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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 160384. April 29, 2005

CESAR T. HILARIO, for himself and as Attorney-in-Fact of IBARRA, NESTOR, LINA and PRESCILLA, all
surnamed HILARIO, Petitioners,
vs.
ALLAN T. SALVADOR, Respondents.

HEIRS OF SALUSTIANO SALVADOR, namely, REGIDOR M. SALVADOR and VIRGINIA SALVADOR-


LIM,respondents-intervenors.

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court of the Decision 1 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 63737 as well as its Resolution2 denying the motion for the reconsideration of the
said decision.

The Antecedents

On September 3, 1996, petitioners Cesar, Ibarra, Nestor, Lina and Prescilla, all surnamed Hilario, filed a complaint
with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Romblon, Romblon, Branch 71, against private respondent Allan T. Salvador.
They alleged therein, inter alia, as follows:

2. That, the plaintiffs are co-owners by inheritance from Concepcion Mazo Salvador of a parcel of land designated as
Cad. Lot No. 3113-part, located at Sawang, Romblon, Romblon, which property was [adjudged] as the hereditary
share of their father, Brigido M. Hilario, Jr. when their father was still single, and which adjudication was known by the
plaintiffs[’] father’s co-heirs;

3. That, sometime in 1989, defendant constructed his dwelling unit of mixed materials on the property of the plaintiffs’
father without the knowledge of the herein plaintiffs or their predecessors-in-interest;

4. That, demands have been made of the defendant to vacate the premises but the latter manifested that he have
(sic) asked the prior consent of their grandmother, Concepcion Mazo Salvador;

5. That, to reach a possible amicable settlement, the plaintiffs brought the matter to the Lupon of Barangay Sawang,
to no avail, evidenced by the CERTIFICATE TO FILE ACTION hereto attached as ANNEX B;

6. That, the unjustified refusal of the defendant to vacate the property has caused the plaintiffs to suffer shame,
humiliation, wounded feelings, anxiety and sleepless nights;

7. That, to protect their rights and interest, plaintiffs were constrained to engage the services of a lawyer. 3

The petitioners prayed that, after due proceedings, judgment be rendered in their favor, thus:

WHEREFORE, it is prayed of this Honorable Court that after due process (sic), an order be issued for the defendant
to vacate and peacefully turn over to the plaintiffs the occupied property and that defendant be made to pay plaintiffs:

a. actual damages, as follows:

a.1. transportation expenses in connection with the projected settlement of the case amounting to P1,500.00 and for
the subsequent attendance to the hearing of this case at P1,500.00 each schedule;

a.2. attorney’s fees in the amount of P20,000.00 and P500.00 for every court appearance;

b. moral and exemplary damages in such amount incumbent upon the Honorable Court to determine; and

c. such other relief and remedies just and equitable under the premises. 4

The private respondent filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the nature of
the action, citing Section 33 of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129, as amended by Section 3(3) of Republic Act (R.A.)
No. 7691.5 He averred that –
(1) the complaint failed to state the assessed value of the land in dispute;

(2) the complaint does not sufficiently identify and/or describe the parcel of land referred to as the subject-matter of
this action;

both of which are essential requisites for determining the jurisdiction of the Court where the case is filed. In this case,
however, the assessed value of the land in question is totally absent in the allegations of the complaint and there is
nothing in the relief prayed for which can be picked-up for determining the Court’s jurisdiction as provided by law.

In the face of this predicament, it can nevertheless be surmised by reading between the lines, that the assessed
value of the land in question cannot exceed P20,000.00 and, as such, it falls within the jurisdiction of the Municipal
Trial Court of Romblon and should have been filed before said Court rather than before the RTC. … 6

The petitioners opposed the motion.7 They contended that the RTC had jurisdiction over the action since the court
can take judicial notice of the market value of the property in question, which was P200.00 per square meter and
considering that the property was 14,797 square meters, more or less, the total value thereof isP3,500,000.00.
Besides, according to the petitioners, the motion to dismiss was premature and "the proper time to interpose it is
when the [petitioners] introduced evidence that the land is of such value."

On November 7, 1996, the RTC issued an Order8 denying the motion to dismiss, holding that the action was
incapable of pecuniary estimation, and therefore, cognizable by the RTC as provided in Section 19(1) of B.P. Blg.
129, as amended.

After the denial of the motion to dismiss, the private respondent filed his answer with counterclaim.9 Traversing the
material allegations of the complaint, he contended that the petitioners had no cause of action against him since the
property in dispute was the conjugal property of his grandparents, the spouses Salustiano Salvador and Concepcion
Mazo-Salvador.

On April 8, 1997, Regidor and Virginia Salvador filed their Answer-in-Intervention10 making common cause with the
private respondent. On her own motion, however, Virginia Salvador was dropped as intervenor. 11

During trial, the petitioners adduced in evidence Tax Declaration No. 8590-A showing that in 1991 the property had
an assessed value of P5,950.00.12

On June 3, 1999, the trial court rendered judgment finding in favor of the petitioners. The dispositive portion of the
decision reads:

WHEREFORE, as prayed for, judgment is rendered:

Ordering the defendant to vacate and peacefully turn over to the plaintiffs the occupied property; and

Dismissing defendant’s counterclaim.

SO ORDERED.13

Aggrieved, the private respondent and respondent-intervenor Regidor Salvador appealed the decision to the CA,
which rendered judgment on May 23, 2003 reversing the ruling of the RTC and dismissing the complaint for want of
jurisdiction. The fallo of the decision is as follows:

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision is REVERSED, and the case DISMISSED, without prejudice
to its refilling in the proper court.

SO ORDERED.14

The CA declared that the action of the petitioners was one for the recovery of ownership and possession of real
property. Absent any allegation in the complaint of the assessed value of the property, the Municipal Trial Court
(MTC) had exclusive jurisdiction over the action, conformably to Section 3315 of R.A. No. 7691.

