Santos v.

G.R. No. 137013, 458 SCRA 83

Topic: Unlawful detainer: possession by tolerance

Facts: Santos was the registered owner of three lots while the spouses Ayon were the registered owners of an adjacent
parcel of land. The previous occupant of this property built a building which straddled both the lots of Santos and the
Ayons. The Ayons had been using the building as a warehouse.

When Santos bought the three lots, he informed the Ayons that the building occupies a portion of his land. However,
he allowed them to continue using the building. However, later he demanded that the Ayons demolish and remove the
part of the building encroaching his property. They refused, continuing to occupy the contested portion.

Santos filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against the Ayons. The MTCC found in favor of Santos. On appeal, the
RTC upheld the finding of the MTCC that the Ayons' occupation of the contested portion was by mere tolerance.
Hence, when Santos needed the same, he had the right to eject them through court action. The CA reversed and held
that the proper remedy should have been an accion publiciana before the RTC, not an action for unlawful detainer.

Whether or not prior physical possession of the property by tolerance precludes an action for unlawful detainer

No, prior physical possession of the property by tolerance does not preclude an action for unlawful detainer. The SC
reinstated the RTC decision.

A complaint for unlawful detainer is sufficient if it alleges that the withholding of the possession or the refusal to
vacate is unlawful without necessarily employing the terminology of the law. Here, there is an allegation in the
complaint that respondents' occupancy on the portion of his property is by virtue of his tolerance. Possession by
tolerance is lawful, but such possession becomes unlawful when the possessor by tolerance refuses to vacate upon
demand made by the owner. Thus, a person who occupies the land of another at the latter's tolerance or permission,
without any contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand,
failing which, a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against him.

GR. No. 150755 , June 8, 2005
Quisumbing, J

TOPIC. Action to Recover (Article 434). In an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the
plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant’s claim.

In an action to recover, the person who claims that he has a better right to the property must satisfactorily prove both
ownership and identity.

FACTS. Violeta Herrera filed 21 ejectment complaints before 16th MCTC.She alleges that she owns Lot 1227
of the Cadastral Survey of Jordan, Guimaras, with an area of 43,210 sq. mtrs., that she inherited from her parents.
She only tolerated petitioners to contract residential houses or improvements on the lot without rental. In 1996, she
demanded that the tenants vacate the lot. Petitioners refused.

ISSUE. Whether Violeta Herrera had a rightful claim to lot 1227.

RESOLUTION. Violeta Herrera owns the land. Petition denied. CA Decision Affirmed.


PETITIONERS (GANILA ET. AL.) argued: 8 petitioners claimed that the lot was formerly a shoreline which
they developed. Another 8 petitioners claimed their lot stood on another lot 1229 and not 1227. 3 others claimed the
lot was a social forest area.

HERRERA argued: To support her claim she presented a position paper, affidavit, and tax payment
declaration on the lot. There is also a report and sketch plan from MCTC appointed geodetic engineers who acted as
commissioners identifying the lot and that indeed 19 petitioners occupy lot 1227.

COURT HOLDING. Although tax declarations or realty tax payment of property are not conclusive evidence of
ownership, nevertheless, they are a good indicia of possession in the concept of owner for no one in his right mind
would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least constructive possession. If petitioner had
evidence to prove their defense, they should have presented this to the MCTC. But they ignored the order and missed
the given opportunity to have their defenses heard.

GR No. 165177. Aug 25, 2005
Ynares-Santiago, J.

TOPICS. Rights of a person as a consequence of ownership; action for forcible entry; accion publiciana; accion

FACTS. Lilia Peralta-Poblador bought a 400km lot in San Felipe, Zambales in 1976. She was issued a tax
declaration and paid taxes due thereon. In 1990, the Department of Public Works and Highways constructed a road
which traversed the lot, thereby separating 108km from the rest of the lot. Sometime n 1994, Silverio Bugarin forcibly
took possession of the 108km lot. Peralta-Poblador instituted a complaint for recovery of the possession and ownership
against Bugarin 2 years after (January 18, 1996). The lower court declared Bugarin as the owner of the lot since
Peralta-Poblador was not able to prove ownership or prior actual possession, hence this instant petition.

ISSUE. WON Peralta-Poblador could recover the lot with an action for forcible entry?

RESOLUTION. No. The lower court has no jurisdiction as the case involves unlawful deprivation or withholding of a
possession that had exceeded one year.


