Property Case Digests by Sec. 2A, College of Law, University of San Agustin

1. Spouses Alfonso and Maria Angles Cusivs. Lilia Domingo

 

G.R. No. 195828                                  February 27, 2013

By John Dee

 

Facts:

 

Respondent Lilia V. Domingo was the owner of the lot in dispute covered under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. N-165606.On July 18, 1997, without her consent, RadeliaSy (Sy) petitioned before the RTC for reissuance of new owner’s copy and, as proof, presented a deed of sale dated July 14, 1997 executed by Domingo in her favor, and an affidavit of loss dated July 17, 1997, stating that her bag containing the owner’s copy of TCT No. N-165606 had been snatched while she was at the SM City, North EDSA.

 

After the RTC granted the petition, the Register of Deeds cancelled the TCT No. N-165606 and issued a new TCT No. 186142 in favor of Syby virtue of the deed of absolute sale date July 14, 1997.  Sy immediately subdivided the property and sold each half to Spouses De Vera and Spouses Cusi, and were issued TCT Nos. 189568 and 189569 respectively, annotatedon the TCT a consideration of onlyPhp 1M each but the entire lot had an actual valueof not less than Php 14M.

 

It was only on July 1999 when the respondent learned the situation.She filed an action against Spouses Sy, Spouses De Vera, and the Spouses Cusi seeking annulment of titles, injuction, and damages.  She also applied for the issuance of writ of preliminary prohibition and mandatory injunction, and a temporary restraining order (TRO).

 

The RTC granted her application, however, the title of Spouses De Vera and Spouses Cusiremain valid as they were held purchasers in good faith.  Dissatisfied with the decision, Domingo filed a motion for reconsideration. The RTC set aside its first decision and declaring the sale between the respondent and Sy void; the buyers were not purchasers in good faith; cancellation of TCT Nos. 189568 and 189569; the TCT No. 165606 shall be revalidated in the name of Domingo.

 

This decision was brought up to the CA filed by the petitioners but was denied.  A motion for reconsideration was also filed but the same was denied.Hence, this petition.

 

Issue:

 

Whether or not the petitioners are purchasers in good faith and for value.

 

Held:

 

The petitioners were NOT purchasers in good faith.

Under the Torrens System of land registration, “a person dealing in the registered land has the right to rely on the Torrens certificate title and to dispense with the need of inquiring further, exceptwhen the party has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that would impel a reasonably cautious man to make such inquiry.”

 

Their observance of a certain degree of diligence within the context of the principles underlying the Torrens System was not the only barometer for them to verify the acquisition of title. Under the law and jurisprudence, it was not enough for them to show that the property was unfenced and vacant nor it was safe for them to rely on the face of Sy’s TCT No. 186142 because they were aware that the TCT was derived only from a duplicate owner’s copy reissued by virtue of the loss of the original duplicate owner’s copy.  That circumstance should have already alerted them to the need to inquire beyond the face of the Sy’s TCT.  Other circumstances that would impel a reasonably cautious man to make such inquiry in dealing with the property are the almost simultaneous transactions affecting the acquisition of the property that the petitioners were also aware of and the material, undervaluation of the property in the deed of sale, e.i. the price in consideration of the property of Php 1M each half when the market value is at least Php 14Mostensibly at the request of Sy to minimize her liabilities for Capital Gains Tax.

 

2. Philippine National Bank vs. Spouses Bernard and CresenciaMarañon

 

GR No. 189316                                                    July 01, 2013

By JC

 

Facts:

A 152 square meter lot in downtown Bacolod with a building leased to various tenants was subjected to a loan and mortgage by Spouses Montealegre with Philippine National Bank. The property was under the name of EmolieMontalegre under TCT 156512. The Spouses Montealegre failed to pay the loan and PNB foreclosed on said lot and building. During auction sale PNB was the highest bidder on August 16, 1991, then was issued a Certificate of Sale on December 17, 1991 and registered on February 4, 1992.

 

Spouses Marañon filed on July 29, 1992 before the RTC a complaint for Annulment of Title, Reconveyance and Damages against the Montealegres, PNB, the Register of Deeds and Provincial Sherriff. The civil case alleged that the Marañons are rightful owners of the lot and the Montealegres forged their names in a Deed of Sale to transfer the property to the Montealegres. PNB averred it is a mortgagee in good faith and the mortgage is binding and valid.

 

During the trial PaterioTolete deposited with the Clerk of Court of Bacolod P144,000 and P30,000  with PNB of rental payments.

 

RTC found in favor of the Marañon after it was determined that their signatures were in deed forged and the conveyance to the Montealegres was null and void. PNB was also adjudged as a mortgagee in good faith and to respect the lien on the property. Neither parties dissented.

 

Current controversy is the rental monies deposited. Marañons filed an Urgent Motions for Withdrawal of Deposited Rental for the P144,000 and P30,000 deposited by Tolete. The RTC granted the motion for both rental payments because the Spouses are the rightful owners and they are entitled to the civil fruits of their property. The RTC issued Orders to return the P30,000 to the Spouses.

 

PNB dissented saying the mortgage lien was decided to be respected and they are entitled to both the P144,000 and the P30,000 rental payments and filed petitions for certiorari and mandamus to the Court of Appeals.

 

Court of Appeals denied the petition rationalizing that the mortgage transaction was not between the current petitioners and respondents and that PNB was not a mortgagee in good faith because as a financial institution should have looked beyond the title presented by the Montealegres. Motion for reconsideration was denied.

 

Issues:

#1 Whether or not that the mortgage the RTC decided should be respected should also include the fruits deposited to answer for the debt.

 

#2 Whether or not the CA erred in reversing the RTC decision that PNB was a mortgagee in good faith.

 

Held:

 

#1 No.

 

Rent as an accessory follows the principal is the general rule. Normally when the principal property is mortgaged and there is failure of the mortgagor to pay, the fruits pass on to the mortgagee as accorded by the Article 2127 of the Civil Code. But this is subject to qualfications.

 

This rule is under the presumption that the mortgagor was the rightful owner to encumber such property. There was no juridical tie made between PNB and the Marañons because of the fraudulent acts of the Montealegres. The building and fruits are not subjected to the lien, only the lot. Thus the rents paid are not subjected to be passed upon to PNB.

 

#2 Yes

 

The RTC has already determined that PNB was a mortgagor in good faith and was given finality because it was not disputed by the parties at present. This is called the Doctrine of Immutability of Judgements.

 

The doctrine espouses two purposes:

 

(1) to avoid delay in the administration of justice and thus, procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of judicial business; and

 

(2) to put an end to judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is precisely why courts exist.

 

The Supreme Court though agreed in toto the resolutions given the CA although the High Court opined that PNB is in good faith, for the sake of reiterating that the Marañons are the rightful owners. The standing as purchaser of PNB has not been yet decided and cannot be entertained yet by the SC.

 

The petition is denied.

 

3. Spouses Cabahugvs National Power Corporation

 

G.R. No. 186069               January 30, 2013

By Red

 

Facts:

 

Spouses Jesus and CoronacionCabahug, registered owners of two parcels of land in Barangay Capokpok, Tabango, Leyte were among the defendants in a special civil suit for expropriation earlier filed by the National Power Corporation (NPC) before the RTC in connection with its Leyte-Cebu Interconnection Project. The suit was later dismissed when NPC settled with the landowners through payment of an easement fee equivalent to 10% of value of their property in accordance with Section 3-A of RA 6395.

