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SPOUSES EDMUNDO and LOURDES SARROSA, Petitioners, versus WILLY O. DIZON, Respondent., G.R. No. 183027, 2010 July 26, 2nd Division

D E C I S I O N

 

PERALTA, J.:

 

This is a petition for review on certiorari[1] of the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 100730, dated March 27, 2008, and its Resolution[3] dated May 20, 2008, denying petitioners’, the spouses Edmundo and Lourdes Sarrosa’s,  motion  for reconsideration.  The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by petitioners for failure to state material dates and for lack of merit. 

 

The facts are as follows:

 

On March 31, 2001, petitioners spouses Edmundo and Lourdes Sarrosa  obtained  a loan from  respondent Willy Dizon in the amount of Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00). The loan was secured by a real estate mortgage[4] of petitioners’ property located in San Dionisio, Parañaque City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. S-92903 (104540).[5]

 

On June 30, 2001, the loan became due and demandable, but  petitioners failed to pay their obligation.

 

On March 23, 2002, respondent, through counsel, sent petitioners a letter[6] demanding payment of their obligation within five days from receipt thereof; otherwise, the mortgaged property would be foreclosed extrajudicially.  Petitioners, however, failed to pay their obligation.

 

Hence, on July 17, 2002, respondent filed a Petition to Sell in Extra-judicial Foreclosure of Mortgage under Act 3135, as amended, with the Office of the Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff, Regional Trial Court, Parañaque City.

 

On August 16, 2002, petitioners filed with the RTC of Parañaque City a civil case for Breach of Contract, Damages, Detailed Accounting, with Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)/Injunction,[7] praying for the issuance of a TRO/injunction  to restrain  respondent from  proceeding with the scheduled extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgaged property. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 02-0335.

 

On October 15, 2003, the public auction proceeded as scheduled.  The mortgaged property was sold to respondent as the highest bidder, and a certificate of sale[8] was issued in favor of respondent, who registered the same with the Register of Deeds of Parañaque City.

 

Petitioners failed to redeem the property within the one-year period provided under Section 28, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.  Hence, respondent consolidated ownership over the subject property. Thereafter, the  Office of the Register of Deeds of Parañaque City cancelled  TCT No. S-92903 (104540) in the name of petitioners, and a new title, TCT No. 162999,[9] covering the subject property, was issued in the name of respondent.

 

On March 14, 2005, respondent, through counsel, sent petitioners a   letter[10]  demanding that they vacate the subject property within five days from receipt thereof, since respondent was already the registered owner of the property. Petitioners did not heed the demand.

 

On April 26, 2005, respondent filed with the RTC of Parañaque City an Ex-Parte Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Possession[11] over the subject property, docketed as LRC Case No. 05-0047.

 

On June 29, 2007, the RTC of  Parañaque City, Branch 257 issued an Order[12] in LRC Case No. 05-0047, ruling that the matter of  consolidation of LRC Case No. 05-0047 (Ex-Parte Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Possession) with Civil Case No. 02-0335 (Breach of Contract, Damages, Detailed Accounting, with TRO/Injunction) was procedurally improper.  The RTC directed the parties to file their respective memoranda within 30 days, and stated that the case would be considered submitted for decision after the expiration of the period.

 

On August 22, 2007, the RTC of Parañaque City, Branch 257 rendered a Decision[13] in LRC Case No. 05-0047, granting the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of respondent.  The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:

 

WHEREFORE, let a Writ of Possession issue in favor of petitioner Willy O. Dizon, ordering the spouses Edmundo G. Sarrosa and Lourdes Z. Sarrosa and all occupants, tenants and other persons claiming rights under them to vacate the premises and place petitioner in possession of the property and all its improvements covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 162999 of the Register of Deeds of Parañaque City.

 

IT IS SO ORDERED.[14]

 

The RTC held that respondent is entitled to a writ of possession based on the rule that after the redemption period has expired, the purchaser of the foreclosed property has the right to be placed in possession thereof.[15]  Possession of the property becomes an absolute right of the purchaser as owner; and, upon proper application and proof of title, the issuance of a writ of possession in his favor becomes a ministerial duty of the court.[16]

 

Petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition,[17] alleging that the RTC Judge of Parañaque City,  Branch 257 acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the  Decision dated August 22, 2007;  and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of  law to prevent further irreparable damage and injury to petitioners.