The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the said decision, which the appellate court denied. 16 Hence, they
filed the instant petition, with the following assignment of errors:

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE REVERSIBLE ERROR IN HOLDING THAT THE
INSTANT CASE, ACCION REINVINDICATORIA, FALLS WITHIN THE EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OF
THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT OF ROMBLON, AND NOT WITH THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ROMBLON.

II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS REVERSIBLE ERROR IN ORDERING THE
REFILING OF THE CASE IN THE [PROPER] COURT, INSTEAD OF DECIDING THE CASE ON THE MERITS
BASED ON THE COMPLETE RECORDS ELEVATED BEFORE SAID APPELLATE COURT AND IN NOT
AFFIRMING IN TOTO THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT.17

The Ruling of the Court

The lone issue for our resolution is whether the RTC had jurisdiction over the action of the petitioners, the plaintiffs in
the RTC, against the private respondent, who was the defendant therein.

The petitioners maintain that the RTC has jurisdiction since their action is an accion reinvindicatoria, an action
incapable of pecuniary estimation; thus, regardless of the assessed value of the subject property, exclusive
jurisdiction falls within the said court. Besides, according to the petitioners, in their opposition to respondent’s motion
to dismiss, they made mention of the increase in the assessed value of the land in question in the amount of P3.5
million. Moreover, the petitioners maintain that their action is also one for damages exceedingP20,000.00, over which
the RTC has exclusive jurisdiction under R.A. No. 7691.

The petition has no merit.

It bears stressing that the nature of the action and which court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the same is
determined by the material allegations of the complaint, the type of relief prayed for by the plaintiff and the law in
effect when the action is filed, irrespective of whether the plaintiffs are entitled to some or all of the claims asserted
therein.18 The caption of the complaint is not determinative of the nature of the action. Nor does the jurisdiction of the
court depend upon the answer of the defendant or agreement of the parties or to the waiver or acquiescence of the
parties.

We do not agree with the contention of the petitioners and the ruling of the CA that the action of the petitioners in the
RTC was an accion reinvindicatoria. We find and so rule that the action of the petitioners was an accion publiciana, or
one for the recovery of possession of the real property subject matter thereof. An accion reinvindicatoria is a suit
which has for its object the recovery of possession over the real property as owner. It involves recovery of ownership
and possession based on the said ownership. On the other hand, an accion publiciana is one for the recovery of
possession of the right to possess. It is also referred to as an ejectment suit filed after the expiration of one year after
the occurrence of the cause of action or from the unlawful withholding of possession of the realty. 19

The action of the petitioners filed on September 3, 1996 does not involve a claim of ownership over the property.
They allege that they are co-owners thereof, and as such, entitled to its possession, and that the private respondent,
who was the defendant, constructed his house thereon in 1989 without their knowledge and refused to vacate the
property despite demands for him to do so. They prayed that the private respondent vacate the property and restore
possession thereof to them.

When the petitioners filed their complaint on September 3, 1996, R.A. No. 7691 was already in effect. Section 33(3)
of the law provides:

Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Civil
Cases. – Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:

(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any
interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty Thousand
Pesos (P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty Thousand
Pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses and costs:
Provided, That in cases of land not declared for taxation purposes, the value of such property shall be determined by
the assessed value of the adjacent lots.

Section 19(2) of the law, likewise, provides that:

Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. – The Regional Trial Court shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:

(2) In all civil actions, which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, where the
assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) or, for civil actions in Metro
Manila, where such value exceeds Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) except actions for forcible entry into and
unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon the Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.

The jurisdiction of the court over an action involving title to or possession of land is now determined by the assessed
value of the said property and not the market value thereof. The assessed value of real property is the fair market
value of the real property multiplied by the assessment level. It is synonymous to taxable value. 20 The fair market
value is the price at which a property may be sold by a seller, who is not compelled to sell, and bought by a buyer,
who is not compelled to buy.

Even a cursory reading of the complaint will show that it does not contain an allegation stating the assessed value of
the property subject of the complaint.21 The court cannot take judicial notice of the assessed or market value of
lands.22 Absent any allegation in the complaint of the assessed value of the property, it cannot thus be determined
whether the RTC or the MTC had original and exclusive jurisdiction over the petitioners’ action.

We note that during the trial, the petitioners adduced in evidence Tax Declaration No. 8590-A, showing that the
assessed value of the property in 1991 was P5,950.00. The petitioners, however, did not bother to adduce in
evidence the tax declaration containing the assessed value of the property when they filed their complaint in 1996.
Even assuming that the assessed value of the property in 1991 was the same in 1995 or 1996, the MTC, and not the
RTC had jurisdiction over the action of the petitioners since the case involved title to or possession of real property
with an assessed value of less than P20,000.00.23

We quote with approval, in this connection, the CA’s disquisition:

The determining jurisdictional element for the accion reinvindicatoria is, as RA 7691 discloses, the assessed value of
the property in question. For properties in the provinces, the RTC has jurisdiction if the assessed value
exceeds P20,000, and the MTC, if the value is P20,000 or below. An assessed value can have reference only to the
tax rolls in the municipality where the property is located, and is contained in the tax declaration. In the case at bench,
the most recent tax declaration secured and presented by the plaintiffs-appellees is Exhibit B. The loose remark
made by them that the property was worth 3.5 million pesos, not to mention that there is absolutely no evidence for
this, is irrelevant in the light of the fact that there is an assessed value. It is the amount in the tax declaration that
should be consulted and no other kind of value, and as appearing in Exhibit B, this is P5,950. The case, therefore,
falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court of Romblon which has jurisdiction over the
territory where the property is located, and not the court a quo.24

