioners contention that it novated the real
estate mortgage since the will to novate did not appear by express agreement of the parties nor the old and the new contracts were
incompatible in all points. In fact, petitioner expressly recognized in the Kasunduan the existence and the validity of the old
obligation where she acknowledged her long overdue account since September 20, 1994 which was secured by a real estate mortgage
and asked for a ninety (90) days grace period to settle her obligation on or before December 21, 1996 and that upon failure to do so,
she will execute a deed of sale with a right to repurchase without interest within one year in favor of private respondents. Where the
parties to the new obligation expressly recognize the continuing existence and validity of the old one, where, in other words, the
parties expressly negated the lapsing of the old obligation, there can be no novation. [17] We find no cogent reason to disagree with the
respondent courts pronouncement as follows:
In the present case, there exists no such express abrogation of the original undertaking. The agreement adverted to (Annex 2 of
Comment, p.75 Rollo) executed by the parties on September 21, 1996 merely gave life to the March 21, 1994 mortgage contract
which was then more than two years overdue. Respondent acknowledged therein her total indebtedness in the sum of P1,233,288.23
including the interests due on the unpaid mortgage loan which amount she promised to liquidate within ninety (90) days or until
December 21, 1996, failing which she also agreed to execute in favor of the mortgagee a deed of sale of the mortgaged property for
the same amount without interest. Evidently, it was executed to facilitate easy compliance by respondent mortgagor with her
mortgage obligation. It (the September 21, 1996 agreement) is not incompatible and can stand together with the mortgage contract of
March 21, 1994.
A compromise agreement clarifying the total sum owned by a buyer with the view that he would find it easier to comply with his
obligations under the Contract to Sell does not novate said Contract to Sell (Rillo v. Court of Appeals, 274 SCRA 461 [1997]).
Respondent correctly argues that the compromise agreement has the force and effect of a final judgment. That precisely is the reason
why petitioner resorted to the foreclosure of the mortgage on March 27, 1997, after her failure to comply with her obligation which
expired on December 21, 1996.
Reliance by private respondent upon Section 417 of the New Local Government Code of 1991, which requires the lapse of six (6)
months before the amicable settlement may be enforced, is misplaced. The instant case deals with extra judicial foreclosure governed
by ACT No. 3135 as amended.

Notably, the provision in the Kasunduang Pag-aayos regarding the execution of a deed of sale with right to repurchase within
one year would have the same effect as the extra-judicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage wherein petitioner was given one year
from the registration of the sheriffs sale in the Registry of property to redeem the property, i.e., failure to exercise the right of
redemption would entitle the purchaser to possession of the property. It is not proper to consider an obligation novated by unimportant
modifications which do not alter its essence. [18] It bears stress that the period to pay the total amount of petitioners indebtedness
inclusive of interest amounted to P1,233,288.23 expired on December 21, 1996 and petitioner failed to execute a deed of sale with
right to repurchase on the said date up to the time private respondents filed their petition for extra-judicial foreclosure of real estate
mortgage. The failure of petitioner to comply with her undertaking in the kasunduan to settle her obligation effectively delayed
private respondents right to extra-judicially foreclose the real estate mortgage which right accrued as far back as 1994. Thus,
petitioner has not shown that she is entitled to the equitable relief of injunction.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated September 28, 1999 is hereby
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

(8) CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY LANDLESS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION INC. (COCLAI), Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro
City, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and the NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY (NHA), respondents.

[G.R. No. 106043. March 4, 1996]

HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:


This is a petition to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated February 28, 1991, in C.A. G.R. SP No. 23080, which
reversed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 25, datedNovember 17, 1988.
The antecedent facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows:
The land subject of the dispute is Lot No. 1982 of Cad. 237 consisting of about 12.82 hectares located at Cagayan de Oro
City. Said parcel of land was formerly a timberland identified as Block No. F, L.C. Project No. 8 of the Bureau of Forestry.
On September 4, 1956, the Bureau of Forestry released the said land as alienable and disposable public land.
Subsequently, on January 29, 1964, the Bureau of Lands issued Survey Authority No. 16-64 granting authority to the COCLAI to
survey the land in question for purposes of subdivision into residential lots. By virtue of said authority, the COCLAI engaged the
services of a geodetic engineer to prepare the subdivision survey which was submitted to the Bureau of Lands. On March 31, 1964,
the Bureau of Lands, after conducting an ocular survey, required the COCLAI, in behalf of its members, to file a miscellaneous Sales
Application over the land in question which the latter did on August 13, 1970. The said sales application was however held in
abeyance by the Bureau of Lands pending the final outcome of the civil case filed by the Republic of the Philippines and the City of
Cagayan de Oro against Benedicta Macabebe Salcedo, et al. for the annulment of Original Certificate of Title No. 0-257 covering the
land in question then pending before the Supreme Court docketed as G.R. No. L-41115. In said case, the COCLAI was a partyintervenor.
Meanwhile, on August 22, 1979, the NHA filed an expropriation proceeding before the former Court of First Instance of Misamis
Oriental at Cagayan de Oro City docketed as Civil Case No. 6806 to acquire Cadastral Lot No. 1982, including the land involved in
this case, located at Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City with an area of 224,554 square meters which was then covered by OCT No. 0257. In said case, the COCLAI intervened claiming that instead of being paid the amount of P300,000.00, they prefer to acquire

residential lots in any housing area of NHA. Upon learning of the pending suit before the Supreme Court (G.R. No. L-41115)
involving the annulment of the title over the same land, the NHA sought the suspension of the expropriation proceedings.
On September 11, 1982, the Supreme Court finally resolved G.R. No. L-41115 annulling OCT No. 0-257 and declaring the land
covered thereby as public land.
On October 8, 1982, the Solicitor General furnished the Bureau of Lands, Manila, with a copy of the Supreme Court decision
prompting the Director of the Bureau of Lands to order the District Land Officer in Cagayan de Oro City to take appropriate action for
inventory of each and every portion of Cadastral Lot No. 1982. In response thereto, the Regional Land Director of Region 10
informed the Director of Lands that the members of COCLAI were occupying portions of the said lot by virtue of the Survey
Authority issued on March 19, 1964 and the COCLAIs subdivision survey had already been submitted to the Central Office for
verification and approval but was held in abeyance.
On May 10, 1983, the President of the Philippines issued Proclamation No. 2292 reserving the entire area of Cadastral Lot No.
1982 for the Slum Improvement and Resettlement (SIR) Project to be implemented by the NHA. Under the said proclamation, the
NHA was granted the authority to develop, administer and dispose of Lot No. 1982 located at Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, in
accordance with the guidelines of the Slum Improvement and Resettlement Program and the approved development plan of the area.
On May 19, 1983, the Bureau of Lands, through its Regional Director, issued an order rejecting the subdivision survey
previously submitted by the COCLAI.
Sometime in November, 1986, the NHA, through its agents, Virgilio Dacalos and Engr. Vicente Generalao, the area manager and
project engineer, respectively with the help of the policemen and claiming authority under P.D. 1472, demolished the structures
erected by the COCLAI members. This action prompted the COCLAI to file a forcible entry and damages case against the NHA
employees and police officers with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 3, Cagayan de Oro City docketed as Civil Case No.
11204.
After due hearing, the MTCC on November 17, 1988 rendered judgment ordering the defendants in Civil Case No. 11204 to
restore the COCLAI members to their respective actual possession of the portions of Lot No. 1982 but the court dismissed plaintiffs
claim for damages. On appeal, the Regional Trial Court in Cagayan de Oro City affirmed the decision of the lower court. Thereafter,
the prevailing party, the COCLAI members, moved for the issuance of a writ of execution before the MTCC on July 23,1990.
While Civil Case No. 11204 was pending before the courts, the President of the Philippines issued on July 1, 1988 Special Patent
No. 3551 covering the entire area of Cadastral Lot No. 1982, and by virtue thereof, the Register of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City
issued on January 3, 1990 an Original Certificate of Title No. P-3324 in the name of NHA.
Thus, on July 24, 1990, a day after the COCLAI moved for the execution of the judgment in Civil Case No. 11204, the NHA
filed a complaint for Quieting of Title with Application for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction against the COCLAI and its president,
Pablo Solomon, as well as the City Sheriff, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 90-337. Said case was assigned to Branch 25 of the
Regional Trial Court in Cagayan de Oro City, presided over by Hon. Noli T. Catli. In its complaint, plaintiff NHA alleged:
4) That defendant landless association laid claim of a portion of Lot No. 1982 aforestated alleging that they are entitled to
possession thereof and, in fact, filed a complaint for Forcible Entry against certain Virgilio Decalos, Vicente Generalao, and four (4)
others, plaintiff herein not being made a party thereto, which case is docketed as Civil Case No. 11204 assigned to Branch 3 of the
Municipal Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City;
5)

That on November 18, 1988 defendant landless association obtained a favorable decision from MTCC Branch 3;

6)
That pursuant to the ruling of the Supreme Court in City of Bacolod et al. vs. Hon. Enriquez et al., G.R. No L-9773, May 29,
1957 the said decision could not be enforced against plaintiff herein as it was not a party to the said case;

7)
That the claim of defendant landless association for possession of a portion of said Lot No. 1982, subject-matter hereof, is
predicated or anchored upon the fact that said lot was declared a public land;
8)
That on January 3, 1990, however, plaintiff National Housing Authority became the absolute owner of said Lot No. 1982, now
the site of the Slum Improvement and Resettlement Project, by virtue of Special Patent No. 3551 issued by Her Excellency, the
President of the Philippines, for which Original Certificate of Title No. P-3324 was issued in its name; x x x
9)
That the claim of defendant landless association has created a cloud on plaintiffs title to Lot No. 1982 aforementioned, which
claim is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid, ineffective and unenforceable and prejudicial to plaintiffs title,
the land, subject-matter hereof, having ceased to be a public land;
10) That defendants Solomon, et al. threatened or are about to enforce the decision in said Civil Case No. 11204 in violation of
plaintiffs rights respecting the subject of the action, and tending to render the judgment herein ineffectual, unless restrained or
enjoined by this Honorable Court;
11) That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission of
the act herein complained of;
12)

That the commission of the act herein complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the plaintiff;

13) That the plaintiff is willing and ready to file a bond executed to the defendants in an amount to be fixed by this Honorable Court,
to the effect that the plaintiff will pay to said defendants all damages which they may sustain by reason of the injunction if the Court
should finally decide that the plaintiff was not entitled thereto.
Acting on the plaintiffs prayer for the issuance of a restraining order and/or preliminary injunction, the Regional Trial Court issued an
Order on July 24, 1990 stating thus:
x x x let a RESTRAINING ORDER be issued to Defendants Pablo Salomon and Cagayan de Oro Landless Association, Inc. and the
City Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff of MTCC, Branch 3, or anybody acting in their behalf or acting as their agent or representative. And
until further orders from this court, they are enjoined to refrain or desist from enforcing the decision of Civil Case No. 11204 until this
court resolves this complaint.
Subsequently, the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint stating, among others, as a ground therefor that the cause of action is
barred by a prior judgment in another case. (Apparently, the NHA has filed an action for Injunction with Damages against COCLAI
and its President before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 17, Cagayan de Oro City docketed as Civil Case No. 89-399 to prevent the
MTCC from executing its decision in Civil Case No. 11204, but this was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court in its Order dated July
19, 1990 on the ground that the decision of the MTCC in Civil Case No. 11204, had been upheld by the Supreme Court when it denied
NHAs petition for certiorari. The RTC, Branch 17, further stated that x x x (I)f plaintiff believes that it is the owner of the property
subject of that civil case (No. 11204), then it should ventilate its claim in some other case but not in a simple case of injunction.)
On August 10, 1990, the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 90-337 issued an Order denying the motion to dismiss as well as
plaintiff NHAs prayer for the issuance of a preliminary injunction to restrain the enforcement of the decision in Civil Case No.
11204. The motion for reconsideration filed by plaintiff NHA was likewise denied by the Regional Trial Court in its Order
dated August 17, 1990.[1]
Aggrieved by the decision of the Regional Trial Court, the NHA appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the decision of the
lower court. The decretal portion of the said decision, reads:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is GRANTED the questioned Orders of respondent judge are hereby declared null
and void and respondent judge is ordered to issue a writ of preliminary injunction to respect the possession of the petitioner over the
land subject of the dispute x x x[2]

Hence, this petition.


The issues raised by petitioner are: whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in ruling (a) that the National Housing Authority
(NHA) is entitled to the injunction prayed for; and (b) that NHA has a better right to the possession of Lot No. 1982, as a necessary
consequence of ownership.
As an extraordinary remedy, injunction is calculated to preserve or maintain the status quo of things and is generally availed of to
prevent actual or threatened acts, until the merits of the case can be heard. [3] As such, injunction is accepted as the strong arm of
equity or a transcendent remedy to be used cautiously, as it affects the respective rights of the parties, and only upon full conviction
on the part of the court of its extreme necessity.[4] Its issuance rests entirely within the discretion of the court taking cognizance of the
case and is generally not interfered with except in cases of manifest abuse. [5] Moreover, it may only be resorted to by a litigant for the
preservation or protection of his rights or interests and for no other purpose during the pendency of the principal action. [6]
Before an injunction can be issued, it is essential that the following requisites be present: 1) there must be a right in esse or the
existence of a right to be protected; and 2) the act against which the injunction is to be directed is a violation of such right. [7] Hence, it
should only be granted if the party asking for it is clearly entitled thereto.[8]
In the case at bench, the Court of Appeals was justified in ruling that NHA was entitled to the writ of injunction. The reason is
that, while Civil Case No. 11204 for forcible entry was pending on appeal before the Regional Trial Court, Special Patent
No. 3551 was issued by then President Corazon Aquino which covered the lot subject of the dispute and by virtue thereof, an Original
Certificate of Title in the name of NHA was issued by the Register of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City on January 3, 1990. So, when
petitioner moved for the issuance of a writ of execution before the MTCC on July 23, 1990, a certificate of title had already been
issued to NHA. In view of this intervening development, NHA filed a complaint for quieting of title before
the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City. Thus, it was only proper for the Court of Appeals to direct the Regional Trial Court,
[9]
where Civil Case No. 90-337 was pending, to grant the writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the enforcement of the decision of
the MTCC in Civil Case No. 11204 as there was a material change in the status of the parties with regard to the said land. Clearly, the
government, through the NHA will be prejudiced by the impending enforcement of the decision in Civil Case No. 11204 which directs
the said agency to restore the members of petitioner to their respective possession on portions of Lot No. 1982.
Petitioner claims that Special Patent No. 3351 issued by then President Corazon Aquino on July 1, 1988 and the corresponding
issuance by the Register of Deeds of Original Certificate of Title No P-3324 in the name of NHA had entrusted only the administration
of the disputed lot to the said agency but not the ownership thereof It also alleges that, by virtue of Proclamation No. 2290, issued on
May 10, 1985, declaring the land situated at Barrio Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, as Slum Improvement Settlement (SIR) area, it
is illegal for NHA to claim ownership over the said land. Furthermore, petitioner also claims that respondent Court overlooked the
fact that the issues on ownership and possession are sub-judice before RTC, Branch 25, Cagayan de Oro City in Civil Case ;No. 90337 x x x[10] Hence, it concludes that the appellate court cannot pass upon these issues as there is still no final judgment on said civil
case.
Petitioners contentions are bereft of merit.
The Original Certificate of Title (No. P-3324) issued to respondent NHA serves as a concrete and conclusive evidence of an
indefeasible title to the property. Accordingly, once a decree of registration is issued under theTorrens systems and the one year period
from the issuance of the decree of registration has lapsed, without said decree being controverted by any adverse party, the title
becomes perfect and cannot later on be questioned.[11]
Furthermore, in the case at bench, the original certificate of title was issued by the Register of Deeds, under an administrative
proceeding pursuant to Special Patent No. 3551. Thus, it is as indefeasible as a certificate of title issued under a judicial registration
proceeding as the land covered by said certificate is a disposable public land within the contemplation of the Public Land Law.
[12]
Moreover, the said certificate of title was not controverted by petitioner in a proper proceeding nor did it show that the issuance of
the Original Certificate of Title by the register of deeds to NHA was tainted with bad faith or fraud. Hence, said certificate of title
enjoys the presumption of having been issued by the register of deeds in the regular performance of its official duty.[13]
Also, OCT No. P-3324 issued in the name of respondent NHA, clearly states:

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, the said parcel of land with all the appurtenances thereunto of right of belonging unto the NATIONAL
HOUSING AUTHORITY and to its successors-in-interest or assigns forever, subject to private rights, if any there be. [14]
Clearly the certificate of title vested not only ownership over the lot but also the right of possession as a necessary consequence
of the right of ownership.
Respondent is not merely the administrator of the said lot. It cannot be denied that Proclamation No. 2290 gave authority to the
NHA to dispose of Lot No. 1982. In the said Proclamation the President of the Philippinesgranted to NHA the authority to develop,
administer and dispose of Lot No. 1982, located at Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, in accordance with the guidelines of the Slum
Improvement and Resettlement Program and the approved development plan of the area.
On the other hand, petitioners only basis for claiming the disputed lot is lawful entry and possession for an extended period of
time and, as a matter of fact, there is a final judgment in its favor in the case for forcible entry before the MTCC. As to this, settled is
the rule that, in an action for forcible entry, the only issue involved is mere physical possession (possession de facto) and not juridical
possession (possession de jure) nor ownership[15] As the case filed before the lower court is only one for forcible entry, it is indicative
that the legal title over the said property is not disputed by the petitioner. There has been no assertion of ownership over the land, only
that of prior possession. At any rate, the judgment rendered in the ejectment case is effective only with respect to possession and in
no wise bind the title or affect the ownership of the land.[16]
Indeed, petitioner has no legal leg to stand as regards ownership because its Miscellaneous Sales Application was not acted upon
nor favorably considered by the Bureau of Lands. The Bureau, through its Regional Director, rejected the subdivision survey
previously submitted by COCLAI, in an Order, dated May 19, 1983.
In effect, petitioners occupation of the land in question, after the denial of its application for Miscellaneous Sales Patent, became
subsequently illegal. Petitioners members have, as a consequence, become squatters whose continuous possession of the land may
now be considered to be in bad faith. This is unfortunate because squatters acquire no legal right over the land they are occupying.[17]
Although as a general rule, a court should not, by means of a preliminary injunction, transfer property in litigation from the
possession of one party to another, this rule admits of some exceptions. For example, when there is a clear finding of ownership and
possession of the land or unless the subject property is covered by a torrens title pointing to one of the parties as the undisputed owner.
[18]
In the case at bench, the land subject of the suit is covered by a torrens title under the name of NHA.
A writ of injunction should issue so as not to render moot and academic any decision which the Regional Trial Court in Civil
Case No. 90-337 will render and in order to prevent any irreparable injury which respondent may sustain by virtue of the enforcement
of the decision of the MTCC.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. SP No. 23080 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
(9) JULIO LUCERO, movant-appellee, vs. JAIME L. LOOT, ET AL., oppositors-appellants.
[G.R. No. L-16995 October 28, 1968]
FERNANDO, J.:
The order of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, the former Judge Wenceslao L. Fernan presiding, dated September 21, 1959, now on
appeal before this Court, speaks to this effect: "Regarding the writ of possession, once the final decree has been issued the issuance of
a writ of possession is only a matter of course if nothing in the past has been issued in favor of the registered owner. There is no period
of prescription as to the issuance of a writ of possession, and inasmuch as the final decree has already been entered, it follows that a
writ of possession should be issued in favor of the registered owner."1

