This is a petition for review on certiorari
of the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 53559 affirming the Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 4, dated February 8, 1996 and May 20, 1996 in LRC Cad. Record No. 291.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Spouses Isidro de Guzman and Andrea E. Enriquez were the owners in fee simple of a parcel of land, with an area of 128.40 square meters located in Fabie Street, Pedro Gil, Paco, Manila, and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 94754 of the Register of Deeds of Manila. The Spouses De Guzman thereafter constructed a house thereon, with postal address at No. 1526 1st Street, Fabie Estate, Pedro Gil, Paco, Manila.
On March 17, 1982, Andrea died intestate and was survived by Isidro and their daughter Rosario de Guzman, married to Rodolfo Alarilla, Sr. They executed a real estate mortgage over the property in favor of Spouses Reynaldo C. Ocampo and Josephine C. Llave as security for the payment of their loan. On July 15, 1995, Isidro de Guzman died intestate and was survived by Rosario de Guzman and her children by Rodolfo Alarilla, Sr. When the mortgagors-debtors failed to pay the loan despite demands, the Spouses Ocampo filed a petition for the extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage with the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, who was also the Ex-Officio City Sheriff. The property was sold at public auction on July 13, 1994 with the Spouses Ocampo as the highest bidder for P515,430.76. The Ex-Officio Sheriff executed a certificate of sale over the property also on the said date. The certificate of sale was registered with the Office of the City Register of Deeds on September 2, 1994. Upon the failure to redeem the property, the Spouses Ocampo executed an affidavit of consolidation of title. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 224439 was issued to and under their names on October 3, 1995.
On October 17, 1995, Spouses Rodolfo Alarilla, Sr. and their children: Spouses Alejandro Parayno, Jr. and Ma. Roselle Alarilla, Rodolfo Alarilla, Jr., Roderick G. Alarilla, Rainier Alarilla and Randy Alarilla filed a complaint against the Spouses Ocampo and the Ex-Officio Sheriff with the Regional Trial Court of Manila. The complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 95-75769, alleged inter alia that (a) by virtue of the Family Code of the Philippines, the property sold at public auction was constituted as a family home; (b) Isidro de Guzman failed to liquidate the family home after the death of Andrea as required by the Family Code of the Philippines, which rendered the real estate mortgage executed in favor of the Spouses Ocampo null and void; (c) upon the demise of Isidro de Guzman on July 15, 1995, the plaintiffs depended on their parents, the Spouses Rodolfo Alarilla, Sr. for support; (d) the plaintiffs offered to redeem the property for P356,427.91 to the Spouses Reynaldo Ocampo before the lapse of the one-year redemption period, but the latter refused to accept the same; (e) the Sheriff sold the property for an amount in excess of P401,162.96, the correct amount owed the plaintiffs, thus rendering the sale null and void; (f) the plaintiffs offered to redeem the property for the correct amount due on September 1, 1995, but the defendants refused to accept the same; hence, the period for redemption had not yet expired.
The plaintiffs prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin the sheriff from implementing the writ of possession issued by the RTC, Branch 4. The plaintiffs, thus, prayed that after due proceedings:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
WHEREFORE, and based on the foregoing premises, plaintiffs most respectfully pray that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
A. Judgment be rendered declaring the Certificate of Sale and any Deed for that matter that is subsequently issued as null and void;
B. The defendants be ordered to pay the plaintiffs the sum of Three Hundred Thousand Pesos, Philippine currency, plus the additional sum of P45,000.00 to answer for exemplary damage and actual expenses incurred in maintaining the suit, respectively;
C. In said judgment, an order be issued making the injunction earlier issued permanent;
D. Declaring also that the Family Home comprised of Lot 21 and plaintiffs’ residence thereat be declared free from any encumbrances, foreclosure sale, Certificate of Sale and Definite Deed of Sale. 2
On November 27, 1995, Reynaldo Ocampo filed a petition for a writ of possession in LRC Cad. No. 291 with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 4. There was no opposition to the petition. The petitioner adduced evidence ex-parte in support thereof and on February 8, 1996, the court issued an order granting the petition and a writ of possession.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint praying that after due proceedings, judgment be rendered in their favor, thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
WHEREFORE, and foregoing premises considered, the plaintiffs most respectfully pray that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
A. Judgment be rendered declaring the Certificate of Sale, the Definite Deed of Sale and the Transfer Certificate of Title No. 224439 issued to the defendants as null and void;
B. In [the] same judgment, an order cancelling Transfer Certificate of Title No. 224439 in the name of said defendants be issued to the Register of Deeds, City of Manila;
C. The defendants shall be ordered also to pay the plaintiffs the damages in the total sum of FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY-SIX (P436,000.00) THOUSAND PESOS, Philippine currency;
D. The injunction earlier issued be ordered to be permanent;
E. In [the] said judgment, the Family Home of the plaintiffs comprised as Lot 21 and the plaintiffs’ residence thereat be declared free from any encumbrances, foreclosure sale, Certificate of Sale, Definite Deed of Sale, attachment and the null and void Transfer Certificate of Title No. 224439 aforementioned and any other document that may later on be shown as affecting the same Family Home. 3
In a parallel move, Rodolfo Alarilla, Sr. filed on March 25, 1996 in LRC Cad. No. 291 a motion to set aside the Order dated February 8, 1996 and to dismiss the petition for a writ of possession. On May 20, 1996, the court issued an Order in LRC Cad. No. 291 denying the motion. The movants appealed the order to the Court of Appeals which rendered a Decision on February 17, 2000 affirming the assailed order. The movants-appellants received a copy of the decision of the CA on March 3, 2000. On March 20, 2000, they filed a motion for the reconsideration of the decision. On August 17, 2000, the CA issued a resolution denying the motion of the appellants. The latter received a copy of the said resolution on September 4, 2000 and on September 19, 2000, the appellants, now petitioners, filed with this Court a motion for extension of thirty days within which to file a petition for review of the decision of the CA.
