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EJECTMENT

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Grounds for judicial ejectment

First. Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the ejectment case against private respondent considering that it affirmed the trial court’s finding that private respondent had failed to pay the monthly rental of P1,800.00 for more than three months.

The contention is well taken. Under Art. 1673 of the Civil Code, the lessor may judicially eject the lessee for any of the following causes:

(1) When the period agreed upon, or that which is fixed for the duration of leases under articles 1682 and 1687, has expired;

(2) Lack of payment of the price stipulated;

(3) Violation of any of the conditions agreed upon in the contract;

(4) When the lessee devotes the thing leased to any use or service not stipulated which causes the deterioration thereof; or if he does not observe the requirement in No. 2 of article 1657, as regards the use thereof.

The ejectment of tenants of agricultural lands is governed by special laws.

On the other hand, the Rent Control Law provides:

Section 5. Grounds for Judicial Ejectment. - Ejectment shall be allowed on the following grounds:

. . . .

(b) Arrears in payment of rent for a total of three (3) months: Provided, That in case of refusal by the lessor to accept payment of the rental agreed upon, the lessee may either deposit, by way of consignation, the amount in court, or with the city or municipal treasurer, as the case may be, or in a bank in the name of and with notice to the lessor, within one month after the refusal of the lessor to accept payment.

The lessee shall thereafter deposit the rental within ten days of every current month. Failure to deposit rentals for three months shall constitute a ground for ejectment. If an ejectment case is already pending, the court upon proper motion may order the lessee or any person or persons claiming under him to immediately vacate the leased premises without prejudice to the continuation of the ejectment proceedings. At any time, the lessor may, upon authority of the court, withdraw the rentals deposited.

The lessor, upon authority of the court in case of consignation and upon joint affidavit by him and the lessee to be submitted to the city or municipal treasurer and to the bank where deposit was made, shall be allowed to withdraw the deposits

The trial court found that private respondent had failed to pay the monthly rental of P1,800.00 from November 1992 to February 16, 1993, despite demands to pay and to vacate the premises made by petitioner. Even if private respondent deposited the rents in arrears in the bank, this fact cannot alter the legal situation of private respondent since the account was opened in private respondent’s name. Clearly, there was cause for the ejectment of private respondent. Although the increase in monthly rentals from P700.00 to P1,800.00 was in excess of 20% allowed by B.P. Blg. 877, as amended by R.A. No. 6828, what private respondent could have done was to deposit the original rent of P700.00 either with the judicial authorities or in a bank in the name of, and with notice to, petitioner. As this Court held in Uy v. Court of Appeals: 5 [178 SCRA 671, 676 (1989)] Misact

The records reveal that the new rentals demanded since 1979 (P150.00 per month) exceed that allowed by law so refusal on the part of the lessor to accept was justified. However, what the lessee should have done was to deposit in 1979 the previous rent. This deposit in the Bank was made only in 1984 indicating a delay of more than four years.

From the foregoing facts, it is clear that the lessor was correct in asking for the ejectment of the delinquent lessee. Moreover, he should be granted not only the current rentals but also all the rentals in arrears. This is so even if the lessor himself did not appeal because as ruled by this Court, there have been instances when substantial justice demands the giving of the proper reliefs.

Justice Mendoza, Second division, T & C DEVELOPMENT CORP., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ELIGIO DE GUZMAN, respondents.  [G.R. No. 118381. October 26, 1999]

 

At the time this case was originally filed, the statute which governed the right of a lessor to eject his lessee was B. P. Blg. 25. 8 [B.P. Blg. 25 was replaced by B.P. Blg. 877 which took effect on January 1, 1988.] Section 5 thereof specified the grounds for judicial ejectment. The pertinent parts thereof provide as follows:

Ejectment shall be allowed on the following grounds:

xxx   xxx   xxx

(c) Need of owner/lessor to repossess his property for his own use or for the use of any immediate member of his family as a residential unit, such owner or immediate member not being the owner of any other available residential unit: Provided, however, That the period of lease has expired: Provided, further, That the lessor has given the lessee notice three months in advance of the lessor's intention to repossess the property: and Provided, finally, That the owner/lessor or immediate member stays in the residential unit for at least one year, except for justifiable cause.

xxx   xxx   xxx

(f) Expiration of the period of a written lease contract.

In no case shall the lessor or his successor-in-interest be entitled to eject the lessee upon the ground that the leased premises has been sold or mortgaged to a third person.

A perusal of the above provisions reveals that certain requirements have to be met before a lessee can be validly ejected by the lessor under Section 5[c]. Private respondent herein, however, questions only whether there was compliance with the notice requirement. Consequently, it would be futile to discuss further the other three requirements as private respondent does not dispute compliance with the same.


Under paragraph (f) of the above-quoted provision, expiration of the period of a written contract is a ground for ejectment separate from and independent of paragraph [c], which requires the three-month notice. There is an apparent inconsistency between the two paragraphs because paragraph [f] makes expiration of the period, without any other condition, a ground for ejectment. Thus, regardless of the lessor's reason for wanting to repossess the leased premises, as long as the lease has expired, there is a legal ground for ejectment. Not so with paragraph [c]. Under the latter paragraph, where the reason for ejectment is because the lessor needs it for his own use, the lease period must not only have expired. There should be a three-month notice to vacate as well. For reasons which will be shown hereunder, there is no need for Us to dwell on this apparent conflict in order to decide the case before Us.

The lease contract in this case was written and, although no definite period is specified, there was just the same a term for the lease  only until such time when the lessor should need the premises for his own use. This Court has previously held that where the agreement is that the lessee would vacate the premises when the lessor should need the same for his own use, the period of the lease is fixed, as the parties are fully aware that when that time comes, the lease is terminated. 9 [Lim v. Vda. de Prieto, 101 Phil. 15 [1957].] When the lessor [the former owner] informed private respondent herein on November 19, 1978 to vacate the lot leased because he needed it, private respondent signed a written promise to vacate the premises within three months from said date, i.e., on or before February 19, 1979. On this date, however, private respondent failed to leave despite the demands of the lessor. In Our opinion, even assuming that the lease fixed no term, the aforesaid written promise had the effect of amending the original lease contract by stipulating for a definite period when the lease would terminate, i.e., three months from November 19, 1978. Thus, upon the expiration of said period, the written contract of lease would expire, giving rise to the lessor's right to file an action for ejectment against private respondent. From another angle, said written promise can also be considered as an admission that a three-month notice to vacate had been given by the lessor to the lessee. In either case, a legal ground for ejectment would exist, the first under paragraph [f] of Section 5, and the second under paragraph [c] of the same section.

