Samahan ng Masang Pilipino sa Makati, Inc. v. Bases Conversion Development Authority
G.R. No. 142255
Decision Date


G.R. No. 142255. January 26, 2007.

SAMAHAN NG MASANG PILIPINO SA MAKATI, INC. (SMPMI), represented by Chairman Robert L. Mora, Sr., petitioner, vs. , respondents.



Before the Court is a novel Petition for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Injunction, filed by petitioner Samahan ng Masang Pilipino sa Makati, Inc. (SMPMI), to prohibit respondent of which grants sole jurisdiction to this Court for the issuance of Injunction or Restraining Order against BCDA.

The facts are undisputed. The members of SMPMI, allegedly comprising over 20,000 families, are residents of Fort Bonifacio occupying a portion of it specifically Lot 4, Lot 3, and Lot 1 with an aggregate area of 97.58 hectares allegedly covered by SWO-00-001265 in the name of BCDA. Petitioner maintains that its members have been occupying peacefully and continuously these lots in Fort Bonifacio. It alleges that Fort Bonifacio is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 2288 in the name of the United States of America (USA) which has not been duly cancelled. It further alleges that BCDA, pursuant to

It further asserts that Section 8 of

As a background, on March 13, 1992, and "to raise funds by the sale of portions of Metro Manila military camps." Pursuant to this Act, then President Ramos issued series of 1992, specifying, among others, the portions of Metro Manila military camps to be utilized to generate capital for the BCDA. Among these Metro Manila military camps is Fort Bonifacio, located in the City of Makati and the Municipality of Taguig. Under SacDIE

In its Comment, BCDA asserts ownership of Fort Bonifacio through , where we conclusively held that the subject lot is government property, thus:

The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that the hectarage embraced by TCT No. 192 (OCT No. 291) consists of Government property. Three things persuade the Court: (1) the decrees of Proclamations Nos. 192 and 435; (2) the incontrovertible fact that OCT No. 291 has been duly cancelled; and (3) the decision of the Court of Appeals in AC-G.R. CV No. 00293, affirming the decision of Hon. Gregorio Pineda, Judge of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXI, in LRC (GLRO) Rec. No. 2484, Case No. R-1467 thereof, entitled "In Re: Issuance of Owner's Duplicate of Certificate of Title No. 291," as well as our own Resolution, in G.R. No. 69834, entitled "Domingo Palomares, et al. v. Intermediate Appellate Court".

BCDA maintains that pursuant to Sec. 7 in relation to Sec. 8 of

BCDA further counters that SMPMI has no cause of action as it is not the real party in interest; on the contrary, it should either be the USA or the individual persons affected by the eviction. Besides, it argues that SMPMI or its members have not shown ownership over the lots they are occupying that are to be accorded protection pursuant to Rule 58 of the and corresponding titles were issued to Fort Bonifacio, petitioner clearly has no cause of action against BCDA.

BCDA then traced history which revealed the conveyance of then Fort William McKinley property to the Philippine Government, specifically citing the July 4, 1946 Treaty of General Relations, the Preamble of the Military Bases Agreement, and US Diplomatic Note No. 0634 where the USA acknowledged that said Fort was owned by the Philippine Government.

Finally, BCDA raises the issue that petitioner cannot assail the title of the subject lots in Fort Bonifacio collaterally, that is, in this proceeding for prohibition, and alleges petitioner's violation of the forum-shopping rule. It contends that there was a pending case filed earlier by SMPMI involving the same parties when on September 20, 1999, SMPMI filed a case against BCDA with the Commission on Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP), docketed as COSLAP Case No. 99-453, praying for the issuance of an order against BCDA to cease the demolition operation. In said case, SMPMI similarly alleged that the owner of the lands in question was the USA; thus, BCDA or the Philippine Government had no authority to evict or harass complainants. More so, when COSLAP required the parties to file their position papers, which BCDA complied with, SMPMI instead filed the instant petition. DcAaSI

The Issues

In its September 24, 2000 Memorandum, respondent BCDA raises the following issues for our consideration:









On the other hand, petitioner raises in its November 27, 2000 Memorandum the following issues for our consideration:









The Court's Ruling

Relative to the issuance of a TRO or injunction, the core issue to be resolved is who between petitioner SMPMI and BCDA has the right of possession over the particular parcels of land which are subject of this petition. In this regard, SMPMI insists that if the ruling is in favor of respondent BCDA, then BCDA and respondent Municipality of Taguig cannot extrajudicially eject its members; at the very least, respondents must comply with SEcTHA

We rule in favor of BCDA.

