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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-5094 August 7, 1952
JUAN JABON, ALEJANDRO DIGAL, CANDIDO JABON, and PAULINO JABON, petitioners,
vs.
HIPOLITO ALO, Judge of First Instance of Bohol, and SATURNINO alias CATALINO YTEM,
respondents.
Agapito Hontanosas for petitioners.
Felix Magdales for respondents.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction seeking to nullify an order of respondent
Judge entered on August 11, 1951.
Saturnino alias Catalino Ytem filed an action against Juan Jabon and three other persons praying that
he be declared owner of a parcel of land containing approximately an area of four hectares. Defendants
in turn, prayed that Juan Jabon be declared owner of the property and the claim of the plaintiff for
damages be denied.
On March 13, 1950, Judge Jose Querubin, then presiding the court, after trial, rendered judgement, the
dispositive part of which reads:
In view whereof, the Court declares the defendant Juan Jabon the owner of the portion of land
described in his tax declaration No. 13439, having an extension of 2 hectares 07 ares and 36
centares and indicated in the report of the commissioner and his sketch, Exhibit X and X-1, as
to the portion by angels A, B, C, D, and back to A and the rest of the portions covered by tax
declarations, Exhibits D, E, and F, belong exclusively to the plaintiff, without special
pronouncement as to costs.
This decision became final for lack of appeal, and so on May 8, 1950, a writ of execution was issued
ordering the defendants to vacate the portion of the land adjudicated to the plaintiff. As defendants
resisted the execution plaintiff asked the court to declare them in contempt, but Judge Jose Veluz, then
presiding the court, denied plaintiff's motion. ruling that the writ of execution was not in accordance
with the dispositive part of the decision.
On August 6, 1951, or after the lapse of more than a year since the decision had become final, plaintiff
moved that the dispositive part of the decision be amended by including therein an order directing the
defendants to vacate the land adjudicated to the plaintiff, and notwithstanding the vigorous opposition
of defendants, the respondent Judge, Hon. Hipolito Alo, entered an order on August 11, 1951, which
practically amended the decision, for in said order he directs that defendants should vacate the land and
should deliver its possession to the plaintiff. The case is now before this Court on a petition for
certiorari, defendants contending that the respondent Judge acted in excess of his jurisdiction.
As may be noted from the dispositive part of the decision which appears quoted in the early part of this
decision, the court merely declares plaintiff owner of the portions of the land under litigation which are
not covered by the area of 2 hectares, 07 ares and 36 centares adjudicated to defendant Juan Jabon. It
does not give plaintiff any other relief, much less it orders plaintiff to be placed in possession of the
land adjudicated to him. It later developed, however, that when plaintiff attempted to execute that part
of the judgment rendered in his favor, a portion of the land was occupied by the defendants, and the
latter had their houses built thereon. And because the decision contains no directive for their ejectment
they resisted the execution. The question now that arises for determination is whether that decision,
which has become final and executory more than a year ago, can still be amended by adding thereto a
relief not originally included, such as the delivery of the possession of the land and the ejectment
therefrom of the defendants.
Our answer is in the negative. Rule 39, section 45, provides that "that only is deemed to have been
adjudged in a former judgment which appears upon its face to have been do adjudged, or which was
actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto". Here there has been only a declaration
of ownership. No other relief is awarded to the plaintiff. In the absence of any other declaration, can we
consider a mere declaration of owner-ship as necessarily including the possession of the property
adjudicated? We do not believe so, for ownership is different from possession. A person may be
declared owner, but he may not be entitled to possession. The possession may be in the hands of
another either as a lessee of which tenant. A person may have improvements thereon of which he may
not be deprived without due hearing. He may have other valid defenses to resist surrender of
possession. We, therefore, hold that a judgment for ownership, does not necessarily include possession
as a necessary incident.
In a similar case, this Court held:
It may be admitted that the judgment absolving defendant Talens was in effect a declaration that
the sale to him was valid. It may also be admitted, though with some reluctance or reservation,
that it was a declaration of ownership of the lot. But it is doubtful whether it also included a
direction to surrender it to him. Although it is true that the owner is generally entitled to
possession, it is equally true that there may be cases where the actual possessor has some rights
which must be respected or defined. A lessee is not the owner; yet a declaration of ownership in
another person does not necessarily mean his ouster.
Touching the case at bar, if the possessor Garcia had made necessary improvements for which
he is entitled to compensation, an order of possession would deprive him of such payment
without having had an opportunity to claim for them and prove their value. His Honor, the trial
judge, obviously foresaw this possibility among others, and refused to decree the restitution,
taking "into consideration that said decision (of the Court of Appeals) seems not to close all the
doors for the parties to protect their interests, if they still have any."
Consequently, we hold that the judgment of the Court of Appeals in G. R. No. 3221-R absolving
Talens from the complaint did not include an order for delivery of possession of the land.
The petition is denied, with costs. (Talens vs. Garcia et al. 47 Off. Gaz. [Supp, to No. 12], pp.
358, 360-361.)
Consequently, we hold that the order of respondent Judge dated August 11, 1951, is null and void, it
having been issued excess of his jurisdiction.
Petition is hereby granted, with costs. The preliminary injunction issued is declared final.
Paras, C.J. Bengzon, Montemayor, and Labrador, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., concurring:
I concur for the same reason given in my concurring opinion on the point in the case of Contreras et
al., vs. Felix et al., 44 Off. Gaz., 4306, 4315.

TUASON, J., dissenting:


I think the application for certiorari should be dismissed.
The general rule is that a court may amend its judgment as truth and justice require, to the end that the
judgment may express what was actually decided or intended. This power is inherent and independent
of statutes; but the power to amend and correct judgments is very largely regulated by statute in the
different jurisdictions. (49 C.J.S. 447, 448.) Where it clearly appears what judgment should have been
rendered as of course on the facts in the record, the court will assume to treat the failure to render such
judgment as a mere clerical misprision, and will amend the judgment so as to make it conform to that
which should have been rendered on the facts. (Idem, p. 454.)
This is the rule in the jurisdiction as announced in a long lime of decisions, and this rule fits the facts
and the pleadings in the case at bar. In a nutshell, here was an action to recover title to, and possession
of, land in which "the plaintiff asked that he be declared the absolute owner of the land and that the
defendant be ordered to vacate the property and to pay the corresponding damages." (See the court's
order under review.) The defendant resisted the demand with the allegation that they, and not the
plaintiff, were the owners and entitled to stay in possession of the property in litigation. They did not
assert any right to possession independent of the ownership. Consequently upon the issues, possession
was inseparably linked to title. As a matter of fact, possession was the immediate objective of the suit,
declaration of ownership occupying a secondary importance of that objective.
It is evident, as Judge Alo says, "that the omission, in the judgment, of the corresponding order for the
delivery of the land in question to the plaintiff was simply an oversight." Otherwise, as His Honor aptly
observes, the decision would be left "hanging in the air for no purpose at all" and "the proceedings in
this case would amount to a mere futility."
What, indeed will the plaintiff get from the judgment if the judgment is not amended in the manner
requested by him? The plaintiff has been declared the owner, it is true, but what good does that
pronouncement do to the plaintiff without the possession?
The solution suggested is that the plaintiff should bring a new action. But what is the plaintiff to allege
and prove, and what is the court to decide, in the new case that was not alleged and proved and decided
in the finished case? Upon what theory will the possessory action be based if not upon ownership
which already and finally has been adjudicated?
And where will such action possession be instituted? .In that court of the justice of the peace? Could
the parties litigate in that court of the matter of possession, and could the justice of the peace have
jurisdiction to try that matter with the inevitable authority to reverse or modify the findings and final
judgment of the Court of First Instance? And again, upon what theory would the summary action be
based? Necessarily it would have to be upon contract or the allegation of force, violence or stealth. But
there was never a contract between the parties, and there was no force committed or alleged to effect
entry upon the land.
If an action to secure possession of the property were to be recommenced, the action would have to be
filed in the Court of First Instance, in which case, exactly the same issues which were joined and
disposed of in a valid judgment would have to be retried and readjudged.
It is pointed out that the defendants have a house or part of a house erected on the land adjudicated to
plaintiff and that the defendants might have a claim to compensation for the for the improvements or
wish to buy the property.
It suffices to remark in reference to this new angle that the defendants themselves did not and do not
now make such claim. The parties planted their cases on the simple question of the right of possession
predicated on owner ship. If the defendants had a right to be indemnified for their construction and to
stay on the land before indemnity was paid, that right is barred by prior judgment. It should have been
asserted before in the form of counterclaim or cross-claim.
The defendant may set forth by answer as many affirmative defenses as he may have. (Section 9, Rule
9.) Defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed
waived. (Section 10, Rule 9.) And that is deemed to have been adjudged, in a former judgement which
appears upon its face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein
or necessary thereto.(Section 45, Rule 39.)
There is no parity between this case and of Talens vs. Garcia et al., 47 Off. Gaz. (Supp. to No. 12), pp.
358 et seq. In the latter case the party who applied for execution for the delivery of the land was
defendant who, in his answer, had sought no affirmative relief for the possession. His defense was
simply that he owned the land. Upon the pleadings in that case, it was to be doubted whatever in the
judgment itself the defendant could be declared entitled to possession.
For the foregoing reasons, with regret I have to dissent.

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 92245 June 26, 1991
MELANIA A. ROXAS, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ANTONIO M. CAYETANO, respondents.
Agustin V. Velante for petitioner.
Manuel M. Katapang for private respondent.

PARAS, J.:
The only issue before Us is whether or not a husband, as the administrator of the conjugal partnership,
may legally enter into a contract of lease involving conjugal real property without the knowledge and
consent of the wife.
According to the Decision * rendered by the respondent Court of Appeals, the pertinent facts of the
case as alleged in plaintiff-petitioner's complaint indicate:
1. That plaintiff is of legal age, married but living separately from husband, one of the
defendants herein and presently residing at No. 4 Ambrocia St., Quezon City; while defendant
Antonio S. Roxas is likewise of legal age and living separately from his wife, plaintiff herein,
with residence at No. 950 Quirino Highway, Novaliches, Quezon City where he may be served
with summons; and defendant Antonio M. Cayetano is of legal age and residing at No. 28
Mariano Olondriz Street, BF Homes, Paranaque, Metro Manila where he may be served with
summons;
2. That only recently, plaintiff discovered that her estranged husband, defendant Antonio S.
Roxas, had entered into a contract of lease with defendant Antonio M. Cayetano sometime on
March 30, 1987 covering a portion of their conjugal lot situated at 854 Quirino Highway,
Novaliches, Quezon City, described in T.C.T. No. 378197 (formerly T.C.T. No. 23881) of the
Land Registry for Quezon City without her previous knowledge, much less her marital consent-
xerox; copy of which lease contract is hereto attached as Annex "A", and made an integral part
hereof.
3. That on the same lot, plaintiff had planned to put up her flea market with at least twenty (20)
stalls and mini-mart for grocery and dry goods items for which she had filed an application for
the corresponding Mayor's Permit and Municipal License which had been approved since 1986,
but when she attempted to renew it for 1986, the same was disapproved last month due to the
complaint lodged by defendant Antonio M. Cayetano whose application for renewal of Mayor's
Permit and License for the same business of putting up a flea market, had been allegedly earlier
approved;
4. That for the planning and initial construction of plaintiffs project to put up her own business
of flea market and mini-mart grocery and wet and dry stores which she had intended to operate
partly by herself and lease the rest of the twenty (20) stalls thereon, she had spent some
P135,000.00 for the said construction, including materials and labor, where she had expected to
earn as daily net income in the minimum amount of P500.00 daily;
5. That due to the illegal lease contract entered into between the herein defendants and the
resultant unlawful deprivation of plaintiff from operating her own legitimate business on the
same lot of which she is a conjugal owner, plaintiff has been compelled to seek redress and
ventilate her grievance to the court for which she has to engage the services of counsel with
whom she agreed to pay as and for attorney's fees the sum of P10,000.00; plus the amount
equivalent to 20% of whatever damages may be awarded to her in addition to the sum of
P500.00 per appearance in court.
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
Dated July 31, 1989 defendant Antonio M. Cayetano moved to dismiss the complaint on the
sole ground that the complaint states no cause of action, to which an Opposition was filed by
plaintiff (now petitioner herein), while defendant Antonio S. Roxas, estranged husband of
plaintiff-petitioner, filed an answer.
Confronted with the private respondent's Motion to Dismiss, on August 16, 1989, respondent
Judge resolved said Motion by dismissing plaintiff-petitioner's complaint in its Order dated
August 16, 1989, the dispositive portion of which reads, as follows:
It is said that the test of sufficiency of the cause of action is whether admitting the facts
alleged to be true, the court could render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer
in the complaint. After examining the material allegations in the complaint, the Court
finds that the complaint failed to satisfy the test of sufficiency.
WHEREFORE, the complaint is dismissed for failure to state a sufficient cause of
action.
IT IS SO ORDERED. (p. 2 Order, dated August 16, 1989).
Plaintiff-petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied by respondent Judge
in its Order dated September 29, 1989. (Decision of Court of Appeals, pp. 1-4; Rollo, Annex
"A", pp. 26-29)
Petitioner directly appealed the Decision of the lower court to the Supreme Court.
On November 27, 1989, the Second Division of this Court referred this case to the Court of Appeals for
"proper determination and disposition."
Respondent Court of Appeals rendered judgment affirming in toto the Order of the trial court.
Hence, this petition.
Under the New Civil Code (NCC), "Art. 165. The husband is the administrator of the conjugal
partnership," in view of the fact that the husband is principally responsible for the support of the wife
and the rest of the family. If the conjugal partnership does not have enough assets, it is the husband's
capital that is responsible for such support, not the paraphernal property. Responsibility should carry
authority with it.
The husband is not an ordinary administrator, for while a mere administrator has no right to dispose of,
sell, or otherwise alienate the property being administered, the husband can do so in certain cases
allowed by law. He is not required by law to render an accounting. Acts done under administration do
not need the prior consent of the wife.
However, administration does not include acts of ownership. For while the husband can administer the
conjugal assets unhampered, he cannot alienate or encumber the conjugal realty. Thus, under Art. 166
of NCC "unless the wife has been declared a non-compos mentis or a spendthrift, or is under civil
interdiction or is confined in a leprosarium, the husband cannot alienate or encumber any real property
of the conjugal partnership the wife's consent. If she refuses unreasonably to give her consent, the court
may compel her to grant the same." This rule prevents abuse on the part of the husband, and guarantees
the rights of the wife, who is partly responsible for the acquisition of the property, particularly the real
property. Contracts entered into by the husband in violation of this prohibition are voidable and subject
to annulment at the instance of the aggrieved wife. (Art. 173 of the Civil Code)
As stated in Black's Law Dictionary, the word "alienation" means 'the transfer of the property and
possession of lands, tenements, or other things from one person to another . . . The act by which the
title to real estate is voluntarily assigned by one person to another and accepted by the latter, in the
form prescribed by law. Cf. In re Enrhardt U.S.D.C. 19 F. 2d 406, 407 . . . ." While encumbrance "has
been defined to be every right to, or interest in, the land which may subsist in third persons, to the
diminution of the value of the land, but consistent with the passing of the fee by the conveyance; any
(act) that impairs the use or transfer of property or real estate . . ." (42 C.J.S., p. 549).
The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not a lease is an encumbrance and/or alienation within the
scope of Art. 166 of the New Civil Code.
Under Art. 1643 of the New Civil Code "In the lease of things, one of the parties binds himself to give
to another the enjoyment or use of a thing for a price certain, and for a period which may be definite or
indefinite. However, no lease for more than ninety-nine years shall be valid." Under the law, lease is a
grant of use and possession: it is not only a grant of possession as opined by the Court of Appeals. The
right to possess does not always include the right to use. For while the bailee in the contract of deposit
holds the property in trust, he is not granted by law the right to make use of the property in deposit.
In the contract of lease, the lessor transfers his light of use in favor of the lessee. The lessor's right of
use is impaired, therein. He may even be ejected by the lessee if the lessor uses the leased realty.
Therefore, lease is a burden on the land, it is an encumbrance on the land. The opinion of the Court of
Appeals that lease is not an encumbrance is not supported by law. The concept of encumbrance
includes lease, thus "an encumbrance is sometimes construed broadly to include not only liens such as
mortgages and taxes, but also attachment, LEASES, inchoate dower rights, water rights, easements,
and other RESTRICTIONS on USE." (Capitalization is Ours) (533 Pacific Reporter [second series] 9,
12).
Moreover, lease is not only an encumbrance but also a "qualified alienation, with the lessee becoming,
for all legal intents and purposes, and subject to its terms, the owner of the thing affected by the lease."
(51 C C.J.S., p. 522)
Thus, the joinder of the wife, although unnecessary for an oral lease of conjugal realty which does not
exceed one year in duration, is required in a lease of conjugal realty for a period of more than one year,
such a lease being considered a conveyance and encumbrance within the provisions of the Civil Code
requiring the joinder of the wife in the instrument by which real property is conveyed or encumbered
(See also 41 C.J.S., p. 1149). In case the wife's consent is not secured by the husband as required by
law, the wife has the remedy of filing an action for the annulment of the contract. Art. 173 of the Civil
Code states "the wife may, during the marriage and within ten years from the transaction questioned,
ask the courts for the annulment of any contract of the husband entered into without her consent, when
such consent is required. . . .
In the case at bar, the allegation in paragraph 2 of the complaint indicates that petitioner's estranged
husband, defendant Antonio S. Roxas had entered into a contract of lease with defendant Antonio M.
Cayetano without her marital consent being secured as required by law under Art. 166 of the Civil
Code. Petitioner, therefore, has a cause of action under Art. 173 to file a case for annulment of the
contract of lease entered into without her consent. Petitioner has a cause of action not only against her
husband but also against the lessee, Antonio M. Cayetano, who is a party to the contract of lease.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby SET ASIDE and this case
is hereby REMANDED to the Regional Trial court for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Padilla, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
* Penned by Justice Jorge S. Imperial, and concurred in by Justices Reynato S. Puno and
Artemon D. Luna.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-5001 March 15, 1910
ESTEBAN RANJO, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
GREGORIO SALMON, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Iñigo Bitanga, for appellants.
Julio Adiarte, for appellee.
TORRES, J.:
On the 27th of July, 1907, Esteban Ranjo filed a written complaint with the Court of First Instance of
Ilocos Norte against Gregorio Salmon, Francisca Gonzales, and Valeriano Tomas, alleging that he was
the owner, by inheritance from his deceased mother, Dorotea Adilarte, of a tract of land used as a truck
garden and a rice field, situated in the barrio of Rangtay, pueblo of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, with an area
of about 2 hectares and 43 ares; that the property is bounded on the north by a path and land owned by
Calixto Luna; on the east by lands belonging to Ubaldo Tagabilla, Eugenio Blas, and Timoteo Caliba;
on the south by lands of the same Caliba, Agustin Menor, Macario Lagac, Cipriano Daquigan, Eugenio
Blas, and a sandy tract; and on the west by another sandy tract; that in 1900 (the exact date being
unknown) he pledged the said land to Francisca Gonzales for the sum of 100 pesos, with a right to
redeem it upon repayment of the amount; that in 1904 Gonzales transferred her rights in the said land
upon the said conditions to Valeriano Tomas, who in 1906 transferred his right to Gregorio Salmon for
the sum of P140; that the defendants having been amicably requested to return the land in question to
the plaintiff, upon payment of the last-mentioned amount of the pledge made in favor of Salmon; that
the latter refused to comply with the request, wherefore the plaintiff prayed that judgment be rendered
ordering the defendants to deliver the above-described land to the plaintiff, upon repayment of P140 to
Gregorio Salmon, and to pay the costs.
Gregorio Salmon having been summoned, made written answer to the above complaint, stating that the
lands mentioned therein were not the property of the plaintiffs when they were sold to him by Valeriano
Tomas, who was their exclusive owner, and therefore he prayed that judgment be rendered in his favor,
and that the plaintiff be adjudged to pay the costs.
The other defendant, Francisca Gonzales, stated in her answer that she admitted as true the fact on
which the plaintiff based his complaint, and that she therefore agreed to the redemption of the land
described therein, and prayed that judgment be rendered in favor of the said plaintiff with the costs
against the defendant Salmon.
Valeriano Tomas died on July 28, 1907, as appears from Exhibit B of the plaintiff.
After the hearing of the case and the evidence adduced by both parties, the documents exhibited having
been made part of the record, the judge, on the 20th of July, 1908, rendered judgment therein,
sentencing Gregorio Salmon to deliver the land claimed to the plaintiff Esteban Ranjo, upon repayment
of P140, and to pay the costs. Counsel for the defendant Ranjo excepted to this decision, and asked for
the annulment thereof on the ground that it was not sufficiently sustained by the evidence, that the
findings deduced from the facts were clearly and manifestly contrary to the weight of the evidence, and
stated that, should his petition be denied, he excepted thereto and intended to file his bill of exceptions
in the usual way; the motion was denied and the annulment asked for was declared to be improper, and
his notice of intention to submit his bill of exceptions in the usual was having been admitted, the said
bill of exceptions was prepared, certified, and approved, and thereafter filed with the clerk of this court.
It having been proved that Valeriano Tomas was not the owner of the land claimed by Esteban Ranjo,
the allegation of Gregorio Salmon that it belonged to him can not be supported, since he acquired it by
purchase from the said Tomas, who was not the owner.
Only the owner can dispose of property, without any other limitations that those prescribed by the law,
and he has a right of action against the holder or possessor thereof to recover it. (Art. 348, Civil Code.)
If Valeriano Tomas was not the owner, but a mere mortgage creditor of the land in question, he could
not sell it nor convey any right of ownership to the defendant Salmon notwithstanding the document
exhibited by the said defendant and marked "A."
Article 1859 of the Civil Code reads as follows:
A creditor can not appropriate to himself the things given in pledge or mortgage, nor dispose of
them.
What the creditor is entitled to do, after the principal obligation has become due, is to ask for the
alienation of the things constituting the pledge or mortgage, in order to secure reimbursement. (Art.
1858 of the same code.)
Valeriano Tomas, in order to obtain the 125 pesos he had loaned to Francisca Gonzales, by way of
mortgage on said land, conveyed his rights to Gregorio Salmon for the sum of 140 pesos, which was
paid to him by the latter. Valeriano Tomas testified under oath to this effect in the document presented
by the plaintiff (Exhibit A), which document was ratified before a notary, the contents of which confirm
the statements made by Francisca Gonzalez in her written answer to the complaint, agreeing to the
pretensions of the plaintiff, Ranjo, and directly contradict the contents of the document exhibited by the
defendant Salmon as evidence of his allegation that he is the owner of the said land. The latter
allegation is wholly unfounded, inasmuch as, if his title of ownership is derived, according to his
answer to the complaint, from the right of the said Valeriano Tomas, it having been proved that the
latter was not the owner of the land, but a mere creditor with the right to recover his credit from the
proceeds of the sale of the property, it is undisputable that he could not dispose of the land nor sell it
absolutely and finally to the defendant Salmon, as the latter pretends, basing his pretension on the said
document of sale, which is notoriously inefficient because it is a contract wholly null and void.
The other defendant, Francisca Gonzales, stated in her sworn testimony that after having held the land
under mortgage for four years, and being in need of money, after having notified its owner Esteban
Ranjo, she in turn mortgage it to Valeriano Tomas, from whom she received 125 pesos; no new
document was then executed, but she simply indorsed the old one executed by her and Esteban Ranjo;
the latter in his sworn testimony confirmed Gonzalez's statements and added that he had inherited the
said land from his mother, and that it is at present in possession of the defendant Salmon, because the
former mortgagee, Valeriano Tomas, had mortgaged it to him; and that, as Tomas assured him that upon
paying Salmon the 140 pesos received as loan he could recover the land without any objection, he went
to see the defendant Salmon (because Tomas was sick), to redeem the land, and presented to him a
letter from Tomas; but Salmon refused to receive the money, saying that he wanted to deliver the land
to the same person from whom he had received it.
From the above-stated facts it appears that the document evidencing the mortgage, and which Francisca
Gonzalez avers was executed and indorsed to Valeriano Tomas, must have been delivered to the las
mortgagee, Gregorio Salmon; and the latter having failed to exhibit it at the trial (since the said
document contains and shows the successive mortgages to which the land in question has been
subjected), it must have been because it did not suit the defendant Salmon to produce such a document,
which is evidently incompatible with the document of sale exhibited by him, the facts related by the
plaintiff and Francisca Gonzalez being moreover corroborated by the notary, David Cleto, and by the
witness, Alejandro Blas.
The character of the plaintiff, as owner of the land, is denied and questioned, but the defendant does not
take into account the fact that he himself acknowledges and admits that he had acquired it from
Valeriano Tomas; and, as it is a fact that the latter had in turn received it from Francisca Gonzalez, in
whose favor it was mortgage by Esteban Ranjo, it is unidisputable that the first and true owner of the
land mortgage is the plaintiff, inasmuch as it has not been shown that it was Valeriano Tomas who,
according to the defendant, sold and conveyed to him the land in controversy.
The act of selling or alienating real or personal property to another person conveys the ownership of the
vendor as to the thing sold; one who is not the owner can not perform any act which would transfer the
ownership, nor could his pretended transferee acquire any rights in the property, because his vendor did
not convey to him any right of ownership.
Therefore, the judgment appealed from being in accordance with the law and the merits of the case, it is
our opinion that it should be and it is hereby affirmed, with the costs against the appellant. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Mapa, Johnson, Carson and Moreland, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-6191 January 31, 1955
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
CIRILO P. BAYLOSIS, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Manuel P. Calanog and Cirilo Baylosis for appellants.
Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Solicitor Jose G. Bautista and Rafael Caniza for
appellee.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
These expropriation proceedings initiated in the Court of First Instance of Batangas by the Bureau of
Lands in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, involve seven lots formerly a part of the Hacienda
LIAN or LIAN ESTATE in the municipality of Lian, Batangas, which estate formerly belonged in its
entirety to the Colegio de San Jose Inc., a Jesuit corporation, under Original Certificate of Title No.
15521. It seems that the Hacienda or rather the income therefrom was used for the support and
education of young Filipinos studying for the priesthood. The Hacienda originally had an extension of
several thousand hectares and was occupied and cultivated by lessees and by tenants (inquilinos).
About the year 1931 the religious authorities decided to break up this big estate as far as possible into
small lots averaging one hundred hectares each and sell it to bona fide lessees, the price to be payable
on the installment plan.
One of these lessees was Nelson V. Sinclair. He had occupied under a contract of lease a portion of this
estate since 1928, cultivating a portion by means of tractors and the remainder by means of aparceros
under yearly contracts such as Exhibits 4, 4-A, 4-B (Baylosis).
In 1937 he brought the Lian Estate the portion leased to him with an approximate area of 87 hectares.
Subsequently, this portion was subdivided into seven lots, to wit: 306-YYYY, 306-BBBB, 306-CCCC,
306-DDDD, 306-EEEE, 306-LL. In 1947 Sinclair sold lot 306-YYYY with an area of about 25
hectares and 306-BBBB with an area of about 17 hectares to Cirilo P. Baylosis for P40,000 and
P28,000, respectively, although the corresponding transfer certificates of title were not issued until
1948 and 1949, respectively. After the purchase, Cirilo P. Baylosis subdivided the two lots into small
parcels and sold the same to his co-defendants in this case, except Sinclair and Luis Baylosis. In 1950
Sinclair sold to Cirilo P. Baylosis lot 306-DDDD with an area of about 10 hectares and lot 306-DDDD
with an area of about 10 hectares for P39,000. (See Exhibit 16-Baylosis).
About October 7, 1946, some 68 persons claiming to be tenants and occupants of the parcels originally
owned by Sinclair addressed a petition in Tagalog to the Rural Progress Administration, a rough
translation in English of which follows:
We, the undersigned, are all workers in this land for a long time , and were the ones who cleared
the place of its big trees.
That is why we are requesting the Government to buy the land and we shall pay the installment
to the Government.
Much later, on the basis of the petition, the Rural Progress Administration through its Manager
Faustino Aguilar, on May 4, 1948, addressed a letter to Sinclair reading as follows:

May 4, 1948

Mr. N.V. Sinclair


181 David, Escolta
Manila
Sir:
There has been received in this Office a petition for the acquisition by the Government for
resale to the tenants of the following six lots in Binubusan, owned and/or administered by you:
Lot N. 306 — CCCC under tax declaration No. 852
Area — 13.9125 hectares.
Kind — Irrigated agricultural land.
Assessed value — P6,400.00
Lot No. 306 — Z under tax declaration No. 858
Area — 8.7762 hectares.
Kind — 7.7762 hectares irrigated agricultural land 1.0000 hectare
— riceland.
Assessed value — P4,040.
Lot No. 306 — YYY under tax declaration No. 864
Area — 25.0159 hectares.
Kind — Irrigated agricultural land.
Assessed value — P9,760.
Lot No. 306 — BBBB under tax declaration No. 365
Area — 17.9827 hectares.
Kind — Irrigated agricultural land.
Assessed value — P7,010.
Lot No. 306 — EEEE under tax declaration No. 866
Area — 10.4955.
Kind — Irrigated agricultural land.
Assessed value — P4,090.
Lot No. 306 — LL under tax declaration No. 350
Owner — Colegio de San Jose.
Administrator — N.V. Sinclair.
Area — 14.3208 hectares.
Kind — Fish pond.
Assessed value — P5,730.
The reason given by the tenants in presenting their position is that your relation with them is not
altogether too satisfactory having on previous occasion tried to disregard the 70-30 crop sharing
basis, although later have yielded to observance thereof upon the insistence of the tenants. They
likewise complain that you are planning to eject them, a plan which if carried out, will result in
untold sufferings on their part, without mentioning the pain of leaving the premises which they
have occupied and tilled since time immemorial.
Before we take action on their petition we will appreciate your favor of informing us for your
willingness to sell said parcels of land, in accordance with the provisions of Commonwealth Act
No. 539 and the conditions of the sale.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) FAUSTINO AGUILAR


Manager

On May 7th, Sinclair wrote the following answer:

May 7, 1948

Rural Progress Administration


Department of Justice Building
Walled City, Manila
Attention: Mr. Faustino Aguilar,
Manager
Gentleman:
This will acknowledge receipt today your communication dated May 4th, with reference to the
petition for your Administration to purchase lands of the writer located in barrio Binubusan,
municipality of Lian, Province of Batangas.
The reasons given by the petitioners are not true and it will be a pleasure to, acquaint you with
the facts concerned with each of the lots specified.
This information will be assembled at the earliest possible time and in order to expedite its
submission to your goodselves, your letter is being forwarded to my representative at Lian.
In the meantime, it is requested that you kindly allow me sufficient time to submit the true facts
pertaining to each lot before you take action on this Petition.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) N.V. SINCLAIR


Owner

On November 15, 1958, Manager Aguilar again wrote to Sinclair as follows:

November 15, 1948

Mr. N.V. Sinclair


181 David Escolta
Manila

Sir:
In connection with your letter dated May 7, 1948, advising us that you will forward to this
Office under separate cover information regarding your refusal to sell to certain petitioners your
lands in Binubusan, Lian, Batangas, known as lot Nos. 306-CCCC; 306-Z; 306-YYY; 306-EEE
and 306-LL, please be informed that up to the present we have not as yet received said letter. As
it is our desire to apprise the petitioners of the same, the favor of an early information from you
will be appreciated.
Likewise the petitioners again called at this Office and have made an offer to buy said lands at
P600 per hectare on a 10 year period to pay. If the said price is acceptable to you, please advise
us accordingly.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) FAUSTINO AGUILAR


Manager

Thereafter, having been informed that Sinclair had sold his parcels or some of them to one Cirilo P.
Baylosis, Manager Aguilar on January 17, 1949, wrote the following letter:

January 17, 1949.

