BONGATO V. MALVAR
387 SCRA 327
FACTS:Spouses Malvar filed a complaint for forcible entry against Bongato, for allegedly unlawfully entering a parcel of land and constructed a house of light materials thereon. The trial court ordered petitioner to vacate the lot
and thereafter issued an order insofar as to determine the location of the houses involved in the civil case is the same with the one in the criminal case for anti-squatting. The judge made a warning that there will be no extension granted for the submission of the survey and failure to do so would prompt the issuance of the writ of execution. Upon failure of petitioner to submit a survey report, the judge ordered the return of the records of the case to the court of origin for disposal.
HELD:In forcible entry, one employs FISTS to deprive another physical possession of land or building. Thus, plaintiff must allege and prove prior physical possession of the property in litigation until deprived thereof by defendant. Sole question for resolution hinges on the physical or material possession of the property. Neither a claim of juridical possession nor an averment of ownership by the defendant can outrightly prevent the court from taking cognizance of the case. Ejectment cases proceed independently of any claim of ownership and the plaintiff needs merely to prove prior possession de facto and undue deprivation thereof.
In the present case, the lower court lacked jurisdiction in this case. First, the house of petitioner was actually situated in the lot subject of the anti-squatting case and not on the lot of the spouses. Second, the house has been in existence prior to the alleged date of forcible entry. Third, the respondents had knowledge of the existence of the house long before the alleged date of entry.
Forcible entry is a quieting process, and that the restrictive time bar is prescribed to complement the summary nature of the 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 plaintiff knew about it. after the lapse of the one-year period, the party dispossessed of a parcel of land may file either an accion publiciana, which is a plenary action to recover the right to possession, or an accion reivindicatoria, which is an action to recover ownership as well as possession.