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[G.R. No. 129680. September 1, 1999] Court of Appeals sustained the CTA. Hence this
CARRARA MARBLE vs. COMMISIONER OF petition.
CUSTOMS
RULING: Incidentally, the forfeiture of the subject
FACTS: Collector of Customs conducted a public machineries rests on a different statutory basis from
auction sale of various articles duly declared Policarpio’s right to receive the property as winning
abandoned after appropriate proceedings. Included bidder in the auction sale. The forfeiture
in the sale was Lot 15 advertised as “15 tons more proceedings were based upon the government’s
or less, of marble processing machine and grinding right to recover property illegally withdrawn from
machine, rusty and in junk condition.” Lot 15 was its custody. On the other hand, Policarpio’s right
awarded to Engr. Franklin G. Policarpio as the stems from the government’s contractual obligation
highest bidder thereof. Engr. Policarpio had taken to deliver the machineries to Policarpio as buyer in
delivery of said lot, he wrote the Collector of good faith at the public auction sale.
Customs informing him that the following items
supposed to be part of Lot 15 were missing. The
missing machineries were later found installed in [G.R. No. 109355. October 29, 1999]
the compound of petitioner Carrara Marble SERAFIN MODINA vs. CA, ET. AL.
Philippines, Inc., Lipa City, Batangas, true to the
information furnished by Engr. Policarpio himself. FACTS: The parcels of land in question are those
under the name of private resp CHIANG. He
Consequently, the aforesaid machineries were theorized that subject properties were sold to him by
seized (per Warrant of Seizure and Detention from his wife MERLINDA, as evidenced by a Deed of
the compound of petitioner. During the seizure and Absolute Sale, and were subsequently sold by
forfeiture proceedings, Carrara Marble Philippines, CHIANG to the petitioner MODINA, as shown by
Inc., failed to present evidence of payment of duties the Deeds of Sale.
and taxes on the subject machineries. In its defense,
it claimed, that the machineries were purchased MODINA brought a Complaint for Recovery of
locally from a certain Jaina Perez as evidenced by Possession with Damages against the private
two notarized deeds of absolute sale. Meanwhile, respondents, Ernesto Hontarciego, Paul Figueroa
Engr. Policarpio intervened in said proceedings, and Teodoro Hipalla before the RTC of Iloilo City.
claiming ownership over the subject machineries as
the successful bidder in the public auction sale Upon learning the institution of the said case,
conducted by the Bureau of Customs wherein said MERLINDA presented a Complaint-in-
machineries were part of Lot 15. intervention, seeking the declaration of nullity of
the Deed of Sale between her husband and
Collector of Customs declared the machineries MODINA on the ground that the titles of the parcels
forfeited in favor of the government. Petitioner of land in dispute were never legally transferred to
appealed from the Collector of Customs’ decision to her husband. Fraudulent acts were allegedly
the Commissioner of Customs who affirmed said employed by him to obtain a Torrens Title in his
decision. favor. However, she confirmed the validity of the
lease contracts with the other private respondents.
CTA dismissed the petition for review filed by
petitioner; affirmed the authority of the Customs MERLINDA also admitted that the said parcels of
Commissioner to seize the machineries; and ordered land were those ordered sold by Branch 2 of the
the Commissioner to deliver the articles to then Court of First Instance of Iloilo in Special
Policarpio as the highest bidder in accordance with Proceeding No. 2469 in “Intestate Estate of Nelson
its decision in CTA Case No. 5057. On appeal, the Plana” where she was appointed as the
administratix, being the widow of the deceased, her

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first husband. An Authority to Sell was issued by The exception to the rule laid down in Art. 1490 of
the said Probate Court for the sale of the same the New Civil Code not having existed with respect
properties. to the property relations of Ramon Chiang and
Merlinda Plana Chiang, the sale by the latter in
After due hearing, the Trial Court decided in favor favor of the former of the properties in question is
of MERLINDA declaring as void and inexistent the invalid for being prohibited by law. Not being the
sale of Lots. CA affirmed the aforesaid decision in owner of subject properties, Ramon Chiang could
toto. Petitioner found his way to this Court via the not have validly sold the same to plaintiff Serafin
present Petition for Review under Rule 45 seeking Modina. The sale by Ramon Chiang in favor of
to set aside the assailed decision of the Court of Serafin Modina is, likewise, void and inexistent.
Appeals.
The principle of in pari delicto non oritur actio
Raised for resolution here are: (1) whether the sale denies all recovery to the guilty parties inter se. It
of subject lots should be nullified, (2) whether applies to cases where the nullity arises from the
petitioner was not a purchaser in good faith, (3) illegality of the consideration or the purpose of the
whether the decision of the trial court was tainted contract. When two persons are equally at fault, the
with excess of jurisdiction xxx. law does not relieve them. The exception to this
general rule is when the principle is invoked with
RULING: Anent the first issue, petitioner theorizes respect to inexistent contracts.
that the sale in question is null and void for being
violative of Article 1490 of the New Civil Code In the petition under consideration, the Trial Court
prohibiting sales between spouses. Consequently, found that subject Deed of Sale was a nullity for
what is applicable is Article 1412 supra on the lack of any consideration. This finding duly
principle of in pari delicto, which leaves both guilty supported by evidence was affirmed by the Court of
parties where they are, and keeps undisturbed the Appeals. Well-settled is the rule that this Court will
rights of third persons to whom the lots involved not disturb such finding absent any evidence to the
were sold; petitioner stressed. contrary.

Petitioner anchors his submission on the following Petitioner’s insistence that MERLINDA cannot
statements of the Trial Court which the Court of attack subject contract of sale as she was a guilty
Appeals upheld, to wit: party thereto is equally unavailing. But the pivot of
inquiry here is whether MERLINDA is barred by
“Furthermore, under Art. 1490, husband and the principle of in pari delicto from questioning
wife are prohibited to sell properties to each subject Deed of Sale.
other. And where, as in this case, the sale is
inexistent for lack of consideration, the The Trial Court debunked petitioner’s theory that
principle of in pari delicto non oritur actio does MERLINDA intentionally gave away the bulk of
not apply. (Vasquez vs Porta, 98 Phil 490). her and her late husband’s estate to defendant
CHIANG as his exclusive property, for want of
Thus, Art. 1490 provides: evidentiary anchor. They insist on the Deed of Sale
wherein MERLINDA made the misrepresentation
Art. 1490. The husband and the wife cannot that she was a widow and CHIANG was single,
sell property to each other, except: when at the time of execution thereof, they were in
(1) when a separation of property was agreed fact already married. Petitioner insists that this
upon in the marriage settlements; or document conclusively established bad faith on the
(2) when there has been a judicial separation part of MERLINDA and therefore, the principle of
of property under Art. 191. in pari delicto should have been applied.
+

