JAVIER V. VERIDIANO II- Action for Determination of Ownership
A final judgment on forcible entry or unlawful detainer is NOT a bar against to an action for determination of ownership. A judgment rendered in a case for recovery of possession is conclusive only as to possession, not ownership. It is not a bar against an action for determination of ownership.
Petitioner bought a land on a subdivision by filing a Miscellaneous Sales Application. Pending the approval of the sale, Ben Babol entered a portion adjacent to the land being bought by Petitioner. Petitioner claims that the occupied land by Babol is part of his land so he filed a forcible entry case. However, the trial court found Petitioner wrong and so sustained the possession of Babol. Later on, Babol would sell this portion to private Respondent. In the meantime, the application was approved and a TCT was delivered to Petitioner. This motivated the Petitioner to demand the land again, this time from Respondent, and this time on the basis of ownership. He filed a complaint for quieting of title and recovery of possession. Respondent countered that the first case on forcible entry constituted res judicata against the second complaint.
W/N the first case on forcible entry was res judicata against the second case on quieting of title
No! Once again, for res judicata to arise, four requisites must concur: Final judgment, Court with competent jurisdiction, judgment based on merits, identity of parties and cause of action.
The Court said that in the two cases, there were identity of parties because Respondent, having acquired the contested land by sale and tradition, is a successor in interest.
However, there was no identity of the causes of action. In forcible entry, the only issue is prior possession and not ownership. In accion reivindicatoria, the issue is the ownership. The Court held that the second case was actually an accion reivindicatoria as Petitioner set up title for herself, prayed that Respondent to be ejected and that she be declared the owner. Thus a final judgment on forcible entry or detainer is NOT a bar against to an action for determination of ownership.