Accordingly, it granted a writ of possession in favor of movant, now appellee, Julio Lucero. There was an opposition on the part of
oppositors, all surnamed Loot, now appellants. The lower court failed to see merit in the opposition interposed. It explained why: "The
opposition interposed by the oppositors to the effect that there are defects in the reconstitution of the records and that the motion is not
under oath is trivial in its nature and consequently untenable."2 Accordingly, the writ of possession, as prayed for, was issued.
There was an urgent motion to quash the writ of possession filed by the oppositors on September 25, 1959, 3followed by a motion for
reconsideration on October 10, 1959,4 which was denied in an order of October 23, 1959. 5 As set forth in such order of denial: "After
weighing the arguments adduced by the movant represented by Atty. Gonzales and the oppositor represented by Atty. Loot, this Court
adheres to the previous ruling that inasmuch as no writ of possession has been issued in this case, it is the ministerial duty of this Court
to issue one in compliance of the provisions of Act 496 as amended." There was a second motion for reconsideration filed by
oppositors on November 3, 1959,6 which was denied in an order of December 10, 1959.7 Not satisfied, there was still another motion
for reconsideration of the above order filed by oppositors on December 28, 1959, 8 which similarly met the same fate, an order of
denial being issued on February 20, 1960.9 The appeal was taken direct to us.
The sore issue, therefore, is whether on the above facts, the order granting the writ of possession was in accordance with law. The
answer must be in the affirmative. This appeal cannot prosper.
No other view would be compatible with the pertinent provision of the Land Registration Act, 10 as uniformly interpreted by this Court.
As was noted in the order of September 21, 1959, there was a final decree in a land registration case which arose from a decision
promulgated in 1938, the final decree being issued on October 29, 1941. It was not incorrect for the lower court to state, therefore, that
"the issuance of a writ of possession is only a matter of course if nothing in the past has been issued in favor of the registered
owner."11 It is equally true, as likewise mentioned therein, that there is "no period of prescription as to the issuance of a writ of
possession, ..."12In Pasay Estate Co. v. Del Rosario,13 it has been made clear that the purpose of the statutory provision empowering
the then Court of Land Registration, now the ordinary courts of first instance, to enforce its orders, judgments or decrees in the same
way that the judiciary does is so that the winning party could be placed in possession of the property covered by such decree. Thereby,
there would be an avoidance of the inconvenience and the further delay to which a successful litigant would be subjected if he were
compelled "to commence other actions in other courts for the purpose of securing the fruits of his victory."
There was a restatement of the above principle in Demorar v. Ibaez,14 the closest in period of time to the challenged order of the
lower court. Thus: "We have heretofore held that a writ of possession may be issued not only against the person who has been defeated
in a registration case but also against anyone adversely occupying the land or any portion thereof during the land registration
proceedings ... The issuance of the decree of registration is part of the registration proceedings. In fact, it is supposed to end the said
proceedings. Consequently, any person unlawfully and adversely occupying said lot at any time up to the issuance of the final decree,
may be subject to judicial ejectment by means of a writ of possession and it is the duty of the registration court to issue said writ when
asked for by the successful claimant." As a matter of fact, in a 1948 decision, 15 it was held by us that "the fact that the petitioners have
instituted, more than one year after the decree of registration had been issued, an ordinary action with the Court of First Instance
attacking the validity of the decree on the ground of fraud, is not a bar to the issuance of the writ of possession applied for by the
registered owners."
A few months after the issuance of such a challenged order of September 21, 1959, Marcelo v. Mencias was decided,16 where this
Court went so far as to hold that "if the writ of possession issued in a land registration proceeding implies the delivery of possession of
the land to the successful litigant therein, ... a writ of demolition must, likewise, issue, especially considering that the latter writ is but
a complement of the former which, without said writ of demolition, would be ineffective."
It is clear, therefore, to repeat, that on the facts as found, the validity of the challenged order cannot be impugned. It is equally clear
that this being a direct appeal to us, no questions of fact may be raised. As was held recently inPerez v. Araneta:17 "Nothing is better
settled than that where the correctness of the findings of fact of the lower court are assailed, the Court of Appeals is the proper forum.
If resort be had directly to us, then appellant must be deemed to have waived the opportunity otherwise his to inquire into such
findings and to limit himself to disputing the correctness of the law applied."
The problem thus confronting oppositors-appellants in bringing the matter direct to us was to show that the above two-page order on
the meager but sufficient facts as found, was vitiated by error or errors in law. It was far from easy, therefore, considering as above
shown that on the authority of applicable decisions, the lower court was left with no choice but to issue the writ of possession sought.

Resolute and undaunted, oppositors did their best to accomplish a task formidable in its complexity. It seemed they overdid it. They
assigned twenty-one errors a great many of them factual, and, therefore, not for us to consider, and the remaining, except the last, far
from decisive in view of the rather settled state of the law concerning the issuance of a writ of possession. Nor did the twenty-first
error assigned suffice to call for a reversal, as will be more fully explained. That is why, as earlier stated, the appeal was doomed to
futility.
It would not be amiss, though, to discuss even briefly one of them, the fourteenth. Invoking three of our previous decisions, 18 they
would impugn the issuance of the writ of possession on the ground that they were not oppositors and defeated parties in the land
registration proceeding. They would ignore the fact, however, that in the above decisions relied upon, the basis for the impropriety of
issuing a writ of possession was that the parties adversely affected entered the property in question after the issuance of the decree.
There is nothing in the challenged order that such is the case here. Thus, they would raise a factual issue a matter not properly
cognizable by us.
A reminder may not be out of place. The apparent ease with which oppositors-appellants could conjure up so many alleged errors,
while it may be a tribute to their ingenuity in making a two-page order yield so many instances of the rankest violation of legal
precepts, hardly contributes to the persuasiveness of their brief. As a matter of fact, the suspicion could be legitimately entertained that
in thus attempting to paint the highly unrealistic picture of a terse and brief order being so sadly riddled with errors, oppositorsappellants were trying in vain to bolster what inherently was a weak case.
That is all that needs be said about this appeal except for the disposition of the twenty-first error assigned, referring to the existence of
a pending case between the parties for reconveyance. 19 There was no denial in the brief for movant-appellee that such a case was then
pending at the time the respective briefs were filed. What is decided here cannot affect whatever final decision might possibly have
been rendered by this time in the aforesaid reconveyance action. Nonetheless, the mere fact that such suit was then pending did not
oust the lower court of its jurisdiction to issue the writ of possession. As stated by our present Chief Justice in Agreda v.
Rodriguez:20"Besides, it is clear that respondent Judge had jurisdiction to pass upon the motion of Santiago Agreda for the issuance of
a writ of possession. Whether or not the motion should have been denied, in view of institution of said Civil Case No. 6267, is a matter
that does not affect said jurisdiction."
WHEREFORE, the order of September 21, 1959, granting the writ of possession in favor of movant-appellee, and the orders of
October 23, 1959, December 10, 1959 and February 20, 1960, denying the reconsideration thereof, are affirmed. With costs against
oppositors-appellants.
(10)LEOPOLDOVENCILAO, MAURO RENOBLAS, TELESFORO BALONDIA, FELIX ABANDULA, FAUSTOGABAISE
N, ISIDORO ELIVERA, RAYMUNDO BONGATO, MARTIN ROLLON, EUSTAQUIO MEDANA, DOROTEO ELIVERA,
FRANCISCO PAGAURA, MACARIO GEPALAGO, GREGORIO ITAOC, ALEJANDRO RENOBLAS, SIMEON
BARBARONA, GREGORIO RENOBLAS, FRANCISCO ASOY, TEOFILA GUJELING, FABIAN VILLAME, VICENTE
OMUSORA, PEDRO BALORIA, GREGORIO ITAOC, TERESITA ITAOC, FAUSTINO ITAOC, FORTUNATO ITAOC,
FLORENTINA GEMENTIZA, RESTITUTA OMUSORA, ZOILA OMUSORA, FELISA OMUSORA, ROBERTO
HAGANAS, FELISA HAGANAS, FERMIN HAGANAS, VICTORIANO HAGANAS, JULIA SEVILLA, ROMAN MATELA,
MARCELA MATELA, DELFIN MATELA, PELAGIO MATELA, ROBERTA MATELA, PROCOPIO CABANAS and
SERAFINA CABANAS, plaintiff-appellants, vs. TEODORO VANO, JOSE REYES, ROSARIO REYES, SALUD OGILVE
BELTRAN, AMALIA R. OGILVE, FLORA VDA. DE COROMINAS, JESUSA REYES, LOURDES COROMINAS MUNOZ,
JUAN COROMINAS, LOURDES C. SAMSON CEBALLOS, SOLEDAD C. SAMSON RAMA, DOLORES V. GARCES
FALCON, JAIME GARCES, JOAQUIN REYES, and PEDRO RE R. LUSPO, defendants- appellees. [G.R. No. L-25660
February 23, 1990]
LEOPOLDO VENCILAO, SOFRONIO ROLLON, AURELIO ELIVERA, FRANCISCO PAGAORA, MARTIN ROLLON,
GRACIANO MAHINAY, GERARDO ELIVERA, GREGORIO ITAOC, ISIDRO ELIVERA, DEMOCRITO ELIVERA,
FAUSTO GABAISIN, ALBINO RENOBLAS, EUSTAQUIO MENDANIA, SIMEON BARBARONA, TELESFORO
BALONDA, FELIX ABANDOLA, SATURNINA GEPILAGO, TEOFILA GOHILING, TOMAS REAMBONANSA, MARCOS
HAGANAS, PASTOR ASNA and MAURO RENOBLAS, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE PAULINO S. MARQUEZ, Judge, Court
of First Instance of Bohol, Branch 1, and MARIANO OGILVE, et. al., respondents. [G.R. No. L-32065 February 23,1990]

LEOPOLDO VENCILAO, SOFRONIO ROLLON, AURELIO ELIVERA, FRANCISCO PAGAORA, MARTIN ROLLON,
GRACIANO MAHINAY, GERARDO ELIVERA, GREGORIO ITAOC, ISIDRO ELIVERA, DEMOCRITO ELIVERA,
FAUSTO GABAISIN, ALBINO RENOBLAS, EUSTAQUIO MENDANIA, SIMEON BARBARONA, TELESFORO
BALONDA, FELIX ABANDOLA, SATURNINA GEPILAGO, TEOFILA GOHILING, TOMAS REAMBONANSA,
MARCOS
NAGANAS,
PASTOR
ASNA
and
MAURO
RENOBLAS, petitioners,
vs. HONORABLE PAULINO S. MARQUEZ, Judge, Court of First Instance of Bohol, Branch 1, The Provincial Sheriff,
Province of Bohol, and MARIANO OGILVE, et. al., respondents. [G.R. No. L-33677 February 23, 1990]
MEDIALDEA, J.:
On February 7, 1974, We resolved to allow the consolidation of these three cases, considering that they involve the same parties and
parcels of land: (1) G.R. No. L-25660---this is an appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Bohol (now Regional Trial
Court) 1 dated May 12,1964 dismissing the cases of some of the plaintiffs-appellants and its order dated August 25, 1965 denying the
motion for reconsideration and the motion to declare the defendants- appellees in default; (2) G.R. No. L32065---this is a petition for
certiorari of the order of the Court of First Instance of Bohol dated May 14, 1970 directing the execution of its prior order dated May
6, 1969 finding petitioners guilty of contempt; (3) G.R. No. L-33677--- this is a petition for certiorari with mandamus and prohibition
of the order of the Court of First Instance of Bohol dated June 2, 1971 directing the demolition of the houses of the petitioners.
On February 15, 1988, We resolved to require the parties to manifest whether or not they are still interested in prosecuting these cases,
or supervening events have transpired which render these cases moot and academic or otherwise substantially affect the same. On
March 25, 1988, the petitioners filed an ex parte manifestation that they are still very much interested in the just prosecution of these
cases.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
G.R. No. 25660
On April 1, 1950, the heirs of the late Juan Reyes filed an application for registration of the parcels of land allegedly inherited by them
from Juan Reyes, in Land Registration Case No. 76, L.R.C. Record No. N-4251. On July 26,1951, administratrix Bernardina Vda. de
Luspo filed an amended application for registration. After hearing, the land was registered under Original Certificate of Title No. 400
(pp. 84-85, Record on Appeal; p. 7, Rollo).
On October 9, 1962, a complaint for reconveyance of real properties with damages and preliminary injunction, Civil Case No. 1533,
(pp. 2-19, Record n Appeal; p. 7, Rollo) was filed by plaintiffs-appellants before the Court of First Instance of Bohol. It was alleged
that they are the lawful owners of their respective parcels of land including the improvements thereon either by purchase or
inheritance and have been in possession publicly, continuously, peacefully and adversely under the concept of owners for more than
thirty (30) years tacked with the possession of their predecessors-in-interest. However, those parcels of land were included in the
parcels of land applied for registration by the heirs of Juan Reyes, either by mistake or fraud and with the intention of depriving them
of their rights of ownership and possession without their knowledge, not until the last part of 1960 when the defendants-appellees,
through their agents, attempted to enter those parcels of land claiming that they now belong to the heirs of Juan Reyes. To the
complaint, the defendants-appellees moved to dismiss on two grounds (pp. 19-22, Record on Appeal; p. 7, Rollo), namely: (1) for lack
of cause of action and (2) the cause of action is barred by prior judgment.
On July 20, 1963, the court a quo issued an order denying defendants-appellees' motion to dismiss (pp. 29-30, Record on Appeal; p. 7,
Rollo). However, acting on the motion to set aside such order (pp. 31-32, Record on Appeal; p. 7, Rollo), on May 12, 1964, the same
court issued another order reversing itself partially (p. 56, Record on Appeal; p. 7, Rollo), the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the cases herein of the plaintiffs Alejandro Renoblas, Fausto Cabaisan, Fabian Villame, Gregorio
Ita-oc, Faustino Ita-oc, Fortunato Ita-oc, Roberto Haganas, Felisa Haganas, Fermin Haganas, Victorians Haganas,
Julia Sevilla, Ramon Matela, Roberto Matela, Procopio Cabaas and Vicente Amosora are hereby dismissed on the
ground of res adjudicata with these plaintiffs paying proportionately eighteenth forty one (18/41) of the costs, but
the petition to dismiss the case of the rest of the plaintiffs is hereby denied.

SO ORDERED.
On May 28,1964, the plaintiffs-appellants whose cases were dismissed filed a motion for reconsideration (pp. 57- 58, Record on
Appeal; p. 7, Rollo). On July 24, 1964, the plaintiffs-appellants whose cases were not dismissed filed a motion to declare the
defendants-appellees in default for failure to file their answer with the time prescribed by law (pp. 68-75, Record on Appeal; p. 7,
Rollo). On the other hand, defendants-appellees filed their opposition to the motion for reconsideration praying that the complaint as
regards the rest of the plaintiffs-appellants be likewise dismissed (pp. 75-80, Record on Appeal; p. 7 Rollo).
On August 25, 1965, the court a quo issued an order in connection therewith (pp. 82-98, Record on Appeal; p. 7, Rollo) denying all
motions.
The case is now before Us with the following as assignments of errors (p. 3, Brief for the Plaintiffs-Appellants; p. 9, Rollo), to wit:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE CASES OF THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS WHOSE
NAMES ARE ALREADY MENTIONED ABOVE ON THE ALLEGED GROUND THAT THEIR CASES ARE
BARRED BY A PRIOR JUDGMENT OF RES ADJUDICATA.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING THE MOTION OF THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS WHOSE
CASES ARE NOT DISMISSED TO DECLARE THE DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES IN DEFAULT FOR HAVING
FAILED TO FILE THEIR ANSWER WITHIN THE TIME PRESCRIBED BY LAW.
On August 12, 1966, a resolution was issued by this Court dismissing the appeal as regards the second issue because the order
appealed from was merely interlocutory, hence, not appealable (pp. 35-38, Rollo).
On August 17, 1988, petitioners Alex Abandula, Mauro Renoblas, Simeon Barbarona, Fabian Villame, Macario Gepalago, Eustaquio
Medana, Julia Sevilla, Gregorio Itaoc, Francisco Asoy and Martin Rollon filed a motion to withdraw their appeal on the ground that
they are now the absolute owners and possessors of their respective parcels of land subject of Civil Case No. 1533.
The appeal is not impressed with merit.
The plaintiffs-appellants claim that no evidence was presented by the defendants-appellees that they (plaintiffs-appellants) were
notified of the date of the trial on the merits of the application for registration nor were they given copies of the decision of the trial
court. Likewise, they contend that res judicata is not applicable in an action for reconveyance.
The allegations that no evidence was presented by the defendants-appellees that plaintiffs-appellants were notified of the date of the
trial on the merits of the application for registration nor were they given copies of the decision of the trial court are new issues. It is a
well-settled rule that, except questions on jurisdiction, no question will be entertained on appeal unless it has been raised in the court
below and it is within the issues made by the parties in their pleadings (Cordero vs. Cabral, G.R. No. 36789, July 25, 1983, 123 SCRA
532). The other contention that res judicata is not applicable in an action for reconveyance is not plausible. The principle of res
judicata applies to all cases and proceedings, including land registration and cadastral proceedings (Republic vs. Estenzo, G.R. No. L35376, September 11, 1980, 99 SCRA 65; Paz vs. Inandan 75 Phil. 608; Penaloza vs. Tuazon, 22 Phil. 303).
It is a settled rule that a final judgment or order on the merits, rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and of the
parties, is conclusive in a subsequent case between the same parties and their successors in interest litigating upon the same thing and
issue, regardless of how erroneous it may be. In order, therefore, that there may be res judicata, the following requisites must be
present: (a) The former judgment must be final; (b) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and
of the parties; (c) it must be a judgment on the merits; and (d) there must be, between the first and the second actions, identity of

parties, of subject matter, and of cause of action (San Diego vs. Cardona, 70 Phil. 281; Ramos vs. Pablo, G.R. No. 53692, Nov.
26,1986, 146 SCRA 24).
The underlying philosophy of the doctrine of res judicata is that parties should not be permitted to litigate the same issue more than
once and when a right or fact has been judicially tried and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, so long as it remains
unreversed, it should be conclusive upon the parties and those in privity with them in law or estate (Sy Kao vs. Court of Appeals, G.R.
No. 61752, Sept. 28,1984,132 SCRA 302). The doctrine of res judicata is an old axiom of law, dictated by wisdom and sanctified by
age, and is founded on the broad principle that it is to the interest of the public that there should be an end to litigation by the same
parties and their privies over a subject once fully and fairly adjudicated. Interest republicae ut sit finis litium (Carandang vs.
Venturanza, G.R. No. L41940, Nov. 21,1984,133 SCRA 344). To ignore the principle of res judicata would be to open the door to
endless litigations by continuous determination of issues without end (Catholic Vicar Apostolic of the Mountain Province vs. Court of
Appeals, et al., G.R. Nos. 80294- 95, Sept. 21, 1988, 165 SCRA 515).
Thus, when a person is a party to a registration proceeding or when notified he does not want to participate and only after the property
has been adjudicated to another and the corresponding title has been issued files an action for reconveyance, to give due course to the
action is to nullify registration proceedings and defeat the purpose of the law.
In dismissing the cases of some of the petitioners, the court a quo meticulously discussed the presence of all the elements of res
judicata (pp. 36-38; pp. 42-54, Record on Appeal; p. 7; Rollo):
There is no question that in that Registration Proceedings, LRC Record No. N-4251, Land Registration Case No. N76, the Court of First Instance of the province of Bohol had jurisdiction of the subject matter, that said court had
rendered a judgment on the merit that was terminated in the Court of Appeals since December, 1958, and that
decision is now final with a decree of registration over the parcels of land described in the application issued to the
applicants.
The subject matter (the parcels of land) now claimed by the plaintiffs in this case at bar are the same, or at least part
of the parcels already adjudicated registration in that registration case to the persons, some of them are made
defendants in this case before us. The cause of action between the two cases are the same, ownership of these
parcels of land, though the forms of action are different, one is an ordinary Land Registration and the other is
reconveyance.
'It is settled that notwithstanding the difference in the form of two actions, the doctrine of res
adjudicata will apply where it appears that the parties in effect were litigating for the same thing.
A party can not, by varying the form of action, escape the effects of res adjudicata (Aguirre vs.
Atienza, L-10665, Aug. 30, 1958; Geronimo vs. Nava No. L-1 21 1 1, Jan. 31, 1959; Labarro vs.
Labateria et al., 28 O.G. 4479).
'Well settled is the rule that a party can not by varying the form of action, or adopting a different
method of presenting his case, escape the operation of the principle that one and the same cause of
action shall not be twice litigated between the same parties or their privies. (Francisco vs. Blas, et
al., No. L-5078; Cayco, et al., vs. Cruz, et al., No. L-1 2663, Aug. 21, 1959).
'Accordingly, a final judgment in an ordinary civil action, determining the ownership of certain
lands is res adjudicata in a registration proceeding where the parties and property are the same as
in the former case (Paz vs. Inandan 75 Phil. 608; Penaloza vs. Tuason, 22 Phil. 303).'
xxx xxx xxx
But are there identities of parties in this case before us and the former registration proceedings? Identity of parties
means that the parties in the second case must be the same parties in the first case, or at least, must be successors in
interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the former action or proceeding, or when the parties in the

