G.R. No. 193443 April 16, 2012 JEAN TAN, ROSELLER C.

ANACINTO, CARLO LOILO ESPINEDA and DAISY ALIADO MANAOIS, represented in this act by their Attorney-in-Fact, MA. WILHELMINA E. TOBIAS Petitioners - versus – REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES Respondent.
Facts:

On June 14, 2001, the petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Naic, Cavite, an application for land registration covering a parcel of land identified as Lot 9972, Cad-459-D of Indang Cadastre, situated in Barangay Bancod, Indang, Cavite and with an area of 6,920 square meters. The petitioners alleged that they acquired the subject property from Gregonio Gatdula pursuant to a Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 25, 1996; and they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous and exclusive possession of the subject property in the concept of an owner for more than 30 years. RTC issued a decision granting petitioners application. CA ruled that the petitioners failed to prove that they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the subject property for the requisite period of 30 years. Issue: Whether the petitioners have proven themselves qualified to the benefits under the relevant laws on the confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles.
Property; acquisition by prescription; confirmation of incomplete or imperfect titles; requirements. Held: There must be an express declaration by the State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial. Without such express declaration, the property, even if classified as alienable or disposable, remains property of the public dominion, pursuant to Article 420(2), and thus incapable of acquisition by prescription. It is only when such alienable and disposable lands are expressly declared by the State to be no longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth that the period of acquisitive prescription can begin to run. Such declaration shall be in the form of a law duly enacted by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation in cases where the President is duly authorized by law. For one to invoke the provisions of Section 14(2) and set up acquisitive prescription against the State, it is primordial that the status of the property as patrimonial be first established. Furthermore, the period of possession preceding the classification of the property as patrimonial cannot be considered in determining the completion of the prescriptive period.

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Adverse, continuous, open, public possession in the concept of an owner is a conclusion of law and the burden to prove it by clear, positive and convincing evidence is on the applicant. A claim of ownership will not proper on the basis of tax declarations if unaccompanied by proof of actual possession.

The counting of the thirty (30)-year prescriptive period for purposes of acquiring ownership of a public land under Section 14(2) can only start from the issuance of DARCO Conversion Order. Before the property was declared patrimonial by virtue of such conversion order, it cannot be acquired by prescription. Jean Tan, et al. vs. Republic of the Philippines; G.R. No. 193443, April 16, 2012.

Will, extrinsic validity. The state of being forgetful does not necessarily make a person mentally unsound so as to render him unfit to execute a Will. Forgetfulness is not equivalent to being of unsound mind. Besides, Article 799 of the New Civil Code states: “To be of sound mind, it is not necessary that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties, or that his mind be wholly unbroken, unimpaired, or unshattered by disease, injury or other cause”. It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to know the nature of the estate to be disposed of, the proper objects of his bounty, and the character of the testamentary act. Bare allegations of duress or influence of fear or threats, undue and improper influence and pressure, fraud and trickery cannot be used as basis to deny the probate of a will. Baltazar, et. al. vs. Laxa;G.R. No. 174489, April 11, 2012.

Special Laws Torrens System; registration; action for reconveyance; acquisitive prescription. Registration of a piece of land under the Torrens System does not create or vest title, because it is not a mode of acquiring ownership. A certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the particular property described therein. Thus, notwithstanding the indefeasibility of the Torrens title, the registered owner may still be compelled to reconvey the registered property to its true owners. In an action for reconveyance, the decree of registration is respected as incontrovertible. What is sought instead is the transfer of the property or its title which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another person’s name, to its rightful or legal owner, or to the one with a better right. An action for annulment of title or reconveyance based on fraud is imprescriptible where the plaintiff is in possession of the property subject of the acts. Acquisitive prescription is a mode of acquiring ownership by a possessor through the requisite lapse of time. In order to ripen into ownership, possession must be in the concept of an owner, public, peaceful and uninterrupted. Possession is open when it is patent, visible, apparent, notorious and not clandestine. It is continuous when uninterrupted, unbroken and not intermittent or occasional; exclusive when the adverse possessor can show exclusive dominion over the land and an appropriation of it to his own use and benefit; and notorious when it is so conspicuous that it is generally known and talked of by the public or the people in the neighborhood. The party who asserts ownership by adverse possession must prove the presence of the essential elements of acquisitive prescription. For civil interruption to take place, the possessor must have received judicial summons. Heirs of Tanyag vs. Gabriel, et. al.; G.R. No. 175763, April 11, 2012. Free patent; prohibition against alienation. Section 118 of CA 141 requires that before the five year prohibition applies, there should be an alienation or encumbrance of the land acquired under free patent or homestead. In real property law, alienation is defined as the transfer of the property and possession of lands, tenements, or other things from one person to another. It is the “act by which the title to real estate is voluntarily resigned by one person to another and accepted by the latter, in the forms prescribed by law.” In this case, Comia did not transfer, convey or cede the property; but rather, he relinquished, renounced and “quitclaimed” the property considering that the property already belonged to the spouses. The voluntary renunciation by Comia of that portion was not an act of alienation, but an act of correcting the inclusion of the property in his free patent.

