You are on page 1of 5

[G.R. No. 124262.

October 12, 1999]


TOMAS CLAUDIO MEMORIAL COLLEGE, INC., petitioner vs. COURT
OF AEALS, !ON. ALE"ANDRO S. MAR#UE$, CRISANTA DE
CASTRO, ELIDIA DE CASTRO, EFRINA DE CASTRO, IRENEO
DE CASTRO %&' ARTEMIO DE CASTRO ADRIANO, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
#UISUM(ING, J.)
This special civil action for certiorari seeks to set aside the Decision of the Court Appeals
dated August 14, 1995, in CA-G.. !" #o. $%$49, and its esolution dated &arch 15, 199%,
'hich denied petitioner(s )otion for reconsideration.
*n Dece)+er 1$, 199$, private respondents filed an action for "artition +efore the egional
Trial Court of &orong, i,al. The- alleged that their predecessor-in-interest, .uan De Castro,
died intestate in 199$ and the- are his onl- surviving and legiti)ate heirs. The- also alleged that
their father o'ned a parcel of land designated as /ot #o. $010 located at 1arrio !an .uan,
&orong, i,al, 'ith an area of t'o thousand t'o hundred si2t- nine 34,4%95 s6uare )eters )ore
or less. The- further clai) that in 1979, 'ithout their kno'ledge and consent, said lot 'as sold
+- their +rother &ariano to petitioner. The sale 'as )ade possi+le 'hen &ariano represented
hi)self as the sole heir to the propert-. 8t is the contention of private respondents that the sale
)ade +- &ariano affected onl- his undivided share to the lot in 6uestion +ut not the shares of the
other co-o'ners e6uivalent to four fifths 34955 of the propert-.
"etitioner filed a )otion to dis)iss contending, as its special defense, lack of :urisdiction
and prescription and9or laches. The trial court, after hearing the )otion, dis)issed the co)plaint
in an *rder dated August 1;, 19;4. *n )otion for reconsideration, the trial court, in an *rder
dated *cto+er 4, 1994, reconsidered the dis)issal of the co)plaint and set aside its previous
order. "etitioner filed its o'n )otion for reconsideration +ut it 'as denied in an *rder dated
.anuar- 5, 1995.
Aggrieved, petitioner filed 'ith the Court of Appeals a special civil action
for certiorari anchored on the follo'ing grounds< a5 the TC has no :urisdiction to tr- and take
cogni,ance of the case as the causes of actions have +een decided 'ith finalit- +- the !upre)e
Court, and +5 the TC acted 'ith grave a+use of discretion and authorit- in taking cogni,ance of
the case.
After the parties filed their respective pleadings, the Court of Appeals, finding no grave
a+use of discretion co))itted +- the lo'er court, dis)issed the petition in a Decision dated
August 14, 1995. "etitioner filed a ti)el- )otion for reconsideration +ut it 'as denied in a
esolution dated &arch 15, 199%. =ence this petition.
"etitioner su+)its the follo'ing grounds to support the granting of the 'rit of certiorari in
the present case<
FIRST GROUND
T!E !ON. COURT OF AEALS AND T!E REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
*(R. +9, !AD NO "URISDICTION TO TR- SU("ECT CASE *S. ROC. NO.
11./M,. T!E 0CAUSES OF ACTION1 !EREIN !A2E (EEN FINALL-
DECIDED (- T!E !ON. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF RI$AL *(R. 31,
MA4ATI, METRO MANILA, AND SUSTAINED IN A FINAL DECISION (-
T!E !ON. SUREME COURT.
SECOND GROUND
T!E !ON. COURT OF AEALS GRA2EL- A(USED ITS DISCRETION
AND AUT!ORIT- 5!EN IT SUSTAINED T!E ORDERS OF T!E !ON.
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT *(R. +9, DATED OCTO(ER 4, 1994, AND T!E
ORDER DATED "ANUAR- 6, 1996, 5!EN SAID RTC *(R. +9, INSISTED IN
TR-ING T!IS CASE AGAINST TCMC 5!EN IT !AS RULED ALREAD-
IN A FINAL ORDER T!AT ETITIONER IS NOT A 0REAL ART-1 IN
INTEREST (- T!E !ON. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT *(R. +9, IN CI2IL
CASE NO. 1+7, ENTITLED ELIDIA A. DE CASTRO, ET. AL. 89. TOMAS
CLAUDIO MEMORIAL COLLEGE, ET. AL., 5!IC! CASE IN2OL2ED
T!E SAME RELIEF, SAME SU("ECT MATTER AND T!E SAME ARTIES.
