Header Ads

Maglente vs. Padilla Case Digest

Facts: Philippine Realty Corp (PRC) owned a parcel of land in Intramuros, which it leased to petitioners Maglente. The lease agreement included a right of first refusal in favor of Maglente, as well as an agreement whereby PRC prohibited Maglente from subleasing the property. Nonetheless, Maglente subleased the property to the private respondents. Later on, PRC decided to sell the property and offered the land to Maglente in accordance with her right of first refusal. Maglente intimated that she would exercise her right of first refusal to purchase the property. However, PRC received a letter from the private respondents expressing their desire to purchase the same property.

PRC filed a complaint for interpleader with the Manila RTC to determine who between the 2 parties had the right to purchase the property. The RTC ruled in favor of the Maglente, ordering PRC to execute a deed of sale. PRC executed a deed of sale in favor of the petitioners, who then filed a motion for a writ of possession. Private respondents objected on the ground that the trial court's decision on the interpleader case merely resolved petitioners right to purchase the leased property but did not declare them as the owners entitled to possession. RTC ruled in favor of the respondents and denied the writ of possession. So the petitioners filed this special civil action for certiorari. 

Issue: Are petitioners entitled to a writ of possession after being adjudged (in the interpleader case) as the proper parties to buy the subject property, considering that a deed of sale has already been executed in their favor?

Held: No. A writ of possession shall issue only in the following instances: (1) land registration proceedings; (2) extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage of real property; (3) judicial foreclosure of property provided that the mortgagor has possession and no third party has intervened, and (4) execution sales. Here, petitioners seek the writ as a consequence of the trial courts decision ordering the execution of a contract of sale/contract to sell in their favor. The writ does not lie in such a case.

Furthermore, the trial courts decision in the interpleader case (affirmed by both the CA and the SC) merely resolved the question of who, between petitioners and respondents, had the right to purchase PRCs property. The directive was only for PRC to execute the necessary contract in favor of petitioners as the winning parties, nothing else.

It was clear that, at that point, petitioners were not yet the owners of the property. The execution of the deed of sale in their favor was only preliminary to their eventual acquisition of the property. Likewise, although we stated in G.R. No. 111743 that the contract of sale between petitioners and PRC had already been perfected, we refrained from declaring them the owners since, pending the execution of the deed of sale or delivery of the property, ownership had yet to transfer to them at that time.

Thus, petitioners argument that the trial courts writ of execution in the interpleader case carried with it the corollary right to a writ of possession is without merit. A writ of possession complements the writ of execution only when the right of possession or ownership has been validly determined in a case directly relating to either.The interpleader case obviously did not delve into that issue.

Furthermore, the rule is that the enforcement of a judgment may not vary or alter the tenor of the judgment but must strictly conform to it. It should be in harmony with the judgment that gives it life and not exceed it. We thus cannot fault the trial court for refusing to issue a writ of possession to petitioners as its issuance would not be in conformity with the trial courts judgment in the interpleader case.

Finally, petitioners cannot recover possession of the property via a mere motion. They must file the appropriate action in court against respondents to recover possession. While this remedy can delay their recovery, this Court cannot permit an abbreviated method without subverting the rules and processes established for the orderly administration of justice. (Maglente vs. Padilla, G.R. No. 148182, March 7, 2007) 

Powered by Blogger.