September 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Remedial Law

Here are selected September 2009 Philippine Supreme Court decisions on remedial law:

Action; forcible entry. There is forcible entry or desahucio when one is deprived of physical possession of land or building by means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth. The basic inquiry centers on who has the prior possession de facto. The plaintiff must prove that he was in prior possession and that he was deprived thereof.

In the instant case, respondents’ house was constructed in 1983 and they had prior physical possession until they were deprived thereof by petitioners. To substantiate their claims, respondents submitted the affidavit, dated September 20, 2002, of Carlos C. Menil and Lolito S. Bito, who witnessed the demolition of respondents’ house during the latter’s absence. Mr. Menil and Mr. Bito attested that they saw petitioner Rogelio personally supervising the demolition of respondents’ house, and that he erected a concrete fence enclosing the area where the house formerly stood. Petitioners failed to refute the foregoing allegations except with bare denials.

While petitioners hold title to the subject property where the house was located, the sole issue in forcible entry cases is who had prior possession de facto of the disputed property. In Dy, the Court held that these are summary proceedings intended to provide an expeditious means of protecting actual possession or right of possession of property. Title is not involved; that is why it is a special civil action with a special procedure.  Spouses Rogelio F. Lopez and Teotima G. Lopez vs. Samuel R. Espinosa and Angelita S. Espinosa, G.R. No. 184225, September 4, 2009

Action; nature.  Basic is the legal principle that the nature of an action is determined by the material averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought. Undeniably, Gregorio’s civil complaint, read in its entirety, is a complaint based on quasi-delict under Article 2176, in relation to Article 26 of the Civil Code, rather than on malicious prosecution. Zenaida R. Gregorio vs. Court of Appeals, et al.  G.R. No. 179799, September 11, 2009.

Action; reconveyance. An action for reconveyance or accion reivindicatoria has no effect and can exist at the same time as ejectment cases involving the same property. This is because the only issue to be resolved in an unlawful detainer case is physical or material possession of the property involved, independent of any claim of ownership by any of the parties involved. Ejectment cases are designed to summarily restore physical possession to one who has been illegally deprived of such possession, without prejudice to the settlement of the parties’ opposing claims of juridical possession in appropriate proceedings. The question of ownership may only be provisionally ruled upon for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto.   Iglesia Evangelisca Metodista En Las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF), Inc. vs. Nataniel B. Juane/Nataniel B. Juane Vs. Iglesia Evangelisca Metodista En Las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF), Inc, G.R. No. 172447, September 18, 2009.

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