***How to determine jurisdiction in accion publiciana and accion reinvindicatoria (1) The actions of forcible entry and unlawful detainer

are within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the MTC, MeTC and MCTC (Sec. 33[2], BP 129; RA 7691) and shall be governed by the rules on summary procedure irrespective of the amount of damages or rental sought to be recovered (Sec. 3, Rule 70). (2) In actions for forcible entry, two allegations are mandatory for the MTC to acquire jurisdiction: (a) plaintiff must allege his prior physical possession of the property; and (b) he must also allege that he was deprived of his possession by force, intimidation, strategy, threat or stealth. If the alleged dispossession did not occur by any of these means, the proper recourse is to file not an action for forcible entry but a plenary action to recover possession (Benguet Corp. Cordillera Caraballo Mission, GR 155343, Sept. 2, 2005). (3) Both actions must be brought within one year from the date of actual entry on the land, in case of forcible entry, and from the date of last demand, in case of unlawful detainer (Valdez vs. CA, GR 132424, May 2, 2006). (4) Jurisdiction is determined by the allegations of the complaint. The mere raising of the issue of tenancy does not automatically divest the court of jurisdiction because the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the allegations of the complaint and is not dependent upon the defenses set up by the defendant (Marino, Jr. vs. Alamis, 450 SCRA 198 [2005]).

THIRD DIVISION ESTATE OF SOLEDAD MANANTAN, herein represented by GILBERT MANANTAN, Petitioner, G.R. No. 145867 Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO, Chairperson, * CARPIO MORALES, CHICO-NAZARIO, NACHURA, and PERALTA, JJ. Promulgated:

- versus ±

ANICETO SOMERA, Respondent.

April 7, 2009 x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

Before Us is a Petition[1] for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to reverse the Decision[2] dated 10 May 2000 and Resolution[3]dated 18 October 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 55891.

The facts gathered from the records are as follows:

On 10 March 1998, Soledad Manantan filed with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Baguio City, Branch 1, a Complaint for ejectment and damages against respondent Aniceto Somera and a certain Presentacion Tavera (Tavera),[4] docketed as Civil Case No. 10467.

Manantan alleged in her Complaint that she was the owner of a 214- square meter parcel of land located in Fairview Subdivision, Baguio City (subject property), as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 54672, issued in her name by the Registry of Deeds of Baguio City. After causing a relocation survey of the subject property, she discovered that respondent and Tavera occupied certain portions thereof [disputed portions]. Manantan advised respondent and Tavera to vacate the disputed portions as soon as she would decide to sell the subject property to an interested buyer. Later, a prospective buyer approached Manantan about the subject property. However, upon learning that respondent and Tavera occupied some portions of the subject property, the prospective buyer decided not to proceed with the sale until after respondent and Tavera vacated the same. Manantan repeatedly requested respondent and Tavera to abandon the disputed portions of the subject property, but the two refused. Hence, Manantan hired the services of a lawyer who immediately sent a formal letter of demand to respondent and Tavera requesting them to leave the disputed portions. Respondent and Tavera, however, ignored the demand letter. Manantan submitted the matter before the barangay justice system of Fairview Subdivision, Baguio City, but the parties failed to reach a settlement. Upon issuance by

the barangay secretary of a Certificate to File Action, Manantan instituted Civil Case No. 10467.

In her Complaint in Civil Case No. 10467, Manantan prayed that respondent, Tavera, and all persons claiming rights under them, be ordered to vacate the portions of the subject property they were occupying; that respondent and Tavera be directed to pay her P600.00 and P400.00, respectively, every month, as reasonable compensation for the use and occupation of the disputed portions of the subject property, computed from the filing of the Complaint until possession of the said portions has been

restored to her; that respondent and Tavera be instructed to pay her P30,000.00 as actual damages, P20,000.00 as attorney¶s fees, litigation expenses, and costs of suit.[5]

Respondent and Tavera filed a Joint Answer to Manantan¶s Complaint in Civil Case No. 10467. In their Joint Answer, respondent and Tavera averred that the MTCC had no jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 10467, because it was neither an action for forcible entry nor for unlawful detainer. The Complaint did not allege that Manantan was deprived of possession of the disputed portions by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, which would make a case for forcible entry. It also did not state that respondent and Tavera withheld possession of the disputed portions from Manantan after expiration or termination of the right to hold possession of the same by virtue of an express or implied contract, which would build a case for unlawful detainer. Respondent and Tavera argued that even if there was dispossession, it was evident from the face of the Complaint that it was not committed through any of the means enumerated under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court and, thus, forcible entry or unlawful detainer could not be the proper remedy for Manantan.[6]

Respondent claimed in the Joint Answer that he and his family had been using one of the disputed portions of the subject property as driveway since the latter part of 1970. The said portion was the only means by which he and his family could gain access to their residence. He even caused the improvement and cementing of the same a long time ago. Tavera also explained in the Joint Answer that she had been utilizing the other disputed portion of the subject property as an access road to her residence. Her tenement, which consisted of concrete and permanent structures, bore witness to the fact that her occupancy of the portion in dispute was continuous and uninterrupted.[7]

Respondent and Tavera additionally asseverated in their Joint Answer that it would be unjust to prohibit them from using the disputed portions which serve as their only means of ingress or egress to or from their respective residences from or to the main road. Their use of said portions had been recognized by the Bayot family, Manantan¶s predecessors-in-interest. It was only in 1997, after Manantan bought the subject property from the Bayot family, that Manantan started to claim ownership even of the portions they had been using. Respondent and Tavera contended that they could not just relinquish their right to the disputed portions and yield to Manantan¶s demand, considering that the latter¶s claim was based merely on a relocation survey. ³[J]ust to buy peace of mind and maintain cordial relations´ with Mananatan, respondent and Tavera alleged that they ³walked the proverbial mile and show[ed] their interest to pay´ Manantan the equivalent amount of the disputed portions, but Manantan ignored their proposal and insisted that they buy the whole of the subject property.

4435-R. 10467. On 29 October 1999. The allegations in the Complaint merely presented a controversy arising from a boundary dispute. The appellate court held that Manantan¶s Complaint before the MTCC failed to allege facts constitutive of forcible entry or unlawful detainer. 10467 on 21 May 1999. Manantan died on 20 January 2000. SP No.´ As builders in good faith. favoring Manantan. they should be allowed to pay a reasonable price for theportions of the subject property on which their driveway/access road.Respondent and Tavera alternatively argued in their Joint Answer that in case Manantan would be declared as the lawful owner of the subject property. counted from the date of the filing of the Complaint up to the time respondent and Tavera would actually vacate the same. It ordered respondent and Tavera to pay Manantan the amount of P600. Respondent and Tavera appealed the MTCC Decision before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). respondent and Tavera asked the MTCC to dismiss Manantan¶s Complaint.00 and P400. the MTCC should not disregard the fact that they were ³builders in good faith. Baguio City. Only respondent elevated the case to the Court of Appeals since Tavera opted not to appeal anymore. Respondent¶s appeal before the Court of Appeals was docketed as CA-G. the appropriate remedy available to Manantan should have been the plenary .000. the RTC promulgated its Decision [10] affirming in toto the appealed MTCC Decision. Branch 5.000. During its pendency. 55891. the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision setting aside the Decisions of both the RTC and the MTCC and dismissing Manantan¶s Complaint in Civil Case No. to declare them builders in good faith who should be allowed to purchase the portions on which their driveway/access road and other improvements were located and to award them their counterclaims for moral damages and P35. the MTCC rendered a Decision[9] in Civil Case No.[8] After submission of the parties¶ respective position papers and other pleadings. on 10 May 2000.R. per month. The MTCC ruled that it had jurisdiction over the case and that respondent and Tavera were not builders in good faith. as reasonable compensation for the use and occupancy of the disputed portions of the subject property. At the end of their Joint Answer. [11] Almost four months later.00 as attorney¶s fees and litigation expenses. It further ordered respondent and Tavera to jointly and severally pay Manantan the amount of P20. and other improvements were situated. respectively. or in case their driveway/access road and other improvements were found to be encroaching on Manantan¶s property. in which case.00.00 attorney¶s fees. Their appeal was docketed as Civil Case No.

affirming in toto the other assailed Decision dated May 21. ANICETO SOMERA and PRESENTACION TAVERA. 10467. PLAINTIFF.[12] The fallo of the Court of Appeals Decision reads: WHEREFORE. representing the Estate of the late Soledad Manantan. 4435-R. Manantan¶s counsel filed a Motion for Reconsideration[13] of the afore-mentioned Decision of the Court of Appeals but it was denied by the same court in the Resolution dated 18 October 2000. Esteves and all persons acting in his behalf or orders to cease and desist from further enforcing the assailed decisions. entitled ³SOLEDAD MANANTAN v. 1999 which was rendered by Branch 5 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City. The assailed Decision dated October 29. WHETHER OR NOT THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES. let a writ of injunction issue permanently enjoining public respondent Judge Antonio M. ANICETA SOMERA AND PRESENTACION TAVERA.EJECTMENT AND DAMAGES ENTITLED ³SOLEDAD MANANTAN. Hence. 10467. II. WHETHER A PORTION OF PETITIONER¶S LAND ENCROACHED BY RESPONDENT CAN BE RECOVERED THROUGH AN ACTION [FOR] EJECTMENT. the Court of Appeals concluded that the MTCC had no jurisdiction over the Complaint in Civil Case No. herein petitioner. V. filed the instant Petition for Review[14] before us raising the following issues: I. 10467. Consequently. HAD THE JURISDICTION OVER THE ACTION . BRANCH 1. prescinding from the foregoing disquisition.´ are hereby both REVERSED AND SET ASIDE and another one entered DISMISSING said Civil Case No. in Civil Case No. petitioner argues that the Complaint is in the nature of an action for unlawful detainer over which the MTCC had jurisdiction. DEFENDANTS. Accordingly. 1999 rendered by the First Branch of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Baguio City in Civil Case No. AND ALL PERSONS CLAIMING RIGHTS UNDER THEM.[15] An action for forcible entry or unlawful detainer is governed by Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. BAGUIO CITY.action for recovery of possession within the jurisdiction of the RTC. and all persons claiming rights under them. Gilbert Manantan. the petition for review is hereby GIVEN DUE COURSE. Section 1 of which provides: . In the main.

SECTION 1. or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor. vendor. in order that a municipal trial court or metropolitan trial court may acquire jurisdiction in an action for unlawful detainer. However. express or implied. or any person or persons claiming under them. Who may institute proceedings. (Emphasis ours. vendee. [17] In unlawful detainer cases. together with damages and costs. defendant¶s possession became illegal when the plaintiff demanded that defendant vacate the subject property due to the expiration or termination of the right to possess under their contract. or other person. Such one year period should be counted from the date of plaintiff¶s last demand on defendant to vacate the real property. for the restitution of such possession. vendor. and when. or stealth. vendee. or a lessor. because only upon the lapse of that period does the possession become unlawful. bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Courtagainst the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession. ± Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding section. a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force.[16] This action may be filed by a lessor. are determined by the allegations in the complaint. vendee. [21] The complaint must show on its face enough ground to give the court jurisdiction without resort to parol testimony. as this proceeding is summary in nature.[22] Thus. express or implied. vendor.[18] A case for unlawful detainer must be instituted before the proper municipal trial court or metropolitan trial court within one year from unlawful withholding of possession. as his possession was permitted by the plaintiff on account of an express or implied contract between them. it is essential that the complaint specifically allege the facts constitutive of . at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession. and defendant refused to heed such demand. 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. strategy. threat. it is necessary that the complaint should embody such a statement of facts clearly showing attributes of unlawful detainer cases.[20] To vest the court with the jurisdiction to effect the ejectment of an occupant from the land in an action for unlawful detainer. the possession of the defendant was originally legal. intimidation. may. [19] Well-settled is the rule that the jurisdiction of the court. 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.) Unlawful detainer is a summary action for the recovery of possession of real property. as well as the nature of the action.

dated January 21 1998. and that after making more demands which were all ignored by the [respondent and Tavera]. the prospective buyer decided not to proceed with the sale until after the property shall have been first vacated by the [respondent and Tavera]. T-54672 of the Registry of Deeds for the City of Baguio.[24] The pertinent allegations in Manantan¶s Complaint before the MTCC are faithfully reproduced below: 3. the municipal trial court or metropolitan trial court has no jurisdiction over the case. because if the complaint was filed beyond the prescribed one year period. copy of which is hereto attached and made part hereof as Annex ³B. then it cannot properly qualify as an action for . signed and issued by the Pangkat Secretary Shirley Pagkangan and duly attested by the Pangkat Chairman Rogelio Laygo. she discovered that the [herein respondent and Tavera] had occupied portions thereof. but to no avail. or when she decides to sell the same to any interested buyer. but that upon knowing of the [respondent and Tavera¶s] encroachments. copy of which is attached hereto and made part hereof as Annex ³A. 7. by reason of which she called their attention with a request that they vacate their respective areas as soon as she would have need of the same. thus.´[25] Noticeably. That she asked the [respondent and Tavera] to vacate her property. [23] The jurisdictional facts must appear on the face of the complaint. Section ³K. 1998. dated February 8. That [Manantan] also brought her problem to the attention of the Barangay Captain of Fairview Subdivision Barangay. no amicable settlement or compromise agreement was arrived at. 5. by way of a letter. and which may be more particularly described in and evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title No.´ Baguio City. situated in Res. as may be evidenced by a Certification to File Action. 4. 8. That when she caused the relocation survey of her said property abovementioned. she wanted to sell her property above-mentioned to an interested buyer. Such allegations are jurisdictional and crucial. It does not state the material dates that would have established that it was filed within one year from the date of Manantan¶s last demand upon respondent to vacate the disputed portion of land. but that they refused to do so. That despite efforts at the Barangay level of justice.´ the same being self-explanatory. who immediately wrote them a final formal demand to vacate her land. designated as Lot 7.unlawful detainer. an action for unlawful detainer is not a proper remedy and. Pcs-CAR-000062. 6. That [Manantan] is the owner in fee simple of that parcel of land. the Complaint does not allege facts showing compliance with the prescribed one year period to file an action for unlawful detainer. [Manantan] was forced to consult her lawyer. When the complaint fails to aver facts constitutive of unlawful detainer. with an area of 214 square meters. That only recently.

if at the time of the filing of the complaint. the action will not be for illegal detainer. more than one year has lapsed since defendant unlawfully withheld possession from plaintiff. It is an ordinary civil proceeding to determine the better right of possession of realty independently of title. 10467 failed to satisfy on its face the jurisdictional requirements for an action for unlawful detainer. meanwhile. Accion reivindicatoria. express or implied. did Manantan begin asserting her claim of ownership over the portion occupied and used by respondent. Lack of jurisdiction of the court over an action or the subject matter of an action cannot be cured by the silence. and. is an action to recover ownership.unlawful detainer over which the MTCC can exercise jurisdiction. acquiescence. the Court of Appeals was correct in holding that the MTCC had no jurisdiction over the said Complaint and should have dismissed the same. respondent¶s possession of the disputed portion was not pursuant to any contract. [28] the Court pronounced: It is axiomatic that the nature of an action and the jurisdiction of a tribunal are determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the law at the time the action was commenced. A decision of the court without jurisdiction is null and void. otherwise. resultantly. Such a judgment may be attacked directly or collaterally. Jurisdiction of the tribunal over the subject matter or nature of an action is conferred only by law and not by the consent or waiver upon a court which. In other words. It may be an accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria. which should be brought before the proper regional trial court when dispossession has lasted for more than one year. would have no jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of an action. [26] Further. which supposedly showed that respondent was encroaching on the subject property. or even by express consent of the parties.[27] Since the Complaint in Civil Case No. which should also be brought before the proper regional trial court in an ordinary civil proceeding. with Manantan. In Laresma v. There is no possible argument around the lack of jurisdiction of MTCC over Civil Case No. At no point can it be said that respondent¶s possession of the disputed portion ceased to be legal and became an unlawful withholding of the property from Manantan. it could never logically become final and executory. If the court has no jurisdiction over the nature of an action. Accion publiciana is the plenary action to recover the right of possession. Abellana. as well as possession. . it may dismiss the same ex mero motu or motu proprio. respondent¶s right of possession over the disputed portion is not subject to expiration or termination. Clearly. but an accion publiciana. hence. 10467. it appears from the allegations in the Complaint that the respondent was already in possession of the disputed portion at the time Manantan bought the subject property from the Bayot family. and it was only after the conduct of a relocation survey.

55891 are herebyAFFIRMED in toto.Petitioner raises a second issue before us: whether petitioner Estate of the late Soledad Manantan can recover the portion of the subject property by an action for ejectment. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. Resolving the second issue shall be a mere surplusage and obiter dictum. its failure to allege vital facts in an action for unlawful detainer over which the MTCC has jurisdiction. PERALTA Associate Justice . i. they being fully cognizant of the facts giving rise to the controversy and the evidence on hand. 10467 is already dismissible upon this ground. No cost. NACHURA Associate Justice DIOSDADO M.e. MINITA V.. it is no longer necessary to discuss whether petitioner availed itself of the proper remedy to recover the disputed portion of land from respondent.[29] It bears to stress that Manantan¶s Complaint is dismissed herein for its defects. the Decision dated 10 May 2000 and Resolution dated 18 October 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. suffice it to say that we do not render advisory opinions.R. The determination of the remedy to avail itself of must be done by petitioner with the guidance of its counsel. SP No. CHICO-NAZARIO Associate Justice WE CONCUR: CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO Associate Justice Chairperson CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice ANTONIO EDUARDO B. If petitioner seeks an answer to said issue as reference for its future action. Since Civil Case No.

. dated 20 March 2009. 602. Id. at 190-196. PUNO Chief Justice * [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] Per Special Order No. who is on official leave. pp. pp. 10-25. Dacudao. Id. pp. Penned by Associate Justice Martin S. 127-131. Records. at 52-56. Id. pp. with Associate Justices Romeo J. Id. concurring. at 48-51. 10. Villarama.ATTESTATION I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court¶s Division. 29-33. CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO Associate Justice Chairperson. designating Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales to replace Associate Justice Ma. Callejo Sr. Rollo. (retired member of this Court) and Renato C. Third Division CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. rollo. Alicia Austria-Martinez. Id. p. Id. CA rollo. and the Division Chairperson¶s Attestation. Id. signed by Chief Justice Reynato S. Jr. REYNATO S. at 27. Rollo. Id. at 33. Puno. Article VIII of the Constitution. it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court¶s Division. 219-226.

ordering the defendants-petitioners herein. G. 2008] FERNANDA GEONZON VDA. Records. Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals.R." forced his way into respondents' 0. 489 SCRA 369. No. 31 March 2005. supra note 18 at 675. Jr. Court of Appeals. v. September 12. 14. Lopez v. Jr. 131 Phil. 245-246 (1995). v.. Lopez v. 114. v. Sarmiento v. id. Court of Appeals. Sarmiento v. to return possession of the subject property to the plaintiffs-herein respondents.. supra note 16 at 378. No.R.R. G.R. 11 November 2004. Branch 16.. 669. Court of Appeals. 214 SCRA 216. Jr. at 542. id. 4 May 2006. 250 SCRA 108. 428 SCRA 577. 116192. David. Sarmiento v. 174346. 2006 Decision of the Court of Appeals. David. Jr. Valdez. Court of Appeals. 223-224. Court of Appeals. 23 September 1992. Sarmiento v. G. Sarmiento v. No. Jr. No.[1] which affirmed that of the Regional Trial Court. at 116. Varona v. David. G. (See Habagat Grill v. supra note 18 at 117. Heirs of Vicente Legaspi. 16 November 1995. said to be a "peace officer connected with the PNP. DMC-Urban Property Developer. 426 SCRA 535. The two forms of ejectment suit are actions for forcible entry and actions for unlawful detainer. v." accompanied by "unidentified CAFGU members. at 115. G. Fernanda Geonzon vda. supra note 16 at 379. Valdez.R. Id. No. [2] and had since tended it. de Barrera and Johnny Oco. Id. supra note 18 at 117.: Under review before this Court is the July 31. 442 SCRA 156. Jr. No.. supra note 16 at 378. JR. Lopez v. 670-671. Oco and company used a tractor to destroy the planted crops.[14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] Rollo. 20 May 2004. Bonifacio. PETITIONERS. 365. TC-97-001. Court of Appeals. (Oco). 583-584. RESPONDENTS. Court of Appeals. Munoz v.. After dispossessing respondents of the property. . Espiritu v. Court of Appeals. id.R. Misamis Occidental. Court of Appeals. at 114.R. Valdez. Court of Appeals. 169. 373 (1968). Espiritu v. pp. Court of Appeals. Jr. Lopez v. REPRESENTED BY PEDRO LEGASPI.R. Valdez. David. J. Sarmiento v. 315 Phil. DECISION CARPIO MORALES. 454 SCRA 653. at 540. v. No. 124148. Panis. 30 March 2004. at 14-18. Jr. Dela Paz v. G. 155110. Jr. HEIRS OF VICENTE LEGASPI. 542. DE BARRERA AND JOHNNY OCO. No. of Tangub City in Civil Case No. 152145.9504-hectare irrigated farmland located at Liloan. 674-675 (1999). id.) SECOND DIVISION [G. Rule 70 of the Revised Rules of Court. 368 Phil. 102693. 140973. petitioner Johnny Oco Jr. Villegas. Section 1. supra note 16 at 376-377. 377-378. Court of Appeals. On October 1. Valdez. p. 238. Inc. id. 132424. VS. 1996. Jr. 1-2.. G. supra note 19 at 543. Sarona v. took possession of the land. Court of Appeals.