Atty. Cirilo P. Baylosis


Balayan, Batangas.
Sir:
We have been informed that you bought the lands of N. V. Sinclair at Binubusan, Lian,
Batangas, known as lots 306-YYY; 306-LL; 306-Z; 306-CCCC; 306-BBBB and 306-EEEE and
that you are at present taking all the crops thereon including the share due to the tenants with
help of constabulary soldiers. If the report is true, we request that you refrain from taking such
step in order to avoid any untoward incident that may arise therefrom.
The lands which you bought are the subject of a petition for acquisition and resale to the tenants
thereof which is pending final action by this Office.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) FAUSTINO AGUILAR


Manager

Thereafter, on February 6, 1951, the Republic of the Philippines filed the original complaint for
expropriation against Cirilo P. Baylosis and Sinclair, which complaint was twice amended, the second
amended complaint being filed on April 16, 1952, so as to include all the persons to whom Sinclair and
Cirilo P. Baylosis had sold portions of the lots sought to be expropriated.
On February 14, 1951, the Court of First Instance of Batangas after hearing the parties issued an order
placing the plaintiffs in possession of the property sought to be expropriated after plaintiff had made a
deposit of P27,105.22. On February 24, 1951, the tenants and occupants in whose behalf the
expropriation proceedings were instituted moved to intervene, accompanying their motion with a
complaint in intervention. Believing that their interests were sufficiently taken care of and defended by
the plaintiff, the trial court deemed said intervention unnecessary. The defendants numbering about 21
filed 9 separate motions to dismiss based on several grounds, among which are: that the expropriation
was being made not for public use; that the defendants would be deprived of their property without due
process of law; that the plaintiff has no right under the guise of expropriation to take the property of a
private citizen and deliver the same to another private individual; that the Constitution authorizes the
expropriation of big landed estates but not of small areas like these owned by the defendants; that the
present expropriation was intended to benefit only about 44 persons who do not represent the public
and that many of said persons already have lands of their own; that the various defendants individually
own only small portion of the property under expropriation; that the second amended complaint is
defective in that it did not describe the specific property sought to be expropriated; and that the current
price of irrigated lands in Batangas is about P3,000 per hectare and so plaintiff's deposit was
insufficient.
After hearing and the introduction of evidence, both oral and documentary, the trial court issued an
order dated July 18, 1952, dismissing the various motions for dismissal and declaring the plaintiff
entitled to take the property sought to be condemned for public use as described in the second amended
complaint upon payment of just compensation to be ascertained by Commissioner to be appointed by
the court for this purpose. The defendants are now appealing from that order directly to this Tribunal.
The trial court declared that the present expropriations proceedings are based on Section 4, Article XIII
of the Constitution which provides that —
The Congress may authorize upon payment of just compensation, the expropriation of lands to
be subdivided into small lots and conveyed at costs to individuals.
and section 1 of Commonwealth Act 539 which provides that the President of the Philippines is
authorized to acquire private lands through purchase or expropriation and subdivided the same into
home lots or small farms for resale to bona fide tenants or occupants. The trial court also said that
although this Tribunal in the case of Guido vs. Rural Progress Administration, G.R. No., L-2089 (47
Off. Gaz., No. 4 p. 1848) held that section 4 of Article XIII of the Constitution had reference to large
estates, still, the total area of the parcels now sought to be expropriated, which is between 67 and 77
hectares, may not be considered small; that the tenants and occupants of the land for whom these
expropriation proceedings were instituted have by themselves and their ancestors been occupying,
clearing and cultivating the land for many years and that they are entitled now to purchase the same;
that the situation in the area in question was far from peaceful because there was misunderstanding and
trouble between tenants on one side, and their landlords (the defendants herein) on the other, regarding
their shares in the harvests and that the only way to solve this tenancy problem was to expropriate the
land and sell it to the tenants; that both Sinclair and Cirilo P. Baylosis were formerly agreeable to sell
this land to others for a profit as shown by the fact that they had actually sold portions thereof to others
and that consequently, they can now have no valid objection to the expropriation, that heretofore the
Government had already expropriated a large portion of Lian Estate of Hacienda, divided the same
small lots and thereafter resold them to tenants, thereby showing that by its nature, location and
destination the property is suitable for the purpose for which it is being expropriated, and that these
proceedings are in keeping with what the Government had already done with respect to other portions;
that although it is contended that several of the tenants and occupants have already lands of their own
aside from the portions they are now occupying, still, they are actual occupants and it would not be fair
or just that they would not be included in the benefits of the expropriation, and that in any event, once
the expropriation is carried out, it is for the Government to screen and process the tenants, and that
those found already owning lands may be disqualified to buy the land being expropriated. As to the
portions into which lots 306-YYYY and 306-BB have been sub-divided and then sold by Cirilo P.
Baylosis to his co-defendants, the trial observed that said sales were made after Baylosis had been
served on January 17, 1949, with notice by the Rural Progress Administration of the intention of the
Government to purchase said lots, and that considering that the purchasers are relatives of Baylosis,
and that the transfer certificates of title were issued in 1950, there was reason to believe that these sales
by Baylosis were simulated, and intended to frustrate the attempt of the Government to expropriate.
For a better and a clearer understanding of the facts in this case, particularly the parcels involved, their
areas and owners, the particular portions sought to be expropriated and the number of tenants and
occupants sought to be benefitted by the expropriation, we have prepared the following tables or
graphs, marked "A" and "G", based on the pleadings and on the order appealed from.
Table "A" Area.
1. Lot 306-YYY 25.0159 square meters To be acquired 22.4033 square meters Occupants 21
Dependents 100.
2. Lot 306 BBB 17.9827 square meters To be acquired 13.4564 square meters Occupants 10
Dependents 40.
3. Lot 306-CCC 13.9129 square meters Whole to be acquired Occupants 9 Dependents 40.
4. Lot 306-EEEE 10.4955 square meters To be acquired. 9,1809 square meters Occupants . 4
Dependents 20.
5. Lot 306-Z 8.7762 square meters To be acquired 4.0000 square meters Occupants 1 Dependent
4.
6. Lot 306-LL 14.3208 square meters To be acquired 1.5000 square meters Occupants 1
Dependent 4.
7. Lot 306-DDDD 5.8946 square meters To be acquired 3.0000 square meters Occupants 1
Dependents 4 Owners 23 Dependents 90 Occupants 44 Dependents 214.
TABLE "B".
Names of defendants Lot Nos. and Area in Title No. hectares.
Maria Lunesa 306-YYY-1 4.9996 TCT-2959 Pastora Baylosis 306-YYY-2 2.0000 TCT-3079
Spouses Marcelo Basit and Magdalena Bayungan 306-YYY-3 2.0000 Spouses Tomas Asuncion
and Bonifacio Bayungan 306-YYY-4 1.0315 Spouses Raymunda Hernandez and Juan Gonzales
306-YYY-5 1.0998 TOT-2960 Spouses Tirso de Padua and Maria Dolores Bayungan 306-YYY-
6 3.0000 Spouses Luis Baylosis and Manuela Pineda 306-YYY-8 9.9974 TOT-3510 Spouses
Benito Baylosis and Macaria L. Torres 306-BBB-1 2.4256 306-BBB-9 0.9639 TOT-2877
Spouses Alejandro Abellera and Juliana Camellon 306-BBB-7 1.0711 TAT-2897 Spouses
Roberto Capoon and Gavina Baylosis 306-BBB-7 3.7725 Luis Baylosis 306-Z 3.8009 Cirilo P.
Baylosis T-3133 8.8051 T-3426 N.V. Sinclair and C. P. Baylosis306-CCCC 13.9125 306-EEEE
9.1809 N.V. Sinclair 306-LL 4.0000 306-DDDD 5.8946
Table "A" shows the number of lots to be affected by the expropriation including the areas to be
expropriated, and the number of their occupants and dependents. Table "B" shows the names of the
owners of the original seven lots involved and of the smaller lots into which they had been subdivided
and their areas. Table "A" further shows the area sought to be expropriated from each individual lot,
totalling approximately 67 hectares. The number of tenants or occupants is about 44 and the number of
their dependents is about 214. For the defendants owners, there are about 23 of them with about 90
dependents.
It will be seen from the tables that neither the exact location of the portion to be expropriated from each
lot nor its form or shape is stated or defined, thereby supporting the contention of the defendants on this
point. Table "A" also show that the Government wants to expropriate, not one whole parcel or the
seven lots comprising said parcel but is selecting only portions of said seven different and separate lots,
presumably those actually occupied and cultivated by the tenants. If the appropriation is carried out we
do not know what portions would be left to the owners, the forms thereof and whether or not it would
be worthwhile for the said owners to keep them.
Let us now discuss the several reasons given by the trial court for upholding the right of the
Government to expropriate in this case. It says that the tenants and occupants for whose benefit the land
is being expropriated have by themselves and their ancestors been occupying and cultivating the same
for many years and are therefore entitled to purchase the same. We are afraid that that holding has no
legal basis. The mere fact that a person as a tenant has occupied and cultivated and even cleared the
land for his landlord does not entitle him to purchase the same against his landlord's will, by means of
expropriation. Expropriation by the Government, obliging a land owner to part with his real estate is
authorized only when done for public use or for public benefit and not to enable one to own real
property at the expense of another especially when said owner has no other real property except the one
being expropriated. Some of the defendants herein (Alejandro Abellera and Benito Baylosis) have no
other land except the small lots bought by them from Cirilo P. Baylosis and now subject of the present
expropriation proceedings. Defendant Juan Gonzales told the Court that he is actually by himself,
plowing and cultivating the small lot of about one hectare that he bought from Cirilo P. Baylosis, now
sought to be condemned. We should not forget that the Constitution protects private property, prohibits
a citizen being deprived of his property without due process of law, and that even in condemnation
proceedings when said citizen is given just compensation for his property expropriated, still, the
expropriation to be valid must be for a public use or public benefit.
Again the trial court says that there are tenancy problems in the lands being expropriated, there being
misunderstanding between the owners and the tenants as to the share of each in the harvest, and that the
only way this problem could be solved is to expropriate the land. This seems to be a novel theory which
finds no statutory or constitutional support. If this theory were correct and is to be followed and
applied, then all that a tenant has to do in order to be able to buy the lands of his landlord is for him, or
better still, with the help and cooperation of his co-tenants, to violate the tenancy law, refuse to give the
30% corresponding to his or their landlord or even deny the title of said landlord, thereby creating a
tenancy problem, upon which the Government will immediately step in and commence expropriation
proceedings, claiming that the only solution of the trouble between the landlord and the tenants lies in
expropriation. We cannot believe that was ever the intention of either the framers of the Constitution or
of the members of Congress. That is the reason why Congress has promulgated the Tenancy Law,
clearly specifying the rights and obligations of both landlord and tenant, their respective shares in the
harvest, and the removal of a tenant only for certain specified reasons or causes; and that is why we
have the Tenancy Division in the Court of Industrial Relations to handle and decide tenancy disputes.
Furthermore, it is not exactly correct to say that there is a tenancy problem in the land in question, and
even if there were, the fault may be attributed to the tenants themselves rather than the owners. It will
be remembered that in the petition filed by about 68 persons claiming to be occupants of the parcels
originally owned by the Sinclair dated October 6, 1946, addressed to the Rural Progress
Administration, nothing was said about tenancy trouble. All that they said in said petition was that they
had been working on the land for a long time and had cleared the place of big trees, and that they
wanted to buy the land and pay the price to the Government in installment. Indeed, the evidence shows
that Sinclair never had any trouble with his tenants. And there is reason to believe and evidence to
support the belief that the tenancy trouble on the land in question began only around the year 1948 after
the tenants and occupants were presumably given the hope and the assurance by the Rural Progress
Administration that the Government was going to acquire the land for them either through purchase or
expropriation. It was then according to Cirilo P. Baylosis that the tenants refused to give him and his
co-defendants their share of the harvest and even refused to acknowledge him as owner of the land he
had bought from Sincliar. So, according to Cirilo P. Baylosis, he and his co-defendants to whom he had
resold portions of the land bought from Sinclair, had to go to the Tenancy Law Enforcement Office and
complain against the tenants and said Tenancy Office in several orders concurred in by the Court of
Industrial Relations held that even under Commonwealth Act 538 which authorizes the suspension of
cases of ejectment against tenants of lands included in condemnation proceedings, the tenants should
first pay the current rents or give the shares of the landlords in the harvest, a thing which tenants in
those cases had failed and refused to do and so the cases against the tenants were decided against them.
(See Exhibits V-1-1, V-2-1, V-3-1 and V-4-1).
The trial court also said that if Sinclair and Cirilo P. Baylosis formerly were willing to sell their
holdings or portions thereof to others as they have done to their co-defendants, there was no reason
why the defendants should now object to the Government purchasing said lands through expropriation.
But there is a difference and room for distinction. The right to dispose or not to dispose of one's
property is one of the attributes of ownership. A person just because he is willing to sell his property to
"A" may not be obliged to sell it to "B" unless the law in certain specific cases such as legal redemption
compels him to do so. Again, a land owner may be willing or even offer to sell his land today to "A",
but unless the offer is accepted and acted upon, he may change his mind and refuse to sell to "A" next
year or refuse to sell it to anyone for that matter.
The evidence shows that both Sinclair and Cirilo P. Baylosis at one time were willing to sell to some of
the tenants and occupants herein involved under certain conditions and provided that they buy in
groups, presumably to avoid subdivisions and the problem of dealing with many individual buyers, but
the tenants failed to buy. Naturally, they may not now compel Sinclair and Cirilo P. Baylosis to sell to
them through the Government by means of expropriation. Besides, the bulk of the lands that Sinclair
and Cirilo P. Baylosis had formerly offered to them for sale which offer they failed to take advantage
of, has now been sold to others, the other co-defendants herein, in small lots.
One reason not improbable why the tenants and occupants failed to take advantage of the former offer
of Sinclair and Cirilo P. Baylosis to sell the lands to them was the matter of price. According to the
letter of the Rural Progress Administration to Sinclair on November 15, 1948, those who signed the
petition of October 17, 1946 claiming to be the tenants and occupants of the land, offered to but the
same at P600 per hectare, payable within a period of ten years. The defendant owners of the land herein
claim that the current price of the first class riceland in Batangas is around P3,000 per hectare. Even
taking as a basis the price paid by Cirilo P. Baylosis for the lots bought by him from Sinclair, now
being expropriated, the price is way over P1,000 almost P2,000 per hectare. Naturally, Sinclair and
Baylosis were unwilling to sell at P600 a hectare, to say nothing of said price being paid in ten years.
And that is the reason why the defendants herein claim that the deposit of P27,000 made by the tenants
and occupants, is insufficient to cover the price of the land, said amount of the deposit being equivalent
to only about P400 per hectare for the 67 hectares sought to be expropriated.
Supposing that the expropriation is carried out and the Commissioners and the trial court find that the
land expropriated is worth P2,000 or more per hectare, would the tenants and occupants be still willing
and would they be able to pay said price? Supposing that they were not, then what would happen?
Would the Government undertake to pay the difference between the actual value of the land
expropriated for them and their offer to pay only P600 per hectare, and this payable in ten years at that?
Section 4, Article XIII of the Constitution on which the present expropriation proceedings are supposed
to be based says that the lands expropriated are to be subdivided into small lots and conveyed at cost to
individuals. That means that the Government will not make any profit in the transaction, but it also
conveys the idea that the Government will sell at a price to include what it cost the Government to
expropriate. The cost of subdivision, registration fees and transfer certificates of title will probably
have to be added to the cost of the land. Again, it may be asked, what will the Government do if the
tenants and occupants are neither willing nor able to pay said total cost?.
There is another point that merits consideration. The defendants claim and correctly that many of the
tenants and occupants now insisting on expropriation have lands of their own. According to the list
prepared by the Bureau of Lands containing the names of persons who are occupying and holding
portions of land being administered by the Bureau of Lands in Batangas (Exhibit 13,-Baylosis), many,
if not the majority of the tenants and occupants of the lands now sought to be expropriated are included
in said list. The evidence further shows that several of the tenants, among them Victor Magpantay, C.
Balaquiot, Luciano Panganiban, Isabelo Manguera and Andres Castronuevo have lands of their own;
that some of the lands are sugar lands for which they hold sugar quotas and one of the said tenants,
Andres Castronuevo, is cultivating a portion of the land sought to be expropriated and which he wants
to buy, not by himself but through an aparcero or tenant.
In relation to this claim of the defendants that some of the tenants and occupants have lands of their
own and so are not qualified to be the beneficiaries of expropriation, the trial court said that that is no
problem because the government can later screen and process said tenants and occupants, and that if
some are found to be disqualified because they are already land owners, then they should not be
allowed to purchase the portions occupied by them. But if and when this happens, what becomes of
said portions taken away from their former owners over their vigorous opposition and which portions
later proved to be not subject to expropriation for the reason that the persons occupying them do not
deserve and are not qualified to purchase them? A real injustice will have been done to the owners of
these portions because they had been included and made defendants in these proceedings, deprived of
their holdings against their will, only to find out later that the expropriation as to these portions was
improper and unjustified.
The defendants have introduced evidence without refutation through the testimony of one Anacleto
Jonson, an employee of the Bureau of Lands in charge of the 3,700 hectares of the Lian Estate
expropriated by the Government way back in 1940 and 1941, and intended to be subdivided into small
lots and resold to their tenants and occupants, on the status of said lands. According to Jonson, since
then which up to now, involves a period of about thirteen years, said area of 3,700 hectares remains
unsubdivided; that no portion of said big area has been resold or even contracted to be resold by the
Government to their occupants and tenants, and all that the Government is doing is to administer the
same and receive the portion of the yearly harvest corresponding to the owner. In other words, all that
has been done, thirteen years after the expropriation was to transfer the ownership and administration
of this big area with about 800 tenants and families from the Lian Estate to the Government which has
assumed the role of lessor and landlord. No reason or explanation was given for this rather strange if
not anomalous situation. The defendants, owners of the land being condemned, feeling a little bitter
against the Government, condemns its action in instituting the present proceedings, and point to this
unfortunate situation and status of the 3,700 hectares expropriated in 1941 as an example of the
Government's rather over-ambitious program of expropriation. They say:
.. . In 1939, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, filed the expropriation proceedings in the
Court of First Instance of Batangas of certain portions of the Lian Estate still owned by Colegio
de San Jose, Inc., and occupied by 800 persons (t. s. n.,p. 359). The Colegio de San Jose, Inc.,
finally executed the Deed of Sale for 4,300 hectares of land on May 1940, and title and
ownership to these lands were then transferred to the Commonwealth of the Philippines (t. s. n.,
pp. 73-74, 357-359). However, notwithstanding, the expropriation of this large estate of 4,300
hectares of homesites and agricultural lands by the Commonwealth of the Philippines 13 years
ago, for resale to the poor and landless, up to the present time this property has not been
subdivided into small lots, nor sold to the actual occupants (t. s. n., p. 360). Notwithstanding
this state of affairs, the plaintiff is still bent on expropriating another 67 hectares of agricultural
lands consisting of 18 small lots of small areas which do not adjoin each other and belonging to
20 small landowners (Record on Appeal, pp. 4-14) who are intended by the framers of the
Constitution to be protected by section 4, Article XIII of the Constitution. (Appellant's brief, pp.
7-8.).
This Tribunal in the case of Guido vs. Rural Progress Administration, supra, held that section 4 of
Article XIII of the Constitution has reference only to large estates, trusts in perpetuity, and the lands
that embrace a whole town or a large portion of a town or city. The lands now sought to be expropriated
with a total area of 67 hectares even if considered as one whole parcel which they are not, can of course
not be regarded as a landed estate. During the discussion of this case it was urged by the minority that
as long as any land formerly formed part of a landed or large estate, it may, regardless of its present
area be still subject to expropriation under section 4, Article XIII of the Constitution, citing the doctrine
laid down in the case of Rural Progress Administration vs. Reyes, G.R. No. L-4703, October 8, 1953. It
is true that said ruling was made in the Reyes case but we should bear in mind that that was a decision
by a highly divided court, six for the majority and four dissenting , but two majority concurring only in
the result and one of them concurring in a separate opinion. It seems that the members of the Tribunal
espousing the majority opinion therein were greatly impressed by the fact that notwithstanding the
small area involved, about two hectares, there were 113 persons living in the same, and dependent on
the products of the fisheries on it, and evidently had no other place to go to live. We feel that the
decision in that Reyes case was a departure from doctrine laid down in the leading case of Guido which
doctrine has been subsequently affirmed and reiterated in a long line of cases, and we now believe that
in abandoning the ruling made in the Reyes case, this tribunal is merely returning to and re-affirming
the sound and wholesome doctrine laid down in the Guido Case.
The main purpose of the constitutional provision contained in section 4, Article XIII of that instrument
was to break up landed estates into reasonably small portions. Once said landed estate is broken up, the
purpose of the Constitution is achieved. Otherwise, were we to adhere to the rule made in the Reyes
case that if a piece of land, regardless of size, formerly formed part of a big landed estate, it is
necessarily subject to expropriation then there would be no limit or foreseeable end to expropriation. A
landed estate of say 3,000 hectares is broken up into say 50-hectare lots and sold to the lessees or
occupants thereof. The tenants in that 50-hectare lot want to buy their holdings and because the lot was
formerly a part of a landed estate, it is again expropriated and subdivided into say 5-hectare lots. A
buyer of this 5-hectare portion may have tenants cultivating portions thereof and these tenants would
again insist on expropriation into say one hectare lots and so this expropriation would and may go on
endlessly until the minimum of a few square meters reached, just to accommodate one single tenant.
We hold that that could not have been the intention of the framers of the Constitution. We also say that
once a landed estate is broken up into portions of reasonable area, the buyers thereof are protected by
the Constitution against further expropriation.
The trial court in justifying the present expropriation held that the land sought to be condemned with an
area between 67 and 77 hectares is not small. It perhaps meant to say that it is large, and so may be
regarded as a landed estate coming within the contemplation of the Constitution for purposes of
expropriation. As a matter of fact, the land is only about 67 hectares in area. Not only this but it has
already been subdivided into smaller portions ranging from thirteen hectares to as small as one hectare
and now owned by different individual families. But even considering the land as a whole parcel of 67
hectares, may it be considered a landed estate whose ownership by one person is discouraged by the
Constitution, and so subject to expropriation.
Our attention is called by the defendants-appellants to Land Administrative Order Bo. R-3 issued by the
Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Executive Order No. 376 dated November 28, 1950,
abolished the Rural Progress Administration which was formerly in charge of the expropriation of
landed estates and transferred said function to the Bureau of Lands, creating therein a Division of
Landed Estates. The Bureau of Lands is under the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources
and the latter promulgated Administrative Order No. R-3 under the provisions of Section 79-B of the
Revised Administrative Code. This Administrative Order is entitled "Rules and Regulations Governing
the Acquisition and Disposition of Landed Estates. Section 3 thereof reads as follows:
3. Minimum Area of Private Estates to be acquired. — Except in special cases, no proceedings
shall be initiated for the appropriation of an estate unless the area thereof be at least 5 hectares if
for residential purpose; and at least 100 hectares if for agricultural purpose. This shall be
without prejudice to the acquisition of smaller areas thru negotiation.
According to the above reproduced section, no agricultural land will be expropriated for purposes of
resale if less than 100 hectares in area. Although this Administrative Order was issued on October 19,
1951, after the commencement of the present expropriation proceedings, nevertheless it embodied the
policy of the Government as to the size of agricultural lands that may be expropriated under section 4,
Article XIII of the Constitution. In other words, the Government considers 100 hectares of agricultural
land not to be too large to be owned by an individual, family, or entity so as to be subject to
expropriation. And this policy contained in our laws governing the public domain. Under the old Public
Land law (Act No. 926), a person and his family may apply for and obtain a homestead with an area of
16 hectares. This was evidently found to be too small for purposes of expansion for a family and the
area for a homestead was later increased to 24 hectares under Act 2874 and Commonwealth Act 141.
That means that a man, poor and landless, who has to apply to the Government for a homestead may
own as much as 24 hectares of land. Commonwealth Act 141 provides that an individual may purchase
144 hectares of public land, meaning to say, that 144 hectares is not too large a parcel to be owned by a
person or a family. And as to corporations the Public Land Act authorizes them to purchase or lease
1024 hectares of the public domain. In view of this policy of the Government as to the size of
agricultural land which a corporation or an individual may legitimately own, even purchase from the
Government itself, it is clear that a parcel of 67 hectares in an area such as the land now sought to be
expropriated is not a landed estate or too large a parcel so as to justify expropriation; and if we consider
the fact that these 67 hectares were originally seven distinct and separate parcels owned by Sinclair and
later subdivided into about 17 parcels now owned by twenty-three, one would realize the impropriety
of expropriating so as to enable the tenants and occupants thereof to buy them. In the Guido case we
indirectly held through Mr. Justice Tuason that parcels of 10, 15 or 25 hectares in area may not be
expropriated for the purpose of reselling them to the tenants and occupants., and that to do so would be
an act of oppression. What the Government is now trying to do in the present case is to take away
parcels ranging from one to thirteen hectares in area from about 23 landowners with about 90
dependents and transfer them to about forty-four tenants with about 214 dependents. We hold that that
cannot be done, not only because it has no statutory or constitutional support but also because it is
unjust. What section 4, Article XIII of the Constitution intended and sought to do was merely to break
up landed estates, and trusts in perpetuity. It intended to discourage the concentration of and excessive
landed wealth in an entity or a few individuals, but surely it did not intend or seek to distribute wealth
among citizens or take away from a citizen land which he did not actually need and give it to another
who needs it. That does not come within the realm of social justice. Said this Tribunal in the Guido
case:
The presumption of social justice ordained by the Constitution does not supply paramount basis
for untrammeled expropriation of private land by the Rural Progress Administration or any
other government instrumentality. Social justice does not champion division of property or
equality of economic status; what it and the Constitution to guaranty are equality of opportunity,
equality of political rights, equality before the law, equality between values given and received,
and equitable sharing of social and material moods on the basis of efforts in their production.
The trial court held that Cirilo P. Baylosis subdivided lots 306-YYY and 306-BB and sold them to
many of its co-defendants in the year 1950, as shown by the dates of the registration of the sales in the
Office of the Register of Deeds, this, after he had been notified by the Rural Progress Administration in
1949 of the intention of the Government to expropriate those lots, and that furthermore, many if not all
of the purchasers of his lots as subdivided were his relatives, thereby giving said court reason to believe
that those sales by Cirilo were all simulated, intended to frustrate the attempt of the Government to
expropriate. In the first place, Cirilo asserts that he made the subdivision and made the sales before he
received the notice from the Rural Progress Administration in 1949 but because it took the Bureau of
Lands a long time to approve the subdivision survey and plan, the sales were not registered until 1950.
In the second place, the mere fact that a land owner subdivides his land and sells them to his relatives
does not mean that the sales are simulated or fraudulent. It is not unnatural for a person who has
something to sell, to give preference to his relatives; and with respect to lands, to have as his neighbors
and adjoining owners people whom he knows and are related to him. In the third place, and this is the
most important, even assuming that Cirilo P. Baylosis was previously notified of the intention of the
Government to expropriate his land, said notice by no means could legally prevent him from disposing
of his property; otherwise, the mere announcement or notice of the intention of the Government to
expropriate a parcel of land, however indefinite and uncertain that intention may be, would as it were
freeze said property in the hands of its owner. Thereafter, the owner may not deal with his own
property, mortgage it, much less sell it and all he could do is to wait patiently, for any future action of
the Government in the way of expropriation. Said expropriation may come along afterwards or may not
come at all because the Government may change its mind, and in the meantime the landowner is
rendered helpless as regards his own property. In the present case, as already stated, the petition for
expropriation was not filed by the Government until the year 1951, more than two years after the notice
of the Government's intention to expropriate was served on Cirilo. We hold that mere notice of the
intention of the Government to expropriate lands in the future does not and cannot bind the landowner
and prevent him from dealing with his property. To bind the land to be expropriated and the owner
thereof, the expropriation must be commenced in court and even then we are not certain that the owner
may not deal with his property thereafter, mortgage or even sell it if he can find persons who would
step into his shoes and deal with the Government, either resist the expropriation if in their opinion it is
illegal or accept the expropriation and remain with what is left of the property if the entire property is
not needed by the Government.
In conclusion we hold that under section 4, Article XIII of the Constitution, the Government may
expropriate only landed estates with extensive areas, specially those embracing the whole or a large
part of a town or city; that once a landed estate is broken up and divided into parcels of reasonable
areas, either thru voluntary sales by the owner or owners of said landed estate, or thru expropriation,
the resulting parcels are no longer subject to further expropriation under section 4, Article XIII of the
Constitution; that mere notice of the intention of the Government to expropriate a parcel of land does
not bind either the land or the owner so as to prevent subsequent disposition of the property such as
mortgaging or even selling it in whole or by subdivision; that tenancy trouble alone whether due to the
fault of the tenants or of the landowners does not justify expropriation; that the Constitution protects a
landowner against indiscriminate and unwarranted expropriations; that to justify expropriation, it must
be for the public purpose and public benefit, and that just to enable the tenants of a piece of land of
reasonable area to own portions of it, even if they and their ancestors had cleared the land and
cultivated it for their landlord for many years, is no valid reason or justification under the Constitution
to deprive the owners or landlord of his property by means of expropriation.
In view of the foregoing, the order appealed from reversed; the motions for dismissal filed by
defendants-appellants are granted; and the petition for expropriation is dismissed, with costs in both
instances.
Bengzon, Padilla, Jugo, and Bautista Angelo, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
REYES, A.J., concurring:
Without subscribing to some of the views expressed in the majority opinion, I concur in the result, it
not being clear that there has been an attempt here to evade the expropriation while on the other hand
the object of the expropriation — so it would appear — is to take land from small landholders in order
to give it to others, some of whom already have land of their own. As the Spaniards would say, eso es
demanda a un santo para vestir a otro.

