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Nature of prescription, the kinds and period of acquisition of rights

Gesmundo,, vs. CA

321 SCRA 487
Facts: Petitioner herein, filed on 4 March 1983 a complaint against
the spouses Maximina Briz and Santiago Reyes and the City Assessor
of San Pablo City before the Regional Trial Court of San Pablo City for
annulment of certain falsified affidavits and tax declarations over a parcel
of land located at Brgy. Dolores, San Pablo City.
Petitioners alleged that the aforementioned property was originally
declared in the name of their father Anastacio Gesmundo who died on
20 June 1974 and submitted in evidence Tax Declarations. To
substantiate their claim of ownership, they further claimed that Crispin
Briz, uncle of respondent Maximina Briz, was the administrator of their
father, whereas Lucio Brion, cousin of respondents Brion, was
subsequently designated caretaker thereon. Still further, they asserted
that on account of a series of record tampering in the City Assessor's
Office, Tax Declaration No. 11296 was cancelled.
Respondent Maximina Briz presented the same Tax Declaration
number but declared in the name of her grandmother Anastacia
Gesmundo who died on 21 September 1909 leaving five (5) children.
Her uncle Crispin Briz, who died in 1949, was the administrator of the
property. She inherited one-fifth (1/5) portion thereof from her father in
1940 and subsequently acquired the rest by way of sale transactions.
She paid the real estate taxes thereon from 1945 to 1991.
Respondents Brion asserted that their property is in the name of
their grandfather Esteban Maranan, and when their grandfather died, the
property was transferred in the name of their mother Francisca Maranan
who paid real estate taxes thereon from 1972 to 1984 and upon the
death of their mother and of their father Gervacio Brion, respondents
Brion possessed the property.
As to who of them possessed the subject property and gathering
the fruits therefrom, the trial court conducted an ocular inspection of the
premises. As it turned out, the land being claimed by petitioners was
located outside of the property, on the west thereof, being claimed and
possessed by respondent Briz and with visible natural boundaries
separating the properties.
The trial court rendered judgment declaring that respondent
Maximina Briz are the lawful owners of the property with an area of
7,091 square meters and respondents Rodrigo, Lope and Casimira Brion
the lawful owners of the property with an area of 11,094 square meters.

Issue: Who owns the property by presentation of evidence of Tax

Declarations, Deed of Sale, and prescription

Ruling: The testimonial and documentary evidence of respondent

Briz adequately establish that the 7,091-square meter property formerly
belonged to Anastacia Gesmundo, thereafter transferred to her children
by inheritance until ownership thereof was consolidated in respondent
Maximina Briz both as a consequence of inheritance and by sale.
The name "Anastacio" in several tax declarations appears to be a
typographical error by the City Assessor's Office, and find plausible the
explanation of respondent Briz that she understood "Anastacio" in
subsequent tax declarations to be Anastacia because she did not know
Anastacio Gesmundo.
Respondent Briz has been in possession of the 7,091-square
meter property since 1956 through Crispulo Exconde as caretaker. Her
possession was in the concept of owner. Her acts of harvesting coconuts
therefrom were manifest and visible to all. She possessed the property
peacefully as she was never ousted therefrom nor prevented from
enjoying the fruits thereof. Her possession was uninterrupted and in
good faith.
There is failure on petitioners to prove their ownership of the
7,091-square meter property, and they were uncertain as to the identity
thereof. A person who claims ownership of real property is duty bound to
clearly identify the land being claimed in accordance with the document
on which he anchors his right of ownership.
Supreme Court did not sustain the ownership of respondents Brion
since it relied merely on the tax declarations and tax receipts in the
name of their predecessors-in-interest. They were only able to prove
their own possession which began in 1984 up to the time respondent
Casimira testified on 25 May 1992, which is less than the requisite
period of 10 years. They failed to establish the possession of their