In their Memorandum. and despite this discovery.[4] Respondents. 007 which tax declaration cancels former [T]ax [D]eclaration No.[5] after a subdivision survey was conducted in November 30. On the merits. on the other hand. Petitioners raised the issue of ownership as a special affirmative defense. sold 1.[9] as reflected in Tax Declaration No. 007 and on the west also by Lot No. 1996 when petitioners forced their way into it.160.[7] until October 1. 1997 a complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Tangub City for Reconveyance of Possession with Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and Damages[3] against petitioners. on the south Lot No."[11] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Petitioners thereupon appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial court's disposition of the issue of jurisdiction over the subject matter. the land in question was described as a riceland "situated at Liloan.[10] By Decision of November 27. xxxx In [p]ar. in turn. maintaining that it had. however. 7564 in the name of Vicente Legaspi and bounded on the north by a creek. 5454 covering the bigger portion of the land under which the land described under [T]ax [D]eclaration No. SO ORDERED. they never filed any action to recover ownership thereof since they were left undisturbed in their possession. the appellate court affirmed too the trial court's decision. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. it was found out that the land formed part of the titled property of [6] Andrea Lacson. Ordering the latter to return the possession of the land in question to the plaintiffs and 2. the assessed value of the land being only P11. Misamis Occ. What determines the nature of the action as well as the jurisdiction of the [c]ourt are the facts alleged in the complaint and not those alleged in the answer of the defendants. the trial court. Ordering the latter to desist from further depriving and disturbing plaintiffs' peaceful possession thereof. and declared under [T]ax [D]eclaration No. 12.000. possessed and cultivated by their predecessor-in-interest Vicente Legaspi and his wife Lorenza since 1935. P-447 issued on February 10. asserted that the land was occupied. finding that "both testimonial and documentary evidence on record established that appellees. the trial court found for respondents. public and actual possession of the property in dispute even before the [8] . In their Answer. continuous. 7565 is part and parcel thereof [sic]. 7565. de Barrera (Fernanda). through their predecessors-in-interest. they questioned the jurisdiction of the RTC over the subject matter of the complaint. the present estimated value being P50. unless there be another court judgment to the contrary. 2 of plaintiffs' complaint.1148 thereof to his sister petitioner Fernanda Geonzon vda. have been in peaceful. petitioners claimed that the subject land forms part of a three-hectare property described in OCT No. On the issue of jurisdiction over the subject matter. on the east Sec. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs [herein respondents] and against the defendants [-herein petitioners]: 1. held: The Court is not persuaded by [the defendants'] arguments.Respondents thus filed on February 7. 12933 under the name of Lorenza Bacul Legaspi which likewise cancels [T]ax [D]eclaration No. Bonifacio. 1956 in the name of Andrea Lacson who sold a 2-hectare portion thereof to Eleuterio Geonzon who. 1998. 1976.

litigation expenses and costs: Provided. The estimated value.[13] Hence. . oddly."[16] The subject land has an assessed value of P11. to wit: xxxx (3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to. WHETHER . the jurisdictional element is the assessed value of the property. a common exhibit of the parties. or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20. THE NATURE OF THE ACTION AS WELL AS THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT DEPEND ON THE FACTS AS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT.year 1930. AND II. The case. .000. where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50.A. or possession of. Lack of jurisdiction is one of those excepted grounds where the court may dismiss a claim or a case at any time when it appears from the pleadings or the evidence on record that any of those grounds exists. falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the municipal trial court.000 thus fails. WHETHER OWNERSHIP AND TITLE CANNOT BE AN ISSUE TO DETERMINE WHO HAS A BETTER RIGHT [TO] THE PORTION LITIGATED. 7691. . P50.000. The bare claim of respondents that it has a value of P50. the present petition for review which raises the following issues: I.000 where the action is filed in Metro Manila. the value of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots. attorney's fees. (the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980). The first level courts thus have exclusive original jurisdiction over accion publiciana and accion reivindicatoria where the assessed value of the real property does not exceed the aforestated amounts. the issue of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter shall be first considered. No. commonly referred to as fair market value. . italics and underscoring supplied) Before the amendments introduced by Republic Act No." [12] The appellate court emphasized that in an accion publiciana. handwritten on the printed pleading. Assessed value is understood to be "the worth or value of property established by taxing authorities on the basis of which the tax rate is applied. real property.00)or." which allegation is. That in cases of land not declared for taxation purposes. Accordingly. It was error then for the RTC to take cognizance of the complaint based on the allegation that "the present estimated value [of the land is] P50.000. therefore. .00) exclusive of interest. That the issue of lack of jurisdiction was raised by petitioners only in their Memorandum filed before the trial court did not thus render them in . however. 7691 provides for the jurisdiction of metropolitan trial courts. [18] even if they were not raised in the answer or in a motion to dismiss. the only issue involved is the determination of possession de jure. (Emphasis. 7565. damages of whatever kind.160 as reflected in Tax Declaration No. 7691 in 1994. it does not represent the true or market value of the property. the plenary action ofaccion publiciana was to be brought before the regional trial court.[14] For obvious reasons. the jurisdiction of the first level courts has been expanded to include jurisdiction over other real actions where the assessed value does not exceed P20. Commonly. as amended by Republic Act No.[15] With the modifications introduced by R.[17] is entirely different from the assessed value of the property. in civil actions in Metro Manila. Section 33 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129. municipal trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts.000.

since the RTC has no jurisdiction over the complaint filed by respondents. the Court notes that respondents' cause of action . are null and void. 1998.. TC-97-001 is declared NULL and VOID for lack of jurisdiction. Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Manila THIRD DIVISION . The decision of Branch 16 of the Regional Trial Court of Tangub City in Civil Case No. Velasco.estoppel. This leaves it unnecessary to still dwell on the first issue. Respondents' exclusion from the property had thus not lasted for more than one year to call for the remedy of accion publiciana. In fine. SO ORDERED.. WHEREFORE. JJ. (Chairperson). Tinga. Jr. The challenged July 31. all the proceedings therein as well as the Decision of November 27.accion publiciana is a wrong mode. 1997. 2006 Decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE. the petition is hereby GRANTED. The complaint should perforce be dismissed. The dispossession took place on October 1. 1996 and the complaint was filed four months thereafter or on February 7. En passant. and Brion. concur. Quisumbing.

. DIONISIO and ELEANOR R.-x DECISION PERALTA. Petitioners. in her capacity as the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Promulgated: July 22.. Chairperson.. J. J...versus HON. in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City..... DIONISIO and VALERIANA DIONISIO (namely.... CHICO-NAZARIO. Respondents.... MANUEL TARO. and the HEIRS OF SPOUSES APOLONIO V. ANA DE GUIA SAN PEDRO and ALEJO DOPEÑO. VELASCO..: ... Branch 42. and PERALTA. HON.. FATIMA G... No... NACHURA.... ASDALA. Branch 87... .. herein represented by ALLAN GEORGE R..........R. JR. 2009 x . JJ... DIONISIO)... 164560 Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO. DIONISIO......G. ALLAN GEORGE R....

with Prayer for Preliminary Mandatory Injunction. Branch 42. with malice and evident bad faith. in CA-G. for their part. Sometime in July 2001. the MeTC had exclusive original jurisdiction over actions involving title to or possession of real property of small value. that petitioners and Wood Crest and/or its members be ordered to pay actual and moral damages. respectively. It was further alleged in the Complaint that petitioners' Transfer Certificate of Title over their alleged property was spurious. 2004. that petitioners be ordered to surrender possession of subject property to them. but petitioners.R. The MeTC then issued an Order[4] dated July 4. Private respondents had allegedly been prevented from entering. as the subject of litigation was incapable of pecuniary estimation. heirs of spouses Apolonio and Valeriana Dionisio. 129. 78978.100. 2002 denying the motion to dismiss. filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Quezon City. claimed that they were the owners of a parcel of land that encompasses and covers subject property. The antecedent facts are as follows. 2002 was denied. a Complaint[2] against herein petitioners and Wood Crest Residents Association. filed a Motion to Dismiss[3] said complaint on the ground that the MeTC had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action. ruling that. private respondents. was titled in the name of spouses Apolonio and Valeriana Dionisio. Quieting of Title and Damages. Private respondents alleged that subject property located in Batasan Hills. SP No.) Blg. Inc. Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration of said Order dated July 4. possessing and using subject property. . for Accion Reivindicatoria. as amended. praying that the Resolutions [1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated September 15. with an assessed value ofP32. Petitioners.P. and attorney's fees. under Batas Pambansa (B. Quezon City. 2003 and June 1..00.This resolves the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Private respondents then prayed that they be declared the sole and absolute owners of the subject property. be reversed and set aside.

AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF RTC BRANCH 87. A Motion for Reconsideration[6] of the Decision was filed by petitioners. in its Decision dated March 10. 129. but was denied in an Order[7] dated July 3. in support thereof. as it involves recovery of ownership and possession of real property located in Quezon City. 2003. In the assailed CA Resolution dated September 15. 2003. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the resolution of dismissal was denied per Resolution[8] dated June 1. 2004. The RTC sustained the MeTC ruling. the MeTC had jurisdiction over the complaint for Accion Reivindicatoria. petitioners filed the instant petition and.000. . amending B. they allege that: THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN (SIC) EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN DENYING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND FOR FAILURE TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE RAISED IN THE CERTIORARI REGARDING THE JURISDICTION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF A CASE OF ACCION REINVINDICATORIA. Branch 87. in accordance with Section 33(3) of Republic Act (R. THE HONORABLE PUBLIC RESPONDENT FATIMA GONZALES-ASDALA. the RTC dismissed the petition. the CA dismissed the petition outright.) No. stating that. finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the MeTC Presiding Judge. holding that certiorari was not available to petitioners as they should have availed themselves of the remedy of appeal.A. However. Thus.P. with an assessed value not exceeding P50. insisting that both the MeTC and RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by not ordering the dismissal of the complaint for Accion Reivindicatoria. [5] Petitioners then filed with the Court of Appeals another petition for certiorari. Blg.00. 2003. 7691.Petitioners assailed the aforementioned Order by filing a petition for certiorari with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City. ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF (SIC) JURISDICTION IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND IN RESOLVING THAT A CASE OF ACCION REINVINDICATORIA IS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT. for lack of jurisdiction over the same. QUEZON CITY.

[11] therefore. Thus. APOLONIO V. BRANCH 42. even if the ground therefor is grave abuse of discretion. certiorari will not prosper. Petitioner's resort to this Court by Petition for Certiorari was a fatal procedural error. petitioner had an adequate remedy. not a special civil action for certiorari was. therefore. speedy and adequate remedy in the course of law. a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. certiorari is not and cannot be a substitute for a lost appeal. not alternative or successive. as in this case. v. ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN (SIC) EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN SO TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THE COMPLAINT FOR ACCION REINVINDICATORIA IN CIVIL CASE NO. Hence. The settled rule is that appeals from judgments or final orders or resolutions of the CA should be by a verified petition for review on certiorari. ET. the special civil action for certiorari will not be entertained ± remedies of appeal and certiorari are mutually exclusive. 27434 ENTITLED.THE HONORABLE PUBLIC RESPONDENT MANUEL TARO AS PRESIDING JUDGE MeTC. . speedy and adequate remedy. AL. Where an appeal was available. especially if one's own negligence or error in one's choice of remedy occasioned such loss or lapse. QUEZON CITY. DIONISIO AND VALERIANA DIONISIO. because such recourse is proper only if the party has no plain.´[9] The present Petition for Certiorari is doomed and should not have been entertained from the very beginning. in Pasiona. VS. Jr. One of the requisites of certiorari is that there be no available appeal or any plain. ³HEIRS OF SPS. as provided for under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. A petition for review on certiorari. namely. ETC. xxxx Settled is the rule that where appeal is available to the aggrieved party. ANA DE GUIA SAN PEDRO. In this case. fail. and the instant petition must. [10] the Court expounded as follows: The aggrieved party is proscribed from assailing a decision or final order of the CA via Rule 65. Court of Appeals. the correct remedy.

or any interest therein. or possession of.For the very same reason given above. possession of. in civil actions in Metro Manila. under the present law. Sr." Thus.P. litigation expenses and costs. damages of whatever kind. Verily. the assailed CA Resolutions have attained finality. the Court reiterates the ruling in Heirs of Valeriano S. Concha. the CA.000. 129. 129 is divided between the first and second level courts. the RTC and the CA ruled correctly that the MeTC had jurisdiction over private respondents' complaint for Accion Reivindicatoria. real property. the present Petition for Certiorari should not have been given due course at all. since the period for petitioners to file a petition for review on certiorari had lapsed by the time the instant petition was filed. real property or any interest therein" under Section 19(2) of B. The distinction between the two classes became crucial with the amendment introduced by R. where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50. real property. or one involving title to property under Section 19(2)."[13] Clearly. Nevertheless.00) exclusive of interest.[12] to wit: In a number of cases. there was no substantial effect on jurisdiction whether a case is one. No. which expanded the exclusive original jurisdiction of the first level courts to include "all civil actions which involve title to. v. on the ground that petitioners should have resorted to the remedy of appeal instead of certiorari. 7691 in 1994. Moreover. just to put the matter to rest.A. .´ xxxx x x x Thus. we have held that actions for reconveyance of or for cancellation of title to or to quiet title over real property are actions that fall under the classification of cases that involve ³title to.000. Spouses Lumocso. the subject matter of which was incapable of pecuniary estimation. This amendment was introduced to "unclog the overloaded dockets of the RTCs which would result in the speedier administration of justice. therefore. acted properly when it dismissed the petition for certiorari outright.P. or possession of. with the assessed value of the real property involved as the benchmark. or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20. under the old law. attorney's fees.00) or. under Section 19(1) of B. original jurisdiction over cases the subject matter of which involves "title to.

the petition is DISMISSED for utter lack of merit. SO ORDERED. CHICO-NAZARIO Associate Justice PRESBITERO J. 2003 and June 1. PERALTA Associate Justice WE CONCUR: CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO Associate Justice Chairperson MINITA V. dated September 15. JR. 2004. 78978. DIOSDADO M.R. VELASCO.IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. are AFFIRMED. SP No. Associate Justice . The Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.

I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court¶s Division. . CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO Associate Justice Third Division. NACHURA Associate Justice ATTESTATION I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court¶s Division. Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson¶s Attestation.ANTONIO EDUARDO B. Chairperson CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13.

[4] Id. 158121. (Emphasis supplied). Abdulwahid. citing Iloilo La Filipina Uycongco Corporationv. REYES and HILARION C. pp. DE LOPEZ and PILAR SANTOS. 196-199. M. REYES. pp. petitioners. 2007. HON. Court of First Instance of Bulacan. [5] Penned by Judge Fatima Gonzales-Asdala. 2008.R. 540 SCRA 1. at 194-195. . E. Sabio. MARIA. [1] Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. 559 SCRA 137. [3] Id. [9] Id. [2] Rollo. pp. HILARIA SANTOS VDA. Branch II.R. L-33213 June 29. (2007). ANDRES STA.R. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied). July 21. No. at 14-15. 1979 ARTEMIO C. 37-48. with Associate Justices Jose L. at 78-84. PUNO Chief Justice Penned by Associate Justice Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis. 539 SCRA 178. [11] Id. at 255. Reyes for petitioner. [10] G. No. 165471. and Hakim S. [6] Rollo. concurring. Jr. rollo.REYNATO S. id. 27 & 29. [7] Id. vs. [8] Id. at 151-142. [13] Id. No. at 29. Court of Appeals. December 21. Presiding Judge. at 16-18. respondents. at 99-100. [12] G.

Bulacan with an area of 368. Reyes for respondents. thru the intervention and entreaty of one Maximo Santos. 1968. an estimate of Fifty (P50. and (b) that said defendants will leave and vacate the premises anytime the plaintiffs so demand. the latter used and occupied said land free of charge. Hagonoy. 2 Petitioners accordingly prayed in their complaint for judgment (a) "declaring [them] to be the owners of the property described . 1968 an action which they termed as one to quiet title to a certain residential lot in Barrio San Sebastian. and more particularly bounded and described as follows: (Description omitted) 3.. ". and 7. Such action was clearly an accion publiciana for the recovery of the right to possess (possesion de jure) (if not an accion reivindicatoria) falling within the lower court's jurisdiction and not a mere action for detainer to recover physical possession (possession de facto) which would fall within the jurisdiction of the municipal court (if filed within one year after unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession) as erroneously held by the lower court in its dismissal order. 1 wherein they made the following averments: 2. said defendants should vacate and leave the same. J. as attorney's fees. TEEHANKEE. 4. 1968.5 square meters and to recover the possession thereof from respondents as defendants. and alleging further that they bought the same from a certain Pablo Aguinaldo. (b) "ordering the defendants to vacate the premises and return the possession of the same to plaintiffs. the sum of Fifty . That in order to quiet the title of ownership over this land. she suffered damages in the sum of One Thousand Pesos (P1. Philippine Currency.Ruben T. Petitioners as plaintiffs in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan had filed on April 1. to wit: (a) that instead of paying rentals on the premises defendants undertook to pay the corresponding real estate taxes on the land.: The Court sets aside the lower court's Order which dismissed petitioners-plaintiffs' complaint filed before it for recovery of the property in the possession of respondents-defendants and for declaration of ownership thereof as against said respondents' contrary claim of ownership on the ground of alleged lack of jurisdiction.000. but said defendants unreasonably refused at the same time claiming ownership of the property. 5. as a consequence. 1968. jointly and severally. Hagonoy. That the defendants thru their acts stated above have therefore maliciously and unlawfully detained the land of plaintiffs since February." (c) "ordering the defendants to pay plaintiffs.00) Pesos monthly rental is hereby claimed as reasonable damages suffered by plaintiffs since February. under the following conditions. Bulacan. That through the tolerance and goodwill of plaintiffs.. That plaintiffs are owners pro-indiviso of a certain residential lot situated in the Barrio of San Sebastian. hence. That for the unlawful occupation of the land. 6. plaintiffs verbally notified defendants that said plaintiffs were in need of the land.00). father of the defendants. the plaintiffs have been compelled to institute the present action and. That sometime in February.

property. until the possession of the premises is finally restored in favor of plaintiffs. and (3) accion de reivindicacion which seeks the recovery of ownership (which of course includes the jus utendi and the jus fruendi also brought in the Court of First Instance. The Court further underscored therein "that an action for recovery of possession is an urgent matter which . 3 It has been said that "(T)he only issue in forcible entry and detainer cases is the physical possession of real property possession de facto and not possession de jure If plaintiff can prove a prior possession in himself. As reaffirmed by the Court in the analogous case of Aguilon vs. the question of possession being merely reduced to an incidental issue. Neither does the prayer of said complaint asking that the plaintiffs be declared the owners of the property in question constitute a cause of action. 1968. the case falls within the original exclusive jurisdiction of the inferior court or municipal court" as against petitioners? opposition that "plaintiffs' complaint is principally one to quiet title to property. contra el que posee sin derecho o' con titulo menos firme para que se ponga la cosa en poder del actor con todas las accesiones. Upon the other hand." and further ordering defendants to pay them (d) P1. is not sufficient by itself to consider this case as an action for quieting title under Article 476 of the New Civil Code. The allegation in paragraph 5 of said complaint 'that in order to quiet the title of ownership over this land.The lower court reasoned that: A perusal of the actual averments of facts in the complaint do not reveal any allegation of ultimate facts which could sufficiently support an action to quiet title. which action 'correspondent al que tiene derecho a la possession. Consequently. Their action was clearly one of accion publiciana for recovery of possession de jure if not one of accion reivindicatoria for declaration of their ownership of the land. (2) the accion publiciana which is for the recovery of the right to possess and is a plenary action in an ordinary civil proceeding in a Court of First Instance.00 attorney's fees and (e) costs of suit. Whatever may be the character of his prior possession. it is plain that the allegations of facts are only constitutive of an action for unlawful detainer. The lower court was clearly in error in issuing its dismissal order on its mistaken notion "that the allegations of facts are only constitutive of an action for unlawful detainer" since the complaint shows on its face that respondents' refusal to deliver the possession of the property was due to their adverse claim of ownership of the same property and their counter-allegation that they had bought the same from a certain Pablo Aguinaldo. Hence. the plaintiffs have been compelled to institute the present action . the present petition for review and setting aside of the dismissal order. therefore. 1968.Pesos (P50. Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil) which seeks the recovery of physical possession only and is brought within one year in the justice of the peace court. 4Petitioners' action was not merely for recovery of possession de facto. Upon respondents' motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that "the court has no jurisdiction over the nature of the action or suit" and that the action embodied in petitioners' complaint "is actually one for ejectment or unlawful detainer. frutos ets' (I Enciclopedia Juridica Espanola 450). petitioners' action was clearly one for recovery of their right to possess the property (possessionde jure) as well as to be declared the owners thereof as against the contrary claim of respondents.. he may recover such possession even from the owner himself." the lower court issued its appealed order of August 15. which the Court finds to be meritorious. (1) the summary action for forcible entry or detainer (denominated accion interdictalunder the former law of procedure. rental or damages every month effective the first day of February. namely. finding the motion to dismiss to be "well founded" and dismissing the case "for lack of jurisdiction"." and such accion publiciana or the plenary action in an ordinary civil proceeding to determine the better and legal right to possess (independently of title) clearly falls within the jurisdiction of the Courts of First Instance and not of the Municipal Courts. Philippine Currency.00). and.000. Bohol 5 petitioners action is at least "an accion publiciana. As restated by the late Chief Justice Moran: "There are three kinds of actions for the recovery of possession of real pro.. he has the security that entitles him to stay on the property until he is lawfully ejected by a person having a better right by either accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria. if he has in his favor priority of time.

