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88 Henry Munar Chan applied for the registration of a parcel of land located intrusion on the ground that the

e registration of a parcel of land located intrusion on the ground that the same properties were covered by its own
in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila. The case was docketed as LRC Case No. Q- transfer certificates of title.
Republic of the Philippines 335 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch. On
SUPREME COURT February 21, 1974, a decision was rendered approving Chan's application. The two cases were tried jointly by the court's Branch XXIX presided by
Manila Since Chan, even before the approval of his application had already the same judge.
disposed of several parcels of the subject lot, corresponding decrees of
THIRD DIVISION registration and original certificates of title were issued in 1974 in favor of
After trial on the merits, the trial judge promulgated two separate
Chan and his various assignees. After the issuance of the decree, Chan
decisions in the two cases. The dispositive portion of the decision dated
G.R. No. L-66741 June 16, 1988 continued to make several assignments and transfer of portions of the
November 25,1982 in Civil Case No. 6966-P states:
subject parcel of land. Corresponding certificates of title were issued to his

ANTHONY SY., WAYNE T. SY, LORY T. NGAN ANTHONY SY, JR., JESUS assignees.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered upholding
SAMIO SON, and V & M COMMERCIAL COMPANY, INC., petitioners, the plaintiffs better right to the properties in question,
vs. On February 2, 1979, Teoville Development Corporation Teoville for short)
declaring as null and void Decrees of Registration Nos.
THE HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (4th Special filed a complaint for quieting of title and damages with preliminary
N-150479 to N-150484, inclusive, Original Certificates
Cases Division), JUDGE MANUEL E. VALENZUELA Presiding Judge of injunction against Henry Munar Chan and his assignees. It alleged among
of Title Nos. 10161 to 10166, inclusive, and all
Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch CXII, others that: (1) Teoville Development Corporation is the owner of parcels
transfer certificates of title emanating therefrom, and
Pasay City (formerly CFI, Branch XXIX, Pasay City, and TEOVILLE of land in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, covered by Transfer Certificates of
sentencing the defendants Henry Munar Chan and the
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,respondents. Title Nos. 268165, S-27367, S-27368, 188445, 188447 and 188347, all of
Sy Family, Anthony D. Sy, Sr., Anthony Sy, Jr., Lory T.
the Registry of Deeds of Rizal; (2) said parcels of land are part of a large
Ngan and Wayne T. Sy, jointly and severally, to pay
G.R. No. L-75011 June 16, 1988 parcel of land acquired from its predecessor-in-interest, the Villonco Realty
the plaintiff the sum of P100,000.00 for attorney's
Company; (3) said parcels of land were originally registered as Original
fees, plus costs of suit.
Certificate of Title No. 2553 of the Registry of Deeds for Rizal issued in
TEOVILLE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioner,
G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 10766, Case No. 34 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal
vs. The counterclaim of the defendants is hereby
on May 7, 1919 in favor of El Colegio de San Jose; and (4) that the
THE HONO0RABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and THE dismissed.
boundaries of the registered parcels of land of Henry Munar Chan overlap
PHILIPPINE MACHINERY PART MANUFACTURING CO.,
those covered by the corporation's transfer certificates of title. The
INC., respondents. The Third Party Complaint filed by the defendants
corporation prayed that the decrees of registration, original certificates of
Nussalt Industries Corporation and Sheridan
title, and transfer certificates of title issued to Chan and his assignees be
Manufacturing Industries Corporation against See Eng
declared as null and void. The case was filed with the Court of First
amio Son and Rodolfo Sy which was admitted
Instance of Rizal, Pasay City Branch and was docketed as Civil Case No.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: pursuant to the Order of this Court on June 25, 1979 is
6966-P.
hereby dismissed for lack of evidence.

The main issue in these consolidated petitions is whether or not formal


On April 30, 1981, Philippine Machinery Parts Manufacturing Company,
notice of a counsel's change of address was indispensable in the trial The preliminary injunction issued is made permanent
Inc., (hereinafter referred as Phil. Machinery) one of the assignees of
court's telling the right of the losing parties to appeal its decision. and the surety bond posted by the plaintiff is ordered
Henry Munar Chan filed a complaint for quieting of title with preliminary
cancelled.
injunction and damages against Teoville with the same court where Civil
In G.R. No. 66741, the petitioners alleged that eight (8) hectares of land Case No. 6966-P was pending. The case was docketed as Civil Case No.
along the South Superhighway in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, valued at 9055-P. Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Register of
more than P 50 milIon is involved in these cases. They question the Deeds for Rizal, Pasig, Metro Manila.
decision which, through a technicality, would nullify their titles, deprive
In 1981, Phil. Machinery entered into the parcels of land covered by its
them of their properties, and validate titles allegedly defective on their The dispositive portion of the decision dated November 29, 1982 in Civil
transfer certificates of title, started digging them up, and removing soils
faces alone. Case No. 9055-P states:
therefrom. Upon learning of such activities, Teoville protested against the
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WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing The lower court denied all the motions in both cases on the ground that The crucial issue in these two petitions is whether or not a formal notice of
the complaint, with costs against the plaintiff, and the decision had long become final and executory and, hence, it had no a change of address is indispensable for the court to take cognizance of
conformably with the judgment of this Court in Civil more jurisdiction to entertain the motions except to deny them. such change of address.
Case No. 6966-P, Decree of Registration No. N-
150482, OCT No. 10162 and TCT Nos. 29684,103210 The defendants in Civil Case No. 6966-P and plaintiff in C.C. No. 9055-P Nemesio Diaz, counsel of the petitioners in G.R. No. 66741 and private
and 103219, and all succeeding transfer certificates then filed separate petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and/or mandamus respondent in G.R. No. 75011 reiterates his earlier stand in the lower
of title covering former Lot F, are hereby declared null with the Intermediate Appellate Court challeging the lower court's orders. courts that there was no need for him to file a formal change of address
and void. The plaintiff is hereby ordered to pay the because the lower court already had actual knowledge of his change of
defendant corporation the sum of P162,800.00, as address.
The petition of the defendants in Civil Case No. 6966-P was docketed as
actual damages, and P100,000.00 for attorney's fees.
AC G.R. No. SP-00813 while that of the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 9055-P
was docketed as AC-G.R. No. SP-00803. In the Philippine Suburban Development Corporation case, the petitioner,
Copies of the decisions were sent to Nemesio Diaz, counsel for the after losing in the then Court of First Instance of Manila, filed a timely
defendants in C.C. No. 6966-P and for the plaintiff in C.C. No. 9055-P, at appeal to the then Court of Appeals. The appellate court sent thru
In separate decisions of two Divisions, the appellate court advanced the
his address of record at No. 202 Medalla Building, Cubao, Quezon City. The registered mail a notice to the petitioner at its counsel's address on record
view that service of copies of the decisions on counsel Atty. Nemesio Diaz
copies were returned to the court on December 11, 1982 unserved with requiring it to file the appellant's brief within 45 days from receipt of said
at his address on record was valid and effective and his failure to receive
annotations from the post office on their respective envelopes that the notice. The notice was not claimed. The 45-day period lapsed. The
them did not stop the running of the period to appeal. The court ruled that
addressee had moved out of the stated address. On February 1, 1983, appellate court dismissed the appeal and final judgment was entered in
formal notice of a change of address of counsel is indispensable for the
Teoville, as plaintiff in C.C. No. P and defendant in C.C. No. 9055-P, filed in accordance with Section 9, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court which provides
court to take cognizance of such change. It upheld Teoville's citation of the
both cases an exparte motion for a writ of execution stating that the that service of said notices is deemed completed upon the expiration of
dictum in Philippine Suburban Development Corporation v. Court of
decisions in both cases had become final and executory. It alleged that five days from the date of the first notice of the postmaster. Notices of the
Appeals (supra). Both petitions were denied for lack of merit.
although there was a failure to deliver the copies of the decision, this did dismissal of the appeal and the entry of judgment which were sent to the
not suspend the running of the period for the losing parties to either move counsel's address on record were not also claimed. The court of origin
A motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioners in CA G.R. No. 00813
for a new trial or to appeal from the decisions for the reason that their issued the corresponding writ of execution which was served at the
was denied. On the other hand, the petitioner's motion for reconsideration
counsel, Nemesio Diaz did not file a formal notice of a change of address. counsel's new office in Makati where he was traced. It turned out that the
in CA-G.R. No. 00803 was granted. The dispositive portion of the resolution
Teoville cited the case of Philippine Suburban Development Corporation v. petitioner's counsel had changed his address without informng the court.
in AC-G.R. No. 00803 reads:
Court of appeals, et al. (100 SCRA 109) and states that had not Atty. Diaz The counsel filed a motion to lift the order of dismissal, set aside entry of
moved out of his address of record, he could have received the copies of judgment, and reinstate appeal. The motion was denied. A petition
WHEREFORE, the decision of July 31,1984 is hereby
the decision on December 11, 1982. Therefore, the parties represented by challenging the denial of the motion before the Court of Appeals was also
reconsidered and set aside. The writs of certiorari and
Diaz had 30 days or until January 10, 1983 to either file a motion for a new denied. Hence the petitioner came to this Court. In dismissing the petition,
mandamus are granted. The orders of February 3,
trial or a motion for reconsideration or to perfect an appeal. Teoville stated we stated:
1984 and April 19, 1984 as well as all proceedings
that such an omission resulted in the judgment becoming final.
pursuant to the order of execution complained of are
Counsel claims that when he vacated his old office
declared null and void. Respondent court is hereby
On February 3, 1983, the lower court granted both motions. and transferred to the 8th Floor, PLDT Building,
directed to allow petitioner to file its contemplated
Makati, he filed several pleadings (an extension of
appeal from the decision dated November 29, 1982
Atty. Nemesio Diaz, in motions filed February 16 and March 1, 1983, time to file comment on March 14, 1969 and the
within TEN (10) DAYS from petitioner's receipt of copy
questioned the propriety of the Order considering that he had not received comment filed on April 15, 1969) wherein he indicated
of this resolution.
copies of the subject decisions. his address to be at the 8th Floor, PLDT Building,
Makati and contends that this should have put
The motion for reconsideration of the above resolution filed by respondent
On March 21, 1983, Diaz, in behalf of the losing parties in the two cases respondent court and adverse counsel on notice. This
Teoville was denied.
filed a joint motion for reconsideration of the two subject decisions. is untenable. We have held time and again that
notices to counsel should properly be sent to his
address of record in the absence of due notice to the
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court of a change of address. As held in Lopez v. de There are circumstances which differentiate these petitions from f) As a matter of fact, the order granting the writ of
los Reyes, (31 SCRA 214 [1970], per former Chief the Philippine Suburban Development Corporation case. In the instant execution issued by respondent Judge was sent to the
Justice Querube C. Makalintal; Marquez and Noza v. petitions, it is not a mere failure of the trial court to take notice of changes new Address of Atty. Diaz at Suite 202-210 Isabel
Panganiban, 109 Phil. 1121 [1960]: and People v. of address indicated in subsequent pleadings. The trial judge was informed Building, Espana Street, Manila (Annex O hereof;
Manangan, 56 SCRA 817 [1974], per now Chief Justice in open court and had already taken cognizance of the change. He had, in annexes A, B and C of Annex S hereof).
Fernando) the fact that counsel used a different fact, acted in accordance with the change of address.
address in later pleadings' should not be taken as Teoville denies the allegation in paragraph (b) above, even as Philippine
notice to the court of either a change of address or of As stated by Diaz: Machinery and the petitioners in G.R. No. 66741 insist on its truth. The
another address in addition to that which was already others are not in dispute and are sustained by the records. We quote with
of record. approval the appellate court's resolution in CA-G.R. No. 00803, now G.R.
a) Atty. Nemesio P. Diaz, as counsel for defendants
(herein petitioners) in Civil Case No. 6966-P had been No. 75011, to wit:
xxx xxx xxx placing his new address in all the pleadings, motions
and papers he has filed in Court as of November 27, In the case at bar, there are circumstances worthy of
Counsel cannot presume that respondent court will 1981 (Annex E-1 hereof) and prior thereto; serious consideration and which compel a 'second
take cognizance of any other addresses that he may look.' For instance, Our attention is called to the fact
use in his pleadings, or assume that a given address b) Counsel for respondent Corporation actually knew that respondent court furnished counsel for petitioner
is his residence, for unless he files a notice of change of Atty. Diaz' change of address. It was he who invited a copy of the order dated December 21, 1981 at his
of address, his official address remains to be that of the attention of respondent Judge to such change of new address at 202-210 Isabel Building, Espana
his address of record. It may well be a temporary address and respondent Judge directed an attending Street, Manila. Again after the decision of November
address or just one of the many offices maintained by Clerk of Court to indicate such change in the 29, 1982 was rendered, respondent court sent a copy
counsel. At most, it merely indicates (as was held in expediente of Civil Case No. 6966-P; of its order of February 3, 1983 granting an ex-parte
Lopez, supra) that the pleading was prepared in and motion for execution to petitioner's counsel at his
mailed from said place and therefore does not same new address. These circumstances lend
c) After November 27, 1981 and before November 25,
supersede his address of record. Moreover, notices of credence to petitioner's assertion that the attention of
1982, notices and orders of respondent judge have
court processes are ordinarily taken care of by clerks, respondent court had been previously called upon in
always been sent to the new address of Atty. Nemesio
who are naturally guided by addresses of record. To open court that petitioner's counsel has been using
P. Diaz at Suite 202-210 Isabel Building, Espana
require the court and its personnel before sending out his new address in his pleadings, to which
Street, Manila (Annex qqqE2 hereof);
the notices, to be continuously checking the record manifestation respondent court responded with an
and the various addresses from which a counsel may order to have the new address of said counsel noted
d) Likewise, after November 27, 1981, all the
have filed his pleadings and sending them to such on the cover of the rollo. We said in Our decision of
pleadings, motions and papers filed by counsel of
address(es) instead of his address of record which is July 31, 1984 that such notation is not sufficient
respondent Corporation was addressed and furnished
duly recorded on the cover of the Rollo is to show compliance of notice to the court of counsel's new
to Atty. Nemesio P. Diaz at his new address at Suite
confusion and add an intolerable burden which is not address as the cover of the expediente shows that the
202-210 Isabel building, Espana Street, Manila
permitted by the Rules of Court. Juane v. Garcia, 25 new address of petitioner's counsel is written under
(Annexes J and K hereof); 11
SCRA 801 [1968], per Sanchez, J. [retired]; see Rule 7, the column for plaintiff, private respondent in this
Sec. 5; Rule 13, Sec. 5.) case. However, closer examination of said cover of
e) It is only the Decision of respondent Judge dated
the expediente reveals that the column for
November 25, 1982 that was sent to the old address
Counsel pleads for a liberal interpretation of the Rules defendants on said cover is filled up, down to the
of Atty. Diaz (Annex M hereof). There must be a
of Court to allow the reinstatement of his appeal. The bottom part thereof, and there is no available space
thousand reasons for sending that decision to said old
failure of counsel to file brief within the reglementary on which to write the new address of petitioner's
address despite circumstances indicated in pars. (a),
period and the dismissal of his appeal was of his own counsel in said column and this explains why the new
(b), (c) and (d) above;
doing. ... address of counsel is found on the column for plaintiff.

