Campos v. Ortega (G.R. No. 171286; June 2, 2014)


FACTS: Petitioner Dolores Campos, through her attorney-in-fact, Salvador Pagunsan (Pagunsan), filed a case for specific performance with damages against respondents. The Petition stated among others that Plaintiff and her husband Ernesto Campos, along with their family occupied the entire second level as well as the front portion of the ground level of a residential structure located at No. 208 F Blumentritt Street, Mandaluyong City. The lot on which the structure itself is owned by Dominga Boloy from whom plaintiff leased the same beginning in 1966.

In 1977, under and pursuant to the Zonal Improvement Program (ZIP) of the then Metro Manila Commission, in coordination with the Local Government of Mandaluyong City, a census of the Hulo estate, where plaintiffs dwelling is located, was conducted wherein plaintiff was among those censused and qualified as bona fide occupant. As a consequence of having qualified, plaintiff assigned an identifying house tag number of 77-000070-08 on August 20, 1977.

In 1979, after the death of the owner DomingaBoloy, her daughter-in-law, Clarita Boloy managed the leased premises. In 1987, Walter Boloy stepped into the situation through counsel demanded from the plaintiff and the family immediate vacation of the subject premises. an ejectment suit was eventually filed against plaintiff but it was dismissed by the Metropolitan Trial Court.

After receiving the said decision, and after having verified her husbands status as a bona fide occupant, plaintiff forthwith authorized her nephew Salvador Pagunsan to follow up with the NHA. Pursuant thereto, after learning that all bona fide occupants may be allowed to buy the structure if the owner had already died. Plaintiff was given one month to exercise the option of buying the property denominated as Lot 17, Block 7, Phase III. Plaintiff acceded since the property they are occupying was Lot 18, Block 7.

When inquired with the NHA, plaintiff questioned the award of the lots to defendants who are disqualified for not having been duly censused either as renters or sharers, and also the matter regarding the alteration the lot number actually being occupied by plaintiff.

As a result of the bypassing of plaintiffs right, she as dislocated, has suffered sleepless nights, mental anguish, wounded feelings and undue embarrassment, among others, the assessment of which in pecuniary terms is left to the sound discretion of the Court.

Respondents countered that the complaint stated no cause of action, and that, if any, such cause of action is already barred by prior judgment. They noted petitioners admission in the Verification that an action for recovery of possession was commenced against her by respondents before the RTC of Pasig, involving the same property and that it was resolved in respondents favour; and that such decision was affirmed by the CA and became final and executory.

The RTC ruled in favor of petitioner and declared the acquisition of respondents of the Lot 18, Block 7 of the Hulo estate void for being violative of the right of the plaintiff. Further, NHA is ordered to recognize plaintiffs right to purchase the structure and give her reasonable time within which to exercise said right.

Upon appeal, the CA reversed the trial courts decision. It ruled that petitioner has no vested right over the subject parcel of land and the residential structure standing thereon.

ISSUE: Has the petitioner vested right over the subject parcel of land?HELD: While it is true that NHA recognizes plaintiff as the censused owner of the structure built on the lot, the issuance of the tag number is not a guarantee for lot allocation. Plaintiff had petitioned the NHA for the award of her of the lot she is occupying. However, the census, tagging and plaintiffs petition, did not vest upon her a legal title to the lot she was occupying, but a mere expectancy that the lot will be awarded to her. Magkalas v. National Housing Authority, 587 Phil. 152.

Neither does petitioner have a cognizable right respecting the lot in question. Notably, she readily admitted not exercising their option to buy Boloys property despite the knowledge that one of the requirements before an entitlement to an award of the government-owned lot is that they must own the subjected house. DENIED.