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on August 13, 1970.

The said sales

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY application was however held in abeyance
LANDLESS RESIDENTS by the Bureau of Lands pending the final
ASSOCIATION INC. (COCLAI), outcome of the civil case filed by the
Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro Republic of the Philippines and the City of
City, petitioner, vs. COURT Cagayan de Oro against Benedicta
OF APPEALS and the Macabebe Salcedo, et al. for the
NATIONAL HOUSING annulment of Original Certificate of Title
No. 0-257 covering the land in question
AUTHORITY then pending before the Supreme Court
(NHA), respondents. docketed as G.R. No. L-41115. In said
This is a petition to set aside the case, the COCLAI was a party-intervenor.
decision of the Court of Appeals, Meanwhile, on August 22, 1979, the
dated February 28, 1991, in C.A. G.R. SP NHA filed an expropriation proceeding
No. 23080, which reversed the decision of before the former Court of First Instance of
the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Misamis Oriental at Cagayan de Oro City
Oro City, Branch 25, dated November 17, docketed as Civil Case No. 6806 to
1988. acquire Cadastral Lot No. 1982, including
The antecedent facts as found by the the land involved in this case, located at
Court of Appeals are as follows: Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City with an
area of 224,554 square meters which was
The land subject of the dispute is Lot then covered by OCT No. 0-257. In said
No. 1982 of Cad. 237 consisting of about case, the COCLAI intervened claiming that
12.82 hectares located at Cagayan de Oro instead of being paid the amount of
City. Said parcel of land was formerly a P300,000.00, they prefer to acquire
timberland identified as Block No. F, L.C. residential lots in any housing area of
Project No. 8 of the Bureau of Forestry. NHA. Upon learning of the pending suit
On September 4, 1956, the Bureau of before the Supreme Court (G.R. No. L-
Forestry released the said land as 41115) involving the annulment of the title
alienable and disposable public land. over the same land, the NHA sought the
Subsequently, on January 29, 1964, suspension of the expropriation
the Bureau of Lands issued Survey proceedings.
Authority No. 16-64 granting authority to On September 11, 1982, the Supreme
the COCLAI to survey the land in question Court finally resolved G.R. No. L-41115
for purposes of subdivision into residential annulling OCT No. 0-257 and declaring the
lots. By virtue of said authority, the land covered thereby as public land.
COCLAI engaged the services of a
geodetic engineer to prepare the On October 8, 1982, the Solicitor
subdivision survey which was submitted to General furnished the Bureau of
the Bureau of Lands. On March 31, 1964, Lands, Manila, with a copy of the Supreme
the Bureau of Lands, after conducting an Court decision prompting the Director of
ocular survey, required the COCLAI, in the Bureau of Lands to order the District
behalf of its members, to file a Land Officer in Cagayan de Oro City to
miscellaneous Sales Application over the take appropriate action for inventory of
land in question which the latter did each and every portion of Cadastral Lot
No. 1982. In response thereto, the After due hearing, the MTCC on
Regional Land Director of Region 10 November 17, 1988 rendered judgment
informed the Director of Lands that the ordering the defendants in Civil Case No.
members of COCLAI were occupying 11204 to restore the COCLAI members to
portions of the said lot by virtue of the their respective actual possession of the
Survey Authority issued on March 19, portions of Lot No. 1982 but the court
1964 and the COCLAIs subdivision survey dismissed plaintiffs claim for damages. On
had already been submitted to the Central appeal, the Regional Trial Court in
Office for verification and approval but was Cagayan de Oro City affirmed the decision
held in abeyance. of the lower court. Thereafter, the
prevailing party, the COCLAI members,
On May 10, 1983, the President of
moved for the issuance of a writ of
the Philippines issued Proclamation No.
execution before the MTCC on July
2292 reserving the entire area of Cadastral
Lot No. 1982 for the Slum Improvement
and Resettlement (SIR) Project to be While Civil Case No. 11204 was
implemented by the NHA. Under the said pending before the courts, the President of
proclamation, the NHA was granted the the Philippines issued on July 1, 1988
authority to develop, administer and Special Patent No. 3551 covering the
dispose of Lot No. 1982 located at entire area of Cadastral Lot No. 1982, and
Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, in by virtue thereof, the Register of Deeds of
accordance with the guidelines of the Slum Cagayan de Oro City issued on January 3,
Improvement and Resettlement Program 1990 an Original Certificate of Title No. P-
and the approved development plan of the 3324 in the name of NHA.