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These issues are factual in nature and it is not for It is a well-settled rule that a purchaser cannot close
this Court to appreciate and evaluate the pieces of his eyes to facts which would put a reasonable man
evidence introduced below. An appellate court upon his guard to make the necessary inquiries, and
defers to the factual findings of the Trial Court, then claim that he acted in good faith. His mere
unless petitioner can show a glaring mistake in the refusal to believe that such defect exists, or his
appreciation of relevant evidence. wilful closing of his eyes to the possibility of the
existence of a defect in his vendor’s title, will not
Since one of the characteristics of a void or make him an innocent purchaser for value, if it
inexistent contract is that it does not produce any afterwards develops that the title was in fact
effect, MERLINDA can recover the property from defective, and it appears that he had such notice of
petitioner who never acquired title thereover. the defect as would have led to its discovery had he
acted with that measure of precaution which may
As to the second issue, petitioner stresses that his reasonably be required of a prudent man in a like
title should have been respected since he is a situation.
purchaser in good faith and for value. The Court of
Appeals, however, opined that he (petitioner) is not Thus, petitioner cannot claim that the sale between
a purchaser in good faith. It found that there were him and MODINA falls under the exception
circumstances known to MODINA which rendered provided for by law.
their transaction fraudulent under the attendant
circumstances. In a Petition for Review, only questions of law may
be raised. It is perceived by the Court that what
As a general rule, in a sale under the Torrens petitioner is trying to, albeit subtly, is for the Court
system, a void title cannot give rise to a valid title. to examine the probative value or evidentiary
The exception is when the sale of a person with a weight of the evidence presented below The Court
void title is to a third person who purchased it for cannot do that unless the appreciation of the pieces
value and in good faith. of evidence on hand is glaringly erroneous. But this
is where petitioner utterly failed.
A purchaser in good faith is one who buys the
property of another without notice that some other
person has a right to or interest in such property and [G.R. No. 132753. February 15, 1999]
pays a full and fair price at the time of the purchase SIASOCO, ET. AL., vs. CA, ET. AL.,
or before he has notice of the claim or interest of
some other person in the property. FACTS: Petitioners were the registered owners of
nine parcels of land located in Montalban, Rizal. In
In the case under scrutiny, petitioner cannot claim December 1994, they began to offer the subject
that he was a purchaser in good faith. There are properties for sale. Petitioners made a final offer to
circumstances which are indicia of bad faith on his the INC. The latter’s counsel sent a reply received
part, to wit: (1) He asked his nephew, Placido by Petitioner Mario Siasoco on December 24, 1996,
Matta, to investigate the origin of the property and stating that the offer was accepted, but that the INC
the latter learned that the same formed part of the was “not amenable to your proposal to an
properties of MERLINDA’s first husband; (2) that undervaluation of the total consideration.” In their
the said sale was between the spouses; (3) that when letter dated January 8, 1997, petitioners claimed that
the property was inspected, MODINA met all the the INC had not really accepted the offer, adding
lessees who informed that subject lands belong to that, prior to their receipt of the aforementioned
MERLINDA and they had no knowledge that the reply on December 24, 1996, they had already
same lots were sold to the husband. “contracted” with Carissa for the sale of the said
properties “due to the absence of any response to
their offer from INC.”

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Maintaining that a sale had been consummated, INC there are recognized exceptions to this rule,
demanded that the corresponding deed be executed petitioners do not claim that this case is one of
in its favor. Petitioners refused. them. For this procedural lapse, the instant petition
should be dismissed outright.
Private respondent filed a civil suit for [s]pecific
[p]erformance and [d]amages against petitioners Nonetheless, inasmuch as the Petition was filed
and Carissa Homes and Development & Properties. within the 15-day period provided under Rule 45,
Pending resolution of petitioners’ Motion to and considering the importance of the issue raised
Dismiss, private respondent negotiated with Carissa and the fact that private respondent did not question
Homes which culminated in the purchase of the the propriety of the instant Petition, the Court
subject properties of Carissa Homes by private treated the action as a petition for review (not
respondent. Private respondent filed an [A]mended certiorari) under Rule 45 in order to accord
[C]omplaint, dropping Carissa Homes as one of the substantial justice to the parties. We will thus
defendants and changing the nature of the case to a proceed to discuss the substantive issue.
mere case for damages. Main Issue: Admission of Amended Complaint

CA ruled that although private respondent could no It is clear that plaintiff (herein private respondent)
longer amend its original Complaint as a matter of can amend its complaint once, as a matter of right,
right, it was not precluded from doing so with leave before a responsive pleading is filed. Contrary to
of court. Thus, the CA concluded that the RTC had the petitioners’ contention, the fact that Carissa had
not acted with grave abuse of discretion in already filed its Answer did not bar private
admitting private respondent’s Amended respondent from amending its original Complaint
Complaint. once, as a matter of right, against herein
petitioners. Indeed, where some but not all the
ISSUE: Did the CA err in affirming the two Orders defendants have answered, plaintiffs may amend
of the RTC which had allowed the Amended their Complaint once, as a matter of right, in respect
Complaint? to claims asserted solely against the non-answering
defendants, but not as to claims asserted against the
RULING: The petition is devoid of merit. We other defendants.
sustain the Court of Appeals, but for reasons
different from those given in the assailed Decision. The rationale for the aforementioned rule is in
Preliminary Issue: Propriety of Certiorari Section 3, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court, which
provides that after a responsive pleading has been
For the writ of certiorari under Rule 65 to issue, the filed, an amendment may be rejected when the
petitioner must show not only that the lower court defense is substantially altered. Such amendment
acted with grave abuse of discretion, but also that does not only prejudice the rights of the defendant;
“there is no appeal, or any other plain, speedy, and it also delays the action. In the first place, where a
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.” party has not yet filed a responsive pleading, there
Since the questioned CA Decision was a disposition are no defenses that can be altered. Furthermore,
on the merits, and since said Court has no remaining the Court has held that “[a]mendments to pleadings
issue to resolve, the proper remedy available to are generally favored and should be liberally
petitioners was a petition for review under Rule 45, allowed in furtherance of justice in order that every
not Rule 65. case may so far as possible be determined on its real
facts and in order to speed the trial of cases or
Furthermore, as a general rule, certiorari under prevent the circuity of action and unnecessary
Rule 65 cannot issue unless the lower court, through expense, unless there are circumstances such as
a motion for reconsideration, has been given an inexcusable delay or the taking of the adverse party
opportunity to correct the imputed error. Although