In support of the fact that the alienation transpired prior to the grant of a free patent, it is remarkable that Comia never contested that the spouses had been in actual possession of the subject portion even before his patent application. The private ownership of land – as when there is a prima facie proof of ownership like a duly registered possessory information or a clear showing of open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession – is not affected by the issuance of a free patent over the same land. Jose Abelgas, Jr., et al. vs. Servilliano Comia, et al.; G.R. No. 163125, April 18, 2012. Emancipation patents; cancellation; land titles; tax declarations; mere tax declarations not conclusive evidence of ownership or possession. Under DAR Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 1994, emancipation patents may be cancelled by the PARAD or the DARAB for violations of agrarian laws, rules and regulations. The same administrative order further states that “administrative corrections may include non-identification of spouse, correction of civil status, corrections of technical descriptions and other matters related to agrarian reform;” and that the DARAB’s decision “may include cancellation of registered EP/CLOA, reimbursement of lease rental as amortization to ARBs, reallocation of the land to qualified beneficiary, perpetual disqualification to become an ARB, and other ancillary matters related to the cancellation of the EP or CLOA.” However, the DAR’s issuance of an Emancipation Patent and the corresponding OCT covering the contested lot carries with it a presumption of regularity. The Petition to correct/cancel Pablo’s Emancipation Patent can prosper only if petitioners are able to present substantial evidence that a portion of their lot was erroneously covered by the patent. Substantial evidence refers to such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Well settled is the rule that tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership or of the right to possess land when not supported by any other evidence. The fact that the disputed property may have been declared for taxation purposes in the names of the applicants for registration or of their predecessors-in-interest does not necessarily prove ownership. They are merely indicia of a claim of ownership. Sps. Magno v. Heirs of Parulan; G.R. No. 183916, April 25, 2012.

Marriage; Divorce not allowed in the Philippines; Exception based on principles of comity; Divorce must be proven as a fact. The Supreme Court had already ruled that under the principles of comity, our jurisdiction recognizes a valid divorce obtained by a spouse of foreign nationality. This doctrine was established as early as 1985 in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. wherein the SC said: “It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolute divorces, the same being considered contrary to our concept of public policy and morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law. In this case, the divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage from the standards of American law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage.” Nonetheless, the fact of divorce must still first be proven as the Supreme Court has enunciated in Garcia v. Recio, to wit: “ Before a foreign judgment is given presumptive evidentiary value, the document must first be presented and admitted in evidence. A divorce obtained abroad is proven by the divorce decree itself. Indeed the best evidence of a judgment is the judgment itself. The decree purports to be a written act or record of an act of an official body or tribunal of a foreign country.” Merope Enriquez Vda De Catalan vs Louella A. Catalan-Lee, G.R. No. 183622. February 8, 2012. Marriage; Presumption of conjugality of property; “Married to” is merely descriptive of the status of the owner. Pursuant to Article 160 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, all property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the