PARAS, C.J., with whom concurs Pablo, J., dissenting:


I vote to affirm the well prepared and cogently reasoned order of the Court of First Instance of
Batangas which reads in full as follows:
The original complaint for expropriation in this case was filed with this Court on February 6,
1951. In order to bring in other defendants, the original complaint was twice amended, and the
second amended complaint substantially alleges the following: That the plaintiff, Republic of
the Philippines, is represented in this action by the Director of Lands; that the property sought to
be condemned consist of seven parcels of land, with a total area of 674,535 square meters,
situated in barrio Binubusan, Municipality of Lian, Province of Batangas, and more particularly
described in the second amended complaint of the plaintiff; that the defendants Nelson V.
Sinclair property, while the remaining defendants are alleged purchasers of portions thereof
belonging to defendant Cirilo P. Baylosis; that the said property was originally owned by
Colegio de San Jose, which sold it to defendant Nelson V. Sinclair, who, in turn, sold portions
thereof to defendant Cirilo P. Baylosis; that this property is presently occupied by around forty-
seven tenants, with around two hundred dependents, for whose benefit these expropriation
proceedings have been instituted; that the said tenants and their predecessors-in-interest have
been in possession of the said property from time immemorial having introduced thereon
improvements consisting of fillings, fences, buildings, fruit trees and other crops; that defendant
Cirilo P. Baylosis, in an tempt to circumvent Commonwealth Act No. 539, and with full
knowledge of these contemplated condemnation proceedings, simulated transfer of property in
favor of his co-defendants, except Nelson V. Sinclair, and caused transfer certificates of title to
be issued in the names of said co-defendants, all for the purpose of defeating these proceedings;
that some of the defendant have attempted to eject from, and dispossess the tenants of, the
property in question which the latter and their predecessors-in-interest have held from time
immemorial, as a result of which acts, tenancy cases and other differences have arisen between
landlords and tenants, and that the plaintiff needs to acquire title to and ownership of the
property in question for the purpose of subdividing the same into small lots and selling the
subdivided lots to tenants occupying the property, in keeping with the social amelioration
program of the government to improve the lot of the tenants, to promote their interest and well-
being, and thus to avoid and forestall social unrest. Premised upon the foregoing gist of the
allegation of the second amended complaint plaintiff prays, among other things, that an order of
condemnation be entered declaring that plaintiff has a lawful right to take the property sought to
be condemned for the public use and purpose already mentioned upon payment of just
compensation to determined by the court.
On February 14, 1951, this Court, after first hearing the parties issued an order placing the
plaintiff in possession of the property sought to be expropriated, after the said plaintiff had
made a deposit of P27,105.22, pursuant to the provisions of section 3 of Rule 69 of the Rules of
Court.
On September 24, 1951, the tenants in whose behalf these proceedings were instituted by
plaintiff, put in a motion for intervention, accompanied by a complaint in intervention, in which
complaint the said tenants take the very same position of, and make common cause with, the
plaintiff in the latter's second amended complaint. In view of the fact, however, that the interests
of the said tenants are sufficiently taken care of and defendant by plaintiff's action, the said
intervention is deemed unnecessary.
To plaintiff's second amended complaint, the various defendants interposed a total of nine
separate motions for dismissal based upon the following principal ground stated in brief outline;
(1) that the property being expropriated is not for public use; (2) that by this expropriation,
defendant are being deprived of their property without due process of law; (3) that this
expropriation amounts to the taking of property from one private citizen and delivering it to
another private individual; (4) that Executive Order No. 376 is null and void; (5) that the Bureau
of Lands exceeded its authority when it seeks to expropriate private properties of the
defendants, instead of the Lian Estate; (6) that the Constitution authorizes the expropriation of
big landed estates, and not of small areas like those at bar; (7) that this expropriation is intended
to benefits only forty-four persons who do not represent the public; (8) that many of the said
persons are already landowners in Lian; (9) that the said persons are not law-abiding and do not
believe in democratic processes, and they are not lessees but only aparceros on a year to year
contract basis; (10) that the said persons have not introduced any permanent improvements
upon the property in question; (11) that the various defendants individually own only small
portions of the property under expropriation; (12) that plaintiff's second amended complaint
does not describe with certainty and definiteness the specific property sought to be
expropriated; (13) that the current price of irrigated rice lands in Lian Batangas, is P3,000.00
per hectares, and plaintiff's deposit is insufficient, and (14) that defendants have suffered
damages as a result of these proceeding. To defendant's motion for dismissal, the plaintiff had
filed a written reply on May 14,1951.
Upon motion of Miguel Bascuguin, one of the forty-seven tenants mentioned in the second
amended complaint, and without objection on the part of the plaintiff, this Court by order of
October 30, 1951, excluded the said Miguel Bascuguin from these proceedings on the ground
that he has not authorized anyone to file and is not interested in, the same.
The pleadings having thus been presented and the issues joined, the case came on for hearing on
the underlying question of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to expropriate the property in
question, during which hearing the plaintiff and the defendants adduced their evidence in
support of their respective stand upon the said question. The salient features of the said evidence
and the rival claims of the parties arising therefrom will in a moment be taken up.
The factual background eventuating in the institution of the present proceedings is disclosed by
documentary evidence brought forward by plaintiff. As far back as May 4, 1948, upon petition
of certain tenants on the property of defendant N.V. Sinclair, the then manager of now defunct
Rural Progress Administration addressed the following letter, Exhibit "B", to said defendant:

May 4, 1948

Mr. N.V. Sincliar


181 David, Escolta
Manila
Sir:
There has been received in this Office a petition for the acquisition by the Government
for resale to the tenants of the following six lots in Binubusan, owned and/or
administered by you:
Lot N. 306 — CCCC under tax declaration No. 852
Area — 13.9125 hectares.
Kind — Irrigated agricultural land.
Assessed value — P6,400.00
Lot No. 306 — Z under tax declaration No. 858
Area — 8.7762 hectares.
Kind — 7.7762 hectares irrigated agricultural land 1.0000 hectare
— riceland.
Assessed value — P4,040.
Lot No. 306 — YYY under tax declaration No. 864
Area — 25.0159 hectares.
Kind — Irrigated agricultural land.
Assessed value — P9,760.
Lot No. 306 — BBBB under tax declaration No. 365
Area — 17.9827 hectares.
Kind — Irrigated agricultural land.
Assessed value — P7,010.
Lot No. 306 — EEEE under tax declaration No. 866
Area — 10.4955.
Kind — Irrigated agricultural land.
Assessed value — P4,090.
Lot No. 306 — LL under tax declaration No. 350
Owner — Colegio de San Jose.
Administrator — N.V. Sinclair.
Area — 14.3208 hectares.
Kind — Fish pond.
Assessed value — P5,730.
The reason given by the tenants in presenting their position is that your relation with
them is not altogether too satisfactory having on previous occasion tried to disregard the
70-30 crop sharing basis, although later have yielded to observance thereof upon the
insistence of the tenants. They likewise complain that you are planning to eject them, a
plan which if carried out, will result in untold sufferings on their part, without
mentioning the pain of leaving the premises which they have occupied and tilled since
time immemorial.
Before we take action on their petition we will appreciate your favor of informing us for
your willingness to sell said parcels of land, in accordance with the provisions of
Commonwealth Act No.539 and the conditions of the sale.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) FAUSTINO AGUILAR


Manager

"To the aforequoted letter, defendant N.V. Sinclair made the following answer, Exhibit F:

May 7, 1948

Rural Progress Administration


Department of Justice Building
Walled City, Manila
Attention: Mr. Faustino Aguilar,
Manager
Gentleman:
This will acknowledge receipt today your communication dated May 4th, with reference
to the petition for your Administration to purchase lands of the writer located in barrio
Binubusan, municipality of Lian, Province of Batangas.
The reasons given by the petitioners are not true and it will be a pleasure to, acquaint
you with the facts concerned with each of the lots specified.
This information will be assembled at the earliest possible time and in order to expedite
its submission to your goodselves, your letter is being forwarded to my representative at
Lian.
In the meantime, it is requested that you kindly allow me sufficient time to submit the
true facts pertaining to each lot before you take action on this Petition.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) N.V. SINCLAIR


Owner

On November 15, 1948, the following remainder, Exhibit H, was sent to Defendant N. V. Sinclair:

November 15, 1948


Mr. N.V. Sinclair
181 David Escolta
Manila
Sir:
In connection with your letter dated May 7, 1948, advising us that you will forward to this
Office under separate cover information regarding your refusal to sell to certain petitioners your
lands in Binubusan, Lian, Batangas, known as lot Nos. 306-CCCC; 306-Z; 306-YYY; 306-EEE
and 306-LL, please be informed that up to the present we have not as yet received said letter. As
it is our desire to apprise the petitioners of the same, the favor of an early information from you
will be appreciated.
Likewise the petitioners again called at this Office and have made an offer to buy said lands at
P600 per hectare on a 10 year period to pay. If the said price is acceptable to you, please advise
us accordingly.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) FAUSTINO AGUILAR


Manager

On December 14, 1948, the aforesaid reminder was followed up the following letter, Exhibit G:

December 14, 1948.

Mr. N. V. Sinclair
181 David, Escolta
Manila.
Sir:
With further reference to lots 306-CCCC; 306-Z; 306-YYY; 306-BBBB; 306-EEEE and 306-LL
Lian, Batangas, which was the subject of our letter to you dated November 15, 1948 (enclosed
copy) the occupants thereof again came to this office informing that you are in the process of
disposing of said lands to persons other than the petitioners and in fact you have already sold to
Atty. Cirilo Baylosis lot 306-YYY and to Casimiro Balaguiot lot 306-E. In order to avoid the
further complication of the matter, we would request that you refrain from disposing of the
same during the period of this negotiation pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth Act No.
538. It is likewise requested that you give your comment on your letter to you dated November
15, 1948.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) FAUSTINO AGUILAR


Manager

As defendant N. V. Sinclair had in the meantime sold portions of his property to this Cirilo P. Baylosis,
the manager of the Rural Progress Administration wrote the letter defendant the following letter,
Exhibit I:
January 17, 1949.

Atty. Cirilo P. Baylosis


Balayan, Batangas.
Sir:
We have been informed that you bought the lands of N. V. Sinclair at Binubusan, Lian,
Batangas, known as lots 306-YYY; 306-LL; 306-Z; 306-CCCC; 306-BBBB and 306-EEEE and
that you are at present taking all the crops thereon including the share due to the tenants with
help of constabulary soldiers. If the report is true, we request that you refrain from taking such
step in order to avoid any untoward incident that may arise therefrom.
The lands which you bought are the subject of a petition for acquisition and resale to the tenants
thereof which is pending final action by this Office.

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) FAUSTINO AGUILAR


Manager

On November 14, 1950, the then Secretary of Justice wrote the following letter, Exhibit K, to the
Executive Secretary in connection with the contemplated expropriation of the property of Atty,
Baylosis:

November 14, 1959.

The Honorable
The Executive Secretary
Malacanang Palace
Manila.
Sir:
'In the Cabinet meeting for August 18, 1950, you submitted the recommendation of the Board of
Directors of the Rural Progress Administration for acquisition either by direct purchase or
expropriation proceedings of lands owned by Atty. C. Baylosis at Lian, Batangas. On this matter
I would like to advise you that after proper study we have found that the acquisition of the said
estate by the RPA is fully in accordance with law. All the necessary papers have been prepared
and the necessary deposits already made. No further action, however, has been taken because of
the lack of proper authority from the Office of the President to file the necessary proceedings in
Court. To be able to go on with the effectuation of the policy of which the Rural Progress
Administration is committed, we therefore, request that the said authority be given at the
possible time.

'Respectfully,

(Sgd.) JOSE P. BENGZON


Secretary of Justice
The Presidential authority for the expropriation of the property in question, requested in the letter just
quoted, was finally given on November 25, 1950, in a first indorsement by the Acting Assistant
Executive Secretary marked Exhibit L of the plaintiff.
From plaintiff's documentary evidence above set, it appears that negotiations for the acquisition by the
government of property in question from the owner, defendant N.V. Sinclair, for resale to the tenants
occupying the same, have been afoot since May, 1948, thus disproving defendants' intimation that the
present proceedings were started without prior and proper investigation. From the same evidence it
further appears that both defendants N. V. Sinclair and Cirilo P. Baylosis were duly notified of, and
were therefore well posted on, the contemplated move of the government either to directly purchase the
said property or to expropriate the same, long before the said defendants allegedly sold portions thereof
to their co-defendants, thereby legitimately giving rise to the suspension that the sales were for the
purpose of frustrating the government's acquisition of the said property. And the fact that plaintiff
actually stated expropriation proceedings before this Court by filling its first original complaint on
February 6, 1951, that is, following the procedure marked out in Rule 69 of the Rules of Court, is the
refutation to defendants' claim that they are being deprived their property without due process of law.
One of the basic contentions of the defendants is to the effect that no public utility, convenience or
benefit is to be subserved by plaintiff's action, that the property in question is not being expropriated for
public use. The contention is met and overcome by strong evidence to the contrary. It is undenied and
undeniable that the plaintiff seeks to expropriate the property in question for the avowed purpose of
subdividing the same into small lots and selling the subdivided lots preferably to tenants actually
occupying the same, or to other tenants with the requisite qualifications to effect such purchase. This
purpose has both constitutional and statutory sanction. Section 4 of Article XIII of the Constitution
provides that "The Congress may authorize upon payment of just compensation, the expropriation of
lands to be subdivided into small lots and conveyed at costs to individuals. "And section 1 of
Commonwealth Act No. 539 provides that "The President of the Philippines is authorized to acquire
private lands or any interest therein, through purchase or expropriation, and to subdivide the same into
home lots farms for resale at reasonable prices and under such condition as he may fix to their bona
fide tenants or occupants or to private individuals who will work the lands themselves and who are
qualified to acquire and own lands in the Philippines. It would thus seem plain that in condemnation
proceedings like the one at bar, public use, benefit, convenience, necessity, is inevitably and necessarily
present as long as the purpose thereof and the property involved are those contemplated by the
constitutional and statutory provisions just quoted. In other words, public purpose, etc., is inseparably
bound up with the expropriation of property by the government for the purpose of subdividing the same
into lots and selling the same to bona fide tenants, etc., the only material inquiry being whether or not
the said property is that which the framers of the Constitution and the legislators had in mind when they
drafted and approved by the constitutional and statutory provisions. This is so because the very purpose
of the said expropriation, to wit, the subdivisions of the property into lots and the sale thereof to
tenants, is essentially and fundamentally public in nature, being backed up by the founded upon the
benign policy of the government to ameliorate the lot of certain sector of our underprivileged
population and thus, to some extent or degree, ease up, if not totally eradicate, the sources of social
tension and upheavals.
As above, intimated, the next question that calls for answer is whether or not the property here involved
is that contemplated by the Constitution and the law. In this connection, and taking or cure from the
decision of the Supreme Court in Guido vs. Rural Progress Administration, G. R. No. L-2089
(hereafter to be reffered to as to the Guido case for short), we pose the following question: "What lands
does this provision (section 4 Article XIII of the Constitution) have in view? Does it comprehend all
lands regardless of their location, nature and area? It is admitted on all sides that the property in
question is irrigated agricultural land situated second amended complaint place the same at something
over sixty-seven hectares, while defendants, on page 3 and 4 of their memorandum makes the
following admission with respect to said area:
" 'The areas sought to be expropriated from the defendants are as follows:
Names of defendants Lot Nos. and Area in Title No. hectares.
Maria Lunesa 306-YYY-1 4.9996 TCT-2959 Pastora Baylosis 306-YYY-2 2.0000 TCT-3079 Spouses
Marcelo Basit and Magdalena Bayungan 306-YYY-3 2.0000 Spouses Tomas Asuncion and Bonifacio
Bayungan 306-YYY-4 1.0315 Spouses Raymunda Hernandez and Juan Gonzales 306-YYY-5 1.0998
TOT-2960 Spouses Tirso de Padua and Maria Dolores Bayungan 306-YYY-6 3.0000 Spouses Luis
Baylosis and Manuela Pineda 306-YYY-8 9.9974 TOT-3510 Spouses Benito Baylosis and Macaria L.
Torres 306-BBB-1 2.4256 306-BBB-9 0.9639 TOT-2877 Spouses Alejandro Abellera and Juliana
Camellon 306-BBB-7 1.0711 TAT-2897 Spouses Roberto Capoon and Gavina Baylosis 306-BBB-7
3.7725 Luis Baylosis 306-Z 3.8009 Cirilo P. Baylosis T-3133 8.8051 T-3426 N.V. Sinclair and C. P.
Baylosis306-CCCC 13.9125 306-EEEE 9.1809 N.V. Sinclair 306-LL 4.0000 306-DDDD 5.8946
(Order — Civil Case No. 84 Republic of the Philippines vs. C. P. Baylosis et al.).
Summing up defendants' figures, it appears that the said area is 77.9018 hectares. It may therefore be
safely stated that the total area of the property in question is from sixty-seven to seventy-seven
hectares. In the Guido case it is intimated that the lands have reference to 'large states', in the light of
the explanatory statement of the Delegate Miguel Cuaderno who was the sponsor of the said provision,
of which reason, among others, the Supreme Court did not given sanction to the expropriation of the
property there involved which measured 22, 655 square meters, or a little over two hectares only.
However, as the property here in question is from sixty-seven to seventy-seven hectares, an area which
cannot be considered small, this Court is of the opinion that the decision in the Guido case may not be
invoked against, and does not stand in the way of, the expropriation of the property at bar. Moreover,
aside from the standpoint of area, other considerations weight, presently to be taken up, militate in
favor of the present condemnation proceedings.
The first of these considerations is the undeniable fact that the tenants for whose benefit the present
proceedings have been instituted, and their predecessors-in-interest before them, have been in
possession of the property in question from time immemorial, and that in the course of the said
possession, they have cleaned, cleared and introduces improvements upon the said property. This is all
but admitted on page 8 of the defendants' memorandum wherein it is said, 'The mere facts that these
few occupants made temporary improvements, by constructing canals, dikes and irrigation dams, did
not give any right to the government to expropriate the properties of the defendants who are to the same
continued, and the said improvements have been introduced, under promise to, and in the reasonable
belief, of, the tenants that eventually their respective portions will be sold to them at cost or reasonable
price. In view of the failure of the tenants to directly acquire the said property from the defendants,
either because they cannot see eye to eye on the reasonable purchase price thereof or because the past
and deep-rooted misunderstanding between them, it would appear that the only logical and legal course
to take, in promotion of peace and in recognition of the tenant's preferential rights, is the expropriation
by the plaintiff of the property in suit.
Another equally potent consideration in favor of these condemnation proceedings in the further fact,
likewise undeniable, that the defendant Cirilo P. Baylosis, has been far from harmonious, and that they
have been perennially at loggers heads with respect to the division of the crops and other conflicting
rights. A picture of the situation may be gleaned from page 7 defendant's own memorandum reading as
follows:
'It has been proven that these occupants, who petition for the expropriation of these properties, are not
law-abiding citizens because they refused to recognize property rights and the democratic processes of
the Philippines, refusing to recognize the Tenancy Law. They refuse to deliver to the owners, the
defendants herein, their shares in the crop harvest. The owners, who are the defendants herein naturally
had no other recourse but to bring the matter to the Courts of Justice for their grievances against the
tenants and to recover their share in the harvest of the lands occupied by them. The plaintiff himself
proved that there was no agrarian trouble on the properties in question, and there was no question
whatsoever on crop sharing, because the sharing is in accordance with the Tenancy Law. The only
question involved in the land in question is the refusal of the occupants to recognize the defendants as
owners of the land occupied by them because of their desire to own the purchase the same.
The foregoing quoted portion of defendants memorandum is a clear admission that all is not well
between the tenants on the one hand, and the defendants, on the other. Of course, defendants would
throw the whole blame for the strained relation upon the tenants, but if the latter, in turn, are to be
believed, it is the defendants who are the source of trouble. However, whoever is at fault in beside the
point. The facts of the matter is that there is no love lost between the tenants and the defendants that
controversies between them have reached the courts, and that future disagreements may flare up into
untoward incidents. In the teeth of these facts, as fertile imagination is necessary to predict the day
when this situation may come to a critical head. Hence, the wisdom, if not the imperative necessity of
giving due course these condemnation proceeding in order to nip in the bud and put an end to an
explosive of agrarian trouble. To say that such an objective is not for a public purpose is simply beyond
us.
Still a third consideration that these expropriation proceedings are in order is the fact, also undenied,
that defendants N.V. Sinclair and Cirilo Baylosis, who own the bulk of property in question, had
originally intended to resell their respective portions to others, possibly of a profit. This is shown by the
admitted fact that the defendant N.V. Sinclair sold portion of the property to defendants Cirilo P.
Baylosis, while the latter, in turn, had sold portion on what he purchased to his other co-defendants. It
is further shown by the following admission found in pages 3-4 of Exhibit 15 - Baylosis of defendant
Cirilo P. Baylosis:
'That the actual occupants of his lands were offered by undersigned:
'1. To say as tenant under the same conditions before his acquisition; 2. To purchased the lands under
cash basis; and 3. To buy the land on the installments basis for a period of 50 years or at the period to
be agreed upon. This offer which was made in writing and sent to Atty. Miguel Tolentino was rejected
by the petitioners and their lawyer.'
Otherwise stated, the said defendants were ready and willing to resell their respective positions to other
under such terms and conditions as they (defendants) may fix. this being the case, there seems to be no
point and validity to their tenacious objection to these proceedings, the primary purpose of which is to
buy the property from them through expropriation and thereafter to sub-divide the same into small lots
for resale to bona fide tenants or other qualified persons.
Finally, it is conceded on all side portions of the Hacienda Lian, of which the property in question also
used to be a part, had heretofore been acquired by the Government from Colegio de San Jose, divided
into lots and thereafter resold to tenants. It is evident therefore that, by its nature, location and
destination the property in question is suitable for the purpose for which it is being expropriated, and
that these proceedings are in keeping with what the Government had already done with respect to other
portions of hacienda, if the action for its expropriation prospers, would be broken up into small lots and
sold to some forty-seven tenants with about two hundred dependents. This Court does not overlook
defendants contention that at least four of the said tenants have already lands of their own aside from
those portions of the property in question which they occupy. These alleged land-owning tenants,
however, where included by the plaintiff among those for whose benefit these proceedings where
instituted, because they actually are tenants of portions of the property in question, hence it would not
seem fair or just that they be left out. In any event as observed by counsel by the plaintiff during the
trial, when plaintiff is actually declared entitled to expropriate the property in question to purchase the
subdivided lots thereof, and if land-owning tenants are found disqualified to make said purchase, then
the aforesaid four tenants may be ruled out from making said purchased. In fine, the fact that four of
the forty-seven tenants have properties of their own aside from those portions occupied by them in the
property in question, is no argument against these expropriation proceedings.
The points also stressed that defendant Cirilo P. Baylosis had already sold portions of his property of
his other co-defendants (except N.V. Sinclair,) and that the said co-defendants individually own only
small portions thus sold to them, hence, the present expropriation in effect amounts to the taking of
property from one private citizen and delivering it to another private citizen. The point loses much
force when it is considered that all said sales in favor of the co-defendants were officially notified that
the Government was contemplating to expropriate his property. The notice was served on him
sometime on January 17 1949, whereas the sales made by him are respectively dated as follows:
Purchaser Date of Sale
Maria Lunesa June 15, 1950 Pastora Baylosis July 11, 1950 Spouses Marcelo
Basit and Magdalena Bayungan July 24, 1950 Spouses Tomas Asuncion and Bonifacio
Bayungan July 1, 1950 Spouses Juan Gonzales and Raymunda Hernandez June
15, 1950 Spouses Tirso de Padua and Maria Dolores Bayungan July 24, 1950 Spouses Benito P.
Baylosis and Macaria L. Torres May 22, 1950 Spouses Alejandro Abellara and Juliana Camello
May 29, 1950 Spouses Luis Baylosis and Manuel Pineda July 11, 1950 Spouses Patricio M.
Laguardia and Erlinda Apacible July 24, 1950 Spouses Roberto Capon and Gavina P. Baylosis
May 29,1950.
Add to what had just said the further fact that most of the purchaser are close relatives of defendants
Cirilo P. Baylosis, the striking proximity of the respective dates of sale, and the circumstances that the
said defendant litigated alone with respect to said property in the tenancy cases which he filed with the
Office of the Tenancy Law Enforcement Division — and mere suspicion crystalizes into strong
persuasion that the said sale were simulated and calculated to head off and effect the expropriation
proceedings.
Defendant's further claim that the property authorized to be expropriated is the Lian Estate, and the
property in question, is decisively answered by Exhibit K for the plaintiff, elsewhere quoted in this
decision wherein it is stated that the Board of Directors of the Rural Progress Administration
recommended the acquisition either by direct purchase or expropriation proceedings of lands owned by
Atty. C. Baylosis at Lian, Batangas. It is also argued that under section 3 of the Lands Administrative
Order No. R-3, approved on November 15, 1951, 'Except in special cases, no proceedings shall be
initiated for the appropriation of the state unless the area, therefore be ... at lease 100 hectares if for
agricultural purposes.' In the first place, this section came into force on November 15, 1951, whereas
these proceedings were started on February 6, 1951. In the second place, the cited section makes
exception on special cases, of which these proceedings may be one in the light of the consideration
above set out. And, in the third place, an administrative order has hardly the force and effect of law that
is binding and controlling upon the courts. Defendants claim that Executive Order No. 376, is null and
void, has not been pressed or touched upon in their memoranda, and therefore be deemed as
abandoned.
The facts of the Guido case which is cited in full and relied upon by defendants in their memoranda, are
a far cry from those in the case at bar. There the land involved is commercial and measures a little over
two hectares while here the property in question is irrigated agricultural land with an area of from
sixty-seven to seventy-seven hectares. The property sought to be expropriated in the present
proceedings have been occupied by their predecessors-in-interest from the immemorial, having
admittedly cleaned, cleared and introduced improvements thereupon, while these circumstances do not
obtain in the cited Guido case. In the present case, one of the principal grounds for expropriation is to
prevent the strained relation between the defendants and the tenants from degenerating into open
disturbances of law and order, a situation which is not even intimated in the Guido case. Finally, as this
Court grasps it, expropriation was denied in the Guido case because the proceedings therein where not
clothed with a public purpose, whereas in the present case, as above stated, the condemnation of the
property in question is not only in pursuance of constitutional and statutory provisions, but also in
promotion of public peace and order.
In view of all foregoing, the separate motions to dismiss filed by the defendants are hereby overruled,
and the plaintiff is hereby declared entitled to take the property sought, to be condemned for the public
use described in plaintiff's second amended complaint, upon the payment of just compensation to be
ascertained by commissioners to be appointed by the Court for this purpose, with the costs against the
defendants.
For the rest it is sufficient to stake that the above quoted order is in complete accord with our decision
promulgated on October 12, 1953 in G.R. No. L-4703, Rural Progress Administration vs. Clemente G.
Reyes, wherein the lot expropriated is much smaller than the parcels involved in the case at the bar the
fundamental reason of the Court being that it formerly formed part of a big landed state and that " La
extention del terrero no ese el unico factor que determina su expropiabilidad. Para enterpretar dicha
ley hay que buscar inspiracion en esta disposition de la ley fundamental: "El estado cuidarade
premover la justicia social a fin de asegurar el bienestar y la estabilidad economica de to do el pueblo.'
(Art. 5, Titulo II)." The majority may be correct if the basis of the present expropriation proceedings is
merely the inherent power of the State to condemn private property for public use, and in the absence
of section 4 of Article XIII of the Constitution which provides that "the Congress may authorize, upon
payment of just compensation, the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into small lots and conveyed
at cost to individuals. It should furthermore be remembered that the government is buying the lots in
question for the benefit of some 244 actual occupants and, considering that barrio Binubusan has a
population of only about 1,000 inhabitants, said number is obviously substantial.

REYES, J.B.L., J., dissenting:


I am constrained to dissent from the opinion of the majority. The reason set forth by it against the
validity of the proposed expropriation strike me as arguments against the wisdom of the expropriation
policies adopted by the government rather than reasons against the existence and application of the
condemnation power in the present case.
The propriety of exercising the power of eminent domain under Article XIII, section 4 of our
Constitution can not be determined on a purely quantitative or area basis. Not only does the
constitutional provision speak of lands instead of landed estate, but I see no cogent reason why the
government, in its quest for social justice and peace, should exclusively devote attention to conflicts of
large proportions, involving a considerable number of individuals and eschew small controversies and
wait until they grow into a major problem before taking remedial action.
With due respect, the majority opinion proceeds on two assumptions, neither of which I consider
justified: first, that section 4, Article XIII, is an end itself, when actually it is but one of the means
chosen by the framers of the Constitution to attain social justice, amelioration and tranquility; second,
that the constitutional policy is attained by the breaking up of landed estate into smaller portions,
entirely disregarding the constitutional directives that the lands condemned are to be "subdivided into
small lots and conveyed as cost to individuals", i.e., the tenants and occupants. Expropriation,
subdivision and resale to tenants and occupants are in separate components of the constitutional
scheme. Plainly, agrarian discontent can not be quelled, nor peace and security achieved while tenants
must continue to labor for others, and are not converted into small owners themselves. There is no
magic solution in the transformation of a conflict between many tenants and one landlord into a series
of conflicts, between many tenants and several landlords. The wasteful controversy will remain, and in
fact will become more troublesome and expensive to settle, because each landowner will demand
individual treatment of his own case.
Even if we adhere strictly to the views adopted in the Guido decision, that the Constitution aimed
solely at breaking up large landed estate the propriety of the proposed condemnation in the instant case
in evident, since it is unquestioned that the lands here involved were originally part of the Lian Estate
in 1935, when the Constitution was adopted. What large state could have been contemplated by the
constitutional provision if not those in existence at the time of its adoption? The conclusion must be
that (as held in R.P.A. vs. Reyes, G.R. No L-4703, October 8, 1953), all lands of the Lian Estate since
1935 became liable to condemnation for the benefit of the tenants, and any subsequent acquirer of these
lands took them subject to that burden or infirmity. The reasons why these new landlords should not be
allowed to escape expropriations have been previously stated and need not be repeated.
The majority says that the facts that the tenants and occupants of the land have themselves and their
ancestors been occupying and cultivating the same for many years is not sufficient justification for the
expropriation. This is not the place to discuss whether actual producers deserved preferential treatment
by the State, nor the demerit of absentee landlordism. It is enough to recall that this sense of injustice of
the tenants is of ancient vintage and was already expressed through the symbolic "Cabesang Tales" in
Rizal's "El Filibusterismo": —
Podes hacer lo que querais, senor Gobernador, yo soy un ignorante y no tengo fuerzas. Pero he
cultivado esos campos, mi mujer y mi hija han muerto ayundadome a limpiarlos, y no los he de
ceder sino e que el que pueda hacer por ellos mas de lo que ha hecho yo. Quelos riegue primero
con su sangre y que entierre en ellos a su esposa y su hija.
Legally justified or not, such feeling has in the past led to "impairments of public tranquility", and the
records of the constitutional convention leave no doubt that in enacting Article XIII, section 4, the
Convention precisely sought to avoid its resurgence.
The Constitution considered the small individual land tenure to be so important to the maintenance of
peace and order and to the promotion of progress and the general welfare that it not only provided for
the expropriation and subdivision of lands but also opened the way for the limitations of private land
holdings (Art. XIII, section 3). It is not for this Court to judge the worth of these and other social and
economic policies expressed by the Constitution; our duty is to conform to such policies and not to
block their realization.
I am willing to concede that where the Legislature delegates to subordinates agencies the selection of
lands to be expropriated, without setting up adequate standards to guide official action, the Court may
intervene to prevent abuses; but I am unable to see in the present case any warrant for judicial
intervention. The objection that the areas sought to be expropriated are not defined can be corrected by
resort to a motion for particulars under Rule 16; and the allegedly low price that the tenants wish to pay
for the lands involved is not controlling on Courts that are sworn to award just compensation.
FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-3636. August 29, 1907. ]

FREDERICK GARFIELD WAITE, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JAMES J. PETERSON, ET AL.,


Defendants-Appellants.

Hartigan, Rohde & Gutierrez, for Appellants.

Frederick Garfield Waite, in his own behalf.

SYLLABUS

1. WRONGFUL TAKING OF PROPERTY; SALE OR TRANSFER; ACTION BY THE


TRANSFEREE. — When the property of one person is unlawfully taken by another, the former has a
right of action against the latter for the recovery of the property or for damages for the taking or
retention, and he is entitled to his choice of these two remedies. This is also a right which may be
transferred by the sale or assignment of the property, and the transferee can maintain either action
against the wrongdoer.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SHERIFF. — When, however, the owner seeks to make
the sheriff responsible for such wrongful act he must, in order to preserve his right against the sheriff,
comply with the provisions of section 451 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

3. LEVY UPON PROPERTY; RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CREDITOR. — If a sheriff levies upon


property at the instance of a creditor and is indemnified by the latter, the creditor is thenceforward
liable for the acts of the sheriff with respect to the property.

DECISION

WILLARD, J. :

The appellant (Kwong We Shing) has not caused the proof in this case to be brought here. The only
question therefore is whether the facts admitted in the pleadings and those found by the court below in
its decision sustain the judgment appealed from. That court found among other things as follows: jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"From the evidence presented at the trial, the court finds that on December 8, 1905, one Henry
Manheim delivered to L.K. Tiao Eng a diamond ring one consignment for 800 pesos, to be returned, if
not sold, in sixty days; that on the 22d day of January, 1906, while the ring was in the possession of
L.K. Tiao Eng, the defendant, as sheriff of Manila, levied upon the said ring; that on the 23d day of
January, 1906, the aforementioned Henry Manheim, for value received, assigned all his right to and
interest in said ring to the said plaintiff herein; that on the 25th day of January, 1906, the plaintiff
made demand upon the sheriff of Manila, who had made the levy, as before said, for the said ring, and
alleged the value thereof to be 800 pesos; that the sheriff was indemnified by the judgment creditor, in
whose favor the levy had been made, as provided by law, and retained possession of the ring and sold
the same at public sale; that the said Henry Manheim has never been paid for the said ring, in
accordance with the terms of the contract hereinbefore mentioned or any part thereof; that at the time
of the levy by the sheriff upon the said ring, as before stated, the said Henry Manheim was the owner
of and entitled to possession of the said ring; that while the ring was in the possession of the sheriff the
said Henry Manheim transferred his ownership and right to possession of said ring to plaintiff herein
and that the plaintiff thereupon became the owner and entitled to possession of said ring." cral aw virtua1aw library

Judgment was rendered against both of the defendants for the return of the ring, and, if that could not
be had, for the sum of 725 pesos, with interest, and costs.