The instant action is essentially for prohibition, which is the issuance of a restraining order or writ of injunction against BCDA and the Municipality of Taguig. It is basic that in order for a restraining order or the writ of injunction to issue, the petitioner is tasked to establish and convincingly show the following: "(1) a right in esse or a clear and unmistakable right to be protected; (2) a violation of that right; (3) that there is an urgent and permanent act and urgent necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage."

In the absence of a clear legal right, the writ must not issue. Indeed, a restraining order or an injunction is a preservative remedy aimed at protecting substantial rights and interests, and it is not designed to protect contingent or future rights. The possibility of irreparable damage without proof of adequate existing rights is not a ground for injunction.

A close scrutiny of the records at hand shows that petitioner's members have not shown a clear right or a right in esse to retain possession of the parcels of land they are occupying inside Fort Bonifacio, thus:

First, it is unequivocal that the Philippine Government, and now the BCDA, has title and ownership over Fort Bonifacio. The case of is final and conclusive on the ownership of the then Hacienda de Maricaban estate by the Republic of the Philippines. Clearly, the issue on the ownership of the subject lands in Fort Bonifacio is laid to rest. Other than their view that the USA is still the owner of the subject lots, petitioner has not put forward any claim of ownership or interest in them.

Second, respondent BCDA has convincingly shown that TCT No. 2288 in the name of the USA covering Fort Bonifacio was cancelled by TCT No. 61524 issued on September 11, 1958 in the name of the Republic of the Philippines. Thereafter, on January 3, 1995, TCT No. 61524 was cancelled by TCT Nos. 23888, 23887, 23886, 22460, 23889, 23890, and 23891, all in the name of BCDA. Thus, BCDA has valid titles over Fort Bonifacio which have become indefeasible and beyond question. On the other hand, SMPMI has not presented any title or deed to demonstrate ownership or any interest in the subject lots.

Third, it is clear from the records that BCDA has been granted a clear mandate by

Fourth, it is basic that ownership or dominion includes the right of possession. In traditional Roman law, jus possidendi or the right to possess is fundamentally not only an attribute of ownership but also a direct consequence of ownership. Thus, from BCDA's ownership of the subject lots originates the rights of possession, use, and disposition.

Fifth, prescription does not apply if the subject land is covered by a Torrens Title, as in the case at bar. Moreover, the equitable remedy of laches has not been proven to have accrued in favor of the members of petitioner for them to be accorded better right of possession of the subject lots. Laches is evidentiary in nature and cannot be established by mere allegations in the pleadings. As it is, in the instant case, laches has not even been alleged, much less proved.

Sixth, of greater import is the basic tenet that neither prescription nor laches runs against the State. Thus, even granting arguendo that the subject lands had been erroneously issued titles in favor of third parties, which is definitely not the case; neither prescription nor estoppel by laches applies against the State. In a catena of cases, we have consistently reiterated this hornbook doctrine. Thus, in , we reiterated the doctrine citing :

In so far as the timeliness of the action of the Government is concerned, it is basic that prescription does not run against the State. . . . The case law has also been:

'When the government is the real party in interest, and is proceeding mainly to assert its own rights and recover its own property, there can be no defense on the ground of laches or limitation.' . . .

'Public land fraudulently included in patents or certificates of title may be recovered or reverted to the State in accordance with Section 101 of the Public Land Act. Prescription does not lie against the State in such cases for the Statute of Limitations does not run against the State. The right of reversion or reconveyance to the State is not barred by prescription.' (Emphasis supplied.) TIaDHE

This doctrine applies even more in the instant case where the members of petitioners were not even erroneously granted titles to the subject lots. As it is, petitioner can neither invoke prescription nor estoppel by laches.

