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G..R. No.

132424 May 2, 2006 plaintiff out of possession or defendant’s possession had become illegal, the action will be, not one of the
SPOUSES BONIFACIO R. VALDEZ, JR. and VENIDA M. VALDEZ, Petitioners, forcible entry or illegal detainer, but an accion publiciana. On the other hand, accion reivindicatoria is an
vs. action to recover ownership also brought in the proper regional trial court in an ordinary civil

Petitioners Carolina Executive Village, Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Antipolo, Rizal which they acquired from
To justify an action for unlawful detainer, it is essential that the plaintiff’s supposed acts of tolerance must
Carolina Realty, Inc. Sometime in November 1992 by virtue of Sales Contract. Respondent occupied the have been present right from the start of the possession which is later sought to be recovered.15 Otherwise,
said premises denying the petitioners the possession thereof. Petitioners demanded the respondents to if the possession was unlawful from the start, an action for unlawful detainer would be an improper
vacate the said premises but they stubbornly refuses to d so. Petitioner filed an ejectment case before the remedy.16 As explained in Sarona v. Villegas17:
Municipal trial court of Antipolo against the respondents. In their answer, private respondents contended
that the complaint failed to state that petitioners had prior physical possession of the property or that they But even where possession preceding the suit is by tolerance of the owner, still, distinction should be
were the lessors of the former. In the alternative, private respondents claimed ownership over the land on made.
the ground that they had been in open, continuous, and adverse possession thereof for more than thirty
years, as attested by an ocular inspection report from the Department of Environment and Natural If right at the incipiency defendant’s possession was with plaintiff’s tolerance, we do not doubt that the
Resources. MTC ruled in favor of the petitioner as well as the RTC ordering the respondents to vacate the latter may require him to vacate the premises and sue before the inferior court under Section 1 of Rule 70,
said premises. Respondent filed a petition for review before the C.A. and ruled in favor of the respondents within one year from the date of the demand to vacate.
declaring that the petitioner failed to prove that the case was one of unlawful detainer or forcible entry and
that the MTC has no jurisdiction over the case. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was A close assessment of the law and the concept of the word "tolerance" confirms our view heretofore
denied by the C.A. expressed that such tolerance must be present right from the start of possession sought to be recovered, to
categorize a cause of action as one of unlawful detainer - not of forcible entry. Indeed, to hold otherwise
WHETHER OR NOT THE ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT CLEARLY MADE OUT A CASE would espouse a dangerous doctrine. And for two reasons: First. Forcible entry into the land is an open
FOR UNLAWFUL DETAINER. challenge to the right of the possessor. Violation of that right authorizes the speedy redress – in the
inferior court - provided for in the rules. If one year from the forcible entry is allowed to lapse before suit
In the main, petitioners claim that the averments of their complaint make out a case for unlawful detainer is filed, then the remedy ceases to be speedy; and the possessor is deemed to have waived his right to seek
having alleged that private respondents unlawfully withheld from them the possession of the property in relief in the inferior court. Second, if a forcible entry action in the inferior court is allowed after the lapse
question, which allegation is sufficient to establish a case for unlawful detainer. They further contend that of a number of years, then the result may well be that no action of forcible entry can really prescribe. No
the summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy available to the owner if another occupies the land
matter how long such defendant is in physical possession, plaintiff will merely make a demand, bring suit
at the former’s tolerance or permission without any contract between the two as the latter is bound by an
implied promise to vacate the land upon demand by the owner. in the inferior court – upon a plea of tolerance to prevent prescription to set in - and summarily throw him
out of the land. Such a conclusion is unreasonable. Especially if we bear in mind the postulates that
proceedings of forcible entry and unlawful detainer are summary in nature, and that the one year time-bar
The petition is not meritorious.
to suit is but in pursuance of the summary nature of the action.

Under existing law and jurisprudence, there are three kinds of actions available to recover possession of
real property: (a) accion interdictal; (b) accion publiciana; and (c) accion reivindicatoria.6 In the instant case, the allegations in the complaint do not contain any averment of fact that would
substantiate petitioners’ claim that they permitted or tolerated the occupation of the property by
respondents. The complaint contains only bare allegations that "respondents without any color of title
Accion interdictal comprises two distinct causes of action, namely, forcible entry (detentacion) and whatsoever occupies the land in question by building their house in the said land thereby depriving
unlawful detainer (desahuico).7 In forcible entry, one is deprived of physical possession of real property petitioners the possession thereof." Nothing has been said on how respondents’ entry was effected or how
by means of force, intimidation, strategy, threats, or stealth whereas in unlawful detainer, one illegally and when dispossession started. Admittedly, no express contract existed between the parties. This failure
withholds possession after the expiration or termination of his right to hold possession under any contract, of petitioners to allege the key jurisdictional facts constitutive of unlawful detainer is fatal. 26 Since the
express or implied.8 The two are distinguished from each other in that in forcible entry, the possession of complaint did not satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of a valid cause for unlawful detainer, the
the defendant is illegal from the beginning, and that the issue is which party has prior de facto possession municipal trial court had no jurisdiction over the case.27 It is in this light that this Court finds that the
while in unlawful detainer, possession of the defendant is originally legal but became illegal due to the Court of Appeals correctly found that the municipal trial court had no jurisdiction over the complaint.
expiration or termination of the right to possess.9
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the judgment of the Court of Appeals dismissing the
The jurisdiction of these two actions, which are summary in nature, lies in the proper municipal trial court complaint in Civil Case No. 2547 of the MTC Antipolo, Rizal for lack of jurisdiction is hereby
or metropolitan trial court.10 Both actions must be brought within one year from the date of actual entry on AFFIRMED.
the land, in case of forcible entry, and from the date of last demand, in case of unlawful detainer.11 The
issue in said cases is the right to physical possession.

