Special Civil Actions Initiated by Complaint: Partition (Rule 69)

Dadizon vs. Bernadas (GR 172367)

There are two stages in every action for partition under Rule 69 of the Rules of Court.

The first stage is the determination of whether or not a co-ownership in fact exists and a partition is proper (i.e., not otherwise legally proscribed) and may be made by voluntary agreement of all the parties interested in the property.

The second stage commences when it appears that the parties are unable to agree upon the partition directed by the court. In that event, partition shall be done for the parties by the court with the assistance of not more than three (3) commissioners.

Quilatan vs. Heirs of Quilatan (GR 183059)

Respondents could not be blamed if they did not raise this issue in their Answer because in an action for partition of real estate, it is the plaintiff who is mandated by the Rules to implead all the indispensable parties, considering that the absence of one such party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present.

Patricio vs. Dario III (GR 170829)

Since the parties were unable to agree on a partition, the court a quo should have ordered a partition by commissioners pursuant to Section 3, Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. Not more than three competent and disinterested persons should be appointed as commissioners to make the partition, commanding them to set off to the plaintiff and to each party in interest such part and proportion of the property as the court shall direct.

When it is made to appear to the commissioners that the real estate, or a portion thereof, cannot be divided without great prejudice to the interest of the parties, the court may order it assigned to one of the parties willing to take the same, provided he pays to the other parties such sum or sums of money as the commissioners deem equitable, unless one of the parties interested ask that the property be sold instead of being so assigned, in which case the court shall order the commissioners to sell the real estate at public sale, and the commissioners shall sell the same accordingly.

Figuracion-Gerilla vs. Carolina Vda. De Figuracion (GR 154322)

In a situation where there remains an issue as to the expenses chargeable to the estate, partition is inappropriate. While petitioner points out that the estate is allegedly without any debt and she and respondents are Leandro Figuracions only legal heirs, she does not dispute the finding of the CA that certain expenses including those related to her fathers final illness and burial have not been properly settled.  Thus, the heirs (petitioner and respondents) have to submit their fathers estate to settlement because the determination of these expenses cannot be done in an action for partition.

Reillo vs. San Jose (GR 166393)

As the RTC nullified the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate Among Heirs with Waiver of Rights executed by petitioners and the title issued in accordance therewith, the order of partition of the land subject of the settlement in accordance with the laws on intestate succession is proper as respondents action filed in the RTC and respondents prayer in their complaint asked for the partition of the subject property in accordance with intestate succession. The applicable law is Section 1, Rule 69 of the Rules of Court, which deals with action for partition, to wit:

SECTION 1. Complaint in action for partition of real estate. A person having the right to compel the partition of real estate may do so as provided in this Rule, setting forth in his complaint the nature and extent of his title and an adequate description of the real estate of which partition is demanded and joining as defendants all other persons interested in the property.

Heirs of Conti vs. CA (GR 118464)

Petitioners’ theory as to the requirement of publication would have been correct had the action been for the partition of the estate of Lourdes Sampayo, or if we were dealing with extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs and the summary settlement of estates of small value. But what private respondents are pursuing is the mere segregation of Lourdes’ one-half share which they inherited from her through intestate succession. This is a simple case of ordinary partition between co-owners. The applicable law in point is Sec. 1 of Rule 69 of the Rules of Court –

Sec. 1. Complaint in an action for partition of real estate. – A person having the right to compel the partition of real estate may do so as in this rule prescribed, setting forth in his complaint the nature and extent of his title and an adequate description of the real estate of which partition is demanded and joining as defendants all the other persons interested in the property.

And, under this law, there is no requirement for publication.

 

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Special Civil Actions Initiated by Complaint: Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage (Rule 68)

Monzon vs. Sps. Relova (GR 171827)

Rule 68 governs the judicial foreclosure of mortgages. Extra-judicial foreclosure of mortgages, which was what transpired in the case at bar, is governed by Act No. 3135, as amended by Act No. 4118, Section 6 of Republic Act No. 7353, Section 18 of Republic Act No. 7906, and Section 47 of Republic Act No. 8791.

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Even if, for the sake of argument, Rule 68 is to be applied to extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgages, such right can only be given to second mortgagees who are made parties to the (judicial) foreclosure.While a second mortgagee is a proper and in a sense even a necessary party to a proceeding to foreclose a first mortgage on real property, he is not an indispensable party, because a valid decree may be made, as between the mortgagor and the first mortgagee, without regard to the second mortgage; but the consequence of a failure to make the second mortgagee a party to the proceeding is that the lien of the second mortgagee on the equity of redemption is not affected by the decree of foreclosure.