Although private respondent claims that the written promise was secured through misrepresentation, this allegation was not given credence by the trial court, which based its decision mainly on said written promise. Obviously also, the trial court did not find it necessary to discuss the other requirements of paragraph [c] because private respondent merely questioned the lack of due notice. Nevertheless, We note that the evidence shows that petitioner was merely renting an apartment at that time, which means that he owns no property on which a residential house can be built other than the lot occupied by private respondent and which he has adamantly refused to vacate despite the fact that his lease had already expired. In any case, petitioner's case need not rest on paragraph [c], and is meritorious under paragraph [f] alone. Whatever rights the former owner-lessor had under Section 5 devolved upon petitioner herein when he bought the property. Therefore, the right of the former owner to eject private respondent due to expiration of the lease passed on to petitioner. And the last paragraph of said Section 5 to the effect that in no case can the lessor or his successor-in-interest be entitled to eject the lessee on the ground that the leased premises has been sold, cannot help private respondent because the lease had already expired before the sale. This last provision applies only when the attempted ejectment is made while the lease period has not yet expired. In other words, the owner's successor-in-interest must respect an existing contract of lease. Where the lease period is still running any attempt to eject the lessee would constitute a breach of contract. But where the lease has expired, there is no more contract to breach.

We do not agree with the Court of Appeals' decision that a three-month notice should have been sent by petitioner on his own behalf because he was not a party to the lease contract. As We stated earlier, petitioner was subrogated to all the rights of his predecessor-in-interest. The latter gave the three-month notice which was accepted by private respondent, and who in fact signed a written promise to vacate within three months. When the latter period expired and the lessee failed to move out, the lessor's right to judicial ejectment arose. This right was transferred to petitioner when he bought the property and therefore there was no need for him to give another notice. The mere fact that private respondent continued in the premises despite repeated demands on him to vacate, does not change the fact that the lease had ended. Private respondent's continued possession was merely tolerated by petitioner and his predecessor-in-interest.

However, even assuming arguendo that the appellate court's premise is correct, petitioner did give notice on his own behalf. The trial court found that soon after the sale of the property to petitioner, or on October 10, 1979, the latter wrote to private respondent that he vacate the premises. After this and other subsequent demands were ignored, he again made a demand on August 7, 1982 informing private respondent that he wished to build his house on the property. After this last demand was again ignored, he brought the matter before the Barangay Chairman who, on September 19, 1982, sent a summons to private respondent, who, not only ignored it but in addition, refused to accept it when served upon him. 10 [Rollo, p. 26.] Petitioner finally filed an ejectment suit before the MTC on December 7, 1982, or four months after his verbal demand on August 7, 1982. Thus, even disregarding the previous demands soon after the sale, petitioner had complied with the requirement of three-month notice.

It is clear, therefore, that whichever basis We use in this case, whether Section 5[c] or Section 5[f] of B. P. Blg. 25, petitioner has a legal right to eject private respondent.

A final point to consider is the Court of Appeals' conclusion that the MTC had no "jurisdiction nor competence to pass upon the controversy at bar" and that the RTC is "more competent to resolve questions concerning the effects of the sale on the leased premises." We agree with petitioner that this is an erroneous opinion. The complaint filed with the MTC clearly shows that this is a simple ejectment case, where no issue nor allegation is made involving any other question but the right of petitioner to oust private respondent from the premises based on the expiration of the contract and on the repeated demands made on the latter to vacate the property. This Court has held that what determine the nature of an action and the Court which has jurisdiction over it, are the allegations made in the complaint.11 [Ching v. Malaya, 153 SCRA 412 [1987].] Petitioner bought the property because he needed a lot on which to build his house. Private respondent, despite repeated demands, refused to vacate the premises. In the meantime, petitioner was renting an apartment while private respondent was making use of his property.

There is no doubt that B. P. Blg. 25, better known as the Rent Control Law, was enacted primarily to protect tenants, especially those belonging to the low income group. However, this same law, as is clearly manifested by Section 5[c], did not ignore the interests of small landowners or lessors. The policy of the law is not to be interpreted or implemented in such a way as to oppress the lessor when he needs the leased premises for his own use because he has no other property, or when the tenant fails to pay the rentals for an unreasonable length of time. In such cases, fairness and justice demand that the lessor be given the right to resort to the courts to aid him in asserting his constitutional right to abode. 12 [Tan Tok Lee v. CFI of Kalookan City, 121 SCRA 438 [1983].]

Justice Campos Jr., Second Division, TEODULO GARCIA,  Petitioner vs.  HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and SANTOS GUTIERREZ, Respondents, G. R. No. 88632, March 22, 1993

 

 

On the issue of jurisdiction, the firmly settled principle is that a municipal court has jurisdiction over forcible entry or unlawful detainer cases even if the question of the ownership of the property is raised by the defendant.The exception is where the question of title is so involved in the ejectment case that it cannot be decided unless the title to the property is first ascertained.

On the issue of jurisdiction, the firmly settled principle is that a municipal court has jurisdiction over forcible entry or unlawful detainer cases even if the question of the ownership of the property is raised by the defendant. 6 [Manlapaz v. Court of Appeals, 191 SCRA 795 citing Lopez v. Santiago, 107 Phil. 668; De Gaerlan v. Martinez, 85 Phil 375; De la Cruz v. Burgos, 28 SCRA 977.]


The exception is where the question of title is so involved in the ejectment case that it cannot be decided unless the title to the property is first ascertained.
7 [Luna v. Nable, 67 Phil. 340.]

That situation does not obtain in the present case. In fact, the defendants do not even claim the leased property and invoke only a right of pre-emption thereto under P. D. 1508. That is only an inchoate right that has yet to be perfected. Moreover, they have acknowledged their status as mere lessees and their obligation to pay their accrued rentals to the private respondents. They have done this not only expressly in their pleadings 8 [Annex B, Rollo, pp. 31, 32.] but also by their act of consigning the said rentals before and after the period from 1984 to 1988. 9 [Rollo, p. 14.]

The question of default is factual and was decided by all the three courts below against the defendants. Their findings are conclusive on this Court, there being no satisfactory showing that they were reached arbitrarily or without basis.