 

The Court of Appeals found that in the arguments and prayer of the petition, petitioners also sought to annul the RTC Order dated June 29, 2007, which denied petitioner’s attempt to consolidate LRC Case No. 05-0047 with Civil Case No. 02-0335.

 

Petitioners prayed that judgment be rendered annulling the RTC Order dated June 29, 2007 and the RTC Decision dated August 22, 2007, and restraining the Clerk of Court Ex-Officio Sheriff of the RTC of Parañaque City from implementing the writ of possession issued in the Decision dated August 22, 2007 until further orders from the Court of appeals.

 

In a Decision dated March 27, 2008, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for failure of petitioners to state material dates and for lack of merit.[18]

 

The Court of Appeals stated that petitioners failed to state when they received the RTC Order dated June 29, 2007; hence, it cannot be determined whether the petition was filed on time.   Under Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules on Civil Procedure, failure to comply with such requirement is sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition.

 

The Court of Appeals also stated that even if it were to take cognizance of the petition, it found that the RTC Judge of  Parañaque City, Branch 257 did not gravely abuse his discretion in denying petitioners’ prayer that LRC Case No. 05-0047 and Civil Case No. 02-0335 be consolidated, because consolidation is a matter of discretion of the court.

 

Moreover, the Court of Appeals declared that no grave abuse of discretion may be attributed to the RTC Judge in granting the writ of possession in favor of respondent. It held, thus:

 

x x x  Verily, it is 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 sale.  As such, he is entitled to the possession of the property and can demand it any time following the consolidation of ownership in his name and the issuance of a new transfer certificate of title.  Possession of the land then becomes an absolute right of the purchaser as confirmed owner and upon proper application and proof of title, the issuance of the writ of possession becomes a ministerial duty of the court.  If the grant of a writ of possession becomes ministerial at this point, there is in fact and in law, hardly any discretion left to court but to issue the same upon the consolidation of title by the herein private respondent. x x x[19] 

 

Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution[20] dated May 20, 2008.

 

Hence, petitioners filed this petition for review on certiorari[21] raising the following issues:

 

1. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS x x x COMMITTED SERIOUS ERRORS OF LAW IN PRECIPITATELY DENYING PETITIONERS’ [PETITION FOR] CERTIORARI/PROHIBITION SANS BASIS IN LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE.  

 

2. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS x x x COMMITTED SERIOUS ERRORS OF LAW IN PRECIPITATELY IGNORING EXISTING LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE IN DENYING [THEIR] PETITION.[22]

 

Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing their petition for certiorari on the technical ground of failure to state the date when petitioners received the RTC Order dated June 29, 2007. 

 

The contention lacks merit.

 

In their petition, petitioners prayed for the annulment of the Order dated June 29, 2007 and the Decision dated August 22, 2007 of the RTC of  Parañaque City, Branch 257 in LRC Case No. 05-0047.  However, the petition failed to state when petitioners received the RTC Order dated June 29, 2007.  Hence, the Court of Appeals could not determine whether the petition for certiorari was filed on time.  Under Section 3, Rule 46 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, failure to comply with the requirements stated therein, such as the statement of  material dates, is sufficient ground to dismiss the petition.[23]          Being an extraordinary remedy, the party who seeks to avail of the special civil action of certiorari   must strictly observe the rule laid down by law.[24]

 

Moreover, the Court of Appeals stated that even if it took cognizance of the petition, it found that the RTC of  Parañaque City, Branch 257  did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the Order dated June 29, 2007 and the Decision dated August 22, 2007.

 

Petitioners’ allegation of grave abuse of discretion by the RTC of Parañaque City, Branch 257 implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction or, in other words, the exercise of power in an arbitrary manner by reason of passion, prejudice or personal hostility, and it must be so patent or gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.[25]

 

The Court agrees with the finding of the Court of Appeals that the RTC of Parañaque City, Branch 257 did not gravely abuse its discretion in issuing the Order dated June 29, 2007, denying the motion to consolidate  LRC Case No. 05-0047 (Ex-Parte Petition for Issuance of Writ of Possession) with Civil Case No. 02-0335 (Breach of Contract, Damages and Accounting).  Consolidation becomes only a matter of right when the cases sought to be consolidated involve similar questions of fact and law,  provided certain requirements are met.[26]  As stated by the Court of Appeals, no such similarities exist between the Ex-Parte Petition for Issuance of a Writ of Possession and the civil case for Breach of Contract, Damages and Accounting.  Hence, the RTC had the discretion to deny the consolidation of the two cases.

