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G.R. No.

L-9069 March 31, 1915


THE MUNICIPALITY OF CAITE, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
HILARIA RO!A" a#$ h%r h&'(a#$ TIUNG "IU)O, a*+a' "I,A, defendants-appellees.
Attorney-General Villamor for appellant.
J. Y. Pinzon for appellees.
TORRE", J.-
Appeal filed through bill of exceptions by the Attorney-General, representing the plaintiff
municipality of Cavite, from the judgment of March 2, !"!#, $hereby the %onorable %erbert
&. Gale, judge, dismissed the complaint $ith costs against the plaintiff party, declaring that the
said municipality had no right to re'uire that the defendants vacate the land in 'uestion.
(y an instrument dated &ecember ), !"!!, after$ards amended on March !*, !"!2, the
provincial fiscal of Cavite, representing the municipality of that name, filed a complaint in the
Court of +irst ,nstance of said province alleging that the plaintiff municipal corporation, duly
organi-ed and constituted in accordance $ith Act .o. /2, and as the successor to the rights s aid
entity had under the late 0panish government, and by virtue of Act .o. !1#", had exclusive right,
control and administration over the streets, lanes, pla-as, and public places of the municipality of
Cavite2 that the defendants, by virtue of a lease secured from the plaintiff municipality, occupy a
parcel of land "# s'uare meters in area that forms part o the public pla-a 3no$n under the name
of 0oledad, belonging to the municipality of Cavite, the defendants having constructed thereon a
house, through payment to the plaintiff for occupation thereof of a rental of 4),)/ a 'uarter in
advance, said defendants being furthermore obligated to vacate the leased land $ithin sixty days
subse'uent to plaintiff5s demand to that effect2 that the defendants have been re'uired by the
municipality to vacate and deliver possession of the said land, but more than the sixty days
$ithin $hich they having done so to date2 that the lease secured from the municipality of Cavite,
by virtue $hereof the defendants occupy the land that is the subject matter of the complaint, is
ultra vires and therefore ipso facto null and void and of no force or effect, for the said land is an
integral portion of a public pla-a of public domain and use, and the municipal council of Cavite
has never at any time had any po$er or authority to $ithdra$ it from public use, and to lease it
to a private party for his o$n use, and so the defendants have never had any right or occupy or to
retain the said land under leasehold, or in any other $ay, their occupation of the parcel being
furthermore illegal2 and therefore prayed that judgment be rendered declaring that possession of
the sad land lies $ith the plaintiff and ordering the defendants to vacate the land and deliver
possession thereof to said plaintiff, $ith the costs against the defendants.
6he demurrer filed to the foregoing complaint having been overruled, $ith exception on the part
of the defendants, in their ans$er of April !1, !"!2, they admitted some of the allegations
contained in the complaint but denied that the parcel of land $hich they occupy and to $hich the
complaint refers forms and integral part of 4la-a 0oledad, or that the lease secured by them from
the municipality of Cavite $as null and void and ultra vires, stating if they refused to vacate said
land it $as because they had ac'uired the right of possession thereof. As a special defense they
alleged that, according to the lease, they could only be ordered to vacate the land leased $hen the
plaintiff municipality might need it for decoration or other public use, $hich does not apply in
the present case2 and in a cross-complaint they alleged that on the land $hich is the subject
matter of the complaint the defendants have erected a house of strong materials, assessed at
4#,111, $hich $as constructed under a license secured from the plaintiff municipality2 that if
they should be ordered to vacate the said land they $ould suffer damages to the extent of 4#,111,
$herefore they prayed that they be absolved from the complaint, or in the contrary case that the
plaintiff be sentenced to indemnify them in the sum of 4#,111 as damages, and to pay the costs.
After hearing of the case, $herein both parties submitted parol and documentary evidence, the
court rendered the judgment that he been mentioned, $hereto counsel for the municipality
excepted and in $riting as3ed for a reopening of the case and the holding of a ne$ trial. 6his
motion $as denied, $ith exception on the part of the appellant, and the for$arded to the cler3 of
this court.
,t is duly proven in the record that, upon presentation of an application by %ilaria 7ojas, he
municipal council of Cavite by resolution .o. !1, dated 8uly #, !1, 9xhibit C, leased to the said
7ojas some 1 or /1 s'uare meters of 4la-a 0oledad, on condition that she pay rent 'uarterly in
advance according to the schedule fixed in :rdinance .o. *#, land $ithin sixty days subse'uent
to notification to that effect. 6he record sho$s ;receipts, 9xhibit !< that she has paid the land tax
on the house erected on the lot.