Accion publiciana is the plenary action to recover the right of possession which should be brought in the
proper regional trial court when dispossession has lasted for more than one year. 12 It is an ordinary civil
proceeding to determine the better right of possession of realty independently of title.13 In other words, if
at the time of the filing of the complaint more than one year had elapsed since defendant had turned
G.R. No. 147549 October 23, 2003 In Somodio v. Court of Appeals,22 which the Spouses Dela Rosa cited, the petitioner there began
JESUS DELA ROSA and LUCILA DELA ROSA, petitioners, construction of a structure on his lot. His employment, however, took him to Kidapawan, North Cotabato,
vs. and he left the unfinished structure to the care of his uncle. He would visit the property every three months
SANTIAGO CARLOS and TEOFILA PACHECO, respondents. or on weekends when he had time. The Court ruled that possession in the eyes of the law does not mean
that a man has to have his feet on every square meter of the ground before he is deemed in possession.23
Spouses Dela Rosa alleged that they are the owners of a house and lot located at No. 25 San Roque, There is no cogent reason to deviate from this doctrine.
Paombong, Bulacan. The Spouses Dela Rosa claimed that Leonardo Carlos ("Leonardo") transferred to
them the ownership of the Property under the Absolute Deed of Sale. The Spouses Dela Rosa registered Santiago and Teofila likewise challenged the validity of the sale between their father Leonardo and the
on 6 October 1966 the Deed of Sale under Act No. 3344 with the Register of Deeds of Bulacan. The Spouses Dela Rosa. If Santiago and Teofila truly believed that the Deed of Sale is void, they should have
Spouses Dela Rosa asserted that they renovated the house, furnished and occupied the same from 1966 to filed an action to annul the same, but they did not. Santiago and Teofila questioned the validity of the
the present. They also build a parameter fence and padlock the house to protect it from trespasser because Deed of Sale only when the Spouses Dela Rosa filed the forcible entry case. However, Santiago and
they only reside in the property during weekends. The Spouses Dela Rosa further asserted that they have Teofila cannot properly challenge the validity of the Deed of Sale in the ejectment case because ejectment
cases proceed independently of any claim of ownership.25 Santiago and Teofila claim that the Deed of Sale
been paying the taxes for the land since 1966 to 1997, and for the house from 1966 to 1993. On October
was executed without the consent of Benita, Leonardo’s spouse. They also claim that the Deed of Sale was
1997, they discovered that, through stealth and without their knowledge and consent, Santiago had built a executed through fraud and undue influence. However, these issues cannot properly be addressed in the
house of strong materials on a vacant lot of the Property. Santiago did not secure the necessary building present action. These issues can only be resolved in a separate action specifically for the annulment of the
permit from the Municipal Engineer’s Office. Teofila had also been transferring furniture to the house and Deed of Sale. Resolution of these issues, in turn, will determine whether the surviving heirs of the Spouses
sleeping there. On 20 November 1997, the Spouses Dela Rosa, through their counsel, demanded that Carlos are co-owners of the Property who are likewise entitled to its possession. Co-ownership is only a
Santiago and Teofila demolish the house, remove their furniture and vacate the premises within ten days necessary consequence of the heirs’ successional rights to the Property, if any.
from receipt of the letter. However, Santiago and Teofila did not heed the Spouses Dela Rosa’s demand.
In their answer, Santiago and Teofila alleged that they are the surviving heirs of the Spouses Leonardo and WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The Decision dated 20 July 2000 and Resolution dated 23
Benita Carlos ("Spouses Carlos"). As heirs of the Spouses Carlos, they, along with Lucila Dela Rosa, are February 2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 54055 are SET ASIDE. The Decision dated 31
co-owners of the Property. They contended that the Spouses Dela Rosa obtained the Deed of Sale through May 1999 of the Regional of Trial Court, Branch 22, of Malolos, Bulacan in Civil Case No. 878-M-98,
affirming the Decision dated 30 July 1998 of the Municipal Trial Court of Paombong, Bulacan in Civil
fraud and undue influence and that their mother did not consent to the sale of the Property which they
Case No. 98-720, is REINSTATED. No pronouncement as to costs.
claimed as conjugal. They maintained that the Spouses Dela Rosa were never in possession of the
Property because the latter only went there to visit their parents, and not as owners. Insisting that they
have been occupying the Property since birth, Santiago claimed that he constructed the house on the [G.R. No. 148126. November 10, 2003]
Property in the concept of a co-owner. The MTC rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner.
Respondents appealed before the RTC but the court affirmed the decision of the MTC. Respondents filed GEORGE T. VILLENA, CARLOS N. VILLENA, AURORA M. BONDOC and RONNIE C.
a petition for review before the C.A. and the court reversed and set aside the decision of the lower courts. FERNANDEZ, and their Respective Spouses, petitioners, vs. Spouses ANTONIO C. CHAVEZ and
Whether or not the petitioners have prior possession of the property which is a requisite to file a complaint
of forcible entry. “In a Complaint for Illegal Detainer with Damages filed on October 15, 1998, the [respondents] alleged
that they are the owners of four (4) parcels of land in Angeles City. These four (4) parcels of land have
been consolidated and subdivided into several blocks and lots, and are now collectively designated as
In a forcible entry case, the principal issue for resolution is mere physical or material possession
(possession de facto) and not juridical possession (possession de jure) nor ownership of the property Bagong Silang Phase III-C. By mere permission and tolerance of the [respondents], the [petitioners] have
involved.19 In the present case, both parties claim prior possession of the Property. The Spouses Dela Rosa occupied and erected their homes on four (4) of the said lots. The petitioners are allowed to occupy the
claim that they have been in possession of the Property since 1966 upon the execution of the deed of sale premises but in exchange they have to pay a certain amount for equity. The petitioner failed to pay the
by Leonardo in their favor. On the other hand, Santiago and Teofila claim that they have been without justifiable ground. In view of such failure to pay, the [petitioners] have forfeited their right to
continuously occupying the Property since birth and the Spouses Dela Rosa were never in possession of continue occupying the lots in question. Formal demand letters were then sent by registered mail to the
the Property.1ªvvphi1.nét [petitioners], wherein they were given a period of thirty (30) days from receipt within which to vacate and
remove their houses from the subject lots. Still the petitioners refused to pay or vacate the certain
While admitting that Santiago and Teofila used to reside in the Property since birth, the Spouses Dela premises. Respondent filed a case of ejectment before the municipal trial court praying for the petitioners
Rosa contend that Santiago and Teofila moved out when they married in 1961 and 1959, respectively. to vacate the said premises and pay for the rental ,actual compensatory damage and appearance in fee per
According to the Spouses Dela Rosa, Santiago and his family live in Manila (at 3500-F Magsaysay Blvd., hearing. In the answer of the petitioner, they alleged that the [respondents] have no cause of action to
Sta. Mesa, Manila)20 while Teofila occupies the lot adjacent to the Property bearing, however, the same
address.21 Santiago and Teofila did not dispute these allegations by the Spouses Dela Rosa. institute the present action, considering that the properties in question are under the community mortgage
program implemented by the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation. MTC Branch II of Angeles
City rendered a decision dismissing both the [respondents’] complaint and the [petitioners’] counter-
On the other hand, Santiago and Teofila admit that the Spouses Dela Rosa visit the Property. Visiting the
claim, on the ground that the filing of an ejectment case based on the alleged violation of the parties’
Property on weekends and holidays is evidence of actual or physical possession. Even if the Spouses Dela
Rosa were already residing in Manila, they could continue possessing the Property in Bulacan. The fact of agreement which has not yet been rescinded is premature, and that it is beyond the competence of the said
their residence in Manila, by itself, does not result in loss of possession of the Property in Bulacan. The court to act on the case, as rescission or specific performance is beyond the jurisdiction of the said court.
law does not require one in possession of a house to reside in the house to maintain his possession. RTC affirmed the decision of the MTC upon appeal. CA reversed and set aside the decisions of the lower
court and ruled that the respondents are the real parties in interest.
Whether or not unlawful detainer is the proper action to resolve this case G.R. No. 83982 January 12, 1990
JESUS C. JAKIHACA, petitioner,
An allegation of a violation of a contract or agreement in a detainer suit may be proved by the presentation SPS. LILIA AQUINO and APOLONIO AQUINO, JOSE TORALDE, and HON. EMMA
of competent evidence, upon which an MTC judge might make a finding to that effect. But certainly, that CENIDOZA-ONA, respondents.
court cannot declare and hold that the contract is rescinded, as such power is vested in the RTC.

