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G.R. No.

156995 January 12, 2015

RUBEN MANALANG, CARLOS MANALANG, CONCEPCION GONZALES AND LUIS
MANALANG, Petitioners, vs.BIENVENIDO AND MERCEDES BACANI, Respondents.

BERSAMIN, J.

Petitioners Ruben Manalang et. al were the co-owners of Lot No 4236 with an area of 914
square meters of the Guagua Cadastre, and declared for taxation purposes in the name of Tomasa
B. Garcia. In 1997, the petitioners caused the relocation and verification survey of Lot 4236 and the
adjoining lots, and the result showed that the respondents had encroached on Lot No. 4236 to the
extent of 405 square meters. When the respondents refused to vacate the encroached portion and to
surrender peaceful possession thereof despite demands, the petitioners commenced this action for
unlawful detainer in the MTC of Guagua.

The MTC (Branch 2) dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction based on its finding that the
action involved an essentially boundary dispute that should be properly resolved in an accion
reivindicatoria. It stated that the complaint did not aver any contract, whether express or implied,
between the petitioners and the respondents that qualified the case as one for unlawful detainer; and
that there was also no showing that the respondents were in possession of the disputed area by the
mere tolerance of the petitioners due to the latter having become aware of the encroachment only
after the relocation survey held in 1997.

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

The CA held that considering that the petitioners’ complaint for unlawful detainer did not set
forth when and how the respondents had entered the land in question and constructed their houses
thereon, jurisdiction did not vest in the MTC totry and decide the case; that the complaint, if at all,
made out a case for either accion reivindicatoria or accion publiciana, either of which fell within the
original jurisdiction of the RTC

ISSUE: Whether or not the MTC properly dismissed the action for unlawful detainer because it
did not have jurisdiction over the case

HELD: YES

The dispute must be resolved in the context of accion reivindicatoria, not an ejectment case.
The boundary dispute is not about possession, but encroachment, that is, whether the property
claimed by the defendant formed part of the plaintiff’s property. A boundary dispute cannot be settled
summarily under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, the proceedings under which are limited to unlawful
detainer and forcible entry. In unlawful detainer, the defendant unlawfully withholds the possession of
the premises upon the expiration or termination of his right to hold such possession under any
contract, express or implied. The defendant’s possession was lawful at the beginning, becoming
unlawful only because of the expiration or termination of his right of possession. In forcible entry, the
possession of the defendant is illegal from the very beginning, and the issue centers on which
between the plaintiff and the defendant had the prior possession de facto.

To be clear, unlawful detainer is an action filed by a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person
against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or
termination of the right to hold possession by virtue of any contract, express or implied. 29 To vest in
the MTC the jurisdiction to effect the ejectment from the land of the respondents as the occupants in
unlawful detainer, therefore, the complaint should embody such a statement of facts clearly showing
the attributes of unlawful detainer.30 However, the allegations of the petitioners' complaint did not
show that they had permitted or tolerated the occupation of the portion of their property by the
respondents; or how the respondents' entry had been effected, or how and when the dispossession
by the respondents had started. All that the petitioners alleged was the respondents' "illegal use and
occupation" of the property. As such, the action was not unlawful detainer.
G.R. No. 170189 September 1, 2010

SPOUSES ELEGIO* CAÑEZO and DOLIA CAÑEZO, Petitioners, vs.SPOUSES APOLINARIO and
CONSORCIA L. BAUTISTA, Respondents

CARPIO, J.

Spouses Elegio and Dolia Cañezo (hereafter appellees) are the registered owner[s] of a parcel
of land with an area of One Hundred Eighty Six (186) square meters, covered by Transfer Certificate
of Title (TCT) No. 32911. Spouses Apolinario and Consorcia Bautista (hereafter appellants) are the
registered owners of a parcel of land, containing an area of One Hundred Eighty One (181) square
meters, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 31727. n Both parcels of land are located at
Coronado Heights, Barangka Ibaba, Mandaluyong City and registered with the Registry of Deeds of
Mandaluyong City. Appellants’ lot is adjacent to that of appellees [sic].

Sometime in 1995, appellees started the construction of a building on their lot. During the
construction, appellees discovered that their lot was encroached upon by the structures built by
appellants without appellees’ knowledge and consent. The three (3) surveys conducted confirmed the
fact of encroachment. However, despite oral and written demands, appellants failed and refused to
remove the structures encroaching appellees’ lot.

Attempts were made to settle their dispute with the barangay lupon, but to no avail. Appellees
initiated a complaint with the RTC for the issuance of a writ of demolition.