6he boundary line bet$een the properties of the municipality of Cavite and the naval reservation,
as fixed in Act .o. !1#" of the 4hilippine Commission, appears in the plan prepared by a naval
engineer and submitted as evidence by the plaintiff, 9xhibit C of civil case .o. 2* of the Cavite
court and registered in this court as .o. "1!. According to said plan, defendant5s house is
erected on a plat of ground that forms part of the promenade called 4la-a 0oledad, and this $as
also so proven by the testimony of the plaintiff5s $itnesses.
(y section # of the said Act .o. !1#", passed 8anuary !2, !"1*, the 4hilippine Commission
granted to the municipality of Cavite all the land included in the tract called 4la-a 0oledad. ,n the
case of .icolas vs. 8ose ;= 4hil. 7ep., )/"<, $herein the municipality of Cavite, represented by
its president Catalino .icolas, sought inscription in its name of the land comprised in the said
4al-a 0oledad, $ith objection on the part of Maria 8ose et al. $ho is sought that inscription be
decreed in their name of the parcels of land in this pla-a occupied by them, this court decided
that neither the municipality nor the objectors $ere entitled to inscription, for $ith respect to the
objectors said pla-a belonged to the municipality of Cavite and $ith respect to the latter the said
4la-a 0oledad $as not transferable property of that municipality to be inscribed in its name,
because he intention of Act .o. !1#" $as that the said pla-a and other places therein enumerated
should be 3ept open for public transit2 herefore there can be no doubt that the defendant has no
right to continue to occupy the land of the municipality leased by her, for it is an integral portion
of 4la-a 0oledad, $hich if for public use and is reserved for the common benefit.
According to article #** of the Civil Code> ?4roperty for public use in provinces and in to$ns
comprises the provincial and to$n roads, the s'uares, streets, fountains, and public $aters, the
promenades, and public $or3s of general service supported by said to$ns or provinces.?
6he said 4la-a 0oledad being a promenade for public use, the municipal council of Cavite could
not in !"1 $ithdra$ or exclude from public use a portion thereof in order to lease it for the sole
benefit of the defendant %ilaria 7ojas. ,n leasing a portion of said pla-a or public place to the
defendant for private use the plaintiff municipality exceeded its authority in the exercise of its
po$ers by executing a contract over a thing of $hich it could not dispose, nor is it empo$ered so
to do.
6he Civil Code, articles !2!, prescribes that everything $hich is not outside he commerce of
man may be the object of a contract, and pla-as and streets are outside of this commerce, as $as
decided by the supreme court of 0pain in its decision of +ebruary !2, !"), $hich says>
?Communal things that cannot be soud because they are by their very nature outside of
commerce are those for public use, such as the pla-as, streets, common lands, rivers, fountains,
etc.?
6herefore, it must be concluded that the contract, 9xhibit C, $hereby he municipality of Cavite
leased to %ilaria 7ojas a portion of the 4la-a 0oledad is null and void and of no force or effect,
because it is contrary to the la$ and the thing leased cannot be the object of a contract. :n the
hyphotesis that the said lease is null and void in accordance $ith the provisions of article !#1# of
the Civil Code, the defendant must restore and deliver possession of the land described in the
complaint to the municipality of Cavite, $hich in its turn must restore to the said defendant all
the sums it may have received from her in the nature of rentals just as soon as she restores the
land improperly leased. +or the same reasons as have been set forth, and as said contract is null
and void in its origin, it can produce no effect and conse'uently the defendant is not entitled to
claim that the plaintiff municipality indemnity her for the damages she may suffer by the
removal of her house from the said land.
+or all the foregoing reasons $e must reverse the judgment appealed from and declare, as $e do
declare, that the land occupied by %ilaria 7ojas forms part of the public pla-a called 0oledad,
and as the lease of said parcel of land is null and void, $e order the defendant to vacate it and
release the land in 'uestion $ithin thirty days, leaving it cleared as it $as before hr occupation.
6here is no ground for the indemnity sought in the nature of damages, but the municipality must
in its turn to the defendant the rentals collected2 $ithout finding as to the costs. 0o ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Johnson and Araullo, JJ., concur.
Moreland, J., concurs in the result.