On October 15, 1915, counsel for Rafaela Dalmacio commenced these certiorari
proceedings, praying that a judgment be rendered declaring the order of ejectment decreed by the judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal to be null and void, without prejudice to an order being issued to the sheriff of said province directing him to refrain from ejecting the petitioner and her caretaker, Eugenio Testa, from the parcels of land she was occupying as lessee. Petitioner further prayed that said court be directed to furnish a transcript of the evidence adduced in the proceedings aforementioned. In connection with this petition counsel alleged that since the time of the previous sovereignty plaintiff had been a lessee of certain parcels of land situated on the Tala hacienda in the municipality of Caloocan, formerly owned by the friars; that this fact was recorded in the Bureau of Lands in 1905, on account of plaintiff’s being entitled to the benefits conferred by Act No. 1120 of the Philippine Commission; that the numbers 859 and 861 had been assigned to the parcels of land she was leasing. Petitioner further stated that on being advised to sign the contract of sale of said lots Nos. 859 and 861 to her, she petitioned the Bureau of Lands to order the two lots she was occupying to be identified; that as a result thereof it was ascertained that said lots were situated in different places and were other than the parcels occupied and leased by petitioner; that notwithstanding this the Director of Lands insisted on selling to petitioner the lots Nos. 859 and 861, which were formerly uncultivated lands; she refused to buy them; but that the Director of Lands, arbitrarily, by himself and on his own responsibility, cancelled her contract of lease, notwithstanding her protest, wherefore she was obliged to bring an action against said Director of Lands in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, to validate her right of preference to acquire the lands she was actually occupying, which action had not yet been heard; that at this stage of the proceedings the Director of Lands in case No. 6563, brought in the Court of Land Registration and now pending in the court of the Province of Rizal, sought to secure the ejectment of the caretaker and tenants-on-shares of the plaintiff from the lands she was occupying as lessee; that said petition was granted by the court in open extralimitation of its powers, for plaintiff did not deny, but actually recognized the Government’s ownership of said estate and of the parts thereof which she held under lease, notwithstanding all of which her motion for a rehearing was denied.
The Attorney-General, in answer to the aforementioned complaint, alleges that it does not set forth facts sufficient to warrant the issuance of a writ of certiorari
; that in order that the Supreme Court may review proceedings by writ of certiorari
, it must be proven that the lower court acted in excess of its jurisdiction and that there is no appeal nor any other easy, speedy and adequate remedy available; that if, as alleged, the Director of Lands obtained from the Court of Land Registration, in case No. 6563, title to said hacienda, of which the lots occupied by the petitioner form a part, it is unquestionable that under section 3 Act No. 1680 he is entitled to a writ of possession for said estate and the lots occupied by petitioner, and that it is immaterial whether or not she is to be ejected, because the Court of First Instance has a right to order that the Director of Lands, against whom the petitioner has brought these proceedings now pending be placed in possession of said parcels.
In his brief counsel for the plaintiff maintained that no appeal lies from an order of ejectment issued in land registration proceedings and therefor the easiest and most expeditious remedy is that of certiorari
; that , in accordance with section 17 [section 3] of Act No. 1680, the Court of First Instance, at the request of the Director of Lands, may issue a writ of possession against the objector who refuses to comply with an order of the Land Court issued in a final judgment, which provision, however, was not applicable to petitioner, who could not be deprived of the possession of the lands leased by her, except by due process of law. In a supplementary brief the Attorney-General alleged that, a motion having been filed to determine whether or not the Director of Lands was entitled to a writ of possession in said proceedings in the Court of Land Registration, the lower court denied the said motion and no appeal from this ruling having been taken by the plaintiff it had therefore become res judicata. But petitioner alleged that the order dictated by the Court of First Instance of Rizal in case No. 1256 is merely interlocutory and discretional; that consequently it is not appealable, and cannot become final until the litigation has been decided on the merits.
While the proceedings brought by the plaintiff Rafaela Dalmacio in the Court of First Instance of Rizal against the Director of Lands to determine whether or not she has a preferred right to acquire by purchase the two lots of land she has been occupying as lessee were pending, the said court could not, in justice and strict right in case No. 6563, heard by the Court of Land Registration and now pending before him, order the ejectment of the plaintiff and her caretaker from the two parcels leased by her, for, as such lessee, she may have a preferential right over any other person to purchase them from the Government.
Unless, the plaintiff should fail to comply with the conditions prescribed by the laws governing this matter, she has an indisputable right to be secured in her possession of the two parcels of land she occupies until such time as her action now pending against the Director of Lands, relative to the said right of preference and the identity of the land she has been occupying as lessee, has been finally determined.
When, on petition of the Director of Lands and notwithstanding that the proceedings aforementioned were pending, the court decreed the dispossession and ejectment of the plaintiff, in order that she vacate and leave free the two parcels of land she has been occupying as lessee, it unquestionably exceeded its jurisdiction, for, it, if the ejectment of the plaintiff were carried into effect and she were thus prevented from continuing in her possession of the two parcels of land she holds under lease, it would be a prejudgment of the suit pending against the Director of Lands, because the decree of ejectment, in violation of the law that protects plaintiff’s rights as such lessee, determines that she has absolutely no right to preference in the purchase of the land she occupies.
For the foregoing reasons, the order dictated by the Court of First Instance of Rizal on December 22, 1914, is held to be null, void and of no value or effect, in so far as it decrees that the plaintiff Rafaela Dalmacio be ejected from the two injunction issued by this court is hereby made final until the action prosecuted by the plaintiff to secure the right of preference is finally decided. So ordered.
Johnson, Trent and Araullo, JJ.
, concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
I agree that, in view of all the circumstances disclosed by the record, the trial judge exceeded his jurisdiction, and that the writ of certiorari
prayed for should issue.