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(Chairman), Ynares-Santiago, Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and Chico-Nazario, JJ. Promulgated: January 20, 2006 x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Assailed in this petition for review is the September 23, 2003 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 74921 which set aside the September 13, 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 7, in Civil Case No. CEB-27806, and reinstated the February 12, 2002 Judgment of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Minglanilla, Metro Cebu, in Civil Case No. 392, dismissing petitioner Arnelito Adlawan’s unlawful detainer suit against respondents Emeterio and Narcisa Adlawan. Likewise questioned is the January 8, 2004 Resolution of the Court of Appeals which denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. The instant ejectment suit stemmed from the parties’ dispute over Lot 7226 and the house built thereon, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 8842, registered in the name of the late Dominador Adlawan and located at Barrio Lipata, Municipality of Minglanilla, Cebu. In his complaint, petitioner claimed that he is an acknowledged illegitimate child of Dominador who died on May 28, 1987 without any other issue. Claiming to be the sole heir of Dominador, he executed an affidavit adjudicating to himself Lot 7226 and the house built thereon. Out of respect and generosity to respondents who are the siblings of his father, he granted their plea to occupy the subject property provided they would vacate the same should his need for the property arise. Sometime in January 1999, he verbally requested respondents to vacate the house and lot, but they refused and filed instead an action for quieting of title with the RTC. Finally, upon respondents’ refusal to heed the last demand letter to vacate dated August 2, 2000, petitioner filed the instant case on August 9, 2000. On the other hand, respondents Narcisa and Emeterio, 70 and 59 years of age, respectively, denied that they begged petitioner to allow them to stay on the questioned property and stressed that they have been occupying Lot 7226 and the house standing thereon since birth. They alleged that Lot 7226 was originally registered in the name of their deceased father, Ramon Adlawan and the ancestral house standing thereon was owned by Ramon
EMETERIO M. ADLAWAN and NARCISA M. ADLAWAN, Respondents.
2 and their mother, Oligia Mañacap Adlawan. The spouses had nine children including the late Dominador and herein surviving respondents Emeterio and Narcisa. During the lifetime of their parents and deceased siblings, all of them lived on the said property. Dominador and his wife, Graciana Ramas Adlawan, who died without issue, also occupied the same. Petitioner, on the other hand, is a stranger who never had possession of Lot 7226. Sometime in 1961, spouses Ramon and Oligia needed money to finance the renovation of their house. Since they were not qualified to obtain a loan, they transferred ownership of Lot 7226 in the name of their son Dominador who was the only one in the family who had a college education. By virtue of a January 31, 1962 simulated deed of sale, a title was issued to Dominador which enabled him to secure a loan with Lot 7226 as collateral. Notwithstanding the execution of the simulated deed, Dominador, then single, never disputed his parents’ ownership of the lot. He and his wife, Graciana, did not disturb respondents’ possession of the property until they died on May 28, 1987 and May 6, 1997, respectively. Respondents also contended that Dominador’s signature at the back of petitioner’s birth certificate was forged, hence, the latter is not an heir of Dominador and has no right to claim ownership of Lot 7226. They argued that even if petitioner is indeed Dominador’s acknowledged illegitimate son, his right to succeed is doubtful because Dominador was survived by his wife, Graciana. On February 12, 2002, the MTC dismissed the complaint holding that the establishment of petitioner’s filiation and the settlement of the estate of Dominador are conditions precedent to the accrual of petitioner’s action for ejectment. It added that since Dominador was survived by his wife, Graciana, who died 10 years thereafter, her legal heirs are also entitled to their share in Lot 7226. The dispositive portion thereof, reads: In View of the foregoing, for failure to prove by preponderance of evidence, the plaintiff’s cause of action, the above-entitled case is hereby Ordered DISMISSED. SO ORDERED. On appeal by petitioner, the RTC reversed the decision of the MTC holding that the title of Dominador over Lot 7226 cannot be collaterally attacked. It thus ordered respondents to turn over possession of the controverted lot to petitioner and to pay compensation for the use and occupation of the premises. The decretal portion thereof, provides: Wherefore, the Judgment, dated February 12, 2002, of the Municipal Trial Court of Minglanilla, Cebu, in Civil Case No. 392, is reversed. Defendantsappellees are directed to restore to plaintiff-appellant possession of Lot 7226 and the house thereon, and to pay plaintiff-appellant, beginning in August 2000, compensation for their use and occupation of the property in the amount of P500.00 a month. So ordered. Meanwhile, the RTC granted petitioner’s motion for execution pending appeal which was opposed by the alleged nephew and nieces of Graciana in their motion for leave to intervene and to file an answer in intervention. They contended that as heirs of Graciana, they have a share in Lot 7226 and that intervention is necessary to protect their right over the
3 property. In addition, they declared that as co-owners of the property, they are allowing respondents to stay in Lot 7226 until a formal partition of the property is made. The RTC denied the motion for leave to intervene. It, however, recalled the order granting the execution pending appeal having lost jurisdiction over the case in view of the petition filed by respondents with the Court of Appeals. On September 23, 2003, the Court of Appeals set aside the decision of the RTC and reinstated the judgment of the MTC. It ratiocinated that petitioner and the heirs of Graciana are co-owners of Lot 7226. As such, petitioner cannot eject respondents from the property via an unlawful detainer suit filed in his own name and as the sole owner of the property. Thus – WHEEFORE, premises considered, the appealed Decision dated September 13, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 7, in Civil Case No. CEB-27806 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the Judgment dated February 12, 2002 of the Municipal Trial Court of Minglanilla, Metro Cebu, in Civil Case No. 392 is REINSTATED. Costs against the respondent. SO ORDERED. Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, the instant petition. The decisive issue to be resolved is whether or not petitioner can validly maintain the instant case for ejectment. Petitioner averred that he is an acknowledged illegitimate son and the sole heir of Dominador. He in fact executed an affidavit adjudicating to himself the controverted property. In ruling for the petitioner, the RTC held that the questioned January 31, 1962 deed of sale validly transferred title to Dominador and that petitioner is his acknowledged illegitimate son who inherited ownership of the questioned lot. The Court notes, however, that the RTC lost sight of the fact that the theory of succession invoked by petitioner would end up proving that he is not the sole owner of Lot 7226. This is so because Dominador was survived not only by petitioner but also by his legal wife, Graciana, who died 10 years after the demise of Dominador on May 28, 1987. By intestate succession, Graciana and petitioner became co-owners of Lot 7226.  The death of Graciana on May 6, 1997, did not make petitioner the absolute owner of Lot 7226 because the share of Graciana passed to her relatives by consanguinity and not to petitioner with whom she had no blood relations. The Court of Appeals thus correctly held that petitioner has no authority to institute the instant action as the sole owner of Lot 7226. Petitioner contends that even granting that he has co-owners over Lot 7226, he can on his own file the instant case pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code which provides: ART. 487. Any one of the co-owners may bring an action in ejectment. This article covers all kinds of actions for the recovery of possession. Article 487 includes forcible entry and unlawful detainer (accion interdictal), recovery of possession (accion publiciana), and recovery of ownership (accion de reivindicacion). A co-owner may bring such an action without the necessity of joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs because the suit is presumed to have been filed to benefit his co-owners. It should be stressed, however, that where the suit is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone who claims to be the sole owner and entitled to the possession of the litigated property, the action should be dismissed. 
(Emphasis added) In Baloloy v.adjudication over the disputed property. respondent filed a complaint for quieting of title claiming exclusive ownership of the property.4 The renowned civilist. Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. In dismissing the complaint for want of respondent’s authority to file the case. This article covers all kinds of actions for the recovery of possession. as parties. explained – A co-owner may bring such an action. Hular. If the action is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone who claims to be the sole owner and entitled to the possession thereof. Tolentino. such that he claims possession for himself and not for the co-ownership. be stressed that the Republic of the Philippines is also an indispensable party as defendant because the respondent sought the nullification of OCT No. It is clear therefore that . likewise. Under Section 7. The trial court rendered judgment declaring the respondent as the sole owner of the property and entitled to its possession. There is no proof that the other co-owners had waived their rights over the subject property or conveyed the same to the respondent or such coowners were aware of the case in the trial court. A coowner may bring such an action without the necessity of joining all the other coowners as co-plaintiffs because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. Professor Arturo M. the same cannot prejudice the rights of the unimpleaded co-owners. but the evidence showed that respondent has co-owners over the property. The absence of the respondent’s siblings. rendered all proceedings subsequent to the filing thereof. In the instant case. It must. to the prejudice of the latter’s siblings. The respondent failed to comply with the rule. being co-owners of the property. the respondent was mandated to implead his siblings. If the action is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone. 384019. any of the co-owners may bring an action in ejectment. Unless the State is impleaded as party-defendant. P-16540 which was issued based on Free Patent No. including an accion publiciana and a reinvidicatory action. the decision of the trial court is erroneous. the action will not prosper. ineffective for want of authority to act. Any judgment of the court in favor of the co-owner will benefit the others but if such judgment is adverse. Patently then. as parties. It has been held that the absence of an indispensable party in a case renders ineffective all the proceedings subsequent to the filing of the complaint including the judgment. any decision of the Court would not be binding on it. not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present. including the judgment of the court. In this case. claiming sole ownership over the subject property and praying that he be declared the sole owner thereof. because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. the Court held that – Under Article 487 of the New Civil Code. without the necessity of joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs. it is not disputed that petitioner brought the suit for unlawful detainer in his name alone and for his own benefit to the exclusion of the heirs of Graciana as he even executed an affidavit of self. the respondent alone filed the complaint. the action will not prosper unless he impleads the other co-owners who are indispensable parties.
5 petitioner cannot validly maintain the instant action considering that he does not recognize the co-ownership that necessarily flows from his theory of succession to the property of his father, Dominador. In the same vein, there is no merit in petitioner’s claim that he has the legal personality to file the present unlawful detainer suit because the ejectment of respondents would benefit not only him but also his alleged co-owners. However, petitioner forgets that he filed the instant case to acquire possession of the property and to recover damages. If granted, he alone will gain possession of the lot and benefit from the proceeds of the award of damages to the exclusion of the heirs of Graciana. Hence, petitioner cannot successfully capitalize on the alleged benefit to his co-owners. Incidentally, it should be pointed out that in default of the said heirs of Graciana, whom petitioner labeled as “fictitious heirs,” the State will inherit her share and will thus be petitioner’s co-owner entitled to possession and enjoyment of the property. The present controversy should be differentiated from the cases where the Court upheld the right of a co-owner to file a suit pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code. In Resuena v. Court of Appeals, and Sering v. Plazo, the co-owners who filed the ejectment case did not represent themselves as the exclusive owner of the property. In Celino v. Heirs of Alejo and Teresa Santiago, the complaint for quieting of title was brought in behalf of the co-owners precisely to recover lots owned in common. Similarly in Vencilao v. Camarenta, the amended complaint specified that the plaintiff is one of the heirs who co-owns the controverted properties. In the foregoing cases, the plaintiff never disputed the existence of a co-ownership nor claimed to be the sole or exclusive owner of the litigated lot. A favorable decision therein would of course inure to the benefit not only of the plaintiff but to his co-owners as well. The instant case, however, presents an entirely different backdrop as petitioner vigorously asserted absolute and sole ownership of the questioned lot. In his complaint, petitioner made the following allegations, to wit: 3. The plaintiff was the only son (illegitimate) and sole heir of the late DOMINADOR ADLAWAN who died intestate on 28 May 1987 without any other descendant nor ascendant x x x. xxxx 5. Being the only child/descendant and, therefore, sole heir of the deceased Dominador Adlawan, the plaintiff became the absolute owner, and automatically took POSSESSION, of the aforementioned house and lot x x x. (Emphasis added) Clearly, the said cases find no application here because petitioner’s action operates as a complete repudiation of the existence of co-ownership and not in representation or recognition thereof. Dismissal of the complaint is therefore proper. As noted by Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Edgrado L. Paras “[i]t is understood, of course, that the action [under Article 487 of the Civil Code] is being instituted for all. Hence, if the co-owner expressly states that he is bringing the case only for himself, the action should not be allowed to prosper.” Indeed, respondents’ not less than four decade actual physical possession of the questioned ancestral house and lot deserves to be respected especially so that petitioner failed to show that he has the requisite personality and authority as co-owner to file the instant case. Justice dictates that respondents who are now in the twilight years of their life be granted
6 possession of their ancestral property where their parents and siblings lived during their lifetime, and where they, will probably spend the remaining days of their life. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The September 23, 2003 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 74921 which reinstated the February 12, 2002 Judgment of the Municipal Trial Court of Minglanilla, Metro Cebu, dismissing petitioner’s complaint in Civil Case No. 392, and its January 8, 2004 Resolution, are AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 161817 July 30, 2004 DANIEL D. CELINO, petitioner, vs. HEIRS OF ALEJO and TERESA SANTIAGO, respondents. RESOLUTION TINGA, J.: Before us is a petition for review of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals promulgated on 28 October 2002 and its Resolution2 promulgated on 14 January 2004 denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. The case stemmed from an action for Quieting of Title, Recovery of Possession and Damages with Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction filed by the heirs of Alejo and Teresa Santiago against herein petitioner Daniel Celino.3 Petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss,4 alleging that complainant Juliet Santiago did not have the legal capacity to sue, since she did not have the corresponding written authority to represent her co-plaintiffs, and since the Complaint failed to state a cause of action. The trial court, presided by Judge Antonio C. Reyes, denied the said motion on the ground that the issues posed by petitioner could best be resolved during the trial.5 It likewise denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration.6 Thereafter, pre-trial was held. There, plaintiff Juliet Santiago presented through counsel, a copy of the Special Power of Attorney7 executed by Virginia S. Robertson and Gloria S. Tinoyan, two of the plaintiffs in the Complaint, authorizing counsels Juan Antonio R. Alberto III and Alexander A. Galpo to represent them in the pre-trial of the case. Likewise submitted was a Special Power of Attorney8 executed by Romeo Santiago, Juliet Santiago and Larry Santiago in favor of above-named counsels to represent them in the pre-trial conference. Trial ensued and plaintiffs therein, now respondents, presented their evidence. Petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence,9 still on the ground of Juliet Santiago's alleged lack of legal capacity to sue. Petitioner claimed that the evidence presented by Santiago should not be admitted since she failed to present any evidence of authority to file the complaint for and in behalf of her coplaintiffs. In an Order dated 29 April 2002,10 Judge Reyes denied the Demurrer, stating that Juliet Santiago had submitted the necessary authorization. On 10 July 2002, the Judge denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration11 for lack of merit.12 Petitioner thereafter filed a Petition For Review on Certiorari,13 seeking to nullify and set aside the 29 April 2002 and the 10 July 2002 orders of the trial court. In its Decision dated 28 October 2003, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition, stating that petitioner's allegation of lack of legal capacity to sue is not the ground contemplated by the Rules of Court to support an adverse party's Demurrer to Evidence.14 Thereafter, petitioner filed his Motion for Reconsideration,15 which was denied for lack of merit.16
7 Petitioner now submits the following issues: I. WHETHER OR NOT A DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE UNDER RULE 33 OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT MAY BE RESORTED TO WHEN CLEARLY THE COMPLAINT (SIC) HAS NO AUTHORITY TO SUE FOR AND IN BEHALF OF HER COPLAINTIFFS. II. WHETHER OR NOT THE COMPLAINT MAY BE DISMISSED FOR FAILURE OF COPLAINTIFFS TO EXECUTE AND SIGN THE CERTIFICATION AGAINST NON-FORUM SHOPPING.17 A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence and is presented after the plaintiff rests his case.18 It is an objection by one of the parties in an action, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law, whether true or not, to make out a case or sustain the issue.19 The evidence contemplated by the rule on demurrer is that which pertains to the merits of the case.20 Thus, as correctly held by the Court of Appeals, lack of legal capacity to sue is not a proper ground for a demurrer to evidence, pertaining as it does to a technical aspect, and it having nothing to do with the evidence on the merits of the complaint. Consequently, petitioner's Demurrer to Evidence and Motion for Reconsideration should be denied, as the trial court did. Anent the second issue, we hold that the Complaint may not be dismissed on account of the failure of the other plaintiffs to execute and sign the certification against non-forum shopping. Respondents herein are co-owners of two parcels of land owned by their deceased mother. The properties were allegedly encroached upon by the petitioner. As co-owners of the properties, each of the heirs may properly bring an action for ejectment,21 forcible entry and detainer,22 or any kind of action for the recovery of possession of the subject properties. 23 Thus, a co-owner may bring such an action, even without joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs, because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all.24 However, if the action is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone, such that he claims the possession for himself and not for the coownership, the action will not prosper.25 It is clear from the Complaint that the same was made precisely to recover possession of the properties owned in common, and as such, will redound to the benefit of all the co-owners. Indeed, in the verification of the Complaint, Juliet Santiago claimed that she caused the preparation and the filing of the said pleading as a co-owner of the subject properties and as a representative of the other plaintiffs. Hence, the instant case may prosper even without the authorization from Juliet Santiago's co-plaintiffs. From the procedural perspective, the instant petition should also fail. Petitioner questioned Juliet Santiago's authority to sue in behalf of his co-plaintiffs in his Motion to Dismiss dated 24 August 1999, which the lower court denied in its Order dated 16 March 2000. After filing a motion for reconsideration dated 30 March 2000, as well as a Supplemental to Motion for Reconsideration dated 11 April 2000,26 which the lower court denied in its Order dated 02 May 2000, he did nothing until he filed the Demurrer to Evidence dated 11 February 2002. But that was after the pre-trial and trial on the merits were conducted and plaintiffs had presented their evidence-inchief. On the assumption that the lower court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the Motion to Dismiss' petitioner as defendant should have filed the corresponding petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court with the Court of Appeals. He failed to do so within the period prescribed therefor, which is not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the order denying the motion for reconsideration.27 Thus, it is clear that even his petition under Rule 65 before the Court of Appeals was filed way out of time, it having been presented only on 31 July 2002.28 While the instant petition seeks only to resolve the above-stated issues, this Court will not close its eyes to any irregularity or defect in any decision or disposition, which, if tolerated, may result to confusion, and even injustice to any of the litigants.29
Furthermore. 2004 HEIRS OF THE LATE SPOUSES AURELIO AND ESPERANZA BALITE. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. No. DECISION PANGANIBAN. Finally. SO ORDERED. BALITE. BALITE-DIFUNTORUM. BALITE JR. the said instruments were grants of authority to plaintiffs' counsel to represent them in the pre-trial conference and cannot in any way be constituted as a source of authority for Juliet Santiago to be the legal representative of her coheirs. an agreement that purports to sell in metes and bounds a specific portion of an unpartitioned co-owned property is not void. As such. BALITE."30 (emphasis supplied) As correctly pointed out by the petitioner. The Case 1 Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. BALITE-ZAMAR.8 In the instant case. The duty to be well-informed of the law and legal procedures is ingrained in the position of court judge. Namely. CRISTETA T. it was also injudicious in its understanding of the nature of a demurrer to evidence. plaintiff Juliet Santiago has not in fact presented any evidence supporting her claim that she is the duly constituted representative of the other named plaintiffs in the Complaint. LIM. All Represented by GASPAR T. Judge Antonio Reyes of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu is well-advised to be prudent and meticulous in appreciating the documents and evidence presented before him. FLOR T. ANTONIO T. assailing the February 11. 65395. the trial court denied petitioner's Demurrer to Evidence in the following manner: "Considering that plaintiff Juliet Santiago has submitted the necessary Special Power of Authority from her co-plaintiffs authorizing her to institute the instant action against the defendant.R. BALITE. WHEREFORE. the Demurrer to Evidence is denied for lack of merit. respondent.. PEDRO T.: A deed of sale that allegedly states a price lower than the true consideration is nonetheless binding between the parties and their successors in interest. GASPAR T. a deed of sale in which the parties clearly intended to transfer ownership of the property cannot be presumed to be an equitable mortgage under Article 1602 of the Civil Code. 2002 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. PABLO T. VISITACION T. 152168 December 10. Despite the very clear wording of the instruments. it shall effectively transfer the seller’s ideal share in the co-ownership. BALITE and AURELIO T. The assailed Decision dated 28 October 2002 and the Resolution dated 14 January 2004 are hereby AFFIRMED. BALITE. The decretal portion of the Decision reads as follows: . RODRIGO N. the instant Petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Relying on the two Special Powers of Attorney presented by the plaintiff. the trial court failed to appreciate the import of the same and equated the Special Powers of Attorney executed in favor of counsel to an authorization in favor of Juliet Santiago. In this regard. Costs against the petitioner. vs. J. not only was the trial court miscreant in appreciating the documents presented before it. petitioners. BALITE.
