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September 14, 1989 | Fernan, CJ. | Possession
Digester: Bea, Alexis
SUMMARY: This case is one for forcible entry: Souses Jose own a
parcel of land and authorized German Management Services to
develop said property. But part of it was already occupied by
private respondents. When petitioner asked them to vacate the
premises, they refused so it destroyed the barbed wires enclosing
the farmholdings and destroyed their crops. The court ruled for
the respondents claiming that ownership is not an issue in a
forcible entry case.
DOCTRINE: A party who can prove prior possession can recover
such possession even against the owner himself. He has the
security that entitles him to remain on the property until he is
lawfully ejected by a person having a better right through the
involvement of a competent court.
Spouses Cynthia Cuyugkeng Joa and Manuel Rene Jose are
residents of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA are the owners of
a parcel of land situated in Sitio Inarawan, Antipolo, Rizal with
an area of 232, 942 square meters
o They are covered TCT No. 50023 of the Register of
Deeds issued on September 11, 1980
o The land was originally registered on August 5, 1948
in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal as OCT
No. 19 through a Homestead Patent
o Said Homestead Patent was granted on July 27,
1948 under Act No. 141
Spouses Jose executed a special power of attorney
authorizing petitioner German Management Services to
develop their property into a residential subdivision
(February 26, 1982)
Petitioner obtained Development Permit No. 00424 from
the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission for said
development (Feb 9, 1983)
o Part of the property was occupied by private
respondents (Ernesto Villeza and Orlando Gernale)
and 20 other persons
o Petitioner advised occupants to vacate the premises
but the latter refused

Petitioner proceeded with the development of the subject

property (including the portions occupied by private
Private respondents filed an action for forcible entry before
o Argument:
They are mountainside farmers of Sitio
Inarawan, San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal and
members of the Concerned Citizens of
Farmers Association
They have occupied and cultivated their
farmholdings 12-15 years before the
promulgation of PD 27
That during the 1st week of August 1983,
petitioner was allowed to improve the
Barangay Rd at Sitio Inarawan under a
permit from the Office of the Provincial
Governor of Rizal at its expense
Condition: it shall secure the needed
right of way from the owners of the lot
to be affected
August 15, 1983, petitioner deprived private respondents of
their property without due process of law by: 1) forcibly
removing and destroying the barbed wire fence enclosing
their farmholdings without notice; 2) bulldozing the rice,
corn fruit bearing trees and other corps by means of force,
violence, and intimidation
o Violation of PD 1038 and 3 counts of trespassing
MTC dismissed complaint for forcible entry (January 7,
Private respondents filed a petition for review with CA:
reversed MTC
o CA: since private respondents were in actual
possession of the property at the time they were
forcibly ejected by petitioner, private respondents
have a right to commence an action for forcible
entry regardless of the legality or illegality of


Whether or not the private respondents are entitled to file a
forcible entry case against petitioner. Yes.

Notwithstanding petitioners claim that it was duly authorized

by the owners to develop subject property, the private
respondents, as actual possessors, can commence a forcible
entry case because ownership is not in issue
o Forcible entry is a quieting process and never
determines the actual title to an estate
It is undisputed that at the time petitioner entered the
property, private respondents were already in possession
No evidence that the spouses Jose were ever in possession
Although petitioner may validly claim ownership based on
the muniments of title it presented, such evidence does not
responsively address the issue of prior actual possession
raised in a forcible entry case, it must be stated that
regardless of the title, the party in peacable quiet
possession shall not be turned out by a strong hand,
violence, or terror
o Private respondents peacable possession was
manifested by the fact that they even planted rice,
corn, and fruit bearing trees 12-15 years prior to the
petitioners act of destroyin the crops
A party who can prove prior possession can recover such
possession even against the owner himself

Whatever may be the character of his prior possession, if he

has in his favor priority in time, he has the security that
entitles him to remain on the property until he is lawfully
ejected by a person having a better right by accion publican
or accion reivindicatoria
MTC and RTC rationalized petitioners acts on the basis of
the doctrine of self-help enunciated in Article 429 of the
o Justification unavailing because the doctrine can
only be exercised at the time of actual or threated
dispossession (absent in the case at bar)
When possession has already been lost, the owner must
resort to judicial processes for the recovery of property
o Basis: Article 536 of the NCC
In no case may possession be acquired
through force or intimidation as long as there
is a possessor who objects thereto. He who
believes that he has an action or right to
deprive another of the holding of a thing
must invoke the aid of a competent court, if
the holder should refuse to deliver the thing.