subsequent case are heirs (Chua Tan vs. Del Rosario, 57 Phil. 411; Martinez vs. Franco, 51 Phil. 487-1 Romero vs.
Franco, 54 Phil. 744; Valdez, et a]. vs. Penida No. L- 3467, July 30, 1951).
xxx xxx xxx
Returning our attention to the case at bar, and with in mind the principles of res adjudicata above-quoted, we
noticed that many of the plaintiffs were not oppositors in the former registration case, but many are children of the
former oppositors. In such a case we have to determine the case of every plaintiff, if the former decision in the land
registration case is conclusive and binding upon him.
xxx xxx xxx
The defendants had proven that the adjoining owners and claimants of the parcels of land object of registration
proceeding had been notified when the land was surveyed. These persons notified according to the surveyor's
certificate, Exhibit "B" were as follows: Cipriano Samoya, Fausto Baguisin, Silveria Pahado, Enojario Laroda,
Alejandro Renoblas, Heirs of Gregorio Lofranco, Julian Villame, Pedro Itaoc, Adriano Toloy, Bartolome Omosura,
Marcelina Asilon, Gregorio Baguinang, et al., Nicolas Omosura, Simon Lagrimas, et al., Martin Quinalayo,
Gorgonio Baquinang, Demetrio Asolan, Catalino Orellena, Heirs of Catalina Palves, Manuel Mondano, Angel
Mondano, Victoriano Balolo, Eugenio del Rosario, Verinici Bayson, Felomino Ruiz, Apolonio Horbeda, and Mun.
of Calape.
The following persons were notified by the Chief of the Land Registration Office of the initial hearing (Exhibit "J")
of the registration proceedings enjoining them to appear on June 16,1952, at 8:30 a.m., before the Court of First
Instance of Bohol to show cause why the prayer of said application should not be granted: the Solicitor General, the
Director of Lands, the Director of Public Works and the Director of Forestry, Manila; the Provincial Governor, the
Provincial Fiscal and the District Engineer, Tagbilaran, Bohol; the Municipal Mayor, Gorgonio Baguinang,
Demetrio Azocan, Catalino Orellena, Manuel Mondano, Angel Mondano, Victoriano Bolalo, Eugenio del Rosario,
Verinici Bayson, Filomeno Ruiz, Apolonio Horboda, the Heirs of Gregorio Lofranco, Julian Villame, Pedro Itaoc,
Adriano Toloy, Bartolome Omosura, Marcelina Asilom, Gregorio Baguinang, Nicolas Omosura, Simon Lagrimas
and Martin Quinalayo, Calape, Bohol; the heirs of Catalino Polvos, Fausto Baguisin, Cipriano Samoya, Silveria
Pohado, Enojario, Laroda, Alejandro Renoblas and Leoncio Barbarona, Antequera Bohol.
And after the application had been filed and published in accordance with law the following persons represented by
Atty. Conrado D. Marapao filed opposition to that registration proceeding: Felipe Cubido, Simon Lagrimas, Simeon
Villame, Felix Lacorte, Victor Omosura, Germana Gahil, Anastacio Orillosa, Enerio Omosura, Valeriano Tuloy,
Cipriano Sanoya, Pablo Dumadag, Andres Reimbuncia, Roman Reimbuncia, Celedonio Cabanas, Moises Cabanas,
Calixto Gohiting, Gervasio Sevilla, Pedro Omosura, Daniel Itaoc, Luis Omosura, Bartolome Omusura, Nicasio
Omosura, Calixto Sevilla, Teodora Omosura, Jose Sabari, Silverio Lacorte, Silverio Tuloy, Gertrudes Sevilla,
Teodora Sevilla, Magno Orillosa, Gervacia Sevilla, Marcos Hagonas, Eleuterio Pandas, Pablo Omosura, Fabian
Villame, Teodoro Omosura, Magdalina Asilom, Mauricio Matela, Marciano Ordada, Eusebio Omosura, and
Gregorio Repelle, (Exhibit "E"), Atty. Juna V. Balmaseda in representation of the Bureau of Lands, and Asst. Fiscal
Norberto M. Gallardo in representation of the Municipality of Calape.
Plaintiffs Mauro Renoblas and Gregorio Renoblas are children of plaintiff Alejandro Renoblas. Plaintiff Telesforo
Balanda is son-in-law of Alejandro, being the husband of Juliana Renoblas, daughter of Alejandro. Plaintiff
Alejandro Renoblas was not one of the oppositors in the registration proceedings, but he was notified of the initial
healing of that registration case and by the surveyor that surveyed the land object of registration (Exhibit J-Movant).
Therefore, the decision of the land registration proceeding is binding upon him and his case is dismissed on the
ground of res adjudicata with costs.
xxx xxx xxx

Plaintiff Fausto Cabaisan was notifed by the surveyor and that notice of the initial hearing. And though he was not
an oppositor, the former land registration proceeding is binding on him. Therefore, this case is dismissed in so far as
Fausto Cabaisan is concerned with costs.
xxx xxx xxx
Plaintiffs Gregorio Ita-oc, Teresita Ita-oc, Faustino Ita-oc and Fortunate Ita-oc are children of Daniel Ita-oc, one of
the oppositors in the registration proceedings. They claim parcel No. 10 described in paragraph 2 of the complaint.
Gregorio Ita-oc testified that his land was inherited by said plaintiffs' mother from her father, Pio Sevilla. The
evidence on record (Exhibits J-3, J- 4, J-5). However (sic), shows that the land is declared in the name of Daniel Itaoc, a former oppositor in the registration case. Hence, these plaintiffs are successors-in-interest of Daniel Ita-oc, and,
therefore, are bound by the decision in that registration case. Their case, therefore, is dismissed, with costs.
"Plaintiffs Roberto Haganas, Felisa Haganas, Fermin Haganas and Victoriano Haganas are children of Marcos
Haganas, a former oppositor in the registration case. Marcos testified that his claim before was only two hectares,
while the claim of his children is seven hectares, which come from his wife, not from him. These plaintiffs claim
two parcels, one under Tax Declaration No. R-4452, and Tax Declaration No. R-8456. It appears that Tax
Declaration No. R-4452 (Exhibit M) is in the name of Marcos Haganas and the land described under Tax
Declaration No. R-8456 was bought by the spouses Marcos Haganas and Tomasa Sevilla from Gertrudis Sevilla in
1956 (Exhibit M-3), who was an oppositor in the registration proceeding. Therefore, plaintiffs Roberto Haganas,
Felisa Haganas, Fermin Haganas, and Victoriano Haganas are successors-in-interest to properties in which the
decision in the registration case is conclusive and binding to their predecessors-in-interest. Hence, their case here is
dismissed with costs.
Plaintiff Julia Sevilla is the wife of Marcelo Matela, who was the oppositor in the registration proceedings. Plaintiffs
Roman Matela, Marcela Matela, Delfin Matela, and Roberta Matela are their children. She has no son by the name
of Pelagic. Julia testified that the land now claimed by her children came from her father Pio Sevilla. The land that
was claimed by Mauricio Matela as oppositor was in his name under Tax Declaration No. 5099. This is the same
land now claimed by plaintiffs Julia Sevilla, Ramon Matela, Marcela Matela, Delfin Matela, and Roberta Matela
(Exhibit 0-4). These plaintiffs are successors-in-interest of Mauricio Matela, who is bound by the decision in that
land proceeding wherein he was the oppositor. Therefore, the case of these plaintiffs are dismissed with costs.
Plaintiff Procopia Cabanas was the wife of Andres Reambonancia, oppositor in the land registration proceedings.
She claims parcel No. 20 described in paragraph 2 of the complaint bearing Tax Declaration No. R-8121. It appears
that this land is declared in the name of Andres Reambonancia (Exhibit N-3) who, as oppositor in the land
registration case, is bound by the decision of that case. Therefore, the case of plaintiff Procopia Cabanas as
successor-in-interest to Andres Reambonancia, is hereby dismissed, with costs.
Plaintiff Vicente Amosora is the son of Enerio Amosora and Florencia Gahil both oppositors in the former
registration case. The land claimed by plaintiff Vicente Amosora is described as parcel No. 24 of paragraph 2 of the
complaint under Tax Declaration No. R-6107, under the name of his father Enerio Amosora. Since Enerio Amosora
was an oppositor in the former land registration of which this land was a part, the decision of that land registration
case is conclusive and binding not only to Enerio Amosora, but also to his successor-in-interest, plaintiff Vicente
Amosora, whose case therefore, is dismissed with costs.
G.R. No. L-32065
Upon the death of administratrix Bernardina Vda. de Luspo, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3561 was issued in the name of Pedro R.
Luspo and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3562 was issued in the name of several persons (p. 36, Rollo).
A writ of possession dated November 6, 1959, a first alias writ of possession dated January 6, 1961, and a second alias writ of
possession dated July 2, 1966 were issued by the trial court against the petitioners. A sample of the guerilla-like, hide and seek tactics

employed by the petitioners was proved by the official report of the deputy sheriff dated January 21 1960. Another evidence of
petitioners' refusal to sign and to vacate was a certification dated July 22, 1966 and the Sheriffs return dated October 25, 1966.
On March 29, 1967, a petition for contempt was filed by Mariano Ogilve, who is one of the registered owners of the parcel of land
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3562, against the petitioners for refusing to vacate the land occupied by them and for
refusing to sign the Sheriffs return.
On May 6, 1969, the court a quo issued a resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads (p. 47, Rollo):
FOR ALL THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATION, make it of record that Procopia Reambonansa voluntarily left
the land and dropped out from the case; the charge of contempt against Alejandro Renoblas (who died) is dismissed
and each of the remaining 22 respondents are hereby found guilty of contempt under Sec. 3-b of Rule 71 and are
hereby sentenced each to pay a fine of One Hundred Pesos, authorizing the Constabulary Detachment at or near
Candungao Calape Bohol to collect the same and to transmit the money to the Clerk of this Court, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency at the rate of one day for every P2.50 or fraction of a day, the said Constabulary
Detachment to effect the commitment if any of them is unable to pay the fine. The fingerprints of each of these 22
respondents shall also be taken by the constabulary and filed with the record of this case.
It is so ordered.
On June 4, 1969, the petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforestated resolution whereas Ogilve filed an opposition
thereto.
On February 14, 1970, the motion for reconsideration was denied. On March 18, 1970, another motion for reconsideration was filed
by petitioners on the ground of pendency of the action for reconveyance in Civil Case No. 1533 and their appeal in G.R. No. L-25660.
On May 14, 1970, the court a quo ordered the proper officers to actually execute the resolution dated May 6, 1969.
Hence, the present petition.
Petitioners raise the following issues:
I
THAT THE SAID RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED IN ISSUING A WRIT OF POSSESSION WITHOUT ANY COMPLAINT
FILED IN COURT FOR FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER, NOR FOR RECOVERY OF OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION OF
THE PARCELS OF LAND IN QUESTION AGAINST THE HEREIN PETITIONERS.
II
THAT THE HONORABLE RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED IN ISSUING A WRIT OF POSSESSION AGAINST THE
PETITIONERS HEREIN, WHO WERE NOT PARTIES TO THE REGISTRATION PROCEEDING AND WHO WERE NOT
DEFEATED OPPOSITORS OF THE SAID APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION.
The petition is impressed with merit.
Petitioners contend that they were not claimants-oppositors nor defeated oppositors in the said land registration case, as their names do
not appear in the amended application for registration; that they have occupied the subject parcels of land for more than thirty (30)
years which began long before the filing of the application for registration; and that after the hearing of the registration case, they
continued in possession of the said land.
In a registration case, the judgment confirming the title of the applicant and ordering its registration in his name necessarily carried
with it the delivery of possession which is an inherent element of the right of ownership. The issuance of the writ of possession is,

therefore, sanctioned by existing laws in this jurisdiction and by the generally accepted principle upon which the administration of
justice rests (Romasanta et. al. vs. Platon, 34 O.G. No. 76; Abulocion et. al. vs. CFI of Iloilo, et. al., 100 Phil. 554 [1956]). A writ of
possession may be issued not only against the person who has been defeated in a registration case but also against anyone unlawfully
and adversely occupying the land or any portion thereof during the land registration proceedings up to the issuance of the final decree
(Demorar vs. Ibaez, et al., 97 Phil 72 [1955]).
The petitioners' contention that they have been in possession of the said land for more than thirty (30) years which began long before
the filing of the application for registration and continued in possession after the hearing of the registration case, worked against them.
It was a virtual admission of their lack of defense. Thus, the writs of possession were properly issued against them.
However, We do not subscribe to the ruling of the court a quo that petitioners are guilty of contempt. Under Section 8 (d) of Rule 19,
Rules of Court, if the judgment be for the delivery of the possession of real property, the writ of execution must require the sheriff or
other officer to whom it must be directed to deliver the possession of the property, describing it, to the party entitled thereto. This
means that the sheriff must dispossess or eject the losing party from the premises and deliver the possession thereof to the winning
party. If subsequent to such dispossession or ejectment the losing party enters or attempts to enter into or upon the real property, for
the purpose of executing acts of ownership or possession, or in any manner disturbs the possession of the person adjudged to be
entitled thereto, then and only then may the loser be charged with and punished for contempt (Quizon vs. Philippine National Bank, et.
al., 85 Phil. 459). According to this section, it is exclusively incumbent upon the sheriff to execute, to carry out the mandates of the
judgment in question, and in fact, it was he himself, and he alone, who was ordered by the trial judge who rendered that judgment, to
place the respondents in possession of the land. The petitioners in this case had nothing to do with that delivery of possession, and
consequently, their refusal to effectuate the writ of possession, is entirely officious and impertinent and therefore could not hinder, and
much less prevent, the delivery being made, had the sheriff known how to comply with his duty. It was solely due to the latter's fault,
and not to the disobedience of the petitioners' that the judgment was not duly executed. For that purpose, the sheriff could even have
availed himself of the public force, had it been necessary to resort thereto (see United States v. Ramayrat 22 Phil. 183).
G.R. No. L-33677
On March 22,1971, Mariano Ogilve filed a Motion for a Writ of Demolition which was granted by the trial court on April 5, 1971 (pp.
42-43, Rollo) against those who were adjudged guilty of contempt. On April 29, 1971, the petitioners filed an urgent motion for
reconsideration of said order. On June 2, 1971, the trial court issued another order, the dispositive portion of which reads (p. 48,
Rollo):
WHEREFORE, in the absence of writ of preliminary injunction Deputy Provincial Sheriff Pedro Aparece must not
only take P.C. soldiers with him but also carpenters to effect the demolition, the carpenters being at the expense of
the Luspo.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hence, the present petition.
The issue here is whether or not the respondent judge acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion
and thus excluded the herein petitioners from the use and enjoyment of their right to which they are entitled when he (respondent
judge) issued the order of demolition on April 5, 1971 and again on June 2, 1971 (p. 107, Rollo).
On July 14, 1971, this Court issued a temporary restraining order (p. 51, Rollo).
The petition is not impressed with merit.
The petitioners allege that the respondent-judge cannot issue a writ of demolition pending the resolution of G.R. No. L-32065.
We rule that the petition in G.R. No. L-32065 was not a bar to the issuance of the writ of demolition. It is significant to note that the
subject matter of the petition in G.R. No. L-32065 is the order dated May 14, 1970 directing the execution of the prior order dated

May 6, 1969 finding petitioners guilty of contempt and not the writs of possession themselves. Thus, the respondent Judge correctly
issued the writs of demolition. In Meralco vs. Mencias, 107 Phil 1071, We held:
[I]f the writ of possession issued in a land registration proceeding implies the delivery of possession of the land to
the successful litigant therein (Demorar vs. Ibanez, 97 Phil. 72; Pasay Estate Company vs. Del Rosario, et al., 11
Phil. 391; Manlapas vs. Llorente 48 Phil. 298), a writ of demolition must, likewise, issue, especially considering that
the latter writ is but a complement of the former which, without said writ of demolition, would be ineffective.
xxx xxx xxx
[The issuance of the writ of demolition] is reasonably necessary to do justice to petitioner who is being deprived of
the possession of the lots in question, by reason of the continued refusal of respondent ...... to remove his house
thereon and restore possession of the promises to petitioner.
ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
1) In G.R. No. L-25660, the appeal is DENIED and the orders of the Court of First Instance dated May 12, 1964 and August 25, 1965
are AFFIRMED; the motion to withdraw the appeal of some of the plaintiffs-appellants is GRANTED;
2) In G.R. No. L-32065, the petition is GRANTED and the resolution of the Court of First Instance dated May 14, 1970 is SET
ASIDE; and
3) In G.R. No. L-33677, the petition is DISMISSED and the order of the Court of First Instance dated June 2, 1971 is AFFIRMED.
The temporary restraining order is LIFTED.
SO ORDERED.
(11) GERMAN MANAGEMENT & SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ERNESTO
VILLEZA, respondents. [G.R. No. 76217 September 14, 1989]
GERMAN MANAGEMENT & SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ORLANDO
GERNALE, respondents. [G.R. No. L-76216 September 14, 1989]
FERNAN, C.J.:
Spouses Cynthia Cuyegkeng Jose and Manuel Rene Jose, residents of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA are the owners of a parcel of
land situated in Sitio Inarawan, San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal, with an area of 232,942 square meters and covered by TCT No. 50023 of
the Register of Deeds of the province of Rizal issued on September 11, 1980 which canceled TCT No. 56762/ T-560. The land was
originally registered on August 5, 1948 in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal as OCT No. 19, pursuant to a Homestead Patent
granted by the President of the Philippines on July 27, 1948, under Act No. 141.
On February 26, 1982, the spouses Jose executed a special power of attorney authorizing petitioner German Management Services to
develop their property covered by TCT No. 50023 into a residential subdivision. Consequently, petitioner on February 9,1983 obtained
Development Permit No. 00424 from the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission for said development. Finding that part of the
property was occupied by private respondents and twenty other persons, petitioner advised the occupants to vacate the premises but
the latter refused. Nevertheless, petitioner proceeded with the development of the subject property which included the portions
occupied and cultivated by private respondents.
Private respondents filed an action for forcible entry against petitioner before the Municipal Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, alleging
that they are mountainside farmers of Sitio Inarawan, San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal and members of the Concerned Citizens of Farmer's
Association; that they have occupied and tilled their farmholdings some twelve to fifteen years prior to the promulgation of P.D. No.
27; that during the first week of August 1983, petitioner, under a permit from the Office of the Provincial Governor of Rizal, was

allowed to improve the Barangay Road at Sitio Inarawan, San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal at its expense, subject to the condition that it
shag secure the needed right of way from the owners of the lot to be affected; that on August 15, 1983 and thereafter, petitioner
deprived private respondents of their property without due process of law by: (1) forcibly removing and destroying the barbed wire
fence enclosing their farmholdings without notice; (2) bulldozing the rice, corn fruit bearing trees and other crops of private
respondents by means of force, violence and intimidation, in violation of P.D. 1038 and (3) trespassing, coercing and threatening to
harass, remove and eject private respondents from their respective farmholdings in violation of P.D. Nos. 316, 583, 815, and 1028. 1
On January 7,1985, the Municipal Trial Court dismissed private respondents' complaint for forcible entry. 2 On appeal, the Regional
Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch LXXI sustained the dismissal by the Municipal Trial Court. 3
Private respondents then filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals. On July 24,1986, said court gave due course to their
petition and reversed the decisions of the Municipal Trial Court and the Regional Trial Court. 4
The Appellate Court held that since private respondents were in actual possession of the property at the time they were forcibly ejected
by petitioner, private respondents have a right to commence an action for forcible entry regardless of the legality or illegality of
possession. 5 Petitioner moved to reconsider but the same was denied by the Appellate Court in its resolution dated September 26,
1986. 6
Hence, this recourse.
The issue in this case is whether or not the Court of Appeals denied due process to petitioner when it reversed the decision of the
court a quo without giving petitioner the opportunity to file its answer and whether or not private respondents are entitled to file a
forcible entry case against petitioner. 7
We affirm. The Court of Appeals need not require petitioner to file an answer for due process to exist. The comment filed by petitioner
on February 26, 1986 has sufficiently addressed the issues presented in the petition for review filed by private respondents before the
Court of Appeals. Having heard both parties, the Appellate Court need not await or require any other additional pleading. Moreover,
the fact that petitioner was heard by the Court of Appeals on its motion for reconsideration negates any violation of due process.
Notwithstanding petitioner's claim that it was duly authorized by the owners to develop the subject property, private respondents, as
actual possessors, can commence a forcible entry case against petitioner because ownership is not in issue. Forcible entry is merely a
quieting process and never determines the actual title to an estate. Title is not involved. 8
In the case at bar, it is undisputed that at the time petitioner entered the property, private respondents were already in possession
thereof . There is no evidence that the spouses Jose were ever in possession of the subject property. On the contrary, private
respondents' peaceable possession was manifested by the fact that they even planted rice, corn and fruit bearing trees twelve to fifteen
years prior to petitioner's act of destroying their crops.
Although admittedly petitioner may validly claim ownership based on the muniments of title it presented, such evidence does not
responsively address the issue of prior actual possession raised in a forcible entry case. It must be stated that regardless of the actual
condition of the title to the property, the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be turned out by a strong hand, violence or
terror. 9 Thus, a party who can prove prior possession can recover such possession even against the owner himself. Whatever may be
the character of his prior possession, if he has in his favor priority in time, he has the security that entitles him to remain on the
property until he is lawfully ejected by a person having a better right by accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria. 10
Both the Municipal Trial Court and the Regional Trial Court have rationalized petitioner's drastic action of bulldozing and destroying
the crops of private respondents on the basis of the doctrine of self-help enunciated in Article 429 of the New Civil Code. 11 Such
justification is unavailing because the doctrine of self-help can only be exercised at the time of actual or threatened dispossession
which is absent in the case at bar. When possession has already been lost, the owner must resort to judicial process for the recovery of
property. This is clear from Article 536 of the Civil Code which states, "(I)n no case may possession be acquired through force or
intimidation as long as there is a possessor who objects thereto. He who believes that he has an action or right to deprive another of the
holding of a thing, must invoke the aid of the competent court, if the holder should refuse to deliver the thing."

