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Del Rosario v. Gerry Roxas Foundation, Inc. G.R. No. 170575. June 8, 2011.

First Division; Del Castillo, J. Facts: Manuel del Rosario appears to be the registered owner of Lot 3-A of Psd-301974 located in Roxas City which is described in and covered by a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT). Sometime in 1991, the Gerry Roxas Foundation, Inc., (GRFI) as a legitimate foundation, took possession and occupancy of said land by virtue of a memorandum of agreement it entered with Roxas City. Its possession and occupancy of said land is in the character of being a lessee thereof. In February and March 2003, the Spouses Manuel and Florentina del Rosario (Spouses) served notices upon the GRFI to vacate the premises of said land. GRFI, however, did not heed such notices because it still has the legal right to continue its possession and occupancy of said land. On July 2003, the spouses filed a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer against GRFI before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities. Said complaint contains, among others, the following significant allegations:
3. Plaintiffs are the true, absolute and registered owners of a parcel of land, situated at Dayao, Roxas City and covered by and described in TCT No. 18397 issued to the plaintiffs by the Register of Deeds for Roxas City. 4. Sometime in 1991, without the consent and authority of the plaintiffs, defendant took full control and possession of the subject property, developed the same and used it for commercial purposes. 7. Plaintiffs have allowed the defendant for several years, to make use of the land without any contractual or legal basis. Hence, defendants possession of the subject property is only by tolerance. 8. But plaintiffs patience has come to its limits. Hence, sometime in the last quarter of 2002, plaintiffs made several demands upon said defendant to settle and/or pay rentals for the use of the property. 10. Notwithstanding receipt of the demand letters, defendant failed and refused, as it continues to fail and refuse to pay reasonable monthly rentals for the use and occupancy of the land, and to vacate the subject premises despite the lapse of the fifteen-day period specified in the said demand letters. Consequently, defendant is unlawfully withholding possession of the subject property from the plaintiffs, who are the owners thereof.

Issue: Whether or not the allegations in the Complaint establish a cause of action for forcible entry and not an unlawful detainer? Held: Yes. In forcible entry, one is deprived of physical possession of any land or building by means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth. Where the defendants possession of the property is illegal ab initio, the summary action for forcible entry (detentacion) is the remedy to recover possession. In their Complaint, the spouses maintained that the GRFI took possession and control of the subject property without any contractual or legal basis. Assuming that these allegations are true, it hence follows that GRFIs possession was illegal from the very beginning. Therefore, the foundation of the spouses Complaint is one for forcible entry that is, the forcible exclusion of the original possessor by a person who has entered without right. Thus, there can be no tolerance as the spouses alleged that GRFIs possession was illegal at the inception. Corollarily, since the deprivation of physical possession, as alleged in the spouses Complaint was attended by strategy and force, this Court finds that the proper remedy for the spouses was to file a Complaint for Forcible Entry and not the instant suit for unlawful detainer.