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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
March-1996 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 91935 March 4, 1996 - RODOLFO QUIAMBAO v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106043 March 4, 1996 - CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY LANDLESS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109645 March 4, 1996 - ORTIGAS AND COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP v. TIRSO VELASCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115365 March 4, 1996 - ESMENIO MADLOS v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118126 March 4, 1996 - TRANS-ASIA SHIPPING LINES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-921 March 5, 1996 - AMPARO A. LACHICA v. ROLANDO A. FLORDELIZA

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1009 March 5, 1996 - ALBERTO NALDOZA v. JUAN LAVILLES, JR.

  • G.R. No. 111501 March 5, 1996 - PHIL. FUJI XEROX CORPORATION, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 113930 March 5, 1996 - PAUL G. ROBERTS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115548 March 5, 1996 - STATE INVESTMENT HOUSE INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1039 March 6, 1996 - FE ALBANO MADRID v. RAYMUNDO RAMIREZ

  • G.R. Nos. 112858-59 March 6, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RALPHY ALCANTARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120193 March 6, 1996 - LUIS MALALUAN v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Case No. CBD-174 March 7, 1996 - GIOVANI M. IGUAL v. ROLANDO S. JAVIER

  • G.R. No. 66555 March 7, 1996 - LEONCIO MEJARES, ET AL. v. JUAN Y. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 95353-54 March 7, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PAULINO PAT

  • G.R. No. 109390 March 7, 1996 - JGB and ASSOCIATES v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112445 March 7, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLOS V. PATROLLA, JR.

  • G.R. No. 113710 March 7, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERDINAND V. JUAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116011 March 7, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RHODESA B. SILAN

  • G.R. No. 117650 March 7, 1996 - SULPICIO LINES v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120905 March 7, 1996 - RENATO U. REYES v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95260 March 8, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO C. PRADO

  • G.R. No. 110983 March 8, 1996 - REYNALDO GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Case No. 2024 March 11, 1996 - SALVADOR T. CASTILLO v. PABLO M. TAGUINES

  • G.R. No. 108625 March 11, 1996 - ALLIANCE OF DEMOCRATIC FREE LABOR ORGANIZATION v. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113194 March 11, 1996 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119381 March 11, 1996 - MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION v. JOSE BRILLANTES

  • G.R. No. 96882 March 12, 1996 - EUTIQUIANO PAGARA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109800 March 12, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILFREDO N. BAUTISTA

  • G.R. No. 114388 March 12, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO TRILLES, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-94-4-156 March 13, 1996 - IN RE: FERNANDO P. AGDAMAG

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1344 March 13, 1996 - VERONICA GONZALES v. LUCAS P. BERSAMIN

  • G.R. No. 101332 March 13, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLARO BERNAL

  • G.R. No. 101699 March 13, 1996 - BENJAMIN A. SANTOS v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 104088-89 March 13, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE JAIN, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 108743 March 13, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARNALDO B. DONES

  • G.R. No. 112193 March 13, 1996 - JOSE E. ARUEGO, JR., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112546 March 13, 1996 - NORTH DAVAO MINING CORPORATION, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119073 March 13, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO DIAZ

  • G.R. No. 120223 March 13, 1996 - RAMON Y. ALBA v. DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101070 March 14, 1996 - BALAYAN COLLEGES, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102062 March 14, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CAMILO FERRER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104685 March 14, 1996 - SABENA BELGIAN WORLD AIRLINES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119706 March 14, 1996 - PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 73592 March 15, 1996 - JOSE CUENCO BORROMEO v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94494 March 15, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO C. LAPURA

  • G.R. No. 103695 March 15, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105819 March 15, 1996 - MARILYN L. BERNARDO v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 106229-30 March 15, 1996 - LEOVIGILDO ROSALES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108001 March 15, 1996 - SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111651 March 15, 1996 - OSMALIK S. BUSTAMANTE, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115106 March 15, 1996 - ROBERTO L. DEL ROSARIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114988 March 18, 1996 - CATALINO BONTIA, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 117667 March 18, 1996 - INLAND TRAILWAYS v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • Adm. Matter No. 94-5-42-MTC March 20, 1996 - QUERY OF JUDGE DANILO M. TENERIFE

  • G.R. No. 102360 March 20, 1996 - ROSITA DOMINGO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111656 March 20, 1996 - MANUEL MANAHAN, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116665 March 20, 1996 - MELQUIADES D. AZCUNA, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. 95-1-07-RTC March 21, 1996 - JDF ANOMALY IN THE RTC OF LIGAO, ALBAY

