[G.R. No. 159885. January 21, 2004]




Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JAN 21 2004.

G.R. No. 159885 (Thelma L. Ruzgal vs. Jose Macavinta. )

For resolution is the Petition dated October 20, 2003 filed by Thelma Ruzgal ("Ruzgal") seeking the annulment of the Writ of Demolition [1] cralaw dated April 6, 2000 and Order [2] cralaw dated May 25, 2000 issued by the Municipal Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan ("MTC").

The antecedent facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows:

Jose Macavinta had his residential house built on the litigated property along Conception St., Sooc, Kalibo, Aklan with an area of 132 square meters. In 1983, his aunt, Encarnacion Tayco and her family stayed in the same house.

When Macavinta's wife suffered a stroke, he borrowed money from Tayco and agreed that the house be leased and the income therefrom divided between them.The supposed share of Macavinta shall accrue in favor of Tayco as installment payments for his loan until he has fully settled his obligation and the house will be returned to Macavinta.

In 1987, Macavinta and Tayco leased the said residential house to Thelma Ureta. It was made clear to Ureta that should private respondent Macavinta need the house, she will vacate the premises.

In 1994, when Macavinta has settled his monetary obligation to Tayco and being in need of his house, he asked Ureta to leave the premises. However, Ureta refused to do so. The matter was brought before the Barangay without reaching any settlement. Hence, on February 15, 1995, Macavinta and Tayco filed an ejectment case against Ureta before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Kalibo, Aklan.

The MTC dismissed the complaint in its decision dated September 21, 1995. However on appeal to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) on February 19, 1996, said decision was reversed. The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:

"In light of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

1.The Decision in Civil Case No. 5019 (CC#1311) by the Municipal Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan dismissing this case, is hereby ordered set aside;

2.Ordering the defendant Merly Ureta or any person occupying the house and lot located at Sooc area along Concepcion St., Kalibo, Aklan, to immediately vacate the same and restore possession thereof to the plaintiff, Jose Macavinta;

3.Ordering the defendant Merly Ureta to pay the plaintiff the rentals in arrears in the amount of P200.00 a month commencing from 1994 until the surrender of the property with legal rate of interest, plus the costs of this suit." (Records, p. 51)

Macavinta tiled a Motion for Execution without Ureta tiling any opposition or comment thereto. A writ of execution was issued on October 21, 1996. However, the same was returned unsatisfied due to the defiance of the defendant (Ureta).

On December 4, 1996, MTC granted Macavinta's motion for the issuance of a writ of demolition of the structures the defendant had erected inside the premises.

However the said writ was not implemented because the area where the house sought to be demolished allegedly stands is not the same as that alleged in the complaint.

On February 24, 1998, the MTC again issued a writ of demolition. The court identified the premises in question as that bounded on the North East by Concepcion Street; on the North by Jesus Rome; on the South by Ramon Macavinta; South West by Francisco Tolentino and West by Solfreda Valencia.

The MTC on May 18, 1998 commissioned Engr. Emmanuel Tipgos to "delimit the litigated property in accordance with Exhibit 'G' as prepared by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)."

The Orders dated February 24 and May 18, 1998 of the MTC for the demolition of the structures inside the premises along Concepcion Street and commissioning Engr. Tipgos to delimit the litigated property were issued long after the decision had become final and executory in 1996.

On June 8, 2000, Ureta filed a motion for reconsideration of the MTC's order granting the writ of demolition, raising for the first time the defense that appellant-petitioner Thelma Ruzgal was staying on the premises. The MTC denied the motion in its order dated August 29, 2000 for "being a mere dilatory tactic and not impressed with merit."

Petitioner Thelma Ruzgal then filed before the RTC of Kalibo, Aklan a petition for certiorari with prayer for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to annul the MTC's order issuing the writ of demolition, on the following grounds: (a) Ruzgal was not a party to the civil case between Jose Macavinta and Encarnacion Tayco against Merly Ureta; (b) the house rented by Merly Ureta from Tayco inside the land in question has been destroyed and Ureta has already vacated the said land; (c) there is no privity of interest between Ruzgal and Ureta; (d) that the house on the land in question was constructed by Ruzgal in 1987 at her own expense; and (e) that Ruzgal is claiming possession and ownership of the land in question.

The MTC held in abeyance the implementation of the writ of demolition upon the filing of the said petition.