WHEREFORE, the Court resolved to DENY the instant petition. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 24,1986 is hereby
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

(12)
FELIX
CAISIP,
IGNACIO
ROJALES
and
FEDERICO
vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.

VILLADELREY, petitioners,

[G.R. No. L-28716 November 18, 1970]


CONCEPCION, C.J.:
This case is before Us upon petition of defendants Felix Caisip, Ignacio Rojales and Federico Villadelrey, for review on certiorari of a
decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed that of the Court of First Instance of Batangas, convicting them of the crime of Grave
Coercion, with which they are charged, and sentencing each to four (4) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor and to pay a fine of
P200.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, not to exceed one-third of the principal penalty, as well as one-third of
the costs.
As set forth in the trial court's decision, the background of the present case is this:
The complainant Gloria Cabalag is the wife of Marcelino Guevarra who cultivated a parcel of land known as Lot
105-A of Hacienda Palico situated in sitio Bote-bote, barrio Tampisao, Nasugbu, Batangas. The said parcel of land
used to be tenanted by the deceased father of the complainant. Hacienda Palico is owned by Roxas y Cia. and
administered by Antonio Chuidian. The overseer of the said hacienda is Felix Caisip, one of the accused herein.
Even before the occurrence of the incident presently involved, there had been a series of misunderstandings and
litigations involving the complainant and her husband, on one hand, and the men of Hacienda Palico on the other.
It appears that on December 23, 1957, Marcelino Guevarra filed an action with the Court of Agrarian Relations
seeking recognition as a lawful tenant of Roxas y Cia. over lot No. 105-A of Hacienda Palico. In a decision dated
February 22, 1958, the Court of Agrarian Relations declared it has no jurisdiction over the case, inasmuch as
Guevarra is not a tenant on the said parcel of land. An appeal was taken by Guevarra to the Supreme Court, but the
appeal was dismissed in a resolution dated April 10, 1958.
On May 17, 1958, Roxas y Cia. filed an action against Marcelino Guevarra in the justice of the peace court of
Nasugbu, Batangas, for forcible entry, praying therein that Guevarra be ejected from the premises of Lot No. 105-A.
After due hearing, the said Court in a decision dated May 2, 1959 ordered Guevarra to vacate the lot and to pay
damages and accrued rentals. A writ of execution was issued by Justice of the Peace Rodolfo A. Castillo of Nasugbu,
which was served on Guevarra on June 6, 1959, and the return of which was made by Deputy Sheriff Leonardo R.
Aquino of this Court on June 23, 1959 (Exhibit "10"). The writ recites among other things that the possession of the
land was delivered to the Roxas y Cia. thru Felix Caisip, the overseer, and Guevarra was given twenty days from
June 6, 1959 within which to leave the premises.
The record before Us does not explain why said decision was executed. According to the complainant, her husband's counsel had
appealed from said decision. The justice of the peace who rendered it, Hon. Rodolfo Castillo, said that there really had been an attempt
to appeal, which was not given due course because the reglementary period therefor had expired; that a motion to reconsider his order
to this effect was denied by him; and that a second motion for reconsideration was "still pending consideration," and it was October
19, 1959 when such testimony was given.
Continuing the narration of the antecedent facts, His Honor, the Trial Judge, added:

On June 15, 1959, some trouble occurred between the complainant and Caisip regarding the cutting of sugar cane on
Lot 105-A. The following day June 16, 1959, the complainant allegedly again entered the premises of Lot 105-A and
refused to be driven out by Felix Caisip. Due to the aforementioned incidents, Gloria Cabalag was charged in the
justice of the peace court of Nasugbu, Batangas, with grave coercion for the incident of June 15, 1959, docketed in
the said court as Criminal Case No. 968 (Exhibit "3"); and with the crime of unjust vexation for the incident of June
16, 1959, docketed in the said court as Criminal Case No. 970. Both cases, however, were filed only on June 25,
1959.
In other words, these criminal cases, Nos. 968 and 970, against Gloria Cabalag, were filed eight (8) days after the incident involved in
the case at bar. It is, also, noteworthy that both cases were on motion of the prosecution, filed after a reinvestigation thereof
provisionally dismissed, on November 8, 1960, by the Court of First Instance of Batangas, upon the ground "that the evidence of
record ... are insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt." The decision of said court, in the case at bar, goes
on to say:
It further appears that due to the tenacious attitude of Gloria Cabalag to remain in the premises, Caisip sought the
help of the chief of police of Nasugbu who advised him to see Deputy Sheriff Aquino about the matter. The latter,
however, informed Caisip that he could not act on the request to eject Gloria Cabalag and to stop her from what she
was doing without a proper court order. Caisip then consulted Antonio Chuidian, the hacienda administrator, who, in
turn, went to the chief of police and requested for the detail of policemen in sitio Bote-bote. The chief of police,
acting on said request, assigned the accused Ignacio Rojales and Federico Villadelrey, police sergeant and police
corporal, respectively, of the Nasugbu Police Force, to sitio Bote-bote. 1
On June 17, 1959, at about 5:00 p.m., Gloria Cabalag was seen weeding the portion of Lot 105-A which was a ricefield. Appellant
Caisip approached her and bade her to leave, but she refused to do so, alleging that she and her husband had the right to stay there and
that the crops thereon belong to them. She having stuck to this attitude, even when he threatened to call the police, Caisip went to his
co-defendants, Sgt. Rojales and Cpl. Villadelrey, both of the local police, who were some distance away, and brought them with him.
Rojales told Gloria, who was then in a squatting position, to stop weeding. As Gloria insisted on her right to stay in said lot, Rojales
grabbed her right hand and, twisting the same, wrested therefrom the trowel she was holding. Thereupon, Villadelrey held her left
hand and, together with Rojales, forcibly dragged her northward towards a forested area, where there was a banana plantation as
Caisip stood nearby, with a drawn gun.
Inasmuch as Gloria shouted "Ina ko po! Ina ko po!" 2her neighbors, Librada Dulutan, followed, soon later, by Francisca Andino, came
and asked the policemen why they were dragging her. The policemen having answered that they would take Gloria to town which was
on the west Francisca Andino pleaded that Gloria be released, saying that, if their purpose was as stated by them, she (Gloria)
would willingly go with them. By this time, Gloria had already been dragged about eight meters and her dress, as well as her
blouse 3were torn. She then agreed to proceed westward to the municipal building, and asked to be allowed to pass by her house,
within Lot 105-A, in order to breast-feed her nursing infant, but, the request was turned down. As they passed, soon later, near the
house of Zoilo Rivera, head of the tenant organization to which she was affiliated, in the barrio of Camachilihan, Gloria called out for
him, whereupon, he went down the house and accompanied them to the municipal building. Upon arrival thereat, Rojales and
Villadelrey turned her over to the policeman on duty, and then departed. After being interrogated by the chief of police, Gloria was,
upon representations made by Zoilo Rivera, released and allowed to go home.
The foregoing is the prosecution's version. That of the defense is to the effect that, upon being asked by the policemen to stop weeding
and leave the premises, Gloria, not only refused to do so, but, also, insulted them, as well as Caisip. According to the defense, she was
arrested because of the crime of slander then committed by her. Appellants Rojales and Villadelrey, moreover, testified that, as they
were heading towards the barrio of Camachilihan, Gloria proceeded to tear her clothes.
His Honor, the Trial Judge, accepted, however, the version of the prosecution and found that of the defense unworthy of credence. The
findings of fact of the Court of Appeals, which fully concurred in this view, are "final," and our authority to review on certiorari its
appealed decision is limited to questions purely of law. 4Appellants maintain that the Court of Appeals has erred: (1) in not finding
their acts "justified under Article 429 of the New Civil Code"; (2) in holding that the 20-day period of grace given to Marcelino
Guevarra and his wife, Gloria Cabalag, by the sheriff, to vacate Lot 105-A, was valid and lawful; (3) in finding that the elements of

the crime of grave coercion are present in the case at bar; and (4) in finding appellants guilty as charged. This pretense is clearly
untenable.
Art. 429 of our Civil Code, reading:
The owner or lawful possessor of a thing has the right to exclude any person from the enjoyment and disposal
thereof. For this purpose, he may use such force as may be reasonably necessary to repel or prevent an actual or
threatened unlawful physical invasion or usurpation of his property.
upon which appellants rely is obviously inapplicable to the case at bar, for, having been given 20 days from June 6,
1959, within which to vacate Lot 105-A, complainant did not, on June 17, 1959 or within said period
invade or usurp said lot. She had merely remained in possession thereof, even though the hacienda owner may
have become its co-possessor. Appellants did not "repel orprevent in actual or threatened ... physical invasion or
usurpation." They expelled Gloria from a property of which she and her husband were in possession even before the
action for forcible entry was filed against them on May 17, 1958, despite the fact that the Sheriff had explicitly
authorized them to stay in said property up to June 26, 1959, and had expressed the view that he could not oust them
therefrom on June 17, 1959, without a judicial order therefor.
It is urged, that, by weeding and refusing to leave Lot 105-A, Gloria had committed a crime in the presence of the policemen, despite
the aforementioned 20-day period, which, appellants claim, the sheriff had no authority to grant. This contention is manifestly
untenable, because: (1) said period was granted in the presence of the hacienda owner's representative, appellant Caisip, who, by not
objecting thereto, had impliedly consented to or ratified the act performed by the sheriff; (2) Gloria and her husband were thereby
allowed to remain, and had, in fact, remained, in possession of the premises, perhaps together with the owner of the hacienda or his
representative, Caisip; (3) the act of removing weeds from the ricefield was beneficial to its owner and to whomsoever the crops
belonged, and, even if they had not authorized it, does not constitute a criminal offense; and (4) although Gloria and her husband had
been sentenced to vacate the land, the judgment against them did not necessarily imply that they, as the parties who had tilled it and
planted thereon, had no rights, of any kind whatsoever, in or to the standing crops, inasmuch as "necessary expenses shall be refunded
to every possessor,"5 and the cost of cultivation, production and upkeep has been held to partake of the nature of necessary expenses. 6
It is, accordingly, clear that appellants herein had, by means of violence, and without legal authority therefor, prevented the
complainant from "doing something not prohibited by law," (weeding and being in Lot 105-A), and compelled her "to do something
against" her will (stopping the weeding and leaving said lot), "whether it be right or wrong," thereby taking the law into their hands, in
violation of Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code. 7
Appellant Caisip argues that, not having used violence against the complaining witness, he should be acquitted of the charge. In this
connection, His Honor, the Trial Judge, correctly observed:
... While it is true that the accused Caisip did not lay hands on the complainant, unlike the accused Rojales and
Villadelrey who were the ones who used force against Gloria, and while the Court is also inclined to discredit the
claim of the complainant that Felix Caisip drew a gun during the incident, it sufficiently appears from the record that
the motivation and inducement for the coercion perpetrated on the complainant came from the accused Caisip. It
was his undisguised and particular purpose to prevent Gloria from entering the land and working on the same. He
was the one who first approached Gloria with this objective in mind, and tried to prevent her from weeding the land.
He had tried to stop Gloria from doing the same act even the day previous to the present incident. It was Caisip who
fetched the policemen in order to accomplish his purpose of preventing Gloria from weeding the land and making
her leave the premises. The policemen obeyed his bidding, and even when the said policemen were already overasserting their authority as peace officers, Caisip simply stood by without attempting to stop their abuses. He could
be hardly said to have disapproved an act which he himself induced and initiated. 8
In other words, there was community of purpose between the policemen and Caisip, so that the latter is guilty of grave coercion, as a
co-conspirator, apart from being a principal by induction. 9

In the commission of the offense, the aggravating circumstances of abuse of superior strength 10 and disregard of the respect due the
offended party, by reason of her sex, 11 were present, insofar as the three appellants herein are concerned. As regards appellants Rojales
and Villadelrey, there was the additional aggravating circumstance of having taken advantage of their positions as members of the
local police force. Hence, the penalty of imprisonment meted out to appellants herein, which is the minimum of the maximum
prescribed in said Art. 286, 12 and the fine imposed upon them, are in accordance with law.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the defendants-appellants. It is so ordered.

(13) HEIRS OF LEOPOLDO VENCILAO, SR., represented by their Administrator ELPIDIO VENCILAO, petitioner, vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES SABAS and RUPERTA GEPALAGO, and DOMICIANO
GEPALAGO, respondents.

[G.R. No. 123713. April 1, 1998]

BELLOSILLO, J.:
Between two (2) sets of claimants of real property - those claiming ownership by acquisitive prescription, and those asserting
ownership on the basis of a deed of sale recorded in the certificate of title of the vendor as mortgagee and highest bidder in a
foreclosure sale - who has a better right?
On 12 February 1990 the heirs of Leopoldo Vencilao Sr., represented by their Administrator Elpidio Vencilao, filed with the
Regional Trial Court of Bohol a complaint for quieting of title, recovery of possession and/or ownership, accounting and damages
with prayer for the issuance of writs of preliminary prohibitory and mandatory injunction against the spouses Sabas and Ruperta
Gepalago.[1] The complaint was subsequently amended to include an action for reconveyance and cancellation of title and to implead
defendant Domiciano Gepalago.[2]
The heirs of Leopoldo Vencilao Sr. alleged that they were the absolute owners of a parcel of land situated in Cambansag, San
Isidro, Bohol, with an area of 3,625 square meters having inherited the same from their father, Leopoldo Vencilao Sr., who during his
lifetime was in peaceful, open, notorious and uninterrupted possession and enjoyment of the property in the concept of owner,
declared the property for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration No. 37C6-344 and religiously paid the real estate taxes. He
likewise had the property consistently declared as his own in other documents, e.g., those relevant to the 1987 Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). After his death, his heirs continued to possess and enjoy the property.
The Gepalago spouses, on the other hand, denied all the material allegations in the complaint and claimed that they were the
registered owners of a 5,970-square meter property located in Candungao Calapo, San Isidro, Bohol, and covered by TCT No. 16042,
previously a portion of a 1,401,570 square-meter land originally owned by a certain Pedro Luspo. The entire parcel of land was
mortgaged
by
Pedro
Luspo
to
the
Philippine
National
Bank
(PNB)
as
security for a
loan. Since Luspo failed to pay the obligation upon maturity the
mortgage
was
foreclosed. Thereafter PNB, the highest bidder in the foreclosure sale, conveyed the whole property to fifty-six (56) vendees
among whom were the spouses Sabas and Ruperta Gepalago who acquired the 5,970 square-meter portion thereof. Since then, they
had been the owner and possessor of the land until they donated the same in 1988 to their son Domiciano Gepalago.
The trial court appointed a commissioner to survey the litigated property and determine the areas claimed by both parties. The
commissioner reported that the area claimed by the Vencilaos was included in the titled property of the Gepalagos. On the basis of
the commissioners report and the other pieces of evidence presented by the parties, the trial court found the following: (a) The
property claimed by the Gepalagos consisted of 5,970 square meters, while that of the Vencilaos covered an area of 22,401.58 square

meters as indicated in the survey plan submitted by Engr. Jesus H. Sarmiento, the court appointed commissioner; (b) Insofar as the
survey plan and report submitted by Engr. Sarmiento were concerned, these indubitably established the fact that the Vencilaos owned
the excess area of 16,431.58 square meters which was clearly outside the area claimed by the Gepalagos; (c) The lot in question had
been titled to defendant Sabas Gepalago and subsequently titled to his son, defendant Domiciano Gepalago, under Transfer Certificate
of Title No. 18621 by virtue of a deed of donation executed on 25 October 1988 by Sabas Gepalago in favor of Domiciano
Gepalago; and, (d) As stated in the commissioners report, "If the titled lot of Domiciano Gepalago is plotted in accordance with the
technical description appearing in the title, it will be relocated to more than 219 kilometers eastward away from its supposed actual
location. This amounts to its non-existence."[3]
The trial court then ruled in favor of the Vencilaos holding that they had been in possession, cultivation and enjoyment of the
litigated property for more than thirty (30) years and that the improvements therein were introduced by them long before any title was
ever issued to the Gepalagos. The lower court added that there was ample evidence showing that the Gepalagos knew when they
bought the property from PNB that the land had long been possessed and enjoyed in the concept of owners by the Vencilaos. Thus,
while under ordinary circumstances a certificate of title is indefeasible, it is not so when a person with prior knowledge of the
ownership and possession of the land by another obtains title to it.
The Gepalagos appealed the decision of the trial court. After due consideration, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and
declared the Gepalagos owners of the disputed property Evidently, defendant-appellants spouses Gepalago were purchasers in good faith and for value. They acquired their share in the
property from the Philippine National Bank (PNB) which was the registered owner. Even assuming they had knowledge of the
plaintiff-appellees' possession of the said property at the time of the purchase, it was PNB which was the registered owner of the
property. The title was transferred to the bank after the foreclosure sale of the property mortgaged by the previous registered owner,
Pedro Luspo. Thus where the certificate of title is in the name of the vendor when the land is sold, the vendee for value has the right to
rely on what appears on the certificate of title. The rule that all persons dealing with property covered by Torrens Certificate of Title
are not required to go beyond what appears on the face of the title is well-settled.
Granting that plaintiff-appellees were possessors of the property for a long time, they never raised objections to the transactions
affecting the land. There was no action made or any protest recorded with the Register of Deeds.
Defendant-appellants claim of ownership was evidenced by certificates of title issued in their names. A Torrens Certificate of Title is
the best evidence of ownership of a registered land. As against the allegations of plaintiff-appellees, defendant-appellants are the ones
entitled to the property. Defendant-appellants ownership of the property was evidenced by a certificate of title while plaintiffappellees relied merely on tax declaration. Torrens title is generally a conclusive evidence of the ownership of the land referred to
therein. Defendant-appellants acquired the land in a foreclosure sale and there was no evidence to show that plaintiff-appellees were
defrauded when the property was mortgaged and then sold x x x x [4]
The motion for reconsideration by the Vencilaos having been denied[5] they filed the instant petition for review.
In awarding the disputed land to petitioners, the trial court erroneously found that petitioners had been in possession and
enjoyment of the property for more than thirty (30) years. It should be noted that the land in dispute is a registered land placed under
the operation of the Torrens system way back in 1959, or more than thirty (30) years before petitioners instituted the present action in
the court a quo, and for which Original Certificate of Title No. 400 was issued. [6] The rule is well-settled that prescription does not run
against registered land. Thus, under Sec. 47 of PD 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree, it is specifically
provided that "no title to registered land in derogation of that of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse
possession." A title, once registered, cannot be defeated even by adverse, open and notorious possession. The certificate of title
issued is an absolute and indefeasible evidence of ownership of the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. It is
binding and conclusive upon the whole world.[7] All persons must take notice and no one can plead ignorance of the registration.[8]
Neither can the tax declarations and tax receipts presented by petitioners as evidence of ownership prevail over respondents
certificate of title which, to reiterate, is an incontrovertible proof of ownership. It should be stressed that tax declarations and receipts
do not by themselves conclusively prove title to the land. [9] They only constitute positive and strong indication that the taxpayer

concerned has made a claim either to the title or to the possession of the property for which taxes have been paid. [10] Stated differently,
tax declarations and tax receipts are only prima facie evidence of ownership or possession.
But assuming ex gratia argumenti that petitioners had indeed acquired the land they were claiming by prescription, there
likewise exists a serious doubt on the precise identity of the disputed property. What petitioners claimed in their complaint was a
parcel of land located in Cambansag, San Isidro, Bohol, with an area of 3,625 square meters. [11] This clearly differs from the piece of
land registered in the name of the Gepalagos, which is Lot No. A-73 of the Subdivision Plan (LRC) Psd-60558, LRC Rec. No. H4251, and located in Candungao Calapo, San Isidro, Bohol, with an area of 5,970 square meters. [12] Even the commissioners report
failed to clarify the difference in the area and location of the property claimed. In order that an action to recover ownership of real
property may prosper, the person who claims that he has a better right to it must prove not only his ownership of the same but also
satisfactorily prove the identity thereof.[13]
As a general rule, where the certificate of title is in the name of the vendor when the land is sold, the vendee for value has the
right to rely on what appears on the face of the title. [14] He is under no obligation to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title
of the vendor appearing on the face of the certificate. By way of exception, the vendee is required to make the necessary inquiries if
there is anything in the certificate of title which indicates any cloud or vice in the ownership of the property. [15] Otherwise, his mere
refusal to believe that such defect exists, or his willful closing of his eyes to the possibility of the existence of a defect in his vendors
title, will not make him an innocent purchaser for value if it afterwards develops that the title was in fact defective, and it appears that
he had such notice of the defect as would have led to its discovery had he acted with that measure of precaution which may reasonably
be required of a prudent man in a like situation.[16]
Petitioners maintain that it is the exception, not the general rule, which should be applied in this case. They argue that
respondents had knowledge of prior possession and enjoyment by petitioners when they purchased the property. Thus, they were not
innocent purchasers for value and could not invoke the indefeasibility of their title.
We do not agree. The exception contemplates a situation wherein there exists a flaw in the title of the vendor and the vendee
has knowledge or at least ought to have known of such flaw at the time he acquired the property, in which case, he is not considered as
an innocent purchaser for value. In the instant case, we discern nothing from the records showing that the title of PNB, the vendor,
was flawed. Petitioners not only failed to substantiate their claim of acquisitive prescription as basis of ownership but they also failed
to allege, and much less adduce, any evidence that there was a defect in the title of PNB. In the absence of such evidence, the
presumption leans towards the validity of the vendors title.
Therefore, inasmuch as there was no flaw in the title of PNB, private respondents rightly believed that they could and did acquire
likewise a flawless title. Indeed, as a result of the deed of conveyance between PNB and private respondents, there was transmission
of ownership and the latter stepped into the shoes of the former hence entitled to all the defenses available to PNB, including those
arising from the acquisition of the property in good faith and for value.
Finally, another consideration that militates heavily against the present petition is the unusual silence of petitioners while the
ownership of the disputed land transferred from one person to another. There were at least three (3) transactions on record involving
the property: first, the contract of mortgage between Luspo and PNB whereby the property was used as security for the loan
contracted by Luspo; second, the foreclosure of mortgage upon the failure of Luspo to pay the loan and the subsequent sale of the
property at public auction; and, third, the sale of the property to fifty-six (56) vendees, among whom were the Gepalago
spouses. Each of these transactions was registered and a corresponding transfer certificate issued in favor of the new owner. Yet in
all these, petitioners never instituted any action contesting the same nor registered any objection thereto; instead, they remained
silent. Thus, they are now estopped from denying the title of the present owner. Having failed to assert their rights, if any, over the
property warrants the presumption that they have either abandoned them or declined to assert them. Or, it could likewise be inferred
therefrom that petitioners themselves were not convinced in the validity of their claim.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals of 31 July 1995 as well as its Resolution of 14
December 1995 denying reconsideration is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

