[G.R. No. 145914.June 20, 2001]
et al. vs. CA, et al.
hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JUN 20 2001.
G.R. No. 145914(Eugenio
C. Gonzales and Diana C. Gonzales (minor) represented by her Father/Guardian
Eugenio C. Gonzales vs. The Honorable Court of Appeals and Vera P. Quianzon and
her children, namely: Ma. Teresita Quianzon, Ma. Cecilia Quianzon, Noli P.
Quianzon, through his Guardian, Gloria Quianzon.)
Petitioners seek a review
of the decision of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the order of the
Regional Trial Court denying petitioner's prayer for a preliminary injunction.
The facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows:
In a Memorandum of
Agreement dated March 13, 1997, Manuel Quianzon Jr., agreed to sell to Diana
Gonzales, a minor, represented by her father Eugenio C. Gonzales, a parcel of
land located at San Mariano, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro with an area of 60,026
square meters for six hundred thousand (
P600,000.00) pesos. The
signature of Manuel's wife, Vera P. Quianzon, appears on the document
indicating her conformity to the agreement (Annex "A-I", Petition, pp. 39-43,
As the title to the
subject property was still in the name of its previous owner under TCT No.
T-24713, the parties agreed that Diana would pay
P200,000.00 to Manuel
upon the execution of the Deed of Sale; that before the payment of the balance
of the purchase price the latter would deliver to the former the duplicate copy
of the title to the property, tax declaration, receipt of realty tax payment
clearance, estate tax payment and clearance from the Bureau of Internal
Revenue; and that the payment of the purchase price in full shall be made upon
the transfer of the said parcel of land in Diana's name (p. 41, id.).
Eugenio C. Gonzales paid
pursuant to the Agreement plus the amount of P100,000.00, receipt of
which was acknowledged by Manuel (Annex "A-2", Petition, p. 45, id.).
Thereafter, Manuel obtained TCT No. T-25191 in his name which he delivered to
Eugenio (par 5, p. 4, Amended Complaint, p. 34, id.). Said title however
covered only 6,026 square meters of property so that at the instance of
Eugenio, Manuel caused the correction of the area of the said property par.
Nos. 3-6 pp. 5-6, Amended Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim; pp. 57-58, id.).
The title was rectified and Eugenio accepted the correction in Manuel's title
with reservation for the strict observance of Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529 (Annex
"A-3", pp. 46-47, id.).
Manuel died on December
24, 1997 (p. 59, id.).
On August 14, 1998,
Eugenio, apparently unaware then of Manuel's death, demanded from the spouses
Quianzon to deliver the documents as provided in the Agreement as well as TCT
No. 25191 corrected pursuant to Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529 (Annex "A-11",
Petition, pp. 46-47, Rollo).
tendered to Mrs. Quianzon the payment of the entire amount of
for the satisfaction in full of the purchase price contained in the Agreement.
Mrs. Quianzon refused to accept the same. Demands were further made by
Eugenio's counsel but to no avail (Annex "A-4" to "A-5", pp. 49-51,
As a consequence,
plaintiff Eugenio for himself and on behalf of his minor daughter, plaintiff
Diana, initiated a complaint with respondent RTC against the Heirs of Manuel
Quianzon, Jr. (Heirs for brevity) claiming that plaintiff Eugenio agreed to buy
the subject property to secure the future of minor plaintiff Diana, seeking to
consign the amount of
P300,000.00 as full payment for the purchase of
the subject property in accordance with the Agreement and praying for the
payment of moral and exemplary damages as well as damages for the acts of
defendants in entering the subject property and gathering fruits from the trees
planted on the property, and, costs of suit (Annex "A", pp. 31-36, id.).
Defendants Heirs filed
their Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim claiming inter alia that they are the
owners of the subject parcel of land as the Memorandum of Agreement is null and
void considering that the buyer therein (plaintiff Diana) is a minor who has no
capacity to enter into a contract (par. 5, p. 54, id.); that even assuming that
plaintiff Eugenio did in fact represent plaintiff Diana, the Agreement is still
unenforceable as the former had no authority to so represent the latter and
that it is not true that the deceased Manuel did not comply with his obligation
under the Agreement (par. 6, pp. 54-55, id.).
On October 19, 1999,
plaintiffs filed an Application and/or Motion for Writ of Injunction with
Temporary Restraining Order claiming that defendants are disturbing their
possession of the subject land by entering the same and gathering the fruits
thereof, thereby violating the Agreement (Annex "D", pp. 67-69, id.).
