Property | Lawsuit | Lease

G.R. No.

L-12449
EULOGIO MASALLO, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
MARIA CESAR, defendant-appellant.
Eufrosino M. Alba for appellant. Manuel Terencio for appellee.
FISHER, J.:
Plaintiff in this action, averring that he is the owner of the tract of land in question, brought an action
of desahucio [eviction] in the court of the justice of the peace of the municipality of Lezo against the defendant, for
the purpose of recovering possession thereof. From the decision of the justice of the peace an appeal was taken to
the Court of First Instance of Capiz, and the case there tried de novo.
It is averred in the complaint that on or about the 12th day of June, 1915, the defendant by force and intimidation
deprived plaintiff of the possession of the land in suit, and has since that time withheld it from him to his damage
in the sum of P25. The defendant answered, denying the averments of the complaint regarding the alleged
eviction, and asserted, by way of defense, that the land in question is her property and has been in her possession
without interruption for more than twenty years. The trial court gave judgment in favor of the plaintiff in
accordance with the prayer of his complaint.
From the evidence taken at the trial it appears that the defendant had been in possession of the land in question
for a long period prior to the occurrence of the incidents out of which this litigation arose.
On March 8, 1915, while the defendant was in possession of the land in question, one Matea Crispino executed a
deed to the plaintiff herein, whereby she undertook to sell and transfer to him the land in question. It was
admitted by Matea Crispino in her testimony at the trial that she has not been in possession of the land which is
the subject-matter of her deed to plaintiff, since the cessation of the Spanish sovereignty in these Islands.
(Stenographic notes, p. 10.) She stated, however, that he land in question had been mortgaged by her to one
Eugenia Perez, who testified on behalf of plaintiff that she, Perez, had been in possession of the land from 1889
until 1914.
After Matea Crispino executed her deed to the plaintiff, the latter went upon the land with his laborers and
commenced to plow it. This work had hardly commenced when, according to plaintiff's testimony, the defendants
approached, accompanied by her daughter, and insisting that the land was hers and in her possession, ordered the
plaintiff and his men away.
Plaintiff avers that in the course of that altercation the defendant, who is a woman 80 years of age, took a bolo
and cut the rope traces by which his carabao was attached to the plow. The result of the dispute was that the
plaintiff and his men withdrew and that an action was shortly after commenced in the court of the justice of the
peace against the defendant by plaintiff for the possession of the land.
The evidence shows conclusively that until he went upon the land for the purpose of plowing it, acting on the
strength of his deed from Matea Crispino, plaintiff had never been in possession of this property. Whether or not
Eugenia Perez had been in possession of the property at some time is, of course, unimportant. The action admits
that the defendant is not in possession of the property and asserting rights of ownership over it; and the plaintiff
can only succeed upon proof of prior possession in himself or someone to whose rights he has succeeded.
The case involves a point which we consider worthy of elucidation. This relates to the possession which the
plaintiff must show in himself in order to sustain an action of forcible entry and detainer, under section 80 of
the Code of Civil Procedure , against an intruder who enters upon the land by force, intimidation, threat, strategy,
or stealth. As observed by this court in Mediran vs. Villanueva (37 Phil. Rep., 752), the plaintiff in an action of this
character must prove a prior possession in himself, which means that as between the two contending parties the
right of action is conceded to be in the party whose actual and peaceful possession antedates that of the other.
In this case the defendant Maria Cesar is shown to have had the prior peaceful possession of the disputed parcel of
ground for an indefinite period of time in the part. Therefore, when the plaintiff, after acquiring a deed to the land
from a third person, entered upon the premises with his laborers and began plowing the land, it was he who was
guilty of the wrongful seizure of the property; and the defendant undoubtedly then had a perfect right to maintain
an action of unlawful detainer against the plaintiff to regain possession. Instead of instituting such an action, as the
defendant was well entitled to do, she warned the plaintiff off, or as he would have us believe, ejected him by
force, intimidation, and violence. Availing himself of the situation thus created, the plaintiff now seeks to turn the
tables, so to speak, upon the original possessor, and founding his right upon the transitory possession which he
had wrongfully acquired, he would not employ against the defendant the same remedy which might properly have
been used against himself if he had not vacated the premises.
This confusion of the remedy cannot be permitted. Where a dispute over possession arises between two persons,
the person first having actual possession, as between them, is the one who is entitled to maintain the action
granted in section 80 of theCode of Civil Procedure. If this were not so, a mere usurper without any right whatever,
might enter upon the property of another and, by allowing himself to be ordered off, could acquired the right to
maintain the action of forcible entry and detainer, however momentary his intrusion might have been.
The mere suggestion of such a possibility carries its own refutation on its face. The law discourages continued
wrangling over the possession of property, as being fraught with danger to the peace of society; and the purpose
of the action of forcible entry and detainer is to make the right of possession secure. This purpose would be totally
frustrated, if a petty warfare could be conducted by two rival claimants who might alternate with each other in
possession, one putting the other out to-day, only to be in turn himself forcibly ejected tomorrow. The only way to
prevent this is to hold, in conformity with the evident intent of the statute, that the remedy of forcible entry and
detainer was intended to be used against the usurper and not against the person wronged. The rule thus to be
applied may be simply summed up by saying that the plaintiff in an action of forcible entry and detainer cannot
succeed where it appears that, as between himself and the defendant, the latter had a possession antedating his
own; and to ascertain this it is proper to look to the situation as it existed before the first act of spoliation
occurred.
It is stated in the decision that "the plaintiff had acquired possession of the parcel of land in dispute on or about
the 8th of March, 1915, by purchase from Matea Crispino, who sold it to him by the deed Exhibit A."
As Matea Crispino admits, however, that she did not have possession of the land when she executed and delivered
her deed to plaintiff, the mere execution and delivery of the deed did not constitute a delivery of possession.
(Addison vs. Felix and Tioco, 38 Phil. Rep., 404.)
The decision of the trial court is reversed, and the action dismissed, plaintiff to pay the costs of both instances. So
ordered.
Torres, Johnson, Street, Malcolm and Avance


G.R. No. L-43550 November 27, 1936
SEGUNDO MONTEBLANCO, plaintiff,
vs.