In their petition at bar, the petitioners assailed the decision of the CA contending that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE NOT HERETOFORE IN ACCORD WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT PARTICULARLY IN THE INTERPRETATION OF ART. 158 OF THE FAMILY CODE IN RELATION TO ART. 153 THEREOF WHERE THE FAMILY RESIDENCE OF PETITIONERS/BENEFICIARIES IS CONSTITUTED BY OPERATION OF LAW AS FAMILY HOME. 4
The petitioners assert that the real estate mortgage executed by the Spouses De Guzman on March 9, 1993 is null and void for failure to secure the conformity of the beneficiaries of the family home as required by Article 158 of the Family Code of the Philippines. Although the respondents are entitled to a writ of possession under Section 7 of Act No. 3135, the said provision has been repealed by the Family Code of the Philippines, as provided for in Article 211 thereof. The petitioners also contend that the petitioners cannot be ousted from the property without the respondents filing an ordinary action for the recovery of possession of the same, to give the mortgagors an opportunity to be heard not only on the issue of possession of the property but also on the obligations of the mortgagors under the real estate mortgage.
For its part, the CA noted that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
After expiration of the redemption period without redemption being made, the writ must issue in order to place the buyer in possession of the foreclosed property (Veloso, Et. Al. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, supra). The right to such possession is absolute; it may be obtained thru a writ which may be applied for ex parte pursuant to Sec. 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended (Navarra v. Court of Appeals, 204 SCRA 850).
The subject property was not redeemed within the one-year period. Being the successful bidder in the foreclosure sale, appellee had consolidated ownership over the property, for which TCT No. 224439 was issued to him. In IFC Service Leasing and Acceptance Corp. v. Nera (19 SCRA 181), the Supreme Court stated that "if under Section 7 of Act No. 3135, the court has the power, on the ex parte application of the purchaser, to issue a writ of possession during the period of redemption, there is no reason why it should not also have the same power after the expiration of that period, especially where, as in this case, a new title has already been issued in the name of the purchaser." 5
The respondents posit that the decision of the CA had become final and executory when the petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration of the decision only on March 20, 2000 or seventeen (17) days after being served a copy of the said decision. Furthermore, the CA did not commit any reversible error in its decision on the merits of the petition.
By way of riposte, the petitioners aver that March 18, 2000, the last day to file a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the CA, fell on a Saturday. Hence, they had until March 20, 2000, the first regular working day, to file the said motion. However, the respondents did not raise the issue in the CA, and raising the issue now in this case is but a mere afterthought. In any event, the petitioners argue that their failure to seasonably file their motion for reconsideration is a mere procedural lapse; hence, it should not prevail over their right to appeal from the assailed decision of the CA.
The petition has no merit.
The parties raised two issues in this case: (a) whether the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration of the decision of the CA was filed out of time; and (b) on its merits, whether the petition should be granted.
The petitioners’ motion for reconsideration of the CA decision was filed within the reglementary period therefor.
Section 1, Rule 22 of the Rules of Court, as amended, and as applied in several cases, provides that where the last day of the period for doing an act as provided by law falls on a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday in the place where the court sits, the time should not run until the next working day. In this case, the petitioners had until March 18, 2000 within which to file their motion for the reconsideration of the decision of the CA. Since March 18, 2000 was a Saturday, the petitioners had until March 20, 2000, the next working day thereafter, to file their motion. The petitioners filed their motion on the said date; hence, the motion was filed within the reglementary period therefor. 6
The petition, however, stands to fail on the merits.
The petition is bereft of merit, and is hereby denied due course.
First. The one-year period for the petitioners to redeem the mortgaged property had already lapsed. Title to the property had already been consolidated under the name of the Respondent
. As the owner of the property, the respondent is entitled to its possession as a matter of right. 7 The issuance of a writ of possession over the property by the court is merely a ministerial function. There is no need for the respondent to file an action to evict the petitioners from the property and himself take possession thereof.
Second. Any question regarding the validity of the mortgage or its foreclosure cannot be a legal ground for refusing the issuance of a writ of possession. Regardless of whether or not there is a pending action for the nullification of the sale at public auction, or the foreclosure itself, or even for the nullification of the real estate mortgage executed by the petitioners over the property, the respondent as purchaser at public auction is entitled to a writ of possession without prejudice to the outcome of the action filed by the petitioners with the Regional Trial Court of Manila docketed as Civil Case No. 95-75769. 8
Third. The writ of possession issued by the trial court must be enforced without delay. It cannot be stymied or thwarted by the petitioners by raising issues already raised by them in Civil Case No. 95-75769.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Fourth. The petitioners did not even oppose the petition for a writ of possession filed by the respondent in the court a quo. Instead, they filed the complaint for the nullification of the foreclosure proceedings, the sale at public auction and the nullification of TCT No. T-224439 issued by the Register of Deeds of Manila in the name of the respondent, with a plea for injunctive relief.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED. Costs against the petitioners.
Puno, Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez and Tinga, JJ.
1. Penned by Associate Justice Edgardo P. Cruz with Associate Justices Ramon A. Barcelona and Marina L. Buzon concurring.
2. Records, p. 35.
3. Id. at 46–47.
4. Rollo, p. 13.
5. Id. at 29–30.
6. Labad v. University of Southeastern Philippines, 362 SCRA 510 (2001).
7. Manalo v. Court of Appeals, 366 SCRA 752 (2001); Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 142 SCRA 44 (1986).
8. Ong v. Court of Appeals, 333 SCRA 189 (2000).