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Ejectment Case: Forcible Entry or Unlawful Detainer

An ejectment case is a summary proceeding designed to provide expeditious means to


protect actual possession or the right to possession of the property involved (Barrientos
v. Rapal, G.R. No. 169594, July 20, 2011). It is expeditious as it is governed by the Rule
on Summary Procedure, a special rule where extra pleadings and motions (other than
the Complaint and Answer), otherwise available in an ordinary civil action, are
prohibited precisely to insulate it from unnecessary delays. The main issue to be
resolved here is the issue of possession or the right to hold possession.
If youre a lessor of real property, you may, if you havent already, have to resort to the
remedy of ejectment in cases where a lessee withholds possession of leased property
after the latters right to hold the same has already terminated, as where lessee has
failed to pay rental, or has failed to comply with the conditions of the lease contract, in
which case it is called Unlawful Detainer.
It is also available where a present possessor has held possession of a subject property at
the tolerance of the owner or the one entitled to its possession, and thereafter refused,
after demand to vacate has been made upon him, or continues his possession thereof. In
this case, an inceptively lawful possession has become unlawful, when the tolerated
possessor refused to return the property upon demand by the rightful possessor or
owner. Anyone, whose stay in the property is merely tolerated, is bound by an implied
obligation to vacate and return the same to, upon demand of, the rightful possessor or
owner.
Note that even the owner of the property may be sued for ejectment when he deprives
another of lawful possession, as in a case of a lessor depriving or ousting a lessee, who
has been compliant with his obligations under a lease contract, of possession thereof.
Another species of ejectment is Forcible Entry. It is the same special proceeding as
Unlawful Detainer, but the means whereby the lawful possessor or owner of the subject
property has been deprived thereof are: Force, Intimidation, Strategy, Threat, and/or
Stealth (FISTS). Anyone who has been ousted of possession to a real property by a
"strong hand" using any of the means mentioned, may resort to this summary remedy to
restore him immediately to possession.
In both cases, ownership is not imperative in order for a plaintiff to acquire legal
personality to sue, as again, the issue is mere right to possession. In unlawful detainer it
is indispensable or jurisdictional that a demand to pay rental or comply with the
conditions of the lease and vacate is made before an action may properly be filed.
Accordingly, absence of such prior demand could lead to the dismissal of the case.
However, the same is not true in forcible entry.
In both cases, resort to barangay conciliation is condition precedent, meaning that the
opposing party may raise as objection the fact that the dispute has not been referred to
the barangay authorities for conciliation, and the same may be ground for the dismissal
of the action. However, it is not jurisdictional, meaning that it may be waived by such
opposing party. It is deemed waived when the opposing party failed to timely object to
the fact of its (barangay conciliation) absence.

Both actions must be brought (filed in court) within one year. The period of one year is
reckoned from, in the case of forcible entry, the date of actual possession if the
deprivation or the ground for the action is force, intimidation, or threat; and the date of
discovery and prohibition if the deprivation or ground for the action is strategy or
stealth. In unlawful detainer, the period of one year is counted from the date of last
demand.
In the case of forcible entry, the possession is unlawful/illegal from the very beginning,
while in unlawful detainer, it is inceptively lawful until the defendant refused and failed
to vacate, after demand is made upon him by the plaintiff. Demand is made upon the
termination of the defendant's right to hold possession of the subject property, either by
expiration of contract, breach of terms of the contract, or when an owner who tolerated
the defendant's stay has manifested its intention to use the property effectively ending
the tolerance.
In both cases, the provisional remedy of preliminary injunction and/or temporary
restraining order (TRO) is available under the provision of Rule 70, on forcible entry
and unlawful detainer, and in relation to Rule 58, on preliminary injunction and/or
temporary restraining order.