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Special Civil Actions: Rule 70 - Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer


RULE 70
Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer

Section 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. — Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding section, a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person, may, at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs.

Section 2. Lessor to proceed against lessee only after demand.—Unless otherwise stipulated, such action by the lessor shall be commenced only after demand to pay or comply with the conditions of the lease and to vacate is made upon the lessee, or by serving written notice of such demand upon the person found on the premises, or by posting such notice on the premises if no person be found thereon, and the lessee fails to comply therewith after fifteen (15) days in the case of land or five (5) days in the case of buildings. 

Section 3. Summary procedure. — Except in cases covered by the agricultural tenancy laws or when the law otherwise expressly provides, all actions for forcible entry and unlawful detainer, irrespective of the amount of damages or unpaid rentals sought to be recovered, shall be governed by the summary procedure hereunder provided. 

Section 4. Pleadings allowed. — The only pleadings allowed to be filed are the complaint, compulsory counterclaim and cross-claim pleaded in the answer, and the answers thereto. All pleadings shall be verified.

Section 5. Action on complaint. — The court may, from an examination of the allegations in the complaint and such evidence as may be attached thereto, dismiss the case outright on any of the grounds for the dismissal of a civil action which are apparent therein. If no ground for dismissal is found, it shall forthwith issue summons.

Section 6. Answers. — Within ten (10) days from service of summons, the defendant shall file his answer to the complaint and serve a copy thereof on the plaintiff. Affirmative and negative defenses not pleaded therein shall be deemed waived, except lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. Cross-claims and compulsory counterclaims not asserted in the answer shall be considered barred. The answer to counterclaims or cross-claims shall be served and filed within ten (10) days from service of the answer in which they are pleaded.

Section 7. Effect of failure to answer. — Should the defendant fail to answer the complaint within the period above provided, the court, motu proprio or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein. The court may in its discretion reduce the amount of damages and attorney's fees claimed for being excessive or otherwise unconscionable, without prejudice to the applicability of section 3 (c), Rule 9 if there are two or more defendants. 

Section 8. Preliminary conference; appearance of parties. — Not later than thirty (30) days after the last answer is filed, a preliminary conference shall be held. The provisions of Rule 18 on pre-trial shall be applicable to the preliminary conference unless inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule.

The failure of the plaintiff to appear in the preliminary conference shall be cause for the dismissal of his complaint. The defendant who appears in the absence of the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment on his counterclaim in accordance with the next preceding section. All cross-claims shall be dismissed. 

If a sole defendant shall fail to appear, the plaintiff shall likewise be entitled to judgment in accordance with the next preceding section. This procedure shall not apply where one of two or more defendants sued under a common cause of action defense shall appear at the preliminary conference.

No postponement of the preliminary conference shall be granted except for highly meritorious grounds and without prejudice to such sanctions as the court in the exercise of sound discretion may impose on the movant.

Section 9. Record of preliminary conference. — Within five (5) days after the termination of the preliminary conference, the court shall issue an order stating the matters taken up therein, including but not limited to:
  1. Whether the parties have arrived at an amicable settlement, and if so, the terms thereof;
  2. The stipulations or admissions entered into by the parties;
  3. Whether, on the basis of the pleadings and the stipulations and admission made by the parties, judgment may be rendered without the need of further proceedings, in which event the judgment shall be rendered within thirty (30) days from issuance of the order;
  4. A clear specification of material facts which remain converted; and
  5. Such other matters intended to expedite the disposition of the case. 
Section 10. Submission of affidavits and position papers. — Within ten (10) days from receipt of the order mentioned in the next preceding section, the parties shall submit the affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence on the factual issues defined in the order, together with their position papers setting forth the law and the facts relied upon by them. 

Section 11. Period for rendition of judgment. — Within thirty (30) days after receipt of the affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, the court shall render judgment.

However, should the court find it necessary to clarify certain material facts, during the said period, issue an order specifying the matters to be clarified, and require the parties to submit affidavits or other evidence on the said matters within ten (10) days from receipt of said order. Judgment shall be rendered within fifteen (15) days after the receipt of the last affidavit or the expiration of the period for filing the same.

The court shall not resort to the foregoing procedure just to gain time for the rendition of the judgment.

Section 12. Referral for conciliation. — Cases requiring referral for conciliation, where there is no showing of compliance with such requirement, shall be dismissed without prejudice, and may be revived only after that requirement shall have been complied with.

