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Villasi vs.

Garcia
G.R. no. 190106
January 15, 2014

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 filed pursuant to Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, assailing the 19 May 2009
Decision2 rendered by the Sixth Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 92587. The appellate court affirmed the Order 3 of
the Regional Trial Court R TC) of Quezon City, Branch 77, directing the Deputy Sheriff to suspend the conduct of the execution sale of
the buildings levied upon by him.

The Facts

Sometime in 1990, petitioner Magdalena T Villasi (Villasi) engaged the services of respondent Fil-Garcia Construction, Inc. (FGCI) to
construct a seven-storey condominium building located at Aurora Boulevard corner N. Domingo Street, Cubao, Quezon City. For failure
of Villasi to fully pay the contract price despite several demands, FGCI initiated a suit for collection of sum of money before the RTC of
Quezon City, Branch 77. In its action docketed as Civil Case No. Q-91-8187, FGCI prayed, among others, for the payment of the
amount of P2,865,000.00, representing the unpaid accomplishment billings. Served with summons, Villasi filed an answer specifically
denying the material allegations of the complaint. Contending that FGCI has no cause of action against her, Villasi averred that she
delivered the total amount of P7,490,325.10 to FGCI but the latter accomplished only 28% of the project. After the pre-trial
conference was terminated without the parties having reached an amicable settlement, trial on the merits ensued.

Finding that FGCI was able to preponderantly establish by evidence its right to the unpaid accomplishment billings, the RTC rendered
a Decision4 dated 26 June 1996 in FGCIs favor. While the trial court brushed aside the allegation of Villasi that an excess payment
was made, it upheld the claim of FGCI to the unpaid amount of the contract price and, thus, disposed:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:

1. Ordering [Villasi] to pay [FGCI] the sum of P2,865,000.00 as actual damages and unpaid accomplishment billings;

2. Ordering [Villasi] to pay [FGCI] the amount of P500,000.00 representing the value of unused building materials;

3. Ordering [Villasi] to pay [FGCI] the amount of P100,000.00, as moral damages and P100,000.00 as attorneys fees.5

Elevated on appeal and docketed as CA-GR CV No. 54750, the Court of Appeals reversed the disquisition of the RTC in its
Decision6 dated 20 November 2000. The appellate court ruled that an overpayment was made by Villasi and thereby directed FGCI to
return the amount that was paid in excess, viz:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present appeal is hereby GRANTED and the appealed decision in Civil Case No. Q-91-8187 is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and judgment is hereby rendered ordering the [FGCI] to return to [Villasi] the sum of P1,244,543.33
as overpayment under their contract, and the further sum of P425,004.00 representing unpaid construction materials obtained by it
from [Villasi]. [FGCI] is likewise hereby declared liable for the payment of liquidated damages in the sum equivalent to 1/10 of 1% of
the contract price for each day of delay computed from March 6, 1991.

No pronouncement as to costs.7

Unrelenting, FGCI filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari before this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 147960, asseverating that the
appellate court erred in rendering the 20 November 2000 Decision. This Court, however, in a Resolution dated 1 October 2001,
denied the appeal for being filed out of time. The said resolution became final and executory on 27 November 2001, as evidenced by
the Entry of Judgment8 made herein.

To enforce her right as prevailing party, Villasi filed a Motion for Execution of the 20 November 2000 Court of Appeals Decision, which
was favorably acted upon by the RTC.9 A Writ of Execution was issued on 28 April 2004, commanding the Sheriff to execute and make
effective the 20 November 2000 Decision of the Court of Appeals.

To satisfy the judgment, the sheriff levied on a building located at No. 140 Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City, covered by Tax Declaration
No. D-021-01458, and built in the lots registered under Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. 379193 and 379194. While the building
was declared for taxation purposes in the name of FGCI, the lots in which it was erected were registered in the names of the Spouses
Filomeno Garcia and Ermelinda Halili-Garcia (Spouses Garcia). After the mandatory posting and publication of notice of sale on
execution of real property were complied with, a public auction was scheduled on 25 January 2006.