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by surprise or the like, which might justify a refusal Distillers v. Ponferrada, this Court ruled that a
of permission to amend.” complaint for “specific performance with damages”
is a personal action and may be filed in the proper
True, Carissa had already filed its own Answer. court where any of the parties reside, viz.:
Petitioners, however, have not yet filed any.
Moreover, they do not allege that their defense is “Finally, [w]e are not also persuaded by
similar to that of Carissa. On the contrary, private petitioner’s argument that venue should be
respondent’s claims against the latter and against lodged in Bago City where the lot is situated.
petitioners are different. Against petitioners, whose The complaint is one for “specific performance
offer to sell the subject parcels of land had allegedly with damages.” Private respondents do not
been accepted by private respondent, the latter is claim ownership of the lot but in fact [recognize
suing for specific performance and damages for the] title of defendants by annotating a notice of
breach of contract. Although private respondent lis pendens. In one case, a similar complaint
could no longer amend, as a matter of right, its for “specific performance with damages”
Complaint against Carissa, it could do so against involving real property, was held to be a
petitioners who, at the time, had not yet filed an personal action, which may be filed in the
answer. proper court where the party resides. Not being
an action involving title to or ownership of real
The amendment did not prejudice the petitioners or property, venue, in this case, was not
delay the action. Au contraire, it simplified improperly laid before the RTC of Bacolod
the case and tended to expedite its disposition. City.”
The Amended Complaint became simply an action
for damages, since the claims for specific
performance and declaration of nullity of the sale [G.R. No. 117925. October 12, 1999]
have been deleted. TENSOREX INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION
vs. CA
RTC Had Jurisdiction
FACTS: The present controversy arose as a
Petitioners also insist that the RTC of Quezon City consequence of the execution of judgment in the
did not have jurisdiction over the original case of “Tensorex Industrial Corporation vs. Alicia
Complaint; hence, it did not have any authority to Gala and Heirs of Manuel Gala”, for ejectment
allow the amendment. They maintain that the with damages. MTC rendered judgment against
original action for specific performance involving defendants and in favor of plaintiff.
parcels of land in Montalban, Rizal should have
been filed in the RTC of that area. Thus, they chide Private respondent then appealed the judgment of
the CA for allegedly misunderstanding the the MTC in the ejectment case to the RTC of
distinction between territorial jurisdiction and Makati. In the meantime, even before said appeal
venue, thereby erroneously holding that the RTC could be raffled, the Branch Sheriff of MTC-Makati
had jurisdiction over the original Complaint, served the alias writ of execution and levied upon
although the venue was improperly laid. the personal properties of the private respondent,
threatening to sell said properties. Confronted with
We disagree. True, an amendment cannot be this dilemma, private respondent filed a petition for
allowed when the court has no jurisdiction over the certiorari with prayer for the issuance of writ of
original Complaint and the purpose of the preliminary injunction with the RTC of Makati to
amendment is to confer jurisdiction on the court. In enjoin the sheriff from carrying out the threatened
the present case, however, the RTC had jurisdiction sale of its properties. The RTC, after preliminary
because the original Complaint involved specific hearing, issued a writ of preliminary injunction
performance with damages. In La Tondeña conditioned upon the posting of an injunction bond.

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It is petitioner’s contention that the remedy of
After hearing, the RTC, dismissed the petition for private respondent in regard to the decision of the
certiorari and lifted the writ of preliminary RTC is a petition for review pursuant to Supreme
injunction it earlier issued. From this dismissal, Court Circular 2-90. This is because the RTC
private respondent filed its notice of intention to decision sought to be reviewed was rendered by the
appeal Civil Case No. 91-2148 to the Court of RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.
Appeals. RTC gave due course to the appeal to the Consequently, the filing of a notice of appeal with
CA. CA dismissed private respondent’s appeal for the RTC was the wrong mode of appeal and as such
its failure to file Memorandum. the appeal should have been dismissed.
We find, however, that petitioner’s argument is
Private respondent filed a Motion for without merit. It is worth noting that what private
Reconsideration premised on the ground that it did respondent filed with the RTC was a special civil
not receive any notice to file memorandum and as action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
such its period within which to file the required Court.
memorandum had not yet lapsed. CA denied the
Motion for Reconsideration. In the meantime, even One of the basic distinctions between certiorari as a
before private respondent could receive said order mode of appeal and an original special civil action
of denial of the motion for reconsideration, it filed a for certiorari is that in appeal by certiorari, the
Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration with appellate court acts in the exercise of its appellate
prayer that its Comment filed on January 7, 1994, jurisdiction and power of review, while on certiorari
be considered as its Memorandum. as an original action, the higher court exercises
original jurisdiction under its power of control and
Private respondent filed a Motion for Leave to File supervision over the orders of lower court.
Second Motion for Reconsideration, the resolution Moreover, the period for filing appeal is much
of which along with other pending incidents of the shorter than for filing an original action for
case was deferred by the CA. CA promulgated a certiorari. Consequently, where the appealed
Resolution accepting private respondent’s judgment was rendered by the RTC in the exercise
explanation and proceeded to treat the Comment of its original jurisdiction, the appeal to the Court of
filed by private respondent as its Memorandum. It Appeals may be taken by writ of error or ordinary
also ordered the petitioner to file its Memorandum appeal. Hence, the Court of Appeals committed no
within 10 days from receipt of the Resolution after grave abuse of discretion in taking cognizance of
which the appeal shall be deemed submitted for the appeal.
decision. According to the Court of Appeals: “It
appears that the appellant’s counsel did not receive Furthermore, the mere fact that private respondent
the aforesaid notice to file Memorandum xxx & we earlier appealed the decision of the MTC to the
denied the motion in a Resolution on May 26, 1994 RTC does not preclude the filing of a special civil
on the mistaken premise that the appellant had action for certiorari with the RTC concerning an
received the notice to file memorandum, which was entirely different incident. Settled is the rule that
previously ordered to be re-sent to the appellant.” availability of an appeal does not foreclose resort to
the extraordinary remedies, such as certiorari and
Hence, this petition. prohibition, where appeal is not adequate or equally
beneficial, speedy and sufficient. In the case at
RULING: The sole issue now for consideration in hand, private respondent had no choice. The appeal
this case, in our view, is whether or not the Court of proved to be inadequate as its properties were being
Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion attached, with the possibility of their sale
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in imminent. Private respondent was left with no
reinstating the appeal of the private respondent. choice but to avail of the extraordinary remedy of
certiorari to protect its interest.