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The important thing is that respondent court was fully The petitioner in G.R. No. 75011 maintains as another issue that a petition The sole remedy of the landowner whose property has
apprised and had actually taken cognizance of such for certiorari in the appellate court was not the proper remedy for the been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another's
change of address of petitioner's counsel when its private respondent. The petitioner contends that upon denial of the name is, after one year from the date of the decree, is
orders issued before and after promulgation of the respondent's motion or reconsideration by the lower court, the latter not to set aside the decree, butrespecting the decree
decision of November 29, 1982 were sent to the new should have attempted to perfect an appeal or it should have filed a as incontrovertible and no longer open to review, to
address of petitioner's counsel. It is evident that when motion for relief of judgment under Section 2, Rule 38 of the Revised Rules bring an ordinary action in the ordinary court of
notices of said orders were sent to the new address of of Court. justice for reconveyance or if the property has passed
counsel for petitioner, respondent court's personnel unto the hands of an innocent purchaser for value, for
were apprised of his new address and had relied on The trial court's April 19, 1983 Order shows that the motions to set aside damages. Such a doctrine goes back to the 1919
the new address of said counsel recorded on the the order for the issuance of the writ of execution as well as the motions landmark decision of Cabanos v. Register of Deeds of
cover of the rollo. We truly find it strange that of all for reconsideration of the adverse decisions were denied on the ground Laguna, 40 Phil. 620' (Quiano v. Court of Appeals, 39
things, the decision of November 29, 1982 was sent that the lower court no longer had jurisdiction to entertain the subject SCRA 221).
to the old address of counsel for petitioner, when the motions for having become final and executory. In effect, the order
orders before and after said decision were sent to foreclosed any other possible relief from the trial court's order of execution Teoville, plaintiff in Civil Case No. 6966-P alleged that the subject parcel of
counsel's new address. which, according to private respondent, had already been partially land covered by petitioners' (defendants in Civil Case No. 6966-P)
executed. Under these circumstances, a petition for certiorari is the proper certificates of title are also covered by certificates of titles in its name.
From all the foregoing, We find that in this particular remedy. With the admission that both parties have certificates of title over the
case there was proper and adequate notice to properties, the issue in this case is, as between the parties, who has a
respondent court of the change of address of On the other hand, the petitioners in G.R. No. 66741 also contend that the better right over the same parcels of land.
petitioner's counsel; accordingly, the sending of complaint of Teoville for quieting of title in Civil Case No. 6966-P is barred
notice of the decision of November 29, 1982 to his old by Section 38 of the Land Registration Act (Act No. 496) since it seeks to The private respondent was correct in filing a complaint for quieting of title
and abandoned address was improper and invalid nullify and void the decrees of registration and the titles issued thereunder pursuant to Article 476 of the Civil Code. This is an ordinary Civil remedy
service thereof. (Emphasis supplied; Rollo of G.R. pursuant to a valid and final decision of Land Registration Case No. Q-335. sanctioned by Section 38 of the Land Registration Act, The one year
75011, pp. 083-085). prescriptive clause of Section 38 is not applicable in cases of double

In the case of Gitgano v. Borromeo (133 SCRA 437), we interpreted the law registration. (See Garcia v. Court of Appeals, 95 SCRA 380).
Accordingly, the trial court's sending of copies of its decisions in a P50 as follows:
million controversy to an old address, knowing fully well that the WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 66741 is GRANTED. The questioned
addressee having already moved would no longer receive them, does not decision of the respondent court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petition
The basic rule, therefore, is after the lapse of one (1)
serve to start the running of the period to appeal. And since the records in G.R. No. 75011 is DENIED for lack of merit. The orders dated February 3,
year, a decree of registration is no longer open to
are not clear as to when the losing parties may be considered to have 1984 and April 19, 1984 of the trial court and all proceedings pursuant to
review or attack, even though the issuance thereof
received copies of the trial court's decision, we rule for purposes of these its orders of execution are declared null and void. The period for the
may have been attended by fraud. (Section 55, Act
petitions, that the period to appeal shall commence upon our decision petitioners in G.R. No. 66741 and for the private respondent in G.R. No.
496; Arnamento v. Guerrero, 96 SCRA 178; Republic v.
becoming final and executory. 75011 to perfect their respective appeals school ommence from the date
Court of Appeals, 89 SCRA 648). After one year from
its entry, a decree of registration becomes this decision becomes final and executory .
Our decision in these petitions does not, in the least bit, imply that we are indefeasible and conclusive. (Philippine National Bank
encouraging forgetfulness or lapses in the behavior of counsel. No matter v. Court of Appeals, 98 SCRA 207). This does not SO ORDERED.
how aware a court may be about a change of address, attorneys should mean, however, that the aggrieved party is without
never overlook the importance of filing a written notice of the change of remedy at law. If the property has not yet passed to
address with copies furnished all adverse parties. It is not in all petitions an innocent purchaser for value, an action for
that this Court will permit compelling equitable grounds to overcome the reconveyance is still available."
effects of a less than strict observance of the Rules.

4
ELIAS GALLAR, plaintiff-appellee, aforementioned amount, this document shall be considered absolute and
vs. irrevocably consummated and in the meantime the vendee shall be the
HERMENEGILDA HUSAIN, ET AL., defendants. one to make use of the aforementioned land in accordance with the Ley
BONIFACIO HUSAIN, defendant-appellant. Hipotecaria.

D. E. Esmeralda for defendant-appellant. In truth whereof, I have signed this document at Cabatuan, 9th of January,
E. B. Treas for plaintiff-appellee. 1919.

REGALA, J.: (Sgd.) TEODORO HUSAIN

This is an appeal directly from the Court of First Instance. Signed in the presence of:

A hectare of rice land in Cabatuan, Iloilo, is the subject of this controversy. (sgd.) TOMAS JILOCA (sgd.) EUSEBIO JOCANO
On January 9, 1919, Teodoro Husain, the owner, sold this land to Serapio
Chichirita for P30, reserving for himself the right to repurchase it within six Teodoro Husain did not redeem the land, although shortly after the
years. The deed of sale, written in Ilongo dialect, is contained in a private execution of the deed of sale, that is, on January 28, 1919, the vendee
instrument, the English translation of which reads: a retro, Chichirita, transferred his right to Graciana Husain, sister of the
vendor aretro, in what purports to be a resale of the land. The following
I, Teodoro Husain, single, of legal age, native and resident of the annotation appears on the reverse side of the deed of pacto de retro sale:
Municipality of Cabatuan, Province of Iloilo, Philippine islands,
because of the amount of Thirty Pesos (P30.00), Philippine NOTA: The amount stated above, was received by me from
currency, that was paid to me by Serapio Chichirita, married to Graciana Husain and on my own voluntary will as redemption
Florentina Muyuela of legal age, native and resident of this (gawad) of the same land, and because of this, I am transferring
Municipality of Cabatuan, Province of Iloilo, Philippine Islands, my rights as stated above to Graciana Husain in the presence of
hereby declare that I am selling to the aforementioned vendee her husband Manuel Catalan, and in truth whereof I have signed
Serapio Chichirita, his heirs, and the heirs of the latter, my one at Cabatuan, 28 January 1919.
parcel of rice land at Barrio Salacay of this Municipality of
Cabatuan, and its descriptions are as follows:
Thumb marked
Serapio Chichirita
One parcel of rice land that has a seedling of one
89 cavan of palay, legal measure, bounded on the North,
(English translation)
land of Juan Alcayaga, on the East, land of Agapito
Republic of the Philippines Suero, on the South, land of Elias Gallar and on the
Graciana Husain subsequently transferred her rights to the land to
SUPREME COURT West, land of Juan Mina. The said land was inherited
appellee Elias Gallar in exchange for one cow. The transaction is recorded
Manila by me from my father who is now dead, Clemente
in a second note added on the reverse side of the deed of sale. The note
Husain.
reads.
EN BANC
I also declare that we have agreed that if the vendor shall have repaid to
OTRA NOTA:
G.R. No. L-20954 May 24, 1967 the vendee the aforementioned amount of P30.00 within six years from
this date, the vendee or his heirs shall execute a document of repurchase
in my favor, but if after the said term that he cannot return the