 

Two documents denominated as the Right of Way Grant in favor of NPC were executed by Jesus Cabahug in consideration of the easement fees. Cabahug granted respondent a continuous easement of right of way for the latter’s transmissions lines on the parcels of land. By said grant, petitioner agreed not to construct any building or structure whatsoever, nor plant in any area within the Right of Way that will adversely affect or obstruct the transmission line of NPC, except agricultural crops, the growth of which will not exceed three meters high. However under paragraph 4 of the grant, petitioner reserved the option to seek additional compensation for easement fee, based on a previous Supreme Court decision.

 

The Spouses filed a complaint for payment of just compensation against NPC. They claimed to have been totally deprived of the use of the portions of land covered. They alleged that in accordance with the reservation provided under paragraph 4 of the grant, they have demanded from NPC payment of the balance of the just compensation for the subject properties. In its answer, NPC averred that it already paid the full easement fee and that the reservation in the grant referred to additional compensation for easement fee, not the full just compensation sought by the petitioners.

 

The RTC ruled in favor of the spouses and ordered the NPC to pay them full just compensation based on the parcels of land taken by the transmission lines less the amount previously paid. It ruled that the NPC’s easement of right of way which indefinitely deprives the owner of their proprietary rights over their property falls within the power of eminent domain.

 

The CA reversed the decision since the spouses had already accepted the payment of easement fee. An action to allow the spouses to collect again from NPC would amount to unjust enrichment and is a violation of the contract hence, this petition.

 

Issues:

 

1. Whether or not NPC is liable for the payment of the full market value of the affected property

 

2. Whether or not the 10% of the market value of the property due to the owner of the property subject to an easement of right of way in accordance with RA 6395 is proper.

 

Held:

 

1. Yes. The power of eminent domain may be exercised even if the title is not transferred to the expropriator in an easement of right of way. Just compensation is due where the nature and effect of the easement is to impose limitations against the use of the land for an indefinite period and deprive the landowner its ordinary use. In this case, the transmission lines not only endanger the life and limb but restricts as well the owner’s use of the land traversed thereby.

 

2. No. Since the easement falls within the power of eminent domain, NPC’s utilization of RA 6395 has been repeatedly struck down. The determination of just compensation in eminent domain proceedings is a judicial function. Any valuation for just compensation laid down in the statutes may serve only as a guiding principle but it may not substitute the court’s own judgment.

 

The petition is granted. The ruling of the RTC is reinstated.

 

4. PurificacionEstanislao and RupertoEstanislao

versusSps. Norma Gudito and DamianoGudito

 

G.R No.173166                                                     March 13,2013

By Irish

 

Facts:

 

The respondent couple is the owner of a residential lot being leased by the petitioners on a month-month basis. They have acquired the property through a Deed of Donation excuted by the Vasquez couple,who inherited the land from GazparVascuez. Petioners had been renting and occupying the subject lot since 1934 and built a house thereon in accordance with their lease agreement with GazparVasques.

 

Several demands and formal notice had been made by the respondents for the petitioner to remove their house and vacate the subject lot and pay the rental arrearages. However,petitioners failed to comply.Thus,the respondent filed a complaint for Unlawful Detainer/Ejectment against the petitioner before the MetC of Manila.

 

MetC ruled in favor of the respondent. Thereafter,petitioners elevated the case before the RTC of Manila, which rendered a decision reversing the MetC’s decision.RTC ruled that the Guditos should respect the lease agreement and possession of the petitioners over the property and that they have the right of first refusal pursuant to PD 1517 and 2018 if the respondent decide to sell the property to a third person.If the purpose of the respondents is for residential,they can avail of the remaining 205.50 sq.m of the same lot.Dissatisfied,respondent interposed appeal to the CA.

 

CA annulled and set aside RTC’s decision and reinstated the MEtC’s decision with modification ordering the petitioner to pay the reasonable compensation for the use and occupancy of the the subject lot in the amount of 500 pesos per month from Nov.1995 and everymonth thereafter until they finally vacated the subject lot.Hence,petitioners filed instant petition.

 

Issue:

Who has the better right of possession over the subject property?

 

Held:

Respondents have overwhelmingly established their right of possession by virtue of the Deed of Donation made in their favor. They havecomplied with the provisions of the law in order for them to legally eject the petitioners. Sec 5 of BLg 25 provide that legitimate need of owner /lessor to repossess his property for his own use or for the use of any of his immediate member of his family as a residential unit,such owner not being owner of any other available unit in the same city or municipality.Provided,however that the lease for a definite period has expired,the lessor has given the lessor formal notice within 3months in advance of his intention to repossess the property. Provided,finally,that the lessor/owner is prohibited from leasing the residential unit or allowing its use by third person for atleast 1 yr.The ground for judicial ejectment has been clearly complied by the respondents.

 

Petitioners have failed to prove that the transfer of the subject property was merely a ploy designed to defeat and circumvent their right of first refusal under the law. The deed of Donationwas signed by the parties and their witnesses and was even notarized by a notary public. And so it is an admissible evidence and is entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. The said Deed is vested with public interest,the sanctity of which deserves to be upheld unless overwhelmed by clear and convincing evidence.Thus,the donation is valid and the respondents are entitled legally to the said property as donees.

 

Sec.6 of PD 1517 cannot be invoked by the petitioners since the right of first refusal applies only to a case where the owner of the property intends to sell it to a third party. It is clear that the intention of the respondent is to use the property for his own residential purposes.Wherefore, the CA’s decision is hereby affirmed.

 

5. Carolina (Carlina) Vda. De Figuracion, et al. vs. Emilia Figuracion-Gerilla

 

G.R. No. 151334                                  February 13, 2013

By Ayin

 

Facts:

 

The parties are the heirs of Leandro Figuracion who died intestate in 1958. Petitioner Carolina is the surviving spouse. Subject of the dispute are two parcels of land both situated in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, which were acquired by Leandro during his lifetime. Both lands were registered in the name of “Leandro Figuracion married to Carolina Adviento”.

 

Leandro executed a Deed of Quitclaim over the two real properties in favor of his six (6) children on August 23, 1955. Their shares, however, were not delineated with particularity because spouses Leandro and Carolina reserved the lots and its fruits for their expenses. Also involved in the controversy is Lot No. 707 of the Cadastral

Survey of Urdaneta, Pangasinan which was originally owned by EulalioAdviento (Eulalio).

 

On November 28, 1961, a Deed of Quitclaim over the eastern half of Lot No. 707 was executed in favor of Emilia. Soon thereafter or on December 11, 1962, petitioner Carolina executed an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication adjudicating unto herself the entire Lot No. 707 as the sole and exclusive heir of her deceased parents, Eulalio and Faustina. On the same date, Carolina also executed a Deed ofAbsolute Sale over Lot No. 707 in favor of petitioners Hilaria and Felipa.

 

In 1971, Emilia and her family went to the United States and returned to the Philippines only in 1981. Upon her return and relying on the Deed of Quitclaim, she built a house on the eastern half of Lot No. 707. The legal debacle of the Figuracions started in 1994 when Hilaria and her agents threatened to demolish the house of Emilia who, in retaliation, was prompted to seek the partition of Lot No. 707 as well as Lot Nos. 2299 and 705.

 

Issues:

1. W/N the respondent can compel the partition of Lot No. 707

2.W/N the respondent’s right to demand for partition is not barred by acquisitive prescription or laches

 

Held:

1. The respondent can compel the partition of Lot No. 707

 

In this case, co-ownership of Lot No. 707 was precisely what respondent Emilia was able to successfully establish, as correctly found by the RTC and affirmed by the CA. Lot No. 707 was a co-owned property of Agripina and Carolina. As co-owners, each of them had full ownership of her part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto. Each of them also had the right to alienate the lot but only in so far as the extent of her portion was affected.