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Here we find that the Court of Appeals, in issuing
With respect to the second assignment of error, it is its questioned resolution, committed no grave abuse
petitioner’s contention that the questioned of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
Resolution of the Court of Appeals is null and void There are factual bases and legal justification for the
for it unduly set aside its earlier resolution assailed order. The burden is upon the petitioner to
dismissing the appeal, as well as private demonstrate that the questioned resolution
respondent’s motion for reconsideration. It is also constitutes a whimsical and capricious exercise of
argued that the filing of the second motion for judgment. This, petitioner has not done. To
reconsideration did not suspend the period for reiterate our established rule, certiorari will not be
perfecting an appeal and therefore, the order of issued to cure errors in proceedings or correct
denial of the first motion for reconsideration, along erroneous conclusions of law or fact. As long as a
with the earlier resolution dismissing the appeal had court acts within its jurisdiction, any alleged errors
already become final and executory. committed in the exercise of its jurisdiction will
amount to nothing more than errors of judgment
The argument fails to persuade us. The Court of which are reviewable by timely appeal and not by
Appeals in the questioned resolution ruled that it certiorari. Moreover, there being no grave abuse of
denied private respondent’s motion for discretion committed by the respondent court, in the
reconsideration “on the mistaken premise” that exercise of its jurisdiction, the relief of prohibition
private respondent received the notice to file is also unavailable.
memorandum which was previously ordered to be
re-sent. Considering that private respondent did not
receive a copy of the notice, the period within [G.R. No. 95897. December 14, 1999]
which to file said memorandum could not be said to HUIBONHOA vs. CA
have already expired.
FACTS: Florencia T. Huibonhoa entered into a
While it is true that a second motion for memorandum of agreement with siblings Rufina
reconsideration is not allowed, courts in the exercise Gojocco Lim, Severino Gojocco and Loreta
of their functions, and in rendering decisions, must Gojocco Chua stipulating that Florencia T.
not be too dogmatic as to restrict itself to literal Huibonhoa would lease from them (Gojoccos) 3
interpretations of words, phrases and sentences; a commercial lots at Binondo, Manila.
complete and holistic view must be taken in order to
render a just and equitable judgment. In addition, it The consequent hoarding of construction materials
has often been stressed that procedural laws should and increase in interest rates allegedly affected
be liberally construed in order to promote their adversely the construction of the building such that
objective and assist the parties in obtaining just, Huibonhoa failed to complete the same within the
speedy and inexpensive determination of every stipulated eight-month period from July 1, 1983.
action or proceeding. Projected to be finished on February 29, 1984, the
construction was completed only in September 1984
In the case at hand, the Court of Appeals merely or seven (7) months later.
corrected itself when it issued the questioned
resolution of November 7, 1994. Every court has Under the contract, Huibonhoa was supposed to
the power and indeed the duty to review and amend start paying rental in March 1984 but she failed to
or reverse its findings and conclusions when its do so. Consequently, the Gojoccos made several
attention is timely called to any error or defect verbal demands upon Huibonhoa for the payment of
therein. To do otherwise would be tantamount to an rental arrearages and, for her to vacate the leased
abrogation of its solemn duty to do justice to every premises. On December 19, 1984, lessors sent
man. lessee a final letter of demand to pay the rental
arrearages and to vacate the leased premises. The

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former also notified the latter of their intention to ISSUE: Whether or not the Metropolitan Trial
terminate the contract of lease. Court had jurisdiction over the complaint for
“cancellation of lease, ejectment and collection” in
However, on January 3, 1985, Huibonhoa brought Civil Case No. 90-54557.
an action for reformation of contract before Branch
148 of the Regional Trial Court in Makati. RULING: Well-settled is the rule that in an
Docketed as Civil Case No. 9402. She (lessee) ejectment suit, the only issue is possession de facto
alleged that the Gojoccos had erroneously or physical or material possession and not
considered the first accrual date of the rents to be possession de jure. So that, even if the question of
March 1984 when their true intention was that ownership is raised in the pleadings, as in this case,
during the entire period of actual construction of the the court may pass upon such issue but only to
building, no rents would accrue. Thus, according to determine the question of possession especially if
Huibonhoa, the first rent would have been due only the former is inseparably linked with the latter. It
in October 1984. cannot dispose with finality the issue of ownership-
such issue being inutile in an ejectment suit except
The Gojoccos filed Civil Case No. 106097 against to throw light on the question of possession. This is
Huibonhoa for “cancellation of lease, ejectment and why the issue of ownership or title is generally
collection” with the Metropolitan Trial Court of immaterial and foreign to an ejectment suit.
Manila. They theorized that despite the expiration
of the 8-month construction period, Huibonhoa Detainer, being a mere quieting process, questions
failed to pay the rents that had accrued since March raised on real property are incidentally discussed.
1, 1984, their verbal demands therefor In fact, any evidence of ownership is expressly
notwithstanding; that, in their letter of December banned by Sec. 4, Rule 70 except to resolve the
19, 1984, they had notified Huibonhoa of their question of possession. Thus, all that the court may
intention to “terminate and cancel the lease for do, is to make an initial determination of who is the
violation of its terms” and that they demanded from owner of the property so that it can resolve who is
her the “restitution of the land in question” and the entitled to its possession absent other evidence to
payment of all rentals due thereunder. resolve the latter. But such determination of
ownership is not clothed with finality. Neither will
Makati RTC rendered a decision holding that it affect ownership of the property nor constitute a
Huibonhoa had not presented clear and convincing binding and conclusive adjudication on the merits
evidence to justify the reformation of the lease with respect to the issue of ownership.
contract. On the other hand, in Civil Case No.
102604, the MTC of Manila ordered Huibonhoa to Undoubtedly, the complaint avers ultimate facts
vacate the lots owned Gojocco. RTC of Manila, required for a cause of action in an unlawful
Branch 55, reversed the decision of the detainer case. It alleges possession of the properties
Metropolitan Trial Court and ordered the dismissal by the lessee, verbal and written demands to pay
of the complaint in Civil Case No. 106097. rental arrearages and to vacate the leased premises,
continued refusal of the lessees to surrender
Hence, Civil Case Nos. 9402 and 106097 (that was possession of the premises, and the fact that the
docketed before the RTC of Manila as Civil Case action was filed within one year from demand to
No. 90-54557) were both elevated to the Court of vacate.
Appeals. CA rendered a Decision affirming the
decision of the Makati RTC in Civil Case No. 9402 However, forging contracts for parties in a case is
and the decision of the RTC of Manila in Civil Case beyond the jurisdiction of courts. Otherwise, it
No. 106097. would result in the court’s substitution of its own
volition in a contract that should express only the
parties’ will. Necessarily, the Metropolitan Trial