inherited the [subject] property and became coowners thereof.00 – payable upon completion of the actual relocation survey of the land sold by a Geodetic Engineer.000. The "Deed of Absolute Sale" (Exhibit "A") is valid only insofar as the pro indiviso share of Esperanza Balite over the property covered by Original Certificate of Title No. (based on the purchase price of the property in the amount of P1.000 square meters. 4.000. 1996. x x x [petitioners] Antonio Balite. by installments. Pedro Balite. Cristeta (Tita) Balite and Aurelio Balite. and their children. 1996.000. under the "Deed of Absolute Sale".000.00 – payable on or before December 15.00. 10824.000."3 The Facts The CA summarized the facts in this manner: "The spouses Aurelio x x x and Esperanza Balite were the owners of a parcel of land. over the property described therein: a) Each of the [petitioners] over an undivided portion of 975 square meters. Pablo Balite. The Register of Deeds is hereby ordered to cancel Transfer Certificate of Title No. Gaspar Balite. 6. the Decision of the Court a quo subject of the appeal is hereby SET ASIDE AND REVERSED and another Decision is hereby rendered as follows: 1. Esperanza Balite. [and] covered by Original Certificate of Title [OCT] No. his wife].000.000. it will be made to appear that the purchase price of the property would be P150. with Esperanza x x x inheriting an undivided [share] of [9. with an area of seventeen thousand five hundred fifty-one (17. b) The [respondent]. x x x Geodetic Engineer Bonifacio G. 2.000. Esperanza x x x executed a "Deed of Absolute Sale" in favor of Rodrigo N.751 square meters. as follows: 1. through her daughter. Cristeta. offered to sell to Rodrigo Lim.000.000. 10824. on the same day. P30. with an area of 10. to be executed by Esperanza x x x over the property. Visitacion Balite-Difuntorum.000. 1996. Northern Samar.000. with the following as co-owners. "In the meantime. located [at] Poblacion (Barangay Molave). 1996. 4.551) square meters.000. [They] also executed.00. Jr. 10824. 3. P200.00 – payable on or before May 15. The [respondent] is hereby ordered to pay to the [petitioners] the amount of P120.000. In the event that the [respondent] refuses or fails to remit the said amount to the [petitioner] within the period therefor. Catarman.00. as provided for by law.00 – payable on or before July 15. "Only Esperanza and two of her children. within a period of five (5) months from the finality of the Decision of this Court.000. [her] undivided share x x x for the price of P1.000. P200. covered by [OCT] No.00).00. "On April 16. 3. although the actual price agreed upon by them for the property was P1. P200. with an undivided portion of 9. a "Joint Affidavit" under which they declared that the real price of the property was P1. 5. knew about the said transaction.00. Lim over a portion of the property. Esperanza x x x [became] ill and was in dire need of money for her hospital expenses x x x. P170. She.000.00 – upon signing today of the document of sale. When Aurelio died intestate [in 1985. payable to Esperanza x x x..9 "IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING. namely.00 – payable on or before September 15. 10824 is concerned. the rights and obligations of the parties shall be governed by Republic 6552 (Maceda Law). for the price of P150. Antonio x x x and Cristeta x x x. 6683 and to issue another over the entirety of the property covered by Original Certificate of Title No. Tasic conducted a .00 x x x. P200. 1996.751] square meters. 2. x x x Esperanza x x x and Rodrigo x x x agreed that. upon the payment of the capital gains tax due. Flor BaliteZamar.
on November 21. based on the purchase price of P150. 920. entitled and docketed as "Heirs of the Spouses Aurelio Balite. 10824 and to issue a certificate of title over Lot 243 under the name of Rodrigo. the capital gains tax. He remitted to Esperanza x x x and Cristeta x x x sums of money in partial payments of the x x x property for which he signed "Receipts". et al. the aforesaid "Deed of Absolute Sale". Rodrigo caused to be published. Esperanza x x x executed a "Special Power of Attorney" appointing her son. "Also. 1996. 1996. 10824 was presented to [it].506. [the origin of the instant case. "[Meanwhile]. Jr. 1996. on June 27. Special Civil Case No. they wrote a letter to the Register of Deeds [RD] of Northern Samar. identified as Lot 243 with an area of 10. Rodrigo filed a "Petition for Mandamus" against the RD with the Regional Trial Court of Northern Samar (Rodrigo Lim versus Fernando Abella. authorizing the registration of the "Deed of Absolute Sale" x x x. "On June 27.000. 1996. Antonio received the amount of P10. Rodrigo x x x took actual possession of the property and introduced improvements thereon. Injunction and Damages x x x. and requested the [RD] to: "x x x hold in abeyance any processal or approval of any application for registration of title of ownership in the name of the buyer of said lot. declaring therein that "the remaining balance of P350. the amount of P30. x x x. dated August 26. dated June 23. "On October 23. from Rodrigo. 1996. On June 13. However. 21 and 28." However. at the dorsal portion of OCT No.00 shall personally and directly be released to my mother. Civil Case No. Flor. 1997. Esperanza died intestate and was survived by her aforenamed children. the balance of the purchase price of the x x x property and to sign the appropriate documents therefor. 1996.25.000. [payable] to the order of Antonio Balite in the amount of P30. Antonio x x x received from Rodrigo x x x. and on August 21.00 appearing on the "Deed of Absolute Sale".] xxx xxx xxx "The [petitioners] had a "Notice of Lis Pendens". was paid to the Bureau of Internal Revenue which issued a "Certification" of said payments. 1997. 1997. "On October 1." "On August 24. Rodrigo x x x drew and issued RCBC Check No. . only. 48). for "Annulment of Sale. Thereafter. Lim. Antonio. "The "Sketch Plan" was signed by Rodrigo x x x and Esperanza. annotated. versus Rodrigo Lim. to collect and receive. Pedro and Aurelio. 1997.00 from Rodrigo for the payment of the estate tax due from the estate of Esperanza. x x x learned of the sale. 1996. Esperanza Balite. the court issued an Order to the RD to cancel OCT No. on November 14. until the issue of the legality/validity of the above sale has been cleared.000 square meters. under the name Rodrigo N. Visitacion. in the amount of P14. Earlier.00 in partial payment of the property. 1996.000. on March 5.00 in partial payment of [the] property and signed a "Receipt" for the said amount. Esperanza signed a letter addressed to Rodrigo informing the latter that her children did not agree to the sale of the property to him and that she was withdrawing all her commitments until the validity of the sale is finally resolved: xxx xxx xxx "On October 31. 1997.000. "Gaspar.000. [saying] that they [were] not x x x informed of the sale of a portion of the said property by their mother x x x nor did they give their consent thereto. [petitioners] filed a complaint against Rodrigo with the Regional Trial Court of Northern Samar. 309171. in the Samar Reporter. 10824. the [RD] refused to issue a title over the property to and under the name of Rodrigo unless and until the owner’s duplicate of OCT No. which has not yet been partitioned judicially or extrajudicially. Quieting of Title.10 subdivision survey of the property and prepared a "Sketch Plan" showing a portion of the property.
a co-owner has the right to sell his/her undivided share. It affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the lack of consent of the co-owners did not nullify the sale. because of the allegedly unconscionably low and inadequate consideration involved. Applying Article 13535 of the Civil Code. for the first time. 1997. it held that the falsity of the price or consideration stated in the Deed did not render it void.000 as declared by Esperanza and respondent in their Joint Affidavit. OCT No. "Subsequently.00 and executed a "Real Estate Mortgage" over the [subject] property as security therefor. it ruled that petitioners were proscribed from making this claim. Observing that the argument had never been raised in the court a quo. 1996. who expressly agreed to and benefited from the sale. the court issued an Order rejecting the "Amended Complaint" of the petitioners on the grounds that: (a) the Bank cannot be impleaded as partydefendant under Rule 63. It held that. 6683.000. the RD cancelled. 6683. issued by respondent payable to Esperanza. 6683.000. 6683 was ineffective and that they became the owners of the share of Esperanza upon the latter’s death. It deducted therefrom the amounts of P30. 1998. The buyer.000. Hence. that the State retained the right to recover the capital gains tax based on the true price of P1. 6683 to and under the name of Rodrigo over Lot 243. On November 26.000.000-square-meter portion of the property was valid. pursuant to Article 493 of the Civil Code. "On March 30. The appellate court disagreed with the averment of petitioners that the registration of the sale and the issuance of TCT No.000.000. 1996. "On motion of the [petitioners]. It relied on the Receipt dated August 24. they were granted x x x leave to file an "Amended Complaint" impleading the bank as [additional] party-defendant. became a co-owner of the property to the extent of the pro indiviso share of the vendor. the appellate court noted that the mortgage over the property had been executed after the filing of the Complaint. Rodrigo secured a loan from the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in the amount of P2. Section 1 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The CA likewise rejected petitioners’ claim that the sale was void allegedly because the actual purchase price of the property was not stated in the Deed of Absolute Sale.000. in their complaint. The CA further held that the remaining liability of respondent was P120.11 "In the meantime. and P200. What petitioners should have filed was a supplemental complaint . 1996.000 received by Antonio on August 27. subject to the portion that may be allotted to him upon the termination of the co-ownership. an ordinary civil action for the nullification of the "Real Estate Mortgage" executed by the respondent in favor of the Bank as the action of the petitioners before the court was a special civil action.000. the excess from her undivided share should be taken from the undivided shares of Cristeta and Antonio. however. It found that the true and correct consideration for the sale was P1. The CA pointed out. the sale by Esperanza of the 10. The [respondent] opposed the "Amended Complaint" x x x contending that it was improper for [petitioners] to join. 10824 and issued Transfer Certificate of Title [TCT] No. (b) the "Amended Complaint" constituted a collateral attack on TCT No. The [petitioners] did not file any motion for the reconsideration of the order of the court. The appellate court rejected petitioners’ contention that. The sale made by a co-owner is not invalidated by the absence of the consent of the other co-owners. on appeal. which stated that his outstanding balance for the consideration was P350. [petitioners] filed their "Amended Complaint". which was the amount of the check dated September 15. Finally. the transaction covered by the Deed was an equitable mortgage under Article 1602 of the Civil Code. respondent herein. on July 10. 1997. The "Notice of Lis Pendens" x x x was carried over in TCT No. Ruling of the Court of Appeals The CA held that the sale was valid and binding insofar as Esperanza Balite’s undivided share of the property was concerned."4 The trial court dismissed the Complaint and ordered the cancellation of the lis pendens annotated at the back of TCT No.
"E "Whether or not the [CA] seriously erred in not declaring that TCT No. it has an unlawful cause. And even if it were not impleaded. "B "Whether or not the [CA] gravely erred in not finding that the amount paid by [respondent] is only three hundred twenty thousand (P320.00 as balance."7 In sum. and 2) whether there is still any sum for which respondent is liable. "G "The [CA] greatly erred in not rendering judgment awarding damages and attorney’s fee[s] in favor of petitioners among others. although the court a quo had the option to do so. "D "Whether or not the [CA] seriously erred in not ruling that petitioners’ amended complaint dated November 27. the issues raised by petitioners center on the following: 1) whether the Deed of Absolute Sale is valid. According to them.12 instead of an amended complaint. "C "Whether or not the [CA] seriously erred in not deciding that at the time the Deed of Sale was registered x x x on May 30.00) pesos and that respondent’s claim that he has paid one million pesos except P44. as the latter was a mortgagee pendente lite over real estate that was covered by a certificate of title with an annotated lis pendens. is fraudulent and false. this Petition. The Court’s Ruling The Petition has no merit. because the undervalued consideration indicated therein was intended for an unlawful purpose -.6 Issues In their Memorandum. petitioners present the following issues: "A "Whether or not the [CA] seriously erred in not deciding that the Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 16. 10824 because said land had already become the property of all the petitioners upon the death of their mother on October 31. Hence. 1997. there is no necessity to implead it as party-defendant. Lim is null and void and all dealings involving the same are likewise null and void and/or subject to the decision of the case at bar in view of the notice of lis pendens annotated therein. 1996 is null and void on the grounds that it is falsified.000. Thus. 1996 and therefore such registration is functus of[f]icio involving a null and void document. First Issue: Validity of the Sale Petitioners contend that the Deed of Absolute Sale is null and void. They further contend that the Joint Affidavit is . but was merely a proper party. the appellate court’s reliance on Article 1353 of the Civil Code was erroneous. 1997 was proper and admissible and deemed admitted to conform to evidence presented. the respondent court seriously erred in not deciding that the consideration is unconscionably low and inadequate and therefore the transaction between the executing parties constitutes an equitable mortgage. "F "Even assuming but without admitting that the Deed of Sale is enforceable. it also held that the bank was not an indispensable party to the case. the appellate court ruled that the bank would still have been bound by the outcome of the case. and it is contrary to law and/or public policy. Contrary to respondent’s argument.000. said Deed of Sale can no longer bind the property covered by OCT No.to avoid the payment of higher capital gains taxes on the transaction. T-6683 in the name of Respondent Rodrigo N.
15 Deed of Sale not an Equitable Mortgage Petitioner further posits that even assuming that the deed of sale is valid it should only be deemed an equitable mortgage pursuant to Articles 1602 and 1604 of the Civil Code."13 However. the parties entered into a contract denominated as a contract of sale. For Articles 1602 and 1604 to apply. two requisites must concur: one. but an integral part of a scheme to evade paying lawful taxes and registration fees to the government. That the parties intended the agreement to produce legal effect is revealed by the letter of Esperanza Balite to respondent dated October 23. two. the parties’ real agreement binds them.in the present case. there is a colorable contract but without any substance. 10824 -. Where the essential requisites are present and the simulation refers only to the content or terms of the contract. it remains valid and enforceable. indeed. Both this consideration as well as the subject matter of the contract -.000 made on the basis of the Deed of Absolute Sale. the government has the right to collect the proper taxes based on the correct purchase price. Petitioners cannot be permitted to unmake the Contract voluntarily entered into by their predecessor. the parties intended to be bound by the Contract. even if the stated consideration was included therein for an unlawful purpose. the Contract had for its cause or consideration the price of P1.000 square meters of the property . We disagree. the agreement is absolutely binding and enforceable12 between the parties and their successors in interest. The records and the documentary evidence introduced by the parties indubitably show that the Contract is. as properly held by the appellate court. however. .16 Indeed.13 not proof of a true and lawful cause. even if it did not reflect the actual purchase price of the property. What was concealed was merely the actual price. However. 199610 and petitioners’ admission that there was a partial payment of P320. In absolute simulation. the Contract does not merely purport to be an absolute sale.should not be confused with the consideration.11 The juridical nature of the Contract remained the same. the motives neither determine nor take the place of the consideration. Clear from the letter is the fact that the objections of her children prompted Esperanza to unilaterally withdraw from the transaction. There was an intention to transfer the ownership of over 10. Being onerous. one of absolute sale. An absolutely simulated contract is void. suffices to give rise to the presumption that a contract purporting to be an absolute sale is actually an equitable mortgage.Esperanza’s share in the property covered by OCT No. and the parties may recover from each other what they may have given under the "contract.000. All the essential requisites prescribed by law for the validity and perfection of contracts are present.000. The motives of the contracting parties for lowering the price of the sale -. the existence of any of the circumstances enumerated in Article 1602. the reduction of capital gains tax liability -.are lawful. their intention was to secure an existing debt by way of mortgage.9 In the present case. because the price was clearly inadequate. Here. the parties shall be bound by their real agreement for a consideration of P1.17 In the present case. such a contract is relatively simulated."8 On the other hand.000. We have before us an example of a simulated contract. and.000 as reflected in their Joint Affidavit. Article 1345 of the Civil Code provides that the simulation of a contract may either be absolute or relative.14 Although illegal. They add that the presence of only one of the circumstances enumerated under Article 1602 would be sufficient to consider the Contract an equitable mortgage. if the parties state a false cause in the contract to conceal their real agreement. because the parties have no intention to be bound by it. not a concurrence or an overwhelming number thereof. Since the Deed of Absolute Sale was merely relatively simulated. "The binding force of a contract must be recognized as far as it is legally possible to do so. There is no clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed upon a mortgage of the subject property.
000. This move did not sufficiently show the alleged inadequacy of the purchase price. The Joint Affidavit indisputably confirmed that the transaction between the parties was a sale. the voluntary. They argue that the August 24.000 only. Furthermore. when the Deed of Absolute Sale was registered. the sale can be given effect to the extent of 9. the Deed of Sale that would call for the application of Article 1602. Petitioners did not present any witness to testify as to the market values of real estate in the subject’s locale. Notably. Contracts are to be interpreted according to their literal meaning and should not be interpreted beyond their obvious intendment. We find no basis to conclude that the purchase price of the property was grossly inadequate. 1996 (the date the Deed of Absolute Sale was executed). petitioners’ claim that the property became theirs upon the death of their mother is untenable. Well-entrenched is the doctrine that only errors of law. there is no room for construction. 1997. has no right to sell or alienate a specific or determinate part of the thing owned in common. petitioners never raised as an issue before the trial court the fact that the document did not express the true intent and agreement of the contracting parties. Transfer of Property During her lifetime. in support of their argument that the Contract should be considered as an equitable mortgage. Hence.20 The sale is valid. the Deed of Absolute Sale executed between the parties expressly referred to the 10. the mere fact that the deed purports to transfer a concrete portion does not per se render the sale void. on which the appellate court based its conclusion.000. As a matter of fact. Co-Ownership The appellate court was correct in affirming the validity of the sale of the property insofar as the pro indiviso share of Esperanza Balite was concerned.18 The contract is the law between the parties. Second Issue: Respondent’s Liability Petitioners insist that the appellate court erred in holding that respondent’s outstanding liability on the Deed of Sale was P120. There was no showing that the property was the only security relied upon by the bank. and not on May 30.000-squaremeter portion of the land sold to respondent as the share of Esperanza in the conjugal property. They made their claim on the basis alone of the P2. No valid objection can be made against that intent.14 Furthermore. A mortgage is a mere security for a loan.000 loan that respondent had been able to obtain from the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation. or that the borrowers had no credit worthiness. They raised mere suppositions on the inadequacy of the price. 1996 Receipt. however. hence her heirs could no longer inherit it. the sale is subject to the results of the partition upon the termination of the coownership. this Court is not a trier of facts.22 and not of . The co-owner. or the circumstances surrounding. Her clear intention was to sell merely her ideal or undivided share in it. her ideal share in the property as found by both the trial and the appellate courts. Clearly then. when the Receipts on record show payments in the total amount of P320. When the words of a contract are clear and readily understandable. Article 493 of the Civil Code19 gives the owner of an undivided interest in the property the right to freely sell and dispose of such interest. was unreliable. the transaction between Esperanza Balite and respondent could be legally recognized only in respect to the former’s pro indiviso share in the co-ownership. written and unconditional acceptance of contractual commitments negates the theory of equitable mortgage. other than the property offered as collateral. because such right over the thing is represented by an aliquot or ideal portion without any physical division. There is nothing doubtful about the terms of. 21 It is not its function to examine and determine the weight of the evidence.751 square meters. Thus. To begin with. The property she had transferred or conveyed no longer formed part of her estate to which her heirs may lay claim at the time of her death. The transfer took effect on April 16. Nonetheless. Esperanza had already sold to respondent her share in the subject parcel. but only with respect to the aliquot share of the selling co-owner.
