FACTS: This case stemmed from an ejectment case filed by Pablo Marcelo (Pablo) and Pablina Marcelo-Mendoza (collectively, the petitioners) against respondent Peroxide Phils., Inc. (PPI), docketed as Civil Case No. 3916 and was raffled to Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Valenzuela City, Branch 82. As records show, on June 25, 1971, Gregorio Marcelo, the father and predecessor-in-interest of the petitioners, executed a Contract of Lease with PPI over a parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-71843 (subject property) located in the barrio of Paso de Blas, Municipality of Valenzuela, Province of Bulacan.
On July 18, 1988, the MeTC issued its Decision ordering PPI to vacate the subject property and pay the amount of P1,864,685.38. Accordingly, upon motion, the MeTC issued an Order dated June 2, 1995 granting the issuance of a writ of execution. On June 16, 1995, Affidavits of Third-Party Claims of United Energy Corporation and Springfield International, Inc. (third-party claimants) were filed with the sheriff.
Ultimately, on August 3, 1995, the sheriff conducted a public auction and sold for P2 Million to Pablo, as the highest bidder, the levied properties of PPI that were found inside the subject property. Aggrieved, the third-party claimants filed a complaint with the RTC of Quezon City, docketed as Civil Case No. Q-93-24760, to declare void the sheriff’s sale and Certificate of Sale with prayer for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a writ of preliminary injunction (WPI).
In an Amended Complaint dated October 15, 2001, the third-party claimants added PPI as a party-plaintiff and prayed further for the declaration of PPI’s ownership over the improvements erected and/or introduced on the subject property. On September 8, 1995, a WPI was issued by then Presiding Judge Pedro T. Santiago (Presiding Judge Santiago).
Pablo then challenged the issuance of the WPI by petition for certiorari before the CA and later before this Court in G.R. No. 127271, where the Court upheld the validity of the WPI. Meanwhile, the deputy sheriff of the RTC of Quezon City padlocked the gate of the subject property. Pablo, however, forcibly opened the gate and brought out dismantled machineries of PPI.
On October 4, 2000, the court a quo, now thru Judge Teodoro A. Bay, issued an Order to re-padlock the subject property. A motion for reconsideration was filed by Pablo but the same was denied. Again, upon seeing the gate re-padlocked, Pablo ordered his men to tear down the gate. Thereafter, Pablo occupied and took possession of the entire subject property and opened the same as a resort with swimming pools to the public for a fee with portions of the building rented to several businesses.
On May 31, 2005, PPI filed an Omnibus Motion alleging specific acts that were characterized as violative of the court’s injunction.
ISSUE: WON THE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION WAS PROPERLY ISSUED.
HELD: YES. A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order, requiring a party or a court, agency or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts.” “It is the ‘strong arm of equity,’ an extraordinary peremptory remedy that must be used with extreme caution, affecting as it does the respective rights of the parties.” The sole purpose of which is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the main case can be heard. It is usually granted to prevent a party from committing an act, or threatening the immediate commission of an act that will cause irreparable injury or destroy the status quo.
Before a WPI may be issued, the concurrence of the following essential requisites must be present, namely: (a) the invasion of right sought to be protected is material and substantial; (b) the right of the complainant is clear and unmistakable; and (c) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. While a clear showing of the right is necessary, its existence need not be conclusively established. Hence, to be entitled to the writ, it is sufficient that the complainant shows that he has an ostensible right to the final relief prayed for in his complaint.
From the foregoing, it appears clearly that a WPI may be issued only after a clear showing that there exists a right to be protected and that the act against which the writ is to be directed are violative of an established right. The holding of a hearing, where both parties can introduce evidence and present their side, is also required before the courts may issue a TRO or an injunctive writ.
Under the factual setting of this case, PPI was able to sufficiently establish that it had a right over the properties which should be protected while being litigated. PPI’s claimed ownership over the improvements erected and/or introduced in the subject property was then being violated by the petitioners who had started entering the premises and started dismantling the improvements and machineries thereon. Worse, the petitioners even opened the subject property as a resort with swimming pools to the public for a fee and had portions of the buildings inside the premises rented to several businesses. If not lawfully stopped, such acts of the petitioners would certainly cause irreparable damage to PPI and other claimants. As owner of the improvements and machineries inside the subject property, PPI has the right to be protected. Hence, the issuance by the lower courts of the WPI and the order to padlock and re-padlock the subject property to enjoin the petitioners from disposing the properties of PPI was warranted.