Regarding the extension of the period of the lease, the view that this could not be granted because the defendants were in default in their rentals is not supported by law or doctrine. There is no such prohibition in Article 1687, which reads in full as follows:

Art. 1687. If the period for the lease has not been fixed, it is understood to be from year to year, if the rent agreed upon is annual, from month to month, if it is monthly; from week to week, if the rent as weekly; and from day to day, if the rent is to be paid daily. However, even though a monthly rent is paid, and no period for the lease has been set, the courts may fix a longer term for the lease after the lessee has occupied the premises for over one year. If the rent is weekly, the courts may likewise determine a longer period after the lessee has been in possession for over six months. In case of daily rent, the courts may also fix a longer period after the lessee has stayed in the place for over one month.

We sustained such an extension in the case of Divino v. Marcos 10 [4 SCRA 186.] although non-payment of rentals was the ground invoked for the ejectment of the lessees. Through Mr. Justice Jose Ma. Paredes, this Court observed:

The lot in question has been rented to the petitioner for about 20 years and his predecessor- in-interest for more. Even though rentals had been paid monthly, still no period for the duration of the lease had been set. The lease had been consistently and tacitly renewed ["tacita reconduccion"] until the ejectment case was filed [Co Tiam v. Diaz, 75 Phil. 672; Villanueva v. Canlas, 77 Phil. 381; Art. 1670, N.C.C.; Art. 1566, Old Civil Code]. Having made substantial or additional improvements on the lot, and considering the difficulty of looking for another place to which petitioner could transfer such improvements, and the length of his occupancy of the lot [since 1936], and the impression acquired by him that he could stay on the premises, as long as he could pay the rentals, it would seem that there exists just grounds for granting the extension of lease and that the extension of two years granted by the trial court, is both fair and equitable.

The petitioners herein are in a similar situation as they have been leasing the property since 1979 and, as observed by the lower courts , have introduced valuable improvements thereon. The Court also notes that the validity of the extension was not appealed by the private respondents, who thereby accepted the same. The issue was not even raised by the petitioners in their appeal. We now come to the increase of the monthly rental by the Metropolitan Trial Court from P100.00 a month to P3,000.00.

Since the stipulated rental was P100.00 per month, any increase thereof should be in accordance with B. P. 25, the original law regulating the rentals of dwelling units and lots, and all the succeeding amendatory laws. B. P. 25, which was applicable to all residential units with monthly rentals not exceeding P300.00, provided that such rentals could not be increased by more than 10% every year. It had an initial duration of five years from 1979 but its effectivity was extended to June 1985 by B. P. 267, and again extended to December 1987 by B. P. 877, with the following authorized rates of increase:

                 Period                 Max. Increase

July 1, 1985 to Dec. 31, 1985     10%
Jan. 1, 1986 to Dec. 31, 1986     20%
Jan. 1, 1987 to Dec. 31, 1987     20%

On January 1, 1988, the effectivity of B. P. 877 was extended to December 31, 1989, by R. A. 6643, which provided a maximum increase also of 20%. Another extension on the same terms was made for 3 more years or until December 31, 1991, by R. A. 6828. On January 1, 1993, R. A. 7644 gave still another extension from January 1, 1993 to December 31, 1997, but the maximum increase was retained at 20% per year.

Applying these laws, We find the following monthly rentals to be demandable from the petitioners for the years indicated:

 Year     Maximum increase     Monthly rate

1979             10%                     P   110.00
1980             10%                          121.00
1981             10%                          133.00
1982             10%                          146.40
1983             10%                          161.00
1984             10%                          177.00
1985             10%                          194.70
1986             20%                          233.60
1987             20%                          280.00
1988             20%                          366.00
1989             20%                          403.00
1990             20%                          483.00
1991             20%                          580.30
1992             20%                          596.30
1993             20%                          835.50

The Metropolitan Trial Court held, after resolving the factual question of default, that the petitioners should start paying the new rentals from November 1990, when the complaint for ejectment was filed. Accordingly, they should pay the increased monthly rent of P483.00 for November 1990 to December 31, 1990; P580.00 for January 1,1991 to December 31, 1991; P696.00 for January 1, 1992 to December 13, 1992 and P835.50 for January 1, 1993 to 1993, with legal interest.  The two-year extension of the lease is commuted from the date the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court became final as to the private respondents, who did not appeal.

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby affirmed except as to the amount of the rentals to be paid by the petitioners, which should be computed in accordance with the discussion in the body of this opinion.

HEIRS OF JACOBO BOLUS, Namely JAKE B. BOLUS, ELIZABETH BOLUS-NERI, RICARDO B. BOLUS, EMMANUEL B. BOLUS, CORAZON BOLUS, CARLITO BOLUS and ROMEO BOLUS, Petitioners vs.  THE COURT OF APPEALS  and SPOUSES RICARDO and GLICERIA JIMENEZ, Respondents,  G. R. No. 107036, February 9, 1993

 

 

As a general rule, an ejectment suit cannot be abated or suspended by the mere filing before the regional trial court (RTC) of another action raising ownership of the property as an issue. As an exception, however, unlawful detainer actions may be suspended even on appeal, on considerations of equity, such as when the demolition of petitioners' house would result from the enforcement of the municipal circuit trial court (MCTC) judgment.

In the main, the issue is whether the peculiar circumstances of this case justify the suspension of the ejectment proceedings on appeal before the RTC, pending the resolution of the action for quieting of title.

 

The Court’s Ruling

The Petition is meritorious.

Main Issue: Suspension of the Ejectment Suit

Unlawful detainer and forcible entry suits under Rule 70 are designed to summarily restore physical possession of a piece of land or building to one who has been illegally or forcibly deprived thereof, without prejudice to the settlement of the parties' opposing claims of juridical possession in appropriate proceedings. It has been held that these actions "are intended to avoid disruption of public order by those who would take the law in their hands purportedly to enforce their claimed right of possession."7 [Vda [de Legaspi v. Avendaño, 79 SCRA 135, September 27, 1977, per Barredo, J.] In these cases, the issue is pure physical or de facto possession, and pronouncements made on questions of ownership are provisional in nature.

As a general rule, therefore, a pending civil action involving ownership of the same property does not justify the suspension of ejectment proceedings. "The underlying reasons for the above ruling were that the actions in the Regional Trial Court did not involve physical or de facto possession, and, on not a few occasions, that the case in the Regional Trial Court was merely a ploy to delay disposition of the ejectment proceeding, or that the issues presented in the former could quite as easily be set up as defenses in the ejectment action and there resolved."8 [Wilmon Auto Supply Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 208 SCRA 108, April 10, 1992, per Narvasa, CJ. In this case, the Court also held:

"1. Injunction suits instituted in the RTC by defendants in ejectment actions in the municipal trial courts or other courts of the first level (Nacorda v. Yatco, 17 SCRA 920 (1966)) do not abate the latter; and neither do proceedings on consignation of rentals (Lim Si v. Lim, 98 Phil. 868 (1956), citing Pue et al. v. Gonzales, 87 Phil. 81, (1950)).

