G.R. No. 160786, June 17, 2013
SIMPLICIA O. ABRIGO AND DEMETRIO ABRIGO, Petitioners, v. JIMMY F. FLORES, EDNA F. FLORES, DANILO FLORES, BELINDA FLORES, HECTOR FLORES, MARITES FLORES, HEIRS OF MARIA F. FLORES, JACINTO FAYLONA, ELISA FAYLONA MAGPANTAY, MARIETTA FAYLONA CARTACIANO, AND HEIRS OF TOMASA BANZUELA VDA. DE FAYLONA, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
Involved in the suit is a lot with an area of 402 square meters situated in the Municipality of Alaminos, Laguna and inherited by both Francisco (Faylona) and Gaudencia (Faylona) from their deceased parents. The lot is declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration No. 7378 which Gaudencia managed to secure in her name alone to the exclusion of Francisco and the latter’s widow and children. It appears that after Francisco’s death, his widow and Gaudencia entered into an extrajudicial partition whereby the western half of the same lot was assigned to Francisco’s heirs while the eastern half thereof to Gaudencia. There was, however, no actual ground partition of the lot up to and after Gaudencia’s death. It thus result that both the heirs of Francisco and Gaudencia owned in common the land in dispute, which co-ownership was recognized by Gaudencia herself during her lifetime, whose heirs, being in actual possession of the entire area, encroached and built improvements on portions of the western half. In the case of the petitioners, a small portion of their residence, their garage and poultry pens extended to the western half.In order to stave off the impending demolition of their improvements encroaching the western half of the property in litis pursuant to the special order to demolish being sought by respondents, petitioners instituted a special civil action for certiorari in the CA against respondents and the RTC (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 48033), alleging that the RTC had gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the order of May 13, 1998 (denying their motion to defer resolution on the motion for demolition), and the order dated June 10, 1998 (denying their motion for reconsideration).
Such was the state of things when, on July 22 1988, in the Regional Trial Court at San Pablo City, the heirs and successors-in-interest of Francisco Faylona, among whom are the private respondents, desiring to terminate their co-ownership with the heirs of Gaudencia, filed their complaint for judicial partition in this case, which complaint was docketed a quo as Civil Case No. SP-3048.
In a decision dated November 20, 1989, the trial court rendered judgment for the private respondents by ordering the partition of the land in dispute in such a way that the western half thereof shall pertain to the heirs of Francisco while the eastern half, to the heirs of Gaudencia whose heirs were further required to pay rentals to the plaintiffs for their use and occupancy of portions on the western half. More specifically, the decision dispositively reads:cralavvonlinelawlibrary“WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby renders judgment in favor of plaintiffs and against defendants ordering:cralavvonlinelawlibraryFrom the aforementioned decision, the heirs of Gaudencia, petitioners included, went on appeal to this Court in CA-G.R. CV No. 25347. And, in a decision promulgated on December 28, 1995, this Court, thru its former Third Division, affirmed the appealed judgment of the respondent court, minus the award for rentals, thus:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
The partition of the parcel of land described in paragraph 5 of the complaint the western half portion belonging to the plaintiffs and the other half eastern portion thereof to the defendants, the expenses for such partition, subdivision and in securing the approval of the Bureau of Lands shall be equally shouldered by them;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
To pay plaintiffs the sum of P500.00 per month as rental from July 22, 1988 until the entire Western half portion of the land is in the complete possession of plaintiffs;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Defendants to pay the costs of these proceedings.
SO ORDERED.”“WHEREFORE, appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, except the amount of rental awarded which is hereby DELETED.With no further appellate proceedings having been taken by the petitioners and their other co-heirs, an Entry of Judgment was issued by this Court on June 3, 1996.
Thereafter, the heirs of Francisco filed with the court a quo a motion for execution to enforce and implement its decision of November 20, 1989, as modified by this Court in its decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 25347, supra. Pending action thereon and pursuant to the parties’ agreement to engage the services of a geodetic engineer to survey and subdivide the land in question, the respondent court issued an order appointing Engr. Domingo Donato “to cause the survey and subdivision of the land in question and to make his report thereon within thirty (30) days from receipt hereof.”