000 and P200. RO-17402") issued in her name. and Maxima Bonga Diaz ("Maxima"). respondents Cecilio Bongalon ("Cecilio") and Amparo Bongalon ("Amparo") and four4 others are the children of the late Cirila Bonga ("Cirila") and Bernabe Bongalon ("Bernabe").28 Although the factual findings of the two lower courts were not identical. T-67656") also issued in Rosalia’s name. The 27 November 1992 Decision reversed the Decision3 dated 28 June 1991 of the Regional Trial Court. the late husband of petitioner Filipina Bongalon ("petitioner"). 142441 November 10. we hold that in the present case. 2004 PEDRO BONGALON now substituted by FILIPINA BONGALON. among others. we affirm the CA’s Decision holding that the remaining unpaid balance of the price was P120. It appears that Jacoba and Emilio predeceased their children. survived by her husband and five children. to be P350. respondents.6 Rosalia died intestate in 1940. Tabaco. Albay measuring 149 square meters and covered by Original Certificate of Title No. Branch 17. 1996 Receipt signed by Antonio Balite. Teodora Bonga Bien ("Teodora"). The other children of Rosalia and Cornelio are Trinidad Bonga Bobier ("Trinidad"). Emilio also had three children.: The Case This is a petition for review1 of the Decision2 dated 27 November 1992 of the Court of Appeals and its Resolution dated 23 February 2000. Thus. the findings of the CA are in accord with the documents on record. vs. Berces St. COURT OF APPEALS. he was never presented in the lower court to dispute the veracity of the contents of that Receipt. . Jacoba Bonga Faustino ("Jacoba"). Cirila is one of the five children of Rosalia Buenaflor ("Rosalia") and Cornelio Bonga ("Cornelio"). CECILIO BONGALON and AMPARO BONGALON. Costs against the petitioners. A. Inc. the evidence shows that subsequent payments of P30.R.000.000.25 the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. Emilio Bonga ("Emilio") and Benito Bonga ("Benito"). v. Philippine Airlines. if properly considered.5 Rosalia was the owner of Lot No. J. DECISION CARPIO.26 findings of the trial court contradict those of the CA. RO-17402 (23825) ("OCT No.27 or the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant and undisputed facts that. petitioner. Furthermore. 525-A in A. Conchita Faustino Base ("Conchita"). The Facts Pedro Bongalon. T-67656 ("TCT No. the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. 1996. Albay ("RTC") while the 23 February 2000 Resolution denied the motion for reconsideration. namely. These findings may be reviewed24 only under exceptional circumstances such as. Catalina Faustino Conlo ("Catalina"). are reviewable by this Court in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. namely. Court of Appeals23 has held that factual findings of the Court of Appeals are binding and conclusive upon the Supreme Court. OCT No. particularly the second paragraph that had categorically stated the outstanding balance of respondent as of August 24.. No. WHEREFORE. Francisca Bonga Camba ("Francisca"). RO-17402 was later cancelled and replaced by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Tabaco. and Leonardo Faustino ("Leonardo").15 facts. Jacoba had three children.000 were made by the latter. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. would justify a different conclusion. Interestingly. when the inference is manifestly mistaken. SO ORDERED. The trial court admitted in evidence the August 24.
525A but they refused to do so. Pedro Bongalon introduced in evidence other documents to prove his ownership of Lot No. Cirila executed another Deed of Absolute Sale ("22 February 1971 Deed of Sale")9 conveying Lot No.10 Meanwhile. T-67780") issued in his name. respondents sought the nullification of the Extrajudicial Settlement and of TCT No. T-67780. Albay. presented by both parties. Amparo claimed that on the contrary. Respondents also prayed for the award of damages and attorney’s fees. such as (1) Exhibit B and (2) Conchita’s Affidavit dated 22 May 1978 ("Exhibit C")13 confirming the sale under Exhibit B. in the name of Pedro Bongalon. Pedro Bongalon executed an Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate ("Extrajudicial Settlement") declaring that Cirila is the only heir of Rosalia and that he (Pedro Bongalon) is. The defendants are likewise ordered to vacate and to deliver the portion of the land in question they have occupied to the plaintiff peacefully. And to pay the costs proportionately. 525-A for P100. T-67780 ("TCT No. 525-A through his tolerance. Amparo died and her surviving spouse and six children substituted for her. Even before the execution of the 22 February 1971 Deed of Sale. said title is free from defect. that the plaintiff is declared the rightful registered owner of the land consisting of One Hundred Forty Nine (149) square meters. respondents denied Pedro Bongalon’s allegations. indefeasible. 525-A. On the same day. more or less. Pedro Bongalon sued respondents in the RTC for "Quieting of Title. the RTC rendered judgment ("RTC Decision") the dispositive portion of which provides: WHEREFORE. Conchita. and Teodora executed a Deed of Absolute Sale ("Exhibit 2")7 conveying to Cirila "a part of" Lot No. Before the RTC could render judgment. Based on this Extrajudicial Settlement. Trinidad. respondents also presented in evidence Exhibit 2 to prove that Cirila owned the entire Lot No.12 During the trial. 525-A which she later sold to Amparo in the 22 February 1971 Deed of Sale.500. and again Trinidad. 525-A based on the 22 February 1971 Deed of Sale. in turn. 525-A and their claim of ownership over the property cast a cloud over his title. The same notary public notarized both deeds of sale on that same day. T-67780. on 30 January 1979. (2) respondents occupied Lot No. she is the owner of Lot No. 525-A where her house stands. On 22 February 1971. The Court orders. 525-A under TCT No. Amparo subsequently declared Lot No. The RTC admitted these documents in evidence over the objection of respondents. Recovery of Portion of Property and Damages.16 On 26 July 1943. Conchita. therefore. 525-A to Amparo for P4.11 In their Answer with Counterclaim. Berces St. and Teodora. under Transfer Certificate of Title No. Pedro Bongalon prayed that the RTC declare his title free of any cloud and order respondents to vacate Lot No. A. and (4) respondents’ occupancy of Lot No. located at A. Cirila. Respondents claimed that Pedro Bongalon fraudulently obtained TCT No. For their part. flaw and cloud of doubt. 525-A in her name for tax purposes and paid the real estate taxes in 1977 and 1978. Tabaco." Pedro Bongalon alleged in his complaint that: (1) he is the registered owner of Lot No.15 The RTC Decision reads: . T-67780.. T-67780 by executing the Extrajudicial Settlement. Judgment is rendered for the plaintiff and against the defendants. Pedro Bongalon secured the cancellation of TCT No. executed a Deed of Absolute Sale ("Exhibit B")8 conveying to Pedro Bongalon "a part of" Lot No. 525-A and pay him damages and litigation expenses. T-67656 and obtained Transfer Certificate of Title No. as it is hereby ordered. As counterclaim. Amparo and her family were already occupying a 32-square meter portion of Lot No. the only heir of Cirila.14 The Trial Court’s Ruling On 28 June 1991. summing up the evidence. In March 1988. (3) he had several times asked respondents to vacate Lot No. 525-A also for P100. oral and documentary.
Cortezano. Emilio and Benito. 21. [conveying] a part of the property in question xxx in favor of vendee Cirila Bonga xxx. married to Atenogenes A. No. processed and managed to have the ownership of said property transferred in his name by submitting an Affidavit of Confirmation. the entire area of 149 square meters. Eleuteria and others. located at then Taylor Street now A. namely: Cirila. VII. acknowledged and notarized by Notary Public Joel C. Series of 1943. heirs and children of Rosalia Buenaflor Bonga. Berces Street. 1971. Page 15. Cortezano of the same entire parcel of land in question of 149 square meters. Exhibit –"B" – plaintiff.17 From the documentary evidence adduced during the hearing by both parties. Exhibit-"2" defendants. 1943. A. 2. No. Book No. two (2) documents were executed over the same parcel of land. again Cirila Bonga. contained a handwritten insertion. In possession of the Deed of Absolute Sale. it appeared that the real property/land in question was formerly and originally owned by Rosalia Buenaflor. Page No. Cargullo. then to [T-67780]. later portion. in favor of Amparo Bongalon Cortezano. Book No. to wit. more or less. xxxx Said document was notarized and acknowledged on July 26. Page No. 1943 by a Notary Public and entered as Doc. Faustino (sic) and Teodora Bonga. covered by Original Certificate of Title No. which is unclear. Finally. No. Book No. 1031. Second document. Conchita B. Both documents. containing an area of One Hundred Forty Nine (149) square meters. Albay. 1943 by a notary public and entered as Doc. Amparo. 77. more or less. First document. 1. dated May 22. Series of 1971. Series of 1978 and an Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate. Jacoba. By virtue of this instrument. namely: Pedro. Rosalia Buenaflor married Cornelio Bonga and begot children. but did not contain expressly the part/portion of said property [sold]. Daughter Cirila Bonga got married to Bernabe Bongalon and begot seven (7) children. Base. by Conchita F. This is an indefeasible title of ownership in favor of the plaintiff. Teodora Bonga. vendee. T67780 in the name of Pedro Bongalon was issued on [January] 25. Series of 1943. Exhibit-"1" for the defendants. executed and signed another Deed of Absolute Sale. This. Both documents are (sic) prepared/executed/signed by the same persons/ signatories. Atadero. The Exhibit-"2" for the defendants and the Exhibit-"B" for the plaintiff. this is a requirement. Zosimo R. Conchita Faustino. On February 22. Absolute Deed of Sale was executed and signed by vendors Trinidad Bonga. entered as Doc. to be candid and clear. 0020 in her name declaring the entire 149 square meters for . vendee Pedro Bongalon applied. Trinidad. all surnamed Bongalon. Page No. VII. Cirila Bonga. printed and expressed particular same boundaries and description of the whole area which is One Hundred Forty Nine (149) square meters. Said Absolute Deed of Sale was notarized and acknowledged on July 26. "a part of" and initialled. acknowledged and notarized by the same Notary Public. 1. one of the vendors. found in the first paragraph. Amparo procured Tax Declaration No. On July 26. vendor again (sic).[RO-17402 (23825)]. then to [T-]67656. 1985. Tabaco. 15. [conveying] a part of the property in question in favor of vendee Pedro Bongalon (son of Cirila Bonga Bongalon). Book No. heirs and children of Rosalia Buenaflor Bonga. Transfer Certificate of Title No. Absolute Deed of Sale. is the subject of the sale as Cirila Bonga is now one of the four (4) vendors. 1978 duly subscribed and sworn to by Notary Public Julian C. more or less. this in question (sic). Circumstances surrounding the execution of these two (2) documents is concluded (sic) and construed that Exhibit-"B" for the plaintiff has to be given weight and effect. entered as Doc. Each vendor shared or owned at least 37 square meters and 25 centimeters of this land in question. all surnamed Bonga. more or less. Cecilio. Absolute Deed of Sale was executed and signed by vendors Trinidad Bonga. 2. Almonte. No. 92.
Yet it can be argued that the plaintiff’s Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate is a defect. so holds and is of the strong opinion. xxxx Considering the evidence. Cecilio. executed the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate xxx falsely alleging that the original registered owner Rosalia Buenaflor and husband were survived by their only daughter Cirila Bonga Bongalon. Deed of Absolute Sale by vendor Cirila Bonga to the latter’s daughter vendee Amparo Bonga Cortezano is defective having a flaw or cloud in the rights of an owner. The first two names are the defendants-appellants and the last one is the plaintiff-appellee. the defendants-appellants’ counsel vigorously objected of (sic) the admission of Exhibit "B" and Exhibit "C" on the ground that no evidence can be introduced in support of allegation not found in the pleadings xxx. a minor one. mother of the plaintiff-appellee. and the Affidavit of Confirmation of Conchita F. That is why. Anastacio and Pedro. that the plaintiff’s cause of action is sufficiently impressed with merit supporting his claim of possession. what was introduced in evidence were the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exhibit "B") and the Affidavit of Confirmation (Exhibit "C"). the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC Decision. though these were never alleged in the complaint. Consequently. She. T-67656 xxx in the name of the original registered owner Rosalia Buenaflor and the issuance of TCT No. 1943 said parcel of land was a subject of Absolute Deed of Sale in favor of Pedro Bongalon. IN THE FIRST PLACE. Cirila Bonga. the brother of vendee of Exhibit-"1" Amparo Bongalon Cortezano. SECONDLY. plaintiff-appellee Pedro Bongalon. the trial court should not have admitted Exhibits "B" and "C" as part of the evidence. In other words. The Court of Appeals held: PREDICATED on the evidence and the law in point. the Court honestly believes. but what is controlling is Exhibit-"B". Jose. Since Exhibit "B" and Exhibit "C" should not have been considered or admitted because the same were not alleged in the complaint xxx. the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate (which is by inheritance) is the basis of both the complaint and the transfer of the certificate of title from the original owner to the plaintiff-appellee. in the trial of the case. Previously on July 26.16 Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. 1943. The Court of Appeals’ Ruling In its 27 November 1992 Decision. when in fact Cirila Bonga Bongalon was survived by her seven (7) children namely: Amparo. THIRDLY. the only ground upon which plaintiff-appellee can base his stand is the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exh. "B") and the Deed of Confirmation (Exh. Base. What was alleged in the complaint was the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate xxx or the mode of inheritance (sic). T-67780 in favor of and in the name of plaintiff-appellee Pedro Bongalon. the basis of the complaint filed by the plaintiff-appellee is that he acquired the property in question by inheritance from his predecessors-in-interest and not by purchase. FOURTHLY. the appeal in this case is sufficiently impressed with merit.18 taxation purposes for the year 1985 in her name and where a 32 square meters of a house (sic) is constructed thereon. and with careful perusal of the same adduced by both parties at the hearing. Absolute Deed of Sale in his favor dated July 26. is not the only owner of said land. by the rightful owners/vendors of the land in question. the only remaining issue is TCT No. as well as ownership of the land. Consequently. Gloria. This fact is shown by the Annotation xxx of the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate xxx which was the supporting document that authorized the cancellation of TCT No. Eleuterio (sic). Exhibit-"1" for the defendants. as already stated. T67780. the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate is . "C") after suppressing the presentation and submission of xxx the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate.
in the light of the foregoing disquisitions. Teodora. Jacoba. thus increasing their undivided shares to 1/5 each. Trinidad. AFTER a careful review of the entire evidence.21 The Basis and Extent of Pedro Bongalon’s Interest in Lot No. This is especially relevant because of his testimony that he executed the Extrajudicial Settlement only because the Register of Deeds of Albay required it for the issuance of TCT No. Cirila (and again Trinidad. 525-A.19 The Issues Petitioner raises the following issues for resolution: I. II. was the ownership of Lot No. though a minor one. at 1/6 undivided share each. executed Exhibit B conveying to Pedro Bongalon a "part of" Lot No. 525-A was Rosalia’s paraphernal property. For well-settled is the rule that when a party resorts to falsehood to advance his suit. brazen lies and grave misrepresentation which the lower court recognized as a defect. namely.17 (Capitalization and underlining in the original) Pedro Bongalon sought reconsideration but the Court of Appeals denied his motion in its 23 February 2000 Resolution. Catalina. EVIDENCE AND THE PERTINENT LAWS. Teodora.24 they sold under Exhibit 2 their undivided shares in Lot No.23 Since these co-owners could alienate their undivided shares. and Conchita). 525-A. as raised in the pleadings filed by the parties. Emilio. Francisca.22 After Cornelio died. Likewise. WHETHER THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS IS IN ACCORD WITH THE FACTS. it is presumed that he knows perfectly well that his cause is groundless and this presumption affects the whole mass of evidence presented by such party xxx. when Rosalia died intestate. the undivided 1/5 share of Emilio. who also apparently predeceased his children Teodora. T-67780 was Pedro Bongalon’s principal proof of ownership. 525-A on 26 July 1943. Cecilio and the heirs of Amparo reiterate their prayer to nullify TCT No. While TCT No. Thus. The 1/5 undivided share of Jacoba. with costs against the plaintiff-appellee. Trinidad. 525-A. the decision of the Court a quo is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one is rendered dismissing the case. These heirs inherited Lot No. Similarly. on the same day. 525-A There is no dispute that Lot No. T-67780.18 Hence. passed to Emilio’s children as co-owners in equal shares.19 tainted with fraud. T-67780 on the aforecited grounds. It is inevitable that the trial court should have correctly nullified TCT No. Under Exhibit 2. Thus. passed to Jacoba’s children as co-owners in equal shares. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT. it did not preclude him from presenting other pieces of evidence to prove his claim. and Maxima. in view of Exhibit "B" and Exhibit "C". We perceive no difficulties in sustaining the validity of defendants-appellants’ claim or posture. this petition. T67780 and the Extrajudicial Settlement. The fact that Pedro Bongalon did not mention Exhibits B and C in his complaint is not a reason to rule them inadmissible. Cirila. On the Admissibility of Exhibits B and C It was error for the Court of Appeals to rule that the RTC should not have admitted in evidence Exhibits B and C because Pedro Bongalon failed to allege these documents in his complaint. PARTICULARLY THE PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL CODE ON SALE. and Benito. 525-A in co-ownership. Cirila sold to Pedro Bongalon her original 1/5 share and the . his 1/6 undivided share passed to his surviving five children per stirpes. Pedro Bongalon offered the pieces of evidence in question to support his claim of ownership over Lot No. What was at issue before the RTC. ACCORDINGLY. and Conchita sold to Cirila "a part" of Lot No. who apparently predeceased her children Conchita. The Ruling of the Court The petition is partly meritorious.20 In their Comment. and Leonardo. 525-A to Cirila. POSSESSION AND OWNERSHIP. she passed on this piece of property to her surviving spouse Cornelio and their five children.
Trinidad. On the Validity of the Extrajudicial Settlement and of TCT No. does not detract from the validity of Exhibit B. 525-A. this is not a minor defect but in fact renders the document void. 525-A much less construct improvements on that property. It was thus incumbent upon these courts to resolve this issue. 525-A covers only the undivided shares of Cirila. Cirila’s other children.26 Neither can petitioner invoke Exhibit C to support her claim that Pedro Bongalon owns the entire Lot No. T-67780 does not deprive Pedro Bongalon or his heirs of the right to maintain this action for quieting of title. the Court of Appeals inexplicably failed to make a ruling on the status of these two documents in the dispositive portion of its ruling. the heirs of Benito Bongalon. The cancellation of the Extrajudicial Settlement and TCT No. namely. The RTC failed to do so. Trinidad. while superfluous (as they had earlier sold their undivided shares to Cirila). 525A. voidable. Thus. 525-A. both courts should have "adjust[ed] all equities of all the parties to the action and determine[d] the status of all controverted claims to or against the property. Teodora and Conchita signed Exhibit B. Under Article 477 of . Pedro Bongalon did not acquire ownership of the entire Lot No. As the other co-owners. T-67780. ineffective. 525-A who did not affix their signatures in such document did not sell their shares to Pedro Bongalon. In sum. encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. however. While each coowner has full ownership of his part and may alienate it. and may be prejudicial to said title. was the sole heir of Cirila.20 combined undivided shares of Trinidad. must be cancelled. record."28 The Court finds that the 22 February 1971 Deed of Sale casts a cloud on Pedro Bongalon’s interest over Lot No."29 There is no question that Pedro Bongalon falsely stated in the Extrajudicial Settlement that Cirila was the only heir of Rosalia and that he (Pedro Bongalon). Having taken cognizance of an action for quieting of title. On Whether the 22 February 1971 Deed of Sale Casts a Cloud on Pedro Bongalon’s Title A cloud on title to real property or any interest therein is "any instrument. the Court of Appeals stated in its 27 November 1992 Decision that the Extrajudicial Settlement contained material misrepresentations which nullified TCT No. which the Register of Deeds of Albay issued based on the Extrajudicial Settlement. either by contract. contrary to the RTC Decision. However. This document purports to show that Amparo was the owner of such property when in fact she was not. Cirila had no more interest to sell in Lot No. Teodora and Conchita in Exhibit B.25 The participation of Trinidad. TCT No. including Amparo and Cecilio. Teodora and Conchita she earlier acquired under Exhibit 2. in turn. Teodora. is obviously false since only Cirila. 525-A because she had sold all her interest in that property to Pedro Bongalon in 1943 under Exhibit B. The other co-owners of Lot No. the alienation affects only the portion which pertains to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. T-67780. 525-A under her name for tax purposes (and her payment of the real estate taxes in 1977 and 1978) did not change her status as a stranger to that property. Thus.30 also involving a case for quieting of title. 525-A. Cecilio and the heirs of Amparo have no right to remain in Lot No. In Ramirez v. Pedro Bongalon’s interest in Lot No. or unenforceable. in the case of Amparo. Amparo’s subsequent declaration of Lot No. This document is void because at the time of its execution. This statement. As the Court of Appeals correctly noted. This is error. and the other children of Jacoba (Catalina and Leonardo) and Emilio (Francisca and Maxima) did not sign either Exhibit B or Exhibit 2. the 22 February 1971 Deed of Sale is in fact void and prejudicial to the interest of Pedro Bongalon and his heirs. CA. in the case of Cecilio. T-67780 Respondents squarely raised in the RTC and in the Court of Appeals the issue of the validity of the Extrajudicial Settlement and of TCT No. T-67780. Conchita stated in that document that all the children and descendants of Rosalia (except for Cirila)27 sold their respective undivided shares to Pedro Bongalon under Exhibit B. or by hereditary rights. they remained co-owners of Lot No. While apparently valid. and Conchita. cannot claim any interest over Lot No. claim. On the other hand. 525-A under Exhibit B. this Court annulled several Transfer Certificates of Title on the ground that they were issued based on void documents. Consequently.