Seventh, the issue of lack of technical description and tie-lines is manifestly a dilatory excuse to muddle the issue of possession of the subject lots occupied by petitioner's members. Verily, petitioner admits that its members do not own the lot where they have erected their houses they posit the USA as its owner. But as aptly shown and proven by respondent BCDA, Fort Bonifacio is no longer owned by the USA but by the Republic of the Philippines, which has conveyed, ceded, and passed on its ownership, use, and administration to BCDA pursuant to , we reiterated that a registered property from the time its registration has become final could not be acquired by adverse possession.

Eighth, otherwise known as the

the beneficiaries of this Act and to individuals or families residing in urban and urbanizable areas whose income or combined household income falls within the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority and who do not own housing facilities. This shall include those who live in makeshift dwelling units and do not enjoy security of tenure.

Interestingly, members of petitioner have not been shown to be "underprivileged and homeless citizens" to be accorded the benefits of

'Professional squatters' refers to individuals or groups who occupy lands without the express consent of the landowner and who have sufficient income for legitimate housing. The term shall also apply to persons who have previously been awarded homelots or housing units by the Government but who sold, leased or transferred the same to settle illegally in the same place or in another urban area, and non-bona fide occupants and intruders of lands reserved for socialized housing. The term shall not apply to individuals or groups who simply rent land and housing from professional squatters or squatting syndicates.

Verily, the pieces of evidence before us would show that the affected members of petitioner SMPMI are professional squatters who have sufficient income for legitimate housing but have illegally occupied the subject lots without the consent of the government or the eventual owner, the BCDA.

Yet, despite the non-application of AEcTCD

Moreover, it is also undisputed by petitioner that the structures demolished on April 27, 2000 at the Research and Development Center (RDC) Compound were also undergoing illegal construction, which pursuant to Section 2 (a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the and 30 of


Section 28. Eviction and Demolition. Eviction or demolition as a practice shall be discouraged. Eviction or demolition, however, may be allowed under the following situations:

(a) When persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks, and playgrounds;

(b) When government infrastructure projects with available funding are about to be implemented; or

(c) When there is a court order for eviction and demolition.

A perusal of the above proviso clearly shows that the aforementioned law allows not only judicial eviction and demolition through court action (e.g., court order), but also summary or extrajudicial eviction and demolition where structures are built on public places, among others, esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, sidewalks, roads, parks and playground; and when government infrastructure projects with available funding are about to be implemented. Of the two instances of extrajudicial summary eviction and demolition, the first partake of an abatement of public nuisance of illegal structures built on public places, and the second particularly partakes of a government infrastructure project with available funding that is about to be implemented. In the instant case, what is applicable is the second case of an extrajudicial summary eviction and demolition.

Indeed, respondent BCDA has amply shown that the disposition and use of subject lots are required to raise funds needed for the conversion of the Clark and Subic military reservations and their extensions. Section 2 of aEDCAH

Thus, the development and disposition of portions of Fort Bonifacio, which include the subject lots, partake of a government infrastructure project geared towards the raising of funds needed to implement the conversion of military reservations. pertinently provide what government infrastructure projects are. Section 2 of

"National government projects" shall refer to all current and future national government infrastructure, engineering works and service contracts, including projects undertaken by government-owned and controlled corporations, all projects covered by and other related and necessary activities such as site acquisition, supply and/or installation of equipment and materials, implementation, construction, completion, operation, maintenance, improvement, repair and rehabilitation, regardless of the source of funding. (Emphasis supplied.)

Based on the aforequoted provision, it is clear that the project for the conversion, development, and disposition of Metro Manila military camps by the BCDA, a wholly government-owned corporation, partakes of a national government infrastructure project. As such, the present controversy has not only delayed and hampered such development and disposition of subject lots, but also directly affected the more primordial purpose of the project which is to raise funds for the conversion of military reservation that has been pushed by the government for over a decade. Therefore, the BCDA and the Municipality of Taguig had ample authority to extrajudicially and summarily evict and demolish the illegally constructed structures over the disputed lots.