2. An "accion publiciana" does not suspend an ejectment suit against the plaintiff in the former (Ramirez v. Bleza, 106 SCRA 187 (1981)).

3. A "writ of possession case" where ownership is concededly the principal issue before the Regional Trial Court does not preclude nor bar the execution of the judgment in an unlawful detainer suit where the only issue involved is the material possession or possession de facto of the premises (Heirs of F. Guballa Sr. v. CA et al.; etc., 168 SCRA 518 (1988)).

4. An action for quieting of title to property is not a bar to an ejectment suit involving the same property (Quimpo v. de la Victoria, 46 SCRA 139 (1972)).

5. Suits for specific performance with damages do not affect ejectment actions (e.g., to compel renewal of a lease contract) (Desamito v. Cuyegkeng, 18 SCRA 1184 (1966); Pardo de Tavera v. Encarnacion, 22 SCRA 632 (1968); Rosales v. CFI, 154 SCRA 153 (1987); Commander Realty, Inc. v. CA, 161 SCRA 264 (1988)).

6. An action for reformation of instrument (e.g., from deed of absolute sale to one of sale with pacto de retro) does not suspend an ejectment suit between the same parties (Judith v. Abragan, 66 SCRA 600 (1975)).

7. An action for reconveyance of property or "accion reivindicatoria" also has no effect on ejectment suits regarding the same property (Del Rosario v. Jimenez, 8 SCRA 549 (1963); Salinas v. Navarro, 126 SCRA 167; De la Cruz v. CA, 133 SCRA 520 (1984); Drilon v. Gaurana, 149 SCRA 352 (1987); Ching v. Malaya, 153 SCRA 412 (1987); Philippine Feeds Milling Co., Inc. v. CA, 174 SCRA 108; Dante v. Sison, 174 SCRA 517 (1989); Guzman v. CA (annulment of sale and reconveyance), 177 SCRA 604 (1989); Demamay v. CA, 186 SCRA 608 (1990); Leopoldo Sy v. CA et al., (annulment of sale and reconveyance), GR No. 95818, Aug. 2, 1991).

8. Neither do suits for annulment of sale, or title, or document affecting property operate to abate ejectment actions respecting the same property (Salinas v. Navarro (annulment of deed of sale with assumption of mortgage and/or to declare the same an equitable mortgage), 126 SCRA 167 (1983); Ang Ping v. RTC (annulment of sale and title), 154 SCRA 153 (1987); Caparros v. CA (annulment of title), 170 SCRA 758 (1989); Dante v. Sison (annulment of sale with damages), 174 SCRA 517; Galgala v. Benguet Consolidated, Inc. (annulment of document), 177 SCRA 288 (1989)"]

Only in rare instances is suspension allowed to await the outcome of the pending civil action. One such exception is Vda. de Legaspi v. Avendaño, wherein the Court declared:

"x x x. Where the action, therefore, is one of illegal detainer, as distinguished from one of forcible entry, and the right of the plaintiff to recover the premises is seriously placed in issue in a proper judicial proceeding, it is more equitable and just and less productive of confusion and disturbance of physical possession, with all its concomitant inconvenience and expenses. For the Court in which the issue of legal possession, whether involving ownership or not, is brought to restrain, should a petition for preliminary injunction be filed with it, the effects of any order or decision in the unlawful detainer case in order to await the final judgment in the more substantive case involving legal possession or ownership. It is only where there has been forcible entry that as a matter of public policy the right to physical possession should be immediately set at rest in favor of the prior possession regardless of the fact that the other party might ultimately be found to have superior claim to the premises involved, thereby to discourage any attempt to recover possession thru force, strategy or stealth and without resorting to the courts."9 [Supra, p. 145.]

From the foregoing, it is clear that the mere existence of a judicial proceeding putting at issue the right of the plaintiff to recover the premises is not enough reason to justify an exception to the general rule. In Salinas v. Navarro,10 [126 SCRA 167, November 29, 1983, per Gutierrez Jr., J.] the Court explained that "the exception to the rule in x x x Vda. de Legaspi is based on strong reasons of equity not found in the present petition. The right of the petitioners is not so seriously placed in issue in the annulment case as to warrant a deviation, on equitable grounds, from the imperative nature of the rule. In the Vda. de Legaspi case, execution of the decision in the ejectment case would also have meant demolition of the premises, a factor not present in this petition."

Indisputably, the execution of the MCTC Decision would have resulted in the demolition of the house subject of the ejectment suit; thus, by parity of reasoning, considerations of equity require the suspension of the ejectment proceedings. We note that, like Vda. de Legaspi, the respondent's suit is one of unlawful detainer and not of forcible entry. And most certainly, the ejectment of petitioners would mean a demolition of their house, a matter that is likely to create the "confusion, disturbance, inconveniences and expenses" mentioned in the said exceptional case.

Necessarily, the affirmance of the MCTC Decision12 [In fact, according to private respondent (Memorandum, p. 19; rollo, p. 477), the "RTC had already rendered its decision dated 7 April 1999 affirming in toto, the earlier judgment rendered by the (MCTC)in herein respondent's favor."] would cause the respondent to go through the whole gamut of enforcing it by physically removing the petitioners from the premises they claim to have been occupying since 1937. (Respondent is claiming ownership only of the land, not of the house.) Needlessly, the litigants as well as the courts will be wasting much time and effort by proceeding at a stage wherein the outcome is at best temporary, but the result of enforcement is permanent, unjust and probably irreparable.

We should stress that respondent's claim to physical possession is based not on an expired or a violated contract of lease, but allegedly on "mere tolerance." Without in any way prejudging the proceedings for the quieting of title, we deem it judicious under the present exceptional circumstances to suspend the ejectment case.

The Suspension of Proceedings Even During Appeal

One final point. In Vda. de Legaspi, the Court held that "if circumstances should so require, the proceedings in the ejectment case may be suspended in whatever stage it may be found." This statement is unequivocally clear; it includes even the appellate stage.