On September 10, 1986, petitioner Jesus Jakihaca filed an ejectment suit against respondents-spouses Lilia
The rescission of the contract is the basis of, and therefore a condition precedent for, the illegality of a Aquino and Apolonio Aquino, and Jose Toralde before the Municipal Trial Court of San Mateo, Rizal,
party’s possession of a piece of realty. Without judicial intervention and determination, even a stipulation docketed as Civil Case No. 616, on account of the latter's refusal to remove their houses which they have
entitling one party to take possession of the land and building in case the other party violates the contract allegedly illegally constructed without the knowledge and consent and against the will of the former on a
cannot confer upon the former the right to take possession thereof, if that move is objected to. residential land situated in Buntong Palay, Ampid, San Mateo, covered by TCT No. N-103650, despite
verbal demand.
To be sure, the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the allegations in the complaint. Thus, in
ascertaining whether or not an action is one for unlawful detainer falling within the exclusive jurisdiction Initially, the matter was referred to the Barangay Captain of Ampid, San Mateo, Rizal, for conciliation
of the inferior courts, the averments of the complaint and the character of the relief sought should be processes pursuant to the requirements of P.D. No. 1508. But due to repeated refusal of respondents to
examined. appear before the Barangay Lupon, the Lupon Chairman and Secretary thereafter issued a "certification to
file action."
Also, as correctly pleaded by petitioners, a similar case had been decided by the CA in CA-GR SP No.
58679, in which it ruled that the proper action should have been a complaint for rescission or specific Served with summons pursuant to the Rules on Summary Procedure, the defendants on November 3, 1986
performance, not for illegal detainer. In that case, the same plaintiffs filed the same charges against a filed an answer with Special and Affirmative Defenses alleging among others, that there was a verbal
different but similarly situated set of defendants. contract of tenancy between the defendants and the former owner of the land in question which they
planted to fruit bearing trees and devoted the same primarily to rice and corn products, and so therefore,
The appellate court ruled therein that there was an existing agreement or contract that determined the they can not be ejected under the Land Reform Law more particularly P.D. No. 1 from this land which
nature of the parties’ relationship. Thus, it held that the proper action should have been for rescission of they had occupied and cultivated for more than ten (10) years with the consent of the former owner Gloria
contract or specific performance, not unlawful detainer. When the CA Decision was elevated, this Court Gener. In addition, they said that there is no showing that the case was first brought to the attention of the
denied the appeal for failure to show that a reversible error had been committed by the appellate court. Ministry of Agrarian Reform for certification that this case is proper for trial before said Court.

Said the appellate court in the previous case: On December 22, 1987, the respondent trial court found that the private respondents are not agricultural
tenant-farmers of the land in question, either through 'its former owner Gloria Gener or through the
present owner-petitioner Jesus Jakihaca that private respondents entered the premises some 10 to 20
“Inasmuch as the relationship existing between the parties is not a lessor-lessee relationship but one that years ago and built their houses thereon by tolerance from the former owner Gloria Gener and as
emanated from the agreement between appellants and the Urban Land and Development Foundation, Inc., such they are bound by their implied promise that they will vacate the land upon demand. Private
the so-called originator of the Bagong Silang Homeowners Association, Inc., the relief being sought then respondents were ordered to: (1) remove their respective houses on the portion of the land occupied by
by appellants appears to be improper. If ever there was no payment of equity as provided for under the them and surrender possession thereof to the petitioner; (2) pay the petitioner jointly and severally the
said agreement, the same cannot be considered as non-payment of rentals. Thus, it cannot be a sufficient amount of P 3,000.00 for attorney's fees; and (3) reimburse the petitioner for the cost of the suit. Their
basis for filing an ejectment case against appellees, the proper remedy being an action for rescission of claim for moral and exemplary damages was dismissed for lack of merit.
contract or specific performance.”

