Allegation in the complaint in actions for forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases compared and distinguised

RTC, likewise erroneously applied the rule that jurisdictional facts must appear on the face of the complaint for ejectment, such that when the complaint fails to faithfully aver facts constitutive of unlawful detainer, as where it does not state when and how entry was effected, or how and when dispossession started, the remedy should either be accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoriain the proper RTC.

The requirement that the complaint should aver, as jurisdictional facts, when and how entry into the property was made by the defendants applies only when the issue is the timeliness of the filing of the complaint before the MTC, and not when the jurisdiction of the MTC is assailed because the case is one for accion publiciana cognizable by the RTC.[30]  This is because, in forcible entry cases, the prescriptive period is counted from the date of defendants’ actual entry into the property; whereas, in unlawful detainer cases, it is counted from the date of the last demand to vacate.  Hence, to determine whether the case was filed on time, there is a necessity to ascertain whether the complaint is one for forcible entry or for unlawful detainer; and since the main distinction between the two actions is when and how defendant entered the property, the determinative facts should be alleged in the complaint.[31]

In Go, there was evidence that the possession by the defendant was illegal at the inception and not merely tolerated as alleged in the complaint. No such similar finding is extant in this case. Further, one of the factual issues raised in Go was whether the action was filed within one (1) year from the date the last demand was made. Here, it is beyond dispute that the complaint for unlawful detainer was filed within one (1) year from the date the demand letter was sent on June 17, 2005.

          Based on the foregoing, the MTC validly acquired jurisdiction over the complaint and we agree with its conclusion that petitioner is entitled to the physical possession of the lot, she having been able to prove by preponderance of evidence, through the TCT registered in her name, that she is entitled to possession of the property as owner. The countervailing evidence presented by respondents that sought to dispute the authenticity of petitioner’s TCT cannot be given weight in this case. Settled is the rule that the validity of a certificate of title cannot be attacked in an action for ejectment.[32]

          This notwithstanding, the determination made herein as regards petitioner’s ownership of the lot by virtue of TCT No. 392430 is only  prima facie and only for purposes of resolving the issue of physical possession. These pronouncements are without prejudice to the case of annulment of the deed of sale and TCT filed by respondents against petitioner.[33] Lastly, these pronouncements are not binding on respondents Noemi Otales and Gregorio Ramirez over whose persons no jurisdiction was acquired by the MTC.[34]

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About Erineus

Ernesto O. Bendita. Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This entry was posted in Complaint/Information, Forcible Entry, Jurisdiction, Unlawful Detainer and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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