You are on page 1of 5

ALFREDO BOKINGO, G.R. No. 161739 3.

Plaintiffs [herein respondents] are co-


Petitioner, owners of the land subject matter. By
Present: virtue of the right of representation, the
PANGANIBAN, heirs of FELICIDAD BUSA-PANAL and
C.J., Chairperson, CONCORDIA S. BUSA and REYNALDO S.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, BUSA, respectively;
- versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CALLEJO, SR., and 4. Defendants in this case are heirs of MIGUEL
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ. BOKINGO;
THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, the HEIRS OF 5. Defendants ALFREDO BOKINGO [herein
CELESTINO BUSA, represented petitioner], WENCESLAO B. AMBRAY, JR.,
by FELICIDAD BUSA-PANAL and ROSA B. AMBRAY, CELIA A. ALMORA and
ERNESTO M. CAMPOS, Promulgated: JOSELITO B. AMBRAY, filed an application
Respondents. for titling of a parcel of land before the
May 4, 2006 Department of Environment and Natural
x----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Resources, Office of the CENRO, Ochoa
------x Avenue, Butuan City;

6. The land subject matter of the


application of defendants is a parcel of
D E C I S I O N land located at Baan
(Buhangin), Butuan City, containing an

CALLEJO, SR., J. : area of 2.1600 hectares, more or less;

7. The land subject matter of the


application for titling of defendants is a
parcel of land inherited by plaintiffs from
their father, the late CELESTINO BUSA.
This parcel of land is described
Before the Court is the petition for review particularly as:
on certiorari filed by Alfredo Bokingo seeking to
TAX DECLARATION NO. GR.-10-002-
reverse and set aside the Decision dated December [1]

0189-A
17, 2003 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R.
SP No. 71510 which dismissed his petition A parcel of land
covered by Tax Declaration
for certiorari filed therewith. No. GR-10-002-0189-A,
situated in Buhangin,
Butuan City, containing an
The factual and procedural antecedents are as area of 2.1600 HAS., more
or less. Bounded on the
follows:
North Elisa Busa, South -
Petitioner Alfredo Bokingo is one of the Pastor Ago, East Ho. Miguel
defendants in the complaint for injunction and Bokingo and on the
West Baan River.
damages filed by Ernesto Campos, the Heirs of
Celestino 8. When plaintiffs knew of defendants
Busa, the Heirs of Felicidad Busa-Panal and the
[2] [3] application, plaintiffs filed a protest
against defendants application
Heirs of Concordia Busa. The complaint was filed
[4]
on February 5, 1996. Attached as Annex A
with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City, is the Protest;
Branch 3 thereof, and docketed as Civil Case No.
9. On November 24, 1998, the Provincial
1003. The complaint alleged as follows: Environment and Natural Resources
Officer, HUGO I. BAOSIA, resolved the
CAUSE OF ACTION Protest in favor of Plaintiffs-the
protestant in the DENR case. Attached as
Annex B is the order;
defendants, told the survey group to stop
10. On January 6, 1999, the Provincial and not to enter the area subject matter
Environment and Natural Resources of this case. Attached as Annex F is the
Officer, HUGO T. BAOSIA, issued a report of CENRO Officer who [was]
certification stating that the order present during the November 18,
dated November 24, 1998 has become 1999 survey which was stopped by SPO3
final and executory. Attached as Annex C FERDINAND B. DACILLO and ALFREDO
is the machine copy of the Certification; BOKINGO;

