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1

Sales v. Barro
This case originated from the ejectment
complaint filed by the petitioners against the respondent,
his wife, and all persons claiming rights under them
before Branch 28 of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC)
of Manila. In their complaint,
[3]
the petitioners alleged
among others that (1) they are owners of the lot
described and embraced in Transfer Certificate of Title
(TCT ) No. 262237
[4]
of the Registry of Deeds of the City
of Manila; (2) the respondent constructed a shanty
thereon without their consent; (3) the respondent and his
co-defendants have not been paying any rent to the
petitioners for their occupation thereof; (4) the
respondent and his co-defendants refused the formal
demand made by the petitioners for them to vacate the
subject lot; and (5) the Office of the Barangay Captain
of Barangay 464, Zone 46, 4
th
District, Manila issued the
necessary Certification to File Action.
[5]

In his answer, the respondent denied the
allegations of the complaint, and essentially claimed that
(1) his construction of the temporary makeshift house on
the lot was tolerated by the petitioners, considering that
he acted as the caretaker thereof; and (2) he does not
remember receiving any demand letter and summons
from the barangay and so he was surprised to know that
an ejectment complaint was filed against him.
[6]

In its Decision
[7]
dated September 27, 2004, the
MeTC found in favor of the petitioners. It held that the
respondent, his wife, and all persons claiming rights
under them, being possessors by tolerance, can be
validly ejected from the lot at any time and after due
notice. It then directed them to vacate the lot,
pay P5,000 a month from January 2004 up to such time
that the lot is actually turned over to the petitioners, and
pay P10,000 as attorneys fees.
The respondent appealed to the RTC which
affirmed in toto the assailed MeTC decision.
Unfazed by the decision of the RTC, the
respondent elevated the case to the Court of
Appeals. After finding the complaint to be substantially
lacking in the requisite allegations that would make out a
case either for forcible entry or unlawful detainer,
[8]
the
Court of Appeals reversed the RTC decision and
accordingly dismissed the petitioners complaint. The
dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals decision
reads:
WHEREFORE, premises
considered, we hereby GRANT the
petition on the basis of the lower
tribunals lack of jurisdiction, and
accordingly DISMISS respondents eject
ment complaint.
SO ORDERED.
[9]

The petitioners moved for reconsideration, but
the Court of Appeals denied the motion. Hence, this
petition on the following grounds:
I.
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DISMISSING
PETITIONERS EJECTMENT
COMPLAINT ON THE ALLEGED
GROUND THAT
THE COMPLAINT FAILED TO STATE
THE JURISDICTIONAL FACT OF
PRIOR PHYSICAL POSSESSION.
II.
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT RULING
THAT THE RESPONDENT WAS IN
ESTOPPEL FROM QUESTIONING
THE JURISDICTION OF THE
METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT
ASSUMING, WITHOUT ADMITTING,
THAT THE LOWER COURT HAD NO
JURISDICTION OVER THE
COMPLAINT.
[10]

Simply put, we are asked to resolve: (1)
whether the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed the
complaint; and (2) whether the respondent was already
estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the MeTC.
Anent the first issue, the petitioners argue that
the complaint was for unlawful detainer, and hence,
there was no need for them to allege prior physical
possession of the lot. They further contend that their
position that the complaint was for unlawful detainer is
supported by the claim of the respondent in his answer
that he made a temporary makeshift structure on the lot
to serve as his living place and that the same was
tolerated by the petitioners considering that he acted as
caretaker of the property.
[11]
For his part, the
respondent insists that the Court of Appeals was correct
in dismissing the complaint.
[12]

After carefully examining the averments of the
petitioners complaint and the character of the reliefs
sought therein,
[13]
we hold that the Court of Appeals did
not err in finding that the complaint was for forcible entry,
and that the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed it.
2