I. The appellant claims that by the terms of section 451 of the Code of Civil Procedure this action can
not be maintained by the plaintiff because he was not the owner of the ring at the time the levy was
made. In other words, as we understand it, his claim is that no action for the value of the property
taken can be maintained except by the person who was the owner thereof at the time it was seized by
the sheriff. We do not think that this contention can be sustained. Said section 451 is as follows: jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Claims by third persons to property levied on. — Property levied on can be claimed by a third person
as his property, by a written claim, verified by the oath of such claimant, setting out his title thereto,
his right to possession thereof, stating the ground of such title, and served upon the governor, or his
deputy, or officer making the levy. The officer in such case is not bound to keep the property, unless
the plaintiff, or the person in whose favor the writ of execution runs, on demand, indemnify the officer
against such claim by an obligation, signed by the plaintiff, with good and sufficient surety, and no
claim to such property shall be valid against the officer, or shall be received or be notice of any rights
against him, unless made as herein provided; but nothing herein contained shall prevent such third
person from vindicating his claim to the property by any proper action." cral aw virtua1aw library

The vice in the argument of the appellant consist in the fact that he assumes that section 451 is the
only law which gives the plaintiff a right of action against the sheriff, and that if he is not included
within that section, he can not maintain any action. This is manifestly erroneous. So far from being the
origin of any rights on the part of the owner of property wrongfully taken by the sheriff, it is rather a
limitation upon his rights previously existing. If property of a person is taken by the sheriff upon an
execution against another person, the sheriff is liable thereof in the absence of statute, as any private
person would be. When one’s property is wrongfully taken by another, the former has a right of action
against the person who interfered with his property, whether for the recovery of the property itself or
for damages for its taking, and he has his choice of these remedies. If section 451 did not exist, by the
general principles of the law the sheriff would always be responsible for wrongfully taking the
property of another. For the purpose of limiting the responsibility of the sheriff in such cases, and to
provided that some notice should be given to him of the claims of third persons, this section requires
such third persons to make such claims in writing, so that the sheriff, after the notice is given to him,
can decide for himself whether he will proceed with the levy or abandon the property.

The right of action given by the general principles of law to the person whose property has wrongfully
been taken from him, either to recover damages or the possession of the property, is a right which can
be transferred by him, and his transferee can maintain either one of these actions against the
wrongdoer. On this first claim of the appellant, then, the only question is whether this section 451 has
taken away from the assignee of the owner his right to maintain an action to recover the value of the
property.

An examination of the section will show that there is no distinct statements therein, that the claim can
only be made by a person who was the owner of the property at the time the levy was made. As the
section is written, we do not think that it should be so construed. Such a construction would, in case of
the involuntary transfer of rights, deprive the transferee of actions which might be absolutely
necessary to him for the protection of his interest. If we so construed the section, we should have the
levy his executor or administrator would have no right to make a claim against the sheriff for the
return of the property and would be deprived of an action against the sheriff for the recovery of
damages for such wrongful taking. The same rule would have to be made if an order in bankruptcy
was passed against the owner of the property the day after the levy. We do not think that the section
requires any such construction.

II. It is further claimed by the appellant that in no event should judgment have been entered against
him — that is to say, against Kwong We Shing. It will be noticed that the court found that the sheriff
was indemnified by the judgment creditor. This statement is sufficient to make the judgment creditor
liable for the acts of the sheriff. In the case of Lovejoy v. Murray (3 Wall. U.S., 1) the court said, at
page 9: jgc:chanrobl es.com.ph

"The demand for indemnity, and the giving of it by the defendants, proceeded upon the supposition
that the sheriff would without it go no further in that direction, but would give up the property to the
claimant, the present plaintiff, and make his peace on the best terms he could. By the present statute of
Iowa he had a right to do this, if the plaintiff in attachment refused to assume the hazard of
indemnifying him. And if there were no such statute, he had a right to deliver the property to the
claimant, and risk a suit by the plaintiff in attachment rather than a contest with a rightful claimant of
the goods.

"The giving of the bond by the present defendants must, therefore, be held equivalent to a personal
interference in the course of the proceeding, by directing or requesting of the defendants in
attachment. In doing this they assumed the direction and control of the sheriff’s future action, so far as
it might constitute a trespass, and they became to that extent the principals, and he their agent in the
transaction. This made them responsible for the continuance of the wrongful possession and for the
sale and conversion of the goods; in other words, for all the real damages which plaintiff sustained." cralaw virtua1aw library

The judgment of the court below is affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellant,
Kwong We Shing. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, and Tracey, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-10713 March 31, 1915
THE MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY and THE BOARD OF PUBLIC UTILITY
COMMISSIONERS, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE ISIDRO PAREDES, judge of the Fourteenth Judicial District, THE
TAYABAS LAND COMPANY, THE TAYABAS LAND COMPANY & LIM, LEONCIO SEÑA,
and ESTEBAN CATALLA, respondents.
William A. Kincaid and Thomas L. Hartigan for petitioner Manila Railroad Co.
Attorney-General Avanceña for petitioner Board of Public Utility Commissioners.
Alfredo Chicote and Agustin Alvarez for respondents.
PER CURIAM:
With the expectation of writing later a more extended opinion sustaining the judgment about to be
pronounced, the court for the present declares that if finds the demurrer to the complaint to be
unfounded and the motion to dissolve the injunction without basis.
The basis the decision is that the court had no authority to increase the amount of the deposit required
of the railroad company and its attempt to do so was in excess of its jurisdiction.
The demurrer is overruled and the defendants are given ten days within which to answer. On failure to
answer, the plaintiffs will entitled to the relief demanded in the complaint.
The motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction is overruled .So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Johnson, Carson, Moreland, and Trent, JJ., concur.

DECEMBER 17, 1915.


CARSON, J.:p
These are original proceedings in this court, wherein the applicants, The Manila Railroad Company and
the Board of Public Utility Commissioners, pray for the issuance of a writ of certiorari to the
Honorable Isidro Paredes, judge of the fourteenth Judicial District, requiring him to certify to this court
the record of certain condemnation proceedings pending before him. The applicant allege that in the
course of those proceedings the respondent judge issued an order directing the Railroad Company to
increase an amount of a certain deposit, therefore made by the company to secure final payment of the
value of certain lands which it sought to have condemned for its use, from P8,971.72 to P1,000,000.
They further allege that the order in question is illegal, null and void because, as they insist, the
respondent judge who issued it was wholly without jurisdiction so to do; and also because, as they
contend, even if it were admitted that the respondent judge had jurisdiction to issue an order increasing
the amount of the deposit theretofore made in those proceedings, the issuance of an order directing its
increase from P8,971.72 to P1,000,000 was, under all the circumstances of the case, a manifest abuse
of judicial discretion. Applicants pray that on a review of the whole record this court declare the order
in question null, void and without effect.
Various parties claiming to be owners of the greater part or all of the land involved in the condemnation
proceedings in the court below, and at whose instance the order in question was issued, are joined as
respondents with the respondent judge in accordance with the statutory requirements in cases of this
kind. All the respondents are represented by the same counsel, and the only responses to the order of
this court to show cause why the writ should not be issued are those filed by the respondent judge, the
Tayabas Land Company, and the Tayabas Land Co. & Lim, (hereinafter referred to as land companies)
all the other respondents contenting themselves by appearing by counsel and formally adhering to the
questions made by the land companies, and making them their own.
In response to an order of this court to show cause why the writ should not issue, the respondents
demurred to the complaint; and thereafter, the demurrer having been overruled, the land companies
filed an extended answer, in which they undertook to show that in issuing the order in question the
respondent judge was acting within the jurisdiction conferred upon him by law, and that there was no
abuse of his discretion in its issuance. In support of their contentions, these respondents set forth in
their answer what purports to be a full and complete history of all the proceedings had in the court
below, supported by extensive extracts from the record of those proceedings. The respondent judge also
filed an answer in which he sets forth the grounds upon which he insists that he acted within his
jurisdiction in the issuance of the order, and in support of his contention sets forth a statement of facts,
which, so far as it goes, is substantially identical with the statement of facts relied upon by the land
companies.
A pleading, purporting on its face to be a demurrer to the answer of the respondents having been filed
by counsel for the plaintiff, the case was set for argument upon the pleadings as they then stood. At the
hearing, it was agreed in open court that the pleading purporting to be a demurrer to the answers should
be treated as a prayer for judgment on the pleadings, and after extended oral argument the case was
finally submitted for judgment.
Without stopping to consider or comment upon any contention which might be made as to the form of
the pleadings, we are of opinion that the facts disclosed by the pleadings permit us to go directly to the
merits of the cause, since we are satisfied that, accepting as true all the facts well pleaded in the
respective answers of the respondents, these facts, taken together with the uncontroverted facts set forth
in the complaint, fully sustain the contention of the applicants that the order complained of was issued
by the respondent judge without jurisdiction in the premises, and that it is therefore null, void and no
effect.
Sometime prior to the first of April, 1913, the Railroad Company entered upon and took possession of a
long, narrow strip of land, running between the municipalities of Pagbilao and Lopez in the Province of
Tayabas, for use as a roadbed for a railroad which it was engaged in building under its charter. The
Railroad Company claims that it took possession of this strip of land with the consent of the various
owners and occupants claiming title thereto, and with the understanding that it would pay the owners of
all the lands thus taken a price to be agreed upon thereafter, or to be fixed in condemnation
proceedings; and that, not having been able to agree upon a price with the owners of the land, it was
later compelled to institute proceedings for the condemnation of the land thus taken.
However this may be, the Railway Company, on the first day of April, 1913, instituted expropriation
proceedings looking to the condemnation of all these lands under and by virtue of the authority
conferred upon it by is charter and under the laws applicable to such proceedings. On the fourth day of
April, 1913, the Honorable Herbert Gale, the judge then presiding in the court wherein these
proceedings were pending, entered an order granting to the Railroad Company the right of possession
of all these lands, upon the filing of a deposit in an amount certified by the provincial treasurer to be
equal to the average assessed value of all these lands, which, in the language of the order itself was the
value of the lands, "hereby provisionally ascertained and fixed." On the eleventh of April, 1913, the
Railroad Company deposited the sum of P8,971.72, the assessed value of the lands in question as
shown by the certificate of the provincial treasurer. On the — of April, 1913, Judge Cui, then presiding
in the court wherein the proceedings were pending, issued a formal writ, directing the sheriff of the
court to put the Railroad Company in possession of all the lands described in the applications in
expropriation proceedings filed by the Railroad Company.
Thereafter, the land companies to be the owners and successors in interest of the original owners of
most of the lands in question, entered their appearance as defendants in the expropriation proceedings,
and acting jointly with the various claimants whose lands had not been acquired by them, procured the
appointment of commissioners for the valuation of these lands. On the ninth of January, 1915, the land
companies and the other claimants to these lands moved the court to increase the amount of the deposit
from P8,971.72, the amount originally fixed, to P1,000,000. On the 18th of February, 1915, the
respondent judge, then presiding in the court wherein the proceedings were pending, after hearing the
parties and considering the evidence submitted at the hearing, and notwithstanding objection duly
interposed on the ground of his lack of jurisdiction to entertain the motion, issued an order directing the
Railroad Company to increase its deposit to P1,000,000.
It is this order which the applicants now seek to have this court declare null an void in original
certiorari proceedings in this court.
On behalf of the applicants for the writ, it is contended that not only was the respondent judge wholly
without jurisdiction to issue this order but that even if it were admitted that he had such jurisdiction, the
amount fixed by him is so far in excess of the true value of the land, that this court should declare that
in fixing this amount, he manifestly abused his judicial discretion in the premises. On behalf of the
respondents, it is contended that, in issuing the order in question the trial judge in no wise exceeded the
jurisdiction conferred upon him by statute; and further that the amount originally fixed for the deposit
was utterly inadequate, and was so far short of the true value of the lands in question, as to justify this
court and the court below in holding that there had been an abuse of discretion in its issuance; and that
the value of the land as fixed by the respondent judge is well within the true value as disclosed by the
evidence submitted to him in the court below.
The admitted facts as disclosed by the pleadings are wholly insufficient to sustain a finding on the
various contentions of the parties as to the true value of the land; and if it were necessary for us to
make findings in this regard and to rule upon applicants' contentions as to the alleged abuse of
discretion in the court below in fixing the amount of the deposit to be filed by the Railroad Company, it
would be incumbent on us to give the parties an opportunity to submit evidence in support of their
respective contentions. Holding as we do, however, that the respondent judge was wholly without
jurisdiction to enter the order complained of, or any order whatever directing an increase in the amount
of the deposit which had been made in conformity with a lawful order theretofore entered in the
proceedings, it is not necessary for us to consider any disputed question of fact — the admitted facts as
disclosed by the proceedings being sufficient to sustain the prayer of the applicants for the issuance of
the writ on the ground of a total lack of jurisdiction in the respondent judge.
It is said that the jurisdiction of the respondent judge to issue the order complained of is recognized in
the following paragraph of section 1 of Act No. 1592.
When condemnation proceedings are brought by any railway corporation, in any court of
competent jurisdiction in the Philippine Islands, for the purpose of the expropriation of land for
the proper corporate use of such railway corporation, said corporation shall have the right to
enter immediately upon the possession of the land involved, after and upon the deposit by it
with the Treasurer of the Philippine Islands of the value of the land, in money, as provisionally
and promptly ascertained and fixed by the court having jurisdiction of the proceedings, said sum
to be held by the Treasurer subject to the orders and final disposition of the court: Provided,
however, That the court may authorize the deposit with the Insular Treasurer of a certificate of
deposit of any depository of the Government of the Philippine Islands in lieu of cash, such
certificate to be payable to the Insular Treasurer on demand in the amount directed by the court
to be deposited. The certificate and the moneys represented thereby shall be subject to the
orders and final disposition of the court. And in case has already been commenced on any land
and the money with the Insular Treasurer at the date of the passage of this Act, the said money
may, upon proper order of the court, be withdrawn from the Treasury by the railway corporation
which deposited the same, and a certificate of deposit, as above described, may be deposited in
lieu thereof. And the court is empowered and directed by appropriate order and writ if
necessary, to place the railway corporation in possession of the land, upon the making of the
deposit.
We are of opinion, however, that while this section of the Act clearly empowers the court wherein
expropriation proceedings are pending to fix the amount of the required deposit and to give possession
of the land upon the making of the deposit; it is clearly denies, by necessary implication, the power of
the court to change or modify the amount thus fixed, or to disturb the possession of the railway, after
the deposit thus fixed has actually been made by the railway corporation.
The statute expressly provides that the corporation "shall have the right to enter immediately upon the
possession of the land involved" upon the making of the prescribed deposit. The statutory right of
possession thus secured to the railway corporation is an unqualified right of possession during the
pendency of the expropriation proceedings; but if it were within the power of the court to change or
modify the amount of the deposit as it sees fit, at any time throughout the proceedings, the statutory
right of possession thus guaranteed and expressly conferred upon the railroad company might well
become illusory. If the issuance of an order directing the increase of the amount of the deposit does not
affect the railroad company's right of possession, the entry of such an order would be a vain and
meaningless thing. If it does affect the right of possession of the railway corporation, then it is in direct
conflict with the express terms of the statute securing a statutory right to enter upon, and maintain
possession during the pendency of the proceedings.
It will be observed, furthermore, that the statute expressly empowers and directs the court, "upon the
making of the deposit," to place the railway corporation in possession of the land; and that there is
nothing in the statute which either expressly or by implication reserves to the court the power to undo
its act, or to deprive the Railroad Company of possession, in the event that, pending the proceedings,
the judge should become convinced that the amount of the deposit is insufficient.
Respondents insist that the power of the court to change or modify the amount of the deposit is
expressly recognized in the clause of the above-cited statute which provides that after the deposit has
been made "the certificate and the moneys represented thereby shall be subject to the order and final
deposition of the court." We are of opinion, however, that this clause of the statute merely provides for
the placing of the control and final disposition of the moneys actually deposited in the hands of the
court, after they have been deposited. It has no relation whatever to the exercise of jurisdiction to fix
the amount of the deposit which is conferred upon the court elsewhere in the statute.
It is also contended that the power of the court to modify and amend the order in question is expressly
recognized in paragraph 7 of section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Act No. 190). That section
provides:
Every court shall have power:
xxx xxx xxx
7. To amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and
justice.
This provision of the code was borrowed from section 128 of the California Code, and in Kaufman vs.
Shain (111 Cal., 16), the supreme court of the State of California in commenting upon its terms and
limitations held as follows:
Every court of record has the inherent right to cause its acts and proceedings to be correctly set
forth in its records; and whenever it is properly brought to the knowledge of the court that a
record made by the clerk does not correctly show that the order or direction which in fact made
by the court at the time it was given, the court has authority to correct its record in accordance
with the facts, but it cannot, under the form of an amendment of its record, correct a judicial
error, or make of record an order or judgment that was never in fact given.
But it is urged that aside from any express grant of power by statute, every court has inherent power
over the proceedings pending before it, by virtue of which it may amend its judgments and orders so
long as they are still pending before it, when it has become convinced that such judgments are
erroneous either in matter of law or of fact. It is said that such power, in relation more especially to
interlocutory orders, is universally exercised and recognized in everyday practice in every court in the
Philippines.
The question of the power of the courts in this jurisdiction to change or modify judgments in matters of
substance, and to correct errors of law or of fact into which they may have fallen in rendering the
original judgment, is discussed at length in relation more especially to final judgments in the case of
Arnedo vs. Llorente and Liongson (18 Phil. Rep., 257).
In that case we held that Courts of First Instance in this jurisdiction have plenary power over
judgments, orders and decrees entered by them in proceedings pending before them, until such
judgments, orders and decrees have become final in the sense that the party in whose favor they are
rendered is entitled, as of right, to have execution thereon; but that thereafter they lose control of such
judgments, orders and decrees, and have no inherent power to annul or to change or to modify them in
matters of substance, either of law or of fact. Relying upon the doctrine thus announced, by virtue of
which a Court of First Instance is clothed with power to render a particular judgment, discloses, either
in express terms or by necessary implication, the legislative intent that the judgment should be executed
forthwith upon its entry, the court loses its control over such judgment immediately upon its entry, and
has no power to annul, change or modify it hereafter.
From what we said in that case, we think there can be no doubt that, speaking generally, Courts of First
Instance have plenary control over all interlocutory judgments, orders or decrees entered by them
pending the final determination of the proceedings; and indeed, it is true, as was said by counsel for
respondents in oral argument, that it is everyday practice for these courts to annul, change or modify
such interlocutory judgments, at any time prior to the final determination of the proceedings in which
they are issued. But in accordance with the reasoning on which the former opinion is based, it cannot
be doubted that where the statute by virtue of which a particular judgment, order or decree is entered in
the course of proceedings pending in a Court of First Instance, expressly or by necessary implication
prescribes that one of the parties shall have the right to have the judgment, order or decree executed
upon compliance with certain prescribed conditions, the Court of First Instance loses plenary control
over such judgment, order or decree from and after the time when such prescribed conditions have been
duly complied with.
Act No. 1592 expressly provides that railway corporations shall have the right to enter upon possession
of the lands involved in condemnation proceedings had under the Act immediately upon the filing of a
deposit fixed by order of the court; and further, that, if necessary, they shall have the right to a writ of
possession pending the proceedings. In other words, the statute provides that they may have execution
as of right upon the order for possession, immediately upon the making of the prescribed deposit. It
follows, under the reasoning of the case above referred to, that immediately upon the making of a
deposit fixed by order of the court, the court loses plenary control over the order fixing or modify it in
matters of substance pending the course of the condemnation proceedings.
A contrary ruling would tend directed to defeat the manifest intention of the legislator to provide a
speedy and summary procedure whereby the peaceable possession of lands necessary for the
construction of railroads may be secured without the delays incident to prolonged and vexatious
litigations touching the ownership and value of such lands, which should not be permitted to delay the
progress of the work.
It is contended, however, in behalf of the respondents, that even if it be admitted that Courts of First
Instance have no power to alter or amend orders fixing the amount of the deposit to be filed by railway
corporations under the provisions of Act No. 1592, nevertheless, in the case now under consideration,
the order entered by the respondent judge, although in form an order amending the original order fixing
the amount of the deposit, should be held to be in truth and in fact an original order entered under
authority of the Act — this because, as it is said, the original order was invalid, void and of legal effect.
It is urged that the original order should be held to be invalid because (1) it was issued without giving
the owners of the land involved in the proceedings an opportunity to be heard, and because, (2) it fixed
the deposit in an amount so palpably and grossly inadequate, as to justify a holding that there was a
manifest abuse of discretion on the part of the judge who entered it.
As to the contention of respondents based on the failure of the judge who entered the order to give the
claimants to the land an opportunity to be heard, it should be sufficient to point to the provisions of the
Act (No. 1592) itself. The statute directs that, at the very outset, "when condemnation proceedings are
brought by any railway corporation" the amount of the deposit is to be "provisionally and promptly
ascertained and fixed by the court." It very clear that it was not the intention of the legislator that before
the order fixing the amount of the deposit could lawfully be entered the court should finally and
definitely determine who are the true owners of the land; and after doing so, give them a hearing as to
its value, and assess the true value of the land accordingly. In effect, that would amount to a denial of
the right of possession of the lands involved until the conclusion of the proceedings, when there would
be no need for the filing of the deposit. Of course, there is nothing in the statute which denies the right
of the judge to hear all persons claiming an interest in the land, and courts should ordinarily give all
such persons an opportunity to be heard if that be practicable, and will cause no delay in the prompt
and provisional ascertainment of the value of the land. But the scope and extent of the inquiry is left
wholly in the discretion of the court, and a failure to hear the owners and claimants of the land, who
may or may not be known at the time of the entry of the order, in no wise affects the validity of the
order. From such sources of information as may be available at the time "when condemnation
proceedings are brought," it is the duty oft he judge of the court wherein the proceedings are brought,
promptly and provisionally to ascertain the value of the land involved therein; and when he has
satisfied himself in this regard, it is his duty to enter the order for the prescribed deposit, even though
he may be well aware that full inquiry his estimate may prove to be less than or in excess of the true
value of the land, and even though the claimants and owners have not been heard.
It appears from the pleadings that the different strips of land involved in the proceedings now under
consideration were made up of small parcels which, prior to the entry of the Railroad Company,
belonged to scores and perhaps hundreds of different owners, and it would seem that any attempt by the
court at the outset of the proceedings to bring in all the possible claimants, would have been attended
with intolerable delay; and be this as it may, it was clearly within the sound discretion of the trial judge
to determine provisionally the value of the land, for the purpose of fixing the amount of the deposit,
without delaying the proceedings in order to give all or any of these claimants an opportunity to be
heard.
In thus ruling, we are not unmindful of the perfect and unquestioned right of every owner of lands to be
heard in any judicial proceeding wherein his rights of ownership are adjudicated. The right to be heard
is inherent in the very nature of such proceedings. But the right of the Railroad Company to acquire
possession and ownership of the lands in question the compensation of the owners, has never been
challenged; and the provisional and prompt ascertainment of the value of the lands under the terms of
Act No. 1592 upon which the order for possession was based was not a proceeding for the
ascertainment of title to the land or of its true value for the purpose of determining the amount of
compensation to which the owners would be entitled upon the condemnation of their lands. The sole
purpose and object of that proceeding was to ascertain the amount of the deposit which the state
required the railway corporation to make in a case wherein it invoked the right of eminent domain, and
desired to enter into possession of the land before the title and the amount of compensation to be paid
the owners of the land had been judicially determined.
The question then is not whether the state has power to authorize the taking of lands in condemnation
proceedings and to adjudicate the rights of claimants of ownership to just compensation therefor,
without giving the parties an opportunity to be heard. The right of the claimants to appear and to be
heard on their claims for compensation is not and cannot be questioned under the statute. The real
question is whether the state may prescribed a procedure by virtue of which a railway corporation may
secure the possession of the lands it seeks to condemn, pending the condemnation proceedings, without
first paying the owners just compensation therefor, on condition that it deposit with the Treasurer of the
Philippine Islands the value of the land, in money, provisionally ascertained by the court without giving
the owners of the land an opportunity to be heard as to the amount of the prescribed deposit.
The validity and constitutionality of legislative enactments authorizing taking immediate possession of
lands involved in condemnation proceedings, without first making compensation therefor, has
frequently been challenged. But "According to the weight of authority if the constitution or statutes do
not expressly require it, actual payment or tender before taking is unnecessary, and it will be sufficient
if a certain and adequate remedy is provided by which the owner can obtain compensation without any
unreasonable delay. According to this view the usual constitutional provision that private property shall
not be taken for a public use without just compensation does not require that compensation shall be
actually paid in advance of the occupancy of the land taken, and does not prohibit the legislature from
authorizing a taking in advance of payment. (15 Cyc., 778 and cases there cited.)
Lewis in his work on Eminent Domain, section 678, citing a long list of cases in support of the text,
says that:
As an original question, it seems clear that the proper interpretation of the constitution requires that the
owner should receive his just compensation before entry upon his property. When an individual is
ousted from possession under a claim of right, his property is taken from him, and, if he has not been
paid an equivalent in money it is taken from him without compensation. Some of the cases so hold. But
in most States it is held that the making of compensation need not precede an entry upon the property,
provided some definite provision is made whereby the owner will certainly obtain compensation.
Some courts have gone so far as to hold that the property may be occupied before compensation
is made, provided the statute under which it is taken provides a mode for ascertaining the
compensation, ands requires its payment by the party taking, although the taking may be by an
individual or private corporation.
In this jurisdiction the constitutional prohibition against the taking of property without just
compensation contains no express provision requiring pre-payment; and following the weight of
authority, we are of opinion that there is no prohibition against the legislative enactment of a form of
procedure whereby immediate possession of lands involved in expropriation proceedings may be taken,
provided always that due provision is made to secure the prompt adjudication and payment of just
compensation to the owners. We believe that such provision is made for the adjudication and payment
of just compensation to the owners of the lands affected by the condemnation proceedings authorized
under Act No. 1592; and we conclude that these legislative provisions cannot be successfully attacked
on the ground that they contravene the prohibitions against the taking of property without due process
of law or without just compensation.
It may be, and doubtless is true that the prescribed procedure, like all man-made institutions, partakes
of the imperfections and human weaknesses of its creator, so that it cannot be said to furnish an
infallible mode whereby just compensation will be secured to the owners of lands taken in
expropriation proceedings. But having in mind that the value of the land, in money, as provisionally
ascertained by an impartial judge, must be deposited in the Insular Treasurer before the order for
possession can be put into effect; and that the right of the owners to recover just compensation is not
limited or restricted to the amount of the deposit should it prove insufficient in a particular case; and
further that the order for possession cannot issue until the condemnation proceedings are actually
instituted; we are satisfied that it sufficiently and satisfactorily secures the end in view, that is to say,
"the prompt adjudication and payment of just compensation without reasonable delay."
In the very nature of things, the whole procedure looking to the authorization of the taking possession
of the lands in advance of payment might, and in many cases would degenerate into a meaningless
farce, if a lawful order granting immediate possession could not issue without first giving the owners
an opportunity to be heard as to the value of their lands and the amount of the deposit which should be
required of the railway corporation before taking possession. In contested cases this would involve the
adjudication in the first place of the title to the lands involved; and after title has been adjudicated the
right of the true owner to be heard would necessarily involve to call witnesses in support of his claim as
to the value of the land and the amount of the deposit. As we have already indicated, all this would
defeat the very purpose which the whole procedure is intended to secure; and would substantially
amount to the postponement of the right of entry on the lands until a stage of the proceedings has been
reached at which final judgment might well be entered definitely disposing of the case.
Having concluded that the constitutional prohibitions do not deny to the legislature the right to
authorize the taking of land in expropriation proceedings without pre-payment of just compensation, if
due provision is made for the adjudication and payment of just compensation without unreasonable
delay; and having arrived at the further conclusion that the deposit of the value of the lands involved, in
money, as promptly and provisionally ascertained by an impartial judge, in the course of expropriation
proceedings already instituted, sufficiently and satisfactorily secures the end in view, even though the
owners of the land are not given an opportunity to be heard as to the amount of the deposit; we
conclude that these statutory provisions do not deny any right of the owners of such lands guaranteed in
the Constitution or the Philippine Bill of Rights; and that such owners of lands are not entitled to
demand the right to be heard, as an indispensable requisite to the validity of the "prompt and
provisional" determination of the amount of deposits made under authority of the provisions of section
1 of Act No. 1592.
We come now to consider the contentions of counsel based upon their allegations that the value of the
land as provisionally determined in the original order fixing the amount of the deposit was so grossly
inadequate, that the respondent judge, treating it as an order entered with manifest abuse of the
discretion conferred upon the judge who made it, was justified and empowered either to declare it null,
void and without effect, or wholly to disregard it, and himself enter an original order fixing the amount
of the deposit which should be required of the Railroad Company.
As we have already indicated, if the disposition of this contention required a ruling on our part as to the
true value of the land, we would be compelled to hear testimony in that regard, that fact being
developed or admitted in the pleadings. But we think that the contentions of counsel can be disposed of
without entering upon an inquiry of this hotly disputed question of fact.
In the first place it appears that the judge who issued the original order fixed the value of the lands in
question at the amount of their assessed valuation, as shown by the sworn certificate of the provincial
treasurer; and although it might thereafter be made to appear that the amount so determined would not
furnish just compensation of the land taken, or that it was grossly inadequate, it is by no means certain
that proof of the mere inadequacy of the amount of the value of the lands thus provisionally ascertained
would be sufficient in itself to establish an allegation of abuse of discretion on the part of the judge,
who adopted the assessed valuation as a standard for the provisional determination of the amount of the
deposit to be made under Act No. 1592.
Under such circumstances it may well be doubted that any court, even in certiorari proceedings, would
be authorized to annul or set aside the order fixing the amount of the deposit.
It has been said that:
The principle is uncontroverted that certiorari does not lie tot review maters and proceedings of
inferior tribunals, boards, officers, etc., in the proper exercise of discretion confided to them; and that,
in order to obtain this review, it must be clearly shown that there has been an unwarrantable and illegal
exercise of such discretion, to the substantial injury of the party complaining. (Enc. Pl. and Pr., vol. 4,
p. 81.)
In support of the doctrine a number of cases are cited including Clifford vs. Overseer of Poor of
Frankford (37 N.J.L., 152), wherein it was held as follows:
Before this court can interfere on certiorari with a matter confided to the discretion of the court
below, it must be clearly shown that there has been an unwarrantable and illegal exercise of
such discretion to the substantial injury of the party complaining.
Also the case of Avery vs. Ruffin (4 Ohio, 420), wherein the court said in an opinion rendered in
certiorari proceedings pending before it:
When the court of common pleas makes an order under the statute to distribute fees between the
late and present sheriff, the Supreme Court will not interfere unless a strong case of abuse is
presented.
And the same doctrine is announced in Rose vs. Stuyvesant (8 Johns.[N.Y.], 426; Beekman vs. Wright
(11 Johns. [N.Y.], 442) ; People vs. Martin (33 N.Y. Supp., 1000), and Trustees Brooklyn vs. Patchen (8
Wend. [N.Y.], 47), wherein the writ of certiorari was granted to correct abuses of discretion by inferior
tribunals.
But without passing definitely on this proposition, ,it is sufficient answer to respondents' contentions in
this regard to indicate that if there was in fact such an abuse of discretion by the judge who entered the
original order as to entitle the aggrieved parties to relief, their remedy, if any they had, was to be found
in the institution of appropriate proceedings in this court, in like manner as in the case at bar the
applicants attack the validity of the order entered by the respondent judge.
There can be no question as to the original jurisdiction in the premises of the judge who entered the
order fixing the amount of the deposit. Until and unless it was set aside, the order entered by him could
not, therefore, be wholly disregarded by the respondent judge merely on the ground that he was of
opinion that his predecessor has so far abused his discretion in the premises, that he should be deemed
to have gone beyond or to have acted in excess of his jurisdiction in its issuance. We have already
shown that the respondent judge was not clothed with power to set aside such an order after the deposit
had been made by the railroad company; and it follows that if the respondent land companies were
entitled to relief, it could be found only in appropriate proceedings in this court instituted for the
purpose of vacating, annulling or setting aside the original order fixing the amount of the deposit to be
made by the Railroad Company.
We think that what has been said disposes of all the substantial objections advanced by the respondents
against the issuance of the writ and the grant of the prayer of the applicants; except their contention that
the applicants have another adequate remedy by appeal and therefore should not be permitted to seek
relief in certiorari proceedings.
To this it is sufficient answer to say that an examination of the statute clearly discloses that it was not
the intention of the legislator to authorize an appeal from orders fixing the amount of the deposits the
making of which secure to railway corporations the right of immediate possession of lands involved in
expropriation proceedings; and that, even if an appeal did lie from such orders, the purpose and object
of the "provisional and "prompt" ascertainment of the amount of the deposit being to authorize the
immediate entry of the railway corporation upon the lands involved in the proceedings, an appeal from
an order, affecting adversely the statutory right of possession and issued without jurisdiction or in
excess of the jurisdiction of the court wherein it is entered, would not furnish an adequate remedy in
favor of a railway corporation entitled to the undisturbed possession of such lands for the purpose of
completing its construction work at the earliest practicable date. The public as well as the railway
corporation have an interest in the speedy termination of the work, and when it is made to appear that a
court is proceeding without jurisdiction, or in excess of its jurisdiction, to interfere with the statutory
right of possession and thus delay the work, the railway corporation will not be compelled to await the
slower processes of a remedy by appeal and denied the speedier relief which may be furnished in
certiorari proceedings.
Perhaps we should indicate, before concluding this opinion, that we have not considered or decided the
contentions of counsel for applicants based on their claim of a right to the undisturbed possession of the
lands in question, because of the tacit or express consent of the owners and occupants to the entry of
the Railroad Company upon these lands prior to the institution of the expropriation proceedings in the
court below. We have refrained from any discussion of these contentions because the facts upon which
they are based are not unqualified admitted by the pleadings; and because a ruling upon these
contentions is not necessary for the final disposition of the case as submitted at this time.
We conclude that upon the pleadings submitted to us for judgment the applicants are entitled to the
relief prayed for in their complaint.
The facts admitted and affirmatively disclosed in the pleadings make it unnecessary for us to issue
formal orders directing the bringing up of the original record now on file in the court below; and
without stopping to consider whether the answers of the respondents should be treated technically as
responses to our order "to show cause," or as answers to the complaint to which a formal demurrer has
been interposed, we are of opinion that unless the answers are amended hereafter by the addition of
new allegations of fact sustaining the jurisdiction of the respondent judge in the premises, which we do
not anticipate, judgment should be entered in this court declaring the order complained of to be null,
void and without effect.
Unless, therefore, the answers of the respondents are amended in the meantime as above indicated, let
judgment be entered ten days from the date of the filing of this opinion declaring the order entered in
the court below on the 18th of February 1915, as set forth in the complaint, null, void and without
effect, with the costs of these proceedings against the respondent land companies; and twenty days
thereafter let a duly certified copy of that judgment be remitted to the clerk of the Court of First
Instance of Tayabas Province for file with the expropriation proceedings wherein the order was entered;
and at the same time let the record of these certiorari proceedings be filed with the archives of original
proceedings in this court. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Trent, and Araullo, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
MORELAND, J., concurring:
I agree.
(1) In condemnation proceedings the court has such authority only as is expressly conferred by
statute or is clearly incident to the complete fulfillment of the duties laid on it by the statute.
No express authority is found in the statute for the order objected to in this case and its issuance
is not necessary to the performance of the duties laid on the court by the statute.
(2) The order of the court fixing the amount of the deposit which the plaintiff company must
make under Act No. 1592 before entering into possession of the land involved in the proceeding
was in the nature of an offer. Being of such a nature the company had the right to refuse to
accept it. It could have rejected the offer and discontinued its proceedings if it found the amount
fixed excessive or for any other reason.
(3) The condition fixed by the court as a prerequisite to entry having been accepted by the
company, the court had no authority to make the condition more onerous after the company, on
the faith of the condition already met, had expended on the land vast sums of money in making
its roadbed and laying its rails.
(4) The assignees of the original owners of the land, who took the lands pending the
proceedings, acquired no rights which justified or could support their motion to increase the
amount of the deposit.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 73317 August 31, 1989
THOMAS YANG, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE MARCELINO R. VALDEZ, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, 11th
Judicial Region, Branch XXII, General Santos City, SPS. RICARDO MORANTE and
MILAGROS MORANTE, respondents.
Francis M. Zosa for petitioner.
Bayani L. Calonzo for private respondents.

