Lack of Statement of Cause of Action

RULE 16 of the Rules of Court on Motion to Dismiss provides, "Section 1. Grounds. — Within the time for but before filing the answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim, a motion to dismiss may be made on any of the following grounds: x x x x (g) That the pleading asserting the claim states no cause of action; x x x x"

A complaint states a cause of action if it sufficiently avers the existence of the three (3) essential elements of a cause of action, namely: (a) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created; (b) an obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and (c) an act or omission on the part of the named defendant violative of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the obligation of defendant tothe plaintiff for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery of damages. If the allegations of the complaint do not state the concurrence of these elements, the complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of action.
It is well to point out that the plaintiff’s cause of action should not merely be "stated" but, importantly, the statement thereof should be "sufficient." This is why the elementary test in a motion to dismiss on such ground is whether or not the complaint alleges facts which if true would justify the relief demanded. As a corollary, it has been held that only ultimate facts and not legal conclusions or evidentiary facts are considered for purposes of applying the test. This is consistent with Section 1, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court which states that the complaint need only allege the ultimate facts or the essential facts constituting the plaintiff’s cause of action. A fact is essential if they cannot be stricken out without leaving the statement of the cause of action inadequate. Since the inquiry is into the sufficiency, not the veracity, of the material allegations, it follows that the analysis should be confined to the four corners of the complaint, and no other. 

A judicious examination of petitioner’s Amended Complaint readily shows its failure to sufficiently state a cause of action. Contrary to the findings of the CA, the allegations therein do not proffer ultimate facts which would warrant an action for nullification of the sale and recovery of the properties in controversy, hence,rendering the same dismissible.

While the Amended Complaint does allege that petitioner was the registered owner of the subject properties in dispute, nothing in the said pleading or its annexes would show the basis of that assertion, either through statements/documents tracing the root of petitioner’s title or copies of previous certificates of title registered in her name. Instead, the certificates of title covering the said properties that were attached to the Amended Complaint are in the name of Gran. At best, the attached copies of TCT Nos. N-5500 and N-4234 only mention petitioner as the representative of Gran at the time of the covered property’s registration when she was a minor. Nothing in the pleading, however, indicates that the former had become any of the properties’ owner. This leads to the logical conclusion that her right to the properties in question – at least through the manner in which it was alleged in the Amended Complaint – remains ostensibly unfounded. Indeed, while the facts alleged in the complaint are hypothetically admitted for purposes of the motion, it must, nevertheless, be remembered that the hypothetical admission extends only to the relevant and material facts well pleaded in the complaint as well as to inferences fairly deductible therefrom. Verily, the filing of the motion to dismiss assailing the sufficiency of the complaint does not hypothetically admit allegations of which the court will take judicial notice ofto be not true, nor does the rule of hypothetical admission apply to legally impossible facts, or to facts inadmissible in evidence, or to facts that appear to be unfounded by record or document included in the pleadings. (G.R. No. 197380; October 8, 2014)