To forestall the sale on execution, the Spouses Garcia filed an Affidavit of Third Party Claim 10 and a Motion to Set Aside Notice of Sale
on Execution,11 claiming that they are the lawful owners of the property which was erroneously levied upon by the sheriff. To persuade
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the court a quo to grant their motion, the Spouses Garcia argued that the building covered by the levy was mistakenly assessed by
the City Assessor in the name of FGCI. The motion was opposed by Villasi who insisted that its ownership belongs to FGCI and not to
the Spouses Garcia as shown by the tax declaration.

After weighing the arguments of the opposing parties, the RTC issued on 24 February 2005 an Order 12 directing the Sheriff to hold in
abeyance the conduct of the sale on execution, to wit:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby orders Deputy Sheriff Angel Doroni to suspend or hold in abeyance the conduct
of the sale on execution of the buildings levied upon by him, until further orders from the Court. 13

The motion for reconsideration of Villasi was denied by the trial court in its 11 October 2005 Order. 14

Arguing that the RTC gravely abused its discretion in ordering the suspension of the sale on execution, Villasi timely filed a Petition for
Certiorari before the Court of Appeals. In a Decision 15 dated 19 May 2009, the appellate court dismissed the petition. In a
Resolution16 dated 28 October 2009, the Court of Appeals refused to reconsider its decision.

Villasi is now before this Court via this instant Petition for Review on Certiorariassailing the adverse Court of Appeals Decision and
Resolution and raising the following issues:

The Issues

I.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT TO
SUSPEND AND HOLD IN ABEYANCE THE SALE ON EXECUTION OF THE BUILDINGS LEVIED UPON ON THE BASIS OF RESPONDENTS
AFFIDAVIT OF THIRD-PARTY CLAIM;
II.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED WHEN IT HELD THAT THERE IS NO REASON TO PIERCE
THE VEIL OF [FGCIS] CORPORATE FICTION IN THE CASE AT BAR; [AND]
III.
WHETHER OR NOT THE BRANCH SHERIFF OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 77 SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO
FILE THE APPROPRIATE NOTICE OF LEVY WITH THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF QUEZON CITY. 17
The Courts Ruling

It is a basic principle of law that money judgments are enforceable only against the property incontrovertibly belonging to the
judgment debtor, and if the property belonging to any third person is mistakenly levied upon to answer for another mans
indebtedness, such person has all the right to challenge the levy through any of the remedies provided for under the Rules of Court.
Section 16,18 Rule 39 specifically provides that a third person may avail himself of the remedies of either terceria, to determine
whether the sheriff has rightly or wrongly taken hold of the property not belonging to the judgment debtor or obligor, or an
independent "separate action" to vindicate his claim of ownership and/or possession over the foreclosed property. However, the
person other than the judgment debtor who claims ownership or right over levied properties is not precluded from taking other legal
remedies to prosecute his claim.19

Indeed, the power of the court in executing judgments extends only to properties unquestionably belonging to the judgment debtor
alone. An execution can be issued only against a party and not against one who did not have his day in court. The duty of the sheriff
is to levy the property of the judgment debtor not that of a third person. For, as the saying goes, one man's goods shall not be sold
for another man's debts.20

Claiming that the sheriff mistakenly levied the building that lawfully belongs to them, the Spouses Garcia availed themselves of the
remedy of terceria under Section 16, Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court. To fortify their position, the Spouses Garcia asserted that
as the owners of the land, they would be deemed under the law as owners of the building standing thereon. The Spouses Garcia also
asserted that the construction of the building was financed thru a loan obtained from Metrobank in their personal capacities, and they
merely contracted FGCI to construct the building. Finally, the Spouses Garcia argued that the tax declaration, based on an erroneous
assessment by the City Assessor, cannot be made as basis of ownership.

For her part, Villasi insists that the levy effected by the sheriff was proper since the subject property belongs to the judgment debtor
and not to third persons. To dispute the ownership of the Spouses Garcia, Villasi pointed out that the levied property was declared for
tax purposes in the name of FGCI. A Certification issued by the Office of the City Engineering of Quezon City likewise showed that the
building permit of the subject property was likewise issued in the name of FGCI. We grant the petition.