Thus, on July 24, 1990, a day after the
On May 19, 1983, the Bureau of COCLAI moved for the execution of the
Lands, through its Regional Director, judgment in Civil Case No. 11204, the
issued an order rejecting the subdivision NHA filed a complaint for Quieting of Title
survey previously submitted by the with Application for a Writ of Preliminary
COCLAI. Injunction against the COCLAI and its
president, Pablo Solomon, as well as the
Sometime in November, 1986, the
City Sheriff, which was docketed as Civil
NHA, through its agents, Virgilio Dacalos
Case No. 90-337. Said case was assigned
and Engr. Vicente Generalao, the area
to Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court in
manager and project engineer,
Cagayan de Oro City, presided over by
respectively with the help of the policemen
Hon. Noli T. Catli. In its complaint, plaintiff
and claiming authority under P.D. 1472,
NHA alleged:
demolished the structures erected by the
COCLAI members. This action prompted 4) That defendant landless association laid
the COCLAI to file a forcible entry and claim of a portion of Lot No. 1982 aforestated
damages case against the NHA alleging that they are entitled to possession
employees and police officers with the thereof and, in fact, filed a complaint for
Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 3, Forcible Entry against certain Virgilio Decalos,
Cagayan de Oro City docketed as Civil Vicente Generalao, and four (4) others,
Case No. 11204. plaintiff herein not being made a party thereto,
which case is docketed as Civil Case No. ineffectual, unless restrained or enjoined by
11204 assigned to Branch 3 of the Municipal this Honorable Court;
Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City;
11) That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief
5) That on November 18, 1988 defendant demanded, and the whole or part of such relief
landless association obtained a favorable consists in restraining the commission of the
decision from MTCC Branch 3; act herein complained of;

6) That pursuant to the ruling of the Supreme 12) That the commission of the act herein
Court in City of Bacolod et al. vs. Hon. complained of during the litigation would
Enriquez et al., G.R. No L-9773, May 29, probably work injustice to the plaintiff;
1957 the said decision could not be enforced
against plaintiff herein as it was not a party to 13) That the plaintiff is willing and ready to
the said case; file a bond executed to the defendants in an
amount to be fixed by this Honorable Court, to
7) That the claim of defendant landless the effect that the plaintiff will pay to said
association for possession of a portion of said defendants all damages which they may sustain
Lot No. 1982, subject-matter hereof, is by reason of the injunction if the Court should
predicated or anchored upon the fact that said finally decide that the plaintiff was not entitled
lot was declared a public land; thereto.

8) That on January 3, 1990, however, plaintiff Acting on the plaintiffs prayer for the issuance
National Housing Authority became the of a restraining order and/or preliminary
absolute owner of said Lot No. 1982, now the injunction, the Regional Trial Court issued an
site of the Slum Improvement and Order on July 24, 1990 stating thus:
Resettlement Project, by virtue of Special
Patent No. 3551 issued by Her Excellency, the x x x let a RESTRAINING ORDER be issued
President of the Philippines, for which Original to Defendants Pablo Salomon and Cagayan de
Certificate of Title No. P-3324 was issued in Oro Landless Association, Inc. and the City
its name; x x x Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff of MTCC, Branch 3,
or anybody acting in their behalf or acting as
9) That the claim of defendant landless their agent or representative. And until further
association has created a cloud on plaintiffs orders from this court, they are enjoined to
title to Lot No. 1982 aforementioned, which refrain or desist from enforcing the decision of
claim is apparently valid or effective but is in Civil Case No. 11204 until this court resolves
truth and in fact invalid, ineffective and this complaint.
unenforceable and prejudicial to plaintiffs title,
the land, subject-matter hereof, having ceased Subsequently, the defendants moved to dismiss
to be a public land; the complaint stating, among others, as a
ground therefor that the cause of action is
10) That defendants Solomon, et al. threatened barred by a prior judgment in another case.
or are about to enforce the decision in said (Apparently, the NHA has filed an action for
Civil Case No. 11204 in violation of plaintiffs Injunction with Damages against COCLAI and
rights respecting the subject of the action, and its President before the Regional Trial Court,
tending to render the judgment herein Branch 17, Cagayan de Oro City docketed as
Civil Case No. 89-399 to prevent the MTCC
from executing its decision in Civil Case No. right to the possession of Lot No. 1982, as
11204, but this was dismissed by the Regional a necessary consequence of ownership.