(14) HEIRS OF ANASTACIO FABELA, namely; Teodula Fabela Paguidopon, Ricardo Fabela, Irenita Fabela Zea(d),
Carolina Fabela Arazo Donglas, and Ampiloquio Fabela, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HEIRS OF
ROQUE NERI, namely: Roque Neri, Jr., Filomeno, Sherlina, Emeterio, Antonio, Nelcar and Claudia, all surnamed
Neri, respondents.

[G.R. No. 142546. August 9, 2001]

GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
Petitioners, heirs of Anastacio Fabela, seek to annul the (1) decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated June 17,
1999[1] which reversed and set aside the appealed judgment by default of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, Branch 18,
Cagayan De Oro City[2] in Civil Case No. 10459 declaring petitioners as the rightful owners of subject lot 868 of the Pls. 293 of
Balacanas, Nabacaan, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, and (2) its resolution dated February 18, [3] 2000 denying petitioners motion for
reconsideration.
Sometime in December 1985, the heirs of Anastacio Fabela filed a complaint for reconveyance and damages against the heirs of
Roque Neri, Sr., involving the subject lot 868, alleging among others, that plaintiffs late grandfather, Anastacio Fabela, left two
parcels of land in Nabacaan, Misamis Oriental which were later identified as lot 868 with an area of 48,121 sq. meters and lot 870
consisting of 15,658 sq. meters which originally formed part of their grandfathers big tract of land; that earlier in 1924, the parcel of
land became the subject of litigation (Civil Case No. 2891) in the then Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental between Carmelino
Neri as plaintiff and Simeona Balhon and children heirs of Anastacio Fabela as defendants and in connection therewith, the parties
entered into an agreement embodied in an Escritura de transaccion, a notarized document in a Visayan dialect, which provided that
Carmelino Neri, as vendee-a-retro had been entrusted with the possession of a parcel of land for a period of fourteen (14) years from
the date of the instrument which was May 10, 1924 and upon the expiration of said period, Carmelino Neri was to restore the
possession of the property to Simeona Balhon and her children-heirs of Anastacio Fabela, without need of redemption; that
sometime in 1977 or 1978, the Bureau of Lands conducted a cadastral survey on this land when a road (Barrio Abacan road) was
constructed across the land dividing it into two separate lots which are now known as lot 868 and 870; that Roque Neri Sr. declared
these two parcels of land in his name with the Bureau of Lands and the Assessors office; that sometime in 1980, the Philippine
Veterans Industrial Development Corporation (PHIVIDEC), a government entity buying substantially all real properties at Nabacaan,
Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, negotiated with Roque Neri Sr. for the purchase of lot 870, however, the heirs of Anastacio Fabela,
protested and consequently, Roque Neri Sr. executed a waiver of rights over a portion of lot 870 stating that the 8,000 sq. meter
portion of lot 870 was erroneously included in his name, thus plaintiff heirs of Anastacio Fabela eventually received the proceeds of
the sale; that with respect to lot 868, which was the lot in controversy, the late Roque Neri Sr. continued to ignore plaintiffs demand
for the return of the said lot. Plaintiffs prayed for judgment declaring (1) the plan of lot 868, Pls-293 and the tax declarations issued
subsequent to and by virtue of aforesaid plan as null and void, (2) the heirs of Anastacio Fabela as the lawful owners of lot 868, and
(3) the estate of Roque Neri Sr. liable for payment of damages.
Upon motion of plaintiffs heirs of Anastacio Fabela, defendants Sherlinda Neri Jamisolamin, Emeterio Neri and Antonio Neri,
were declared in default on April 14, 1986, Filomena Neri on September 26, 1986 while Nelchar and Claudia Neri on February 9,
1989, for their failure to file answer despite receipt of summons and copy of the complaint. On the other hand, defendant Roque B.
Neri, Jr. had filed his answer with Counterclaim, but was likewise declared in default for failure to appear at pre-trial on August 12,
1988.
The case was submitted for decision on the basis of plaintiffs evidence since all the defendants were declared in default. After
trial and hearing ex-parte, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of plaintiffs, the dispositive portion reads: [4]

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is rendered in favor of the heirs of the late Anastacio Fabela including those
named in the Complaint as plaintiffs, as co-owners of lot 868, Pls-293 subject of the complaint and as indicated in the plan (Exhibit
D), as such entitled to the full enjoyment and possession thereof. All other prayers or claims in the complaint are denied for lack of
merit.
In finding that the property belonged to the heirs of Anastacio Fabela, the trial court concluded that in the Escritura de
Transaccion, Carmelino Neri was obliged to restore the subject property in or about 1938 to the heirs of Anastacio Fabela; thus the
fulfillment of that prestation of Carmelino Neri was presumed under Section 5, par (ii), Rule 131, Rules of Court which enumerates
among the disputable presumptions that a trustee or other person whose duty it was to convey real property to a particular person has
actually conveyed it to him when such presumption is necessary to perfect the title of such person or his successor-in interest. It thus
found that the Fabela heirs have been in possession of lot 868 since 1938 up to the present and as such were entitled to the full
enjoyment and possession as owners thereof.
On July 24, 1989, defendants heirs of Roque Neri Sr. filed a motion to set aside orders of default and judgment which the trial
court denied in an Order dated August 22, 1989, on the grounds that the motion had been filed out of time (after judgment) and that
even if such motion would be treated as a motion to set aside judgment/new trial under Section 1, Rule 37, Rules of Court,
defendants negligence was not excusable, much less a mistake. [5]
Heirs of Roque Neri Sr. appealed to the respondent Court of Appeals. Considering, however, that the original records of the case
from the trial court had been lost or misplaced, the respondent court, pursuant to Rule 7 of the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of
Appeals (RIRCA), set the case for preliminary conference on December 17, 1998, which was reset to January 26, 1999, and the
parties were informed of the loss of the original records of the case. Counsel for defendants-appellants heirs of Roque Neri Sr.
manifested her clients willingness to submit the case for decision, even without the original records and asked for thirty days to file
memorandum, to which manifestation counsel for plaintiffs-appellees heirs of Fabela interposed no objection. The respondent court
granted appellants prayer and gave plaintiffs-appellees twenty days to file their counter memorandum and appellants ten (10) days to
file reply memorandum, after which the case was submitted for decision.[6]
On June 17, 1999, the respondent Court of Appeals rendered its assailed decision reversing the trial courts judgment by default
and dismissed the complaint. It sustained the trial courts declaration of default against appellants heirs of Roque Neri, Sr. but found
that the judgment of default was contrary to the evidence or the law. It concluded that petitioners had not successfully adduced the
required preponderance of evidence on their claim of absolute ownership over lot 868, the court stated: [7]
Art. 434 of the Civil Code states that In an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the
strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendants claims. The possessor of the property has the presumption of title in
his favor. Hence, any person who claims that he has a better right to the property, as owner thereof, must prove (1) that he has a better
title than the defendant to the property, and (2) the identity of the property. The identity of the land sought to be recovered may be
established through the survey plan of the property. Ownership may be proved by any evidence admissible in law, such as titles and
certificates, long possession and tax declarations or receipts.
Appellees claimed that Lots 868 and 870 are owned by their grandfather Anastacio Fabela. The records of the Bureau of Lands, as
well as the survey plan presented in court, however, indicate Roque Neri, Sr. as the registered claimant of both lots. The original of
the Escritura de Transaccion on which appellees relied heavily, was not presented in court. Its probative value, however, remains
doubtful since said document does not really prove appellees absolute ownership of the subject property, nor was Lot 868 explicitly
referred to as the property being entrusted to the vendee-a-retro (Carmelino Neri).
On the other hand, the waiver of rights executed in 1980 by Roque Neri, Sr. appears to refer only to a portion of Lot 870 (the parcel of
land sold to PHIVIDEC), and not to Lot 868. The old tax declaration presented by appellees and which supposedly covered the two
(2) lots did not specify the lot number, nor was there any evidence presented that the original parcel of land actually consisted of
eighteen (18) hectares. Their allegation that both lots have already been partitioned among the heirs of Anastacio Fabela was not
substantiated by any document or writing evidencing such extra-judicial partition. The fourteen (14) years of the agreed temporary
possession of the land by the defendants-appellants had lapsed a long time ago, and this was prior to the 1971 public survey conducted
by the Bureau of Lands. It appears appellees did not exert diligent efforts to regain possession or resume paying taxes on the land
thereafter, prior to the purchase of Lot 870 by PHIVIDEC. The fact that appellees were the ones paid by PHIVIDEC for the portion of

Lot 870 does not automatically lead to the conclusion that they also absolutely own Lot 868. Most significant yet, is appellees failure
to adequately explain why they had not at all registered their claim over the property with the Bureau of Lands during and after the
public survey in the municipality.
Roque Neri, Sr., appellants predecessor-in-interest, meanwhile registered his claim or interest on the land and declared it for taxation
purposes. Appellees claim of possession was through the lands caretaker and administrator, Delfin Sia, but at the same time
admitting that appellants similarly benefit from the fruits of the land. Regarding tax declarations, it has been held that while tax
declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership, yet, when coupled with proof of actual possession, they are strong
evidence of ownership. Thus, where it was shown that plaintiff has never paid the land tax, while the defendant has faithfully done so
for many years, there being no explanation offered, it was held that such payment of taxes should be taken into consideration in favor
of defendant. Being the exclusive possessors of the subject property who have declared the same for tax purposes through the years,
defendants-appellants are entitled to such favorable presumption of ownership which so far had not been overturned by plaintiffsappellees.
The foregoing considered, it is clear that plaintiffs had not successfully proved by the required preponderance of evidence their claim
of absolute ownership of Lot 868. It is an invariable rule laid down in numerous decisions, that a person who claims the ownership of
property is in duty bound to clearly identify the land claimed, in accordance with the titles on which he founds (sic) his right to
ownership, and he shall not be permitted to rely upon the defects in defendants title. Failure to prove his right of ownership will bar
an action to recover the property; his right to recover must be founded on positive title or right, and not merely on negative ones, such
as the lack or insufficiency of title on the part of the defendant. The possessor has a presumption of title, and unless the plaintiff proves
he has a better right, he cannot recover the property from the defendant.
Appellees motion for reconsideration was denied in a resolution dated February 18, 2000.
Hence this petition for review on certiorari filed by the heirs of Anastacio Fabela alleging that the respondent court (1) departed
from the stringent jurisprudence on default and appeals filed out of time and (2) erred in the appreciation of the findings of fact of the
lower court.
Anent the first assigned error, petitioners fault the respondent court for reversing the decision of the trial court despite its
complete agreement with the findings of the trial court that respondents were properly declared in default. They contend that the
reasons cited by private respondents for their failure to file answer and to appear at the pre-trial were not meritorious and that private
respondents affidavit attached to the motion for reconsideration did not declare how Roque Neri Sr. acquired lot 868.
We are not persuaded.
Section 1, Rule 18[8] of the old Rules of Court which is the law applicable in the instant case provides:
Judgment by default- If the defendant fails to answer within the time specified in these rules, the court shall, upon motion of the
plaintiff and proof of such failure, declare the defendant in default. Thereupon, the court shall proceed to receive the plaintiffs
evidence and render judgment granting him such relief as the complaint and the facts proven may warrant. This provision applies
where no answer is made to a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party complaint within the period provided in this rule.
Favorable relief can be granted only after the court has ascertained that the evidence offered and the facts proven by the presenting
party, petitioners in this case, warrant the grant of the same. [9] In this sense, the law gives the defaulting parties some measure of
protection because plaintiffs, despite the default of defendants, are still required to substantiate their allegations in the complaint. The
judgment of default against defendants who have not appeared or filed their answers does not imply a waiver of all their rights, except
their right to be heard and to present evidence to support their allegations. [10] Otherwise, it would be meaningless to require
presentation of evidence if every time the other party is declared in default, a decision would automatically be rendered in favor of the
non- defaulting party and exactly according to the tenor of his prayer.[11] Since the trial court rendered a judgment of default against
private respondents, the latter took the appropriate remedy which is an ordinary appeal under Section 2 Rule 41, par (3) [12], of the
Rules of Court providing in part as follow:

A party who has been declared in default may likewise appeal from the judgment rendered against him as contrary to the evidence or
to the law, even if no petition for relief to set aside the order of default had been presented by him in accordance with Rule 38.
Thus, notwithstanding the respondent courts complete agreement with the trial courts findings that all the respondents were properly
declared in default, it found that the judgment by default was contrary to the evidence or the law and thus reversed the trial court
decision.
Anent the second error, petitioners claim that the respondent court erred in concluding that petitioners predecessor Roque Neri,
Sr. appeared as the registered claimant of lot 868 and 870 which was contrary to the findings of the trial court that the plan showing
lot 868 (Exh. D-2) and lot 870 (Exh. D-1) although appearing to have been approved by Jose F. Gatus, OIC, Regional Director, on
July 17, 1986 does not on its face indicate for whom it had been approved; that Neri Sr. failed to produce evidence of ownership on
how he acquired the subject Lot No. 868. They further claim that the execution in their favor by Roque Neri Sr. of a waiver of right
over lot 870 where the former acknowledged the erroneous inclusion of the lot in his name was a strong admission against interest on
Neris part. They also contend that the respondent court erred in doubting the probative value of the Escritura de Transaccion only
for the reason that the original was not presented in court.
These arguments essentially raise factual issues which normally are not reviewable by this Court in a petition under Rule 45
which is generally limited only to question of law.[13] While certain exceptions to this rule are recognized such as when the factual
findings of the respondent Court of Appeals are at variance with those of the Regional Trial Court, the Court does not, in all cases of
disagreement of facts between these two courts, automatically delve into the record to determine the facts for itself. [14]Admittedly,
there have been instances when this Court made independent findings of fact on the points that the trial court and the appellate court
disagreed but we did not do so as a matter of course. When the dispute between the two courts are merely on probative value, we limit
our review of the evidence ascertaining if the findings of the Court of Appeals are supported by the record. And, so long as the
findings of the said court are consistent with, or not palpably contrary to, the evidence on record, we decline to make a review on the
probative value of the evidence.[15] In the instant case, We find no cogent reason to disturb the factual findings of the respondent court
and its conclusion that petitioners failed to establish their case by preponderance of evidence.
The invariable applicable rule is to the effect that in order to maintain an action for recovery of ownership, the person who claims
that he has a better right to the property must prove not only his ownership of the property claimed but also the identity thereof. [16] The
party who desires to recover must fix the identity of the land claimed by describing the location, area and boundaries thereof. [17]
In the instant case, petitioners based their claim of ownership on the 1924 Escritura de Transaccion, the original copy of which
was not presented in the trial court, while the photocopy was also lost when the original records were elevated to the respondent court.
This was the only piece of evidence that would establish petitioners ownership and the identity of subject lot 868. In ruling for
petitioners heirs of Anastacio Fabela as the absolute owners of lot 868, the trial court found that in the Escritura, it appears that the
portion which is now identified as lot 868 had been entrusted to the possession of Carmelino Neri, as vendee-a retro, for a period of 14
years from the date of the instrument which was May 10, 1924 and upon the expiration of which said Carmelino Neri was to restore
the possession of the property to Simeona Balhon and her children heirs of Anastacio Fabela, namely Petra Buenaventura, Julio and
Pedro, all surnamed Fabela, without need of redemption, and that fulfillment of Neris obligation was presumed to have taken
place. We note, however, that nowhere in the trial courts narration of facts were the boundaries of the parcel of land indicated with
particularity, nor the parcel of land referring to as lot 868. What really defines a piece of land is not the area mentioned in its
description, but the boundaries therein laid down, as enclosing the land and indicating its limits. [18]
Moreover, the testimony of petitioner heir Teodula Fabela Paguidopon which was quoted in part in petitioners own
memorandum[19] did not also clearly establish the relation of the said Escritura de Transaccion to lot 868, to wit:
Q: Now, that bigger lot has the cadastral lot number before?
A:

No because that was not yet surveyed.

Q:

Do you know who owns this lot?

A:

Our grandfather Anastacio Fabela.

Q:

Now while it was still in the hands of Anastacio Fabela while he was still alive, do you know what was the total area of the
mother lot?

A:

Yes, it was estimated by our father and we estimated it to be 18 hectares.

Q:

Do you have evidence to prove that it was indeed 18 hectares?

A:

Yes, maam.

Q:

I am showing to you an old document but only a xerox copy thereof entitled escritura de transaccion notarized by Uldarico
Akut in the year 1924, kindly take a look and see where is the 18 hectares which you have just mentioned?

A:

This one.
xxxxxxx

ATTY. LLEGO:
x x x We will have this marked as our Exhibits A, A-1 to A-3.
xxxxxxx
(TSN of 2/9/89 pages 16 to 18 (topmost)
COURT:
Plaintiff is ordered to prepare the English translation of that document.
xxxxxxx
(TSN of 2/9/89 page 18)
ATTY. LLEGO: (continuing)
Q:

You have pointed this portion as your basis for saying that the area is 18 hectares. Now kindly read this paragraph on the
description of the land for purposes of record.
(witness is ready (sic)
Which, we pray that that portion being read into the record by witness be marked as our Exhibit A-4.

