Petitioner was issued a writ of possession in Civil Case No. 6643 1 for Sum of Money by the Regional Trial Court of Balanga, Bataan, Branch 1. The writ of possession was, however, nullified by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 65891 2 because it included a parcel of land which was not among those explicitly enumerated in the Certificate of Sale issued by the Deputy Sheriff, but on which stand the immovables covered by the said Certificate. Petitioner contends that the sale of these immovables necessarily encompasses the land on which they stand.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Dissatisfied, petitioner filed the instant petition for review on certiorari
Respondent Ricardo Galit contracted a loan from petitioner Marcelo Soriano, in the total sum of P480,000.00, evidenced by four promissory notes in the amount of P120,000.00 each dated August 2, 1996; 3 August 15, 1996; 4 September 4, 1996 5 and September 14, 1996. 6 This loan was secured by a real estate mortgage over a parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 569. 7 After he failed to pay his obligation, Soriano filed a complaint for sum of money against him with the Regional Trial Court of Balanga City, Branch 1, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 6643. 8
Respondents, the Spouses Ricardo and Rosalina Galit, failed to file their answer. Hence, upon motion of Marcelo Soriano, the trial court declared the spouses in default and proceeded to receive evidence for petitioner Soriano ex parte.
On July 7, 1997, the Regional Trial Court of Balanga City, Branch 1 rendered judgment 9 in favor of petitioner Soriano, the dispositive portion of which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant ordering the latter to pay:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. the plaintiff the amount of P350,000.00 plus 12% interest to be computed from the dates of maturity of the promissory notes until the same are fully paid;
2. the plaintiff P20,000.00, as attorney’s fees; and
3. the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED. 10
The judgment became final and executory. Accordingly, the trial court issued a writ of execution in due course, by virtue of which, Deputy Sheriff Renato E. Robles levied on the following real properties of the Galit spouses:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. A parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title No. T-569 (Homestead Patent No. 14692) situated in the Bo. of Tapulac, Orani, Bataan. Bounded on the SW, along line 1-2 by Lot No. 3, Cad. 145; containing an area of THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY NINE (35,759) SQUARE METERS, more or less . . .;
2. STORE/HOUSE — CONSTRUCTED on Lot No. 1103 made of strong materials G.I. roofing situated at Centro I, Orani, Bataan, . . . containing an area of 30 sq. meters, more or less . . . (constructed on TCT No. T40785);
3. BODEGA — constructed on Lot 1103, made of strong materials, G.I. roofing, situated in Centro I, Orani, Bataan, . . . with a floor area of 42.75 sq. m. more or less . . . . 11
At the sale of the above-enumerated properties at public auction held on December 23, 1998, petitioner was the highest and only bidder with a bid price of P483,000.00. Accordingly, on February 4, 1999, Deputy Sheriff Robles issued a Certificate of Sale of Execution of Real Property, 12 which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
CERTIFICATE OF SALE ON EXECUTION OF REAL PROPERTY
TO ALL WHO MAY SEE THESE PRESENTS:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
GREETINGS:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
I HEREBY that (sic) by virtue of the writ of execution dated October 16, 1998, issued in the above-entitled case by the HON. BENJAMIN T. VIANZON, ordering the Provincial Sheriff of Bataan or her authorized Deputy Sheriff to cause to be made (sic) the sum of P350,000.00 plus 12% interest to be computed from the date of maturity of the promissory notes until the same are fully paid; P20,000.00 as attorney’s fees plus legal expenses in the implementation of the writ of execution, the undersigned Deputy Sheriff sold at public auction on December 23, 1998 the rights and interests of defendants Sps. Ricardo and Rosalina Galit, to the plaintiff Marcelo Soriano, the highest and only bidder for the amount of FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND PESOS (P483,000.00, Philippine Currency), the following real estate properties more particularly described as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. T-569
A parcel of land (Homestead Patent No. 14692) situated in the Bo. of Tapulac, Orani, Bataan, . . . . Bounded on the SW., along line 1-2 by Lot No. 3, Cad. 145, containing an area of THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY NINE (35,759) SQUARE METERS, more or less . . .