It is elementary that the tax declaration indicating the assessed value of the property enjoys the presumption of
regularity as it has been issued by the proper government agency.25

Unavailing also is the petitioners’ argumentation that since the complaint, likewise, seeks the recovery of damages
exceeding P20,000.00, then the RTC had original jurisdiction over their actions. Section 33(3) of B.P. Blg. 129, as
amended, quoted earlier, explicitly excludes from the determination of the jurisdictional amount the demand for
"interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and costs." This Court issued Administrative
Circular No. 09-94 setting the guidelines in the implementation of R.A. No. 7691, and paragraph 2 thereof states that

2. The exclusion of the term "damages of whatever kind" in determining the jurisdictional amount under Section 19(8)
and Section 33(1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. 7691, applies to cases where the damages are merely
incidental to or a consequence of the main cause of action. However, in cases where the claim for damages is the
main cause of action, or one of the causes of action, the amount of such claim shall be considered in determining the
jurisdiction of the court.

Neither may the petitioners find comfort and solace in Section 19(8) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, which states:

SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. – Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:

(8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation
expenses, and costs or the value of the property in controversy exceeds One Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where the demand, exclusive of the above-mentioned items
exceeds Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00).

The said provision is applicable only to "all other cases" other than an action involving title to, or possession of real
property in which the assessed value is the controlling factor in determining the court’s jurisdiction. The said damages
are merely incidental to, or a consequence of, the main cause of action for recovery of possession of real property. 26

Since the RTC had no jurisdiction over the action of the petitioners, all the proceedings therein, including the decision
of the RTC, are null and void. The complaint should perforce be dismissed. 27

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 63737 are AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

Puno, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.


Footnotes

1
Penned by Associate Justice Mario L. Guariña III, with Associate Justices Eubulo G. Verzola (deceased)
and Martin S. Villarama, Jr., concurring.

2 Rollo, p. 57.

3
Rollo, p. 58.

4 Rollo, pp. 58-59.

5SECTION 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in Civil Cases. – Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
shall exercise:

(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or
any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty
Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does not
exceed Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees,
litigation expenses and costs: Provided, That in cases of land not declared for taxation purposes, the value
of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots.

6 Rollo, pp. 61-62.

7 Rollo, p. 65.

8 Id. at 73.

9
Id. at 75.

10 Id. at 79.

11 Id. at 88.

12 Rollo, p. 49.

13 Id. at 94.

14 Id. at 54.

15(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or
any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty
Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) … exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation
expenses and costs; Provided, that in cases of land not declared for taxation purposes, the value of such
property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots.

16
Rollo, p. 57.

17 Id. at 21.

Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 136109, 1 August 2002, 386
18

SCRA 67; Korea Exchange Bank v. Filkor Business Integrated, Inc., G.R. No. 138292, 10 April 2002, 380
SCRA 381.

19 Cruz v. Torres, G.R. No. 121939, 4 October 1999, 316 SCRA 193.

20 Section 199 of Republic Act No. 7160.

21 Ouano v. PGTT International Investment Corporation, G.R. No. 134230, 17 July 2002, 384 SCRA 589.

22 Ibid.
23 See Aliabo v. Carampatan, G.R. No. 128922, 16 March 2001, 354 SCRA 548.

24
Rollo, p. 54.

25 Ouano v. PGTT International Investment Corporation, supra.

26 Ouano v. PGTT International Investment Corporation, supra.

27 Ibid.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 118328 October 8, 1998

MARCIANA SERDONCILLO, petitioner,


vs.
SPOUSES FIDEL and EVELYN BENOLIRAO, MELITON CARISIMA, and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.

MARTINEZ, J.:

This petition for review assails the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 14, 1994 in CA G.R. CV No.
392511 which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, (Branch 108) in Civil Case
No. 7785, dated June 30, 1992 directing herein petitioner to demolish and remove all illegal structures
which she constructed in front of the subject lot, to vacate the said property and right of way, and return
possession thereof to the respondents.

The antecedent facts:

The subject premises was formerly part of the estate of H. V. Ongsiako, comprising of 1,806 square meters, more or
less, located at the corner of Pilapil and N. Domingo Streets, Pasay City. The legal heirs of H.V. Ongsiako organized
the United Complex Realty and Trading Corporation (UCRTC) which subdivided the property into fourteen (14) lots,
Lots 555-A to 666-N. The subdivided lots were then offered for sale with first priority to each of the tenants, including
the private respondents and petitioner. 2 Lot 666-H has an area of 248 square meters, consisting of two (2)
parts. One part is the residential portion with an area of 112 square meters purchased by private
respondents-spouses Benolirao 3 while the second part is the right of way for Lot 666-I and the aforesaid
residential portion. 4 Private respondent Carisima purchased Lot 666-I. Petitioner, who was occupying the
western end and front portions of the aforesaid lots declined the offer to purchase any of the lots offered
for sale by UCRTC. 7

Petitioner continued paying rentals to H.V. Ongsiako's wife, Mrs. Rosario de Jesus. Thereafter, the collection of
rentals was stopped prompting petitioner to file on June 30, 1987, Civil Case No. 5456 before the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Pasay City for consignation of rentals against UCRTC, Rosario de Jesus and the spouses Carisima. The
consignation was granted by the trial court and was eventually affirmed on appeal by the Regional Trial Court of
Pasay City, Branch 109 on October 25, 1989. 6

On May 5, 1989, UCRTC executed a deed of absolute sale in favor of private respondents-spouses Benolirao for Lot
666-H. 7 This sale was annotated at the back of UCRTC's title on Lot 666-H. 8

On June 2, 1989, after unsuccessful oral and written demands were made upon petitioner, UCRTC instituted an
action against her for recovery of possession of the subject premises before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City,
Branch 114 docketed as Civil Case No 6652. 9 On July 15, 1990, the trial court rendered its decision
dismissing the complaint of UCRTC, stating in part, to wit:

It is clear, therefore, that plaintiff, not having been authorized in writing for the purpose, may not
validly bring an action to enforce a perceived easement of right of way pertaining to the owners of
Lots 666-H and 666-I or the Benolirao and Carisima families, while Benjamin Ongsiako possessed
the authority to institute the case (Exhibit "G"), plaintiff is not the real party in interest. Furthermore,
the situation obtaining does not call for the enforcement of an easement of right of way. Defendant
Seldoncillo is not the owner of and has never claimed ownership over the portion of Lot 666-H on
which her house is erected. A servitude is an encumbrance imposed upon an immovable for the
benefit of another immovable belonging to a different owner (Article 613, New Civil Code). In the
present case the ejectment of defendant Serdoncillo from the portion of Lot 666-H occupied by the
house at the instance of the proper party (Renato Bolinarao's family ) would remove the
obstruction.

xxx xxx xxx

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing consideration, the complaint against the defendant
Marciana Serdonillo, as well as defendant's counterclaim, is dismissed for lack of merit. Without
pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED. 10

UCRTC did not appeal the aforesaid decision of the Regional Trial Court, hence, the same became final.

On November 20, 1989, Serdoncillo instituted Civil Case No. 7749 for the Exercise of Preferential Rights of First
Refusal against UCRTC and private respondents-spouses a Fidel and Evelyn Benolirao praying for the annulment of
sale of a portion of lot 666-H sold to the Benolirao spouses on the ground that said transfer or conveyance is illegal.
She claimed that she has the preferred right to buy the said property and that the same was not offered to her under
the same terms and conditions, hence, it is null and void. UCRTC and private respondents prevailed and this case
was dismissed. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the same was dismissed on July 9, 1992. 11

On November 20, 1990, private respondents made their final demand on petitioner reiterating their previous demands
to vacate the property. 12 On December 13, 1990, private respdndents filed their complaint for recovery of
possession of the subject premises against petitioner before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City,
Branch 108, docketed as Civil Case No. 7735, which compiaint alleges these material facts:

5. That plaintiffs, being then registered owners of the properties designated as lot 666-H and 666-I,
are likewise the owners/grantees of the right of way granted by United Complex Realty and Trading
Corporation which was correspondingly annotated in its title (Annex "B-3" ) under Entry No.
205154/T-172291 of the Register of Deeds of Pasay City;

6. That since 1982 the defendant has built and constructed a residence and pig pen on the
plaintiffs' right of way as well as on the front portions of the latter's properties leaving them virtually
obstructed with no ingress or egress from the main road;

7. That verbal and written demands made upon the defendant by the plaintiffs to remove and
demolish her structures had been ignored, the last of which was on November 20, 1990, xerox
copy of which is hereto attached as Annex "C" and taken as an integral part hereof, but despite
such demands, the defendant failed and refused and still fails and refuses to remove and vacate
her illegal structures on the portion of the properties as well as on the right of way of plaintiffs.

8. That plaintiffs in compliance with the Katarungang Pambarangay Law lodged a complaint before
the Barangay Captain, Barangay 84, Zone 10 of Pasay City, which certified filing of the same in
court, xerox copy of said certification is hereto attached as Annex "D" and taken as integral part
hereof;

9. That due to the unjustified refusal of the defendant, the plaintiffs are suffering the unnecessary
inconvinience of the absence of decent and sufficient ingress and egress on their properties, and
will continue to suffer the same unless the illegal structures are finally demolished and/or removed
by the defendants; 13

Petitioner, in her Answer, put up the defense that she is the legitimate tenant of said lots in question since 1956,
pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder, thus:

13. That Lot 666-H and Lot 666-I mentioned in the complaint are formerly portions of a big
track(sic) of land consisting of 1,806 square meters then owned by H.V. Ongsiako;

14. That since 1956 and before the 1,806 square meters of lot owned by H.V. Ongsiako was
subdivided into fourteen (14) lots in 1982, defendant is (sic) already a legitimate tenant and
occupant family of around 400 square meters of the 1,806 square meters of the said land then
owned by H.V. Ongsiako by erecting her residential house thereon at the agreed monthly rental of
P15.00 and increased to P 100.00;

15. That upon the death of H.V. Ongsiako his heirs continued collecting the monthly rental of the
premises from the defendants;

16. That the heirs of H.V. Ongsiako formed a corporation known as UNITED COMPLEX REALTY
AND TRADING CORPORATION and the big parcel of land consisting of 1,806 square meters was
transferred to the said corporation and subdivided in 1982 into fourteen (14) lots, two (2) of which
lots are the very same lots leased by the defendant from H.V. Ongsiako and later from his heirs
and then from United Complex Realty and Trading Corporation as alleged in the preceding pars. l3,
14, and 15; 14

The issues having been joined, trial on the merits ensued. On June 30, 1992, the trial court rendered its decision in
favor of private respondent, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, IN VIEW of the foregoing, and finding preponderance of evidence in plaintiffs' favor,
judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

1) Ordering the defendant to demolish and remove all illegal structures she constructed on the front
portions of the subject lots and on the right of way of the plaintiff;

2.) Ordering the defendant to vacate the property and right of way and return possession thereof to
the plaintiffs,

3) Ordering the defendant to pay the cost of suit.

As to the damages (actual and moral) no award is given. In the absence of proof of fraud and bad
faith by the defendants, the latter are (sic) not liable for damages (Escritor Jr. vs. IAC, 155 SCRA
577).

Actual and compensatory damages require substantial proof. In the absence of malice and bad
faith, moral damages cannot be awarded (Capco vs. Macasaet, 189 SCRA SCRA 561).

As to the attorney's fees, each party should shoulder his/her expenses.