THE HINIGARAN SUGAR PLANTATION, INC., and AGUSTIN CORUÑA, defendants.
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, CELSO S. GUANCO, as administrator of the intestate estate of Espiridion Guanco,
and NICETAS SIGUENZA, intervenors.
NICETAS SIGUENZA, appellant.
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, appellee.
Abelardo Hilado for appellant.
Roman J. Lacson for appellee.

DIAZ, J.:
Before any evidence was presented in civil case No. 6390 of the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros,
entitled "Segundo Monteblanco, plaintiff, vs. The Hinigaran Sugar Plantation Inc. and Agustin Coruña, defendants,
and Philippine National Bank, Celso S. Guanco and Nicetas Siguenza, intervenors", which was pending therein by
virtue of an appeal taken by the intervenor Philippine National Bank from the decision of December 26, 1933,
rendered by the justice of the peace court of Hinigaran from which said case originated, counsel for said intervenor
filed a motion to dismiss the case on the ground that the justice of the peace who rendered the decision in
question had no jurisdiction to do so under the provisions of section 64 of Act No. 190. The lower court, after
hearing the parties concerned , sustained the motion, declaring it well founded. It forthwith dismissed the
plaintiff's complaint as well as the complaint in intervention of Nicetas Siguenza, in its order of November
26, 1934, declaring the appealed judgment null and void, and later ordered the return to the intervenor Philippine
National Bank of the bond filed by it for the perfection of its appeal. The intervenor, Nicetas Siguenza, appealed
from the above order, alleging that the lower court erred: (1) In declaring the judgment of the justice of the peace
court of Hinigaran of December 26, 1933, null and void; (2) in dismissing Segundo Monteblanco's complaint and
the complaint in intervention filed by her; (3) in ordering the return to the intervenor Philippine National Bank of
the bond filed by it for the perfection of its appeal, and (4) in denying the motion for reconsideration filed by her a
few days later.
The pertinent facts appearing in the bill of exceptions may be summarized as follows:
On September 18, 1924, case No. 299 of the justice of the peace court of Hinigaran was instituted in said court.
The Philippine National Bank intervened therein, filing its pleading in intervention to that effect on October 18,
1924, and the plaintiff amended his complaint on the same date praying that the defendant the Hinigaran Sugar
Plantation Inc. be ordered to return to him the land described therein, having alleged in his former complaint that
said defendant and its codefendants Nicetas Siguenza and Agustin Coruña have been detaining it since the month
of August, 1924; that in the meantime a preliminary injunction be issued against them and their agents or
representatives to prevent them from continuing to perform acts in violation of his right of possession, and that
they indemnify him in the sum of P500, with costs of the suit.
On December 11, 1924, the justice of the peace court of Hinigaran, considering that the trial of the case devolved
upon the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros, forwarded it to the latter court, issuing its order to that
effect on said date. The Court of First Instance remanded the case to the justice of the peace court with
instructions to the effect that if it was of the opinion that the case did not come within its jurisdiction it should
issue an order that effect and later inform the parties thereof so that they might bring the action they deemed
proper. The justice of the peace court, acting in pursuance of said instructions, rendered its decision on January 6,
1925, dismissing the case and ordering the dissolution of the writs of preliminary injunction issued by it, notifying
the parties that they could bring the action or actions they deemed proper in the competent court. The plaintiff
appealed from this decision to the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros which, after due hearing, again
ordered the case remanded to the justice of the peace court of Hinigaran in its order of April 6, 1925, directing said
court to try it and pass upon the questions raised therein on the ground that it merely involved forcible entry and
detainer which is of the nature of those coming under its exclusive jurisdiction. This was done without the least
objection on the part of the defendants or the intervenors, much less the plaintiff.
The justice of the peace court of Hinigaran received the case so remanded to it on June 15, 1925, and on the same
date notified the interested parties of the fact that the case had again been remanded to it. Thereafter, it took no
other action thereon until November 20, 1933, when, after Nicetas Siguenza had filed her motion to be
permitted to intervene therein, it ordered that the hearing be held on December 20, 1933, at 10 o'clock in the
morning. Six days after the date of the hearing which was attended by the interested parties, the justice of the
peace court rendered its judgment which was declared null and void by the lower court on the grounds already
stated, that is, that said justice of the peace court had no jurisdiction to render it. The lower court, in annulling said
judgment, based its opinion upon the provisions of section 64 of Act No. 190, which reads as follows:
Justices of the peace shall have power to adjourn the hearing of an action from day to day as the interests
of justice may require, but shall not have power to adjourn hearings for a longer period than one week for
each adjournment, nor for more than three months in all.
This section does not have scope which the lower court desired to give. It does not deprived the justices of the
peace of their power to decide the actions brought to them, much less of their jurisdiction to try them if, by reason
of the nature thereof, they had jurisdiction at the time of said action were brought, merely because the period of
three months have lapsed from the first day set for the hearing. It simply contains a prohibition against
adjournments of hearing for a longer period than one week for each adjournment, and for more than three
months in all. This is all the more in the case now under consideration because no day has even been set for the
hearing thereof. On the other hand, taking into consideration the precise language in which the above-cited
section is couched, it is applicable only in cases where a definite day has been set for the hearing, as it is precisely
said date which serves as the starting point in fixing the weekly periods of the extensions of the adjournments of
hearing referred to, said extensions not to exceed three months in all in any case.
It is known that under the law (Acts Nos. 3881 and 4115), justice of the peace courts alone have jurisdiction in
cases of forcible entry and detainer, when the action arising therefrom is commenced within one year from the
time said acts took place. It appears from the complaint which gave rise to this case in the justice of the peace
court of Hinigaran that the detainer took place in the month of August 1924 and the complaint was filed in the
following month, on September 18, 1924, scarcely a month after the cause of action had arisen.
Had the complaint been filed after the lapse of one year from the month of August 1924, the justice of the peace
court of Hinigaran would not have had jurisdiction to try the case. When the case was remanded to it on June 15,
1925, the justice of the peace court still had eleven months and some days of the which conferred, jurisdiction
upon it, to try the case, excluding, of course, from said computation the time it took the case to come and go from
said court to the Court of First Instance and from the latter to the former.