Section 13. Prohibited pleadings and motions. — The following petitions, motions, or pleadings shall not be allowed:
  1. Motion to dismiss the complaint except on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, or failure to comply with section 12;
  2. Motion for a bill of particulars;
  3. Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of a judgment, or for reopening of trial;
  4. Petition for relief from judgment;
  5. Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper;
  6. Memoranda;
  7. Petition for certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by the court;
  8. Motion to declare the defendant in default;
  9. Dilatory motions for postponement;
  10. Reply;
  11. Third-party complaints;
  12. Interventions. 
Section 14. Affidavits. — The affidavits required to be submitted under this Rule shall state only facts of direct personal knowledge of the affiants which are admissible in evidence, and shall show their competence to testify to the matters stated therein.

A violation of this requirement may subject the party or the counsel who submits the same to disciplinary action, and shall be cause to expunge the inadmissible affidavit or portion thereof from the record. 

Section 15. Preliminary injunction. — The court may grant preliminary injunction, in accordance with the provisions of Rule 58 hereof, to prevent the defendant from committing further acts of dispossession against the plaintiff.

A possessor deprived of his possession through forcible from the filing of the complaint, present a motion in the action for forcible entry or unlawful detainer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to restore him in his possession. The court shall decide the motion within thirty (30) days from the filing thereof. 

Section 16. Resolving defense of ownership. — When the defendant raises the defense of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession. 

Section 17. Judgment. — If after trial court finds that the allegations of the complaint are true, it shall render judgment in favor of the plaintiff for the restitution of the premises, the sum justly due as arrears of rent or as reasonable compensation for the use and occupation of the premises, attorney's fees and costs. If a counterclaim is established, the court shall render judgment for the sum found in arrears from either party and award costs as justice requires. 

Section 18. Judgment conclusive only on possession; not conclusive in actions involving title or ownership. — The judgment rendered in an action for forcible entry or detainer shall be conclusive with respect to the possession only and shall in no wise bind the title or affect the ownership of the land or building. Such judgment shall not bar an action between the same parties respecting title to the land or building.

The judgment or final order shall be appealable to the appropriate Regional Trial Court which shall decide the same on the basis of the entire record of the proceedings had in the court of origin and such memoranda and/or briefs as may be submitted by the parties or required by the Regional Trial Court. 

Section 19. Immediate execution of judgment; how to stay same. — If judgment is rendered against the defendant, execution shall issue immediately upon motion unless an appeal has been perfected and the defendant to stay execution files a sufficient supersedeas bond, approved by the Municipal Trial Court and executed in favor of the plaintiff to pay the rents, damages, and costs accruing down to the time of the judgment appealed from, and unless, during the pendency of the appeal, he deposits with the appellate court the amount of rent due from time to time under the contract, if any, as determined by the judgment of the Municipal Trial Court. In the absence of a contract, he shall deposit with the Regional Trial Court the reasonable value of the use and occupation of the premises for the preceding month or period at the rate determined by the judgment of the lower court on or before the tenth day of each succeeding month or period. The supersedeas bond shall be transmitted by the Municipal Trial Court, with the papers, to the clerk of the Regional Trial Court to which the action is appealed.

All amounts so paid to the appellate court shall be deposited with said court or authorized government depositary bank, and shall be held there until the final disposition of the appeal, unless the court, by agreement of the interested parties, or in the absence of reasonable grounds of opposition to a motion to withdraw, or for justifiable reasons, shall decree otherwise. Should the defendant fail to make the payments above prescribed from time to time during the pendency of the appeal, the appellate court, upon motion of the plaintiff, and upon proof of such failure, shall order the execution of the judgment appealed from with respect to the restoration of possession, but such execution shall not be a bar to the appeal taking its course until the final disposition thereof on the merits.

After the case is decided by the Regional Trial Court, any money paid to the court by the defendant for purposes of the stay of execution shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the judgment of the Regional Trial Court. In any case wherein it appears that the defendant has been deprived of the lawful possession of land or building pending the appeal by virtue of the execution of the judgment of the Municipal Trial Court, damages for such deprivation of possession and restoration of possession and restoration of possession may be allowed the defendant in the judgment of the Regional Trial Court disposing of the appeal. 

Section 20. Preliminary mandatory injunction in case of appeal. — Upon motion of the plaintiff, within ten (10) days from the perfection of the appeal to the Regional Trial Court, the latter may issue a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to restore the plaintiff in possession if the court is satisfied that the defendant's appeal is frivolous or dilatory or that the appeal of the plaintiff is prima facie meritorious. 

Section 21. Immediate execution on appeal to Court of Appeals or Supreme Court. — The judgment of the Regional Trial Court against the defendant shall be immediately executory, without prejudice to a further appeal that may be taken therefrom. 

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