COURT:
Mark it. (page 18 bottom to page 19 middle portion of the page).
Unfortunately, the description of the eighteen (18) hectare land which should had been read and incorporated into the transcript for
purposes of record, was omitted in the quoted portion, to establish the exact location, area and boundary of the 18 hectare lot in
relation to lot 868. The omission has created serious doubts as to the specific identity of the lot which petitioners sought to recover.
Moreover, even in the petitioners complaint filed before the trial court, there was no allegation of the metes and bounds of the subject
lot, the complaint reads:

3) a. That the grandfather of plaintiffs-the late Anastacio Fabela, had left among others, the following property, to wit:
a) Lot 870
Area:15,658 sq. m.
Location: Nabacaan, Misamis Oriental
b) Lot 868
Area: 48, 121 sq.m.
Location: Nabacaan, Misamis Oriental
b. That the above described parcels of land are adjacent to each other as shown by a photocopy of the sketch plan from the Bureau of
Lands hereto enclosed and marked as Annex B;
c. That these two parcels since time immemorial used to be one big parcel of land, until in 1977 or 1978, when a government
cadastral survey in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, was undertaken by the Bureau of Lands, wherein a road was provided and made to
appear across the big parcel of land, causing it to be divided physically and for which the government surveyors assigned two lots
numbers for what used to be one big parcel of land, thus the appearance of Lot 870 and Lot 868; This once one big chunk of land
never had a cadastral number in the past;
Notably, the total area of lots 868 and 870 would only be about 63,679 sq. meters or about six (6) hectares which fails to correspond
to the eighteen (18) hectare parcel of land allegedly owned by the late Anastacio Fabela which was the subject of the Escritura de
Transaccion and testified to by Teodula Fabela Paguidopon. Petitioners failed to identify the land with that degree of certainty
required to support their affirmative allegation of ownership.
Moreover, the respondent court found, and we agree, that the waiver of rights executed in 1980 by Roque Neri Sr., in favor of
petitioners referred only to a portion of lot 870 and not to lot 868. Thus such waiver which petitioners capitalized on as an admission
against Neris interest did not in any way support petitioners claim of ownership of lot 868. Said waiver reads:[20]
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF ADJUDICATION
AND QUITCLAIM
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
That I, Roque Neri, Sr., of legal age, widower, Filipino, with residence and postal address at Villanueva, Misamis
Oriental, Philippines, do hereby ACKNOWLEDGE AND CONFIRM that the certain portion of a parcel of land located at Balacanas,
Villanueva, Misamis Oriental under Lot No. 870 of Pls. 923 of Villanueva Public Land Subdivision containing a total area of
SIXTEEN THOUSAND SQUARE METERS (16,0000 sq. m.) which portion is more particularly described as follows:
North - Roque Neri, Sr.
East - Nabacaan Road
West - Tayum Creek
South - Lot 869

containing an area of EIGHT THOUSAND SQUARE METERS (8,000 sq. m.) is hereby adjudicated in favor of the Heirs of
Anastacio Fabela.
That the above described portion of a parcel of land actually belongs and owned by said Heirs of Anastacio Fabela.
That the above described portion of land was erroneously included in the land survey conducted by the Bureau of Lands in my name.
That I hereby quitclaim and renounce whatever interest, rights and participation I have over the described portion of real property of
which the Heirs of Anastacio Fabela were the lawful owners.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 18th day of August 1980 in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.
SGD. ILLEGIBLE
T/ROQUE NERI, SR.
A simple reading of the instrument would readily show that only 8,000 sq. meters of the entire 16,000 sq. meters included
in lot 870 was adjudicated in favor of the heirs of Anastacio Fabela as belonging to them. In fact, petitioners in their memorandum
admitted that only 8,000 sq. meters was given to them and yet they did not take any positive action to assert their ownership of the
entire lot 870. Petitioners have accordingly no sound basis to claim lot 868 by virtue of such instrument. As the appellate court
succinctly stated, the fact that appellees were the ones paid by PHIVIDEC for the portion of lot 870 does not automatically lead to
the conclusion that they also absolutely own lot 868. Most significantly, is appellees failure to adequately explain why they had not at
all registered their claim over the property with the Bureau of Lands during and after the public survey in the municipality. Finally,
petitioners also failed to allege much less establish that they are in possession of the subject lot.
On the other hand, the respondent court found, and this finding was not refuted, that petitioners own witness, Norberto Dumatol, a representative of the Bureau of Lands, testified that when a cadastral survey was conducted in 1971, the registered claimant of
lot 868 based on their official record was Roque Neri Sr. Petitioners allegation that Neri Sr., committed fraud in the registration in
his name of these two (2) parcels of lot was not substantiated. The survey plan for lot 868 was approved for Roque Neri Sr. and he
had also declared lot 868 for taxation purposes which was admitted by petitioners as their complaint prayed for the annulment of the
plan and tax declaration. Although a tax declaration is not considered as conclusive proof of ownership the same is admissible in
evidence to show the nature of the possession of the claimant of the property for which taxes have been paid. We accordingly find
well-taken the respondent courts conclusion as follows:
Thus, where it was shown that plaintiff has never paid the land tax, while the defendant has faithfully done so for many years, there
being no explanation offered, it was held that such payment of taxes should be taken into consideration in favor of defendant. Being
the exclusive possessors of the subject property who have declared the same for tax purposes through the years, defendants-appellants
are entitled to such favorable presumption of ownership which so far had not been overturned by plaintiffs-appellees.
In civil cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish his case by preponderance of evidence. [21] If he claims a right
granted or created by law, he must prove his claim by competent evidence. He must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not
upon the weakness of that of his opponent. [22] When the record does not show that the land which is the subject matter of the action for
recovery of ownership has been exactly determined, such action cannot prosper, inasmuch as the petitioners ownership rights in the
land claimed do not appear satisfactorily and conclusively proven at the trial.[23]
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
(15) HEIRS OF JUAN OCLARIT, namely: FRANCISCA VDA. DE OCLARIT, SOFRONIO OCLARIT, BELACIO
OCLARIT, RUFINO OCLARIT, JUANA OCLARIT DE MACALOS, assisted by her husband HILARIO MACALOS,
FELISA OCLARIT DE LACRE, assisted by her husband, COSME LACRE; HEIRS OF PAULA OCLARIT DE OCANG,

namely: PETRA OCANG and ALFREDO OCANG, ANGELA OCLARIT DE OCANG, assisted by her husband, CARLOS
OCANG, EPIFANIA OCLARIT DE ALMODOBAL, assisted by her husband, URBANO ALMODOBAL, CRESENCIA
OCLARIT DE IVARRETA, assisted by her husband, LUCRESIO IVARRETA, NARCISA OCLARIT DE CAGAS, assisted by
her husband, JUAN CAGAS, and JUSTO OCLARIT, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ZACARIAS
BALASABAS, respondents.
[G.R. No. 96644 June 17, 1994]
BIDIN, J.:
Petitioners seek the review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on September 28, 1990, affirming with
modification the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bohol, Branch 2, Tagbilaran City, dismissing their complaint for quieting of
title with damages and declaring the defendant (private respondent herein) the owner of the parcels of land subjects of controversy.
In 1953, the late Juan Oclarit, petitioners predecessor-in-interest, allegedly purchased from Martin Macalos a parcel of unregistered
land located in Antipolo, Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol, with no permanent landmarks or boundaries in consideration of the sum of one
hundred (P100.00) pesos. The deed of sale simply described the property as bounded on the north and east by the property of
Herminigildo Baja, on the south by Mariano Gales and on the west by a brook.
In 1956, Oclarit bought five more parcels of land located in Antipolo and Ulbujan, also in Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol, from Dalmacio
Gales in consideration of the sum of six hundred (P600.00) pesos. Parcel IV thereof is described as follows:
A parcel of an irrigated rice and coconut lands, bounded on the NORTH, by the land of Leon Macalos; EAST, by the
land of Mariano Gales; SOUTH, by the land of Pablo Gales, and on the WEST, by the land of Saturnino Gales;
containing an area of 9 ares and 28 centares, more or less, without visible landmarks of the boundaries of the same,
covered by Tax Declaration No. R-19915 now transferred and declared under the name of the herein VENDEE,
JUAN OCLARIT, with the total assessed value of P30.00.
In 1975, the heirs of Oclarit filed an action for the quieting of title and damages against respondent Balasabas before the then Court of
First Instance of Bohol, docketed as Civil Case No. 3103. The complaint alleged that in January 1969, private respondent entered the
properties subject of the action. Failing to work on the area planted to palay, private respondent climbed the coconut trees, replaced the
"J.O." markings on the trees with "F.G.", representing Felipa Gales, his mother, and caused to be recorded in the cadastral survey of
the land the name of Felipa Gales as claimant against Juan Oclarit. The heirs of Oclarit considered the acts of private respondent as
having cast a cloud of doubt over their title to the property and therefore deprived them of the enjoyment of the fruits of the coconut
trees. Petitioners further alleged that the late Juan Oclarit, from the time of the acquisition of said properties, had exercised dominion
and ownership thereon openly, peacefully, adversely and uninterruptedly. It was also claimed that the deceased planted coconut trees
and other crops on the property, enjoyed their produce and paid the realty taxes on the land which was continued by his heirs after his
death.
In his answer, respondent Balasabas claims to have actually and lawfully possessed the disputed parcels of land "since time
immemorial". According to respondent, the first parcel of land was owned by his mother, Felipa Gales, by virtue of inheritance, and
declared in her name under Tax Declaration No. D-1120; while the second parcel of land was acquired by him from his own mother as
evidenced by a deed of absolute sale executed on March 20, 1963 and which he declared in his name under Tax Declaration No. D1006. In addition, respondent likewise alleged possession of the parcels of land openly, peacefully, adversely and continuously without
disturbance from any party until he was molested by the heirs of Oclarit. It was contended that Oclarit himself surreptitiously declared
these lands for taxation purposes in his own name.
In the course of the proceedings, the trial court appointed Teotimo Borja, Deputy Provincial Assessor of Bohol, as commissioner for
the purpose of determining whether the lands described in the complaint and covered by Tax Declarations Nos. D-13935 and D-13926
overlapped with any of the lands described in the defendants affirmative and special defenses and covered by Tax Declarations Nos.
D-1120 and D-1006. In 1978, the court-appointed commissioner conducted a relocation survey and an ocular inspection of the
properties in controversy in the presence of the heirs of Oclarit, their counsel, respondent Balasabas, a policeman, and adjoining

owners Procopio Oclarit, Galicana J. Pagaran, Maxima Macula, Felipe Macula and some disinterested persons. In his report dated
May 25, 1979, the commissioner made the following findings and observations:
When plaintiffs were asked the extent of their land under the tax declaration No. D-13935, they pointed to the
undersigned that figure in Annex A which is embraced from corners 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 back
to 1 by a red ball pen broken lines. The area of this is approximately 3,639 square meters (.3639 ha.). The area of the
tax declaration No. D-13935 is .0928 ha. This Annex A, which is made an integral part of this report has been
traced from the file of the Bureau of Lands Office in Jagna, Bohol. The personnel in that office informed the
undersigned that no Lot numbers have as yet been assigned and that the traverse is not yet computed because it will
be done by IBM. This land is partly cocal (on the northeastern portion) and partly riceland. There are thirty (30)
coconut trees mostly of which are 40 to 50 years old;
Defendant Zacarias Balasabas pointed the extent of his claim under the tax declaration No. D-1120 as that area in
the cadastral survey. In other words he refer(red) to his claims as that figure in Annex A embraced by corners 1, a,
2, 3, 4, b, c, d, e, 11, 12, f, 13, 14 to 1 and shaded by pencil diagonal lines and which is titled HRS. OF JUAN
OCLARIT VS. FELIPA GALES in the cadastral survey. This contains an area of 1,420 square meters (.1420 ha.),
more or less. The tax declaration No. D-1120 has an area of .44010 ha.;
Plaintiffs and defendants both claimed the same parcel of land on the western portion of Annex A and which is
titled FRANCISCA MACALOS VS. ZACARIAS BALASABAS in the cadastral survey as that which is
represented by their tax declaration Nos. D-13926 and D-1006, respectively. This parcel which is embraced by
corners A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K to A contains an area of 3,098 square meters (.3098 ha.), more or less. The tax
declaration No. D-13926 in the name of Juan Oclarit contains an area of .0204 ha. and the tax declaration No. D1006 of defendant has an area of .8147 ha. There are approximately 200 coconut trees many of which are still nonbearing. The contour of this lot is generally hilly. (Rollo, p. 39)
In its decision, the lower court made the following findings: the heirs of Oclarit and Balasabas are laying claim over the same parcels
of land; Dalmacio Gales, who sold to Oclarit the parcel of land covered by Tax Declaration No. 13935, was an uncle of Balasabas
mother, Felipa Gales; Martin Macalos, the vendor of the land covered by Tax Declaration No. 13926, was the cousin of Balasabas
grandmother, Guillerma Gales; the area being claimed by the heirs of Oclarit is, per commissioners report, approximately 3,639
square meters (.3639 ha.) while Tax Declaration No. 13935 shows that it is only 928 square meters (.0928 ha.) and the area of the
second parcel per commissioners report is approximately 3,098 square meters (.3098 ha.) while that reflected in Tax Declaration No.
13926 is only 204 square meters (.0204 ha.).
From these findings, the lower court expressed its surprise as to the size of the area being claimed by the heirs of Oclarit according to
the commissioners report in comparison with the areas shown in Tax Declarations Nos. 13935 and 13926. While recognizing that
areas stated in tax declarations are not "approximately exact," the lower court nonetheless considered the discrepancies between the
actual areas being claimed and those shown in the tax declarations as "too obvious to be taken with excuse." Moreover, it doubted the
credibility of petitioners for their failure to explain why the adjoining owners named in their claim are different from the adjoining
owners found by the commissioner. Furthermore, if petitioners were indeed the real owners of the two parcels of land, they would
have taken steps for the correction of the smaller areas stated in the tax declarations. Concluding that petitioners were claiming much
bigger parcels than what their evidence can support under justifiable circumstances, the trial court thus disposed of the case as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding a preponderance of evidence in favor of the defendant, judgment is hereby rendered:
1 Dismissing the complaint;
2 Declaring the defendant as the owner of the lots covered by Tax Declarations Nos. D-1120 and D-1006 with area
of .4010 hectare and .8147 hectare, respectively and ordering the plaintiffs to recognize such ownership by the
defendant; and
3 Ordering the plaintiffs to pay the defendant attorneys fee of P500.00 and litigation expenses of P400.00 and to
pay the costs of the proceedings.

SO ORDERED.
On appeal, respondent court ruled that petitioners failed to prove either legal or equitable title to the two parcels of land which are
necessary in an action for quieting of title. Petitioners claim of ownership was based principally on tax declarations which, however,
are not conclusive evidence of ownership.
However, the Court of Appeals disagreed with the trial courts declaration that private respondent is the owner of the two parcels of
land and such ownership should be recognized by petitioners. It considered such conclusion of the lower court as "bereft of any
convincing evidence" because tax receipts, tax declarations and survey plans are not conclusive and indisputable bases of ownership.
Accordingly, it disposed of the appeal in the following tenor:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Court a quo dismissing the plaintiffs complaint is
hereby AFFIRMED. The portions thereof declaring the defendant as the owner of the lots covered by Tax
Declarations Nos. D-1120 and D-1006, respectively, and ordering the plaintiffs to pay the defendant attorneys fee of
P=500.00, litigation expenses of P=400.00 and costs of the proceedings are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Without pronouncement as to cost.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 40)
Their motion for reconsideration of said decision having been denied, the heirs of Oclarit instituted the instant petition. Private
respondent did not appeal the above disposition.
The petition is moored primarily on the following contentions: (a) the filing of Civil Case No. 3103 was the only legal remedy
available to petitioners against the "malicious and unwarranted actuations" of private respondent; (b) Oclarits undisturbed claim of
ownership of the two parcels of land which he acquired in 1953 and 1956, had spanned more than ten years until private respondent
disturbed it in 1969; (c) the two parcels of land mentioned by private respondent in his answer are "foreign and alien" to the two
parcels which Oclarit bought from Dalmacio Gales and Martin Macalos and because these vendors had been in possession of the
property "from time immemorial", the "waters of prescription have set in"; (d) the Court of Appeals failed to appreciate the real worth
of Exhibits "N" to "P" otherwise it would have noted that petitioners "clear ownership over said two (2) parcels of land in litigation as
the description found therein jibed materially" with the averments in the complaint, and (e) the lower court, in a decision in another
case, cited (Ramos v. Court of Appeals 112 SCRA 543) holding that tax receipts are strong evidence of possession as no one in his
right mind would pay realty taxes year after year for property not in his actual possession.
From the above submissions, it is at once apparent that petitioners assail the factual findings of both courts below. However, there is
no basis for considering this case as an exception to the general rule that the factual findings of the Court of Appeals are binding on
and are not reviewable by this Court (Oporto v. Court of Appeals, 208 SCRA 878 [1992]). A careful review of the decisions below do
not show that both courts overlooked essential facts which, if considered, would have changed the outcome of the case. Moreover, the
matter of giving credence to evidence presented is best addressed by the trial judge who is in a better position than the appellate court
to appreciate the weight and evidentiary value of the testimonies of witnesses who have appeared before him (Sapu-an v. Court of
Appeals, 214 SCRA 701 [1992]). In civil cases, the lower court must lean towards a party who successfully presents preponderance of
evidence in his favor.
It is thus too late in the day for petitioners to claim that the parcels of land which Oclarit had bought are "alien" or different from the
parcels which private respondent had allegedly acquired from his mother both by inheritance and by purchase. This is clearly a factual
issue which is beyond the ambit of this Courts jurisdiction.
It was precisely for the purpose of pointing out with particularity the parcels of land involved that the lower court appointed a
commissioner whose findings may be adopted in toto by the trial court (See: Apurillo v. Garciano, 28 SCRA 1054). Had the petitioners
been in possession of solid evidence that the parcels of land they are claiming are "alien" or "foreign" to those declared by private
respondent as his, they should have questioned the commissioners report which was based on the relocation survey and ocular
inspection which were conducted in their presence. Moreover, petitioners claim that their property is different from those of private
respondents is indeed antithetical to their filing of the complaint for quieting of title there would not have been any basis for
claiming that private respondent cast a cloud of doubt to their title over their two parcels of land.