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Court could not favorably act on the prayer for petitioners against the private respondent is SET
cancellation of the contract with another containing ASIDE; the order of ejectment issued by the
terms suggested by the plaintiffs as the allegations Metropolitan Trial Court a quo on July 30, 1980 is
and prayer therefor are no more than superfluities UPHELD; and the private respondent and all
that do not affect the main cause of action averred persons claiming authority under her are ordered to
in the complaint. The court therefore granted only vacate the land and portion of the building
the main relief sought by the plaintiffs-the eviction corresponding to Lot No. 26-B covered by TCT No.
of the defendant. 80728 of petitioner Severino Gojocco, and the
portion corresponding to Lot No. 26-C covered by
The Regional Trial Court incorrectly held that the TCT No. 155450 of petitioner Loreta Chua.
complaint was also for rescission of contract, a case
that is certainly not within the jurisdiction of the
Metropolitan Trial Court. By the allegations of the [G.R. No. 123050. January 20, 1999]
complaint, the Gojoccos’ aim was to cancel or SUICO INDUSTRIAL
terminate the contract because they sought its CORPORATION vs. CA
partial enforcement in praying for rental arrearages.
There is a distinction in law between cancellation of FACTS: Petitioner Suico Industrial Corporation,
a contract and its rescission. To rescind is to represented by Esmeraldo Suico, its President,
declare a contract void in its inception and to put an secured a loan payable in 5 years, from respondent
end to it as though it never were. It is not merely to PDCP Bank. As security thereof, petitioner spouses
terminate it and release parties from further mortgaged their 2 real estate properties situated at
obligations to each other but to abrogate it from the Mandaue City, Cebu. For failure to pay the balance
beginning and restore the parties to relative of the loan respondent PDCP Bank caused the
positions which they would have occupied had no extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate
contract ever been made. mortgage. It was adjudge as the highest bidder and
a Certificate of Sale was duly issued by the Sheriff
Termination of a contract is congruent with an of Mandaue in its favor. Petitioner failed to redeem
action for unlawful detainer. The termination or the said properties. After expiration of the 1-year
cancellation of a contract would necessarily entail redemption period, ownership over the properties
enforcement of its terms prior to the declaration of were consolidated and were correspondingly issued
its cancellation in the same way that before a lessee in the name of respondent PDCP Bank.
is ejected under a lease contract, he has to fulfill his
obligations thereunder that had accrued prior to his Respondent PDCP Bank filed with RTC of
ejectment. However, termination of a contract need Mandaue City, Branch 28 an “Ex parte Motion for
not undergo judicial intervention. The parties the Issuance of Writ of Possession” which was
themselves may exercise such option. Only upon granted. However, the writ could not be enforced
disagreement between the parties as to how it because petitioners filed a “Complaint for Specific
should be undertaken may the parties resort to Performance, Injunction and Damages (with Prayer
courts. Hence, notwithstanding the allegations in for Restraining Order)” before the RTC of Mandaue
the complaint that are extraneous or not essential in City, Branch 56 seeking to enjoin respondent PDCP
an action for unlawful detainer, the Metropolitan Bank from selling the mortgaged properties and
Trial Court correctly assumed jurisdiction over from taking physical possession over the same
Civil Case No. 90-54557. during the pendency of the case.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of ISSUE: Whether or not RTC Branch 56 can enjoin
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 24654, affirming the the enforcement of the writ of possession issued by
decision of the Regional Trial Court of origin which RTC Branch 28.
dismissed the ejectment case instituted by the

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RULING: The petition does not deserve merit. cancellation of the writ is to be determined in a
subsequent proceeding as outlined in Section 8,
First. RTC Branch 56 acted with grave abuse of and it cannot be raised as a justification for
discretion for having issued the writ of injunction opposing the issuance of the writ of possession
which prevented the implementation of the writ of since, under the Act, the proceeding for this is
possession issued by RTC Branch 28. The issuance ex parte. Such recourse is available of the
of the writ of injunction was not proper in the mortgagee, who effects the extrajudicial
absence of any legal right on the part of petitioners foreclosure of the mortgage, even before the
to enjoin the enforcement of the writ of possession expiration of the period of redemption provided
in favor of respondent PDCP Bank. by law and the Rules of Court.”

We espoused in Arcega v. Court of Appeals that: This is stated also in A.G. Development
Corporation v. Court of Appeals:
“For the issuance of the writ of preliminary
injunction to be proper, it must be shown that “A writ of possession is generally understood to
the invasion of the right sought to be protected be an order whereby the sheriff is commanded
is material and substantial, that the right of to place a person in possession of a real or
complainant is clear and unmistakable and personal property, such as when a property is
there is an urgent and paramount necessity for extrajudicially foreclosed. In this regard, the
the writ to prevent serious damage.” issuance of a writ of possession to a purchaser
in an extrajudicial foreclosure is merely a
"In the absence of a clear legal right, the ministerial function. As such, the Court neither
issuance of the injunctive writ constitute grave exercises its official discretion nor judgment.”
abuse of discretion. Injunction is not designed
to protect contingent or future rights, Where Third. The statute books are replete with
the complainants right or title is doubtful or jurisprudence to the effect that trial courts have no
disputed, injunction is not proper. The power to interfere by injunction with the orders or
possibility of irreparable damage without proof judgments issued by another court of concurrent or
of actual existing right is no ground for an coordinate jurisdiction. In this regard, RTC Branch
injunction.” 56 therefore has no power nor authority to nullify or
enjoin the enforcement of the writ of possession
When petitioners failed to pay the balance of the issued by RTC Branch 28.
loan and thereafter failed to redeem the properties,
title to the property had already been transferred to
respondent PDCP Bank. Respondent PDCP Bank’s [G.R. No. 125473. June 29, 1999]
right to possess the property is clear and is based on ESPIRITU vs. CA, ET. AL.
its right of ownership as a purchaser of the
properties in the foreclosure sale to whom title has FACTS: On 6 January 1994 petitioner Constancio
been conveyed. Espiritu lodged a complaint against private
respondents Gideon Natividad and Jose Caysip with
Second. Indeed, it is the ministerial duty of the trial the MTC Bulacan, for unlawful detainer and
court to grant such writ of possession. In Sulit v. recovery of reasonable rentals for the use of the
Court of Appeals, the rule was applied in this land plus attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.
manner:
Petitioner alleged in his complaint that private
“No discretion appears to be left to the Court. respondents Mr. Natividad and Mr. Caysip had been
Any question regarding the regularity and illegally occupying/squatting on his land by
validity of the sale, as well as the consequent building a chapel thereon although no building

