Encroachment case: Proving previous ownership of property

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I want to be enlightened if I have the right under the law to file a case for forcible entry against a neighbor, who encroached on my property. What are the requirements in filing the case? Is there any time limit?
Sincerely yours,
Theo

Dear Theo,
The Supreme Court has consistently reiterated in its decisions the requirements in order for an action for forcible entry to prosper. For one, the case of Nuez vs. Slteas Phoenix Solutions, et al. (G.R. No. 180542, April 12, 2010), citing Ong vs. Parel (407 Phil 1045, 2001) and penned by former Associate Justice Jose Perez, answers your query on these requirements:

“(a) the plaintiffs must allege their prior physical possession of the property; (b) they must assert that they were deprived of possession either by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth; and, (c) the action must be filed within one (1) year from the time the owners or legal possessors learned of their deprivation of the physical possession of the property. As it is not essential that the complaint should expressly employ the language of the law, it is considered a sufficient compliance [with]the requirements where the facts are set up showing that dispossession took place under said conditions. The one-year period within which to bring an action for forcible entry is generally counted from the date of actual entry on the land, except that when the entry is through stealth, the one-year period is counted from the time the plaintiff learned thereof.” [Emphasis supplied.]

There is a one-year period necessary to be observed from the time of dispossession, discovery of dispossession or encroachment, whenever stealth attended the circumstances. You must take note that in cases of forcible entry, there must be prior physical possession on your part (actual or constructive), and that you were deprived of the same in any of the grounds mentioned above.


Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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