SO ORDERED. 15

Aggrieved by the trial court's decision, petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals alleging that: 1) the lower court
should have dismissed the complaint of private respondents considering that based on the letter of demand dated
November 20, 1990, the action filed should have been unlawful detainer and not an action for recovery of possession;
2) the action filed by private respondents is barred by res judicata considering that the present action is identical with
that of Civil Case No. 6652; 3) the lower court erred in not dismissing the complaint for lack of cause of action with
respect to enforcement of right of way vis a vis defendant; and 4) the lower court erred in ordering that defendants
vacate the properties in question since the lease of defendants thereon was still in existence and had not yet been
terminated. 16

On July 14, 1994, the respondent Court of Appeals rendered its decision sustaining the findings of the trial court and
dismissed the appeal of petitioner, stating in part as follows:

The issue as to the proper action has been resolved by the respondent court, to wit:

The defense that what should have been filed is an ejectment case and not
recovery of possession, is not also correct. The filing of this case for recovery of
possession, instead of an ejectment case, is not altogether unjustified. The
Benoliraos and Carisima became the owners as early as May, 1989. Verbal and
written demands had been ignored. There is an immediate need for plaintiffs to
use the right of way, which up to the present time is obstructed. At most, what
surfaced is a technicality which should be abandoned.

A plain reading of the complaint shows that plaintiff-appellees cause of action is for recovery of
possession of their property which was encroached upon by defendant-appellant. 17

A motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid decision filed by petitioner on August 8, 1994 18 was denied by the
respondent on September 23, 1994. 19

Hence, this petition.

Petitioner ascribes one single error committed by the respondent court, to wit:

THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT AND THE COURT OF APPEALS (Sp. Fifteenth Division)
COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF JURISDICTION IN DECIDING AS AN ACCION PUBLICIANA AN EJECTMENT
OR UNLAWFUL DETAINER CASE (THE JURISDICTION OF WHICH CLEARLY PERTAINS TO THE INFERIOR
COURT), A CASE BASICALLY INVOLVING AN EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY.

Petitioner asserts that the respondent court erred in sustaining the trial court's finding that the complaint filed by
private respondents for recovery of possession of the subject premises is an accion publiciana notwithstanding the
fact that the action was filed within one (1) year from demand. Petitioner contends that private respondents should
have filed an action for unlawful detainer and not an action for recovery of possession against petitioner.
Consequently, the trial court is without jurisdiction to hear and determine Civil Case No. 7785. In support of her
contention, petitioner cited the cases of Bernabe vs. Luna 20 and Medina vs. Court of Appeals, 21 which she
states is strikingly similar to the facts of this case. Consequently, the rulings of this Court in these two
cases are squarely applicable and controlling in the case at bar.

Private respondents, however, aver that they were merely successors-in-interest of UCRTC and therefore step into
the shoes of the latter. They claim that the demand to vacate required by law should at the very least be reckoned
from June 2, 1989, the date of the filing of the complaint in Civil Case No. 6652 considering that their demands are
simply a reiteration of UCRTC's demands against petitioner. Private respondents further contend that the allegations
in the complaint determine the jurisdiction of the court. Thus, the complaint in Civil Case No. 7785 specifically alleged
that private respondents are the owners of lots 666-I and 666-H as evidenced by transfer certificates of title and
prayed for recovery of possession of a portion thereof including its right of way illegally and unlawfully possessed by
petitioner.

Petitioner's position is without merit.

It is an elementary rule of procedural law that jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is determined by the
allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the
claims asserted therein. As a necessary consequence, the jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon
the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would
almost entirely depend upon the defendant. 22 What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the nature of the
action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint. The averments therein and the
character of the relief sought are the ones to be consulted. 23 Accordingly, the issues in the instant case
can only be properly resolved by an examination and evaluation of the allegations in the complaint in Civil
Case No. 7785. 24

In this regard, to give the court jurisdiction to effect the ejectment of an occupant or deforciant on the land, it is
necessary that the complaint must sufficiently show such a statement of facts as to bring the party clearly within the
class of cases for which the statutes provide a remedy, without resort to parol testimony, as these proceedings are
summary in nature. 25 In short, the jurisdictional facts must appear on the face of the complaint. When the
complaint fails to aver facts constitutive of forcible entry or unlawful detainer, as where it does not state
how entry was effected or how and when dispossession started, the remedy should either be an accion
publiciana or an accion reivindicatoria. 26

In the case of Javier vs. Veridiano II 27 this Court held that the doctrine in Emilia v. Bado, 28 decided more than
twenty-five years ago, is still good law. It preserved the age-old remedies available under existing laws
and jurisprudence to recover possession of real property, namely: (1) accion interdictal, which is the
summary action for either forcible entry ordetentacion, where the defendant's possession of the property
is illegal ab initio; or for unlawful detainer or desahucio, where the defendant's possession was originally
lawful but ceased to be must be so by the expiration of his right to possess, both of which must be
brought within one year from the date of actual entry on the land, in case of forcible entry; and from the
date of last demand, in case of unlawful detainer, in the proper municipal trial court or metropolitan court;
(2) accion publiciana which is a plenary action for recovery of the right to possess and which should be
brought in the proper regional trial court when the dispossession has lasted for more than one year; and,
(3) accion reivindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion which seeks the recovery of ownership and includes
the jus possidendi brought in the proper regional trial court.