 

Accordingly, the deed of sale executed by Carolina in favor of Hilaria and Felipa was a valid conveyance but only insofar as the share of Carolina in the co-ownership is concerned. As Carolina’s successors-in-interest to the property, Hilaria and Felipa could not acquire any superior right in the property than what Carolina is entitled to or could transfer or alienate after partition.

 

In a contract of sale of co-owned property, what the vendee obtains by virtue of such a sale are the same rights as the vendor had as co-owner, and the vendee merely steps into the shoes of the vendor as co-owner. Hilaria and Felipa did not acquire the undivided portion pertaining to Agripina, which has already been effectively bequeathed to respondent Emilia as early as November 28, 1961 thru the Deed of Quitclaim. In turn, being the successor-in-interest of Agripina’s share in Lot No. 707, respondent Emilia took the former’s place in the co-ownership and as such co-owner, has the right to compel partition at any time

 

2. The respondent’s right to demand for partition is not barred by acquisitive prescription or laches

 

Co-heirs or co-owners cannot acquire by acquisitive prescription the share of the other co-heirs or co-owners absent a clear repudiation of the co ownership. The act of repudiation, as a mode of terminating co-ownership, is subject to certain conditions, to wit: (1) a co-owner repudiates the coownership; (2) such an act of repudiation is clearly made known to the other co-owners; (3) the evidence thereon is clear and conclusive; and (4) he has been in possession through open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession of the property for the period required by law. The petitioners failed to comply with these conditions.

 

Further, records do not reflect conclusive evidence showing the manner of occupation and possession exercised by Hilaria and Felipa over the lot from the time it was registered in their names. The only evidence of possession extant in the records dates back only to 1985 when Hilaria and Felipa declared the lot in their names for taxation purposes.

 

Prescription can only produce all its effects when acts of ownership, or in this case, possession, do not evince any doubt as to the ouster of the rights of the other co-owners. Hence, prescription among co-owners cannot take place when acts of ownership exercised are vague.

 

Decision:

The petition is denied.

 

6. SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS and DISTRICT ENGINEER CELESTINO R. CONTRERAS, Petitioners

-versus-

SPOUSES HERACLEO and RAMONA TECSON, Respondents

 

G.R. No. 179334                                                  July 01, 2013

By Grace

 

Facts:

 

Respondent spouses Heracleo and Ramona Tecson are co-owners of a parcel of land with an area of 7,268 square meters located in San Pablo, Malolos, Bulacan and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-43006 of the Register of Deeds of Bulacan. Said parcel of land was among the properties taken by the government sometime in 1940 without the owners’ consent and without the necessary expropriation proceedings and used for the construction of the MacArthur Highway.

 

In a letter dated December 15, 1994, respondents demanded the payment of the fair market value of the subject parcel of land. Petitioner Celestino R. Contreras, then District Engineer of the First Bulacan Engineering District of DPWH, offered to pay the subject land at the rate of P0.70 per square meter per Resolution of the Provincial Appraisal Committee (PAC) of Bulacan. Unsatisfied with the offer, respondents demanded for the return of their property or the payment of compensation at the current fair market value.

 

As their demand remained unheeded, respondents filed a Complaint for recovery of possession with damages against petitioners, praying that they be restored to the possession of the subject parcel of land and that they be paid attorney’s fees.

 

Instead of filing their Answer, petitioners moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the following grounds: (1) that the suit is against the State which may not be sued without its consent; (2) that the case has already prescribed; (3) that respondents have no cause of action for failure to exhaust administrative remedies; and (4) if respondents are entitled to compensation, they should be paid only the value of the property in 1940 or 1941.

 

On June 28, 1995, the RTC issued an Order granting the motion to dismiss based on the doctrine of state immunity from suit.

 

The CA reversed and set aside the dismissal of the complaint and consequently remanded the case to the trial court for the purpose of determining the just compensation because the doctrine of state immunity from suit is not applicable and the recovery of compensation is the only relief available. To deny such relief would undeniably cause injustice to the landowner.

 

The trial proceeded in the RTC with the Branch Clerk of Court appointed as the Commissioner and designated as the Chairman of the Committee that would determine just compensation.

 

Later the case was referred to the PAC for the submission of a recommendation report on the value of the subject property. The PAC recommended the amount of P1,500.00 per square meter as the just compensation for the subject property per PAC Resolution No. 99- 007 dated December 19, 2001.

 

On March 22, 2002, the RTC rendered a Decision directing DPWH to pay the amount of One Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P1,500.00) per square meter for the subject lot in accordance with PAC Resolution.

 

The CA affirmed the above decision with the modification that the just compensation stated above should earn interest of six percent (6%) per annum computed from the filing of the action on March 17, 1995 until full payment.

 

Hence, this petition.

 

Issues:

 

1. Whether or not the Court of Appeals gravely erred in granting just compensation to respondents considering the highly dubious and questionable circumstances of their alleged ownership of the subject property.

2. Whether or not the court of appeals gravely erred in awarding just compensation to respondents because their complaint for recovery of possession and damages is already barred by prescription and laches.

3. Whether or not the court of appeals gravely erred in affirming the trial court’s decision ordering the payment of just compensation based on the current market value of the alleged property of respondents.

 

Held:

 

It is undisputed that the subject property was taken by petitioners without the benefit of expropriation proceedings for the construction of the MacArthur Highway. After the lapse of more than fifty years, the property owners sought recovery of the possession of their property.

 

Both equity and the law direct that a property owner should be compensated if his property is taken for public use. There is a long-standing rule that where private property is taken by the Government for public use without first acquiring title thereto either through expropriation or negotiated sale, the owner’s action to recover the land or the value thereof does not prescribe.

 

For failure of respondents to question the lack of expropriation proceedings for a long period of time, they are deemed to have waived and are estopped from assailing the power of the government to expropriate or the public use for which the power was exercised. What is left to respondents is the right of compensation.

 

Just compensation is the fair value of the property as between one who receives, and one who desires to sell fixed as of the date when it was taken and not the date of the filing of the proceedings. The owner of private property should be compensated only for what he actually loses; it is not intended that his compensation shall extend beyond his loss or injury. And what he loses is only the actual value of his property at the time it is taken. The fair market value of the subject property in 1940 was P0.70/square meter. Hence, it should therefore be used in determining the amount due respondents instead of the higher value which is P1,500.00.

 

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is partially granted. The decision of the Court of Appeals is modified. The valuation of the subject property owned by respondents shall be P0.70 instead of Pl,500.00 per square meter, with interest at six percent (6%) per annum from the date of taking in 1940 instead of March 17, 1995, until full payment.

 

So ordered.

 

7. VevenciaPabalanvs Heirs Maamo

 

GR 174844                                                            March 20, 2013

By Nica

 

Facts:

 

In 1910 OnofrePalapo sold parcel of land to PlacidoCansoy. Placido in turn executed notarized deed in favor of Miguel Maamo’s wife Antonia Bayon.

 

Later on, Antonia, faulting SimplecioPalapo with forcible entry, filed an ejectment complaint against him. In his answer, Simplecio asserted that he is one of the heirs of Concepcion Palapo who has been in legal and peaceful possession of the same or many years.

 

Court of the Justice of the Peace rendered decision in favor or Antonia. A certification was thereafter issued stating that the writ of execution issued in the case was later returned duly served.