More, the deed of sale wherein Martin Macalos conveyed to Oclarit a parcel of land did not even indicate with particularity the area of
the land covered thereby. This explains why they indiscriminately pointed at boundaries which are even beyond what could have been
bought by Oclarit. Although it is true that what defines a piece of land is not the area mentioned in its description but the boundaries
therein laid down (Vda. de Tan v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 213 SCRA 95 [1992]), in controversial cases as in this case where
there appears to be an overlapping of boundaries, the actual size of the property gains importance. Thus, the lower court correctly
stressed that it would have done petitioners some good had they correctly specified even in their tax declarations the areas of the land
they were claiming. It is well settled that anyone who claims that he has a better right to the property, must prove both ownership and
identity of the said property (Beo v. Court of Appeals, 200 SCRA 574 [1991], citing Flores v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 178
SCRA 717 [1989]). An area delimited by boundaries properly identifies a parcel of land.
With regard to tax declarations as bases for claim of ownership, petitioners capitalize on what was obviously anobiter in (Ramos v.
Court of Appeals) (supra) that no one in his right mind would be continuously paying taxes for property that is not in his actual
possession. On the contrary, any person who claims ownership by virtue of tax declarations must also prove he is in actual possession
of the property. Thus, proof that the property involved had been declared for taxation purposes from 1908 to 1945, did not constitute
proof of possession, nor is it proof of ownership in the absence of the claimants actual possession of said property (De Luna v. Court
of Appeals, 212 SCRA 276 [1992]).
In the same vein, tax receipts and declarations of ownership for taxation purposes become strong evidence of ownership acquired by
prescription when accompanied by proof of actual possession of the property (Tabuena v. Court of Appeals, 196 SCRA 650 [1991];
Director of Lands v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 209 SCRA 214 [1992]).
As earlier stated, private respondent did not appeal from the adverse decision of the appellate court. Yet, respondent ventures to
implore this Court to nullify and reverse the decretal portion of the decision subject of this petition and to declare him the owner of the
lots covered by his Tax Declarations Nos. D-1120 and D-1006. This cannot be legally done.
Settled is the rule that a party is barred from assailing the correctness of a judgment not appealed from by him. An appellee may only
make counter statement of errors to sustain the judgment on other grounds but not to adduce arguments which would otherwise
modify or reverse the same, for in such case, an appeal must have been seasonably filed (Itogon-Suyoc Mines v. NLRC, 117 SCRA
523 [1982] and cases cited therein). There being no appeal taken by private respondent from the adverse judgment of respondent
court, the decision has become final as against him and can no longer be reviewed, much less reversed, by this Court. That respondent
may have been in possession of the disputed properties since 1965 is of no moment. This Court is not a cadastral court before which
respondent can seek confirmation of title.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
(16) DOMINICA CUTANDA, SEBASTIAN CUTANDA, JUANARIO CUTANDA, SOTERO CUTANDA, CRISPIN
CUTANDA, FLORENCIO CUTANDA, TRINIDAD CUTANDA, NICANOR CUTANDA, GABINA CUTANDA FLORES, and
CLAUDIO CUTANDA, petitioners, vs. HEIRS OF ROBERTO CUTANDA, namely, GERVACIO CUTANDA, SOPRONIO C.
CUTANDA, JORGE CUTANDA, and CRISPIN G. AVENIDO and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
[G.R. No. 109215. July 11, 2000]
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 31, 1992 in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 24546, insofar as it
reverses the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, Tagbilaran City declaring petitioners as the true and lawful owners of the
subject lands.
The background of this case is as follows:

On August 4, 1988, private respondents brought an action for recovery of possession, accounting and damages against petitioners in
the Regional Trial Court of Tagbilaran City. They alleged [1] that in the 1900s, their grandfather, Roberto Cutanda, owned two parcels
of land in Bohol. One had an area of 31.0929 hectares and was covered by Tax Declaration No. 1246, [2] while the other was 7.0925
hectares and was covered by Tax Declaration No. 1247.[3]Both tax declarations were in Roberto Cutandas name. Upon Roberto
Cutandas death, these lands were inherited by his children, namely: Doque, Diego, Pedro, Andres, and Anastacia, all surnamed
Cutanda. Except for Doque who stayed in Bohol and administered the lands, all of Roberto Cutandas children established residence in
Leyte. In 1987, they returned to Bohol to personally work the inherited lands. Their plan, however, was frustrated as petitioners, who
were occupying the lands, refused to leave. Private respondent thus prayed that each be declared owner of 1/5 of the subject real
properties and that petitioners be ordered to return to them said properties.
In due time, petitioners filed their answers. One was prepared by the Citizens Legal Assistance Office, while the other one, which was
the one actually considered during the trial, was prepared by the Bureau of Legal Assistance of the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Contending that private respondents had no cause of action, petitioners denied that private respondents predecessor-in-interest,
Roberto Cutanda, was the original owner of the lands in question. Instead, they claimed that the owner was their uncle and
predecessor-in-interest, Anastacio Cutanda. It was alleged that Anastacio Cutanda died without children and that the real properties in
question were inherited by his brothers and sisters whose children are the present petitioners. Claiming a better right to possess the
subject properties, petitioners alleged that while they occupied the shares which their parents inherited from Anastacio Cutanda, some
of them also worked as tenants cultivating the lands of their co-petitioners. They filed a counterclaim in which they sought the
recovery of damages from private respondents.[4]
On September 28, 1989, the trial court rendered its decision [5] declaring petitioners to have acquired the ownership of the subject
properties through prescription and dismissing private respondents' complaint. The court ordered private respondents to vacate the
properties and remove whatever improvements they may have made, to restore petitioners in possession of the lands, and to cease
from laying further adverse claims over the lands. As basis for its ruling, the trial court made the following findings:
In the assessment of the evidence of the parties the court finds the evidence of the defendants preponderant and had
established their case against plaintiffs, among the most outstanding facts are as follows:
1. Even plaintiffs document (Exhibit "C") visayan written testament/statement of Quirico Becauan
dated February 25, 1935, it admitted that before 1935 Anastacio Cutanda had been in the
possession of the land in question;
2. Gervacio Cutanda admitted that the defendants thru their predecessor-in-interest Anastacio
Cutanda had squatted on the land since 1933 and since then because his father Roberto Cutanda,
the alleged original owner of the land had transferred residence in Leyte, the land was with the
defendants. Although, he came back in 1949, he and Sofronio only claimed back the land in 1987;
3. That, it is beyond doubt that the defendants have long been in possession and cultivation of the
land as owners whose possession if tacked with Anastacio Cutanda since 1933 up to the present
has been for more than 54 years;
4. That, Tax Declaration No. 10434 of Anastacio Cutanda from whom the defendants have
inherited the land is dated as far back as 1933 and continuously until the present when different
tax declarations were issued in the names of the defendants;
5. That, defendants continuous possession, occupation and cultivation of the land is not rebutted,
refuted by convincing, sufficient evidence by the plaintiffs whose claim is highly nebulous and
unsatisfactory;
6. That, even assuming the plaintiffs have the right over the land in question, the fact that they
have slept [on] their right since 1933 up to 1987 by failing to institute an action to recover its
ownership and possession, plaintiffs are clearly guilty of laches;

....
8. That, Anastacio Cutandas right over the land and succeeded by defendants since 1933 has
beyond any cloud of doubt been sufficiently established.[6]
Private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. On March 31, 1992, the appellate court rendered a decision [7] which, while
affirming the dismissal of the case against petitioners, nonetheless declared that there was no sufficient evidence that they were the
owners of the properties. It stated:
However, this Court finds that the trial court has exceeded its jurisdiction in declaring defendants-appellees to be the
true and lawful owners of the land in question there being no sufficient evidence on record that they have been in
open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land under a bona fide claim of
ownership for the period required by law as to acquire ownership thereof by prescription.[8]
Both parties moved for reconsideration of the appellate courts decision. On February 26, 1993, the Court of Appeals denied their
motions for lack of merit. No further action was taken by private respondents so that the decision of the appellate court affirming the
dismissal of their action for recovery of possession, accounting and damages became final. On the other hand, petitioners brought the
instant petition for review, insofar as the Court of Appeals ruled that no sufficient evidence existed in the records to establish their
ownership of the lands.
The sole issue for resolution in this petition is thus whether petitioners presented sufficient evidence to prove their ownership of the
lands in question. Petitioners contend that: (1) the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals should not be binding upon this Court as
they are in direct contradiction to that of the trial court; [9] (2) the decision of the Court of Appeals does not cite any reason for
reversing the trial courts findings of fact;[10] (3) while agricultural tenancy relations exist between them and the owners of the land,
they were also owners of the shares inherited by their parents from Anastacio Cutanda; [11] and (4) as found by the trial court,
petitioners and their predecessors have been in possession of the lands since 1933 and have consequently acquired the same through
acquisitive prescription.[12]
The petition is meritorious.
First. While both the Court of Appeals and the trial court held that private respondents action for recovery of possession ( accion
publiciana) was already barred, it appears that they relied upon different grounds. For the trial court, the ground was extinctive
prescription. Paragraph no. 7 of its findings plainly states that
7. Consequent to laches, plaintiffs right to the land having allowed the defendants to possess, cultivate and claim as
owners since 1933 up to 1987, their rights if any are lost by extinctive prescription and, therefore, defendants have
acquired the rights over the parcels of land by acquisitive prescription.[13]
The Court of Appeals, on the other hand, held private respondents action to be barred by laches, thus:
The failure of plaintiff-appellants and their predecessors-in-interest to assert their claim over the disputed properties
from the time that Anastacio Cutanda allegedly usurped said lands in 1933 until the instant action was filed in 1988
-- a period of 55 years -- constitutes laches and bars this action to recover possession of said properties.[14]
In Maneclang v. Baun,[15] this Court distinguished prescription from laches as follows:
. . . While prescription is concerned with the fact of delay, laches is concerned with the effect of delay. Prescription
is a matter of time; laches is principally a question of inequity of permitting a claim to be enforced, this inequity
being founded on some change in the condition of the property or the relation of the parties. Prescription is statutory;
laches is not. Laches applies in equity, whereas prescription applies at law. Prescription is based on fixed time,
laches is not.

Based on this distinction, we hold that prescription, not laches, is the proper ground for holding private respondents action to be
barred. Art. 1106 of the Civil Code provides that by prescription, one acquires ownership and other real rights through the lapse of
time, in the manner and under the conditions laid down by law. In the same way, rights and actions are lost by prescription. There are
thus two kinds of prescription: (1) the acquisition of a right by the lapse of time, or acquisitive prescription; and (2) the loss of a right
of action by the lapse of time, or extinctive prescription.
Private respondents action was an accion publiciana to recover the right of possession and to be declared owners of the subject lands.
Their complaint squarely put in issue the ownership of the lands in dispute. It may thus be properly treated as an accion
reivindicatoria. As found by the Court of Appeals and by the trial court, however, petitioners predecessor-in-interest, Anastacio
Cutanda, acquired possession of said lands in 1933. On the other hand, private respondents did not assert ownership over the lands
until 1988 55 years later, when they filed their present complaint for recovery of possession. It is settled that the remedies of accion
publiciana or accion reivindicatoria must be availed of within 10 years from dispossession. Under Art. 555(4) of the Civil Code, the
real right of possession is lost after the lapse of 10 years. [16] In Cruz v. Court of Appeals,[17] in which an action for recovery of
possession and ownership of lands was brought only after 26 years had elapsed, this Court ruled:
And secondly, whether We consider the complaint of private respondents to recover possession of the property in
question as accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria, the same has prescribed after the lapse of ten years. After
private respondents had abandoned for 26 years the property which is unregistered land, the law as well as justice
and equity will not allow them "to lie in wait and spring as in an ambush" to dislodge and dispossess petitioners who
during said period made and constructed residences, buildings and other valuable improvements thereon, and
enjoying the fruits therefrom.
Hence, insofar as petitioners are concerned, private respondents cause of action was barred, not by laches, but by extinctive
prescription, regardless of whether their complaint is considered as an accion publiciana or an accion reivindicatoria. As regards the
private respondents who did not appeal from the ruling of the Court of Appeals, this question is now final.
Second. As already stated, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts ruling that petitioners had acquired the lands by prescription
on the ground that there was no sufficient evidence to prove that petitioners had been in open, continuous and adverse possession of
the lands. There is, however, nothing in the evidence to support this finding of the appellate court. To the contrary, the evidence in the
record, both documentary and testimonial, shows: (1) that their common ancestor was the late Doque Cutanda, son of Eustaquio
Cutanda and Rufina Atup;[18] (2) that Doque Cutanda had several children, namely, Anastacio, Saturnino, Esperidion, Pedro, Honorio,
German, Fortunata, Eustaquia, and Ponciana;[19] (3) that, in his lifetime, Doque Cutanda acquired a parcel of agricultural land
consisting of 31.0929 hectares, which was declared under Tax Declaration No. 6983 [20] in the name of his eldest child, Anastacio; (4)
that Anastacio, who had no children, remained in possession of said land from 1933 until 1968 when he executed a deed of
extrajudicial settlement of estate which adjudicated and partitioned said parcel of land among his brothers and sisters; [21] (5) that after
1968, Anastacios brothers and sisters worked on the land, as shown by several tax declarations [22] and subsequently, their children and
successors, herein petitioners, remained in actual and peaceful possession of said land until 1988 when private respondents filed their
action to recover possession of the land; (6) that during such time, petitioners Dominica, Sebastian, Sotero, Januario and Nicanor were
cultivating the share of their father while working as agricultural tenants on the shares of their uncles Honorio and German Cutanda;
[23]
and (7) that petitioners Gabina, Crispin and Claudio Cutanda are the children and heirs of Honorio Cutanda working on their
fathers share while petitioners Florencio and Trinidad Cutanda are the children and heirs of German and Esperidion Cutanda,
respectively.[24]
The foregoing sufficiently establish that Anastacio Cutanda was in possession of the land covered by Tax Declaration No. 6983, which
has an area of 31.0929 hectares, from 1933 up to 1968, or a period of 35 years. Such possession appears to be adverse, continuous and
in the concept of an owner because Anastacio Cutanda cultivated the land, thereby, performing an act of ownership over it. It is to be
noted that Anastacios possession began under the former Civil Code. This fact brings this case squarely under the ruling in Cruz v.
Court of Appeals,[25] in which adverse possession of a parcel of unregistered land started in 1938 while the complaint for recovery of
possession was filed only in 1964, after 26 years. The trial court dismissed the complaint and declared the adverse possessors as
owners of the land. The Court of Appeals, however, reversed the trial court. On appeal, this Court in turn reversed the appellate court.
We held that

This contention of the petitioners is impressed with truth and merit as the same is borne out by the records and the
transcript thereof which We have previously discussed. We, therefore, find that the ruling of the respondent court
dating petitioners adverse possession to the year 1953 is contrary to the admission of the private respondents thru
counsel, and since petitioners possession of the property in question commenced way back in 1938 which was at the
time of the old Civil Code was still in force, the prescriptive period is governed under Section 41 of the Code of
Civil Procedure because Article 1116 of the New Civil Code provides that "Prescription already running before the
effectivity of this Code (August 30, 1950) shall be governed by laws previously in force." Section 41 of the C.C.P.
states:
Sec. 41. Title to land by prescription. -- Ten years of actual adverse possession by any person
claiming to be the owner for that time of any land or interest in land, uninterruptedly, continuously
for ten years by occupancy, descent, grants or otherwise, in whatever way such occupancy may
have commenced or continued, shall vest in every actual possessor of such land a full complete
title, saving to the persons under disabilities the rights, secured by the next section.[26]
Under the Code of Civil Procedure, therefore, ten years of actual adverse possession was required, regardless of how such occupancy
may have commenced or continued, before possession ripened into full and complete title over the land. Applying this to the present
case, by 1943, ten years after his possession of the subject parcel of land had begun, Anastacio Cutanda became owner of the land in
question through acquisitive prescription.
Third. The Court of Appeals limited its review of the evidence to the issue of acquisitive prescription. Petitioners, however, submitted
evidence to prove that they were heirs of Anastacio Cutandas brothers and sisters, even as some of them were also working as tenants
for their co-petitioners. Particularly compelling is the 1968 Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Real Estate executed by Anastacio
Cutanda which pertinently states that:
WHEREAS, ANASTACIO CUTANDA, single, 90 years of age, with no common-law wife, illegitimate children or
otherwise, through his own will desires to adjudicate and partition his three (3) parcels of land to his brothers and
sisters or legal heirs, declared under Tax Dec. Nos. R-2485; R-2486; and R-6983 situated at Camambugan, Ubay,
Bohol and Saguisinhan, Trinidad, Bohol, respectively, which are described and bounded as follows:
....
Tax Declaration No. 6983, situated at Saguisinhan, Trinidad, Bohol, with an area of 31.0929 hectares more or less:
Bounded on the North by Justo Ogayon & creek; or East, by Saguinsihan Creek; on South, by Pablo Ebaoc,
Graciano Ebaoc, Diosdado Ebaoc, Gaviro Mumar; and on West by Pablo Ebaoc, Mateo Nuera, Dominga Nuera;
with improvements of 15 groups of bamboos.
....
WHEREAS, the brothers, sisters and heirs of said Anastacio Cutanda, through his will and voluntary deed, mutually
agree to accept this extrajudicial partition made by said Anastacio Cutanda for the benefit of said brothers, sisters,
and heirs of same.
As Anastacio Cutanda had acquired ownership of said parcel of land through the lapse of the period required by law, he could validly
adjudicate and partition it among his brothers and sisters who were his only heirs. Petitioners, in turn, as children of Anastacios
brothers and sisters, acquired ownership of the subject land not through prescription but through hereditary succession.
But while we find sufficient evidence of ownership with respect to that parcel with an area of 31.0929 hectares covered by Tax
Declaration No. 6983, we find no similar evidence to support the finding of the trial court that Anastacio Cutanda was also the owner
of the other parcel of land consisting of seven hectares. Petitioner Florencio Cutanda himself admitted that he and the other petitioners
were only claiming the 31-hectare land. His testimony is as follows:

Q.....And Mr. Witness you will assure us here that this tax declaration No. R-6983 is the only parcel of land owned
by either Doque Cutanda or Anastacio Cutanda situated in Trinidad, Cambangay Norte?
A.....That is correct.
Q.....You will not change your answer?
A.....I will not.
Q.....So that Mr. Witness considering that this case now involves two parcels of land, one with an area of 31 hectares
and the other with an area of 7 hectares, you are only claiming the 31 hectares covered by Tax Decl. No. R-6983, am
I correct?
A.....Only the 31 hectares.
Q.....You and your co-defendants are not claiming the 7 hectares?
A.....This 7 hectares was already owned and claimed by Honorio Cutanda.
Q.....You mean to tell us that Honorio Cutanda has a previous tax declaration covering this 7 hectares?
A.....Yes, sir.
Q.....But you are not in the possession of that tax declaration?
A.....No, sir.[27]
Moreover, the alleged tax declaration in Honorio Cutandas name covering the seven-hectare land was never presented in evidence.
For these reasons, with respect to the said seven-hectare land, the ruling of the Court of Appeals that there is no sufficient evidence as
to its ownership must be affirmed.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is set aside and another one is rendered declaring petitioners to be true and
lawful owners of that parcel of land covered by Tax Declaration No. 6983 of the Tax Assessors Office of Saguisinhan, Trinidad,
Bohol, with an area of 31.0929 hectares. The complaint filed by respondents is dismissed.
SO ORDERED.
(1) PEDRO P. PECSON, petitioner, vs.
NUGUID, respondents.

COURT

OF APPEALS,

SPOUSES

JUAN

NUGUID

and

ERLINDA

[G.R. No. 115814 May 26, 1995]


DAVIDE, JR., J.:
This petition for review on certiorari seeks to set aside the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 32679 affirming in
part the order 2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 101, in Civil Case No. Q-41470.
The factual and procedural antecedents of this case as gathered from the record are as follows:
Petitioner Pedro P. Pecson was the owner of a commercial lot located in Kamias Street, Quezon City, on which he built a four-door
two-storey apartment building. For his failure to pay realty taxes amounting to twelve thousand pesos (P12,000.00), the lot was sold at

public auction by the city Treasurer of Quezon City to Mamerto Nepomuceno who in turn sold it on 12 October 1983 to the private
respondents, the spouses Juan Nuguid and Erlinda Tan-Nuguid, for one hundred three thousand pesos (P103,000.00).
The petitioner challenged the validity of the auction sale in Civil Case No. Q-41470 before the RTC of Quezon City. In its decision of
8 February 1989, the RTC dismissed the complaint, but as to the private respondents' claim that the sale included the apartment
building, it held that the issue concerning it was "not a subject of the . . . litigation." In resolving the private respondents' motion to
reconsider this issue, the trial court held that there was no legal basis for the contention that the apartment building was included in the
sale. 3
Both parties then appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. The case was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 2931. In its decision of 30
April 1992, 4 the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the assailed decision. It also agreed with the trial court that the apartment building
was not included in the auction sale of the commercial lot. Thus:
Indeed, examining the record we are fully convinced that it was only the land without the apartment building
which was sold at the auction sale, for plaintiff's failure to pay the taxes due thereon . Thus, in the Certificate of Sale
of Delinquent Property To Purchaser (Exh. K, p. 352, Record) the property subject of the auction sale at which
Mamerto Nepomuceno was the purchaser is referred to as Lot No. 21-A, Block No. K-34, at Kamias, Barangay
Piahan, with an area of 256.3 sq. m., with no mention whatsoever, of the building thereon. The same description of
the subject property appears in the Final Notice To Exercise The Right of Redemption (over subject property) dated
September 14, 1981 (Exh. L, p. 353, Record) and in the Final Bill of Sale over the same property dated April 19,
1982 (Exh. P, p. 357, Record). Needless to say, as it was only the land without any building which Nepomuceno had
acquired at the auction sale, it was also only that land without any building which he could have legally sold to the
Nuguids. Verily, in the Deed of Absolute Sale of Registered Land executed by Mamerto Nepomuceno in favor of the
Nuguids on October 25, 1983 (Exh. U, p. 366, Record) it clearly appears that the property subject of the sale for
P103,000.00 was only the parcel of land, Lot 21-A, Blk. K-34 containing an area of 256.3 sq. meters, without any
mention of any improvement, much less any building thereon. (emphases supplied)
The petition to review the said decision was subsequently denied by this Court. 5 Entry of judgment was made on 23 June 1993. 6
On November 1993, the private respondents filed with the trial court a motion for delivery of possession of the lot and the apartment
building, citing article 546 of the Civil Code. 7 Acting thereon, the trial court issued on 15 November 1993 the challenged
order 8 which reads as follows:
Submitted for resolution before this Court is an uncontroverted [sic] for the Delivery of Possession filed by
defendants Erlinda Tan, Juan Nuguid, et al. considering that despite personal service of the Order for plaintiff to file
within five (5) days his opposition to said motion, he did not file any.
In support of defendant's motion, movant cites the law in point as Article 546 of the Civil Code . . .
Movant agrees to comply with the provisions of the law considering that plaintiff is a builder in good faith and he
has in fact, opted to pay the cost of the construction spent by plaintiff. From the complaint itself the plaintiff stated
that the construction cost of the apartment is much more than the lot, which apartment he constructed at a cost of
P53,000.00 in 1965 (par. 8 complaint). This amount of P53,000.00 is what the movant is supposed to pay under the
law before a writ of possession placing him in possession of both the lot and apartment would be issued.
However, the complaint alleges in paragraph 9 that three doors of the apartment are being leased. This is further
confirmed by the affidavit of the movant presented in support of the motion that said three doors are being leased at
a rental of P7,000.00 a month each. The movant further alleges in his said affidavit that the present commercial
value of the lot is P10,000.00 per square meter or P2,500,000.00 and the reasonable rental value of said lot is no less
than P21,000.00 per month.

