December 2014 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
G.R. No. 203022, December 03, 2014 - ANTONIO MARTINEZ, Petitioner, v. HON. RONALDO B. MARTIN, PRESIDING JUDGE AND ROLANDO PALMARES, DEPUTY SHERIFF, BOTH OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO CITY, BRANCH 73, AND NATALIA REALTY, INC., Respondent.
G.R. No. 203022, December 03, 2014
ANTONIO MARTINEZ, Petitioner, v. HON. RONALDO B. MARTIN, PRESIDING JUDGE AND ROLANDO PALMARES, DEPUTY SHERIFF, BOTH OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO CITY, BRANCH 73, AND NATALIA REALTY, INC., Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
In compliance with the Courtís Decision in the case entitled Natalia Realty, Inc. v. CA4 (Natalia v. CA), the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City, Branch 73 (RTC) issued an alias writ of execution5dated February 20, 2004 (February 20, 2004 Alias Writ) granting in favor of petitioner Antonio Martinez (petitioner), among others, possession of portions of two (2) parcels of land located in Sitio Banabas, Antipolo City, covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. 31527 and 31528 (now both covered by TCT No.N-67845) (subject lots). On March 30, 2004, respondent Deputy Sheriff Rolando Palmares (Deputy Sheriff) of the same court executed a Certificate of Delivery of Possession,6 attesting that the 86.26-hectare portion of the subject lots covered by TCT No. N-67845 was already delivered to petitioner and his co-parties in Civil Case No. 359-A.7
Subsequently, in an Order8 dated July 27, 2004, the RTC directed its Sheriff-in-Charge to ensure that private respondent Natalia Realty Inc.ís (private respondent) guards and developers who may still be found at the premises of the subject lots are ousted therefrom pursuant to the Courtís ruling in Natalia v. CA and the February 20, 2004 Alias Writ. In response, the Deputy Sheriff submitted a report dated August 23, 2004 informing the RTC that the aforesaid alias writ of execution had already been returned, duly served, implemented, and fully satisfied; thus, there was no longer a need to enforce it again.9
More than two (2) years later, or on October 17, 2006, petitioner filed a motion for the issuance of another alias writ of execution before the RTC, arguing that such issuance was necessary in view of private respondentís refusal to comply with the February 20, 2004 Alias Writ.10
In an Omnibus Order11 dated September 10, 2007, the RTC denied petitionerís motion. It found no need to issue another alias writ of execution since the February 20, 2004 Alias Writ had already been duly served, implemented, and fully satisfied.12
Aggrieved, petitioner moved for reconsideration. Acting on the belief that the RTC would deny the motion or might take a long time to resolve the same, petitioner then filed a petition for mandamus before the Court to compel the RTC to issue another alias writ of execution against private respondent and for such alias writ to be immediately executed and fully implemented after its issuance. In a Resolution13 dated July 21, 2008, the Court remanded the petition to the CA,14 docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 105092.
In a Decision15 dated April 30, 2012, the CA denied the petition for mandamus for lack of merit.16 It held that petitionerís resort to an action for mandamus is premature, considering that the RTC has yet to resolve the motion pending before it. It further ratiocinated that petitionerís remedy for private respondentís alleged refusal to comply with the February 20, 2004 Alias Writ is to initiate contempt proceedings against the latter, and not to compel the RTC to issue another alias writ of execution through mandamus.17
Dissatisfied, petitioner moved for reconsideration18 which was, however, denied in a Resolution19 dated July 25, 2012, hence, this petition.
The primordial issue for the Courtís resolution is whether or not the CA correctly dismissed the petition for mandamus for lack of merit.
The petition lacks merit.
