My live-in partner and I live in a residential land with no land title. We have lived there for more than a decade already until some people claiming to be the owner of the land, but also with no legal title, forcibly ejected us from our home and threatened us never to come back unless we want to get hurt. As far as we know, there were neither cases nor court orders concerning the land.
What should we do and what case, if any, can we file to get back our house from the people who removed us from our home? Can we complain even without a land title to our land? Thank you in advance for your advice!
From the narration of your situation, you may file an action for forcible entry against the persons who removed you from your residence. According to the law, an action for forcible entry is warranted when “…a person is deprived of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth, xxx.” (Section 1, Rule 70, Revised Rules of Court).
In your case, the use of force and threats justifies the filing of forcible entry. This action may be filed before the proper Metropolitan Trial Court or Municipal Trial Court, as the case may be, within one (1) year after the unlawful deprivation of the property for the purpose of recovering the possession of the property with damages and costs.
It is also important to note that your lack of land title to the disputed lot does not bar you from filing an action for forcible entry, because the main issue in these kinds of action is the mere physical possession of the property, not the ownership of the property. This is because in forcible entry cases, the actual condition of the title to the property is largely immaterial. What is important is that “…the party in peaceable and quiet possession shall not be turned out by strong hand, violence or terror. A party out of possession must respect and resort to the law alone to obtain what he claims is his.” (Edgardo L. Paras, Rules of Court Annotated, 1st Edition, p. 162, citing Supia and Batioco vs. Quintero and Ayala, 59 Phil. 312).
In a forcible entry complaint, the court will generally not rule on the ownership of the subject property considering that you have no land title to the subject land. The court’s adjudication, in these cases, is limited to the determination of who between the opposing parties has the better right to possess the same. Thus, should the court rule in your favor, then it may order the restoration of your right as the rightful possessor of the disputed property.
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