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Notes on Prescription Obligations and Contracts Original

Notes on Prescription Obligations and Contracts Original

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Published by Elisea Tagarda

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Published by: Elisea Tagarda on Sep 16, 2012
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09/16/2012

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BOOK IIITITLE V. – PRESCRIPTIONCHAPTER 1G
ENERAL
P
ROVISIONS
 W
HAT
 
IS
 
PRESCRIPTION
?
Prescription is a mode of acquiring (or losing) ownership and other real rights thru the lapse of time inthe manner and under the conditions laid down by law (
 Article 1106 
).
W
HAT
 
ARE
 
THE
 
DIFFERENT
 
CONCEPTS
 
OF
 
PRESCRIPTION
?
Prescription is a legal term used to refer to
a.
 Acquisitive prescription -- the acquisition of right by the lapse of time under the conditions laid downby law (
 Article 1106, par. 1
), which may be ordinary or extra-ordinary.
 b.
Extinctive prescription (or statute of limitation or limitation of actions)—whereby rights and actionsare lost by the lapse of time (
 Articles 1106, par. 2 and 1139
). This refers to the time frame withinwhich an action should be filed in court from the time the cause of action has accrued, failing inwhich, the action is deemed barred by the lapse of the prescribed time.
W
HAT
 
IS
 
THE
 
DIFFERENCE
 
BETWEEN
 
THE
 
TWO
 
CONCEPTS
?
a.Acquisitive prescription is a mode of acquiring ownership while extinctive prescription is a way of extinguishing a cause of action for failure to file it within the required period.b.In acquisitive prescription, a party becomes the owner of a property by prescription while the previousowner loses the property. In extinctive prescription, if a party is barred to file an action because of prescription, the opposite party, on the other hand, is liberated from the obligation or liability.
c.
 Acquisitive prescription applies to civil cases while extinctive prescription is applicable to all kinds of action whether civil or criminal. There are, however, exceptions wherein the action, by mandate of thelaw, does not prescribe like an action to demand a right of way (
 Article 1143
); action to abate nuisance(
 Article 1143
); action to declare the invalidity of a void contract (
 Article 1410 
). [
Vide Morales vs. Court of First Instance of Misamis Occidental, G.R. No. L-52278, May 29, 1980, 97 SCRA 872.
]
W
HAT
 
IS
 
LACHES
?
Laches is unreasonable delay in the bringing of a cause of action before the courts of justice.It is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, byexercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a rightwithin a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled thereto either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.The principle of laches is a creation of equity. It is applied, not really to penalize neglect or sleepingupon one’s right, but rather to avoid recognizing a right when to do so would result in a clearly inequitablesituation.
W
HAT
 
ARE
 
THE
 
REQUISITES
 
OF
 
LACHES
?
The following are the requisites of laches:a.Conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under whom he claims, giving rise to the situation of which complaint is made and for which the complaint seeks a remedy;b.Delay in asserting the complainant’s rights, the complainant having had knowledge or notice of thedefendant’s conduct and having been afforded an opportunity to institute a suit;
 
Page 2 of 98Notes on Prescription, Obligations and ContractsK.P. Dela Serna
c.Lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainant would assert the rightwhich he bases his suit; and
d.
Injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complainant, or the suit is notheld barred (
 Abraham vs. Recto-Kasten, G.R. No. L-16741, January 1962 
).
H
OW
 
IS
 
PRESCRIPTION
 
DISTINGUISHED
 
FROM
 
LACHES
?
a.Prescription is concerned with the fact of delay while laches is concerned with the effect of delay;b.Prescription is a matter of time while laches is principally a question of the inequity of permitting aclaim to be enforced, this inequity being founded on some change in the condition of the property or the relations of the parties.c.Prescription is statutory; laches is not.
d.
Laches applies in equity, whereas prescription applies at law.
e.
Prescription is based on a fixed time; laches is not (
Nielson & Co., Inc. vs. Lepanto Mining Co., G.R.No. L-21601, December 17, 1966, 18 SCRA 1040 
).
W
HAT
 
ARE
 
THE
 
BASIC
 
REQUIREMENTS
 
OF
 
PRESCRIPTION
 
AS
 
A
 
MODE
 
OF
 
ACQUISITION
?
  As a mode of acquisition, prescription requires the following essential elements:a.There must be actual possession of a property, which is susceptible of prescription;
 b.
Possession must be in the concept of an owner and not that of a mere holder (
 Article 1118 
);
c.
Possession must be public or open (
 Article 1118 
);
d.
Possession must be peaceful (
 Article 1118 
);
e.
Possession must be continuous and not interrupted (
 Article 1118 
);f.Possession must be averse, that is, exclusive and not merely tolerated; and
g.
Possession must satisfy the full period required by law (
 Articles 1132; 1134; 1137 
).
W
HO
 