TAX DEC. NO. — PROPERTY INDEX NO. 018-09-001-02
STOREHOUSE — constructed on Lot 1103, made of strong materials G.I. roofing situated at Centro I, Orani, Bataan . . . containing an area of 30 sq. meters, more or less . . . (constructed on TCT No. 40785)
TAX DEC. NO. 86 — PROPERTY INDEX No. 018-09-001-02
BODEGA — constructed on Lot 1103, made of strong materials G.I. roofing situated in Centro I, Orani, Bataan, . . . with a floor area of 42.75 sq. m. more or less . . .
IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED, that the aforesaid highest and lone bidder, Marcelo Soriano, being the plaintiff did not pay to the Provincial Sheriff of Bataan the amount of P483,000.00, the sale price of the above described property which amount was credited to partial/full satisfaction of the judgment embodied in the writ of execution.
The period of redemption of the above described real properties together with all the improvements thereon will expire One (1) year from and after the registration of this Certificate of Sale with the Register of Deeds.
This Certificate of Sheriff’s Sale is issued to the highest and lone bidder, Marcelo Soriano, under guarantees prescribed by law.
Balanga, Bataan, February 4, 1999.
On April 23, 1999, petitioner caused the registration of the "Certificate of Sale on Execution of Real Property" with the Registry of Deeds.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The said Certificate of Sale registered with the Register of Deeds includes at the dorsal portion thereof the following entry, not found in the Certificate of Sale on file with Deputy Sheriff Renato E. Robles: 13
ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. T-40785
A parcel of land (Lot No. 1103 of the Cadastral Survey of Orani), with the improvements thereon, situated in the Municipality of Orani, Bounded on the NE; by Calle P. Gomez; on the E. by Lot No. 1104; on the SE by Calle Washington; and on the W. by Lot 4102, containing an area of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY NINE (139) SQUARE METERS, more or less. All points referred to are indicated on the plan; bearing true; declination 0 deg. 40’E., date of survey, February 191-March 1920.
On February 23, 2001, ten months from the time the Certificate of Sale on Execution was registered with the Registry of Deeds, petitioner moved 14 for the issuance of a writ of possession. He averred that the one-year period of redemption had elapsed without the respondents having redeemed the properties sold at public auction; thus, the sale of said properties had already become final. He also argued that after the lapse of the redemption period, the titles to the properties should be considered, for all legal intents and purposes, in his name and favor. 15
On June 4, 2001, the Regional Trial Court of Balanga City, Branch 1 granted the motion for issuance of writ of possession. 16 Subsequently, on July 18, 2001, a writ of possession 17 was issued in petitioner’s favor which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
WRIT OF POSSESSION
Mr. Renato E. Robles
RTC, Br. 1, Balanga City
Greetings:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
WHEREAS on February 3, 2001, the counsel for plaintiff filed Motion for the Issuance of Writ of Possession;
WHEREAS on June 4, 2001, this court issued an order granting the issuance of the Writ of Possession;
WHEREFORE, you are hereby commanded to place the herein plaintiff Marcelo Soriano in possession of the property involved in this case situated (sic) more particularly described as:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. STORE HOUSE constructed on Lot No. 1103 situated at Centro 1, Orani, Bataan covered by TCT No. 40785;
2. BODEGA constructed on Lot No. 1103 with an area of 42.75 square meters under Tax Declaration No. 86 situated at Centro 1, Orani, Bataan;
3. Original Certificate of Title No. 40785 with an area of 134 square meters known as Lot No. 1103 of the Cadastral Survey of Orani. . .
against the mortgagor/former owners Sps. Ricardo and Rosalinda (sic) Galit, her (sic) heirs, successors, assigns and all persons claiming rights and interests adverse to the petitioner and make a return of this writ every thirty (30) days from receipt hereof together with all the proceedings thereon until the same has been fully satisfied.
WITNESS THE HONORABLE BENJAMIN T. VIANZON, Presiding Judge, this 18th day of July 2001, at Balanga City.
(Sgd) GILBERT S. ARGONZA
Respondents filed a petition for certiorari
with the Court of Appeals, which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 65891, assailing the inclusion of the parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-40785 among the list of real properties in the writ of possession. 18 Respondents argued that said property was not among those sold on execution by Deputy Sheriff Renato E. Robles as reflected in the Certificate of Sale on Execution of Real Property.
In opposition, petitioner prayed for the dismissal of the petition because respondent spouses failed to move for the reconsideration of the assailed order prior to the filing of the petition. Moreover, the proper remedy against the assailed order of the trial court is an appeal, or a motion to quash the writ of possession.