The trial court promulgated its Decision in favor of the spouses Cañezo. The trial court found
that the spouses Bautista built structures encroaching on the land owned by the spouses Cañezo.
The spouses Bautista also refused to remove the structures and respect the boundaries as
established by the various surveyors. A referral to the Barangay Lupon failed to settle the controversy
amicably. The trial court thus ruled that the spouses Bautista are builders in bad faith, such that the
spouses Cañezo are entitled to an issuance of a writ of demolition with damages

The CA ruled that since the last demand was made on 27 March 2000, or more than a year
before the filing of the complaint, the spouses Cañezo should have filed a suit for recovery of
possession and not for the issuance of a writ of demolition. A writ of demolition can be granted only
as an effect of a final judgment or order, hence the spouses Cañezo’s complaint should be dismissed.
The spouses Cañezo failed to specify the assessed value of the encroached portion of their property.
Because of this failure, the complaint lacked sufficient basis to constitute a cause of action. Finally,
the appellate court ruled that should there be a finding of encroachment in the action for recovery of
possession and that the encroachment was built in good faith, the market value of the encroached
portion should be proved to determine the appropriate indemnity.

ISSUE: Whether or not the complaint for a "Writ of Demolition with Damages" should be
dismissed without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate action with the proper forum.

HELD: NO

The present case, while inaccurately captioned as an action for a "Writ of Demolition with
Damages" is in reality an action to recover a parcel of land or an accion reivindicatoria under Article
434 of the Civil Code. Article 434 of the Civil Code reads: "In an action to recover, the property must
be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the
defendant’s claim." Accion reivindicatoria seeks the recovery of ownership and includes the jus
utendi and the jus fruendi brought in the proper regional trial court. Accion reivindicatoria is an action
whereby plaintiff alleges ownership over a parcel of land and seeks recovery of its full possession.

In order that an action for the recovery of title may prosper, it is indispensable, in accordance
with the precedents established by the courts, that the party who prosecutes it must fully prove, not
only his ownership of the thing claimed, but also the identity of the same.9 However, although the
identity of the thing that a party desires to recover must be established, if the plaintiff has already
proved his right of ownership over a tract of land, and the defendant is occupying without right any
part of such tract, it is not necessary for plaintiff to establish the precise location and extent of the
portions occupied by the defendant within the plaintiff’s property.

The testimony and the relocation survey plan both show that the spouses Bautista were aware
of the encroachment upon their lot by the owner of Lot 15 and thus they made a corresponding
encroachment upon the lot of the spouses Cañezo. This awareness of the two encroachments made
the spouses Bautista builders in bad faith. The spouses Cañezo are entitled to the issuance of a writ
of demolition in their favor and against the spouses Bautista, in accordance with Article 450 of the
Civil Code.

WHEREFORE, A writ of demolition of the encroaching structures should be issued against and
at the expense of Spouses Apolinario and Consorcia L. Bautista upon the finality of this judgment.
Spouses Apolinario and Consorcia L. Bautista are further ordered to pay Spouses Elegio and Dolia
Cañezo ₱30,000 as actual damages; ₱50,000 as moral damages; and ₱30,000 as attorney’s fees.
The interest rate of 12% per annum shall apply from the finality of judgment until the total amount
awarded is fully paid.
G.R. No. 160406 June 26, 2006

SPS. DOLORES MIRANDA PROVOST and JEAN PROVOST, Petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and
SPS. VICTOR RAMOS and FE A. RAMOS, Respondents.

QUISUMBING, J.:

Spouses Victor and Fe Ramos, are the owners of a parcel of land surveyed as Lot No. 12542.
Adjacent to the lot is a parcel of land surveyed as Lot No. 12543 owned by petitioner Dolores Miranda
Provost. She bought it from Rosario Abanil.

Sometime in May 1992, the Provosts constructed a fence separating the two lots. In 1994, the
Ramoses, believing that the Provosts encroached on a portion of their lot, demanded the return of the
encroached area but the latter refused. The Ramoses thus had a relocation survey and the relocation
survey showed that the fence was indeed on their land. The Provost spouses disagreed, arguing that
the cadastral survey plan used had been disapproved by the DENR Regional Office for being
defective and was replaced with a correction survey of Barangay Tupsan, Mambajao. Upon request
of petitioners Provosts, another relocation survey was done using the approved cadastral survey
plan. This relocation survey showed that the fence was within petitioners’ property.

The Ramos spouses filed a complaint for recovery of ownership and possession with damages
and with prayer for preliminary injunction before the MTC. They alleged that the Provosts encroached
on 314 square meters of their lot.

The MTC dismissed the complaint and held that the Ramoses failed to prove their ownership
and possession of the disputed area. On appeal, the RTC affirmed the MTC decision, stating that the
claim by the Ramoses over the property sought to be recovered was based on a disapproved survey
plan. Private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court reversed the RTC
decision and ordered the Provosts to vacate the area, remove the fence, and pay damages.

ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over a complaint for recovery of ownership
and possession

HELD: YES

We stress that regional trial courts have jurisdiction over complaints for recovery of ownership
or accion reivindicatoria.9 Section 8, Rule 4010 of the Rules on Civil Procedure nonetheless allows the
RTC to decide the case brought on appeal from the MTC which, even without jurisdiction over the
subject matter, may decide the case on the merits.

In an action to recover under Article 43411 of the Civil Code, the claimant must (1) establish the
identity of the property sought to be recovered and (2) rely on the strength of his title and not on the
weakness of defendant’s claim. It is also settled rule that what defines a piece of land is not the area,
calculated with more or less certainty, mentioned in the description but the boundaries therein laid
down, as enclosing the land and indicating its limits.1