Petitioners filed before the RTC their Complaint for Reivindicacion. therefore. which dismissed. against respondents Benigno Tappa. Jerry Reyna. Petitioners alleged in their Complaint that they are the owners of a parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title 3 (TCT) No. 2009 CARMEN DANAO MALANA. rendered by Branch 3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tuguegarao City. T-127937 situated in Tuguegarao City. With costs against respondents. Petitioners inherited the 4 subject property from Anastacio Danao (Anastacio).Respondents. concur. BENIGNO TAPPA. the Complaint of petitioners Carmen Danao Malana. Saturnino Cambri. Petitioners. vs. During the lifetime of Anastacio. MARIA DANAO ACORDA. Having been fully apprised of respondents' refusal to surrender possession and their contrary claim of ownership of the same property. SATURNINO CAMBRI and SPOUSES FRANCISCO AND MARIA LIGUTAN. Leticia Danao. 181303 September 17. and 31 October 2007. who died intestate. J. for lack of jurisdiction. in Civil Case No. Guerrero. correctly filed their accion publiciana before the lower court as against respondents! claim that they should instead have filed a summary action for detainer in the municipal court. petitioners properly filed their accion publiciana with the Court of First Instance to avoid getting enmeshed in what would certainly have been another jurisdictional dispute. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Maria Danao Accorda. De Castro and Melencio-Herrera. JERRY REYNA. MARIA DANAO ACORDA. and Damages2 against respondents on 27 March 2007. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO. Makasiar. the court should act swiftly and expeditiously in cases of that nature. 6868. Cagayan (subject property). violence or even loss of life and. Petitioners. since they could reasonably foresee that if indeed they had filed a summary action for illegal detainer instead in the municipal court. assailing the Orders dated 4 May 2007. respondents would then have contended. and Leonora Danao. JJ. No. 6868. setting aside the lower court's dismissal order of August 15. Francisco Ligutan and Maria Ligutan.: This is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.R. judgment is hereby rendered. FERMINA DANAO. therefore. Fernandez. contrary to their present claim. 6 ACCORDINGLY.. 30 May 2007. LETICIA DANAO and LEONORA DANAO. Evelyn Danao. 1968 and the case is remanded to respondent Court of First Instance with instructions to expedite the proceedings and trial and determination thereof on the merits. that the municipal court is without jurisdiction over the detainer case by virtue of their contrary claim of ownership of the property. Fermina Danao. Quieting of Title. EVELYN DANAO.must be decided promptly to forestall breaches of peace. This decision is immediately executory. 1 . docketed as Civil Case No. the last two are represented herein by their Attorney-inFact.

the accion reivindicacion was included merely to enable them to seek complete relief from respondents.6 continued to occupy the subject property even after her death.000. The RTC decreed in its 4 May 2007 Order that: The Court has no jurisdiction over the action. and incapable of proving the latter¶s claim of ownership over the subject property.00. Anastacio and Consuelo agreed that the latter would vacate the said land at any time that Anastacio and his heirs might need it. Petitioners also learned that respondents were claiming ownership over the subject property.he had allowed Consuelo Pauig (Consuelo). in the amount of P50. respondents asserted that they owned the subject property and presented documents ostensibly supporting their claim of ownership. Petitioner¶s 13 Complaint should not have been dismissed. They also contended that there was no obstacle to their joining the two causes of action..00. 7691. it is the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) that exercises exclusive jurisdiction over real actions where the assessed value of real property does not exceedP20. it being a real action involving a real property with assessed value less than P20. i. 0215 48386 was P410. quieting of title and reivindicacion.12 Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforementioned RTC Order dismissing their Complaint. In an Order dated 30 May 2007. Petitioners additionally sought in their Complaint an award against respondents for actual damages. petitioners¶ action to recover the same was outside the jurisdiction of the RTC.000. Thus.00 and hereby dismisses the same without prejudice. Petitioners filed another pleading.00.00 as attorney¶s fees. since Section 1. in which they prayed that the RTC Orders dated 4 May 2007 and 30 May 2007. petitioners were compelled to file before the RTC a Complaint to 8 remove such cloud from their title. petitioners asked to recover from respondents P50.000. Respondents.00. hence. They argued that their principal cause of action was for quieting of title. in violation of Article 19 of the Civil Code on Human Relations. which vests the RTC with jurisdiction over real actions.00. Averring that they already needed it. It reasoned that an action to quiet title is a real action.000. nevertheless. the RTC denied petitioners¶ Motion for Reconsideration.e. simply designated as Motion. It found that the subject property had a value of less than P20. to build on and occupy the southern portion of the subject property. petitioners demanded that respondents vacate the same. however. the real action involving the same was outside the jurisdiction of the RTC. citing Rumarate v. in a single Complaint. since the latter had acted in bad faith and resorted to unlawful means to establish their claim over the subject property. already building their residences thereon using permanent materials. According to petitioners. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court states that 14 an action to quiet title falls under the jurisdiction of the RTC. Pursuant to Republic Act No. Consuelo¶s family members. where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds P20.11 amending Batas Pambansa Blg. falsified. They reiterated their earlier argument that Section 1. dismissing their Complaint.9 Petitioners likewise prayed for an award against respondents for exemplary damages. . otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. who was married to Joaquin Boncad.7 Petitioners referred their land dispute with respondents to the Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay Annafunan West for conciliation. resulting from the latter¶s baseless claim over the subject property that did not actually belong to them. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court states that an action to quiet title falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC. in the amount of P50. 7691. refused to heed petitioners¶ demand.000. Since the assessed value of subject property per Tax Declaration No. respondents¶ documents were highly dubious. because the latter¶s refusal to vacate the property constrained petitioners to engage the services of a lawyer.000. During the conciliation proceedings. they created a cloud upon petitioners¶ title to the property.5 Petitioners claimed that respondents. The RTC referred to Republic Act No. be set aside. 129.000. Finally.10 Before respondents could file their answer.00. the RTC issued an Order dated 4 May 2007 dismissing petitioners¶ Complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

16 And even if the two causes of action could not be joined. refers to a different set of remedies. or whose rights are affected by a statute. ordinance. where petitioners raise the sole issue of: I WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT OF THE PETITIONERS MOTU PROPRIO. where the assessed value of the real property involved does not exceed P50. The RTC correctly made a distinction between the first and the second paragraphs of Section 1. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court.21 Petitions for declaratory relief are governed by Rule 63 of the Rules of Court.00 in all other places. to quiet title to real property or remove clouds therefrom. The RTC dissected Section 1. may be brought under this Rule. which includes an action to quiet title to real property. which provides: Section 1. however. It would seem that they are only challenging the fact that their Complaint was dismissed by the RTC motu proprio. will. however.00 in Metro Manila and P20. or any other governmental regulation may.Hernandez. or to consolidate ownership under Article 1607 of the Civil Code. An action for declaratory relief should be filed by a person interested under a deed. a contract or other written instrument. but for lack of jurisdiction. the Motion is hereby denied. a regulation or an ordinance. executive order or regulation. In view of the foregoing considerations.17 The RTC issued an Order dated 31 October 2007 denying petitioners¶ Motion. not on the ground of misjoinder of causes of action. the present Petition. which vests the MTC with jurisdiction over real actions. 02-48386. and whose rights are affected by a statute. 7691. before breach or violation thereof. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court. contract or other written instrument. The second paragraph. The RTC differentiated between the first and the second paragraphs of Section 1. a will.19 Hence. [Herein petitioners] do not dispute the assessed value of the property at P410. it has no jurisdiction over the action. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court. The Court rules in the negative.18 The dispositive part of the 31 October 2007 Order of the RTC reads: This Court maintains that an action to quiet title is a real action.000. and for a declaration of his rights or duties. the Court determines that the fundamental issue for its resolution is whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioners¶ Complaint for lack of jurisdiction. thereunder. The second paragraph must be read in relation to Republic Act No. . The relief sought under this remedy includes the interpretation and determination of the validity of the written instrument and the judicial declaration of the parties¶ rights or duties thereunder. It clarified that their Complaint was dismissed.00 under Tax Declaration No. which should be brought before the RTC. Based on the facts and arguments set forth in the instant Petition. The first paragraph refers to an action for declaratory relief. bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court to determine any question of construction or validity arising. an executive order. petitioners maintained that the misjoinder of said causes of action was not a ground for the dismissal of their Complaint.000.20 Petitioners¶ statement of the issue is misleading. Any person interested under a deed. Who may file petition. Hence. An action for the reformation of an instrument.

Rule 63 may be brought before the appropriate RTC.000. to quiet title to real property or remove clouds therefrom. bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court to determine any question of construction or validity arising. and for a declaration of his rights or duties.00) exclusive of interest. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court. litigation expenses and costs: x x x (Emphasis ours. damages of whatever kind.00. real property.²Metropolitan Trial Courts. said provision must be read together with those of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. It repeatedly uses the word "may" ± that an action for quieting of title "may be brought under [the] Rule" on petitions for declaratory relief. where such assessed value does not exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (P50. attorney¶s fees. Section 1. often without the need of execution to carry the judgment into effect. before breach or violation thereof. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court further provides in its second paragraph that: An action for the reformation of an instrument. a petition for declaratory relief under the first paragraph of Section 1. Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Civil Cases. or any other governmental regulation may. These three remedies are considered similar to declaratory relief because they also result in the adjudication of the legal rights of the litigants. possession of.) . an opportunity or an option. or whose rights are affected by a statute.22 To determine which court has jurisdiction over the actions identified in the second paragraph of Section 1. will. as amended. or to consolidate ownership under Article 1607 of the Civil Code. contract or other written instrument. to wit: Any person interested under a deed. ordinance. uses the word "shall" and explicitly requires the MTC to exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all civil actions which involve title to or possession of real property where the assessed value does not exceed P20. thereunder. (Emphasis ours. thus: Section 33. as amended. authorized by Articles 476 to 481 of the Civil Code. and (3) an action to consolidate ownership required by Article 1607 of the Civil Code in a sale with a right to repurchase. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court.) The second paragraph of Section 1. describes the general circumstances in which a person may file a petition for declaratory relief. Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: xxxx (3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to. may be brought under this Rule.000. It is important to note that Section 1. the mandatory provision of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. in civil actions in Metro Manila. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court does not categorically require that an action to quiet title be filed before the RTC. (2) an action to quiet title.23 In contrast. or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20.00) or.The first paragraph of Section 1.) As the afore-quoted provision states. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts. recognized under Articles 1359 to 1369 of the Civil Code. executive order or regulation. (Emphasis ours. and a person desiring to file a petition for declaratory relief "may x x x bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court.000." The use of the word "may" in a statute denotes that the provision is merely permissive and indicates a mere possibility. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court specifically refers to (1) an action for the reformation of an instrument.

not the RTC. In the present case. A petition for declaratory relief gives a practical remedy for ending controversies that have not reached the state where another relief is immediately available. acted in complete accord with law and jurisprudence. Jurisdiction over such an action would depend on the value of the property involved. Given that the subject property herein is valued only atP410.24 Since the purpose of an action for declaratory relief is to secure an authoritative statement of the rights and obligations of the parties under a statute. and not to settle issues arising from an alleged breach thereof. in direct challenge to petitioners¶ title.00. in dismissing petitioners¶ Complaint. If the court has no jurisdiction over the nature of an action. Where the law or contract has already been contravened prior to the filing of an action for declaratory relief. The RTC. petitioners¶ Complaint for quieting of title was filed after petitioners already demanded and respondents refused to vacate the subject property. the courts can no longer assume jurisdiction over the action. said Complaint was filed only subsequent to the latter¶s express claim of ownership over the subject property before the Lupong Tagapamayapa. Jurisdiction of the tribunal over the subject matter or nature of an action is conferred only by law and not by the consent or waiver upon a court which. not a case for declaratory relief. the assessed value of the subject property as stated in Tax Declaration No. and supplies the need for a form of action that will set controversies at rest before they lead to a repudiation of 25 obligations. Lack of jurisdiction of the court over an action or the subject matter of an action cannot be cured by the silence. deed. and a commission of wrongs. As for the RTC dismissing petitioners¶ Complaint motu proprio. or compliance therewith. the proper remedy for them is the filing of an accion publiciana or an accion reivindicatoria. or even by express consent of the parties. Since petitioners averred in the Complaint that they had already been deprived of the possession of their property.00. Abellana proves instructive: It is axiomatic that the nature of an action and the jurisdiction of a tribunal are determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the law at the time the action was commenced. (Emphasis supplied. an action for declaratory relief presupposes that there has been no actual breach of the instruments involved or of rights arising thereunder. In other words. filed one year after the occurrence of the cause of action or from the unlawful withholding of possession of the realty. 6868 for lack of jurisdiction. x x x. or contract to which it refers. without prejudice.271avvphi1 Petitioners¶ Complaint contained sufficient allegations for an accion reivindicatoria. Furthermore. an invasion of rights. which is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. deed. petitioners¶ Complaint in Civil Case No. it may dismiss the same ex mero motu or motu proprio. In fact. petitioners¶ Complaint involving title to and possession of the said property is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the MTC.) Since the RTC. therefore. would have no jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of an action. acquiescence. An accion reivindicatoria is a suit that has for its object one¶s recovery of possession over the real property as owner. a court has no more jurisdiction over an action for declaratory relief if its subject has already been infringed or transgressed 26 before the institution of the action. it cannot be said to have done so with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. has jurisdiction over an action to recover the same. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law or to act at all in . therefore. not the RTC. the following pronouncements of the Court 28 inLaresma v. it may be entertained only before the breach or violation of the statute.As found by the RTC. did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing. An accion publiciana is a suit for the recovery of possession. or contract for their guidance in the enforcement thereof. 0248386 is only P410. otherwise. An act of a court or tribunal may only be considered to have been committed in grave abuse of discretion when the same was performed in a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment. then the MTC.

The Orders dated 4 May 2007. the instant Petition is DISMISSED. No such circumstances exist herein as to justify the issuance of a writ of certiorari. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila Republic of the Philippines cralaw Supreme Court cralaw Manila cralaw cralaw THIRD DIVISION cralaw cralaw . Costs against the petitioners. 6868. The Regional Trial Court is ordered to REMAND the records of this case to the Municipal Trial Court or the court of proper jurisdiction for proper disposition. are AFFIRMED. 30 May 2007 and 31 October 2007 of the Regional Trial Court of Tuguegarao City.contemplation of law. as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of 29 passion or personal hostility. dismissing the Complaint in Civil Case No. Branch 3. SO ORDERED. without prejudice.

MANUEL TARO. cralaw ANA DE GUIA SAN PEDRO and ALEJO DOPEO. DIONISIO). ASDALA. No. ALLAN GEORGE R. cralaw VELASCO. in her capacity as the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Petitioners. Respondents. 2009 HON.versus cralaw cralaw cralaw cralaw cralaw cralaw Promulgated: July 22. cralaw cralaw cralaw cralaw . JJ.. cralaw CHICO-NAZARIO. and cralaw PERALTA. DIONISIO and VALERIANA DIONISIO (namely.G. DIONISIO and ELEANOR R. Branch 87. NACHURA. in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City. JR. cralaw Chairperson.R. . 164560 Present: cralaw YNARES-SANTIAGO.. DIONISIO. J. and the HEIRS OF SPOUSES APOLONIO V. FATIMA G. herein represented by ALLAN GEORGE R. HON. Branch 42.

.R. cralaw cralaw Sometime in July 2001.. private respondents. heirs of spouses Apolonio and Valeriana Dionisio. as amended. Quezon City. with an assessed value of P32.. as the subject of litigation was incapable of pecuniary estimation. praying that the Resolutions [1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated September 15.... Private respondents had allegedly been prevented from entering.... 2002 denying the motion to dismiss.P. for Accion Reivindicatoria. for their part.) Blg. SP No. the MeTC had exclusive original jurisdiction over actions involving title to or possession of real property of small value. be reversed and set aside. but petitioners.... 129.. that petitioners be ordered to surrender possession of subject property to them. claimed that they were the owners of a parcel of land that encompasses and covers subject property. cralaw The antecedent facts are as follows.. that petitioners and Wood Crest and/or its members be ordered to pay actual and moral damages... cralaw cralaw Petitioners. and attorney's fees... Private respondents then prayed that they be declared the sole and absolute owners of the subject property. with malice and evident bad faith... ruling that.. cralaw cralaw The MeTC then issued an Order [4] dated July 4. a Complaint [2] against herein petitioners and Wood Crest Residents Association. Quieting of Title and Damages... 2003 and June 1. Inc. in CA-G..-x cralaw cralaw D E C I S I O N cralaw cralaw PERALTA.. 78978. filed a Motion to Dismiss [3] said complaint on the ground that the MeTC had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action... Branch 42.. cralaw cralaw . It was further alleged in the Complaint that petitioners' Transfer Certificate of Title over their alleged property was spurious. 2004.. with Prayer for Preliminary Mandatory Injunction.... filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Quezon City.x ..100. was titled in the name of spouses Apolonio and Valeriana Dionisio.... under Batas Pambansa (B. Private respondents alleged that subject property located in Batasan Hills..00..: cralaw This resolves the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. respectively.. possessing and using subject property. J...

QUEZON CITY. Branch 87. ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF (SIC) JURISDICTION IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARIAND IN RESOLVING THAT A CASE OF ACCION REINVINDICATORIA IS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT.) No. A Motion for Reconsideration [6] of the Decision was filed by petitioners.A. with an assessed value not exceeding P50. the CA dismissed the petition outright. in support thereof. However. petitioners filed the instant petition and. the MeTC had jurisdiction over the complaint for Accion Reivindicatoria. cralaw cralaw THE HONORABLE PUBLIC RESPONDENT FATIMA GONZALES-ASDALA. cralaw cralaw Petitioners then filed with the Court of Appeals another petition for certiorari.00.000. for lack of jurisdiction over the same. AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF RTC BRANCH 87. 2003. 2002 was denied. the RTC dismissed the petition. but was denied in an Order [7]dated July 3. Blg. in its Decision [5] dated March 10. 129. in accordance with Section 33(3) of Republic Act (R.Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration of said Order dated July 4. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the resolution of dismissal was denied per Resolution[8] dated June 1. cralaw cralaw . insisting that both the MeTC and RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by not ordering the dismissal of the complaint for Accion Reivindicatoria.In the assailed CA Resolution dated September 15.P. as it involves recovery of ownership and possession of real property located in Quezon City. amending B. cralaw cralaw Petitioners assailed the aforementioned Order by filing a petition for certiorari with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City. 2003. 7691. 2004. The RTC sustained the MeTC ruling. finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the MeTC Presiding Judge. 2003. they allege that: cralaw cralaw cralaw THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN (SIC) EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN DENYING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND FOR FAILURE TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE RAISED IN THE CERTIORARI REGARDING THE JURISDICTION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF A CASE OF ACCION REINVINDICATORIA. stating that. holding that certiorari was not available to petitioners as they should have availed themselves of the remedy of appeal. cralaw cralaw Thus.

not a special civil action for certiorari was. as provided for under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. Where an appeal was available. [10] the Court expounded as follows: cralaw cralaw The aggrieved party is proscribed from assailing a decision or final order of the CA via Rule 65. not alternative or successive. a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. VS. on the ground that petitioners should have resorted to the remedy of appeal instead of certiorari. Thus. ET. ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN (SIC) EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN SO TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THE COMPLAINT FOR ACCION REINVINDICATORIA IN CIVIL CASE NO. the CA.THE HONORABLE PUBLIC RESPONDENT MANUEL TARO AS PRESIDING JUDGE MeTC. 27434 ENTITLED. HEIRS OF SPS. BRANCH 42. APOLONIO V. speedy and adequate remedy in the course of law. speedy and adequate remedy. and the instant petition must. namely. cralaw cralaw x x x x cralaw cralaw Settled is the rule that where appeal is available to the aggrieved party. [11] For the very same reason given above. One of the requisites of certiorari is that there be no available appeal or any plain. Jr. ANA DE GUIA SAN PEDRO. certiorari is not and cannot be a substitute for a lost appeal. Verily. certiorari will not prosper. therefore. therefore. therefore. A petition for review on certiorari. especially if one's own negligence or error in one's choice of remedy occasioned such loss or lapse. In this case. acted properly when it dismissed the petition for certiorari outright. . even if the ground therefor is grave abuse of discretion. DIONISIO AND VALERIANA DIONISIO. cralaw cralaw The settled rule is that appeals from judgments or final orders or resolutions of the CA should be by a verified petition for review on certiorari. ETC. in Pasiona. as in this case. Petitioner's resort to this Court by Petition for Certiorari was a fatal procedural error. the correct remedy. [9] cralaw cralaw cralaw The present Petition for Certiorari is doomed and should not have been entertained from the very beginning. petitioner had an adequate remedy. Hence. the special civil action for certiorari will not be entertained remedies of appeal and certiorari are mutually exclusive. QUEZON CITY. fail. Court of Appeals. because such recourse is proper only if the party has no plain. the present Petition for Certiorari should not have been given due course at all. v. AL.

which expanded the exclusive original jurisdiction of the first level courts to include "all civil actions which involve title to. Sr. v. possession of. cralaw cralaw IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. dated September 15. or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20." Thus. Spouses Lumocso.P.000. The Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. are AFFIRMED. attorney's fees. or possession of.A. or any interest therein. damages of whatever kind. litigation expenses and costs. cralaw cralaw SO ORDERED. [12] to wit: In a number of cases. the RTC and the CA ruled correctly that the MeTC had jurisdiction over private respondents' complaint for Accion Reivindicatoria. 2003 and June 1. real property. there was no substantial effect on jurisdiction whether a case is one." [13] cralaw cralaw cralaw Clearly. real property. where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50. under the present law. since the period for petitioners to file a petition for review on certiorari had lapsed by the time the instant petition was filed. the Court reiterates the ruling in Heirs of Valeriano S. This amendment was introduced to "unclog the overloaded dockets of the RTCs which would result in the speedier administration of justice. or possession of. real property or any interest therein" under Section 19(2) of B. original jurisdiction over cases the subject matter of which involves "title to. we have held that actions for reconveyance of or for cancellation of title to or to quiet title over real property are actions that fall under the classification of cases that involve title to. No. Concha. the assailed CA Resolutions have attained finality. just to put the matter to rest.P. 129 is divided between the first and second level courts. cralaw .00) exclusive of interest.00) or. 7691 in 1994. SP No. under Section 19(1) of B. with the assessed value of the real property involved as the benchmark.000. the subject matter of which was incapable of pecuniary estimation. 2004. xxxx x x x Thus. the petition is DISMISSED for utter lack of merit. under the old law. 78978. in civil actions in Metro Manila.R. 129.Moreover. Nevertheless. or one involving title to property under Section 19(2). The distinction between the two classes became crucial with the amendment introduced by R.

for allegedly unlawfully entering a parcel of land and constructed a house of light materials thereon. or an accion reivindicatoria. one employs FISTS to deprive another physical possession of land or building. HELD: In forcible entry. 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. which is an action to recover ownership as well as possession. then the one-year period is counted from the time plaintiff knew about it. 132197 . Upon failure of petitioner to submit a survey report. Indeed. INC. INC. Forcible entry is a quieting process. the judge ordered the return of the records of the case to the court of origin for disposal. the house of petitioner was actually situated in the lot subject of the anti-squatting case and not on the lot of the spouses. However.BONGATO V. after the lapse of the one-year period. Sole question for resolution hinges on the physical or material possession of the property. The judge made a warning that there will be no extension granted for the submission of the survey and failure to do so would prompt the issuance of the writ of execution. In the present case.R. the house has been in existence prior to the alleged date of forcible entry. the respondents had knowledge of the existence of the house long before the alleged date of entry. SECOND DIVISION ROSS RICA SALES CENTER. Present: G. Third. plaintiff must allege and prove prior physical possession of the property in litigation until deprived thereof by defendant. when entry is made through stealth. First.. The trial court orderedpetitioner to vacate the lot and thereafter issued an order insofar as to determine the location of the houses involved in the civil case is the same with the one in the criminal case for anti-squatting. Second. Thus. No. MALVAR 387 SCRA 327 FACTS: Spouses Malvar filed a complaint for forcible entry against Bongato. and JUANITO KING & SONS. Ejectment cases proceed independently of any claim of ownership and the plaintiff needs merely to prove prior possession de facto and undue deprivation thereof. and that the restrictive time bar is prescribed to complement the summary nature of the process. the party dispossessed of a parcel of land may file either anaccion publiciana. Neither a claim of juridical possession nor an averment of ownership by the defendant can outrightly prevent the court from taking cognizance of the case. which is a plenary action to recover the right to possession. the lower court lacked jurisdiction in this case. Petitioners.