11. On September 9, 1999, the same DENR 15. Plaintiff[s] availed of the Barangay Justice
Officer HUGO T. BAOSIA issued an Order System to resolve the controversy
of Execution which states that: regarding the survey but to no avail,
defendants still refused to allow plaintiffs
In complying herewith, to survey the area. Thus, a Certificate to
the Land Management File Action was issued by the Lupong
Officer III concerned should Tagapamayapa. Copy of the same is
be instructed to set forth hereto attached as Annex G;
the whole proceeding in
writing signed by the 16. The defendants did not exercise honesty
parties and witnesses, if and good faith in their acts which is a
possible, submit and return violation of Article 19 of the New Civil
to this Office within sixty Code, and which entitles the plaintiffs for
(60) days from receipt damages;
hereof, to be used as
evidence should it be 17. The acts of defendants constrained the
necessary to institute any plaintiff[s] to litigate and to incur
action, criminal or attorneys fees in the amount of
otherwise, against any PhP10,000.00 plus litigation expenses
party who may refuse to estimated at PhP10,000.00.
obey the same.

SO ORDERED, Butuan City, September 9, 1999. PRAYER


12. Plaintiffs requested on June 23, 1999, for Wherefore, premises considered, it is
a Survey Authority to survey the land respectfully prayed that after hearing, this
subject matter of this case before the Honorable Court:
CENRO Office of Butuan City. Attached as
Annex D is the Survey Application; 1) Enjoin permanently the illegal acts
of defendants of preventing the survey of the
13. On July 30, 1999, A Survey Authority was land subject matter of this case by ENGR.
issued by the CENRO of Butuan City, ERNESTO M. CAMPOS;
authorizing plaintiff ENGR. ERNESTO M.
CAMPOS, JR., to survey the land subject 2) Order defendants to pay plaintiffs
matter of the DENR case and the case at the sum of P10,000.00 as attorneys
bar. Attached as Annex E is the Survey fees, P10,000.00 as litigation expenses;
Authority;
3) Order defendants to pay damages
14. On November 18, 1999 at 11:00 A.M., to plaintiff;
FELICIDAD BUSA-PANAL, MILAGROS BUSA
SIMOGAN, TERESITA BUSA LINAO, JIMMY 4) Such other reliefs just and
BUSA-PANAL, son of Felicidad Busa-Panal, reasonable under the circumstances.[5]
ALFREDO BUSA-PANAL, son-in-law of
Concordia S. Busa, personnel of the
Butuan PNP and the personnel of ENGR. Petitioner Bokingo, as one of the defendants in the
ERNESTO M. CAMPOS went to the area above complaint, filed with the court a quo a motion
subject matter of this case to survey the
land. Unfortunately, Defendant SPO3 to dismiss alleging that the latter has no jurisdiction
FERDINAND B. DACILLO and Defendant over the subject matter of the claim. Specifically,
ALFREDO BOKINGO, representatives of
petitioner Bokingo contended that it could be gleaned
from the complaint that the issue between the parties Based on these allegations, the court a
involved the possession of the land. As such, the quo held that it had jurisdiction over the subject
assessed value of the land was crucial to determine matter of the claim under Section 2 of Rule 58 of the
the courts jurisdiction over the subject matter in Rules of Court which provides in part that [a]
accordance with either Section 19(2) or Section
[6] preliminary injunction may be granted by the court
33(3) of Batasang Pambansa Blg. 129 as amended
[7] [8] where the action or proceeding is pending. It
by Republic Act No. 7691. If the assessed value accordingly denied petitioner Bokingos motion to
thereof is P20,000.00 or less, then the Municipal Trial dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.
Court (MTC) has jurisdiction over the subject
Petitioner Bokingo forthwith filed with the
matter. Otherwise, jurisdiction is with the RTC.
Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari alleging
Petitioner Bokingo pointed out in his Motion to grave abuse of discretion on the part of the court a
Dismiss that the assessed value of the land subject quo in denying his motion to dismiss.
matter of the complaint was not
On December 17, 2003, the CA rendered the
indicated. Nonetheless, he proffered that based on his
assailed Decision dismissing the said petition for lack
fathers tax declaration covering the subject land, its
of merit, in fact and in law. It ruled that the remedy
assessed value was only P14,410.00. Consequently, it
of certiorari is unavailing to petitioner Bokingo
was allegedly clear that the court a quo, a Regional
because an order denying a motion to dismiss is
Trial Court, had no jurisdiction over the subject
interlocutory and cannot be the subject of the
matter of the complaint filed by the
extraordinary petition for certiorari or mandamus. [9]
respondents. Rather, in view of the assessed value of
the subject land which was allegedly less than
It was noted that the records fail to disclose
the P15,000.00, jurisdiction properly belonged to the
that petitioner Bokingo filed a motion for
MTC.
reconsideration of the order of the court a
Petitioner Bokingo thus urged the court a quo to
quo. According to the CA, such omission warranted
dismiss the complaint filed by the respondents for
the outright dismissal of the petition
lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter thereof.
for certiorari. Finally, it was not shown or even
alleged in the petition that the court a quo, in issuing
Acting thereon, the court a quo issued the
the assailed order, acted with grave abuse of
Order dated March 13, 2002 denying the motion to
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The issue
dismiss. It pointed out that the complaints allegation
raised by petitioner Bokingo, the CA held, was proper
is that the respondents, as plaintiffs, are entitled to
for an appeal but not a petition for certiorari.
have the subject land surveyed after petitioner
Aggrieved, petitioner Bokingo now comes to
Bokingos and his co-claimants application for the
the Court seeking the reversal of the said decision of
titling of the subject land was dismissed by the
the CA which dismissed his petition
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources
for certiorari filed therewith. He insists that the
Officer (PENRO) and the respondents were declared
complaint filed by the respondents with the court a
to have a better right to file a public land application
quo is a possessory action. To determine which court,
covering the same. Further, the relief being sought in
the RTC or MTC, has primary jurisdiction, petitioner
the complaint is injunction in order that the
Bokingo theorizes that it is necessary that the
respondents right to survey the subject land would
assessed value of the land be alleged in the initiatory
not be defeated.
complaint. Absent such allegation, the court where of the defendant or agreement of the parties, or to the
the case was filed should allegedly preliminarily waiver or acquiescence of the parties. [12]