husband or to the wife. Although it is not necessary to prove that the property was acquired with funds of the partnership, proof of acquisition during the marriage is an essential condition for the operation of the presumption in favor of the conjugal partnership. Not having established the time of acquisition of the property, the Dela Peñas insist that the registration thereof in the name of “Antonia R. Dela Peña, of legal age, Filipino, married to Antegono A. Dela Peña” should have already sufficiently established its conjugal nature. Confronted with the same issue in the case Ruiz vs. Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court ruled, however, that the phrase “married to” is merely descriptive of the civil status of the wife and cannot be interpreted to mean that the husband is also a registered owner. Because it is likewise possible that the property was acquired by the wife while she was still single and registered only after her marriage, neither would registration thereof in said manner constitute proof that the same was acquired during the marriage and, for said reason, to be presumed conjugal in nature. “Since there is no showing as to when the property in question was acquired, the fact that the title is in the name of the wife alone is determinative of its nature as paraphernal, i.e., belonging exclusively to said spouse.” Antonia R. Dela Peña, et al. vs Gemma Remilyn C. Avila and Far East Bank & Trust Co., G.R. No. 187490., February 8, 2012.

Possession; Recovery of possession; Implied vs. constructive trust; Prescription; Acquisitive vs. extinctive prescription; Ordinary vs. extraordinary prescription. In a constructive trust, there is neither a promise nor any fiduciary relation to speak of and the so-called trustee neither accepts any trust nor intends holding the property for the beneficiary. The relation of trustee and cestui que trust does not in fact exist, and the holding of a constructive trust is for the trustee himself, and therefore, at all times adverse. Prescription may supervene even if the trustee does not repudiate the relationship. Prescription, as a mode of acquiring ownership and other real rights over immovable property, is concerned with lapse of time in the manner and under conditions laid down by law, namely, that the possession should be in the concept of an owner, public, peaceful, uninterrupted, and adverse. Acquisitive prescription of real rights may be ordinary or extraordinary.

The CA correctly dismissed petitioner’s complaint as an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in 10 years from the time the right of action accrues. This is the other kind of prescription under the Civil Code, called extinctive prescription, where rights and actions are lost by the lapse of time. Petitioner’s action for recovery of possession having been filed 55 years after Macario occupied Dionisia’s share, it is also barred by extinctive prescription.

Ordinary acquisitive prescription requires possession in good faith and with just title for 10 years. In extraordinary prescription, ownership and other real rights over immovable property are acquired through uninterrupted adverse possession for 30 years without need of title or of good faith. Celerino E. Mercado vs Belen Espinocilla and Ferdinand Espinocilla., G.R. No. 184109, February 1, 2012.

Succession; Hereditary estate transmitted to heirs immediately after death of decedent. Under the rules of succession, the heirs instantaneously became co-owners of the Marcos properties upon the death of the President. The property rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance of a person are transmitted to another through the decedent’s death. In this concept, nothing prevents the heirs from exercising their right to transfer or dispose of the properties that constitute their legitimes, even absent their declaration or absent the partition or the distribution of the estate. In Jakosalem v. Rafols, the Supreme Court said: “Article 440 of the Civil Code provides that “the possession of heredit ary property is deemed to be transmitted to the heir without interruption from the instant of the death of the decedent, in case the inheritance be accepted.” And Manresa with reason states that upon the death of a person, each of his heirs “becomes the undivided owner of the whole estat e left with respect to the part or portion which might be adjudicated to him, a community of ownership being thus formed among the coowners of the estate while it remains undivided.” (3 Manresa, 357; Alcala vs. Alcala, 35 Phil. 679.) And according to article 399 of the Civil Code, every part owner may assign or mortgage his part in the common property, and the effect of such assignment or mortgage shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted him in the partition upon the dissolution of the community.” Republic of the Philippines vs Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos-Manotoc, et al., G.R. No. 171701. February 8, 2012. P.D. No. 1529; Torrens title; collateral attack. As for the spouses Decaleng’s contention that Certificate of Title No. 1 does not exist, the Court fully agrees with the Court of Appeals that the same constitutes a collateral attack of Certificate of Title No. 1. It is a hornbook principle that “a certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein.” In order to establish a sys tem of registration by which recorded title becomes absolute, indefeasible, and imprescriptible, the legislature passed Act No. 496, which took effect onFebruary 1, 1903. Act No. 496 placed all registered lands in the Philippines under the Torrens system. The Torrens system requires the government to issue a certificate of title stating that the person named in the title is the owner of the property described therein, subject to liens and encumbrances annotated on the title or reserved by law. The certificate of title is indefeasible and imprescriptible and all claims to the parcel of land are quieted upon issuance of the certificate. Presidential Decree No. 1529, known as the Property Registration Decree, enacted on June 11, 1978, amended and updated Act No. 496. Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 provides:

Section 48. Certificate not subject to collateral attack. – A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified, or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. A Torrens title cannot be attacked collaterally, and the issue on its validity can be raised only in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. A collateral attack is made when, in another action to obtain a different relief, the certificate of title is assailed as an incident in said action. Sps. Ambrosio Decaleng [as substituted by his heirs] and Julia “Wanay” Decaleng vs. Bishop of the Missionary District of Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, et al.; G.R. No. 171209 & UDK-13672. June 27, 2012 P.D. No. 1529; Torrens title; collateral attack; indefeasibility of title vs. possession. In Soriente v. Estate of the Late Arsenio E. Concepcion, a similar allegation – possession of the property in dispute since time immemorial – was met with rebuke as such possession, for whatever length of time, cannot prevail over a Torrens title, the validity of which is presumed and immune to any collateral attack. “The validity of respondent’s certificate of title cannot be attacked by petitioner in this case for ejectment. Under Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, a certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered, modified or cancelled, except in a direct proceeding for that purpose in accordance with law. The issue of the validity of the title of the respondents can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. Whether or not petitioner has the right to claim ownership over the property is beyond the power of the trial court to determine in an action for unlawful detainer.”

Given the foregoing, the petitioners’ attempt to remain in possession by casting a cloud on the respondents’ title cannot pro sper.

Neither will the sheer lapse of time legitimize the petitioners’ refusal to vacate the subject area or bar the respondents from gaining possession thereof. As ruled in Spouses Ragudo v. Fabella Estate Tenants Association, Inc., laches does not operate to deprive the registered owner of a parcel of land of his right to recover possession thereof. Heirs of Jose Maligaso, Sr., etc. vs. Sps. Simon D. Encinas and Esperanza E. Encinas; G.R. No. 182716, June 20, 2012.

Human relations; unjust enrichment. To allow the petitioner to leave the company before it has fulfilled the reasonable expectation of service on his part will amount to unjust enrichment. Pertinently, Article 22 of the New Civil Code states: Art. 22. Every person who through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return the same to him. There is unjust enrichment when a person unjustly retains a benefit at the loss of another, or when a person retains the money or property of another against the fundamental principles of justice, equity and good conscience. Two conditions must concur: (1) a person is unjustly benefited; and (2) such benefit is derived at the expense of or with damages to another. The main objective of the principle of unjust enrichment is to prevent one from enriching oneself at the expense of another. It is commonly accepted that this doctrine simply means that a person shall not be allowed to profit or enrich himself inequitably at another’s expense. The enrichment may consist of a patrimonial, physical, or moral advantage, so long as it is appreciable in money. It must have a correlative prejudice, disadvantage or injury to the plaintiff which may consist, not only of the loss of the property or the deprivation of its enjoyment, but also of the non-payment of compensation for a prestation or service rendered to the defendant without intent to donate on the part of the plaintiff, or the failure to acquire something what the latter would have obtained. As can be gathered from the facts, PAL invested a considerable amount of money in sending the petitioner abroad to undergo training to prepare him for his new appointment as B747-400 Captain. In the process, the petitioner acquired new knowledge and skills which effectively enriched his technical know-how. As all other investors, PAL expects a return on investment in the form of service by the petitioner for a period of 3 years, which is the estimated length of time within which the costs of the latter’s training can be fully recovered. The petitioner is, thus, expected to work for PAL and utilize whatever knowledge he had learned from the training for the benefit of the company. However, after only one (1) year of service, the petitioner opted to retire from service, leaving PAL stripped of a necessary manpower. Bibiano C. Elegir vs. Philippine Airlines, Inc.;G.R. No. 181995, July 16, 2012. Legal separation; application of Family Code provisions to marriage entered into prior to the Family Code’s enactment; what’s a vested right?; definition of net profits. This case was actually decided based on procedural law. The decision being questioned had actually become final (in the words of the Court, “immutable”), so the rest, which the tribunal set out after “discussing lengthily [its adverb, not mine] the immutability of the Decision” is for “the enlightenment of the parties and the public at large.” Essentially, the Court noted that even if you got married before the Family Code was enacted, how your property is divvied up can still be governed by the Family Code because of the latter’s provisions allowing retroactive effect provided there is no prejudice to any vested right (see Article 256 of the Family Code). Here, the husband was divested of his share in the net profits of the conjugal partnership pursuant to Article 129 in relation to Article 63(2) of the Family Code. The husband argued that he already had a vested right in the net profits. The Court said that you can impair a vested right provided the holder of the right was afforded due process, which took place in this case, and besides, he is the guilt party and finally, the decision is IMMUTABLE. Then the Court, in defining net profits, went into a discussion of the differences between the absolute community regime and the conjugal partnership of gains. Again, in my view, the discussion is obiter, but if you want to slog through it, you are welcome. Brigido B. Quia vs. Rita C. Quiao, et al.; G.R. No. 176556, July 4, 2012.