Justice Panganiban, Third Division, CONCEPCION V. AMAGAN, JOSEFINA V. AMAGAN and DINA V. AMAGAN, petitioners, vs. TEODORICO T. MARAYAG, respondent [G.R. No. 138377. February 28, 2000]  

 

 

Ejectment cases are summary in character and . . . the judgment in an action for unlawful detainer is immediately executory, and may be stayed only if the defendant-appellants (1) [perfect] their appeal, (2) file a supersedeas bond, and (3) periodically deposit rentals falling due during the pendency of the appeal. . . . The defendant’s failure to comply with these requisites entitled the complainant to the immediate execution of the judgment

The civil case assigned to respondent Judge is one for Unlawful Detainer and is governed by the Rule on Summary Procedure. Section 6 of the Rule on Summary Procedure is explicit. Thus:

SEC. 6. Effect of failure to answer. – Should the defendant fail to answer the complaint within the period above provided, the court, motu proprio, or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein; Provided, however, that the court may in its discretion reduce the amount of damages and attorney’s fees claimed for being excessive or otherwise unconscionable. This is without prejudice to the applicability of Section 4, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court, if there are two or more defendants.”

As clearly stated in the Section above-quoted, when the defendant fails to answer the complaint within the period provided, the court, motu proprio, or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint. Defendant has ten (10) days from service of summons to file an answer to the complaint 1 [SEC. 5.  Answer. –  Within ten (10) days from service of summons, the defendant shall file his answer to the complaint and serve a copy thereof on the plaintiff. Affirmative and negative defenses not pleaded  therein  shall  be deemed waived, except for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. Cross-claims  and  compulsory  counterclaims  not  asserted  in  the  answer  shall be considered barred. The answer to counterclaims or cross-claims shall  be  filed  and  served  within  ten  (10) days from service of the answer in which they are pleaded.] and it is not disputed that defendant in the aforesaid civil case failed to answer the complaint.

Respondent Judge contends that the Urgent Manifestation and Motion to Render Judgment by Reason of Failure to Answer dated December 23, 1997 has not been set for hearing and is fatally defective as the notice of hearing is not addressed to the parties but to the clerk of court and hence, the same is a mere scrap of paper.

The contention is untenable. Section 6 expressly provides that the court, motu proprio, on  its own motion or initiative 2 [p. 400,  Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary, 1982.] shall render judgment on the case. Thus, even without a motion filed by plaintiff, the court has to render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein. Clearly, respondent Judge has failed in this respect. Admittedly, he has not rendered a decision from the time herein complainant filed the Urgent Manifestation on December 23, 1997, and the Motion for Early Resolution on January 21, 1998 until the filing of this administrative complaint on June 11, 1998, or for about six (6) months. The fact that respondent Judge has rendered a decision in the ejectment case on December 14, 1998 will not absolve him from any administrative liability.

The rules require courts to decide cases submitted for decision generally within three (3) months from the date of such submission. With respect to cases falling under the Rule on Summary Procedure, first level courts are only allowed thirty (30) days following the receipt of the last affidavit and position paper, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, within which to render judgment. 3 [Raboca vs. Pantanosas, Jr., 245 SCRA 293.] We stated in Cruz vs. Pascual  4 [244 SCRA 111.] that the Rule on Summary Procedure was precisely enacted to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination of cases and failure to observe the 30-day period within which to render a judgment subjects the defaulting judge to administrative sanction.

Justice Gonzaga-Reyes, Third Division, ALBERT R. SORDAN, complainant, vs. JUDGE ROLANDO B. DE GUZMAN of the MeTC-Br. 2, Manila, respondent [A.M. No. MTJ-00-1296.  October 5, 2000]  

 

Respondent Judge’s Responsibility and Liability

With respect to the Order denying the Motion to Quash Alias Writ of Execution, respondent judge incurred no liability.  The denial of the defendant’s motion to quash and execution of the judgment against the defendant was clearly proper, considering that a supersedeas bond had not been filed, and periodic deposits of a reasonable value for the use of the property had not been made in accordance with Section 19, Rule 70 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.  As stated by the Court in Fernandez v. Espanol: 1 [289 SCRA 1, 5-6, April 15, 1998.]

“. . . [E]jectment cases are summary in character and . . . the judgment in an action for unlawful detainer is immediately executory, and may be stayed only if the defendant-appellants (1) [perfect] their appeal, (2) file a supersedeas bond, and (3) periodically deposit rentals falling due during the pendency of the appeal. . . . The defendant’s failure to comply with these requisites entitled the complainant to the immediate execution of the judgment.”

Furthermore, considering that the Motion to Quash Alias Writ of Execution was the second one, which merely reiterated grounds already previously ruled upon and disposed of, respondent judge was right in immediately denying the same.  Under the circumstances, waiting for defendant’s reply was clearly unnecessary and would have served no other purpose than to unjustly delay the necessary subsequent court processes

WINNIE BAJET, petitioner, vs. Judge PEDRO M. AREOLA Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 85), respondent, [A.M. No. RTJ-01-1615.  June 19, 2001]per Justice Panganiban, Third Division

 

In its first assigned error, petitioner argues that the decision of the MTCC of Lapu-Lapu City had become final and immediately executory in view of the undisputed failure of the private respondents to post a supersedeas bond as required by Section 8, Rule 70 of the Revised Rules of Court.

We do not agree. Since the private respondents had seasonably filed an appeal with the RTC of Lapu-Lapu City, the judgment of the MTCC of Lapu-Lapu City did not become final. And for reasons hereunder stated, the perfection of the appeal was enough to stay the execution of the MTCC decision.

Under the former Section 8, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court,8 [Now Section 19, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.] if the judgment of the municipal trial court in an ejectment case is adverse to the defendant, execution shall issue immediately. To stay the immediate execution of the judgment, the defendant must (1) perfect his appeal; (2) file a supersedeas bond to answer for the rents, damages, and costs accruing down to the time of the judgment appealed from; and (3) periodically deposit the rentals falling due during the pendency of the appeal.9 [Chua v. Court of Appeals, 286 SCRA 437, 444 [1998]; Fernandez v. Español, 289 SCRA 1, 5-6 [1998].]

As a rule, the filing of a supersedeas bond is mandatory and if not filed, the plaintiff is entitled as a matter of right to the immediate execution of the judgment. An exception is where the trial court did not make any findings with respect to any amount in arrears, damages or costs against the defendant,10 [1 FLORENZ D. REGALADO, REMEDIAL LAW COMPENDIUM 797 (1997).] in which case no bond is necessary to stay the execution of the judgment. Thus, in Once v. Gonzales,11 [76 SCRA 258, 261 [1977].] this Court ruled that the order of execution premised on the failure to file a supersedeas bond was groundless and void because no such bond was necessary there being no back rentals adjudged in the appealed judgment.

