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Republic of the Philippines REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CAVITE Fourth Judicial Region Branch _______ Bacoor, Cavite
JOSE REYES, Plaintiff- Appellant
MANUEL SANTOS, Defendant- Appellee
x-------------------------------------------x APPELLEE’S MEMORANDUM Defendant- Appellee, Manuel Santos, by counsel, to this Honorable Court, most respectfully submits this memorandum.
1. This appealed case stemmed from an ejectment case filed by plaintiff Jose Reyes (Plaintiff-appellant), which sought to recover the material possession of a parcel of land and the award of damages, against defendant Manuel Santos (Defendant-appellee) with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Bacoor, Cavite therein docketed as Civil Case No. 001-2011. 2. On February 23, 2012, the Municipal Trial Court rendered the decision dismissing the complaint. 3. Not satisfied, plaintiff-appellant filed a Notice of Appeal on March 23, 2012. Hence, this memorandum in response to the memorandum for the Plaintiff-appellant.
STATEMENT OF FACTS 4. Plaintiff owns a parcel of agricultural land consisting of 1,200 sq. m., more or less, that is located in Molino, Bacoor, Cavite. 5. He acquired title over the said land in 1985, by way of absolue sale from the previous owner thereof, Jaime Panganiban, as shown by the Deed of Absolute Sale, a copy of which is attached as Annex A. 6. As a result of the sale, plaintiff was issued Tax Declaration No. 12345-1985, a copy of which is attached Annex B, as well as official receipts evidencing the payment of real property taxes from 1985 up to 2010, copies of which are attached as C and C-1 to 25.
7. Plaintiff then planted trees and other plants on the property. He also erected a perimeter fence around the premises. 8. Sometime in July 2009, plaintiff went to the United States for a vacation. Upon his return in December 2009, plaintiff went to visit his property in Molino, Bacoor, Cavite. 9. Plaintiff then discovered that defendant Manuel Santos was occupying the subject property. 10. Plaintiff thereupon demanded from defendant to vacate the subject premises. The defendant did not heed said demand. Plaintiff again sent another demand in February 2010, as shown by a copy of the letter dated February 3, 2010, a copy of which is attached as Annex D. The defendant also did not heed this later demand. 11. Plaintiff prayed that Judgment be rendered ordering the defendant Manuel Santos to peaceably turn over the physical possession of the subject property to plaintiff Jose Reyes; that defendant be directed to pay plaintiff the sum of P1,500.00 as reasonable compensation for the use of the subject property, for every month starting February 2010 until the plaintiff is actually restored to the physical possession of the property; and that defendant be commanded to remove any and improvements he erected on the property. 12. The answer filed by Manuel Santos materially alleges that he started occupying the subject premises in September 2009, after a storm destroyed his house in Talaba, Bacoor, Cavite. 13. At that time, the subject premises were not occupied or claimed by any person, including the plaintiff. In fact, there was nothing in the said premises that indicated that the plaintiff owns the subject property. There was no fence to enclose the property. 14. The defendant declared the property for taxation purposes in September 2009, as shown by Tax Declaration No. 23456-2009, a copy of which is attached as Annex 1. Said tax declaration shows that the property has a market value of P450,000.00. 15. He also paid real property taxes in 2009 and 2010, as shown by the official receipts issued to him by the Municipal Treasurer of Bacoor, copies of which are attached as Annexes 2 and 3. The defendant likewise registered with the Municipal Assessor of Bacoor, Cavite, an Affidavit of Ownership over the subject premises, a copy of which is attached as Annex 4. 16. Defendant contends that Plaintiff has no right to claim the property, much less oust the defendant from the possession thereof. 17. He prayed for the dismissal of the complaint.
DECISION OF THE MTC 18. On February 23, 2012, the Municipal Trial Court rendered a decision which dismissed the complaint (page 6, Decision). 19. In dismissing the complaint, the MTC found that plaintiff cannot avail himself of the provisions of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, because an ejectment case should not involve ownership issues (page 2, Decision); 20. That even assuming that the plaintiff can raise issue of ownership, the trial court has no jurisdiction to resolve the same, since the property has a market value of P450,000.00 (page 3, Decision);
21. That even if the trial court has jurisdiction to decide the respective claims of ownership of the parties, it would appear that defendant Manuel Santos is the owner of the subject premises, because he has an affidavit of ownership that was duly registered with the Municipal Assessor of Bacoor, Cavite (page 4, Decision); 22. And that, if it were true that plaintiff acquired earlier in 1985 the title to the property, the defendant was still issued tax declaration over the same property, and his real property tax payments thereon were also received by the Municipal Treasurer of Bacoor, Cavite, thereby belying plaintiff's claim of title (page 5, Decision).
