563 Phil. 713
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:For failure of the Telans to file an appeal on time, the MTC Decision became final and executory. On January 6, 2000, the MTC issued a Writ of Execution. However, the judgment was not executed because a certain Lucio Collado (Collado) had built a perimeter fence of concrete hollow blocks on the land. On August 3, 2000, the MTC issued an Alias Writ of Execution, directing the Provincial Sheriff, or any of his deputies, to execute the November 26, 1998 MTC Decision.
- Ordering the defendants and any or all persons claiming right or authority under them to vacate the possession of the subject land;
- Ordering the defendants to pay jointly and severally the plaintiffs the following:
P10,000.00 per cropping season for the use and occupation of the premises commencing the first week of May 1998 until the possession of the land in question is restored to the plaintiffs; P10,000.00 as attorney’s fees;
- Ordering the defendants to pay the costs of this suit.
This Court could not give credence to plaintiff Collado’s arguments through his counsel that “There was a willful and unlawful invasion of plaintiff’s property” on March 22, 2001. As gleaned from the records, the property herein was executed by a lawful order of the Municipal Trial Court including a lawful “Writ of Demolition.” There was an implementation of a lawful Court Order where the strong arm of the law has to take its course. Otherwise, a contempt Order can be issued. If the plaintiff herein was not a party as alleged, then he can be considered as a “successor-in-interest” of the real parties to the civil cases at the Municipal Trial Court, being a buyer of said property under litigation.Collado filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforesaid Decision. On September 28, 2001, the RTC issued an Order denying the same.
If there are no identities of causes of action in these cases pending, then the plaintiff must consider the primordial aim why these cases were filed one over another (sic). Is it not to gain and recover the same property from the defendants? If so, then all these cases have the same cause of action, to recover real property.
On January 21, 2003, the CA rendered a Decision in favor of the Triunfantes. The CA declared that the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the civil case for damages, viz.:
- The action for damages under Civil Case No. 5818 is entirely independent, separate and distinct from Civil Case No. 2001 which is an action for forcible entry. Hence, the principles of litis pendencia, res judicata and forum shopping are not applicable;
- There is no need for exhaustion of administrative remedies since the issues involved in the Protest before the DENR and the civil case for damages in the RTC are entirely separate and distinct;
- The forcible entry case did not resolve the issue of ownership; and
- The acts complained of in the case for damages before the RTC are wrongful, even though made pursuant to a court order.
Under Section 19, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure, “(i)f judgment is rendered against the defendant, execution shall issue immediately, unless an appeal has been perfected and the defendant to stay execution files a sufficient supersedeas bond, approved by the Municipal Trial Court and executed in favor of the plaintiff x x x. In the absence of a contract, he shall deposit with the Regional Trial Court the reasonable value of the use and occupation of the premises for the preceding month or period at the rate determined by the judgment of the lower court on or before the tenth day of each succeeding month or period. x x x.”The CA further elucidated that:
To stay the immediate execution of judgment in ejectment proceedings, the above-quoted provision require that the defendant:
The original defendants in Civil Case No. 2011, the predecessors-in-interest of petitioner, did nothing of the above. Since immediate execution shall issue so long as the above requirements are not complied with, the execution being a mandatory and ministerial duty of the court, the more should the judgment be executed should the same become final and executory. A writ of execution and later, a demolition order, were issued by the court. The judgment of the Municipal Court in an ejectment case is res judicata as to the issue of possession de facto. The possession and ownership of a parcel of land may be held by different persons. The winning party is entitled to the execution of the Municipal Court’s final judgment as to possession. The officer charged with the execution of judgment in the absence of restraining order is enjoined to act with considerable dispatch so as not to unduly delay the administration of justice. The party which prevails after going through the full course of litigation is entitled to a writ of execution and to the energetic service and enforcement thereof upon the losing party. The acts complained of which transpired on 22 March 2001 were merely in pursuance of a lawful order of the court. Petitioner cannot claim exception thereto. A judgment of eviction can be executed against a third party who has derived his right of possession of the premises from the defendant, particularly when such right was acquired only after the filing of the ejectment suit.
- perfect his appeal,
- file a supersedeas bond, and
- periodically deposit the rentals falling due during the pendency of the appeal.
In the instant case, 5,000 square meters of the disputed lot were acquired from the heirs of Pedro S. Telan on 19 June 1998, and 2,000 square meters from Restituto Allam on 26 January 2000, both by way of absolute sale. While the first acquisition was made barely a month before the complaint for ejectment was filed before Branch 02, MTC of Tuguegarao City, the latter acquisition was made after the Decision in Civil Case No. 2011 was rendered and the corresponding writ of execution therefore, issued. Moreover, the Sheriff’s Report anent the execution of the order was dated 06 April 2001, made after the case before the court a quo was filed on 03 April 2001. A case in which an execution has been issued is thus regarded as still pending so that all proceedings on the execution are proceedings in the suit. There is no question that the court which rendered the judgment has a general supervisory control over its process of execution, and this power carries with it the right to determine every question of fact and law which may be involved in the execution. The jurisdiction to correct errors and mistakes in the execution properly belongs to the court which issued the execution. The Court should first be given the opportunity to correct the errors of its ministerial officers and to control its own process. This Court is thus of the considered opinion that the action for damages by petitioner should have been filed before Branch 02, MTC of Tuguegarao City, and not before the court a quo. This being the case, the court a quo has no jurisdiction over the case filed before it.
In the case below, the eviction of petitioner as the vendee of the original defendants was pursuant to the fact that he derived his possession of the premises from them and because the judgment of the MTC in the ejectment case is res judicata as to the issue of possession de facto. There arises therefore the malady that though the issue of ownership may have been only provisionally determined before the inferior court, its judgment as to possession de facto became final and is res judicata due to the failure of the original defendants to perfect their appeal on time or to pursue other remedies to recover the same. An independent complaint for damages, actual, punitive, exemplary and moral, being consequent to the execution of the judgment in Civil Case No. 2011 should therefore be threshed out before the court which ordered the execution of the judgment, the appeal therefrom having been foreclosed and the petition for certiorari therefore having been futile. An action against the plaintiffs would lie for the recovery of ownership thereof or for the quieting of title. However, the issue of damages arising out of the implementation of the order of execution and demolition remains within the jurisdiction of Branch 02, MTC of Tuguegarao City.The Triunfantes filed a Motion for Reconsideration because the fallo of the CA Decision conflicts with the racio in the body of the Decision. On October 27, 2003, the CA granted the motion of the Triunfantes and, accordingly, amended the dispositive portion of the Decision dated January 21, 2003, viz.:
Foregoing premises considered, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. Branch 3, RTC of Tuguegarao City is hereby declared without jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 5818.On March 15, 2004, Collado filed the present petition for review on certiorari giving these lone assignment of error:
WHETHER OR NOT A SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT ACTION FOR DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A WRIT OF EXECUTION IN AN EJECTMENT CASE IS NOT COGNIZABLE BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT.The petition is bereft of merit. An independent action for damages based on the implementation of a writ of execution cannot be sustained.