FRANCISCO DELOS REYES. we GRANT the petition in part. Republic of the Philipppines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION [G. JOSE and ROSA Y VILLARAMA. BLANCO. of the Regional Trial Court. July 19. National Capital Judicial Region. Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff In-Charge. 1995. Leonardo Faustino. Pedro Bongalon’s acquisition of the shares of Cirila. Valenzuela. of the Regional Trial Court. 1999] SPOUSES JOSE and EVANGELINE AGUILAR. GALURA. The Register of Deeds of Albay is ordered to restore Transfer Certificate of Title No. Caloocan City. vs. with entry of judgment made by the Court of Appeals on May 5. of the Regional Trial Court. We SET ASIDE the Decision dated 27 November 1992 and the Resolution dated 23 February 2000 of the Court of Appeals. Clerk of Court. Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff In-Charge. COURT OF APPEALS. 1995. Respondents. SPS. PIO Z. et al. ORTIZ. EMILIA MERCADOREYES. respectively. We enter a new judgment as follows: (1) The Deed of Sale dated 22 February 1971 and the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement dated 30 January 1979 are ANNULLED. (2) Transfer Certificate of Title No. ESPERANZA T. petitioners. respectively. MAGNO MANALO and VALENTINO MAGSARILI. 1995 Resolution on July 11. through petitioner Jose Aguilar. 40901 and Resolution dated February 2. petitioners Spouses Jose and Evangeline Aguilar. 120972. RESOLUTION KAPUNAN. No. HON. Fourth Judicial Regional. 1995 upon follow ups. 1994 in CA-G. WHEREFORE. RUBY IBANEZ. Metro Manila. CRUZ. AMBROSIO DE LOS REYES. ECHIVERRI and FERNANDO G. 1995.R. Metro Manila.. CV No. J. T-67656 in the name of Rosalia Buenaflor. Rizal. respectively. and ExOfficio Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff In-Charge. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary . PALANCA and ROMEO REYES. Ex-Officio Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff In-Charge. SO ORDERED. and Maxima Bonga Diaz. Trinidad. Petitioners alleged that they received a copy of the February 2. National Capital Judicial Region. filed a Motion for Extension of Time seeking thirty (30) days from July 26. Benito Bongalon. 525-A and to remove all the improvements they have constructed on Lot No. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Private respondent San Miguel Corporation opposed the motion alleging that the decision petitioners sought to elevate for review to this Court attained finality on March 29. of the Regional Trial Court. 525-A. 1995 denying their motion for reconsideration. Pasay City. respectively.21 the Civil Code. SPS. DOMINGO and SIXTA AGUILAR. and SPS. and HECTOR L. 525-A. JR.R. and Teodora vested him with the necessary legal interest over Lot No. SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION. it is sufficient that the plaintiff has legal or equitable title to or interest in the real property which is the subject matter of the action.:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary On July 25. Metro Manila. National Capital Judicial Region. namely. Conchita. Catalina Faustino Conlo. JOSE R. without prejudice to the issuance of another Transfer Certificate of Title in the name of Pedro Bongalon and the other co-owners of Lot No. Francisca Bonga Camba. PAZ G. MARTINEZ and NICANOR D. 525-A. (3) Respondent Cecilio Bongalon and the heirs of Amparo Bongalon are ordered to vacate Lot No. T-67780 is CANCELLED. 1995 to file a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Court of Appeals Decision dated September 30. Antipolo.
at his address appearing on record. through registered mail. on May 5. the Decision dated September 30. petitioners asked for "at least thirty (30) days within which to find a Lawyer to assist [them]. service shall take effect at the expiration of such time. 1995. In its comment. 1995. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Inasmuch as the exception only refers to constructive and not actual service. 8. petitioner has not complied with the February 10. Atty. Almario T. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Subsequently. unless the court otherwise provides. private respondent reiterated that the disputed decision of the Honorable Court of Appeals can no longer be reviewed as the same had become final and executory. 1998. the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed is not applicable in the situation. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary . so that entry of judgment was duly made. Rule 13 of the Revised Rules of Courtprovides thus: chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Completeness of service.Personal service is complete upon actual delivery. returned to sender Court of Appeals stamped unclaimed. The exception is where the addressee does not claim his mail within five (5) days from the date of the first notice of the postmaster. one of the parties. 1995. Amador. petitioners counsel of record at the appellate court. however. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary The Court of Appeals rollo reveals that a copy of the February 2. Rule 13. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Petitioners allege receipt of the assailed decision on July 11. however. 1998.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary The general rule is that service by registered mail is complete upon actual receipt thereof by the addressee. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary A copy of the resolution was then sent on March 2. On the envelope also appears stamped boxes with notations second notice/2-13 and third notice/2-14. such exception must be applied upon conclusive proof that a first notice was duly sent by the postmaster to the addressee. 1999 and gave them "an extension of thirty (30) days from the expiration of the original period within which to submit the name and address of counsel. however. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary In our Resolution dated October 5. returned to the Court of Appeals with the annotation moved. 1995 Resolution was sent on February 7. but if he fails to claim his mail from the post office within five (5) days from the date of first notice of the post master." Until the time of the promulgation of this resolution. in which case the service takes effect upon the expiration of such period. It is incumbent upon a party who relies on constructive service or who contends that his adversary was served with a copy of a final order or judgment upon the expiration of five days from the first notice of registered mail sent by the postmaster to prove that the first notice was sent and delivered to the addressee. at his address appearing on record. 1994 was entered in the Book of Judgments of the Court of Appeals per Sec. Their motion for extension of time was filed on July 25. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary The issue to be resolved is whether service upon Atty. Not only is it required that notice of the registered mail be sent but that it should also be delivered to and received by the addressee. 1995 to Jose Aguilar. when and to whom the delivery thereof was made. Service by registered mail is complete upon actual receipt by the addressee. Notably. Service by ordinary mail is complete upon the expiration of five (5) days after mailing. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary 8.22 The petition was filed with this Court on August 25. Amador. Revised Rules of Court." We granted petitioner's motion in a Resolution dated February 10. In a Motion dated November 6. 1995 to petitioners counsel of record. The mail was. The envelope containing the resolution was. we required petitioners to submit to this Court the name and address of their counsel within ten (10) days from notice.  chanroblesvirtualawlibrary The best evidence to prove that notice was sent would be a certification from the postmaster. and upon petitioner Jose Aguilar may be deemed complete. 1999 Resolution. 1995. . The mailman may also testify that the notice was actually delivered. who should certify not only that the notice was issued or sent but also as to how.
and served upon the parties affected thereby. On the back-side of the envelope bore the legend City of San Pablo. Amador and actually received by him. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary In another case. we must rule that service upon petitioner Jose Aguilar himself was complete. we set aside the questioned resolution and ordered the appellate court to properly serve the same on therein petitioner. every pleading subsequent to the complaint. If any of such parties has appeared by an attorney or attorneys. The envelope containing the unclaimed mail was presented in court. service upon him shall be made upon his attorneys or one of them unless service upon the party himself is ordered by the court. after first notice was sent to and received by addressee on a specified date. Reason: Unclaimed. This doctrine is founded on 2.Every order required by its terms to be served. and accordingly. demand. Thus. and to whom the delivery of the registry notices of the registered mail addressed to petitioner was made and whether said notices were received by the petitioner. Amador and thus returned to sender. 1991. v. notice should be made upon the counsel of record at his given address to which notices of all kinds emanating from the court should be sent in the absence of a proper and adequate notice to the court of a change of address. appearance. Amador. the envelope bore the notation Returned to sender. 1990 served upon counsel for respondent was returned unclaimed on January 3. and for failing to require the adverse party to present the postmasters certification that a first notice was sent to opposing partys counsel and that notice was received. the Court RESOLVED to DECLARE service of the said resolution upon the private respondent complete as of February 28. Jan. Court of Appeals. -. De la Cruz. petitioners assailed the following resolution of the appellate court: chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Considering that the copy of the resolution dated November 29. The envelope containing the unclaimed mail merely bore the notation return to sender: unclaimed on its face and Return to: Court of Appeals at the back. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary However. unless service upon the party himself is by court order. Nothing in the records showed how. we again faulted the trial court for applying the presumption as to constructive service literally and rigidly. We stated that the mere exhibition in court of the envelope containing the unclaimed mail is not sufficient proof that a first notice was sent. Castillo. pursuant to Sec. Inc. 1966 with the dates 2-3-66 and 2-9-66. notified 3/3/66. in the Court of Appeals rollo there is no postmasters certification to the effect that the registered mail was unclaimed by the addressee Atty. Johnson & Johnson (Phils. offer of judgment or similar papers shall be filed with the court. On its face. and afterwards the same copy sent to the private respondent itself at given address was likewise returned unclaimed on February 28.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary We held that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that therein petitioner had been duly served with a copy of the assailed resolution. We concluded that the respondent court should not have relied solely on these notations to support the presumption of constructive service. Where one attorney appears for . Rule 13. the disputable presumption of completeness of service does not arise as to the registered mail addressed to Atty. 29. 8. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Jurisprudence provides that when a party is represented by counsel.). every written motion other than one which may be heard ex parte. as there was utter lack of sufficient evidence to support the appellate courts conclusion. Amador. and every written notice.23 In Barrameda v. Philippines. 1991. there is no conclusive proof that notice was sent to Atty. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary In De la Cruz v. we held as error the trial courts mere reliance on the notations on the envelope of the returned order consisting of R & S. No other proof of actual receipt of the first notice was presented in court. Rules of Court. and R to S. Absent such proof. even absent proof of completeness of service upon Atty. unclaimed and the stamped box with the wordings 2nd notice and last notice indicating that the registered mail was returned to sender because it was unclaimed in spite of the notices sent by the postmaster to the addressee. 1991. Rule 13 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides thus: chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Papers to be filed and served. when. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary In the instant case.
121157 July 31. petitioners admit that after the preparation and filing of their rejoinder before the appellate court. BELLOSILLO. and petitioners having taken over the following up of the case. Roque Bauzon repudiated the co-ownership over the sugarland in 1965 and adjudicated it to himself. the latter represented by her husband Placido Zulueta.: This is an action for annulment of documents. judgments and processes beyond the power of the party being served to determine at his pleasure. Atty. Almario. Almario may not be physically up to acting on any pleading. 40901 having already been entered in the Book of Judgments of the Court of Appeals on May 5. Aguilar on record. but that the mail was returned to the appellate court with the annotation moved. which is to place the date of receipt of pleadings. ERIBERTA BAUZON (deceased). chanroblesvirtualawlibrary SO ORDERED. Aguilar himself who signed the motion for reconsideration. Roque Bauzon transferred the riceland to his son Luis Bauzon and the sugarland to his daughter Eriberta Bauzon. It is not disputed that the mail was sent to the address of Mr. According to petitioners. Knowing fully well that Atty. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary ACCORDINGLY. 1994 Resolution to Jose Aguilar was effected by the Court of Appeals. Atty. he shall only be entitled to one copy of any paper served upon him by the opposite side. 1995. represented by his heirs and codefendants Luis and Eriberta Bauzon. Subsequently. Luis and Eriberta. 1997 HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING. CV No. LEONARDO PARAYNO and FELICISIMA PARAYNO. own the disputed lots in common and pro-indiviso. accounting and partition of two (2) parcels of land. petitioners. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary To rule otherwise considering the circumstances in the instant case would be to negate the purpose of the rule on completeness of service. ESTER. Yet. situated in Calasiao. aver that their father Roque Bauzon was the owner of the subject lots by virtue of a deed of donation propter nuptias. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. both transactions being evidenced by deeds of sale. No. a riceland and a sugarland. together with Juan Maningding. Roque. at his address on record. it was Mr. vs. represented by DELFIN. REMEDIOS and JESSIE. Almario. all surnamed PARAYNO. (Underlining supplied. MAXIMA PARAYNO. LUIS BAUZON. 2 Subsequently. after the resolution could not be served upon Atty. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary Notably.24 several parties. EMMA. Maria Maningding and Segunda Maningding were the surviving children of Ramon Bauzon y Untalan who died intestate in 1948. GIL. substituted by her husband PLACIDO ZULUETA. together with private respondents Luis and Eriberta Bauzon. The finality of a decision is a jurisdictional event which cannot be made to depend on the convenience of a party. it was petitioners and their counsels responsibility to devise a system for the receipt of mail intended for them. COURT OF APPEALS and ROQUE BAUZON (deceased). received a copy of the appellate courts decision.R. . MANUEL. Pangasinan. 1 and that in 1970 Juan and Maria Maningding renounced and quitclaimed their shares over the riceland in favor of Roque Bauzon by virtue of an Affidavit of Quitclaim and Renunciation.R. RACQUEL. the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the Court Resolved to DENY the petition. Almario took ill and could no longer discharge his functions as their counsel. and JOSE PARAYNO.)chanroblesvirtualawlibrary The mailing of a copy of the February 2. J. respondents. Petitioners claim that they.
6 Even assuming that the donation proper nuptias is void for failure to comply with formal requisites. Consequently. continuous. Consequently. the same deed of donation was declared null and void by the appellate court for failure to comply with Art. both parcels being covered only by tax declarations formerly in the name of Ramon Bauzon and now transferred to Luis and Eriberta Bauzon. The trial court found that the parcels of land formed part of the estate of Ramon Bauzon and his wife Sotera Zulueta which. Pensader 9 we ruled that while the verbal donation under which the defendant and his predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the lands in question is not effective as a transfer of title. devolved by right of succession to their children Segunda Maningding. public. Espique 10 we held — . Since the death of Ramon Bauzon in 1948. when coupled with proof of actual possession. in general. Nevertheless. In Espique v. upon their death. However. 7 it could still constitute a legal basis for adverse possession. With clear and convincing evidence of possession. Juan Maningding and Roque Bauzon in equal proindiviso shares. While tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership. is a mode of acquiring (or losing) ownership and other real rights through the lapse of time in the manner and under conditions laid down by law. the transfers made by Roque Bauzon must be given effect. 5 The disputed lots are unregistered lands. Prescription. Her heirs allegedly discovered the transfers made by Roque Bauzon in favor of his children only in 1986. It concluded that Roque Bauzon could not have validly conveyed both parcels as one-half (1/2) of each parcel rightfully belonged to Segunda Maningding and her heirs. a private document of donation may serve as basis for a claim of ownership. He claimed that he acquired ownership over both the sugarland and the riceland by donation propter nuptias from his parents Ramon Bauzon and Sotera Zulueta on 21 April 1926 in consideration of his marriage to Petra Loresco. 4 Ordinary acquisitive prescription requires possession in good faith and with just title for ten (10) years. upon motion for reconsideration. Rogue Bauzon acquired ownership over the subject properties by acquisitive prescription. yet. still it is a circumstance which may explain the adverse and exclusive character of the possession. the law then applicable. We agree with the Court of Appeals. With regard to the sugarland. the heirs sought the partition of the properties as well as the accounting of the produce but were unsuccessful. adverse and actual possession of the subject properties. namely.25 On 31 July 1979 Segunda Maningding died. peaceful. Roque Bauzon denied having executed the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication presented by petitioners. Maria Maningding. 8 In Pensader v. notorious. tax declarations and receipts are strong evidence of ownership. which required for the validity of the deed of donation to be in a public instrument. without need of title or of good faith. The Court of Appeals however ruled that the properties validly pertained to Roque Bauzon by virtue of the donation propter nuptias. 3 Acquisitive prescription is either ordinary or extraordinary. the same court maintained that the properties belonged to Roque Bauzon by virtue of acquisitive prescription. 633 of the old Civil Code. uninterrupted and adverse. as in the instant case. On the other hand private respondents aver that the Affidavit of Quitclaim and Renunciation over the riceland was executed not only by Juan Maningding and Maria Maningding but also by Segunda Maningding. In extraordinary prescription ownership and other real rights over immovable property are acquired through uninterrupted adverse possession thereof for thirty (30) years. that the possession should be in the concept of an owner. Roque had been in open. It rejected the deed of donation for failure to prove its due execution and authenticity and ruled that the same was negated by the Affidavit of Quitclaim and Renunciation of Juan Maningding and Maria Maningding in favor of Roque Bauzon and nullified the deed of sale by Roque Bauzon in favor of Luis Bauzon as regards the riceland and to Eriberta Bauzon with respect to the sugarland. The court a quo however awarded both parcels to Segunda Maningding and Roque Bauzon as co-owners in equal shares after finding that Juan Maningding and Maria Maningding had already executed an Affidavit of Quitclaim and Renunciation.
673. . but it does not follow that said donation may not serve as basis of acquisitive prescription when on the strength thereof the done has taken possession of the property adversely and in the concept of owner. This also an action for partition. Pensader. Sixty (60) years have already elapsed. On this point we find pertinent the following observation of the trial court. or. The essential elements constituting acquisitive prescription are therefore present which negative the right of plaintiffs to ask for partition of said properties. It was shown that the donation of the property was made not even in a private document but only verbally. as this Court well said: "While the verbal donation. Roque peacefully possessed the properties as he was never ousted therefrom nor prevented from enjoying their fruits. adverse and public possession of the property since 1948 up to 1986. Yet. As to the character of the possession held by defendant during that period one cannot also deny that it is in the concept of owner considering that the lands were donated to him by his predecessors-in-interest on the occasion of his marriage even if the same was not embodied in a public instrument. In either case. Roque Bauzon possessed the subject parcels of land in the concept of owner by virtue of the donation propter nuptias. He likewise appropriated to himself the whole produce of the parcels of land to the exclusion of all others. Again. one of petitioners. acquisitive prescription has already set in in favor of Roque Bauzon. "Any person who claims right of ownership over immovable properties and does not invoke that right but instead tolerated others in possession for thirty years is guilty of laches and negligence and he must suffer the consequence of his acts. These acts were made more pronounced and public considering that the parcels of land are located in a municipality wherein ownership and possession are particularly and normally known to the community. adversely and without interruption from 1916 to 1949 for he is the one who has possessed and reaped the whole benefit thereof. His possession was uninterrupted and in good faith because of his well-founded belief that the donation propter nuptias was properly executed and the grantors were legally allowed to convey their respective shares in his favor.26 There is no question that the donation in question is invalid because it involves an immovable property and the donation was not made in a public document as required by Article 633 of the old Civil Code. more than thirty (30) years have already passed. 47 Phil. It was also shown that the defendants. yet it is a circumstances which may explain the adverse and exclusive character of the possession' (Pensader v. even if we assume the absence of good faith and just title. xxx xxx xxx We do not need to stretch our mind to see that under such allegations plaintiffs intended to convey the idea that defendant has possessed the lands openly. The donation propter nuptias was effected as early as 21 April 1926. or a period of thirty-six (36) years. The possession was public as it was Roque Bauzon who personally tilled and cultivated the lots. in connection with Article 1328 of the same Code (concerning gifts propter nuptias). Roque Bauzon and his heirs had been in continuous. It was only in 1986 when the heirs of Segunda Maningding demanded partition of the properties and conveyance of the produce. The acts of reaping the benefits of ownership were manifest and visible to all. the ownership of the two (2) parcels would still appertain to Roque Bauzon. under which the defendants and his predecessors-ininterest have been in possession of the lands in question. which is more than the required thirty-year extraordinary prescription. the court decided the case in favor of defendants on the ground of acquisitive prescription. There is a close parallelism between the facts of this case and the present. were in adverse and continuous possession of the lands for a period of over 30 years. 680). Even granting that Roque Bauzon possessed the properties only upon the death of his father in 1948. is not effective as a transfer of title. through their predecessors-in-interest. As testified to by Delfin Parayno." In the instant case.