5
The undersigned Graciana Husain, with the consent and asked for damages for the value of palay which they claimed they failed to Otherwise, the records do not show any allegation made much less
knowledge of her husband Manuel Catalan, has agreed with receive on account of appellee's refusal to return possession of the land to evidence presented, by appellant of the supposed difference in the
Elias Gallar that all the rights that belongs to her, or she, them. identity of the land sold in the deed of pacto de retro sale and the land
Graciana Husain, is transferring to the said Elias Gallar in now in question. Indeed, the only defense put up by appellant was that
accordance with that stated in the original with the difference The trial court found that after acquiring the land from Teodoro Husain, the pacto de retro sale was in reality a mortgage and that, at any rate,
that this transfer is definite because it is their agreement in Serapio Chichirita sold it to Graciana Husain who in turn sold it to the appellee's action was barred by the statute of limitations. In so doing,
exchange of one head of cow described in the Certificate of appellee. Accordingly, it ordered the appellants to execute a deed of appellant joined issues with the appellee and he will not now be permitted
Large Cattle existing in the Office of the Municipal treasurer of conveyance of the land in favor of the appellee on the authority of our to bring up new matters on appeal as this would constitute changing of
this town. And in truth whereof, Graciana Husain signed ruling in Sapto v. Fabiana, G.R. No. L-11285, May 16, 1958. theory so utterly unfair to the adverse party1 that the lower court
hereunder together with her husband Manuel Catalan. deliberately, perhaps, ignored the point. It may be added that an
admission that the land described in the deed of sale and Lot No. 766 are
From this judgment, Bonifacio Husain brought this appeal to this Court. He
Cabatuan, April 2, 1919. one and the same is implicit in appellant's defense that the deed of sale
contends that the land in question, which is identified as Lot No. 766 of the
did not express the true intention of the parties.
Cadastral Survey of Cabatuan, Iloilo and covered by Original Certificate of
(sgd.) MANUEL CATALAN (sgd.) GRACIANA HUSAIN Title No. 4521 of the Register of Deeds of Iloilo, is not the same land which
Teodoro Husain sold to Serapio Chichirita on January 9,1919. According to Still it is argued that no action can be brought on the basis of the deed of

appellant he raised this question at the trial but the lower court passed it sale with a right of repurchase because the land in question was
(English translation)
up in its decision. The records on appeal do not disclose that appellant redeemed a few days after it had been sold. While it is indeed true that

made such a claim. About the only hint that he was questioning the the first note written on the reverse side of the deed of sale speaks of the
Possession of the land, together with the owner's duplicate of the
identity of the land sold by means of the deed of sale of January 9, 1919 "redemption" of the land, there is no evidence to show that the vendee,
certificate of title of Teodoro Husain, was delivered on the same occasion
was an objection to a question during the direct examination of the Graciana Husain, was acting in behalf of her brother Teodoro Husain, in the
to appellee who since then has been in possession of the land.
appellee. Thus the following appears on pages 20-21 of the transcript of exercise the latter's right of redemption. Now, unlike a debt which a third

notes taken on July 5, 1961; party may satisfy even against the debtor's will2 the right of repurchase
In an affidavit dated March 6, 1928, Chichirita confirmed the "redemption"
may be exercised only by the vendor in whom the right is recognized by
of the land by Graciana Husain. In another affidavit of the same date,
contract3 or by any person to whom the right may have been
Q According to this Exhibit C, you bought the lot to in Exhibit
Graciana Husain for her part confirmed having subsequently sold the land
transferred.4 Graciana Husain must, therefore, be deemed to have
A which is Lot 766 in question, was bought, by you for one cow.
to the appellee.1wph1.t
acquired the land in her own right, subject only to Teodoro Husain's right
Do you know how much the worth of your cow during that time?
of redemption. As the new owner she had a perfect right to dispose of the
In 1960, appellee asked the Cadastral Court for the issuance to him of a land as she in fact did when she exchanged it for a cattle with the
ATTY. ESMERALDA [for defendants]
transfer certificate of title but the court dismissed his petition for lack of appellee.
jurisdiction. (The court, however, granted appellee's request for the
amendment of the certificate of title by changing the surname of "Osaen" Objection, Your Honor. The question is premised on Lot 766 but

to "Husain.") He, therefore, filed this suit in the Court of Instance of Iloilo the document does not mention Lot 766.

on October 10, 1960 to compel Hermenegilda and Bonifacio Husain, as


heirs of Teodoro Husain, to execute a deed of conveyance in his favor so xxx xxx xxx
that he could get a transfer certificate of title. He also asked for damages.

COURT
In their answer, Hermenegilda and Bonifacio Husain denied the sale and
contended that the agreement between their father and Serapio Chichirita So your objection is that it lacks basis.
was that of a mortgage to secure a loan of P30. They claimed that the
mortgage had been discharged on January 28, 1919 when Graciana
ATTY. ESMERALDA
Husain paid Teodoro Husain's debt to Chichirita. Hermenegilda and
Bonifacio Husain likewise invoked prescription to bar appellee's action and
It lacks basis, your Honor.
6
Now, when Teodoro Husain failed to redeem the land within the stipulated
period, i.e., January 9, 1925, its ownership became consolidated in the
appellee. True the successive sales are in a private instrument, but they
are valid just the same.5 By the delivery of possession of the land on April
2, 1919 the sale was consummated and title was transferred to the
appellee. Indeed, this action is not for specific performance; all it seeks is
to quiet title,6 to remove the cloud cast on appellee's ownership as a result
of appellant's refusal to recognize the sale made by their predecessor.
And, as plaintiff-appellee is in possession of the land, the action is
imprescriptible.7Appellant's argument that the action has prescribed would
be correct if they were in possession as the action to quiet title would then
be an action for recovery of real property which must be brought within
the statutory period of limitation governing such actions. 8

Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs against


appellant.

7
90 Without pronouncements as to costs. (At p. 71, Record Lot 1950-D of the subdivision plan; on the SW pts. 1
on Appeal) to 2 by lot 2304, and pts. 2 to 11 by Lot 1951, both of
Republic of the Philippines Naic, Estate; and on the NW pts. 11 to 12 by Road. ... ;
SUPREME COURT containing an area of TWELVE THOUSAND ONE
The dispositive portion of the questioned order of the trial court reads.
Manila HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE (12,189) SQUARE METERS,
more or less. ... (p. 10, Record on Appeal)
WHEREFORE, under our present alternatives, as
THIRD DIVISION
prayed for by defendants and Intervenor, through
Lawyer Eleuterio A. Beltran, in their present incident The complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 651 was filed against the private
G.R. No. 70191 October 29, 1987 recorded on January 10, 1980; the Decision subject respondents Elias Merlan, Brigido Merlan, Jose Merlan, Teodorico

matter hereof is amended in the following Nostrates, Severo Jeciel Santiago Fernan and Fortunato Ocampo before the
RODOLFO L. CORONEL, petitioner, significance: then Court of First Instance of Cavite.
vs.
HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ELIAS Plaintiff Rodolfo Coronel is further ordered to submit a Coronel alleged in his complaint that at the time he purchased the subject
MERLAN, BRIGIDO MERLAN, JOSE MERLAN, TEODORICO complete Inventory and Accounting of all the harvests parcel of land, the defendants (private respondents herein) were already
NOSTRATIS, SEVERO JECIEL SANTIAGO FERNAN and FORTUNATO of palay produced from the parcel of land (Lot 1950-A) occupying a portion thereof as "tenants at will" and that despite demands
OCAMPO,respondents. subject matter of the present litigation, and to deliver to vacate the premises, the defendants failed and refused to move out

the corresponding shares to the defendants and from the land.

intervenors correlated with all the harvests of palay


done by the plaintiffs; considering the unrebutted In their Answer with Counterclaim and With Third-Party Complaint, the
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: finality of the testimony of defendant Brigido Merian defendants denied that Coronel was the owner of the whole parcel of land
in congruence with his supplication for the Inventory and alleged that the lots occupied by them form part of a 1/3 undivided

This is a petition to review the decision of the then Intermediate Appellate and Accounting of all the palay gathered by plaintiff share of brothers Brigido Merlan and Jose Merlan which they inherited from

Court, now the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the decision and order of Radolfo Coronel who is likewise ordered, finally, to pay their deceased father Gabriel Merlan, one of the three heirs of Bernabela

the then Court of First Instance of Cavite in Civil Case No. 651. The Iawyer Eleuterio Beltran as counsel for defendants Lontoc, the original owner of Lot No. 1950-A of the Naic Estate; that the

dispositive portion of the trial court's decision reads: and intervenors, Four Thousand (P400000) Pesos for Merlan brothers together with their two brothers and a sister never sold
his professional services. their undivided 1/3 share of the lot to anybody; that it was actually their
other co-heirs who sold their undivided portions and that the plaintiff's
WHEREFORE, in the interest of moral justice,
Naic, Cavite, February 13, 1980. (pp. 88-89, Record on claim of ownership of the whole parcel of land, if ever it has basis, is
judgment is hereby rendered in favor of all the
Appeal). fraudulent, void, and without effect; that the Merlans have always been in
defendants and intervenor; hereby DISMISSING the
open and peaceful possession of their undivided share of the lot
complaint; however, the Court hereby orders instead
throughout the years from the first sale by their co-heirs of Lot No. 1950-A
the immediate partition of the land, subject-matter on Petitioner Rodolfo Coronel filed a complaint for recovery of possession of a
in 1950; and that the other defendants were legitimate tenants. They
this case, without prejudice to the plaintiff, and in parcel of land registered under his name (Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-
prayed that the plaintiff respect their rights over 1/3 (4,063 square
accordance with the express but undivided 75543 in the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Cavite) and more
meters) of Lot No. 1950-A of the Naic Estate,
apportionments corresponding to the original co- particularly described as follows:
ownership, and pursuant to Transfer Certificate of Title
No. T-1444 (EXHIBIT 4-b) of the Registry of Deeds for In their Third-Party Complaint, the defendants charged that the third-party
A parcel of land (lot 1950-A of the subdivision plan
the Province of Cavite, as entered on May 19, 1960; defendants, owners of the remaining portion of Lot No. 1950-A, defrauded
(LRC) Psd-104544 being a portion of Lot 1950, Naic,
them when they sold the entire parcel.
Estate, LRC Rec. No. 8340), situated in the
Hereby declaring null and void, Transfer Certificate of Municipality of Naic, Province of Cavite, Island of
Title No, T-75543 of the same registry. Luzon. Bounded on the NE., pts. 12 to 14 by Irrigation Third-Party Defendants Marcelo Novelo, Paz Anuat Daniel Anuat and

Ditch; on the SE and SW pts. 14 to 15 and 15 to 1 by Rosario Cailao the defendants' co-owners of Lot No. 1950-A denied that

8
they had something to do with the fraudulent acts or illegal machinations AS A PURCHASER IN GOOD FAITH AND FOR VALUABLE married to Rosario Cailao DANIEL ANUAT married to
which deprived the defendants of their share in the subject parcel of land, CONSIDERATION OF THE LAND IN QUESTION. Dionisia Loyola, and PAZ ANUAT widow, on the share
and that what they sold was only their 2/3 undivided shares in said parcel. of BERNABELA LONTOC, consisting of twenty 20
They also filed a cross-claim against their co-defendant Mariano Manalo III gantas of seedling, on the land described in this
whom they charged might have connived with others Including the Certificate of for the sum of THREE THOUSAND PESOS
plaintiff to deprive the defendants and their co-heirs of their share in the (P3,000.00) by virtue of the deed of sale, executed
THAT THE HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE
subject parcel of land. before the Notary Public for the City of Cavite Mr.
COURT HAS ERRED IN DECLARING AS NULL AND VOID
Primo D. Anuat (Doc. No. 652; page No. 77; Book No.
TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. T-75543 OF THE
As stated earlier, the lower court ruled in favor of the defendants and on VII Series of 1950) on file in this Registry.
REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF CAVITE WHICH IS ALREADY
appeal, the lower court's decision was affirmed with the following PACEL IN THE NAME OF PETITIONER. (at pp.1-2 Brief
modification by the then Intermediate Appellate Court, to wit: for the Petitioners) Date of Instrument March 11, 1950.