In order that justice of the peace courts in which a case for forcible entry and detainer is brought may have
jurisdiction to decide such case they must decide it within the shortest time practicable, if possible within the year
in which they have jurisdiction or, at most, within three months after the expiration of said year, if the action is
commenced on the last days thereof which is the time when, as already stated, they have jurisdiction.lawphi1.net
The purpose of the law in fixing at one year the period within which actions for forcible entry and detainer may be
brought, is undoubtedly to require cases of said nature to be tried as soon as possible and decided promptly, this
being likewise inferable from the provisions thereof to the effect that appeals in said cases must be perfected
within the peremptory period of ten days; that in case of an appeal by the defendant, the judgment shall be
executed unless he files a bond with sufficient sureties to answer for the payment of rents, damages and costs;
and that in any case must pay to the plaintiff or into the Court of First Instance, at the option of the defendant, the
amount of the rent due or determined by the judge in his judgment, said payments to be made on the tenth of
each calendar month (sec. 88, Act No. 190, as amended by Act No. 4115). Furthermore, the law itself (sec. 83, Act
No. 190) provides that in cases of forcible entry and detainer, no continuance of hearings shall be granted for more
than one week unless the defendant files a bond in favor of the plaintiff, which shows that the purpose of the law
in these cases is to avoid any delay in the proceedings in the justice of the peace courts.
The parties and the justice of the peace court allowed not only the said eleven months and some days but nearly
about eight years to elapse without making any effort or taking any action to terminate the case. With this inaction
or rather neglect on their part, they made it understood that they abandoned the case, particularly the plaintiff,
being no longer interested in the result thereof. There was necessity for the justice of the peace court to revive it
by ordering the hearing thereof, after having forgotten and abandoned it for eight years, five months, and five
days, in order to be able to render judgment in question.
For purposes of the law, the case had died in the justice of the peace court one year after it had been remanded
thereto by the Court of First Instance, with no step having been taken towards its termination in one way or
another. To revive it, it was necessary to the new pleadings, and even admitting the fiction that prior to the trial
had eight years later, the parties again presented the pleadings already presented by them, the result would be
the same because, as the year during which the justice of the peace court could act with jurisdiction had already
elapsed, said court already lost its jurisdiction and could not again have it whether by its own will or by the will of
the parties.
For the foregoing reasons, and not for those stated in the order appealed from, said order is affirmed, without
special pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.
Avanceña, C. J., Abad Santos, Laurel, and Concepcion, JJ., concur.
IMPERIAL, J.:
I concur in the result under the doctrine of laches.
VILLA-REAL, J.:
I concur with Justice Imperial.
G.R. No. L-43304 October 21, 1936
ANTONIO F. AQUINO, special administrator of the testate estate of the deceased Mariano Aquino,plaintiff-
appellee,
vs.
TOMAS DEALA, defendant-appellant.
Bernardo Fabian for appellant.
M. A. Ferrer for appellee.

RECTO, J.:
The questions raised in this appeal may be summarized into two: (1) Whether the contract evidenced by the
documents Exhibits 1, 3, 4 and 5 is a sale with right of repurchase or a simple loan secured by real property, and (2)
whether or not, as the question of ownership of the real property referred to in the complaint has been raised in
the municipal court of Manila where this case originated, and later in the Court of First Instance of Manila, where it
was brought on appeal, said courts had jurisdiction to continue hearing it. The other questions are incidental and
subordinate and the resolution thereof will depend upon that of the former ones.
The following facts have been established by the evidence of the case:
The defendant approached Mariano Aquino, the plaintiff's father, to solicit a loan for a certain amount secured by
the real property described in original certificate of title No. 5014, on which a house of strong materials designated
by No. 670, Tanduay Street, was built. Mariano Aquino acceded to the defendant's proposition on condition that
the transaction be evidenced by a deed in the form and under the conditions of Exhibit 1. The defendant accepted
the conditions imposed because otherwise he would not have obtained the sum needed by him, and to that effect
Exhibit 1 was executed, the principal clauses of which read as follows:
2. In consideration of the sum of four thousand pesos (P4,000) actually received by Tomas Deala and paid
by Mariano Aquino, said Tomas Deala sells, cedes and transfers to said Mariano Aquino the real property
described in paragraph 1 of this deed, free from all liens and incumbrances, subject to the resolutory
condition hereinafter stated.
3. It is hereby agreed and stipulated between Tomas and the latter Mariano Aquino that the latter
hereafter becomes the owner of the property sold, the vendor being liable for eviction and warranty in
the present sale.
4. It is likewise stipulated that the vendor Tomas Deala shall be entitled to repurchase the property sold,
provided he pays the selling price within the period of four (4) years from this date, plus any other sum for
the payment of which be may be liable under the terms of this document.
5. It is likewise stipulated that Tomas Deala binds himself to construct a two-story house of strong
materials on the vacant lot of the parcels of land described in paragraph 1 of this deed, within the period
of six (6) months from this date.
6. It is also stipulated that said Tomas Deala binds himself to insure against fire the buildings on the parcel
of land above-stated for not less than three thousand pesos (P3,000), the premiums thereon to be paid by
said Tomas Deala who will immediately indorse the policy to the purchaser Mariano Aquino after the
property is insured.
7. It is likewise stipulated that should the period for the repurchase elapse and the vendor fails to make
use of such right, this sale will become final and irrevocable without the necessity of executing any other
document therefore.
8. It is likewise stipulated that Tomas Deala will defray the expenses for the execution of this deed and
that of the repurchase, as the case may be, as well as the registration of both documents in the registry of
deeds.
9. Mariano Aquino, as purchaser, states his acceptance of and conformity to the sale executed by Tomas
Deala.
10. Upon the consummation of the sale under the above stated terms, it is now stipulated and agreed
that Mariano Aquino cedes and Tomas Deala receives, under lease, the property described in paragraph 1
this deed as well as the house which said Deala binds himself to build, on the following conditions:
(a) The term of the lease is four (4) years, from this date.
(b) The lease will be for the sum of forty pesos (P40) a month, payable in advance within the first
five days every month, at the residence of the lessor.