SO ORDERED. EMMA PAULINO-YBANEZ. respondents. without specifying the grounds for such refusal. 1931. complete and conclusive in order to establish said prescription without any shadow of doubt. all surnamed Bailon. The parcel of land involved in this case. 78178 April 15. absent a clear repudiation of the co-ownership. Nenita and Delia. and SABINA BAILON. Rollo. 11 Co-owners cannot acquire by prescription the share of the other co-owners. Mario G. each with a 1/6 share. NILDA PAULINO-TOLENTINO.849 square meters. as a fact upon which the alleged prescription is based. . WHEREFORE. is covered by Original Certificate of Title No. Rubio for petitioners. Fortes for private-respondent. in the names of Rosalia.27 Prescription. cannot be considered as notice to the other co-owners of the occupant's claim of title in himself in repudiation of the co-ownership. p. The petitioners herein filed a case for recovery of property and damages with notice of lis pendens on March 13. Celestino Afable. Gaudencio and Nenita are now dead. The Resolution of the Court of Appeals of 7 July 1995 which modified its Decision of 29 November 1994 and holding that the deceased Roque Bauzon acquired the disputed two (2) parcels of land by acquisitive prescription is AFFIRMED. for which reason they demanded an accounting of the produce and the conveyance to them of their shares. with an area of 48. vs. J. 13 As disclosed by the records. and partition will lie. does not run in favor of a co-heir or co-owner as long as he expressly or impliedly recognizes the co-ownership. The evidence relative to the possession. and when upon trial it is not shown that the possession of the claimant has been adverse and exclusive and opposed to the rights of the others. Roque Bauzon and his heirs possessed the property from 1948 to 1986 to the exclusion of petitioners who were never given their shares of the fruits of the properties. 12 Therefore while prescription among co-owners cannot take place when the acts of ownership exercised are vague and uncertain. before the prescriptive period would begin to run. CORTES. No. 1988 DELIA BAILON-CASILAO.R. Luz. In order that title may prescribe in favor of one of the co-owners. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. it must be clearly shown that he has repudiated the claims of the others. 1771 issued on June 12.: The fate of petitioners' claim over a parcel of land rests ultimately on a determination of whether or not said petitioners are chargeable with such laches as may effectively bar their present action. Bernabe went to China in 1931 and had not been heard from since then [Decision of the Court of Appeals. the case is not one of ownership. the petition is DENIED. Sabina Bernabe. LUZ PAULINO-ANG. Mere refusal to accede to a partition. 1981 against the defendant and herein private respondent. petitioners. Emma and Nilda. they must suffer the consequence of their inaction. the latter being represented in this case by her children. Costs against petitioners. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and CELESTINO AFABLE. Unfortunately they slept on their rights and allowed almost thirty-six (36) years to lapse before attempting to assert their right. and that they were apprised of his claim of adverse and exclusive ownership. as a rule. Gaudencio. such prescription arises and produces all its effects when the acts of ownership do not evince any doubt as to the ouster of the rights of the other coowners. 39]. Perforce. as co-owners. must be clear. Veronico E.
Sr. On appeal. Aresgado de Lanuza. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the acts and benefits pertaining thereto. On the same date. Hence. Afable claimed that he had acquired the land in question through prescription and contended that the petitioners were guilty of laches. p. citing the ruling in Mejia de Lucaz v. P2. to wit: a. Finding and declaring the following as pro-indiviso co-owners. 5. The rights of a co-owner of a certain property are clearly specified in Article 493 of the Civil Code. then in that of Donato Delgado in 1936. a determination of the effect of a sale by one or more coowners of the entire property held in common without the consent of all the co-owners and of the appropriate remedy of the aggrieved co-owners is required. then in Ponciana de Lanuza's name in 1962 and finally in the name of Celestino Afable. John Lanuza. Rosalia Bailon and Gaudencio Bailon sold a portion of the said land consisting of 16. an action to recover it may be barred by laches. Aresgado de Lanuza. c. On May 13. Lanuza acquired from Delgado the 16. Rollo. Delia Bailon-Casilao. in the name of Ciriaca Dellamas. Initially though. In all these transfers. Ordering the defendant to pay the following: a. Gamponia [100 Phil. 1949. 2. 496 when the fact is that it is. On December 3. The principal issue to be resolved in this case concerns the applicability of the equitable doctrine of laches. 4. However. Sabina Bailon b.00 as attorney's fees and.28 It appears that on August 23. in 1983. 1975. this petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals. a co-owner of the land described in paragraph III of the complaint having validly bought the two-sixth (2/6) respective undivided shares of Rosalia Bailon and Gaudencio Bailon. acting under a special power of attorney given by his wife. It appears that said land had been successively declared for taxation first. it was stated in the deeds of sale that the land was not registered under the provisions of Act No.283 square meters of land which the latter had earlier acquired from Rosalia and Gaudencio. Rosalia Bailon alone sold the remainder of the land consisting of 32. then in the name of Rosalia Bailon in 1924. Accordingly.Thus: Art. sold the two parcels of land to Celestino Afable. the respondent Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court insofar as it held that prescription does not he against plaintiffs-appellees because they are co-owners of the original vendors. mother of the registered co-owners. of the property described in paragraph III of the complaint. Finding and declaring Celestino Afable.566 square meters to Ponciana V. 3. it held the petitioners guilty of laches and dismissed their complaint.00 as damages. Ponciana V. 1948. In his answer to the complaint filed by the herein petitioners. Sr. the appellate court declared that.He later filed a third-party complaint against Rosalia Bailon for damages allegedly suffered as a result of the sale to him of the land. although registered property cannot be lost by prescription. nevertheless. Bernabe Bailon c.283 square meters to Donato Delgado. b. 37-38]. 493. the lower court rendered a decision: 1. having 1/6 share each. Heirs of Nenita Bailon-Paulino d. to pay the costs. and he may therefore alienate assign or .000. Ordering the segregation of the undivided interests in the property in order to terminate co-ownership to be conducted by any Geodetic Engineer selected by the parties to delineate the specific part of each of the co-owners. [Decision of the Trial Court.000. P5. 277 (1956)]. After trial. Ordering the defendant to restore the possession of the plaintiffs respective shares as well as all attributes of absolute dominion.
this Court has interpreted said provision of law to mean that the action for partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by prescription. Consequently. for PARTITION under Rule 69 of the Revised Rules of Court.' [Emphasis supplied. the said Afable thereby became a co-owner of the disputed parcel of land as correctly held by the lower court since the sales produced the effect of substituting the buyers in the enjoyment thereof [Mainit v. Bandoy. supra. '(n)o co-owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-ownership. defendant-appellee's defense of prescription is a vain proposition.[Ramirez v.] In Budiong v. September 9.Respondents bolster their argument by citing a decision of this Court in Pasion v. 489] holding that "the imprescriptibility of a Torrens title can only be invoked by the person in whose name the title is registered" and that . Bandoy.No. it is now settled that the appropriate recourse of co-owners in cases where their consent were not secured in a sale of the entire property as well as in a sale merely of the undivided shares of some of the co-owners is an action. neither prescription nor laches can be invoked.heir so long as he expressly or impliedly recognizes the coownership. the late Nenita Bailon. 2 SCRA 486. shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. In the light of the attendant circumstances. but the DIVISION of the common property as if it continued to remain in the possession of the co-owners who possessed and administered it [Mainit v. 730 (1910)]. May 31.R. except when personal rights are involved. the sale or other disposition affects only his undivided share and the transferee gets only what would correspond to his grantor in the partition of the thing owned in common. But the effect of the alienation or mortgage. the express provision of Act No. Consequently. Pursuant to Article 494 of the Civil Code. It is argued however. However. only the rights of the co-owner-seller are transferred. that as to the petitioners Emma. 79 SCRA 241.29 mortgage it and even substitute another person in its enjoyment. Bautista." Furthermore. a sale of the entire property by one co-owner without the consent of the other co-owners is not null and void.] Thus. The proper action in cases like this is not for the nullification of the sale or for the recovery of possession of the thing owned in common from the third person who substituted the co-owner or co-owners who alienated their shares. it may be deduced that since a co-owner is entitled to sell his undivided share. 1961. Such co-owner may demand at anytime the partition of the thing owned in common. L-27702. No. 1977. L-15757. prescription will not lie in favor of Afable as against the petitioners who remain the registered owners of the disputed parcel of land. supra]. 320 (1923)]. Bautista.R. the disputed parcel of land being registered under the Torrens System. 14 Phil. thereby making the buyer a co-owner of the property. For Article 494 of the Civil Code explicitly declares: "No prescription shall lie in favor of a co-owner or co. Pasion [G. Bondoc [G. Neither recovery of possession nor restitution can be granted since the defendant buyers are legitimate proprietors and possessors in joint ownership of the common property claimed [Ramirez v. As to the action for petition. 496 that '(n)o title to registered land in derogation to that of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse possession' is squarely applicable. 14 Phil. From the foregoing. prescription lies. by virtue of the sales made by Rosalia and Gaudencio Bailon which are valid with respect to their proportionate shares. and the subsequent transfers which culminated in the sale to private respondent Celestino Afable. 528 (1909)]. [Emphasis supplied. insofar as his share is concerned. with respect to the co-owners. the sale will affect only his own share but not those of the other co-owners who did not consent to the sale [Punsalan v.] As early as 1923. This is because under the aforementioned codal provision. Boon Liat 44 Phil. this Court has ruled that even if a co-owner sells the whole property as his. Luz and Nelda who are not the registered co-owners but merely represented their deceased mother.
257]. This court has pointed out that laches is not concerned with the mere lapse of time. 96 Phil. No. v. Nicanor Lee. or the suit is not held to be barred [Go China Gun. March 18. However. August 7. Thus: Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect. G. Article 657).. [Barcelona v. July 27. R. which was promulgated subsequent to the Pasion case reiterated the Atus doctrine. It is undisputed that the petitioner co-owners had entrusted the care and management of the parcel of land to Rosalia Bailon who was the oldest among them [TSN. L-21450. 762. 1968. No. Tendo v. Tijam. the mere fact of delay is insufficient to constitute. 135 SCRA 427. In fact. petitioners had no notice of the sale made by their eldest sister. 1985. laches. 97 Phil. G. who was presented as a witness by the plaintiffs-petitioners. for an unreasonable length of time to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier. Sibonghanoy. 23 SCRA 29. et al. 764]. 138 SCRA 78. 429]. supra..35. et al. Zamacoma. [Emphasis supplied. 622 (1955)].. it must be equally unavailing against the latter's hereditary successors. giving rise to the situation of which complaint is made and for which the complainant seeks a remedy. (3) lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainant would assert the right on which he bases his suit. Nunez. Thus: Prescription is unavailing not only against the registered owner but also against his hereditary successors.30 'one who is not the registered owner of a parcel of land cannot invoke imprescriptibility of action to claim the same. such delay was not attended with any knowledge of the sale nor with any opportunity to bring suit. 1985. Sibonghanoy. because they merely step into the shoes of the decedent by operation of law (New Civil Code. 251.] It must be noted that while there was delay in asserting petitioners' rights. 14]. is not a mere question of time but is principally a question of inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted.R.' Reliance on the aforesaid Pasion case is futile. 90]. In the first place. Co Cho et al. the second and third elements are missing. et al. the complainant having had knowledge or notice of the defendant's conduct and having been afforded an opportunity to institute suit. (4) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complainant. a son of Rosalia. because they merely step into the shoes of the decedent by operation of law and are merely the continuation of the personality of their predecessor-in-interest. April 25. p. it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. Alecha [G. testified on crossexamination that his mother was only the administrator of the land as she is the eldest and her . the discouragement of stale claims and unlike the statute of limitations. Barcelona. Laches is likewise unavailing as a shield against the action of herein petitioners. L-63048. No. v. et al. the title or right undergoing no change by its transmission mortis causa [Atus. 1983. 35]. 67284. and. While the first and last elements are present in this case. The second element speaks of delay in asserting the complainant's rights. namely: (1) conduct on the part of the defendant or of one under whom he claims.. p." [Tijam v.R. The latest pronouncement of this Court in Umbay v. v. (2) delay in asserting the corporations complainant's rights. 100 Phil. Well-stated in this jurisdiction are the four basic elements of laches. The doctrine of "laches" or of "stale demands" is based upon grounds of public policy which requires for the peace of society. It is required that (1) complainant must have had knowledge of the conduct of defendant or of one under whom he claims and (2) he must have been afforded an opportunity to institute suit. Article 777. Old Civil Code. The rational is clear: If prescription is unavailing against the registered owner. The ruling therein applies only against transferees other than direct issues or heirs or to complete strangers.
Q: In 1975. (TSN. when Rosalia. It was only when Delia Bailon-Casilao returned to Sorsogon in 1981 that she found out about the sales and immediately. they were kept in the dark about the transactions entered into by their sister. you already discovered that the title was in the name of several persons. it was only in 1983 that she returned. Consequently. made the disputed sales covering the entire property. they cannot be faulted for the acts of their co-owner who failed to live up to the trust and confidence expected of her. Her co-owners also allowed her to appropriate the entire produce for herself because it was not even enough for her daily consumption [TSN. Q: It was mortgaged to you before you bought it? A: Yes. from whom the private respondent derived his title. Q: When you discovered that it is in the name of several persons. the herein petitioners were unaware thereof. Q: And that was denied by the Court of First Instance of Sorsogon because there was ordinary one signatory to the deed of sale instead of six. she and her co-petitioners filed the present action for recovery of property.31 brothers and sisters were away [TSN. Sabina on the other hand. p. 15]. private respondent is guilty of bad faith in purchasing the property as he knew that the property was co-owned by six persons and yet. October 5. March 5. And since petitioner was the one receiving the produce. sir. Indeed. 12) When crossexamined. you filed a case in court for authority to cancel the title to be transferred in your name. On the contrary. Witness. is said to be living in Zamboanga while Bernabe who left for China in 1931 has not been heard from since then. There was no lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainants would assert the right on which they base the suit. pp. if knowledge of the sale by Rosalia was conveyed to the petitioners only later. 1984. was it not? A: 1975. The third element of laches is likewise absent. In the second place. In view of the lack of knowledge by the petitioners of the conduct of Rosalia in selling the land without their consent in 1975 and the absence of any opportunity to institute the proper action until 1981. they were not afforded an opportunity to bring suit inasmuch as until 1981." the truth was that Afable already had notice that the land was titled in the name of six persons by virtue of the Certificate of Title which was already in his possession even before the sale. is it not? A: Yes. Now. ." For the administration of the parcel of land was entrusted to the oldest co-owner who was then in possession thereof precisely because the other co-owners cannot attend to such a task as they reside outside of Sorsogon where the land is situated. was it not? A: Not one but two signatories. 1983. Your Honor. there were only two signatories to the deeds of sale and no special authorization to self was granted to the two sellers by the other coowners. laches may not be asserted against the petitioners. 1983. p. Even as the land here was misrepresented in the deeds of sale as "unregistered. it is but natural that she was the one to take charge of paying the real estate taxes. sir. Such fact is apparent from his testimony before the court a quo: COURT: Q: From whom did you get the certificate of Title? A: When it was mortgaged by Ponciana Aresgado. The appellate court thus erred in holding that 'the petitioners did nothing to show interest in the land. October 5. is it not? A: Yes. when Delia BailonCasilao left Sorsogon in 1942 after she got married. 17-18]. the original Certificate of Title was given to you in the year 1974. he stated: Q: Mr.
of the subject land. petitioner Estelita Aguirre and private respondent Teofista S. vs. 1983. CV No. petitioner filed a Complaint for Quieting of Title and/or Recovery of Possession with Damages5 against the spouses Privado Tupas and Teofista S. and the decision of the trial court is REINSTATED. in what is more popularly known as Boracay Island. petitioner. July 27. claiming to have been disturbed in the possession of the subject land. the undisputed fact is that petitioners are relatives of his wife. Moreover. PATERNO SACAPAÑO. Also sought to be reviewed is respondent Court's November 20. Teofista S. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.known rule in this jurisdiction that: . Afable went to the herein petitioner Delia BailonCasilao. he even filed a petition in the Court of First Instance to register the title in his name which was denied as aforesaid. however. 1991 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo.: The instant Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks a review of the July 15. Hence any prejudice or injury that may be occasioned to him by such sale must be borne by him. p. Indeed.32 [Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon.. 1996 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Aklan. Laches being an equitable defense.6 being co-owners with their sister. respondents. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PRIVADO TUPAS and TEOFISTA TUPAS (deceased) substituted by ROGELIA TUPAS-BARBERS. Tupas entered into a Deed of Absolute Sale4 covering a 3.2 dismissing petitioner's Complaint for Quieting of Title...230 square meter parcel of land located in Balabag. PRODITO SACAPAÑO and JOSEBEL SACAPAÑO. 1972. It may be gleaned from the foregoing examination of the facts that Celestino Afable is not a buyer in good faith. J.1âwphi1. Tupas. In failing to exercise even a minimum degree of ordinary prudence required by the situation. aware of the flaws impairing his title. No. the petition for certiorari is hereby GRANTED. the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE. 1997 Resolution3 denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. IAC and Rural Bank of Pavia. he is deemed to have bought the lot at his own risk. 1988). SO ORDERED. he who invokes it must come to the court with clean hands. asking the latter to sign a document obviously to cure the flaw [TSN. As a genuine gesture of good faith.6].R.1 which affirmed the August 21. Malay. Inc. Tupas.nêt The antecedent facts: On April 30. FRANCISCO SACAPAÑO. except when the party concerned has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that would impel a reasonably cautions man to make such inquiry. 2000 ESTELITA AGUIRRE. petitioner took possession and occupied the said parcel of land. WHEREFORE. The other private respondents then came in as intervenors. he should have contacted the petitioners who were still listed as co-owners in the certificate of title which was already in his possession even before the sale. 1984. . January 29. Aklan.R. Branch 8. GLORIA SACAPAÑO SAMAR. No.R. 35] Such actual knowledge of the existence of other co-owners in whose names the lot subject of the sale was registered should have prompted a searching inquiry by Afable considering the well. p. a person dealing with a registered land has a right to rely upon the face of the Torrens certificate of title and to dispense with the need of inquiring further. YNARES-SANTIAGO. Rollo. Later. Immediately thereafter. On August 15. [Gonzales v. G. 131520 January 28. 69622. 34715.
7 The Petition must be denied. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE FINDING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT THE EXECUTION OF THE DEED OF SALE WAS HIGHLY IRREGULAR BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD DOES NOT SUPPORT SAID CONCLUSION. however. the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo. It found that the contract between the parties was one of equitable mortgage and not of sale." . Court of Appeals. (5) When the vendor binds himself to pay the taxes on the thing sold. nevertheless. (6) In any other case where it may be fairly inferred that the real intention of the parties is that the transaction shall secure the payment of a debt or the performance of any other obligation. Petitioner argues that the terms of the contract are clear that it is one of sale. regardless of its nomenclature. Aklan rendered judgment dismissing the Complaint for lack of merit. By the terms of Art. in any of the following cases: (1) When the price of a sale with right to repurchase is unusually inadequate. may be presumed to be an equitable mortgage. (3) When upon or after the expiration of the right to repurchase another instrument extending the period of redemption or granting a new period is executed. . . As such therefore. II. ONE OF WHICH IS IN THE PERSON OF GLORIA SAMAR. courts are not bound by the title or name given by the parties. as follows: Art. that clarity of contract terms and the name given to it does not bar us from determining the true intent of the parties. Art. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT AN HEIR SUCH AS IN THE CASE OF TEOFISTA SACAPAÑO TUPAS CANNOT ALIENATE HER PART OF THE INHERITANCE WITHOUT THE CONFORMITY OF HER OTHER CO-HEIRS. the Court of Appeals affirmed the Decision. 1602. 1604.33 On August 21. (2) When the vendor remains in possession as lessee or otherwise. The contract shall be presumed to be an equitable mortgage. fruits or other benefit to be received by the vendee as rent or otherwise shall be considered as interest which shall be subject to the usury laws. On appeal. words. 1602 of the Civil Code enumerates the instances when a contract. in Zamora vs. any money. during and immediately after executing the agreement. The decisive factor in evaluating such agreement is the intention of the parties. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT THE TRANSACTION BETWEEN THE PARTIES WAS NOT A SALE BUT AN EQUITABLE MORTGAGE AS THE SAME IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD AS NONE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN ARTICLE 1602 OF THE CIVIL CODE EXISTS IN THIS CASE. documentary and parol evidence may be submitted and admitted to prove such intention. In any of the foregoing cases. Although the instant Petition deals mainly with factual questions which generally are beyond the reach of the review power of this Court. (4) When the purchaser retains for himself a part of the purchase price. Indeed. It is firmly settled in jurisprudence. actions and deeds prior to. petitioner is now before this Court with the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari anchored upon the following grounds — I. we shall proceed to discuss the validity of the findings of fact and conclusions of the lower court and the Court of Appeals. . the foregoing provisions "shall also apply to a contract purporting to be an absolute sale. 1991. With the denial of her Motion for Reconsideration.8 it was reiterated that — In determining the nature of a contract. as shown not necessarily by the terminology used in the contract but by their conduct. III. .