The right of a third-party claimant to file a terceria is founded on his title or right of possession.1avvphi1 Corollary thereto, before the
court can exercise its supervisory power to direct the release of the property mistakenly levied and the restoration thereof to its
rightful owner, the claimant must first unmistakably establish his ownership or right of possession thereon. In Spouses Sy v. Hon.

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Discaya,21 we declared that for a third-party claim or a terceria to prosper, the claimant must first sufficiently establish his right on the
property:

[A] third person whose property was seized by a sheriff to answer for the obligation of the judgment debtor may invoke the
supervisory power of the court which authorized such execution. Upon due application by the third person and after summary
hearing, the court may command that the property be released from the mistaken levy and restored to the rightful owner or
possessor. What said court can do in these instances, however, is limited to a determination of whether the sheriff has acted rightly or
wrongly in the performance of his duties in the execution of judgment, more specifically, if he has indeed taken hold of property not
belonging to the judgment debtor. The court does not and cannot pass upon the question of title to the property, with any character
of finality. It can treat of the matter only insofar as may be necessary to decide if the sheriff has acted correctly or not. It can require
the sheriff to restore the property to the claimant's possession if warranted by the evidence. However, if the claimant's proofs do not
persuade the court of the validity of his title or right of possession thereto, the claim will be denied. 22 (Emphasis and underscoring
supplied).

Our perusal of the record shows that, as the party asserting their title, the Spouses Garcia failed to prove that they have a bona fide
title to the building in question. Aside from their postulation that as title holders of the land, the law presumes them to be owners of
the improvements built thereon, the Spouses Garcia were unable to adduce credible evidence to prove their ownership of the
property. In contrast, Villasi was able to satisfactorily establish the ownership of FGCI thru the pieces of evidence she appended to her
opposition. Worthy to note is the fact that the building in litigation was declared for taxation purposes in the name of FGCI and not in
the Spouses Garcias. While it is true that tax receipts and tax declarations are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership, they
constitute credible proof of claim of title over the property. 23 In Buduhan v. Pakurao,24 we underscored the significance of a tax
declaration as proof that a holder has claim of title, and, we gave weight to the demonstrable interest of the claimant holding a tax
receipt:

Although tax declarations or realty tax payment of property are not conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless, they are 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. They constitute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property. The voluntary
declaration of a piece of property for taxation purposes manifests not only ones sincere and honest desire to obtain title to the
property and announces his adverse claim against the State and all other interested parties, but also the intention to contribute
needed revenues to the Government. Such an act strengthens ones bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. 25

It likewise failed to escape our attention that FGCI is in actual possession of the building and as the payment of taxes coupled with
actual possession of the land covered by tax declaration strongly supports a claim of ownership. 26 Quite significantly, all the court
processes in an earlier collection suit between FGCI and Villasi were served, thru the formers representative Filomeno Garcia, at No.
140 Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City, where the subject property is located. This circumstance is consistent with the tax declaration in
the name of FGCI.

The explanation proffered by the Spouses Garcia, that the City Assessor merely committed an error when it declared the property for
taxation purposes in the name of FGCI, appears to be suspect in the absence of any prompt and serious effort on their part to have it
rectified before the onset of the instant controversy. The correction of entry belatedly sought by the Spouses Garcia is indicative of its
intention to put the property beyond the reach of the judgment creditor. Every prevailing party to a suit enjoys the corollary right to
the fruits of the judgment and, thus, court rules provide a procedure to ensure that every favorable judgment is fully satisfied. 27 It is
almost trite to say that execution is the fruit and end of the suit. Hailing it as the "life of the law,"

ratio legis est anima,28 this Court has zealously guarded against any attempt to thwart the rigid rule and deny the prevailing litigant
his right to savour the fruit of his victory.29 A judgment, if left unexecuted, would be nothing but an empty triumph for the prevailing
party.30

While it is a hornbook doctrine that the accessory follows the principal, 31 that is, the ownership of the property gives the right by
accession to everything which is produced thereby, or which is incorporated or attached thereto, either naturally or artificially, 32 such
rule is not without exception. In cases where there is a clear and convincing evidence to prove that the principal and the accessory
are not owned by one and the same person or entity, the presumption shall not be applied and the actual ownership shall be upheld.
In a number of cases, we recognized the separate ownership of the land from the building and brushed aside the rule that accessory
follows the principal.