There are two reasons why we could not
subscribe to the petitioners submission that their
complaint was for unlawful detainer. Firstly, the
petitioners own averment in the complaint that the
defendant constructed a shanty in the lot of the
plaintiffs without their consent,
[14]
and the relief asked for
by the petitioners that the respondent and his wifepay the
amount of P10,000 a month beginning January 2004 as
for reasonable rent of the subject premises,
[15]
clearly
contradict their claim. It must be highlighted that as
admitted by the petitioners in their motion for
reconsideration
[16]
before the appellate court, and as
evidenced by the TCT No. 262237 annexed to the
complaint, the petitioners became owners of the property
only on January 6, 2004. By averring that the respondent
constructed his shanty on the lot without their consent and
then praying that the MeTC direct the respondent to pay
them rent from January 2004, or from the inception of the
respondents occupation of the lot, no other conclusion
can be made except that the petitioners had always
considered respondents occupation of the same to be
unlawful from the very beginning. Hence, the complaint
can never support a case for unlawful detainer. It is a
settled rule that in order to justify an action for unlawful
detainer, the owners permission or tolerance must be
present at the beginning of the possession.
[17]

Secondly, the nature of the complaint is neither
changed nor dependent upon the allegations and/or
defenses made in the answer. As we had previously
stated in Caiza v. Court of Appeals,
[18]
it is axiomatic that
what determines the nature of an action as well as which
court has jurisdiction over it, are the allegations of the
complaint and the character of the relief sought.
As correctly found by the Court of Appeals, what
the petitioners actually filed was a fatally defective
complaint for forcible entry, considering that there was
no allegation therein regarding the petitioners prior
physical possession of the lot.
[19]
In Tirona v. Alejo, we
held that in actions for forcible entry, two allegations
are mandatory for the municipal trial court to acquire
jurisdiction: first, the plaintiff must allege his prior
physical possession of the property; and second, he
must also allege that he was deprived of his possession
by any of the means provided for in Section 1,
[20]
Rule
70 of the Rules of Court, namely, force, intimidation,
threats, strategy, and stealth.
[21]

The petitioners allegation that they are the
registered owners of the lot miserably falls short of
satisfying the required averment of prior physical
possession. As we had clarified and stressed in Tirona,
the word possession as used in forcible entry and
unlawful detainer, means nothing more
than physical possession, not legal possession in the
sense contemplated in civil law.
[22]

Finally, was the respondent already estopped
from questioning the jurisdiction of the MeTC to try the
petitioners complaint? The petitioners argue that the
respondent is already estopped because the respondent
failed to assail the jurisdiction of the MeTC at the earliest
opportunity and actively participated in the proceedings
before it.
[23]
The respondent counters that he could not
be held guilty of estoppel because he questioned in his
answer and pleadings petitioners allegation that he was
served a demand letter. By questioning the veracity of
the allegation of the existence of a jurisdictional
requirement, he, in effect, questioned the jurisdiction of
the MeTC in trying the case.
[24]

It is well-settled that a courts jurisdiction may be
raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on
appeal. The reason is that jurisdiction is conferred by
law, and lack of it affects the very authority of the court
to take cognizance of and to render judgment on the
action.
[25]
The rule remains that estoppel does not
confer jurisdiction on a tribunal that has none over the
cause of action or subject matter of the case.
[26]
In any
event, even if respondent did not raise the issue of
jurisdiction, the reviewing court is not precluded from
ruling that it has no jurisdiction over the case. In this
sense, dismissal for lack of jurisdiction may even be
ordered by the court motu proprio.
[27]

WHEREFORE, the instant petition
is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs against the
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.














