Daclison v. Baytion
REX DACLISON v. EDUARDO BAYTION
G.R. No. 219811, April 6, 2016
Respondent Eduardo Baytion (Baytion) filed a Complaint for Forcible Entry and Damages with Prayer for Issuance of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction with the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 43, Quezon City (MeTC) against petitioner Rex Daclison (Daclison).
In the complaint, Baytion alleged that he was a co-owner of a parcel of land. As the administrator, he leased portions of the property to third persons. Erected on the said property was a one-story building which was divided into seven units or stalls. One of the stalls was leased to a certain Leonida Dela Cruz (Leonida) who used it for her business of selling rocks, pebbles and similar construction materials. When the lease of Nida expired, Daclison and other persons acting under her took possession of the portion leased and occupied by Leonida without the prior knowledge and consent of Baytion. Since then, Daclison had been occupying the contested portion and using it for his business of selling marble and other finishing materials without paying anything to Baytion.
Upon learning of Daclison’s unauthorized entry into the subject portion of the property. Baytion demanded that he vacate it. Despite oral and written demands to vacate, Daclison refused to do so. This prompted Baytion to file the complaint for forcible entry and damages.
The MeTC dismissed the case on the ground that Baytion failed to include his siblings or his co-owners, as plaintiffs in the case. The dismissal, however, was without prejudice. Baytion appealed the case to the RTC, which ruled that the MeTC lacked jurisdiction to decide the case because the allegations in the complaint failed to constitute a case of forcible entry. The CA concluded that Baytion, as co-owner of the subject property, had a better right to possess.
Daclison insists that what is really in dispute in the present controversy is the filled-up portion between the riprap constructed by the government and the property of Baytion and therefore, outside of the land co-owned by Baytion. Accordingly, the RTC and the CA should have dismissed the case because the leased property was already surrendered to its owner, thereby, mooting the complaint.
Who has a better right of possession over the property, Baytion or Daclison?
Baytion does not have a better right over the contested portion. Baytion’s contention that he owns that portion by reason of accretion is misplaced. In the case at bench, this contested portion cannot be considered an accretion under Article 457 on the New Civil Code. To begin with, the land came about not by reason of a gradual and imperceptible deposit. The deposits were artificial and man-made and not the exclusive result of the current from the creek adjacent to his property. Baytion failed to prove the attendance of the indispensable requirement that the deposit was due to the effect of the current of the river or creek. Alluvion must be the exclusive work of nature and not a result of human intervention.
Furthermore, the disputed property cannot also be considered an improvement or accession under Article 445 of the New Civil Code. It must be noted that Article 445 uses the adverb “thereon” which is simply defined as “on the thing that has been mentioned.” In other words, the supposed improvement must be made, constructed or introduced within or on the property and not outside so as to qualify as an improvement contemplated ‘by law. Otherwise, it would just be very convenient for landowners to expand or widen their properties in the guise of improvements.
Baytion, not being the owner of the contested portion, does not have a better right to possess the same. In fact, in his initiatory pleading, he never claimed to have been in prior possession of this piece of property. His claim of ownership is without basis.