On May 13, 2002, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the writ of possession issued by the Regional Trial Court of Balanga City, Branch 1, on 18 July 2001 is declared NULL and VOID.
In the event that the questioned writ of possession has already been implemented, the Deputy Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court of Balanga City, Branch 1, and private respondent Marcelo Soriano are hereby ordered to cause the redelivery of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-40785 to the petitioners.
SO ORDERED. 19
Aggrieved, petitioner now comes to this Court maintaining that —
1.) THE SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION OF CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 IS NOT THE PLAIN, SPEEDY AND ADEQUATE REMEDY OF THE RESPONDENTS IN ASSAILING THE WRIT OF POSSESSION ISSUED BY THE LOWER COURT BUT THERE WERE STILL OTHER REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO THEM AND WHICH WERE NOT RESORTED TO LIKE THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OR MOTION TO QUASH OR EVEN APPEAL.
2.) THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING THE CERTIFICATE OF SALE ON EXECUTION OF REAL PROPERTY AS NULL AND VOID AND SUBSEQUENTLY THE WRIT OF POSSESSION BECAUSE THE SAME IS A PUBLIC DOCUMENT WHICH ENJOYS THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY AND IT CANNOT BE OVERCOME BY A MERE STRANGE FEELING THAT SOMETHING IS AMISS ON ITS SURFACE SIMPLY BECAUSE THE TYPEWRITTEN WORDS ON THE FRONT PAGE AND AT THE DORSAL PORTION THEREOF IS DIFFERENT OR THAT IT IS UNLIKELY FOR THE SHERIFF TO USE THE DORSAL PORTION OF THE FIRST PAGE BECAUSE THE SECOND PAGE IS MERELY HALF FILLED AND THE NOTATION ON THE DORSAL PORTION COULD STILL BE MADE AT THE SECOND PAGE.
On the first ground, petitioner contends that respondents were not without remedy before the trial court. He points out that respondents could have filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated June 4, 1999, but they did not do so. Respondents could also have filed an appeal but they, likewise, did not do so. When the writ of possession was issued, respondents could have filed a motion to quash the writ. Again they did not. Respondents cannot now avail of the special civil action for certiorari
as a substitute for these remedies. They should suffer the consequences for sleeping on their rights.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Concededly, those who seek to avail of the procedural remedies provided by the rules must adhere to the requirements thereof, failing which the right to do so is lost. It is, however, equally settled that the Rules of Court seek to eliminate undue reliance on technical rules and to make litigation as inexpensive as practicable and as convenient as can be done. 20 This is in accordance with the primary purpose of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure as provided in Rule 1, Section 6, which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Section 6. Construction. — These rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. 21
The rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense and are used only to help secure substantial justice. If a technical and rigid enforcement of the rules is made, their aim would be defeated. 22 They should be liberally construed so that litigants can have ample opportunity to prove their claims and thus prevent a denial of justice due to technicalities. 23 Thus, in China Banking Corporation v. Members of the Board of Trustees of Home Development Mutual Fund, 24 it was held:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
. . .while certiorari
as a remedy may not be used as a substitute for an appeal, especially for a lost appeal, this rule should not be strictly enforced if the petition is genuinely meritorious. 25 It has been said that where the rigid application of the rules would frustrate substantial justice, or bar the vindication of a legitimate grievance, the courts are justified in exempting a particular case from the operation of the rules. 26 (Emphasis ours)
Indeed, well-known is the rule that departures from procedure may be forgiven where they do not appear to have impaired the substantial rights of the parties. 27 Apropos in this regard is Cometa v. CA, 28 where we said that —
There is no question that petitioners were remiss in attending with dispatch to the protection of their interests as regards the subject lots, and for that reason the case in the lower court was dismissed on a technicality and no definitive pronouncement on the inadequacy of the price paid for the levied properties was ever made. In this regard, it bears stressing that procedural rules are not to be belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance may have resulted in prejudice to a party’s substantive rights as in this case. Like all rules, they are required to be followed except when only for the most persuasive of reasons they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed. 29 (emphasis and Italics supplied
In short, since rules of procedure are mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, their strict and rigid application which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice must always be avoided. 30 Technicality should not be allowed to stand in the way of equitably and completely resolving the rights and obligations of the parties. 31
Eschewing, therefore, the procedural objections raised by petitioner, it behooves us to address the issue of whether or not the questioned writ of possession is in fact a nullity considering that it includes real property not expressly mentioned in the Certificate of Sale of Real Property.