(c) Failure to pay the lease for three (3) consecutive months will entitle the lessor to eject the
lessee from the property leased.lâwphi1.nêt
(d) Payment of the land tax on the property leased as well as any other tax actually imposed or
hereafter to be imposed thereon, will be charged to the account of the lessee.
(e) Expenses for the conservation and hygienization of the leased property as well as those in
compliance with all orders issued by any office or dependency of the government in connection
with said property, will also be charged to the account of the lessee.
(f ) Payment of the electric current, gas consumption, water and sewer service of the leased
property will likewise be charged to the account of the lessee.
11. Lastly, it is stipulated that in the event Mariano Aquino has to resort to an attorney or the courts of
justice to enforce the stipulations of this contract, Tomas Deala will pay to said Mariano Aquino damages
in the sum of three hundred pesos (P300), which will have to be added to the repurchase price agreed
upon in case the right of repurchase above-stated is exercised.
Exhibit 1 was novated on December 26, 1926, the only alteration made being in the clause referring to the price
and the rent which were increased to P4,500 and P45, respectively (Exhibit 3). It was renovated on May 31, 1927,
by increasing said price and rent to P5,200 and P52, respectively (Exhibit 4), and on April 20, 1933, it was finally
renovated by increasing the price to P6,600, reducing the rent to P49.50 a month and extending the period of
repurchase to April 20, 1933, the original period of four years agreed upon in Exhibit I having expired some months
before. With the exception of the amount of the price and the rent and the extension of the period repurchase,
the stipulations of the original deed (Exhibit 1) were left intact in the subsequent novations (Exhibits 3, 4 and 5).
On November 4, 1926, the defendant obtained permission from the department of engineering and public work to
construct a two-story house of strong materials on the vacant part of the lot in question, the work having been
finished about June 23, 1928.
On June 9, 1933, Mariano Aquino had the consolidation of his ownership of the property referred to in said
documents registered in the registry of deeds and transfer certificate of title No. 42982 (Exhibit B) was issued to
him. He died sometime later and his son Antonio F. Aquino, who instituted the present ejectment proceedings in
the municipal court of Manila, was appointed special administrator of his testate estate. The defendant timely
raised the question of ownership both in the court of origin and in the Court of First Instance. The municipal court
ordered the defendant to vacate the property in question and to pay the plaintiff the unpaid rents at the rate of
P50 a month, plus the costs. The Court of First Instance, on appeal, substantially affirmed the appealed judgment,
overruling the defenses set up by the defendant.
We are of the opinion that the defendant's contention regarding the nature of the contract Exhibit I and the
novations thereof is meritorious. Although from the defendant's testimony that Mariano Aquino refused to give
him the sum of P4,000 if the contract was not executed under the conditions of Exhibit 1, it may be inferred that
the parties entered, with reluctance on the part of the defendant, into a contract of sale with pacto de retro and
not of simple loan, the very terms of the stipulations of Exhibit 1, the subsequent conduct of the parties and other
circumstances of the case warrant the conclusion that the true intention of the parties was the granting of a loan
in a certain amount to the defendant with interest at 12 per cent per annum which, in view of the defendant's
precarious situation, was later reduced to 9 per cent so that he could build another house on the vacant part of the
lot in question, the loan being secured by said lot, the house already built thereon at the time of the execution of
the contract and that which the defendant intended to build with the money received from Mariano Aquino. If the
words "sale with right of repurchase", "price", "repurchase", "right of redemption", "lease", "rent", "purchaser",
"vendor", and other similar words used according to custom in the deed Exhibit 1, the other stipulations contained
herein and the other circumstances of the case are incompatible with the idea that it was the intention of the
assignor to transfer the ownership of the property in question to the purchaser at a certain price, the vendor
reserving for himself only the right to repurchase it within a certain period.
Let us begin with the stipulations of the original contract Exhibit 1. Those contained in paragraphs 5, 6, 10 and 11
thereof are, in our opinion, incompatible with the theory that the contract was one of purchase and sale as
claimed by the plaintiff. We should not lose sight of the fact, that between an absolute sale and a sale with right of
repurchase, no difference exists except that in the latter the ownership of the purchaser is subject to the
resolutory condition that the vendor exercises his right of repurchase within the time agreed upon.
Under paragraph 5 of Exhibit 1, the so-called vendor found himself to construct a two-story house of strong
materials within six months on the vacant part of the lot referred to in the contract. If the contract were truly of
purchase and sale, it is not explained why the vendor should have to assume said obligation and spend the money
received from the purchaser in compliance therewith. The act which the defendant bound himself to execute by
virtue of the contractual clause under consideration was an act of ownership and the performance thereof
devolved upon the purchaser-owner, not upon the vendor-lessee. Said clause indicates that Mariano Aquino, in
granting the loan of P4,000 to the defendant, considered the security offered insufficient and therefore required
the debtor to amplify it by constructing another additional house on the lot given as security. Had it been the
intention of the parties to make this new house, upon construction, a part of the subject matter of the said sale, a
stipulation regarding payment of additional rent would have been inserted in the contract inasmuch as a rental of
P40 a month was fixed for the use and occupation of the house already existing on the property which is the
subject matter of the contract. It is true that under paragraph 10 this sum of P40 was for the rent not only of the
house already existing but also of that which the defendant undertook to construct, but this part of the contract is
clearly fictitious, because if the rent of P40 covered the two houses, it is not explained why the lessee should agree
to pay rent for the occupation of an inexistent house which he himself was to construct with his own money and
how the lessor should accept rent of only P40 for two houses of strong materials, one of which consists of two
stories.
Paragraph 6 and paragraph 10, subparagraph (d), of Exhibit 1 imposed upon the vendor the obligation to in sure
against fire the buildings constructed on the property which is the subject matter of the contract, for not less than
P3,000, the payment of the premiums thereof being to the account of said vendor who was obliged to indorse the
policy immediately to the purchaser and to pay, also for his own account and responsibility, the land tax and any
other taxes imposed or that might thereafter be imposed upon the property. When a property is insured, the
indemnity, in case of loss, is paid to the owner because the insurable interest is his. This being so, the correlative
obligation, to pay for the insurance premiums should devolve upon the owner and not upon the lessee or vendor
with right of repurchase who, with the exception of his right of redemption, should have considered all other
juridical relations with the property sold extinguished after the contract. The same is true with respect to the
payment of the land tax. This lien should have been shouldered by the owner and not by the lessee.