 

Later on, the Maamo, children of Miguel and Antonia filed a suit against Simplecio’s children, for recovery of real property and damages as co-owners. The Palapos alleged open, continuous and adverse possession including payment of taxes since 1906.

 

RTC ruled in favor of the Palapos. It was found that the supposed forcible entry into property preceded the deed Palacio executed in favor of Antonia, and having possessed the litigated portion in the concept of owner for more than thirty years, they were also declared to have acquired the property through prescription.

 

CA reversed the decision ruling that Maamo heirs were true and lawful owners. CA found that 1) the deed executed in favor of Antonia was mere affirmation of earlier sale, 2) defendants were referring to a different parcel of land , (3) the claim that the litigated portion was inherited from Concepcion had been rejected in in a previous civil case which appears to have been returned duly served and executed; and, (4) Simplecio’s continued possession of the portion in litigation was by mere tolerance and could not, therefore, ripen into ownership acquired by prescription, laches or estoppel.

 

In the meantime, the death of some of the original parties to the case resulted in their substitution by their respective heirs.

 

Issues:

 

W/N SIMPLECIO’S POSSESSION WAS UPON THE TOLERANCE OF RESPONDENTS’ PREDECESSORS-IN-INTEREST

 

W/N petitioners lawfully acquired said parcel of land through prescription

 

Held:

 

Contrary to the RTC’s finding, Antonia already owned the property when petitioners’ own predecessor-in-interest, Simplecio, was alleged to have forcibly entered into the property.

 

The fact that the writ of execution issued in ejectment case against Simplecio was returned duly served also lends credence to respondents’ claim that Simplecio’s possession of the property was upon Miguel Maamo’s tolerance.

 

Since acts of a possessory character executed due to license or by mere tolerance of the owner are inadequate for purposes of acquisitive prescription, petitioners cannot claim to have acquired ownership of the property by virtue of their possession thereof. The Civil Code provides that possession must be en concepto de dueño or adverse in order to constitute the foundation of a prescriptive right. If not, such possessory acts, no matter how long, do not start the running of the period of prescription.

 

All three allegations of prescription, laches and estoppel by the petitioners are therefore rendered unavailing in this case.

 

The instant petition for review on certiorari is denied for lack of merit.

 

8. MARY LOUISE R. ANDERSON, Petitioner,

vs.

ENRIQUE HO, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 172590                                                  January 7, 2013

By Ace

 

Facts:

 

Anderson filed a Complaint for Ejectment against respondent Enrique Ho (Ho) before the (MeTC) of Quezon City. She alleged that through her mere tolerance, Ho is in possession of her parcel of land. As she was already in need of the said property, Anderson served upon Ho a Demand Letter to Vacate but Ho refused. Because of this, Anderson prayed that the MeTC order Ho to vacate the propety and pay her damages.

 

Ho denied that his occupation of the property is through Anderson’s mere tolerance. He claimed that he managed her affairs in the Philippines and administered her properties. When Anderson sought his assistance in ejecting her relatives from the and in demolishing the Church built thereon, he was able to secure a judgment from the court in favor of Anderson.

 

For all these, Anderson did not pay Ho a single centavo and instead executed a written document which states that as partial payment for Ho’s services, Anderson is authorizing him “to make use of the property as his residence free of charge provided he vacates [it] if there is a buyer for the lot” and “that the balance of Ho’s compensation shall consist of 10% of the proceeds of the sale of any or all of her properties

 

In view of this, Ho averred that he possesses the property not through mere tolerance but as part of his compensation for services rendered to Anderson. Hence, he is entitled to the continued possession thereof until such time that the property is sold and he is paid

 

MeTC

MeTC dismissed the case for lack of cause of action. It gave much weight to the written document executed by Anderson wherein she gave her consent for Ho to occupy the property provided that the latter shall vacate the same if there is already a buyer for the lot. There being no allegation that the said property already has a buyer, she could not eject Ho therefrom.

 

RTC

The Court is inclined to consider the dismissal of the complaint

 

CA

The Court resolves to DISMISS. Although after many extensions granted for the filing of the petition for review by anderson’s counsel because anderson was in the USA, when the petition was already filed, the certification against forum shopping attached thereto was signed by him on Anderson’s behalf without any accompanying authority to do so. Thus, dismissal of the complaint. Hence, petition.

 

Issue:

 

W/N Anderson’s prayer of relaxation of the rules on certification against forum shopping should be granted and therefore giving her sufficient cause of action for ejectment and damages against Ho.

 

Held:

No.

No justifiable reason exists in this case as to relax the rule on certification against forum shopping.

 

The certificate of non-forum shopping has, time and again, been declared as basic, necessary and mandatory for procedural orderliness. Non-compliance therewith or a defect therein is generally not curable by its subsequent submission or correction thereof.

 

Thus, SC denied petition. Ejectment case against Ho shall not prosper for lack of cause of action and for failure of the Petitioner to abide by the rules as to the certification against forum shopping, compliance of which is necessary and mandatory for procedural orderliness.

 

9. Nagtalon vs. UCPB

 

G.R. No. 172504                                                  31 July 2013

By RV

 

Facts:

 

This is a petition for review on certiorari.

 

Roman Nagtalon and petitioner, Donna Nagtalon, mortgaged some properties in order to secure a credit agreement they made with respondent United Coconut Planters Bank. The spouses failed to comply with the terms of conditions thereof so the properties were foreclosed and sold at public auction. The UCPB was the sole and highest bidder. It was issued a certificate of sale and caused the entry of the sale in the records of the Registry of Deeds. After the one-year redemption period had expired with Nagtalon having failed to redeem the properties, the UCPB consolidated the ownership over the properties, cancelling the Nagtalon titles while issuing new TCTs in UCPB’s name. UCPB then filed an ex parte petition for the issuance of a writ of possession from the RTC, but Nagtalon opposed this petition by reason of a pending civil case concerning the credit agreement. The RTC agreed with Nagtalon, but the UCPB brought this to the CA after its motion for reconsideration was denied and the CA reversed the RTC decision. Thus, Nagtalon’s petitioned the SC to review the CAs decision.

 

ISSUE AND ANSWER:

WHETHER OR NOT THE PENDENCY OF A CIVIL CASE CHALLENGING THE VALIDITY OF THE CREDIT AGREEMENT, THE PROMISSORY NOTES, AND THE MORTGAGE CAN BAR THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF POSSESSION AFTER THE FORECLOSURE AND SALE OF THE MORTGAGED PROPERTIES AND THE LAPSE OF THE ONE-YEAR REDEMPTION PERIOD.

 

No, it cannot be a bar.

a) THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF POSSESSION IS A MINISTERIAL FUNCTION OF THE COURT. The rule is that once the title to the property has been consolidated in the buyer’s name upon failure of the mortgagor to redeem the property within the one-year redemption period, the writ of possession becomes a matter of right belonging to the buyer.

 

b) PENDENCY OF A CIVIL CASE QUESTIONAING THE MORTGAGE AND FORECLOSURE IS NOT A BAR TO THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF EXECUTION. As a ministerial function of court, the judge need not look into the validity of the mortgage or the manner of its foreclosure, as these are questions that should properly be decided by a court of competent jurisdiction in the pending case filed before it.

 

c) EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE: 1) Gross inadequacy of purchase price 2) Third party claiming right adverse to debtor/mortgagor 3) Failure to pay the surplus proceeds of sale to mortgagor. Nagtalon did not qualify for any of these.

