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Title1. Villasi vs. Garcia
TagsCommon Law Property Justice Taxes Judgment (Law)
File Size43.0 KB
Total Pages3
Document Text Contents
Page 1

1. Magdalena Villasi vs. Filomeno Garcia, substituted by heirs..., GR No. 190106

Facts:

Petitioner Magdalena T Villasi (Villasi) engaged the services of respondent Fil-Garcia

Construction, Inc. (FGCI) to construct a seven-storey condominium building in Quezon City. For

failure of Villasi to fully pay the contract price despite several demands, FGCI initiated a suit for

collection of sum of money before the RTC. Villasi filed an answer specifically denying the

material allegations of the complaint, contending that FGCI has no cause of action against her.

Villasi averred that she delivered the total amount of P7,490,325.10 to FGCI but the latter

accomplished only 28% of the project. The RTC rendered judgment in favor of FGCI. Elevated on

appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the RTC in its Decision. The appellate court

ruled that an overpayment was made by Villasi and thereby directed FGCI to return the amount

that was paid in excess. FGCI filed a petition for Certiorari before the Supreme Court however the

Sc denied the appeal for being filed out of time.

To enforce her right, Villasi filed a Motion for Execution of the CA decision which was acted

upon by RTC by issung a writ of execution commanding the sherrif to execute the judgment. To

satisfy the judgment the sherrif levied at No. 140 Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City, covered by Tax

Declaration No. D-021-01458, and built in the lots registered under Transfer Certificates of Title

(TCT) Nos. 379193 and 379194. While the building was declared for taxation purposes in the

name of FGCI, the lots in which it was erected were registered in the names of the Spouses

Filomeno Garcia and Ermelinda Halili-Garcia (Spouses Garcia).

To forestall the sale on execution, the Spouses Garcia filed an Affidavit of Third Party Claim and a

Motion to Set Aside Notice of Sale on Execution, claiming that they are the lawful owners of the

property which was erroneously levied upon by the sheriff.

After weighing the arguments of the opposing parties, the RTC issued an order directing the

Sheriff to hold in abeyance the conduct of the sale on execution. Villasi then elevate it to the CA

which denied the petition.

Issue:

WON the CA erred in upholding the decision of the trial court to suspend and hold in abeyance the

Sale on Execution of the building levied upon the basis of respondents' Affidavit of Third Party

Claim.

Ruling:

Yes.

Page 2

It is a basic principle of law that money judgments are enforceable only against the property

incontrovertibly belonging to the judgment debtor, and if the property belonging to any third

person is mistakenly levied upon to answer for another man’s indebtedness, such person has all the

right to challenge the levy through any of the remedies provided for under the Rules of Court.

Section 16, Rule 39 specifically provides that a third person may avail himself of the remedies of

either terceria, to determine whether the sheriff has rightly or wrongly taken hold of the property

not belonging to the judgment debtor or obligor, or an independent "separate action" to vindicate

his claim of ownership and/or possession over the foreclosed property. However, the person other

than the judgment debtor who claims ownership or right over levied properties is not precluded

from taking other legal remedies to prosecute his claim.

An execution can be issued only against a party and not against one who did not have his day in

court. The duty of the sheriff is to levy the property of the judgment debtor not that of a third

person.

The right of a third-party claimant to file a terceria is founded on his title or right of possession.

Corollary thereto, before the court can exercise its supervisory power to direct the release of the

property mistakenly levied and the restoration thereof to its rightful owner, the claimant must first

unmistakably establish his ownership or right of possession thereon.

In Spouses Sy v. Hon. Discaya, the SC declared that for a third-party claim or a terceria to prosper,

the claimant must first sufficiently establish his right on the property:

[A] third person whose property was seized by a sheriff to answer for the obligation of the

judgment debtor may invoke the supervisory power of the court which authorized such execution.

Upon due application by the third person and after summary hearing, the court may command that

the property be released from the mistaken levy and restored to the rightful owner or possessor.

What said court can do in these instances, however, is limited to a determination of whether the

sheriff has acted rightly or wrongly in the performance of his duties in the execution of judgment,

more specifically, if he has indeed taken hold of property not belonging to the judgment debtor.

The court does not and cannot pass upon the question of title to the property, with any character of

finality. It can treat of the matter only insofar as may be necessary to decide if the sheriff has acted

correctly or not. It can require the sheriff to restore the property to the claimant's possession if

warranted by the evidence. However, if the claimant's proofs do not persuade the court of the

validity of his title or right of possession thereto, the claim will be denied.

In this case, Spouses Garcia were unable to adduce credible evidence to prove their ownership of

the property. In contrast, Villasi was able to satisfactorily establish the ownership of FGCI thru the

pieces of evidence she appended to her opposition. Worthy to note is the fact that the building in

litigation was declared for taxation purposes in the name of FGCI and not in the Spouses Garcias’.

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