FELICIANO, J.:
The present Petition for Certiorari 1 seeks to annul and set aside the orders dated 7 January
1985, 18 January 1985 and 28 February 1985, of Judge Marcelino R. Valdez of the Regional
Trial Court of General Santos City, Branch 22. The assailed orders, respectively, had
approved a replevin bond posted by respondents, denied the counter-replevin bond filed by
Manuel Yaphockun, and rejected petitioner Thomas Yang's counter replevin bond.
On 4 January 1985, respondent spouses Ricardo and Milagros Morante brought an action in
the Regional Trial Court of General Santos City against petitioner Thomas Yang and Manuel
Yaphockun, to recover possession of two (2) Isuzu-cargo trucks. In their complaint, the
Morante spouses alleged that they had actual use and possession of the two (2) cargo trucks,
having acquired them during the period from 1982 to 1984. The trucks were, however,
registered in the name of petitioner Thomas Yang who was the Treasurer in the Morante
spouses' business of buying and selling corn. The Morante spouses further alleged that they
were deprived of possession of the vehicles in the morning of 3 January 1985, when
petitioner Yang had the vehicles taken from where they were parked in front of the Coca-Cola
Plant in General Santos City, to the warehouse of Manuel Yaphockun and there they were
thereafter held. Despite repeated demands, the complaint alleged, petitioner Yang refused to
release the trucks to respondent spouses.
To obtain immediate possession of the Isuzu trucks, respondent spouses applied for a writ of
replevin and put up a replevin bond of P560,000.00 executed by respondent Milagros
Morante and Atty. Bayani Calonzo (counsel for respondent spouses).lâwphî1.ñèt
On 7 January 1985, the respondent judge issued an order of seizure directing the Provincial
Sheriff of South Cotabato to take immediate possession and custody of the vehicles involved.
The Sheriff carried out the order.
On 10 January 1985, defendant Manuel Yaphockun filed a motion seeking repossession of
the cargo trucks, and posted a replevin counter-bond of P560,000.00 executed by himself and
one Narciso Mirabueno. The respondent judge promptly required the respondent spouses to
comment on the counter-bond proffered.
The respondent spouses reacted by amending their complaint on 13 January 1985 by
excluding Manuel Yaphockun as party-defendant. The following day, i.e., 14 January 1985,
the respondents submitted an opposition to Yaphockun's counter-bond, contending that since
Manuel Yaphockun was merely a nominal defendant, he had no standing to demand the
return of the cargo trucks. By an order dated 18 January 1985, the respondent judge
disapproved the counter-bond filed by Manuel Yaphockun, since the latter had been dropped
as party-defendant and accordingly no longer had any personality to litigate in the replevin
suit. The trial court also ordered the immediate release and delivery of the cargo trucks to
respondent spouses.
For his part, petitioner Yang moved, on 21 January 1985, for an extension of fifteen (15) days
within which to file an answer to the complaint for replevin. Four days later, on 25 January
1985, petitioner put up a counter-bond in the amount of P560,000.00 which counter-bond
was, however, rejected by the respondent judge for having been filed out of time.
Petitioner Yang now argues before us that, firstly, respondent judge had committed a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in approving the replevin bond
of respondent spouses. It is contended by petitioner that replevin bond was merely an
undertaking of the bondsmen Milagros Morante and Atty. Calonzo to pay the sum of
P560,000.00, that no tangible security, such as "cash, property or surety," was placed thereby
at the disposal and custody of the court. It is argued, secondly, that the replevin bond was
defective considering that it had been filed by only one of the two (2) private respondents and
that the bondsmen thereon had failed by its terms to undertake to return the cargo trucks to
petitioner should he (the petitioner) be adjudged lawful owner thereof.
We are not persuaded by petitioner's arguments.
A bond that is required to be given by law is commonly understood to refer to an obligation or
undertaking in writing that is sufficiently secured. 2 It is not indispensably necessary, however,
that the obligation of the bond be secured or supported by cash or personal property or real
property or the obligation of a surety other than the person giving the bond. Most generally
understood, a "bond" is an obligation reduced to writing binding the obligor to pay a sum of
money to the obligee under specified conditions. 3 At common law, a bond was merely a
written obligation under seal. 4 A bond is often, as a commercial matter, secured by a
mortgage on real property; the mortgagee may be the obligee, although the mortgagee may
also be a third party surety whose personal credit is added to that of the principal obligor
under the bond.
The sufficiency of a bond is a matter that is addressed to the sound discretion of the court
which must approve the bond. In the case at bar, the replevin bond given by the respondent
Morante spouses was properly secured by the sureties themselves who declared their
solvency and capacity to answer for the undertaking assumed, through an Affidavit of
Justification which read as follows:
We, MILAGROS MORANTE and BAYANI L. CALONZO, both of legal age,
Filipinos, married and residents of Maltana, Tampakan, South Cotabato, and
General Santos City, respectively, after having been duly sworn to in accordance
with law do hereby depose and say:
1. That each of them is a resident householder or free-holder within
the Philippines;
2. That each of them is worth the amount specified in the under-
taking assumed by them in the above bond over and above all
debts, obligations and property exempt from execution.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hands, this 4th day of
January, 1985, at General Santos City, Philippines.
The above sworn declaration of solvency which was submitted to the judge together with the
bond, in effect secured the replevin bond. We note also that the sureties or bondsmen under
the bond included not only Milagros Morante who was party-plaintiff below, but also a third
person, Atty. Bayani L. Calonzo who was not a party-litigant. Petitioner Yang never put in
issue the financial capability of these two (2) sureties. It follows that the approval of the
replevin bond by respondent judge, before whom it was presented and who was in a better
position than this Court to appreciate the financial standing of the sureties, can scarely be
questioned as a grave abuse of discretion.
The other objections to the replevin bond are equally lacking in merit. The fact that the other
respondent, Ricardo Morante, did not act as surety on the same bond as his wife did, does
not affect the validity or the sufficiency of that bond. It would appear to the benefit of petitioner
that Atty. Bayani L. Calonzo signed up as the other or second surety or bondsman on that
bond, since petitioner thereby acquired a right of recourse not only against the respondent
spouses but also against a third person, not a party to the replevin suit. Further, the failure of
the replevin bond to state expressly that it was "conditioned for the return of the property to
the defendant, if the return thereof be adjudged," 5 is not fatal to the validity of the replevin
bond. The replevin bond put up by Milagros Morante and Bayani L. Calonzo stated that it was
given "under the condition that [they] will pay all the costs, which may be adjudged to the said
defendants and all damages which said defendants may sustain by reason of the order of
replevin, if the court shall finally adjudge that the plaintiffs were not entitled thereto." 6 We
believe that the condition of the bond given in this case substantially complied with the
requirement of Section 2, Rule 60. Moreover, the provisions of Rule 60, Section 2 of the
Revised Rules of Court under which the replevin bond was given may be regarded as having
become part of the bond as having been imported thereunto. All the particular conditions
prescribed in Section 2, Rule 60, although not written in the bond in printer's ink, will be read
into the bond in determining the scope and content of the liability of the sureties or bondsmen
under that bond. 7
Petitioner also contends that since the respondent spouses are not the registered owners of
the cargo trucks involved, the writ of replevin should not have been issued. We do not think
so. The provisional remedy of replevin is in the nature of a possessory action and the
applicant who seeks immediate possession of the property involved need not be holder of the
legal title to the property. It suffices, if at the time he applies for a writ of replevin, he is, in the
words of Section 2, Rule 60, "entitled to the possession thereof."
Petitioner further urges that the dropping of Manuel Yaphockun as party-defendant in the
amended complaint was fraudulently intended to deprive him (Yaphockun) of the right to
demand the return of the vehicles in dispute. The difficulty with this argument is that it is
merely question-begging. A person in actual or constructive possession of the goods sought
to be replevied, should of course be made a party-defendant. At the same time, however, the
respondent spouses, as complainants in the suit for replevin, were entitled, for their own
convenience and at their own peril, to exclude or strike out the name of a party previously
impleaded from the complaint. In excluding Manuel Yaphockun as party-defendant from the
complaint, the respondent spouses were well within their rights; no leave of court was
needed, no responsive pleading having been previously filed. 8
Petitioner would finally challenge the order of respondent judge dated 28 February 1985
rejecting his counter-replevin bond for having been filed out of time. Petitioner received
summons on the amended complaint on 25 January 1985 and on the same day, filed his
counterbond. It is his contention that his redelivery bond was not filed out of time, since he
was served with summons only on 25 January 1985.
A defendant in a replevin suit may demand return of possession of the property replevied by
filing a redelivery bond within the periods specified in Sections 5 and 6 of Rule 60, which
provide:
Sec. 5. Return of property. — If the defendant objects to the sufficiency of the
plaintiffs bond, or of the surety or sureties thereon, he cannot require the return
of the property as in this section provided; but if he does not so object, he may,
at any time before the delivery of the property to the plaintiff, require the return
thereof by filing with the clerk or judge of the court a bond executed to the
plaintiff, in double the value of the property stated in the plaintiff's affidavit, for
the delivery of the property to the plaintiff, if such delivery be adjudged, and for
the payment of such sum to him as may be recovered against the defendant,
and by serving a copy of such bond on the plaintiff or his attorney;
Sec. 6. Disposition of property by officer. — If within five (5) days after the taking
of the property by the officer, the defendant does not object to the sufficiency of
the bond, or of the surety or sureties thereon, or require the return of the
property as provided in the last preceding section; or if the defendant so objects
and the plaintiffs first or new bond is approved; or if the defendant so requires,
and his bond is objected to and found insufficient and does not forthwith file an
approved bond, the property shall be delivered to the plaintiff. If for any reason
the property is not delivered to the plaintiff, the officer must return it to the
defendant. (Emphasis supplied)
Under Section 5, petitioner may "at any time before the delivery of the property to the plaintiff"
require the return of the property; in Section 6, he may do so, "within five (5) days after the
taking of the property by the officer." Both these periods are mandatory in character. 9 Thus, a
lower court which approves a counter-bond filed beyond the statutory periods, acts in excess
of its jurisdiction. In the instant case, the cargo trucks were taken into custody by the Sheriff
on 7 January 1985. Petitioner Yang's counter-replevin bond was filed on 25 January 1985.
The matter was treated at length in the trial court's order of 28 February 1985:
... It is also borne by the record that defendant, thru counsel, was served with
copy 6f the amended complaint dropping defendant Manuel Yap from the
complaint on January 14, 1985 and hence, said receipt of the amended
complaint was tantamount to a summons issued to the defendant Thomas Yang.
It is a truism that the primary purpose of summons is to acquire jurisdiction over
the person of the parties, and jurisdiction can be acquired by the voluntary
submission of the defendant to the jurisdiction of the Court. Hence, after
defendant had been duly represented by counsel even at the inception of the
service of summons and a copy of the order of replevin on January 7, 1985,
defendant Thomas Yang had already been duly served, especially so, when
counsel manifested in their comment to the opposition filed by plaintiffs that
Manuel Yap has been duly authorized to represent Thomas Yang. From then on
defendant should have been on guard as to the provision of Section 6, Rule 60
of the Rules of Court — re — the five (5) days period within which to file the
counter-replevin for the approval of the court, counted from the actual taking of
the property by the officer or the sheriff on January 7, 1985. It is honestly
believed that the five-day period spoken of by the Rule begins from the taking of
the property by the sheriff and not from the service of summons to the
defendant, for even if summons was already duly served to the defendant but
the property has not yet been taken by the sheriff, the provision above cited
does not apply. Hence, it is clear that the prescriptive period for filing a counter-
replevin bond must be counted from the actual taking of the property by the
sheriff, subject of the replevin bond and in this particular case on January 7,
1985. True indeed, that defendant Manuel Yap filed the counter-replevin bond
on January 10, 1985, which was denied by this court, that was three (3) days
after the property was taken on January 7, 1985 but when the said defendant
was dropped from the complaint on January 14, 1985, defendant Thomas Yang
should have immediately filed the proper counter-replevin bond after Manuel
Yap has been dropped from the complaint on January 14, 1985 considering that
the counter-replevin bond filed on January 10, 1985 by Manuel Yap has become
obsolete on this date, January 14, 1985. The service of summons to Thomas
Yang on January 25, 1985, has become an academic formality because on
January 21, 1985, counsel has already filed a motion for extension of time of
fifteen (15) days within which to file their responsive pleading counted from
January 31, 1985, for the original period of fifteen (15) days for filing the
corresponding answer lapsed on January 31, 1985, which this court readily
granted. Hence, irrespective of the order of this court dated January 18,1985,
denying the counter-replevin bond filed, defendant Thomas Yang should and
must have filed his counter replevin bond within two (2) days from service of the
amended complaint, the same must have been)'filed on January 18, 1985, to
conform with liberal interpretation of the rules and not on January 25, 1985, for
then the counter replevin bond had been filed beyond the period provided by the
Rules. The decisional principle on the filing of counter replevin bond to entitle
the defendant to the redelivery or retaining possession of the property, is
compliance with all the conditions precedent pursuant to the rules, and failure to
comply therewith entitles plaintiff to possession, and the initial steps in obtaining
redelivery must be taken within the time limit provided thereto . . . 10 (Emphasis
supplied)
We agree with the conclusion of respondent judge that petitioner's right to file a counterbond
had already prescribed.
We consider, accordingly, that respondent judge did not commit any grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the orders here assailed.
WHEREFORE, the Resolution of the Court dated 8 February 1988 granting due course to the
Petition is hereby WITHDRAWN and the "Petition for Review on Appeal by Certiorari" is
DENIED for lack of merit and the orders of respondent Judge Marcelino R. Valdez dated 7
January 1985, 18 January 1985 and 28 February 1985 are hereby AFFIRMED. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1 The petition was erroneously captioned "petition for review on certiorari" and was initially denied due course in a resolution dated 14
April 1986, for having been filed out of time. The petition was, on reconsideration, given due course, the Court treating the petition as a
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, as only interlocutory orders are involved.

2 Commissioner of Customs v. Alikpala, 36 SCRA 208 (1970).

3 Lockton v. Lockton, 157 Fed. Supp. 181 (1957); Gural v. Engle, 25 A. 2nd 257, 260 (1942).

4 Covington Virginia v. Woods, 29 S.E. 2nd 406, 408 (1944).

5 Section 2, last paragraph, Rule 60, Revised Rules of Court

6 Rollo, p. 21.

7 Bartley v. Bartley, et al. 171 Kan. 465, 233 P. 2d. 735 (1951); Paulsell v. Peters, et al., 115 P. 2d 708 (1941); State v. Anderson, et al., 87
S.E. 2d 249 (1955).

8 Section 2, Rule 10, Revised Rules of Court.

9 Bachrach Motor Co., Inc. v. Albert, 60 Phil. 308 (1934).

10 Rollo, pp. 120-122.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 45576. April 19, 1939.]


MAXIMIANO FUENTES, Petitioner, v. THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE OF PILA, LAGUNA,
ET AL., Respondents.

Aurelio Palileo for Petitioner.

Bautista & Rosales for Respondents.

SYLLABUS

1. ACTION FOR UNLAWFUL DETAINER OF LAND; PENDENCY OF ANOTHER ACTION FOR


OWNERSHIP BETWEEN SALE PARTIES; JURISDICTION OF JUSTICE OF THE PEACE. — In
entering the appealed resolution, the Court of First Instance relied on the fact that the case regarding
ownership between the same parties and over the same land, already takes in the same question of
possession which is the subject matter of the case decided by the justice of the peace court of Pila.
This is error. The possession which is the subject matter of the summary action for detainer is the
material possession which has nothing to do with ownership. It is not the civil possession which arises
from ownership as one of its attributes. The actions for the recovery of one and the other are consistent
with each other and are regulated by independent procedures established for distinct purposes. The
action for ownership includes that of possession and there is a right to the latter if ownership is
proved. In the action for unlawful detainer of land it is not necessary to establish ownership if it is
brought within one year. from the accrual of the cause of action.

2. ID.; ID.; ID. — It has been repeatedly held by this court that the fact that, in an action for unlawful
detainer in the justice of the peace court, the defendant raises the question of ownership, does not
divest the court of its jurisdiction over the case, except when ownership is necessarily involved.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — In the present case the action is based on the fact that the
defendant leased the lands and refuses to return the possession thereof to the lessor upon the
expiration of the contract. The question of ownership is not only not necessarily involved in the case;
it cannot be raised therein. The lease being admitted, the law does not permit the lessees to deny the
lessor’s ownership. The allegation of the lessee that he is the owner of the land is a denial of the
lessor’s ownership. Held: That the justice of the peace of Pila has jurisdiction to decide the case for
detainer instituted by C. del M. against M. F.

DECISION

AVANCEÑA, C.J. :

Cayetano del Mundo filed in the justice of the peace court of Pila, Laguna, a complaint for unlawful
detainer of land against Maximiano Fuentes, alleging that he leased to the latter certain parcels of land
and that, notwithstanding the expiration of the contract and a demand to return said land, the latter has
refused to do so.

Fuentes, answered this complaint, alleging, in turn, that he is the owner of the land and that there is a
pending case between the same parties in the Court of First Instance of Laguna for the ownership
thereof.
On September 7, 1936, the justice of the peace court of Pila rendered a decision in the case ordering
the defendant Maximiano Fuentes to return to the plaintiff Cayetano del Mundo the possession of the
land.

On the 18th of the same month Fuentes filed in the Court of First Instance of Laguna a petition for
certiorari against the justice of the peace of Pila and Cayetano del Mundo. Passing upon this petition,
the Court of First Instance ordered the said justice of the peace of Pila and Cayetano del Mundo not to
carry out the execution of the judgment rendered by the former on September 7, 1936, for the same is
null and void because entered in excess of his jurisdiction. This resolution was appealed to this court.

In entering the appealed resolution, the Court of First Instance relied on the fact that the case
regarding ownership between the same parties and over the same land, already takes in the same
question of possession which is the subject matter of the case decided by the justice of the peace court
of Pila. This is error. The possession which is the subject matter of the summary action for detainer, is
the material possession which has nothing to do with ownership. It is not the civil possession which
arises from ownership as one of its attributes. The actions for the recovery of one and the other are
consistent with each other and are regulated by independent procedures established for distinct
purposes. The action for ownership includes that of possession and there is a right to the latter if
ownership is proved. In the action for unlawful detainer of land it is not necessary to establish
ownership if it is brought within one year from the accrual of the cause of action.

Another ground set out in the appealed decision is to the effect that Maximiano Fuentes alleged in his
answer in the justice of the peace court of Pila that he is the owner of the land, thus making it
necessary to resolve the question of ownership thereof, over which the justice of the peace court is
without jurisdiction. But it has been repeatedly held by this court that the fact that, in an action for
unlawful detainer in the justice of the peace court, the defendant raises the question of ownership,
does not divest the court of its jurisdiction over the case, except when ownership is necessarily
involved. In the present case the action is based on the fact that the defendant leased the lands and
refuses to return the possession thereof to the lessor upon the expiration of the contract. The question
of ownership is not only not necessarily involved in the case; it cannot be raised therein. The lease
being admitted, the law does not permit the lessee to deny the lessor’s ownership. The allegation of the
lessee that he is the owner of the land is a denial of the lessor’s ownership.

Our conclusion is that the justice of the peace of Pila has jurisdiction to decide the case for detainer
instituted by Cayetano del Mundo against Maximiano Fuentes.

Wherefore, the appealed decision is reversed, and the petition for certiorari is denied, without special
pronouncement as to the costs. So ordered.

Villa-Real, Imperial, Diaz, Laurel, Concepcion and Moran, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. L-57023 June 22, 1995

RAYMUNDO DE LA PAZ, PLACIDO DE LA PAZ, JOSE DE LA PAZ JR., ILOINA DE LA PAZ, NORITA DELA PAZ, LEONORA DE LA PAZ, and VICTORIA DE
LA PAZ, petitioners,
vs.
HON. DOMINGO D. PANIS, Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Zambales and Olongapo City, Branch III, JOSE RAMIREZ, EUGENIO LAAO,
GOMERCINDO BOLANTE, CARLOS BATUNGBAKAL, JACOBO ISIP, BAYANI RAMIREZ, ALFREDO QUILAQUIL, AGUSTIN DEL ROSARIO, ROMAN DE
VERA JR., MIGUEL ALFONSO, GREGORIO FELLORIN, RODITO MARABE, ALFREDO PANUGAO, ALFREDO CORONEL JR., DOMINGO BARTOLO,
ADRIANO VALDEZ JR., and ALBERTO DE GUZMAN, respondents.

ROMERO, J.:

This petition for certiorari and mandamus began in 1972 as a complaint for recovery of possession filed by the petitioners in the then Court of First Instance of
Zambales, Branch III, Olongapo City. Docketed as Civil Case No. 1133-0, it involves a dispute over a 7,531-square meter parcel of land in Subic, Zambales,
being claimed by the petitioners as communal owners on the strength of their Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-14807 of the Registry of Deeds of Zambales, and
by the private respondents as actual possessors.

The petitioners alleged in their complaint that sometime in 1970 or 1971 the private respondents illegally entered portions of the said property, established
possession thereof, and introduced illegal improvements. In their answer, the private respondents admitted that they indeed entered into the said property, but
averred that they did so in the honest belief that it was part of the public domain; that they introduced the improvements without objection from any party; and
that they have been in peaceful, open, and uninterrupted material possession thereof for more than ten years.

During the pre-trial conference, some of the private respondents represented by Atty. Jose S. Sarte did not deny petitioners' title to the subject property, in effect
admitting such fact. The parties then limited the questions to be resolved during the trial to the following issues: (a) the identity and extent of the land claimed by
the petitioners; (b) whether or not the area respectively occupied by defendants are within the limits of the said land; and (c) whether or not the parties are
entitled to damages.1

Atty. Sarte was later substituted by Atty. Nicolas C. Adolfo who attempted during the trial to ask questions which delved into his predecessorrs pre-trial admission.
When this line of questioning was blocked by the respondent judge, private respondents filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction
with this Court, which was assigned G.R. No. L-38773.

On November 15, 1974, the Court resolved the said petition by declaring that the only issue between the parties is whether or not the land occupied by the
private respondents is included in TCT No. 14807 of the petitioners, and approved a compromise agreement dated October 18, 1974, whereby the parties
agreed, among others, to have a relocation survey made upon the property in question, the result of which snail be respected by them.

The Court also ordered "the parties, including the respondent judge or whomsoever is acting in his place," to comply with the said compromise agreement. In
other words, the issue of petitioners' title to the land was made to depend upon the results of the relocation survey.

On June 3, 1977, the court-appointed geodetic engineer, Serafin J. Garcia, submitted his report which confirmed in part the allegation of the petitioners that the
private respondents were occupying certain portions of their titled land.

This report notwithstanding, a decision was reached in Civil Case No. 1133-0 on January 19, 1981 (received by the petitioners on January 30, 1981), disposing
of the case in this wise:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the plaintiffs' (petitioners herein) complaint against all the defendants (private
respondents herein). The counterclaims of defendants (1) Jose Ramirez, (2) Eugenio Laao, (3) Gomercindo Bolante, (4) Carlos
Batungbakal, (5) Jacobo Isip, (6) Bayani Ramirez, (7) Alfredo Quilaquil, (8) Agustin del Rosario, (9) Roman de Vera, Jr., (10) Miguel
Alfonso, are hereby likewise dismissed.

On the counterclaim of defendants (1) Gregorio Fellorin, (2) Rodito Marabe, (3) Alfredo Panugao, (4) Alfredo Coronel, Jr., (5) Domingo
Bartolo, (6) Adriano Valdez, Jr., and (7) Alfredo de Guzman, judgment is hereby rendered ordering plaintiffs to jointly and severally pay
each of the said defendants the sum of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) as and by way of attorney's fees and expenses of litigation.

SO ORDERED.

Judge Panis observed that while the complaint was one for recovery of possession, it was "in reality one for ejectment or illegal detainer."

On February 5, 1981, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration maintaining that their action was for recovery of possession and was not an ejectment case.

This was denied by the respondent judge in an order dated March 5, 1981, received by the petitioners on April 10, 1981.

In this petition for certiorari, the petitioners pray for an order nullifying the decision dated January 19, 1981, and compelling the respondent judge to issue a writ
of execution enforcing the compromise agreement approved by the Court in G.R. No. L-38773.

Private respondents argue in their comment and memorandum that since the petitioners "had not yet entered the land in question (at the time of filing of the
complaint), they had not lost any possession, and the civil case they filed for recovery of possession was wrong as no possession had been lost by them."

This argument is untenable. It amounts to a recognition by the private respondents of petitioners' equal, if not greater, right to possess the land in question. It
even confirms the absence of any past or present tenancy relationship between the parties, which in turn proves the propriety of the course of action taken by the
petitioners.

Private respondents further aver that G.R. No. L-38773 "cannot be enforced as all proceedings of Civil Case No. 1133-0 of the Court of First Instance of
Zambales, Branch III, Olongapo City, were null and void as the hearing was done by a judge without jurisdiction to try it."

This contention is likewise unacceptable. Judge Panis dismissed the action on the assumption that it is one for ejectment cognizable by the municipal court.
Such supposition is erroneous.

Ejectment may be effected only through an action for forcible entry or unlawful detainer. Forcible entry is a summary action to recover material or physical
possession of real property when the person who originally held it was deprived of possession by "force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth." An action for
unlawful detainer, on the other hand, may be filed when possession by "a landlord, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any land or
building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied." 2 Both actions may
be filed with the municipal courts within one year after the unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession. Their main difference lies in the time when
possession became unlawful — in forcible entry, it is from the time of entry, while in unlawful detainer, possession which is at first lawful later becomes illegal, as
when the lease contract has expired and the lessee refuses to vacate the premises despite the demand.

We must rule out forcible entry; there is no allegation in the complaint that petitioners were denied possession of the land in question through any of the methods
stated in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, although private respondents prior possession was clearly alleged. Neither is the action one for unlawful
detainer; it was noted earlier that there is no lease contract between the parties, and the demand to vacate made upon the private respondents did not make
them tenants of the petitioners.

In order to gain possession of the land occupied by the private respondents, the proper remedy adopted by the petitioners was the plenary action of recovery of
possession before the then Court of First Instance. Respondent judge, therefore, had jurisdiction over the case and should not have dismissed it on the ground of
lack thereof.

Respondent judge should have stuck to the issues defined by the parties during pre-trial, namely, the identity and extent of the land claimed by the petitioners;
whether or not the area occupied by the private respondents is within the limits of the said land; and whether or not the parties are entitled to damages. Trial of
the case should have been limited to these three issues. As we held in the early case of Permanent Concrete Products, Inc. v. Teodoro:3

One of the objectives of pre-trial procedure is to take trial of cases out of the realm of surprise and maneuvering. Pre-trial is primarily
intended to make certain that all issues necessary to the disposition of a cause are properly raised. Thus, to obviate the element of
surprise, parties are expected to disclose at a pre-trial conference all issues of law and fact which they intend to raise at the trial, except
such as may involve privilege or impeaching matter.

The determination of the first two issues were delegated to the geodetic engineer appointed by the court to conduct the relocation survey sought and accepted
by the parties in their compromise agreement.

Ignoring the result of the survey, Judge Panis instead concluded that petitioners' action is actually one for ejectment. This conclusion is totally without basis, for
the private respondents never alleged in their answers that the complaint should be dismissed on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, the action being cognizable
by the municipal court. The only reference made in the separate answers regarding the jurisdiction — or the lack of it — of the respondent judge alleges that the
lands occupied by the private respondents are portions of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, an allegation neither proved nor pursued at
the trial.

Finally, the private respondents claim that the petition was filed out of time and that the lower court's decision has gained finality.

Petitioners received a copy of the decision on January 30, 1981, and filed their motion for reconsideration on February 5, 1981. The running of the reglementary
period to appeal was suspended upon such filing and resumed only when the petitioners received on April 10, 1981, the trial court's resolution denying their
motion. The old Rules of Court, allowing an appeal from an adverse judgment of the then Court of First Instance to the Court of Appeals to be taken within 30
days from notice, applies in this case considering that Batas Pambansa Blg. 4 which uniformly shortened the reglementary period to fifteen [15] days, took effect
only on August 10, 1981. Under this set of facts, the petitioners had 24 more days from April 10, 1981, or until May 4, 1981, within which to appeal the adverse
decision to the Court of Appeals.

Instead of appealing, petitioners filed, on May 29, 1981, the instant petition for certiorari and mandamus.

The Revised Rules of Court, under Section 1 of Rule 65, states that the special civil action of certiorari will lie only when "there is no appeal, nor any plain,
speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law." Hence, we reiterate here the rule that the civil action of certiorari (or mandamus, for that matter)
cannot be allowed when a party to a case fails to appeal a judgment to the proper forum despite the availability of that remedy. In other words, certiorari may not
be used as a substitute for a lost appeal.5

This procedural rule cannot, however, be strictly enforced when to do so would result in a miscarriage of justice, especially when, as in this case, the petition is
really meritorious and the trial judge indeed committed a grave abuse of discretion.