Defendants Heirs opposed plaintiffs' motion
claiming that they are the lawful owners of the subject property being the
heirs of deceased Manuel; that they did not confirm the Agreement which is in
fact being contested by them; that the alleged sale was without the conformity
of the late Manuel's wife; that the Agreement is null and void hence, without
legal effect; that TCT No. T-25191 must be returned to them; that plaintiffs'
case against defendants consists only of a money claim and that plaintiffs have
no legal right to enjoin defendants from entering the property and gathering
the fruits of their land (Annex "E", pp. 72-76, id.).
After hearing plaintiffs'
motion, the RTC issued an Order on November 25, 1999 denying the
same after finding that:
"x x x what stood
out in bold relief from the testimony of Libertad Marciano is that the
plaintiffs have not been in material occupation of the subject property either
personally or constructively through their tenants (TSN, pp. 91-94).
counsel likewise concede that the principal action is purely a petition for
consignation and the cancellation of the title of the defendants and the
issuance of a new title in their names.
"The court is not
inclined to grant the petitioner's (sic) prayer for restraining and/or the writ
of preliminary injunctions. Our reasons: The preliminary purpose of an
injunction is to preserve the status quo, that is the last actual
peaceable uncontested status which preceded the controversy (Rivera vs.
Florendo, 144 SCRA 643). Thus, granting the reliefs prayed by plaintiffs will
disturb the status quo. In effect, it will be a case of transferring the
possession of property during the pendency of the case similar to a grant of
preliminary mandatory injunction which is not being asked for by movants in the
defendants are assailing the validity of the Memorandum of Agreement which is
the source of the obligation on the ground that the principal party therein is
a minor. This is intricately interwoven with the principal action for
consignation. In fact, in their counterclaim defendants are in effect, seeking
that the Memorandum of Agreement be declared null and void. Clearly, at this
stage of the proceedings the validity of the said agreement has yet to be
determined." (p. 81, Rollo; emphasis supplied).
On February 8, 2000, the RTC issued an Order
denying plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration, as follows:
"What then is the
last, actual, peaceable uncontested status which immediately preceded the
filing of this case? Undoubtedly, this is a matter of evidence.
"To the mind of the
court, the status quo in this case is not the purported symbolic
possession of the subject property acquired allegedly by movants through the
execution of the Memorandum of Agreement (Exhibit "B"), the validity of which
is being assailed by oppositors because it is clearly a contested issue.
Moreover, based on the tenor of Exhibit "O", it appears that plaintiffs were in
constructive possession of only a small portion of the subject property and the
large portion of which is still in actual possession of defendants-oppositors.
"Evidently, the status
quo in this case is the actual, material, and uninterrupted physical
possession and material occupancy of the property by the defendants before and
after the contested transaction as admitted by no less than the sole witness of
movants, Libertad Marciano, (T.S.N., October 29, 1999, p. 89-90). The
philosophy behind the maintenance of status quo during the
pendency of the case is to preserve and maintain peace within the community
where the property being litigated is located for the sake of an orderly
administration of justice. The court honestly believes that for the same reason
the present set-up should not be disturbed during the pendency of the case with
the issuance of the Writ Of Injunction sought for by movants."1 Rollo, pp. 58-61.
Petitioners sought relief
from these Orders by filing a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
before the Court of Appeals. The appellate court denied the petition,
Of sole concern to
this Court then is whether or not respondent court committed grave abuse of
discretion in the appreciation of the status quo which led to the denial
of petitioners' motion for issuance of a temporary restraining order and writ
In their complaint below, petitioners are
seeking to compel private respondents to accept their tender of payment and the
approval of the consignation of their payment in court. Petitioners advance no
other reason for their complaint except that they are enforcing their right to
the subject property pursuant to a document which appears to be duly executed
and notarized, i.e., the Memorandum of Agreement which provides in part:
"That before the
payment of the remaining balance of the purchase price by the BUYER the SELLER
binds himself to deliver to the BUYER Duplicate Copy of Transfer Certificate of
Title Tax Declaration, receipt of realty Tax payment clearance issued by the
Provincial Assessor, estate tax payment and clearance from the Bureau of
"That payment of
the remaining balance of the purchase price or the sum of FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND
P400,000.00) PESOS, shall be made upon the Transfer of the
above-described parcel of land free and clear of all liens and encumbrances in
the name of the BUYER, the expenses for the transfer of title in the name of
the BUYER, such as Capital Gain Tax, Estate Tax and Realty Tax, Registration
fees and other taxes shall be at (sic) the sole account of the SELLER." (pp.
In effect, petitioners are claiming that the
only thing left undone in the agreement is the, delivery of the title to the
subject property in their names as they are willing and able to pay the balance
of the purchase price.