Under paragraph 10, subparagraph (e), the expenses for the conservation of the property should likewise be for
the account of the defendant. However, these expenses are ordinarily for the account of the lessor (article 1554,
Civil Code).
It appears that Mariano Aquino desired to obtain a net income of 12 per cent per annum from his investment and
for this reason he caused the defendant to assume the obligation to pay not only the land tax and insurance of the
property but also the expenses for its conservation. If Mariano Aquino had assumed these obligations which
strictly belong to the owner of the property, instead of imposing them upon the defendant, he would not have
been able to realize said net income of 12 per cent per annum on his capital, because he would have had to deduct
therefrom the sum represented by the insurance, the land tax and the expenses for the conservation of the
property. On the other hand, had he assumed such obligations and compensated these liens by charging interest in
excess of 12 per cent he would have openly violated the Usury Law.
The other facts of the case showing that the contract in question was a simple loan with interest at 12 per cent
which was later reduced to 9 per cent are as follows:
(a) When the alleged sale price was increased to P4,500 in the first novation of the contract on December
26, 1926, the rent of the property was increased to P45, in spite of the fact that said property had
suffered no change, in order to maintain the rate of interest at 12 per cent. When the contract was
novated for the second time on May 31, 1927, by increasing the so-called selling price to P5,200, the rent
was likewise increased to P52 in order to continue maintaining the rate of interest at 12 per cent. It was
only when said contract was novated for the last time on April 20, 1931, and the so-called selling price
was increased to P6,600 that the rent was reduced to P49.50 a month because Mariano Aquino had
acceded to reduce the rate of interest to 9 per cent. The new house on the lot in question had just been
finished about June 23, 1928, and it is strange that the fluctuations of the amount of the rent had nothing
to do with the construction of said new house but with the successive increases of the so-called selling
price, or the amount of the loan. In other words, the rent went up or down not because of the
improvement or amplification of the leased property but because of the increase of the amount of the
loan and the rate of the interest agreed upon by the parties.
(b) The term of the right of redemption, under the original deed, was supposed to expire and it expired on
September 25, 1930. However, the so-called purchaser, far from having the consolidation of his
ownership registered in the registry of deeds, executed Exhibit 5, on April 20, 1931, "extending" the
already expired original, term of four years stipulated in Exhibit 1 to April 20, 1933. This shows that,
notwithstanding the form of the contract, Mariano Aquino always considered the transaction as a simple
loan. The affirmation made in paragraph 3 of the deed Exhibit 5 that "as the term of the contract had
expired on September 25, 1930, the same remaining in status quo, etc." excludes every idea that the
parties intended to enter into a contract of sale. In fact, once the period for the right of redemption has
expired without the right having been exercised, it could not be said, if the contract were one of sale
with pacto de retro, that the contract has remained instatus quo", because failure to exercise the right of
redemption, in such contract, automatically produce the effect of consolidating the ownership was
temporarily conditioned not having been realized.
In Padilla vs. Linsangan (19 Phil., 65), we stated that "the court will not construe an instrument to be one of a
salecon pacto de retro, with the stringent and onerous effects that follow, unless the terms of the instrument and
all the circumstances positively require it. Whenever, under the terms of the writing, any other construction can
fairly and reasonably be made, such construction will be adopted. Sales with a right to repurchase, as defined by
the Civil Code, are not favored, and the contract will be construed as a mere loan unless the court can see that, if
enforced according to its terms, it is not an unconscionable one."
We consider the following provisions of the Civil Code in matters of interpretation of contracts pertinent to the
case:
If the words appear to be contrary to the evident intention of the contracting parties, the intention shall
prevail. (Art. 1281.)
In order to judge as to the intention of the contracting parties, attention must be paid principally to their
conduct at the time of making the contract and subsequently thereto. (Art. 1282.)
It may be contended that "the contracting parties may establish any agreements terms and conditions that may
deem advisable, provided they are not contrary to law, morals, or public order." (Art. 1255, Civil Code.) However,
we do not declare herein the nullity of the agreements contained in Exhibit 1 and its various novations. None of
said agreements is contrary to law, morals, or public order, and all of them should therefore be maintained out of
respect to the will of the contracting parties. The validity of these agreements, however, is one thing, while the
juridical qualification of the contract resulting therefrom is very distinctly another. Such agreements, in our
opinion, change the status of the sale with pacto de retro and give rise to juridical relations of a different nature.
Similar thereto is a contract of commodatum wherein payment of compensation by the person acquiring the use of
the thing is stipulated. This stipulation is valid but the commodatum, although so termed, ceases to exist and is
converted into another contract with different effects (art. 1741). The same thing happens with the contract
ofdepositum. Although it would seem that article 1760 of the Civil Code indirectly authorizes the constitution of an
onerous deposit, when there is an express stipulation to that effect, this court has repeatedly held that the deposit
should be considered a loan when it contains a stipulation for payment of interest. (Garcia Gavieres vs. Pardo de
Tavera, 1 Phil., 71; Barretto vs. Reyes, 10 Phil., 489: In re Guardianship of the minors Tamboco, 36 Phil., 939, 941.)
In order not to multiply the examples, we shall cite the cases of use and habitation wherein the usuary who
consumes all the fruits of the thing subject to use, and the person having the right of habitation who occupies the
whole house, are considered usufructuaries (art. 527).
The other point to be resolved is whether or not the municipal court had jurisdiction to proceed with the trial of
the case after the defendant had raised the question of ownership therein. We have repeatedly held that the mere
fact that the defendant, in his answer, claims to be the owner of the property from which the plaintiff seeks to
eject him is not sufficient to divest a justice of the peace court of its summary jurisdiction in actions of forcible
entry and detainer, because were the principles otherwise, the ends of justice would be frustrated by making the
efficacy of this kind of action depend upon the defendant in all cases. However, we have also held (Supia and
Batioco vs.Quintero and Ayala, 59 Phil., 312), favorably citing Petit vs. Black (13 Neb., 142, 154), and
Green vs. Morse (57 Neb., 391), that the foregoing rule does not hold when the evidence shows that the question
of title is actually involved in the litigation and that the defendant's contention, according to said evidence, is
meritorious. In this case the records do not disclose the nature of the evidence presented in the municipal court of
origin in connection with the question of ownership raised by the defendant and, therefore, we are not in a
position to rule that said court was without jurisdiction to proceed with the trial the case. We find, however, that
the evidence presented in the Court of First Instance of Manila, where the case was brought on appeal, shows that
the title to the disputed property was correctly questioned. Therefore the Court of First Instance should have
declared itself without jurisdiction to proceed with the trial of the case on appeal after examining said evidence,
and ordered the dismissal thereof.