3

MEDINA vs GREENFIELD DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION,
The propriety of the writ of preliminary injunction issued
by the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City (Branch
276) in Civil Case No. 98-233 is the sole issue in this
petition for review on certiorari, assailing the decision of
the Court of Appeals nullifying said writ.
Petitioners are the grandchildren of Pedro Medina from
two marriages. In his first marriage to Isadora San Jose,
Pedro sired three children: Rafael, Rita and Remegia; in
his second marriage, this time to Natalia Mullet, Pedro
had five: Cornelio, Brigida, Balbino, Crisanta and Rosila.
Except for Balbino and Crisanta, all of Pedro's children
likewise bore children, the petitioners in this case.
1

On June 5, 1962, Pedro, his brother Alberto Medina and
his niece Nazaria Cruz (Alberto's daughter) executed a
notarized Contract to Sell in favor of respondent
Greenfield Development Corporation over a parcel of
land located in Muntinlupa City, then in the Province of
Rizal, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.
100177 (Lot 90-A) and measuring 17,121 square
meters.
2
A notarized Deed of Sale covering said
property was subsequently entered into on June 27,
1962, in favor of respondent, and this time signed by
Pedro, Cornelio, Brigida, Balbino, Gregoria, Crisanta,
Rosila, and Alberto, all surnamed Medina, and Nazaria
Cruz, as vendors.
3

Thereafter, a notarized Deed of Absolute Sale with
Mortgage was executed on September 4, 1964 in favor
of respondent over Lot 90-B covered by TCT No.
100178, measuring 16,291 square meters. Signing as
vendors were Pedro, Cornelio, Brigida, Balbino,
Gregoria, Crisanta, Rosila, and Alberto, all surnamed
Medina, and Nazaria Cruz.
4

By virtue of these sales, respondent was able to register
in its name the title to the two parcels of land with TCT
No. 100578 covering Lot 90-A and TCT No. 133444
covering Lot 90-B. These properties were consolidated
with other lots and were eventually registered on July 19,
1995, in the name of respondent under TCT Nos.
202295, 202296 and 202297.
5

On November 6, 1998, petitioners instituted Civil Case
No. 98-233, an action for annulment of titles and deeds,
reconveyance, damages with preliminary injunction and
restraining order, against respondent and the Register of
Deeds of Makati.
6
Included in the complaint are the heirs
of Nazaria Cruz, as unwilling co-plaintiffs.
7
Petitioners
allege in their complaint that they are co-owners of these
two parcels of land. While the titles were registered in
the names of Pedro, Alberto, Cornelio, Brigida and
Gregoria, all surnamed Medina, they alleged that they
were recognized as co-owners thereof. In support of
their case, petitioners maintain that the deeds of sale on
these properties were simulated and fictitious, and the
signatures of the vendors therein were fake. Despite the
transfer of the title to respondent's name, they remained
in possession thereof and in fact, their caretaker, a
certain Santos Arevalo and his family still reside on a
portion of the property. On July 13, 1998, petitioners
caused an adverse claim to be annotated on the titles.
After discovering the annotation, respondent constructed
a fence on the property and posted security personnel,
barring their ingress and egress. Thus, petitioners
sought, among others, the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction
enjoining respondent and its agents and representatives
from preventing petitioners to exercise their rights over
the properties.
8

Respondent denied the allegations, stating that
petitioners have no valid claim on the properties as it is
already titled in its name by virtue of the public
documents executed by their predecessors. As
counterclaim, respondent alleged that Santos Arevalo is
not petitioners' caretaker and it was them who employed
him as caretaker.
9

On January 18, 1999, the trial court issued its resolution
granting petitioners' prayer for injunctive relief.
the Court of Appeals
11
rendered its decision nullifying the
trial court's resolution,
the sole issue in this case is whether or not the trial court
erred in granting petitioners' prayer for injunctive relief.
In sum, the trial court committed grave abuse of
discretion in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction,
and the Court of Appeals was correct in nullifying the
same.
Possession and ownership are two different legal
concepts. Just as possession is not a definite proof of
ownership, neither is non-possession inconsistent with
ownership. Even assuming that petitioners' allegations
are true, it bears no legal consequence in the case at
hand because the execution of the deeds of
conveyances is already deemed equivalent to delivery of
the property to respondent, and prior physical delivery or
possession is not legally required.
28
Under Article 1498
of the Civil Code, "when the sale is made through a
public instrument, the execution thereof shall be
equivalent to the delivery of the object of the contract, if
from the deed the contrary does not appear or cannot be
inferred." Possession is also transferred, along with
ownership thereof, to respondent by virtue of the
notarized deeds of conveyances.
Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court provides for the
grounds justifying the issuance of a preliminary
injunction, to wit:
4