Eviction and Demolition was done properly

Moreover, Section 27 of

Section 27. Action Against Professional Squatters and Squatting Syndicates. The local government units, in cooperation with the Philippine National Police, the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), and the PCUP-accredited urban poor organization in the area, shall adopt measures to identify and effectively curtail the nefarious and illegal activities of professional squatters and squatting syndicates, as herein defined.

Any person or group identified as such shall be summarily evicted and their dwellings or structures demolished, and shall be disqualified to avail of the benefits of the Program. A public official who tolerates or abets the commission of the abovementioned acts shall be dealt with in accordance with existing laws. (Emphasis supplied.)

While concededly there is no finding that petitioner's members are professional squatters, yet, as we mentioned above, the evidence presented before us tend to show that the affected members of petitioner SMPMI are professional squatters who have sufficient income for legitimate housing but have illegally occupied the subject lots without the consent of the government or the eventual owner, the BCDA. Be that as it may, respondent BCDA convincingly showed that the structures demolished were new ones, and that Section 44 of

Tenth, belying petitioner's allegation of harassment, particularly in the alleged shooting incident of five (5) of its members, is the March 25, 2002 Joint Resolution of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, which dismissed two (2) criminal complaints docketed as OMB-MIL-CRIM-01-0028 and OMB-MIL-CRIM-00-0870 filed by two members of petitioner, Pacita L. Pecson and Robert L. Mora, Sr., petitioner's representative in this petition. The Ombudsman, citing separate investigations conducted by the PNP Southern Police District and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), categorically found that during the April 27, 2000 demolition of 27 ongoing and new structures inside the RDC Compound, six (6) individuals were arrested and charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms. aSIHcT

The Ombudsman found evidence on record that the demolition was met with violent resistance by affected squatters, some of whom were armed with unlicensed firearms. Thus, petitioner's assertion that its members were harassed and no actual gun-battle happened is without factual support as the records show that its members resisted and resorted to violence during the demolition. The Ombudsman concluded that there was no showing that the demolition was conducted in an inhumane manner considering that the measures taken by the respondents were commensurate reaction to the actual resistance posed and violence used by the affected occupants.

Prescinding from this investigation, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military found that the eviction and demolition were done in accordance with the rules and were valid exercises of police power by respondent Municipality of Taguig.

In the light of the foregoing considerations, we find that petitioner has not shown its right in esse to be protected by a restraining order or an injunctive writ. Without doubt, the instant petition must fail.

One last word. Through a Very Urgent Manifestation and Motion, petitioner manifested that the Office of the President issued

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. No costs.


Quisumbing, Carpio and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.

Tinga, J., took no part, close association with a party.


1. Rollo, pp. 4-8.

2. SECTION 21. Injunction and Restraining Order. The implementation of the projects for the conversion into alternative productive uses of the military reservations are urgent and necessary and shall not be restrained or enjoined except by an order issued by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

3. "

4. SECTION 8. Funding Scheme. The capital of the Conversion Authority shall come from the sales proceeds and/or transfers of certain Metro Manila military camps, including all lands covered by Proclamation No. 423, series of 1957, commonly known as Fort Bonifacio and Villamor (Nichols) Air Base . . .

5. Sec. 2.

6. Id.

7. Issued on December 8, 1992.

8. Dated May 3, 2000, rollo, pp. 45-57.

9. G.R. No. 81664, April 24, 1990, 184 SCRA 622, 629.

10. SECTION 7. Transfer of Properties. Pursuant to paragraph (a), Section 4 hereof, the President shall transfer forthwith to the Conversion Authority:

(a) Station . . .

(b) Such other properties including, but not limited to, portions of Metro Manila military camps, pursuant to Section 8 of this Act: Provided, however, That the areas which shall remain as military reservations shall be delineated and proclaimed as such by the President.