Similarly, in the instant case, there was no need for the private respondents to file a supersedeas bond because the judgment of the MTCC did not award rentals in arrears or damages. The attorney’s fees of P8,000 and the litigation expenses of P2,000 awarded in favor of the petitioner need not be covered by a bond, as these are not the damages contemplated in Section 8 of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. The damages referred to therein are the reasonable compensation for the use and occupation of the property which are generally measured by its fair rental value and cannot refer to other damages which are foreign to the enjoyment or material possession of the property.12 [See De Laureano v. Adil, 72 SCRA 148, 155 [1976].] Neither were the private respondents obliged to deposit the rentals falling due during the pendency of the appeal in order to secure a stay of execution because the appealed judgment did not fix the reasonable rental or compensation for the use of the premises.13 [Lunsod v. Ortega, 46 Phil. 664, 674 [1921].] Hence, it was error for the RTC to order the execution of the judgment of the MTCC.

Chief Justice Davide, Jr. Aznar Brothers Realty Company v. Court of Appeals, G.R., No. 128102, March 7, 2000

 

The Court also held that the word ‘vacate’ is not a talismanic word that must be employed in all notices. The alternatives are clear cut. The tenants must pay rentals which were fixed and which became payable in the past, failing which they must move out. There can be no other interpretation of the notice given to them. Hence when the owner demanded that either they pay or a case for ejectment would be filed against them, the tenants were placed on notice to move out if they do not pay. There was, in effect, a notice or demand to vacate.

Petitioner belabors the fact that the letter is not categorical and precise in seeking his eviction from the property. He misses the point. It must be stressed that courts and quasi-judicial bodies, in the exercise of their functions and in making decisions, must not be too dogmatic as to restrict themselves to literal interpretation of words, phrases and sentences. A complete and wholistic view must be taken in order to render a just and equitable judgment.11 [Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC, 267 SCRA 202, 215 (1997).] A case in point is Golden Gate Realty Corp. vs. IAC.12 [152 SCRA 684, 691 (1987).] The tenants therein defaulted in the payment of rents. Accordingly, the owner notified them to pay and failing to do so a case of ejectment would be filed against them. The tenants argue that the notice does not make a demand upon them to vacate the premises. In resolving such issue, this Court ruled that when the lessor demanded payment of the due and unpaid rentals or a case for ejectment would be filed against them, the owner was giving strong notice that ‘you either pay your unpaid rentals or I will file a court case to have you thrown out of my property.’ The Court also held that the word ‘vacate’ is not a talismanic word that must be employed in all notices. The alternatives are clear cut. The tenants must pay rentals which were fixed and which became payable in the past, failing which they must move out. There can be no other interpretation of the notice given to them. Hence when the owner demanded that either they pay or a case for ejectment would be filed against them, the tenants were placed on notice to move out if they do not pay. There was, in effect, a notice or demand to vacate.

In the light of the foregoing circumstances, the appellate court cannot be said to have erred in finding that the written demand is sufficient to eject petitioner from the property subject of controversy.

Now, insofar as the second assigned error is concerned, we hold that the doctrine of res judicata does not apply in this case. There are four essential conditions which must concur in order that res judicata may effectively apply, namely: (1) the judgment sought to bar the new action must be final; (2) the decision must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) the disposition of the case must be a judgment or order on the merits; and (4) there must be between the first and the second action identity of parties, identity of subject matter, and identity of causes of action.13 [Bachrach Corporation vs. Court Appeals & Philippine Ports Authority, 296 SCRA 487 (1998).]

The first ejectment case had for a cause of action based on the need for the premises. The second ejectment case involved a different cause of action, that is, for non-payment of rentals up to February 1982. In the third case, the cause of action was the need for the premises and non-payment of rentals from November 1987 up to May 1988. In this latest ejectment suit, the cause of action is the non-payment of rentals from December 1987 accumulating to P17,064.65. Clearly, the cause of action and the circumstances present in the instant case are not the same but differ markedly from those in previous suits cited. Reliance on the doctrine of res judicata by petitioner is sadly misplaced.

Justice Quisumbing, Second Division, Siapan v. CA and Hon. Sayo, Jr., [G.R. No. 111928. March 1, 2000]

 

 

Nothing is more settled than the rule that ejectment is solely concerned with the issue of physical or material possession of the subject land or building. However, if the issue of possession depends on the resolution of the issue of ownership which is sufficiently alleged in the complaint, the municipal trial court may resolve the latter although the resulting judgment would be conclusive only with respect to the possession but not the ownership of the property. 

 

First. Petitioner Tala Realty contends that the municipal trial court has no jurisdiction to decide the issue of ownership in an ejectment case.

Nothing is more settled than the rule that ejectment is solely concerned with the issue of physical or material possession of the subject land or building. However, if the issue of possession depends on the resolution of the issue of ownership which is sufficiently alleged in the complaint, the municipal trial court may resolve the latter 10 [Refugia v. Court of Appeals, 258 SCRA 347,366 (1996).] although the resulting judgment would be conclusive only with respect to the possession but not the ownership of the property 11 [Sec. 18, Rule 70, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.].

In the instant case, the issue of ownership was not even addressed, there being no need to do so as the ejectment case hinged on the question concerning the two (2) lease contracts of the contending parties.

Justice De Leon, Jr. , Second Division Tala Realty Services Corporation v. Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank [G.R. No. 129887. February 17, 2000]  

 

 

A complaint for unlawful detainer is sufficient if it alleges that the withholding of possession or the refusal to vacate is unlawful without necessarily employing the terminology of the law.

Petitioners now assail the jurisdiction of the MeTC contending that the failure of the complaint to allege the character of the sublease or entry of the Jimenez spouses into the property, whether legal or illegal, automatically classified it into an accion publiciana or reinvindicatoria cognizable by the RTC and not by the MeTC; 8 [Petitioners cited Munoz v. CA where the Court held that “when the complaint fails to aver facts constitutive of forcible entry and unlawful detainer, as where it does not state how entry was effected or how and when dispossession started, the action should be accion publiciana or reinvindicatoria in the Court of First Instance (now, Regional Trial Court),” as basis for their contention.  (G.R. No. 102693, 23 September 1992, 214 SCRA 216).] thus, the action should have been dismissed.