In the case at bar, respondent judge's grave abuse of discretion was manifested in three ways: (a) by utterly disregarding the compromise agreement of the
parties approved by this Court; (b) by holding himself without jurisdiction over the case when in fact he did; and (c) by ignoring the survey report of the geodetic
engineer whom he himself had appointed.

It must be understood that this petition for certiorari and mandamus seeks not a review of the lower court's decision but its nullification for having been rendered
in excess of jurisdiction. It is not concerned with the wisdom or legal soundness of the decision, but insists that jurisdiction is properly laid in the CFI (now RTC),
and is asking said court to exercise it in this case. It must be noted that the complaint of petitioners was case.

To correct the situation, petitioner rightly filed the instant petition, a special civil action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which may be filed within a
reasonable period from the time the petitioners received notice of the denial of their motion for reconsideration. In as much as a period of three (3) months is
considered reasonable,6 the filing of the petition after 45 days from notice is definitely within the allowable period. The petition must perforce be given due
course.

The issue of damages was, however, correctly disposed of by respondent judge who found no basis for the award of any form of damages" in favor of the private
respondents who were actually occupying portions of the petitioners' land, according to the relocation survey result. This, as well as the finding that the
respondents who were found not to be occupying the said land should be entitled to attorney's fees in the amount of P1,000.00 each, should not be disturbed.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision dated January 19, 1981 in Civil Case No. 1133-0 is hereby nullified and set aside, except the portions
dismissing the private respondents' counterclaim and granting the aforementioned attorney's fees, which are affirmed. Respondent judge, or whoever is acting in
his stead or behalf, is hereby directed to issue the writ of execution prayed for by the petitioners in connection with the Court's Resolution in G.R. No. L-38773
dated November 15, 1974, and in keeping with the relocation survey report submitted by Engineer Serafin J. Garcia on June 3, 1977.

SO ORDERED.

Feliciano, Vitug and Francisco, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

MELO, J., dissenting:


The adjective norm that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal must have eluded the
considered view of the majority in the case at bench. Instead of interposing a timely appeal
from the judgment of dismissal, petitioners filed the petition before this Court after forty-five
days from notice of the denial of their motion for reconsideration (p. 6, Decision), without the
least explanation on the face of the revised ponencia of Justice Romero, why appeal was not
seasonably pursued. To my mind, the remedial measure resorted to by petitioners constitutes
an irreversible faux fax inasmuch as it involves a subtle experiment to resuscitate an appeal
which had been previously extinguished by sheer lapse of the reglementary period thereof on
account of petitioners' indifference thereto (Aqualyn Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 214
SCRA 307; 312 [1992]). Judge Panis' perception anent the dismissal of the complaint (p. 5,
Decision) was an error of judgment that should have been rectified by appeal, and not by
certiorari. To my mind, the majority opinion is even a reversal of established jurisprudence of
the Court, which could be effected only by the Court En Banc.

Separate Opinions
MELO, J., dissenting:
The adjective norm that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal must have eluded the
considered view of the majority in the case at bench. Instead of interposing a timely appeal
from the judgment of dismissal, petitioners filed the petition before this Court after forty-five
days from notice of the denial of their motion for reconsideration (p. 6, Decision), without the
least explanation on the face of the revised ponencia of Justice Romero, why appeal was not
seasonably pursued. To my mind, the remedial measure resorted to by petitioners constitutes
an irreversible faux fax inasmuch as it involves a subtle experiment to resuscitate an appeal
which had been previously extinguished by sheer lapse of the reglementary period thereof on
account of petitioners' indifference thereto (Aqualyn Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 214
SCRA 307; 312 [1992]). Judge Panis' perception anent the dismissal of the complaint (p. 5,
Decision) was an error of judgment that should have been rectified by appeal, and not by
certiorari. To my mind, the majority opinion is even a reversal of established jurisprudence of
the Court, which could be effected only by the Court En Banc.
Footnotes
1 Pre-trial Order; Rollo, p. 64.
2 Section 1, Rule 70, Rules of Court.
3 L-29766, November 29, 1968, 26 SCRA 332.
4 Otherwise known as the "Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980".
5 Felizardo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112050, June 15, 1994,
233 SCRA 220.
6 Caramol v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 102973, August
24, 1993, 225 SCRA 582, citing Philec Workers' Union v. Young, G.R. No.
101734, January 22, 1992.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-1748 June 1, 1906
THE BISHOP OF CEBU, REPRESENTING THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, plaintiff-
appellee,
vs.
MARIANO MANGARON, defendant-appellant.
L.D. Hargis, for appellant.
Hartigan, Marple, Solignac and Gutierrez, for appellee.
PER CURIAM:
The plaintiff in this case relates to a tract of land in the district of Ermita of this city, it is alleged is at
present occupied by the defendant. The object of the original complaint was to recover the possession
of the said land, while in the amended complaint the plaintiff prays that the said land be declared to be
the property of the Catholic Church and that it be restored to the latter. Counsel for appellant admits in
his brief that the object of the action is the recovery of possession when he refers to the judgment of the
court below as being "in favor of the plaintiff in an action to recover the possession of certain real
estate." (Record, p. 1.)
Neither party has exhibited any title papers to the land in question nor pay other documentary proof.
They have only offered certain parol evidence as to the former possession of the land and as to certain
acts of ownership exercised by the parties over the same.
The court below found (a) "that the defendant's parents and brothers had been in possession of the land
in question until about the year 1887;" (b) "that it had not been clearly shown in what capacity they had
occupied the lands;" (c) "that about the year 1887 the defendant and his relatives vacated the land by
the virtue of an order from the municipality, which declared that the land was included within the zone
of materiales fuertes (fire zone) and the houses in which they lived upon the said land without
objection;" (d)"that after the land was vacated the parish priest of the Ermita Church fenced the land
and cleaned the same without any objection whatsoever on the part of anyone; that the plaintiff claimed
that this property had belonged to the Catholic Church from the time immemorial, the defendant, his
parents and brothers having occupied a part thereof by the mere tolerance of the Catholic Church," (e)
"that in the year 1898 the defendant, without the consent of anyone, entered upon the land in question
and built thereon a nipa house and continued to live thereon without the consent of the parish priest of
the Ermita Church or the plaintiff in third case." (Bill of exceptions, p. 11.) The court then ordered "that
the defendants vacate the land described in the complaint and pay the costs of this action" (p. 12).
Counsel appellant says in his brief "that the defendant claims to be owner of the land by inheritance."
(Brief, p. 8.) It is not necessary for this court to apply to the present case the well-settled doctrine that it
is not sufficient to allege a universal title of inheritance without showing the manner and form in which
such title was converted into a singular title in favor of the person invoking the same, particularly
where, as in the present, case, the question involved does not relate to the ownership of the property but
rather to who has the better right to the possession of the same. But the court below suggest that there
are several brothers of the defendant who might also claim the same right to occupy the land but who,
however, had not done so. The court says "from the evidence introduced at the trial and from the fact
that the defendant's brothers do not claim any right to the land in question, it seems that the claim of the
plaintiff is the more credible." (Bill of exceptions, p. 11.)
The complaint is directed against the illegal act of spoliation committed by the defendant in October,
1898, while as he himself says there was no priest in Ermita who could take care of the church and of
the land in question, the American troops having occupied the parish house according to the defendant,
and the Filipino troops having occupied it according to other witness. This is one of the points as to
which there is no dispute between the parties, the defendant and the witnesses of both important details
relating to this matter.
Counsel for appellant sums up his brief in the following paragraph:
The defendant was the legal owner of the property when he was unlawfully ejected by the
plaintiff in 1879, and we insist that he had a right to reenter upon the land when he did so, the
time for prescription not having expired since he was ejected in 1879 (p. 8).
Upon this point the court below said: "The occupation of the land by the defendant in the year 1898
was illegal, for, if her brought he had a right to the land, he should have applied to the courts for the
possession of what belonged to him, and not proceed to occupy property claimed (he should have said
possessed) by another against the will of the latter."
The conclusion of law of the trial court is entirely in conformity with the conclusion would sanction the
recovery of possession through violence or other unlawful and arbitrary means, and would permit a
person to take the law into his own hands. "If a person thinks that he is entitled to the property which
another possesses he should claim the same from the person in possession. If the latter accedes and
voluntarily returns possession and acknowledges that the property does not belong to him, there is no
necessity of any one interfering, but if the person in possession refuses to deliver the property, the one
who believes himself to be entitled to it, however well founded his belief may be, can not take the law
into his own hands but must seek the aid of the competent authorities." (4 Manresa, Commentaries on
the Civil Code, p. 163.) The action of the defendant in 1898 was therefore absolutely unlawful.
This possession held by the defendant in 1898 can not be added to the former possession, which was
interrupted in 1877 by the order of the municipality, so as to consider such possession continous, the
time intervening not being of sufficient duration to cover the statutory period of "a person who recovers
possession according to law, which was improperly lost, is considered as having enjoyed it redound to
his benefit." But in this case it appears (1) that it can not be affirmed that the possession enjoyed by the
defendant was improperly lost; that possession ceased by virtue of an order from the municipality and
no proof to the contrary has been offered on this point; (2) that it is impossible to say what was the
nature of the possession prior to the year 1877 — that is to say, whether it was held by right or by the
mere tolerance of the plaintiff in this case. The code refers to the recovery of the possession, according
to law, which was improperly lost, and to "recover according to law means through the proper writs
and actions, or by requesting the aid of competent authorities in the special cases where the provisions
of article 441 may apply." (4 Manresa, Commentaries on the Civil Code, p. 329.) "Of course,"
continues Manresa "the acts of violence or secrecy or mere tolerance can not affect the right of
possession." Consequently the defendant in this case could never have lawfully and legally done what
he did, to wit, to reenter upon the land which he had been ejected by the city of Manila. If the order of
the municipality was illegal, and the possession was improperly lost, the defendant should have
requested the assistance of the competent authorities to recover it. He should have applied to the
executive or administrative officials, as the case might have been, or to the courts of justice in a plenary
action for possession, for a year having elapsed since he was ejected from the premises, he could not
maintain a summary action for possession.
The legal provisions hereinbefore quoted would be sufficient ground upon which to base the
confirmation of the decision of the trial court, but on account of the facts involved in this case a
question of law has been raised by the members of this court which has not been urged by the parties
themselves. It is absolutely necessary to decide this question, which naturally arises from the facts
alleged in the complaint. The question is whether, after the promulgation of the Civil Code, the accion
publiciana, which had for its object the recovery of possession in a plenary action before an action for
the recovery of title could be instituted, still existed. It is well known that under the legislation prior to
the Civil Code, both substantive and adjective, there were three remedies which a party unlawfully
dispossessed could avail himself of, to wit: The accion interdictal, which could be brought within a
year, in a summary proceeding; the plenary action for possession in an ordinary proceeding, which
could only be brought after the expiration of a year; and the action for title in an ordinary proceeding,
which was brought in case the plenary action for possession failed. The accion interdictal had for its
object the recovery of the physical possession; the plenary action for possession, the better right to
such possession; and the action for title, the recovery of the ownership.
We lay down as a conclusion that if the plaintiff, when he was deprived in October, 1898, of the
possession which he had enjoyed quietly and peacefully for twenty years, more or less, had within a
year instituted the accion interdictal, or summary action for possession, he would have been,
necessarily and undoubtedly, restored to the possession of the land. It would have availed the defendant
nothing to allege, as he now alleges, that he had merely recovered the possession which he improperly
lost in 1877, when he dispossessed the plaintiff as he did. Any tribunal, in the same arbitrary manner in
which the defendant dispossessed the party in possession, would have condemned the said defendant to
return the possession to that party.
But a year elapsed and the plaintiff brought this summary action for possession, and we also lay down
as a conclusion that such summary action for possession could not be maintained, either under the old
Code of Civil Procedure or under the new Code of Procedure in Civil Actions. (Laws 1 and 2, title 34
of the Novisima Recopilacion; art. 1635 of the Spanish Code of Civil Procedure and sec. 80 of the
present Code of Procedure in Civil Actions.)
This quiet and peaceful possession of twenty years, more or less, thus lost in a moment, could not be
recovered in a summary action for possession after the expiration of one year, but possession could still
be recovered through the accion publiciana, which involved the right to possess. This latter action
would be then based upon the fact that he, having been in possession for twenty years, could not lose
the same until he had been given an opportunity to be heard and had been defeated in an action in court
by another with a better right. (The same laws.) This fact of itself would have been sufficient to recover
the possession, not in summary, but in a plenary action, in which it would likewise have availed the
defendant nothing to allege that all that he did was to recover a possession improperly lost in 1877. In
one way or the other the plaintiff would have recovered such possession, in the first case the physical
possession and in the second case the right to possess, which is not lost by the mere occupation of a
third person, whether such occupation was effected violently, secretly, or arbitrarily.
But the doubt which now exists is whether, after the promulgation of the Civil Code, the accion
publiciana continued to exist.
The doubt arises from the provisions of article 460 of the Civil Code, which reads as follows:
The possessor may lose his possession —
1. By the abandonment of the thing.
2. By transfer to another for a good or valuable consideration.
3. By the destruction or total loss of the thing or by the thing becoming unmarketable.
4. By the possession of another, over against the will of the former possessor, if the new
possession has lasted more than one year.
The last provision of this article has given rise to the doubt whether possession which is lost by the
occupation of another against the will of the former possessor is merely possession de facto or
possession de jure.
The most powerful reason why it is thought that it refers to possession both de facto and de jure is that,
whereas the two are equally lost in the manner indicated in the first three provisions of this article, it
would be rather strange that the fourth provision should only refer to possession de facto.
This, however, is not convincing because not only can the right of possession of any kind be lost in the
aforesaid three ways, but the right of ownership as well. It could not be inferred from this, however,
that the right of ownership can be lost in the fourth manner indicated. The legislation and the
jurisprudence of all countries will allow a party after he has lost possession to bring an action to
recover the ownership of the property — that is to say, to recover what belongs to him — except where
he is barred by the statute of limitations. There is no law fixing one year and one day as the period of
prescription of such actions.
Manresa expressly propounds this question and says:
Meditation upon the nature of possession, being convinced as we are of the fact that possession
constitutes a right, a right in rem, whenever it is exercised over real property or property rights,
has merely served to strengthen as far as possible our conviction of the existence of the accion
publiciana. We confess, willing to rely only upon a sound basis, that a doubt has occurred to us
as to whether or not such action should be exercised by the possessor, as we find nothing
definite upon which to place such reliance, although we have noticed that most of the authors
admit that he should, and we know that where there is a right there is a cause of action.
We have later seen this question raised and the proposition advanced that, although, as an
exception to the general rule, such action is based upon equity, but as equity is not sufficient to
allow the exercise of such action, it would be necessary to have a legal provision, an article in
the code, establishing the same, a provision and an article which do not exist, and their
nonexistence shows that there is no such thing as the accion publiciana.
That we have no knowledge of the existence of any legal text or recent provisions which
expressly relate to such action, is true. The same thing is true in France. However, the majority
of the authors admit its existence. Among us it existence is also generally admitted by the
authorities on civil and procedural law. But we do not desire to base our conclusions upon the
arguments of the authorities, particularly when we note that Sanchez Roman is the only one
who has attempted to support in any way his conclusions. It is sufficient, says this author, that
the right existing, there should be an action to protect it. There is no necessity of any special
declaration in the Civil Code.
We are of the same opinion as the author in question, but certainly not because we believe that if
the possessor is deprived of the accion publiciana his right ceases to be a right in rem. In regard
to this matter we refer to what we have already said in our preliminary consideration of the
question of possession.
In regard to this matter the idea is present in the code that possession should be considered as an
actual right and it is so stated in various articles of that code, as for instance in article 438. It
would be impossible to admit that a mere physical act would confer all the rights which a
possessor ordinarily enjoys.
Article 445 presupposes that possession may be considered either as de facto or de jure, for
when it refers to controversies arising from the possession de facto, it clearly indicates that other
controversies may arise which would not relate to the possession de facto. Further it can not be
conceived that had its intent been different it should have preferred actual possession to any
other possession. The article in question ends with the following significant words: "The thing
shall be placed in deposit or judicial keeping until the possession or ownership thereof is
decided in the proper manner." That is to say, the question of fact can not be determined until
the question of law has been decided either in regard to the ownership or in regard to the
possession (pp. 220-221).
Further, let us take another subject, for instance, the subject for easements. It was generally
believed that the accion confesoria existed. Vain delusion! We have carefully examined all the
provisions of the code relating to easements and we find absolutely nothing in regard to such an
action. Then the accion confesoria is another error. It does not really exist. Then, if the owner of
the dominant estate is denied the use of the easement, it would not be because he has not a right
to such use of it. The only thing that he has not is the action.
No; such an absurdity can not be admitted. It is impossible to conceive that a person has a right
which need not be respected by others, and such respect can not be exacted unless the law
provides an adequate remedy for its enforcement. If a person has aright over any kind of
property, such right would not be complete unless it could be enforced as against the whole
world. The action is the recognition of the right; it is the weapon for its protection; the right
certainly does not arise from the action, but on the contrary the action arises from the right.
There is a right recognized by the code — then this is sufficient! That right necessarily carries
with it the action to enforce it, the life-giving force. The action is, under this aspect, the actual
enforcement of the right, and these two things are so closely allied that if the action is denied
the right is also virtually and actually denied. the accion publiciana, therefore, exists, not for the
sake of equity, but because it must necessarily exist if the right to possession exists or can exist
as provided in article 445, and as is inferred from the other articles of the code dealing with this
subject.
There are not, in reality, any practical difficulties, for the courts consider as owners many who
are simply possessors, and actions for title are maintained upon evidence which appears to be
proof of ownership, but which in reality is not, for the reason that the title under which such
ownership is claimed is not always in question, but merely its superiority over the claim of title
of another. In a word, it is necessary to state the nature of the action but not the name by which
it is known, and the claim being a just one, it is allowed in an action for title which in a
multitude of cases would be nothing but an accion publiciana (plenary action for possession).
Do not give the name of the action because it is not necessary; merely ask that the right be
enforced. Who can reject the claim ? (Pages 223-224.)
Paragraph 4 of article 460 is not an innovation in the Civil Code, nor does it mean the modification or
reformation of the old law. Law 17, title 30 of the third Partida contains the same provision: "One who
holds property can not lose the possession thereof except in one of the following manners: (1) If he is
ejected from it by force; (2) if another person occupies in while he is absent and upon his return refuses
him admission. . . . But although he may lose the possession in either of the aforesaid manners, he can,
however, recover the same, and even the title thereto by an action in court." There is no doubt that
paragraph 4 of article 460 is nothing but a repetition of the law in force prior to the Civil Code. He who
loses possession in either of these ways may demand the return of the same in an action in court, as
well as the ownership of the property, the glossator in expanding the word juizio which appears in the
law, saying, "by means of an action, unde vi, namely, that of recovery, or by any such restorative
means." So that the possession thus lost may be recovered not only in an action unde vi but some other
restorative means, such as the accion publiciana or a penal action; this aside from an action for title.
Law 2, title 34, book 11 of the "Novisima Recopilacion" contains in its title the following prohibitive
provision: "No one shall be deprived of his possession until he has had an opportunity to be heard and
his right is defeated in accordance with the law."
As a legal precedent to paragraph 4 of article 460 we have law 3, title 8, of the same book 11, which
says: "The laws of some cities provide that he who has been in possession of a building, vineyard, or
other land for one year and one day, peacefully and adversely to the person claiming to be entitled to
such possession who travels in and out of the village, shall not be held responsible therefor. There
being doubt as to whether such possession for the period of one year and one day requires title in good
faith, we, to dispell this doubt, do hereby order that he who holds such possession for the period of one
year and one day shall not be exempt from liability therefor while in possession unless such possession
of one year and one day was accompanied by title in good faith."
If the whole provision of article 460, paragraph 4, was contained in the old law and such was the
meaning and efficacy that possession of one year and one day had under the said old law, the courts
must give some satisfactory and convincing explanation why the meaning and efficacy of such
possession of one year and one day referred to in the code should be different. We are unable to give
such explanation, because in the act which was the basis of the present code nothing new was provided
upon this subject, nor was any rule or procedure specified by which the various sections of the new law
should be governed. Therefore the provisions of the code should be construed, as to the possession of
one year and one day, as they were construed in the prior legislation, unless it appears that the intention
of the legislature was otherwise — that is to say, unless it appears that the said legislature intended
exactly the contrary of what had been established preceding the enactment of the code.
The right acquired by the person who has been in possession for one year and one day is the right that
the former possessor lost by allowing the year and one day to expire. The right is lost by the
prescription of the action. And the action which prescribes upon the expiration of the year is "the action
to recover or to retain possession; " that is to say, the interdictory action. (Art. 1968, par. 1.) then the
only right that can be acquired now, as before, by the person who was in possession for one year and
one day is that he can not be made to answer in an interdictory action, but this is not so in a plenary
action unless he had some title in good faith. The former possessor who had been in possession for
twenty years, more or less, was considered as owner, and unless he was given an opportunity to be
heard, and was defeated in law, he could not be deprived of such possession; and notwithstanding all
this, and in spite of such prohibition, the maintenance of a possession wrongfully taken from the former
possessor by a willful act of the actual possessor had to be sustained.
The lessee, the depositary, the pledgee, the intruder, the usurper, the thief himself, after the expiration
of a year would not be responsible for the possession of which the lawful possessor was wrongfully
deprived, and if the latter could produce no evidence of his right of ownership — the only thing that he
could do according to the contrary theory — it would be impossible for him to recover such possession
thus lost by any other means.
If, in addition to the fact of possession, the action for the enforcement of which prescribes after the
expiration of one year and one day, there exists without any doubt whatsoever the right to possess (or
more properly speaking in the case at bar, to continue to possess, which said right of possession would
be a right in rem, such possession would not be on a less favorable footing than a mere possession de
facto; and, if in the latter case the interdictory action lies, the action which existed prior to the
enactment of the code, to wit, the accion publiciana, should continue to lie in the former case. The code
establishes rights and the Law of civil Procedure prescribes actions for the protection of such rights,
and we can not look to the code to find any provision defining the action which every civil right carries
with it.
This is the reason why as a title of chapter 3 of the code in which article 460 is included, and a sanction
of the whole of title 5, book 2, which deals with possession, article 446 provides that every possessor
has a right to be respected in his possession, and should he be disturbed therein, he must be protected or
possession must be restored to him by the means established in the laws of procedure.
The code refers to the laws of procedure enacted in Spain in 1881 and extended to the Philippines in
1888. Article 1635 of the old Code of Civil Procedure makes provision for summary proceedings to
retain or to recover, to protect or to restore, possession, provided the action is brought within a year, but
after the expiration of this period the party may bring such action as may be proper. This latter action,
as has been explained before, may be either the plenary action for possession referred to or an action
for title. This assumed, and reading article 1635 of the old Code of Civil Procedure immediately before
article 446 of the Civil Code, we are unable to conceive how that could be successfully denied after the
8th of December, 1889, when the Civil code went into effect, which could not be denied prior to that
date, to wit, the existence of the accion publiciana to recover the right of possession, to enforce the
right to possess, which although it could not be brought within the year as a mere interdictory action for
the protection of the mere physical possession, there can be no valid reason why it could not be brought
after the expiration of the year in order to protect the right and not the mere physical possession.
Article 1635 of the old Code of Civil Procedure not having been repealed by the Civil Code, if the
accion publiciana existed prior to its enactment, it must necessarily exist after such enactment. We
consequently conclude that the action brought by the plaintiff in this case to recover the possession of
which he was unlawfully deprived by the defendant can be properly maintained under the provisions of
the present Civil Code considered as a substantive law, without prejudice to any right which he may
have to the ownership of the property, which ownership he must necessarily establish in order to
overcome the presumption of title which exist in favor of the lawful possessor, the plaintiff in this case,
who had been in the quiet and peaceful possession of the land for twenty years, more or less, at the time
he was wrongfully dispossessed by the defendant.
Having reached this conclusion, the judgment of the court below is accordingly affirmed, with the cost
of this action against the appellant. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa and Willard, JJ., concur.
Johnson, J., dissents.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-23685 April 25, 1968
CIRILA EMILIA, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
EPIFANIO BADO (Alias Paño), ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Manuel Deaño for plaintiff-appellant.
Irene D. Jurado for defendants-appellees.
SANCHEZ, J.:
The relief prayed for but denied in an order of the court below, now the subject of the present appeal, is
that injunction issue to restrain defendants from continuing with the construction of a house of light
materials on a 48-square meter area on the northern border of plaintiff's land.
The suit started on December 12, 1963 with the complaint, as amended, 1 that on or about December 1,
1962, defendants, confederating and helping one another, entered plaintiff's land and commenced the
construction of a house of light materials on the northern boundary of her Lot 1131 in Iligan City
bordering the bank of Salabao Creek, covered by her Torrens Title 0-267; that the continuance of such
act against the will of plaintiff would cause great and irreparable damage and injury and injustice to
her; and that there is no other plan, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
Whereupon, she prayed for preliminary and final injunction and damages. Preliminary injunction was
issued ex-parte.
Plaintiff's said complaint was met by defendants' motion to dismiss upon the ground of lack of cause of
action. They attached to their motion the sketch of a private land surveyor, Flordelito Aragon, and his
affidavit, both of which were intended to convey the alleged fact that the new house being constructed
was inside defendant Glicerio Bado's Lot 2894 (covered by his Torrens Title 0-275) being held by him.
They averred, too, that the house did not encroach upon the boundaries of plaintiff's adjoining property
(Lot 1131).
Obviously of the belief that procedural niceties should not bar consideration of the equities of the case, 2
the trial court, on the face of the conflicting assertions of fact, called for a summary hearing.
On February 27, 1964, the trial court came out with an order sustaining the motion to dismiss. The
court gave credence to the testimony of surveyor Flordelito Aragon (also a deputy public land
surveyor) that the house under construction was within Glicerio Bado's Lot 2894 (Torrens Title 0-275)
and not on plaintiff's Lot 1131 (Torrens Title 0-267). The trial court took the position that to stop
defendants from building a house within Glicerio Bado's lot "would be tantamount to depriving the
enjoyment of his lawful dominical rights; that even on the assumption that defendant Glicerio Bado's
title to Lot 2894 was obtained through fraud, as plaintiff avers, nonetheless, said title subsists until
declared null and void by a competent court; and that these circumstances would tie up the hands of the
court from granting the relief prayed for. Whereupon, the court dissolved the preliminary injunction
theretofore issued, and dismissed the complaint.
1. The procedural question presented asks of us a ruling as to whether injunction is the proper remedy
in the premises.
Whether defendant Glicerio Bado's lot is registrable or not, because, as plaintiff avers, that land
registered in the name of defendant Glicerio Bado is a creek — Salabao Creek — is beside the point
here. Unless and until plaintiff succeeds in annulling the decree of registration in defendant's favor
which she has sought in the cadastral proceedings, that title subsists. 3 It is to be presumed that the
judicial proceedings leading to the issuance of the decree are valid.
The pivotal facts that the record discloses may thus be summarized this way: Plaintiff claims that the
house being built is on her land; defendants, on the other hand, say that house is on the land of Glicerio
Bado. Both hold Torrens titles. The lower court, prima facie at least, believes that there is factual
support for defendants' averment.
The remedy of injunction has been the subject of numerous judicial pronouncements. The court cannot
now afford to depart from the well-ingrained precept that injunctions are not available to take property
out of possession or control of one party and place it into that of another whose title has not clearly
been established. Instructive in this respect is the early 1909 decision in Devesa vs. Arbes, 13 Phil. 273,
where injunction was sought to recover possession of real property. Mr. Justice Carson there pithily
summed up4 the limited concept of injunction which may not be availed of "'while the rights between
the parties are undetermined, except in extraordinary cases where material and irreparable injury will
be done', which cannot be compensated in damages." To hold otherwise, Mr. Justice Carson continued
to say, "would be to render practically of no effect the various provisions of the code (of civil
procedure) touching many if not most of the ordinary actions, and the enforcement of judgment in such
actions; for it may well be supposed that if a complainant could secure relief by injunction in every
case where 'the defendant is doing or threatens or is about to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done,
some act probably in violation of the plaintiff's rights' and could enforce the judgment granting the
injunction by the summary contempt proceedings authorized in section 172 of the code to punish
violations of injunctions, he would seldom elect to enforce his rights in such cases by the ordinary
remedies, involving as they do the difficult and oft-times fruitless labor of enforcing judgments
obtained therein by execution."5
Long divorced from doubt is the doctrine that where legal title is disputed and the possessor asserts
ownership over the land in controversy, no injunction can issue to dispossess him. 6 Reason for this is
that before the issue of ownership is determined by evidence, justice and equity demand that the parties
be maintained in their status quo so that no advantage may be given to one to the prejudice of the
other.7
Given the fact that there is the debatable question of where the house was being erected, we say that
adherence to the precept just enunciated is a forbidding obstacle to the grant of injunction.
2. To be sure, there are recognized exceptions to the rule, as where defendant is clearly a mere
intruder,8 or where the action seeks to prevent a purchaser at an auction sale from molesting the
debtor's co-owners whose rights have not been affected by the sale. 9 But these, generally upon hearing
and not upon ex parte application for injunction.10
3. Upon well-entrenched jurisprudence, plaintiff's principal suit for injunction cannot, at bottom,
prosper because there is an adequate remedy in law open to her. It is elementary to the point of triteness
that the special remedy of injunction may not issue where there is a plain, speedy and adequate remedy
in the ordinary course of law.
It is in line with the principle just enunciated that in affirming Devesa vs. Arbes, supra, Palafox vs.
Madamba, 19 Phil. 444, 446, declared in no uncertain terms that injunction is not the appropriate
remedy where "there exists the ordinary remedy of action for property of possession, which may be
either plenary or summary, according to the method by which she may have been deprived of her
alleged possession." A long line of cases has since then stabilized the principle.11
Under the present state of the law, there are three kinds of actions available to recover possession of
real property: (a) the summary action for forcible entry (where preliminary mandatory injunction may
be sought within ten days from the filing of the complaint under Article 539 of the Civil Code) or
illegal detainer, which seeks the recovery of physical possession only and is brought within one year in
the municipal court; (b) the accion publiciana, which is for the recovery of the right to possess and is a
plenary action in an ordinary civil proceeding in a Court of First Instance; and (c) acción de
reivindicación, which seeks the recovery of ownership, which includes the jus utendi and the jus
fruendi, also brought in the Court of First Instance.12
Plaintiff Cirila Emilia claims ownership of a 48-square meter portion of land, which she avers is
covered by Torrens title in her name. Defendant Glicerio Bado, on the other hand, also professes
ownership over the same portion of land backed up, too, by a Torrens title in his name. From these two
directly opposing positions, a legitimate issue of ownership emerges. This guides us to no other
conclusion than that plaintiff Cirila Emilia should have brought suit for ownership (acción de
reivindicación). Correctly did the trial judge dissolve the preliminary injunction wrongfully issued and
refuse the grant of a perpetual injunction sought by her.
4. In a situation like the present, it was suggested in Devesa vs. Arbes, supra, that it would not be
improper if the record were to be returned to the court of origin with instructions to further amend the
complaint,13 such that the question of ownership and possession (accion reivindicatoria) may bring
about a head-on contest between plaintiff and Glicerio Bado in the same injunction case. As we make
an appraisal of the record before us, however, we are constrained to say that confusion may arise
because of the so many pleadings filed and court actuations taken before this decision. With the
voluminous record, difficulty may arise in pinpointing the exact issue between the parties.
Administration of justice could suffer thereby. And then, there is the continued pendency of this case
which has been started since early five years ago. A final decision on the validity of Glicerio Bado's
title in the cadastral proceeding could yet prevent further controversy between the parties.
Upon the view we take of this case, we vote to affirm the order of February 27, 1964, dismissing the
complaint.1äwphï1.ñët
With costs against plaintiff-appellant. So ordered.
Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur.
Concepcion, C.J., is on leave.
Footnotes
1Civil Case 751, Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte, entitled "Cirila Emilia, Plaintiff, vs.
Epifanio Bado alias (Pano), Roque Marianas, Simplicio Marianas and Mario Marianas,
Primitivo Aranas, Eustaquio Sabihon, Alfredo Salim and Glicerio Bado, Defendants."
2The procedural rule, it is to be recalled, is that where a motion to dismiss is grounded on lack
of cause of action, resolution of said motion should be determined on the basis only of the facts
alleged in the complaint, and on no others. 1 Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 1963 ed.,
p. 429, citing Asejo vs. Leonoso, 78 Phil. 467.
3See: Plaintiff's petition for review and/or to cancel Glicerio Bado's Certificate of Title No. 0-
275 filed on November 21, 1963 in Cadastral Case N-4 (LRC Cadastral Record N-267), Court
of First Instance of Lanao del Norte, and the answer thereto of defendant Glicerio Bado. Record
on Appeal, pp. 55-60, 82-84.
4At p. 278.
5At p. 279.
6Gordillo vs. Del Rosario, 39 Phil. 829, 835, citing Deversa vs. Arbes, supra; Golding vs.
Balatbat infra; Rodulfa vs. Alfonso, 76 Phil. 225, 229. See also: Asombra vs. Dorado, 36 Phil.
883, 885; Tiongson vs. Martinez, 36 Phil. 948, 952; Rustia vs. Franco, 41 Phil. 280, 283; Santos
vs. De Leon, 60 Phil. 573, 575.
73Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 1963 ed., p. 68, citing Calo vs. Ortega, L-4673 and
L-4675, January 25, 1952.
8Rustiavs. Franco, supra; Rodulfa vs. Alfonso, supra; De Garcia vs. Santos, 79 Phil. 365, 369-
370; Barrameda vs. Gontang L-24110, February 18, 1967.
9Cabuhat vs. Ansay, 42 Phil. 170, 176.
10Golding vs. Balatbat, 36 Phil. 941, 946; Liongson vs. Martinez, supra, at p. 952; De Leon vs.
Director of Lands, 60 Phil. 203, 205. Section 5, Rule 58, Rules of Court, categorically provides
that "[n]o preliminary injunction shall be granted without notice to the defendant unless it shall
appear from facts shown by affidavits or by the verified complaint that great or irreparable
injury would result to the applicant before the matter can be heard on notice. . . ."
11Evangelista vs. Pedreños 27 Phil. 648, 650-651; Gilchrist vs. Cuddy, 29 Phil. 542, 550-551;
Asombra vs. Dorado, supra, at pp. 885-886; Golding vs. Balatbat, supra, at pp. 945-947;
Liongson vs. Martinez, supra, at pp. 951-953; Rustia vs. Franco, supra; Kabankalan Sugar Co.
vs. Rubin, 54 Phil. 645, 654; Piit vs. De Lara, 58 Phil. 765, 767; De Leon vs. Director of Lands,
supra, at p. 205; Santos vs. De Leon, supra, at pp. 574-575; Wagan vs. Sideco, 60 Phil. 685,
688; Coronado vs. Tan, 96 Phil. 729, 732.
12See: 3 Moran, op. cit., p. 272, citing cases.
13Affirmed in Evangelista vs. Pedreños, supra, at p. 651, where the complaint therein was
considered amended.