PERALTA-LABRADOR argued: She has been in open, continuous, exclusive and adverse as well as notorious
possession of the said lot and in the concept of an owner since she acquired it in 1976 until the defendant took
possession forcibly, two years ago.
The Court held: The Court made a determination that the petition takes a case for forcible entry because she alleged
prior physical possession of the lot in 1976, and the forcible entry thereon by respondent.
A case for forcible entry must be instituted within one year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of
possession. The Court noted Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Civil Procedure:
Section 1. Who may institute proceedings and when. - … a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by
force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth, … may at any time within one year after such unlawful deprivation or
withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons
unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or nay person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of
such possession, together with the damages and cost.
The lower court then a lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, which cannot be waived by the parties or cured by
their silence, acquiescence or even express consent.
After a lapse of the one year period, the proper suit must be commenced in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) via an
accion publiciana or a suit for the recovery of the right to possess. Publiciana is an ordinary civil proceeding to
determine better right of possession of realty independently of title. It also refers to an ejectment suit filed after the
expiration of one year from the accrual of the cause of action or from the unlawful withholding of possession of the
realty independently of the tile. The case may also be instituted before the RTC via accion reivindicatoria or an action
to recover ownership as well as possession.
The Court also set aside the decision of the lower court awarding ownership to Bugarin due to absence of conclusive
evidence showing the same.
German Management & Services vs. CA
Petitioner: German Management & Services
Respondents: CA, Orlando Gernale

GR 76216 | 14 September 1989 | Fernan, J.

TOPIC. Principle of Self-Help: The doctrine of (Art. 429 CC)
can only be exercised at the time of actual or threatened
dispossession. When possession has already been lost, the owner must resort to judicial process for the recovery of the

FACTS. Petitioner was engaged to develop into a residential subdivision a certain parcel of land in Antipolo, Rizal
owned by and registered under the name of spouses Jose. However, said parcel of land is presently occupied by
private respondent and 20 other person who are mountainside farmers claiming to occupied and tilled their farm
holdings some 12 to 15 years already. Nevertheless, petitioner proceeded with the development of the subject property
(i.e. removed fences, bulldozed trees, etc.).

PROCEDURAL. Private respondents filed an action for forcible entry MTC and RTC dismissed. CA reversed, holding
that since private respondents were in actual possession of the property at the time they were forcibly ejected by
petitioner, private respondents have a right to commence an action for forcible entry regardless of the legality or
illegality of possession.

ISSUE. Whether or not private respondents are entitled to file a forcible entry case against petitioner

1. Forcible entry case is merely a quieting process and never determines the actual title of the estate. Title is not
2. The doctrine of self-help can only be exercised at the time of actual or threatened dispossession. When possession
has already been lost, the owner must resort to judicial process (i.e. accion publiciana
or accion reinvindicatoria
3. There is no evidence that spouses Jose were ever in possession of the property. On the other hand, private
respondents' peaceable possession was manifested by the fact that they even planted rice, corn and fruit bearing
trees twelve to fifteen years prior to petitioner's act of destroying their crops.
4. Per Art. 536
, in no case may possession can be acquired through force or intimidation as long as there is a
possessor who objects.

Republic of the Philippines, Benguet & Atok vs. Court of Appeals & De La Rosa
G.R. No. L-43938, April 15, 1988
Cruz, J.:
Doctrine: The owner of a piece of land has rights not only to its surface but also to everything underneath and the
airspace above it up to a reasonable height. The rights over the land are indivisible and the land itself cannot be half

Consolidated in this case is GR 76217 (14 Sept 1989) German Management Services vs. CA, Ernesto Villeza
Art. 429 CC: The owner or lawful possessor of a thing has the right to exclude any person from the enjoyment and disposal thereof. For this purpose, he may use such force as may be
reasonably necessary to repel or prevent an actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion or usurpation of his property.
Another issue is whether there was violation of due process on the part of CA in reversing the decision without giving the petiti oner the opportunity to file an answer. No violation. Previous
comments filed by the petitioner were sufficient. Also, the mere fact that petitioner was heard by CA in its MfR negates any claim of violation
Accion publiciana or the plenary action for the recovery of the real right of possession, which should be brought in the proper Regional Trial Court when the dispossession has lasted for more
than one year
Accion reinvindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion, which is an action for the recovery of ownership which must be brought i n the proper Regional Trial Court
Art. 536 CC: In no case may possession be acquired through force or intimidation as long as there is a possessor who objects thereto. He who believes that je jas an action or a right to deprive
another of the holding of a thing, must invoke aid of the competent court, if holder should refuse to deliver the thing.
agricultural and half mineral. The classification must be categorical; the land must be either completely mineral or
completely agricultural.

Facts: These cases arose from the application for registration of a parcel of land filed on February 11, 1965, by Jose de
la Rosa on his own behalf and on behalf of his three children, Victoria, Benjamin and Eduardo. The land, situated in
Tuding, Itogon, Benguet Province, was divided into 9 lots and covered by plan Psu-225009. According to the
application, Lots 1-5 were sold to Jose de la Rosa and Lots 6-9 to his children by Mamaya Balbalio and Jaime Alberto,
respectively, in 1964.