Trial Court in its Order dated July 19, 1990 on
As an extraordinary remedy, injunction
the ground that the decision of the MTCC in
is calculated to preserve or maintain
Civil Case No. 11204, had been upheld by the
the status quo of things and is generally
Supreme Court when it denied NHAs petition
availed of to prevent actual or threatened
for certiorari. The RTC, Branch 17, further
acts, until the merits of the case can be
stated that x x x (I)f plaintiff believes that it is
heard.[3] As such, injunction is accepted as
the owner of the property subject of that civil
the strong arm of equity or a transcendent
case (No. 11204), then it should ventilate its
remedy to be used cautiously, as it affects
claim in some other case but not in a simple
the respective rights of the parties, and
case of injunction.)
only upon full conviction on the part of the
On August 10, 1990, the Regional Trial Court court of its extreme necessity.[4] Its
in Civil Case No. 90-337 issued an Order issuance rests entirely within the discretion
denying the motion to dismiss as well as of the court taking cognizance of the case
plaintiff NHAs prayer for the issuance of a and is generally not interfered with except
preliminary injunction to restrain the in cases of manifest abuse.[5] Moreover, it
enforcement of the decision in Civil Case No. may only be resorted to by a litigant for the
11204. The motion for reconsideration filed by preservation or protection of his rights or
plaintiff NHA was likewise denied by the interests and for no other purpose during
Regional Trial Court in its Order dated August the pendency of the principal action.[6]
17, 1990.[1] Before an injunction can be issued, it is
essential that the following requisites be
Aggrieved by the decision of the Regional present: 1) there must be a right in esse or
Trial Court, the NHA appealed to the Court of the existence of a right to be protected;
Appeals which reversed the decision of the and 2) the act against which the injunction
lower court. The decretal portion of the said is to be directed is a violation of such
decision, reads: right.[7] Hence, it should only be granted if
the party asking for it is clearly entitled
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for thereto.[8]
certiorari is GRANTED the questioned Orders
of respondent judge are hereby declared null In the case at bench, the Court of
and void and respondent judge is ordered to Appeals was justified in ruling that NHA
issue a writ of preliminary injunction to respect was entitled to the writ of injunction. The
the possession of the petitioner over the land reason is that, while Civil Case No. 11204
subject of the dispute x x x[2] for forcible entry was pending on appeal
before the Regional Trial Court, Special
Hence, this petition. Patent No. 3551 was issued by then
President Corazon Aquino which covered
The issues raised by petitioner are: the lot subject of the dispute and by virtue
whether or not the Court of Appeals erred thereof, an Original Certificate of Title in
in ruling (a) that the National Housing the name of NHA was issued by the
Authority (NHA) is entitled to the injunction Register of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City
prayed for; and (b) that NHA has a better on January 3, 1990. So, when petitioner
moved for the issuance of a writ of
execution before the MTCC on July 23, Petitioners contentions are bereft of
1990, a certificate of title had already been merit.
issued to NHA. In view of this intervening
The Original Certificate of Title (No. P-
development, NHA filed a complaint for
3324) issued to respondent NHA serves
quieting of title before
as a concrete and conclusive evidence of
the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de
an indefeasible title to the
Oro City. Thus, it was only proper for the
property. Accordingly, once a decree of
Court of Appeals to direct the Regional
registration is issued under
Trial Court,[9] where Civil Case No. 90-337
the Torrens systems and the one year
was pending, to grant the writ of
period from the issuance of the decree of
preliminary injunction to restrain the
registration has lapsed, without said
enforcement of the decision of the MTCC
decree being controverted by any adverse
in Civil Case No. 11204 as there was a
party, the title becomes perfect and cannot
material change in the status of the parties
later on be questioned.[11]
with regard to the said land. Clearly, the
government, through the NHA will be Furthermore, in the case at bench, the
prejudiced by the impending enforcement original certificate of title was issued by the
of the decision in Civil Case No. 11204 Register of Deeds, under an administrative
which directs the said agency to restore proceeding pursuant to Special Patent No.