  • Adm. Matter No. 95-10-06-SCC March 27, 1996 - IN RE: DEMASIRA M. BAUTE

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1071 March 28, 1996 - ELIZABETH ASUMBRADO v. FRANCISCO R. MACUNO

  • G.R. No. 104386 March 28, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR L. LEVISTE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121424 March 28, 1996 - IN RE: MAURO P. MAGTIBAY v. VICENTE VINARAO

  • G.R. No. 90215 March 29, 1996 - ERNESTO ZALDARRIAGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94594 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO REDULOSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 96178-79 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO ESMAQUILAN

  • G.R. No. 97785 March 29, 1996 - PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 99259-60 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EMILIO D. SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 103525 March 29, 1996 - MARCOPPER MINING CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104296 March 29, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. Nos. 106083-84 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. QUINTIN T. GARRAEZ

  • G.R. No. 106600 March 29, 1996 - COSMOS BOTTLING CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109312 March 29, 1996 - PLACIDO MIRANDA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 109614-15 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ADRONICO GREGORIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112346 March 29, 1996 - EVELYN YONAHA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112457-58 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO CARTUANO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 112678 March 29, 1996 - EDUARDO M . ESPEJO v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112708-09 March 29, 1996 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112718 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VLADIMIR L. CANUZO

  • G.R. Nos. 113519-20 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO F. PANLILIO

  • G.R. Nos. 114263-64 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHN JENN PORRAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115988 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEO V. LIAN

  • G.R. No. 116734 March 29, 1996 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LARRY B. LAURENTE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116792 March 29, 1996 - BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117055 March 29, 1996 - SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 117618 March 29, 1996 - VIRGINIA MALINAO v. LUISITO REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118509 March 29, 1996 - LIMKETKAI SONS MILLING INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118870 March 29, 1996 - NERISSA Z. PEREZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119193 March 29, 1996 - NEMENCIO GALVEZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120715 March 29, 1996 - FERNANDO R. SAZON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121527 March 29, 1996 - MARCELO L. ONGSITCO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

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    G.R. No. 66555   March 7, 1996 - LEONCIO MEJARES, ET AL. v. JUAN Y. REYES, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 66555. March 7, 1996.]

    SPOUSES LEONCIO MEJARES and EPIFANIA LARUMBE, Petitioners, v. HON. JUAN Y. REYES, in his official capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC-Cebu, Branch XIV, and MANUEL ADARNA, Respondents.

    Rosendo L. Tolentino, for Petitioners.

    The Solicitor General for public Respondent.

    Demosthenes S. Tecson for Private Respondent.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; CERTIORARI; THIS COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER INSTANT PETITION AS AN EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL RULE GOVERNING PETITIONS FOR CERTIORARI. — On the question of whether this Court has jurisdiction to entertain the instant petition, we rule in the affirmative, and treat this case as falling within the exception to the general rule governing petitions for certiorari. In Luna v. Court of Appeals, (216 SCRA 107, 111) this Court held: ". . . Technicalities should be disregarded if only to render to the respective parties that which is their due. Thus, although We have said that certiorari cannot be a substitute for a lapsed appeal, We have, time and again, likewise held that where a rigid application of that rule will result in a manifest failure or miscarriage of justice, the rule may be relaxed. Hence, considering the broader and primordial interests of justice, particularly when there is grave abuse of discretion, thus impelling occasional departure from the general rule that the extraordinary writ of certiorari cannot substitute for a lost appeal, respondent appellate court may legally entertain the special civil action for certiorari." In the instant case, certiorari is the only remedy available. Otherwise, a wrongful conviction of an innocent man and woman would be tolerated by a literal adherence to procedural niceties.