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, there being no The records show that the 12,189 square meter lot was part of a 48,755 Date of Inscription March 13, 1950 at 2:35 p.m. (At
reversible error in the main decision appealed from square meter lot covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3116 (RT- pp. 23, Court of Appeals Decision; pp. 18-19, Rollo)
dated December 7, 1979, and the Order of the Court 5010) of the Naic Estate located at Muzon, Naic, Cavite in the names of
dated February 13, 1980, the same are hereby the spouses Valentin Gutierrez and Eligia Mangahas with a calculated In 1968, Lot No. 1950 of the Naic Estate was subdivided according to a
AFFIRMED with the modification that after the word portion of 2/8; spouses Jose Perea and Celestia Naces with a calculated Sketch Plan (Exh. A). The sketch plan was approved by the Commission on
"intervenor" in the main decision, the following shall portion of 3/8; Josefa Nazareno with a calculated portion of 1/8 and Land Registration on August 15, 1969. Bernabela Lontoc's 2/8 portion of
be inserted: Bernabela Lontoc with a calculated portion of 2/8. In dispute in the instant Lot No. 1950 became Lot No. 1950-A with an area of 12,189 square
case is the 2/8 share of Bernabela Lontoc which is equivalent to 12,189 meters.
l) Declaring them as the absolute owners of the square meters.
remaining 1 1/3 of the 2/8 portion pertaining to the Sometime in 1970, Ignacio Manalo sold his interest in Lot 1950-A to
late Bernabela Lontoc, nameIy, Lot 1950-A of the Naic When Lontoc died in 1945, she was survived by three sets of heirs: 1) Mariano Manalo. The pertinent portions of the deed of sale executed by
Estate pursuant to Art. 845 of the New Civil Code. (At Bernardino Merlan, a grandson by her son Enrique Merlan who died in spouses Ignacio Manalo and Marcela Nobelo in favor of spouses Mariano
p. 29.) 1918; 2) Jose Merlan and Brigido Merlan, defendants in the case below and Manalo and Jorga Manalo states:
private respondents herein, Graciano Merlan, Agapito Merlan and Corazon
The petitioner states that the appellate court erred as follows: Merlan, children of her son Gabriel who died in 1937; and 3) Daniel Anuat Ang pagkamayari namin ng bahaging binabanggit sa
and Paz Anuat children of her daughter Francisca Merlan. itaas nito ay natatalikod ng titulo big. T-3116 na gaya
I ng sumusunod:
In 1950, Bernardino Merlan, Daniel Anuat and Paz Anuat sold their 2/3

THAT THE HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE undivided portion of the lot to spouses Ignacio Manalo and Marcela (Entry No. 4953-SALE In favor of IGNACIO MANALO
COURT HAS ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT THE Nobelo. married to MARCELA NOVELO covering the rights,
CLAIM OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TO THE LAND IN interests and participations of BERNADINO MERLAN
QUESTION HAS BEEN BARRED BY THE STATUTE OF In 1960, Transfer Certificate of Title No. (T-3116) RT-5010 was cancelled by married to ROSARIO CAILAO DANIEL ANUAT 'married
LIMITATION OR BY ESTOPPEL BY LACHES. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-1444 but carried the same afore-specified to DIONISIA LOYOLA, and PAZ ANUAT widow, on the
registered co-owners with an annotation carried from the former Transfer share of BERNABELA LONTOC, consisting of twenty

II Certificate of Title, to wit: (20) gantas of seedling, on the land described in this
certificate of title of the sum of THREE THOUSAND

"Entry No. 4953-SALE in favor of IGNACIO MANALO, PESOS (P3,000.00), by virtue of the deed of sale
THAT THE HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE
married to Marcela Nobelo covering the rights, executed before the Notary Public for the City and
COURT HAS ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING PETITIONER
interest and participation of Bernardino Merlan, Prov. of Cavite Mr. Primo D. Anuat (Doc. No. 652; Page

9
No. 77; Book No. VII, Series of 1950) on file in this Mariano Manalo, the predecessor-in-interest of petitioner Rodolfo Coronel. Faja v. Court of Appeals, 75 SCRA 441; Caragay-Layno v. Court of Appeals,
Registry. Date of instrument-March 13, 1950-at 2:35 Consequently, there was a mistake when Transfer Certificate of Title No. 133 SCRA 718).
p.m. (sgd) ESCOLASTICO CUEVAS, Register of Deeds. 41175 was issued to Mariano Manalo covering the whole area of Lot No.
1950-A. Unfortunately, Mariano Manalo who was included as third-party In the same manner, there is no bar based on laches to assert their right
Na alang-alang sa halagang ISANG LIBONG P1.000.00 defendant as well as the subject of a cross- claim filed by the other third- over 1/3 of the disputed property. "Laches has been defined as the failure
PISO salaping (blurred), na sa amin ay ibinayad ni G. party defendants, and who could have shed light on this controversy was or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that
MARIANO MANALO kasal kay JORGA MANALO may at the time residing abroad and was not served with the third-party which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier;
sapat na gulang, Filipino at ang tirahan at pahatirang complaint. it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time,
sulat ay (blurred) Cavite, ay aming ipinagbili ng warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has
tuluyan (Venta Real y Absoluta) ang nabanggit na Moreover, private respondents Brigido Merlan and Jose Merlan were in abandoned it or declined to assert it." (Tejido v. Zamacoma, 138 SCRA 78
DALAWANG PUNG (20) salop na binhi, bahagi ng Lote open, peaceful and adverse possession of their 1/3 share over the lot even citing Tijam et al. v. Sibong-hanoy et al., 23 SCRA 29, Sotto v Teves, S6
blg. 1950 (blurred) tiyak sa lote na unahan nito sa after 1950 when the first sale of the lot took place. The first time they SCRA 154) The facts of the case show that the private respondents have
naturang G. Mariano Manalo, sa kanyang tagamana o knew about Coronel's claim over the whole lot was when they were served always been in peaceful possession of the 1/3 portion of the subject lot,
kahaliti sa matuwid magpakailan man. Dito'y a copy of his complaint in 1975. exercising ownership thereto for more than 25 years disrupted only in
sinasaysay rin namin ang nasabing lupang tubigan ay 1975 when the petitioner tried to remove them by virtue of his torrens title
walang sinasagutang pagkakautang kanino mang tao. Under these circumstances, the first assignment of error is not well taken. covering the entire Lot 1950-A of the Naic Estate. It was only at this point
(pp. 25-26, Rollo) that private respondents knew about the supposed sale of their 1/3
portion of Lot 1950-A of the Naic Estate and they immediately resisted.
The petitioner contends that the claim of the private respondents over
The deed of sale was registered in the Registry of Deeds in Cavite. their 1/3 undivided portion of Lot No. 1950-A 25 years after the
Thereafter, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-1444 was cancelled and registration of the deed of sale in favor of Ignacio Manalo in 1950 and The petitioner, however, insists that he is a purchaser in good faith. Thus,
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-41175 was issued for Lot No. 1950-A of more than five (5) years after the registration of the deed of sale in favor he argues that Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-41175 in the name of his
the Naic Estate in the name of Mariano Manalo married to Jorga Lagos of of Mariano Manalo is barred by prescription or laches. According to him, successor-in-interest Mariano Manalo was very clear to the effect that
Naic, Cavite. The certificate of title issued in the name of spouses Mariano there was undue delay on the part of the private respondents to claim there is no lien or encumbrance stated therein which could have been
Manalo and Jorga Lagos covered the whole Lot No. 1950-A without any their 1/3 portion of Lot No. 1950-A of the Naic Estate and that the action seen by his parents who represented him in the sale as he was then in the
mention of the 1/3 share of the private respondents in the parcel of land for annulment should have been brought within four (4) years (Art. 1391, United States and by the lawyer contracted by him to execute or prepare
which was not sold to them. New Civil Code) counted from the date of the registration of the the corresponding deed of sale.

instrument.
Relying on the transfer certificate of title of the spouses Mariano Manalo This notwithstanding, we cannot close our eyes to the fact that neither the
and Jorga Lagos and the Sketch Plan (Exhibit "A"), petitioner Rodolfo The counterclaim of the private respondents which was in effect a private respondents nor their co-owners of the subject parcel of land sold
Coronel then bought Lot No. 1950-A of the Naic Estate from the former for reconveyance to them of their 1/3 undivided share over lot No. 1950-A has the former's share of the lot. Furthermore, even Ignacio Manalo to whom
the consideration of P27,000.00 as per Doc. No. 341; Page No. 70; Book not prescribed. As lawful possessors and owners of the lot in question their the third-party defendants sold their share resold only the 2/3 shares to
No. V Series of 1974 in the Notarial Register of Notary Public Nonilo A. cause of action falls within the settled jurisprudence that an action to quiet Mariano Manalo, the successor-in-interest of the petitioner. Whether or not
Quitangon of the City of Manila. The deed of sale was registered on title to property-in one's possession is imprescriptible, Their undisturbed there was fraud or just a mistake or oversight of an employee of the
December 19, 1974 causing the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title possession over a period of more than 25 years gave them a continuing Register of Deeds of Cavite is not clear from the records. The point is that
No. T-41175 and the issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-75543 in right to seek the aid of a court of equity to determine the nature of the the 1/3 undivided portion of the private respondents over Lot No. 1950-A
the name of petitioner Rodolfo Coronel. adverse claim of a third party and the effect of his own title. If at all, the was mistakenly included in the transfer certificate of title of Mariano

private respondents' right, to quiet title, to seek reconveyance and to Manalo.