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 110048. November 19, 1999]
SERVICEWIDE SPECIALISTS, INC. petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HILDA TEE, &
ALBERTO M. VILLAFRANCA, respondents.
DECISION
PURISIMA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Decision of the Court of Appeals[1] in
CA-G.R. CV No. 19571, affirming the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XX,
dismissing Civil Case No. 84-25763 for replevin and damages.
The litigation involves a motor vehicle, a Colt Galant, 4-door Sedan automobile, with Motor No. 2E-
08927, Serial No. A112A-5297, Model No. 1976.
The appellate court culled the facts that matter as follows:[2]
"On May 14, 1976, Leticia L. Laus of Quezon City purchased on credit a Colt Galant xxx from Fortune
Motors (Phils.) Corporation. On the same date, she executed a promissory note for the amount of
P56,028.00, inclusive of interest at 12% per annum, payable within a period of 48 months starting
August, 1976 at a monthly installment of P1,167.25 due and demandable on the 17th day of each
month (Exhibit A, pp. 144, Orig. Records,). It was agreed upon, among others, that in case of default in
the payment of any installment the total principal sum, together with the interest, shall become
immediately due and payable (Exhibit A; p. 144, Orig. Records). As a security for the promissory note,
a chattel mortgage was constituted over the said motor vehicle (Exhibit B, ibid.), with a deed of
assignment incorporated therein such that the credit and mortgage rights were assigned by Fortune
Motors Corp. in favor of Filinvest Credit Corporation with the consent of the mortgagor-debtor Leticia
Laus (Exhibits B-1 and B-2; p. 147, ibid.). The vehicle was then registered in the name of Leticia L.
Laus with the chattel mortgage annotated on said certificate. (Exhibit "H"; p. 154, ibid.)
On September 25, 1978, Filinvest Credit Corporation in turn assigned the credit in favor of
Servicewide Specialists, Inc. (Servicewide, for brevity) transferring unto the latter all its rights under
the promissory note and the chattel mortgage (Exhibit B-3; p. 149, ibid.) with the corresponding notice
of assignment sent to the registered car owner (Exhibit C; p. 150, Ibid.).
On April 18, 1977, Leticia Laus failed to pay the monthly installment for that month. The installments
for the succeeding 17 months were not likewise fully paid, hence on September 25, 1978, pursuant to
the provisions of the promissory note, Servicewide demanded payment of the entire outstanding
balance of P46,775.24 inclusive of interests (Exhibits D and E; pp. 151-152, ibid.). Despite said formal
demand, Leticia Laus failed to pay all the monthly installments due until July 18, 1980.
On July 25, 1984, Servicewide sent a statement of account to Leticia Laus and demanded payment of
the amount of P86,613.32 representing the outstanding balance plus interests up to July 25, 1985,
attorneys fees, liquidated damages, estimated repossession expense, and bonding fee (Exhibit F; p. 153,
ibid.)
As a result of the failure of Leticia Laus to settle her obligation, or at least to surrender possession of
the motor vehicle for the purpose of foreclosure, Servicewide instituted a complaint for replevin,
impleading Hilda Tee and John Dee in whose custody the vehicle was believed to be at the time of the
filing of the suit.
In its complaint, plaintiff alleged that it had superior lien over the mortgaged vehicle; that it is lawfully
entitled to the possession of the same together with all its accessories and equipments; (sic) that Hilda
Tee was wrongfully detaining the motor vehicle for the purpose of defeating its mortgage lien; and that
a sufficient bond had been filed in court. (Complaint with Annexes, pp. 1-13, ibid.). On July 30, 1984,
the court approved the replevin bond (p. 20, ibid.)
On August 1, 1984, Alberto Villafranca filed a third party claim contending that he is the absolute
owner of the subject motor vehicle duly evidenced by the Bureau of Land Transportations Certificate of
Registration issued in his name on June 22, 1984; that he acquired the said mother vehicle from a
certain Remedios D. Yang under a Deed of Sale dated May 16, 1984; that he acquired the same free
from all lien and emcumbrances; and that on July 30, 1984, the said automobile was taken from his
residence by Deputy Sheriff Bernardo Bernabe pursuant to the seizure order issued by the court a quo.
Upon motion of the plaintiff below, Alberto Villafranca was substituted as defendant. Summons was
served upon him. (pp. 55-56, ibid).
On March 20, 1985, Alberto Villafranca moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that
there is another action pending between the same parties before the Regional Trial Court of Makati,
Branch 140, docketed as Civil Case No. 8310, involving the seizure of subject motor vehicle and the
indemnity bond posted by Servicewide (Motion to Dismiss with Annexes; pp. 57-110, ibid.) On March
28, 1985, the court granted the aforesaid motion (p. 122, ibid.), but subsequently the order of dismissal
was reconsidered and set aside (pp. 135-136, ibid.). For failure to file his Answer as required by the
court a quo, Alberto Villafranca was declared in default and plaintiffs evidence was received ex parte.
On December 27, 1985, the lower court rendered a decision dismissing the complaint for insufficiency
of evidence. Its motion for reconsideration of said decision having been denied, xxx.
In its appeal to the Court of Appeals, petitioner theorized that a suit for replevin aimed at the
foreclosure of a chattel is an action quasi in rem, and does not require the inclusion of the principal
obligor in the Complaint. However, the appellate court affirmed the decision of the lower Court;
ratiocinating, thus:
A cursory reading, however, of the Promissory Note dated May 14, 1976 in favor of Fortune Motors
(Phils.) Corp. in the sum of P56,028.00 (Annex A of Complaint, p. 7, Original Records) and the Chattel
Mortgage of the same date (Annex B of Complaint; pp. 8-9, ibid.) will disclose that the maker and
mortgagor respectively are one and the same person: Leticia Laus. In fact, plaintiff-appellant admits in
paragraphs (sic) nos. 2 and 3 of its Complaint that the aforesaid public documents (Annexes A and B
thereof) were executed by Leticia Laus, who, for reasons not explained, was never impleaded. In the
case under consideration, plaintiff-appellants main case is for judicial foreclosure of the chattel
mortgage against Hilda Tee and John Doe who was later substituted by appellee Alberto Villafranca.
But as there is no privity of contract, not even a causal link, between plaintiff-appellant Servicewide
Specialists, Inc. and defendant-appellee Alberto Villafranca, the court a quo committed no reversible
error when it dismissed the case for insufficiency of evidence against Hilda Tee and Alberto Villafranca
since the evidence adduced pointed to Leticia Laus as the party liable for the obligation sued upon (p.
2, RTC Decision).[3]
Petitioner presented a Motion for Reconsideration but in its Resolution[4] of May 10, 1993, the Court
of Appeals denied the same, taking notice of another case pending between the same parties xxx
relating to the very chattel mortgage of the motor vehicle in litigation.
Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. Essentially, the sole issue here is:
Whether or not a case for replevin may be pursued against the defendant, Alberto Villafranca, without
impleading the absconding debtor-mortgagor?
Rule 60 of the Revised Rules of Court requires that an applicant for replevin must show that he is the
owner of the property claimed, particularly describing it, or is entitled to the possession thereof.[5]
Where the right of the plaintiff to the possession of the specified property is so conceded or evident, the
action need only be maintained against him who so possesses the property. In rem action est per quam
rem nostram quae ab alio possidetur petimus, et semper adversus eum est qui rem possidet.[6]
Citing Northern Motors, Inc. vs. Herrera,[7] the Court said in the case of BA Finance (which is of
similar import with the present case):
There can be no question that persons having a special right of property in the goods the recovery of
which is sought, such as a chattel mortgagee, may maintain an action for replevin therefor. Where the
mortgage authorizes the mortgagee to take possession of the property on default, he may maintain an
action to recover possession of the mortgaged chattels from the mortgagor or from any person in whose
hands he may find them.[8]
Thus, in default of the mortgagor, the mortgagee is thereby constituted as attorney-in-fact of the
mortgagor, enabling such mortgagee to act for and in behalf of the owner. That the defendant is not
privy to the chattel mortgage should be inconsequential. By the fact that the object of replevin is traced
to his possession, one properly can be a defendant in an action for replevin. It is here assumed that the
plaintiffs right to possess the thing is not or cannot be disputed.[9] (Italics supplied)
However, in case the right of possession on the part of the plaintiff, or his authority to claim such
possession or that of his principal, is put to great doubt (a contending party may contest the legal bases
for plaintiffs cause of action or an adverse and independent claim of ownership or right of possession
may be raised by that party), it could become essential to have other persons involved and impleaded
for a complete determination and resolution of the controversy.[10] In the case under scrutiny, it is not
disputed that there is an adverse and independent claim of ownership by the respondent as evinced by
the existence of a pending case before the Court of Appeals involving subject motor vehicle between
the same parties herein.[11] Its resolution is a factual matter, the province of which properly lies in the
lower Court and not in the Supreme Court, in the guise of a petition for review on certiorari. For it is
basic that under Rule 45, this Court only entertains questions of law, and rare are the exceptions and the
present case does not appear to be one of them.
In a suit for replevin, a clear right of possession must be established. (Italics supplied) A foreclosure
under a chattel mortgage may properly be commenced only once there is default on the part of the
mortgagor of his obligation secured by the mortgage. The replevin in this case has been resorted to in
order to pave the way for the foreclosure of what is covered by the chattel mortgage. The conditions
essential for such foreclosure would be to show, firstly, the existence of the chattel mortgage and,
secondly, the default of the mortgagor. These requirements must be shown because the validity of the
plaintiffs exercise of the right of foreclosure is inevitably dependent thereon.[12]
Since the mortgagees right of possession is conditioned upon the actual fact of default which itself may
be controverted, the inclusion of other parties, like the debtor or the mortgagor himself, may be
required in order to allow a full and conclusive determination of the case. When the mortgagee seeks a
replevin in order to effect the eventual foreclosure of the mortgage, it is not only the existence of, but
also the mortgagors default on, the chattel mortgage that, among other things, can properly uphold the
right to replevy the property. The burden to establish a valid justification for such action lies with the
plaintiff. An adverse possessor, who is not the mortgagor, cannot just be deprived of his possession, let
alone be bound by the terms of the chattel mortgage contract, simply because the mortgagee brings up
an action for replevin.[13]
Leticia Laus, being an indispensable party, should have been impleaded in the complaint for replevin
and damages. An indispensable party is one whose interest will be affected by the courts action in the
litigation, and without whom no final determination of the case can be had. The partys interest in the
subject matter of the suit and in the relief sought are so inextricably intertwined with the other parties
that his legal presence as a party to the proceeding is an absolute necessity. In his absence, there cannot
be a resolution of the dispute of the parties before the Court which is effective, complete, or equitable.
Conversely, a party is not indispensable to the suit if his interest in the controversy or subject matter is
distinct and divisible from the interest of the other parties and will not necessarily be prejudiced by a
judgment which does complete justice to the parties in Court. He is not indispensable if his presence
would merely complete relief between him and those already parties to the action or will simply avoid
multiple litigation.[14] Without the presence of indispensable parties to a suit or proceeding, a judgment
of a Court cannot attain real finality.[15]
That petitioner could not locate the mortgagor, Leticia Laus, is no excuse for resorting to a procedural
short-cut. It could have properly availed of substituted service of summons under the Revised Rules of
Court.[16] If it deemed such a mode to be unavailing, it could have proceeded in accordance with
Section 14 of the same Rule.[17] Indeed, petitioner had other proper remedies, it could have resorted to
but failed to avail of. For instance, it could have properly impleaded the mortgagor. Such failure is fatal
to petitioners cause.
With the foregoing disquisition and conclusion, the other issues raised by petitioner need not be passed
upon.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
19571 AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melo, (Chairman), Vitug, Panganiban, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

[1] Penned by Justice Fermin A. Martin, Jr., and concurred in by Justices Seragin E. Camilon and
Alfredo L. Benipayo.
[2] Rollo, Annex A, pp. 31-33.
[3] Ibid, p. 3.
[4] Rollo, Annex B, p. 39.
[5] Section 2 (a).
[6] Ba Finance Corp. vs. CA, 258 SCRA 102,111 (1996).
[7] 49 SCRA 392, 396.
[8] Infra, pp. 111-112.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid. p. 112.
[11] Docketed as C.A.-G.R. CV No. 36141.
[12] Servicewide Specialists, Inc. vs. CA, 251 SCRA 70, p. 75 (1995).
[13] BA Finance vs. CA, infra, pp. 113-114.
[14] Servicewide Specialists, Inc. vs. CA, infra, pp. 75-76; quoting Imson vs. CA, 239 SCRA 58, 65.
[15] Ibid., p. 76, citing Uy vs. CA, 232 SCRA 579; see also Galarosa vs. Valencia, 227 SCRA 728.
[16] Section 7, Rule 14. Substituted Service. If, for justifiable causes, the defendant cannot be served
within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving
copies of the summons at the defendant's residence with some person of suitable age and discretion
then residing herein, or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant's office or regular place of business with
some competent person in charge thereof.

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 93540. December 13, 1999]
FULGENCIO S. FACTORAN, JR., Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources,
VICENTE A. ROBLES and NESTOR GAPUZAN, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS (Third
Division), Hon. BENIGNO T. DAYAW,as, Judge, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 80,
JESUS SY and LILY FRANCISCO UY, respondents.
DECISION
DE LEON, JR., J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals
dated March 30, 1990 and May 18, 1990, respectively, dismissing petitioners charge that Honorable
Benigno T. Dayaw, Presiding Judge of Branch 80 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City,
committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering them to deliver to private respondents the six-wheeler
truck and its cargo, some 4,000 board feet of narra lumber which were confiscated by the Department
of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and forfeited in favor of the government.[1]
The antecedent facts:
On August 9, 1988, two (2) police officers of the Marikina Police Station, Sub-Station III, intercepted a
six-wheeler truck, with Plate No. NJT-881, carrying 4,000 board feet of narra lumber as it was cruising
along the Marcos Highway. They apprehended the truck driver, private respondent Jesus Sy, and
brought the truck and its cargo to the Personnel Investigation Committee/Special Actions and
Investigation Division (PIC/SAID) of the DENR Office in Quezon City. There, petitioner Atty. Vicente
Robles of the PIC/SAID investigated them, and discovered the following discrepancies in the
documentation of the narra lumber:[2]
a. What were declared in the documents (Certificate of Timber Origin, Auxiliary Invoices and various
Certifications) were narra flitches, while the cargo of the truck consisted of narra lumber;
b. As appearing in the documents, the Plate Numbers of the truck supposed to carry the forest products
bear the numbers BAX-404, PEC-492 or NSN-267, while the Plate Number of the truck apprehended is
NVT-881;
c. Considering that the cargo is lumber, the transport should have been accompanied by a Certificate of
Lumber Origin, scale sheet of said lumber and not by a Certificate of Timber Origin, which merely
covers only transport of logs and flitches;
d. The Log Sale Purchase Agreement presented is between DSM Golden Cup International as the seller
and Bonamy Enterprises as the buyer/consignee and not with Lily Francisco Lumber and Hardware,[3]
which are in violation of Bureau of Forestry Development (BFD) Circular No. 10. The said BFD
Circular requires possession or transportation of lumber to be supported by the following documents:
(1) Certificate of Lumber Origin (CLO) which shall be issued only by the District Forester, or in his
absence, the Assistant District Forester; (2) Sales Invoice; (3) Delivery Receipt; and (4) Tally Sheets.[4]
Such omission is punishable under Sec. 68 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 705 otherwise known as
the Revised Forestry Code.[5] Thus, petitioner Atty. Robles issued a temporary seizure order and
seizure receipt for the narra lumber and the six-wheeler truck.[6]
On January 20, 1989, petitioner Fulgencio S. Factoran, then Secretary of Environment and Natural
Resources (hereinafter referred to as petitioner Secretary) issued an order for the confiscation of the
narra lumber and the six-wheeler truck.[7]
Private respondents neither asked for reconsideration of nor appealed, the said order to the Office of the
President. Consequently, the confiscated narra lumber and six-wheeler truck were forfeited in favor of
the government. They were subsequently advertised to be sold at public auction on March 20, 1989.[8]
On March 17, 1989, private respondents filed a complaint with prayer for the issuance of writs of
replevin and preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order for the recovery of the
confiscated lumber and six-wheeler truck, and to enjoin the planned auction sale of the subject narra
lumber, respectively.[9] Said complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-89-2045 and raffled to
Branch 80 of the RTC of Quezon City.
On the same day, the trial court issued an Order directing petitioners to desist from proceeding with the
planned auction sale and setting the hearing for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction on
March 27, 1989.[10]
On March 20, 1989, the scheduled date of the auction sale, private respondents filed an Ex-Parte
Motion for Release and Return of Goods and Documents (Replevin) supported by an Affidavit for
Issuance of Writ of Replevin and Preliminary Injunction and a Replevin Bond in the amount of
P180,000.00.[11] The trial court granted the writ of replevin on the same day and directed the
petitioners to deliver the xxx [n]arra lumber, original documents and truck with plate no. NJT 881 to
the custody of the plaintiffs and/or their representative x x x.[12]
On March 22, 1989, the trial court issued a writ of seizure. However, petitioners refused to comply
therewith.[13] David G. Brodett, Sheriff of Branch 80 of the RTC of Quezon City (hereinafter referred
to as the Sheriff) reported that petitioners prevented him from removing the subject properties from the
DENR Compound and transferring them to the Mobil Unit Compound of the Quezon City Police
Force. To avoid any unwarranted confrontation between them, he just agreed to a constructive
possession of the properties in question.[14] In the afternoon of the same day, petitioners filed a
Manifestation stating their intention to file a counterbond under Rule 60 of the Rules of Court to stay
the execution of the writ of seizure and to post a cash bond in the amount of P180,000.00. But the trial
court did not oblige petitioners for they failed to serve a copy of the Manifestation on private
respondents. Petitioners then immediately made the required service and tendered the cash counterbond
in the amount of P180,000.00, but it was refused, petitioners Manifestation having already been set for
hearing on March 30, 1989. [15]
On March 27, 1989, petitioners made another attempt to post a counterbond which was, however,
denied for the same reason. [16]
On the same day, private respondents filed a motion to declare petitioners in contempt for disobeying
the writ of seizure.[17] The trial court gave petitioners twenty-four (24) hours to answer the motion.
Hearing thereon was scheduled on March 30, 1989.
However, on March 29, 1989, petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari,
Prohibition and/or Mandamus to annul the Orders of the trial court dated March 20, 1989 and March
27, 1989.[18]
On March 30, 1989, the Court of Appeals granted petitioners temporary relief in the form of a
temporary restraining order (TRO).
On September 11, 1989, the Court of Appeals converted the TRO into a writ of preliminary injunction
upon filing by petitioners of a bond in the amount of P180,000.00.[19]
However, on March 30, 1990, the Court of Appeals lifted the writ of preliminary injunction and
dismissed the petition. It declared that as the complaint for replevin filed by private respondents
complied with the requirements of an affidavit and bond under Secs. 1 and 2 of Rule 60 of the Revised
Rules of court, issuance of the writ of replevin was mandatory.[20]
As for the contempt charges against petitioners, the Court of Appeals believed the same were
sufficiently based on a written charge by private respondents and the report submitted by the Sheriff.
[21]
On April 25, 1990, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the foregoing decision. However,
that motion was denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated May 18, 1990.[22]
Hence this petition.
On the one hand, petitioners contend, thus:
(1) Confiscated lumber cannot be subject of replevin.[23]
(2) Petitioners not compelled to criminally prosecute private respondents but may opt only to confiscate
lumber".[24]
(3) Private respondent charged criminally in court.[25] and
(4) Writ of Replevin issued in contravention of PD #605.[26]
On the other hand, private respondents argue that:
(1) The respondent Judge had jurisdiction to take cognizance of the complaint for recovery of personal
property and, therefore, had jurisdiction to issue the necessary orders in connection therewith.[27]
(2) The issuance of the order for the delivery of personal property upon application, affidavit and filing
of replevin bond by the plaintiff is mandatory and not discretionary, hence, no abuse of discretion can
be committed by the trial court in the issuance thereof.[28]
(3) The Order of March 20, 1989 was in accordance with Section 4, Rule 60 of the Rules of Court and
is, therefore, valid.[29]
(4) The private respondents have not been proven to have violated Section 68 of the Revised Forestry
Code.[30]
(5) The petitioners do not have the authority to keep private respondents property for an indefinite
period, more so, to dispose of the same without notice and hearing or without due process.[31]
(6) Contrary to the allegation of petitioners, no formal investigation was conducted by the PIC with
respect to the subject lumber in this case.[32]
(7) The alleged Order dated January 20, 1989 of the petitioner Secretary Fulgencio Factoran, Jr. of the
DENR is not valid and does not make the issuance of the order of replevin illegal.[33] and
(8) The subject properties were not in custody of the law and may be replevied.[34]
At the outset we observe that herein respondents never appealed the confiscation order of petitioner
Secretary to the Office of the President as provided for in Sec. 8 of P.D. No. 705 which reads:
All actions and decisions of the Director are subject to review, motu propio or upon appeal of any
person aggrieved thereby, by the Department Head whose decision shall be final and executory after
the lapse of thirty (30) days from receipt by the aggrieved party of said decision unless appealed to the
President x x x. The decision of the Department Head may not be reviewed by the courts except
through a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition.
The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is basic. Courts, for reasons of law, comity and
convenience, should not entertain suits unless the available administrative remedies have first been
resorted to and the proper authorities have been given an appropriate opportunity to act and correct
their alleged errors, if any, committed in the administrative forum.[35] As to the application of this
doctrine in cases involving violations of P.D. No. 705, our ruling in Paat v. Court of Appeals, is
apropos:
Moreover, it is important to point out that the enforcement of forestry laws, rules and regulations and
the protection, development and management of forest lands fall within the primary and special
responsibilities of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. By the very nature of its
function, the DENR should be given a free hand unperturbed by judicial intrusion to determine a
controversy which is well within its jurisdiction. The assumption by the trial court, therefore, of the
replevin suit filed by private respondents constitutes an encroachment into the domain of the
administrative agencys prerogative. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not warrant a court to
arrogate unto itself the authority to resolve a controversy the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged
with an administrative body of special competence. In Felipe Ismael, Jr. and Co. vs. Deputy Executive
Secretary, which was reiterated in the recent case of Concerned Officials of MWSS vs. Vasquez, this
Court held:
Thus, while the administration grapples with the complex and multifarious problems caused by
unbridled exploitation of these resources, the judiciary will stand clear. A long line of cases establish
the basic rule that the courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of
government agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under the special technical
knowledge and training of such agencies.[36]
However, petitioners did not file a motion to dismiss based on the ground of non-exhaustion of
administrative remedies. Thus, it is deemed waived.[37]
Nonetheless, the petition is impressed with merit.
First. A writ of replevin does not just issue as a matter of course upon the applicants filing of a bond
and affidavit, as the Court of Appeals has wrongly put it. The mere filing of an affidavit, sans
allegations therein that satisfy the requirements of Sec. 2, Rule 60 of the Revised Rules of Court,
cannot justify the issuance of a writ of replevin. Said provision reads:
Affidavit and bond. - Upon applying for such order the plaintiff must show by his own affidavit or that
of some other person who personally knows the facts:
(a) That the plaintiff is the owner of the property claimed, particularly describing it, or entitled to the
possession thereof;
(b) That the property is wrongfully detained by the defendant, alleging the cause of detention thereof to
his best knowledge, information, and belief;
(c) That it has not been taken for a tax assessment or fine pursuant to law, or seized under an execution,
or an attachment against the property of the plaintiff, or, if so seized, that it is exempt from such
seizure; and
(d) The actual value of the property.
xxxxxxxxx.
Wrongful detention by the defendant of the properties sought in an action for replevin must be
satisfactorily established. If only a mechanistic averment thereof is offered, the writ should not be
issued.
In the case at bar, the subject narra lumber and six-wheeler truck were confiscated by petitioner
Secretary pursuant to Section 68-A of P.D. No. 705, as amended by Executive Order (E.O.) No. 277, to
wit:
SEC. 68-A. Administrative Authority of the Department Head or His Duly Authorized Representative
to Order Confiscation. - In all cases of violations of this Code or other forest laws, rules and
regulations, the Department Head or his duly authorized representative, may order the confiscation of
any forest products illegally cut, gathered, removed, or possessed or abandoned, and all conveyances
used either by land, water, or air in the commission of the offense and to dispose of the same in
accordance with pertinent laws, regulations or policies on the matter.[38]
As the petitioner Secretarys administrative authority to confiscate is clearly provided by law, the taking
of the subject properties is not wrongful and does not warrant the issuance of a writ of replevin prayed
for by private respondents.
Second. Issuance of the confiscation order by petitioner Secretary was a valid exercise of his power
under Sec. 68-A of P.D. No. 705. By virtue of said order, the narra lumber and six-wheeler truck of
private respondents were held in custodia legis and hence, beyond the reach of replevin.
Property lawfully taken by virtue of legal process is deemed to be in custodia legis.[39] When a thing is
in official custody of a judicial or executive officer in pursuance of his execution of a legal writ,
replevin will not lie to recover it.[40] Otherwise, there would be interference with the possession before
the function of law had been performed as to the process under which the property was taken.[41] So
basic is this doctrine that it found inclusion in the 1997 amendments introduced to the Rules of Civil
Procedure. Thus, Sec. 2(c), Rule 60 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:
Affidavit and bond. - Upon applying for such order the plaintiff must show by his own affidavit or that
of some other person who personally knows the facts:
x x x x x x x x x;
(c) That the property has not been distrained or taken for a tax assessment or fine pursuant to law, or
seized under a writ of execution, or preliminary attachment or otherwise placed under custodia legis, or
if so seized, that it is exempt from such seizure or custody; x x x
x x x x x x x x x.[42]
Third. Petitioner Secretarys authority to confiscate forest products under Sec. 68-A of P.D. No. 705 is
distinct from and independent of the confiscation of forest products in a criminal action provided for in
Section 68 of P.D. No. 705. Thus, in Paat, we held that:
x x x precisely because of the need to make forestry laws more responsive to present situations and
realities and in view of the urgency to conserve the remaining resources of the country, that the
government opted to add Section 68-A. This amendatory provision is an administrative remedy totally
separate and distinct from criminal proceedings. x x x. The preamble of EO 277 that added Section 68-
A to PD 705- is most revealing:
WHEREAS, there is an urgency to conserve the remaining forest resources of the country for the
benefit and welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos;
WHEREAS, our forest resources may be effectively conserved and protected through the vigilant
enforcement and implementation of our forestry laws, rules and regulations;
WHEREAS, the implementation of our forestry laws suffers from technical difficulties, due to certain
inadequacies in the Penal provisions of the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines; and
WHEREAS, to overcome this [sic] difficulties, there is a need to penalize certain acts more responsive
to present situations and realities;
It is interesting to note that Section 68-A is a new provision authorizing the DENR to confiscate, not
only conveyances but forest products as well. On the other hand, confiscation of forest products by the
court in a criminal action has long been provided for in Section 68. If as private respondents insist, the
power of confiscation cannot be exercised except only through the court under Section 68, then Section
68-A would have no purpose at all. Simply put, Section 68-A would not have provided any solution to
the problem perceived in EO 277, x x x.[43]
Sec. 68-A was added precisely to supplant the inadequacies and supplement criminal enforcement of
forestry laws.
Fourth. Sec. 80 of P. D. No. 705 which requires delivery of the seized forest products within six (6)
hours from the time of the seizure to the appropriate official designated by law to conduct preliminary
investigations applies only to criminal prosecutions provided for in Sec. 68, and not to administrative
confiscation provided for in Section 68-A.
Sec. 80 of P.D. No. 705 provides:
SEC. 80. Arrest; Institution of criminal actions. - A forest officer or employee of the Bureau shall arrest
even without a warrant any person who has committed or is committing in his presence any of the
offenses defined in this Chapter. He shall also seize and confiscate, in favor of the Government, the
tools and equipment used in committing the offense, and the forest products cut, gathered or taken by
the offender in the process of committing the offense. The arresting officer or employee shall thereafter
deliver within six (6) hours from the time of arrest and seizure, the offender and the confiscated forest
products, tools and equipment to, and file the proper complaint with, the appropriate official designated
by law to conduct preliminary investigations and file informations in court.
x x x x x x x x x.
The title of Sec. 80 - Arrest; Institution of Criminal Actions - bespeaks this intendment of the law. The
fact, too, that Secs. 68 and 80 were co-existing prior to the introduction of Sec. 68-A, proves that Sec.
80 applies to the criminal prosecutions subject of Sec. 68 and not to the administrative confiscation
subject of Sec. 68-A. Sec. 68-A, therefore, should not be interpreted in relation to Sec. 80 as to require
that criminal charges be filed with and seized forest products be immediately delivered to, the fiscal in
case of administrative confiscation, for this renders nugatory the purpose sought to be achieved thereby.
Statutes should always be construed in the light of the object to be achieved and the evil or mischief to
be suppressed, and they should be given such interpretation as will advance the object, suppress the
mischief, and secure the benefits intended.[44]
Fifth. Nothing in the records supports private respondents allegation that their right to due process was
violated as no investigation was conducted prior to the confiscation of their properties.
On the contrary, by private respondents own admission, private respondent Sy who drove the six-
wheeler truck was properly investigated by petitioner Atty. Robles at the PIC/SAID Office of the
DENR. Thereafter, private respondent Sy and his witnesses were given full opportunity to explain the
deficiencies in the documents.[45] Private respondents categorically stated that they made a continuous
and almost daily follow-up and plea x x x with the PIC for the return of the truck and lumber x x x.[46]
Finally in a letter dated December 30, 1989, private respondent Lily Francisco Uy requested petitioner
Secretary for immediate resolution and release of the impounded narra sawn lumber.[47]
Undoubtedly, private respondents were afforded an opportunity to be heard before the order of
confiscation was issued. There was no formal or trial type hearing but the same is not, in all instances,
essential in administrative proceedings. It is settled that due process is satisfied when the parties are
afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the controversy or an opportunity to
move for a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.[48]
Moreover, respondents claim that the order of confiscation was antedated and not the product of the
investigation supposedly conducted by the PIC of the DENR. However, they proffer no proof to
support that allegation. On the other hand, there is the legal presumption that official duty has been
regularly performed. The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties is even
particularly strong with respect to administrative agencies like the DENR which are vested with quasi-
judicial powers in enforcing the laws affecting their respective fields of activity, the proper regulation
of which requires of them such technical mastery of all relevant conditions obtaining in the nation.[49]
Finally. The writ of seizure and the writ of replevin were issued by the trial court in grave abuse of its
discretion. Thus, disobedience thereto cannot constitute indirect contempt of court which presupposes
that the court order thereby violated was valid and legal. Without a lawful order having been issued, no
contempt of court could be committed.[50]
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated
March 30, 1990 and its Resolution dated May 18, 1990 in CA-G.R. SP No. 17194 are hereby SET
ASIDE and REVERSED. Respondent Presiding Judge Benigno T. Dayaw, of the Regional Trial Court
of Quezon City, is PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing the Orders dated March 20, 1989 and
March 22, 1989 in Civil Case No. Q-89-2045, or if said orders have already been enforced, the said
respondent Judge is directed to render judgment of forfeiture on the replevin bond filed by private
respondents. Finally, the said respondent Judge is PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from further acting on
the Motion for Contempt filed by private respondents against the petitioners.
Costs against private respondents.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing and Buena, JJ., concur.

