LEONOR B. CRUZ,
TEOFILA M. CATAPANG,
G.R. No. 164110, 2008 February 12, Quisumbing, L.A.
, (Second Division)
Co-owners cannot devote common property to his or her exclusive use to the prejudice of the co-ownership.
Petitioners Leonor Cruz, Luz Cruz and Norma Maligaya are the co-owners of aparcel of land covering an area of 1,435 square meters located at Barangay MahabangLudlod, Taal, Batangas. Sometime in 1992, Teofila Catapang, with the consent of NormaMaligaya as one of the aforementioned co-owners, built a house on a lot adjacent to thesubject parcel of land. The house built by Catapang intruded on a portion of the co-owned property.In September 1995, Cruz learned about the intrusion and made several demandsfor Catapang to demolish and vacate the part of the structure encroaching upon theirproperty. However, Catapang refused and disregarded the demands of Cruz.Cruz then filed a complaint for forcible entry against Catapang before the MCTCof Taal, Batangas. The MCTC decided in favor of Cruz, ruling that consent of only oneof the co-owners is not sufficient t
o justify defendant’s construction of the house and
possession of the portion of the lot in question. On appeal, the RTC affirmed thedecision of the MCTC.Catapang filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, which reversed
the RTC’s decision
and ruled in favor of her. The Court of Appeals held that there is no
cause of action for forcible entry in this case because respondent’s entry into the
property, considering the consent given by co-owner Norma Maligaya, cannot becharacterized as one made through strategy or stealth which gives rise to a cause ofaction for forcible entry. Thus, the case went to the Supreme Court.
Whether the consent given by one of the co-owners is sufficient to warrant thedismissal of a complaint for forcible entry.