You are on page 1of 2

V. PUBLICATION, OPPOSITION AND DEFAULT FLORDELIZA L. VALISNO and HONORIO D. VALISNO vs.

JUDGE PLAN AND VICENCIO CAYABA 143 SCRA 502 (1986) FACTS: Petitioners Flordeliza and Honorio purchased from the legal heirs of Agapita Blanco (Guillermo, Guillermo, Jr., Manuel and Rosario) 2 parcels of land. These lands were located at Sitio Sisim, Brgy. Cabaruan, Isabela. They declared the parcels of land in their name for taxation purposes and exercised exclusive possession in the concept of owners. They hired Fermin Lozano as caretaker who had his house built thereon. Private respondent Cayaba ousted Lozano from the land and built an apartment thereon. He claimed that he is the owner of the land in question by virtue of a deed of sale executed in his and Bienvenido G. Noriega's favor by the heirs of Dr. Epifanio Q. Verano. Petitioners filed a complaint against private respondent for recovery of possession of the subject lands before the then CFI. The court decided in favor of petitioners who were declared owners thereof. On appeal, the CA reversed the decision of the lower court and dismissed the complaint of petitioners. It ruled that the subject lands is different is different from the land appearing in the Subdivision Plan of the petitioners. The land occupied by the petitioners has not been successfully identified with that described in the complaint, the instant action should have been dismissed outright. Also, it is undisputed that the private respondent is the present occupant of the land since he purchased it from Tomasita F. Verano and that he is the actual possessor of the property, thus he possesses it with a just title and he need not show or prove why he possesses the same. Finally, contrasting the evidence of the respondent and petitioner, the court choose the respondents evidence as they were able to provide a vicinity plan that shows the land position in relation to the adjoining properties with known boundaries and landmarks. Petitioner merely presented a sketch prepared by Dr. Blanco constituting as mere guess works. Subsequently, the respondent filed a petition for registration of the property before the CFI which was opposed by the petitioner. Respondent moved for the dismissal of the opposition that the same is barred by a prior judgment of the court. The CFI dismissed the opposition on ground of res judicata thus this appeal before the SC. With the petition given due course by the SC, it orders both parties to submit their briefs. Only the petitioner submitted their own brief within the given period thus the SC considered the case submitted for decision with the brief of the respondent. The petitioner filed a motion to amend the application to include Bienvenido Noriega as a co-applicant to the petition. ISSUE: WON the motion to dismiss filed by the petitioner should be dismissed. HELD: The SC held that the Land Registration Act does not provide for pleading similar to a motion to dismiss but the Rules of Court allows its application in land registration proceeding as only suppletory when it is practicable and convenient. Therefore, the court may sustain a motion to dismiss in land registration proceeding as the case at bar. Noted by the court in the ordinary civil case, the counterclaim can be taken as a complaint where the defendant becomes the plaintiff. The original plaintiff thus becomes defendant in the counterclaim and he may choose to answer the counterclaim or be declared in default or file a motion to dismiss the same. The respondent

clearly opted for the last choice. The SC held that res judicata operates in the case at bar with its requisites present in the case: [a] the former judgment must be final, [b] it must have been' rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and of the parties, [c] it must be a judgment on the merits and [d] there must be between the first and second actions identity of parties, of subject matter and of cause of action. The inclusion of private respondent Cayaba's co-owner, Bienvenido Noriega, Sr., in the application for registration does not result in a difference in parties between the two cases. One right of a co-owner is to defend in court the interests of the coownership. Although the first action was captioned for the recovery of possession, possession is sought based on ownership, thus the action was one in the nature of accion reinvidicatoria. The second action is for registration of title where the registration is sought based on ones ownership over the property. The difference between the two is that the plaintiff seeks to exclude other persons from ownership over the property in the first action while it seeks to exclude the whole world in the second action. The cause of action however remains the same. The employment of two different actions does not allow one to escape against the principle of res judicata where one and the same cause of action cannot be litigated twice. Although the first action was litigated before a competent court of general jurisdiction and the other over a registration court is of no significance since that both courts should be of equal jurisdiction is not a requisite for res judicata to apply. For convenience, the SC should decide whether to dismiss the application for registration or the opposition thereto. Because the conflicting claims of both parties have been settled and decided by the court previously, it upheld the finality of its decision and dismissed the petition.