Property; property belonging to the State. The subject lands are reclaimed lands, specifically portions of the foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay. As such, these lands remain public lands and form part of the public domain. In the case of Chavez v. Public Estates Authority and AMARI Coastal Development Corporation, the Court held that foreshore and submerged areas irrefutably belonged to the public domain and were inalienable unless reclaimed, classified as alienable lands open to disposition and further declared no longer needed for public service. The fact that alienable lands of the public domain were transferred to the PEA (now PRA) and issued land patents or certificates of title in PEA’s name did no t automatically make such lands private. This Court also held therein that reclaimed lands retained their inherent potential as areas for public use or public service. Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) vs. City of Parañaque; G.R. No. 191109, July 18, 2012. P.D. No. 1529; registration of title to land acquired by prescription. Section 14(2) of Presidential Decree No. 1529 sanctions the original registration of lands acquired by prescription “under the provisions of existing law.” In the seminal case of Heirs of Mario Malabanan v. Republic, this Court clarified that the “existing law” mentioned in the subject provision refers to no other than Republic Act No. 386, or the Civil Code of the Philippines. Malabananacknowledged that only lands of the public domain that are “patrimonial in character” are “susceptible to acquisitive presecription” and, hence, eligible for registration under Section 14(2) of Presidential Decree No. 1529. Applying the pertinent provisions of the Civil Code,52 Malabanan further elucidated that in order for public land to be considered as patrimonial “there must be an express declaration by the State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial .” Until then, the period of acquisitive prescription against the State will not commence to run. The requirement of an “express declaration” contemplated by Malabanan is separate and distinct from the mere classification of public land as alienable and disposable. On this point, Malabanan was reiterated by the recent case ofRepublic v. Rizalvo, Jr. In this case, the respondents were not able to present any “express declaration” from the State, attesting to the patrimonial character ofLot 3. To put it bluntly, the respondents were not able to prove that acquisitive prescription has begun to run against the State, much less that they have acquired title to Lot 3 by virtue thereof. As jurisprudence tells us, a mere certification or report classifying the subject land as alienable and disposable is not sufficient. Republic of the Philippines vs. Michael C. Santos, et al., etc.; G.R. No. 180027, July 18, 2012. P.D. No. 1529; value of registration; innocent purchaser. Construing the foregoing conjunctively, as to third persons, a property registered under the Torrens system is, for all legal purposes, unencumbered or remains to be the property of the person in whose name it is registered, notwithstanding the execution of any conveyance, mortgage, lease, lien, order or judgment unless the corresponding deed is registered. The law does not require a person dealing with the owner of registered land to go beyond the certificate of title as he may rely on the notices of the encumbrances on the property annotated on the certificate of title or absence of any annotation. Registration affords legal protection such that the claim of an innocent purchaser for value is recognized as valid despite a defect in the title of the vendor. A purchaser in good faith and for value is one who buys property of another, without notice that some other person has a right to, or interest in, such property, and pays a full and fair price for the same, at the time of such purchase, or before he has notice of the claim or interest of some other person in the property.39 Good faith is the opposite of fraud and of bad faith, and its non-existence must be established by competent proof. Sans such proof, a buyer is deemed to be in good faith and his interest in the subject property will not be disturbed. A purchaser of a registered property can rely on the guarantee afforded by pertinent laws on registration that he can take and hold it free from any and all prior liens and claims except those set forth in or preserved against the certificate of title. This Court cannot give credence to PCSO’s claim to the contrary. PCSO did not present evidence, showing that New Dagupan had knowledge of the mortgage despite its being unregistered at the time the subject sale was entered into. Peralta, in the compromise agreement, even admitted that she did not inform New Dagupan of the s ubject mortgage. PCSO’s only basis for claiming that New Dagupan was a buyer in bad faith was the latter’s reliance on a mere photocopy of TCT No. 52135. However, apart from the fact that the facsimile bore no annotation of a lien or encumbrance, PCSO failed to refute the testimony of Cuña that his verification of TCT No. 52135 with the Register of Deeds of Dagupan City confirmed Peralta’s claim of a clean title. Since PCSO had notice of New Dagupan’s adverse claim prior to the registration of its mortgage lien, it is bound thereby and thus legally compelled to respect the proceedings on the validity of such adverse claim. It is therefore of no moment if PCSO’s foreclosur e of the subject mortgage and purchase of the subject property at the auction sale took place prior to New Dagupan’s acquisition of title as decreed in the Decision dated January 21, 1994 of RTC Branch 43. The effects of a foreclosure sale retroact to the date the mortgage was registered.43 Hence, while PCSO may be deemed to have acquired title over the subject property on May 20, 1992, such title is rendered inferior by New Dagupan’s adverse claim, the validity of which was confirmed per the Decision dated January 21, 1994 of RTC B ranch 43. Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) vs. New Dagupan Metro Gas Corporation, et al.; G.R. No. 173171, July 11, 2012.
Accion reivindicatoria. Article 434 of the Civil Code provides that in an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant’s claim. The first requisite is the identity of the land. In an accion reinvindicatoria, the person who claims that he has a better right to the property must first fix the identity of the land he is claiming by describing the location, area and boundaries thereof. Anent the second requisite, i.e., theclaimant’s title over the disputed area, the rule is that a party can claim a right of ownership only over the parcel of land that was the object of the deed. It is settled that what really defines a piece of land is not the area mentioned in its description, but the boundaries therein laid down, asenclosing the land and indicating its limits. We have held, however, that in controversial cases where there appears to be an overlapping of boundaries, the actual size of the property gains importance. Leonardo Notarte et al. v. Godofredo Notarte, G.R. No. 180614, August 29, 2012.