Wherefore, we are of the opinion and so hold that the case should be dismissed without prejudice to any other
action compatible with the pronouncements contained in this decision, which the parties or any of them might
desire to bring, without costs.
Avanceña, C. J., Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Imperial, Diaz, and Laurel, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-28087 July 13, 1973
BORMAHECO, INC., plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
ELEUTERIO V. ABANES, SILVESTRE ANSELMO, JUAN P. ESTRELLA, ESTER JAVINIAS, PETRA LAYSON, BASILIO
MAGTOTO, ENRIQUE MERCADO, CONRADO NICOLAS, VICTOR OCAMPO, ALBERTO REGOSO and CARMEN
RUZGAL, defendant-appellees.
Villareal, Navarra and Associates for plaintiff-appellant.
Albert, Vergara, Benares, Perlas and Dominguez for defendants-appellees.

FERNANDO, J.:
The dispute in this case had its origin when appellant Bormaheco, Inc. acquired, on June 26, 1964, from the then
National Shipyard and Steel Corporation, hereinafter to be referred to as Nassco, a parcel of land in Santa Ana,
Manila, and found that the
defendants
1
were occupying portions thereof. On April 10, 1965, it filed a complaint for ejectment alleging that it
informed the defendants of its purchase and notified them to vacate the premises, but they failed to do so. The
answer admitted that such a demand was made, but it was not heeded as defendants, as far back as 1949, had
been in possession, occupying their respective areas wherein their houses were constructed under valid contracts
with the Alien Property Administration, the predecessor-in-interest of Nassco. It is their submission then that not
only was their occupancy valid and legal in all respects but that also under Republic Act No. 477,
2
they were
entitled to preferential rights in the sale thereof. While plaintiff prevailed in the municipal court, it was
unsuccessful in the Court of First Instance. In its decision, now subject of this appeal,
3
it held that the former had
no jurisdiction as there was no prior physical possession and that the extent that the question raised would require
the determination as to rights of ownership, it likewise decline do so, "because the same is squarely raised before
another branch of this Court in a separate proceeding."
4
While, strictly speaking, there might have been a slight
inaccuracy in the statement that the question is really one of title, still, in view of the explicit provision of Republic
Act No. 477 as to the preferential right given bona fide occupants that yields some plausibility to the defense set
up by defendants, and with such an issue having been squarely raised in a case pending before another branch, it
is easily understandable why the object to the exercise of the original jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance in
an appealed ejectment case beyond the competence of the municipal court is tenable. It could happen that even
had there been no other such suit in existence where the legal question could be ventilated with both parties
accorded all the opportunity to set up their respective claims, an action for ejectment hardly lends itself as the
appropriate mode for the enforcement of legislation enacted pursuant to the social justice principle. There is thus
no valid reason for a reversal.
In the decision now on appeal, Judge Agustin P. Montesa, now retired, set forth the facts in this ejectment suit
thus: "Plaintiff acquired a portion of a parcel of land situated at Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila, which was sold by the
Nassco at the public bidding on June 26, 1964. The defendants had been occupying the different portions of this
property before and after the execution of the deed of sale in favor of the plaintiff. They claim, however, in their
answer, that they have the option to buy this property, under Section 3 of Republic Act 477, ... . Since the plaintiff
contends that the law relied upon does not apply to the property in question, and the defendants claim otherwise,
the latter have raised an issue of title to the said property, which is squarely being raised in a separate civil action
filed before this Court, as Civil Case No. 62097 on August 5, 1965. It is admitted by the parties that the plaintiff
herein has never taken possession of the property and filed this action for ejectment before the City Court mainly
on the strength of its title to the property by virtue of the sale to it by public auction. It is, however, a well-
established principle of law on jurisdiction that "a mere assertion of title to the property in question by a
defendant in a forcible entry or unlawful detainer in his answer or at the hearing, is not, of itself, sufficient to oust
jurisdiction of a justice of the peace or municipal court; but if, at the hearing he makes a sufficient showing to
evidence good faith and merit in his claim, so that it appears that adjudication or determination of title is essential
to determining right to possession, the inferior court lacks jurisdiction to proceed further and should dismiss this
action."
5
For the lower court then, "the issue is not one of possession."
6

Then the appealed decision continued: "The plaintiff had never been in possession of the property in question and
there is no allegation in the complaint that the same was filed by reason of unlawful detainer or forcible entry by
the defendants upon the property. This is not a case of unlawful detainer, because the plaintiff and the defendants
never had a contract by which the defendants were allowed to take possession of the property. Neither is there
forcible entry in detainer, because the defendants herein had been lawfully occupying the property prior to the
sale of the same at the public auction to the plaintiff. Their claim that they have No. 1 and No. 2 preference under
Sec. 3 of Republic Act 477 is not an empty gesture, for they had been bona fide occupants of the property on or
before December 12, 1946 and at least one of them is a veteran of the last war. The issue that they raised,
therefore, is made in good faith based on a bona fide claim of preference. Whether that claim is true or not is a
matter of evidence, but in the stipulation of facts submitted to the City Court and adopted in this Court, it is
admitted by the parties, in Paragraph 7, that all the defendants were already occupants of the portions of the
property in question each presently occupies prior to the acquisition of the same by plaintiff. There is, therefore,
ample showing supporting their claim to preference."