PUNO, J., Chairman, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, - versus TINGA, and CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ. SPOUSES GERRY ONG and ELIZABETH ONG, Respondents. August 16, 2005 x-------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION Tinga, J.: In a Decision[1] dated 6 January 1998, the Former First Division of the Court of Appeals overturned the decisions of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) and the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City, ruling instead that the MTC had no jurisdiction over the subject complaint for unlawful detainer. This petition for review prays for the reversal of the aforesaid Court of Appeals¶ Decision. The case originated from a complaint for ejectment filed by petitioners against respondents, docketed as Civil Case No. 2376, before the MTC of Mandaue City, Branch I. In the complaint, petitioners alleged the fact of their ownership of three (3) parcels of land covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. 36466, 36467 and 36468. Petitioners likewise acknowledged respondent Elizabeth Ong¶s ownership of the lots previous to theirs. On 26 January 1995, Atty. Joseph M. Baduel, representing Mandaue Prime Estate Realty, wrote respondents informing them of its intent to use the lots and asking them to vacate within thirty (30) days from receipt of the letter. But respondents refused to vacate, thereby unlawfully withholding possession of said lots, so petitioners alleged. Ross Rica Sales Center, Inc. and Juanito King and Sons, Inc. (petitioners) had acquired the lands from Mandaue Prime Estate Realty through a sale made on 23 March 1995. In turn, it appears that Mandaue Prime Estate Realty had acquired the properties from the respondents through a Deed of Absolute Sale dated 14 July 1994. However, this latter deed of sale and the transfers of title consequential thereto were subsequently sought to be annulled by respondents in a complaint filed on 13 February 1995 before the Mandaue RTC against Mandaue Prime Estate Realty.[2] Per record, this case is still pending resolution. Promulgated: CALLEJO, SR.,

Meanwhile, the MYC resolved the ejectment case on 24 April 1996, with the decision ordering respondents to vacate the premises in question and to peacefully turn over possession thereof to petitioners. On appeal, the RTC rendered on 1 March 1997 a judgment affirming the MTC¶s decision in its entirety. On 8 May 1997, respondents filed a notice of appeal. However, on the following day, they filed a motion for reconsideration. On 23 June 1997, the RTC issued an Order which concurrently gave due course to respondents¶ notice of appeal filed on 8 May 1997; denied their motion for reconsideration dated 9 May 1997,[3] and granted petitioners¶ motion for immediate execution pending appeal. In a Petition for Certiorari with Injunction filed with the Court of Appeals and treated as a Petition for Review, the appellate court ruled that the MTC had no jurisdiction over said case as there was no contract between the parties, express or implied, as would qualify the same as one for unlawful detainer. Thus, the assailed Orders of the MTC and RTC were set aside. Petitioners then took this recourse via Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The principal issues raised before this Court are: (i) whether the RTC decision has already become final and executory at the time the petition for review was filed; (ii) whether the allegations in the complaint constitute a case for unlawful detainer properly cognizable by the MTC; and, (iii) whether petitioners, as registered owners, are entitled to the possession of the subject premises. We resolve the first argument to be without merit. The following sequence of events is undisputed: (1) judgment of the MTC. (2) decision. (3) On 1 March 1997, the RTC rendered the questioned decision affirming the

On 28 April 1997, respondents received a copy of the aforementioned

On 8 May 1997, respondents filed a Notice of Appeal with the RTC.

(4) On 9 May 1997, respondents filed likewise with the RTC a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforementioned 1 March 1997 decision. (5) On 23 June 1997, the RTC of Mandaue issued an Order denying respondents¶ Motion for Reconsideration. (6) 1997 Order. On 9 July 1997, respondents received a copy of the aforementioned 23 June

(7) On 24 July 1997, respondents filed with the Court of Appeals their motion for an additional period of ten (10) days within which to file their Petition for Review.

(8) Review.

On 30 July 1997, respondents filed with the Court of Appeals their Petition for

Petitioners assert that the Petition for Review was filed beyond the fifteen (15)-day period for appeal. They theorize that the period started running on 28 April 1995, the date of receipt of the RTC decision, and ended on 13 May 1997. According to them, this reglementary period could not have been interrupted by the filing on 9 May 1997 of the Motion for Reconsiderationbecause of the filing one day earlier of the Notice of Appeal. This Notice of Appeal dated 8 May 1997, albeit the wrong mode of appeal, expressly manifested their intention to file a petition for review to either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.[4] Petitioners further argue that respondents, after having filed the Notice of Appeal which was given due course by the RTC, cannot take an inconsistent stand such as filing a Motion for Reconsideration. Such filing, therefore, did not toll the fifteen (15)-day period which started running from the date of receipt of the RTC decision on 28 April 1997 and ended on 13 May 1997. Respondents, in their Comment,[5] submit that the filing of theNotice of Appeal dated 8 May 1997 was improper, and as such did not produce any legal effect. Therefore, the filing of theMotion for ReconsiderationMotion for Reconsideration on the ground that the respondents had already filed a Notice of Appeal. The Order dated 23 June 1997 stated: immediately on the following day cured this defect. The RTC refused to subscribe respondents¶ position. It justified the denial of the On record is a Notice of Appeal by Certiorari filed by Defendants on May 8, 1997. Likewise filed by Defendants on May 9, 1997 is a Motion for Reconsideration. Considering the Notice of Appeal filed earlier which the court hereby approves, the Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED. The Motion for Immediate Execution Pending Appeal being meritorious, is GRANTED.[6] (Emphasis in the original.) Strangely enough, the Court of Appeals passed no comment on this point when it took cognizance of respondents¶ position and reversed the RTC. But does this necessarily mean that the RTC was correct when it declared that the Motion for Reconsideration was barred by the filing of the Notice of Appeal, no matter how erroneous the latter mode was? Rule 42 governs the mode of appeal applicable in this case. Sec. 1 provides: Section 1. How appeal taken; time for filing. -- A party desiring to appeal from a decision of the RTC rendered in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction may file a verified petition for review with the Court of Appeals, paying at the same time to the clerk of said court the corresponding docket and other lawful fees, depositing the amount of P500.00 for costs, and furnishing the Regional Trial Court and the adverse party with a copy of the petition. The petition shall be filed and served within fifteen (15) days from notice of the decision sought to be reviewed or of the denial of petitioner¶s motion for new trial or reconsideration filed in due time after judgment. Upon proper motion and the payment of the full amount of the docket and other lawful fees and the deposit for costs before the expiration of the reglementary period, the Court

Counting fifteen (15) days from receipt of the denial of the Motion for Reconsideration and the ten (10)-day request for additional period. it is clear that respondents filed their Petition for Review on time. Section 3. intimidation. a petition for review before the Court of Appeals is the proper mode of appeal from a decision of the RTC. threat. Since the unlawful detainer case was filed with the MTC and affirmed by the RTC. the filing of the Motion for Reconsideration may be deemed as an effective withdrawal of the defective Notice of Appeal. The factual circumstances in the two cases are different. We disagree with the Court of Appeals. Said ruling was affirmed by the RTC. The MTC considered itself as having jurisdiction over the ejectment complaint and disposed of the same in favor of petitioners.. petitioners should have filed a Petition for Review with the Court of Appeals and not a Notice of Appealwith the RTC. we consider this to have been remedied by the timely filing of the Motion for Reconsiderationon the following day. namely: that the allegations fail to show that petitioners were deprived of possession by force. De la Cruz is a criminal case. between the parties as would qualify the case as one of unlawful detainer.. A Motion for Additional Time to File the Petition was likewise filed with the Court of Appeals. and that there is no contract. governed by criminal procedure. Now on the second and more important issue raised by petitioners: whether the Complaint satisfies the jurisdictional requirements for a case of unlawful detainer properly cognizable by the MTC. De la Cruz[7] that once a notice of appeal is filed. Petitioners invoke to the ruling in People v. . express or implied. it is considered as if no appeal was interposed.of Appeals may grant an additional period of fifteen (15) days only within which to file the petition for review. Since the filing of the notice of appeal is erroneous. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts and found the complaint to be one not for unlawful detainer based on two (2) grounds. as a matter of right. Perforce. The complaint for unlawful detainer contained the following material allegations: . strategy or stealth. before the filing of the appellee¶s brief.. it cannot be validly withdrawn to give way to a motion for reconsideration. Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that the proper mode of appeal from a decision of the RTC is a notice of appeal and an appeal is deemed perfected upon filing of the notice of appeal. Applying this rule contextually. the period of appeal was tolled by the Motion for Reconsideration and started to run again from the receipt of the order denying the Motion for Reconsideration. However. Section 3. No further extension shall be granted except for the most compelling reason and in no case to exceed fifteen (15) days. In the case at bar. Rule 50 of the Rules of Court allows the withdrawal of appeal at any time.

plaintiffs have suffered damages in the form of unearned rentals in the amount of P10. Lot No.[9] Respondents contend that the complaint did not allege that petitioners¶ possession was originally lawful but had ceased to be so due to the expiration of the right to possess by virtue of any express or implied contract. the phrase "unlawful withholding" has been held to imply possession on the part of defendant. 36466 of the Register of Deeds of Mandaue City.T. having no other source than a contract. That in unlawfully withholding the possession of said lots from the plaintiffs. Barba v. defendant Elizabeth Ong and her husband and co-defendant Jerry Ong have been living in the house constructed on said lots. the defendants have refused and still refuse to vacate said lots. wrote defendants a letter informing them or their intent to use said lots and demanded of them to vacate said lots within 30 days from receipt of said letter. Court of the Appeals. through the undersigned counsel. 1-A which is covered by T. That plaintiffs are the owners of Lot No. 6. Copies of said Transfer Certificate of Titles are hereto attached as Annexes ³A´. It is equally settled that in an action for unlawful detainer. No. That on May 6.[11] Hence. . 1995.[8] Well-settled is the rule that what determines the nature of an action as well as which court has jurisdiction over it are the allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought. Court of Appeals. Copy of said letter is hereto attached as Annex ³D´ and made an integral part thereof.C.T.C. without necessarily employing the terminology of the law. No. That defendant Elizabeth Ong is the previous registered owner of said lots. That despite demand to vacate. 8.[12] In Rosanna B. express or implied. . 5. In Javelosa v. 36467 of the Register of Deeds of Mandaue City and Lot No. The emphasis placed by the Court of Appeals on the presence of a contract as a requisite to qualify the case as one of unlawful detainer contradicts the various jurisprudence dealing on the matter. . .000. an allegation that the defendant is unlawfully withholding possession from the plaintiff is deemed sufficient. thus. 86-A which is covered by T.00 a month .C. 2. 7.[10] it was held that the allegation in the complaint that there was unlawful withholding of possession is sufficient to make out a case for unlawful detainer.[13] we held that a simple allegation that the defendant is unlawfully withholding possession from plaintiff is sufficient. 4. all situated in the City of Mandaue.3. plaintiffs. ³B´. which is covered by T. That as the previous registered owner of said lots. and ³C´ respectively and made an integral part hereof. No. 36468 of the Register of Deeds of Mandaue City. and which later expired as a right and is being withheld by defendant.T. which was legal in the beginning. unlawfully withholding possession of said lots from plaintiffs and depriving plaintiffs of the use of their lots.

petitioners fail to mention any of the incidents of the pending case involving the annulment of deed of sale and title over said property. Respondents would like to capitalize on the requisites as cited in the case of Raymundo dela Paz v. accordingly. so respondents conclude. and not the MTC. Petitioners. .[18] Moreover. are seeking recovery of possession under a claim of ownership which is tantamount to recovery of possession based on alleged title to the lands. petitioners alleged that they are the registered owners of the lots covered by TCT Nos. Respondents insist that the RTC. the complaint establishes the basic elements of an unlawful detainer case.[19] respondents maintain that they occupy the subject lots as the legal owners. . In their Comment. The acknowledgment in their pleadings of the fact of prior . The issue involved in accion reivindicatoria is the recovery of ownership of real property. . on the ground that petitioners were constantly claiming ownership over the lands in the guise of filing an action for ejectment. . and therefore is within the original jurisdiction of the RTC. despite demand to vacate. Diaz[17] justifies a more liberal approach. for they involve perturbation of social order which must be restored as promptly as possible and. . Clearly. The principle underlying the brevity and simplicity of pleadings in forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases rests upon considerations of public policy. technicalities or details of procedure should be carefully avoided. Respondents refused. the defendants have refused and still refuse to vacate said lots. This differs from accion publicianawhere the issue is the better right of possession or possessionde jure.[20] where the issue is material possession or possession Neither the allegation in petitioners¶ complaint for ejectment nor the defenses thereto raised by respondents sufficiently convert this case into an accion reivindicatoria which is beyond the province of the MTC to decide. 36466. In an action for unlawful detainer. had jurisdiction over the action. By their implied tolerance. to remain therein. on the other hand. they have allowed respondents. The case of Co Tiamco v. Cases of forcible entry and detainer are summary in nature. Petitioners did not institute the complaint for ejectment as a means of claiming or obtaining ownership of the properties. it being an accion reivindicatoriaaccording to them. thus: But the citation is a mere reiteration of Sec. Nonetheless. thus. The case doesid not provide for rigid standards in the drafting of the ejectment complaint. they eventually sent a letter to respondents asking that the latter vacate the said lots. unlawfully withholding possession of said lots from plaintiffs and depriving plaintiffs of the use of their lots. and accion interdictalde facto. certainly sufficient for the purpose of vesting jurisdiction over it in the MTC.Based on this premise. which brings us to the nature of the action in this case. the former owners of the properties. In the subject complaint. the allegation in the Complaint that: . thereby depriving petitioners of possession of the lots.[14] is already sufficient to constitute an unlawful detainer case. This contention is not tenable. Panis. Rule 70 . 1. the question of possession is primordial while the issue of ownership is generally unessential.[15][16] of the Rules of Court. 36467 and 36468. Petitioners know better than to question this in an ejectment proceeding.

specifically the unlawful withholding of possession. Consequently. MAN-2356 will not abate the ejectment case. Even if respondents claim ownership as a defense to the complaint for ejectment. The long settled rule is that the issue of ownership cannot be subject of a collateral attack. Petitioners.[25] this Court held that the fact that respondents had previously filed a separate action for the reformation of a deed of absolute sale into one of pacto de retro sale or equitable mortgage in the same Court of First Instance is not a valid reason to frustrate the summary remedy of ejectment afforded by law to the plaintiff. that before us is only the initial determination of ownership over the lot in dispute. This is meant only to establish one of the necessary elements for a case of unlawful detainer. while there may be identity of parties and subject matter in the forcible entry case and the suit for annulment of title and/or reconveyance. the conclusion would be the same for mere assertion of ownership by the defendant in an ejectment case will not therefore oust the municipal court of its summary jurisdiction. that is. would not bar or prejudice an action between the same parties involving title to the property. the lower court's adjudication of ownership in the ejectment case is merely provisional. however. Therefore. Gaurana.[23] this Court ruled that the filing of an action for reconveyance of title over the same property or for annulment of the deed of sale over the land does not divest the MTC of its jurisdiction to try the forcible entry or unlawful detainer case before it. the rights asserted and the relief prayed for are not the same. In Drilon v.[21] This Court in Ganadin v. Court of Appeals. the rationale being that. it does not matter if ownership is claimed by either party. . possession de facto and not possession de jure. The Court reiterated this in the case of Tecson v. and our affirmance of the trial courts' decisions as well.[24] In Oronce v. therefore. the pending actions for declaration of nullity of deed of sale and Transfer Certificates of Title and quieting of title in Civil Case No. Gutierrez[26] when it ruled: We must stress. The mere fact that they claim ownership over the parcels of land as well did not deprive the MTC of jurisdiction to try the ejectment case. Ramos[22] stated that if what is prayed for is ejectment or recovery of possession. if and when such action is brought seasonably before the proper forum.ownership by respondents does not constitute a recognition of respondents¶ present ownership. The foregoing doctrine is a necessary consequence of the nature of forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases where the only issue to be settled is the physical or material possession over the real property. an adjudication made in an ejectment proceeding regarding the issue of ownership should be regarded as merely provisional and. only sought to recover physical possession of the subject property. would not bar or prejudice an action between the same parties involving title to the land. although the issue of ownership is inseparably linked thereto. for the purpose of settling the issue of possession. As such. in all their pleadings.

Under Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. for one year renewable for the same period. . ROMERO. Jesus Jalbuena. bound himself to deliver 252 .[28] With the conclusion of the second issue in favor of petitioners. vs. 1990 in "Corazon Jalbuena de Leon v. 1995 CORAZON JALBUENA DE LEON. COURT OF APPEALS (SPECIAL SECOND DIVISION) and ULDARICO INAYAN. Inayan. CV No. SO ORDERED. a certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack." (CA-G.R. .785 square meters located in Barangays Guintas and Bingke. Costs against respondents. petitioner. except in a direct proceeding for that purpose in accordance with law. private respondent herein. 1990. The issue of the validity of the title of the respondents can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. respondents. J. Napnod. the owner of the land. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. The subject property in the case at bench involves two parcels of irrigated riceland covering an area of 117. HON. Whether or not the petitioners have the right to claim ownership over the property is beyond the power of the court a quo to determine in an action for unlawful detainer. Iloilo. Court of Appeals.R. 19777) which 2 reversed its original decision dated May 24. we are asked to set aside the amended decision of the Court of Appeals dated 1 November 8. entered into a verbal lease contract in 1970 with Uldarico Inayan. It cannot be altered. Uldarico Inayan.[27] this Court had the occasion to clarify this: . the Petition is GRANTED. 96107 June 19. WHEREFORE. Leganes. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 6 January 1998 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the Decision dated 24 April 1996 of the Municipal Trial Court of Mandaue City REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. modified or cancelled. No. there is no need to discuss the third assignment of error which is related to the second issue.: In this petition for review.In Apostol v. 1529.