On the other hand, private
respondents maintain that being the heirs of deceased Manuel, they are the
owners of the subject property who remained to be in possession thereof, there
being no actual transfer of possession to petitioners; that though there could
have been a symbolic delivery of the subject property in accordance with the
terms of the Agreement, the same is not enough to confer upon petitioners the
ownership and right of possession over the same property (pp. 114-115, id.).
position is well-taken. Respondent court did not commit any grave abuse of
discretion when it declined to issue the injunction prayed for by petitioners.
It is true that the
"That possession of the said property is deemed delivered
to the BUYER by virtue of this agreement, and may proceed to develop the same,
provided however, that eviction of any person found in the subject land whether
tenant or not is the sole obligation of the SELLER." (p. 42, id.).
thereby giving the impression that
constructive possession was acquired by petitioners by reason thereof.
However, we note that
private respondents are in actual possession of the subject property.
Petitioners themselves acknowledge that:
In the instant
case, the petitioners' possession of the disputed property is deemed
delivered to them. To allow private respondents to continue in the
possession of subject property and gather the fruits or introduce
improvements to jack up the price of the property would certainly work
injustice to the petitioners. (pp. 25-26, Rollo)"
thus, admitting that what they obtained by
the terms of the Agreement is mere constructive possession of the subject
property and that said property is being retained by private respondents in
their possession. This is further bolstered by petitioners' prayer in the
instant petition for the issuance of a mandatory injunction which is intended
"to compel private respondents to allow entry to the premises and take over
possession of the property in accordance with the terms of the Memorandum of
Agreement (p. 27, id.).
Thus, in Knecht vs. Court
of Appeals (228 SCRA 1) it was held that:
"For petitioner to be entitled to the injunctive writ, he
must show that there exists a right to be protected and that the facts against
which the injunction is directed are violative of said right. (at p. 5)"
True, petitioners may have
been granted by the Agreement constructive possession of the subject property.
However, as between petitioners' constructive possession and private
respondents' actual possession, the latter must be upheld while the trial on
the merits of the case below continue up to its end.
"A preliminary mandatory
injunction is not a proper remedy to take property, possession of which is being
disputed, out of the possession and control of one party and to deliver the
same to the other party. IT MAY ISSUE pendente
lite ONLY IN CASES OF EXTREME URGENCY, WHERE the right to the possession,
during the pendency of the main case, of the property involved is very clear:
WHERE considerations of relative inconvenience bear strongly in favor of the
complainant seeking the possession pendente
lite; WHERE there was willful and unlawful invasion of plaintiffs rights,
over his protest and remonstrance, the injury being a continuing one; WHERE the
effect of the preliminary mandatory injunction is to re-establish and maintain
a pre-existing and continuing relationship between the parties, recently and
arbitrarily interrupted by the defendant, rather than to establish a new
relationship during the pendency of the principal case (citing numerous cases).
Obviously, it is for the party requesting the writ to demonstrate clearly the
presence of one or more of the above grounds. (Raspado vs. Court of Appeals,
220 SCRA 650, 653, citing Merville Park Homeowners
Association vs. Velez, 196 SCRA 189)
We find none of the
grounds as above stated to be present in the case at bench in favor of
petitioners. What appears clearly to us is the actual possession of the subject
property by private respondents who should not be allowed to be displaced
therefrom by means of a preliminary mandatory injunction. We take notice only
of the present and actual possession by private respondents as we cannot in
this petition for certiorari go beyond as to make further determination
of the actual rights of the parties herein. That would have the effect of
disposing of the main case without trial on the merits and evaluation of
evidence, thus far presented before the RTC, which this Court has no authority
to do in a petition for certiorari.
The Supreme Court has held
"Certiorari is a remedy narrow in its scope and
inflexible in character. It is not a general utility tool in the legal
workshop. (San Miguel Foods, Inc.-Cebu B-Meg Feeds Plant vs. Laguesma, 263 SCRA
whose sole office
"is the correction of errors of jurisdiction including
the commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction and does not include the correction of public respondent's evaluation
of the evidence and factual findings based thereon. (Building Care Corp. vs.
NLRC, 268 SCRA 666)."
Hence, this Court has no
jurisdiction to determine the issues presented by petitioners, i.e.,
whether or not the letter of deceased Manuel to one Teresita Aguilar shows that
petitioners are in possession only of a small portion of the subject property
and whether or not petitioners did not have actual possession of the subject
property due to the absence of their house or tenant on the same property. These
are factual issues that should be properly ventilated in the RTC after trial on
Thus, while we find
respondent court's pronouncement that:
"x x x, based on the tenor of Exhibit 'O', it appears
that plaintiffs were in constructive possession of only a small portion of the
subject property and the large portion of which is still in actual possession
to be improper/premature in resolving
petitioners' motion for issuance of preliminary injunction, the same is not
capricious or arbitrary as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.