The rule is settled that a question of jurisdiction may be raised at any time, even on appeal, provided that its application does not result in a mockery of the tenets of fair play.   In the instant case, the jurisdictional issue was raised by petitioners for the first time only in the instant Petition for Review.   However, it should be noted that they did so only after an adverse decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals.   Despite several opportunities in the RTC, which ruled in their favor, and in the Court of Appeals, petitioners never advanced the question of jurisdiction of the MeTC.   Additionally, petitioners participated actively in the proceedings before the MeTC 9 [Refugia v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 118284, 5 July 1996, 258 SCRA 347, citing Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals,  No. L-29264, 29 August 1969, 29 SCRA 419;  Navoa v. Court of Appeals,  G.R. No. 59255, 29 December 1995, 251 SCRA 545.] and invoked its jurisdiction with the filing of their answer, in seeking affirmative relief from it, in subsequently  filing  a  notice  of  appeal before the RTC, and later, a Petition for Review with the Court of Appeals.   Upon these premises, petitioners cannot now be allowed belatedly to adopt an inconsistent posture by attacking the jurisdiction of the court to which they had submitted themselves voluntarily.   Laches now bars them from doing so.

Be that as it may, we find no error in the MeTC assuming jurisdiction over the subject matter.   A complaint for unlawful detainer is sufficient if it alleges that the withholding of possession or the refusal to vacate is unlawful without necessarily employing the terminology of the law. 10 [Sumulong v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 108817, 10 May 1994, 232 SCRA 372; Pangilinan v. Aguilar, No. L-29275, 31 January 1972, 43 SCRA 136.]  As correctly found by the appellate court, to which we agree, the allegations in the complaint sufficiently established a cause of action for unlawful detainer.   The complaint clearly stated how entry was effected and how and when dispossession started - petitioners were able to enter the subject premises as sublessees of Purisima Salazar who, despite the termination of her lease with respondent, continued to occupy the subject premises without any contract with it; thus, their stay was by tolerance of respondent.

The fact that the complaint failed to state that respondent was in prior possession of the property before it was unlawfully withheld by petitioner spouses is of no moment.   Prior physical possession is indispensable only in actions for forcible entry but not in unlawful detainer.11 [Javelosa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124292, 10 December 1996, 265 SCRA 493.]

Petitioner spouses, as mere sublessees of Purisima Salazar, derive their right from the sublessor whose termination of contract with the lessor necessarily also ends the sublease contract.   Thus, when the contract of lease of Purisima Salazar with respondent was terminated the contract of sublease of  petitioners with the former also necessarily ended and petitioners cannot insist on staying on the premises.   Petitioners can invoke no right superior to that of their sublessor.12 [Duellome v. Gotico, No. L-17846, 29 April 1963, 7 SCRA 841.]

It is not correct to say that petitioners could not have occupied the property by tolerance of respondent as their entry into the premises was inceptively illegal, the sublease being entered into without the consent of the owner.13 [Sec. 4.  Assignment of Lease or Subleasing. – Assignment of lease or subleasing of the whole or any portion of the residential unit, including the acceptance of boarders or bedspacers, without the written consent of the owner/lessor is prohibited (Batas Pambansa Blg. 887).] Petitioners argue that tolerance is only available in cases where entry was lawful from the start and cannot be asserted where entry was illegal from the start.   It appears however that respondent did not expressly and equivocally prohibit the subleasing of the property.   Although the attached contracts of lease state that the lessee cannot sublease the property, none of those contracts pertain to the contract of lease between Purisima Salazar and respondent PATRICIA. 14 [Attached Contracts of Lease pertain to those between Patricia, Inc., and Renato Establecida,  Patricia, Inc., and  Augusto Tortosa, and not Patricia, Inc., and herein petitioners; Rollo,  pp. 109-114. ]   In any event, the fact that PATRICIA sent a letter to the Jimenez spouses informing them of the termination of the lease of Purisima Salazar shows that they recognize and acknowledge their stay in the premises as sublessees of Salazar.  However, after the termination of the contract  of  lease  of  Purisima Salazar  with PATRICIA, any right of the Jimenez spouses to stay in the premises, although previously recognized, then and there ended.   After the termination of the contract of lease of Salazar the continued stay of the Jimenez spouses thereat was merely by tolerance of PATRICIA and it became unlawful after they ignored the lessor's demand to leave.

The status of petitioner spouses is akin to that of a lessee or a tenant whose term of lease has expired but whose occupancy has continued by tolerance of the owner.   A person who occupies the land of another at the latter's forbearance or permission without any contract between them is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against him. 15 [Vda. De Catchuela v. Francisco,  No. L-31985, 25 June 1980, 98 SCRA 172, citing Calubayan v. Pascual, No. L-22645, 18 September 1967, 21 SCRA 146; Yu v. de Lara, No. L-16084, 30 November 1962, 6 SCRA 785.] The present action being for unlawful detainer, it is well within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the metropolitan trial courts.

Justice Belosillo, Second Division, Sps. Jimenez v. Patricia, Inc., [G.R. No. 134651.  September 18, 2000]

 

 

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. 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. In such case, the regional trial court has jurisdiction.

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 [Serdoncillo vs. Benolirao, G.R. No. 118328, October 8, 1998; San Miguel Corporation vs. NLRC, 255 SCRA 133 [1996]; Boleyley vs. Villanueva, G. R. No. 128734, September 14, 1999.]

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 [Aguilon vs. Bohol, 79 SCRA 482 [1977]; Desbarats vs. de Laureano, 18 SCRA 116 [1966].] 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 [Bernabe vs. Dayrit, 125 SCRA 423, 425 [1983].] In such case, the regional trial court has jurisdiction.12 [Bernabe vs. Dayrit, supra.] 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 [Javier vs. Veridiano, 237 SCRA 565, 573 [1994]; Medina vs. Court of Appeals, 181 SCRA 837 [1990]; Bernabe vs. Dayrit, supra; del Castillo vs. Aquino, 212 SCRA 553 [1992].] 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 [Pacis vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 102676, February 3, 1992, min. res., cited in Summary of 1992 Supreme Court Rulings, Part III, by Atty. Daniel T. Martinez, p. 1847; Desbarats vs. de Laureano, supra.] 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 [Desbarats vs. de Laureano, supra.]

Justice Pardo, First Division, SPOUSES ROMAN & AMELITA T. CRUZ and SPOUSES SEVERINO& PRIMITIAVA T. BAUTISTA, petitioners, vs. SPOUSES ALFREDO & MELBA TORRES and THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents [G.R. No. 121939. October 4, 1999]

 

 

Anent the ejectment case, the one-year reglementary period under Section 1, Rule 70  for filing an unlawful detainer case is counted from the time of the "unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession". Such unlawful deprivation occurs upon expiration or termination of the right to hold possession. And such right legally expires or terminates upon receipt of the last demand to vacate.   