Accion reivindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion is thus an action whereby plaintiff alleges ownership over a parcel of
land and seeks recovery of its full possession. It is different from accion interdictal or accion publicianawhere plaintiff
merely alleges proof of a better right to possess without claim of title. In Banayos vs. Susana Realty, Inc., 29 this
Court held that:

We have consistently held that a complaint for forcible entry, as distinguished from that of unlawful
detainer, in order to vest jurisdiction upon the inferior court, must allege plaintiff's prior physical
possession of the property, as well as the fact that he was deprived of such possession by any of
the means provided in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, namely: force, intimidation, threats,
strategy and stealth, "for if the dispossession did not take place by any of these means, the courts
of first instance, not the municipal courts, have jurisdiction.

xxx xxx xxx

The aforesaid Rule 70 does not, however, cover all of the cases of dispossession of lands. Thus,
"whenever the owner is dispossessed by any other means than those mentioned he may maintain
his action in the Court of First Instance, and it is not necessary for him to wait until the expiration of
twelve months before commencing an action to be repossessed or declared to be owner of the
land." Courts of First Instance have jurisdiction over actions to recover possession of real property
illegally detained, together with rents due and damages, even though one (1) year has not expired
from the beginning of such illegal detention, provided the question of ownership of such property is
also involved. In other words, if the party illegally dispossessed desires to raise the question of
illegal dispossession as well as that of the ownership over the property he may commence such
action in the Court of First Instance immediately or at any time after such illegal dispossession. If
he decides to raise the question of illegal dispossession only, and the action is filed more than one
(1) year after such deprivation or withholding of possession, then the Court of First Instance will
have original jurisdiction over the case. The former is an accion de reivindicacion which seeks the
recovery of ownership as well as possession, while the latter refers to an accion publiciana, which
is the recovery of the right to possess and is a plenary action in an ordinary proceeding in the Court
of First Instance.

A reading of the averments of the complaint in Civil Case No. 7785 undisputably show that plaintiffs (private
respondents herein) clearly set up title to themselves as being the absolute owner of the disputed premises by virtue
of their transfer certificates of title and pray that petitioner Serdoncillo be ejected therefrom. There is nothing in the
complaint in Civil Case No. 7785 alleging any of the means of dispossession that would constitute forcible entry
under Section (1) Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, nor is there any assertion of defendant's possession which was
originally lawful but ceased to be so upon the expiration of the right to possess. It does not characterize petitioner's
alleged entry into the land, that is, whether the same was legal or illegal nor the manner in which petitioner was able
to construct the house and the pig pens thereon. The complaint merely avers that a portion of the lot owned by
private respondents and its right of way have been occupied by petitioner and that she should vacate. The action
therefore is neither one of forcible nor of unlawful detainer but essentially involves a dispute relative to the ownership
of 4.1 square meters of land allegedly encroached upon by petitioner and its adjoining right of way. Indeed, the
Ocular Inspection Report of the Branch Clerk of Court, states that:

. . . (T)he right of way hit directly the defendant Serdoncillo's property consisting of a two-storey
residential house made of wood and GI sheets and occupying the entire width of the rear portion of
the right of way. A coconut tree stands on the middle of the road, at the back of which is a shanty
made of rotten G.I. sheets around it which is used as pigpens and place of washing clothes
extended from defendant's house. To gain access to plaintiff's property, the group turned right and
passed between an "aratiris" tree and cemented firewall owned by Mr. Belarmino making only one
person at a time to pass. This passageway has only a width of 0.5 meter which is being used by
the defendant and her members of the family aside from the plaintiffs.

. . . Two (2) monuments of the lot boundary of the plaintiff's property are existing, but the rest are
nowhere to be found. According to Mrs. Benolirao, they are located within the premises of the
defendant's house. At the back of Benolirao is a private property gutted by fire.

. . . Upon request, the group wass granted permission by the relatives of the defendant to inspect
the place. The group further noticed that defendant's improvements were even encroaching on the
plaintiff's lot by approximately 4.1 meters, more or less. The house of the defendant is facing the
plaintiff's property; there is a small chicken house and there is also a dog house standing near it. 30

It is noted that at the time of the filing of said complaint, Civil Case No. 7749, an action for annulment of the sale
between UCRTC and private respondents Benolirao of Lot 666-H initiated by petitioner was likewise pending in
another court. This case puts in issue the validity of private respondents' acquisition of the subject lots and ultimately
their ownership of Lot 666-H.

Thus, what is noticeable in the complaint is that private respondents definitely gave petitioner notice of their claim of
exclusive and absolute ownership, including their right to possess which is an elemental attribute of ownership. 31 It is
immaterial whether or not private respondents instituted their complaint one month from date of last
demand or a year thereafter. What is of paramount importance is that the allegations in complaint are of
the nature of either an accion publiciana or an accion reivindicatoria.

Petitioner's reliance on the Bernabe and Medina cases, which she claims to be squarely applicable under the
circumstances herein, is entirely misplaced. While it is true that in these two cases the complaints were filed before
the one-year period had expired from date of last demand, the allegations in the complaint failed to state material
facts which are indicative of a case of either an accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria. Thus, the Court in
Bernabe stated that:

In their complaint, plaintiffs (petitioners herein) allege that they are the owners of a parcel of land
with an area of 199.4 square meters more or less, located in Tondo, Manila, that defendant (private
respondent herein) constructed a house on said lot without plaintiff's permission; that on November
14, 1980, plaintiffs thru counsel made a written demand for the removal of said house as well as for
the recovery of damages for the reasonable use and occupation thereof; and that defendant
refused and failed to comply despite repeated demands.

xxx xxx xxx

We have noted that while petitioners allege in their complaint that they are the owners of the lot on
which the house of the private respondent is constructed, their attached TCT shows that the lot is
still in the name of Fejosera Investment Incorporated, Private respondent and said company
entered into a contract of lease in 1950 for the use and occupation of said lot. Petitioners allegedly
bought the lot in question in 1973, and they must have been fully aware of the occupancy of the
private respondent of the premises in question. Yet, they did not take any action to remove the
house of the private respondent or to inform the respondent that they had become the new owners
of the lot in question. It is clear therefore that the lease was allowed to continue.

