The only issue in an ejectment case is the physical possession of real property ‒ possession de facto and not possession de jure. We rule upon the issue of ownership only to determine who between the parties has the better right of possession. As the law now stands, in an ejectment suit, the question of ownership may be provisionally ruled upon for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto. [Umpoc v. Mercado, 490 Phil. 120,136 (2005)]
A person who occupies the land of another at the latter’s tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand, failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against them. [Calubayan, et al. v. Pascual, 128 Phil. 160, 163 (1967)] Whatever right of possession that the spouses Beltran may have over the subject property cannot prevail over that of Nieves for the simple reason that Nieves is the registered owner of the subject property and the alleged deed of sale, which Nieves disputes, remains unregistered. Although it is true that the spouses Beltran, and not Nieves, were in prior physical possession of the subject property, this argument cannot hold water as prior physical possession is material only in forcible entry cases. [Spouses Apostol v. Court of Appeals, supra note 16]
Any question regarding the validity of Nieves’ title can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. [Section 48, P.D. No. 1529] Our ruling in the present case shall not bar an action between the same parties for the determination of ownership of the subject property.
SPOUSES IDA aka “MILAGROS” NIEVES BELTRAN and JOSE BELTRAN v. ANITA R. NIEVES, represented by NELIA G. MORAN, G.R. No. 175561, October 20, 2010