SEC. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary
injunction. - A preliminary injunction may be
granted when it is established:
(a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief
demanded, and the whole or part of such relief
consists in restraining the commission or
continuance of the act or acts complained of, or
in requiring the performance of an act or acts,
either for a limited period or perpetually;
(b) That the commission, continuance or non-
performance of the act or acts complained of
during the litigation would probably work
injustice to the applicant; or
(c) That a party, court, agency or a person is
doing, threatening or is attempting to do, or is
procuring or suffering to be done, some act or
acts probably in violation of the rights of the
applicant respecting the subject of the action or
proceeding, and tending to render the judgment
ineffectual.
The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to prevent
threatened or continuous irremediable injury to some of
the parties before their claims can be thoroughly studied
and adjudicated. Its sole aim is to preserve the status
quo until the merits of the case can be heard
fully.
16
Thus, to be entitled to an injunctive writ, the
petitioner has the burden to establish the following
requisites:
17

1) a right in esse or a clear and unmistakable
right to be protected;
(2) a violation of that right;
(3) that there is an urgent and permanent act
and urgent necessity for the writ to prevent
serious damage.
Hence, petitioners' entitlement to the injunctive writ
hinges on their prima facie legal right to the properties
subject of the present dispute. The Court notes that the
present dispute is based solely on the parties'
allegations in their respective pleadings and the
documents attached thereto. We have on one hand,
petitioners' bare assertion or claim that they are co-
owners of the properties sold by their predecessors to
respondent, and on the other, respondent's claim of
ownership supported by deeds of conveyances and
torrens titles in their favor. From these alone, it is clear
that petitioners failed to discharge the burden of clearly
showing a clear and unmistakable right to be protected.
Where the complainant's right or title is doubtful or
disputed, injunction is not proper. The possibility of
irreparable damage without proof of actual existing right
is not a ground for an injunction.


























5

G.R. No. 162787
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
Vs ALONTE,
On August 10, 2001, the petitioner-
appellee [herein respondent]
Lourdes F. Alonte filed a Petition
for the Reconstitution of the
Original of Transfer Certificate of
Title No. 335986 and Issuance of
the Corresponding Owner's
Duplicate thereof supposedly over
lot 18-B of the subd. Plan (LRC)
Psd-328326 containing an area of
Eighty Square Meters and Ninety
Five Square Decimeters (80.95)
situated in
the Municipality of Caloocan (now
Quezon City).

The petitioner-
appellee alleged in its [sic] petition
that she is the owner in fee simple of
a parcel of land with its
improvement situated
in Quezon City, bounded and
described as follows:

x x x x

It is further alleged that the
original copy of the aforesaid title
which used to be kept in the Office
of the Register of Deeds
of Quezon City was among those
declared either destroyed or burned
during the fire which razed the said
office on June 11, 1988 (Annex
E, Certification From the Register
of Deeds, Records, p. 9).

Likewise, the petitioner-
appellee alleged that the owner's
Duplicate copy thereof was lost and
an affidavit to that effect was
executed and accordingly filed in
the Office of the Registry of Deeds
for Quezon City (Annex F).

At the ex-parte hearing
conducted on January 4, 2002, the
petitioner-appellee was represented
by her attorney-in-
fact, Editha Alonte as evidenced by
a Special Power of Attorney (Exh.
H). The petitioner-appellee is
presently in the United States and
the witness and her family together
with her sisters-in-law are the ones
presently occupying the house
erected thereon.