Partition; oral partition. Under Article 1082 of the Civil Code, every act which is intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs is deemed to be a partition even though it should purport to be a sale, an exchange, or any other transaction. Partition may thus be inferred from circumstances sufficiently strong to support the presumption. The validity of an oral partition is already well-settled. It is not required that the partition agreement be registered or annotated in the OCT of the land to be valid. After exercising acts of ownership over their respective portions of the contested estate, petitioners are estopped from denying the existence of an oral partition. Regardless of whether a parol partition or agreement to partition is valid and enforceable at law, equity will in proper cases, where the parol partition has actually been consummated by the taking of possession in severalty and the exercise of ownership by the parties of the respective portions set off to each, recognize and enforce such parol partition and the rights of the parties thereunder.Leonardo Notarte et al. v. Godofredo Notarte, G.R. No. 180614, August 29, 2012.
P.D. No. 1529; Registration; When entry is deemed registered. The entry of instruments in the Primary Entry Book is equivalent to registration despite the failure to annotate said instruments in the corresponding certificates of title. However, for the entry of instruments in the Primary Entry Book to be considered to be equivalent to registration and to have the effect of registration, certain requirements have to be met. There is still a need to comply with all that is required for entry and registration, including the payment of prescribed fees. In this case, since there was still no compliance of all that is required for purposes of entry and annotation of the Deed of Sale as of June 25, 2004, the registration of the Notice of Levy on Attachment on June 17, 2004 should take precedence over the former. Considering that the Notice of Levy of Attachment was deemed registered earlier than the Deed of Sale, the TCT issued pursuant to the latter should contain the annotation of the Attachment. Durawood Construction and Lumber Supply, Inc. vs. Candice S. Bona.G.R. No. 179884. January 25, 2011