 

Anent the ejectment case, the one-year reglementary period under Section 1, Rule 70  22 [The 1964 Revised Rules of Court] for filing an unlawful detainer case is counted from the time of the "unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession". Such unlawful deprivation occurs upon expiration or termination of the right to hold possession. And such right legally expires or terminates upon receipt of the last demand to vacate 23 [ See Sy Oh v. Hon. Garcia and Lim Chi v. Hon Garcia, 138 Phil. 777]

In this case, although possession by petitioners (other than Villaluz) lasted beyond March 31, 1988 (the date they were supposed to vacate the premises in accordance with the agreement between petitioner Villaluz and private respondents),24 [ Rollo, p. 232]  nevertheless their continued possession from April 1, 1988 up to the time they received the demand to vacate on February 23, 1989,  25 [ Rollo, p. 234] is considered as possession by tolerance. Said petitioners are not lessees but their status is analogous to that of a lessee or tenant whose term of lease has expired but whose occupancy continued by tolerance of the owner. Their right of possession of the said property stems from their being employees of petitioner Villaluz who only allowed them to occupy the premises for a certain period. As such, their possession depends upon the possession of petitioner Villaluz. Having merely stepped into the shoes of the latter, said petitioners cannot acquire superior rights than that of petitioner Villaluz. It has been ruled, that "the person who occupies the land of another at the latter's tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate the same upon demand," otherwise the remedy of ejectment may be availed of to oust him from the premises. 26 [ Refugia v. CA, 258 SCRA 347 (1996); Yu v. De Lara, 6 SCRA 785 (1962)] In such case, the one year prescriptive period for filing the appropriate action to remedy the unlawful withholding of possession is to be counted from the date of receipt of the last demand to vacate 27 [Calubayan v. Pascual, 215 SCRA 146] because it is only from that time that possession becomes illegal. 28 [ See Vda. de Prieto v. Reyes, 14 SCRA 430; Canaynay v. Sarmiento, 79 Phil. 36] Accordingly, since the complaint for ejectment was instituted on July 12, 1989,  29 [Petition, p. 26; Rollo, p. 33] or a mere four (4) months from the time of the last demand to vacate, the same was timely filed within the prescriptive period.

Finally, petitioners (other than Villaluz) argue that the civil aspect in the B.P. 22 case constitutes a prejudicial question to the ejectment suit because the ownership of the premises subject of the latter suit is allegedly being disputed in the former case. The argument is not meritorious. The ejectment suit can stand on its own regardless of the outcome of the civil case in B P. 22. The resolution of either is not determinative of the other. This is so because private respondents were already the owners of the properties subject of the ejectment suit by virtue of the Deeds of Sale executed between the former and petitioner Villaluz. 30 Rollo, pp. 71-72; 228-229. The certificates of title issued in private respondents' name further confirm their ownership.  31 [TCT 127633 and 127630, (Rollo, pp. 73-74)] As owners, they may initiate legal action to recover possession thereof from an occupant who can show no right to occupy the same.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals in the assailed consolidated case is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

Justice Francisco, THIRD DIVISION, TERESITA VILLALUZ, CHIT ILAGAN, Spouses ADOR and TESS TABERNA and MARIO LLAMAS, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ** and SPOUSES REYNALDO AND ZENAIDA ANZURES, respondents, [G.R. No. 106214.  September 5, 1997.]

 

 

A co-lessee or sub-lessee of the property. Thus, it is still bound by the ejectment suit even if it was not named a party thereto.

Moreover, petitioner admits that it has been the actual occupant of the leased premises since 1980 and it has authorized Constancio Manzano to pay the rents for and in its behalf. In fact, it claims to have been paying the rent religiously, effectively implying that it is a co-lessee or sub-lessee of the property. Thus, it is still bound by the ejectment suit even if it was not named a party thereto.6 [Bataclan v. Court of Appeals, 175 SCRA 764 (1989)] It is well-settled that a judgment in an ejectment suit is binding not only upon the defendants in the suit but also against those not made parties thereto, if they are:

a) trespassers, squatters or agents of the defendant fraudulently
occupying the property to frustrate the judgment;
b) guests or other occupants of the premises with the permission of the defendant;
c) transferees pendente lite;
d) sublessee;
e) co-lessee; or
f) members of the family, relatives and other privies of the defendant.
7 [1 Florenz D. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium 793 (1997)]

Consequently, the appellate court did not act with grave abuse of discretion in annulling the trial court’s order granting the writ of preliminary injunction.

The order granting a writ of preliminary injunction is an interlocutory order; as such, it cannot by itself be subject of an appeal or a petition for review on certiorari. 8 [Saulog v. Court of Appeals, 330 Phil. 590 (1996); Arabesque Industrial Philippines, Inc. v. court of Appeals, 216 SCRA 602 (1992)] The proper remedy of a party aggrieved by such an order is to bring an ordinary appeal from an adverse judgment in the main case, citing therein the grounds for assailing the interlocutory order. However, the party concerned may file a petition for certiorari where the assailed order is patently erroneous and appeal would not afford adequate and expeditious relief. 9 [Salcedo-Ortañez v. Court of Appeals, 235 SCRA 111 (1994)] In the instant case, the trial court issued as writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the execution of the judgment in Civil Case No. 13040, in spite of the fact that the right of petitioner to occupy the leased premises has been declared by final judgment to be inexistent. Having no clear legal right, petitioner’s plea should not have merited the favorable action of the trial court. The order granting the writ of preliminary injunction was thus clearly erroneous and must be set aside. As the appellate court succintly explained:

We are mindful of the ruling of the Supreme Court that where the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter, the orders or decisions pertaining to the cause are orders or decisions within its jurisdiction and however erroneous they may be, they cannot be corrected by certiorari. However, while certiorari is generally not available to challenge an interlocutory order of a trial court, the Supreme Court allows certiorari as a mode of redress where the assailed order is patently erroneous and appeal would not afford adequate and expeditious relief. Petitioner would be made to suffer unnecessary waste of time before it could proceed with the ejectment of its lessees and all persons, including private respondent Oro Cam claiming under them if we opt to dismiss the petition and ignore the patently erroneous granting of the writ of preliminary injunciton and unduly impose upon petitioner the burden of going through the proceedings with respondent court which had evidently taken a patently erroneous view against herein petitioner’s valid stand.10 [CA Decision, p. 9; Rollo, p. 29.]

Justice Mendoza, Second Division, ORO CAM ENTERPRISES, INC., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, former Fourth Division and ANGEL CHAVES, INC., respondents [G.R. No. 128743. November 29, 1999]

 

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