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permit was ever issued for its construction. He also that ejectment cases (forcible entry and unlawful
claimed that notices and demands for the removal of detainer) should be filed within one (1) year from
the chapel were made but private respondents failed the unlawful deprivation or withholding of
to comply therewith. possession. Since private respondents had deprived
petitioner of possession of subject property for more
Private respondents, averred that petitioner had no than one (1) year, the filing of the complaint before
valid cause of action against them as the property in the Municipal Trial Court was inappropriate.
question was donated to their congregation, the
Church of Christ, and thus owned by their church Petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals
and not by them. They further claimed that the by way of a petition for review. He contended
Municipal Trial Court of Baliuag, did not acquire therein that the RTC erred in holding that the MTC
jurisdiction over the case as it did not fall within the did not acquire jurisdiction over the complaint as it
meaning of “any action” under Rule 70) of the failed to allege facts constitutive of unlawful
Rules of Court. They maintained that since detainer or forcible entry.
petitioner failed to allege that he had prior
possession of the property, and that he was deprived CA declared the petition devoid of merit based
of possession thereof through any of the means mainly on the ground that the Municipal Trial Court
specified in the Rules of Court (Rule 70), petitioner did not acquire jurisdiction over the complaint.
should ventilate his right of possession by way of an
action other than unlawful detainer or forcible entry. The sole issue before this Court is whether the
appellate court erred in dismissing the petition for
MTC rendered its decision in favor of petitioner. alleged jurisdictional infirmities. Petitioner,
The trial court declared that it had jurisdiction over maintaining that what determines the jurisdiction of
the case because what determined which court had the court as well as the nature of the action are the
jurisdiction over the case as well as the nature of the allegations made by the plaintiff in his complaint,
action were the allegations in the complaint. argues that the complaint was clearly one for
Moreover, a court was not deprived of its unlawful detainer; consequently, allegation of prior
jurisdiction over an action for ejectment simply possession of the property need not be made.
because defendants set up a claim different from
that alleged by plaintiff. It upheld the right of RULING: Petitioner’s contention is devoid of
petitioner to eject private respondents from the merit. While petitioner is correct in stating that the
subject property for failure of the latter to nature of an action as well as the jurisdiction of a
substantiate their claim that the property had been court is determined by the allegations in the
donated to their church or that there was an existing complaint, a careful scrutiny of the complaint
contract of lease between them. Thus, their reveals that petitioner’s cause of action is neither for
possession of the subject property was deemed to be unlawful detainer nor for forcible entry but some
one of mere tolerance with an implied other action involving recovery of possession.
understanding that they would vacate the premises
upon demand. In forcible entry the deprivation of physical
possession of land or building is effected through
RTC dismissed the complaint without prejudice to force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth. In
its refiling with the proper court. The lower court unlawful detainer the unlawful withholding of
noted that TCT No. 31808 was issued in the name possession is made after the expiration or
of the heirs of Agustin Espiritu and Apolonia dela termination of the right to hold possession under
Rama only on 16 April 1993 while the property was any contract, express or implied. In forcible entry
in the possession of private respondents since 1954 the possession is illegal from the beginning and the
or for more than forty (40) years. It ruled that it issue centers on who was in prior possession de
was mandated by Sec. 1, Rule 70, Rules of Court facto. In unlawful detainer the possession was

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originally lawful but became unlawful upon the Petitioner appealed the case to the Court of
expiration or termination of the right to possess the Appeals, which rendered the questioned decision.
subject property. The appellate court upheld the jurisdiction of the
Municipal Trial Court and affirmed private
Clearly, the complaint failed to aver facts respondent’s right to material possession, as
constitutive of either forcible entry or unlawful distinguished from possession de jure, of the
detainer. Forcible entry must be ruled out as there property in question.
was no allegation that petitioner was denied
possession of the land in question through any of Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.
the means stated in Sec. 1, Rule 70, Rules of Court. Petitioner argues that the primary issue in this case
Neither was the action one for unlawful detainer as is the ownership of the land in question since
there was no lease agreement between the parties, private respondent relies on a certificate of title
and the demand to vacate by petitioner on private while she (petitioner) relies on a tax declaration in
respondents did not make the latter tenants of the support of their respective right to the possession of
former. Petitioner should therefore avail of other the lot. She contends that the question of
remedies provided for by law to recover possession possession cannot be determined without first
of subject property. resolving the question of ownership. For this
reason, petitioner maintains that the Municipal Trial
Court has no jurisdiction over this case.
[G.R. No. 111676. March 4, 1999]
VDA. DE CRUZ vs. CA ISSUE: Whether the municipal/metropolitan trial
court is ousted of jurisdiction when the issue of
FACTS: Petitioner Silvina Torres Vda. de Cruz and ownership is raised.
private respondent Priscilla Cruz-Gatchalian are
sisters-in-law. Petitioner is the widow of private RULING: We rule in the negative. In the recent
respondent’s brother, Jose Cruz, Sr. Private decisions of this Court, we have repeatedly held that
respondent and her siblings (Jose, Maria, and the filing of an action for reconveyance of title over
Emilio) inherited from their mother, Emilia Gloria- the same property or for the annulment of the deed
Cruz, a parcel of land in Bulacan. of sale over the land does not divest the Municipal
Trial Court of its jurisdiction to try the forcible
Private respondent, through counsel, sent a letter to entry or unlawful detainer case before it. . . This is
petitioner demanding that she vacate the premises so because, while there may be identity of parties
and remove the house built thereon. As petitioner and subject matter in the forcible entry case and the
refused to do so, private respondent brought the suit for annulment of title and/ or reconveyance, the
matter to the barangay authorities for conciliation. rights asserted and the relief prayed for are not the
However, the parties failed to settle their dispute same. . . The respondents in ejectment proceedings
amicably, prompting private respondent to file the cannot defeat the summary nature of the action
case in the MTC of Bulacan. Private respondent against them by simply filing an action questioning
alleged that she was the owner of the lot in question the ownership of the person who is trying to eject
and that petitioner had been merely allowed to stay them from the premises.
on it.
More importantly, the law has undergone a change
MTC rendered a decision in the ejectment case since Ching v. Malaya, the case in fact cited by
ordering petitioner to vacate the property. petitioner, was decided. R.A. No. 296 (Judiciary
Petitioner appealed to the RTC which affirmed the Act of 1948), §88, under which the case was
decision of the Municipal Trial Court in toto. decided, allowed inquiries into questions of
ownership only for the limited purpose of
determining “the character and extent of possession

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and damages for detention.” But after the Nor does the fact that the parties base their
enactment of B.P. Blg. 129 (Judiciary respective claims of possession on evidence of
Reorganization Act of 1980), municipal/ ownership make ownership the principal issue in
metropolitan trial courts have been given the power the case or qualify the action as one for
to determine ownership questions, though reconveyance instead of ejectment. The jurisdiction
provisionally, in cases where the issue of ownership of a court over the subject matter is determined by
is intertwined with the question of possession. the allegations of the complaint and cannot be made
to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or
With the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, pleadings filed by the defendant. Since there is no
the inferior courts now retain jurisdiction over an dispute that the allegations of the complaint filed by
ejectment case even if the question of possession private respondent sufficiently qualify the case as
cannot be resolved without passing upon the issue one for ejectment, the inferior court acquired
of ownership, with the express qualification that jurisdiction over the subject matter thereof.
such issue of ownership shall be resolved only for
the purpose of determining the issue of possession.
In other words, the fact that the issues of ownership [G.R. No. 137718. July 27, 1999]
and possession de facto are intricately interwoven MALONZO vs. ZAMORA
will not cause the dismissal of the case for forcible
entry and unlawful detainer on jurisdictional FACTS: During the incumbency of then Macario A
grounds. Asistio, Jr., the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
Caloocan City passed Ordinance No. 0168, S.
The jurisdiction of inferior courts to resolve the 1994, authorizing the City Mayor to initiate
issue of ownership in ejectment cases, while not proceedings for the expropriation of Lot 26 of the
plenary, is certainly broader than merely for the Maysilo Estate registered in the name of CLT
purpose of determining the extent of possession. Relaty Development Corporation (CLT).
One of the guidelines set forth in the same case of
Refugia indicates the scope of their power, thus: It turned out, however, that the Maysilo Estate
straddled the City of Caloocan and the Municipality
Where the question of who has prior possession of Malabon, prompting CLT to file a special civil
hinges on the question of who the real owner of action for Interpleader with Prayer for the Issuance
the disputed portion is, the inferior court may of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of
resolve the issue of ownership and make a Preliminary Injunction before the Caloocan City
declaration as to who among the contending Regional Trial Court, branch 124.
parties is the real owner. In the same vein,
where the resolution of the issue of possession “Pending the final determination and resolution of
hinges on a determination of the validity and the court on the issue (territorial jurisdiction) raised
interpretation of the document of title or any in Civil Case No. C-18019 before Branch 124 of the
other contract on which the claim of possession Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, the
is premised, the inferior court may likewise pass expropriation of the subject property be cancelled
upon these issues. This is because, and it must and/or abandoned.” In the meantime, “since the
be so understood, that any such pronouncement expropriation of CLT Property is discontinued, the
made affecting ownership of the disputed appropriation for expropriation of FIFTY
portion is to be regarded merely as provisional, MILLION PESOS (P50M) can be reverted for use
hence, does not bar nor prejudice an action in a supplemental budget” stating further that he
between the same parties involving title to the certifies “(F)or its reversion since it is not yet
land. obligated, and for its availability for re-
appropriation in a supplemental budget.”

