Spouses Severo and Trinidad Malvar filed a complaint in the MTCC for forcible entry against Teresita Bongato, alleging that Bongato unlawfully entered a parcel of land belonging to the spouses and erected thereon a house of light materials.

MTCC decided in favor of Malvar and ordered Bongato to vacate the land. RTC affirmed the decision. CA also held that MTCC had jurisdiction. On appeal, Bongato raised the issue of MTCC jurisdiction; that the complaint was filed beyond the one-year prescriptive period.


Wherther or not the MTCC had jurisdiction since the Complaint was filed beyond the one-year period from date of alleged entry?


No, MTCC had no jurisdiction. It is wise to be reminded that forcible entry is a quieting process, and that the restrictive time bar is prescribed to complement the summary nature of such process. Indeed, the one-year period within which to bring an action for forcible entry is generally counted from the date of actual entry to the land. However, when entry is made through stealth, then the one-year period is counted from the time the plaintiff learned about it. After the lapse of the one-year period, the party dispossessed of the parcel of land may file either accion publiciana; or an accion reivindicatoria, which is an action to recover ownership as well as possession.

One the basis of the facts, it is clear that the cause of action for forcible entry filed by respondents had already prescribed when they filed the complaint on July 10, 1992 (the house was built as early as 1987), thus the MTCC had no more jurisdiction to hear and decide the case.