The decision having become final as per Entry of Judgment dated June 23, 1993 and from this date on, being the
uncontested owner of the property, the rents should be paid to him instead of the plaintiff collecting them. From June
23, 1993, the rents collected by plaintiff amounting to more than P53,000.00 from tenants should be offset from the
rents due to the lot which according to movant's affidavit is more than P21,000.00 a month.
WHEREFORE, finding merit in the Motion, the Court hereby grants the following prayer that:
1. The movant shall reimburse plaintiff the construction cost of P53,000.00.
2. The payment of P53,000.00 as reimbursement for the construction cost, movant Juan Nuguid is
hereby entitled to immediate issuance of a writ of possession over the Lot and improvements
thereon.
3. The movant having been declared as the uncontested owner of the Lot in question as per Entry
of Judgment of the Supreme Court dated June 23, 1993, the plaintiff should pay rent to the movant
of no less than P21,000.00 per month from said date as this is the very same amount paid monthly
by the tenants occupying the lot.
4. The amount of P53,000.00 due from the movant is hereby offset against the amount of rents
collected by the plaintiff from June 23, 1993, to September 23, 1993.
SO ORDERED.
The petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the order but it was not acted upon by the trial court. Instead, on 18 November 1993, it
issued a writ of possession directing the deputy sheriff "to place said movant Juan Nuguid in possession of subject property located at
No. 79 Kamias Road, Quezon City, with all the improvements thereon and to eject therefrom all occupants therein, their agents,
assignees, heirs and representatives." 9
The petitioner then filed with the Court of Appeals a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition assailing the order of 15
November 1993, which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 32679. 10 In its decision of 7 June 1994, the Court of Appeals affirmed in
part the order of the trial court citing Article 448 of the Civil Code. In disposing of the issues, it stated:
As earlier pointed out, private respondent opted to appropriate the improvement introduced by petitioner on the
subject lot, giving rise to the right of petitioner to be reimbursed of the cost of constructing said apartment building,
in accordance with Article 546 of the . . . Civil Code, and of the right to retain the improvements until he is
reimbursed of the cost of the improvements, because, basically, the right to retain the improvement while the
corresponding indemnity is not paid implies the tenancy or possession in fact of the land on which they are built . . .
[2 TOLENTINO, CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES (1992) p. 112]. With the facts extant and the settled
principle as guides, we agree with petitioner that respondent judge erred in ordering that "the movant having been
declared as the uncontested owner of the lot in question as per Entry of Judgment of the Supreme Court dated June
23, 1993, the plaintiff should pay rent to the movant of no less than P21,000 per month from said date as this is the
very same amount paid monthly by the tenants occupying the lot.
We, however, agree with the finding of respondent judge that the amount of P53,000.00 earlier admitted as the cost
of constructing the apartment building can be offset from the amount of rents collected by petitioner from June 23,
1993 up to September 23, 1993 which was fixed at P7,000.00 per month for each of the three doors. Our underlying
reason is that during the period of retention, petitioner as such possessor and receiving the fruits from the property, is
obliged to account for such fruits, so that the amount thereof may be deducted from the amount of indemnity to be
paid to him by the owner of the land, in line with Mendoza vs. De Guzman, 52 Phil. 164 . . . .
The Court of Appeals then ruled as follows:

WHEREFORE, while it appears that private respondents have not yet indemnified petitioner with the cost of the
improvements, since Annex I shows that the Deputy Sheriff has enforced the Writ of Possession and the premises
have been turned over to the possession of private respondents, the quest of petitioner that he be restored in
possession of the premises is rendered moot and academic, although it is but fair and just that private respondents
pay petitioner the construction cost of P53,000.00; and that petitioner be ordered to account for any and all fruits of
the improvements received by him starting on June 23, 1993, with the amount of P53,000.00 to be offset therefrom.
IT IS SO ORDERED. 11
Aggrieved by the Court of Appeals' decision, the petitioner filed the instant petition.
The parties agree that the petitioner was a builder in good faith of the apartment building on the theory that he constructed it at the
time when he was still the owner of the lot, and that the key issue in this case is the application of Articles 448 and 456 of the Civil
Code.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals, as well as the parties, concerned themselves with the application of Articles 448 and 546 of
the Civil Code. These articles read as follows:
Art. 448. The owner of the land on which anything has been built, sown or planted in good faith, shall have the right
to appropriate as his own the works, sowing or planting, after payment of the indemnity provided for in articles 546
and 548, or to oblige the one who built or planted to pay the price of the land, and the one who sowed, the proper
rent. However, the builder or planter cannot be obliged to buy the land if its value is considerably more than that of
the building or trees. In such case, he shall pay reasonable rent, if the owner of the land does not choose to
appropriate the building or trees after proper indemnity. The parties shall agree upon the terms of the lease and in
case of disagreement, the court shall fix the terms thereof. (361a)
xxx xxx xxx
Art. 546. Necessary expenses shall be refunded to every possessor; but only the possessor in good faith may retain
the thing until he has been reimbursed therefor.
Useful expenses shall be refunded only to the possessor in good faith with the same right of retention, the person
who has defeated him in the possession having the option of refunding the amount of the expenses or of paying the
increase in value which the thing may have acquired by reason thereof. (453a)
By its clear language, Article 448 refers to a land whose ownership is claimed by two or more parties, one of whom has built some
works, or sown or planted something. The building, sowing or planting may have been made in good faith or in bad faith. The rule on
good faith laid down in Article 526 of the Civil Code shall be applied in determining whether a builder, sower or planter had acted in
good faith. 12
Article 448 does not apply to a case where the owner of the land is the builder, sower, or planter who then later loses ownership of the
land by sale or donation. This Court said so in Coleongco vs. Regalado: 13
Article 361 of the old Civil Code is not applicable in this case, for Regalado constructed the house on his own land
before he sold said land to Coleongco. Article 361 applies only in cases where a person constructs a building on the
land of another in good or in bad faith, as the case may be. It does not apply to a case where a person constructs a
building on his own land, for then there can be no question as to good or bad faith on the part of the builder.
Elsewise stated, where the true owner himself is the builder of works on his own land, the issue of good faith or bad faith is entirely
irrelevant.

Thus in strict point of law, Article 448 is not apposite to the case at bar. Nevertheless, we believe that the provision therein on
indemnity may be applied by analogy considering that the primary intent of Article 448 is to avoid a state of forced co-ownership and
that the parties, including the two courts below, in the main agree that Articles 448 and 546 of the Civil Code are applicable and
indemnity for the improvements may be paid although they differ as to the basis of the indemnity.
Article 546 does not specifically state how the value of the useful improvements should be determined. The respondent court and the
private respondents espouse the belief that the cost of construction of the apartment building in 1965, and not its current market value,
is sufficient reimbursement for necessary and useful improvements made by the petitioner. This position is, however, not in
consonance with previous rulings of this Court in similar cases. In Javier vs. Concepcion, Jr., 14 this Court pegged the value of the
useful improvements consisting of various fruits, bamboos, a house and camarin made of strong material based on the market value of
the said improvements. In Sarmiento vs. Agana, 15 despite the finding that the useful improvement, a residential house, was built in
1967 at a cost of between eight thousand pesos (P8,000.00) to ten thousand pesos(P10,000.00), the landowner was ordered to
reimburse the builder in the amount of forty thousand pesos (P40,000.00), the value of the house at the time of the trial. In the same
way, the landowner was required to pay the "present value" of the house, a useful improvement, in the case of De Guzman vs. De la
Fuente, 16 cited by the petitioner.
The objective of Article 546 of the Civil Code is to administer justice between the parties involved. In this regard, this Court had long
ago stated in Rivera vs. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila 17 that the said provision was formulated in trying to adjust the rights of
the owner and possessor in good faith of a piece of land, to administer complete justice to both of them in such a way as neither one
nor the other may enrich himself of that which does not belong to him. Guided by this precept, it is therefore the current market value
of the improvements which should be made the basis of reimbursement. A contrary ruling would unjustly enrich the private
respondents who would otherwise be allowed to acquire a highly valued income-yielding four-unit apartment building for a measly
amount. Consequently, the parties should therefore be allowed to adduce evidence on the present market value of the apartment
building upon which the trial court should base its finding as to the amount of reimbursement to be paid by the landowner.
The trial court also erred in ordering the petitioner to pay monthly rentals equal to the aggregate rentals paid by the lessees of the
apartment building. Since the private respondents have opted to appropriate the apartment building, the petitioner is thus entitled to the
possession and enjoyment of the apartment building, until he is paid the proper indemnity, as well as of the portion of the lot where the
building has been constructed. This is so because the right to retain the improvements while the corresponding indemnity is not paid
implies the tenancy or possession in fact of the land on which it is built, planted or sown. 18 The petitioner not having been so paid, he
was entitled to retain ownership of the building and, necessarily, the income therefrom.
It follows, too, that the Court of Appeals erred not only in upholding the trial court's determination of the indemnity, but also in
ordering the petitioner to account for the rentals of the apartment building from 23 June 1993 to 23 September 1993.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 32679 and the Order of 15 November 1993 of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 101, Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-41470 are hereby SET ASIDE.
The case is hereby remanded to the trial court for it to determine the current market value of the apartment building on the lot. For this
purpose, the parties shall be allowed to adduce evidence on the current market value of the apartment building. The value so
determined shall be forthwith paid by the private respondents to the petitioner otherwise the petitioner shall be restored to the
possession of the apartment building until payment of the required indemnity.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
(2) SPOUSES RAFAEL BENITEZ AND AVELINA BENITEZ, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES RENATO
MACAPAGAL and ELIZABETH MACAPAGAL, respondents.

[G.R. No. 104828. January 16, 1997]

PANGANIBAN, J.:
May possession of a lot encroached upon by a part of another's house be recovered in an action for ejectment?
This is the main question raised by the petition for review on certiorari assailing the Resolution[1] of the Court of Appeals, Sixth
Division,[2] dated March 24, 1992, in CA-G.R. SP No. 26853 denying due course to petitioner's appeal and affirming the decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Pasig in Civil Case No. 61004, which in turn affirmed the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court of San
Juan, Metro Manila, Branch 58.
The Facts
On January 22, 1986, petitioners Rafael and Avelina Benitez purchased a 303-square-meter parcel of land with improvement
from the Cavite Development Bank, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 41961 (now, TCT No. 55864).
Subsequently, private respondents Renato and Elizabeth Macapagal bought a 361-square-meter lot covered by TCT No. 40155.
On September 18, 1986, they filed Civil Case No. 53835 with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 157 against petitioners for the
recovery of possession of an encroached portion of the lot they purchased. The parties were able to reach a compromise in which
private respondents sold the encroached portion to petitioners at the acquisition cost of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) per square
meter.
On July 17, 1989, private respondents purchased still another property, a 285.70 square-meter-lot covered by TCT No. 3249-R,
adjacent to that of petitioners. After a relocation survey was conducted, private respondents discovered that some 46.50 square meters
of their property was occupied by petitioners' house. Despite verbal and written demands, petitioners refused to vacate. A last notice to
vacate was sent to petitioners on October 26, 1989.
On January 18, 1990, private respondents filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court of San Juan, Branch 58, Civil Case No. 61004
for ejectment against petitioners. The MeTC of San Juan decided in favor of the former, with the following disposition: [3]
"WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiffs and against the defendants ordering them
and all persons claiming rights under them to vacate and surrender possession of the subject premises to the plaintiffs as well as to pay
the following:
1.

The amount of P930.00 a month starting July 17, 1989 until they finally vacate the subject premises;

2.

The amount of P5,000.00 for and as attorney's fees; and

3.

Cost of suit."
On appeal, the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 167, affirmed said decision.[4] The RTC said:[5]

"The controversy in this case is not an encroachment or overlapping of two (2) adjacent properties owned by the parties. It is a case
where a part of the house of the defendants is constructed on a portion of the property of the plaintiffs. So that as new owner of the
real property, who has a right to the full enjoyment and possession of the entire parcel covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
41961, plaintiffs have the right to demand that defendants remove the portion of the house standing on plaintiff's realty. . . ."
The dispositive portion thereof reads:[6]

"WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, it being more consistent with the facts and the law
applicable, the same is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the defendant-appellants.
SO ORDERED."
On further appeal, the respondent Court found no merit in petitioners' plea. In a Resolution dated March 24, 1992, the Sixth
Division of said Court found the petition to be a mere rehash of the issues and arguments presented before the lower courts. It ruled in
part that:[7]
"3) Petitioners were fully aware that part of their house encroached on their neighbor's property, while respondents became aware of
it only after purchasing said property. Petitioners cannot claim good faith as against the respondents.
"4) Since petitioners are not builders in good faith, they cannot demand that respondents sell the disputed portion; what the law
provides is that the builders in bad faith can be ordered to dismantle said structure at their own expense. In the interim period that
petitioners' structure remains, they should pay reasonable rent until they remove the structure."
The dispositive portion thereof reads:[8]
"For reasons indicated, We find the appeal without merit and deny it due course, with costs against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED."
Hence, this petition.
The Issues
The main issue is whether the possession of the portion of the private respondents' land encroached by petitioners' house can be
recovered through an action of ejectment, not accion publiciana. Corollarily, petitioners question (a) the validity of the imposition of
"rental" for the occupancy of the encroached portion, (b) the denial of their claimed pre-emptive right to purchase the encroached
portion of the private respondents' land, and (c) the propriety of a factual review of the CA's finding of bad faith on the part of
petitioners.
In a nutshell, petitioners insist that the MeTC had no jurisdiction over the case at bar because its real nature
is accion publiciana or recovery of possession, not unlawful detainer. It is not forcible entry because private respondents did not have
prior possession of the contested property as petitioners possessed it ahead of private respondents. It is not unlawful detainer because
petitioners were not the private respondents' tenants nor vendee unlawfully withholding possession thereof. Said court also has no
jurisdiction to impose payment of "rentals" as there is no lessor-lessee relationship between the parties. They pray for a review of the
factual finding of bad faith, insisting that the facts uphold their position. Due to their alleged good faith, they claim the pre-emptive
right to purchase the litigated portion as a matter of course. Finally, they insist that the award of attorney's fees is unwarranted as
private respondents allegedly had knowledge of the encroachment prior to their acquisition of said land.
Private respondents counter that petitioners are estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the MeTC after they voluntarily
participated in the trial on the merits and lost; that there is no law giving petitioners the option to buy the encroached property; and
that petitioners acted in bad faith because they waived in their deed of sale the usual seller's warranty as to the absence of any and all
liens and encumbrances on the property, thereby implying they had knowledge of the encroachment at the time of purchase .
The Court's Ruling
The petition lacks merit and should be denied.
First Issue: MeTC Has Jurisdiction

The jurisdictional requirements for ejectment, as borne out by the facts, are: after conducting a relocation survey, private
respondents discovered that a portion of their land was encroached by petitioners' house; notices to vacate were sent to petitioners, the
last one being dated October 26, 1989; and private respondents filed the ejectment suit against petitioners on January 18, 1990 or
within one (1) year from the last demand.
Private respondents' cause of action springs from Sec. 1, Rule 70 of the Revised Rules of Court, which provides:
"Section 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when -- Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding section, a person deprived
of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a landlord, vendor, vendee, or other
person against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to
hold possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any such landlord, vendor,
vendee, or other person, may, at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession, bring an
action in the proper inferior court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or
persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs. . . ."
That petitioners occupied the land prior to private respondents' purchase thereof does not negate the latter's case for ejectment.
Prior possession is not always a condition sine qua non in ejectment.[9] This is one of the distinctions between forcible entry and
unlawful detainer. In forcible entry, the plaintiff is deprived of physical possession of his land or building by means of force,
intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth; thus, he must allege and prove prior possession. But in unlawful detainer, the defendant
unlawfully withholds possession after the expiration or termination of his right thereto under any contract, express or implied. In such
a case, prior physical possession is not required. [10]
Possession can also be acquired, not only by material occupation, but also by the fact that a thing is subject to the action of one's
will or by the proper acts and legal formalities established for acquiring such right. [11]Possession of land can be acquired upon the
execution of the deed of sale thereof by its vendor. Actual or physical occupation is not always necessary.
In the case before us, considering that private respondents are unlawfully deprived of possession of the encroached land and that
the action for the recovery of possession thereof was made within the one- year reglementary period, ejectment is the proper remedy.
[12]
The MeTC of San Juan had jurisdiction.
In addition, after voluntarily submitting themselves to its proceedings, petitioners are estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of
the MeTC.[13] This Court will not allow petitioners to attack the jurisdiction of the trial court after receiving a decision adverse to their
position.
Second Issue: Compensation For Occupancy
Petitioners erroneously construed the order of the MeTC to pay private respondents Nine Hundred Thirty Pesos (P930.00) a
month starting July 17, 1989 until they (petitioners) finally vacate the subject premises as "rentals". Technically, such award is not
rental, but damages. Damages are recoverable in ejectment cases under Section 8, Rule 70 of the Revised Rules of Court. [14] These
damages arise from the loss of the use and occupation of the property, and not the damages which private respondents may have
suffered but which have no direct relation to their loss of material possession. [15] Damages in the context of Section 8, Rule 70 is
limited to "rent" or "fair rental value" for the use and occupation of the property.[16]
There is no question that petitioners benefited from their occupation of a portion of private respondents' property. Such benefit
justifies the award of the damages of this kind. Nemo cum alterius, detrimenti locupletari potest. No one shall enrich himself at the
expense of another.
Third Issue: Option To Sell Belongs To Owner
Article 448 of the Civil Code[17] is unequivocal that the option to sell the land on which another in good faith builds, plants or
sows on, belongs to the landowner.

The option is to sell, not to buy, and it is the landowner's choice. Not even a declaration of the builder, planter, or sower's bad
faith shifts this option to him per Article 450 of the Civil Code. [18] This advantage in Article 448 is accorded the landowner because
"his right is older, and because, by the principle of accession, he is entitled to the ownership of the accessory thing." [19] There can be
no pre-emptive right to buy even as a compromise, as this prerogative belongs solely to the landowner. No compulsion can be legally
forced on him, contrary to what petitioners asks from this Court. Such an order would certainly be invalid and illegal. Thus, the lower
courts were correct in rejecting the petitioners' offer to buy the encroached land.
Fourth Issue: A Review of Factual Findings Is Unwarranted
Petitioners ask this Court to review the alleged error of the respondent Court in appreciating bad faith on their part. According to
them, this is contradictory to the fact that private respondents acquired their lot and discovered the encroachment after petitioners
bought their house. After careful deliberation on this issue, this Court finds this petition for review inadequate as it failed to show
convincingly a reversible error on the part of the respondent Court in this regard. Thus, for very good reasons, this Court has
consistently and emphatically declared that review of the factual findings of the Court of Appeals is not a function that is normally
undertaken in petitions for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Such findings, as a general rule, are binding and conclusive.
[20]
The jurisdiction of this Court is limited to reviewing errors of law unless there is a showing that the findings complained of are
totally devoid of support in the records or that they are so glaringly erroneous as to constitute reversible error.[21]
Even respondent Court has taken note of the inadequacy of the petition before it, as it wryly said:[22]
"The Petition for Review is not certainly a manifestation of clarity nor an example of a well-organized summation of petitioners' cause
of action. . . . . .
xxx

xxx

xxx

A careful scrutiny of the above issues discloses that they are mere repetitions in a rehashed form of the same issues with the same
supporting arguments raised by petitioners when they appealed from the decision of the (MeTC) to the RTC. x x x."
This petition is no different. We share the foregoing sentiments of the respondent Court. In essence, respondent Court merely
affirmed the decision of the MeTC. The Court of Appeal's finding of petitioners' bad faith did not alter nor affect the MeTC's
disposition. Petitioners want this Court to declare them in good faith and to determine their rights under Article 448, Civil Code.
However, the mere fact that they bought their property ahead of the private respondents does not establish this point. Nor does it prove
that petitioners had no knowledge of the encroachment when they purchased their property. Reliance on the presumption in Article
526 of the Code is misplaced in view of the declaration of the respondent Court that petitioners are not builders in good faith.
What petitioners presented are mere allegations and arguments, without sufficient evidence to support them. As such, we have no
ground to depart from the general rule against factual review.
In sum, the petition has not shown cogent reasons and sufficient grounds to reverse the unanimous ruling of the three lower
courts. The MeTC, RTC and the Court of Appeals were all in agreement in sustaining private respondents' rights. And we uphold
them.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Resolution is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.