    2. CRIMINAL LAW; ANTI-SQUATTING (P.D. 772); THE ELEMENTS OF THE OFFENSE. — The offense covered by Section 1 of the above-quoted decree embraces three (3) elements, namely: (a) accused is not the owner of the land in question, (b) accused succeeded in occupying or possessing the said property through force, intimidation, or threat or by taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the owner; and (c) such occupation of the property is without the consent or against the will of the owner. It goes without saying that all the elements or requisites of the offense charged must be established or proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    3. ID.; ID.; APPLICATION IS DETERMINED BY THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE LAND IS INTENDED AND NOT THE PLACE WHERE IT IS LOCATED. — We recall our ruling in a previous case that P.D. 772 applies only to squatting in urban communities. In People v. Echaves, this Court held: "We hold that the lower court correctly ruled that the decree does not apply to pasture lands because its preamble shows that it was intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals. The squatting complained of involves pasture lands in rural areas." In Bernardo v. People, this Court reiterated its ruling in Echaves. Recently, however, said doctrine was expressly reversed by the Court in Jumawan, Et. Al. v. Eviota, Et Al., as follows: ". . . That it is the purpose for which the land is intended and not the place where it is located that is material is clear from the text of the statute. . . . Thus a piece of land may be found in a barangay. So long as it is for residential, commercial, or any other purpose, it comes within the purview of the Decree, and any person, who, with the use of force, intimidation or threat or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, occupies or takes possession of such property against the will of the latter is guilty of squatting. It is true that in People v. Echaves it was stated that the Decree was intended to apply to squatting in "urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals." The statement, however, is only a dictum, because the lands in that case were pasture lands. As this Court noted, squatting on public agricultural lands is punishable under another statute, Republic Act No. 947."cralaw virtua1aw library

    4. ID.; ID.; PETITIONERS IN CASE AT BAR DESERVE AN ACQUITTAL; REASON. — The petitioners should still be acquitted even if the agricultural land they were occupying, under Jumawan, comes within the purview of the Anti-Squatting Law. This is because, as previously discussed, the prosecution had failed to show that the occupancy was obtained "through force, intimidation, or threat or by taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the owner" or was "without the consent or against the will of the owner."


    D E C I S I O N


    PANGANIBAN, J.:


    May a person who was initially allowed to build his house on a piece of agricultural land not belonging to him be held criminally liable for violation of the Anti-Squatting Law (P.D. 772) for refusing to vacate said property despite the landowner’s subsequent demand for him to leave as the latter needed the land himself? This is the main issue resolved in this Petition for certiorari to set aside a judgment of conviction rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch XIV, in Criminal Case No. CU-4971 dated December 10, 1982.

    The case was transferred by the Second Division to the Third Division on October 23, 1995. After due consultation and deliberation on the Petition. Comment by the Solicitor General, Memoranda of the petitioners, the Solicitor General and the private respondents, and other submissions by the parties, the Court assigned the writing of this Decision to the undersigned ponente.

    The Facts


    On April 21, 1978, respondent Manuel Adarna purchased Cadastral Lot No. 7-B, located at Tulay, Minglanilla, Cebu, from Vidal Zafra, who in turn had acquired it from Escolastico Canizares. the latter and his wife acquired the lot in 1956 through sale application duly approved by the Bureau of Lands for residential and agricultural purposes.

    But even before respondent Adarna became owner of the property in April, 1978, petitioners had already been occupying a portion thereof, upon which they had built their house, by tolerance of the previous owner. Although respondent Adarna had served notice on petitioners to move out upon their plea, he allowed them to continue staying on the property without payment of rental provided they will vacate the same and remove their house therefrom when the time comes that he (respondent Adarna) will need the land. 1

    In May, 1979, respondent Adarna notified petitioners that he need the lot. Since petitioners refused to vacate, respondent Adarna brought a criminal complaint for squatting against the petitioners.

    On September 28, 1979, the Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Cebu 2 filed an Information charging petitioners with violating Presidential Decree No. 772, otherwise known as the Anti-Squatting Law, as follows: 3

    "That within the period prior to and after April 21, 1978, the above named accused did, them (sic), and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously succeed in occupying or possessing for residential and other purposes a portion of a parcel of land covered by Certificate of Title No. 7-B situated in Barangay Tulay, Municipality of Minglanilla, Province of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, owned by Manuel Adarna and Esperanza Adlawan of Tulay, Minglanilla, Cebu, by taking advantage of the tolerance of the latter and against the will of the complainant (sic).

    "In violation of Presidential Decree No. 772." (Emphasis supplied)

    After the prosecution had rested its case on August 13, 1980, 4 the case was set for hearing on September 12, 1980 for the defense to present its evidence. On said date, upon motion of the defense, the hearing was postponed to October 30 and 31, 1980. But on October 29, petitioners thru counsel filed a motion for postponement, which motion was objected to by the prosecution. The trial court sustained the prosecution’s contention and considered the defendants as having waived their rights to present evidence, and thus the case was deemed submitted for decision.