7
Why the complaint for ejectment had to be dismissed and
the municipal court reversed was succincctly set forth in the last paragraph thereof before its dispositive portion:
"In view thereof, the City Court had no jurisdiction to try this case on that issue involving title, for the same falls
within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance. As a consequence, all the proceedings had before
the City are null and void, since its jurisdiction was only limited to the act of dismissing the said complaint. Neither
can this Court now pass upon the question of title, because the same is squarely raised before another branch of
this Court in a separate proceeding."
8

The above decision speaks for itself. The care and circumspection taken by respondent Judge Agustin P. Montesa,
who arrived at a conclusion with full support in the law on the undisputed facts, is quite evident. It is well-settled
that without prior possession being shown, a suit for ejectment would not prosper. Nor could there be any valid
objection to a dismissal, as there was no justification for the lower court exercising its original jurisdiction not only
because of the absence of the consent of the parties to such a procedure, but also because the situation analogous
to a defendant's claiming title under a statute with social justice overtones did not fit into the traditional mold of
such summary proceedings. If it were otherwise, there would be the possibility of frustrating a statutory objective
to aid the actual bona fide occupants. Nor could appellant nurse any genuine dissatisfaction as it is undoubted that
there was in existence another action between the parties, the proper one at that, where the judicial power to
determine their respective rights over the property in question could come into play. Hence, as noted at the
outset, we affirm.
1. Appellant in its brief failed to blunt the force of the categorical declaration of the lower court that it has "never
taken possession of the property and filed this action for ejectment before the City Court mainly on the strength of
its title [to it] by virtue of [its acquisition at a sale] by public auction."
9
All that it did say was that such a finding
"was not borne by the records."
10
This is to invite us to go into a factual matter, hardly appropriate when the
direct appeal to us, at the time the Judiciary Act allowed it, could raise only questions of law. On that point, the
relevance of the holding in Raymundo v. Santos
11
is quite clear. An action for ejectment requires as an
indispensable requisite prior possession. Necessarily then, the Court of First Instance could not exercise appellate
jurisdiction as the City Court had no competence to entertain this complaint for unlawful detainer. That was the
law at the time the decision was rendered by Judge Montesa on February 23, 1967. Nor could appellant, even if he
were minded, derive support from the 1972 decision of this Court in Pangilinan v. Aguilar
12
where reliance on title
could, under circumstances, be justifiable to show prior physical possession. For as therein made clear by Justice
Makasiar, who wrote the opinion for the Court: "Prior physical possession in the plaintiff is not an indispensable
requirement in an unlawful detainer case brought by a vendee or other person against whom the possession of
any land is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of a right to hold possession and therefore the
allegation of the same in the complaint, is not necessary. As heretofore stated, possession of a possessor by
tolerance becomes unlawful the moment the owner demands that he vacate the land."
13
In a case like the
present, therefore, where defendants-appellees were in possession not by mere tolerance but precisely with
occupancy that could ripen into title under a legislative act,
14
the above doctrine penned by Justice Makasiar does
not call for application. What other conclusion can there be then than that what was done by the lower court
certainly is in accordance with law.
2. Appellant could not have been unaware of the weakness of a case for ejectment. It is thus understandable why
appellant, invoking certain decisions of this
Court
15
would in vain seek to remedy what was a fatal infirmity by alleging that there was no objection on the part
of the parties, however, to the exercise of the lower court of its original jurisdiction. The reliance on the above
doctrine is misplaced. There is no such consent on the part of the parties. If it were otherwise, the lower court
would have said so in its decision. As a matter of fact, the brief for appellees did place matters in their true light:
"To start with, the pertinent portion of the Stipulation of Facts (p. 21, Record on Appeal) they submitted to the City
Court states: "10. That it is understood that the defendant (appellees herein) not waiving their special and
affirmative defenses stated in their answer dated May 17, 1965 and by reason of which the defendants shall be
allowed to adduce evidence thereon and on all other points not covered by these stipulations" (pp. 21-22, Record
on Appeal). And one of appellee's special defenses is that ? "18. The Honorable Court (City Court of Manila) has no
jurisdiction over the nature of this action inasmuch as it necessarily involves questions other than that of mere
physical possession over real property" (par. 18, Answer, p. 17, Record on Appeal). Obviously, the above special
defense needs must be viewed in conjunction with appellee's special defense that served as its basis ? that they
have a preferential right to acquire the portions of the subject property they have been respectively occupying,
pursuant to Republic Act No. 477, as amended."
16
From which, appellees could correctly conclude: "Thus viewed, it
is quite clear that from the very start appellees questioned the jurisdiction of the City Court of Manila to try the
instant case. And since the aforesaid Stipulation of Facts was indubitably re-submitted to the Court of First Instance
of Manila (CFI Decision, p. 33, Record on Appeal), the necessary implication is that appellees continued to
question pari passu said jurisdiction of the City Court, and in turn, the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of
Manila to try the instant ejectment case sitting as an appellate court. Indeed, the very statement of the pivotal
issue in this case as it appeared in appellees' memorandum, submitted to the Court of First Instance of Manila,
belies the claim of appellant that appellees practically abandoned its special defense of want of jurisdiction on the
part of both courts."
17
Appellant could have refuted the above if there were any inaccuracy. It failed to do so.
Witness the resolution of this Court of August 20, 1968: "The appellant having failed to file a reply brief within the
period which expired on June 30, 1968, case L-28087 (Bormaheco, Inc. vs. Eleuterio V. Abames, et al.) is hereby
considered submitted for decision [without appellant's reply brief]."
18
It is thus manifest that there is no merit to
the main error assigned to the effect that the lower court ought to have exercised its original jurisdiction, the
parties having agreed that it should do so.
3. There is this further support to the decision reached by the lower court. It could very well be that strictly
viewed, the question is not really one of title. If it were thus, the authoritative pronouncements of this Tribunal
would demonstrate even more persuasively the rightness of the decision reached by the lower court.
19
While not
controlling however, they are not without relevance because appellees, as occupants, as noted in the decision
certainly could be expected to resist this ejectment suit because of what they believed is the statutory preference
in their favor to acquire the lots in question under Republic Act No. 477. That, at any rate, is a plausible claim. This
is not to say that they are justified. Nor are we called upon to do so in disposing of this appeal. It merely
emphasizes that the lower court rightly did not close its eyes to such an aspect of the litigation before it. It ought
not to have done so as the matter involved is one that falls clearly within the social justice provision of the
Constitution.
