You are on page 1of 14

SPOUSES LYDIA FLORES-CRUZ and REYNALDO I.

CRUZ, Petitioners,

G.R. No. 172217

Present:

PUNO, C.J., Chairperson, CORONA, - versus CHICO-NAZARIO, LEONARDO-DE CASTRO and BERSAMIN, JJ.

SPOUSES LEONARDO and ILUMINADA GOLI-CRUZ, SPOUSES RICO and FELIZA DE LA CRUZ, SPOUSES BOY and LANI DE LA CRUZ, ZENAIDA A. JACINTO and ROGELIO DE LOS SANTOS, Respondents. Promulgated:

Per Special Order No. 698 dated September 4, 2009.

Lot 30.. 2006 resolution3[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG. J. p. Cruz purchased a 5. Id. 2009 x---------------------------------------------------x RESOLUTION CORONA.. Penned by Associate Justice Bienvenido L.. CV No. 24-25. Bulacan. Ramon and Daniel (all 1[1] 2[2] Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 99-1010-00931 of the Municipal Assessors Office of Angat.209-sq. Angat. namely. 7.September 18. Cad. 18-24. 349.: This is a petition for review on certiorari1[1] of the August 23. pp. m. 3[3] 4[4] 5[5] . 1999. 85. On December 15. lot situated in Pulong Yantok. The property was declared under Property Index No. Id. Jacinto (retired) and Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente of the Second Division of the Court of Appeals. Reyes and concurred in by Associate Justices Godardo A.4[4] petitioner spouses Lydia Flores-Cruz and Reynaldo I. Teresita. 2005 decision2[2] and April 5. p.R. 81099. Rollo. Id. pp. Bulacan5[5] from Lydia’s siblings.

. 20. Bulacan as to the status of the land. petitioner Lydia talked to respondents and offered to sell them the portions they were occupying but the talks failed as they could not agree on the price. pp. . 19-20. Estanislao Flores. however. 19 and 22.7[7] Respondents countered that their possession of the land ranged from 10 to 20 years. Provincial Assessors Office and CENTRO Tabang.surnamed Flores). Estanislao died in 1995. Petitioners sold portions thereof to third parties sometime in September 2000. used to own the land as an inheritance from his parents Gregorio Flores and Ana Mangahas. were ignored. the property was alienable public land. petitioners’ lawyer sent respondents letters asking them to leave. According to respondents. Estanislao and.. Information was given that it was alienable public land. On March 2. Efforts at barangay conciliation also failed. petitioners paid the realty taxes on the land although neither of them occupied it. These demands. Their father. 2001. Guiguinto.8[8] 6[6] 7[7] 8[8] Id. p. later. pp.6[6] After the death of Estanislao. were occupying a section of the land. petitioners found out that respondent spouses Leonardo and Iluminada Goli-Cruz et al. Initially. Id.. Id. Respondents made inquiries from the Municipal Assessors Office (in Pandi. Bulacan).

19-20. The RTC denied the motion in an order dated November 9. 51.. petitioners filed a complaint for recovery of possession of the land in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos. 2001. 11[11] Id. .9[9] On August 6. pp. 10[10] Docketed as Civil Case No. Branch 82. they had no knowledge of petitioners’ and their predecessor’s ownership of the land. among others. p. They took steps to legitimize their claim and paid the realty tax on their respective areas for the taxable year 2002.11[11] 9[9] Id. 2001. Bulacan.10[10] Respondents filed a motion to dismiss claiming.. 53 and 82. Subsequently.Prior to petitioners’ demand.. pp. Id. 516-M-2001. the tax declarations issued to them were cancelled by the Provincial Assessors Office and re-issued to petitioners. however. that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the case as it should have been filed in the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) since it was a summary action for ejectment under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court.

12[12] On appeal by respondents to the CA. and pay attorney’s fees and costs of suit. 18-19. it ruled that the RTC decision was null and void. It held that the complaint was one for unlawful detainer which should have been filed in the MTC. 12[12] Id. 2006. . Thus. Hence.After trial. the RTC rendered a decision dated October 3. The issue for our resolution is whether the RTC had jurisdiction over this case. 2003 in favor of petitioners and ordered respondents to vacate the land. the latter.. pp. this petition. in a decision dated August 23. ruled that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the action for recovery of possession because petitioners had been dispossessed of the property for less than a year. 2005. Reconsideration was denied on April 5. The petition has no merit.