Considering these facts, it is evident that the private respondents never annul Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-75543 accrued only in 1975 when
sold their 1/3 share over Lot No. 1950-A of the Naic Estate; that what their they were made aware of a claim adverse to their own. It was only at that We apply equitable considerations:
co-owners sold to Ignacio Manalo was their 2/3 share of the same lot; and time that, the statutory period of prescription may be said to have
that Ignacio Manalo sold only the 2/3 share to third-party defendant commenced to run against them. (Sapto, et al. v. Fabiana, 103 Phil. 683,

10
Nor does the mere fact that respondent-appellee 769, 773, citing Legarda and Prieto v. Saleeby, 31
Marcelo Coral could show a certificate of Torrens Title Phil., 590; see also Caragay-Layno v. Court of
in his favor conclude the matter, the question of fraud Appeals, supra).
having been seasonably raised and the remedy of
reconveyance sought. Only recently, in Philippine We find no reversible error on the part of the lower courts in recognizing
Commercial and Industrial Bank v. Villalva (L-28194, the ownership of the private respondents over 1/3 of Lot No. 1950-A of the
November 24, 1972, 48 SCRA 31) this Court had Naic Estate. The petitioner is bound to recognize the lien in favor of the
occasion to state: There is, however, a countervailing private respondents which was mistakenly excluded and therefore not
doctrine, certainly not of lesser weight, that mitigates inscribed in the torrens title of the land of his predecessors-in-interest.
the harshness of the iron-clad application of the
principle attaching full faith and credit to a Torrens
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. The questioned
certificate. It is inspired by the highest concept of
decision is AFFIRMED but with a modification to the effect that the
what is fair and what is equitable. It would be a sad
statement "Hereby declaring null and void, Transfer Certificate of Title No.
day for the law if it were to be oblivious to the
T-75543 of the same registry" is deleted. Instead, the Registrar of Deeds of
demands justice The acceptance accorded the Torrens
Cavite is ordered to segregate the 1/3 portion of Lot No. 1950-A of the Naic
system of registration would certainly be impaired if it
Estate (4,063 square meters) from the entire portion embraced in Transfer
could be utilized to perpetrate fraud and chicanery. If
Certificate of Title No. T-75543 and issue a new certificate of title in favor
it were thus, then no stigma would attach to a claim
of the heirs of Gabriel Merlan over the disputed one-third portion and
based solely on a narrow and literal reading of a
another new certificate of title over the remaining two-thirds portion of the
statutory prescription, devoid of any shadow of moral
land in favor of petitioner Rodolfo Coronel after cancelling Transfer
right. That is not the juridical norm as recognized by
Certificate of Title No. T-75543. The questioned order is also AFFIRMED. No
this Court. Deceit is not to be countenanced; duplicity
costs.
is not to be rewarded. Witness the favor with which
jurisprudence has looked on the action for
reconveyance as well as the recognition of the
constructive trust. There is thus the stress of
rectitude. (Ibid, p. 39). (Monticenes v. Court of
Appeals, 53 SC RA 14, 21; Emphasis supplied).

Moreover, we ruled in an earlier case that:

xxx xxx xxx

... The simple possession of a certificate of title, under


the Torrens System, does not necessarily make the
possessor a true owner of all the property described
therein. If a person obtains a title, under the Torrens
system, which includes by mistake or oversight land
which cannot be registered under the Torrens
systems, he does not, by virtue of said certificate
alone, become the owner of the lands illegally
included. (Ledesma v. Municipality of Iloilo, 49 Phil.
11
91 Petitioner, JULIANA Caragay, and the decedent, Mariano DE VERA, were 11, 1947 (Exhibit"C") and it was only on March 28,
first cousins, "both orphans, who lived together under one roof in the care 1967 when the defendants filed their original answer
Republic of the Philippines of a common aunt." that Caragay sought the reconveyance to her of the
SUPREME COURT 3,732 square meters. Thus, her claim for
Manila reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust
As Administratrix, DE VERA's widow filed in Special Proceedings No. 4058
of the former Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch III, an Inventory has prescribed after 10 years (Banaga vs. Soler, L-
FIRST DIVISION of all properties of the deceased, which included "a parcel of land in the 15717, June 30,1961; J.M. Tuason & Co. vs.

poblacion of Calasiao, Pangasinan, containing an area of 5,417 square Magdangal, L-15539, Jan. 30, 1962; Alzona vs.
G.R. No. L-52064 December 26, 1984 meters, more or less, and covered by Tax Declaration No. 12664." Capunitan, 4 SCRA 450). In other words, Mariano de
Vera's Original Certificate of Title No. 63 (Exhibit "C")

JULIANA CARAGAY-LAYNO, Assisted by Her Husband, BENITO has become indefeasible. 1


Because of the discrepancy in area mentioned in the Inventory as 5,147
LAYNO, petitioner, square meters (as filed by the widow), and that in the title as 8,752 square
vs. meters, ESTRADA repaired to the Disputed Property and found that the We are constrained to reverse.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and SALVADOR ESTRADA as northwestern portion, subsequently surveyed to be 3,732 square meters,
Administrator of the Estate of the Deceased, MARIANO DE was occupied by petitioner-spouses Juliana Caragay Layno and Benito The evidence discloses that the Disputed Portion was originally possessed
VERA, respondents. Layno. ESTRADA demanded that they vacate the Disputed Portion since it openly, continuously and uninterruptedly in the concept of an owner by
was titled in the name of the deceased DE VERA, but petitioners refused Juan Caragay, the deceased father of JULIANA, and had been declared in
Pedro Peralta for petitioner. claiming that the land belonged to them and, before them, to JULIANA's his name under Tax Declaration No. 28694 beginning with the year 1921
father Juan Caragay. (Exhibit "2-C"), later revised by Tax Declaration No. 2298 in 1951 (Exhibit

Andres T. Gutierrez for private respondent. "2-B"). Upon the demise of her father in 1914, JULIANA adjudicated the

ESTRADA then instituted suit against JULIANA for the recovery of the property to herself as his sole heir in 1958 (Exhibit "4"), and declared it in

Disputed Portion (Civil Case No. D-2007), which she resisted, mainly on the her name under Tax Declaration No. 22522 beginning with the year 1959

ground that the Disputed Portion had been fraudulently or mistakenly (Exhibit "2-A"), later cancelled by TD No. 3539 in 1966 (Exhibit "2"). Realty

included in OCT No. 63, so that an implied or constructive trust existed in taxes were also religiously paid from 1938 to 1972 (Exhibits "3-A" to "3-
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
her favor. She then counterclaimed for reconveyance of property in the H"). Tacking the previous possession of her father to her own, they had

sense that title be issued in her favor. been in actual open, continuous and uninterrupted possession in the
Respondent Appellate Court, then the Court of Appeal, affirmed in toto the
concept of owner for about forty five (45) years, until said possession was
judgment of the former Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch III, at
disturbed in 1966 when ESTRADA informed JULIANA that the Disputed
After hearing, the Trial Court rendered judgment ordering JULIANA to
Dagupan adjudging private respondent entitled to recover possession of a
Portion was registered in Mariano DE VERA's name.
vacate the Disputed Portion.
parcel of land and ordering petitioners, as defendants below, to vacate the
premises. Petitioners, as paupers, now seek a reversal of that judgment.
To substantiate her claim of fraud in the inclusion of the Disputed Portion
On appeal respondent Appellate Court affirmed the Decision in toto.
in OCT No. 63, JULIANA, an unlettered woman, declared that during his
It was established by a relocation survey that the Disputed Portion is a
lifetime, DE VERA, her first cousin, and whom she regarded as a father as
3,732 square-meter-area of a bigger parcel of sugar and coconut land (Lot Before us, JULIANA takes issue with the following finding of respondent
he was much older, borrowed from her the Tax Declaration of her land
No. 1, Psu-24206 [Case No. 44, GLRO Rec. No. 117]), with a total area of Court:
purportedly to be used as collateral for his loan and sugar quota
8,752 square meters, situated at Calasiao, Pangasinan. The entire parcel is
application; that relying on her cousin's assurances, she acceded to his
covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 63, and includes the adjoining Although Section 102 of Act 496 allows a Petition to
request and was made to sign some documents the contents of which she
Lots 2 and 3, issued on 11 September 1947 in the name of Mariano M. DE compel a Trustee to reconvey a registered land to
did not even know because of her ignorance; that she discovered the
VERA, who died in 1951 without issue. His intestate estate was the cestui que trust (Severino vs. Severino, 44 Phil
fraudulent inclusion of the Disputed Portion in OCT No. 63 only in 1966
administered first by his widow and later by her nephew, respondent 343; Escobar vs. Locsin, 74 PhiL 86) this remedy is no
when ESTRADA so informed her and sought to eject them.
Salvador Estrada. longer available to Juliana Caragay. Mariano de Vera's
land, Lot 1, Psu-24206, was registered on September

12
Of significance is the fact, as disclosed by the evidence, that for twenty JULIANA, whose property had been wrongfully registered in the name of possession of a piece of land claiming to be owner
(20) years from the date of registration of title in 1947 up to 1967 when another, but which had not yet passed into the hands of third parties, can thereof may wait until his possession is disturbed or
this suit for recovery of possession was instituted, neither the deceased properly seek its reconveyance. his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate
DE VERA up to the time of his death in 1951, nor his successors-in- his right, the reason for the rule being, that his
interest, had taken steps to possess or lay adverse claim to the Disputed The remedy of the landowner whose property has undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right
Portion. They may, therefore be said to be guilty of laches as would been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another's to seek the aid of a court of equity to ascertain and
effectively derail their cause of action. Administrator ESTRADA took name is, after one year from the date of the decree, determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third
interest in recovering the said portion only when he noticed the not to set aside the decree, but, respecting the decree party and its effect on his own title, which right can be
discrepancy in areas in the Inventory of Property and in the title. as incontrovertible and no longer open to review, to claimed only by one who is in possession. No better

bring an ordinary action in the ordinary court of situation can be conceived at the moment for Us to

Inasmuch as DE VERA had failed to assert any rights over the Disputed justice for reconveyance or, if the property has passed apply this rule on equity than that of herein

Portion during his lifetime, nor did he nor his successors-in-interest into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value, for petitioners whose mother, Felipa Faja, was in

possess it for a single moment: but that, JULIANA had been in actual, damages. 4 possession of the litigated property for no less than 30

continuous and open possession thereof to the exclusion of all and sundry, years and was suddenly confronted with a claim that

the inescapable inference is, fraud having been unsubstantiated, that it the land she had been occupying and cultivating all
Prescription cannot be invoked against JULIANA for the reason that as
had been erroneously included in OCT No. 63. The mistake is confirmed by these years, was titled in the name of a third person.
lawful possessor and owner of the Disputed Portion, her cause of action for
the fact that deducting 3,732 sq. ms., the area of the Disputed Portion We hold that in such a situation the right to quiet title
reconveyance which, in effect, seeks to quiet title to the property, falls
from 8,752 sq. ms., the area of Lot 1 in OCT No. 63, the difference is 5,020 to the property, to seek its reconveyance and annul
within settled jurisprudence that an action to quiet title to property in
sq. ms., which closely approximates the area of 5,147 sq. ms., indicated in any certificate of title covering it, accrued only from
one's possession is imprescriptible. 5
Her undisturbed possession over a
the Inventory of Property of DE VERA. In fact, the widow by limiting the the time the one in possession was made aware of a
period of fifty two (52) years gave her a continuing right to seek the aid of
area in said Inventory to only 5,147 sq. ms., in effect, recognized and claim adverse to his own, and it is only then that the
a Court of equity to determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third
admitted that the Disputed Portion of 3,132 sq. ms., did not form part of statutory period of prescription commences to run
party and the effect on her own title. 6

the decedent's estate. against such possessor.

