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Dolores Macaslang v.

Renato and Melba Zamora


The petitioner appeals the decision promulgated by CA whereby it reversed for
having no basis in fact and in law the decision rendered by the RTC that had dismissed the
spouses respondents action for ejectment against the petitioner, and reinstated the
decision of the MTCC ordering the petitioner Macaslang to vacate the premises and to pay
attorneys fees of P10,000.00 and monthly rental of P5,000.00 starting December 1997
until they vacated the premises.
Facts:
1. On Mar 10, 1999: sposuses Zamora FILED an action for Unlawful detainer with
MTCC, alleging among others that:
a. Macaslang sold to them a residential lot in Sabang, Danao City. 400sqm.
Including a residential house, where Macaslang was then living.
b. After the sale, Macaslang requested to be allowed to live in the house.
Zamora granted the request on the reliance of Macaslangs promise to vacate
as soon as she would be able to find a new residence
c. After 1 year, spouses Zamora demanded upon the defendant to vacate but
she failed and refused. The demand letter (Sept 1998) reads:
i. This is to give notice that since the mortgage to your property has
long been expired and that since the property is already in my name, I
will be taking over the occupancy of said property two (2) months from
the date of this letter.
d. Spouses Zamora sought the help of the Lupon, but no settlement was
reached as shown by certification to file.
2. Despite the due service of summons, Macaslang did not file an answer. Hence MTCC
declared her in default.
3. MTCC ruled: In favor of spouses Zamora, ordered Macaslang to vacate, pay attys
fees, and rental until they shall have vacated the properties in question.
4. Macaslang appealed to the RTC alleging:
a. Extrinsic Fraud
b. Meritorious defense: there was no actual sale considering that the deed of
absolute sale relied upon is a patent nullity as her signature therein was
procured through fraud and trickery.
5. RTC: Ruled in favor of Macaslang and DISMISSED Zamoras complaint, for failure to
state a COA. The same maybe refiled in the same court by alleging a COA, if any.
Zamoras M for Execution of MTCC decision rendered moot by this judgment.
6. The respondents appealed to the CA, assailing the RTCs decision for disregarding
the allegations in the complaint in determining the existence or non-existence of a
cause of action.
7. CA: REVERSED RTC decision for having no basis in fact and law. MTCC decision
reinstated.
Issues: * w/n RTC in its appellate juris limited to assigned errors
*w/n in an action for unlawful detainer, where there was no prior demand to
vacate and comply with the conditions of the lease, a valid COA exists.
Decision:
1. RTC in its appellate jurisdiction may rule upon an issue not raised on appeal.
a. CA said that RTC cannot rule on issue not assigned as an error. This may have
been correct if the appeal to the CA was a first appeal from RTC to CA (R41).
There is an express limitation of the review to only specified in the
assignment of errors.

b. But HERE this is a, MTC to RTC appeal governed by a specific rule for unlawful
detainer cases. R70 18 provides that MTC judgment may be appealed to the
RTC which shall decide the same on the basis of the entire record.
c. This difference in procedure is traceable from BP129 22, then in the 1991
Rules on summary procedure 21, then 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure R40 7.
(Please see code)
d. Even if the rules did not differentiate in the procedure, the review on the
entire case is still allowed as an exception (c) and (d).
GN: Appellate court may only review errors assigned and properly argued 1
EXCS: (a) When the question affects jurisdiction
(b) Matters that evidently plain or clerical errors
(c) Matters whose consideration is necessary for a just and complete
resolution
(d) Matters of record having bearing on the issue that parties failed to
raise
(e) Matters closely related to an error assigned
(f) Matters upon which the determination of a question is dependent
2. CA Correctly delved into w/n there was a COA.
a. RTC: there is no COA because there was no demand to vacate.
b. CA: No, the complaint readily reveals that there was a demand to vacate.
c. A complaint for Unlawful detainer is sufficient if it alleges the
withholding of possession or the refusal is unlawful without
necessarily employing the terminology of the law. (See Fact #1 (c)i)
Demand was not only made but also alleged in the complaint.
d. A complaint has sufficient COA for unlawful det. If it states the FF 2:
i. Initial possession by defendant was by contract or tolerance
ii. Eventually possession became illegal upon notice re:termination
iii. Defendant still remained in possession and deprived plaintiff of its
enjoyment
iv. Complaint was instituted within one year from last demand to vacate.
e. TEST for sufficiency of complaint: is w/n the court can render a valid
judgment based on facts alleged in complaint.
f. SC: Complaint sufficiently stated a COA. Complaint complied with 1-4. BUT
Fail to state and Lack of COA are different. RTC said there is failure to state
COA when in fact its basis was that there was no demand to vacate. Again
RTC erred in this regard, see Fact #1 (c)i.
i. Golden Gate Realty Co. v. IAC: The term vacate is not a talismatic word
that must be employed in all notices to vacate.
3. Ejectment was not proper due to defense of ownership.
a. Zamoras COA is based on right to posses resulting from ownership.
b. BUT exhibits show that the real transaction is one of equitable mortgage not
sale. NCC1602 instances where a contract may be presumed to be an
equitable mortgage.
i. Land was sold for P100K, when the demand letter was for a sum of
P1.6M. Price inadequate. Then the vendor remained in possession of
the property. Deed of sale was executed as a result or by reason of a
loan.
c. Nonetheless, findings favorable to Macaslangs ownership are not finally
definitive because R70 16 provides: that when the defendant raises
ownership, and the Q of possession cannot be resolved, ownership shall only
be resolved to determine possession [not title].

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Comilang v. Burcena GR 146853 (2006)


Cabrera v. Getaruela GR 164213 (2009)

WHEREFORE GRANTED. Complaint for unlawful detainer dismissed.