 

d) PETITIONER WAS ACCORDED DUE PROCESS. Issuance of a writ of possession is an ex parte petition, a non litigious proceeding where the relief is granted without requiring an opportunity to be heard for the person from whom relief is sought.

 

10. Guzman vs Guzman

 

G.R. No. 172588                                                  March 13, 2013

By Roman

 

Facts:

 

Isabel N. Guzman, spouse of Arnold N. Guzman, owned 6/7th and 1/7th portions, respectively of a parcel of land in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. She filed an ejectment suit with the MTC against her children, Aniano N. Guzman and Primitiva G. Montealto, claiming that they occupied the land by mere tolerance and they failed to comply upon her written demand to vacate the property; subsequently barangay conciliation proceedings failed to settle their differences.

 

In respondents’ defense, the children argued that their mother transferred all her property rights of the said property in their favor, except her usufructuary right, as evidenced by a document. They also alleged that she engaged in forum shopping since she already raised the issue of ownership in a pending case in the RTC for petition for cancellation of adverse claim against them.

 

The MTC found the petitioner to be the lawful owner of the land with a right to its possession since respondents had no vested right to the land since they are merely her children to whom no ownership or possessory rights have passed. It also held that she did not commit forum shopping since she asserted ownership only to establish her right of possession and the lower courts can provisionally resolve the issue of ownership to determine who has the better right of possession.

 

Aggrieved, respondents appealed to the RTC. The RTC reversed the MTC ruling. It took into account the petitioner’s transfer of rights in the respondent’s favor which, it held, could not be unilaterally revoked without a court action. It also noted that there was no earnest effort at a compromise which was exerted prior to the filing of the complaint.

 

Petitioner filed 3 Motions for Reconsideration at the RTC on different dates and were denied by the court on those occasions.

 

Petitioner appealed on certiorari with the CA. CA ruled against her favor. It held that petitioner cannot validly claim that the respondents occupied the properties through mere tolerance since they were co-owners of the property as compulsory heirs of Alfonso N. Guzman, the original owner. It also noted that petition for review would have been the proper remedy. It found that under the Rules,  she lost her chance to appeal when she filed a second motion for reconsideration.

 

Issue:

 

Whether or not CA’s finding of co-ownership is bereft of factual and legal basis in its case for ejectment

 

Held:

 

No. The Court affirming the decision of CA has ruled that “ Ejectment cases are summary proceedings intended to provide an expeditious means of protecting actual possession or right of possession of property. Title is not involved, hence, it is a special civil action with a special procedure. The only issue to be resolved in ejectment cases is the question of entitlement to the physical or material possession of the premises or possession de facto. Thus, any ruling on the question of ownership is only provisional, made solely for the purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto. Accordingly, any ruling on the validity of the petitioner’s transfer of rights is provisional and should be resolved in a proper proceeding.”

 

 

11. Philippine Tourism Authority (now known as Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority), Petitioner

VS. MarcosaSabandal-Herzenstiel, et. Al., Respondents

 

G.R. No. 196741                                                  July 17, 2013

By Joebert

 

 

Facts:

 

This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the January 11, 2011 Decision and April 14, 2011 Resolution of the Court of Appeals, Cebu City in CA-G.R. SP No. 03888 declaring respondent Sabandal-Herzenstiel as the lawful possessor of the subject property, Lot No. 2574, in Brgy. Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu.

 

Petitioner, Phil. Tourism Authority (PTA), now known as Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority is the owner of the subject property and other parcel of lands located in Brgy. Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu when it bought the property from Tri-Island Corporate Holdings, Inc (Tri-Island) on February 12, 1981. It had been in actual, physical, continuous and uninterrupted possession of the subject land and had declared the same for taxation purposes. Sometime in 1997, Sabandal-Herzenstiel and other respondents entered into the 2,940 sq.m. portion of the subject property by means of stealth, force and strategy. They cut down coconut trees, make improvements and fenced the area. Petitioner demanded the respondents to vacate the portion of the subject land; the last of which was a letter dated January 5, 1998 but the respondents ignored, prompting the petitioner to file  a case of forcible entry against them at the 12th MCTC of Moalboal-Alcantara,Badian and Alegria, Cebu on March 18, 1998, docketed as Civil Case No.118.

 

In their answer with counterclaim, some of the respondents acknowledged that the subject property had already been sold by Josefina Abrenica, the administrator of the subject land to Tri-Island. However, they claimed that the sale was tainted with force and intimidation thus, it was void including the subsequent transactions covering the said property. Consequently, absent of any proof of prior possession on the part of the petitioner, they claimed that the case of forcible entry against them be dismissed.

 

The MCTC Ruling

The 12th MCTC rendered a Decision on April 13, 2007 ordering the respondents to:  a.) vacate on the subject land and remove all improvements therein, b.) pay to the petitioner a monthly rental of Php2,000.00 from the date of judicial demand until they have effectively vacated the premises and c.) pay the cost of suits.  The MCTC declared that the petitioner is the lawful owner of the subject land and in prior possession thereof by presenting the following: a.) the Deed of Sale, dated Feb. 12, 1981, b.) the Tax Declaration issued under its name and c.) its act of leasing portions of the subject property to others as an exercise of its rights of ownership and possession. In contrast, the respondents never substantiate their claim of ownership and possession nor they have established any relationship with Abrenica, the previous owner of the subject land. On the other hand, Sabandal-Herzenstiel even acknowledged the petitioner’s ownership when she offered to buy back a portion of the land.

 

The RTC Ruling

The respondents’ appeal to RTC was Dismissed on Jan. 30, 2008 for their failure to file a memorandum as required under Rule 40, Sec.7 of the Rules of Court. Similarly, their Motion for Reconsideration was Denied in an Order dated April 23, 2008.

 

With the exclusion of other respondents, Sabandal-Herzenstiel elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals for a review under Rule 42 of Rules.

 

The CA Ruling

The CA rendered the assailed Decision, nullifying and setting aside the Decisions of both the MCTC and RTC on Jan.11, 2011 and declared Sabandal-Herzenstiel as the lawful possessor of the subject land.

 

It held that the RTC was correct in dismissing for failure of the respondents to file a memo on appeal within the prescribed period, it should have relaxed the rules on procedure in the interest of social justice and for a full determination of the rights of the parties.

 

The CA found that the petitioner have failed to establish prior possession of the subject property and rebut respondent’s claim of continued physical possession in spite of the sale of the subject property to Tri-Island during which, Sabandal-Herzentiel leased the property into a resort.

 

The petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated April 14, 2011. Hence they elevated the case to the Supreme Court.

 

Issue:

 

Whether or Not the Respondents may be lawfully ejected from the subject property.

 

Held:

 

The petition is meritorious.

 

In an action for forcible entry, the plaintiff must prove that he is in prior possession of the disputed property and that the defendant deprived him of any means provided in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules, namely: FISTS.

 

The respondents failed to establish their prior and continued possession of the subject property when it was sold to the petitioner in 1981. They even admitted in their answer to the complaint that petitioner exercised dominion over the same by instituting caretakers and leased portions thereof to third persons. The Court affirmed the lower courts decision that it properly adjudged petitioner to have prior possession over subject land as against Sabandal-Herzenstiel, who never claimed ownership or possession thereof. The petitioner’s failure to describe in detail the manner of respondents’ entry in the property is inconsequential.

…xxx Unlawfully entering the subject property and excluding therefrom the prior possessor would necessarily imply the use of force and this is all that is necessary. xxx…

In finality, the Court upholds and Reinstated the findings and conclusions of the MCTC and RTC. Square as they are with existing laws and jurisprudence. And the Resolution of the CA is hereby Reversed and Set Aside.  The Petition was granted.