As case law defines, a writ of mandamus is a command issuing from a court of law of competent jurisdiction, in the name of the state or sovereign, directed to an inferior court, tribunal, or board, or to some corporation or person, requiring the performance of a particular duty therein specified, which duty results from the official station of the party to whom the writ is directed, or from operation of law. It is employed to compel the performance, when refused, of a ministerial duty which, as opposed to a discretionary one, is that which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of his or its own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done.20 Being an extraordinary remedy, mandamus is available only when there is no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, such as a motion for reconsideration.21
A judicious review of the records of this case reveals that petitioner still had a motion for reconsideration pending resolution before the RTC when he filed a petition for mandamus before the Court (which the Court, in turn, remanded to the CA). Absent any showing that any of the recognized exceptions obtain to the rule requiring the filing of a motion for reconsideration prior to a petition for mandamus,22 petitioner may not be allowed to do so and, thus, must result in the outright dismissal of his petition for mandamus.
Further, as acknowledged by petitioner through his signature on the Deputy Sheriffís Certificate of Delivery of Possession dated March 30, 2004, the subject lots had already been delivered to him and his co-parties.23 Therefore, there is no more need to issue another alias writ of execution as the February 20, 2004 Alias Writ has already been fully implemented. In this relation, the CA correctly opined that petitionerís remedy was to have private respondent cited for contempt. Jurisprudence in Pascua v. Heirs of Segundo Simeon24 is instructive on this matter, to wit:
The proper procedure if the [losing party] refuse[s] to deliver possession of the lands is not for the court to cite them for contempt but for the sheriff to dispossess them of the premises and deliver the possession thereof to the [winning party]. However, if subsequent to such dispossession, [the losing party] enter[s] into or upon the properties for the purpose of executing acts of ownership or possession or in any manner disturb the possession of [the winning party], then and only then may [the losing party] be charged with and punished for contempt. 25 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
In sum, petitioner failed to sufficiently demonstrate that he had no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in order to be entitled to the extraordinary remedy of mandamus, much more substantiate his entitlement therefor. As such, his petition must fail.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated April 30, 2012 and the Resolution dated July 25, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 105092 are hereby AFFIRMED.
Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Perez, concur.
1 Rollo, pp. 34-40.
2 Id. at 43-52. Penned by Associate Justice Sesinado E. Villon with Presiding Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and Associate Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, concurring.
3 Not attached to the rollo. Mentioned as ďOrderĒ in the petition for review on certiorari before the Court. (See id. at 35.)
4 440 Phil. 1 (2002). The dispositive portion of this case reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibraryWHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch 74, shall forthwith issue and cause to be immediately enforced an ALIAS WRIT OF EXECUTION of the Order of August 3, 1995 granting possession to private respondents of portions of the parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 31527 and 31528 (now No.N-67845). This decision is immediately executory. The Clerk of Court is directed to remand the records of the case to the court of origin.5 See rollo p. 44.
Cost against petitioner.
6 Dated March 30, 2004; id.at 172.
7 Id. at 44.
8 Not attached to the rollo. Id. at 45.
11 Id. at 147-159. Penned by Judge Ronaldo B. Martin.
12 See id. at45, 151, and 159.
13 Not attached to the rollo.
14 Rollo, p. 46.
15 Id. at 43-52.
16 Id. at 52.
17 See id. at 50-51.
18 See Motion for Reconsideration dated June 29, 2012;id. at 54-63.
19 Not attached to the rollo. See id.at 35.
20National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation v. Abayari, 617 Phil. 446, 458 (2009).
21 See Delos Reyes v. Flores, G.R. No. 168726, March 5, 2010, 614 SCRA 270, 277.
22 ď[T]here are several exceptions where a petition for [mandamus] will lie without the prior filing of a motion for reconsideration, to wit:
(a) where the order is a patent nullity, as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction;
(b) where the questions raised in the [mandamus] proceeding have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court;
(c) where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the government or the petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable;
(d) where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be useless;
(e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief;
(f)† where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable;
(g) where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process;
(h) where the proceedings was ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and
(i) where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is involved.Ē
(Id. at 277-278; citation omitted.)
23Rollo, p. 49.
24 244 Phil. 1 (1988).
25 Id. at 5.