Friday, December 16, 2011

JUANITO GERONIMO, ANTONIA LIMSON & LINDA GERONIMO v. THE HEIRS OF CARLITO GERONIMO represented by ANGELITO GERONIMO G.R. No. 169858, January 26, 2010

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CORONA, J.: 

Facts: Petitioners were the registered owners of a parcel of land in Balagtas, Bulacan. Their brother, Carlito, proposed to develop the property into a resort. Because their brother had no source of income and they were residing elsewhere, petitioners “sold” the land to him and registered it in his name. Carlito did not pay petitioners a single centavo but was designated as project manager. Subsequently, Carlito obtained a loan from the Bank of Floridablanca secured by a real estate mortgage over the same property. With the proceeds of the loan and the capital infused by petitioners, Carlito developed the property into the Villa Cristina Resort. He and one Dionisia Santos jointly managed it until he died on June 13, 2002. On February 7, 2003, petitioners filed a petition for the cancellation of title against respondents in the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 17, asserting that the implied trust created between them and Carlito was extinguished upon the latter's death.

Issue: Whether there was an implied trust existing between the petitioners and Carlito Geronimo.

Held: YES. Petitioners presented Dionisia Santos as their principal witness. She testified that she and Carlito jointly managed the operations of the Villa Cristina resort and that they acted in accordance with the instructions of petitioners. Petitioners likewise presented a demand letter from respondents asking them to cease operating the resort on the ground that the property belonged to their deceased father, Carlito. In view of these pieces of evidence, the RTC concluded that petitioners were able to prove that an implied trust had indeed been created between petitioners and Carlito.

Petitioners assert that the CA erred in granting the petition for certiorari considering that respondents did not move for the reconsideration of the May 25, 2004 RTC decision before filing the said petition. Settled is the rule that a special civil action for certiorari can prosper only if the aggrieved party has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, such as a motion for reconsideration, so as to allow the lower court to correct its alleged error. Respondents did not move for the reconsideration of the May 25, 2004 decision of the RTC. Considering that the RTC leniently granted respondents’ motions for extension to file an answer, it did not render the assailed order and decision arbitrarily by reason of personal hostility. Thus, a motion for reconsideration, if meritorious, was not useless. Consequently, the petition for certiorari should have been dismissed outright for respondent’s failure to file a motion for reconsideration.


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