These Certificates of Land Transfer were subsequently canceled by the then Ministry of Agrarian Reform on November 22. Recovery of Possession. Ordering defendant Uldarico Inayan to pay plaintiff Corazon Jalbuena de Leon.000. Recovery of Unpaid Rentals and Damages. in his Answer. was allowed to continue with the lease from year to year. he refused to do so. plus costs. claimed that the land had been tenanted by his father since 1938 and that he has already been issued Certificates of Land Transfer (CLT) for the subject property. 4 . Declaring the lease contract between plaintiff and defendant as a civil law lease.00 as attorney' s fees.cavans of palay each year as rental to be paid during the first ten days of January. When asked by the petitioner to vacate the land. 1984. and 6. 1983 upon a finding that said lands were owned by Jesus Jalbuena and that the CLTs were erroneously issued. judgment is hereby rendered: 1. which deposit should be released in favor of plaintiff. P1." Private respondent. asserted dominion over the land. Private respondent who was a godson of Jesus Jalbuena. one thousand two hundred sixty (1.00 as litigation expenses. Ordering defendant Uldarico Inayan and his privies and successors-in-interest to immediately vacate the land subject-matter of this complaint and to return possession thereof to plaintiff. 4.000.28 representing the unpaid irrigation fees. and P2.260) cavans of palay representing unpaid rentals from 1983 up to 1987. and that the same has already been terminated due to defendant's failure to pay his rentals from 1983 up to the present. Ordering defendant Inayan to pay to plaintiff Jalbuena de Leon the sum of P38. the lower court issued an order adopting the procedure in agrarian cases. Dismissing defendant's counterclaim for lack of merit. The dispositive portion of the trial court's decision dated February 26. or its money equivalent computed at the current market price of palay. 2. less whatever amount may have been deposited by defendant with the Court during the pendency of this case. and all fees thereafter until possession of the land has been transferred to the plaintiff.501. Petitioner Corazon Jalbuena de Leon is the daughter of Jesus Jalbuena and the transferee of the subject property. In March 1984. Premises considered.00 as moral damages. Ordering defendant Inayan to pay to plaintiff Jalbuena de Leon the sum of P3.000. 5. prompting the latter to bring an action in court. 3 On April 11. 3. 1988 in favor of petitioner De Leon reads: WHEREFORE. Although private respondent cultivated the subject property through hired men. the cavans of palay were paid annually until 1983 when Inayan ceased paying the agreed rental and instead. herein petitioner filed a complaint against private respondent before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City for "Termination of Civil Law Lease.

petitioner argues that the issue of lack of jurisdiction should not have been resolved in favor of private respondent who had voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the court a quo and raised the issue only after an adverse decision was rendered against him. Such failure on her part is fatal to her cause since the one-year period within which a detainer suit may be instituted had not yet elapsed when Civil Case No. a summary action for recovery of physical possession that should have been brought before the proper inferior court. 89312. that the case. the decision appealed from should be. even if acting as an agrarian court. To make private respondent a deforciant so that the unlawful detainer suit may be properly filed. it was he who insisted. Since the parties did not confine themselves to issues pertaining solely to possession but also to the nature of the lease contract.R. 15700 entitled "Uldarico Inayan v. involving. Private respondent Inayan claims that the issue in the instant petition. had no jurisdiction over the action. had jurisdiction over the unlawful detainer suit filed by petitioner. it is necessary to allege when demand to pay rent and to vacate were made. 9 15628 was filed. with a MODIFICATION that the period within which appellant should be ordered to pay the rentals in arrears now covers the years 1983 to 1990. private respondent's attack on the jurisdiction of the lower court must fail for he is guilty of estoppel. Hon. 10 The petition is impressed with merit. should be referred to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform. No. . the appellate court held that petitioner's complaint below was anchored on acción interdictal. had already been ruled upon by the Court of Appeals in CA G. 6 Despite several opportunities to question the jurisdiction of the lower court. he failed to do so. acting as an agrarian court. 1990. 1990. on May 24. Hence this petition for review. affirmed the trial court's decision. 5 It held that while jurisdiction must exist as a matter of law. Next.On appeal to the Court of Appeals. the appellate court held that since regional trial courts. private respondent raises the issue of res judicata in his comment.P. In its amended decision. Moreover. Respondent court then set aside its earlier decision and dismissed the civil case filed by petitioner below (Civil Case No. now have exclusive original jurisdiction over agrarian cases. 15628) for want of jurisdiction. whether or not the trial court. it was no error for the court below. Aside from emphasizing the correctness of respondent court's ruling that the case below was a mere ejectment case. acting as Court of Agrarian Relations. 7 Finally. The respondent appellate court. through his misrepresentations.R. 129. private respondent raised the sole issue of jurisdiction and alleged that the lower court. purely agrarian issues. as it is hereby AFFIRMED. the case is not one of unlawful detainer but one incapable of pecuniary estimation. SP No. Costs against appellant. The court found that this requisite was not specifically met in petitioner's complaint below. i. to resolve a controversy involving a civil lease. Alonsagay and Corazon Jalbuena" and the petition for review of said decision had already been denied by this Court in G. the court below was devoid of jurisdiction to entertain the case. 8 Private respondent's motion to reconsider the above decision was granted by the Court of Appeals on November 8. by express provision of B. Section 24. as it does. premises considered. It is petitioner's contention that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the case below is an unlawful detainer action. but still applying the special rules of agrarian procedure.e. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. Therefore.

22 Acción reivindicatoria. not one of unlawful detainer. More specifically. Illegal detainer consists in withholding by a person from another of the possession of a land or building to which the latter is entitled after the expiration or termination of the former's right to hold possession by virtue of a contract. It was necessary for the trial court below to determine whether the lease was civil and not an agricultural or tenancy relationship and whether its termination was in order.The primary issue presented here revolves around the jurisdiction of the trial court. 17 An ejectment suit is brought before the proper inferior court to recover physical possession only or possession de facto and not possession de jure. it is necessary to first ascertain the nature of the complaint filed before it. to try the suit filed by petitioner. then acting as a court of agrarian relations employing agrarian procedure. the case involves more than just the issue of possession. 20 Under these circumstances. pay back rentals. If at all. Plaintiff likewise prayed that defendant be ordered to vacate the premises. Clearly. moral and exemplary damages and litigation fees. An unlawful detainer suit (acción interdictal) together with forcible entry are the two forms of an ejectment suit that may be filed to recover possession of real property. inferior courts are empowered to rule on the question of ownership raised by the defendant in such suits. should also be filed in the regional trial court. A study of the complaint instituted by petitioner in the lower court reveals that the case is. make up the 16 three kinds of actions to judicially recover possession. in paragraph 4: . Recovery of 23 Unpaid Rentals and Damages" After alleging the facts regarding the lease of the subject property. Recovery of Possession. Petitioner's complaint was for "Termination of Civil Law Lease. 13 Barring highly 14 meritorious and exceptional circumstances. the complaint emphasized. only to resolve the issue of possession. Aside from the summary action of ejectment. Forcible entry and unlawful detainer are quieting processes and the one-year time bar to the suit is in pursuance of the summary nature of the 18 action. Acción publiciana is the plenary action to recover the right of possession when dispossession has lasted for more than one year or when dispossession was effected by means other than those mentioned in Rule 70. not conclusive. 11 It is determinable on the basis of allegations in the complaint. express or implied. neither estoppel nor waiver may be raised as defenses to 15 such an error. In order to determine whether the court below had jurisdiction. 12 An error in jurisdiction can be raised at any time and even for the first time on appeal. including the recovery of possession. The use of summary procedure in ejectment cases is intended to provide an expeditious means of protecting actual possession or right to possession of the property. however. unpaid irrigation fees. which is an action to recover ownership. contrary to the findings of the respondent appellate court. a plenary action 21 may be brought before the regional trial court. Jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is conferred only by the Constitution or by law. acción publicianaor the plenary action to recover the right of possession and acción reivindicatoria or the action to recover ownership which includes recovery of possession. where dispossession has lasted for not more than one year. petitioner prayed that the trial court declare the civil law lease (and not "tenancy or agricultural lease") terminated. including Inayan's refusal to pay rent and to vacate. They are not processes to determine the actual title to an estate. 19 Its determination on the ownership issue is.

acting as a court of agrarian relations. The circumstances outlining estoppel must be unequivocal and intentional. It likewise involved the propriety of terminating the relationship contracted by said parties. the regional trial court possessed jurisdiction to try and resolve the case. Jesus Jalbuena and defendant Uldarico Inayan definitely agreed that the contract was to be CIVIL LAW LEASE NOT TENANCY OR AGRICULTURAL LEASE. damages and incidental fees. the case is converted from a mere detainer suit to one "incapable of pecuniary estimation. in its original decision. Private respondent cannot be allowed to seek refuge under the protective mantle of the law after he has abused and made a mockery of it. He is directly responsible for the trial court's use of the special rules of agrarian procedure. 25 A detainer suit exclusively involves the issue of physical possession. 27 We find that the situation in the case at bench falls within the ambit of justifiable cases where estoppel may be applied. one of the issues in the case below was whether or not the contract entered into by the plaintiff and defendant was a civil law lease or an agricultural lease. Not being merely a case of ejectment. such as for instance. considered estopped from asserting the court's want of jurisdiction to try the case." thereby placing it under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the regional trial courts (formerly the courts of 26 first instance). and only after an adverse decision was leveled against him. repudiate or question that same jurisdiction. In the past. as well as the demand upon defendant to deliver the premises and pay unpaid rentals. the respective rights of parties under various contractual arrangements and the validity thereof. Accordingly. The case below. Still on the question of jurisdiction. Private respondent cannot now use these same misrepresentations to assert the court's lack of jurisdiction. claimed that the trial court. Its use as a defense to a jurisdictional error is more of an exception rather than the rule. 24 As correctly determined by the trial court. did not have jurisdiction over the complaint filed by petitioner because the latter did not concern itself with tenancy or agrarian matters. the next issue was whether the lease contract between the parties had been terminated in 1983 for failure of defendant to pay his annual rental.That in entering into the contract. the principle of estoppel has been used by the courts to avoid a clear case of injustice. The Court of Appeals. Where the issues of the case extend beyond those commonly involved in unlawful detainer suits. The trial court's recourse to agrarian procedure was undoubtedly provoked by private respondent Inayan's insistence on the existence of a tenancy relationship with petitioner. If the former. however. for it is an exception to standard legal norms and is generally applied only in highly exceptional and justifiable cases. But private respondent's case is different for it does not involve an honest mistake. for a period of one (1) year renewable for the same period at the option and agreement of the parties. . after failing to obtain such relief. He cannot invoke the court's jurisdiction to secure affirmative relief against petitioner and. therefore. ruled that private respondent was guilty of estoppel. private respondent Inayan. as appellant before the respondent court. His insistence brought about the want of jurisdiction he conveniently asserted before the appellate court. He is. he can not successfully raise the issue. did not concern merely the issue of possession but as well. Estoppel is likewise not appreciated where a mistaken belief in the court's jurisdiction is maintained. 28 Participation in judicial proceedings where the court was devoid of jurisdiction is not normally considered as estoppel because the jurisdiction of a court is mandated by law. the nature of the lease contracted by petitioner's predecessor-in-interest and private respondent.

Sept.D.R. 9. L-33850. The decision in CA-G. The respondent court also correctly held: Finally.Moreover. therefore. Herbas 121 SCRA 756) conversely. In the latter. . Mariano.R. Banayo. acting as an agrarian court. in effect assumed its character as an agrarian court which is a court of limited jurisdiction. whether a particular matter should be resolved by it in the exercise of its general jurisdiction. is not a jurisdictional question but a procedural question involving a mode of practice which. we find that the decision of the appellate court did not categorically rule on the matter of jurisdiction but only made mention of it in passing and in ruling upon the real issue of the correctness of execution pending appeal ordered by the respondent judge. 33 In sum. SP No. 1976. 946 was to be observed at the trial of the case at bar.P. 89312 30 are not the same. may be waived (Manalo vs. agrarian courts have no jurisdiction in cases where there is no tenancy relation between the parties (Dumlao vs. however. the issue involved execution pending appeal granted by the trial court judge to petitioner 31 Jalbuena De Leon. 129. the then C. Jan. and more importantly. 22. said agrarian courts having been integrated into the Regional Trial Courts which. are two separate and distinct entities. From the foregoing quote. we have concluded that the case filed by petitioner below. No. De Guzman. or in its limited jurisdiction.) On the matter of res judicata raised by private respondent. to resolve a controversy involving a civil lease since it is already a settled rule that inasmuch as the RTC is a court of general jurisdiction.I. This being the case. the case was ostensibly one that involved agrarian matters. private respondent asserted. it behooves us to tread softly and give the benefit of the doubt to petitioner. or in its limited jurisdiction. Santos vs. as alleged by private respondent. and the appellate court found. for should execution pending appeal be allowed and the judgment is later ordered vacated on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction to hear the 32 case. that the dictum enunciated in the Dumlao case obtains only when. the matter of jurisdiction of respondent court having been impugned and said issue permeating and going as it does into the very competence of the trial court to act on CAR Case No. the foregoing legal principle no longer finds much relevance under the present system. shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over agrarian cases although they are ordained to continue applying the special rules of procedure provided for said cases.F. by express mandate of Section 24 of B. as before. we conclude that the same does not find application in instant petition. private respondent is estopped from asserting the lower court's lack of jurisdiction. L-31854.A. The issues herein and in the petition in G. We believe. not being one of unlawful detainer. the regional trial court had jurisdiction to hear and try the case. Moreover. it is no error for the court below. 15628. and C. 15700 became final after the petition for review of said decision was dismissed by the Court for failure to pay the prescribed legal fees and to attach duplicate original or certified true copies of the questioned decision. 1982). Consequently. Hence the trial court cannot be faulted for its use of agrarian procedure. 1 SCRA 144). Then too. and that since agrarian matters are solely cognizable by agrarian courts in the exercise of their limited jurisdiction (Depositario vs.R. that an agrarian court has no jurisdiction in a case where there exists no tenancy relation between the parties. it. while it is true that when the trial court decreed that the procedure outlined in P. The Court of Appeals enjoined the respondent judge from enforcing the execution pending appeal after having found no valid and compelling reason to justify said execution. as shown in the foregoing paragraphs. then it would be well-nigh impossible to restore petitioner to his former status. The court said: In any event. 29 (Emphasis ours.

1992. dated November 27. For this purpose. full possession of the property 3 will be transferred and the deed of sale will be registered. FRANCISCO REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. Francisco Realty. the petition is GRANTED. As a result. The amended decision of the Court of Appeals dated November 8. Petitioner claims that private respondents failed to pay the interest and. Petitioner A. 1990 in CA G. the spouses Romulo and Erlinda Javillonar. 1990 is REINSTATED. PT-85569 was issued in the name of petitioner A. Francisco Realty. J. as well as the appellate court's resolution of May 7.000. 1996 by the Court of 1 Appeals reversing. petitioner A. JAVILLONAR. April 27.WHEREFORE. 4 . Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. (b) a deed of mortgage over realty covered by TCT No. vs. in consideration of which the latter executed the following documents: (a) a promissory note. 1992. 1996 denying reconsideration. and May 27. together with the improvements thereon.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision rendered on February 29.R. 62290. 58748 was cancelled and in lieu thereof TCT No.R. COURT OF APPEALS and SPOUSES ROMULO S. stating an interest charge of 4% per month for six months. and (c) an undated deed of sale of the mortgaged property in favor of the 2 mortgagee. Francisco Realty. respondents. Francisco Realty and Development Corporation granted a loan of P7. it registered the sale of the land in its favor on February 21. 58748 was delivered to petitioner A. TCT No.5 Million to private respondents. Costs against private respondent. in toto. the owner's duplicate of TCT No. Uldarico Inayan") is SET ASIDE and the original decision dated May 24. The promissory note expressly provided that upon "failure of the MORTGAGOR (private respondents) to pay the interest without prior arrangement with the MORTGAGEE (petitioner). petitioner. MENDOZA. the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City in Civil Case No. CV No. SO ORDERED. The interest on the said loan was to be paid in four installments: half of the total amount agreed upon (P900. 1998 A.00) to be paid in advance through a deduction from the proceeds of the loan. 19777 ("Corazon Jalbuena de Leon v. 1991. 125055 October 30.A. JAVILLONAR and ERLINDA P. while the balance to be paid monthly by means of checks post-dated March 27. 58748. No. as a consequence.

1992 for which they signed a promissory note which reads: PROMISSORY NOTE For value received I promise to pay A. prescinding from the foregoing considerations. 1992.FRANCISCO REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to appropriate and occupy for their exclusive use the real property located at 56 Dragonfly. Claim for damages in all its forms. 1992. with interest at the rate of four percent (4%) a month until fully paid and if after the said date this note and/or the other promissory note of P7. therefore. Francisco Realty Find Development Corporation. I promise to vacate voluntarily and willfully and/or allow A. . the right of ownership of A. Pasig. situated at No. Furthermore. the Regional Trial Court rendered a decision. the deed of sale was void for being in fact a pactum commissorium which is prohibited by Art. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. 85569 of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. 5 Petitioner demanded possession of the mortgaged realty and the payment of 4% monthly interest from May 1992. the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to try the case. under TCT No. respondents contended that the complaint was actually for ejectment and. in support thereof. judgment is hereby rendered declaring as legal and valid. Valle Verde VI. The appellate court ruled that the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the case because it was actually an action for unlawful detainer which is exclusively cognizable by municipal trial courts. it ruled that. Metro Manila. respondents sought the cancellation of TCT No. over the property subject of this case and now registered in its name as owner thereof. As counterclaim. Pasig. Furthermore. 8 Respondent spouses appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the decision of the trial court and dismissed the complaint against them.00) on or before April 27. 6 In their answer. Consequently. no competent proofs having been adduced on record. including attorney's fees. however.5 Million from petitioner on March 13. 56 Dragonfly Street. As an alternative defense. As respondent spouses refused to vacate. Metro Manila. they claimed that they were not notified of the registration of the sale in favor of petitioner A. PT-85569 as secured by petitioner and the issuance of a new title evidencing their ownership of the 7 property. FRANCISCO REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. respondents admitted liability on the loan but alleged that it was not their intent to sell the realty as the undated deed of sale was executed by them merely as an additional security for the payment of their loan. petitioner filed the present action for possession before the Regional Trial Court in Pasig City. without any need for prior demand or notification.500. even presuming jurisdiction of the trial court. Francisco Realty and that there was no interest then unpaid as they had in fact been paying interest even subsequent to the registration of the sale. are hereby denied. defendants are hereby ordered to cease and desist from further committing acts of dispossession or from withholding possession from plaintiff of the said property as herein described and specified. 2088 of the Civil Code. Valle Verde VI.5 Million remains unpaid and/or unsettled.000. the additional sum of Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P2.Private respondents subsequently obtained an additional loan of P2. On December 19. plus surcharges.

An unlawful detainer suit (accion interdictal) together with forcible entry are the two forms of an ejectment suit that may be filed to recover possession of real property. Aside from the summary action of ejectment. 1996. dated May 7. Dikit vs. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CONTRACTUAL DOCUMENTS SUBJECT OF THE INSTANT CASE ARE CONSTITUTIVE OF PACTUM COMMISSORIUM AS DEFINED UNDER ARTICLE 2088 OF THE CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 63 SCRA 278). If at all. Francisco Realty filed a motion for reconsideration. Blg. 44). make up the three kinds of actions to judicially recover possession. 212 SCRA 154 [1990]) 9 We think the appellate court is in error. the appellate court stated: Ostensibly. express or implied. as contra-distinguished from accion publiciana. Illegal detainer consists in withholding by a person from another of the possession of a land or building to which the latter is entitled after the expiration or termination of the former's right to hold possession by virtue of a contract. the possession of the land or building to which the latter is entitled after the expiration or termination of the supposed rights to hold possession by virtue of a contract. 129 Municipal Trial Courts are vested with the exclusive original jurisdiction over forcible entry and unlawful detainer case. an action for unlawful detainer which falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts. where dispossession has lasted for not more than one year.Petitioner A. (Sen Po Ek Marketing Corp. inferior courts are empowered to rule on the question of ownership raised by the defendant in such suits. vs. In plain language. Dicaciano. Forcible entry and unlawful detainer are quieting processes and the one-year time bar to the suit is in pursuance of the summary nature of the action. (Tenorio vs. Hence.P. On the first issue. They are not processes to determine the actual title to an estate. . 81 Phil. If no action is initiated for forcible entry or unlawful detainer within the expiration of the 1 year period. express or implied. this petition for review on certiorari raising the following issues: WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAD NO JURISDICTION OVER THE COMPLAINT FILED BY THE PETITIONER. Accordingly. Valdellon. the Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction over the case. accion publiciana or the plenary action to recover the right of possession andaccion reivindicatoria or the action to recover ownership which includes recovery of possession. Gamboa. but the Court of Appeals denied the motion in its resolution. The use of summary procedure in ejectment cases is intended to provide an expeditious means of protecting actual possession or right to possession of the property. the case at bar is a legitimate ejectment case filed within the 1 year period from the jurisdictional demand to vacate. Thus. the case may still be filed under the plenary action to recover possession by accion publiciana before the Court of First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court) (Medina vs. An ejectment suit is brought before the proper inferior court to recover physical possession only or possession de facto and not possession de jure. under Section 33 of B. 89 Phil. CA. is defined as withholding from by a person from another for not more than one year. As contemplated by Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. 54. the cause of action in the complaint indicates a case for unlawful detainer. What really distinguishes an action for unlawful detainer from a possessory action (accion publiciana) and from a reivindicatory action (accion reivindicatoria) is that the first is limited to the question of possession de facto.

however. 10.5 Million with the same condition as aforementioned with 4% monthly interest. Neither did the defendants pay the interest of 4% a month from May. (b) the alleged new liability of private respondents for P400. copy of which is hereto attached and incorporated herein as Annex "C".000. to wit: (a) the validity of the Transfer of ownership to petitioner. It is therefore clear from the foregoing that petitioner A.000. not conclusive. The litigants therein did not raise merely the question of who among them was entitled to the possession of the fishpond of Federico Suntay. 96 of the Justice of the Peace of Hagonoy. 7. 9. defendant delivered unto the plaintiff the said Deed of Sale together with the original owner's copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No.00 a month as rentals and/or interest. copy of which is hereto attached and incorporated herein as Annex "C". As held in an analogous case: The disagreement of the parties in Civil Case No. That in order to authorize the Register of Deeds into registering the Absolute Sale and transfer to the plaintiff. but defendants failed and refused to surrender the same to the plaintiff without justifiable reasons thereto. plaintiff recorded and registered the Absolute Deed of Sale in its favor on and was issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. Bulacan extended far beyond the issues generally involved in unlawful detainer suits.000.00 a month until they vacate the premises. 6. the defendants shall pay a monthly rental of P400. 10 The allegations in both the original and the amended complaints of petitioner before the trial court clearly raise issues involving more than the question of possession. To secure the payment of the sum of 7. That upon registration and transfer of the Transfer Certificate of Title in the name of the plaintiff. PT-85569. . Its determination on the ownership issue is. the plaintiff shall take physical 11 possession of the said property. As petitioner A. the defendant spouses agreed to execute a Deed of Mortgage over the property with the express condition that if and when they fail to pay monthly interest or any infringement thereof they agreed to convert the mortgage into a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of the plaintiff by executing Deed of Sale thereto. 8. That defendant spouses later secured from the plaintiff an additional loan of P2. Francisco Realty raised issues which involved more than a simple claim for the immediate possession of the subject property. and that if they still fail to pay as they are still failing to pay the amount of P400. That it was the understanding of the parties that if and when the defendants shall fail to pay the interest due and that the Deed of Sale be registered in favor of plaintiff. plaintiff demanded the surrender of the possession of the above-described parcel of land together with the improvements thereon. copy of which is hereto attached and made an integral part herein as Annex "B". 58748 of the Registry of Rizal.only to resolve the issue of possession. and (c) the alleged continuing liability of private respondents under both loans to pay interest and surcharges on such. copy of which is hereto attached and incorporated herein as Annex "A".00 a month from the time petitioner made its demand on them to vacate. That defendants spouses failed to pay the stipulated monthly interest and as per agreement of the parties. For all judicial purposes.5 Million together with the monthly interest. 1992 plus surcharges up to the present. Francisco Realty alleged in its amended complaint: 5. Such issues range across the full scope of rights of the respective parties under their contractual arrangements.

