Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2008 > August 2008 Resolutions > [G. R. No. 183246 : August 20, 2008] SPOUSES STEPHEN VILLAROYA AND AILEEN VILLAROYA V. YELLOW GROUP FIRE VICTIMS NEIGHBORHOOD COOPERATIVE, REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, DOMINGO MACANAS; THE CITY HOUSING OFFICE, OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, DAVAO CITY, REPRESENTED BY THE HONORABLE MAYOR IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY :




THIRD DIVISION

[G. R. No. 183246 : August 20, 2008]

SPOUSES STEPHEN VILLAROYA AND AILEEN VILLAROYA V. YELLOW GROUP FIRE VICTIMS NEIGHBORHOOD COOPERATIVE, REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, DOMINGO MACANAS; THE CITY HOUSING OFFICE, OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, DAVAO CITY, REPRESENTED BY THE HONORABLE MAYOR IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY

Sirs/Mesdames:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated 20 August 2008:

G. R. No. 183246-(Spouses Stephen Villaroya and Aileen Villaroya v. Yellow Group Fire Victims Neighborhood Cooperative, represented by its President, Domingo Macanas; the City Housing Office, Office of the Mayor, Davao City, represented by the Honorable Mayor in his Official Capacity)

RESOLUTION

The Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by Spouses Stephen Villaroya and Aileen Villaroya (petitioners) assails the March 13, 2008 Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 16, Davao City which dismissed petitioners' Complaint for Annulment of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-354939[2] in the name of Yellow Group Fire Victims Neighborhood Cooperative[3] (respondent); as well as the May 12, 2008. Order[4] of the RJC which denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration.

The petition must be denied for failure to observe the hierarchy of courts. In any event, the petition is bereft of merit.

The Davao City government was the owner of a parcel of land known as Lot 1, Block 1, Phase I of the Mintal Relocation Area, Davao City and registered in its name under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 184498.[5] On a portion of the land stands a structure known as the Caritas Building (subject property).[6]

In 1977, the Davao City government used the subject lot as the relocation site of the survivors of the Salmonan Fire.[7] Among the survivors who were relocated were the members of respondent[8] and petitioner Aileen Villaroya (nee Cadeli´┐Ża), who, at that time, was still single and living with her mother Mrs. Cadelina.[9]

On February 14, 1995, petitioner Aileen Villaroya entered into an agreement whereby she leased the subject property from the officers of respondent as caretaker of the property.'[10]

In 1998, petitioner Aileen Villaroya repudiated the lease and refused to pay the rent on the ground that the officers of respondent were not authorized to lease the subject property nor to receive rental payments from her.[11]

Meanwhile, the Davao City government awarded the subject property to respondent, and TCT No. No. 184498 in the name of Davao City government was canceled while TCT No. T-354939 was issued to respondent.[12] Thus, petitioners filed with the RTC a complaint for the annulment of TCT No, T-354939 and the reinstatement TCT No. 184498 on the ground that the award of the subject property to respondent violated Resolution No. 560, s. 1988, of the Davao City government which provides that lands within the Mintal Relocation Area shall be awarded only to "qualified censused owner-occupants of structures within relocation area" but not to juridical entities like respondent.[13]

On the basis of the allegations in the petition, petitioners do not claim title to the subject property.

It is axiomatic that in a case for annulment of title, the plaintiff must allege two essential facts: (1) that said plaintiff is the owner of the disputed property, and (2) that the defendant illegally dispossessed the plaintiff of the property. Absent either of these allegations, the plaintiff is considered not the proper party to cause the cancellation of the title of the defendant.[14] As petitioners did not allege title to the subject property, they failed to establish a cause action for annulment of the title of respondents. The RTC correctly dismissed their complaint.

' Moreover, the relief sought by petitioners is not the acquisition of ownership or possession of the subject property but the annulment of the title of respondent and the reinstatement of the title of the Davao City government to said property. This characterizes the action they instituted as one for reversion of the subject property to the dominion of the Davao City government.

Reversion is a proceeding by which the State seeks the return of lands of the public domain or the improvements thereon through the cancellation of private title erroneously or fraudulently issued over it. [15] By law, specifically Section 101 of the Public Land Act, only the Solicitor General or the officer acting in his stead, may initiate such reversion proceedings in the proper courts, in the name of the Republic of the Philippines.[16] Other persons, such as mere lessees who institute reversion proceedings will be declared as not real parties in interest, and their cases dismissed.[17]

Therefore, as mere lessees of the subject property, petitioners are not the real parties in interest to file an action for reversion thereof to the dominion of the Davao City government. Their complaint was correctly dismissed by the RTC,

Finally, the jurat of the verification of the petition and certification against forum shopping merely stated, that affiant exhibited to the notary public a Community Tax Certificate in violation of Sections 2, 6 and 12, Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, as amended by A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC (En Banc Resolution dated 19 February 2008).

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) LUCITA ABJELINA-SORIANO
Clerk of Court

Endnotes:


[1] Penned by Presiding Judge Emmanuel C. Carpio, Rollo, p. 26.

[2 ] No copy on file.

[3] Petition, rollo, p. 16.

[4] Id. at 30.

[5] Id. at 22.

[6] Id. at 12-13.

[7] Id. at 12.

[8]  Id.

[9] Id

[10] Annex "C" of Petition, id. at 33.

[11] Petition, rollo, pp. 13-14.

[12] Id. at 20.

[13] Id. at 16-21.

[14] Katon v, Palanca, Jr., G.R. No. 151149, September 7, 2004, 437 SCRA 565, 577.

[15] Morandarte v.  Court of Appeals, G.R. No.  123586, August 12, 2004, 436 SCRA 213, 223; Tancuntian v. Gempesaw, G.R. No. 149097, October 18, 2004, 440 SCRA 431, 439.

[16] Figuracion v. Libi, G.R. No. 155688, November 28, 207, 539 SCRA 50, 63.

[17] VSC Commercial Enterprises, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 442 Phil. 269, 278 (2002).



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