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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 164110

February 12, 2008

LEONOR B. CRUZ, petitioner,


vs.
TEOFILA M. CATAPANG, respondent.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
This petition for review seeks the reversal of the Decision1 dated September 16, 2003 and the Resolution2 dated June 11,
2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 69250. The Court of Appeals reversed the Decision3 dated October 22,
2001 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 86, Taal, Batangas, which had earlier affirmed the Decision 4 dated
September 20, 1999 of the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Taal, Batangas ordering respondent to vacate and
deliver possession of a portion of the lot co-owned by petitioner, Luz Cruz and Norma Maligaya.
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows.
Petitioner Leonor B. Cruz, Luz Cruz and Norma Maligaya are the co-owners of a parcel of land covering an area of 1,435
square meters located at Barangay Mahabang Ludlod, Taal, Batangas.5 With the consent of Norma Maligaya, one of the
aforementioned co-owners, respondent Teofila M. Catapang built a house on a lot adjacent to the abovementioned parcel of
land sometime in 1992. The house intruded, however, on a portion of the co-owned property.6
In the first week of September 1995, petitioner Leonor B. Cruz visited the property and was surprised to see a part of
respondents house intruding unto a portion of the co-owned property. She then made several demands upon respondent to
demolish the intruding structure and to vacate the portion encroaching on their property. The respondent, however, refused
and disregarded her demands.7
On January 25, 1996, the petitioner filed a complaint8 for forcible entry against respondent before the 7th MCTC of Taal,
Batangas. The MCTC decided in favor of petitioner, ruling that consent of only one of the co-owners is not sufficient to justify
defendants construction of the house and possession of the portion of the lot in question. 9 The dispositive portion of the
MCTC decision reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant or any person acting in her behalf to
vacate and deliver the possession of the area illegally occupied to the plaintiff; ordering the defendant to pay
plaintiff reasonable attorneys fees of P10,000.00, plus costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.10
On appeal, the RTC, Branch 86, Taal, Batangas, affirmed the MCTCs ruling in a Decision dated October 22, 2001, the
dispositive portion of which states:
Wherefore, premises considered, the decision [appealed] from is hereby affirmed in toto.
SO ORDERED.11
After her motion for reconsideration was denied by the RTC, respondent filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals,
which reversed the RTCs decision. The Court of Appeals held that there is no cause of action for forcible entry in this case
because respondents entry into the property, considering the consent given by co-owner Norma Maligaya, cannot be
characterized as one made through strategy or stealth which gives rise to a cause of action for forcible entry. 12The Court of
Appeals decision further held that petitioners remedy is not an action for ejectment but an entirely different recourse with
the appropriate forum. The Court of Appeals disposed, thus:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED. The challenged Decision
dated 22 October 2001 as well as the Order dated 07 January 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Taal,
Batangas, Branch 86, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and, in lieu thereof, another is
entered DISMISSING the complaint for forcible entry docketed as Civil Case No. 71-T.
SO ORDERED.13
After petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated June 11, 2004, she
filed the instant petition.
Raised before us for consideration are the following issues:

I.
WHETHER OR NOT THE KNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT OF CO-OWNER NORMA MALIGAYA IS A VALID
LICENSE FOR THE RESPONDENT TO ERECT THE BUNGALOW HOUSE ON THE PREMISES OWNED
PRO-INDIVISO SANS CONSENT FROM THE PETITIONER AND OTHE[R] CO-OWNER[.]
II.
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT, BY HER ACTS, HAS ACQUIRED EXCLUSIVE OWNERSHIP OVER
THE PORTION OF THE LOT SUBJECT OF THE PREMISES PURSUANT TO THE CONSENT GRANTED
UNTO HER BY CO-OWNER NORMA MALIGAYA TO THE EXCLUSION OF THE PETITIONER AND THE
OTHER CO-OWNER.14
III.
. . . WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT IN FACT OBTAINED POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY IN
QUESTION BY MEANS OF SIMPLE STRATEGY.15
Petitioner prays in her petition that we effectively reverse the Court of Appeals decision.
Simply put, the main issue before us is whether consent given by a co-owner of a parcel of land to a person to construct a
house on the co-owned property warrants the dismissal of a forcible entry case filed by another co-owner against that
person.
In her memorandum,16 petitioner contends that the consent and knowledge of co-owner Norma Maligaya cannot defeat the
action for forcible entry since it is a basic principle in the law of co-ownership that no individual co-owner can claim title to
any definite portion of the land or thing owned in common until partition.
On the other hand, respondent in her memorandum17 counters that the complaint for forcible entry cannot prosper because
her entry into the property was not through strategy or stealth due to the consent of one of the co-owners. She further
argues that since Norma Maligaya is residing in the house she built, the issue is not just possession de facto but also one
of possession de jure since it involves rights of co-owners to enjoy the property.
As to the issue of whether or not the consent of one co-owner will warrant the dismissal of a forcible entry case filed by
another co-owner against the person who was given the consent to construct a house on the co-owned property, we have
held that a co-owner cannot devote common property to his or her exclusive use to the prejudice of the co-ownership. 18 In
our view, a co-owner cannot give valid consent to another to build a house on the co-owned property, which is an act
tantamount to devoting the property to his or her exclusive use.
Furthermore, Articles 486 and 491 of the Civil Code provide:

Art. 486. Each co-owner may use the thing owned in common, provided he does so in accordance with the
purpose for which it is intended and in such a way as not to injure the interest of the co-ownership or prevent
the other co-owners from using it according to their rights. The purpose of the co-ownership may be
changed by agreement, express or implied.

Art. 491. None of the co-owners shall, without the consent of the others, make alterations in the thing owned
in common, even though benefits for all would result therefrom. However, if the withholding of the consent by
one or more of the co-owners is clearly prejudicial to the common interest, the courts may afford adequate
relief.
Article 486 states each co-owner may use the thing owned in common provided he does so in accordance with the purpose
for which it is intended and in such a way as not to injure the interest of the co-ownership or prevent the other co-owners
from using it according to their rights. Giving consent to a third person to construct a house on the co-owned property will
injure the interest of the co-ownership and prevent other co-owners from using the property in accordance with their rights.
Under Article 491, none of the co-owners shall, without the consent of the others, make alterations in the thing owned in
common. It necessarily follows that none of the co-owners can, without the consent of the other co-owners, validly consent
to the making of an alteration by another person, such as respondent, in the thing owned in common. Alterations include any
act of strict dominion or ownership and any encumbrance or disposition has been held implicitly to be an act of
alteration.19 The construction of a house on the co-owned property is an act of dominion. Therefore, it is an alteration falling
under Article 491 of the Civil Code. There being no consent from all co-owners, respondent had no right to construct her
house on the co-owned property.
Consent of only one co-owner will not warrant the dismissal of the complaint for forcible entry filed against the builder. The
consent given by Norma Maligaya in the absence of the consent of petitioner and Luz Cruz did not vest upon respondent
any right to enter into the co-owned property. Her entry into the property still falls under the classification "through strategy or
stealth."
The Court of Appeals held that there is no forcible entry because respondents entry into the property was not through
strategy or stealth due to the consent given to her by one of the co-owners. We cannot give our imprimatur to this sweeping
conclusion. Respondents entry into the property without the permission of petitioner could appear to be a secret and
clandestine act done in connivance with co-owner Norma Maligaya whom respondent allowed to stay in her house. Entry
into the land effected clandestinely without the knowledge of the other co-owners could be categorized as possession by
stealth.20 Moreover, respondents act of getting only the consent of one co-owner, her sister Norma Maligaya, and allowing
the latter to stay in the constructed house, can in fact be considered as a strategy which she utilized in order to enter into the
co-owned property. As such, respondents acts constitute forcible entry.
Petitioners filing of a complaint for forcible entry, in our view, was within the one-year period for filing the complaint. The
one-year period within which to bring an action for forcible entry is generally counted from the date of actual entry to the
land. However, when entry is made through stealth, then the one-year period is counted from the time the petitioner learned
about it.21 Although respondent constructed her house in 1992, it was only in September 1995 that petitioner learned of it
when she visited the property. Accordingly, she then made demands on respondent to vacate the premises. Failing to get a
favorable response, petitioner filed the complaint on January 25, 1996, which is within the one-year period from the time
petitioner learned of the construction.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated September 16, 2003 and the Resolution dated June 11, 2004
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 69250 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision dated October 22, 2001 of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 86, Taal, Batangas is REINSTATED. Costs against respondent.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-4699

November 26, 1952

TEODORA SANTOS, assisted by her husband DONATO DE CASTRO, JOSEFINA SANTOS, assisted by her husband
Santiago Rodriguez and EMILIANA SANTOS, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
LEONCIO SANTOS, THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION, and NATIONAL AIRPORTS
CORPORATION, defendants-appellees.