R. G. 1999. 425 SCRA 376 and Ching v. citing Dimo Realty & Development. 484 Phil. Cad. as shown by [a] Deed of Absolute Sale of Unsubdivided Land made [an] integral [part] hereof as Annex “B.14[14] Only facts alleged in the complaint can be the basis for determining the nature of the action and the court’s competence to take cognizance of it. G. Abellana.It is axiomatic that the nature of the action – on which depends the question of whether a suit is within the jurisdiction of the court – is determined solely by the allegations in the complaint13[13] and the law at the time the action was commenced. 349 located at Pulong Yantok. such as evidence adduced at the trial. 15[15] Barbosa v. 16[16] Id. 13[13] Barbosa v. 103. 130991. No. to determine the nature of the action thereby initiated. Inc. B-1 & B-2”. 527 SCRA 99. said Lot No.R. 14[14] Laresma v. Hernandez. 15[15] One cannot advert to anything not set forth in the complaint. 4. Hernandez. 31 August 1987. supra note 13. 133564.16[16] Petitioners’ complaint contained the following allegations: xxx xxx xxx 3. Dimaculangan. G. 777 (2004). 153 SCRA 413. 11 March 2004. Angat. Malaya. . v. [petitioners] are owners of a piece of land known as Lot 30-part. That. Bulacan as shown by a copy of Tax Declaration No. No.R. 30-part was acquired through [purchase] on December 15. No. 10 July 2007. That. 766. 99-01010-01141 made [an] integral [part] hereof as Annex “A”. L-56449.

The necessary allegations in a complaint for ejectment are set forth in Section 1. force or any unlawful manner which are just bases for ejectment. the proper remedy was an action for unlawful detainer which should have been filed in the MTC. who. We agree. That. 9. it is clear that [respondents] occupy portions of subject property either by stealth. 2001 made integral part hereof as Annex “C. considering that petitioners claimed that respondents were possessors of the property by mere tolerance only and the complaint had been initiated less than a year from the demand to vacate. that the [respondents] presented to [petitioners] in order to legitimize the claim. there is no existing agreement or any document that illustrate whatever permission. if any were given. & C-4”. pp. stratagem. the latter’s occupancy was not communicated to them so it follows that they do not have any right to remain within subject piece of land.18[18] Petitioners alleged that the former 17[17] Rollo. That. C-2. 84-85.5. when asked about their right to stay within the premises replied that they were allowed to live thereat by the deceased former owner. That. they found it to be occupied by at least five (5) households under the names of herein [respondents]. . 8. C-1. xxx xxx xxx 17[17] According to the CA. That. C-3. when [petitioners] inspected subject property. That. Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. [respondents] seem to be unimpressed and made no move to leave the premises or to come to terms with the [petitioners] so much so that [the latter] asked their lawyer to write demand letters to each and everyone of the [respondents] as shown by the demand letters dated March 2. 7. [petitioners] informed the [respondents] that as far as they are concerned. 6.

Based on the allegations in petitioners’ complaint. 20[20] Heirs of Melchor v. vendor or vendee or other person. or a lessor. It can be gleaned from their allegations that they had in fact permitted or tolerated respondents’ occupancy. 415 Phil. 461 Phil. Who may institute proceedings. 172 (2001). G. 139442. Melchor. Yet they demanded that respondents vacate only on March 2. citing Go. together with damages and costs. 6 December 2006. threat. a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force. it is apparent that such is a complaint for unlawful detainer based on possession by tolerance of the owner. 121. intimidation. v. They also stated that they purchased the property on December 15. 1999 and then found respondents occupying the property. 437.owner (Estanislao. 510 SCRA 103. at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession.19[19] It is a settled rule that in order to justify such an action. Court of Appeals. vendee. Jr. vendor.20[20] Such jurisdictional facts are present here. 18[18] Section 1. 445 (2003). bring an action in the proper [MTC] against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession. strategy. or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor. may. No. against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession. or any person or persons claiming under them. for the restitution of such possession. by virtue of any contract. Court of Appeals. . express or implied. the owner’s permission or tolerance must be present at the beginning of the possession. (Emphasis supplied) 19[19] De la Cruz v. or stealth. their predecessor) allowed respondents to live on the land. 2001. and when.R. or other person. – Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding section.