ABACA Corp. of the Phils. vs. Garcia (GR 118408)

There are three (3) types of sales arising from failure to pay a mortgage debt, namely, the extrajudicial foreclosure sale, the judicial foreclosure sale and the ordinary execution sale. These in turn are governed by three (3) different laws. Act No. 3135 governs extrajudicial foreclosure sale, Rule 68 of the Rules of Court deals with judicial foreclosure sale, while Rule 39 covers ordinary execution sale. Act No. 3135 or An Actto Regulate the Sale of Property under Special Powers Inserted in or Annexed to Real Estate Morgage applies to the case at bar.

Villanueva vs. Cherdan Lending Investors Corp. (GR 177881)

A writ of possession is an order of the court commanding the sheriff to place a person in possession of a real or personal property. It may be issued in an extrajudicial foreclosure of a real estate mortgage under Section 7 of Act 3135, as amended by Act 4118, either 1) within the one-year redemption period, upon the filing of a bond, or 2) after the lapse of the redemption period, without need of a bond or of a separate and independent action.

Sps. Rosales vs. Sps. Suba (GR 137792)

Clearly, as a general rule, there is no right of redemption in a judicial foreclosure of mortgage. The only exemption is when the mortgagee is the Philippine National Bank or a bank or a banking institution. Since the mortgagee in this case is not one of those mentioned, no right of redemption exists in favor of petitioners. They merely have an equity of redemption, which, to reiterate, is simply their right, as mortgagor, to extinguish the mortgage and retain ownership of the property by paying the secured debt prior to the confirmation of the foreclosure sale. However, instead of exercising this equity of redemption, petitioners chose to delay the proceedings by filing several manifestations with the trial court. Thus, they only have themselves to blame for the consequent loss of their property.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust company vs. Lamb Construction Consortium Corp. (GR 170906)

Once the foreclosure is declared valid and a re-computation of the total amount of obligation is made, the court in the same case may order petitioner to return the surplus, if any, pursuant to the legal maxim, Nemo cum alterius detrimento locupletari potest no person shall be allowed to enrich himself unjustly at the expense of others.

 

 

 

Special Civil Actions Initiated by Complaint: Expropriation (Rule 67)

Sps. Yusay vs. CA (GR 156684)

Here, however, the remedy of prohibition was not called for, considering that only a resolution expressing the desire of the Sangguniang Panglungsod to expropriate the petitioners property was issued. As of then, it was premature for the petitioners to mount any judicial challenge, for the power of eminent domain could be exercised by the City only through the filing of a verified complaint in the proper court. Before the City as the expropriating authority filed such verified complaint, no expropriation proceeding could be said to exist. Until then, the petitioners as the owners could not also be deprived of their property under the power of eminent domain.

Republic vs. Hon. Mangotara (GR 170375)

Consolidated cases: 

Now, is the owner of the property an indispensable party in an action for expropriation? Not necessarily.

Going back to Rule 67, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, expropriation proceedings may be instituted even when title to the property sought to be condemned appears to be in the Republic of the Philippines, although occupied by private individuals. The same rule provides that a complaint for expropriation shall name as defendants all persons owning or claiming to own, or occupying, any part thereof or interest in the property sought to be condemned. Clearly, when the property already appears to belong to the Republic, there is no sense in the Republic instituting expropriation proceedings against itself. It can still, however, file a complaint for expropriation against the private persons occupying the property. In such an expropriation case, the owner of the property is not an indispensable party.

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The Republic is not engaging in contradictions when it instituted both expropriation and reversion proceedings for the same parcels of land. The expropriation and reversion proceedings are distinct remedies that are not necessarily exclusionary of each other.

NAPOCOR vs. Hon. Paderanga (GR 155065)

While admittedly a complaint for expropriation is not a special proceeding, the above-quoted rule requires the filing of a record on appeal in other cases of multiple or separate appeal.

Jurisprudential law, no doubt, recognizes the existence of multiple appeals in a complaint for expropriation.