xxx xxx xxx

Consequently, the possession of private respondent over the lot in question became illegal only on
November 14, 1980, when the formal demand to pay and vacate the premises was sent to him. 32

The allegations in the complaint clearly show that plaintiffs were already the owners of the property when defendant
constructed a house on the disputed lot without their permission. That despite formal demand defendant failed to
vacate and surrender possession of the property to them. Indeed, the averments in plaintiffs' complaint present
jurisdictional facts which do not illustrate plaintiffs' action as either an action publiciana oraccion reivindicatoria but
that of forcible entry or unlawful detainer. Thus, the trial court correctly dismissed plaintiffs' complaint, pertinent
portion of which is quoted hereunder:

It is clear on the face of the complaint that at the time of the filing of this case on February 19,
1981, the defendant was in possession, as a tenant, of the premises. When plaintiff's counsel,
therefore sent a written notice on November 4, 1980 requiring defendant to vacate the premises
when this action was brought, the one (1) year period after the unlawful deprivation or withholding
of possession has not yet set in. It is clear that this is an ejectment case within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the City Court of Manila.

SO ORDERED. 33

We likewise find the Medina case, relied upon by petitioner, to be inappropriate. The facts distinctly show that the
complaint filed by the owners of the property before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 47, was for
unlawful detainer. It was the action resorted to by the plaintiffs after advising the defendant (the lessee of the
premises in question) that a member of the family, Dr. Igama, urgently needed the house and after repeated
demands to vacate made on the lessee proved to be unsuccessful. All these incidents, from notification to the filing of
the complaint dated May 16, 1985, transpired within a period of six (6) months. Indeed, the factual background of this
case is a classic illustration of an action for unlawful detainer. Verily, the facts are therefore diametrically opposite to
the facts or case at bar.

Petitioner has therefore no legal basis to insist that the present case is similar to the Bernabe and Medina cases and
from which this Court should base its findings and conclusions. The doctrine laid down in Tenorio vs. Gombais still
controlling. In that case the Court ruled that courts of first instance have jurisdiction over all actions involving
possession of land except forcible entry and illegal datainer, and therefore the lower court has jurisdiction over the
action alleged in the appellant's complaint because it is neither of illegal detainer nor of forcible entry. 34

Petitioner maintains that her leasehold right as a tenant of the subject premises had been settled in Civil Case No.
5456, an action for consignation, which she won before the Metropolitan Trial Court and affirmed on appeal by the
Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 109. Said court ruled that the latter is a tenant of the site or premises in
question and that she cannot be ejected therefrom, even on the assumption that her house and pig pen are allegedly
standing on a right of way. She claims that pursuant to Section 49 (b) (now Section 47) Rule 39, Rules of Court, the
issue of tenancy in said case is now conclusive between her and private respondent with respect to the subject
premises in question.

Petitioner's contention is devoid of merit.

Sec. 49 (now Section 47), provides that:

Sec. 49. Effects of Judgments. — the effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court or
judge of the Philippines having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or order, may be as follows:

(a) xxx xxx xxx

(b) In other cases the judgment or order is, with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as to any
other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto, conclusive between the parties and
their successors-in-interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special
proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity;

The fundamental principle upon which the doctrine of res judicata rests is that parties ought not be permitted to
litigate the same issue more than once, that when the right or fact has been judicially determined, the judgment of the
court, so long as it remains unreversed, should be conclusive upon the parties and those in privity with them in law or
estate. 35

Thus, for res judicata to bar the institution of a subsequent action the following requisites must concur: (1) the former
judgment must be final; (2) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and the
parties; (3) it must be a judgment on the merits; and, (4) there must be between the first and second actions; (a)
identity of parties; (b) identity of subject matter; and (c) identity of cause of action. 36
There is no dispute as to the presence of the first three (3) requirements and the identity of the subject matter. The
only issues remaining are whether as between Civil Case No. 5456 and Civil Case No. 7785, there is identity of
parties and of causes of action in Civil Case No. 5456 to bar the institution of Civil Case No. 7785.

There is identity of parties. The record shows that the parties in Civil Case No. 5456 are petitioner as plaintiff while
the defendants were UCRTC, the spouses Meliton and Efremia Carisima and Rosario de Jesus. Private respondents-
spouses Fidel and Evelyn Benolirao acquired lot 666-H from UCRTC and are therefore the successors-in-interest of
UCRTC by title subsequent to the commencement and termination of the first action. As such, private respondents
merely stepped into the shoes of UCRTC and acquired whatever capacity and title the former had over the same
property or subject matter of the action. Indeed, there is actual, if not substantial, identity of parties between the two
actions. 37

There is however, no identity of causes of action in both cases. In the case of Garcia vs. Court of Appeals, 38 this
Court held that the test of identity of causes of action lies not in the form of an action but on whether the
same evidence would support and establish the former and the present causes of action. Petitioner's
complaint in Civil Case No. 5456 is an action for consignation of rentals while Civil Case No. 7785 is an
action for recovery of possession.

In other words, the issue in Civil Case No. 5456 is whether or not consignation of rentals is proper under the
circumstances obtaining in that case. Private respondents action for recovery of possession requires them to present
evidence of their claim or title to the subject premises and their right to possess the same from petitioner. Stated
conversely, the evidence in Civil Case No. 5456 is entirely different to that in Civil Case No. 7785. Thus, the decision
in Civil Case No. 5456 does not in any way affect nor bar Civil Case No. 7785.