The following documents
were presented to prove the
jurisdictional facts:

The adjoining owners of the subject
property were also furnished with copies of
the Order dated August 29, 2001 by registered
mail, as evidenced by the registry return cards
(Exhibits G, G-1 and G-2) attached to the
records. There being no opposition thereto, the
petitioner was allowed to present her evidence
ex-parte before a Hearing Officer designated by
the Court.
the RTC granted the petition. CA then
issued the assailed Decision affirming the
RTC judgment. The CA held that the
RTC did not err in ordering the
reconstitution of the original copy of
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.
6

335986 based on a photocopy because
the court applied Section 3(f) of Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 26, entitled An Act
Providing a Special Procedure for the
Reconstitution of Torrens Certificate of
Title Lost or Destroyed, which took
effect on September 26, 1946. Said
provision states that transfer certificates
of title shall be reconstituted from
x x xany other document which, in the
judgment of the court, is sufficient and
proper basis for reconstituting the lost or
destroyed certificate of title.
w/n The Court of Appeals erred in finding that
there is sufficient and proper basis for
reconstitution of TCT No. 335986.
The petition is unmeritorious.
The petition for reconstitution alleged that
respondent is in possession of the subject lot and
it listed the names and addresses of adjoining
owners enumerated in the Certification from the
Office of the City Assessor dated August 1,
2001; it stated that the title is free from any and
all liens and encumbrances; and it stated that a
copy of TCT No. 335986 is attached to the
petition and made an integral part of the petition,
hence, the restrictions and liabilities appearing at
the back of the copy of the TCT are deemed part
of the petition for reconstitution. Said petition
was also accompanied by a technical description
of the property approved by the Commissioner
of the National Land Titles and Deeds
Registration Administration, the predecessor of
the LRA, as prescribed under the last condition
of Section 12 of R.A. No. 26. Thus, the petition
clearly complied with the requirements of
Section 12, R.A. No. 26.

Section 12. Petitions for reconstitution
from sources enumerated in Section
x x x 3(f) of this Act, shall be filed with
the proper Court of First Instance, by the
registered owner, his assigns, or any
person having an interest in the
property. The petition shall state or
contain, among other things, the
following: (a) that the owner's duplicate
of the certificate of title had been lost or
destroyed; (b) that no co-owner's,
mortgagee's or lessee's duplicate had
been issued, or, if any had been issued,
the same had been lost or destroyed; (c )
the location, area and boundaries of the
property; (d) the nature and description of
the buildings or improvements, if any,
which do not belong to the owner of the
land, and the names and addresses of the
owners of such buildings or
improvements; (e) the names and
addresses of the occupants or persons in
possession of the property, of the owners
of the adjoining properties and of all
persons who may have any interest in the
property; (f) a detailed description of the
encumbrances, if any, affecting the
property; and (g) a statement that no
deeds or other instruments affecting the
property have been presented for
registration, or, if there be any, the
registration thereof has not been
accomplished, as yet. All documents, or
authenticated copies thereof, to be
introduced in evidence in support of the
petition for reconstitution shall be
attached thereto and filed with the same:
Provided, That in case the reconstitution
is to be made exclusively from sources
enumerated in Sections 2(f) or 3(f) of this
Act, the petition shall be further
accompanied with a plan and technical
description of the property duly approved
by the Chief of the General Land
Registration Office, or with a certified
copy of the description taken from a prior
certificate of title covering the same
property.

7

Section 13. The Court shall
cause a notice of the petition, filed under
the preceding section, to be published, at
the expense of the petitioner, twice in
successive issues of the Official Gazette,
and to be posted on the main entrance of
the provincial building and of the
municipal building of the municipality or
city in which the land is situated, at least
thirty days prior to the date of
hearing. The court shall likewise cause a
copy of the notice to be sent, by
registered mail or otherwise, at the
expense of the petitioner, to every person
named therein whose address is known,
at least thirty days prior to the date of
hearing. Said notice shall state, among
other things, the number of the lost or
destroyed certificate of title, if known, the
name of the registered owner, the names
of the occupants or persons in possession
of the property, the owners of the
adjoining properties and all other
interested parties, the location, area and
boundaries of the property, and the date
on which all persons having any interest
therein, must appear and file their claim
or objections to the petition. The
petitioner shall, at the hearing, submit
proof of the publication, posting and
service of the notice as directed by the
court.