10 Art. we are convinced that it qualifies as an equitable mortgage under Article 1602(6). we find credibility in private respondents' claim that the spouses Tupas gave petitioner a ten (10) year period to occupy the subject land as part of their mortgage agreement. or an overwhelming number of such circumstances. suffices to give rise to the presumption that the contract is an equitable mortgage. until the action below was filed in 1984. issued during the Martial Law period.R. the same would show that the taxes for the years 19741980 were only made by petitioner on June 4. Coming now to the temporary possession of the subject land by petitioner. while petitioner presented tax declarations in her favor. CV No. a Sworn Statement executed by private respondent Teofista Tupas on June 21. After a careful review of the records of the case. as held out by petitioner. petitioner admits that no demand to vacate the land was ever made upon the spouses Tupas.13 Neither was rent ever collected from them for their occupancy of the land. 1973. That petitioner vacated the subject land after having occupied the same15 only underscores the fact that no sale took place between the parties. the existence of any one of the conditions under Article 1602.11 such that. to pay their indebtedness to petitioner. That period of time may well be deemed as the time allotted to the spouses Tupas. 1602(6). as claimed by private respondents and upheld by both courts below. abandon the property she already was in possession of. .17 almost a year after she had already filed the suit below. However. 76. hence. All told. requiring all land owners to submit statements of their assets and their corresponding values. 34715 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. it may be that the debt was given at the very moment of the mortgage transaction. Included as an asset in the Statement is the subject land.16 On the other hand. 1985. why would she. not a concurrence. more than a year after the transaction of April 30. Article 1604 of the Civil Code provides that the provisions of Article 1602 shall also apply to a contract purporting to be an absolute sale. 1972. Yet another indication of their continued ownership of the subject land is Exhibit "E-6".nêt SO ORDERED. as rightful owner. This may be gleaned from the following circumstances surrounding the transaction — First.14 Their possession remained undisturbed for years. as mortgagors. The explicit provision of Article 1602 that any of those circumstances would suffice to construe a contract of sale to be one of equitable mortgage is in consonance with the rule that the law favors the least transmission of property rights. Otherwise. we see no reason to depart from the findings and conclusions of both the lower court and the Court of Appeals. per petitioner's own account. it cannot be held that the subject land was being used as security for a debt. petitioner points out that private respondent Teofista Tupas was not a debtor at any time prior to the sale. in relation to Article 1604 provides that a contract of sale is presumed to be an equitable mortgage in any other case where it may be fairly inferred that the real intention of the parties is that the transaction shall secure the payment of a debt or the performance of any other obligation. The presence of even one of the circumstances in Article 1602 is sufficient basis to declare a contract as one of equitable mortgage. it is not disputed that private respondents spouses Tupas built two cottages on the subject land as well as operated a sari-sari store and grew banana plants on the same. WHEREFORE.12 Despite this bold possession.34 This leads us to the pivotal question of whether or not the transaction between the parties was indeed one of sale. or one of mortgage. only to leave possession of the same to her vendor? It is also of record that private respondents had continued paying tax on the subject land even after the same had been supposedly "sold" to petitioner. almost 1/2 half of the area had been occupied by them.1âwphi1. No pronouncement as to costs. the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. This Statement was executed in compliance with Presidential Decree No.9 To stress. As already stated above. In arguing that the transaction was one of sale.
Rosila. and Nazaria Cruz.. vs. Balbino. FLORENCIO CONSTANTINO.291 square meters. Pedro sired three children: Rafael. ALFREDO M. ROSILA GEREMILLO.: The propriety of the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City (Branch 276) in Civil Case No. ELMER AREVALO. THE HEIRS OF NAZARIA CRUZ and SANTOS AREVALO. EUGENE MEDINA. and Nazaria Cruz. MANUEL M. ERNESTO MEDINA. IGNACIO CONSTANTINO.1 On June 5. measuring 16. RODOLFO. 133444 covering Lot 90-B. 1962. 202295. Brigida. RODOLFO. Gregoria. Rita and Remegia. in his second marriage. then in the Province of Rizal. Petitioners are the grandchildren of Pedro Medina from two marriages. LYDIA MEDINA. Except for Balbino and Crisanta. YOLANDA MEDINA. SANTOS CONSTANTINO. These properties were consolidated with other lots and were eventually registered on July 19. 98-233 is the sole issue in this petition for review on certiorari.5 On November 6.35 Possession Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. 1995. SALLY AREVALO. RODOLFO. the petitioners in this case. Balbino. NIDA M. assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals nullifying said writ. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. an action for annulment of titles and deeds. respondent. ERNESTO GEREMILLO. petitioners. ELPIDIO MEDINA. this time to Natalia Mullet. EDGARDO MEDINA. 1962. Cornelio. in favor of respondent. a notarized Deed of Absolute Sale with Mortgage was executed on September 4. MERCEDES GEREMILLO. Signing as vendors were Pedro. and Alberto. all surnamed Medina. . 140228 November 19. RENATO MEDINA. ANATALIO MEDINA. Brigida. Pedro. Pedro had five: Cornelio. BALBINO MEDINA. damages with preliminary injunction and restraining order. petitioners instituted Civil Case No. ELEONOR MEDINA.3 Thereafter. DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. RODOLFO. Balbino.4 By virtue of these sales. SONIA MEDINA. ERNIE MEDINA. all of Pedro's children likewise bore children. NENE AREVALO. EVELYN MEDINA. respondent was able to register in its name the title to the two parcels of land with TCT No. MARIO MEDINA. RODOLFO. GREENFIELD DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. MELENCIO GEREMILLO. ELVIRA MEDINA. HERMOGENES CONSTANTINO. RAYMUNDO MEDINA. MILAGROS M. EUFEMIA MEDINA. 1964 in favor of respondent over Lot 90-B covered by TCT No. VIRGILIO MEDINA. Cornelio. VIRGINIA CONSTANTINO. Crisanta. Brigida. and this time signed by Pedro.R. Rosila. 2004 FRANCISCO MEDINA. BELEN M. 100177 (Lot 90-A) and measuring 17. in the name of respondent under TCT Nos. CORNELIO MEDINA. his brother Alberto Medina and his niece Nazaria Cruz (Alberto's daughter) executed a notarized Contract to Sell in favor of respondent Greenfield Development Corporation over a parcel of land located in Muntinlupa City. EDWIN MEDINA. 202296 and 202297. VINCENT AREVALO. Gregoria. JR. 1998. CRISANTA MEDINA. J. JR.2 A notarized Deed of Sale covering said property was subsequently entered into on June 27. CRISPIN MEDINA. MARIA MEDINA. TEOFILO MEDINA. LUZVIMINDA MEDINA. 100578 covering Lot 90-A and TCT No. all surnamed Medina. No. ENRIQUE MEDINA. as vendors. and Alberto.. In his first marriage to Isadora San Jose. Crisanta and Rosila. Crisanta. 100178.121 square meters. RODOLFO. CELSO AREVALO. 98-233. REMIGIO M. MARCELO GEREMILLO. reconveyance.
respondent constructed a fence on the property and posted security personnel. Cornelio. The dispositive portion of the resolution reads: Let therefore an injunction issue. dated January 18. and the signatures of the vendors therein were fake. SP No. alleging the following grounds: I THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RELYING HEAVILY ON THE ANTECEDENT FACTS NARRATED IN THE PETITION OF THE RESPONDENT IN CA-G. After discovering the annotation. Despite the transfer of the title to respondent's name. 1998. the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining respondent and its agents and representatives from preventing petitioners to exercise their rights over the properties. 52015. While the titles were registered in the names of Pedro.7 Petitioners allege in their complaint that they are coowners of these two parcels of land. representatives. petitioners sought. Alberto. the Court of Appeals11 rendered its decision nullifying the trial court's resolution.R. its security guards. upon payment of a bond in the amount of P100. the dispositive portion of which provides: IN THE (sic) LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING. On July 13.10 Respondent filed a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals. stating that petitioners have no valid claim on the properties as it is already titled in its name by virtue of the public documents executed by their predecessors. enjoining and directing defendant GREENFIELD DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.R. and from preventing them to exercise their property rights. their caretaker.9 On January 18. from entering and going out of the subject premises. docketed as CA-G. The assailed Resolution of the Public Respondent Judge. Brigida and Gregoria. SP NO.6 Included in the complaint are the heirs of Nazaria Cruz. they alleged that they were recognized as co-owners thereof. 1999. SO ORDERED. It is SO ORDERED. 98-233 is hereby NULLIFIED. 52015 AND ADOPTED THE SAME AS ITS OWN WITHOUT EVIDENTIARY SUPPORT II THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR IN UPHOLDING THE VALIDITY OF THE DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE RESPONDENT AND IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT'S TRANSFER CERTIFICATES OF TITLE ARE VALID DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SAID ISSUES ARE YET TO BE TRIED III THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN PRESUMING THAT NOTARIZED DOCUMENTS ARE VALID AND THAT RESPONDENT'S TORRENS TITLES ARE INDEFEASIBLE ON THE WRONG NOTION THAT THE RESPONDENT WAS PRESUMED INNOCENT PERSON IV THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A MISTAKE IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT WAS IN CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION OF THE SUBJECT . petitioners caused an adverse claim to be annotated on the titles.00. a certain Santos Arevalo and his family still reside on a portion of the property. in Civil Case No. Thus. as unwilling co-plaintiffs. the petition is hereby GRANTED. In support of their case. barring their ingress and egress. all surnamed Medina. and all those claiming rights under it. On July 16. they remained in possession thereof and in fact. 1999.8 Respondent denied the allegations.000. from preventing plaintiffs and their caretaker Santos Arevalo. petitioners maintain that the deeds of sale on these properties were simulated and fictitious. respondent alleged that Santos Arevalo is not petitioners' caretaker and it was them who employed him as caretaker.36 against respondent and the Register of Deeds of Makati. As counterclaim. among others. 1999. the trial court issued its resolution granting petitioners' prayer for injunctive relief.12 Petitioners now seek recourse with this Court. agents.
pay (sic) in full the consideration and ownership passes to the Vendee. who all denied knowledge of the same. It was the trial court's opinion that petitioners are entitled to the injunction for the following reasons: The Court however holds suspect the acquisition by Greenfield Development Corporation of the two parcels. A Contract to Sell is only a promise to sell.15 Section 3. denominated as DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE WITH MORTGAGE can be the bases (sic) of a new title. or (c) That a party. is contradicted by the mortgage it also provides. as the matter should be resolved after trial on the merits. 100178 even deny having executed this document of Deed of Absolute Sale with Mortgage. The absoluteness of the sale. It noted that the trial court relied mainly on petitioners' allegations in the complaint. Lastly. Any reference to the validity or invalidity of the transfers and the titles is merely preliminary. irreparable injury will visit the landowner if the claim of ownership by Greenfield Development Corporation is allowed and not enjoined. which were not supported by substantial evidence. The registered owners of Lot 90-B covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. The Court of Appeals also found that respondent is in constructive possession of the properties in dispute considering that it is already the registered owner thereof since 1962. and ignored the presumption of validity ascribed to the duly notarized deeds of conveyances and the titles issued to respondent.A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established: (a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded. some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of . No contract of Sale followed this Contract to Sell which cannot be the bases of the issuance of a new title. or in requiring the performance of an act or acts. and after this is fully explained and determined.14 The Court of Appeals. however. . Rule 58 of the Rules of Court provides for the grounds justifying the issuance of a preliminary injunction. 3. This Court cannot also understand how the document. agency or a person is doing. and is not a deed of sale. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. This Court's resolution will revolve only on the propriety of the injunction.37 PREMISES NOTWITHSTANDING THAT PETITIONERS ARE IN ACTUAL POSSESSION THEREOF V THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONERS' RIGHT TO IMPUGN RESPONDENT'S TITLES HAVE (SIC) PRESCRIBED SINCE AN ACTION OR DEFENSE BASED ON THE INEXISTENCE OF A CONTRACT DOES NOT PRESCRIBE13 As stated at the outset. Lot 90-A covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 100177. court. specially as this Contact to Sell is not signed by all of the registered owners. and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of. or is procuring or suffering to be done. whether the properties were actually sold to Defendant Greenfield Development Corporation. the Court of Appeals held that petitioners' right to impugn respondent's title to the property has already prescribed. to wit: SEC. disagreed with the trial court. (b) That the commission. continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant. either for a limited period or perpetually. Until these matters are threshed out at the trial on the merits. There is absoluteness of sale only when the buyer upon execution of the contract. was promised to be sold to defendant under a contract to sell but the other coowners did not sign this Contract to Sell. threatening or is attempting to do. the sole issue in this case is whether or not the trial court erred in granting petitioners' prayer for injunctive relief.
as it would be premature. (3) that there is an urgent and permanent act and urgent necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. to the detriment of the doctrine of presumption of validity in favor of these documents. would dispose of the main case without trial. the presumption must be upheld. It is a prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. petitioners' entitlement to the injunctive writ hinges on their prima facie legal right to the properties subject of the present dispute. it is clear that petitioners failed to discharge the burden of clearly showing a clear and unmistakable right to be protected.25 .22 According to petitioners. are generally a conclusive evidence of the ownership of the land referred to therein. the petitioner has the burden to establish the following requisites:17 1) a right in esse or a clear and unmistakable right to be protected. then the presumptions must prevail at this juncture. There would. Leon Medina who is a co-owner of the property then covered by TCT No. was already dead. Hence. Absent such evidence. and tending to render the judgment ineffectual. to be entitled to an injunctive writ. The Court notes that the present dispute is based solely on the parties' allegations in their respective pleadings and the documents attached thereto. however. The well-settled rule is that a document acknowledged before a notary public enjoys the presumption of regularity. in effect. which should not even be preliminarily dealt with.24 Such basis would be virtually recognizing petitioners' claim that the deeds of conveyances and the titles are a nullity without further proof.20 and a strong presumption exists that the titles are regularly issued and valid. 21314. and on the other. To overcome this presumption. We have on one hand. be a prejudgment of the main case and a reversal of the rule on the burden of proof since it would assume the proposition which the petitioners are inceptively duty bound to prove. until and unless petitioners show that the documents are indeed spurious and the titles invalid. respondent's claim of ownership supported by deeds of conveyances and torrens titles in their favor. What tilt the balance in respondent's favor are the notarized documents and the titles to the properties. petitioners' bare assertion or claim that they are co-owners of the properties sold by their predecessors to respondent.21 Therefore. Petitioners. argue that the presumption of validity of the notarized documents and titles cannot be applied in respondent's case as it is not an innocent purchaser. (2) a violation of that right.23 The ground relied upon by the trial court in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction in this case is its doubt over the acquisition of the properties by respondent.16 Thus. They only have their own allegations and are yet to prove their claim. respondent is fully aware that at the time that the Contract to Sell was entered into in 1962. having been registered under the Torrens system. From these alone.19 In addition. Suffice it to say that these arguments already involve the merits of the main case pending before the trial court. there must be presented evidence that is clear and convincing. The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to prevent threatened or continuous irremediable injury to some of the parties before their claims can be thoroughly studied and adjudicated. the only bases from which the propriety of the injunction can be determined are their respective pleadings and documents. Petitioners point out that trial on the merits of the case is still ongoing and respondent is yet to adduce evidence in support of its contention. Where the complainant's right or title is doubtful or disputed. however. the titles in the name of respondent. Its sole aim is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the case can be heard fully. which in effect.18 Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals should not have relied on respondent's allegations regarding the circumstances surrounding the sales and the transfer of the titles. applies to petitioners' cause of action. The possibility of irreparable damage without proof of actual existing right is not a ground for an injunction. And as stated earlier. injunction is not proper. The same.38 the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding. Equally pertinent is the rule that courts should avoid issuing a writ of preliminary injunction.