A counterclaim is considered a complaint. To sustain the theory of petitioner would be to allow a subversion of the prohibition in Art. 15 which involved the violation of a constructive trust. Salmon. THE PROSCRIBED STIPULATION SHOULD BE FOUND IN THE MORTGAGE DEED ITSELF. 171 SCRA 605 (1989). v. Ajar International. the Court of Appeals held that." petitioner's action could not succeed because the deed of sale on which it was based was void. no deed of mortgage was expressly executed between the parties in that case: Nevertheless. With respect to this question. Itwas there held: . it is the original defendant who becomes the plaintiff (Valisno v. Javier v. West Coast Life Assurance Co. however. 112 SCRA 641. 13 On the second issue. 144 SCRA 450. or dispose of them. Nor can it be said that the compulsory counterclaim filed by respondent spouses challenging the title of petitioner A. the case was converted into the determination of the nature of the proceedings from a mere detainer suit to one that is "incapable of pecuniary estimation" and thus beyond the legitimate authority of the Justice of the 12 Peace Court to rule on. that the promissory notes contain a pactum commissorium. 2088. 361). even "on the assumption that the trial court has jurisdiction over the instant case. Inc. Hence. 2088 of the Civil Code which provides: Art. the deed of assignment and the promissory note ² upon which they predicate their claims to the possession of the said fishpond.they likewise prayed of the court to rule on their respective rights under the various contractual documents ² their respective deeds of lease. Francisco Realty was merely a collateral attack which would bar a ruling here on the validity of the said title. Intermediate Appellate Court. Clearly. IN SHORT. Any stipulation to the contrary is null and void. 1993 ed. 15 Phil. the subject deed of mortgage must be scrutinized to determine if it contains such a provision giving the creditor the right "to appropriate the things given by way of mortgage without following the procedure prescribed by law for the foreclosure of the mortgage" (Ranjo v. the ruling of the appellate court should be affirmed. p. It stands on the same footing and is to be tested by the same rules as if it were an independent action. Court of Appeals. 8 SCRA 847 (1963). The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way to pledge or mortgage. 156). 2088. Quiason. 14 The contention is patently without merit. Petitioner denies. Intermediate Appellate Court. In other words. 203). A pactum commissorium is a forfeiture clause in a deed of mortgage (Hechanova v. In Nakpil v. 143 SCRA 502 (1986). Adil. Thus. Plan.. Report of the Code Commission. being in the nature of a pactum commissorium prohibited by Art. the same rules on jurisdiction in an independent action apply to a counterclaim (Vivar v. Philippine Courts and Their Jurisdictions. Vivar.. 54 Phil. Calo v. Montevergen v. only this time. It contends that ² What is envisioned by Article 2088 of the Civil Code of the Philippines is a provision in the deed of mortgage providing for the automatic conveyance of the mortgaged property in case of the failure of the debtor to pay the loan (Tan v. 22 SCRA 996 (1968). before Article 2088 can find application herein. 436). they gave the court no alternative but to rule on the validity or nullity of the above documents. this Court ruled that an agreement whereby property held in trust was ceded to the trustee upon failure of the beneficiary to pay his debt to the former as secured by the said property was void for being a pactum commissorium.

in Reyes v. Failure of mortgagor to redeem the property does not automatically vest ownership of the property to the mortgagee. the property was used as security for the loan. They embody the two elements of pactum commissorium as laid down in Uy Tong v. Similarly. upon failure of respondent spouses to pay interest. In case of doubt. 2088 of the Civil Code. to wit: 18 . are in substance a pactum commissorium. which would grant the latter the right to appropriate the thing mortgaged or dispose of it. from the nature of the transaction. cannot rely on the stipulation in the contract providing that complete and absolute title shall be vested on the vendee should the vendors fail to redeem the property on the specified date. and ownership of the thing mortgaged is retained by Basilia Beltran. to prove her claim. Thus. which reads: The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way of pledge or mortgage. This is so because pacto de retro sales with the stringent and onerous effects that accompany them are not favored. must then be construed as tantamount to apactum commissorium which is expressly prohibited by Art. Petitioner. applicant's a predecessor-in-interest is a mere mortgagee. Thus. Obviously. although the mortgage document evidencing the loan was nonregistrable being a purely private instrument. however. or dispose by them. and. Such stipulation that the ownership of the property would automatically pass to the vendee in case no redemption was effected within the stipulated period is void for being a pactum commissorium which enables the mortgagee to acquire ownership of the mortgaged property without need of foreclosure. For. Sierra this Court categorically ruled that a mortgagee's mere act of registering the mortgaged property in his own name upon the mortgagor's failure to redeem the property amounted to the exercise of the privilege of a mortgagee in a pactum commissorium. contrary to respondent's manifestations. . This violates the provision of Article 2088 of the New Civil Code. a contract purporting to be a sale with the right to repurchase shall be construed as an equitable mortgage.The arrangement entered into between the parties. It has been consistently held that the presence of even one of the circumstances enumerated in Art. all the elements of a pactum commissorium were present: there was a creditor-debtor relationship between the parties. may recover the loan. Indeed. in the case at bar. The mortgagee. The act of applicant in registering the property in his own name upon mortgagor's failure to redeem the property would to a pactum commissorium which is against good morals 19 and public policy. there was to be automatic appropriation of the property by Valdez in the event of failure of petitioner to pay the value of the advances. Francisco Realty and the deed of sale in its favor would be registered." in case petitioner fails to reimburse Valdes. there was automatic 16 appropriation by respondent of Pulong Maulap in case of default of petitioner. the mortgagor. 20 Court of Appeals. ownership of the property would be automatically transferred to petitioner A. the Court has struck down such stipulations as contained in deeds of sale purporting to be pacto de retro sales but found actually to be equitable mortgages. Its insertion in the contract is an avowal of the intention to mortgage rather that to sell the 17 property. the stipulations in the promissory notes providing that. 1602 of the New Civil Code is sufficient to declare a contract of sale with right to repurchase an equitable mortgage. . Any stipulation to the contrary is null and void. whereby Pulong Maulap was to be "considered sold to him (respondent) .

dated November 27. Francisco Realty was able to obtain TCT No.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision rendered on February 29.The prohibition on pactum commissorium stipulations is provided for by Article 2088 of the Civil Code: Art.A. DECISION MENDOZA. and (c) an undated deed of sale of the mortgaged property in favor of the mortgagee. insofar as it dismissed petitioner's complaint against respondent spouses on the ground that the stipulations in the promissory notes are void for being apactum commissorium. SECOND DIVISION [G. vs. (b) a deed of mortgage over realty covered by TCT No. October 30. 1998] A. Francisco Realty and Development Corporation granted a loan of P7. 2088. The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way of pledge or mortgagee. JAVILLONAR. as prayed for by respondents in their counterclaim. JAVILLONAR and ERLINDA P.5 Million to private respondents. PT-85569 covering the subject lot. No. PT-85569 issued to petitioner and ISSUE a new one in the name of respondent spouses. by virtue of which petitioner A.petitioner.respondents. 1991. The Register of Deeds of Pasig City is hereby ORDERED to CANCEL TCT No. Any stipulation to the contrary is null and void. COURT OF APPEALS and SPOUSES ROMULO S. the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. and (2) that there should be a stipulation for an automatic appropriation by the creditor of the thing pledged or mortgaged in the event of non-payment of the principal obligation within the 21 stipulated period. in toto. or dispose of the same. FRANCISCO REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. The aforequoted provision furnishes the two elements for pactum commissorium to exist: (1) that there should be a pledge or mortgage wherein a property is pledged or mortgaged by way of security for the payment of the principal obligation. stating an interest charge of 4% per month for six months.[2] . must also be declared void. the registration of the deed of sale. Petitioner A. but REVERSED insofar as it ruled that the trial court had no jurisdiction over this case. in consideration of which the latter executed the following documents: (a) a promissory note. 1996 by the Court of Appeals[1] reversing. petitioner A. J. 58748. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED.R. the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City in Civil Case No. Francisco Realty. The subject transaction being void. 1996 denying reconsideration. 62290. 125055. together with the improvements thereon. as well as the appellate court¶s resolution of May 7. the spouses Romulo and Erlinda Javillonar.

As counterclaim.The interest on the said loan was to be paid in four installments: half of the total amount agreed upon (P900. respondents contended that the complaint was actually for ejectment and. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. 1992.00) to be paid in advance through a deduction from the proceeds of the loan. FRANCISCO REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to appropriate and occupy for their exclusive use the real property located at 56 Dragonfly. As an alternative defense.5 Million remains unpaid and/or unsettled. TCT No. the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to try the case. Francisco Realty and that there was no interest then unpaid as they had in fact been paying interest even subsequent to the registration of the sale. Metro Manila. Metro Manila. PT-85569 as secured by petitioner and the issuance of a new title evidencing their ownership of the property. 1992.5 Million from petitioner on March 13. FRANCISCO REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. judgment is hereby rendered declaring as legal and valid. plus surcharges. Pasig.[6] In their answer. with interest at the rate of four percent (4%) a month until fully paid and if after the said date this note and/or the other promissory note of P7. 1992 for which they signed a promissory note which reads: PROMISSORY NOTE For value received. Valle Verde VI. PT-85569 was issued in the name of petitioner A. 56 Dragonfly Street.00) on or before April 27. As a result. Petitioner claims that private respondents failed to pay the interest and. prescinding from the foregoing considerations. Pasig. as a consequence.500. Francisco Realty. the Regional Trial Court rendered a decision.[4] Private respondents subsequently obtained an additional loan ofP2. respondents sought the cancellation of TCT No. they claimed that they were not notified of the registration of the sale in favor of petitioner A. respondents admitted liability on the loan but alleged that it was not their intent to sell the realty as the undated deed of sale was executed by them merely as an additional security for the payment of their loan.000. 58748 was cancelled and in lieu thereof TCT No. I promise to pay A. the additional sum of Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P2. without any need for prior demand or notification. Francisco Realty. petitioner filed the present action for possession before the Regional Trial Court in Pasig City. full possession of the property will be transferred and the deed of sale will be registered. situated at No. As respondent spouses refused to vacate. Valle Verde VI. over the property subject of this case and now registered in its name as owner thereof. it registered the sale of the land in its favor on February 21. the owner¶s duplicate of TCT No.[5] Petitioner demanded possession of the mortgaged realty and the payment of 4% monthly interest from May 1992. I promise to vacate voluntarily and willfully and/or allow A. 58748 was delivered to petitioner A. under TCT No. 1992. Francisco Realty And Development Corporation. . April 27. and May 27. 85569 of the Register of Deeds of Rizal. The promissory note expressly provided that upon ³failure of the MORTGAGOR [private respondents] to pay the interest without prior arrangement with the MORTGAGEE [petitioner]. Furthermore.[7] On December 19. the right of ownership of A. while the balance to be paid monthly by means of checks post-dated March 27. therefore. 1992.000.´[3] For this purpose.

. If no action is initiated for forcible entry or unlawful detainer within the expiration of the 1 year period. the Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction over the case. Dicaciano. it ruled that. 44). 89 Phil. What really distinguishes an action for unlawful detainer from a possessory action (accion publiciana) and from a reivindicatory action (accion reivindicatoria) is that the first is limited to the question of possession de facto. Thus. Petitioner A. The appellate court ruled that the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the case because it was actually an action for unlawful detainer which is exclusively cognizable by municipal trial courts. the case may still be filed under the plenary action to recover possession by accion publiciana before the Court of First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court) (Medina vs. 63 SCRA 278). the deed of sale was void for being in fact a pactum commissorium which is prohibited by Art. express or implied. vs. (Tenorio vs. the case at bar is a legitimate ejectment case filed within the 1 year period from the jurisdictional demand to vacate. an action for unlawful detainer which falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts.P. under Section 33 of B. 81 Phil. of the said property as herein described and specified. (Sen Po Ek Marketing Corp. Valdellon. Accordingly. Hence. CA. the appellate court stated: Ostensibly. Claim for damages in all its forms. are hereby denied. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CONTRACTUAL DOCUMENTS SUBJECT OF THE INSTANT CASE ARE CONSTITUTIVE OF PACTUM COMMISSORIUMAS DEFINED UNDER ARTICLE 2088 OF THE CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES. in support thereof. this petition for review on certiorari raising the following issues: WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAD NO JURISDICTION OVER THE COMPLAINT FILED BY THE PETITIONER. Gamboa.[8] Respondent spouses appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the decision of the trial court and dismissed the complaint against them. even presuming jurisdiction of the trial court. dated May 7. Francisco Realty filed a motion for reconsideration. including attorney¶s fees. but the Court of Appeals denied the motion in its resolution. 129 Municipal Trial Courts are vested with the exclusive original jurisdiction over forcible entry and unlawful detainer case. the possession of the land or building to which the latter is entitled after the expiration or termination of the supposed rights to hold possession by virtue of a contract. however. Blg. As contemplated by Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. On the first issue. In plain language. 1996. 212 SCRA 154 [1990])[9] We think the appellate court is in error. Dikit vs. as contradistinguished from accion publiciana. 54. defendants are hereby ordered to cease and desist from further committing acts of dispossession or from withholding possession from plaintiff.Consequently. 2088 of the Civil Code. Furthermore. the cause of action in the complaint indicates a case for unlawful detainer. no competent proofs having been adduced on record. is defined as withholding from by a person from another for not more than one year.

7. Forcible entry and unlawful detainer are quieting processes and the one-year time bar to the suit is in pursuance of the summary nature of the action. make up the three kinds of actions to judicially recover possession. Its determination on the ownership issue is.000. not conclusive. 6. PT-85569. They are not processes to determine the actual title to an estate. where dispossession has lasted for not more than one year.An unlawful detainer suit (accion interdictal) together with forcible entry are the two forms of an ejectment suit that may be filed to recover possession of real property. defendant delivered unto the plaintiff the said Deed of Sale together with the original owner¶s copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. the defendant spouses agreed to execute a Deed of Mortgage over the property with the express condition that if and when they fail to pay monthly interest or any infringement thereof they agreed to convert the mortgage into a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of the plaintiff by executing Deed of Sale thereto.5 Million with the same condition as aforementioned with 4% monthly interest. The use of summary procedure in ejectment cases is intended to provide an expeditious means of protecting actual possession or right to possession of the property. to wit: (a) the validity of the transfer of ownership to petitioner. only to resolve the issue of possession. As petitioner A. That defendant spouses later secured from the plaintiff an additional loan of P2. An ejectment suit is brought before the proper inferior court to recover physical possession only or possession de facto and not possession de jure. however. 58748 of the Registry of Rizal. 8. plaintiff recorded and registered the Absolute Deed of Sale in its favor on and was issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. inferior courts are empowered to rule on the question of ownership raised by the defendant in such suits. Francisco Realty alleged in its amended complaint: 5.00 a month from the time petitioner made its demand on them to vacate. copy of which is hereto attached and incorporated herein as Annex ³C´. accion publiciana or the plenary action to recover the right of possession and accion reivindicatoria or the action to recover ownership which includes recovery of possession. That upon registration and transfer of the Transfer Certificate of Title in the name of the plaintiff.5 Million together with the monthly interest. If at all. That in order to authorize the Register of Deeds into registering the Absolute Sale and transfer to the plaintiff. copy of which is hereto attached and incorporated herein as Annex ³C´.[10] The allegations in both the original and the amended complaints of petitioner before the trial court clearly raise issues involving more than the question of possession. express or implied. Illegal detainer consists in withholding by a person from another of the possession of a land or building to which the latter is entitled after the expiration or termination of the former¶s right to hold possession by virtue of a contract. and (c) the alleged continuing liability of private respondents under both loans to pay interest and surcharges on such. 9. plaintiff demanded the surrender of the possession of the above-described parcel of land together with the improvements thereon. Aside from the summary action of ejectment. (b) the alleged new liability of private respondents for P400. That defendants spouses failed to pay the stipulated monthly interest and as per agreement of the parties. copy of which is hereto attached and made an integral part herein as Annex ³B´. copy of which is hereto attached and incorporated herein as Annex ³A´. To secure the payment of the sum of P7. but .

8 SCRA 847 (1963). Hence. the deed of assignment and the promissory note ¾ upon which they predicate their claims to the possession of the said fishpond. It stands on the same footing and is to be tested by the same rules as if it were an independent action. That it was the understanding of the parties that if and when the defendants shall fail to pay the interest due and that the Deed of Sale be registered in favor of plaintiff. 203). Inc. For all judicial purposes. Ajax International. Petitioner denies.defendants failed and refused to surrender the same to the plaintiff without justifiable reasons thereto. 2088 of the Civil Code which provides: ART. Any stipulation to the contrary is null and void. only this time. the defendants shall pay a monthly rental of P400.[13] On the second issue.[11] It is therefore clear from the foregoing that petitioner A. the Court of Appeals held that.000. The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way to pledge or mortgage. 2088. With respect to this question. Philippine Courts and Their Jurisdictions.[12] Nor can it be said that the compulsory counterclaim filed by respondent spouses challenging the title of petitioner A. Clearly. the case was converted into the determination of the nature of the proceedings from a mere detainer suit to one that is ³incapable of pecuniary estimation´ and thus beyond the legitimate authority of the Justice of the Peace Court to rule on.00 a month as rentals and/or interest. that the promissory notes contain a pactum commissorium. 171 SCRA 605 (1989). p. 143 SCRA 502 (1986). Vivar. however. Bulacan extended far beyond the issues generally involved in unlawful detainer suits. and that if they still fail to pay as they are still failing to pay the amount of P400. Javier v.´ petitioner¶s action could not succeed because the deed of sale on which it was based was void. or dispose of them. they gave the court no alternative but to rule on the validity or nullity of the above documents. Neither did the defendants pay the interest of 4% a month from May. 96 of the Justice of the Peace of Hagonoy. 1993 ed. Such issues range across the full scope of rights of the respective parties under their contractual arrangements. the plaintiff shall take physical possession of the said property. 10. As held in an analogous case: The disagreement of the parties in Civil Case No. Francisco Realty was merely a collateral attack which would bar a ruling here on the validity of the said title.00 a month until they vacate the premises. v. even ³on the assumption that the trial court has jurisdiction over the instant case. It contends that ¾ .. being in the nature of a pactum commissorium prohibited by Art. A counterclaim is considered a complaint. Quiason. The litigants therein did not raise merely the question of who among them was entitled to the possession of the fishpond of Federico Suntay. the ruling of the appellate court should be affirmed. 1992 plus surcharges up to the present. Francisco Realty raised issues which involved more than a simple claim for the immediate possession of the subject property. Intermediate Appellate Court. they likewise prayed of the court to rule on their respective rights under the various contractual documents ¾ their respective deeds of lease. 22 SCRA 996 (1968).000. it is the original defendant who becomes the plaintiff (Valisno v. the same rules on jurisdiction in an independent action apply to a counterclaim (Vivar v. Calo v. Plan. In other words.

1602 of the New Civil Code is sufficient to declare a contract of sale with right to repurchase an equitable mortgage. whereby Pulong Maulap was to be ³considered sold to him (respondent) x x x´ in case petitioner fails to reimburse Valdes. 156). To sustain the theory of petitioner would be to allow a subversion of the prohibition in Art. there was automatic appropriation by respondent of Pulong Maulap in case of default of petitioner. Thus. Intermediate Appellate Court. It was there held: The arrangement entered into between the parties. Its insertion in the contract is an avowal of the intention to mortgage rather that to sell the property. For. 15 Phil. In case of doubt. 112 SCRA 641.What is envisioned by Article 2088 of the Civil Code of the Philippines is a provision in the deed of mortgage providing for the automatic conveyance of the mortgaged property in case of the failure of the debtor to pay the loan (Tan v. Montevergen v. Petitioner.[15] which involved the violation of a constructive trust. the subject deed of mortgage must be scrutinized to determine if it contains such a provision giving the creditor the right ³to appropriate the things given by way of mortgage without following the procedure prescribed by law for the foreclosure of the mortgage´ (Ranjo v. Such stipulation that the ownership of the property would automatically pass to the vendee in case no redemption was effected within the stipulated period is void for being a pactum commissoriumwhich enables the mortgagee to acquire ownership of the mortgaged property without need of foreclosure. It has been consistently held that the presence of even one of the circumstances enumerated in Art. Report of the Code Commission. THE PROSCRIBED STIPULATION SHOULD BE FOUND IN THE MORTGAGE DEED ITSELF. there was to be automatic appropriation of the property by Valdez in the event of failure of petitioner to pay the value of the advances.[17] . Nevertheless. this Court ruled that an agreement whereby property held in trust was ceded to the trustee upon failure of the beneficiary to pay his debt to the former as secured by the said property was void for being a pactum commissorium. A pactum commissorium is a forfeiture clause in a deed of mortgage (Hechanova v. to prove her claim. 436). Adil.. a contract purporting to be a sale with right to repurchase shall be construed as an equitable mortgage. no deed of mortgage was expressly executed between the parties in that case. In Nakpil v.[16] Similarly. and. 2088. before Article 2088 can find application herein. 361). must then be construed as tantamount to a pactum commissorium which is expressly prohibited by Art. all the elements of a pactum commissorium were present: there was a creditor-debtor relationship between the parties. cannot rely on the stipulation in the contract providing that complete and absolute title shall be vested on the vendee should the vendors fail to redeem the property on the specified date. Court of Appeals. This is so because pacto de retro sales with the stringent and onerous effects that accompany them are not favored. 144 SCRA 450. Thus.[14] The contention is patently without merit. IN SHORT. the property was used as security for the loan. 2088 of the Civil Code. Salmon. West Coast Life Assurance Co. contrary to respondent¶s manifestations. the Court has struck down such stipulations as contained in deeds of sale purporting to be pacto de retro sales but found actually to be equitable mortgages. 54 Phil.

