[ G.R. No. L-58438, January 31, 1984 ]
EDILBERTO BERNAS AND BALDONERA BULQUIRIN AND TEOFILO BERANO, PETITIONERS, VS. THE HONORABLE PELAYO V. NUEVO, JUDGE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CAPIZ, CIRIACO ABELLA VITO, CLERK OF COURT AND SHERIFF EX-OFFICIO OF CAPIZ, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.
[G.R. NO. 60423. JANUARY 31, 1984]
SILVESTRE BELLOSILLO, SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF PASCUAL BELLOSILLO AND FRANCISCA BESA, PETITIONERS, VS. THE HONORABLE OSCAR LEVISTE PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CAPIZ, EDILBERTO BERNAS AND BALBONERA BULQUIRIN, TEOFILO BERANO, AND CIRIACO
ABELLA-VITO, PROVINCIAL SHERIFF EX-OFFICIO OF CAPIZ, RESPONDENTS.
R E S O L U T I O N
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
On February 17, 1981, the Heirs of Pascual Bellosillo and Francisca Besa, represented by Silvestre Bellosillo, petitioners in G.R. No. 60423, filed a complaint against defendants Edilberto Bernas, Baldonera Bulquirin and Teofilo Berano for recovery of possession of a 33 1/3 hectare parcel of land known as Lot 3382 Of the Panay Cadastre and for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to restore the plaintiffs to the possession of the land in dispute. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. V-4471.
The motion for the issuance of a preliminary injunction having been denied, the plaintiffs subsequently filed another motion for the issuance of a writ of possession on the ground that the same is paramount for the preservation of the estate represented by Lot 3382, otherwise it will be dissipated and the plaintiffs as heirs might have nothing to inherit, while the defendants have not shown any definite title or right over the estate as they had first claimed that they were lessees then later, tenants, which are two incompatible and divergent sources of right.
On August 28, 1981, Judge Pelayo Nuevo granted the writ of possession applied for by plaintiffs after pre-trial and hearing of the motion for the issuance of said writ.
A motion for reconsideration was filed by defendants on September 12, 1981, but the same was not acted upon due to the retirement of Judge Nuevo. Hence, the defendants filed the petition for certiorari docketed as G.R. No. 58438.
Meanwhile, the sala vacated by Judge Nuevo was filled through the appointment of Judge Oscar Leviste. While the petition assailing the order granting the writ of possession was pending before this Court, Judge Leviste, on December 8, 1981, acted on the motion for reconsideration filed by the defendants in civil case No. V-4471 on September 12, 1981 and issued an order declaring null and void the writ of possession issued by former Judge Nuevo. In a subsequent order dated April 20, 1982, the same Judge also ordered the defendants to be placed in possession of the property in question, Lot 3382. Hence, A petition for certiorari was filed, this time by the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. V-4471 and docketed in this Court as G.R. No. 60423.
In G.R. No. 58438, the petitioners' main contention is that respondent Judge Nuevo acted in excess of jurisdiction when he granted the writ of possession solely on a mere motion against petitioners who had been in possession of the land for about 21 years after the issuance of a final decree by the Land Registration Commission and who were not oppositors in the original registration case of the lot in 1930.
On the other hand, the petitioners in G.R. No. 60423 maintain that respondent Judge Leviste acted in excess of jurisdiction and/or grave abuse of discretion in issuing both orders dated October 12, 1981 and April 20, 1982, knowing fully well that there was a pending petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court filed by private respondents docketed as G.R. No. 58438, questioning the propriety of the issuance of the writ of possession, which was the same subject-matter of the above orders.
We find merit in both petitions.
It is a settled rule that when parties against whom a writ of possession is sought have been in possession of the land for at least ten years, and they entered into possession apparently after the issuance of the final decree, and none of them had been a party in the registration proceedings, the writ of possession will not issue. A person who took possession of the land after final adjudication of the same in registration proceedings cannot be summarily ousted through a writ of possession secured by a mere motion and that regardless of any title or lack of title of persons to hold possession of the land in question, they cannot be ousted without giving them their day in court in proper independent proceedings. (See Manuel, .et al., v. Rosauro, et al., 56 Phil. 365, and Maglasang v. Maceren, et al., 83 Phil. 637 cited in Heirs of Cristobal Marcos v. De Banuvar, 25 SCRA 316).
In the case at bar, the defendants-petitioners had been in possession of the lot since 1960 under an alleged lease contract and were not a party to the original registration case of the same way back in 1930. This notwithstanding, the writ was issued after pre-trial and hearing of the motion for the issuance of the writ only and not after final adjudication of the rights of the parties over the lot In controversy. Therefore, it was a patent error on the part of respondent Judge Nuevo to issue the questioned writ. The rule is "when other persons have subsequently entered the property, claiming the right of possession, the owner of the registered property of his successors in interest cannot dispossess such persons by merely asking for a writ of possession. The remedy is to resort to the courts of justice and institute a separate action for unlawful entry or detainer or for reinvidicatory action, as the case may be:" (Peña, Registration of Land Titles and Deeds, p. 99, citing Yuson and de Guzman v. Diaz, 42 Phil. 22). Only after judgment has been rendered can the prevailing party secure a writ of possession to enforce his right over the disputed lot.
We also find that the questioned orders of respondent Judge Leviste were issued without jurisdiction, notwithstanding the fact that the writ of possession was not in order. It was presumptuous on his part to grant the motion for reconsideration when he knew very well that the subject-matter of said motion was still pending with this Court in a petition for certiorari. The act of issuing the orders constituted disrespect and disregard of the authority and jurisdiction of this Court. (See Corpus v. Court of Appeals; 98 SCRA 424). The respondent judge should have waited for this Court's decision before acting on said motion for reconsideration and issuing the said orders.
WHEREFORE, the order of Judge Pelayo Nuevo dated August 28, 1981, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The orders of Judge Oscar Leviste dated December 8, 1981 and April 20, 1982 are also REVERSED and SET ASIDE. As a matter of right, the petitioners-defendants in G.R. No. 58438 should remain in possession of Lot No. 3382 pending final adjudication of the respective rights of both petitioners in Civil Case No. V-4471. No costs.
Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Plana, and Relova, JJ., concur.