Indeed, the Court noted that the parties had been at odds since 1987 when petitioner initiated Civil Case No. 5456,
and then Civil Case No. 7749. Private respondents' predecessor UCRTC likewise initiated Civil Case No. 6652 and
the present case under appeal, Civil Case No. 7785, all because of the use of a right of way and an encroachment of
only 4.1 meters of the subject premises. At some point in time, all these squabbles must end. Thus, the respondent
court stated that:

It is true that it is the purpose and intention of the law that courts should decide all questions
submitted to them "as truth and justice require", and that it is greatly to be desired that all
judgments should be so decided; but controlling and irresistible reasons of public policy and of
sound practice in the courts demand that at the risk of occasional errors, judgment of the courts
determining controversies submitted to them should become final at some definite time fixed by
law. 39

In passing, We reiterate the time-honored doctrine that findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are binding and
conclusive upon the Supreme Court, and the Court, will not normally disturb such factual findings unless the findings
of the court are palpably unsupported by the evidence or unless the judgment itself is based on misapprehension of
facts. 40 In this case, We find the said decision to be totally supported by the evidence on record.

Based on the foregoing premises, it is unnecessary to pass upon the other issues raised in the petition.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is hereby DISMISSED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
NO. 39251 is AFFIRMED. No pronouncements as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Regalado, Melo, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

Footnotes

1 Decided by the First Division, Court of Appeals composed of the Honorable Associates Justice
Justo P. Torres, Jr., Ponente and Chairman of the Division (now retired Justice of the Supreme
Court); Honorable Associate Justice Bernardo P. Pardo, Senior Member and Honorable Associate
Justice Corona Ibay-Somera, Junior Member.

2 Exhibit "D", Civil Case No. 6652, Letter dated November 13, 1982.

3 Deed of Absolute Sale, Annex "A", pp. 1-2, Folder of Exhibits.

4 ENTRY NO. 205154/T-17291-RIGHT OF WAY-GRANTED: By the registered owner herein


covering a portion of the land herein as shown and marked in the subdivision Plan LRC Psd-
158391 from points 1 to 14, of lot 666-H with the width of 3,12 meters as an access road to and
from the existing road for the benefit and use of owners of Lot-666-I to 666-H of said Subdivision
Plan. Doc. No. 434, Page No. 88, Book No. 9352, Series of 1980, Julian Florentino. Date of
Instrument - December 11, 1980; Date of Inscription - December 12, 1980 at 10:25 a.m.

5 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 114, Pasay City, pp. 13-18, ibid.
6 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 109, Pasay City, pp. 25-28, Folder of Exhibits.

7 Deed of Absolute Sale, Annex "A", pp. 1-2, ibid.

8 Entry No. 89-105751/17291 - PORTION SALE — in favor of SPS. FIDEL and EVELYN
BENOLIRAO, covering an area of ONE HUNDRED TWELVE (112) SQUARE METERS for the sum
of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (50,000.00), other conditions set forth in Doc. No. 08, Page 15,
Block VI, Series of 1989 of the Not. Register for Pasay City, Jeremias L. de Jesus, dated May 5,
1989. Date of Inscription, May 19, 1989 - 1:35 p.m.

9 Complaint, Civil Case No. 6652, Exhibits "I", pp. 19-24, ibid.

10 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 114, Pasay City, penned by the then Judge Fermin
A. Martin, Exhibit "H", pp. 13-18, Folder of Exhibits.

11 par. 3, ibid.

12 Letter of Demand, page 11, Exhibits "F", ibid.

13 Complaint, pages 5-9, Original Record.

14 Answer with Special Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaim., pages 14-19, Ibid.

15 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, pp. 45-66, CA rollo.

16 Appellant's Brief, pp. 15-42, CA Rollo, CA G.R. CV No. 39251.

17 Decision of the Court of Appeals, pp. 64-70 ibid.

18 Motion for Reconsideration, pp. 72-85, ibid.

19 Resolution of the Court of Appeals, page 87, ibid.

20 148 SCRA 113.

21 181 SCRA 837.

22 Caparros vs. Court of Appeals, 170 SCRA 758 (1989); Ganadin vs. Ramos, 99 SCRA 613, 621
(1973); Fuentes vs. Bautista, 53 SCRA 420 (1969); Simpao, Jr. vs. Lilles, 40 SCRA 180 (1971);
Vencilao vs. Camarenta, 29 SCRA 473 (1969).

23 Banayos vs. Susana Realty Inc., 71 SCRA 557 (1976).

24 Sarmiento vs. Court of Appeals, 250 SCRA 108 (1995).

25 36 A C.J.S. Forcible Entry and Detainer, Sec 39, p. 2002; Ind. - Boxley vs. Collins, 4 Blackf,
320; Me. - Treat vs. Brent., 51 Me. 478.

26 Sarmiento vs. Court of Appeals, supra; Accion reivindicatoria — An action for ejectment wherein
the plaintiff sets up title in himself and prays that he be declared the owner, and given possession
thereof. [Ledesma vs. Marcos, 9 Phil. 618 (1908)].

27 237 SCRA 565 (1994).

28 23 SCRA 183 (1968).

29 71 SCRA 557 (1976).

30 Ocular Inspection Report, September 10, 1991, pp. 45-48, Original Record.

31 Javier vs. Veridiano 11, supra.

32 Bernabe vs. Luna, supra.

33 Ibid.
34 81 Phil. 54 (1948).

35 Sarabia vs. Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2 SCRA 54 (1961).

36 Ipekdjian Mercjandising Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 9 SCRA 72 (1963); Mangoma vs. Court
of Appeals, et al., 241 SCRA 21 (1995); Guevarra vs. Benito, 247 SCRA 570, 573 (1995).

37 Mendiola vs. Court of Appeals, 258 SCRA 492 (1996); Comilang vs. Bautista, 21 SCRA 486,
491 (1967); Penalosa vs. Tuason, 22 Phil. 303, 323 (1912).

38 14 SCRA 721 (1965); Guevarra vs. Benito, et al., ibid.

39 Decision of the Court of Appeals, supra.

40 Valenzuela vs. Court of Appeals, 253 SCRA 303; Mallari vs. Court of Appeals, 265 SCRA 456.