Francisco Realty was able to obtain TCT No. the stipulations in the promissory notes providing that. SO ORDERED. in Reyes v. which reads: The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way of pledge or mortgage. The mortgagee.[19] Thus. in the case at bar. The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way of pledge or mortgagee. the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. and ownership of the thing mortgaged is retained by Basilia Beltran. WHEREFORE. the registration of the deed of sale. 2088. Obviously. by virtue of which petitioner A. applicant¶s predecessor-in-interest is a mere mortgagee. Any stipulation to the contrary is null and void. Francisco Realty and the deed of sale in its favor would be registered. The aforequoted provision furnishes the two elements forpactum commissorium to exist: (1) that there should be a pledge or mortgage wherein a property is pledged or mortgaged by way of security for the payment of the principal obligation. may recover the loan. or dispose of the same. upon failure of respondent spouses to pay interest. Failure of mortgagor to redeem the property does not automatically vest ownership of the property to the mortgagee. as prayed for by respondents in their counterclaim. which would grant the latter the right to appropriate the thing mortgaged or dispose of it. The Register of Deeds of Pasig City is hereby ORDERED to CANCEL TCT No. from the nature of the transaction. insofar as it dismissed petitioner¶s complaint against respondent spouses on the ground that the stipulations in the promissory notes are void for being a pactum commissorium. are in substance a pactum commissorium. The act of applicant in registering the property in his own name upon mortgagor¶s failure to redeem the property would amount to a pactum commissorium which is against good morals and public policy. Sierra[18] this Court categorically ruled that a mortgagee¶s mere act of registering the mortgaged property in his own name upon the mortgagor¶s failure to redeem the property amounted to the exercise of the privilege of a mortgagee in a pactum commissorium. ownership of the property would be automatically transferred to petitioner A. although the mortgage document evidencing the loan was nonregistrable being a purely private instrument. PT-85569 covering the subject lot.[20] to wit: The prohibition on pactum commissorium stipulations is provided for by Article 2088 of the Civil Code: Art. This violates the provision of Article 2088 of the New Civil Code. Court of Appeals. or dispose by them.Indeed. must also be declared void. the mortgagor. Any stipulation to the contrary is null and void. . PT-85569 issued to petitioner and ISSUE a new one in the name of respondent spouses.[21] The subject transaction being void. and (2) that there should be a stipulation for an automatic appropriation by the creditor of the thing pledged or mortgaged in the event of non-payment of the principal obligation within the stipulated period. however.but REVERSED insofar as it ruled that the trial court had no jurisdiction over this case. They embody the two elements of pactum commissorium as laid down in Uy Tong v.

5036.00. J. The complaint alleged. "that the plaintiff acquired said parcel of land by purchase on May 13. and to proclaim this possession. mayhem or perhaps even loss of life". that the above-cited tax declaration of the defendant.R. 1974. 1963. 5329. should prevail over Tax Declaration No. VASQUEZ. "that the plaintiff's Possession tacked to that of his predecessors-in-interest over the said land has been more than forty (40) years. 1964. 1963". and planting coconut trees and introducing thereon other improvements". vs. paying land taxes due thereon. 1974. among others. No. Branch I then presided by Judge Gregorio Collantes. bodily injury to persons. page 27. the cancellation of the latter tax declaration is in order". 220 . which is a portion of Lot No. of the plaintiff. Petitioner. uninterruptedly and adversely against the claims of any individual person or persons whomsoever. "that a judicial declaration as to who is the owner and entitled to possession of the parcel of land is imperative to forestall breaches of the peace.: virtual law library This is a petition for review on certiorari of the order of the Court of First Instance of Leyte in Civil Case No. 2-5. MARTINO MALATE and COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF LEYTE. Record on Appeal. and assessed at P14. much less consent.8 hectares therein as described in tax declaration and his attempt to assume possession thereof by clearing the land and gathering the coconut therefrom. on February 20. pp. embracing as it does a portion included within the limits of the land described in paragraph 3 of the complaint. "that plaintiff's Tax Declaration No. 18316. 1973. No. Tacloban City. 1963 from the brothers Amando and Saturnino Sa osas and since then and up to the present time he has been in possession thereof in good faith and with just title.250. has cast a cloud upon the ownership and possession by the plaintiff of the lot described in paragraph 3 of the complaint". the plaintiff had this land declared in his name under Tax Declaration No. being based on a bona fide claim of ownership and actual possession which started on May 13. coupled with the defendant's claim of ownership of 9. the plaintiff Cresencio Espejo filed said civil case against defendant Martino Malate entitled "Quieting of Title to and Possession of Real Property and Cancellation of Tax Declaration" before the Court of First Instance of Leyte. "that the plaintiff is the absolute owner and actual possessor of a parcel of coconut land containing an area of 14 hectares. the latest of which was in December. in concept of owner.) virtual law library The defendant Martino Malate. dismissing the case on the ground of lack of jurisdiction after the parties had rested their respective cases. situated in Barrio New Kawayan. answered the complaint denying specifically all the allegations therein and counter-alleged "that he is the absolute and exclusive owner of the land and had . without-the knowledge." (Rollo. 19484 of the defendant. a former tenant of the plaintiff over the land. and "that the plaintiff is entitled to have the cloud cast upon his ownership and lawful possession of the land by the defendant removed thru a judicial declaration that the plaintiff is the owner thereof and legally entitled to the possession thereto..Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. Tacloban Cad. 18316 (which starts with the year 1962) on May 15. and being the older tax declaration.. BRANCH I. 19484 (which starts with the year 1963).virtualawlibrary virtual law library On January 31. had a portion of the land declared in his name under Tax Declaration No. 1983 CRESENCIO ESPEJO. Respondents. more or less. with evident bad faith. on December 29. L-48612 January 27. "that the defendant Martino Malate.

Section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 5329. the defendant argued that the action of the plaintiff was for forcible entry. That the amendment sought to be made is a complete change of the theory of the case both in the complaint and the evidence so far adduced.been in actual and physical possession thereof. 1974.virtualawlibrary virtual law library The respondent Court.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Plaintiff points out that the question of who has prior possession of the land is alleged in paragraphs 4 to 9 of the complaint. p. virtual law library B. between the plaintiff or the defendant.1975. the plaintiff filed an opposition to motion to dismiss arguing that the respondent Court has jurisdiction over the land in dispute in the matter of deciding as to who. That the amended complaint conferred jurisdiction on the Honorable Court but before the said amendment the Honorable Court did not have jurisdiction to try the case as envisioned on the original complaint and the evidence so far adduced. 1974. and emphasizing instead his claim of possession. on December. A. and was not properly filed. Record on Appeal. 1974. and virtual law library . and his decision as to questions of facts shall be conclusive when approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 220. the defendant argued "that the subject matter of the above-entitled case is a portion of Lot No. sale or any other form of concession or disposition and management of the lands of the public domain. 1973. 16-17. is as to who of them has prior possession over the controverted land. therefore. lease.virtualawlibrary virtual law library As to the second ground. is an accion publiciana over which the respondent Court has jurisdiction. the defendant has averred that he has been in possession of the land in question for more than forty. which was in December. classification. 27. that he has alleged that his possession tacked to that of his predecessors-in-interest has been for more than forty years.virtualawlibrary virtual law library The defendant filed his opposition to the motion to admit amended complaint on the following grounds.seven years. denied the motion to dismiss. it must be brought in the proper municipal or city court. provides that 'subject to said control. the plaintiff filed an amended complaint eliminating therefrom the allegations as to his claim of ownership.5. and (b) that the court has no jurisdiction over the nature of the action or suit. has the better right of possession. 28 SCRA 332. the defendant filed a motion to dismiss on the ground: "(a) that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject of the action or suit. pp. On July 16. the Director of Lands shall have direct control of survey. No. therefore. that the question presented. 1974.virtualawlibrary virtual law library With respect to the first ground. which is a public land hence. 141.' It is clear that the Director of Lands has the jurisdiction over said subject matter. On July 31. paragraphs 3 and 4 of the answer and paragraph 2 of the affirmative defenses. and not in the court of first instance. and that the action. as may be gleaned from the complaint. as ruled by the Supreme Court in Rallon vs. because when the plaintiff filed the case in January. 1975. while on the other hand. as amended. being a public land.) The defendant further concluded that the plaintiff had not exhausted the administrative remedy available to him of filing the claim in the Bureau of Lands. Ruiz.virtualawlibrary virtual law library On November 18. " (Rollo. in the concept of an owner since 1926 introducing improvement thereon." He also alleged affirmative special defenses and counterclaims. and that being a forcible entry case.virtualawlibrary virtual law library On November 4. its disposition is governed by the Public Land Act. it issued an order requiring the plaintiff to amend the complaint in order to conform with their claim of possession regarding the property. Tacloban Cad. it was only one year from the accrual of the cause of action.

) For the second time. another motion to dismiss was filed by the defendant on the ground "that the Honorable Court has no jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the case as the plaintiff has not exhausted the administrative remedies afforded. the court. pp. Arro . It is admitted that the land in question is a public land. the plaintiff or the defendant. 1976.. 1975. 1975. this court has jurisdiction as shown by the decision of the Supreme Court . 27. the Court issued an order admitting the amended complaint reasoning out as follows: .virtualawlibrary virtual law library The respondent Court.virtualawlibrary virtual law library After the defendant presented his evidence. Borromeo (temporarily presiding the sala vacated. in the administrative proceeding entitled Cresencio Espejo vs. issued an order denying the defendant's motion for judgment on demurrer to evidence.issued an order dated January 23. and that the Director of Lands and the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources have jurisdiction over the disposition of the public land conformably with Section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 141. Record on Appeal. arguing "that the second motion to dismiss filed by the defendant was based on the same ground as that of the first motion to dismiss as well as his opposition to the motion to admit amended complaint.. " virtual law library The court a quo denied the second motion to dismiss in an order dated December 16. thru respondent Judge Jose P. Delia Pastor (transferee). That court cannot admit the said amended complaint for having no jurisdiction to act on it and that the amended complaint does not conform to the evidence so far adduced by the plaintiff.virtualawlibrary virtual law library The plaintiff filed his opposition to the motion to dismiss. 45-46. 1976. and that the pendency of the case in the Bureau of Lands is no bar to the present action involving merely the question of who has prior possession of the land in question. after the plaintiff had rested his case. therefore. thru Judge Jesus N. The question of ownership will not be decided by this court.virtualawlibrary virtual law library On June 18. by the retirement of Judge Collantes). therefore. No. on September 10. 206783 (E-121507) Felipe Mendiola Pastor( transferee). the defendant filed a motion to dismiss on demurrer to evidence reiterating the grounds raised in his two previous motions to dismiss. On August 11.. the instant case should await the resolution of the administrative case.virtualawlibrary virtual law library The only question that will be decided by this court in this case is." The defendant was referring to a case wherein he is a protestant. entitled to the exclusion of the other." It was argued that "there is a pending administrative investigation of the subject-matter of the case at bar between the plaintiff and defendant and. (Rollo. A. the plaintiff-petitioner raises the following assignment of errors: . 1978 dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and declaring the proceedings taken therein as null and void.virtualawlibrary virtual law library In this appeal. Over this question as to who has prior possession of the land in question and. H. who has the prior possession of the public land in question. This court believes that the plaintiff wanted to emphasize who has the prior possession of the land in question. p.. 1975.C. on September 27.

the lower court has no power to place in the original complaint the theory of prior possession by a mere stroke of an order to amend the complaint. The trial court erred in holding that. and the case was submitted for decision without any memorandum for the respondents.virtualawlibrary virtual law library The petitioners therein contended "that after finding that the lands in question are public lands. Rule 10 of the Rules of Court. the authority to dispose of public lands is vested exclusively in the Director of Lands.virtualawlibrary virtual law library While the said complaint had categorically alleged a claim of ownership. 141). "(i)n her complaint before the Court of First Instance of the province (Isabela). respondent alleged that she was the absolute owner and possessor of these lands. force. this Court had had the occasion to declare such kind of a complaint as an accion publiciana.virtualawlibrary virtual law library We struck down said argument as without merit because "the authority given to the Land Department over the disposition of public land does not exclude the courts from their jurisdiction over possessory actions. and as to whose tax declaration should prevail. the public character of the land notwithstanding. is contained in the original complaint.virtualawlibrary virtual law library . The defendant-respondent commented that what was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by the court a quo was an action for reinvindicatoria or action for ownership. This is such an action and the fact that on her complaint respondent claimed the lands in ownership did not change the nature of her action. support the contention of the petitioner that the question of "who has prior possession over the controverted land and is. strategy and intimidation. therefore. she asked the Court to declare her the owner of the lands and to order Molina to deliver to her the lands and products and pay her damages. An examination thereof would reveal that there it contained enough allegations of facts constitutive of the issue of prior possession The allegations relating to the length and nature of possession by the plaintiff of the land in question. and that since the original complaint failed to allege prior possession. in the concept of an owner. the trial Court should have dismissed this case because under Section 4 of the Public Land Act (Commonwealth Act No. and to regard the allegation of ownership therein as a "mere surplusage. employing violence. As relief." virtual law library In Molina vs. and that in 1944 Julian Molina.virtualawlibrary virtual law library II. the tacking of the plaintiff's possession to that of his predecessors-in-interest.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Both parties were required to submit their respective memoranda. The trial court erred in holdieng that it is without jurisdiction and declaring the proceeding in the case null and void.' seized possession of Lot 1 and a part of Lot 2 and cut the trees found therein. when the court issued an order to amend the complaint so that the issue of ownership is deleted from the original complaint and for the amended complaint to substantially alter the theory of the' tile complaint from.virtualawlibrary virtual law library We agree with the petitioner that the question of who had prior possession of the land was brought out in the original complaint. quiet and adverse possession' of the lands.recovery of the amended complaint does violence to the provision of Section 3.I. that in her lifetime her mother was in 'continuous. public. entitled to such possession to the exclusion 'of the other. Only the petitioner did. De Bacud 19 SCRA 956. The allegation of ownership should be regarded as a mere surplusage. the adverse claim by the defendant. having inherited them from her mother. that the action being for ownership or accion reinvindicatoria is shown by the contents of the prayers of the complaint itself. Catalina Siccuan.

be considered as a mere surplusage and this case be considered as an action for possession. the said pleading likewise placed at issue the question of who had the better or prior right of possession. "there were two (2) issues brought out in the original complaint . Canada Dry Bottling Co. Araneta.. 37 SCRA 535). De Bacud 19 SCRA 956. Villaflor vs. Over the first issue. Punzalan. 106 Phil..virtualawlibrary virtual law library The lower court..)' (See also Medina vs.virtualawlibrary virtual law library The lower court was clearly in error in issuing its dismissal order on its mistaken notion 'that the allegations of facts are merely constitutive of an action for unlawful detainer' since the complaint shows on its face that respondents' refusal to deliver possession of the property was due to their adverse claim of ownership of the same property and their counter allegation that they bought the same .. Jr. 9 SCRA 794: Angcao vs. "Quieting of Title to and Possession of Real Property and Cancellation of Tax Declaration" could properly be construed as a plenary action to recover possession or an accion publiciana in addition to its being one for recovery of ownership. should not be made to depend on the literal averments of the complaintindirectly on the ability of the parties to word or phrase their pleadings .virtualawlibrary virtual law library As the petitioner correctly argued. the issue of who has prior possession thereof. erroneously held that it is devoid of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action in declaring that the petitioner's action is solely to quiet title or to recover ownership of real property...virtualawlibrary virtual law library In Reyes vs. Valdellon.) virtual law library Section 15 of Rule 6 of the Rules of Court provides that "all pleadings shall be liberally construed so as to do substantial justice. and. therefore. Patanao. The issue of who has the prior possession being unmistakably alleged in the original complaint. 1 SCRA 1020).the principal one.In Diaz vs. Pitargue vs.. the land in question being a public land. therefore. entitled. the trial court undoubtedly has jurisdiction.... and Aguilon vs. Madamba vs. Macalinao. 28 SCRA 332. Sorella. Sta. and the secondary but no less important one. (Rallon vs. . matter or jurisdiction over the nature of the action. 22 SCRA 385... 92 Phil 5. involving substantially similar facts. (s)uch an action was clearly an accion publiciana for the recovery of the right to possess (possession de jure (if not an accion reivindicatoria) falling within the lower court's jurisdiction. supra)... Reyes. 12 SCRA 706. Bohol. it was held that . petitioners' jurisdiction was clearly one for recovery of their right to possess the property (possession de jure . the conclusion comes easy that while the question of ownership was raised in the original complaint. although plaintiffs allege ownership and pray that the land be declared in their favor. an action to quiet title and to recover possession. Ruiz.. Ledesma v Marcos. 618. 999. and is determined by the pleadings (Pineda vs. "Jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter . 9 Phil. (t)he action presented is not one of ownership. but over the second. Maria. Bueno vs.virtualawlibrary virtual law library .where the actual issues are evident from the record of the case. The allegation of ownership and the prayer therefor may." The original complaint of the petitioner... the trial court undoubtedly has no jurisdiction.) virtual law library Scrutinizing the allegations in the original complaint in the light of foregoing pronouncements of this Court. 103. 63 SCRA 278. the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the case insofar as said issue is concerned. Canada Dry Bottling Co.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Jurisdiction of the courts is conferred and governed by law (Leoquinco vs. 79 SCRA 482. CFI of Davao. this Court ruled that . whether it be jurisdiction over the subject. Molina vs." (Leoquinco vs. therefore.. It has been a recognized principle of law in our jurisdiction that the courts have jurisdiction to determine who has prior possession of public land and entitled to be protected in such possession. 102 Phil. 91 SCRA 164. the issue of ownership over the land in dispute.

virtualawlibrary virtual law library ACCORDINGLY. the petition for review on certiorari is hereby granted. and "prior right of possession" emphasized and particularized in the ammended complaint.virtualawlibrary virtual law library The order dated January 23. assailing the Decision2 and Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. No. ROSALES. As a matter of fact. 49 SCRA 319. The appellate court set . or where averment which were implied and made in express.The trial court having acquired jurisdiction over the subject matter as well as over the nature of the action on the original complaint. J. a superficial examination of the original complaint. 1978 of the respondent Judge is hereby annulled and set-aside. The only difference was that the words "absolute owner" were delete from the original complaint. DECISION TINGA. CADIMAS. MARITES CARRION and GEMMA HUGO. In determining whether a different cause of action is introduced by amendments to the complaint. VENANCIO Z. 98572. (Rubio vs.: This is a petition for review on certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.R. it could validly issue an order to amend the original complaint. or if what is alleged refer to the same matter but are more fully and differently stated. 180394 September 29.) Besides. Any amendment will not be considered as stating a new cause of action if the fact alleged in the amended complaint show substantially the same wrong with respect to the same transaction. he opted not to file a new answer and instead relied on his original answer. and the trial court is ordered to render judgment on the merits of the case.R. and the amended complaint would show that both pleadings are virtually Identical.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Costs against private respondent.virtualawlibrary virtual law library SO ORDERED. 2008 MARJORIE B. The deletion of the issue of ownership from the original complaint and the amended complaint having limited the issue to prior possession did not substantially alter the theory of the complaint. Respondents. notwithstanding the new reglementary period given to the defendant within. SP No. what is to be ascertained is whether the defendants shall be required o answer for a liability or legal obligation wholly different from that which was stated in the original complaint. Mariano. by her Attorney-In-Fact. vs. and the subject of the controversy or the liability sought to be enforced remains the same. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. which to answer the amended complaint.

