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G.R. No.

175578

August 11, 2010

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, vs. ZENAIDA GUINTO-ALDANA, Respondent FACTS: Respondents filed an application for registration of title over 2 pieces of land, professing themselves to be co-owners of these lots having acquired them by succession from their predecessors. That until the time of the application, they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in actual, open, peaceful, adverse, exclusive and continuous possession of these lots in the concept of an owner and that they had consistently declared the property in their name for purposes of real estate taxation. In support of their application, respondents submitted to the court the pertinent tax declarations, together with the receipts of payment thereof. Petitioner opposed the application for the reason that the tax declaration submitted to the court did not constitute competent and sufficient evidence of bona fide acquisition in good faith or of prior possession in the concept of an owner. The trial court denied the application for failure of the applicants to comply with the requirements of Presidential Decree No. 1529. However, this was reversed by the Court of Appeals. ISSUE: Whether or not respondents have occupied and possessed the property openly, continuously, exclusively and notoriously under a bona fide claim of ownership? YES RULING: The submission in evidence of the original tracing cloth plan, duly approved by the Bureau of Lands, in cases for application of original registration of land is a mandatory requirement. The reason for this rule is to establish the true identity of the land to ensure that it does not overlap a parcel of land or a portion thereof already covered by a previous land registration, and to forestall the possibility that it will be overlapped by a subsequent registration of any adjoining land. The failure to comply with this requirement is fatal to petitioners application for registration. However, that while the best evidence to identify a piece of land for registration purposes is the original tracing cloth plan issued by the Bureau of Lands, blueprint copies and other evidence could also provide sufficient identification. In the case at bar, we find that the submission of the blueprint of Plan together with the technical description of the property, operates as substantial compliance with the legal requirement of ascertaining the identity of Lot Nos. 4 and 5 applied for registration. ISSUE OF POSSESSION The law speaks of possession and occupation. Since these words are separated by the conjunction and, the clear intention of the law is not to make one synonymous with the other. Possession is broader than occupation because it includes constructive possession. When, therefore, the law adds the word occupation, it seeks to delimit the all-encompassing effect of constructive possession. Taken together with the words open, continuous, exclusive and notorious, the word occupation serves to highlight the fact that for an applicant to qualify, his possession must not be a mere fiction. Actual possession of a land consists in the manifestation of acts of dominion over it of such a nature as a party would naturally exercise over his own property . Respondents possession through their predecessors-in-interest dates back to as early as 1937 when the property had already been declared for taxation by respondents father. Respondents could have produced more proof of this kind had it not been for the fact that, the relevant portions of the tax records on file with the Provincial Assessor had been burned when its office was razed by fire in 1997. With the

tax assessments there came next tax payments. Respondents receipts for tax expenditures were likewise in the records and in these documents the predecessors of respondents were the named owners of the property. Tax declarations and realty tax payment are not conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless, they are a good indication of possession in the concept of an owner. No one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least constructive possession. Indeed, respondents herein have been in possession of the land in the concept of an owner, open, continuous, peaceful and without interference and opposition from the government or from any private individual. Itself makes their right thereto unquestionably settled and hence, deserving of protection under the law. The voluntary declaration of a piece of property for taxation purposes manifests not only ones sincere and honest desire to obtain title to the property. It also announces his adverse claim against the state and all other parties who may be in conflict with his interest. More importantly, it signifies an unfeigned intention to contribute to government revenuesan act that strengthens ones bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The March 30, 2006 Decision and the November 20, 2006 Resolution of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. CV No. 80500, are AFFIRMED. G.R. No. 188715 April 6, 2011

RODOLFO N. REGALA, Petitioner vs. FEDERICO P. CARIN, Respondent FACTS: Petitioner and respondent are adjacent neighbors at Spirig Street, BF Resort Village, Las Pias City. When petitioner decided to renovate his one story residence by constructing a second floor, he under the guise of merely building an extension to his residence, approached respondent sometime in May 1998 for permission to bore a hole through a perimeter wall shared by both their respective properties, to which respondent verbally consented on condition that petitioner would clean the area affected by the work. Petitioners real intention was to build a second floor, in fact with a terrace atop the dividing wall. In the course of the construction of the second floor, respondent and his wife Marietta suffered from the dust and dirt which fell on their property. As petitioner failed to address the problem to respondents satisfaction, respondent filed a letter-complaint with the Office of the City Engineer and Building Official of Las Pias City. No satisfactory agreement was reached at the barangay conciliation proceedings. Respondent filed on March 1999 a complaint for damages against petitioner before the RTC of Las Pias City. Respondent alleged that petitioner demolished the whole length of the wall from top to bottom into five parts for the purpose of constructing a second floor with terrace; and that debris and dust piled up on respondents property ruining his garden and forcing him to, among other things, shut some of the windows of his house. Respondent thus prayed for the award of moral and exemplary damages. The RTC decided in favor of respondent whom it awarded moral and exemplary damages and attorneys fees plus costs of suit. On appeal by petitioner, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts decision but modified the award of moral and exemplary damages. ISSUE: Whether or not the award of moral and exemplary damages is proper? NO RULING:

The trial courts award of moral and exemplary damages, as affirmed by the appellate court, was premised on the damage and suffering sustained by respondent arising from quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. However, in prayers for moral damages, recovery is more an exception rather than the rule. Moral damages are not meant to be punitive but are designed to compensate and alleviate the physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar harm unjustly caused to a person. To be entitled to such an award, the claimant must satisfactorily prove that he has suffered damages and that the injury causing it has sprung from any of the cases listed in Articles 2219 and 2220 of the Civil Code. Moreover,the damages must be shown to be the proximate result of a wrongful act or omission. The claimant must thus establish the factual basis of the damages and its causal tie with the acts of the defendant. In fine, an award of moral damages calls for the presentation of 1) evidence of besmirched reputation or physical, mental or psychological suffering sustained by the claimant; 2) a culpable act or omission factually established; 3) proof that the wrongful act or omission of the defendant is the proximate cause of the damages sustained by the claimant; and 4) the proof that the act is predicated on any of the instances expressed or envisioned by Article 2219 and Article 2220 of the Civil Code. In the present case, respondent failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the injuries he sustained were the proximate effect of petitioners act or omission. It bears noting that petitioner was engaged in the lawful exercise of his property rights to introduce renovations to his abode. While he initially did not have a building permit and may have misrepresented his real intent when he initially sought respondents consent, the lack of the permit was inconsequential since it only rendered petitioner liable to administrative sanctions or penalties. Malice or bad faith implies a conscious and intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral obliquity; it is different from the negative idea of negligence in that malice or bad faith contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or ill will. [27] While the Court harbors no doubt that the incidents which gave rise to this dispute have brought anxiety and anguish to respondent, it is unconvinced that the damage inflicted upon respondents property was malicious or willful, an element crucial to merit an award of moral damages under Article 2220 of the Civil Code. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The May 26, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals is VACATED. The Court orders petitioner to pay respondent the sum of P25,000 as nominal damages. G.R. No. 106646 June 30, 1993 JAIME LEDESMA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION, respondents. FACTS: On August 21, 1980, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation filed Case No. 38287 against petitioner to enforce the terms of Trust Receipt Agreement No. 7389 executed by them on April 1, 1974 but which petitioner had failed to comply with. As summons could not be served on the latter, said case was dismissed without prejudice on March 3, 1981. On December 2, 1988, private respondent bank instituted Civil Case No. 88-2572 in the RTC of Makati, against petitioner on the same cause of action and subject matter.

Petitioner's MTD on the ground of prescription was denied and judgment was rendered in favor of private respondent by the court a quo ordering petitioner to pay private respondent P168,00.00 from December 2, 1988 until full payment of the obligation. The judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals and subsequently, MR was denied. Petitioner's petition for review on certiorari of the said judgment was denied in the Courts resolution, hence its present motion for reconsideration, dated May 5, 1993. Contending that the second action filed by private respondent bank had already prescribed. ISSUE: Whether or not the action filed by the bank had already prescribed? NO RULING: Article 1155 of the Civil Code provides that the prescription of an action, involving in the present case the 10-year prescriptive period for filing an action on a written contract under Article 1144(1) of the Code, is interrupted by (a) the filing of an action, (b) a written extrajudicial demand by the creditor, and (c) a written acknowledgment of the debt by the debtor . The effects of the last two instances have already been decided by this Court, the rationale wherein should necessarily apply to the first. The matter of the interruption of the prescriptive period by reason of a written extrajudicial demand by the creditor was decided in Overseas Bank of Manila vs. Geraldez, et al.: The interruption of the prescriptive period by written extrajudicial demand means that the said period would commence anew from the receipt of the demand . That is the correct meaning of interruption as distinguished from mere suspension or tolling of the prescriptive period. A written extrajudicial demand wipes out the period that has already elapsed and starts anew the prescriptive period. The interruption of the prescriptive period by reason of a written acknowledgment of the debt by the debtor was dealt with in Philippine National Railways vs. National Labor Relations Commission, et al., thus: Article 1155 of the Civil Code provides that the "prescription of actions is interrupted" inter alia, "when there is any written acknowledgment of the debt by the debtor." This simply means that the period of prescription, when interrupted by such a written acknowledgment, begins to run anew; and whatever time of limitation might have already elapsed from the accrual of the cause of action is thereby negated and rendered inefficacious. The effect of the interruption spoken of in Article 1155 is to renew the obligation, to make prescription run again from the date of the interruption Petitioner insists that in case of the filing of an action, the prescriptive period is merely tolled and continues to run again, with only the balance of the remaining period available for the filing of another action. This postulation would result in an absurdity wherein Article 1155 would be interpreted in two different ways, i.e., the prescriptive period is interrupted in case of an extrajudicial demand and a written acknowledgment of a debt, but it is merely tolled where an action is filed in court. The correct interpretations of Article 1155 of the Civil Code are reflected in and furnished by the doctrinal pronouncements in Overseas Bank of Manila and Philippine National Railways Company, not only because they are later in point of time but because the issue is squarely resolved in a decisive and logical manner therein. Petitioner's submission would result in a bifurcated interpretation of Article 1155, aside from the irrational conclusion that a judicial action itself cannot produce the same result on the prescriptive period as a mere extrajudicial demand or an acknowledgment of the debt.

Accordingly, petitioner having failed to adduce any cogent reason or substantial argument to warrant a reconsideration of our resolution of March 24, 1993, the present motion is hereby DENIED with FINALITY.