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Alleging, however, that petitioners conspired and such as, in the instant case, patent nullity of the
confederated in willfully violating certain questioned act and the necessity of resolving the
provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991 issues without further delay.
(hereinafter the "Code") through the passage of
Ordinance No. 0254, S. 1998, a certain Eduardo
Tibor, by himself and as a taxpayer, filed on July [G.R. No. 124374. December 15, 1999]
15, 1998, an administrative complaint for MATHAY JR. vs. CA, ET. AL.
Dishonesty, Misconduct in Office, and Abuse of
Authority against petitioners before the Office of FACTS: Brigido R. Simon appointed private
the President (OP). respondents to positions in the Civil Service Unit
(“CSU”) of the local government of Quezon City.
OP hereby adjudged guilty of misconduct and each Civil Service Units were created pursuant to
is meted the penalty of SUSPENSION. Presidential Decree No. 51 which was allegedly
signed into law on November 15 or 16, 1972.
RULING: The petition is impressed with merit.
Preliminarily, we find a need to resolve a couple of The Civil Service Commission issued
procedural issues which have a bearing on the Memorandum Circular No. 30, directing all Civil
propriety of this Court’s action on the petition, to Service Regional or Field Offices to recall, revoke
wit: xxx whether the Supreme Court may entertain and disapprove within one year from issuance of the
the instant petition despite the absence of a prior said Memorandum, all appointments in CSUs
motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners with created pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 51 on
the OP. the ground that the same never became law.
Among those affected by the revocation of
Pursuant to said judicial policy, we resolve to take appointments are private respondents in these three
primary jurisdiction over the present petition in the petitions.
interest of speedy justice and to avoid future
litigations (sic) so as to promptly put an end to the On May 11, 1992, petitioner Ismael A. Mathay, Jr.
present controversy which, as correctly observed by was elected Mayor of Quezon City. On July 1,
petitioners, has sparked national interest because of 1992, Mayor Mathay again renewed the contractual
the magnitude of the problem created by the appointments of all private respondents effective
issuance of the assailed resolution. Moreover, as July 1 to July 31, 1992. Upon their expiry, these
will be discussed later, we find the assailed appointments, however, were no longer renewed.
resolution wholly void and requiring the petitioners
to file their petition first with the Court of Appeals The non-renewal by Quezon City Mayor Ismael A.
would only result in a waste of time and money. Mathay, Jr. of private respondents’ appointments
That the Court has the power to set aside its own became the seed of discontent from which these
rules in the higher interests of justice is well- three consolidated petitions grew.
entrenched in our jurisprudence.
RULING: In the case G.R. 126354, the standing of
With respect to the alleged non-exhaustion of petitioner Civil Service Commission to bring this
administrative remedies, we do not see the same as present appeal is questionable. We note that the
a fatal procedural lapse that would prevent us from person adversely affected by the Court of Appeals
entertaining the more pressing questions raised in decision, Jovito C. Labajo has opted not to appeal.
this case. In any event, jurisprudence is replete with
instances instructing us that a motion for Basic is the rule that “every action must be
reconsideration is neither always a prerequisite nor prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party
a hard-and-fast rule to be followed where there are in interest.” A real party in interest is the party who
particularly exceptional attendant circumstances

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stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in GLP offered an additional condominium unit in
the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. exchange for what is referred to as “bad stock”
cement, or cement that was beginning to harden.
As a general rule, one having no right or interest to PITC indicated it was amenable to the offer and
protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court as suggested that lawyers prepare the necessary
a party-plaintiff in an action. contract documents. MOA was executed between
GLP and PITC.
In the case at bar, it is evident that Jovito C. Labajo,
not the Civil Service Commission, is the real party Pursuant to the MOA, GLP issued a check in the
in interest. It is Jovito C. Labajo who will be amount of P2,520,000.00 bearing the signature of
benefited or injured by his reinstatement or non- its president Emmanuel Zapanta. With the issued
reinstatement. check having reached maturity, PITC deposited the
check for encashment but it was returned for having
We are aware of our pronouncements in the recent been drawn against insufficient funds.
case of Civil Service Commission v. Pedro
Dacoycoy which overturned our rulings in Paredes PITC filed charges against Estrella and Emmanuel
vs. Civil Service Commission, Mendez vs. Civil Zapanta for estafa and violation of BP 22. Pending
Service Commission and Magpale vs. Civil Service preliminary investigation of the charges, a civil
Commission. In Dacoycoy, we affirmed the right of complaint was filed this time by GLP against PITC
the Civil Service Commission to bring an appeal as with the prayer that PITC be ordered to comply
the aggrieved party affected by a ruling which may with the agreement for the swapping of cement in
seriously prejudice the civil service system. exchange for the condominium unit, and that the
check issued to PITC be declared null and void for
The aforementioned case, however, is different want of consideration. It also prayed that PITC pay
from the case at bar. Dacoycoy was an GLP costs and damages. Concurrently, GLP filed a
administrative case involving nepotism whose Motion for Suspension of the Preliminary
deleterious effect on government cannot be Investigation of the criminal case initiated by PITC,
overemphasized. The subject of the present case, on the ground that the civil complaint filed by GLP
on the other hand, is “reinstatement.” constitutes a prejudicial question.