In an order dated November 19, 1997, the respondent court took note of the report submitted by Engr. Donato. In the same order, however, the court likewise directed the defendants, more specifically the herein petitioners, to remove, within the period specified therein, all their improvements which encroached on the western half, viz“As prayed for by the defendants, they are given 2 months from today or up to January 19, 1998 within which to remove their garage, a small portion of their residence which was extended to a portion of the property of the plaintiffs as well as the chicken pens thereon and to show proof of compliance herewith.”To forestall compliance with the above, petitioners, as defendants below, again prayed the respondent court for a final extension of sixty (60) days from January 19, 1998 within which to comply with the order. To make their motion palatable, petitioners alleged that they “are about to conclude an arrangement with the plaintiffs and just need ample time to finalize the same.” To the motion, private respondents interposed an opposition, therein stating that the alleged arrangement alluded to by the petitioners did not yield any positive result.
Eventually, in an order dated January 28, 1998, the respondent court denied petitioners’ motion for extension of time to remove their improvements. Thereafter, or on February 6, 1998, the same court issued a writ of execution.
On February 12, 1998, Sheriff Baliwag served the writ on the petitioners, giving the latter a period twenty (20) days from notice or until March 4, 1998 within which to remove their structures which occupied portions of private respondents’ property. On March 6, 1998, the implementing sheriff returned the writ “PARTIALLY SATISFIED”, with the information that petitioners failed to remove that portion of their residence as well as their garage and poultry fence on the western half of the property.
On account of the sheriff’s return, private respondents then filed with the court a quo on March 11, 1998 a Motion for Issuance of Special Order of Demolition.
On March 19, 1998, or even before the respondent court could act on private respondents’ aforementioned motion for demolition, petitioners filed a Motion to Defer Resolution on Motion for Demolition, this time alleging that they have become one of the co-owners of the western half to the extent of 53.75 square meters thereof, purportedly because one of the successors-in-interest of Francisco Faylona – Jimmy Flores – who was co-plaintiff of the private respondents in the case, sold to them his share in the western half. We quote the pertinent portions of petitioners’ motion to defer:cralavvonlinelawlibrary“That after the finality of the decision and on this stage of execution thereof, there was an event and circumstance which took place between the defendants and one of the groups of plaintiffs (Floreses)[which] would render the enforcement of the execution unjust.In the herein first assailed order dated May 13, 1998, the respondent court denied petitioners’ motion to defer resolution of private respondents’ motion for a special order of demolition and directed the issuance of an alias writ of execution, thus:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
On March 4, 1998, the Floreses, one of the plaintiffs as co-owners of the property-in-question in the Western portion, sold their one-fourth (1/4) undivided portion in the co-ownership of the plaintiffs to defendant Simplicia O. Abrigo, as can be seen in a xerox copy of the deed x x x.
x x x x
Defendant Simplicia O. Abrigo is now one of the four co-owners of a ¼ portion, pro-indiviso of the property of the plaintiffs. Thus, until and unless a partition of this property is made, the enforcement of the execution and/or demolition of the improvement would be unjust x x x. This sale took place after the finality”.“WHEREFORE, let an alias writ of execution issue for the satisfaction of the Court’s judgment. Defendants’ Motion to Defer Resolution of the Motion for a Writ of Demolition is hereby DENIED.On May 20, 1998, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, thereunder insisting that being now one of the co-owners of the westernhalf, there is need to defer action of the motion for demolition until the parties in the co-ownership of said half shall have decided in a formal partition which portion thereof belongs to each of them.
x x x x
A timely opposition to the motion for reconsideration was filed by the private respondents, thereunder arguing that the alleged Deed of Sale dated March 4, 1998 and supposedly executed by Jimmy Flores was merely falsified by the latter because one of the Floreses, Marites Flores, did not actually participate in the execution thereof, adding that the same document which seeks to bind them (private respondents) as non-participating third parties, cannot be used as evidence against them for the reason that the deed is not registered.