The application was separately opposed by Benguet Consolidated, Inc. as to Lots 1-5, Atok Big Wedge Corporation, as
to Portions of Lots 1-5 and all of Lots 6-9, and by the Republic of the Philippines, through the Bureau of Forestry
Development, as to lots 1-9.
In support of the application, both Balbalio and Alberto testified that they had acquired the subject land by virtue of
prescription Balbalio claimed to have received Lots 1-5 from her father shortly after the Liberation.
Benguet opposed on the ground that the June Bug mineral claim covering Lots 1-5 was sold to it on September 22,
1934, by the successors-in-interest of James Kelly, who located the claim in September 1909 and recorded it on
October 14, 1909. From the date of its purchase, Benguet had been in actual, continuous and exclusive possession of
the land in concept of owner, as evidenced by its construction of adits, its affidavits of annual assessment, its
geological mappings, geological samplings and trench side cuts, and its payment of taxes on the land.
For its part, Atok alleged that a portion of Lots 1-5 and all of Lots 6-9 were covered by the Emma and Fredia mineral
claims located by Harrison and Reynolds on December 25, 1930, and recorded on January 2, 1931, in the office of the
mining recorder of Baguio. These claims were purchased from these locators on November 2, 1931, by Atok, which has
since then been in open, continuous and exclusive possession of the said lots as evidenced by its annual assessment
work on the claims, such as the boring of tunnels, and its payment of annual taxes thereon.
The Bureau of Forestry Development also interposed its objection, arguing that the land sought to be registered was
covered by the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve under Proclamation No. 217 dated February 16, 1929. Moreover, by
reason of its nature, it was not subject to alienation under the Constitutions of 1935 and 1973.
The trial court denied the application, holding that the applicants had failed to prove their claim of possession and
ownership of the land sought to be registered.
The applicants appealed to the respondent court, which reversed the trial court and recognized the claims of the
applicant, but subject to the rights of Benguet and Atok respecting their mining claims. In other words, the Court of
Appeals affirmed the surface rights of the de la Rosas over the land while at the same time reserving the sub-surface
rights of Benguet and Atok by virtue of their mining claims. Both Benguet and Atok have appealed to this Court,
invoking their superior right of ownership.
Issue: Whether respondent court’s decision, i.e. “the surface rights of the de la Rosas over the land while at the same
time reserving the sub-surface rights of Benguet and Atok by virtue of their mining claim,” is correct.

Held: No. Our holding is that Benguet and Atok have exclusive rights to the property in question by virtue of their
respective mining claims which they validly acquired before the Constitution of 1935 prohibited the alienation of all
lands of the public domain except agricultural lands, subject to vested rights existing at the time of its adoption. The
land was not and could not have been transferred to the private respondents by virtue of acquisitive prescription, nor
could its use be shared simultaneously by them and the mining companies for agricultural and mineral purposes. It is
true that the subject property was considered forest land and included in the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve, but
this did not impair the rights already vested in Benguet and Atok at that time. Such rights were not affected either by
the stricture in the Commonwealth Constitution against the alienation of all lands of the public domain except those
agricultural in nature for this was made subject to existing rights. The perfection of the mining claim converted the
property to mineral land and under the laws then in force removed it from the public domain. By such act, the locators
acquired exclusive rights over the land, against even the government, without need of any further act such as the
purchase of the land or the obtention of a patent over it. As the land had become the private property of the locators,
they had the right to transfer the same, as they did, to Benguet and Atok. The Court of Appeals justified this by
saying there is “no conflict of interest” between the owners of the surface rights and the owners of the sub-surface
rights. This is rather doctrine, for it is a well-known principle that the owner of piece of land has rights not only to its
surface but also to everything underneath and the airspace above it up to a reasonable height. Under the aforesaid
ruling, the land is classified as mineral underneath and agricultural on the surface, subject to separate claims of title.
This is also difficult to understand, especially in its practical application.

The Court feels that the rights over the land are indivisible and that the land itself cannot be half agricultural and
half mineral. The classification must be categorical; the land must be either completely mineral or completely
agricultural. In the instant case, as already observed, the land which was originally classified as forest land ceased to
be so and became mineral — and completely mineral — once the mining claims were perfected. As long as mining
operations were being undertaken thereon, or underneath, it did not cease to be so and become agricultural, even if
only partly so, because it was enclosed with a fence and was cultivated by those who were unlawfully occupying the
This is an application of the Regalian doctrine which, as its name implies, is intended for the benefit of the State, not
of private persons. The rule simply reserves to the State all minerals that may be found in public and even private
land devoted to “agricultural, industrial, commercial, residential or (for) any purpose other than mining.” Thus, if a
person is the owner of agricultural land in which minerals are discovered, his ownership of such land does not give
him the right to extract or utilize the said minerals without the permission of the State to which such minerals belong.
The flaw in the reasoning of the respondent court is in supposing that the rights over the land could be used for both
mining and non-mining purposes simultaneously. The correct interpretation is that once minerals are discovered in
the land, whatever the use to which it is being devoted at the time, such use may be discontinued by the State to
enable it to extract the minerals therein in the exercise of its sovereign prerogative. The land is thus converted to
mineral land and may not be used by any private party, including the registered owner thereof, for any other purpose
that will impede the mining operations to be undertaken therein, For the loss sustained by such owner, he is of course
entitled to just compensation under the Mining Laws or in appropriate expropriation proceedings.