12. EdithaPadlanvsElenitaDinglasan and FelicimoDinglasan

 

GR No. 180321                                                    March 20 2013

By Pure

 

Facts:

 

Petition for certiorari assailing the decision of the CA dated June 29 2007.

 

ElenitaDinglasan is the registered owner of Lot No. 625 with an area of 82, 972 sq m. While riding the jeepney, Elenita’s mother, Lilia, had a conversation with one Maura Passion and believed her to be a real estate agent. Lilia borrowed the owner’s copy of the TCT from Elenita and gave it to Maura from there, the latter was able to subdivide the lots and through falsified deeds of sale was able to sell the lots to different buyers.  One of them was Lorna Ong who bought Lot No. 625-K and was later sold to petitioner EdithaPadlan for P4000, where a new title was issued in her favour. Upon discovery, respondents demanded that petitioner surrender possession of said lot but she refused.  Later, they filed a case for Cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title before the RTC of Balanga, Bataan.

 

Petitioner claims that RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over her person because the summons was not validly served upon her but only through her mother and the she has been living in Japan for a long time after marrying a Japanese national. Documents were submitted to support this contention but RTC declared her in default upon motion of the respondents.  The trial ensued and she was found to be a buyer in good faith by the RTC. Upon appeal, CA set aside RTC’s findings stating that based on the surrounding circumstances, the petitioner should have inquired further before buying the disputed property and not just simply rely on the title.  CA concluded that the title issued in her favour was fraudulent and was therefore null and void. Petitioner then filed for a motion for reconsideration claiming that the lower court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter as well as her person but the same was subsequently denied.

 

Issues:

I.              WON the Honorable Court had jurisdiction over the person of the Petitioner

II.             WON the Honorable Court had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case

III.            WON the petitioner was a buyer in good faith for value

 

Held:

Petiton is meritorious.

 

SC ruled that before resolving the other issues raised by the petitioner, RTC’s jurisdiction of the subject matter must first be ascertained. The same is conferred by law and determined by the factual allegations in the complaint as well as the relief sought therefrom.

 

An action “involving title to real property” means that the plaintiff’s cause of action is based on a claim that he owns such property or that he has the legal rights to have exclusive control, possession, enjoyment, or  disposition of the same. Title is the “legal link between (1) a person who owns property and (2) the property itself.” “Title” is different from a “certificate of title” which is the document of ownership under the Torrens system of registration issued by the government through the Register of Deeds. While title is the claim, right or interest in real property, a certificate of title is the evidence of such claim.

 

From the Complaint, the case filed by respondent is not simply a case for the cancellation of a particular certificate of title and the revival of another. The determination of such issue merely follows after a court of competent jurisdiction shall have first resolved the matter of who between the conflicting parties is the lawful owner of the subject property and ultimately entitled to its possession and enjoyment. The action is, therefore, about ascertaining which of these parties is the lawful owner of the subject lot, jurisdiction over which is determined by the assessed value of such lot. In the case at bar, the only basis of valuation of the subject property is the value alleged in the complaint that the lot was sold by Lorna to petitioner in the amount of P4,000.00. No tax declaration was even presented that would show the valuation of the subject property.

 

Where the ultimate objective of the plaintiffs is to obtain title to real property, it should be filed in the proper court having jurisdiction over the assessed value of the property subject thereof. Since the amount alleged in the Complaint by respondents for the disputed lot is only P4,000.00, the MTC and not the RTC has jurisdiction over the action. Therefore all proceedings therefrom are null and void.

 

SC did not find it necessary to discuss the remaining issues raised by the petitioner. Decision of the CA is reversed and set aside and complaint is dismissed without prejudice.

 

13. Republic of the Philippines v. Martin T. Ng

 

G.R. No. 182449                                                  March 6, 2013

By PJ

 

Facts:

 

The office of the Solicitor General in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines filed a motion for review, assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals in affirming Martin T. Ng’s decree of Registration of Title. The Republic argues that the grant of Decree of Registration of Title over six parcels of land situated in Consolacion, Cebu was premature, considering that the respondent failed to comply with the requirements of Original Registration of Title. The Petitioner contends that Martin failed to substantiate the claim of possession and occupation, also arguing that the testimony of respondent’s principal witness is heavily biased. The tax declarations made by Ng is not a conclusive proof of ownership. In summation, the Republic avers that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the Regional Trial Court’s appreciation that the respondent has established a claim of ownership by reason of an open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the subject lots.

 

Issue:

Has the respondent Martin T. Ng failed in establishing a conclusive claim of ownership through an open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the subject lots?

 

Held:

 

The contention of the petitioner is without merit. It is clear from the records that respondent presented several pieces of documentary evidence to prove that he openly possessed the properties. He submitted notarized deeds of sale, Agreements of Partition, and Extra-judicial settlement of Estate and Sale to show the acquisition of lands from his predecessors in interest. He also submitted the original cloth tracing plan in which the advance survey plan shows that the subject lots had been under the names of the vendors, the previous transferors, and the original owners of the lots.

 

While tax declarations and realty tax payments or property are not conclusive evidence of ownership, they are nevertheless good indicia of possession in the concept of owner, for no one in the right frame of mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in one’s actual or at least constructive possession. As to the biasness of the principal testimony of the witness presented, the witness asserted with certainty that no other person laid claim to the lots. This fact was corroborated by the DENR Certification that the lots were not covered by any other subsisting public land application. As a result, respondent supplied proof of his exclusive possession of the realties.

 

Therefore, given these pieces of documentary evidence-consisting of muniments of title, tax declarations and realty payments which were not disputed by petitioner; and the testimony as regards the actual possession for more than thirty years by respondent’s predecessor-in-interest-the OSG inaccurately portrayed respondent as merely making general submissions in proving his claims. Rather, he amply established that he and his predecessors in interest owned and possessed the subject lots openly, continuously and notoriously, as required by our registration laws.

 

14. William T. Go vs. Alberto T. Looyuko

 

G.R. No. 196529                                                  July1, 2013

By Edgar

 

Facts:

 

Respondent Alberto T. Looyuko and Jimmy Go, brother of petitioner William Go were partners in a business called Noah’s Ark Group of Companies. Sometime in 1986, William was appointed Chief of Staff of Noah’s Ark Sugar Refinery and he was allowed by Looyuko to occupy the townhouse in Quezon City.

 

On October 1998, Looyuko demanded that William vacate the townhouse. Jimmy filed an adverse claim over the property, annotating his interest on the title as co-owner. He claimed that the townhouse was bought using funds from Noah’s Ark and, hence, part of the property of the partnership.

 

On December 1998, Looyuko filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against William. He adduced as evidence the Transfer Certificate of Title issued in his name as well as the aforementioned demand letter. He alleged that William’s occupation was merely by tolerance. William presented the partnership agreements, the contract to sell of the subject property to Noah’s Ark, and the cash voucher evidencing payment for the acquisition of the property.

 

On May 2000, the MeTC rendered a decision in favor of Looyuko. William then appealed to the RTC. William filed a motion to suspend proceedings in the unlawful detainer case because a complaint for specific performance against Looyuko had been filed by Jimmy, to establish his alleged right as a co-owner. In March 2001, The RTC ruled in favor of William.

 

The CA, however, reversed the QCRTC orders and directed the immediate execution of the MTC Decision.

 

March 2004, the QC RTC issued a decision in the action for unlawful detainer, reversing the findings of the MTC and ruling in favor of William. it held that the property was purchased in the name of Noah’s Ark. RTC also gave credence to the affidavit and authorization executed by Jimmy, finding them to be unrebutted.

