SPOUSES NICASIO C. MARQUEZ AND ANITA J. MARQUEZ, Petitioners,
SPOUSES CARLITO ALINDOG AND CARMEN ALINDOG, Respondents.
G.R. No. 184045 January 22, 2014
TOPIC: Right of possession, extrajudicial foreclosure, TRO, writ of preliminary injunction
In June 1998, Anita Marquez extended a loan in the amount of P500,000 to a certain Gutierrez. As security therefor, Gutierrez executed a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage dated June 16, 1998 over the subject parcel of land. The mortgage was duly annotated.
Since Gutierrez defaulted in the payment of his loan obligation, Anita sought the extra-judicial foreclosure of the subject property. At the public auction sale held on January 19, 2000, Anita emerged as the highest bidder. Upon Gutierrez’s failure to redeem the same property within the prescribed period therefor, title was consolidated in the name of Spouses Marquez with an annotation of adverse claim in the names of Spouses Alindog. Said adverse annotation was copied from an earlier annotation made only after the subject property’s mortgage to Spouses Marquez.
On March 21, 2000, Spouses Alindog filed a civil case for annulment of real estate mortgage and certificate of sale on the ground that they purchased the subject property from Gutierrez way back in September 1989 but was unable to secure a certificate of title in their names due to deception of a certain Gonzales. Eventually, they found out that the property had already been mortgaged to Sps. Marquez
Meanwhile, Anita filed an ex-parte petition for the issuance of a writ of possession claiming that the same is ministerial on the court’s part following the consolidation of her and her husband’s title over the subject property. RTC granted the same. Spouses Alindog sought the issuance of a TRO and/or a writ of preliminary injunction. RTC issued a 72-hour TRO but did not extent it to a full 20-day TRO.
After further proceedings on the injunction case, the RTC issued a writ of preliminary injunction against Spouses Marquez based on initial evidence that Spouses Alindog appeared to have a right to be protected. CA found no grave abuse of discretion on the RTC’s part when it issued the injunctive writ.
Whether or not RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion when it issued the injunctive writ which enjoined Sps. Marquez from taking possession of the subject property.
The Court ruled in the affirmative.
General rule on possession of purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale
It is an established rule that the purchaser in an extra-judicial foreclosure sale is entitled to the possession of the property and can demand that he be placed in possession of the same either during (with bond) or after the expiration (without bond) of the redemption period therefor.
The Court has ruled in long line of cases that a writ of possession duly applied for by said purchaser in a public auction of an extrajudicially foreclosed real property should issue as a matter of course, and thus, merely constitutes a ministerial duty on the part of the court.
It is thus settled that the buyer in a foreclosure sale becomes the absolute owner of the property purchased if it is not redeemed during the period of one year after the registration of the sale. As such, he is entitled to the possession of the said property and can demand it at any time following the consolidation of ownership in his name and the issuance to him of a new transfer certificate of title.
Exception: When third party claims a right superior to that of the original mortgagor
Section 33, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that the possession of the mortgaged property may be awarded to a purchaser in an extra-judicial foreclosure unless a third party is actually holding the property by adverse title or right.
The phrase “a third party who is actually holding the property adversely to the judgment obligor” contemplates a situation in which a third party holds the property by adverse title or right, such as that of a co-owner, tenant or usufructuary. The co-owner, agricultural tenant, and usufructuary possess the property in their own right, and they are not merely the successor or transferee of the right of possession of another co-owner or the owner of the property. Notably, the property should not only be possessed by a third party, but also held by the third party adversely to the judgment obligor. The third person must therefore claim a right superior to that of the original mortgagor.
In this case, it is clear that the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of Spouses Marquez, who had already consolidated their title over the extrajudicially foreclosed property, is merely ministerial in nature. The general rule as herein stated – and not the exception found under Section 33, Rule 39 of the Rules – should apply since Spouses Alindog hinged their claim over the subject property on their purported purchase of the same from its previous owner, i.e., Spouses Gutierrez (with Gutierrez being the original mortgagor). Accordingly, it cannot be seriously doubted that Spouses Alindog are only the latter’s (Sps. Gutierrez) successors-in-interest who do not have a right superior to them.
Issuance of writ of preliminary injunction in favor of Spouses Alindog is improper
The court ruled that the RTC’s finding anent the initial evidence adduced by Spouses Alindog constitutes improper basis to justify the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction in their favor since it had no authority to exercise any discretion in this respect.
Besides, the act sought to be enjoined, i.e., the implementation of the writ of possession, had already been accomplished in the interim and thus, rendered the matter moot. Case law instructs that injunction would not lie where the acts sought to be enjoined had already become fait accompli (meaning, an accomplished or consummated act).
Hence, since the consummation of the act sought to be restrained had rendered Spouses Alindog’s injunction petition moot, the issuance of the said injunctive writ was altogether improper.