Bigamy; elements. The elements of the crime of bigamy are: (a) the offender has been legally married; (b) the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (c) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (d) the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. The felony is consummated on the celebration of the second marriage or subsequent marriage. It is essential in the prosecution for bigamy that the alleged second marriage, having all the essential requirements, would be valid were it not for the subsistence of the first marriage. In this case, it appears that when respondent Lourdes contracted a second marriage with Silverio in 1983, her first marriage with Socrates celebrated in 1976 was still subsisting as the same had not yet been annulled or declared void by a competent authority. Thus, respondent was properly charged with the crime of bigamy, since the essential elements of the offense charged were sufficiently alleged. Merlinda Cipriano Montaez v. Lourdes Tajolosa Cipriano,G.R. No. 181089, October 22, 2012. Bigamy; subsequent judicial declaration of nullity of first marriage. Although the judicial declaration of respondent’s first marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity was declared in 2003 and retroacted to the date of the celebration of the marriage in 1976, insofar as the vinculumbetween the spouses is concerned, said marriage is not without legal effects. Among these effects is incurring criminal liability for bigamy. Article 40 of the Family Code, which requires a final judgment declaring the previous marriage void before a person may contract a subsequent marriage, is a rule of procedure, which should be applied retroactively because Article 256 of the Family Code itself provides that said “Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights.” The retroactive application of procedural laws is not violative of any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected. The reason is that as a general rule, no vested right may attach to, nor arise from, procedural laws. To hold otherwise would render the State’s penal laws on bigamy completely nugatory, and allow individuals to deliberately ensure that each marital contract be flawed in some manner, and to thus escape the consequences of contracting multiple marriages, while beguiling throngs of hapless women with the promise of futurity and commitment. Thus, it is immaterial that the declaration of nullity of the previous marriage was rendered before the information was filed or that the previous and subsequent marriages were celebrated before the effectivity of the Family Code. What makes a person criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage. Merlinda Cipriano Montaez v. Lourdes Tajolosa Cipriano, G.R. No. 181089, October 22, 2012.
Nuisance per se vs. nuisance per accidens; only nuisance per se may be summarily abated without judicial intervention. If petitioner indeed found respondents’ fence to have encroached on the sidewalk, his remedy is not to demolish the same summarily after respondents failed to heed his request to

remove it. Instead, he should go to court and prove respondents’ supposed violations in the construction of the concrete fence. Indeed, unless a thing is a nuisance per se, it may not be abated summarily without judicial intervention. Respondents’ fence is not a nuisance per se. By its nature, it is not injurious to the health or comfort of the community. It was built primarily to secure the property of respondents and prevent intruders from entering it. And as correctly pointed out by respondents, the sidewalk still exists. If petitioner believes that respondents’ fence indeed encroaches on the sidewalk, it may be so proven in a hearing conducted for that purpose. Not being a nuisance per se, but at most a nuisance per accidens, its summary abatement without judicial intervention is unwarranted. Jaime S. Perez, both in his personal and official capacity as Chief, Marikina Demolition Office vs. Spouses Fortunito L. Madrona and Yolanda B. Pante; G.R. No. 184478. March 21, 2012 Special Laws Nuisance; what constitutes it. The MMDA claims that the portion of the building in question is a nuisance per se. We disagree. The fact that in 1966 the City Council gave Justice Gancayco an exemption from constructing an arcade is an indication that the wing walls of the building are not nuisances per se. The wing walls do not per se immediately and adversely affect the safety of persons and property. The fact that an ordinance may declare a structure illegal does not necessarily make that structure a nuisance. Article 694 of the Civil Code defines nuisance as any act, omission, establishment, business, condition or property, or anything else that (1) injures or endangers the health or safety of others; (2) annoys or offends the senses; (3) shocks, defies or disregards decency or morality; (4) obstructs or interferes with the free passage of any public highway or street, or any body of water; or, (5) hinders or impairs the use of property. A nuisance may be per se or per accidens. A nuisance per se is that which affects the immediate safety of persons and property and may summarily be abated under the undefined law of necessity. Clearly, when Justice Gancayco was given a permit to construct the building, the city council or the city engineer did not consider the building, or its demolished portion, to be a threat to the safety of persons and property. This fact alone should have warned the MMDA against summarily demolishing the structure. Neither does the MMDA have the power to declare a thing a nuisance. Only courts of law have the power to determine whether a thing is a nuisance. Emilio Gancayco vs. Cito Government of Quezon City and Metro Manila Development Authority/Metro Manila Development Authority vs. Justice Emilio A. Gancayco (Retired); G.R. No. 177807/G.R. No. 177933. October 11, 2011.

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