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Indeed, expropriation is not limited to the acquisition of real property with a corresponding transfer of title or possession. The right-of-way easement resulting in a restriction or limitation on property rights over the land traversed by transmission lines, as in the present case, also falls within the ambit of the term expropriation

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The determination of just compensation in expropriation proceedings being a judicial function, this Court finds the commissioners recommendation of P516.66 per square meter, which was approved by the trial court, to be just and reasonable compensation for the expropriated property of Dilao and her siblings.

Metropolitan Cebu Water District vs. J.King and Sons Co., Inc. (GR 175983)

The general rule is that upon filing of the expropriation complaint, the plaintiff has the right to take or enter into possession of the real property involved if he deposits with the authorized government depositary an amount equivalent to the assessed value of the property for purposes of taxation. An exception to this procedure is provided by R.A. No. 8974. It requires the payment of one hundred percent (100%) of the zonal value of the property to be expropriated to entitle the plaintiff to a writ of possession.

In an expropriation proceeding there are two stages, first, is the determination of the validity of the expropriation, and second is the determination of just compensation. In Tan v. Republic, we explained the two (2) stages in an expropriation proceeding to wit:

(1) Determination of the authority of the plaintiff to exercise the power of eminent domain and the propriety of its exercise in the context of the facts involved in the suit. It ends with an order, if not of dismissal of the action, with condemnation declaring that the plaintiff has a lawful right to take the property sought to be condemned for the public use or purpose described in the complaint, upon payment of just compensation. An order of expropriation is final. An order of dismissal, if this be ordained, would be a final one, as it finally disposes of the action and leaves nothing more to be done by the courts on the merits. The order of expropriation would also be a final one for after its issuance, no objection to the right of condemnation shall be heard. The order of expropriation may be appealed by any party aggrieved thereby by filing a record on appeal.

(2) Determination by the court of the just compensation for the property sought to be taken with the assistance of not more than three (3) commissioners. The order fixing the just compensation on the basis of the evidence before the court and findings of the commissioners would likewise be a final one, as it would leave nothing more to be done by the court regarding the issue. A second and separate appeal may be taken from this order fixing the just compensation.

Republic vs. Hon. Gingoyon (GR 166429)

En Banc

Rep. Act No. 8974 is entitled An Act To Facilitate The Acquisition Of Right-Of-Way, Site Or Location For National Government Infrastructure Projects And For Other Purposes. Obviously, the law is intended to cover expropriation proceedings intended for national government infrastructure projects.

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The issuance of the writ of possession does not write finis to the expropriation proceedings. As earlier pointed out, expropriation is not completed until payment to the property owner of just compensation. The proffered value stands as merely a provisional determination of the amount of just compensation, the payment of which is sufficient to transfer possession of the property to the Government. However, to effectuate the transfer of ownership, it is necessary for the Government to pay the property owner the final just compensation.

 

Special Civil Actions Initiated by Complaint: Interpleader (Rule 62)

RCBC vs. Metro Container Corp. (GR 127913)

It should be remembered that an action of interpleader is afforded to protect a person not against double liability but against double vexation in respect of one liability. It requires, as an indespensable requisite, that conflicting claims upon the same subject matter are or may be made against the plaintiff-in-interpleader who claims no interest whatever in the subject matter or an interest which in whole or in part is not disputed by the claimants. The decision in Civil Case No. 6202 resolved the conflicting claims insofar as payment of rentals was concerned.

Ocampo vs. Tirona (GR 147812)

An action for interpleader is proper when the lessee does not know the person to whom to pay rentals due to conflicting claims on the property.

Maglente vs. Hon. Baltazar-Padilla (GR 148182)

Petitioners argument that the trial courts writ of execution in the interpleader case carried with it the corollary right to a writ of possession is without merit. A writ of possession complements the writ of execution only when the right of possession or ownership has been validly determined in a case directly relating to either. The interpleader case obviously did not delve into that issue.

Ramos vs. Ramos (GR 144294)

The Complaint filed by respondents with the RTC called for an interpleader to determine the ownership of the real property in question. Specifically, it forced persons claiming an interest in the land to settle the dispute among themselves as to which of them owned the property. Essentially, it sought to resolve the ownership of the land and was not directed against the personal liability of any particular person. It was therefore a real action, because it affected title to or possession of real property.  As such, the Complaint was brought against the deceased registered co-owners: Narcisa, Mario, Paulino and Antonio Chanliongco, as represented by their respective estates.