On appeal by the private respondents to the Regional Trial Court, said appellate court on April 8, 1988
We stress that when a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will dismissed the case on the ground that the lower court acted without jurisdiction as the complaint shows
adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases in which the facts are substantially the same. Stare nothing when the verbal demand to remove the houses on the lot of the petitioner was made on the private
decisis et non quieta movere. Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is settled. Stare decisis simply respondents. (Decision of the RTC, p. 13, Rollo).
means that for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be applied to those that
follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. It proceeds from
the first principle of justice that, absent any powerful countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of dismissal on April 21, 1988 which was denied
decided alike. on June 25, 1988. Not satisfied, this petition was filed on July 12, 1988. On March 15, 1989, this Court in
a minute resolution gave due course to the petition.
Having ruled that the MTC had indeed no jurisdiction to take cognizance of this case in the first place, we
see no more need to address the other issues raised by petitioners. Petitioner claims that the Regional Trial Court erred in dismissing Civil Case No. 616 for lack of
jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court. On the other hand, private respondents contended that the
petition was filed out of time; that the petition was filed with the wrong court; that the Municipal Trial
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is Court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action; and that there was no allegation in the
OVERTURNED. Consequently, the Decisions of the MTC and the RTC of Angeles City are complaint of prior physical possession of the land by the petitioner.
REINSTATED. No pronouncement as to costs.

The petition is impressed with merit.

The records show that the complaint explicitly alleged that "plaintiff verbally asked the defendants to Respondents are in error. The Rule on Summary Procedure applies only in cases filed before the
remove their houses on the lot of the former but the latter refused and still refuse to do so without just and Metropolitan Trial Court and Municipal Trial Courts, pursuant to Section 36 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
lawful grounds." (p. 44, Rollo) Such is sufficient compliance with the jurisdictional requirements, in Summary procedures have no application to cases before the Regional Trial Courts. Hence, when the
accordance with the doctrine laid down in the case of Hautea v. Magallon, 12 SCRA 514, to wit: respondents appealed the decision of the Municipal Trial Court to the Regional Trial Court, the applicable
rules are those of the latter court.
An allegation in an original complaint for illegal detainer that in spite of demands made by the plaintiff
the defendants had refused to restore the land, is considered sufficient compliance with the jurisdictional Respondents likewise contend that the petition was filed with the wrong court. Again, they are mistaken.
requirement of previous demand.
In the case of Lacsamana v. Second Special Cases Division of the Intermediate Appellate Court, 143
As to whether or not the demand was brought within the one year period, this We have to say. As a SCRA 643, We held that the final judgment or order of the Regional Trial Court in an appeal from the
general rule, jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case may be objected to at any stage of the final judgment or order of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial
proceeding even on appeal, but this is not without exception. In the case of Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, 23 Court, may be appealed to the Court of Appeals through a petition for review in accordance with Section
SCRA 30, cited in Tejones v. Cironella, 159 SCRA 104, We held: 22 of the Interim Rules, or to the Supreme Court through a petition for review on certiorari in accordance
with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court and Section 25 of the Interim Rules. Clearly, the petitioners filed this
appeal with a proper court.
It is not right for a party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular matter to
secure an affirmative relief to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape penalty. Upon this same
principle is what we said . . . to the effect that we frown upon the undesirable practice of a party PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision dated April 8, 1988 and the
submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment only if favorable and attacking it for lack order dated June 25, 1988 both of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 76, San Mateo, Rizal, in Civil Case
of jurisdiction. No. 415, are hereby SET ASIDE. The decision of the Municipal Trial Court of San Mateo, Rizal, dated
December 22, 1987 in Civil Case No. 616 is hereby REINSTATED.
Nowhere in the Answer of respondents contain an allegation attacking the jurisdiction of the Municipal
Trial Court based on the issue on demand. Again, in PNB v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 143 SCRA G.R. No. 108522 January 29, 1996
305, We held: GERARDO A. DEL MUNDO, petitioner,
While petitioners could have prevented the trial court from exercising jurisdiction over the case by
84, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Metro Manila, DIONISIO PASCUAL, JR., Deputy
seasonably taking exception thereto, they instead invoke the very same jurisdiction by filing an answer
Sheriff, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, and Spouses CARLOS NAVA and ALEJANDRA
and seeking affirmative relief from it. What is more, they participated in the trial of the case by cross-
NAVA, respondents.
examining respondent Planas. Upon that premise, petitioners cannot now be allowed belatedly to adopt an
inconsistent posture by attacking the jurisdiction of the court to which they had submitted themselves
voluntarily. (p. 48, Rollo) This petition for review seeks a reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
33251 entitled "Gerardo A. Del Mundo vs. Spouses Carlos and Alejandra Nava," 1 and a declaration that
the Writ of Execution by respondent Regional Trial Court Judge in Civil Case No. Q-92-12438 2 is null
Another reason for the lower court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter as alleged by the
and void.
respondents in their answer to the complaint filed with the Municipal Trial Court, was that said court has
no jurisdiction to try the case as they are tenants-farmers and that as such they cannot be ejected from
their farmholdings without a certification by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform that the case is proper The antecedent facts from which this case arose are as follows:
for hearing. On the other hand, petitioners argue that when the Municipal Trial Court required them to
submit their respective position papers, respondent did not raise this particular issue anymore but instead
Private respondent Alejandra Nava was a former client of petitioner Gerardo A. del Mundo. The spouses
centered on the issue of actual possession and the elements of forcible entry and illegal detainer.
Carlos and Alejandra Nava owned a house and lot located in Project 6, Quezon City covered by TCT No.
Petitioners, in their position paper, attached the report of Mr. Maines of the Agrarian Office which
256140 which was mortgaged to the Philippine Veterans Bank. In 1981, before the spouses Nava migrated
categorically states that there is no evidence whatsoever to show that the subject land is devoted to the
to the United States, this residential property was leased by petitioner. In a lease contract denominated as
production of rice and corn; that the occupants are not sharing with the present landowner, hence, they are
Agreement of Lease with Option to Purchase, private respondent spouses agreed to lease the property to
classified as illegal occupants; that the subject land is not tenanted, not devoted to the production of palay
petitioner for one year, with a monthly rental of P2,500.00. The del Mundo family moved into the house
and/or corn, hence, not covered by P.D. No-27 or the Operation Land Transfer of the government (p. 47,
upon execution of the lease contract. Petitioner was given until October 16, 1982 to exercise his option to
Rollo). Considering the report of said office, the assumption of jurisdiction by the Municipal Trial Court
buy the property.
of San Mateo, Rizal was proper.