    On December 10, 1982, without any evidence having been presented by petitioners, respondent Judge rendered judgment convicting them, as follows: 5

    "WHEREFORE, the accused are sentenced to pay a fine of P1,000.00 and the costs, with subsidiary imprisonment (sic) in case of insolvency, and to remove their house from the land of Manuel S. Adarna, located at Tulay, Bo. Tungkop, Minglanilla, Cebu."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was denied by respondent Judge for lack of merit, in these words: 6

    "The ruling of the Supreme Court in People v. Hon Vicente B. Echavez (sic), L-47757-61, January 28, 1980, is inapplicable to the instant case. In the Echavez (sic) case, it has been shown that the land involved is a pasture land, while in this case, there is evidence to show that the land is residential, certainly not a pasture land. Besides, the defense concedes that the land involved in this case is a residential land titled in the name of Manuel Adarna issued in his name (sic) which sprang from a sales application presented way back in the year 1956 situated in Minglanilla, Cebu, a thickly populated municipality near Cebu City. Minglanilla, for all intents and purposes, is within the urban area of Metro-Cebu."cralaw virtua1aw library

    On February 14, 1984, petitioners filed the instant Petition assailing the aforementioned Decision and Order of respondent Judge allegedly for being contrary to law and jurisprudence and for having been rendered with grave abuse of discretion, in excess of or without jurisdiction. 7

    In his Comment and Memorandum, the Solicitor General joined petitioner’s prayer for the granting of the Petition.

    On March 14, 1984, this Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the respondents from removing the petitioners house from the land in question. 8

    The Issues


    Before this Court, petitioners cited the following errors allegedly committed by the court a quo: 9

    "1. Accused did not wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously succeed in occupying or possessing for residential purposes a portion of complainant’s land by taking advantage of the tolerance of the latter and against his will, within the period prior to and after April 21, 1978;

    "2. As enunciated in ‘People v. Echavez (sic), L-47757-61, January 28, 1980’, PD 772 does not apply to pasture lands because its preamble shows that it was intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Before we resolve the substantial issues, we noted that in his Memorandum, private respondent Adarna assailed petitioner’s choice of remedy, alleging that certiorari cannot substitute for lost appeal, and contending further that, assuming that the remedy of a special civil action for certiorari be the proper remedy, still, the instant petition was not filed within a reasonable period. 10 The said Decision dated March 2, 1983 was promulgated, according to private respondent, on March 2, 1983, while this Petition was filed only on February 14, 1984.

    In fine, the issues are: (1) whether this Court has jurisdiction to entertain this petition under Rule 65; (2) whether petitioners dispossessed respondent Adarna of the lot "against his will" ; and (3) whether the use as residence of an agricultural property, located in a rural — not urban — community may be considered a violation of the Anti-Squatting Law (P.D. 772).

    The first Issue: Jurisdiction

    On the question of whether this Court has jurisdiction to entertain the instant petition, we rule in the affirmative, and treat this case as falling within the exception to the general rule governing petitions for certiorari. In Luna v. Court of Appeals 11 , this Court held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . Technicalities should be disregarded if only to render to the respective parties that which is their due. Thus, although we have said that certiorari cannot be a substitute for a lapsed appeal, We have, time and again, likewise held that where a rigid application of that rule will result in a manifest failure or miscarriage of justice, the rule may be relaxed. hence, considering the broader and primordial interests of justice, particularly when there is grave abuse of discretion, thus impelling occasional departure from the general rule that the extraordinary writ of certiorari cannot substitute for a lost appeal, respondent appellate court may legally entertain the special civil action for certiorari."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In the instant case, certiorari is the only remedy available. Otherwise, a wrongful conviction of an innocent man and woman would be tolerated by a literal adherence to procedural niceties.

    The Second Issue: Dispossession

    To resolve the second issue, it is necessary to consider carefully the purposes and specific provisions of P.D. 772:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WHEREAS, it came to my knowledge that despite the issuance of Letter of Instruction No. 19 dated October 2, 1972, directing the Secretaries of National Defense, Public Works and Communications, Social Welfare and the Director of Public Works, the PHHC General Manager, the Presidential Assistant on Housing and Rehabilitation Agency, Governors, City and Municipal Mayors, and City and District Engineers, ‘to remove all illegal constructions including buildings on and along esteros and river banks, those along railroad tracks and those built without permits on public and private property,’ squatting is still a major problem in urban communities all over the country:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREAS, many persons or entities found to have been unlawfully occupying public and private lands belong to the affluent class;

    WHEREFORE, there is a need to further intensify the government’s drive against this illegal and nefarious practice;

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby decree and order;

    SECTION 1. Any person who, with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds in occupying or possessing the property of the latter against his will for residential, commercial or any other purposes, shall be punished by an imprisonment ranging from six months to one year or a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than five thousand pesos at the discretion of the court, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of solvency.