Besides, under the circumstances, JULIANA's right to quiet title, to seek


The foregoing conclusion does not necessarily wreak havoc on the WHEREFORE, the judgment under review is hereby REVERSED and SET
reconveyance, and to annul OCT. No. 63 accrued only in 1966 when she
indefeasibility of a Torrens title. For, mere possession of a certificate of ASIDE, and another one entered ordering private respondent Salvador
was made aware of a claim adverse to her own. It was only then that the
title under the Torrens System is not conclusive as to the holder's true Estrada, as Administrator of the Estate of the Deceased, Mariano de Vera,
statutory period of prescription may be said to have commenced to run
ownership of all the property described therein for he does not by virtue of to cause the segregation of the disputed portion of 3,732 square meters
against her, following the pronouncement in Faja vs. Court of Appeals,
said certificate alone become the owner of the land illegally included. 2
A forming part of Lot No. 1, Psu-24206, Case No. 44, GLRO Rec. No. 117,
supra, a case almost Identical to this one.
Land Registration Court has no jurisdiction to decree a lot to persons who presently occupied by petitioner Juliana Caragay-Layno, and to reconvey

have never asserted any right of ownership over it. the same to said petitioner. After the segregation shall have been
... Inasmuch as it is alleged in paragraph 3 of Frial's
accomplished, the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan is hereby ordered to
complaint, that Felipa Faja has been in possession of
issue a new certificate of title covering said 3,732 sq. m. portion in favor of
... Obviously then, the inclusion of said area in the the property since 1945 up to the present for a period
petitioner, and another crtificate of title in favor of the Estate of the
title of Lot No. 8151 is void and of no effect for a land of 30 years, her cause of action for reconveyance,
deceased, Mariano de Vera covering the remaining portion of 5,0520
registration Court has no jurisdiction to decree a lot to which in effect seeks to quiet her title to the property,
square meters. No costs.
persons who have put no claim in it and who have falls within that rule. If at all, the period of prescription
never asserted any right of ownership over it. The began to run against Felipa Faja only from the time
Land Registration Act as well as the Cadastral Act SO ORDERED
she was served with copy of the complaint in 1975
protects only the holders of a title in good faith and giving her notice that the property she was occupying
does not permit its provisions to be used as a shield was titled in the name of Indalecio Frial. There is
for the commission of fraud, or that one should enrich settled jurisprudence that one who is in actual
himself at the expense of another. 3

13
14
92 bounded on the N by Camilo Aviles; on the E by area(s) alloted to them was agreed and measured
Malawa River, on the S by Anastacio Aviles and on the before the execution of the agreement but he was not
Republic of the Philippines W by Juana and Apolonio Joaquin, with an area of present when the measurement was made. Defendant
SUPREME COURT 18,900 square meters and declared under Tax agreed to have a smaller area because his brother
Manila Declaration No. 31446. This property is the share of Eduardo asked him that he wanted a bigger share
their father, Eduardo Aviles and brother of the because he has several children to support. The
THIRD DIVISION defendant, in the estate of their deceased parents, portion in litigation however is part of the share given
Ireneo Aviles and Anastacia Salazar. to him in the agreement of partition. At present, he is
only occupying an area of 12,686 square meters

SINCE 1957, Eduardo Aviles was in actual possession which is smaller than his actual share of 14,470

G.R. No. 95748 November 21, 1996 of the afore-described property. In fact, the latter square meters. Tax Declarations Nos. 23575, 481 and

mortgaged the same with the Rural Bank and 379 covering his property from 1958 (Exhs. "7", "8"

Philippine National Bank branch in Lingayen. When and "9") show that the area of his property is 14,470
ANASTACIA VDA. DE AVILES, ET AL., petitioners,
the property was inspected by a bank representative, square meters. The riceland portion of his land is
vs.
Eduardo Aviles, in the presence of the boundary 13,290 square meters, the fishpond portion is 500
COURT OF APPEALS and CAMILO AVILES, respondents.
owners, namely, defendant Camilo Aviles, Anastacio square meters and the residential portion is 680

Aviles and Juana and Apolonio Joaquin(,) pointed to square meters, or a total of 14,470 square meters.

the inspector the existing earthen dikes as the That the topography of his land is not the same,

boundary limits of the property and nobody objected. hence, the height of his pilapils are likewise not the
PANGANIBAN, J.:
When the real estate mortgage was foreclosed, the same.

property was sold at public auction but this was


Is the special civil action of Quieting of Title under Rule 64 the proper
redeemed by plaintiffs' mother and the land was In its decision dated December 29, 1987, the trial court disposed of the
remedy for settling a boundary dispute? Did the respondent
subsequently transferred and declared in her name. case thus: 5

Court 1
commit a reversible error when it did not declare the respective
rights of the parties over the disputed property in said action?
ON March 23, 1983, defendant Camilo Aviles asserted WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is
a color of title over the northern portion of the hereby rendered as follows:
These are the key issues raised in this petition to review on certiorari the
property with an area of approximately 1,200 square
Decision 2
of the respondent Court promulgated on September 28, 1990 in
meters by constructing a bamboo fence (thereon) and 1. Ordering the parties to employ the services of a
CA-G.R. CV No. 18155, which affirmed the decision dated December 29,
moving the earthen dikes, thereby molesting and Land Surveyor of the Bureau of Lands, Region I, San
1987 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, 3
Lingayen, Pangasinan,
disturbing the peaceful possession of the plaintiffs Fernando, La Union, to relocate and determine the
dismissing a complaint for quieting of title.
over said portion. extent and the boundary limit of the land of the
defendant on its southern side in order that the
The Facts
UPON the other hand, defendant Camilo Aviles fourteen thousand four hundred seventy (14,470)
admitted the agreement of partition (Exh. "1") square meters which is the actual area given to the
In an action for quieting of title commenced before the aforementioned executed by him and his brothers, Anastacio and defendant be determined;
trial court, the following facts, "stripped of unnecessary verbiage", were Eduardo. In accordance therewith, the total area of
established by the respondent Court: 4
the property of their parents which they divided is 2. Ordering the complaint dismissed for lack of basis
46,795 square meters and the area alloted (sic) to and merits;
PLAINTIFFS aver that they are the actual possessors of Eduardo Aviles is 16,111 square meters more or less,
a parcel of land situated in Malawa, Lingayen, to Anastacio Aviles is 16,214 square meters more or
Pangasinan, more particularly described as fishpond, less, while the area alloted to defendant Camilo Aviles
cogonal, unirrigated rice and residential land, is 14,470 square meters more or less. The respective
15
3. Ordering the plaintiffs to pay the defendant the petition, without fully determining the respective instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding
sum of two thousand (P2,000.00) pesos as attorney's rights of the herein parties. which is apparently valid or effective but is, in truth
fees and to further pay the costs of the proceedings; and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or

Petitioners deem to be "without basis" the respondent Court's holding that unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title, an

4. All other claims are denied for lack of basis. quieting of title is not the proper remedy in the case a quo. They assert action may be brought to remove such cloud or to

that private respondent is occupying the disputed lot because he claimed quiet the title.

Dissatisfied with the trial court's decision, petitioners appealed to the it to be part of his share in the partitioned property of his parents, whereas

respondent appellate Court. In its now-assailed Decision, the Court of petitioners are claiming the said lot as part and parcel of the land allotted An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud

Appeals affirmed in part the decision of the trial court, reasoning that a to Eduardo Aviles, petitioners' predecessor-in-interest. They contend that from being cast upon a title to real property or any

special civil action for quieting of title is not the proper remedy for settling they have been occupying the aforesaid land as heirs of Eduardo Aviles in interest therein.

a boundary dispute, and that petitioners should have instituted an "open, actual, continuous, peaceful, public and adversed (sic) (possession)

ejectment suit instead. The dispositive portion of the impugned Decision against the whole world." Further, they argue that, if indeed the disputed In fine, to avail of the remedy of quieting of title, a plaintiff must show that
reads as follows: lot belonged to private respondent, why then did it take him "almost 26 there is an instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which
long years from June 27, 1957 or until March 27, 1983" to assert his constitutes or casts a cloud, doubt, question or shadow upon the owner's
ownership; why did he not "assert his ownership" over the property when title to or interest in real property. Thus, petitioners have wholly
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision
Eduardo Aviles was still alive; and why did he not take any "action" when misapprehended the import of the foregoing rule by claiming that
dated December 29, 1987 dismissing the complaint is
the mortgage over the disputed property was foreclosed? 7
respondent Court erred in holding that there was "no . . . evidence of any
hereby AFFIRMED but without necessarily agreeing
with the ration d'etre (sic) proferred by the Court a muniment of title, proceeding, written contract, . . .", and that there were,

quo. The portion thereof ordering the parties to Private respondent corrects the petitioners' claim in regard to the date as a matter of fact, two such contracts, viz., (i) the Agreement of Partition

employ the service of a land surveyor to relocate and when he had the bamboo fence constructed. He alleges that the executed by private respondent and his brothers (including the petitioners'

determine the extent and boundary limit of the land petitioners maliciously concocted the story that private respondent had father and predecessor-in-interest), in which their respective shares in the

of the defendant on its southern portion in order that purportedly encroached some 1,200 meters on their property when, in inherited property were agreed upon, and (ii) the Deed of Sale evidencing

the fourteen thousand four hundred seventy (14,470) fact, "he was merely repairing the old bamboo fence existing where it had the redemption by petitioner Anastacia Vda. de Aviles of the subject

square meters which is the actual area given to the always been since 1957." 8
property in a foreclosure sale. However, these documents in no way

defendant be determined is hereby REVERSED and constitute a cloud or cast a doubt upon the title of petitioners. Rather, the

SET ASIDE. Costs against plaintiffs-appellants. The Court's Ruling uncertainty arises from the parties' failure to situate and fix the boundary
between their respective properties.

The Issues First Issue: Quieting of Title Not Proper Remedy


For Settling Boundary Dispute As correctly held by the respondent Court, "(i)n fact, both plaintiffs and
defendant admitted the existence of the agreement of partition dated June
Disagreeing with the respondent Court, petitioners now raise the following
8, 1957 and in accordance therewith, a fixed area was allotted (sic) to
issues: 6
We agree with respondent Court. The facts presented unmistakably
them and that the only controversy is whether these lands were properly
constitute a clear case of boundary dispute, which is not cognizable in a
measured. There is no adverse claim by the defendant "which is
a. Whether or not the Hon. Court of Appeals is correct special civil action to quiet title.
apparently valid, but is, in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable,
when it opined that the . . . complaint for quieting of
or unenforceable" and which constitutes a cloud thereon.
title instituted by the petitioners against private Quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud
respondent before the court a quo is not the proper upon or doubt or uncertainty with respect to title to real property. 9

Corollarily, and equally as clear, the construction of the bamboo fence


remedy but rather, it should be a case for eejectment
enclosing the disputed property and the moving of earthen dikes are not
(sic). The Civil Code authorizes the said remedy in the following language:
the "clouds" or "doubts" which can be removed in an action for quieting of
title.
b. Whether or not the Hon. Court of Appeals is correct Art. 476. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real
in rendering a decision, now subject of the instant property or any interest therein, by reason of any

16
An action to quiet title or to remove cloud may not be brought for the or cloud to be passed on, and the issue on that contract or other written instrument, or to a statute or ordinance," but to a
purpose of settling a boundary dispute. The precedent on this matter cited particular question is one regularly triable at law. . . 11
boundary dispute, and therefore not warranting the grant of declaratory
by the respondent Court in its Decision is herewith reproduced in full: 10
relief.

Second Issue: Should Partie's Rights Have Been Declared?