In Carbonilla v. Abiera,33 we denied the claim of petitioner that, as the owner of the land, he is likewise the owner of the building
erected thereon, for his failure to present evidence to buttress his position:

To set the record straight, while petitioner may have proven his ownership of the land, as there can be no other piece of evidence
more worthy of credence than a Torrens certificate of title, he failed to present any evidence to substantiate his claim of ownership or
right to the possession of the building. Like the CA, we cannot accept the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate (Residential
Building) with Waiver and Quitclaim of Ownership executed by the Garcianos as proof that petitioner acquired ownership of the
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building. There is no showing that the Garcianos were the owners of the building or that they had any proprietary right over it.
Ranged against respondents proof of possession of the building since 1977, petitioners evidence pales in comparison and leaves us
totally unconvinced.34

In Caltex (Phil.) Inc. v. Felias,35 we ruled that while the building is a conjugal property and therefore liable for the debts of the conjugal
partnership, the lot on which the building was constructed is a paraphernal property and could not be the subject of levy and sale:

x x x. In other words, when the lot was donated to Felisa by her parents, as owners of the land on which the building was constructed,
the lot became her paraphernal property. The donation transmitted to her the rights of a landowner over a building constructed on it.
Therefore, at the time of the levy and sale of the sheriff, Lot No. 107 did not belong to the conjugal partnership, but it was
paraphernal property of Felisa. As such, it was not answerable for the obligations of her husband which resulted in the judgment
against him in favor of Caltex.36

The rule on accession is not an iron-clad dictum. On instances where this Court was confronted with cases requiring judicial
determination of the ownership of the building separate from the lot, it never hesitated to disregard such rule. The case at bar is of
similar import. When there are factual and evidentiary evidence to prove that the building and the lot on which it stands are owned
by different persons, they shall be treated separately. As such, the building or the lot, as the case may be, can be made liable to
answer for the obligation of its respective owner.

Finally, the issue regarding the piercing of the veil of corporate fiction is irrelevant in this case. The Spouses Garcia are trying to
protect FGCI from liability by asserting that they, not FGCI, own the levied property. The Spouses Garcia are asserting their separation
from FGCI. FGCI, the judgment debtor, is the proven owner of the building. Piercing FGCIs corporate veil will not protect FGCI from its
judgment debt. Piercing will result in the identification of the Spouses Garcia as FGCI itself and will make them liable for FGCIs
judgment debt.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 92587 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Deputy Sheriff is hereby directed to proceed with the conduct of the sale on
execution of the levied building.

Manalang vs. Bacani


G.R. no 156995
January 12, 2015

In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) shall decide the appeal of the judgment of the Municipal Trial
Court (MTC) in unlawful detainer or forcible entry cases on the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the court of origin
and such memoranda and/or briefs as may be required by the RTC. There is no trial de novo of the case.cralawred

The Case

The petitioners assail the decision promulgated on October 18, 2002 in CA-G.R. SP No. 68419, 1whereby the Court of Appeals (CA)
reversed and set aside the decision of the RTC, Branch 49, in Guagua, Pampanga, and reinstated the judgment rendered on August
31, 2000 by the MTC of Guagua, Pampanga dismissing their complaint for unlawful detainer and the respondents counterclaim. They
also hereby assail the resolution promulgated on January 24, 2003 denying their motion for
reconsideration.2chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Antecedents

Petitioners Ruben Manalang, Amado Manalang, Carlos Manalang, Concepcion M. Gonzales, Ladislao Manalang and Luis Manalang
were the co-owners of Lot No 4236 with an area of 914 square meters of the Guagua Cadastre, and declared for taxation purposes in
the name of Tomasa B. Garcia. The land was covered by approved survey plan Ap-03-004154. Adjacent to Lot 4236 was the
respondents Lot No. 4235 covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. N-216701. In 1997, the petitioners caused the relocation
and verification survey of Lot 4236 and the adjoining lots, and the result showed that the respondents had encroached on Lot No.
4236 to the extent of 405 square meters. A preliminary relocation survey conducted by the Lands Management Section of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirmed the result on the encroachment. When the respondents refused
to vacate the encroached portion and to surrender peaceful possession thereof despite demands, the petitioners commenced this
action for unlawful detainer on April 21, 1997 in the MTC of Guagua (Civil Case No. 3309), and the case was assigned to Branch 2 of
that court.3chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