Petitioner was unable to exercise his option to purchase because he had no money. While respondent
Respondents contend that the petition was filed out of time. They allege that when petitioner received the
spouses were in the United States, petitioner sent them a Deed of Sale with Assignment of Mortgage.3 He
decision of the Regional Trial Court on April 20, 1988 and the appeal to this Court was filed only on July
asked the spouses Nava to sign the said Deed ostensibly to enable him to borrow part of the purchase price
12, 1988 or only after a 3 month period, such appeal was definitely outside the 15 day reglementary period
in the sum of P470,000.00 from the bank. Petitioner also sent them an Addendum to the Deed of Sale
within which to appeal. Respondents added that the motion for reconsideration filed with said Regional
which states that he will also assume her obligations to Mrs. Ligaya Gonzales and to Pablo Nava. After
Trial Court did not stop the running of the period within which to validly file his appeal. The instant case,
several letters,4 petitioner succeeded in persuading the spouses Nava to trust him and to sign the Deed of
being an ejectment case was prosecuted under the Rule on Summary Procedure where it expressly
Sale with Assignment of Mortgage and the Addendum even without receiving consideration for the
prohibits a Motion for Reconsideration. (Memorandum for private respondents, p. 49, Rollo).
Private respondent Alejandra Nava lost faith in petitioner because he did not comply with his promise to sale. He likewise questioned the validity of the private respondent's formal offer of documentary exhibits
pay the P174,000.00 obligation to the Philippine Veteran's Bank, the P166,000.00 indebtedness to Mrs. below.
Ligaya Gonzales and her P40,000.00 obligation to Pablo Nava. On March 16, 1983, private respondent
spouses Nava executed a Revocation of Deed of Sale with Assignment of Mortgage which was duly
On August 24, 1992 respondent Court of Appeals dismissed petitioner's appeal (CA G.R. CV No. 33251)
notarized by a County Clerk of the Superior Court of California and certified by Vice Consul Danilo
and affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto.13 On January 14, 1993, respondent appellate court
Bacalzo of the Philippine Consulate General in California, U.S.A. The Deed of Sale with Assignment of
denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.14
Mortgage in favor of petitioner and his wife was revoked and canceled by private respondent spouses
because the former had not yet paid the private respondent spouses and Mrs. Ligaya Gonzales.5
Petitioner's latest recourse is through the instant petition for certiorari15 where he maintains that the Court
of Appeals erred in affirming the dismissal of the declaratory relief case (Special Civil Action No. Q-
On August 11, 1983, private respondent spouses through their attorney-in-fact Bayani Sy, filed a
46386). More particularly, petitioner contends that respondent court erred in not upholding the validity of
complaint for Unlawful Detainer (Civil Case No. 44181) against petitioner before the Metropolitan Trial
the Deed of Sale with Assignment of Mortgage; in giving credence to parol evidence over the written
Court of Quezon City, Branch 43. Petitioner was ordered to vacate the premises, pay rent and attorney's
instrument; in holding that the documentary evidence of private respondents have been formally offered
fees in a decision dated March 26, 1992. Petitioner appealed to the Regional Trial Court and the unlawful
and in giving full weight to private respondent's evidence which is based on deposition upon written
detainer suit was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-92-12438.6 Upon motion by private respondent spouses,
interrogatories. In addition, petitioner maintains that the respondent RTC judge committed grave abuse of
Judge Teodoro P. Regino ordered the issuance of a writ of execution pending appeal on January 14, 1993. 7
discretion in ordering the issuance of the writ of execution in the unlawful detainer case (Civil Case No.
In the instant petition for certiorari, petitioner assails the issuance of the writ on the ground that the
Metropolitan Trial Court did not have jurisdiction over the ejectment case.

The Court notes that there is a misjoinder of causes of action in the instant petition.16 Petitioner sought a
On June 30, 1993, the Regional Trial Court rendered its decision on the ejectment case on appeal. The
review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in the declaratory relief case he filed and a declaration of
judgment of the Metropolitan Trial Court was merely modified by increasing the attorney's fees and costs
nullity of the writ of execution issued in the ejectment case filed by private respondents against him. By
to be paid by petitioner.8
doing so, petitioner, a lawyer who represented himself in the case at bench, revealed a lack of
understanding of the legal remedies provided by Rule 45 and Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
A disbarment case was also filed by private respondent Alejandra Nava against petitioner before this
Court (Administrative Case No. 2607) on November 22, 1983. This administrative case was dismissed on
The writ of certiorari is granted when any tribunal acts without or in excess of its jurisdiction or with
May 16, 1984.
grave abuse of discretion.17 Errors in judgment are not proper in a petition for certiorari. These are raised
in a petition for review.18
On November 5, 1985, a Petition for Declaratory Relief to Quiet Title was filed by herein petitioner before
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 79 (hereinafter referred to as Special Civil Action No. Q-
The petition deals with two separate and distinct cases having different causes of action: Special Civil
46386).9 The trial court rendered a decision on May 31, 1991 in favor of private respondents. 10 The
Action No. Q-46386 for declaratory relief under Rule 64 and Civil Case No. Q-92-1243819 for unlawful
dispositive portion of said decision reads:
detainer under Rule 70. The former results in the determination of the legal rights of the parties under a
contract, such as the disputed Deed of Sale with Assignment of Mortgage, 20 while ejectment involves the
WHEREFORE, a decision is hereby rendered in this case as follows: issue of possession only.21 The ejectment case was for deprivation of possession while an action to quiet
1. The instant petition for declaratory relief with damages and injunction is dismissed for lack of merit. title is based on ownership.22
2. The writ of preliminary injunction issued in this case on June 2, 1986 against respondents is hereby
It is significant to note that while the instant petition is denominated as one for certiorari under Rule 65 of
3. The damages claimed by petitioner (moral, exemplary, attorney's fees, and penalty charged) are hereby
the Rules of Court, the errors are more properly addressed in a petition for review under Rule 45. We,
dismissed for lack of merit.
therefore, treat this as a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in the declaratory relief
4. On the counterclaim of the respondents, the Court orders petitioner to pay respondents spouses Carlos
case (Special Civil Action No. Q-46386) filed by petitioner del Mundo.
and Alejandra Nava a sum of P30,000.00 by way of moral damages, and to pay Bayani Sy P10,000.00 by
way of moral damages.
5. The Deed of Sale with Assignment of Mortgage (Exhs. B, B-1, to B-13) is hereby declared null and Petitioner in the main contends that the Deed of Sale with Assignment of Mortgage executed by the
void. parties is valid, thus making him the owner of the property. However, the Regional Trial Court and
6. The Revocation of Deed of Sale with Assignment of Mortgage (Exh. 27) is hereby declared valid and respondent Court of Appeals ruled against him and held that the Deed was simulated and was made
binding to both parties. without consideration.
7. The claim for attorney' s fees on the counterclaim is dismissed for failure to establish the claim with
sufficient evidence.
The errors raised by petitioner are clearly factual in nature. There is no justification to depart from the
well-settled principle laid down in a long line of cases that the findings of fact of the lower courts, the trial
With costs against petitioner. court and the Court of Appeals, are, as a general rule, binding and conclusive upon this Court. 23 There is
likewise n basis to review the factual conclusions of the Regional Trial Court, particularly since
respondent Court of Appeals adopted them as its own and found them to be in order.