In Ashurst v. McKenzie (1890) 92 Ala. 484, 9 So. 262, From another perspective, we hold that the trial court (and likewise the
where the complainants' predecessor in title and the Petitioners also chide the respondent Court (and the trial court) for not respondent Court) cannot, in an action for quieting of title, order the
defendant had, during their occupancy, destroyed and declaring the respective rights of the parties with respect to the land in determination of the boundaries of the claimed property, as that would be
obliterated the boundary line between their adjoining question, arguing that "when one is disturbed in any form in his rights of tantamount to awarding to one or some of the parties the disputed
tracts of land, and there was now a dispute as to its property over an immovable by the unfounded claims of others, he has property in an action where the sole issue is limited to whether the
location, it was held that a bill did not lie to remove a the right to ask from the competent courts: . . . that their respective rights instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding involved
cloud on the complainants' title. The court said: be determined . . . ". As support for their thesis, petitioners cite the constitutes a cloud upon the petitioners' interest or title in and to said
"There is no allegation or evidence of any muniment ancient case ofBautista vs. property. Such determination of boundaries is appropriate in adversarial
of title, proceeding, written contract, or paper Exconde. 12 proceedings where possession or ownership may properly be considered
showing any color of title in the defendant, which and where evidence aliunde, other than the "instrument, record, claim,
could cast a shadow on the title of complainants to encumbrance or proceeding" itself, may be introduced. An action for
Rule 64 of the Rules of Court, dealing with actions for declaratory relief,
any part of the land; there is no overlapping of forcible entry, whenever warranted by the period prescribed in Rule 70, or
specifies in Section 1 thereof the grounds, conditions precedent or
description in the muniments held by either. The land for recovery of possession de facto, also within the prescribed period, may
requisites for bringing such petitions. 13
This Court has previously held that
of complainants and defendant join. The line which be availed of by the petitioners, in which proceeding the boundary dispute

separates them is in dispute and is to be determined may be fully threshed out.
by evidence aliunde. Each admits that the other has
Under this rule, only a person who is interested
title up to his line wherever it may be, and the title WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the instant petition
"under a deed, will, contract or other written
papers of neither fix its precise location. So that there is hereby DENIED and the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. Costs
instrument, and whose rights are affected by a statute
is no paper the existence of which clouds the title of against petitioners.
or ordinance, may bring an action to determine any
either party, and nothing could be delivered up and
question of construction or validity arising under the
canceled under the decree of the court undertaking to
instrument or statute and for a declaration of his SO ORDERED.
remove a cloud.
rights or duties thereunder." This means that the
subject matter must refer to a deed, will, contract or
Another similarly instructive precedent reported in the same
other written instrument, or to a statute or ordinance,
reference is also quoted below:
to warrant declaratory relief. Any other matter not
mentioned therein is deemed excluded. This is under
In Kilgannon v. Jenkinson (1883) 51 Mich. 240, 16 N.W. the principle of expressio unius est exclussio
390, the court, dismissing a bill to quiet title, said: alterius. 14
93
"The fundamental dispute is about the correct position
of the line between lots 3 and 7. The case is not one
Inasmuch as the enumeration of the causes, grounds or conditions Republic of the Philippines
where a complainant in possession of a specific piece
precedent in the first paragraph of said Sec. 1 is exclusive, by parity of SUPREME COURT
of land, and a defendant out of possession, but
rea-soning, it follows that similar remedies provided for in the second Manila
claiming some right or title, are contending as to
paragraph of the same section would also be marked with the same
which one has the better right to that same parcel;
exclusivity as to bar any other cause possibly clouding one's title as a SECOND DIVISION
but it is a case where the titles are not opposed, and
ground for such petitions. Thus, even assuming arguendo that the action
the basis and existence of all right and claim depend
to quiet title had been brought under Rule 64, the same would still not
simply upon where the original line runs. When that is G.R. No. 144773 May 16, 2005
have prospered, the subject matter thereof not referring to "a deed, will,
once settled, there can remain no semblance of claim
17
AZNAR BROTHERS REALTY COMPANY, petitioner, the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City to issue a reconstituted title in the absolute sale is a fraud and is null and voidab initio because not all the co-
vs. name of the abovementioned Aying siblings. Thus, Original Certificate of owners of subject property affixed their signature on said document and
LAURENCIO AYING, IN HIS OWN BEHALF AND IN BEHALF OF THE Title (OCT) No. RO-2856 was issued. some of the co-owners who supposedly signed said document had been
OTHER HEIRS OF EMILIANO AYING, PAULINO AYING, IN HIS OWN dead at the time of the execution thereof; petitioner entered subject land
BEHALF AND IN BEHALF OF THE OTHER HEIRS OF SIMEON AYING, In 1991, petitioner, claiming to be the rightful owner of the subject in bad faith, knowing fully well that it did not have any right to the land
AND WENCESLAO SUMALINOG, IN HIS OWN BEHALF AND IN property, sent out notices to vacate, addressed to persons occupying the and used force, threat and intimidation against respondents; and they
BEHALF OF THE OTHER HEIRS OF ROBERTA AYING, respondents. property. Unheeded, petitioner then filed a complaint for ejectment suffered moral damages.3

against the occupants before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC), Lapu-
DECISION Lapu City. Petitioner (defendant before the RTC) filed its Answer, denying that
respondents are the lawful owners of subject parcel of land by virtue of

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: On February 1, 1994, the MTC ordered the occupants to vacate the their being descendants or heirs of the registered owners of subject

property. The case eventually reached this Court, docketed as G.R. No. property. Instead, petitioner alleged that it had been in actual possession

128102, entitled Aznar Brothers Realty Company vs. Court of Appeals, of subject land as owner thereof by virtue of the extra-judicial partition of
This resolves the petition for review on certiorari seeking the modification
Luis Aying, Demetrio Sida, Felomino Augusto, Federico Abing, and Romeo real property and deed of absolute sale executed in its favor; that in fact,
of the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated March 7, 2000 which
1

Augusto. On March 7, 2000, a Decision was promulgated in favor of


2 it had been paying taxes thereon religiously; that it tolerated about 6
affirmed with modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
herein petitioner, declaring it as the rightful possessor of the parcel of land persons to live on said land but said persons were eventually ejected by
Lapu-Lapu City, Branch 27 in Civil Case No. 2930-L; and the Resolution
in question. court order. Petitioner then raised the affirmative defenses of failure to
dated August 2, 2000 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration of
state cause of action and prescription, as it took respondents 27 years, 10
the aforementioned decision.
months and 27 days to file the action to recover subject property, when an
Meanwhile, herein respondents, along with other persons claiming to be
action to recover property based on an implied trust should be instituted
The antecedent facts are as follows: descendants of the eight Aying siblings, all in all numbering around 220
within 4 years from discovery of the fraud.4
persons, had filed a complaint for cancellation of the Extra-Judicial
Partition with Absolute Sale, recovery of ownership, injunction and
The disputed property is Lot No. 4399 with an area of 34,325 square
damages with the RTC of Lapu-Lapu City. The complaint was dismissed In the Pre-Trial Order dated January 30, 1995 of the RTC, the issues were
meters located at Dapdap, Lapu-Lapu City. Crisanta Maloloy-on petitioned
twice without prejudice. Said complaint was re-filed on August 19, 1993, narrowed down to the following:
for the issuance of a cadastral decree in her favor over said parcel of land.
docketed as Civil Case No. 2930-L.
After her death in 1930, the Cadastral Court issued a Decision directing
1. Whether or not the plaintiffs [herein respondents] are the
the issuance of a decree in the name of Crisanta Maloloy-ons eight
In their amended complaint, herein respondents (plaintiffs before the RTC) heirs of the registered owners of Lot No. 4399.
children, namely: Juan, Celedonio, Emiliano, Francisco, Simeon, Bernabe,
Roberta and Fausta, all surnamed Aying. The certificate of title was, alleged that: they are co-owners of subject property, being descendants of

however, lost during the war. the registered owners thereof under OCT No. RO-2856; they had been in 2. Whether or not plaintiffs are the owners of Lot No. 4399.
actual, peaceful, physical, open, adverse, continuous and uninterrupted
possession in concept of owner of subject parcel of land since time 3. Whether or not the defendant Aznar [herein petitioner] is
Subsequently, all the heirs of the Aying siblings executed an Extra-Judicial
immemorial; their possession was disturbed only in the last quarter of estopped to make any claim on Lot No. 4399.
Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale dated March 3, 1964,
1991 when some of them received notices to vacate from petitioner and
conveying the subject parcel of land to herein petitioner Aznar Brothers
several weeks thereafter, earthmoving equipment entered the disputed
Realty Company. Said deed was registered with the Register of Deeds of 4. Whether or not the defendant Aznar is a builder in bad faith.
land, bulldozing the same and destroying plants, trees and concrete
Lapu-Lapu City on March 6, 1964 under Act No. 3344 (the law governing
monuments ("mohon"); respondents discovered that such activities were
registration for unregistered land), and since then, petitioner had been 5. Whether or not the defendants are liable for damages and
being undertaken by petitioner together with Sta. Lucia Realty and
religiously paying real property taxes on said property. attorneys fees in favor of the plaintiffs.
Development, Inc.; petitioner claimed to be the owner of subject property
by virtue of an extra-judicial partition of real estate with deed of absolute
In 1988, herein petitioner filed a Petition for Reconstitution of the Original 6. Whether or not the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with
sale executed in petitioners favor by the alleged heirs of Crisanta Maloloy-
Title as the original title over the subject property had been lost during the Deed of Absolute Sale is valid and had, in effect, validly
on; the aforementioned extra-judicial partition of real estate with deed of
war. On April 12, 1988, the court granted said petition, thereby directing conveyed to defendant Aznar Lot No. 4399.

18
7. Whether or not the plaintiffs action has prescribed.5 SO ORDERED.6 HIS RIGHT TO RECOVER A TITLED PROPERTY BY REASON OF
LACHES;

After trial, the RTC rendered a Decision dated July 4, 1997, ruling that Herein respondents appealed the foregoing decision to the CA and on
respondents evidence failed to prove that the extra-judicial partition with March 7, 2000, said court promulgated its Decision, the dispositive portion II
deed of absolute sale was a totally simulated or fictitious contract and of which is reproduced hereunder:
concluded that said document is valid, thus, effectively conveying to THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE
petitioner the property in question. It further held that respondents action THE FOREGOING CONSIDERED, the contested Decision while THAT THE ACT OF REGISTRATION OF THE DEED OF PARTITION
had prescribed in that the action is considered as one for reconveyance AFFIRMED is hereby MODIFIED. The heirs of Emiliano Aying, WITH SALE MAY BE CONSIDERED AN UNEQUIVOCAL
based on implied or constructive trust, it prescribed in 10 years from the Simeon Aying and Roberta Aying are hereby declared as the REPUDIATION OF THE TRUST GIVING RISE TO PRESCRIPTION;
registration of the deed on March 6, 1964; and if the action is considered lawful owners of the contested property but equivalent only to
as one for annulment of contract on the ground of fraud, it should have 3/8. III
been filed within 4 years from discovery of the fraud. The trial court also
ruled that respondents failed to present any admissible proof of filiation,
SO ORDERED. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE
hence, they were not able to prove that they are indeed heirs of the eight
PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1104 OF THE CIVIL CODE TO THE
Aying siblings who appear as the registered owners under OCT No. RO-
In modifying the RTC judgment, the CA ratiocinated that "an action for EFFECT THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF BAD FAITH OR FRAUD, THE
2856.
recovery of possession of registered land never prescribes in view of the PARTITION WITH PRETERITION OF ANY COMPULSORY HEIR SHALL
provision of Section 44, Act No. 496 (now Sec. 47, PD 1520), to the effect NOT BE RESCINDED.7
The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads as follows:
that no title to registered land in derogation to that of a registered owner
shall be acquired by prescription." The CA further ruled that even if the In their Comment, respondents argue that this case is an action to declare
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the action is deemed to be based on implied trust, prescription did not begin as null and void the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of
amended complaint on the ground of prescription, and declaring to run since there is no evidence that positive acts of repudiation were Absolute Sale, hence, under Article 1410 of the Civil Code, an action for
the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute made known to the heirs who did not participate in the execution of the declaration of an inexistent contract does not prescribe. Respondents
Sale dated March 3, 1964 as valid and binding, adjudging that Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale. Thus, further posit that the principle of laches should be applied against
Lot 4399 with an area of 34,325 square meters located at striking down the RTCs ruling that the respondents complaint is petitioner and not against them, as they (respondents) had been in actual
Dapdap, Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City had been validly conveyed to dismissible on the ground of prescription, the CA held instead that herein possession of the subject property, while petitioner merely brought action
and in favor of Aznar Brothers Realty Company, and directing respondents action had not prescribed but upheld the validity of the to eject them more than 29 years after the alleged execution of the Extra-
the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City to register the above- Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale, except as Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale. They also
mentioned deed in accordance with law and to cancel Original to the shares of the heirs of Emiliano, Simeon and Roberta, who did not refuted petitioners arguments regarding the application of the principles
Certificate of Title No. RO-2856, and to issue a transfer participate in the execution of said document. of implied and constructive trusts in this case.
certificate of title in the name of Aznar Brothers Realty Company
upon payment of the necessary registration fees pursuant
Herein petitioners motion for reconsideration of the CA decision was At the outset, it should be stressed that not all the plaintiffs who filed the
thereto.
denied per Resolution dated August 2, 2000. amended complaint before the trial court had been impleaded as
respondents in the present petition. The only parties impleaded are the
The Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued in this case is hereby
Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari assailing the CA heirs of Emiliano, Simeon and Roberta Aying, whom the CA adjudged as
ordered dissolved.
decision on the following grounds: owners of a 3/8 portion of the land in dispute for not having participated in
the execution of the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of
The Motion for Contempt filed by the plaintiffs against Absolute Sale.
I
defendants is dismissed for want of factual and legal basis.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE It is significant to note that herein petitioner does not question the CA
Costs against the plaintiffs. conclusion that respondents are heirs of the aforementioned three Aying
THAT AN HEIR OF THE ORIGINAL REGISTERED OWNER MAY LOSE
siblings. Hence, the trial court and appellate courts findings that the