20
A summary proceeding such as an action for ejectment is hardly the proper litigation for a
thorough inquiry into how the beneficent aims of welfare legislation could best be achieved. The lower court is
thus to be commended in refusing to act precipitately on a question that was better left for resolution in a pending
suit between the same parties.
4. There is thus, it would appear, an element of obduracy and stubbornness on the part of appellant. Its rights over
the property in question, assuming that they in fact exist, could have been adjudicated in a suit already pending
between the parties. Why this insitence on having the matter decided by an inferior court, usually overburdened
with trifling suits and thus naturally predisposed to act, if not with haste, at least with much less opportunity for
deep reflection, at times then without full consideration of the serious legal questions may be involved? Moreover,
such a court could, with deceptive plausibility, assert that a complaint in ejectment must be speedily disposed of.
Appellant certainly could not hope to succeed by conjuring errors out of thin air, when a more careful appraisal of
the matter ought to have convinced its counsel on appeal that on the face thereof, the complaint as filed in the
city court by the original counsel Almacen, Navarra and Amores was hardly impressed with merit. To repeat, the
outcome could not be in doubt. The lower court merely applied the law on the undisputed facts.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of February 23, 1967 is affirmed.
Makalintal, Actg. C.J., Zaldivar, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra, JJ., concur.
Castro, J., took no part.

G.R. No. L-33213 June 29, 1979
ARTEMIO C. REYES and HILARION C. REYES, petitioners,
vs.
HON. ANDRES STA. MARIA, Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch II, HILARIA SANTOS VDA.
DE LOPEZ and PILAR SANTOS, respondents.
E. M. Reyes for petitioner.
Ruben T. Reyes for respondents.

TEEHANKEE, J.:
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. 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.
Petitioners as plaintiffs in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan had filed on April 1, 1968 an action which they
termed as one to quiet title to a certain residential lot in Barrio San Sebastian, Hagonoy, Bulacan with an area of
368.5 square meters and to recover the possession thereof from respondents as defendants,
1
wherein they made
the following averments:
2. That plaintiffs are owners pro-indiviso of a certain residential lot situated in the Barrio of San
Sebastian, Hagonoy, Bulacan, and more particularly bounded and described as follows:
(Description omitted)
3. That through the tolerance and goodwill of plaintiffs, thru the intervention and entreaty of one
Maximo Santos, father of the defendants, the latter used and occupied said land free of charge,
under the following conditions, to wit: (a) that instead of paying rentals on the premises
defendants undertook to pay the corresponding real estate taxes on the land; and (b) that said
defendants will leave and vacate the premises anytime the plaintiffs so demand;
4. That sometime in February, 1968, plaintiffs verbally notified defendants that said plaintiffs
were in need of the land, hence, said defendants should vacate and leave the same, but said
defendants unreasonably refused at the same time claiming ownership of the property, and
alleging further that they bought the same from a certain Pablo Aguinaldo;
5. That in order to quiet the title of ownership over this land, the plaintiffs have been compelled
to institute the present action and, as a consequence, she suffered damages in the sum of One
Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00), Philippine Currency, as attorney's fees;
6. That the defendants thru their acts stated above have therefore maliciously and unlawfully
detained the land of plaintiffs since February, 1968; and
7. That for the unlawful occupation of the land, an estimate of Fifty (P50.00) Pesos monthly
rental is hereby claimed as reasonable damages suffered by plaintiffs since February, 1968.
2

Petitioners accordingly prayed in their complaint for judgment (a) "declaring [them] to be the owners of the
property described ... "; (b) "ordering the defendants to vacate the premises and return the possession of the same
to plaintiffs;" (c) "ordering the defendants to pay plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the sum of Fifty Pesos (P50.00),
Philippine Currency, rental or damages every month effective the first day of February, 1968, until the possession
of the premises is finally restored in favor of plaintiffs;" and further ordering defendants to pay them (d) P1,000.00
attorney's fees and (e) costs of suit.
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. Consequently, 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, the question of possession being merely reduced to an incidental issue," the lower court issued its
appealed order of August 15, 1968, finding the motion to dismiss to be "well founded" and dismissing the case "for
lack of jurisdiction".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. Upon the other hand, it is
plain that the allegations of facts are only constitutive of an action for unlawful detainer. The
allegation in paragraph 5 of said complaint 'that in order to quiet the title of ownership over this
land, the plaintiffs have been compelled to institute the present action ... is not sufficient by itself
to consider this case as an action for quieting title under Article 476 of the New Civil Code.
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.
Hence, the present petition for review and setting aside of the dismissal order, which the Court finds to be
meritorious. 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,
and, therefore, 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.
As restated by the late Chief Justice Moran: "There are three kinds of actions for the recovery of possession of real
pro. property, namely, (1) the summary action for forcible entry or detainer (denominated accion interdictalunder
the former law of procedure, 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; (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; 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.
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, he may
recover such possession even from the owner himself. Whatever may be the character of his prior possession, if he
has in his favor priority of time, 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.
4
Petitioners' action
was not merely for recovery of possession de facto. 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.
As reaffirmed by the Court in the analogous case of Aguilon vs. Bohol
5
petitioners action is at least "an accion
publiciana, which action 'correspondent al que tiene derecho a la possession, 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, frutos ets' (I
Enciclopedia Juridica Espanola 450)," 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. The Court further underscored therein
"that an action for recovery of possession is an urgent matter which must be decided promptly to forestall
breaches of peace, violence or even loss of life and, therefore, the court should act swiftly and expeditiously in
cases of that nature.
Petitioners, therefore, 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. Having been fully
apprised of respondents' refusal to surrender possession and their contrary claim of ownership of the same
property, 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, since they could reasonably foresee
that if indeed they had filed a summary action for illegal detainer instead in the municipal court, respondents
would then have contended, contrary to their present claim, that the municipal court is without jurisdiction over
the detainer case by virtue of their contrary claim of ownership of the property.
6

ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered, setting aside the lower court's dismissal order of August 15, 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. With costs against respondents. This decision is immediately
executory.
Makasiar, Fernandez, Guerrero, De Castro and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur.


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