Petitioner, in sum, dwells on the general proposition that since the certificate of sale is a public document, it enjoys the presumption of regularity and all entries therein are presumed to be done in the performance of regular functions.
The argument is not persuasive.
There are actually two (2) copies of the Certificate of Sale on Execution of Real Properties issued on February 4, 1999 involved, namely: (a) copy which is on file with the deputy sheriff; and (b) copy registered with the Registry of Deeds. The object of scrutiny, however, is not the copy of the Certificate of Sale on Execution of Real Properties issued by the deputy sheriff on February 4, 1999, 32 but the copy thereof subsequently registered by petitioner with the Registry of Deeds on April 23, 1999, 33 which included an entry on the dorsal portion of the first page thereof describing a parcel of land covered by OCT No. T-40785 not found in the Certificate of Sale of Real Properties on file with the sheriff.
True, public documents by themselves may be adequate to establish the presumption of their validity. However, their probative weight must be evaluated not in isolation but in conjunction with other evidence adduced by the parties in the controversy, much more so in this case where the contents of a copy thereof subsequently registered for documentation purposes is being contested. No reason has been offered how and why the questioned entry was subsequently intercalated in the copy of the certificate of sale subsequently registered with the Registry of Deeds. Absent any satisfactory explanation as to why said entry was belatedly inserted, the surreptitiousness of its inclusion coupled with the furtive manner of its intercalation casts serious doubt on the authenticity of petitioner’s copy of the Certificate of Sale. Thus, it has been held that while a public document like a notarized deed of sale is vested with the presumption of regularity, this is not a guarantee of the validity of its contents. 34
It must be pointed out in this regard that the issuance of a Certificate of Sale is an end result of judicial foreclosure where statutory requirements are strictly adhered to; where even the slightest deviations therefrom will invalidate the proceeding 35 and the sale. 36 Among these requirements is an explicit enumeration and correct description of what properties are to be sold stated in the notice. The stringence in the observance of these requirements is such that an incorrect title number together with a correct technical description of the property to be sold and vice versa is deemed a substantial and fatal error which results in the invalidation of the sale. 37
The certificate of sale is an accurate record of what properties were actually sold to satisfy the debt. The strictness in the observance of accuracy and correctness in the description of the properties renders the enumeration in the certificate exclusive. Thus, subsequently including properties which have not been explicitly mentioned therein for registration purposes under suspicious circumstances smacks of fraud. The explanation that the land on which the properties sold is necessarily included and, hence, was belatedly typed on the dorsal portion of the copy of the certificate subsequently registered is at best a lame excuse unworthy of belief.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The appellate court correctly observed that there was a marked difference in the appearance of the typewritten words appearing on the first page of the copy of the Certificate of Sale registered with the Registry of Deeds 38 and those appearing at the dorsal portion thereof. Underscoring the irregularity of the intercalation is the clearly devious attempt to let such an insertion pass unnoticed by typing the same at the back of the first page instead of on the second page which was merely half-filled and could accommodate the entry with room to spare.
The argument that the land on which the buildings levied upon in execution is necessarily included is, likewise, tenuous. Article 415 of the Civil Code provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
ART. 415. The following are immovable property:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(1) Land, buildings, roads and constructions of all kinds adhered to the soil:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
x x x
(3) Everything attached to an immovable in a fixed manner, in such a way that it cannot be separated therefrom without breaking the material or deterioration of the object;
(4) Statues, reliefs, paintings or other objects for use or ornamentation, placed in buildings or on lands by the owner of the immovable in such a manner that it reveals the intention to attach them permanently to the tenements;
(5) Machinery, receptacles, instruments or implements intended by the owner of the tenement for an industry or works which may be carried on in a building or on a piece of land, and which tend directly to meet the needs of the said industry or works;
(6) Animal houses, pigeon houses, beehives, fish ponds or breeding places of similar nature, in case their owner has placed them or preserves them with the intention to have them permanently attached to the land, and forming a permanent part of it; the animals in these places are also included;
x x x
(9) Docks and structures which, though floating, are intended by their nature and object to remain at a fixed place on a river, lake or coast;
x x x.