determine the assessed value of the subject property


to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction over A careful perusal of the respondents
the subject matter of the claim. In the present case, complaint, quoted earlier, shows that it alleges that
according to petitioner Bokingo, the assessed value of per the Order dated November 24, 1998 of PENRO
the subject land is only P14,410.00; hence, of Butuan City, petitioner Bokingos and his co-
jurisdiction thereof properly belongs to the MTC in claimants application for titling of the subject land
accordance with Section 19(2) or 33(3) of BP was rejected. On the other hand, in the same order it
Blg. 129 as amended by RA 7691. was declared that the respondents, if qualified, may
file an appropriate public land application covering
The petition is bereft of merit.
the same land. It was further alleged that the said
Preliminarily, the Court finds no reversible order became final and executory, and in connection
error in the dismissal by the CA of petitioner therewith, the respondents were authorized by the
Bokingos petition for certiorari filed therewith. As City Environment and Natural Resources Officer
correctly held by the CA, the mere fact that he failed (CENRO) of Butuan City to conduct a survey on the
to move for the reconsideration of the court a subject land. However, petitioner Bokingo, through
quos order denying his motion to dismiss his representatives, unjustly prevented the conduct of
was sufficient cause for the outright dismissal of the the said survey. Even when the matter
said petition. Certiorari as a special civil action will regarding the survey was submitted to the Lupong
not lie unless a motion for reconsideration is first Tagapamayapa, petitioner Bokingo still allegedly
filed before the respondent court to allow it an refused to allow the respondents to survey the subject
opportunity to correct its errors, if any. Petitioner
[10]
land. Hence, the Complaint for Injunction filed by the
Bokingo did not proffer any compelling reason to respondents where the principal relief sought is to
warrant deviation by the CA from this salutary enjoin permanently the illegal acts of the defendants
rule. As further observed by the CA, petitioner therein, including petitioner Bokingo, of preventing
Bokingo failed to even allege grave abuse of the survey of the land subject matter of the case.
discretion on the part of the court a quo in rendering
In this connection, it is well to note that the Court had
the order denying his motion to dismiss.
the occasion to explain that in determining whether
In any case, the present petition lacks an action is one the subject matter of which is not
substantive merit. It is axiomatic that the nature of the capable of pecuniary estimation, the nature of the
action and which court has original and exclusive principal action, or remedy sought must first be
jurisdiction over the same is determined by the ascertained. If it is primarily for the recovery of a
material allegations of the complaint, the type of sum of money, the claim is considered capable of
relief prayed for by the plaintiff, and the law in effect pecuniary estimation, and jurisdiction over the action
when the action is filed, irrespective of whether the will depend on the amount of the claim. However,
plaintiffs are entitled to some or all of the claims where the basic issue is something other than the
asserted therein. The caption of the complaint is not
[11]
right to recover a sum of money, where the money
determinative of the nature of the action. Nor does claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the
the jurisdiction of the court depend upon the answer principal relief sought, the action is one where the
subject of litigation may not be estimated in terms of
money, which is cognizable exclusively by Regional action of ejectment, accion
publiciana or the plenary action to
Trial Courts.[13]