the members of petitioner to their 3551. Thus, it is as indefeasible as a
respective possession on portions of Lot certificate of title issued under a judicial
No. 1982. registration proceeding as the land
covered by said certificate is a disposable
Petitioner claims that Special Patent
public land within the contemplation of the
No. 3351 issued by then President
Public Land Law.[12] Moreover, the said
Corazon Aquino on July 1, 1988 and the
certificate of title was not controverted by
corresponding issuance by the Register of
petitioner in a proper proceeding nor did it
Deeds of Original Certificate of Title No P-
show that the issuance of the Original
3324 in the name of NHA had entrusted
Certificate of Title by the register of deeds
only the administration of the disputed lot
to NHA was tainted with bad faith or fraud.
to the said agency but not the ownership
Hence, said certificate of title enjoys the
thereof It also alleges that, by virtue of
presumption of having been issued by the
Proclamation No. 2290, issued on May 10,
register of deeds in the regular
1985, declaring the land situated at Barrio
performance of its official duty.[13]
Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, as Slum
Improvement Settlement (SIR) area, it is Also, OCT No. P-3324 issued in the
illegal for NHA to claim ownership over the name of respondent NHA, clearly states:
said land. Furthermore, petitioner also
claims that respondent Court overlooked TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, the said parcel of
the fact that the issues on ownership and land with all the appurtenances thereunto
possession are sub-judice before RTC, of right of belonging unto the NATIONAL
Branch 25, Cagayan de Oro City in Civil HOUSING AUTHORITY and to its successors-
Case ;No. 90-337 x x x[10] Hence, it in-interest or assigns forever, subject to private
concludes that the appellate court cannot rights, if any there be.[14]
pass upon these issues as there is still no
final judgment on said civil case.
Clearly the certificate of title vested not its Regional Director, rejected the
only ownership over the lot but also the subdivision survey previously submitted by
right of possession as a necessary COCLAI, in an Order, dated May 19, 1983.
consequence of the right of ownership.
In effect, petitioners occupation of the
Respondent is not merely the land in question, after the denial of its
administrator of the said lot. It cannot be application for Miscellaneous Sales
denied that Proclamation No. 2290 gave Patent, became subsequently
authority to the NHA to dispose of Lot No. illegal. Petitioners members have, as a
1982. In the said Proclamation the consequence, become squatters whose
President of the Philippines granted to continuous possession of the land may
NHA the authority to develop, administer now be considered to be in bad faith. This
and dispose of Lot No. 1982, located at is unfortunate because squatters acquire
Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, in no legal right over the land they are
accordance with the guidelines of the Slum occupying.[17]
Improvement and Resettlement Program
Although as a general rule, a court
and the approved development plan of the
should not, by means of a preliminary
injunction, transfer property in litigation
On the other hand, petitioners only from the possession of one party to
basis for claiming the disputed lot is lawful another, this rule admits of some
entry and possession for an extended exceptions. For example, when there is a
period of time and, as a matter of fact, clear finding of ownership and possession
there is a final judgment in its favor in the of the land or unless the subject property
case for forcible entry before the is covered by a torrens title pointing to one
MTCC. As to this, settled is the rule that, in of the parties as the undisputed
an action for forcible entry, the only issue owner.[18] In the case at bench, the land
involved is mere physical subject of the suit is covered by a torrens
possession (possession de facto) and not title under the name of NHA.
juridical possession (possession de
A writ of injunction should issue so as
jure) nor ownership As the case filed
not to render moot and academic any
before the lower court is only one for
decision which the Regional Trial Court in
forcible entry, it is indicative that the legal
Civil Case No. 90-337 will render and in
title over the said property is not disputed
order to prevent any irreparable injury
by the petitioner. There has been no
which respondent may sustain by virtue of
assertion of ownership over the land, only
the enforcement of the decision of the
that of prior possession. At any rate, the
judgment rendered in the ejectment case
is effective only with respect to possession WHEREFORE, the petition is
and in no wise bind the title or affect the DISMISSED. The decision of the Court of
ownership of the land.[16] Appeals in C.A. G.R. SP No. 23080 is
Indeed, petitioner has no legal leg to
stand as regards ownership because its SO ORDERED.
Miscellaneous Sales Application was not
acted upon nor favorably considered by
the Bureau of Lands. The Bureau, through