In the same motion. wherein petitioner sold to respondent Carrion a town house located at Lot 4-F-1-12 No. West Fairview Park Subdivision. citing the grounds of lack of jurisdiction to hear the case on the part of the RTC and estoppel and/or laches on the part of petitioner. directed petitioner to present evidence ex-parte against respondent Carrion. the RTC declared respondent Carrion in default. was guilty of committing unsound real estate business practices. to manage and administer the subject property and to prosecute and defend all suits to protect her rights and interest in said property. Rule 14 of the Rules of Court on the proper service of summons on a non-resident defendant. Quezon City for the sum of P330. whereby respondent Carrion had authorized respondent Hugo. Thus. the RTC issued an Omnibus Order10 on 21 March 2005.9 After petitioner filed a comment on the motion to dismiss.11 The answer pleaded a compulsory counterclaim for damages. On 18 April 2005. The instant petition stemmed from the complaint5 for accion reivindicatoria and damages filed by petitioner Marjorie B. petitioner asked respondent Carrion in writing to explain the alleged violation but the latter ignored petitioner¶s letter. petitioner filed a Motion To Declare Defendant Marites Carrion In Default. 23 Aster Street. Allegedly. respondent Carrion failed to file a responsive pleading within the reglementary period. Carrion had violated paragraph 8 of said contract when she transferred ownership of the property to respondent Hugo under the guise of a special power of attorney. the cancellation of the presentation of evidence ex-parte. Quezon City issued in Civil Case No. Respondent Hugo argued that the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) has jurisdiction over the complaint because ultimately. through her attorney-in-fact. the lifting of the order of default against respondent Carrion and the issuance of an order directing the extraterritorial service of summons on respondent 12 Carrion. The following day. Q-04-53581 and raffled to Branch 85 of the RTC of Quezon City. The RTC noted that respondent Hugo¶s failure to disclose at the outset that she was equipped with a special power of attorney was an act constitutive of misleading the court. respondent Hugo filed an answer on her behalf and as the attorney-in-fact of respondent Carrion. petitioner averred that she and respondent Carrion were parties to a Contract To Sell dated 4 August 2003.aside two orders4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Rosales. as the owner and developer of the subdivision on which the subject property stood.000. 8 7 . In the same omnibus order. respondent Hugo sought a reconsideration of the omnibus order. the RTC ruled that summons was served properly.6 On 28 October 2004. thus. attached to the motion was a special power of attorney. Venancio Z. on 22 April 2005. among others. According to petitioner. which authorized the latter to manage and administer the property for and in behalf of respondent Carrion. petitioner presented evidence ex-parte against respondent Carrion. against respondents Marites Carrion and Gemma Hugo. and respondent Hugo to file an answer. respondent Hugo averred that the RTC had not acquired jurisdiction over the person of respondent Carrion for not complying with Section 16. praying for the dismissal of the complaint.00 to be paid in installments. In the complaint. alleging that despite the service of summons and a copy of the complaint. the court had acquired jurisdiction over respondent Carrion. However. Respondent Hugo filed a Motion To Dismiss on her behalf and on behalf of respondent Carrion on 18 November 2004. prompting petitioner to demand in writing that Carrion and Hugo vacate the property and to cancel the contract. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. Branch 85. which denied the motion to dismiss. The RTC held that the court¶s jurisdiction is not determined by the defenses set up in the answer or the motion to dismiss. Cadimas. the sole issue to be resolved was whether petitioner. Thus. Q04-53581 on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the case.

developer. the RTC has jurisdiction over the matter. and (3) respondents erroneously availed of a Rule 65 petition instead of filing a timely appeal from the order denying their motion to dismiss. respondents elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals via a special civil action for certiorari. the RTC lifted the order of default against respondent Carrion and set the pre-trial conference of the case. raising the following arguments: (1) based on the allegations in the complaint. Citing the interest of substantial justice. (2) in any case. 957. the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision granting respondents¶ petition for certiorari. The scope of the regulatory authority thus lodged in the National Housing Authority (NHA) [now HLURB] is indicated in the second and third preambular paragraphs of the statute which provide: 16 . The aforequoted provision must be read in the light of the statute¶s preamble or the introductory or preparatory clause that explains the reasons for its enactment or the contextual basis for its interpretation.) No. Claims involving refund and any other claims filed by subdivision lot or condominium unit buyer against the project owner. petitioner argues that based on the allegations in the complaint and the reliefs sought. Q-04-53581 be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. developer. the RTC issued an order. which enumerates the regulatory functions of the HLURB. Hence. B. The appellate court set aside the assailed orders of the RTC and ordered the dismissal of petitioner¶s complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Q-04-53581. Riel be reversed and set aside and that the complaint in Civil Case No. praying that the Omnibus Order dated 21 March 2005 and Order dated 17 January 2007 issued by Judge Teodoro T. the National Housing Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of the following nature: A. the compulsory counterclaim pleaded in the answer of respondents was an express recognition on their part of the jurisdiction of the RTC over the complaint foraccion reivindicatoria. On 27 September 2007. dealer. the instant petition. the Court of Appeals denied petitioner¶s motion for reconsideration. The nature of an action and the jurisdiction of a tribunal are determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the law at the time the action was commenced.On 17 January 2007. petitioner adds.13 However. An examination of Section 1 of Presidential Decree (P. and C.D. In any case. otherwise.17 readily shows that its quasi-judicial function is limited to hearing only the following specific cases: SECTION 1. The petition is meritorious. 1344. or salesman. the RTC has jurisdiction over Civil Case No. Jurisdiction of the tribunal over the subject matter or nature of an action is conferred only by law and not by the consent or waiver upon a court 15 which. would have no jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of an action. In the exercise of its functions to regulate the real estate trade and business and in addition to its powers provided for in Presidential Decree No. upholding its jurisdiction over petitioner¶s complaint. Cases involving specific performance of contractual and statutory obligations filed by buyers of subdivision lot or condominium unit against the owner. respondents have expressly submitted to or recognized the jurisdiction of the RTC by filing an answer with counterclaim.14 Essentially. In its Resolution dated 9 November 2007. broker. dealer or salesman. Unsound real estate business practices.

"WHEREAS.D. No. water systems. petitioner sought the cancellation of the contract and the recovery of possession and ownership of the town house. No."18 The boom in the real estate business all over the country resulted in more litigation between subdivision owners/developers and lot buyers with the issue of the jurisdiction of the NHA or the HLURB over such controversies as against that of regular courts. such as failure to deliver titles to the buyers or titles free from liens and encumbrances. There is nothing in the allegations in the complaint or in the terms and conditions of the contract to sell that would suggest that the nature of the controversy calls for the application of either P. In Javellana v. v. P. WHEREAS. 1344 insofar as the extent of the powers and duties of the HLURB is concerned. and to pay real estate taxes. where the HLURB¶s jurisdiction concerns cases commenced by subdivision lot or condominium unit buyers. Clearly. 957 or P. developers. National Housing Authority. drainage. concerning "unsound real estate practices. owner or broker or salesman or a person engaged in real estate business. In the cases that reached this Court.23 In their comment. lighting systems and other similar basic requirements. On its face. Manila. Thus. 1344 and thus within the exclusive jurisdiction of the HLURB. and/or sellers have reneged on their representations and obligations to provide and maintain properly subdivision roads. operators. The contract to sell does not contain clauses which would indicate that petitioner has obligations in the capacity of a subdivision lot developer.D. No. respondents cite Antipolo Realty Corp. the complaint must sufficiently describe the lot as a subdivision lot and sold by the defendant in his capacity as a subdivision developer to fall within the purview of P. reports of alarming magnitude also show cases of swindling and fraudulent manipulations perpetrated by unscrupulous subdivision and condominium sellers and operators. Presiding Judge.24 to bolster the argument that the HLURB has jurisdiction over controversies involving the determination of the rights of . RTC. Petitioner¶s complaint alleged that a contract to sell over a townhouse was entered into by and between petitioner and respondent Carrion and that the latter breached the contract when Carrion transferred the same to 21 respondent Hugo without petitioner¶s consent. thus endangering the health and safety of home and lot buyers. Branch 30.D. As to paragraph (a)." the logical complainants would be the buyers and customers against the sellers (subdivision owners and developers or condominium builders and realtors).22 the Court affirmed the jurisdiction of the RTC over the complaint for accion publiciana and sum of money on the ground that the complaint did not allege that the subject lot was part of a subdivision project but that the sale was an ordinary sale on an installment basis. Hon. From the face of the complaint and the contract to sell. No. 1344 as worded. petitioner is an ordinary seller of an interest in the subject property who is seeking redress for the alleged violation of the terms of the contract to sell. No. and fraudulent sales of the same subdivision lots to different innocent purchasers for value . Even the mere assertion that the defendant is a subdivision developer or that the subject lot is a subdivision lot does not automatically vest jurisdiction on the HLURB. Note particularly paragraphs (b) and (c) of Sec.D. 1.D. the ruling has consistently been that the NHA or the HLURB has jurisdiction over complaints arising from contracts between the subdivision developer and the lot buyer or those aimed at compelling the subdivision developer to comply with its contractual and statutory obligations to make the subdivision a better place to live in. 957 and P.19 We agree with the ruling of the RTC that it has jurisdiction over the case based on the allegations of the complaint. the complaint is well within the jurisdiction of the RTC. numerous reports reveal that many real estate subdivision owners. Nothing in the complaint or in the contract to sell suggests that petitioner is the proper party to invoke the jurisdiction of the HLURB. sewerage. and not vice versa.20 The complaint does not allege that petitioner is a subdivision lot buyer.

D. the allegations in respondents¶ motion to dismiss on the unsound real 28 . In the instances where the jurisdiction of the HLURB was upheld. The issue in said case called for the determination of whether the developer complied with its obligations to complete certain specified improvements in the subdivision within the specified period of time. for otherwise. respondents claim that the resolution of the case ultimately calls for the interpretation of the contract to sell and the determination of whether petitioner is guilty of committing unsound real estate business practices. the Court explained. The action likewise involved the determination of ownership over the disputed condominium unit. 1344. the Court in Suntay nullified the orders issued by the HLURB over the action for the annulment of an auction sale. The statement in Suntay v. The argument does not impress. P. does not automatically vest jurisdiction in the HLURB. cancellation of notice of levy and damages on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. in Spouses Dela Cruz v. No. P.D. 957 and P. the decisive element is the nature of the action as enumerated in Section 1 of P. the National Housing Authority (NHA) before and now the HLURB. As a matter of fact. is a mere obiter dictum. 1344. the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the defendant.e. For an action to fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the HLURB. It is an elementary rule of procedural law that jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. which by its nature does not fall under the classes of disputes cognizable by the HLURB under Section 1 of P. Not every controversy involving a subdivision or condominium unit falls under the competence of the 29 HLURB in the same way that the mere allegation of relationship between the parties. the proper forum to hear and decide the matter is the HLURB. that of being subdivision owner/developer and subdivision lot buyer. Antipolo Realty is not squarely applicable to the instant controversy. No. Thus. 1344. Court of Appeals. 957.the parties under a contract to sell a subdivision lot. the appellate court concluded that the HLURB has jurisdiction over the controversy because the property subject thereof was part of a subdivision project. or the complaint for specific performance sought to compel the 26 subdivision developer to comply with its undertaking under the contract to sell. or broker contemplated under P. the allegations in the complaint clearly showed that the case involved the determination of the rights and obligations of the parties in a sale of 25 real estate under P. 1344.D.D. has jurisdiction over complaints aimed at compelling the subdivision developer to comply with its contractual and statutory obligations. The Court of Appeals held that the provision in the contract to sell mandating membership of the buyer of the housing unit in a housing corporation was a strong indication that the property purchased by respondent Carrion from petitioner was part of a tract of land subdivided primarily for residential purposes. paragraph (c) of P. a case that clearly falls under Section 1. As a necessary consequence.31 the Court upheld the jurisdiction of the RTC over the complaint for cancellation of the contract to sell of a subdivision house and lot because the case did not fall under any of the cases mentioned in Section 1. thus: On this matter.32 Thus. No. 957 encompasses all questions regarding subdivisions and condominiums.. or the claim by the subdivision developer would have been properly pleaded as a counterclaim in the HLURB case filed by 27 the buyer against the developer to avoid splitting causes of action. No.D. No.30 Notably. No. No. which was cited by the Court of Appeals in the assailed decision. 1344.D. In interpreting said provision.D. The averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the matters to be consulted. For their part. No. No. we have consistently held that the concerned administrative agency. What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the nature of the action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint.D. Gocolay to the effect that P. i. 1344 were not the applicable laws because the action was brought against a condominium buyer and not against the developer. seller. the jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss.D. thus.

926. The Regional Trial Court is ORDERED to resume the proceedings in and decide Civil Case No. . J.estate business practices allegedly committed by petitioner. even if proved to be true. Ts-308. 2 and 3 therein that . lawful and in actual. Costs against respondents. vs. 1970. the instant petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED and the Decision dated 27 September 2007 and Resolution dated 9 November 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. VERIDIANO II.virtualawlibrary virtual law library It appears that on 25 January 1963. forcibly entered a portion on the southwestern part of Lot No. BELLOSILLO. SP No. Presiding Judge. L-48050 October 10. stating in pars. strategy and stealth. 1641. petitioner filed a Miscellaneous Sales Application for Lot No. HON. said lot being designated as Lot No. she instituted a complaint for forcible entry before the City Court of Olongapo City. fence with galvanized iron posts embedded in concrete. the defendant. accion publiciana and accion reivindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion to resolve the issues presented in the petition. said entry was further augmented by removing plaintiff's chain link. Bureau of Lands. and on the basis thereof. 1641. through scheme. with the District Land Officer. Sometime in December 1970. likewise destroying plants introduced by plaintiff by removing existing BL .: virtual law library Petitioner Felicidad Javier questions before us the order of a regional trial court citing the final decision of the city court previously dismissing her complaint for forcible entry. No. Sometime on December 12. The orders dated 21 March 2005 and 17 January 2007 of the Regional Trial Court. cannot serve to oust the RTC of its jurisdiction over actions for breach of contract and damages which has been conferred to it by law. Lower Kalaklan.R. We summon the time-honored remedies accion interdictal. . without express consent of plaintiff and without lawful authority. Q-04-53581 with deliberate speed. 98572 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. . Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. Olongapo City. plaintiff is the true. City of Olongapo. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. Q-04-53581 are REINSTATED. docketed as Civil Case No. Court of First Instance of Zambales and REINO ROSETE. Olongapo City. with the assistance of hired helpers. Respondents. dismissed her petition to quiet title on the ground of res judicata. Petitioner. started construction of riprap along the Kalaklan River perimeter of said portion of land. . 1994 FELICIDAD JAVIER. Quezon City in Civil Case No. prior physical possession of a certain parcel of land situated at Lower Kalaklan. Ts-308 of the Olongapo Townsite Subdivision. Branch 85. . alleging that she was forcibly dispossessed of a portion of the land by a certain Ben Babol. 1641. Ts-308 of the Olongapo Townsite Subdivision since 1961 and up to the present time. until the day and incidents hereinafter narrated. REGINO T. Branch I.R.

petitioner instituted a complaint for quieting of title and recovery of possession with damages against Ben Babol and Reino Rosete before the then Court of First Instance of Zambales and Olongapo City. 2 dismissed Civil Case No.virtualawlibrary virtual law library 7 8 . which looks into the ownership of the disputed land. she maintains that there is no identity of causes of action since the first case was for forcible entry. . She argues that private respondent Reino Rosete. relying on an application filed on December 23. . the former having sold the entirety of his property to the latter. Br. 1641. P-3259. . illegally occupied and unlawfully possessed the southwestern portion of plaintiff's above-described property of about 200 square meters. Thus petitioner demanded the surrender of the same area in dispute from Reino Rosete who repeatedly refused to comply with the demand. 1641. 1641. to a certain Reino Rosete. virtual law library Instead of filing a responsive pleading. sustained the argument of Rosete and granted his motion to dismiss. . which had long become final and executory. Br. could have validly invoked the defense of res judicata. or after about four (4) years from the finality of the dismissal of Civil Case No. including the portion of about 200 square meters in question.virtualawlibrary virtual law library In its Order dated 27 January 1978. Sometime in December.(Bureau of Lands) monuments thereon. including the portion in 6 question. covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 1. Ts-308. 1970. perhaps. Br. this petition for review on certiorari. and until present. . . which is an action in personam. more or less. 1 virtual law library On 7 November 1972 the City Court of Olongapo City.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Petitioner contends that res judicata cannot apply in the instant case since there is no identity of parties and causes of action between her complaint for forcible entry.virtualawlibrary virtual law library On 29 June 1977. whereas the subsequent case was for quieting of title. virtual law library Subsequently. however have squatted. the then Court of First Instance of Zambales. Defendant Ben Babol did not file any pleading. 2 and 3 therein that . docketed as Civil Case No. 1969. 5548 and issued Original Certificate of Title No. Olongapo Townsite Subdivision . . . 4. . petitioner was granted Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. 2203-0. which is merely concerned with the possession of the property. Ben Babol who was the defendant and appellee in the complaint for forcible entry had sold the property he was occupying. With regard to the cause of action. 9 Hence. and her subsequent petition for quieting of title. who invokes the defense or res judicata. alleging in pars." 3 The Decision of the City Court of Olongapo City became final and executory on 30 April 1973 when the then Court of First Instance of Zambales and Olongapo City. 926. P-3259 covering Lot No. was never impleaded in the forcible entry case. therein defendant Reino Rosete (private respondent herein) moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of res judicata. on 17 December 1973. 4 3. plaintiff is the absolute owner in fee simple of a parcel of land identified as Lot No. neither was he a purchaser pendente lite who. Meanwhile. defendants. then by defendant BEN BABOL and now by defendant REINO ROSETE. dismissed the appeal and affirmed the findings and conclusions of the City Court holding that appellant (herein petitioner) failed to give sufficient evidence to prove that the area in question was within 5 the boundaries of Lot No. issued by the Register of Deeds for the province of Zambales. Thereafter. defendant started exercising illegal possession of said portion of land which contains an area of 200 square meters. . and by these actions. . with the Bureau of Lands. . petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied. . 926 on the ground that "it appears to the Court that the Bureau of Lands has considered the area in question to be outside Lot 1641 of the plaintiff.

violence or terror. or the summary action for unlawful detainer 19 . alleges a cause of action. We have repeatedly ruled that for res judicata to apply. with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto. and. regardless 14 of who has lawful title over the disputed property. On the issue of identity of causes of action. the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be turned out by strong hand. and should be distinguished from Civil Case No. virtual law library The doctrine in Emilia v. Civil Case No. possession de facto and not possession de jure. 49. of subject matter and of causes of action. 2203-0 there is identity of parties and of causes of action which would bar the institution of Civil Case No. 926.Private respondent however submits that there is identity of parties in the two cases since he is a successor in interest by title of the defendant in the first case after the commencement of the first action. Rules of Court. private respondent continues. 12 or is a mere nominal party. provides that ". 926 is a complaint for forcible entry. It does not in any way bind the title or affect the ownership of the land or building. Rule 39.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Time and again it has been said that for res judicata to bar the institution of a subsequent action the following requisites must concur: (1) There must be a final judgment or order. is still good law and has preserved the age-old remedies available under existing laws and jurisprudence to recover possession of real property. (3) The former judgment is a judgment on the merits. identity of the parties between the two actions. which is an accion interdictal. 10 The presence of the first three requirements and the identity of subject matter in the fourth requirement are not disputed. 2203-0. "[t]he only issue in an action for forcible entry is the physical or material possession of real property. Bado. decided more than twenty-five years ago. there is merit in petitioner's argument that there is no identity of causes of action between Civil Case No. it is evident that private respondent Reino Rosete is a successor in interest of Ben Babol by title subsequent to the commencement and termination of the first action. plaintiff therein (petitioner herein) clearly sets up title to herself and prays that respondent Rosete be ejected from the disputed land and that she be declared the owner and given possession thereof.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Petitioner's argument that there is no identity of parties between the two actions is without merit. 13 Thus. the complaint for forcible entry and the subsequent petition for quieting of title. 16 virtual law library On the other hand. i. Hence. what is required is not absolute but only substantial identity of parties. that is. a judgment rendered in a case for recovery of possession is conclusive only on the question of possession and not on the ownership. 2203-0 while inaccurately captioned as an action for "Quieting of Title and Recovery of Possession with Damages" is in reality an action to recover a parcel of land or an accion reivindicatoria under Art. From the averments of the complaint in Civil Case No.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Civil Case No. if not substantial. . (b). 926 and Civil Case No. there is actual. 926 and Civil Case No. Certainly. the 18 allegations partake of the nature of an accion reivindicatoria. . par. both cases have to be dismissed.. 2203-0. litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity. Thus. In fact we have said that there is still identity of parties although in the second action there is one party who was not joined in the first action. 11 It is fundamental that the application of res judicata may not be evaded by simply including additional parties in a subsequent litigation. namely accion interdictal." 15 And. 434 17 of the Civil Code. where what is at issue is prior possession. which is the summary action for forcible entry (detentacion) where the defendant's possession of the property is illegal ab initio. he simply states that neither of the two cases. the judgment or order is. Hence. 2203-0. the only issues remaining are whether as between Civil Case No. conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding. (4) There is between the first and second actions identity of parties. But.e." virtual law library In the case at bench. Sec. The philosophy underlying this remedy is that irrespective of the actual condition of the title to the property. Thus. (2) The court rendering the judgment must have jurisdiction over the subject matter. if it appears that such party is not a necessary party either in the first or second action. .

It should be distinguished from Civil Case No. 2203-0 as a petition to quiet title. including the right to possess which is an elemental attribute of such ownership. 926 petitioner merely claimed a better right or prior possession over the disputed area without asserting title thereto. Thus. Accion reivindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion is thus an action whereby plaintiff alleges ownership over a parcel of land and seeks recovery of its full possession. 2203-0. accion reivindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion which seeks the recovery of ownership and includes the jus utendi and the jus fruendibrought in the proper regional trial court. with station in Olongapo City. in case of unlawful detainer. prior physical possession" of the subject parcel of land. or petition to quiet title. 2203-0 where she expressly alleged ownership. there being no identity of causes of action between Civil Case No. virtual law library In Civil Case No. 2203-0 with deliberate dispatch. in the proper municipal trial court or metropolitan trial court. specifically praying that she be declared the rightful owner and given possession of the disputed portion. . whereas in Civil Case No. Hence. still it has a cause of action different from that for ejectment. 926 and Civil Case No. and." The complaint in Civil Case No. lawful (possessor) and in actual. The Order dated 27 January 1978 of the then Court of First Instance of Zambales.(desahuico) where the defendant's possession was originally lawful but ceased to be so by the expiration of his right to possess. and its subsequent Order denying reconsideration of the dismissal are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Br. in case of forcible entry. 24 even if we treat Civil Case No. Consequently. 2203-0 she asserted that she was "the absolute owner in fee simple" of the parcel of land "covered by Original Transfer Certificate of Title No. P-3259. this Court has ruled that a judgment in forcible entry or detainer case disposes of no other issue than possession and declares only who has the right of possession. dismissing Civil Case No. 2203-0 definitely raises the question of ownership and clearly gives defendants therein notice of plaintiff's claim of exclusive and absolute ownership. 20 accion publiciana which is a plenary action for recovery of the right to possess and which should be brought in the proper regional trial court when the dispossession has lasted for more than one year. both of which must be brought within one year from the date of actual entry on the land. I. 2203-0. as its caption suggests. 23 virtual law library And. but by no means constitutes a bar to an action for determination of who has the right or title of ownership. the petition is GRANTED. This decision is immediately executory. De la Victoria.virtualawlibrary virtual law library WHEREFORE. the prior complaint for ejectment cannot bar the subsequent action for recovery. 926 petitioner merely alleged that she was "the true.virtualawlibrary virtual law library The Clerk of Court is directed to remand the records immediately to the court of a quo and the latter to proceed with the trial of Civil Case No. applying the ruling of the Court En Banc in Quimpo v. in Civil Case No.virtualawlibrary virtual law library SO ORDERED. 21 It is different fromaccion interdictal or accion publiciana where plaintiff merely alleges proof of a better right to possess without 22 claim of title. and from the date of last demand.

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