I have been living in a house erected in a vacant lot in front of my family’s ancestral house for more than 30 years already. All our relatives living in the ancestral house, including my aunt, are aware of my existence. Before the owner of the ancestral house died, she sold to me a portion of lot by virtue of a Deed of Sale.
Three years later, my aunt wanted to oust me in my dwelling, insisting that she also has rights over the same by virtue of a Deed of Sale that was executed at the same time as mine. She filed a case for ejectment (forcible entry) against me as she said I had no right to be in my place. Can her action still prosper?
For your information, time and again, the Honorable Supreme Court has consistently reiterated the following requirements in order for an action for forcible entry can prosper in the courts:
(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 of the requirement 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. (Nuez v. Slteas Phoenix Solutions, et. al., G.R. No. 180542, 12 April 2010 citing Ong v. Parel, 407 Phil 1045, 2001)
Given the fact that you have disclosed that your aunt is fully aware of your existence even prior to the demise of your ancestor, the filing of her complaint for forcible entry already lapsed beyond the one (1) year period required under the law.
Also, since you have not stated that it was she who allowed your stay in the premises and that you both claim rights to the property where you are the actual possessor, the action for forcible entry, which may be proper under the circumstances, may no longer be filed at the time of filing, which was three (3) years after your decedent’s death and many years after your actual physical possession of the property. Succinctly, the same may not prosper and may consequently be dismissed by the court based on this ground.
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 email@example.com