CASE DIGEST: Republic vs. Spouses Guilalas

G.R. No. 159564




Petitioner is the registered owner of two (2) parcels of land known as the "Tala Estate," covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. 34629 and 34599. Under Proclamation No. 843, a 598 hectare portion of the Tala Estate was reserved for housing, resettlement sites and related purposes by the government under the administration of the National Housing Authority (NHA).

On the other hand, respondents, spouses Leon Guilalas and Eulalia Guilalas, are the registered owners of a 30,000-square-meter parcel of land under TCT No. T-194289 of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan, designated as Lot 433-B-2 of the subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-196244, located at Barrio Gaya-Gaya, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

Eventually, the NHA started the development of the 598-hectare portion of the Tala Estate for its intended purpose. However, respondents resisted the development of the area claiming that a portion of their land was encroached upon by the government. After an investigation was conducted by the representatives of the NHA, it was found that the land owned by the respondents was part and parcel of the Tala Estate.

Thus, petitioner filed a Complaint for Cancellation of Title against the respondents. In their Answer with Counterclaim, respondents claimed that the RTC of Caloocan City had no jurisdiction over the case since their lot is situated in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan and not Caloocan City. Further, respondents maintained that they have been in open, adverse and continuous possession of the subject lot since birth and have been actually tilling the same in the concept of an owner. Both the RTC and the CA ruled in favor of the Guilalas spouses. Hence, this appeal.


I. Whether the RTC and the CA erred in holding that the lot owned by the Guilalas Spouses is located in Bulacan and does not encroach on the lots of the petitioner which are located in Caloocan

II. Whether the CA erred in holding that TCT Nos. 34629 and 24599 and Proclamation N843 cannot be the bases for plotting the petitioners lot because said documents failed to indicate the technical descriptions of the subject lots


At the outset, petitioner primarily sought the cancellation of respondents TCT over the lot in question, which is clearly a real action. Section 1, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that actions affecting title to or possession of real property or an interest therein (real actions) shall be commenced and tried in the proper court that has territorial jurisdiction over the area where the real property or any part thereof is situated. Considering that the lot in question was not within the territorial jurisdiction of RTC of Caloocan City, it was but proper for the RTC to have dismissed the complaint.

In both the decisions of the RTC and the CA, both tribunal made determinations regarding the actual location of respondents lot and petitioners Tala Estate. Therein, both categorically concluded in their respective decisions that indeed, respondents lot is located in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, while that of petitioner is situated in Caloocan City and that respondents lot did not encroach petitioners property.

It must be stressed that the issues raised by the petitioner involves questions of fact which are not proper subjects of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.

In the case at bar, respondents sufficiently established from the evidence submitted that indeed, their property lies within the boundaries of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. Moreover, the pieces of evidence submitted by the petitioner could not be made basis to determine their claim that respondents property is within the boundaries of the Tala Estate, which is in Caloocan City, considering that even TCT No. T-34629 and T-34599 contain insufficient technical description to make it as bases of any sketch or plan of the said lot. Not even Proclamation No. 843, which is petitioners basis for maintaining that the Marilao River is the northern boundary of its parcels of land, lacked the technical description of the area covered by it.

On the contrary, the claim of the Guilalas spouses that their land is outside the Tala Estate is clearly supported by the evidence on record. The Sketch Plan (Exhibits 6 and 6-A) as well as the Sketch of the entire area of Caloocan City (Exhibits 7 and 7-A) would show that the couples lot is outside of the Tala Estate and contrary to the report of Engr. Erive, there appears no Marilao River as boundary between Caloocan City and Bulacan. The Contoured Map 3222-IV-2 Edition 1 (1987) and Contoured Map with No. 3230-N-2 Edition 1 (1987) (Exhibits 2, 2-A, 2-B and 2-C) prepared and issued by the Bureau of Coast and Geodetic Survey showing the boundary between Bulacan and Caloocan City as depicted by the broken lines would also reveal that no part of the broken line passes through Marilao River. The position of the Guilalas spouses lot on the said contoured maps was plotted thereon and said plotting was even admitted by Engr. Erive as correct (See TSN, September 27, 1993, p. 5). Moreover, the probative value of the maps cannot be questioned since these were issued by the Bureau of Coast and Geodetic Survey, which is a government agency tasked with preparing maps indicating the various political units of the country.