ARE
 
THE
 
PERSONS
 
CAPACITATED
 
TO
 
ACQUIRE
 
PROPERTY
 
BY
 
PRESCRIPTION
?
Under Article 1107, the following may acquire property by prescription:a.Persons who can acquire property rights through the other modes of acquiring ownership.When a person is capable of becoming an owner under Article 712, generally such a personhas full civil capacity and does not suffer from disqualification.b.Minors or other incapacitated persons, either personally or through their parents, guardians or legalrepresentatives.Minors and incapacitated persons may acquire property by prescription personally if they havediscernment. This means the presence of an intention to appropriate the property to become their own. This intention is an essential ingredient of possession – the principal element of prescription.However, if the minor or incapacitated person has no discernment, he can become an owner by prescription only through representatives.
W
HO
 
ARE
 
THE
 
PERSONS
 
AGAINST
 
WHOM
 
PRESCRIPTION
 
MAY
 
RUN
?
 Acquisitive and extinctive prescriptions run against certain persons:(1)Minors and other incapacitated persons who have parents, guardians or other legalrepresentatives;(2)Absentees who have administrators, either appointed by them before their disappearance, or appointed by the courts;(3)Persons living abroad, who have managers or administrators;
(4)
Juridical persons, except the State and its subdivisions (
 Article 1108 
).
 
Page 3 of 98Notes on Prescription, Obligations and ContractsK.P. Dela Serna
(5)
Prescription, acquisitive and extinctive, runs in favor of, or against a married woman (
 Article1110 
). This presupposes a situation where the parties involved are a married woman andanother person not her husband. Prescription may be in favor of or against the marriedwoman.Persons who are disqualified from administering their property have a right to claim damages fromtheir legal representatives whose negligence has been the cause of prescription.
M
AY
 
PRESCRIPTION
 
RUN
 
BETWEEN
 
HUSBAND
 
AND
 
WIFE
 
OR
 
BETWEEN
 
PARENTS
 
AND
 
CHILDREN
 
OR
 
BETWEEN
 
GUARDIAN
 
AND
 
WARD
?
Prescription does not run between husband and wife, even though there be a separation of propertyagreed upon in the marriage settlements or by judicial decree.Neither does prescription run between parents and children, during the minority or insanity of thelatter, and between guardian and ward during the continuance of the guardianship (
 Article 1109
).Note that the prescription contemplated here is acquisitive and not extinctive. Thus, in the filing of actions against each other, extinctive prescription is applicable.
E
XAMPLES
:
Legal separation must be filed within five (5) years from the occurrence of the ground for legal separation(
 Article 57, FC)
;Generally, action for annulment of marriage by a spouse against the other must be filed within five (5)years (
 Article 47, FC 
); Alienation made by the husband without the wife’s consent provided that the marriage was celebratedunder the Civil Code (
 Article 173, CC 
).
W
HAT
 
IS
 
THE
 
EFFECT
 
OF
 
PRESCRIPTION
 
OBTAINED
 
BY
 
A
 
CO
-
PROPRIETOR
 
OR
 
A
 
CO
-
OWNER
?
Prescription obtained by a co-proprietor or a co-owner shall benefit the others (
 Article 1111
). Thus, if aco-owner obtained a property by prescription which property incidentally must be related to the property held incommon, the prescription benefits them all.
M
AY
 
PRESCRIPTION
 
RUN
 
AGAINST
 
CO
-
OWNERS
?
Prescription does not run against co-owners except when a co-owner made a definite repudiation of the co-ownership disclosed to the other co-owners (
 Article 494
).
W
HO
 
CAN
 
RENOUNCE
 
PRESCRIPTION
 
ALREADY
 
OBTAINED
?
Persons with capacity to alienate property may renounce prescription already obtained, but not theright to prescribe in the future (
 Article 1112, par. 1
). The renouncing must not prejudice the rights of others(
 Article 6 
).
W
HEN
 
IS
 
THERE
 
TACIT
 
RENUNCIATION
?
Prescription is deemed to have been tacitly renounced when the renunciation results from acts whichimply the abandonment of the right acquired (
 Article 1112, par. 2 
).
W
HAT
 
THINGS
 
MAY
 
BE
 
SUBJECT
 
OF
 
PRESCRIPTION
?
 All things which are within the commerce of men are susceptible of prescription, unless otherwiseprovided. Property of the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription (
 Article 1113
).
E
XAMPLES
 
OF
 
EXCEPTION
:

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