Velarma v. CA (G.R. No. 113615; January 25, 1996)


ISSUE: Will the lot owners agreement to sell the property to the government as evidenced by the minutes of a meeting of the Sangguniang Bayan, absent a formal deed, constitute a sufficient ground to defeat a forcible entry suit?
(Please help us make a case digest for this piece of jurisprudence. You may leave your contribution in the comment section below or email us at Please include your name so we can properly give credit to you for your work.)


1. CIVIL LAW; OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; AGREEMENT TO SELL PORTION OF LAND TO PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT; TRANSFEROR RETAINS OWNERSHIP OF LAND IN ABSENCE OF ACTUAL TRANSFER THEREOF; CASE AT BAR. - As found by the trial court, the said minutes of the meeting of the Sangguniang Bayan do not mention the execution of any deed to perfect the agreement. An engineer was appointed to survey the old abandoned road, but this act does not in any manner convey title over the abandoned road to the Pansacola spouses nor extinguish their ownership over the land traverse4 by the new provincial highway. No evidence was introduced by petitioner to show that the survey was actually undertaken and a specific portion of the abandoned road partitioned and conveyed to the Pansacolas. It must be stressed that the agreement to transfer the property was made in 1974. More than twenty years later, no actual transfer had yet been made. Unless and until the transfer is consummated, or expropriation proceedings instituted by the government, private respondent continues to retain ownership of the land subject of this case.

2. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; ESTOPPEL BY LACHES; MANIFESTED BY FAILURE OF A PARTY TO ASSAIL JURISDICTION OF TRIAL COURT BY FILING ANSWER AND GOING TO TRIAL. - We note that the ejectment suit should have been filed before the Municipal Trial Court, and not the Regional Trial Court. The issue of ownership, however, had been specifically raised before the Regional Trial Court by petitioner himself, who at the same time did not move to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Instead, he filed his answer and went to trial. Estoppel by laches has already set in at this point in time.

3. ID.; EVIDENCE; FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT THERE WAS COMPLIANCE WITH PROVISION OF P.D. No. 1508, GENERALLY UPHELD ON APPEAL. - Petitioner also challenges the findings of the respondent Court that prior referral to the Lupong Barangay had been made before the ejectment case was filed in the lower court, and that therefore, the trial court properly acquired jurisdiction over the case. We agree, however, with the trial courts finding that - The compliance (with) the provision of P.D. No. 1508, Katarungang Pambarangay Law, can no longer be assailed by the defendant petitioner], its reference having been admitted (in) his affirmative allegations and affirmative defenses in the Answer (page 3, par. 3.3 of defendants answer).