 

October 2009, the CA ruled in favor of Looyuko and held that the issue of possession could be resolved without ruling on the claim of ownership. The CA stated that the TCT presented by Looyuko unequivocally showed that he owned the property and, as a consequence of ownership,he was entitled to its possession.

 

Petitioner William, in his pleadings argues that respondent Looyuko failed to prove that he had prior physical possession of the property before he was unlawfully deprived of it, which is fundamental in an ejectment case.

 

Issues:

 

1.WON the court erred in holding that the ejectment case can proceed without resolving the issue of ownership raised by petitioner.

2. WON prior physical possession is necessary in an action for unlawful detainer.

 

Held:

 

1. Yes, but the petition is bereft of merit. This petition involves an action for unlawful detainer, which is an action to recover possession of real property from one who unlawfully withholds possession after the expiration or termination of his right. The sole issue for resolution in an unlawful detainer case is physical or material possession of the property involved, independent of any claim of ownership by any of the parties. When the defendant, however, raises the defense of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession.

 

The Court agrees with William that the issue of ownership should be ruled upon considering that such has been raised and it appears that it is inextricably linked to the question of possession. Its resolution will then boil down to which of the parties’ respective evidence deserves more weight. Granting that all the pieces of documentary evidence presented by William are valid, they will fail to bolster his case. A person who has a Torrens Title over a land is entitled to its possession. The title to the property is presumed legal and cannot be collaterally attacked, especially in a mere action for unlawful detainer. The TCT of Looyuko is, therefore, evidence of indefeasible title over the property and, as its holder; he is entitled to its possession as a matter of right. The documentary evidence presented by William are not enough to offset Looyuko’s right as registered owner.

 

2. No, William is mistaken in his argument that respondent Looyuko’s prior physical possession is necessary for his action for unlawful detainer to prosper. Section 1 of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court lays down the requirements for filing a complaint for unlawful detainer. Nowhere does it appear in the above-cited rule that, in an action for unlawful detainer, the plaintiff be in prior physical possession of the property. The prior physical possession by the plaintiff is not an indispensable requirement in an unlawful detainer case.

 

15. Royal Savings Bank vs. Fernando Asia et. Al

G.R. No. 183658                                                  April 10, 2013

By Krissey

 

Facts:

 

PacenciaSalita and her nephew Franco Valenderia borrowed the amount of 25,000.00 from Royal Savings Bank. The latter loaned to them an additional 20,000.00. Salita executed a real estate mortgage over her property to secure payment of the amounts loaned from bank. Unfortunately, neither Salita orValenderia were able to pay their debts. The petitioner bank instituted an extra-judicial foreclosure proceeding against the real estate mortgage. Pursuant to Act No. 3135, the mortgaged property was sold to a public auction at which the petitioner bank was the highest bidder. Both Salita and Valenderia failed to redeem the property within the time period prescribed thus a new title covering the same property issued to the petitioner-bank. Salita filed with the RTC a case for Recoveyance, annulment of title and damages against the petitioner.

 

The trial court granted Salita’s prayer for nullification of foreclosure proceedings and the reconveyance of the property under the petioner-bank’s name. The petitioner bank appealed to the CA, which reversed the decision of the trial court. Salita did not appeal the ruling of the CA which reversed the decision of the trial court. Salita did not appeal the ruling of the CA making it final and executory. Pursuant to Sec. 7 of Act 3135, the petitioner bank filed with the RTC an Ex-Parte Petition for the issuance of a writ of Possession. The trial court ruled in favor of the petitioner bank and issued the writ of possession in its favor.

 

The repsondents Asia et. al claimed to have been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession in the concept of owners of the land in question for 40 years. The respondents were given three days to voluntary vacate the property. To prevent the execution of the notice, the former filed an urgent motion to quash the writ of possession and writ of execution. The trial court granted the motion to quash. The petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration and the respondents filed an opposition to this.

 

Claiming that it raises no factual issues, the petitioner came straight to the SC through a petition for Review under Rule 45 of Rules on Civil Procedure.

 

Issues:

 

1. W/N the Regional Trial Court erred in issuing the herein assailed orders on the basis of its initial finding that respondents are third parties who are actually holding the property adversely vis-a-vis the judgment debtor.

2. W/N the pairing judge violated the hierarchy of courts when she quashed the writ of possession validly issued by th~ then presiding Judge of the RTC Quezon City, a co-equal body.

 

Held:

 

On the first issue:

In the eyes of this Court, the RTC did not err in issuing the herein assailed Orders on the basis of its initial finding that respondents are third parties who are actually holding the property adversely vis-à-vis the judgment debtor. The RTC did not err in applying the doctrine laid down in Barican v. Intermediate Appellate Court,in which we ruled that the obligation of a court to issue a writ of possession in favor of the purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale ceases to be ministerial, once it appears that there is a third party who is in possession of the property and is claiming a right adverse to that of the debtor/mortgagor.

 

Explained in Philippine National Bank v. Austria that the foregoing doctrinal pronouncements are not without support in substantive law. Notably, the Civil Code protects the actual possessor of a property, to wit: Art. 433.Actual possession under claim of ownership raises a disputable presumption of ownership. The true owner must resort to judicial process for the recovery of the property. We find that it was only proper for the RTC to quash the Writ of Possession until a determination is made as to who, between petitioner and respondents, has the better right to possess the property.

 

On the second issue:

 

No court has the power to interfere by injunction in the issuance or enforcement of a writ of possession issued by another court of concurrent jurisdiction having the power to issue that writ. However, as correctly pointed out by respondents in their Comment, it was the same trial court and “not another court or co-equal court body that quashed the subject writ of possession. The pairing judge, who issued the Order quashing the Writ of Possession, issued it in her capacity as the judge of Branch 222 of Quezon City-the same branch, albeit then under a different judge, that issued the Writ of Possession.

 

16. REMAN RECIO, -versus HEIRS OF THE SPOUSES AGUE DO and MARIA ALTAMIRANO

 

G.R. No. 182349                                                  July 24, 2013

By Jet

 

Facts:

 

In 1950’s, NenaRecio, the mother of RemanRecio leased from the Altamirano Family parcel of land with improvements situated at Esteban Mayo st.Lipa City. The said parcel of land covers 89 sq. meters and inherited by the Altamirano Family from their deceased parents.

 

On 1998, petitioner claimed that Altamiranos offered to sell the subject parcel of land to her for P500, 000. However, the said sale did materialize at that time to the fault of the Altamiranos. But there was a second negotiation between the petitioner and Alejandro who introduced himself as representative of the other heirs or a member of the Altamirano Family. Later, the Altamiranos through Alejandro entered an oral agrrement with the petioner,. In view of the said oral contract, the petitioner, made payments of 110,000 on 1965 as partial payment and on 1995 NenaRecio again paid P50,000. NenaRecio paid already a total of P160, 000. Subsequently, NenaRecio offered in many instances to pay the remaining balance of P340,000 but Alejandro Altamirano kept on avoiding the petitioner. Petitioner demanded through Alejandro Altimirano  Deed of Absolute Sale in exchange for full payment. On 1997 , the petitioner filed for specific performance with damages.