Pursuant to the aforequoted order of May 13, 1998, an alias writ of execution was again issued. As before, Sheriff Baliwag served the alias writ to the petitioners on June 16, 1998, giving them until June 23, 1998 within which to remove their structures which encroached on the western half. Again, petitioners failed and refused to comply, as borne by the sheriff’s amended return.2 (citations omitted)
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED and is accordingly DISMISSED. The respondent court is directed to issue a special order of demolition to implement its final and executory decision of November 20, 1989, as modified by this Court in CA-G.R. CV No. 25347.Petitioners moved for the reconsideration of the dismissal of their petition, but the CA denied their motion on October 6, 2003.5
The legal issue is whether or not the sale by respondent Jimmy Flores of his 1/4 share in the western portion of the 402-square meter lot constituted a supervening event that rendered the execution of the final judgment against petitioners inequitable.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, WITH DUE RESPECT, COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE DENIAL OF THE RTC OF ITS ENFORCEMENT OF THE DECISION DESPITE THE OBVIOUS SUPERVENING EVENT THAT WOULD JUSTIFY MATERIAL CHANGE IN THE SITUATION OF THE PARTIES AND WHICH MAKES EXECUTION INEQUITABLE OR UNJUST.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, WITH DUE RESPECT, COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT FOUND THAT THERE WAS NO ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN THE QUESTIONED ORDERS OF THE RTC.6nadcralavvonlinelawlibrary
1Rollo, pp. 16-27; penned by Associate Justice Cancio C. Garcia (later Presiding Justice and Member of the Court, now retired), with the concurrence of Associate Justice Bernardo P. Abesamis (retired) and Associate Justice Rebecca De Guia-Salvador.cralawlibrary
2 Id. at 17-23.cralawlibrary
3 Id. at 11-12.cralawlibrary
4 Id. at 26.cralawlibrary
5 Id. at. 29.cralawlibrary
6 Id. at 10.cralawlibrary
7 Section 1, Rule 39, Rules of Court; Buenaventura v. Garcia and Garcia, 78 Phil. 759, 762 (1947).cralawlibrary
8Session Delights Ice Cream and Fast Foods v. Court of Appeals (Sixth Division), G.R. No. 172149, February 8, 2010, 612 SCRA 10, 19-20.cralawlibrary
9Meneses v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform, G.R. No. 156304, October 23, 2006, 505 SCRA 90, 97; Barnes v. Padilla, G.R. No. 160753, September 30, 2004, 439 SCRA 675, 686-687 .cralawlibrary
10Javier v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 96086, July 21, 1993, 224 SCRA 704, 712.cralawlibrary
11Natalia Realty, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126462, November 12, 2002, 391 SCRA 370, 387.cralawlibrary
12Dee Ping Wee v. Lee Hiong Wee, G.R. No. 169345, August 25, 2010, 629 SCRA 145, 168; Ramirez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 85469, March 18, 1992, 207 SCRA 287, 292; Chua Lee A.H. v. Mapa, 51 Phil. 624, 628 (1928); Li Kim Tho v. Go Siu Kao, 82 Phil. 776, 778 (1949).cralawlibrary
13Serrano v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 133883, December 10, 2003, 417 SCRA 415, 424-425; Limpin, Jr. v. Intermediate Appellate C ourt, No. L-70987, January 30, 1987, 147 SCRA 516, 522-523.cralawlibrary
14Anama v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 187021, January 25, 2012, 664 SCRA 293, 308; De Leon v. Public Estates Authority, G.R. No. 181970, August 3, 2010, 626 SCRA 547, 565-566; Lee v. Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Br. 85, G.R. No. 146006, April 22, 2005, 456 SCRA 538, 554; Beautifont, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, No. L-50141, January 29, 1988, 157 SCRA 481, 494.