Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2012 > June 2012 Resolutions > [G.R. No. 171243 : June 13, 2012] SPOUSES ISAGANI CASTRO AND DIOSDADA CASTRO v. CONCORDIA BARTOLOME AND VICTORIA BARTOLOME :




THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 171243 : June 13, 2012]

SPOUSES ISAGANI CASTRO AND DIOSDADA CASTRO v. CONCORDIA BARTOLOME AND VICTORIA BARTOLOME

Sirs/Mesdames:

Please take notice that the Court, Third Division, issued a Resolution dated 13 June 2012, which reads as follows:cralaw

G.R. No. 171243 (Spouses Isagani Castro and Diosdada Castro v. Concordia Bartolome and Victoria Bartolome)

RESOLUTION 

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated November 14, 2005 and its Resolution[2] dated January 25, 2006 in CA-G.R. SP No. 84033 which reversed and set aside the March 10, 2003 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch 17-Malolos (RTC) ordering the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of herein petitioners, spouses Isagani and Diosdada Castro.

The Facts 

On May 15, 1997, spouses Antonio and Estrelita Flores (Sps. Flores) obtained a loan in the amount of P200,000.00 from petitioners secured by a real estate mortgage over a house and lot covered by Tax Declaration No. 1379.[3] When Sps. Flores failed to pay their indebtedness, petitioners extrajudicially foreclosed the subject property and emerged as the highest bidder in the auction sale.[4]  Upon Sps. Flores´┐Ż failure to redeem the lot, petitioners consolidated their ownership and a tax declaration[5]  was issued in their names.

On December 17, 2002, petitioners filed an Ex-Parte Application for Issuance of Writ of Possession[6] which the RTC granted in its Decision[7] dated March 10, 2003. The corresponding writ was then issued on April 1, 2003.[8]

On April 8, 2003, respondents Concordia and Victoria Bartolome filed an Omnibus Motion seeking to set aside the writ of possession claiming to be the lawful owners of 1/2 portion of the subject property, which their father Domingo Bartolome allegedly bought from its registered owner, Valentina Marasigan. They also denied having authorized Sps. Flores to mortgage their property.[9]

RTC RULING 

After due proceedings, the RTC issued an Order[10] dated October 10, 2003 denying the omnibus motion. It found that other than a photocopy of TCT No. RT-69790 (TCT 6550) in the name of Valentina Marasigan, no other proof was submitted by the respondents to establish their right to possess the subject lot.

Aggrieved, respondents filed another motion for reconsideration which was denied in the Order[11] dated March 2, 2004. Their Offer of Evidence was similarly denied, in the Order[12]  dated May 4, 2004. Respondents then filed a notice of appeal[13] which was not given due course for having been belatedly filed, rendering the Decision dated March 10, 2003 final and executory as early as March 27, 2004.[14] 

Unperturbed, respondents elevated the instant case before the CA through a petition for certiorari maintaining that the writ of possession was null and void and cannot be enforced against them because they are third parties holding the foreclosed property adversely against mortgagors-debtors Sps. Flores.

CA RULING 

In its assailed Decision, the CA gave due course to respondents' petition for certiorari, reversed the RTC Decision and nullified the writ of possession as well as the orders issued to implement it. It found that the ministerial function of the RTC to issue the questioned writ of possession did not arise because respondents, who anchored their right on a certificate of title, are third parties holding the foreclosed property adversely against the mortgagors-debtors. Consequently, they cannot be ousted from the premises on the basis of an ex-parte issued writ.

ISSUES BEFORE THE COURT 

Hence, the instant petition based on the issues of whether or not the CA committed reversible error in: (a) giving due course to respondents' petition for certiorari assailing the propriety of the issuance of the writ of possession; and (b) holding that respondents are third parties in adverse possession of the foreclosed property against whom the ex-parte issued writ of possession cannot be enforced.

THE COURT'S RULING 

The petition is meritorious.