In the absence of any
showing that respondent court acted with manifest abuse in denying the issuance
of a preliminary mandatory injunction, the discretion of the court taking
cognizance of the case is generally not interfered with (Saulog vs. Court of
Appeals, 263 SCRA 51).
x x x. [Rollo, pp. 64-68.]
Their motion for
reconsideration having been denied, petitioners now turn to this Court,
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
COMMITTED A GRAVE MISAPPREHENSION OF THE FACTS AND MISAPPRECIATION OF THE
EVIDENCE IN ITS DECISION.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
COMMITTED SERIOUSLY ERRED [sic] IN HOLDING THAT THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT COMMIT
A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT DECLINED TO ISSUE THE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY
MANDATORY INJUNCTION, DESPITE THE FACT THAT PETITIONERS HAVE ESTABLISHED THEIR
CLEAR AND UNMISTAKABLE RIGHT TO THE POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY PENDENTE LITE,
HENCE, THE ISSUANCE OF THE INJUNCTIVE WRIT IS WARRANTED UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES
OF THIS CASE.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION TO DETERMINE THE ISSUES
PRESENTED BY PETITIONERS BEFORE IT, PARTICULARLY THE QUESTION OF POSSESSION OF
THE SUBJECT PROPERTY, WHICH IS ALLEGEDLY A FACTUAL ISSUE THAT SHOULD BE
PROPERLY VENTILATED IN THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT AFTER TRIAL ON THE MERITS.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ORDER OF THE TRIAL COURT DENYING THE ISSUANCE
OF A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY MANDATORY INJUNCTION IS A MERE INTERLOCUTORY ORDER
WHICH CANNOT BE QUESTIONED BY WAY OF CERTIORARI OR APPEAL, WHICH RULING IS
CONTRADICTED BY JURISPRUDENCE LAID DOWN BY THIS HONORABLE COURT.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY
ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS' CLAIM FOR INTEREST UNDER THE CONSIGNED CHECK
IS PREMATURE AS THE PROPRIETY OF THE CONSIGNMENT CASE BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT IS
YET TO BE DETERMINED ON THE MERITS BY SAID TRIAL COURT, OVERLOOKING THE FACT
THAT IF THE CONSIGNED CHECK DATED MAY 24, 1999 IN THE AMOUNT OF P300,000.00 HAD
BEEN DEPOSITED IN AN AUTHORIZED GOVERNMENT DEPOSITORY BANK, THEN IT HAS BEEN
EARNING INTEREST. THE APPELLATE COURT SHOULD HAVE ORDERED THE TRIAL COURT TO
INFORM IT WHETHER THE CONSIGNED CHECK HAD BEEN DEPOSITED BEFORE AN AUTHORIZED
GOVERNMENT DEPOSITORY BANK AND HOW MUCH INTEREST IT HAS EARNED SINCE ITS
DEPOSIT UP TO THE PRESENT TIME.[Rollo, pp.
The second, third and fourth alleged errors may
be encapsulated in one issue: whether the Regional Trial Court committed grave
abuse of discretion in denying the writ of preliminary injunction. Petitioner
contends in the main that they are "in constructive possession of the subject
property under the memorandum of agreement." The constructive possession having
been transferred, respondents cannot claim actual possession of the property,
and, accordingly, the writ should have been granted.
It appears that the term
"constructive possession" as used by petitioner and by the courts below has
been misapplied and begs clarification. The doctrine of constructive possession
applies when the possession is under title calling for the whole. The actual
possession of part of the property is deemed to extend to the whole because
possession in the eyes of the law does not mean that a man has to have his feet
on every square meter of ground before it can be said that he is in possession
(Ramos vs. Director of Lands, 39 Phil. 175 ). What petitioner and the
lower courts probably mean is that under the contract, possession of the
disputed property was supposed to have been transferred to petitioner by means
of symbolic delivery.
If at all, however, the
possession transferred by virtue of the contract is possession de jure, not possession de facto, and whether petitioner is
indeed entitled to possession de jure is
yet to be determined in the proceedings below. As things stand, both the trial
and appellate courts found that possession de
facto remained in respondents, i.e., that at the time of the
application of the writ, respondents had actual physical possession of the
property. This is the status quo that
the trial court was speaking of when it resolved not to issue the writ.
Consequently, it correctly resolved that there was no need for the writ prayed
for since the purpose of the writ was to preserve such status quo. Injunction will not, as a rule, be granted to take
property out of the possession of one party and put it into that of another
whose title has not been established by law (Devesa vs. Arbes, 13 Phil. 273 ).
The Court finds the other
issues raised by petitioner need not be resolved herein and are best addressed
by the trial court in the proceedings below.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court Resolved to DENY the petition.
Very truly yours,
(Sgd.) VIRGINIA ANCHETA-SORIANO
Clerk of Court