The RTC dismissed Ruzgal's petition on February 21, 2002. The dispositive portion of the said decision reads:

"WHEREFORE, disregarding the observed technical infirmities, the Court finds that the respondents Acting Presiding Judge Raul C. Barrios and the Ex Officio Provincial Sheriff of Aklan did not commit any abuse much less grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of their judicial and quasi-judicial functions in issuing the challenged Writ of Demolition dated April 6, 2000, Order to implement the writ dated May 25, 2000, and the Notice to Vacate the subject premises dated September 19, 2000. The petition, therefore, is DISMISSED without costs." (Records, p. 187)

Ruzgal went to the Court of Appeals via a petition for review on certiorari alleging that the demolition of her house would violate her right to due process because she was not a party to the unlawful detainer case, Civil Case No. 1311; hence, not bound by the decision therein. The appellate court denied the petition in its Decision [3] cralaw dated May 21, 2003 declaring that the decision in Civil Case No. 1311, which has long become final and executory, ordered not only Merly Ureta ("Ureta"), but any person occupying the subject premises to immediately vacate the same and restore possession thereof to Jose Macavinta ("Macavinta"). This decision binds Ureta because a judgment in an ejectment suit is binding not only upon the defendant in the suit but also against those not named as parties therein.

Ruzgal filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the same was denied for lack of merit in the Resolution [4] cralaw dated August 19, 2003. Hence, she filed the instant petition reiterating the same matters that have already been fully ventilated in and duly considered by the trial courts and the Court of Appeals, i.e., the identity of the premises in question; binding nature of the decision in Civil Case No. 1311; and non-observance of the procedure outlined in Section 10 (d), Rule 39 [5] cralaw of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rules").

At the outset, we must state that the instant petition raises factual issues which may not be raised in a petition for review before this Court. For this reason alone, the instant petition should be denied; more so because of its utter lack of merit.

In its order [6] cralaw dated February 24, 1998, the MTC granted Macavinta's motion for the issuance of a writ of demolition for failure of Ureta to vacate the premises in question despite service of the notice to vacate. In said order, the MTC declared that the identity of the premises in question has already been established. Likewise, in its decision [7] cralaw dated February 21, 2002 dismissing Ruzgal's petition for certiorari, the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan ("RTC") declared that the house claimed by Ruzgal stands on the same land subject of Civil Case No. 1311.

Significantly, the RTC noted that Ruzgal testified in Civil Case No. 1311 that Ureta started to stay with her in early 1995. However, in her answer in the said civil case, Ureta's defense was that the house became "entirely hers after a series of major repairs" not that she is staying in a different house owned by Ruzgal. Ruzgal also testified that Ureta is her "sister." [8] cralaw

The identity of the questioned premises and the privity between Ruzgal and Ureta having been established, the conclusion taken by the MTC, RTC, and the Court of Appeals that Ruzgal is bound by the decision in Civil Case No. 1311 is unquestionably justified and supported by the evidence.

As correctly held by the Court of Appeals, it is well-settled that a judgment in an ejectment suit is binding not only upon the defendants in the suit but also against those not made parties thereto, if they are: (a) trespassers, squatters or agents of the defendant fraudulently occupying the property to frustrate the judgment; (b) guests or other occupants of the premises with the permission of the defendant; (c) transferees pendente lite; (d) sublessees; (e) co-lessees; or (f) members of the family, relatives and other privies of the defendant. [9] cralaw

Finally, as earlier mentioned, the order granting Macavinta's motion for the issuance of a writ of demolition stemmed from Ureta's failure to vacate the premises despite service of notice to vacate. Moreover, another notice to vacate [10] cralaw dated September 18, 2000, which is attached to the instant petition as Annex "J", was issued specifically directing Ruzgal and Ureta to vacate the premises in view of the writ of demolition issued by the court. Hence, Ruzgal's contention that the procedure in Section 10 (d), Rule 39 of the Rules was not followed is obviously contrived.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is denied.

Very truly yours,


Asst. Div. Clerk of Court


[1] cralaw Rollo, pp. 71-72.

[2] cralaw Id. at 73.

[3] cralaw Id . at 106-110. Penned by Associate justice Eliezer R. Delos Santos and concurred in by Associate Justices Romeo A. Brawner and Regalado E. Maambong.

[4] cralaw Id . at 119.

[5] cralaw " (d) Removal of improvements on property subject of execution. - When the property subject of the execution contains improvements constructed or planted by the judgment obligor or his agent, the officer shall not destroy, demolish or remove said improvements except upon special order of the court, issued upon motion of the judgment obligee after due hearing and after the former has failed to remove the same within a reasonable time fixed by the court." [Sec. 10 (d), Rule 39, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure]

[6] cralaw Supra, note 1 at 69-70.

[7] cralaw Id . at 4-12.

[8] cralaw Id . at 10.

[9] cralaw Citing Oro Cam Enterprises, Inc. v. Court of Appeals , .377 Phil. 469, 480 (1999).

[10] cralaw Supra, note 1 at 78.

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