On September 17, 1998, the MTC (Branch 2) dismissed Civil Case No. 3309 for lack of jurisdiction based on its finding that the action
involved an essentially boundary dispute that should be properly resolved in an accion reivindicatoria.4 It stated that the complaint

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did not aver any contract, whether express or implied, between the petitioners and the respondents that qualified the case as one for
unlawful detainer; and that there was also no showing that the respondents were in possession of the disputed area by the mere
tolerance of the petitioners due to the latter having become aware of the encroachment only after the relocation survey held in 1997.

On appeal, however, the RTC reversed the MTC (Branch 2), and remanded the case for further proceedings, 5 holding that because
there was an apparent withholding of possession of the property and the action was brought within one year from such withholding of
possession the proper action was ejectment which was within the jurisdiction of the MTC; and that the case was not a boundary
dispute that could be resolved in an accion reinvidicatoria, considering that it involved a sizeable area of property and not a mere
transferring of boundary.6chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Upon remand, the MTC, Branch 1,7 ultimately dismissed the complaint and counterclaim for lack of merit through the decision
rendered on August 31, 2000,8 ruling that the petitioners failed to adduce clear and convincing evidence showing that the
respondents had encroached on their property and had been occupying and possessing property outside the metes and bounds
described in Bienvenido Bacanis OCT No. N-216701; that the preponderance of evidence was in favor of the respondents right of
possession; and that the respondents counterclaim for damages should also be dismissed, there being no showing that the complaint
had been filed in gross and evident bad faith.9chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Once more, the petitioners appealed to the RTC.

At that point, the RTC ordered the petitioners to conduct a relocation survey to determine their allegation of encroachment, and also
heard the testimony of the surveyor, Engr. Emmanuel Limpin, then Acting Chief of the Survey Section of the CENR- DENR.

On September 19, 2001,10 the RTC rendered its judgment whereby it reversed and set aside the MTCs decision of August 31, 2000,
observing that the respondents had encroached on the petitioners property based on the court-ordered relocation survey, the reports
by Engr. Limpin, and his testimony;11 that the respondents could not rely on their OCT No. N-216701, considering that although their
title covered only 481 square meters, the relocation survey revealed that they had occupied also 560 square meters of the
petitioners Lot No. 4236;12 that the petitioners did not substantiate their claims for reasonable compensation, attorneys fees and
litigation expenses; and that, nevertheless, after it had been established that the respondents had encroached upon and used a
portion of the petitioners property, the latter were entitled to P1,000.00/month as reasonable compensation from the filing of the
complaint up to time that the respondents actually vacated the encroached property, plus P20,000.00 attorneys
fees.13chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

The respondents moved for reconsideration, but the RTC denied their motion for its lack of merit. 14chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

The respondents appealed.

On October 18, 2002, the CA promulgated its assailed decision,15viz:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

WHEREFORE, the appealed RTC decision is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the decisions of the MTC of Guagua, Pampanga,
Branches 1 and 2, are REINSTATED.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

The CA concluded that the RTC, by ordering the relocation and verification survey in aid of its appellate jurisdiction upon motion of
the petitioners and over the objection of the respondents, and making a determination of whether there was an encroachment based
on such survey and testimony of the surveyor, had acted as a trial court in complete disregard of the second paragraph of Section 18,
Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. It declared such action by the RTC as unwarranted because it amounted to the reopening of the trial,
which was not allowed under Section 13(3) Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. It observed that the relocation and verification survey was
inconclusive inasmuch as the surveyor had himself admitted that he could not determine which of the three survey plans he had used
was correct without a full-blown trial.