The foregoing provision of the Civil Code enumerates land and buildings separately. This can only mean that a building is, by itself, considered immovable. 39 Thus, it has been held that —
. . . while it is true that a mortgage of land necessarily includes, in the absence of stipulation of the improvements thereon, buildings, still a building by itself may be mortgaged apart from the land on which it has been built. Such mortgage would be still a real estate mortgage for the building would still be considered immovable property even if dealt with separately and apart from the land. 40 (emphasis and Italics supplied
In this case, considering that what was sold by virtue of the writ of execution issued by the trial court was merely the storehouse and bodega constructed on the parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-40785, which by themselves are real properties of respondents spouses, the same should be regarded as separate and distinct from the conveyance of the lot on which they stand.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated May 13, 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 65891, which declared the writ of possession issued by the Regional Trial Court of Balanga City, Branch 1, on July 18, 2001, null and void, is AFFIRMED in toto.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Davide, Jr., C.J.
, Vitug and Carpio, JJ.
, is on leave.
1. Entitled Marcelo R. Soriano v. Spouses Ricardo L. Galit and Rosalina Galvez.
2. Entitled Spouses Ricardo and Rosalina Galit v. Hon. Benjamin Vianzon, Marcelo Soriano, Et. Al.
3. Record, p. 16.
4. Id., p. 21.
5. Id., p. 26.
6. Id., p. 32.
7. Id., p. 20.
8. Id., p. 9.
9. Id., pp. 37–40.
10. Id., p. 40.
11. Id., pp. 41–42.
13. Id., pp. 43–44.
14. Id., p.13.
15. Id., p. 14.
16. Id., p. 12.
17. Id., p. 15.
18. Entitled Spouses Ricardo and Rosalina Galit v. Hon. Benjamin T. Vianzon, Marcelo Soriano, Et. Al.
19. Rollo, p. 37; penned by Associate Justice Perlita J. Tria-Tirona; concurred in by Associate Justices Buenaventura J. Guerrero and Rodrigo V. Cosico.
20. Francisco V.J., The Revised Rules of Court in the Philippines, Vol. I, 1973 ed., pp. 155–156, citing an article of Professor Sunderland in the University of Cincinnati.
21. See Casil v. CA, G.R. No. 121534, 28 January 1998, 285 SCRA 264.
22. Director of Lands v. CA, 363 Phil. 117 .
23. Cometa v. CA, 361 Phil. 383 .
24. 366 Phil. 913 (1999).
25. De la Paz v. Panis, 315 Phil. 238 ; Vasquez v. Hobilla-Alinio, 337 Phil. 517 [1997).
26. Nerves v. CSC, 342 Phil. 578 .
27. Mercader v. DBP (Cebu Branch), 387 Phil. 283 .
28. G.R. No. 141855, 6 February 2001, 351 SCRA 294, 306.
29. Citing Limpot v. CA, G.R. No. 44642, 20 February 1989, 170 SCRA 367.
30. RCPI v. NLRC, G.R. Nos. 101181-84, 22 June 1992, 210 SCRA 222.
31. Casa Filipina Realty Corporation v. Office of the President, 311 Phil. 170 , citing Rapid Manpower Consultants, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 88683, 18 October 1990, 190 SCRA 747.
32. Rollo, pp. 41–42.
33. Id., pp. 43–44.
34. Nazareno v. CA, G.R. No. 138842, 18 October 2000, 343 SCRA 637, 652.
35. Tambunting v. CA, G.R. No. L-48278, 8 November 1988, 167 SCRA 16.
36. Roxas v. CA, G.R. No. 100480, 11 May 1993, 221 SCRA 729.
37. San Jose v. CA, G.R. No. 106953, 19 August 1993, 225 SCRA 450, 545.
38. Rollo, pp. 43–44.
39. Lopez v. Orosa, G.R. No. L-10817-18, 28 February 1958; Associated Inc. and Surety Co., Inc. v. Isabel Iya, G.R. No. L-10837-38, 30 May 1958.
40. Prudential Bank v. Panis, G.R. No. L-50008, 31 August 1987, 153 SCRA 390, 396, citing Leung Yee v. Strong Machinery Co., 37 Phil. 644 .