T!IRD GROUND
T!E !ON. COURT OF AEALS GRA2EL- A(USED ITS DISCRETION
AND AUT!ORIT- 5!EN IT CARICIOUSL- AND 5!IMSICALL-
DISREGARDED T!E E:ISTENCE OF RES "UDICATA IN T!IS CASE.
The pivotal issues to +e resolved in this case are< 'hether or not the egional Trial Court
and9or the Court of Appeals had :urisdiction over the case, and if so, 'hether or not the Court of
Appeals co))itted grave a+use of discretion in affir)ing the decision of the egional Trial
Court.
8n assailing the *rders of the appellate court, petitioner invokes ule %5 of the ules of
Court as its )ode in o+taining a reversal of the assailed Decision and esolution. 1efore 'e
d'ell on the )erits of this petition, it is 'orth noting, that for a petition for certiorari to +e
granted, it )ust +e sho'n that the respondent court co))itted grave a+use of discretion
e6uivalent to lack or e2cess of :urisdiction and not )ere errors of :udg)ent, forcertiorari is not a
re)ed- for errors of :udg)ent, 'hich are correcti+le +- appeal.
>1?
1- grave a+use of discretion is
)eant such capricious and 'hi)sical e2ercise of :udg)ent as is e6uivalent to lack of
:urisdiction, and )ere a+use of discretion is not enough -- it )ust +e grave.
>4?
8n the case at hand, there is no sho'ing of grave a+use of discretion co))itted +- the pu+lic
respondent. As correctl- pointed out +- the trial court, 'hen it took cogni,ance of the action for
partition filed +- the private respondents, it ac6uired :urisdiction over the su+:ect )atter of the
case.
>$?
.urisdiction over the su+:ect )atter of a case is conferred +- la' and is deter)ined +- the
allegations of the co)plaint irrespective of 'hether the plaintiff is entitled to all or so)e of the
clai)s asserted therein.
>4?
Ac6uiring :urisdiction over the su+:ect )atter of a case does not
necessaril- )ean that the lo'er court )eant to reverse the decision of the !upre)e Court in the
land registration case )entioned +- the petitioner.
&oreover, settled is the rule that the :urisdiction of the court over the su+:ect )atter is
deter)ined +- the allegations of the co)plaint, hence the court(s :urisdiction cannot +e )ade to
depend upon defenses set up in the ans'er or in a )otion to dis)iss.
>5?
This has to +e so, for 'ere
the principle other'ise, the ends of :ustice 'ould +e frustrated +- )aking the sufficienc- of this
kind of action dependent upon the defendant in all cases.
@orth stressing, as long as a court acts 'ithin its :urisdiction an- alleged errors co))itted
in the e2ercise thereof 'ill a)ount to nothing )ore than errors of :udg)ent 'hich are revisa+le
+- ti)el- appeal and not +- a special civil action of certiorari.
>%?
1ased on the foregoing, even
assu)ing for the sake of argu)ent that the appellate court erred in affir)ing the decision of the
trial court, 'hich earlier denied petitioner(s )otion to dis)iss, such actuation on the part of the
appellate court cannot +e considered as grave a+use of discretion, hence not correcti+le
+- certiorari, +ecause certiorari is not availa+le to correct errors of procedure or )istakes in the
:udge(s findings and conclusions.
8n addition, it is no' too late for petitioner to 6uestion the :urisdiction of the Court of
Appeals. 8t 'as petitioner 'ho elevated the instant controvers- to the Court of Appeals via a
petition for certiorari. 8n effect, petitioner su+)itted itself to the :urisdiction of the Court of
Appeals +- seeking affir)ative relief therefro). 8f a part- invokes the :urisdiction of a court, he
cannot thereafter challenge that court(s :urisdiction in the sa)e case.
>7?
To do other'ise 'ould
a)ount to speculating on the fortune of litigation, 'hich is against the polic- of the Court.
*n the issue of prescription, 'e have ruled that even if a co-o'ner sells the 'hole propert-
as his, the sale 'ill affect onl- his o'n share +ut not those of the other co-o'ners 'ho did not
consent to the sale.
>;?
