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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-36770. August 9, 1988.]

EMILIO DAMASCO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TERESA DAMASCO, Defendant-Appellee.


SYLLABUS


1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; ACTIONS; PARTIES; INDISPENSABLE PARTY; PRESENT REGISTERED OWNER IS INDISPENSABLE PARTY IN ANNULMENT OF TITLE CASE BETWEEN THE FORMER CO-OWNERS. — In the instant case where a co-owner in equal share of a parcel of titled land was able to secure a transfer certificate of title for the whole property in her name by virtue of an affidavit of extrajudicial settlement, and, thereafter, was able to sell the property to another who, in turn, sold it to Bruno Mauricio who at present is the registered owner, such registered owner is an indispensable party in the case between the former co-owners, initiated by the deprived co-owner, for the cancellation of Affidavit of Extrajudicial Settlement, Deeds of Sale and Transfer Certificate of Title. The disputed property is no longer in defendant’s name but in the name of Mauricio. Any judgment which might be obtained by any party in this case would not have any binding effect against Mauricio. Neither could any definitive determination of the controversy he had unless he were made a party. His joinder was thus indispensable under any and all conditions: "Compulsory Joinder of Indispensable Parties. — Parties in interest without whom no final determination can be had of an action shall be joined either as plaintiffs or defendants." (Section 7, Rule 3, Rules of Court).

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; DISMISSAL OF ACTIONS; NON-JOINDER OF PARTIES NOT GROUND FOR DISMISSAL. — The trial court committed a reversible error when it dismissed plaintiff’s action on the ground that Bruno Mauricio is an indispensable party who had not been joined as party to the case. Non-joinder of parties is not a ground for dismissal of an action. Instead, Bruno Mauricio should have been allowed to intervene for an expeditious and complete determination of the controversy.


R E S O L U T I O N


MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:


This case was certified to us by the Court of Appeals, the sole question being one of law, namely, whether or not the then Court of First Instance of Cagayan (Aparri) ** erred in dismissing the complaint filed before it in the case entitled "Emilio Damasco v. Teresa Damasco."cralaw virtua1aw library

The facts disclose that plaintiff and defendant are co-owners, in equal shares, as the only compulsory heirs of their deceased father, Jose Damasco, of a parcel of land situated in Barrio Cabiraoan, Gonzaga, Cagayan, containing an area of nineteen (19) hectares, more or less, covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 1573.

Jose Damasco died intestate in July 1945 in Buguey, Cagayan. After his death, several demands were made by the plaintiff on defendant to have the said property extrajudicially partitioned between them but said defendant refused.chanrobles.com : virtual law library

It turns out that on 23 May 1953, an Affidavit of Extrajudicial Settlement was executed by defendant stating, among other things, that she is the only heir of Jose Damasco. By virtue of said document, defendant was able to secure, on 24 October 1953, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-1619 covering the whole property in her name.

On 30 April 1961, defendant sold the disputed property in favor of Jose Clemencia, TCT No. T-4624 was issued in the latter’s name on 3 August 1961.

On 17 September 1965, Jose Clemencia, in turn, sold the disputed property for P8,000.00 in favor of Bruno Mauricio, and Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-7616 was issued in the latter’s name on 22 April 1966. The Damascos, however, remained in possession of this property.

On 26 April 1968, Bruno Mauricio filed a complaint against the Damasco, in Civil Case No. 1471, for "reivindicacion with damages," entitled "Bruno Mauricio v. Emilio Damasco, Et. Al." before the Court of First Instance of Cagayan.

On 14 February 1969, Emilio Damasco instituted this action against his sister, defendant Teresa Damasco, for partition and cancellation of Affidavit of Extrajudicial Settlement, Deeds of Sale, and Transfer Certificates of Title before the then Court of First Instance of Cagayan.

Defendant failed to answer the complaint so that on 8 May 1969 she was declared in default and the Trial Court allowed plaintiff to adduce his evidence before the Clerk of Court.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

On 16 May 1969 Bruno Mauricio filed a Motion to intervene in this case contending that he was an indispensable party. Plaintiff opposed intervention.

The trial Court denied the Motion to Intervene "on the ground that the defendant Teresa Damasco has already been declared in default and that pursuant to the order of this Court the plaintiff had already presented his evidence." (pp. 37-38, Record on Appeal)

On 14 July 1969, the Trial Court rendered its Decision dismissing plaintiffs action on the ground that Bruno Mauricio is an indispensable party.

Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals, which, as heretofore stated certified the suit to this Court.

We hold that the Trial Court committed two reversible errors: (1) in denying Bruno Mauricio’s Motion to Intervene and (2) in dismissing the Complaint despite its realization that he was an indispensable party.

As the registered owner of the land in question, Bruno Mauricio is, indeed, an indispensable party. The disputed property is no longer in defendant’s name but in his. Any judgment which might be obtained by any party in this case would not have any binding effect against Mauricio. Neither could any definitive determination of the controversy be had unless he were made a party. His joinder was thus indispensable under any and all conditions:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Compulsory Joinder of Indispensable Parties — Parties in interest without whom no final determination can be had of an action shall be joined either as plaintiffs or defendants." (Section 7, Rule 3, Rules of Court)

It behooved the Trial Court, therefore, not to have dismissed the case, non-joinder of parties not being a ground for dismissal of an action. Instead, Bruno Mauricio should have been allowed to intervene for an expeditious and complete determination of the controversy, or, the two (2) cases could have been consolidated as also prayed for by the plaintiff.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

Ordinarily, this case would have been remanded to the lower Court for further proceedings, but the necessity therefor has been obviated since Civil Case No. 1471 was resolved on the merits by the Trial Court on 18 August 1973; by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 56183-R on 23 December 1978. on appeal; and by this Court, on review, in G.R. No. L-49770, on 7 January 1980.

ACCORDINGLY, the assailed Decision of the Trial Court is hereby SET ASIDE. No costs.chanrobles law library : red

SO ORDERED.

Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



** Judge Alfredo C. Florendo, Presiding.

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