Matunog & Associates

that law may be just


Real Estate

Petition for review is the proper mode of appeal in SAC cases

Decisions of the Regional Trial Court sitting as Special Agrarian Court (SAC) in eminent domain cases may be appealed to the Court of Appeals by means of a petition for review, rather than ordinary appeal, because of the need for absolute dispatch in the determination of just compensation. Unlike an ordinary appeal, a petition for review dispenses with the filing of a notice of appeal or completion of records as requisites before any pleading is submitted. On the other hand, a petition for review hastens the award of fair recompense to deprived landowners for the government-acquired property, an end not foreseeable in an ordinary appeal. This is the rule adopted in Land Bank of the Philippines v. De Leon,   G.R. No. 143275, September 10, 2002, 388 SCRA 537.

Land Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 190660, April 11, 2011, Third Division

No estoppel on tenant when lessor loses ownership after commencement of lease

Here is one case that should be given the widest dissemination to all first level courts.

Notwithstanding Borre v. Court of Appeals, 242 Phil 345, 352 (1988), where the Supreme Court ruled that estoppel against tenants is subject to a qualification, and that it does not apply if the landlord’s title has expired, or has been conveyed to another, or has been defeated by a title paramount, subsequent to the commencement of lessor-lessee relationship [VII Francisco, The Revised Rules of Court in the Philippines 87 (1973)], the conclusive presumption against the tenant in Sec. 2(b), Rule 131, Rules of Court, is often strictly applied without taking note of the qualification.

It is good that once more in  Santos v. NSO, G.R. No. 171129, April 6, 2011, the Supreme Court chose to emphasize the significance of the qualification. Santos owned a parcel of land which he leased to the National Statistics Office. On the third renewal of the lease, NSO refused to pay rentals and refused to vacate despite notice. Santos filed an unlawful detainer case. In its answer, NSO stated that the property of Santos was already foreclosed by China Bank and title was already consolidated in the name of the bank. Since Santos was neither the owner, co-owner, legal representative or assignee of China Bank, landlord or a person entitled to the physical possession of the subject property, he has no legal personality to institute the complaint.

The MTC ruled that NSO’s admission that it was a lessee who failed to pay rent effectively removed its right to question Santos’ title and ownership. On appeal, the Regional Trial Court sustained the MTC. However, the Court of Appeals reversed on review and ruled that Borre applies.

The Supreme Court sustained the CA. The NSO demonstrated by the following documentary exhibits: (1) the Promissory Note executed by petitioner and his spouse in favor of China Bank for a loan of P20 million and the (Real Estate) Mortgage over the subject property; (2) the Petition for Extrajudicial Foreclosure of said Real Estate Mortgage; (3) the Notice of Auction Sale By Notary Public, Certificate of Posting, Affidavit of Publication and Certificate of Sale in favor of China Bank, all in connection with the extrajudicial foreclosure sale of the leased premises; (4) the Affidavit of Consolidation executed by China Bank’s Vice-President to inform the Registry of Deeds of Meycauayan, Bulacan that the one-year period of redemption has expired without petitioner redeeming the property and to request said office to issue the corresponding TCT under the bank’s name; and (5) TCT No. T-370128 (M) issued on August 21, 2000 in the name of China Bank covering the leased property, that the owner of the property is no longer Santos but China Bank. Consequently, following Borre, the conclusive presumption in Sec. 2(b), Rule 131, Rules of Court, does not apply.

Santos v. NSO, G.R. No. 171129, April 6, 2011, First Division.

Land Bank may challenge DAR’s land valuation in court

Land Bank of the Philippines has the legal personality to challenge DAR’s valuation of land in court said the Supreme Court denied the petition of Davao Fruits Corporation. Citing its decisions in Heirs of Lorenzo and Carmen Vidad v. Land Bank of the Philippines, G.R. No. 166461, 30 April 2010, 619 SCRA 609, and Heirs of Roque F. Tabuena v. Land Bank of the Philippines, G.R. No. 180557, 26 September 2008, 566 SCRA 557, 565-566, the Supreme Court ruled that LBP is an agency created primarily to provide financial support in all phases of agrarian reform pursuant to Section 74 of Republic Act (RA) No. 3844 and Section 64 of RA No. 6657. It is vested with the primary responsibility and authority in the valuation and compensation of covered landholdings to carry out the full implementation of the Agrarian Reform Program. It may agree with the DAR and the land owner as to the amount of just compensation to be paid to the latter and may also disagree with them and bring the matter to court for judicial determination.

(Davao Fruits Corporation v. Land Bank of the Philippines, G.R. Nos. 181566 and 181570, March 9, 2011)

Up ↑