39 Petitioners also claim that they are in actual possession of the property. As alleged in their complaint, they instituted Santos Arevalo, a co-petitioner, as caretaker.26 They also alleged in their petition filed before this Court that Balbino and Yolanda Medina and their respective families are still residing on a portion of the property.27 Respondent belies their claim, declaring that it employed Arevalo as caretaker. Respondent presented a notarized Receipt and Quitclaim dated April 26, 1994, signed by Arevalo, who attested that he was employed by respondent as caretaker and that his stay on the property was a mere privilege granted by respondent. Possession and ownership are two different legal concepts. Just as possession is not a definite proof of ownership, neither is non-possession inconsistent with ownership. Even assuming that petitioners' allegations are true, it bears no legal consequence in the case at hand because the execution of the deeds of conveyances is already deemed equivalent to delivery of the property to respondent, and prior physical delivery or possession is not legally required.28 Under Article 1498 of the Civil Code, "when the sale is made through a public instrument, the execution thereof shall be equivalent to the delivery of the object of the contract, if from the deed the contrary does not appear or cannot be inferred." Possession is also transferred, along with ownership thereof, to respondent by virtue of the notarized deeds of conveyances.29 In sum, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction, and the Court of Appeals was correct in nullifying the same. The Court, however, finds that it was precipitate for the Court of Appeals to rule that petitioners' action is barred by prescription. As previously stressed, the parties are yet to prove their respective allegations and the trial court is yet to receive the evidence. There is nothing on record that can conclusively support the conclusion that the action is barred by prescription. Hence, the Court of Appeals should not have made such ruling. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated July 16, 1999 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 52015 is AFFIRMED, except as to its view on prescription, as discussed in the body of the text. Let the original records of this case be remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City (Branch 276) with dispatch for further proceedings. SO ORDERED Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.R. No. 149844 October 13, 2004 MIGUEL CUENCO, Substituted by MARIETTA C. CUYEGKENG, petitioner, vs. CONCEPCION CUENCO Vda. DE MANGUERRA, respondent. DECISION PANGANIBAN, J.: Inasmuch as the facts indubitably and eloquently show an implied trust in favor of respondent, the Court of Appeals did not err in affirming the Decision of the Regional Trial Court ordering petitioner to convey the subject property to her. That Decision satisfied the demands of justice and prevented unjust enrichment. The Case Before us is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, challenging the August 22, 2001 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 54852. The assailed Decision disposed as follows: "WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED."3 On the other hand, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Decision affirmed by the CA disposed as follows: "WHEREFORE, considering that this action is essentially one for reconveyance or enforcement of a trust, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the substituted defendant
40 Marietta Cuenco Cuyegkeng to reconvey or transfer, in a duly registrable public instrument, Lot No 903-A-6 under TCT No. 113781 of the Registry of Deeds of Cebu City, of the Banilad Estate with an area of 834 square meters, in favor of plaintiff Concepcion Cuenco Vda. De Manguerra; or should the substituted defendant, for one reason or another, fail to execute the necessary instrument once the decision becomes final, the Clerk of Court of this Court (RTC) is hereby instructed, in accordance with the Rules of Court, to prepare and execute the appropriate and requisite conveyance and instrument in favor of herein plaintiff which, in either case, shall be registered with the Office of the Register of Deeds of Cebu City. Without costs in this instance."4 The Facts The facts were summarized by the appellate court as follows: "On September 19, 1970, the [respondent] filed the initiatory complaint herein for specific performance against her uncle [Petitioner] Miguel Cuenco which averred, inter alia that her father, the late Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco (who became Senator) and said [petitioner] formed the ‘Cuenco and Cuenco Law Offices’; that on or around August 4, 1931, the Cuenco and Cuenco Law Offices served as lawyers in two (2) cases entitled ‘Valeriano Solon versus Zoilo Solon’ (Civil Case 9037) and ‘Valeriano Solon versus Apolonia Solon’ (Civil Case 9040) involving a dispute among relatives over ownership of lot 903 of the Banilad Estate which is near the Cebu Provincial Capitol; that records of said cases indicate the name of the [petitioner] alone as counsel of record, but in truth and in fact, the real lawyer behind the success of said cases was the influential Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco; that after winning said cases, the awardees of Lot 903 subdivided said lot into three (3) parts as follows: Lot 903-A: 5,000 [square meters]: Mariano Cuenco’s attorney’s fees Lot 903-B: 5,000 [square meters]: Miguel Cuenco’s attorney’s fees Lot 903-C: 54,000 [square meters]: Solon’s retention "That at the time of distribution of said three (3) lots in Cebu, Mariano Jesus Cuenco was actively practicing law in Manila, and so he entrusted his share (Lot 903-A) to his brother law partner (the [petitioner]); that on September 10, 1938, the [petitioner] was able to obtain in his own name a title for Lot 903-A (Transfer Certificate of Title [TCT] RT-6999 [T-21108]); that he was under the obligation to hold the title in trust for his brother Mariano’s children by first marriage; that sometime in 1947, the Cuenco family was anticipating Mariano’s second marriage, and so on February 1, 1947, they partitioned Lot 903-A into six (6) sub-lots (Lots 903-A-1 to 903-A-6) to correspond to the six (6) children of Mariano’s first marriage (Teresita, Manuel, Lourdes, Carmen, Consuelo, and Concepcion); that the [petitioner] did not object nor oppose the partition plan; that on June 4, 1947, the [petitioner] executed four (4) deeds of donation in favor of Mariano’s four (4) children: Teresita, Manuel, Lourdes, and Carmen, pursuant to the partition plan (per notary documents 183, 184, 185, 186, Book III, Series 1947 of Cebu City Notary Public Candido Vasquez); that on June 24, 1947, the [petitioner] executed the fifth deed of donation in favor of Mariano’s fifth child – Consuelo (per notary document 214, Book III, Series 1947 of Cebu City Notary Public Candido Vasquez) (Exhibits ‘2’ to ‘5’); that said five (5) deeds of donation left out Mariano’s sixth child – Concepcion – who later became the [respondent] in this case; that in 1949, [respondent] occupied and fenced a portion of Lot 903-A-6 for taxation purposes (Exhibit ‘F’, Exhibit ‘6’); that she also paid the taxes thereon (Exhibit ‘G’); that her father died on February 25, 1964 with a Last Will and Testament; that the pertinent portion of her father’s Last Will and Testament bequeaths the lot. ‘… near the Cebu provincial capitol, which were my attorney’s fees from my clients, Victoria Rallos and Zoilo Solon, respectively – have already long been
41 disposed of, and distributed by me, through my brother, Miguel, to all my said children in the first marriage;’ "That on June 3, 1966, the [petitioner] wrote a letter petitioning the Register of Deeds of Cebu to transfer Lot 903-A-6 to his name on the ground that Lot 903-A-6 is a portion of Lot 903-A; that on April 6, 1967, the [respondent] requested the Register of Deeds to annotate an affidavit of adverse claim against the [petitioner’s] TCT RT-6999 (T-21108) which covers Lot 903-A; that on June 3, 1967, the Register of Deeds issued TCT 35275 covering Lot 903-A-6 in the name of the [petitioner] but carrying the earlier annotation of adverse claim; that in 1969, the [petitioner] tore down the wire fence which the [respondent] constructed on Lot 903-A-6 which compelled the latter to institute the instant complaint dated August 20, 1970 on September 19, 1970. "On December 5, 1970, the answer with counterclaim dated December 3, 1970 of [petitioner] Miguel Cuenco was filed where he alleged that he was the absolute owner of Lot 903-A-6; that this lot was a portion of Lot 903-A which in turn was part of Lot 903 which was the subject matter of litigation; that he was alone in defending the cases involving Lot 903 without the participation of his brother Mariano Cuenco; that he donated five (5) of the six (6) portions of Lot 903-A to the five (5) children of his brother Mariano out of gratitude for the love and care they exhibited to him (Miguel) during the time of his long sickness; that he did not give or donate any portion of the lot to the [respondent] because she never visited him nor took care of him during his long sickness; that he became critically ill on February 11, 1946 and was confined at the Singian’s Clinic in Manila and then transferred to Cebu where he nearly died in 1946; that his wife Fara Remia Ledesma Cuenco had an operation on January 1951 and was confined at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and John Hopkins Hospital in the United States; that two of his children died at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital in 1951 and 1952; and that his wife was blind for many months due to malignant hypertension but [respondent] never remembered her nor did she commiserate with him and his wife in their long period of sorrow. "[Petitioner] Miguel Cuenco took the witness stand as early as September 13, 1974. His self-conducted direct examination lasted until 1985, the last one on November 22, 1985. Unfortunately, he died5 before he was able to submit himself for cross-examination and so his testimony had to be stricken off the record. His only surviving daughter, Marietta Cuyegkeng, stood as the substitute [petitioner] in this case. She testified that she purchased Lot 903-A-6 (the property subject matter of this case) from her late father sometime in 1990 and constructed a house thereon in the same year; that she became aware of this case because her late father used to commute to Cebu City to attend to this case; and that Lot 903-A-6 is in her name per Transfer Certificate of Title #113781 of the Registry of Deeds for Cebu."6 Ruling of the Court of Appeals The CA found respondent’s action not barred by res judicata, because there was "no identity of causes of action between the Petition for cancellation of adverse claim in L.R.C. Records 5988 and the Complaint for specific performance to resolve the issue of ownership in Civil Case No. R-11891." The appellate court further found no reason to disturb the findings of the trial court that respondent "has the legal right of ownership over lot 903-A-6." The CA ruled that the subject land "is part of the attorney’s fees of Don Mariano Cuenco, predecessor-in-interest of [Respondent] Concepcion Cuenco vda. de Manguerra and [petitioner] merely holds such property in trust for [her], his title there[to] notwithstanding." Finally, the CA held that the right of action of respondent "has not yet prescribed as she was in possession of the lot in dispute and the prescriptive period to file the case commences to run only from the time she acquired knowledge of an adverse claim over [her] possession." Hence, this Petition.7
His witnesses allegedly testified that Civil Case No. Given as attorney’s fees was one hectare of Lot 903. That only Miguel handled Civil Case No. he employs the entire law firm. and unless the lack of any basis for the conclusions made by the lower courts be amply demonstrated.42 The Issues In her Memorandum. . It has sufficiently been proven. "III."11 Emphasizing the difference between the two types of question.10 This Court has consistently ruled that these questions "must involve no examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the litigants or any of them. 9040 does not mean that he alone is entitled to the attorney’s fees in the said cases. such factual findings are not disturbed by this Court. the Supreme Court will not disturb such factual findings. will show that the preponderance of evidence is in favor of the petitioner. the trial court and the appellate court erred in expunging from the records the testimony of Miguel Cuenco. et al. Rather. contrary to the position taken by the trial court. we are not inclined to disturb the factual findings of the trial and the appellate courts. In other words."8 This Court’s Ruling The Petition has no merit. findings of fact of the Court of Appeals affirming those of the trial court are binding and conclusive. 9040 involving Lot 903 had not been handled by Mariano for defendants therein -. Zoilo Solon.was likewise entitled14 to a share in the attorney’s fees from the firm’s clients. petitioner raises the following issues for our consideration: "I. "When a client employs the services of a law firm. "IV. composed of Partners Mariano Cuenco and Miguel Cuenco. What she wants us to do is contrary to the dictates of Rule 45 that only questions of law may be raised and resolved in a petition for review. the Court of Appeals failed to appreciate the proposition that. to which only questions of law may be raised in an appeal by certiorari. On question of law.Apolonia Solon. and neither is the action one for reconveyance based upon a constructive or implied trust. if considered. however. he does not employ the services of the lawyer who is assigned to personally handle the case. the lower courts’ finding that Lot 903-A was a part of Mariano Cuenco’s attorney’s fees has ample support. no constructive or implied trust exists between the parties. "II. On question of law. of which two five-thousand square meter portions were identified as Lot 903-A and Lot 903-B. it has explained that "there is a question of law in a given case when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is pertaining to a certain state of facts. she seeks to involve us in a reevaluation of the veracity and probative value of the evidence submitted to the lower court. the Court of Appeals failed to consider facts of substance and significance which. just because of the insistent claim of petitioner."12 Indeed. that these defendants were represented by the Cuenco and Cuenco Law Office. Mariano -. and there is a question of fact when the doubt arises as the truth or the falsity of alleged facts. "Absent any whimsical or capricious exercise of judgment."9 As a rule. Hence. Normally. On question of law. First Issue: Evaluation of Evidence Petitioner asks us to appreciate and weigh the evidence offered in support of the finding that Lot 903-A-6 constituted a part of Mariano Cuenco’s share in the attorney’s fees."13 Being a partner in the law firm.like Miguel -. after going over the records of the present case. the Court of Appeals erred in not finding that even where implied trust is admitted to exist the respondent’s action for relief is barred by laches and prescription. On question of law.
will. are deducible from the nature of the transaction as matters of intent[. implied trusts are those that."21 A review of the records shows that indeed there is an implied trust between the parties. from the time it was titled in his name in 1938. In the present case. the existence of Concepcion’s equitable ownership thereof is bolstered. have it surveyed and subdivided into six almost equal portions -903-A-1 to 903-A-6. who is obligated in equity to hold that title for the benefit of another. Constructive trusts are "created by the construction of equity in order to satisfy the demands of justice and prevent unjust enrichment. in equity and good conscience. Fifth. deed.26 Third. the legal titles to five portions of the property were transferred via a gratuitous deed of conveyance to Mariano’s five children. the circumstances surrounding the acquisition and the subsequent partial dispositions of this property eloquently speak of the intent that the equitable or beneficial ownership of the property should belong to Mariano and his heirs. It constituted the latter’s share in the attorney’s fees and thus equitably belonged to him. First.43 Second Issue: Implied Trust Petitioner then contends that no constructive or implied trust exists between the parties. did Lourdes Cuenco. Fourth. They arise contrary to intention against one who.16 Express trusts are created by the direct and positive acts of the parties.19 These trusts arise from the nature of or the circumstances involved in a transaction. Although Lot 903-A was titled in Miguel’s name. including Concepcion. or words evidencing an intention to create a trust. The cases of implied trust enumerated therein "does not exclude others established by the general law of trust. duress or abuse of confidence.15 Trust relations between parties may either be express or implied. including Concepcion.20 whereby legal title becomes vested in one person. That Lot 903-A had been titled in the name of Miguel gave rise to an implied trust between him and Mariano. to hold. Mariano’s children. indicated through some writing.that does not categorically fall under Articles 1448 to 1456 of the Civil Code. following the allocations specified in the subdivision plan prepared for Lourdes Cuenco. Implied trusts may either be resulting or constructive trusts. Each portion was specifically allocated to each of the six children of Mariano with his first wife. Only on February 3. as correctly found by the CA. "without being express.17 On the other hand. by fraud. obtains or holds the legal right to property which he ought not.] or which are superinduced on the transaction by operation of law as a matter of equity.29 were the ones who shouldered the expenses incurred for the subdivision of the property."18 Resulting trusts are presumed to have been contemplated by the parties and are based on the equitable doctrine that valuable consideration. it is of no moment that the implied trust arose from the circumstance -. Sixth. but also by the fact that respondent fenced the portion allocated to her and planted trees thereon. not just by the above circumstances. after the subdivision of the property.32 .31 With respect to Lot 903-A-6 in particular.including Concepcion30 -took possession of their respective portions thereof.25 upon the instruction of Mariano. specifically. not legal title. Lot 903-A was one half of the one-hectare portion of Lot 903 given as attorney’s fees by a client of the law firm of Partners Miguel and Mariano Cuenco. determines the equitable title or interest.a share in the attorney’s fees -. both coming into being by operation of law. 1947. the former holds the property in trust for the latter.23 Lot 903-A remained undivided and untouched24 by Miguel. independently of the particular intention of the parties. Mariano’s children -. A trust is a legal relationship between one having an equitable ownership in a property and another having legal title to it. Miguel readily surrendered his Certificate of Title27 and interposed no objection28 to the subdivision and the allocation of the property to Mariano’s six children."22 Second.
44 More significantly. intentionally or through culpable negligence. respondent has persistently asserted her right to Lot 903-A-6 against petitioner. respectively – have already long been disposed of. or silence when there is a need to speak out -. 1964."34 Such realty tax payments constitute proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property. she also paid real property taxes on Lot 903-A-6 yearly. Laches is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time. through my brother. admissions. Miguel. despite the fact that she had the owner’s duplicate copy of TCT No. Having induced him and his heirs to believe that Lot 903-A-6 had already been distributed to Concepcion as her own. Such a situation cannot be permitted to arise.one.by one’s acts. "Although tax declarations or realty tax payments of property are not conclusive evidence of ownership.the title covering the entire Lot 903-A -.35 after the death of Mariano. It was only by then that the one who could have easily refuted his claim had already been silenced by death. Miguel started paying real property taxes on Lot 903-A-6 only on April 4. Cebu City. as early as 1947. The principle of estoppel in pais applies when -. and distributed by me. representations.43 to protect and assert her rights to the property.38 near the Cebu Provincial Capitol -. Concepcion was in possession as owner of the property from 1949 to 1969.including Concepcion -took possession as owners of their respective portions.situated along Juana Osmeña Extension. which were my attorney’s fees from my clients. they are good indicia of possession in the concept of owner. Miguel led Mariano and the latter’s heirs. We are not persuaded. Fourth Issue: Expunging of Testimony . Kamputhaw. and subsequently Concepcion’s. Tellingly. and two other lots also located at Cebu City. ownership rights over it. as will be explained below. nevertheless. When petitioner ousted her from her possession of the lot by tearing down her wire fence in 1969.40 In the present case. RT-6999 -. induces another to believe certain facts to exist.the year when she was dispossessed of the property. executed in 1963.42 she commenced the present action on September 19. to all my said six children in the first marriage. long before Mariano made his will in 1963.36 This fact shows that it was only in that year that he was emboldened to claim the property as his own and to stop recognizing Mariano’s. which states: "I hereby make it known and declare that x x x all properties which my first wife and I had brought to. We find that she cannot be held guilty of laches. By his acts as well as by his omissions. Lot 903-A -. including Concepcion. Estoppel From the time Lot 903-A was subdivided and Mariano’s six children -."37 (emphasis supplied) Indeed. war damage compensation. no whimper of protest from petitioner was heard until 1963. Victoria Rallos and Zoilo Solon.41 When Miguel took steps to have it separately titled in his name. warranting a presumption that the party entitled to it has either abandoned or declined to assert it. That Mariano acted and relied on Miguel’s tacit recognition of his ownership thereof is evident from his will. from 1956 until 196933 -. 1970. so as to be prejudiced if the former is permitted to deny the existence of those facts.had been subdivided and distributed to his six children in his first marriage. or which I had acquired during the years I was a widower – including jewelry. petitioner is estopped from asserting the contrary and claiming ownership thereof. for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least constructive possession.39 Third Issue: Laches Petitioner claims that respondent’s action is already barred by laches. or acquired during our marriage.she had her adverse claim annotated on the title in 1967. as she did not sleep on her rights. to believe that Petitioner Cuenco respected the ownership rights of respondent over Lot 903-A-6. one near the South-Western University and the other near the Cebu provincial capitol. and the latter rightfully relies and acts on such belief.
No. Pajuyo then constructed a house made of light materials on the lot."45 WHEREFORE. Respondent points out that this issue was not raised before the CA. Neither had petitioner asked the trial court to reconsider its Order expunging the testimony. . Pajuyo did not show up or communicate with him. judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiff and against defendant. PAJUYO. In September 1994.R. vs.44 "Basic considerations of due process impel this rule.45 Petitioner Cuyegkeng questions the expunging of the direct testimony of Miguel Cuenco. Pajuyo and private respondent Eddie Guevarra ("Guevarra") executed a Kasunduan or agreement. the Petition is DENIED.R. Pajuyo ("Pajuyo") paid P400 to a certain Pedro Perez for the rights over a 250-square meter lot in Barrio Payatas. Branch 31. as owner of the house.4 affirming the 15 December 1995 decision5 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City. petitioner Colito T. J. premises considered. Guevarra insisted that neither he nor Pajuyo has valid title to the lot. The Court of Appeals set aside the 11 November 1996 decision3 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Hence. B) pay unto plaintiff the sum of THREE HUNDRED PESOS (P300. Guevarra pointed out that from December 1985 to September 1994. 43129. On 8 December 1985. petitioner. Pajuyo informed Guevarra of his need of the house and demanded that Guevarra vacate the house. The dispositive portion of the MTC decision reads: WHEREFORE. 2004 COLITO T. this issue cannot for the first time be raised at this point of the appeal. DECISION CARPIO. In his Answer. Quezon City. Pajuyo filed an ejectment case against Guevarra with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City. ordering the latter to: A) vacate the house and lot occupied by the defendant or any other person or persons claiming any right under him.: The Case 1 Before us is a petition for review of the 21 June 2000 Decision2 and 14 December 2000 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Guevarra promised that he would voluntarily vacate the premises on Pajuyo’s demand. Costs against petitioner. 137 for socialized housing. arguments and errors not adequately and seriously brought below cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.00) monthly as reasonable compensation for the use of the premises starting from the last demand. 146364 June 3. Guevarra refused. SP No. Pajuyo. Issues. the MTC rendered its decision in favor of Pajuyo. Guevarra claimed that Pajuyo had no valid title or right of possession over the lot where the house stands because the lot is within the 150 hectares set aside by Proclamation No. Branch 81. On 15 December 1995. Branch 31 ("MTC").6 The Antecedents In June 1979. Pajuyo and his family lived in the house from 1979 to 7 December 1985. and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. allowed Guevarra to live in the house for free provided Guevarra would maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of the house. COURT OF APPEALS and EDDIE GUEVARRA. SO ORDERED. respondents.
the Court of Appeals issued a resolution denying Pajuyo’s motion for reconsideration. On 28 January 1997. Pajuyo pointed out that the Court of Appeals should have dismissed outright Guevarra’s petition for review because it was filed out of time. Guevarra filed his petition for review with the Supreme Court. 137. Guevarra filed with the Supreme Court a "Motion for Extension of Time to File Appeal by Certiorari Based on Rule 42" ("motion for extension"). the RTC has no power to decide Guevarra’s rights under these laws. SO ORDERED. The dispositive portion of the resolution reads: WHEREFORE. Q-96-26943 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Branch 81 ("RTC"). The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. which established the landlord and tenant relationship between Pajuyo and Guevarra. On 27 February 1997. Guevarra’s refusal to vacate the house on Pajuyo’s demand made Guevarra’s continued possession of the house illegal. Guevarra theorized that his appeal raised pure questions of law. and it is hereby declared that the ejectment case filed against defendant-appellant is without factual and legal basis. On 21 June 2000. On 3 January 1997. the First Division of the Supreme Court issued a Resolution9 referring the motion for extension to the Court of Appeals which has concurrent jurisdiction over the case.7 Aggrieved. Pajuyo filed his Comment. Guevarra had only until 14 December 1996 to file his appeal with the Court of Appeals. being in accord with the law and evidence presented. The Receiving Clerk of the Supreme Court received the motion for extension on 13 December 1996 or one day before the right to appeal expired.46 C) pay plaintiff the sum of P3. SO ORDERED. the RTC affirmed the MTC decision. for lack of merit. No costs. Moreover. the Thirteenth Division of the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution10 granting the motion for extension conditioned on the timeliness of the filing of the motion. premises considered. On 8 January 1997. the Revised National Government Center Housing Project Code of Policies and other pertinent laws.11 Pajuyo filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision. Thus.000. On 11 April 1997. SO ORDERED. In an ejectment suit. Pajuyo is the owner of the house. The Ruling of the RTC The RTC upheld the Kasunduan. Instead of filing his appeal with the Court of Appeals. The terms of the Kasunduan bound Guevarra to return possession of the house on demand. and the same is hereby affirmed en toto.00 as and by way of attorney’s fees. the motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED. SO ORDERED. the assailed Decision of the court a quo in Civil Case No. the Court of Appeals issued its decision reversing the RTC decision. The RTC rejected Guevarra’s claim of a better right under Proclamation No. and he allowed Guevarra to use the house only by tolerance. premises considered. The RTC . and D) pay the cost of suit. On 11 November 1996. it was Guevarra’s counsel and not Guevarra who signed the certification against forum-shopping.8 Guevarra received the RTC decision on 29 November 1996. The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads: WHEREFORE. Guevarra appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. the Court of Appeals ordered Pajuyo to comment on Guevara’s petition for review. On 14 December 2000.12 The Ruling of the MTC The MTC ruled that the subject of the agreement between Pajuyo and Guevarra is the house and not the lot. The case presented no special and important matter for the Supreme Court to take cognizance of at the first instance. the Court finds no reversible error in the decision appealed from.
