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Court ordered to proceed with gov't case vs Sunvar

By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) Updated July 09, 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has given a Makati City court the go-signal to hear and resolve the case filed by government against the supposed illegal occupation of a 2.9-hectare property in Makati City by the Sunvar Realty Development Corp.

In a 21-page ruling released last Friday, the second division of the high court granted the petition filed by the National Power Corp. through the Privatization Management Office (PMO) and reversed the Dec. 1, 2010 order of the Makati City regional trial court Branch 134 which dismissed government’s claims against Sunvar over the property in Pasong Tamo St.

The real estate firm has not been paying any rentals to the state, but continues to lease the property to other businesses at commercial rates. This has been going on for almost 10 years now. In the assailed order, the RTC directed Makati Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) to dismiss PMO’s petition because the one-year period for filing of the unlawful detainer case had already lapsed and should be reckoned from the expiration of the main lease contract and sublease agreements on Dec. 31, 2002.

It held that PMO should have instead filed a civil suit to recover the right of possession, which should be brought in the proper RTC when dispossession has lasted for more than one year.

But the high court ruled that the RTC erred, explaining that the petition was filed well within the one-year period.

“The Court finds that petitioners correctly availed themselves of an action for unlawful detainer, hence, reverses the ruling of the RTC,” stated the ruling penned by Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

The SC also pointed out that the RTC should have dismissed the petition filed by Sunvar on the ground of being a prohibited pleading.

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