11. Supra note 4.

12. Supra note 9.

13. Rollo, pp. 92-107, at 99.

14. Id. at 213-240, at 228-229.

15. ., G.R. No. 134971, March 25, 2004, 426 SCRA 282, 299, citing , G.R. No. 135433, April 4, 2001, 356 SCRA 296, 305 and , G.R. Nos. 119511-13, November 24, 1998, 299 SCRA 100, 108.

16. Id., citing , G.R. No. 122206, July 7, 1997, 275 SCRA 176, 180; see also , G.R. No. 141853, February 7, 2001, 351 SCRA 399, 405.

17. Supra note 9.

18. Rollo, pp. 108-111.

19. Id. at 129-130.

20. Id. at 131-132.

21. Id. at 133-134.

22. Id. at 135-136.

23. Id. at 138-139.

24. Id. at 140-141.

25. Id. at 142-143.

26. , G.R. No. 138945, August 19, 2003, 409 SCRA 306, 315, citing , G.R. No. 133895, October 2, 2001, 366 SCRA 395, 405-406.

27. G.R. No. 152947, July 7, 2004, 433 SCRA 716.

28. G.R. No. 94524, September 10, 1998, 295 SCRA 296, 313.

29. Supra note 27, at 726.

30. G.R. No. 163751, March 31, 2006, 486 SCRA 441, citing , G.R. No. L-17757, May 30, 1962, 5 SCRA 240, 247-248.

31. "

32. Section 2. SCOPE OF APPLICATION. These Rules and Regulations shall apply to demolitions allowed under Sec. 28 of the Act, to wit:

(a) When persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks, and playgrounds.

33. Section 28. Eviction and Demolition. Eviction or demolition as a practice shall be discouraged. Eviction or demolition, however, may be allowed under the following situations:

(a) When persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps, riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks, and playgrounds;

(b) When government infrastructure projects with available funding are about to be implemented (emphasis supplied); or

(c) When there is a court order for eviction and demolition.

In the execution of eviction or demolition orders involving underprivileged and homeless citizens, the following shall be mandatory:

(1) Notice upon the effected persons or entities at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of eviction or demolition;

(2) Adequate consultations on the matter of resettlement with the duly designated representatives of the families to be resettled and the affected communities in the areas where they are to be relocated;

(3) Presence of Local government officials or their representatives during eviction or demolition;

(4) Proper identification of all persons taking part in the demolition;

(5) Execution of eviction or demolition only during regular office hours from Mondays to Fridays and during good weather, unless the affected families consent otherwise;

(6) No use of heavy equipment for demolition except for structures that are permanent and other of concrete materials;

(7) Proper uniforms for members of the Philippine National Police who shall occupy the first line of law enforcement and observe proper disturbance control procedures; and

(8) Adequate relocation, whether temporary or permanent: provided, however, That in cases of eviction and demolition pursuant to a court order involving underprivileged and homeless citizens, relocation shall be undertaken by the local government unit concerned and the National Housing Authority with the assistance of other government agencies within forty-five (45) days from service of notice of final judgment by the court, after which period the said order shall be executed: provided, further, That should relocation not be possible within the said period, financial assistance in the amount equivalent to the prevailing minimum daily wage multiplied by sixty (60) days shall be extended to the affected families by the local government unit concerned.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Housing an Urban Development Coordinating Council shall jointly promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to carry out the above provision.

34. Section 30. Prohibition Against New Illegal Structures. It shall be unlawful for any person to construct any structure in areas mentioned in the preceding section.

After the effectivity of this Act, the barangay, municipal or city government units shall prevent the construction of any kind or illegal dwelling units or structures within their respective localities.

35. See Data Validation List of FOMCRES members at Fort Bonifacio, rollo, pp. 169-203.


37. Section 44. Moratorium on Eviction and Demolition. There shall be a moratorium on the eviction of all program beneficiaries and on the demolition of their houses or dwelling units for a period of three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, That the moratorium shall not apply to those persons who have constructed their structures after the effectivity of this Act and for cases enumerated in Section 28 hereof (emphasis supplied).

38. See separate folder, last four (4) pages.

39. Rollo, pp. 270-305.