[G.R. No. 139163. October 25, 1999]
ROMAN LUMBRES vs. CIPRIANO BARIT, et al.
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution if this Court
dated OCT 25, 1999.
G.R. No. 139163 (Roman
Lumbres vs. Cipriano Barit, et al.)
Petitioner Roman Lumbres would
seek o annul the decision, dated 19 June 1999, of the Court of Appeals which
upheld the decision, dated 20 August 1997, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
06, of Tanauan, Batangas which, in turn, reversed and set aside the decision of
the Municipal Trial Court of Tanauan, Batangas, dismissing the complaint filed
by herein respondent Cipriano Barit for lack of jurisdiction.
The action before the Municipal
Trial Court of Tanauan, Batangas, is a complaint for illegal detainer filed by
herein respondent Cipriano Barit against petitioner Roman Lumbres. The
Municipal Trial Court of Tanauan, Batangas, dismissed the complaint for lack of
cause of action and/or jurisdiction thereby sustaining the claim of petitioner
Lumbres that it had no jurisdiction to try and hear the case for being
supposedly within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Department of
Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board.
On appeal, the Regional Trial
Court of Tanauan, Batangas, reversed the dismissal order, it held:
"Although the instant case involves an agricultural land, it does
not automatically make such case an agrarian dispute over which the DARAB has
jurisdiction. The allegations in the Answer do not show the existence of an
agrarian dispute. The law states that an agrarian dispute must be a controversy
relating to a tenurial arrangement over lands devoted to agriculture. Except
for his allegations, the affidavit executed by three persons and a
certification issued y the BARC Chairman, defendant-appellee did not have any
other supporting documents to prove the existence of a tenancy relation between
him and the plaintiff-appellant or between Maria Manaig, mother of
defendant-appellee, and the plaintiff-appellant.
"x x x x x x
"In this instant case, there is no allegation that defendant
Roman Lumbres was even installed as a farmer-tenant of Cipriano Barit nor that
he shared the produce of the land with the landowner. All he claims to present
as stated in page 3 of his position paper are that ' the parties are landowner
and tenant; subject is agricultural land; and the purpose is agricultural
production; and there is personal cultivation.' As jurisprudence dictates the
absence of even one of the requisites rules against a finding that the occupant
of a parcel of land is a tenant thereof."
On the above basis, the Regional
Trial Court decreed:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed decision is hereby
reversed and set aside and judgment rendered in favor of plaintiff-appellant
Cipriano Barit and against defendant-appellee Roman Lumbres and all persons
claiming title under him ordering Roman Lumbres: to vacate the leased premises
located at Tanauan Branch, Province of Batangas and surrender peaceful
possession of the same to Cipriano Barit; to pay Cipriano Barit the sum of
P1,000.00 per month as reasonable compensation for the us eof said land
starting January 1, 1996 until such time that the vacates the same; and to pay
Cipriano Barit the sum of P10,000.00 as litigation expenses and attorney's
Petitioner Lumbres moved for
reconsideration but it was to no avail.
On 12 February 1998, petitioner
filed with the appellate court a petition for review, docketed Court of
Appeals-G.R. SP. No. 46807, with a prayer for the issuance of temporary
restraining order, alleging that the decision was void because the
respondent Regional Trial Court had "no jurisdiction" over the
subject-matter of the case. On 26 February 1998, the Tenth Division of the
Court of Appeals denied the petition. No motion for reconsideration was filed,
nor was an appeal to the Supreme Court taken from the adverse resolution.
Petitioner, instead, filed a
petition for annulment to the Court of Appeals directed against the decision of
the Regional Trial Court. In its now assailed decision, the appellate court
denied the petition and upheld the questioned decision.
In the instant recourse, the
following issues were raised by petitioner.
"I. THAT THE
JURISDICTION TO TRY AGRARIAN CASE IS ORIGINAL AND EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OF THE
DAR ADJUDICATION BOARD AS VESTED BY STATUTORY LAWS AND JURISPRUDENCE."
"II. THAT THERE EXISTS
A TENANCY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PETITIONER AND THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT."
The petition should be DENIED;
in dismissing the petition for annulment, the appellate court correctly
"Section 1, Rule 47, of
the Revised Rules of Court, provides that the rule:
x x shall govern the annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or final
orders and resolution in civil actions f Regional Trial Court for which the
ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other
appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the
"Under the aforequoted rule, petition for annulment of judgment
is available where the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for
relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault
of petitioner. Petitioner already availed of the petition for review in Court
of Appeals-G.R. SP-46807. Due to his fault or inaction, the resolution
dismissing his said petition became final and Entry of Judgment was entered on
21 March 1998.
"The fundamental principle in our judicial system is that every
litigation must come to an end. While access to courts is guaranteed, that
access has a limit because once the right of a litigant has been adjudicated in
a judgment rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, he has no unbridled
license to come back for another try, otherwise, the prevailing party can be
harassed by subsequent suits. And if endless litigations were to be encouraged,
unscrupulous litigants will multiply in number to the detriment of the
administration of justice.
issue raised in this petition is a repeat of the same matter raised in Court of
Appeals-G.R. SO No. 46807. Ibaba vs. intermediate Appellate Court, 16 SCRA 76,
supports our view that a party cannot, by varying the form of action or
adopting a different method of presenting his case, escape the operation of the
principle that one and the same causes of action shall not be twice litigated.
"There is no ground to justify the annulment of the final
judgment of respondent court. Petitioner's contention that the case involves
agrarian matters, hence, respondent court lacks jurisdiction to try the same,
deserves scant consideration. Jurisdiction over the subject-matter of a case is
determined from the allegations in the complaint, irrespective of whether the
plaintiff is entitled to recover upon the claim asserted therein-a matter that
is resolved after and as result of the trial. The question of jurisdiction
cannot be made to depend on the defense in defendant's answer or in his motion
to dismiss, otherwise, that question would depend almost entirely upon the
defendant."1 [Rollo, pp. 32-33.] (Emphasis
No reversible error having been
committed by the Court of Appeals in rendering its now assailed decision, the
instant petition for review must fail.
WHEREFORE, the petition
for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED.
Very truly yours,
(Sgd.) JULIETA Y. CARREON
Clerk of Court