Ander Article 49$ of the Civil Code, the sale or other disposition affects
onl- the seller(s share pro indiviso, and the transferee gets onl- 'hat corresponds to his grantor(s
share in the partition of the propert- o'ned in co))on. !ince a co-o'ner is entitled to sell his
undivided share, a sale of the entire propert- +- one co-o'ner 'ithout the consent of the other
co-o'ners is not null and void. =o'ever, onl- the rights of the co-o'ner9seller are transferred,
there+- )aking the +u-er a co-o'ner of the propert-. The proper action in a case like this, is not
for the nullification of the sale, or for the recover- of possession of the propert- o'ned in
co))on fro) the third person, +ut for division or partition of the entire propert- if it continued
to re)ain in the possession of the co-o'ners 'ho possessed and ad)inistered it.
>9?
!uch partition
should result in segregating the portion +elonging to the seller and its deliver- to the +u-er.
8n the light of the foregoing, petitioner(s defense of prescription against an action for
partition is a vain proposition. "ursuant to Article 494 of the Civil Code, Bno co-o'ner shall +e
o+liged to re)ain in the co-o'nership. !uch co-o'ner )a- de)and at an-ti)e the partition of
the thing o'ned in co))on, insofar as his share is concerned.C 8n Budlong vs. Bondoc,
>10?
this
Court has interpreted said provision of la' to )ean that the action for partition is
i)prescripti+le. 8t cannot +e +arred +- prescription. Dor Article 494 of the Civil Code e2plicitl-
declares< B#o prescription shall lie in favor of a co-o'ner or co-heirs as long as he e2pressl- or
i)pliedl- recogni,es the co-o'nership.C
5!EREFORE, the instant petition is DE#8ED. The assailed decision of the Court of
Appeals is here+- ADD8&ED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Digest:
Co-Ownership
TOMAS CLAUDIO MEMORIAL COLLEGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 122!2. O"#o$er 12, 1%%%
F&"#s'
A parcel of land was left by Juan De Castro who died intestate. Tomas Claudio Memorial College
bought the land from Mariano De Castro, one of the deceaseds heirs who represented himself as sole
owner. The other heirs filed an action for partition asserting that the sale affected only share of Mariano
and not the entire land.
Iss(e' Whether the sale affected only the undiided share of the Mariano being the seller whos only one
of the heirs.
)e*+'
!es. "en if a co#owner sells the whole property as his, the sale will affect only his own share but
not those of the other co#owners who did not consent to the sale. $ince a co#owner is entitled to sell his
undiided share, a sale of the entire property by one co#owner without the consent of the other co#owners
is not null and oid. %oweer, only the rights of the co#owner&seller are transferred, thereby ma'ing the
buyer a co#owner of the property. The proper action in a case li'e this, is not for the nullification of the
sale, or for the recoery of possession of the property owned in common from the third person, but for
diision or partition of the entire property if it continued to remain in the possession of the co#owners who
possessed and administered it.
LUCIO RO,LES, e# &*. v. COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 12-./%. M&r"h 1, 2///
F&"#s'
(etitioners inherited a parcel of land from their father. They entrusted the payment of ta)es to
their co#heir and half#brother, %ilario *obles. The ta) declaration was transferred to %ilarios father#in#law.
%ilario secured a loan from Cardona *ural +an'. The ban' foreclosed the land for %ilarios failure to pay
the mortgage debt and sold the same to spouses $antos. An action for ,uieting title was filed by
respondent $antos. (etitioners asseerate that they had been in possession of land since -./0 and it
was only in -.12 when they 'new about the foreclosure.
Iss(e'
Whether the mortgage did not diest the petitioners of title to the land when the complaint for
,uieting of title was filed as %ilario was a mere co#owner of the property.
)e*+'
!es. %ilario effected no clear and eident repudiation of the co#ownership. 3n order that the title
may prescribe in faor of a co#owner, the following re,uisites must concur4 5-6 the co#owner has
performed une,uiocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the other co#owners7 506 such
positie acts of repudiation hae been made 'nown to the other co#owners7 and 586 the eidence thereof
is clear and conincing.
%ilario did not hae possession of the sub9ect property7 neither did he e)clude the petitioners from
the use and the en9oyment thereof, as they had indisputably shared in its fruits. :i'ewise, his act of
entering into a mortgage contract with the ban' cannot be construed to be a repudiation of the co#
ownership. As absolute owner of his undiided interest in the land, he had the right to alienate his share,
as he in fact did. ;either should his payment of land ta)es in his name, as agreed upon by the co#owners,
be construed as a repudiation of the co#ownership. The assertion that the declaration of ownership was
tantamount to repudiation was belied by the continued occupation and possession of the disputed
property by the petitioners as owners.