387 SCRA 327



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.


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.