The CA held that considering that the petitioners complaint for unlawful detainer did not set forth when and how the respondents
had entered the land in question and constructed their houses thereon, jurisdiction did not vest in the MTC to try and decide the case;
that the complaint, if at all, made out a case for either accion reivindicatoria or accion publiciana, either of which fell within the
original jurisdiction of the RTC; and that the RTCs reliance on Benitez v. Court of Appeals16 and Calubayan v. Ferrer17 was misplaced,
because the controlling ruling was that in Sarmiento v. Court of Appeals,18 in which the complaint was markedly similar to that filed in
the case.

The petitioners sought reconsideration, but the CA denied their motion for its lack of merit in the resolution of January 24,
2003.19chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Issues

Hence, this appeal.

The petitioners contend that the RTC had authority to receive additional evidence on appeal in an ejectment case because it was not
absolutely confined to the records of the trial in resolving the appeal; that the respondents were estopped from assailing the
relocation and verification survey ordered by the RTC because they had actively participated in the survey and had even cross-
examined Engr. Limpin, the surveyor tasked to conduct the survey; 20 that Engr. Limpins testimony must be given credence, honoring
the well-entrenched principle of regularity in the performance of official functions; 21 that the RTC did not conduct a trial de novo by
ordering the relocation and verification survey and hearing the testimony of the surveyor; that the desirability of the relocation and

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verification survey had always been part of the proceedings even before the case was appealed to the RTC; 22 that, in any case, the
peculiar events that transpired justified the RTCs order to conduct a relocation and verification survey; 23 that the case, because it
involved encroachment into anothers property, qualified as an ejectment case that was within the jurisdiction of the MTC; and that
the respondents were barred by laches for never questioning the RTCs February 11, 1999 ruling on the issue of
jurisdiction.24chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In contrast, the respondents assail the relocation and verification survey ordered by the RTC as immaterial, because (a) it could not
vest a right of possession or ownership; (b) the petitioners were mere claimants, not the owners of the property; (c) the petitioner had
never been in possession of the area in question; and (d) cadastral surveys were not reliable. Hence, they maintain that whether or
not the relocation and verification survey was considered would not alter the outcome of the case. 25chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Ruling of the Court

The appeal has no merit.

To start with, the RTC, in an appeal of the judgment in an ejectment case, shall not conduct a rehearing or trial de novo.26 In this
connection, Section 18, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court clearly provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Sec. 18. Judgment conclusive only on possession; not conclusive in actions involving title or ownership. x x x.

xxxx

The judgment or final order shall be appealable to the appropriate Regional Trial Court which shall decide the same on
the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the court of origin and such memoranda and/or briefs as may
be submitted by the parties or required by the Regional Trial Court. (7a)

Hence, the RTC violated the foregoing rule by ordering the conduct of the relocation and verification survey in aid of its appellate
jurisdiction and by hearing the testimony of the surveyor, for its doing so was tantamount to its holding of a trial de novo. The
violation was accented by the fact that the RTC ultimately decided the appeal based on the survey and the surveyors testimony
instead of the record of the proceedings had in the court of origin.

Secondly, on whether or not Civil Case No. 3309 was an ejectment case within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the MTC,
decisive are the allegations of the complaint. Accordingly, the pertinent allegations of the petitioners complaint
follow:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

2. Plaintiffs are co-owners of land known as Lot no. 4236 of the Guagua cadastre. Plaintiffs inherited the said parcel of residential land
from Tomasa B. Garcia-Manalang who is the absolute owner of the said property and the same is declared for taxation purposes in her
name under Tax Declaration No. 07014906, a copy of which is hereto attached as Annex A;

3. Lot No. 4236 is covered by an approved plan, Plan Ap-03-004154 (a copy made Annex B) and it consists of 914 square meters;

4. Adjacent to plaintiffs [p]roperty is Lot No. 4235 of the Guagua Cadastre and covered by approved plan As-03-00533 (copy made
Annex C) which is being claimed by defendants and is the subject matter of Cadastral Case No. N-229 of the Regional Trial Court of
Guagua, Branch 53 where a decision (copy made Annex D) was rendered by said court on August 28, 1996 confirming the title over
said lot in favor of defendant Bienvenido Bacani. The said decision is now final and executory