Moreover, we agree with respondent appellate court in sustaining the trial court's findings:
Petitioner appealed this decision on the declaratory relief suit (Special Civil Action No. Q-46386) to the
Court of Appeals.12 It is petitioner's contention that the notarized Deed of Sale with Assignment of
Mortgage signed by the spouses Nava conclusively shows that there was consideration for the contract of
a) Appellant's allegation that he paid the amount of P476,000.00 to Mrs. Nava in his law office was not . . . (T)his Court finds the defendant's appeal to be wholly without merit, evidently interposed only for
corroborated by any of the office personnel allegedly present at that time; purpose of delay or prolong litigation unnecessarily. This case had been pending since September 1, 1983,
when then complaint for ejectment was filed. It stemmed (sic) when the lease expired on October 31,
1982, and defendant failed to exercise his option to purchase as well as to pay rentals. The summary
b) There was no receipt of payment signed by the Navas presented in evidence;
nature of proceedings for this unlawful detainer case has all been lost because of the delaying tactics
employed or resorted to in the lower court as recited in its decision. The statement of the case narrated by
c) Appellant's allegation that he paid the consideration in his office is in conflict with his statement in his the court below leads this Court to believe that all along there was a clear pattern of conduct on the part of
affidavit-complaint (Exh. 32-a-1) that he paid the said amount at the City Hall of Manila. defendant with a view to frustrating relief. Plaintiffs-spouses, it bears stressing, have been deprived
possession of the premises since October 31, 1982 to March 1, 1993, when execution pending appeal was
implemented, or a period of more than ten (10) years. These facts amply convince this Court that the
d) His payment of the rentals on the premises in question for the months of December 1981 and January prime objective of defendant in all of his moves was to stave off the inevitable day when he must have to
1982; and his failure to declare the property in question in his name and his non-payment of the realty surrender possession of the premises to plaintiffs. This is an attitude this Court unsympathetically rejects.
taxes due thereon, are clear indications that at the time of the alleged sale, he still recognized the Navas as As if the delays were not enough, defendant also instituted a declaratory relief case within junction,
the owners of the premises in question. known as Sp. Civil Case No. Q-46386 of Branch 79 of this Court, which was dismissed on May 31, 1991,
and for which, on the counterclaim of plaintiffs, defendant del Mundo was sentenced to pay sums of
e) The series of letters he sent to the Navas who were in the United States (Exhs. 16 to 24) from March to money by way of damages. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. No. 33251, prom. August 24,
June 1982 would show that he has not paid the consideration as he was then requesting the Navas to sign 1992, defendant again lost. Not only that. Defendant also took to the task the MTC Judge in a certiorari
the prepared documents and return them to him, so that he may use them in applying for a bank loan the case, CA-G.R. Sp No. 27793, prom. October 9, 1992, but the same also proved futile. This is not to
proceeds of which will be used in paying the loans of the Navas and the consideration for the sale of the mention a certiorari and prohibition case known as Civil Case No. Q-92-13869 of Branch 98 of this
property.24 Court, as well as G.R. No. 108522 of the Supreme Court. . . .30

As regards the formal offer of documentary exhibits, petitioner argues that since the testimony of private Petitioner's employment of his legal knowledge to unnecessarily and unjustly delay this case is deplorable
respondent's witness was not seasonably offered, the documentary exhibits identified by the witness were and merits reprimand by the Court.
likewise not properly offered. Petitioner's contention, made through indirection, is without merit. This
Court is of the same conclusion as respondent Court of Appeals, that the documentary exhibits were WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. The decision of the
formally offered and properly admitted by the trial court.25 Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 33251 entitled "Gerardo A. del Mundo v. Sps. Carlos and Alejandra
Nava, et al." is AFFIRMED. Petitioner Gerardo A. del Mundo is hereby reprimanded and given a stern
The next question raised by petitioner, regarding the validity of the writ of execution in the ejectment case, warning that a repetition of delaying tactics or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
should have been raised in a separate petition for certiorari. To end the protracted legal battle between Let copies of this decision be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Bar
the parties, the Court has decided to resolve this issue and lay it to rest. Confidant. Treble costs against petitioner.

Petitioner fails to make his case. He contends that the Metropolitan Trial Court which ruled against his G.R. No. 121865 August 7, 1996
favor was bereft of jurisdiction because the issue of possession cannot be decided without deciding the ANTONIO HILARIO and/or HEIRS OF CESAR HILARIO, petitioners,
issue of ownership and because respondent judge deprived him of his right to be heard. The records vs.
elevated to the Court are those of the declaratory relief suit (Special Civil Action No. Q-46386 and CA COURT OF APPEALS, ROSAURO PALILEO and JOSEFINA ANASTACIO,* respondents.
G.R. CV No. 33251).
We have given due course to this appeal for the singular purpose of elucidating upon stressing one again
First, petitioner submitted only copies of the Order and writ of execution issued by the respondent Judge the rule that in forcible entry and unlawful detainer suits, the jurisdiction of the regular trial courts of the
Teodoro P. Regino. He did not attach a copy of the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court against first level in our integrated judicial system 1 is not or affected by the interjection in said cases of an issue
him. Petitioner offers nothing substantial to justify his allegations. concerning the ownership of the real property involved.