 

Provisional Remedies: Support Pendente Lite

Mangonon vs. CA (GR 125041)

A court may temporarily grant support pendente lite prior to the rendition of judgment or final order. Because of its provisional nature, a court does not need to delve fully into the merits of the case before it can settle an application for this relief. All that a court is tasked to do is determine the kind and amount of evidence which may suffice to enable it to justly resolve the application. It is enough that the facts be established by affidavits or other documentary evidence appearing in the record.

Gan vs. Hon. Reyes (GR 145527)

The money and property adjudged for support and education should and must be given presently and without delay because if it had to wait the final judgment, the children may in the meantime have suffered because of lack of food or have missed and lost years in school because of lack of funds. One cannot delay the payment of such funds for support and education for the reason that if paid long afterwards, however much the accumulated amount, its payment cannot cure the evil and repair the damage caused. The children with such belated payment for support and education cannot act as gluttons and eat voraciously and unwisely, afterwards, to make up for the years of hunger and starvation. Neither may they enrol in several classes and schools and take up numerous subjects all at once to make up for the years they missed in school, due to non-payment of the funds when needed.

 

Provisional Remedies: Replevin

Superlines vs. PNCC (GR 169596)

In a complaint for replevin, the claimant must convincingly show that he is either the owner or clearly entitled to the possession of the object sought to be recovered, and that the defendant, who is in actual or legal possession thereof, wrongfully detains the same.

BA Finance Corp. vs. CA (GR 102998)

Replevin, broadly understood, is both a form of principal remedy and of a provisional relief. It may refer either to the action itself, i.e., to regain the possession of personal chattels being wrongfully detained from the plaintiff by another, or to the provisional remedy that would allow the plaintiff to retain the thing during the pendency of the action and hold it pendente lite. The action is primarily possessory in nature and generally determines nothing more than the right of possession. Replevin is so usually described as a mixed action, being partly in rem and partly in personam-in rem insofar as the recovery of specific property is concerned, and in personam as regards to damages involved. As an “action in rem,” the gist of the replevin action is the right of the plaintiff to obtain possession of specific personal property by reason of his being the owner or of his having a special interest therein.  Consequently, the person in possession of the property sought to be replevied is ordinarily the proper and only necessary party defendant, and the plaintiff is not required to so join as defendants other persons claiming a right on the property but not in possession thereof. Rule 60 of the Rules of Court allows an application for the immediate possession of the property but the plaintiff must show that he has a good legal basis, i.e., a clear title thereto, for seeking such interim possession.

Fernandez cs. International Corporate Bank (GR 131283)

Thus, the Writ of Replevin issued by Judge Paas, xxxx may be validly enforced anywhere in the Philippines. Petitioners confused the jurisdiction of a court to hear and decide a case on the one hand with, on the other, its power to issue writs and processes pursuant to and in the exercise of said jurisdiction. Applying the said Rule, Malaloan v. Court of Appeals reiterated the foregoing distinction between the jurisdiction of the trial court and the administrative area in which it could enforce its orders and processes pursuant to the jurisdiction conferred on it.

Advent Capital and Finance Corp. vs. Young (GR 183018)

Upon the dismissal of the replevin case for failure to prosecute, the writ of seizure, which is merely ancillary in nature, became functus officio and should have been lifted. There was no adjudication on the merits, which means that there was no determination of the issue who has the better right to possess the subject car. Advent cannot therefore retain possession of the subject car considering that it was not adjudged as the prevailing party entitled to the remedy of replevin. 

The dismissal of the replevin case for failure to prosecute results in the restoration of the parties status prior to litigation, as if no complaint was filed at all. To let the writ of seizure stand after the dismissal of the complaint would be adjudging Advent as the prevailing party, when precisely no decision on the merits had been rendered. Accordingly, the parties must be reverted to their status quo ante. Since Young possessed the subject car before the filing of the replevin case, the same must be returned to him, as if no complaint was filed at all.

Rivera vs. Vargas (GR 165895)

What is the effect of a writ of replevin that has been improperly served?

The trial court is reminded that not only should the writ or order of replevin comply with all the requirements as to matters of form or contents prescribed by the Rules of Court. The writ must also satisfy proper service in order to be valid and effective: i.e. it should be directed to the officer who is authorized to serve it; and it should be served upon the person who not only has the possession or custody of the property involved but who is also a party or agent of a party to the action. Consequently, a trial court is deemed to have acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction with respect to the ancillary action of replevin if it seizes and detains a personalty on the basis of a writ that was improperly served, such as what happened in this case.

