G. R. NO. 132424
May 2, 2006

Spouses Valdez are the registered owner of a piece of residential lot located in Antipolo Rizal which they acquired by virtue of sales contract. The respondents Fabella, without any color of title, occupied and built their house in the said lot. The plaintiffs orally asked the defendants to peacefully surrender the premises to them several times, including on the referral of the matter before the Barangay, but they refused to vacate the lot they unlawfully occupied, even up to the and which the Barangay Captain was forced to issue the issue the necessary certificate to file action.

The petitioners filed a complaint for unlawful detainer before the MTC which it rendered a decision in favor of the petitioners spouses Valdez. Fabella appealed to the RTC in which the RTC affirmed in toto the decision of the MTC.

Thereafter they appealed to the CA which the CA reversed the decision of the RTC. It held that for spouses Valdes’ failed to make a case for unlawful detainer because they failed to show that they had given the private respondents the right to occupy the premises or that they have tolerated private respondents’ possession of the same, which is a requirement in unlawful detainer cases.

It added that the allegations in petitioners’ complaint lack jurisdictional elements for forcible entry which requires an allegation or prior material possession.

Whether or not the allegations of the complaint clearly made out a case of unlawful detainer
Whether or not the MTC has the original jurisdiction over the case

Since the two issues are intertwined, they shall be discussed together.

No. The petition is denied and the judgment of CA that the MTC for lack of jurisdiction is affirmed.

There are three kinds of actions available to recover possession of real property. These are:

a) Accion interdictal which comprises of forcible entry and unlawful detainer.

In forcible entry, one is deprived of physical possession of real property by means of force, intimidation, strategy, threats, or stealth. The possession of the property is illegal from the beginning and that the issue is which party has prior de facto possession.

In unlawful detainer, one illegally withholds possession after the expiration or termination of his right to hold possession under any contract, express or implied. The possession of the defendant is originally legal but became illegal due to the expiration or termination of the right to possess.

The jurisdiction of these two actions, which are summary in nature, lies in the proper MTC. Both actions must be brought within one year, from the date of actual entry on the land, in case of forcible entry, and from the date of last demand, in case of unlawful detainer. The issue in said cases is the right to physical possession.

b), Accion publiciana is the plenary action to recover the right of possession which should be brought in the proper RTC when dispossession has lasted for more than one year. It is an ordinary civil proceeding to determine the better right of possession of realty independently of title.

c) Third,  Accion reivindicatoria is an action to recover ownership also brought in the proper regional trial court in an ordinary civil proceeding.

Petitioners alleged in their complaint that they inherited the property from their parents, that possession thereof by private respondent was by tolerance of their mother, and after her death by their own tolerance. It is settled that one whose stay is merely tolerated becomes a deforciant illegally occupying the land the moment he is required to leave. It is essential in unlawful detainer cases of this kind, that plaintiff’s supposed acts of tolerance must have been present right from the start of the possession which is later sought to be recovered. This is where the petitioners’ cause of action fails. The evidence revealed that the possession of defendant was illegal at the inception and not merely tolerated as alleged in the complaint, considering that defendant started to occupy the subject lot and then built a house thereon without the permission and consent of petitioners and before them, their mother. Clearly, defendant’s entry in to the land was effected clandestinely, without the knowledge of the owner, consequently, it is categorized as possession by stealth which is forcible entry.

In the instant case, the allegations in the complaint do not contain any averment of fact that would substantiate petitioners’ claim they permitted or tolerated the occupation or the property by respondents. The complaint contains only bare allegations that respondents without any color of title whatsoever occupies the land in question by building their house in the said land thereby depriving petitioners the possession thereof. Since the complaint did not satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of a valid cause for unlawful detainer, the MTC had no jurisdiction over the case.

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