DISCUSSION AND ARGUMENTS ON THE ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
23. In his memorandum, plaintiff-appellant assigned three reversible errors allegedly committed by the MTC, to wit: First Assignment of Error: THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PLAINTIFF MAY NOT AVAIL HIMSELF OF THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 70 UNDER THE RULES OF COURT. Second Assignment of Error: THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT IT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO RESOLVE THE CASE SINCE THE PROPERTY HAS A MARKET VALUE OR P450,000.00. Third Assignment of Error: THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT EVEN ASSUMING THAT IT HAS JURISDICTION TO RESOLVE THE CASE, THE DEFENDANT APPEARS TO BE THE RIGHTFUL OWNER OF THE PROPERTY. 24. Since the three assignments of errors are closely intertwined with each other, it shall be discussed together and simultaneously. 25. The action instituted under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court shall either be one of Forcible Entry or Unlawful detainer. The case bar is one for forcible entry because the plaintiff alleged in his complaint that he has actual possession of the property until he was deprived of possession by the defendant, and that the defendant acquired possession of the property by means enumerated in Rule 70 of the Court. 26. The plaintiff-appellant’s contention that the MTC erred in finding that he cannot avail himself of the provisions of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, because an ejectment case should not involve ownership issues is misplaced. The issue in an ejectment suit is limited to the physical possession of real property and is separate and distinct from the issue of ownership and possession de jure that either party may set forth in his pleading. 27. Furthermore, it is only an exception where the issue on ownership may be raised for the purpose of determining the issue of possession such as by proving the extent and character of the possession claimed (Pitargue vs Sorilla, 92 Phil. 5). Issue on ownership shall be raised in exceptional cases where the question of possession cannot be resolved without resolving the former, the condition being that the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession.
28. Meanwhile, even assuming that issue on ownership can be raised and even if MTC has jurisdiction over the case irrespective of the amount or value of the property, plaintiffappellant still cannot avail himself of the provisions of Rule 70 because his period to file the action has lapsed. Plaintiff-appellant discovered the alleged unlawful possession of the defendant in December 2009, but filed a case only on September 14, 2011. Rule 70 of the Rules of Court provides that action for either forcible entry or unlawful detainer shall be brought before the MTC at any time within one (1) year after unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession. 29. As to the argument of the plaintiff-appellant on the claim of ownership as evidenced by a deed of absolute sale and that defendant’s affidavit of ownership as an indecisive proof of ownership to the property is immaterial in the case. Even assuming that the plaintiffappellant filed the case on time and MTC acquired jurisdiction accordingly, the action is ejectment case under Rule 70 and ownership is not resolved. It is an established principle that what is at issue is prior possession regardless of who has lawful title over the disputed property. Judgment rendered in a case for recovery of possession is conclusive only on the question of possession and not on the ownership (Javier vs. Veridiano, GR No. L-4850 citing Manlapaz vs CA, GR No. L-39430). 30. Therefore, the MTC did not commit error when it dismissed the complaint of the plaintiff-appellant in the ejectment suit.
PRAYER Wherefore, it is most respectfully prayed that the appeal interposed by the appellant be dismissed. Other reliefs deemed just, proper and equitable in the premises are likewise most respectfully prayed for. Bacoor, Cavite, 23 April 2012.
ATTY. JISELLE RAE A. VILLAMOR [Counsel for Appellee] Attorneys Roll No. 30312 IBP O.R. No. 11189, 3 February 2012 PTR O.R. No. 902389
Copy served by personal service upon:
ATTY. MYTA EVANGELINE VERGARA Katipunan, Quezon City on April 23, 2012
Republic of the Philippines] Bacoor, Cavite] s.s.
VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING
I, MANUEL SANTOS, of legal age, Filipino citizen, and resident of Bacoor, Cavite, after having been duly sworn to in accordance with law, depose: 1. That I am the defendant in the above-titled case; that I have caused the preparation and filing of the foregoing Answer; that I have read and do understand the contents thereof; and that to the best of my knowledge, the allegations therein are true and correct. 2. That I hereby certify that, I have not commenced any similar action or claim before any court, body, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency involving the herein case against the herein adverse party, and to the best of my knowledge, no such similar action or claim is pending therein, and that if I learn that there is such similar action or claim pending, I shall promptly notify this Honorable Court and such court, body, tribunal or agency. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have affixed my signature this 23rd day of April 2012 in Bacoor, Cavite.
MANUEL SANTOS [Affiant] Voter’s ID 09231989 Issued by COMELEC SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 23rd of April 2012 in Bacoor, Cavite, affiant having exhibited to me his identification document above stated. ……………………………………………………………………. CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I HEREBY CERTIFY that on April 23, 2012, I served copy of the foregoing Memorandum upon plaintiffs through their counsel, Atty. Myta Evangeline Vergara at her given address at Katipunan, Quezon City by personal service.
Bacoor, Cavite, 23 April 2012.