    If the offender is a corporation or association the maximum penalty of five years and the fine of five thousand pesos shall be imposed upon the president, director, manager or managing partners thereof.

    SECTION 2. This decree shall take effect immediately." (Emphasis supplied)

    The information alleges that petitioners succeeded "in occupying or possessing for residential for residential and other purposes a portion of a parcel of land . . . by taking advantage of the tolerance of . . . and against the will of" respondent Adarna. The offense covered by Section 1 of the above-quoted decree embraces three (3) elements, namely: (a) accused is not the owner of the land in question, (b) accused succeeded in occupying or possessing the said property through force, intimidation, or threat or by taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the owner; and (c) such occupation of the property is without the consent or against the will of the owner. 12 It goes without saying that all the elements or requisites of the offense charged must be established or proven beyond reasonable doubt. We find that the second and third elements or requisites of the offense are nor present in the instant case.

    In his complaint-affidavit, 13 respondent Adarna admitted that he had given his express consent to petitioners to stay on the premises free of rent, in these words:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "That I consented to the request of Leoncio Mijares (sic) and thus allowed them to stay in the premises, without any rental at all and that they should immediately remove the house from such lot the very moment that I give them notice to do so;"

    Having thus consented to petitioners possession and occupancy of the property, respondent Adarna may not validly claim that he had lost such possession to petitioners against his will. And the fact that he had asked them to vacate does not render their occupancy as one made "with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner." Respondent Adarna cannot claim that petitioners had taken advantage of his tolerance when they first moved into the premises since the lot then belonged to his predecessors-in-interest.

    The Third Issue: Applicability to Rural Land

    With respect ti the third issue, we recall our ruling in a previous case that P.D. 772 applies only to squatting in urban communities. In People v. Echaves, 14 this Court held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "We hold that the lower court correctly ruled that the decree does not apply to pasture lands because its preamble shows that it was intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals. The squatting complained of involves pasture lands in rural areas." (Emphasis supplied)

    In Bernardo v. People, 15 this Court reiterated its ruling in Echaves. recently, however, said doctrine was expressly reversed by the Court in Jumawan, Et Al., v. Eviota, Et. Al. 16 , as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . That it is the purpose for which the land is intended and not the place where it is located that is material is clear from the text of the statute. . . .

    x       x       x


    Thus a piece of land may be found in a barangay. So long as it is for residential, commercial, or any other purpose, it comes within the purview of the Decree, and any person, who, with the use of force, intimidation or threat or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, occupies or takes possession of such property against the will of the latter is guilty of squatting.

    It is true that in People v. Echaves it was stated that the Decree was intended to apply to squatting in "urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals." The statement, however, is only a dictum, because the lands in that case were pasture lands. As this Court noted, squatting on public agricultural lands is punishable under another statute, Republic Act No. 947." (Emphasis ours)

    Be that as it may, the petitioners should still be acquitted even if the agricultural land they were occupying under Jumawan, comes within the purview of the Anti-Squatting Law. This is because, as previously discussed, the prosecution had failed to show that the occupancy was obtained "through force, intimidation, or threat or by taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the owner" or was "without the consent or against the will of the owner."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Finally, it should be emphasized that by this Decision, this Court is not ruling on the legality of the possession and use of the premises by petitioners. It is merely ruling on the propriety and legality of petitioners conviction by the respondent Court.

    WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. This judgment of conviction in Criminal Case No. CU-4971 is hereby SET ASIDE. No costs.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 15.

    2. Fiscal Andres D. Amil; rollo, p. 4.

    3. Rollo, p. 9.

    4. Ibid., p. 10.

    5. Ibid.

    6. Ibid., p. 14.

    7. Ibid., pp. 3-8.

    8. Ibid., pp. 18-19.

    9. Petition, pp. 3-4; rollo, pp. 5-6.

    10. Memorandum for private respondent, pp. 2-3; rollo, pp. 105-106.

    11. 216 SCRA 107, at p. 111, (November 27, 1992), citing Aranda v. CA 186 SCRA 456 (June 13, 1990) and Goldloop Properties, Inc. v. CA. 212 SCRA 498 (August 11, 1992).

    12. Ocampo v. Court of Appeals, 180 SCRA 27, 31 (December 8, 1989).

    13. Rollo, p. 15.

    14. 95 SCRA 663 (January 28, 1980).

    15. 123 SCRA 365, 367-368 (July 5, 1983).

    16. 234 SCRA 524, 529 (July 28, 1994).

    G.R. No. 66555   March 7, 1996 - LEONCIO MEJARES, ET AL. v. JUAN Y. REYES, ET AL.




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