Ramon Diokno and Jose W. Diokno for appellants.


Office of the Solicitor General Pompeyo Diaz and Solicitor Esmeraldo Umali for appellees.
PADILLA, J.:
Teodora Santos and her nieces Emiliana and Josefina surnamed Santos complain that from 1945 to 1949 Leoncio Santos collected
from the Army of the United States of America rentals for the use and occupation of a parcel of land, known as Lot No. 4 of CAA
Survey Plan AERO R-1, containing an area of 21,577 square meters, situated in the Municipality of Las Pias, Province of Rizal,
more particularly described in the complaint, belonging to them and Leoncio Santos in common by inheritance from their ancestor,
the late Paulino de los Santos, father of Teodora Santos and Leoncio Santos and grandfather of Josefina Santos and Emiliana
Santos, who died sometime in 1919, in the proportion of 1/7 undivided share for Teodora Santos and 1/14 undivided share each for
Josefina Santos and Emiliana Santos and 5/7 undivided share for Leoncio Santos, for the accounting of which and payment of their
respective shares therein they made a demand upon Leoncio Santos but the latter failed and refused to do so. They also complain
that they made a demand upon Leoncio Santos to have the lot partitioned among them but the later refused to do so, he having sold
the lot to the Administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration on or about 13 May 1949, who is now in possession thereof, and
that the sale of the lot made by Leoncio Santos to the Administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration insofar as their shares in
the lot are concerned is null and void. Upon these allegations they pray that Leoncio Santos be ordered to render an accounting of
the rentals and such other fruits, products and benefits as he might have received from 1945 on and thereafter and to pay and
deliver 1/7 thereof to Teodora Santos and 1/14 thereof each to Josefina and Emiliana surname Santos; that the parcel of land be
partitioned among them in the proportion above-stated; that the purported sale by Leoncio Santos to the National Airports
Corporation, the predecessor to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, insofar as theirs shares are concerned be declared null and
void; that the Administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration be directed to vacate the portions of the lot belonging to them a
reasonable rental until after possession of their shares in the lot shall have been restored to them and to pay damages and cost.
The Administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and insufficiency of
the complaint against him, invoking the case of Metropolitan Transportation Service METRAN vs. Paredes, 45 Off. Gaz., 2835,
where it has been held that the suit was against the state which could not be brought without its consent. This motion was granted
on the ground that the Civil Aeronautics Administration not being a juridical person has no capacity to sue and be sued and for that
reason it cannot come under the jurisdiction of the court.
The principle that the state or its government cannot be sued without its consent has its root in the juridical and practical notion that
the state can do no wrong. Demandable and enforceable obligations which may be the subject of judicial action come into being
either by law, contract, quasi-contract, acts or omissions punishable by law, acts which do not constitute or amount to a crime or a
misdemeanor known at common law as torts and in civil law as culpa aquiliana or extra contractual. An obligation or liability of the
state created by statute is enforceable against the officer or agent charged with the duty to execute the law. If there should be
anything demandable which had been paid or delivered to or collected by officers or agents of the state without the authority of law,
the action would not be against the state but against the responsible officers or agents who received what was not due the state or
made the unauthorized collection. Punishable acts or omissions committed by officers or agents of the state are crimes and
violations of law perpetuated by such officers or agents and not by the state. The same postulate may be applied to torts committed
by officers or agents of the state. Nevertheless, if, where and when the state or its government enters into a contract, through its
officers or agents, in furtherance of a legitimate aim and purpose and pursuant to constitutional legislative authority, whereby mutual
or reciprocal benefits accrue and rights and obligations arise therefrom, and if the law granting the authority to enter into such
contract does not provide for or name the officer against whom action may be brought in the event of a breach thereof, the state
itself may be sued even without its consent, because by entering into a contract the sovereign state has descended to the level of
the citizen and its consent to be used is implied from the very act of entering into such contract. If the dignity of the state, the
sacredness of the institution, the respect for the government are to be preserved and the dragging of its name in a suit to be
prevented, the legislative department should name the officer or agent against whom the action may be brought in the event of
breach of the contract entered into under its name and authority. And the omission or failure of the legislative department to do so is
no obstacle or impediment for an individual or citizen, who is aggrieved by the breach of the contract, to bring an action against the
state itself for the reasons already adverted to, to wit; the descent of the sovereign state to the level of the individual or citizen with
whom it entered into a contract and its consent to be sued implied from the act of entering into such contract.
The action brought in this case is for partition and accounting of rental received by the defendant Leoncio Santos from 1945 to
December 1949 for the use and occupation of a parcel of land allegedly owned in common by the plaintiffs and the defendant
Leoncio Santos in the proportion stated in the complaint. It is also averred that the National Airports Corporation created by Republic
Act No. 224, which had acquired the parcel of land from the defendant Leoncio Santos, was abolished by Executive Order no. 365,
series of 1950, and in its place and stead the Civil Aeronautics Administration was created and took over all the assets and assumed
all the liabilities of the abolished corporation. The Civil Aeronautics Administration, even if it is not a juridical entity, cannot legally
prevent a party or parties from enforcing their propriety rights under the cloak or shield of lack of juridical personality, because it took
over all the powers and assumed all the obligations of the defunct corporation which had entered into the contract in question.
In National Airports Corporation vs. Teodoro *, G.R. No. L-5122, 30 April 1952, we held that the Civil Aeronautics Administration may
be sued and that the principle of state immunity from suit does not apply to it.
If the plaintiffs are not entitled to any share in the parcel of land sold by Leoncio Santos and acquired by the National Airports
Corporation, now in the possession of its successor, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, the complaint would have to be dismissed.
But if the right to such shares as claimed be established, the plaintiffs should not and can be deprived of their proprietary rights in
the parcel of land sold by their co-owner without their knowledge and consent. Leoncio Santos would be responsible for warranty