[1] Petitioners Memorandum, p. 1, Rollo, p. 276.


[2] Petition , pp. 4-5; Rollo, pp. 9-10.
[3] Annex A of Petition; Rollo, p. 35.
[4] See note 2, supra, p.16; Rollo, p.21.
[5] SEC. 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or collecting Timber or Other Forest Products Without License.- Any person who shall
cut, gather, collect, remove timber and other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable
public land, or from private land, without any authority, or possess timber or other forest products without the legal
documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations, shall be punished with the penalties imposed under Article
309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code: Provided, That in the case of partnerships, associations, or corporations, the
officers who ordered the cutting, gathering, collection or possession shall be liable, and if such officers are aliens, they shall,
in addition to the penalty, be deported without further proceedings on the part of the Commission on Immigration and
Deportation.
The Court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of the timber or any forest
products cut, gathered, collected, removed or possessed, as well as the machinery, equipment,
implements and tools illegally used in the area where the timber or forest products are found.
[6] Annex 1 of Comment, Rollo, p. 165.
[7] See note 3, supra.
[8] See note 1, supra, pp. 5-6; Rollo, pp. 280-281.
[9] Annex 4 of Comment; Rollo, pp. 170-171.
[10] Annex 5 of Comment; Rollo, 179-180.
[11] Annex M of Petition, p. 3; Rollo, p. 105.
[12] Annex 7-A of Comment; Rollo, p. 191.
[13] See note 11, supra, p. 4; Rollo, p. 106.
[14] Annex 9-B of Comment, pp. 2-3; Rollo, pp. 195-196.
[15] Annex I of the Petition, pp. 7-8; Rollo, pp. 57-58.
[16] Annex 12 of Comment; Rollo, p. 199.
[17] Private Respondents Memorandum, pp. 11-12; Rollo, pp. 312-313.
[18] Id., p. 12, Rollo, p. 313.
[19] See note 11, supra, pp. 4-5; Rollo, pp. 106-107.
[20] Id., pp. 5-7, Rollo, pp. 107-109.
[21] Id., pp. 7-9; Rollo, pp. 109-111.
[22] See note 2, supra, pp. 22, 25; Rollo, pp. 27, 30.
[23] See note 1, supra, p. 10; Rollo, p. 285.
[24] Id., p. 15; Rollo, p. 290.
[25] Id., p. 17; Rollo, p. 292.
[26] Id., p. 18; Rollo, p. 293.
[27] See note 17, supra, pp. 13-14; Rollo, pp. 314-315.
[28] Id., pp. 14-15; Rollo, pp. 315-316.
[29] Id., p. 18; Rollo, p. 319.
[30] Id., p. 19; Rollo, p.320.
[31] Id., p. 22; Rollo, p. 323.
[32] Id., p. 24; Rollo, p.325.
[33] Id., p. 25; Rollo, p. 326.
[34] Id., p. 29; Rollo, p. 330.
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 121939. October 4, 1999]
SPOUSES ROMAN & AMELITA T. CRUZ and SPOUSES SEVERINO & PRIMITIVA T.
BAUTISTA, petitioners, vs. SPOUSES ALFREDO & MELBA TORRES and THE HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
DECISION
PARDO, J.:
The case before the Court is an appeal via certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals[1]
affirming that of the Regional Trial Court, Pasig City, Branch 162[2] ordering petitioners to surrender
to respondents the lot described in TCT No. 42806 and remove petitioners house and other
improvements thereon, and to pay respondents P5,000.00 as reasonable attorneys fees.
The facts as found by the Court of Appeals and which bind the parties in this appeal are the following:
x x x plaintiff Alfredo Torres is the elder brother of defendants Amelia Torres Cruz and Primitiva Torres
Bautista. Their parents are the late Simplicio and Gregoria Castaeda Torres. In 1946, while in his
youthful years, Alfredo worked as a mechanic for a US Army ambulance unit stationed at Manila. From
his earnings, he purchased by installments from Ortigas Madrigal Co., Inc. a parcel of land in Barangay
Saniga, Mandaluyong, Rizal (now Mandaluyong City), with an area of 299 square meters. When his
American employer left, he was employed as a municipal electrician in Mandaluyong. In 1956, he was
issued the land title (T.C.T. No. 42806).
Meanwhile, the Torres family were being evicted from their residence. Alfredo allowed them to
construct their dwelling on the lot. Eventually, Alfredos sisters married and left the house, except his
sisters Amelia and Primitiva and their spouses.
On February 2, 1958, Alfredo and co-plaintiff Melba Baldeo were married. They lived with his parents
and defendants-sisters but left after a year because the house was overcrowded and they wanted
privacy.
Subsequently, Alfredo mortgaged the lot to finance his wifes medical board examinations and
internship but redeemed it a year later.
In 1962, Alfredo verbally asked his sisters Amelia and Primitiva to vacate the premises because he
needed the lot to construct a medical clinic for his wife. Amelia and Primitiva requested an extension
and Alfredo agreed.
After the death of his father Simplicio in 1970, Alfredo again demanded from his sisters to vacate the
place but the latter stubbornly refused and even claimed that their father is the real owner of the lot.
Despite the refusal of Amelia and Primitiva to vacate the premises, Alfredo continued paying the realty
taxes on the lot. However, after 1982, he stopped paying the taxes for he realized that only his sisters
are benefiting from the lot.
On September 2, 1987, Alfredo and Melba through counsel, sent Amelia and Primitiva a final letter of
demand for them to vacate the lot.
The case was referred to the barangay which issued a certificate to file action when the parties failed to
settle amicably. Thus, the instant complaint was filed on October 7, 1987.[3]
On December 18, 1990, the trial court rendered decision, the decretal portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
plaintiffs Alfredo and Melba Torres and against defendants spouses Roman and Amelia Cruz and
spouses Severino and Primitiva Bautista, ordering the latter and all other persons claiming rights over
them to surrender the lot described in TCT No. 42806 to plaintiffs, and remove at their expense the
house they are now occupying as well as additional constructions thereon; to pay the amount of
P5,000.00 pesos as reasonable attorneys fees.
With costs against defendants.
SO ORDERED.
In due time, defendants appealed to the Court of Appeals.[4]
After due proceedings, on June 23, 1995, the Court of Appeals rendered decision affirming the
appealed decision, with costs against appellants.
Hence, this appeal.[5]
On March 20, 1996, the Court required private respondents to comment on the petition within ten (10)
days from notice.[6]
On September 6, 1996, private respondents filed their belated comment.[7] On October 30, 1996,
petitioners filed a reply to the comment.[8]
We deny the petition.
The sole issue raised is whether it is the regional trial court or the municipal trial court which has
jurisdiction over the subject of the action or suit, petitioners contending that the action is one for
unlawful detainer within the jurisdiction of a municipal trial court.
We find petitioners contention untenable.
The jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the action is determined by the allegations of the
complaint, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the
claims asserted therein. The jurisdiction of the court can not be made to depend upon the defenses set
up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would almost
entirely depend upon the defendant.[9]
The present action, although termed as one for reconveyance of real property is actually one for
recovery of the right to possess or accion publiciana. This is an action for recovery of the right to
possess and is a plenary action in an ordinary civil proceeding in a regional trial court to determine the
better right of possession of realty independently of the title.[10] Accion publiciana or plenaria de
posesion is also used to refer to an ejectment suit filed after the expiration of one year from the accrual
of the cause of action or from the unlawful withholding of possession of the realty.[11] In such case,
the regional trial court has jurisdiction.[12] Here, the parties admit that the subject real property is
registered in the name of respondent Alfredo Torres. In the regional trial court what respondent sought
was to recover possession of the subject real property alleging that he owned the lot on which he had
allowed his father (now deceased) and sisters, petitioners herein, to erect their houses. Since the
complaint alleged that respondent Alfredo Torres was the owner of the subject lot and that he merely
allowed his father Simplicio Torres and his sisters Amelia and Primitiva to construct their houses
thereon, and that since 1972 respondent pleaded to petitioners to remove their houses and such
additional constructions thereon as respondent needed the lot for his own use, the action is plainly one
for recovery of possession of real property, or accion publiciana, filed on October 7, 1987, more than
one year after dispossession or when possession became unlawful, which is within the jurisdiction of a
regional trial court.[13] As heretofore stated, the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the
allegations of the complaint, not by the answer nor by the evidence adduced at the trial. Thus, the
jurisdiction of the lower court is not affected by the fact that petitioners asserted in their answer to the
complaint that the subject lot was truly owned by the estate of their father, also the father of
respondent, or that the last written demand to vacate was given on September 2, 1987, just more than a
month prior to the filing of the action. Since initial demand to vacate was made in 1972, petitioners
occupancy became unlawful. Subsequent demands were merely in the nature of reminders or
reiterations of the original demand, the one-year period to commence suit is counted from the first
demand.[14] When the dispossession lasted beyond one year, the proper action is accion publiciana for
recovery of possession of the subject property filed in the regional trial court.[15]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari and AFFIRMS the
decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 33757, promulgated on June 23, 1995, and its
resolution adopted on September 7, 1995.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), and Kapunan, JJ., on official leave.

[1] In CA G. R. CV No. 33757, promulgated on June 23, 1995, Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., ponente, Cui
and Vasquez, JJ., concurring.
[2] In Civil Case No. 55100, Judge Manuel S. Padolina, presiding.
[3] Petition, Rollo, pp. 3-16, on pp. 4-6.
[4] Docketed as CA-G. R. CV No. 33757.
[5] Petition, filed on September 29, 1995, Rollo, pp. 3-17.
[6] Rollo, p. 46.
[7] Rollo, pp. 51-53.
[8] Rollo, pp. 55-59.
THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 105912. June 28, 1999]
SPOUSES TEOFILO C. VILLARICO and MAXIMA A. FAUSTINO, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and MARCOS CAMARGO,
respondents.
DECISION
PURISIMA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals[1] in CA-G.R. CV
No. 22608, affirming the decision of Branch 22 of the Regional Trial Court, Malolos, Bulacan, which
dismissed the application for confirmation of title in LRC Case No. 604-V-77.
The facts that matter are as follows:
On May 31, 1977, an application for confirmation of title was filed by the spouses, Teofilo Villarico
and Maxima Villarico, over a 1,834 square meter parcel of land in Ubihan, Meycauayan, Bulacan,
docketed as LRC Case No. 604-V-77 before the then court of First Instance of Bulacan. Among others,
applicants alleged that they are the absolute owners of subject property, having bought the same from
the spouses, Segundo Villarico (Teofilo's father) and Mercedes Cardenas, that they and their
predecessors-in-interest have been in actual, open, adverse and continuous possession thereof for more
than thirty (30) years, that they are not aware of any mortgage or encumbrance thereon nor of any
person having an estate or interest therein, and that the land involve is not within the forest zone or
government reservation.
The application for land registration at bar was opposed by Marcos Camargo, who claims to be the real
owner thereof.[2] The Government interposed its opposition, through the Director of Forestry (now
Director of Forest Management), averring that the land in question is part of the public domain, within
the unclassified area in Meycauayan, Bulacan per LC Map No. 637 dated March 1, 1927 of the Bureau
of Forest Management and consequently, not available for private appropriation.
On May 23, 1989, the trial court of origin dismissed the case, ratiocinating thus:
"It is well settled in this jurisdiction that a certificate of title is void when it covers property of the
public domain classified as forest or timber and mineral lands. Any title thus issued on non-disposable
lots, even in the hands of an innocent purchaser for value, should be cancelled (Lepanto Consolidated
Mining vs. Dumyang, L-31666, April 30, 1979). There being no concrete evidence presented in this
case that the property in question was ever acquired by the applicants or by the private oppositor (as
attested to by the proceedings of B.L. Claim No. 38 (N) before the Bureau of Lands) or by their
respective predecessors-in-interest either by composition of title or by any other means for the
acquisition of public lands, the property in question must be held to be part of the public domain,
especially so that the private parties had not presented any Certification from the Bureau of Forestry
attesting to the fact that the subject property is no longer within the unclassified region of Meycauayan,
Bulacan. Thus, if the land in question still forms part of the public forest, then, possession thereof,
however long, cannot convert it into private property as it is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the
Bureau of Forestry and beyond the power and jurisdiction of the cadastral court to register under the
Torrens System (Republic vs. Court of Appeals, 89 SCRA 648).
WHEREFORE, premises considered, let this case be, as it is hereby DISMISSED.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED."[3]
Therefrom, petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals, which came out with a judgment of
affirmance on June 26, 1992. Respondent court affirmed the findings of facts below, holding that
subject parcel of land is within the public domain not available for private appropriation.
Undaunted, petitioners found their way to this court via the present petition for review on certiorari;
placing reliance on the assignment of errors, that:
I
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN SUSTAINING THE FINDINGS OF THE
TRIAL COURT THAT BEFORE 1948 THERE WAS NO DOCUMENTATION IN FAVOR OF
EITHER PARTIES.
II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN SUSTAINING THE FINDING OF THE
TRIAL COURT THAT BUENAVENTURA VILLARICO APPARENTLY DIED PRIOR TO 1914.
III
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN SUSTAINING THE FINDING OF THE
TRIAL COURT THAT TAX DECLARATION NO. 3912 IN THE NAME OF BUENAVENTURA
VILLARICO COULD HAVE BEEN CONTRIVED SENSING THAT A CONFLICT OVER THE
PROPERTY IN THE NEAR FUTURE WAS INEVITABLE.
IV
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN SUSTAINING THE FINDING OF THE
TRIAL COURT THAT THERE IS NO CONCRETE EVIDENCE PRESENTED TO THE EFFECT
THAT THE PROPERTY IN QUESTION WAS EVER ACQUIRED BY THE APPLICANT OR BY
THE PRIVATE OPPOSITOR OR BY THEIR RESPECTIVE PREDECESSORS-IN-INTEREST
THROUGH LAWFUL MEANS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF PUBLIC LANDS.
V
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING
THE CASE AT BAR.
The appeal is without merit and cannot prosper.
It bears stressing that the first, second, and third assigned errors relate to factual and evidentiary matters
which the Supreme Court does not inquire into in an appeal on certiorari.[4] It is well-settled that in a
petition for review on certiorari as a mode of appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only
questions of law may be raised.[5] The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts.[6] Findings of fact by the
trial court and the Court of Appeals are binding on the Supreme Court.[7]
In the case under consideration, the Court discerns no compelling reason to reverse such findings
arrived at by the trial court and affirmed by the respondent court, absent any showing of any error,
mistake, or misappreciation of facts. Records on hand indicate that the decisions under attack accord
with the law and the evidence.
As aptly observed by the respondent court, the primordial issue here is the character or classification of
the property applied for registration -- whether or not the same still forms part of the public domain. On
this crucial question, the trial court a quo and the Court of Appeals correctly adjudged the area at stake
as within the unclassified forest zone incapable of private appropriation. Accordingly, the Court of
Appeals held:
"xxx In the case at bar, as found by the court a quo, there has been no showing that a declassification
has been made by the Director of Forestry declaring the land in question as disposable or alienable.
And the record indeed discloses that applicants have not introduced any evidence which would have
led the court a quo to find or rule otherwise. xxx
And so, considering the foregoing, possession of the land in question by the applicants and/or their
predecessors-in-interest even for more than 30 years, as they allege, cannot convert the land into
private property capable of private appropriation." (Court of Appeals' Decision, pp. 4-5)
Indeed, forest lands cannot be owned by private persons.[8] Possession thereof, no matter how long,
does not ripen into a registrable title. The adverse possession which may be the basis of a grant of title
or confirmation of an imperfect title refers only to alienable or disposable portions of the public
domain.[9]
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
22608 AFFIRMED in toto. No pronouncements as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Vitug, Panganiban, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.
Romero, J., (Chairman), abroad on official business.

[1] Penned by Associate Justice Lorna S. Lombos-de la Fuente and concurred by Associate Justices
Eduardo R. Bengzon and Quirino D. Abad-Santos, Jr.
[2] Comment of Private Respondent, Rollo, pp. 66-73.
[3] Comment of Republic of the Philippines, Rollo, pp. 35-36.
[4] Alicbusan v. Court of Appeals, 269 SCRA 336.
[5] Laza v. Court of Appeals, 269 SCRA 654.
[6] David-Chan v. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA 677; Union Insurance Society of Canton v. Court of
Appeals, 260 SCRA 431.

THIRD DIVISION
FLAVIANA LIM CAJAYON and G.R. No. 149118
CARMELITA LIM CONSTANTINO,
Petitioners,
Present:
QUISUMBING, J.,
Chairman,
- versus - CARPIO,
CARPIO-MORALES, and
TINGA, JJ.
SPOUSES SANTIAGO and Promulgated:
FORTUNATA BATUYONG,
Respondents.
February 16, 2006
x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION
TINGA, J.:

This petition for review on certiorari challenges the two rulings of the Court of
Appeals in CA G.R. SP. No. 50952. The first decision dated 27 November 2000[1]
upheld the ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) affirming the Metropolitan
Trial Court (MeTC) order for ejectment, while the Resolution dated 5 July 2001[2]
denied the motion for reconsideration.

First, the factual background of the case.

Flaviana Lim Cajayon and Carmelita Lim Constantino (petitioners) and Isagani P.
Candelaria (Candelaria) were co-owners of a 260-square meter lot, then covered
by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. C-10870. On 1 February 1995, a
partition agreement[3] was entered into by petitioners and Candelaria, wherein Lot
6-A, Psd 00-034294, containing an area of 100 square meters, more or less, was
adjudicated to Candelaria, while Lot 6-B, Psd 00-034294, containing an area of
160 square meters, more or less, was given to petitioners. TCT No. C-10870 was
cancelled and TCT No. 288500 was issued in the name of petitioners.

On 30 May 1995, Candelaria sold his property, including the improvements


thereon, to Spouses Santiago and Fortunata Batuyong (respondents). TCT No.
294743 was issued in their names over the said parcel of land.[4]

On 21 May 1996, petitioners started the construction of a seven (7)-door


bungalow-type building that allegedly intruded into the lot of respondents. At the
instance of respondents, petitioners were summoned by barangay officials to a
meeting on the matter. It was then agreed upon that petitioners would defer the
construction work pending the result of a relocation survey to be conducted by a
government surveyor.

A verification survey was conducted by Geodetic Engineer Florentina C. Valencia.


She submitted a report dated 12 November 1996 which yielded the findings that
Lot 6-A (Candelarias) and Lot 6-B (petitioners) were not correctly positioned
geographically on the ground with respect to TCT No. 294743. Thus, as per
survey, sub-lot B with an area of 10.43 square meters serves as right of way of Lot
6-B (petitioners lot) while sub-lot C with an area of 10.18 square meters was the
portion of Lot 6-A (respondents lot) presently occupied by petitioners.[5]

Despite the delineation of said boundaries, petitioners proceeded with the


forestalled construction, allegedly occupying at least 20.61 square meters of
respondents lot, including the portion being used as right of way for petitioners
tenants.

After respondents secured a permit from the barangay and the Caloocan City
Building Official to fence their lot, they made demands to petitioners to vacate the
encroached portion but to no avail. Respondents brought the matter to the
barangay but no amicable settlement was reached. A Certificate to File Action was
issued to them by the Barangay Lupon Tagapayapa. A final demand was made
through a letter dated 20 May 1997 upon petitioners to vacate the encroached
premises. Petitioners, however, vehemently refused to vacate and surrender the
premises.

On 14 April 1997, respondents filed an ejectment case against petitioners before


the Metropolitan Trial Court[6] (MeTC) of Caloocan City, docketed as Civil Case
No. 23359. In a Decision[7] dated 2 July 1998, the MeTC ordered petitioners to
vacate and surrender possession of a portion of respondents lot and to pay P500.00
per month as fair rental value from May 1996 until the premises is finally vacated,
plus P5,000.00 as attorneys fees and costs of the suit.[8]

On appeal, the RTC[9] affirmed the judgment of the MeTC.[10] In doing so, the
RTC debunked the three (3) arguments posed by petitioners. First, contrary to
petitioners submission, the RTC ruled that the MeTC had jurisdiction over the
instant complaint. The RTC noted that the issue of jurisdiction was never raised in
the court a quo while on the other hand, petitioners actively participated in the
proceedings therein by filing their Answer and Position Paper. Evidently,
petitioners raised the question of jurisdiction as a mere afterthought as he did so
only after he obtained an adverse judgment. Second, the allegations of the
complaint sufficiently averred a case for ejectment which the RTC found to be
within the jurisdiction of the court a quo. Third, the trial court ruled that
petitioners categorically recognized the validity of the verification survey done by
Engineer Valencia, as shown by the presence of petitioner Flaviana Cajayon
during the verification survey and setting of monuments per survey report.[11]

Petitioners filed a motion for new trial and/or reconsideration but it was denied in
an Order[12] dated 12 January 1999 of the RTC. They elevated the case to the
Court of Appeals by way of petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of
Court. On 27 November 2000, the appellate court rendered a Decision[13]
dismissing the petition. Holding that the exclusive jurisdiction to try unlawful
detainer cases is vested with the MeTC, the appellate court ratiocinated, thus:

The complaint in the instant case establishes jurisdictional facts necessary to


sustain the action for unlawful detainer and the remedy it seeks is merely to
obtain possession of the controverted lot from respondents. Specifically, it alleges
that sometime on May 21, 1996, petitioners started construction works in the area
which intruded into a portion of respondents property; that the parties eventually
agreed to stop the construction subject to the result of a survey to be conducted
thereon; that a survey was conducted in the presence of the parties and a report
was submitted by Engr. Valencia on November 12, 1996, showing an
encroachment of about 20.61 square meters of respondents lot including that
portion being used as a right of way for petitioners tenants; that even after the
boundaries had been verified, petitioners resumed the construction on the area;
that despite verbal and written demands, the last of which was made on March
20, 1999, petitioners refused to vacate and surrender the encroached area. Surely,
respondents resort to unlawful detainer when petitioners failed to leave the
controverted premises upon demand is in order.[14]
The appellate court also held that the fact that petitioners houses already stood on
the controverted lot long before the purchase of the land by respondents failed to
negate the case for ejectment.[15] The appellate court emphasized that prior
physical possession is not a condition sine qua non in unlawful detainer cases. The
court likewise sustained the RTC findings on the validity of the verification survey
conducted by Engineer Valencia that petitioners have encroached on a 20.61
square meter portion of respondents lot.

On 5 July 2001, the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution[16] denying petitioners


Motion for Reconsideration.

Petitioners now come to us via the present petition, submitting as issues the
question of jurisdiction and the weight to be accorded to the verification survey
results.[17]

Petitioners anchor their petition on the court a quos lack of jurisdiction over the
instant suit. The averments in the complaint do not make out a case for ejectment,
they claim, as their entry into the disputed lot was not made by force, intimidation,
threat, strategy or stealth. Neither was their possession of the disputed property by
virtue of the tolerance of respondents or the latters predecessor-in-interest.

Respondents counter that the jurisdictional elements necessary to maintain an


action for unlawful detainer clearly obtain in the case at bar, namely: (a) after the
parties agreed to the conduct of a survey by a government surveyor and after the
survey, it was determined that the structures introduced by herein petitioners have
encroached a portion of herein respondents lot; (b) notices to vacate and surrender
of possession of the encroached portion were made to petitioners, the last being on
March 20, 1997; and (c) the suit was instituted on April 11, 1997 or within one (1)
year from date of last demand.[18]

Respondents also stress that possession of the premises by petitioners took place
more than one year before the filing of the complaint and the absence of an
allegation in the complaint that such possession of the disputed portion was merely
by virtue of respondents tolerance does not deprive the lower court of its original
and exclusive jurisdiction nor will it negate respondents action for unlawful
detainer.[19]

It is settled that jurisdiction of the court in ejectment cases is determined by the


allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought.[20]

The Complaint[21] filed by respondents (plaintiffs therein) alleged these material


facts:

2. That defendants and Isagani P. Candelaria were the former co-owners of a certain
piece of land located in Maypajo, Caloocan City containing an area of 260 square
meters, more or less, under TCT No. C-10870 issued by the Register of Deeds of
Caloocan City;
3. That on February 1, 1995, said co-owners subdivided this parcel of land by virtue of a
Partition Agreement wherein Lot 6-A, Psd 00-034294, containing an area of 100 square
meters, more or less, was given to Isagani P. Candelaria, while Lot 6-B, Psd 00-034294,
containing an area of 160 square meters, more or less, was given to defendants. A copy
of said Partition Agreement is hereto attached as Annex A;
xxx xxx xxx
5. That on May 30, 1995, Isagani P. Candelaria sold his share to the herein plaintiffs,
including the improvements thereon, in the sum of P100,000.00, under a Deed of
Absolute Sale x x x;
xxx xxx xxx
7. That sometime in May 21, 1996, defendants started construction works in the
area and intruded into the lot owned by the plaintiffs causing the latter to protest
and report the matter to the barangay authorities;
8. That on the same day, the parties were summoned to appear before the Barangay
Chairman wherein defendants agreed to stop the construction works, and in a subsequent
conference on June 7, 1996, they agreed to defer the matter pending the result of a
survey to be conducted by a government surveyor;
xxx xxx xxx
11. That the following day, September 5, 1996, Geodetic Engineer Florentina C.
Valencia conducted a survey of the aforesaid property and placed the concrete
monuments thereon in the presence of plaintiffs and defendants;
12. That on November 12, 1996, a verification survey report was submitted by Geodetic
Engineer Florentina C. Valencia together with the survey verification plan xxx;
13. That despite defendants knowledge of the property boundary, and despite
repeated serious objections from plaintiffs, defendants proceeded to construct a
seven-door bungalow-type semi-concrete building, occupying at least 10.18 square
meters and another 10.43 square meters for the right of way, thus encroaching
upon at least 20.61 square meters of plaintiffs lot, and further demolishing
plaintiffs wall.
xxx xxx xxx
20. That despite repeated and continuous demands made by plaintiffs upon
defendants, both oral and written, the last being on March 20, 1997, defendants in
manifest bad faith, wanton attitude, and in a malevolent and oppressive manner
and in utter disregard of the property rights of plaintiffs, have failed and refused,
and still fail and refuse to vacate the same up to the present time x x x.[22]
From the above-quoted allegations taken in tandem with the textbook
distinctions between forcible entry and unlawful detainer, it is clear that the
complaint makes out a case for forcible entry, as opposed to unlawful detainer. The
distinctions between the two forms of ejectment suits, are: first, in forcible entry,
the plaintiff must prove that he was in prior physical possession of the premises
until he was deprived thereof by the defendant, whereas, in unlawful detainer, the
plaintiff need not have been in prior physical possession; second, in forcible entry,
the possession of the land by the defendant is unlawful from the beginning as he
acquires possession thereof by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth, while
in unlawful detainer, the possession of the defendant is inceptively lawful but it
becomes illegal by reason of the termination of his right to the possession of the
property under his contract with the plaintiff; third, in forcible entry, the law does
not require a previous demand for the defendant to vacate the premises, but in
unlawful detainer, the plaintiff must first make such demand, which is
jurisdictional in nature.[23]
Respondents had been in prior physical possession of the property in the concept
of owner prior to petitioners intrusion on 21 May 1996. When petitioners
encroached upon respondents lot and started construction works thereon the latter
was dispossessed of the area involved. Despite various demands by respondents to
vacate, petitioners obstinately refused to do so. Clearly, petitioners entry into the
said property was illegal from the beginning, precluding an action for unlawful
detainer.

On the other hand, to establish a case of forcible entry, the complaint must allege
that one in physical possession of a land or building has been deprived of that
possession by another through force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth.[24] It
is not essential, however, that the complaint should expressly employ the language
of the law. It would be sufficient that facts are set up showing that dispossession
took place under said conditions.[25]

The words "by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth" include every
situation or condition under which one person can wrongfully enter upon real
property and exclude another, who has had prior possession thereof. To constitute
the use of "force" as contemplated in the above-mentioned provision, the
trespasser does not have to institute a state of war. Nor is it even necessary that he
use violence against the person of the party in possession. The act of going on the
property and excluding the lawful possessor therefrom necessarily implies the
exertion of force over the property, and this is all that is necessary.[26] In the case
at bar, petitioners encroachment into respondents property in an oppressive and
malevolent manner, coupled with their refusal to vacate the premises despite
knowledge of the proper boundaries and heedless of respondents serious
objections, indelibly connotes force within the meaning of the law.
Petitioners contend that while they concede they might have intruded on
respondents property, the action is barred by prescription because it was filed more
than one (1) year after the occurrence of the alleged intrusion. The contention is
baseless. Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court allows a plaintiff to bring an
action in the proper inferior court for forcible entry or unlawful detainer within
one (1) year, respectively, after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of
possession. In forcible entry, the one-year period is counted from the date of actual
entry on the land.[27]

Records show that the ejectment suit was instituted on 11 April 1997. Petitioners
actual entry into the property, according to the complaint, took place on 21 May
1996. Thus, the suit was filed well within the one (1)-year period mandated by
law.

As a collateral issue, petitioners claim that they are at least entitled to the rights of
a builder in good faith on the premise that they are not the owners of the property
encroached upon.

This contention is not tenable. Good faith consists in the belief of the builder that
the land he is building on is his and his ignorance of any defect or flaw in his title.
[28] In the instant case, when the verification survey report came to petitioners
knowledge their good faith ceased. The survey report is a professionals field
confirmation of petitioners encroachment of respondents titled property. It is
doctrinal in land registration law that possession of titled property adverse to the
registered owner is necessarily tainted with bad faith. Thus, proceeding with the
construction works on the disputed lot despite knowledge of respondents
ownership put petitioners in bad faith.

Now, the second issue. Petitioners question the evidentiary weight of the
verification survey report. They point out that since the survey was a unilateral act
of respondents, done as it was without their consent, they should not be bound by
its findings.[29]

In raising the issue, petitioners are in effect asking this Court to reassess the
factual findings of the courts below, a task which is beyond this Courts domain.
Factual matters cannot be raised in a petition for review on certiorari. This Court at
this stage is limited to reviewing errors of law that may have been committed by
the lower courts.[30] We find no ample reason to depart from this rule, more so in
this case where the Court of Appeals has affirmed the factual findings of the RTC
and the MeTC.

Moreover, there is a presumption that official duty is regularly performed,[31] i.e.,


government officials who perform them are clothed with the presumption of
regularity,[32] as the courts below pointed out.[33] In this case, the verification
survey was conducted by a government functionary.

Even prescinding from the presumption of regularity, what appears on


record is that the verification survey was conducted with the
agreement of both parties and in their presence. That was the finding
made by the courts below and affirmed by the appellate court without
any wrinkle.[34]

WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, this Petition is DENIED and the assailed
Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

DANTE O. TINGA Associate Justice


WE CONCUR:
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairman
ANTONIO T. CARPIO CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES