PHILIPPINE TOURISM AUTHORITY (Now known as TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENTERPRISE ZONE AUTHORITY), Petitioner, vs. MARCOSA A. SABANDAL-HERZENSTIEL, PEDRO TAPALES, LUIS TAPALES, and ROMEO TAPALES, Respondents. G.R. No. 196741, July 17, 2013.
“x x x.
The sole issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not the respondents may be lawfully ejected from the subject property.
X x x.
The petition is meritorious.
In an action for forcible entry, the plaintiff must prove that he was in prior possession of the disputed property and that the defendant deprived him of his possession by any of the means provided for in Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules, namely: force, intimidation, threats, strategy, and stealth.23
In this case, respondents failed to establish their prior and continued possession of the subject property after its sale in favor of petitioner in 1981. On the contrary, they even admitted in their answer to the complaint that petitioner exercised dominion over the same by instituting caretakers and leasing portions thereof to third persons.24 Suffice it to state that possession in the eyes of the law does not mean that a man has to have his feet on every square meter of the ground before he is deemed in possession.25 Thus, finding petitioner’s assertion to be well-founded, the MCTC properly adjudged petitioner to have prior possession over the subject property as against Sabandal-Herzenstiel, who never claimed ownership or possession thereof.26
Petitioner’s supposed failure to describe in detail the manner of respondents’ entry into the subject property is inconsequential. Jurisprudence states that proving the fact of unlawful entry and the exclusion of the lawful possessor – as petitioner had sufficiently demonstrated – would necessarily imply the use of force. As held in Estel v. Heirs of Recaredo P. Diego, Sr.:28
x x x Unlawfully entering the subject property and excluding therefrom the prior possessor would necessarily imply the use of force and this is all that is necessary. In order to constitute force, the trespasser does not have to institute a state of war. No other proof is necessary. In the instant case, it is, thus, irrefutable that respondents sufficiently alleged that the possession of the subject property was wrested from them through violence and force.29
And in David v. Cordova:30
x x x The foundation of a possessory action is really the forcible exclusion of the original possessor by a person who has entered without right. The words "by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth" include every situation or condition under which one person can wrongfully enter upon real property and exclude another, who has had prior possession therefrom. If a trespasser enters upon land in open daylight, under the very eyes of the person already clothed with lawful possession, but without the consent of the latter, and there plants himself and excludes such prior possessor from the property, the action of forcibly entry and detainer can unquestionably be maintained, even though no force is used by the trespasser other than such as is necessarily implied from the mere acts of planting himself on the ground and excluding the other party.31
Similarly, in Arbizo v. Santillan,32 it has been held that the acts of unlawfully entering the disputed premises, erecting a structure thereon, and excluding therefrom the prior possessor would necessarily imply the use of force, as in this case.1âwphi1
In fine, the Court upholds the findings and conclusions of the MCTC, adjudging petitioner to be the lawful possessor of the subject property, square as they are with existing law and jurisprudence. Accordingly, the CA’s ruling on the merits must perforce be reversed and set aside.
X x x.”