and eviction to the Civil Aeronautics Administration. If the Torrens title does not show such shares of the plaintiffs in the parcel of
land sold by Leoncio Santos to the National Airports Corporation, then the action would not lie against the National Airports
Corporation or its successor, the Civil Aeronautics Administration of land and of their natural or civil fruits of which they had been
deprived by the sale and conveyance of the whole parcel of land to the National Airports Corporation by Leoncio Santos. The
accounting of rentals received would not affect the Civil Aeronautics Administration, because it would be the exclusive liability of
Leoncio Santos.
The order appealed from dismissing the complaint as to the Civil Aeronautics Administration is reversed and the case remanded to
the lower court for further proceedings in accordance with law. No cost shall be taxed.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Tuazon, Montemayor, Jugo, Bautista Angelo and Labardor, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-44426 February 25, 1982
SULPICIO CARVAJAL, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ** and EUTIQUIANO CAMARILLO and LIBERATA CACABELOS, respondents.

TEEHANKEE, J.:
The Court reverses the appellate court's decision affirming in toto the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan,
declaring plaintiffs-respondents the lawful owners of the land in question and ordering defendant (herein petitioner) to pay P30.00
monthly rentals until possession of the property is surrendered to respondents, for unless there is partition of the estate of the
deceased, either extra judicially or by court order, a co-heir cannot validly claim title to a specific portion of the estate and send the
same. Title to any specific part of the estate does not automatically pass to the heirs by the mere death of the decedent and the
effect of any disposition by a co-heir before partition shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him upon the dissolution
of the communal estate. What a co-heir can validly dispose of is only his hereditary rights.
Private respondents, who are husband and wife, had instituted a complaint before the Court of First Instance for ejectment and
recovery of possession against herein petitioner, docketed as Civil Case No. T-1163, alleging that they are the owners in fee simple
of a parcel of commercial land, pro-indiviso, consisting of 150.8 sq. meters, more or less, situated in Poblacion, Tayug, Pangasinan,
having bought the same from Evaristo G. Espique by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale executed on April 15, 1964. They also
demand that petitioner pay a monthly rental for the use of the property all P40.00 until the property is surrendered to them.
The property in question is a 1/5 portion of a 754 sq. qmeter land originally owned by Hermogenes Espique and his wife, both dead.
After their death their five children, namely: Maria, Evaristo, Faustina, Estefanio and Tropinia succeeded them in the ownership of
the whole lot.
Petitioner presently occupies two-fifths of the whole lot inherited pro-indiviso by the Espique children. Petitioner alleges that he
purchased the northern one-half portion of the lot he is occupying (which is also claimed by respondents) from Estefanio Espique
and that the southern one-half portion of the lot he is occupying (which is also claimed by respondents) from Estefanio Espique and
that the southern one-half portion is leased to him by Tropinia Espique. The land subject of the controversy is the most southern
portion of the whole lot inherited by the Espique children which petitioner claims he had bought from Estefanio on April 26, 1967 and
which respondents claim they had bough from Evaristo on April 15, 1964.
Both sales were made while the petition for partition filed by Evaristo Espique was still pending before the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan, docketed therein as Civil Case No. T-966.
The Court finds merit in the petition for setting aside respondent appellate court's decision finding for respondents-plaintiffs, for the
following considerations:
The action for ejectment and recovery of possession instituted by herein respondents in the lower court is premature, for what must
be settled frist is the action for partition. Unless a project of partition is effected, each heir cannot claim ownership over a definite
portion of the inheritance. Without partition, either by agreement between the parties of by judicial proceeding, a co-heir cannot

Upon the death


of a person, each of his heirs becomes the undivided owner of the whole estate left wtih respect to the
part of portion which might be adjudicated to him, a community of ownership being thus formed among
the co-owners of the estate or co-heirs while it remains undivided. 2
dispose of a specific portion of the estate. For where there are two or more heirs, the whole estate such heirs.

While under Article 493 of the New Civil Code, each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits
pertaining thereto and he may alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, the effect of the
alienation or the mortgage with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited, by mandate of the same article, to the portion which may
be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. He has no right to sell or alienate a concrete, specific, or
determinate part of the thing in common to the exclusion of the other co-owners because his right over the thing is represented by
an abstract or Ideal portion without any physical adjudication. 3 An individual co- owner cannot adjudicate to himself or

claim title to any definite portion of the land or thing owned in common until its actual partition by
agreement or judicial decree. Prior to that time all that the co-owner has is an Ideal or abstract quota or
proportionate share in the entire thing owned in common by all the co-owners. 4 What a co owner may
dispose of is only his undivided aliquot share, which shall be limited to the portion that may be allotted to
him upon partition. 5 Before partition, a co-heir can only sell his successional rights. 6
In the case at bar, the fact that the sale executed by Evaristo G. qqqEspique in favor of respondents and the sale executed by
Estefanio Espique in favor of petitioner were made before the partition of the property among the co-heirs does not annul or
invalidate the deeds of sale and both sales are valid. However, the interests thereby acquired by petitioner and respondents are
limited only to the parts that may be ultimately assigned to Estefanio and Evaristo, respectively, upon the partition of the
estate 7 subject to provisions on subrogation of the other co-heirs to the rights of the stranger-purchaser

provided in Article 1088 of the Civil Code. 8 Respondent court's ruling that the sale by Estefanio in favor of
petitioner is not valid because of lack of notice to his co-heirs is erroneous. Such notice in writing is not a
requisite for the validity of the sale. Its purpose is merely to apprise the co-heirs of the sale of a portion of
the estate, for them to exercise their preferential right of subrogation under Article 1088 of the New Civil
Code, that is, the right to redeem the property sold within one month from the time they were notified in
writing of the sale by a co-heir. (There is nothing in the record to indicate that such right of subrogation
was in effect sought to be exercised upon the co-heirs' having learned of the sale, which is not in issue
here.)
Thus, respondents have no right to eject petitioners nor demand payment of rentals for the use of the property in dispute. Until the
partition of the estate is ordered by the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan in the pending partition proceedings and the share of
each co-heir is determined by metes and bounds, neither petitioner nor respondents can rightfully claim that what they bought is the
part in dispute.
Accordingly, respondent court's judgment is set aside and judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the complaint of respondentsplaintiffs in the court below. No pronouncement as to costs.
Makasiar, Guerrero, Melencio-Herrera and Plana, JJ., concur.
Fernandez, J., took no part.