Procedurally, it is hornbook that a special civil action for certiorari  may be availed of only when a court or tribunal has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and only if there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.[15] The propriety of an order granting a writ of possession is a matter of judgment, with respect to which the remedy of the aggrieved party is an ordinary appeal.[16] Similarly, when a writ of possession has already been issued, as in this case, the proper remedy of the adverse party is an appeal and not a petition for certiorari.[17] 

In this case, records show that instead of resorting to an appeal after the denial of their omnibus motion, respondents filed another motion for reconsideration in violation of Section 2, Rule 52 of the Rules of Court prohibiting the filing of a second motion for reconsideration of a court's judgment or final resolution. Hence, no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the RTC[18] in not giving due course to their belatedly filed notice of appeal. Having lost their right to appeal, respondents are barred from availing of the benefits of a writ of certiorari. It is settled that certiorari is not a substitute for lost appeal as these two remedies are mutually exclusive and not alternative or successive.[19]  Thus, the CA should have dismissed their petition for certiorari for being the wrong remedy.

Even on the merits, respondents' petition will still fail as they cannot be considered third parties holding the subject property adversely against mortgagors-debtors Sps. Flores as contemplated under Section 33, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. An examination of the records reveals that while they are in actual possession of the 1/2 portion of the foreclosed property under a claim of ownership, no deed of sale or any other proof of ownership was presented to establish their purported right or relationship to its registered owner, Valentina Marasigan. Mere photocopy of TCT No. RT-69790 (TCT 6550) in the name of Valentina Marasigan did not confer any right in their favor. Hence, the Court cannot subscribe to the appellate court's finding[20] that respondents' possession was "based on ownership evidenced by torrens title."

Accordingly, the general rule that a purchaser of property in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale is entitled to its possession, and upon the latter's ex-parte petition, it is ministerial upon the trial court to issue the writ of possession prayed for[21], applies in this case.cralaw

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The November 14, 2005 Decision and January 25, 2006 Resolution of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED  and SET ASIDE. The March 10, 2003 Decision of the RTC is REINSTATED, without prejudice to the outcome of the annulment of mortgage pending before another forum. (Peralta, J., Acting Chairperson, per Special Order No. 1228 dated June 6, 2012; Villarama, Jr., J., Acting Member, in lieu of Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., per Special Order No. 1229 dated June 6, 2012.)

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) LUCITA ABJELINA-SORIANO
Division Clerk of Court

Endnotes:


[1] Penned by then Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas with Associate Justices Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and Juan Q. Enriquez. Jr., concurring; rollo, pp, 119-133.

[2] Id. pp. 146-147. 

[3] KASULATAN NG SANGLAAN NG LUPA AT BAHAY; id., pp. 41-43. 

[4] Id., pp. 45-46. 

[5] Id., p. 49. 

[6] Id., pp. 35-37. 

[7] Id., pp. 50-51. 

[8] Id., p.. 53. 

[9] Id., p. 123. 

[10] Id., pp. 54-55. 

[11] Id., pp- 57-59. 

[12] Id., pp. 60-61. 

[13] Id., pp. 62-63. 

[14] Id., RTC Order dated May 19, 2004, pp. 100-101. 

[15] Martin T. Sagarbarria v. Philippine Business Bank, G.R. No. 178330, July 23, 2009, 593 SCRA 645, 655. 

[16] Ibid. 

[17] Producers Bank of the Philippines v. Excelsa Industries, Inc., G.R. No. 173820, April 18, 2012. 

[18] Supra, Note 13. 

[19] Sonic Steel Industries v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 165976, July 29, 2010, 626 SCRA 142, 148. 

[20] Rollo, p. 129. 

[21] Iluminada "Lumen" R. Policarpio v. Active Bank (formerly Maunlad Savings and Loan Bank), G.R. No. 157125, September 19, 2008, 566 SCRA 27, 32; BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc. v. Golden Power Diesel Sales Center, Inc. and Renato C. Tan, G.R. No. 176019, January 12, 2011, 639 SCRA 405, 415.




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