 

In addition, the Court of Appeals did not err in finding  that the  RTC of Parañaque City, Branch 257 did not  commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in  issuing a writ of possession in favor of respondent in its Decision dated August 22, 2007.

 

The right of the purchaser to the possession of the foreclosed property becomes absolute upon the expiration of the redemption period.[27] The basis of this right to possession is the purchaser's ownership of the property.[28]  After the consolidation of title in the buyer's name for failure of the mortgagor to redeem, the writ of possession becomes a matter of right and its issuance to a purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure is merely a ministerial function.[29]

 

In this case, petitioners failed to redeem the subject property within one year from the date of registration of the certificate of sale.[30] Hence, respondent consolidated ownership over the subject property and TCT No. 162999[31] was issued in the name of respondent. Thereafter, respondent filed an Ex-Parte Petition for Issuance of a Writ of Possession over the subject property, and it was ministerial upon the RTC of Parañaque City, Branch 257 to issue the writ of possession in favor of respondent.

 

Hence, it  is  clear that the RTC of  Parañaque City, Branch 257 did not gravely abuse its discretion in issuing the writ of possession, considering that it was the ministerial duty  of the RTC to issue the writ of possession in favor of respondent, who had consolidated  ownership over the  subject property after the redemption period expired.

 

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals’ Decision dated March 27, 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 100730, and its Resolution dated May 20, 2008 are hereby AFFIRMED.

 

Costs against petitioners.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

Associate Justice 

 

WE CONCUR:

 

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

Chairperson

 

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.    

Associate Justice     

 

ANTONIO EDUARDO  B. NACHURA

Associate Justice

 

ROBERTO A. ABAD

Associate Justice

 

ATTESTATION

 

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

Second Division, Chairperson

 

CERTIFICATION

 

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

RENATO C. CORONA

Chief Justice

 

* Designated as an additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza per raffle dated July 7, 2010.

 

[1] Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

 

[2] Penned by Associate Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr., with Associate Justices Jose C. Mendoza (now a member of this Court) and Arturo G. Tayag, concurring; rollo, pp. 8-19.

 

[3] Id. at 20.

 

[4] Annex “F,” CA rollo, pp. 78-80.

 

[5] Exhibit “H,” records, Vol. II, pp. 9-10.

 

[6] Exhibit “I-8,” id. at 20.

 

[7] CA rollo, pp. 119-133.

 

[8] Exhibit “M,” records, vol. II, pp. 26-27.

 

[9] Exhibit “F,” id. at 5.

 

[10] Exhibit “O,” id. at 29.

 

[11] CA rollo, pp. 216-220.

 

[12] Rollo, pp. 160-161.

 

[13] Id. at 163-166.

 

[14] Id. at 166.

 

[15] United Coconut Planters  Bank  v. Reyes, G.R. No. 95095, February 7, 1991, 193 SCRA 756, 763.

 

[16] F. David Enterprises v. Insular Bank of Asia and America, G.R. No. 78714, November 21, 1990, 191 SCRA 516, 523.

 

[17] Under Rule 46, in relation to Rule 65, of the Rules of Court.

 

[18] Rollo, p. 19.

 

[19] Id. at 17-18.

 

[20] Id. at 20.

 

[21] Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

 

[22] Rollo, p. 27.

 

[23] Tagle v. Equitable PCI Bank, G.R. No. 172299, April 22, 2008, 552 SCRA 424, 444.

 

[24] Balayan v. Acorda, G.R. No. 153537, May 5, 2006, 489 SCRA 637, 643.

 

[25] Sangcopan v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 170216, March 12, 2008, 548 SCRA 148, 158-159.

 

[26] Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, 451 Phil. 497, 505 (2003).

 

[27] Motos v. Real Bank (A Thrift Bank), Inc., G.R. No. 171386, July 17, 2009, 593 SCRA 216, 225-226. 

 

[28] Id.

 

[29] Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. Manfred Jacob De Koning, G.R. No. 157867, December 15, 2009.

 

[30] Rules of Court, Rule 39, Sec. 28.

 

[31] Supra note 10.

 

SPOUSES EDMUNDO and LOURDES SARROSA, Petitioners, versus WILLY O. DIZON, Respondent., G.R. No. 183027, 2010 Jul 26, 2nd Division


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