5. On February 23, 1997, plaintiffs caused the relocation and verification survey of cadastral Not No. 4236 of the Guagua Cadastre
belonging to plaintiff and the adjoining lots, particularly Lot No. 4235 being claimed by defendants;

6. The relocation and verification survey conducted by Engr. Rufo R. Rivera, a duly licensed Geodetic Engineer per plan (copy made
Annex F) revealed that defendants had encroached an area of 405 square meters of the parcel of land belonging to plaintiffs. In
fact, the whole or part of the houses of the said defendants have been erected in said encroached portion;

7. Sometime in June of 1997, plaintiffs through plaintiff Concepcion Gonzales lodged a complaint before the Barangay Council of San
Juan, Guagua, Pampanga against defendants regarding the encroached portion. A preliminary relocation survey was conducted by the
Lands Management Sector of the DENR and it was found that indeed, defendants encroached into the parcel of land belonging to
plaintiffs. This finding was confirmed by the approved plan Ap-03-004154;

8. Since defendants refused to vacate the premises and surrender the peaceful possession thereof to plaintiff, the Barangay Captain
of San Juan, Guagua, Pampanga issued a certification to file action (copy made Annex G) dated March 4, 1997 to enable the plaintiff
to file the appropriate action in court;

9. On March 10, 1997, plaintiffs sent a formal demand letter (copy made Annex H) to defendants to vacate the premises and to pay
reasonable compensation for the use of the said encroached portion;

10. Despite receipt of said demand letter per registry return cards attached to the letter, defendants failed and refused to vacate the
encroached portion and surrender the peaceful possession thereof to plaintiffs;

11. Plaintiffs are entitled to a reasonable compensation in the amount of P 3,000.00 from defendants for the illegal use and
occupation of their property by defendants;

12. By reason of the unjust refusal of defendants to vacate the premises and pay reasonable compensation to plaintiffs, the latter

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were constrained to engage the services of counsel for P30,00.00 plus P1,000.00 per appearance and incur litigation expenses in the
amount of P10,000.00.27

Given the foregoing allegations, the case should be dismissed without prejudice to the filing of a non-summary action like accion
reivindicatoria. In our view, the CA correctly held that a boundary dispute must be resolved in the context of accion reivindicatoria,
not an ejectment case. The boundary dispute is not about possession, but encroachment, that is, whether the property claimed by
the defendant formed part of the plaintiffs property. A boundary dispute cannot be settled summarily under Rule 70 of the Rules of
Court, the proceedings under which are limited to unlawful detainer and forcible entry. In unlawful detainer, the defendant unlawfully
withholds the possession of the premises upon the expiration or termination of his right to hold such possession under any contract,
express or implied. The defendants possession was lawful at the beginning, becoming unlawful only because of the expiration or
termination of his right of possession. In forcible entry, the possession of the defendant is illegal from the very beginning, and the
issue centers on which between the plaintiff and the defendant had the prior possession de facto.

Thirdly, the MTC dismissed the action because it did not have jurisdiction over the case. The dismissal was correct. It is fundamental
that the allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought by the complaint determine the nature of the action and
the court that has jurisdiction over the action.28 To be clear, unlawful detainer is an action filed by a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other
person against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to
hold possession by virtue of any contract, express or implied. 29 To vest in the MTC the jurisdiction to effect the ejectment from the
land of the respondents as the occupants in unlawful detainer, therefore, the complaint should embody such a statement of facts
clearly showing the attributes of unlawful detainer.30 However, the allegations of the petitioners complaint did not show that they had
permitted or tolerated the occupation of the portion of their property by the respondents; or how the respondents entry had been
effected, or how and when the dispossession by the respondents had started. All that the petitioners alleged was the respondents
illegal use and occupation of the property. As such, the action was not unlawful detainer.

Lastly, the conclusion by the MTC that the petitioners failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that the respondents had
encroached on the petitioners property was also warranted. In contrast, the only basis for the RTCs decision was the result of the
relocation and verification survey as attested to by the surveyor, but that basis should be disallowed for the reasons earlier
mentioned. Under the circumstances, the reinstatement of the ruling of the MTC by the CA was in accord with the
evidence.chanrobleslaw

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on October 18, 2002; and ORDERS the petitioners to pay the costs of
suit.