389 Phil. 511
"Plaintiffs sought to recover the one-half portion of Lot 753 covered by TCT No. T-201999 (Annex C, Record, p. 8) in the name of defendants Dante Alzaga and Elsa Tampoc. Originally, the land was owned and titled in the names of spouses Diego Calucin and Aniana Banton, both deceased, under OCT No. 0-1819.On July 28, 1996, petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for reconsideration of the decision.
"Spouses Diego and Aniana Calucin were survived by their children Carmencita, Lydia, Rosalita, Purificacion, Crisostomo and plaintiff Jose. In February 1978, Carmencita, Lydia and Rosalita filed against Purificacion, Crisostomo and Jose a complaint for partition of the aforesaid property and four other parcels of land, all registered in the names of their deceased parents, docketed as Civil Case No. 0254-M. Purificacion filed her Answer, Crisostomo and Jose, despite notice, however, failed to file their answer and were declared in default on May 8, 1978.
"Commissioners were appointed to assist the court in making a fair and just apportionment and partition of the properties. In the Conference held by the commissioners, Carmencita proposed that Lot 753 under OCT No. 0-1819 be given to her but Jose objected to the proposal claiming ownership instead of the one-half (1/2) undivided portion thereof, it having been sold to him by their late mother Aniana on March 10, 1966 (Annex B, Record, p. 7). The Commissioners then submitted a Partial Report dated October 25, 1978 and a Commissioners' Report dated November 24, 1978. The case was finally heard on February 28, 1979 but not one of the defendants (Purificacion, Crisostomo and Jose) appeared, whereupon, on motion of plaintiffs' counsel, they were allowed to present their evidence ex-parte.
"On August 8, 1979, the court rendered its decision granting the partition and directing the parties to submit a project of partition. The plaintiffs therein submitted a project of partition adjudicating Lot 753 to Carmencita which was adopted by the Commissioners in their report and recommendation to the court.
"On October 25, 1979, the court approved the project of partition. Jose Calucin filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order of Approval of the project of partition which was denied on March 3, 1980. Thereafter, a writ of execution was issued on April 18, 1980.
"Jose Calucin then filed an Omnibus Motion to lift the Order of Default dated May 8, 1978 and to set aside the decision dated August 3, 1979 and the Order dated April 18, 1980. The Omnibus Motion was however denied on June 4, 1980.
"On September 28, 1984, Jose Calucin, with his wife Milagros Parado instituted Civil Case No. 0335-M (Annulment of Judgment) against Carmencita Calucin and Deputy Provincial Sheriffs of Quezon Delfin Pinion and Bayani Ramilo to annul the judgment in Civil Case No. 0254-M, to quash the writ of execution and to order Carmencita Calucin to reconvey to them the one-half potion of Lot 753.
"The defendants in Civil Case No. 0335-M filed their Motion to Dismiss on the ground of res judicata, claiming that the ownership of Lot 753 was already settled in Civil Case No. 0254-M.
"On July 3, 1985, the court dismissed Civil Case No. 0335-M on the ground of res judicata. Jose Calucin appealed the dismissal to the then Intermediate Appellate Court raising the issue of whether or not res judicata is applicable to the case.
"The Court of Appeals, in its decision dated June 25, 1987, affirmed the dismissal of the case on the ground of res judicata (Record, pp. 182-188).
"Not satisfied, Jose Calucin filed the instant case on appeal, to recover the one-half portion of Lot 753. On January 17, 1992, Jose Calucin filed his amended complaint (Record, pp. 45-49) which was admitted (RTC, Branch 64, Mauban, Quezon) on March 3, 1992 (Ibid., p. 57).
""The amended complaint alleged that plaintiff is the absolute owner of the one-half undivided portion of Lot 753 under OCT No. 0-1819 which is now registered in the names of defendants spouses Dante Alzaga and Elsa Tampoc under TCT No. T-201999 identified as Lot 753-B; that plaintiff acquired ownership thereof by virtue of the Deed of Sale Executed by his mother Aniana Banton on March 10, 1966; that plaintiff caused the subdivision of Lot 753 into two (2) lots (Lots 753-A and 753-B), both having equal frontage adjacent to the street, which was approved by the Director of Lands on May 22, 1978 (Annex C, Rollo); that sometime in May 1985 while plaintiff was verifying the certificate of title, he discovered that a portion of it was already transferred to the defendants; that defendants caused the subdivision of the lot but this time making Lot 7532-A in the name of Jose Calucin with no frontage and the entire Lot 753-B in their names (defendants) with the street as the entire frontage while the portion known as Lot 753-A in the name of Jose Calucin has no frontage at all; that defendants deprived the plaintiff of any frontage towards the street, contrary to the original plan agreed upon by the plaintiff and the original owner of Lot 753-B; and that defendants despite demands refused to convey its ownership and possession to plaintiff (Ibid, p. 45).
"In their Amended Answer, defendants Dante and Elsa Alzaga while admitting that they are indeed the registered owner of Lot 753-B denied the rest of the allegations and instead set up the affirmative defense of res judicata.
"Defendant Carmencita Calucin-Camaligan, on the other hand, filed her motion to dismiss Civil Case No. 0433-M principally on the ground of res judicata alleging that the issue of ownership of Lot 753 was already resolved in Civil Case No. 0254-M entitled "Carmencita Calucin, et al. Vs. Purificacion, Crisostomo and Jose, all surnamed Calucin" on August 3, 1979 by the then Court of First Instance (Branch 9, Mauban, Quezon) adjudicating Lot 753 to her, which decision was affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court in IAC-G. R. CV No. 25379 on September 22, 1983. Likewise, Civil Case No. 0335-M which was also filed by Jose Calucin was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court (Branch LXIV, Mauban, Quezon) on July 3, 1985 on the ground of res judicata and pursuant to the judgment in Civil Case No. 0254-M, which decision was also affirmed by the Court of Appeals on June 25, 1987 (Ibid., pp. 116-169).
"Meanwhile, plaintiff Jose Calucin died in March 1993 and was substituted by his heirs. They then filed their opposition and supplemental opposition to the motion to dismiss arguing that res judicata could not be invoked in the absence of identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action; and that it should be set aside in favor of substantial justice (Ibid., p. 198 and pp. 211-213).
"Finally, the court a quo dismissed Civil Case No. 0433-M because of res judicata in the Order dated August 15, 1994 (Ibid., pp. 214-221)."