19
Extra- Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale was not in an express trust, a beneficiary and a trustee are the trust, applies to express trusts and resulting implied trusts.
forged nor simulated and that the heirs of Emiliano, Simeon and Roberta linked by confidential or fiduciary relations, in a However, inconstructive implied trusts, prescription may
Aying did not participate in the execution thereof, are now beyond cavil. constructive trust, there is neither a promise nor any supervene even if the trustee does not repudiate the
fiduciary relation to speak of and the so-called trustee relationship. Necessarily, repudiation of said trust is not a

The issues raised by petitioner for the Courts resolution are (1) whether or neither accepts any trust nor intends holding the condition precedent to the running of the prescriptive period.11

not respondents cause of action is imprescriptible; and (2) if their right to property for the beneficiary.9

bring action is indeed imprescriptible, may the principle of laches apply. The next question is, what is the applicable prescriptive period?
The concept of constructive trusts was further elucidated in the same

Respondents alleged in their amended complaint that not all the co- case, as follows: In Amerol vs. Bagumbaran,12 the Court expounded on the prescriptive
owners of the land in question signed or executed the document period within which to bring an action for reconveyance of property based
conveying ownership thereof to petitioner and made the conclusion that . . . implied trusts are those which, without being expressed, are on implied or constructive trust, to wit:
said document is null and void. We agree with the ruling of the RTC and deducible from the nature of the transaction as matters of intent
the CA that the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute or which are superinduced on the transaction by operation of . . . under the present Civil Code, we find that just as an implied
Sale is valid and binding only as to the heirs who participated in the law as matters of equity, independently of the particular or constructive trust is an offspring of the law (Art. 1456, Civil
execution thereof, hence, the heirs of Emiliano, Simeon and Roberta Aying, intention of the parties. In turn, implied trusts are either Code), so is the corresponding obligation to reconvey the
who undisputedly did not participate therein, cannot be bound by said resulting or constructive trusts. These two are differentiated property and the title thereto in favor of the true owner. In this
document. from each other as follows: context, and vis--vis prescription, Article 1144 of the Civil Code
is applicable.
However, the facts on record show that petitioner acquired the entire Resulting trusts are based on the equitable doctrine
parcel of land with the mistaken belief that all the heirs have executed the that valuable consideration and not legal title Article 1144. The following actions must be brought
subject document. Thus, the trial court is correct that the provision of law determines the equitable title or interest and are within ten years from the time the right of action
applicable to this case is Article 1456 of the Civil Code which states: presumed always to have been contemplated by the accrues:
parties. They arise from the nature of circumstances

ART. 1456. If property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the of the consideration involved in a transaction whereby
(1) Upon a written contract;
person obtaining it is, by force of law, considered a trustee of an one person thereby becomes invested with legal title

implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the but is obligated in equity to hold his legal title for the
(2) Upon an obligation created by law;
property comes. benefit of another. On the other hand, constructive
trusts are created by the construction of equity
(3) Upon a judgment.
in order to satisfy the demands of justice and
In Vda. De Esconde vs. Court of Appeals, the Court expounded thus:
8

prevent unjust enrichment. They arise contrary


to intention against one who, by fraud, duress xxx xxx xxx
Construing this provision of the Civil Code, in Philippine National
or abuse of confidence, obtains or holds the
Bank v. Court of Appeals, the Court stated:
legal right to property which he ought not, in An action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive
equity and good conscience, to hold.10 (Emphasis trust must perforce prescribe in ten years and not otherwise. A
A deeper analysis of Article 1456 reveals that it is not
supplied) long line of decisions of this Court, and of very recent vintage at
a trust in the technical sense for in a typical trust,
that, illustrates this rule. Undoubtedly, it is now well-settled that
confidence is reposed in one person who is named a
Based on such concept of constructive trusts, the Court ruled in said case an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive
trustee for the benefit of another who is called the
that: trust prescribes in ten years from the issuance of the Torrens
cestui que trust, respecting property which is held by
title over the property.13
the trustee for the benefit of the cestui que trust. A
The rule that a trustee cannot acquire by prescription ownership
constructive trust, unlike an express trust, does not
over property entrusted to him until and unless he repudiates It has also been ruled that the ten-year prescriptive period begins to run
emanate from, or generate a fiduciary relation. While
from the date of registration of the deed or the date of the issuance of the
20
certificate of title over the property, but if the person claiming to be the Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale;19 and Laurencio Ayings (heir of In the case at bar, it was petitioner, as the defendant before the RTC,
owner thereof is in actual possession of the property, the right to seek Emiliano Aying) admission that he found out about the sale of the land in which set up in its Answer the affirmative defense of prescription. It was,
reconveyance, which in effect seeks to quiet title to the property, does not dispute a long time ago and can only estimate that it must be after martial therefore, incumbent upon petitioner to prove the date from which the
prescribe.14 law.20 Paulino Aying (heir of Simeon Aying) gave no testimony whatsoever prescriptive period began to run. Evidence as to the date when the ten-
as to when the children of Simeon Aying actually learned of the existence year prescriptive period began exists only as to the heirs of Roberta Aying,

In the present case, respondents Wenceslao Sumalinog, an heir of Roberta of the document of sale. On the other hand, petitioner did not present any as Wenceslao Sumalinog admitted that they learned of the existence of

Aying; Laurencio Aying, an heir of Emiliano Aying; and Paulino Aying, an other evidence to prove the date when respondents were notified of the the document of sale in the year 1967. As to the heirs of Emiliano Aying

heir of Simeon Aying, all testified that they had never occupied or been in execution of the subject document. and Simeon Aying, there is no clear evidence of the date when they

possession of the land in dispute. 15


Hence, the prescriptive period of ten discovered the document conveying the subject land to petitioner.

years would apply to herein respondents. In view of the lack of unambiguous evidence of when the heirs of Emiliano Petitioner miserably failed to adduce proof of when the heirs of Emiliano

Aying and Simeon Aying discovered the existence of the document of sale, Aying and Simeon Aying were notified of the subject document. Hence,

it must be determined which party had the burden of proof to establish with regard to said heirs, the Court may consider the admission in the
The question then arises as to the date from which the ten-year period
such fact. amended complaint that they learned of the conveyance of the disputed
should be reckoned, considering that the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real
land only in 1991 when petitioner sent notices to vacate to the occupants
Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale was registered under Act No. 3344 and
of the subject land, as the date from which the ten-year prescriptive
not under Act No. 496 (Land Registration Act), despite the fact the land in The test for determining where the burden of proof lies is to ask which
period should be reckoned.
dispute was already titled under Act No. 496 in the names of the Aying party to an action or suit will fail if he offers no evidence competent to
siblings at the time the subject document was executed. show the facts averred as the basis for the relief he seeks to
obtain.21 Moreover, one alleging a fact that is denied has the burden of Respondents filed their Amended Complaint on December 6, 1993.24 Thus,

proving it and unless the party asserting the affirmative of an issue with regard to respondent heirs of Roberta Aying who had knowledge of
In Spouses Abrigo vs. De Vera,16 it was held that registration of
sustains the burden of proof of that issue by a preponderance of the the conveyance as far back as 1967, their cause of action is already
instruments must be done in the proper registry, in order to affect and
evidence, his cause will not succeed.22 Thus, the defendant bears the barred by prescription when said amended complaint was filed as they
bind the land and, thus, operate as constructive notice to the
burden of proof as to all affirmative defenses which he sets up in answer only had until 1977 within which to bring action. As to the respondent
world. 17
Therein, the Court ruled:
to the plaintiffs claim or cause of action; he being the party who asserts heirs of Emiliano and Simeon Aying, they were able to initiate their action

the truth of the matter he has alleged, the burden is upon him to establish for reconveyance of property based on implied or constructive trust well
x x x If the land is registered under the Land Registration Act
the facts on which that matter is predicated and if he fails to do so, the within the ten-year prescriptive period reckoned from 1991 when they
(and has therefore a Torrens Title), and it is sold but the
plaintiff is entitled to a verdict or decision in his favor.23 were sent by petitioner a notice to vacate the subject property.
subsequent sale is registered not under the Land Registration
Act but under Act 3344, as amended, such sale is not
Evidently, laches cannot be applied against respondent heirs of Emiliano
considered REGISTERED x x x .18
and Simeon Aying, as they took action to protect their interest well within
the period accorded them by law.
In this case, since the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of
Absolute Sale was registered under Act No. 3344 and not under Act No.
With regard to petitioners argument that the provision of Article 1104 of
496, said document is deemed not registered. Accordingly, the ten-year
the Civil Code, stating that a partition made with preterition of any of the
prescriptive period cannot be reckoned from March 6, 1964, the date of
compulsory heirs shall not be rescinded, should be applied, suffice it to
registration of the subject document under Act No. 3344. The prescriptive
say that the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute
period only began to run from the time respondents had actual notice of
Sale is not being rescinded. In fact, its validity had been upheld but only
the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale.
as to the parties who participated in the execution of the same. As
discussed above, what was conveyed to petitioner was ownership over the
The only evidence on record as to when such prescriptive period
shares of the heirs who executed the subject document. Thus, the law,
commenced as to each of the respondents are Wenceslao Sumalinogs
particularly, Article 1456 of the Civil Code, imposed the obligation upon
(heir of Roberta Aying) testimony that about three years after 1964, they
petitioner to act as a trustee for the benefit of respondent heirs of
already learned of the existence of the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real
Emiliano and Simeon Aying who, having brought their action within the
21
prescriptive period, are now entitled to the reconveyance of their share in follows: The amended complaint of the heirs of Roberta Aying is SO ORDERED.
the land in dispute. DISMISSED on the ground of prescription. However, the heirs of Emiliano
Aying and Simeon Aying, having instituted the action for reconveyance

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED and within the prescriptive period, are hereby DECLARED as the LAWFUL

the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 7, 2000 is MODIFIED, as OWNERS of a 2/8 portion of the parcel of land covered by Original
Certificate of Title No. RO-2856.

22