Second, the issue of possession can be resolved in an ejectment proceeding without deciding the issue of The ejectment suit which culminated in this appellate recourse, docketed as Civil Case No. 732 of the
ownership. A judgment rendered in the summary action of forcible entry or unlawful detainer is Municipal Trial Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, alleges that the spouses Cesar Hilario (now deceased) and
conclusive only on the question of possession and not of ownership. When the issue of ownership is Antonia Hilario purchased a house and lot in Poblacion, Guiguinto, Bulacan from the spouses Rosauro
indispensable to the resolution of the issue of possession, the Metropolitan Trial Court is empowered to Palileo and Josefina Anastacio, herein private respondents, under a deed of sale dated March 5, 1986. A
decide it as well.27 In any case, its decision does not bind the title or affect the ownership of the land or separate document, executed on the same day by the parties, granted the vendors the right to repurchase
building.28 the property within one year from said date.

Lastly, his allegations are now moot and academic. The writ of execution issued by Judge Regino was It appears, however, that the Hilarios further allowed private respondents to remain in possession of the
Served and effected on March 1, 1993. A decision in favor of private respondents was rendered by premises on the verbal understanding that the latter would vacate the same after two years from the date of
respondent RTC Judge on June 30, 1993, in effect confirming the propriety of the writ.29 the sale. Said period passed without private respondents complying therewith, even after several demands
by the Hilarios, hence a complaint for unlawful detainer was instituted by herein petitioners on August 12,
The Court could not agree more with the trial court in the ejectment case, Civil Case No. Q-92-12438,
when it held:
Private respondents, as defendants, alleged in their answer inter alia that the purpoted deed of mortgage possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be
and that their corresponding obligation had been extinguished by payment of the sum of P165,000.00 resolved only to determine the issue of possession.
therefor. They thus remained as owners and their continued physical possession of the premises bolsters
their assertion that it was only a mortgage contract that was executed between them and the Hilarios.
This Court subsequently promulgated the corresponding Interim Rules and Guidelines in the
Private respondents likewise impugned the jurisdiction of the inferior court over the controversy, although
implementation of said law and, on the jurisdiction of inferior of inferior courts in ejectment cases, it
no substantial argument was advanced in support of that argument.

The municipal trial court rejected the contentions of private respondents and, affirming its jurisdiction
10. Jurisdiction in ejectment cases. — Metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial courts, and municipal
over the case, it ruled that the deed of conveyance in dispute was basically a deed of sale which vested in
circuit trial court, without distinction, may try cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer even if the
the Hilarios the right of ownership and, consequently, of possession. The decretal part of the decision,
question of ownership is raised in the pleadings and the question of possession could not be resolved
dated May 18, 1994, reads:
without deciding the issue of ownership, but the question of ownership shall be resolved only to determine
the issue of possession (Emphasis supplied).
Wherefore, all the foregoing considered, judgment is hereby rendered:
In turn, the 1983 Rule on Summary Procedure, Section 1 of which originally conferred on inferior courts
a. Ordering defendants and/or other persons claiming authority under them to vacate the premises covered jurisdiction to try in summary proceedings cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer except where the
by Tax Declaration No. ARP No. 02009-0955 and to restore possession thereof to the plaintiffs; question of ownership was involved or where the damage or unpaid or unpaid rentals sought to be
recovered exceeded P20,000.00 at the time of the filing of the complaint, was later revised by a resolution
of the Court En Banc which took effect on November 15, 1991. At present, all forcible entry and unlawful
b. Ordering defendants to pay plaintiffs the amount of P10,000.00 as attorney's fees. 2
detainer cases have to be tried pursuant to the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure regardless of whether
or not the issue of ownership of the subject property is alleged by a party. 4
Defendants then elevated the matter on appeal to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 79, of Malolos,
Bulacan in Civil Case No. 628-M-94. Said court, finding no reversible error in the judgment of the lower
Then, on April 15, 1994, Republic Act No. 7691 took effect and expanded the jurisdiction of the
court, affirmed the same in its entirety. Defendants once more appealed, this time to respondent Court of
metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial courts, and municipal circuit trial courts, amending for the
Appeals where the case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 35977.
purpose the pertinent portions of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. The jurisdiction of the aforesaid courts as
defined in Section 33(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 was, however, retained by said amendatory Act. As
On the reasoning that the issue raised by private respondents ultimately rested upon and involved the the law now stands, inferior courts retrain jurisdiction over ejectment cases even if the question of
question of ownership, particularly on its assumption that the deed of conveyance was actually a mortgage possession cannot be resolved without passing upon the issue of ownership; but this is subject to the same
contract, on June 27, 1995 respondent court reversed and set aside 3 the judgment of said Regional Trial caveat that the issue posed as to ownership could be resolved by the court for the sole purpose of
Court and the lower court. Thus, it dismissed the complaint for ejectment against the vendors, now the determining the issue of possession. 5
private respondents in this case. As the motion for reconsideration of the Hilarios was thereafter rebuffed
by respondent court in its resolution of September 8, 1995, they have now come on appeal by certiorari to
Thus, an adjudication made therein regarding the issue of ownership should be regarded as merely
provisional and, therefore, would not bar or prejudice an action between the same parties involving title to
the land. 6 The foregoing doctrine is a necessary consequence of the nature of forcible entry and unlawful
For resolution here is the question of whether or not the conflicting positions of the litigants, namely detainer cases where the only issue to be settled is the physical or material possession over the real
petitioner's claim of their right to possess the subject property pursuant to the deed of sale, on the one property, that is, possession de facto and not possession de jure. 7
hand, and private respondents insistence that they remained owners of the realty because the purported
deed of sale in realty a mortgage contract, on the other hand, would impale the controversy on the issue of
In Wilmon Auto Supply Corporation, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 8 the Court catalogued the cases
ownership. The latter theory could plausibly deprive the municipal trial court of jurisdiction over the case
which should not be regarded as prejudicial to an ejectment suit, to wit:
and private respondents so argue, contending that as they had precisely put in issue their ownership of the
property, that trial court was ab initio barred from taking cognizance of the suit lack of jurisdiction.
1. Injunction suits instituted in the RTC by defendants in ejectment actions in the municipal trial court or
other courts of the first level (Nacorda v. Yatco, 17 SCRA 920 [1966]) do not abate the latter; and neither
Section 33(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, prescribes the jurisdiction of inferior courts in forcible entry
do proceedings on consignation of rentals (Lim Si v. Lim, 98 Phil. 868 [1956], citing Pue et al. v.
and unlawful detainer cases as follows:
Gonzales, 87 Phil. 81 [1950]).

Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
2. An "accion publiciana" does not suspend an ejectment suit against the plaintiff in the former (Ramirez
Courts in Civil Cases. — Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trail Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
v. Bleza, 106 SCRA 187 [1981]).
Courts shall exercise:

3. A "writ of possession case" where ownership is concededly the principal issue before the Regional Trial
xxx xxx xxx
Court does not preclude nor bar the execution of the judgment in an unlawful detainer suit where the only
issue involved is the material possession or possession or possession de facto of the premises (Heirs of F.
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer: Provided, That when Guballa, Sr. v. C.A., et al.; etc., 168 SCRA 518 [1988]).
in such cases, the defendant raises the question of ownership in his pleadings and the question of
4. An action for quieting of title to property is not a bar to an ejectment suit involving the same property agreement and, despite verbal and written demands to vacate, they continued to occupy and unlawfully
(Quimpo v. de la Victoria, SCRA 139 [1972]). withhold possession of the premises from and to the damage and prejudiced of petitioners. 11 From the
foregoing, no interpretative exercise is needed to conclude that the requirement regarding sufficiency of
the allegations on the jurisdictional facts in ejectment cases had been indubitably complied with by
5. Suits for specific performance with damages do not affect ejectment actions (e.g.; to compel renewal of
a lease contract) (Desamito v. Cuyegkeng, 18 SCRA 1184 [1966]; Pardo de Tavera v. Encarnacion, 22
SCRA 632 [1968]; Rosales v. CFI, 154 SCRA 153 [1987]; Commander Realty, Inc. v. C.A., 162 SCRA
264 [1988]). The settled rule is that a complaint for unlawful detainer is sufficient if it contains the allegation that the
withholding of possession or the refusal to vacate is unlawful, without necessarily employing the
terminology of the law. 12 The complaint must aver facts showing that the inferior court has jurisdiction to
6. An action for reformation of instrument (e.g., from deed of absolute sale to one of sale with pacto de
try the case, such as how defendant's possession started or continued. 13 Thus, the allegation in a complaint
retro) does not suspend an ejectment suit between the same parties (Judith v. Abragan, 66 SCRA 600
that the "plaintiff verbally asked the defendants to remove their houses on the lot of the former but the
latter refused and still refuse to do so without just and lawful grounds" was held to be more than sufficient
compliance with the jurisdictional requirements. 14 If the possession is by tolerance, as has been alleged in
7. An action for reconveyance of property or "accion reivindicatoria" also has no effect on ejectment suits the complaint of the Hilarios in this case, such possession became illegal upon demand to vacate and the
regarding the same property (Del Rosario v. Jimenez, 8 SCRA 549 [1963]; Salinas v. Navarro, 126 SCRA possessor refused to comply with such demand. 15
167; De la Cruz v. C.A., 133 SCRA 520 [1984]; Drilon v. Gaurana, 149 SCRA 352 [1987]; Ching v.
Malaya. 153 SCRA 412 [1987]; Philippines Feeds Milling Co., Inc. v. C.A., 174 SCRA 108; Dante v.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the assailed judgment and resolution of respondent Court of Appeals
Sison, 174 SCRA 517 [1989]; Guzman v. C.A. [annulment of sale and reconveyance], 177 SCRA 604];
are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The judgment of the Municipal Trial Court of Guiguinto,
Demamay v. C.A., 186 SCRA 608 [1990]; Leopoldo Sy v. C.A., et al., [annulment of sale and
Bulacan in Civil Case No. 732 promulgated on May 18, 1994, and the judgment of the Regional Trial
reconveyance], G.R. No. 95818, Aug. 2, 1991).
Court, Branch 79, of Malolos, Bulacan affirming said disposition of the inferior court, are hereby
8. Neither do suits for annulment of sale, or title, or document affecting property operate to abate
ejectment actions respecting the same property (Salinas v. Navarro [annulment of deed of sale with
assumption of mortgage and/or to declare the same an equitable mortgage], 126 SCRA 167 [1983]; Ang
Ping v. RTC [annulment of sale and title], 154 SCRA 153 [1987]; Caparros v. C.A. [annulment of title],
170 SCRA 758 [1989]; Dante v. Galgala v. Benguet Consolidated, Inc. [annulment of document], 177
SCRA 288 [1989]).

It is underscored, however that the allegations in the complaint for ejectment should sufficiently make out
a case for forcible entry or unlawful detainer, as the case may be; otherwise, jurisdiction would not vest in
the inferior court. 9 Jurisdiction over the subject matter is, after all, determined by the nature of the action
as alleged or pleaded in the complaint. Thus, even where the defendant alleges ownership or title to the
property in his or her answer, the inferior court will not be divested of its jurisdiction. 10 A contrary rule
would pave the way for the defendant to trifle with the ejectment suit, which is summary in nature, as he
could easily defeat the same through the simple expedient of asserting ownership.

In the case at bar, the submission of private respondents could not prosper, both under the rule that inferior
courts have the undoubted competence to resolve the issue of ownership provisionally, and on the well-
grounded principle that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint. Indeed, while
private respondents did raise the question of ownership when they asserted that the contract of sale was in
fact one of mortgage, the municipal trial court could not be divested of its jurisdiction over the case since,
to repeat, it could very well resolve that particular issue albeit provisionally, as what happened in this

Parenthetically, private respondents herein are not without remedy in their stance. They could still assert
ownership over the property but it should be done in the manner required by the Rules. In fact, they did
just that when they themselves initiated an action for reconveyance involving the same property against
petitioners before the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan in Civil Case No. 87-M94 thereof. The
record discloses that said action is still pending in that court.

The basic complaint for unlawful detainer in this case categorically alleges that a certain parcel of land
consisting of 81 square meters, more of less, located at Poblacion, Guiguinto, Bulacan, was acquired by
petitioners from private respondents under a document of sale dated March 5, 1986, and that the latter
were allowed to stay in the premises on an oral covenant that they would vacate the same within two
years. It is further asserted that said period elapsed without the vendors complying with that verbal