 

Later the petitioner discovered that the subject parcel of land has been subsequently sold by other Altamiranos to the spouses Lajarca. The petitioner filed an amended complaint of annulment of the sale between the Spouses Lajarca and other  Altamiranos. Later ,the RTC declared that the sale between the other  Altamiranos and spouses Lajarca of the subject parcel of land as null and void. RTC directed the Altamiranos to execute a Deed OfAbsosute Sale covering the subject parcel of land with improvements thereon situated in Esteban Mayo St.Lipa City upon full payment of balance P340.000 by the Plaintiff/petitioner.

 

Aggrieved, Respondents/ Spouse Lajarca appealed on CA assailing the decision of RTC. CA proved the decision of RTC with modifications. CA stated that Alejandro Altamirano did not secure SPA from co-owners when he sold the subject parcel of land to the petitioner, therefore the said sale of Alejandro did not bind his co-owners/other Altamiranos. True that Alejandro did not secure SPA from other co-owners but the CA held that despite the absence of SPA from other co-owners, the sale entered into by Alejandro Altamirano and the petitioner is valid. CA held that under the regime of co-ownership, a co-owner can freely sell and dispose his undivided interest. CA held that the sale between Alejandro Altamirano and the petitioner affects only Alejandro’s pro diviso share, such that the petitioner receives only what corresponds to Alejandro’s undivided share in the subject parcel of land.CA also held that the sale between Spouses Lajarca and other Altamiranos is also valid only insofar as aliquot shares of other Altamiranos are concerned. Thus CA in effect held that spouses Lajarca and petitioner are co-owners of the parcel of land.

 

Issue:

 

W/N CA gravely abused its discretion when it ruled that the sale entered into by other Altamiranos and Alejandro Altamirano was valid despite the absence of SPA.

 

Held.

 

No, true that the Civil Code provides under articles 1874 and 1878 that Special power of Attorney or written authority must be secured first by the agent or a co-owner before he could sell an immovable but under the regime of co-ownership, a co-owner could sell his undivided interest or pro diviso share in  the property  owned in common. Therefore the sale entered into by Alejandro Altamirano is valid but only to his aliquot part and also the sale entered into by the other Altamiranos to Spouses Lajarca  is also valid with respect to the their aliquot part also. SC declared that the sale executed by Altamiranos is not violative of Articles 1874 and 1878 of the Civil Code.

 

17. Mark Anthony Esteban (in substitution of the deceased Gabriel O. Esteban)

vs. Spouses Rodrigo C. Marcelo and Carmen T. Marcelo

 

G.R. No. 197725                                                  July 31, 2013

By Joe

 

Facts:

 

Since 1950, the late Gabriel O. Esteban, substituted by his son, petitioner Mark Anthony Esteban, had been in possession of a piece of land located at 702 Tiaga St, Barangka Drive, Mandaluyong City. In the 1960s, the late Esteban’s sister constructed a foundry shop at the property. In the 1970s, due to being unproductive of the foundry operations, respondents-spouses Rodrigo and Carmen Marcelo were allowed to reside therein with a monthly rental fee and thereafter were not able to pay the rent. On October 31, 2005, the late Esteban sent a letter of demand to the respondents-spouses requiring them to settle their arrears and vacate within five days from receipt thereof. Due to the failure to comply with the demand, an unlawful detainer case was filed by the late Esteban to the respondents-spouses on December 6, 2005.

 

MeTC ruled that there was a valid ground for ejectment due to the expiration of the lease and non-payment of monthly rentals.

 

On appeal, the RTC fully affirmed the MeTC’s ruling.

 

Respondents-spouses appealed the RTC’s ruling to the CA. RTC’s ruling was reversed by CA on the ground that the case is no longer involving an accioninterdictal cognizable by the MeTC but an accionpubliciana that should have been filed before the RTC. According to CA, from the year of disposition on 2001, when respondent stopped payment until the date of the filing of the complaint for ejectment on 2005, more than a year had already passed.

 

CA also ruled that the respondents- spouses cannot be evicted as they are protected by Section 6 of PD 1517.

 

Issues:

 

1. Whether CA erred in reversing RTC’s ruling for finding a ground for ejectment case

2. Whether respondents-spouses are covered by PD 1517

3. Whether there is a need that all compulsory heirs must be made parties to the ejectment case

 

Held:

 

The Court finds it proper to file an unlawful detainer case in the MeTC. The one-year prescription period is counted from the date of the last demand to pay and vacate. It is the owner’s demand for the tenant to vacate the premises and the tenant’s refusal to do so which makes unlawful the withholding of possession. The demand was made on October 31, 2005 and the filing of the case was made on December 6, 2005. From this period, it can be adduced that MeTC had a jurisdiction.

 

PD 1517 does not apply. It was not shown that the subject land has been declared and classified as an Area for Priority Development and as a Land Reform Zone.

 

It is not necessary that all compulsory heirs must be made parties to the ejectment case. Any one of the co-owners may bring an action for ejectment. Only the co-owner who filed the suit for the recovery of the co-owned property becomes an indispensable party thereto. The other co-owners are neither indispensable nor necessary parties.

 

In view of the foregoing, the Court granted the petition for review on certiorari. CA’s decision is reversed and set aside. RTC’s decision is hereby reinstated. Costs are against the respondents-spouses.

 

Ernesto L. Natividad vs. Fernando Mariano, et al.

 

G.R. No. 179643                                                  June 3, 2013

By Ta Coy

 

Facts:

 

Ernesto Natividad purchased a 66,997 lot from Esperanza Yuson at a public auction in 1988. The lot was, however, covered by a lease tenancy agreement under RA 6657 (CARL) between Yuzon and the respondents Fernando and Andres Mariano and Dorotea Garcia.

 

In 1998, Natividad filed with the PARAD a petition for ejectment and payment of back lease rentals against Mariano, et al. Natividad alleged that despite repeated verbal demands said tenants failed to pay him rentals. This prompted him to orally demand that they vacate the lot – and eventually his petition for ejectment.

 

When Mariano, et al failed to answer the summons and did not rebut Natividad’s petition, PARAD decided the case ex parte and granted the petition for ejectment and ordered payment of back rentals in favor of Natividad.

 

The first petition for reconsideration filed by the respondents is on the ground of excusable negligence – for inexperience and lack of knowledge of agrarian reform laws and the DARAB implementing rules and regulations.  In their second petition, filed by the DAR Agrarian Legal Assistance, the respondents added as justification their lack of sufficient financial means. Both petitions were denied by PARAD in view that they filed beyond the prescribed reglementary period and the decision has become final and executory.

 

The case was raised to the DARAB, which reversed the decision of PARAD, and ordered Natividad to maintain the respondents’ peaceful possession of the property. DARAB’s decision was later on affirmed by the Court of Appeals…; Hence, this petition for certiorari with the Supreme Cour.

 

Issue:

 

Whether or not, Ernesto had sufficient cause to eject the respondents from the subject property.

 

Held:

 

The Supreme Court affirmed with modification the decision of the DARAB and the Court of Appeals; finding that:

 

1. For the broader interest of justice and equity, despite the Doctrine of Immutability of Final Judgments (by PARAD), appellate courts did not err in re-opening, and ruling on the merits of the case;

 

2. Review of the DAR implementing rules revealed that the petition of the respondents were well within the prescribed reglementery period;

 

3. Natividad did not show evidence to prove he demanded from respondents payment of lease rentals since 1988 when he acquired the land; demand was considered made only in 1998 upon his petition;

 

4. The alleged non-payment of lease rentals did not last for two (2) years; thus ejection is NOT YET DUE as required by the statute;

 

5. Natividad’s prolonged inaction in making his demand led the respondents to consider Corazon and Laureano – Yuson’s representatives – to still be the authorized payees of the lease.

 

 

 

 

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