recover the right of possession


and accion reinvindicatoria or the
As gleaned from the complaint, the principal action to recover ownership which
relief sought by the respondents in their complaint is includes recovery of possession, make
for the court a quo to issue an injunction against up the three kinds of actions to
petitioner Bokingo and his representatives to judicially recover possession. [15]

permanently enjoin them from preventing the survey


of the subject land. For clarity, the prayer of the Significantly, the respondents complaint has not
complaint reads: sought to recover the possession or ownership of the
subject land. Rather, it is principally an action to
Wherefore, premises considered, it is enjoin petitioner Bokingo and his representatives
respectfully prayed that after hearing, this
Honorable Court: from committing acts that would tend to prevent the
survey of the subject land. It cannot be said therefore
1) Enjoin permanently the illegal acts
of defendants of preventing the survey of the
that it is one of a possessory action. The respondents,
land subject matter of this case by ENGR. as plaintiffs in the court a quo, to be entitled to the
ERNESTO M. CAMPOS; injunctive relief sought, need to establish the
2) Order defendants to pay plaintiffs following requirements: (1) the existence of a right to
the sum of P10,000.00 as attorneys be protected; and (2) that the acts against which the
fees, P10,000.00 as litigation expenses;
injunction is to be directed are violative of the said
3) Order defendants to pay damages right. As such, the subject matter of litigation is
to plaintiff; incapable of pecuniary estimation and properly
cognizable exclusively by the court a quo, a Regional
4) Such other reliefs just and reasonable under the Trial Court under Section 19 (1) of BP Blg. 129, as
circumstances. [14] amended by RA 7691:

SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases.


Contrary to the view posited by petitioner Bokingo,
Regional Trial Courts shall exercise
the cause of action of the respondents complaint is exclusive original jurisdiction:
not, as yet, to recover the possession of the subject
land. There are three kinds of actions to judicially (1) In all civil actions in which the
recover possession of real property and these are subject of the litigation is incapable of
pecuniary estimation;
distinguished in this wise: xxx
What really distinguishes an action for
unlawful detainer from a possessory Hence, the court a quo did not err in denying petitioner
action (accion publiciana) and from a Bokingos motion to dismiss.
reinvindicatory action (accion
reinvindicatoria) is that the first is WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED and
the assailed Decision dated December 17, 2003 of the Court of
limited to the question
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 71510 is AFFIRMED in toto.
of possession de facto. An unlawful
detainer suit (accion interdictal) SO ORDERED.
together with forcible entry are the
two forms of an ejectment suit that
may be filed to recover possession of
real property. Aside from the summary