We fail to see how the present petition, involving as Petitioners’ main allegation Memorandum of
it does the reinstatement or non-reinstatement of Agreement did not reflect the true intent of the
one obviously reluctant to litigate, can impair the parties. They claim that the MOA should only refer
effectiveness of government. Accordingly, the to the subject of the contract, namely the bad stock
ruling in Dacoycoy does not apply. cement. What governs the swapping of petitioners’
condominium unit for the cement would be another
matter, vide the Deed of Exchange.
[G.R. No. 127367. May 3, 1999]
GOLD LOOP PROPERTIES, INC., vs. CA RULING: We find merit in private respondent’s
contentions. There is no ambiguity in the terms of
FACTS: Petitioner Gold Loop Properties (GLP), the contract to which both parties had indicated
entered into a Deed of Exchange with Philippine their consent. It was never denied that the MOA,
International Trading Corporation (PITC), a the promissory note and the check issued, came
government controlled corporation. In that Deed, from the petitioners. It is too late for petitioners to
GLP, owner of a 16-storey residential question the intent of the contract, on the self-
condominium exchanged ten (10) condominium serving ground that it did not reflect the parties’ real
units for 304,071.38 bags of cement belonging to agreement. Petitioners’ claim that the swapping (or
PITC, each bag containing 50 kilos. Subsequently, barter) was what the parties intended does not

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square with the terms of the MOA, which shows a Private respondent filed a motion for execution
sale on credit. They cannot now claim that contract which the MTC granted on the ground that its
should not be enforced. There was no reason found judgment had become final and executory.
by both lower courts to go beyond the terms stated Thereafter, the deputy sheriff issued a notice of
in the contract, which are unambiguous. ejectment, for which reason petitioner filed, a
petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals.
To recapitulate, it is not the function of this Court to
weigh anew the evidence already passed upon by The appellate court dismissed the petition. Hence,
the Court of Appeals. Our review is generally this petition.
confined to correcting errors of law, if any, that
might have been committed below. In the case at RULINGS ON THE ISSUES:
bar petitioners have not shown exceptional
circumstances that merit disturbing the findings of First. Petitioner contends that the land in question
fact below. Not only are the terms of the assailed is owned by the government and, hence, the MTC
MOA between the parties clear, in our view, but the and RTC have no jurisdiction to order his
contractual obligations of the parties thereto are also ejectment.
unambiguous. No reversible error could be
attributed to the assailed decision, much less could The petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by
any grave abuse of discretion be imputed to petitioner in the Court of Appeals is based on a
respondent court. certification of the District Land Officer of Iligan
City to the effect that the land occupied by
petitioner Romeo Cabellan is “within a proposed
[G.R. No. 93090. March 3, 1999] road” and that “there is no person [who has] filed
ROMEO CABELLAN vs. CA any public land application” with respect to the
same. The public ownership of the land was raised
FACTS: Private respondent Nathaniel Dinoro in the MTC by petitioner, but the court held that “it
acquired the rights to the land in question by could be presumed as shown by the Sketch Plan of
purchase. Petitioner Romeo Cabellan had been in the land of plaintiff [respondent Nathaniel Dinoro]
possession of the subject land since 1968 through that said road where defendant’s [petitioner Romeo
tolerance. After acquiring the land on May 27, Cabellan] house is, is a part of the plaintiff’s
1986, private respondent asked petitioner to vacate [Nathaniel Dinoro] land.”
the occupied portion, but the latter refused. Private
respondent brought the matter to the barangay When the case was appealed to it, the RTC at first
authorities of Suarez, Iligan City for conciliation, found the land to be owned by the government on
but no amicable settlement was reached by the the basis of the aforesaid certification of the District
parties. Consequently, the case was certified for Land Officer and, hence, reversed the decision of
trial by the courts. the MTC. However, on motion of private
respondent, the RTC reconsidered its decision and
Private respondent filed a complaint for unlawful held that even “granting that [the land in question]
detainer against petitioner in the MTC of Iligan City is a part of the proposed road right of way or of the
which rendered a decision ordering petitioner to public domain, [petitioner] had not shown, not even
vacate the land and pay private respondent by a scintilla of evidence, that he possesses the
attorney’s fees in the amount of P3,000.00, plus same area in [the] concept of an owner by making
P500.00 as litigation expenses, and monthly rental or introducing some kind of improvements; [There
at the rate of P100.00 a month from the date of is] not even an indicia of possession like a tax
filing of the case until petitioner had fully vacated declaration, tax payments, or any semblance of
the premises. authority from the government to possess and
occupy the same area in question.” On the other

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hand, it found private respondent to have a better months is certainly more than the period considered
right of possession as shown by the deed of sale, a reasonable for filing such a petition.
tax declaration, a transfer tax receipt, and a real
estate tax receipt. Consequently, the RTC Third. On the other hand, even if the petition for
reconsidered its decision and dismissed petitioner’s certiorari filed by petitioner were treated as a
appeal. Thus, the public character of the land was petition for review, the same should also be
considered irrelevant by both courts in the dismissed, as the Court of Appeals pointed out, for
ejectment case. late filing of the petition and payment of docket
fees, and for lack of statement of material dates
The RTC, we think, acted correctly. As this Court specifically showing the timely filing of the petition
held in Molina v. De Bacud, the public character of as required by Rule 6, §3(a), (c), and (d) in relation
the land in dispute does not exclude courts from to §1(b) of the Revised Internal Rules of the Court
their jurisdiction over possessory actions. Indeed, of Appeals. Rule 6, §3 of the said Internal Rules
in Molina, this Court upheld the right of a party, provides that a petition for review filed after the 15-
who had been in open, continuous, exclusive, and day period to appeal or after the 15-day additional
notorious possession of a parcel of public land, period granted by the Court of Appeals shall be
against another who had already acquired a sales dismissed. A petition which is not sufficient in
patent from the government over the same. Clearly, form and substance should, likewise, be dismissed.
the only issue in ejectment cases is possession,
regardless of the claim of ownership of a party. As Well-settled is the rule that the right to appeal is a
the judgment in ejectment cases is binding only mere privilege and, therefore, should be exercised
with respect to the issue of possession, the only in the manner prescribed by law. The
government cannot possibly be prejudiced by the perfection of an appeal within the period and in the
ruling that private respondent is entitled to the manner prescribed by law is jurisdictional and
possession of the subject land. noncompliance with such legal requirements is fatal
and has the effect of rendering the judgment final
There was thus no jurisdictional issue justifying and executory. WHEREFORE, the decision of the
resort to the special civil action of certiorari. The Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
resort to this remedy appears to have been due to
the fact that the decision of the RTC, affirming the
judgment of the MTC, had already become final
and executory rather than to the existence of any
jurisdictional question.

Indeed, petitioner failed to appeal from the decision


of the RTC. Clearly, the petition for certiorari,
which was filed more than seven months after the
decision of the RTC had become final, was being
used as a substitute for a lost appeal.

Second. Even if a petition for certiorari were the


appropriate remedy, it should nevertheless be
dismissed for having been filed after an
unreasonable period of time. The petition was filed
on April 27, 1989, more than seven (7) months after
the RTC had affirmed the decision of the MTC
ordering the ejectment of petitioner from the subject
land on September 8, 1988. A period of seven (7)

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