Jurisdiction in civil cases. Abellana. No.000. It amended [BP 129] (Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980). 531 SCRA 104. 23[23] Laresma v. Amending for the Purpose Batas Pambansa Blg. [MTCs]. where such value exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (P50. 24[24] SEC.000. 1994. Court of Appeals. 19.R.21[21] When the case was filed in 2001.000 (or P50. 155179. supra note 14. 111. original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon the Metropolitan Trial Courts. for civil actions in Metro Manila.000. It is no longer true that all cases of recovery of possession or accion publiciana lie with the RTC regardless of the value of the property. and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. p. 24 August 2007. 782. G. 1994 and took effect on April 15.There is another reason why petitioners’ complaint was not a proper action for recovery of possession cognizable by the RTC. — [RTCs] shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: xxx xxx xxx (2) In all civil actions which involve the title to or possession of real property. [MTCs].00) or. 129. or any interest therein. and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.00) except for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of lands or buildings. was approved on March 25. 769122[22] which expanded the MTC’s jurisdiction to include other actions involving title to or possession of real property (accion publiciana and reinvindicatoria)23[23] where the assessed value of the property does not exceed P20. for actions filed in Metro Manila). where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty thousand pesos (P20. 22[22] An Act Expanding the Jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Courts. Congress had already approved Republic Act No. .24[24] Because of this 21[21] Quinagoran v.

174346.000. [MTCs] and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Civil Cases. — Metropolitan Trial Courts.27[27] Be that as it xxx xxx xxx Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts. Jimenez. supra note 13. litigation expenses and costs: Provided. the value of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots. Heirs of Vicente Legaspi. 555 SCRA 111.amendment. 105. p. and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: xxx xxx xxx (3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to. on the assessed value of the property). 164912. 25[25] Barbosa v. real property. No. 12 September 2008..R. the test of whether an action involving possession of real property has been filed in the proper court no longer depends solely on the type of action filed but also on the assessed value of the property involved. since MTCs now have jurisdiction over accion publiciana and accion reinvindicatoria (depending. G.000. 130. jurisdiction over such actions has to be determined on the basis of the assessed value of the property.25[25] More specifically. De Barrera v. 18 June 2008. attorney's fees. or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20. where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50. No. of course. in civil actions in Metro Manila. 27[27] PAG-ASA Fishpond Corporation v.00) exclusive of interest. citations omitted. . or possession of. 26[26] Id.26[26] This issue of assessed value as a jurisdictional element in accion publiciana was not raised by the parties nor threshed out in their pleadings. G. [MTCs]. damages of whatever kind. Hernandez.R.00) or. That in cases of land not declared for taxation purposes.

the Court can motu proprio consider and resolve this question because jurisdiction is conferred only by law. 2001).28[28] It cannot be acquired through. 115. supra note 14. v. 166664. 30[30] Laresma v. 391 Phil. Saul. No. absent any allegation in the complaint of the assessed value of the property. pp.R. it cannot be determined whether it is the RTC or the MTC which has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the petitioners’ action. 20 October 2005. 31[31] Id.31[31] Indeed.may..30[30] The complaint did not contain any such allegation on the assessed value of the property. 211. . Petitioners’ dispossession had 28[28] Republic of the Phil. supra note 21. 29[29] Suarez v. G. or waived by. 218 (2000). the complaint was filed (August 6. 782. There is no showing on the face of the complaint that the RTC had jurisdiction over the action of petitioners. the complaint must allege the assessed value of the real property subject of the complaint or the interest thereon. Court of Appeals. p. Abellana. 473 SCRA 628. 637. 32[32] Quinagoran v. p. any act or omission of the parties. Estipular.29[29] To determine which court (RTC or MTC) has jurisdiction over the action. 782-783.32[32] Moreover. 2001) within one year from the demand to vacate was made (March 2.

R. citation omitted. .R. 501 SCRA 34.33[33] Since petitioners’ complaint made out a case for unlawful detainer which should have been filed in the MTC and it contained no allegation on the assessed value of the subject property. Hilario v. 130841. Salvador. SO ORDERED. 5 September 2006. Gonzaga v. 457 SCRA 815. The proceedings before a court without jurisdiction.R. No. 26 February 2008. 546 SCRA 532. Costs against petitioners. 825. Roldan. 160384.thus not lasted for more than one year to justify resort to the remedy of accion publiciana. No. Dela Rosa v.34[34] It follows that the CA was correct in dismissing the case. There is no estoppel or laches in this case because respondents sought the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction right after it was filed. WHEREFORE. 133882. 542. G. including its decision. the RTC seriously erred in proceeding with the case. Court of Appeals. 34[34] Id. G. Heirs of Vicente Legaspi. the petition is DENIED. supra note 26. 29 April 2005. are null and void. G. 33[33] De Barrera v. No. 57.

BERSAMIN Associate Justice . CORONA Associate Justice WE CONCUR: REYNATO S. PUNO Chief Justice Chairperson MINITA V. LEONARDO-DE Associate Justice LUCAS P.RENATO C. CHICO-NAZARIO CASTRO Associate Justice TERESITA J.

PUNO Chief Justice . Article VIII of the Constitution.CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. REYNATO S. I certify that the conclusions in the above resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.