At the outset, petitioners proper remedy should have been to file a motion to quash the writ of replevin or a motion to vacate the order of seizure. Nevertheless, petitioners filing of an application for a redelivery bond, while not necessary, did not thereby waive her right to question the improper service. It now becomes imperative for the trial court to restore the parties to their former positions by returning the seized property to petitioner and by discharging the replevin bond filed by respondent. The trial, with respect to the main action, shall continue. Respondent may, however, file a new application for replevin should he choose to do so.

Navarro vs. Hon. Escobido (GR 153788)

In arguing that prior demand is required before an action for a writ of replevin is filed, Navarro apparently likens a replevin action to an unlawful detainer.

Prior demand is not a condition precedent to an action for a writ of replevin.

More importantly, Navarro is no longer in the position to claim that a prior demand is necessary, as he has already admitted in his Answers that he had received the letters that Karen Go sent him, demanding that he either pay his unpaid obligations or return the leased motor vehicles. Navarros position that a demand is necessary and has not been made is therefore totally unmeritorious.

Madarang vs. CA (GR 143044)

Article 33 of the Civil Code provides that in cases involving alleged fraudulent acts, a civil action for damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. It is clear, therefore, that the civil case for replevin may proceed independently of the criminal cases for falsification and grave coercion, especially because while both cases are based on the same facts, the quantum of proof required for holding the parties liable therein differs.

 

 

Doctrine of Exhaustion of Admninistrative Remedies

Paat vs. CA (GR 111107)

This doctrine is a relative one and its flexibility is called upon by the peculiarity and uniqueness of the factual and circumstantial settings of a case. Hence, it is disregarded

(1) when there is a violation of due process,

(2) when the issue involved is purely a legal question,

(3) when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,

(4) when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency concerned,

(5) when there is irreparable injury,

(6) when the respondent is a department secretary whose acts as an alter ego of the President bears the implied and assumed approval of the latter,

(7) when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be unreasonable,

(8) when it would amount to a nullification of a claim,

(9) when the subject matter is a private land in land case proceedings,

(10) when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy and adequate remedy, and

(11) when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention.

Addition HIlls Mandaluyong Civic and Social Organization, Inc. vs. MEGAWORLD (GR 175039)

We have consistently declared that the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is a cornerstone of our judicial system. The thrust of the rule is that courts must allow administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of their respective competence. The rationale for this doctrine is obvious. It entails lesser expenses and provides for the speedier resolution of controversies. Comity and convenience also impel courts of justice to shy away from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed.

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It does not escape the attention of the Court that in its Reply, petitioner admitted that it had a pending complaint with the HLURB involving private respondents the Development Permit, the Certificate of Registration and License to Sell Condominium Units, aside from complaints with the Building Official of the Municipality (now City) of Mandaluyong and the MMDA, when it instituted its action with the trial court.

As discussed earlier, a litigant cannot go around the authority of the concerned administrative agency and directly seek redress from the courts. Thus, when the law provides for a remedy against a certain action of an administrative board, body, or officer, relief to the courts can be made only after exhausting all remedies provided therein. It is settled that the non-observance of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies results in lack of cause of action, which is one of the grounds in the Rules of Court justifying the dismissal of the complaint.

Go vs. DISTINCTION PROPERTIES DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION INC. (GR 194024)

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is a cornerstone of our judicial system. The thrust of the rule is that courts must allow administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of their respective competence. It has been held, however, that the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the doctrine of primary jurisdiction are not ironclad rules.

In the case of Republic of the Philippines v. Lacap, the Court enumerated the numerous exceptions to these rules, namely: (a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b) where the challenged administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that will irretrievably prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is relatively so small as to make the rule impractical and oppressive; (e) where the question involved is purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice; (f) where judicial intervention is urgent; (g) where the application of the doctrine may cause great and irreparable damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due process; (i) where the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot; (j) where there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (k) where strong public interest is involved; and (l) in quo warranto proceedings.

Castro vs. Sec. Gloria (GR 132174)

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies calls for resort first to the appropriate administrative authorities in the resolution of a controversy falling under their jurisdiction before the same may be elevated to the courts of justice for review. It is settled that non-observance of the doctrine results in lack of a cause of action, which is one of the grounds allowed by the Rules of Court for the dismissal of the complaint.