47 declared that in an ejectment case. The Court of Appeals concluded that the motion for extension bore a date. instead of a Contract of Lease as found by the Metropolitan Trial . The Court of Appeals pointed out that Pajuyo did not raise this issue in his Comment. 3) in ruling that the Kasunduan voluntarily entered into by the parties was in fact a commodatum. In denying Pajuyo’s motion for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals ruled that the Kasunduan is not a lease contract but a commodatum because the agreement is not for a price certain. The Court of Appeals concluded that Guevarra is first in the hierarchy of priority. Guevarra filed the motion for extension on time on 13 December 1996 since he filed the motion one day before the expiration of the reglementary period on 14 December 1996. The court will leave them where they are. did not have any legal effect. Pajuyo and Guevarra illegally occupied the contested lot which the government owned. the actual occupant or caretaker of the lot shall have first priority as beneficiary of the project. private respondent’s Petition for Review even though the certification against forum-shopping was signed only by counsel instead of by petitioner himself. the motion for extension properly complied with the condition imposed by the Court of Appeals in its 28 January 1997 Resolution. the appellate court opined. The Court of Appeals explained that the thirty-day extension to file the petition for review was deemed granted because of such compliance. and the Kasunduan between Pajuyo and Guevarra. The Court of Appeals held that Pajuyo could not now seek the dismissal of the case after he had extensively argued on the merits of the case. Guevarra was in physical possession of the property. was clearly an afterthought. the appellate court held that Guevarra has a better right over the property under Proclamation No. was also a squatter. The Issues Pajuyo raises the following issues for resolution: WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED OR ABUSED ITS AUTHORITY AND DISCRETION TANTAMOUNT TO LACK OF JURISDICTION: 1) in GRANTING. The Court of Appeals reversed the MTC and RTC rulings. At that time. Aquino ("President Aquino") issued Proclamation No. the appellate court debunked Pajuyo’s claim that Guevarra filed his motion for extension beyond the period to appeal. Perez had no right or title over the lot because it is public land. The assignment of rights between Perez and Pajuyo. The Court of Appeals rejected Pajuyo’s argument that the appellate court should have dismissed the petition for review because it was Guevarra’s counsel and not Guevarra who signed the certification against forum-shopping. 2) in giving due course. Under Article VI of the Code of Policies Beneficiary Selection and Disposition of Homelots and Structures in the National Housing Project ("the Code"). instead of dismissing. not ownership. Private Respondent’s Motion for an Extension of thirty days to file petition for review at the time when there was no more period to extend as the decision of the Regional Trial Court had already become final and executory. 137. The Court of Appeals pointed out that Guevarra’s motion for extension filed before the Supreme Court was stamped "13 December 1996 at 4:09 PM" by the Supreme Court’s Receiving Clerk. contrary to Pajuyo’s claim that the motion for extension was undated. Since Pajuyo admitted that he resurfaced only in 1994 to claim the property. Thus. Pajuyo and Guevarra are in pari delicto or in equal fault. which held that the Kasunduan between Pajuyo and Guevarra created a legal tie akin to that of a landlord and tenant relationship. This technicality. 137 on 7 September 1987. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals The Court of Appeals declared that Pajuyo and Guevarra are squatters. the only issue for resolution is material or physical possession. President Corazon C. the person from whom Pajuyo acquired his rights. instead of denying. Perez.
There is a question of law when the doubt or difference is on what the law is on a certain state of facts.48 Court and in holding that "the ejectment case filed against defendant-appellant is without legal and factual basis". Second Special Cases Division of the Intermediate Appellate Court.19 we clarified that the prohibition against granting an extension of time applies only in a case where ordinary appeal is perfected by a mere notice of . 137. Guevarra’s petition for review raised these questions: (1) Do ejectment cases pertain only to possession of a structure. we find merit in the substantive issues Pajuyo is submitting for resolution. A perusal of Guevarra’s petition for review gives the impression that the issues he raised were pure questions of law.18 we declared that the Court of Appeals could grant extension of time in appeals by petition for review.17 In his petition for review before this Court. On 3 January 1997. the period to appeal had already expired. These factual matters refer to the metes and bounds of the disputed property and the application of Guevarra as beneficiary of Proclamation No. 4) in reversing and setting aside the Decision of the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. the questions Guevarra raised appeared purely legal. when the Court of Appeals received the motion. At first glance. In Liboro v. Guevarra filed with this Court an undated motion for extension of 30 days to file a petition for review. Pajuyo points out that Guevarra had only one day before the expiry of his period to appeal the RTC decision.16 There is a question of fact when the doubt or difference is on the truth or falsity of the facts alleged. 5) in deciding the unlawful detainer case based on the so-called Code of Policies of the National Government Center Housing Project instead of deciding the same under the Kasunduan voluntarily executed by the parties. Guevarra then filed his petition for review with this Court. Guevarra no longer disputed the facts. Guevarra thus filed his motion for extension to file petition for review before this Court on 14 December 1996. Instead of filing the petition for review with the Court of Appeals. However. Court of Appeals. therefore. Rule 41 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. some factual questions still have to be resolved because they have a bearing on the legal questions raised in the petition for review. However. This Court merely referred the motion to the Court of Appeals. In Lacsamana v.13 The Ruling of the Court The procedural issues Pajuyo is raising are baseless. Decisions of the regional trial courts in the exercise of their appellate jurisdiction are appealable to the Court of Appeals by petition for review in cases involving questions of fact or mixed questions of fact and law. Q-96-26943 and in holding that the parties are in pari delicto being both squatters. Hence. The Court of Appeals has the power to grant an extension of time to file a petition for review. We are not persuaded. Pajuyo believes that the filing of the motion for extension with this Court did not toll the running of the period to perfect the appeal. Guevarra believed that his appeal of the RTC decision involved only questions of law.15 These modes of appeal are now embodied in Section 2. and not the lot on which the structure stands? (2) Does a suit by a squatter against a fellow squatter constitute a valid case for ejectment? (3) Should a Presidential Proclamation governing the lot on which a squatter’s structure stands be considered in an ejectment suit filed by the owner of the structure? These questions call for the evaluation of the rights of the parties under the law on ejectment and the Presidential Proclamation. the terms and conditions of which are the laws between themselves.14 Decisions of the regional trial courts involving pure questions of law are appealable directly to this Court by petition for review. illegal occupants of the contested parcel of land. Procedural Issues Pajuyo insists that the Court of Appeals should have dismissed outright Guevarra’s petition for review because the RTC decision had already become final and executory when the appellate court acted on Guevarra’s motion for extension to file the petition.
22 we held that Liboro’s clarification of Lacsamana is consistent with the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Circular No. The material dates to consider in determining the timeliness of the filing of the motion for extension are (1) the date of receipt of the judgment or final order or resolution subject of the petition. A judgment becomes "final and executory" by operation of law. The resolution stated that the Court of Appeals would only give due course to the motion for extension if filed on time. the date of filing stamped on it is the reckoning point for determining the timeliness of its filing. It was only when the Court of Appeals ruled in Guevarra’s favor that Pajuyo raised the procedural issues against Guevarra’s petition for review. claiming that the counsel’s verification is insufficient since it is based only on "mere information. receives an adverse decision on the merits.21 Hence. should be limited to only fifteen days save in exceptionally meritorious cases where the Court of Appeals may grant a longer period. and that the pleading is filed in good faith. The Court of Appeals gave due course to the motion for extension because it complied with the condition set by the appellate court in its resolution dated 28 January 1997. Pajuyo also failed to discuss Guevarra’s failure to sign the certification against forum shopping. Guevarra filed the motion for extension exactly one day before the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal. Instead. that determines the timeliness of the filing of that motion or pleading. however. Finality of judgment becomes a fact on the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal if no appeal is perfected. the date stamped by this Court’s Receiving Clerk on the motion for extension.28 On the other hand. and not the date of execution. Pajuyo harped on Guevarra’s counsel signing the verification. Guevarra filed his motion for extension before this Court on 13 December 1996. The extension. The prohibition does not apply in a petition for review where the pleading needs verification. and not by counsel. the requirement on verification of a pleading is a formal and not a jurisdictional requisite. A party’s . even if the motion for extension bears no date. A party who. but because the practice of attacking the court’s jurisdiction after voluntarily submitting to it is against public policy. The certificate of non-forum shopping must be signed by the party.49 appeal.27 The certification of counsel renders the petition defective. They all allow an extension of time for filing petitions for review with the Court of Appeals.29 It is intended simply to secure an assurance that what are alleged in the pleading are true and correct and not the product of the imagination or a matter of speculation.25 Estoppel sets in not because the judgment of the court is a valid and conclusive adjudication.30 The party need not sign the verification. the Court of Appeals may allow an extension of time to file a petition for review. The Court of Appeals did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it approved Guevarra’s motion for extension." A party’s failure to sign the certification against forum shopping is different from the party’s failure to sign personally the verification. 1-91. unlike an ordinary appeal. Clearly. In the more recent case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. The motion for extension met this condition. A petition for review. Guevarra had until 14 December 1996 to file an appeal from the RTC decision. is estopped from attacking the jurisdiction of the court.20 The drafting of the petition for review entails more time and effort than filing a notice of appeal. and (2) the date of filing of the motion for extension. requires preparation and research to present a persuasive position. Court of Appeals. after voluntarily submitting a dispute for resolution. Instead. Thus. Assuming that the Court of Appeals should have dismissed Guevarra’s appeal on technical grounds. Pajuyo vigorously discussed the merits of the case. Pajuyo did not ask the appellate court to deny the motion for extension and dismiss the petition for review at the earliest opportunity.26 In his Comment before the Court of Appeals.23 The RTC decision could not have gained finality because the Court of Appeals granted the 30-day extension to Guevarra.24 It is the date of the filing of the motion or pleading.
The parties cannot present evidence to prove ownership or right to legal possession except to prove the nature of the possession when necessary to resolve the issue of physical possession. to the possession de facto and not to the possession de jure.31 We agree with the Court of Appeals that the issue on the certificate against forum shopping was merely an afterthought. Absence of Title over the Disputed Property will not Divest the Courts of Jurisdiction to Resolve the Issue of Possession Settled is the rule that the defendant’s claim of ownership of the disputed property will not divest the inferior court of its jurisdiction over the ejectment case.50 representative. We ruled that courts have jurisdiction to entertain ejectment suits even before the resolution of the application. The absence of title over the contested lot is not a ground for the courts to withhold relief from the parties in an ejectment case. he has the security that entitles him to remain on the property until a person with a better right lawfully ejects him. Courts will always uphold respect for prior possession. and the Bureau of Public Lands had jurisdiction over the case. if he has in his favor prior possession in time. a party who can prove prior possession can recover such possession even against the owner himself.34 This doctrine is a necessary consequence of the nature of the two summary actions of ejectment. the court may pass on such issue to determine only the question of possession. that is. The government was not a party in the case of forcible entry. The defendant questioned the jurisdiction of the courts to settle the issue of possession because while the application of the plaintiff was still pending.who is entitled to the physical possession of the premises.33 The adjudication on the issue of ownership is only provisional and will not bar an action between the same parties involving title to the land. The plaintiff had prior possession and had already introduced improvements on the public land. We do not agree with the Court of Appeals. . by priority of his application and of his entry. forcible entry and unlawful detainer. Sorilla.38 or when both parties intruded into public land and their applications to own the land have yet to be approved by the proper government agency. the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be thrown out by a strong hand.42 To repeat.40 Neither is the unlawful withholding of property allowed. the only issue that the court has to settle in an ejectment suit is the right to physical possession. Ownership or the right to possess arising from ownership is not at issue in an action for recovery of possession.43 the government owned the land in dispute.39 Regardless of the actual condition of the title to the property.35 In this case. The plaintiff had a pending application for the land with the Bureau of Lands when the defendant ousted him from possession. The plaintiff filed the action of forcible entry against the defendant. The plaintiff. lawyer or any person who personally knows the truth of the facts alleged in the pleading may sign the verification. We disagreed with the defendant.37 It does not even matter if a party’s title to the property is questionable. The government did not authorize either the plaintiff or the defendant in the case of forcible entry case to occupy the land. violence or terror. Will the defense that the parties to the ejectment case are not the owners of the disputed lot allow the courts to renounce their jurisdiction over the case? The Court of Appeals believed so and held that it would just leave the parties where they are since they are in pari delicto. acquired prior physical possession over the public land applied for as against other private claimants. The only question that the courts must resolve in ejectment proceedings is . In Pitargue v. Pajuyo did not call the Court of Appeals’ attention to this defect at the early stage of the proceedings.41 Whatever may be the character of his possession.36 The same is true when the defendant asserts the absence of title over the property. especially if the ownership is inseparably linked with the possession. title remained with the government. where the only issue for adjudication is the physical or material possession over the real property. what Guevarra raised before the courts was that he and Pajuyo are not the owners of the contested property and that they are mere squatters.32 Even if the pleadings raise the issue of ownership. Thus. Pajuyo raised this procedural issue too late in the proceedings.
or in the new. 286. believing themselves entitled to the possession of property. irrespective of the question as to who has the title thereto. so that any troubles arising therefrom. We made the following pronouncements in Pitargue: The question that is before this Court is: Are courts without jurisdiction to take cognizance of possessory actions involving these public lands before final award is made by the Lands Department. their entry into the disputed land was illegal. 1901. when it vested the power and authority to alienate and dispose of the public lands in the Lands Department. to exclude the courts from entertaining the possessory action of forcible entry between rival claimants or occupants of any land before award thereof to any of the parties? Did Congress intend that the lands applied for. While the Court did not brand the plaintiff and the defendant in Pitargue44 as squatters.) So before the enactment of the first Public Land Act (Act No. Under the Spanish Civil Code we had the accion interdictal. 312. and before title is given any of the conflicting claimants? It is one of utmost importance. 291). 190 of the Philippine Commission) we implanted the common law action of forcible entry (section 80 of Act No. It also involves a matter of policy. Both the plaintiff and defendant entered the public land without the owner’s permission. So the question to be resolved is. Mangaron. or any breaches of the peace or disorders caused by rival claimants. 926) the action of forcible entry was already available in the courts of the country. as there are public lands everywhere and there are thousands of settlers. either in the old.47 We further explained in Pitargue the greater interest that is at stake in actions for recovery of possession. Courts must not abdicate their jurisdiction to resolve the issue of physical possession because of the public need to preserve the basic policy behind the summary actions of forcible entry and unlawful detainer. we upheld the courts’ jurisdiction to resolve the issue of possession even if the plaintiff and the defendant in the ejectment case did not have any title over the contested land. 314. the object of which has been stated by this Court to be "to prevent breaches of the peace and criminal disorder which would ensue from the withdrawal of the remedy.46 Ejectment proceedings are summary in nature so the authorities can settle speedily actions to recover possession because of the overriding need to quell social disturbances. 6 Phil. Title to the land remained with the government because it had not awarded to anyone ownership of the contested public land. or all public lands for that matter. strictly speaking. upon the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure (Act No. Both the plaintiff and the defendant were in effect squatting on government property. Did the Legislature intend. Our problem is made simple by the fact that under the Civil Code. especially in newly opened regions." (Supia and Batioco vs.45 The party deprived of possession must not take the law into his own hands. the aim and purpose of which is the recovery of the physical possession of real property. and as early as October 1. we have a possessory action. 190). a summary proceeding which could be brought within one year from dispossession (Roman Catholic Bishop of Cebu vs. Yet. as it requires the determination of the respective authorities and functions of two coordinate branches of the Government in connection with public land conflicts. be removed from the jurisdiction of the judicial Branch of the Government. resort to force to gain possession rather than to some appropriate action in the court to assert their claims. Quintero and Ayala. could be inquired into only by the Lands Department to the exclusion of the courts? The answer to . 59 Phil. and the reasonable hope such withdrawal would create that some advantage must accrue to those persons who.51 That prior physical possession enjoys legal protection against other private claimants because only a court can take away such physical possession in an ejectment case. which was in force in this country before the American occupation. The underlying philosophy behind ejectment suits is to prevent breach of the peace and criminal disorder and to compel the party out of possession to respect and resort to the law alone to obtain what he claims is his.
This action. therefore. 312. by no stretch of the imagination can conclusion be arrived at that the use of the remedy in the courts of justice would constitute an interference with the alienation. as a matter of fact. occupants or squatters. the protection of actual possessors and occupants with a view to the prevention of breaches of the peace. 314. and a state of lawlessness would probably be produced between applicants. directly or indirectly. and control of public lands. and alienate public lands. Quintero and Ayala. 59 Phil. The vesting of the Lands Department with authority to administer.e. Rules of Court. therefore. dispose. the corresponding branches of the Government must continue to exercise power and jurisdiction within the limits of their respective functions.. for the question of priority of possession . evidence thereof is expressly banned. (50 C. and that until the disposition of the land has passed from the control of the Federal Government. Then its power is clearly limited to disposition and alienation.52 this question seems to us evident. the authority on the part of the courts to take jurisdiction over possessory actions arising therefrom not involving. disposition. On the other hand. it would facilitate adjudication. To limit ourselves to the case at bar can it be pretended at all that its result would in any way interfere with the manner of the alienation or disposition of the land contested? On the contrary. must not be understood as depriving the other branches of the Government of the exercise of the respective functions or powers thereon. that threat of judicial action against breaches of the peace committed on public lands would be eliminated. Villanueva. if courts were deprived of jurisdiction of cases involving conflicts of possession. is a summary and expeditious remedy whereby one in peaceful and quiet possession may recover the possession of which he has been deprived by a stronger hand. 752. except to prove the nature of the possession. (Second 4. the courts will not interfere with the administration of matters concerning the same. and while it may decide conflicts of possession in order to make proper award. Our attention has been called to a principle enunciated in American courts to the effect that courts have no jurisdiction to determine the rights of claimants to public lands. not right or justice.) The basis of the remedy is mere possession as a fact. Rule 72. where force or might. As to this. The determination of the respective rights of rival claimants to public lands is different from the determination of who has the actual physical possession or occupation with a view to protecting the same and preventing disorder and breaches of the peace. (Mediran vs. of physical possession. 37 Phil. (Supia and Batioco vs. or contain breaches of the peace among settlers.) With this nature of the action in mind. not a legal possession. The Lands Department does not have the means to police public lands. A judgment of the court ordering restitution of the possession of a parcel of land to the actual occupant. The power to dispose and alienate could not have been intended to include the power to prevent or settle disorders or breaches of the peace among rival settlers or claimants prior to the final award. its ultimate object being to prevent breach of the peace and criminal disorder. both in England and the United States and in our jurisdiction. neither does it have the means to prevent disorders arising therefrom. i. the settlement of conflicts of possession which is recognized in the court herein has another ultimate purpose. It must be borne in mind that the action that would be used to solve conflicts of possession between rivals or conflicting applicants or claimants would be no other than that of forcible entry. such as the authority to stop disorders and quell breaches of the peace by the police. 1093-1094.) We have no quarrel with this principle. who has been deprived thereof by another through the use of force or in any other illegal manner. J. can never be "prejudicial interference" with the disposition or alienation of public lands. would rule. by violence or terror. alienation and disposition. or to pass promptly upon conflicts of possession.) The title or right to possession is never in issue in an action of forcible entry.
53 having been decided in a final manner by the courts.’ The law will not aid either party to an illegal agreement. . Courts must resolve the issue of possession even if the parties to the ejectment suit are squatters. The ruling of the Court of Appeals has no factual and legal basis. To do so would make squatters receive better treatment under the law. said question need no longer waste the time of the land officers making the adjudication or award. A squatter would oust another squatter from possession of the lot that the latter had illegally occupied. regardless of the actual condition of the title to the property. and the reasonable hope such withdrawal would create that some advantage must accrue to those persons who. the application of the principle of pari delicto to a case of ejectment between squatters is fraught with danger. emboldened by the knowledge that the courts would leave them where they are. In affording this remedy of restitution the object of the statute is to prevent breaches of the peace and criminal disorder which would ensue from the withdrawal of the remedy. Gaurana. the principle of pari delicto as applied by the Court of Appeals would give squatters free rein to dispossess fellow squatters or violently retake possession of properties usurped from them. This is the philosophy at the foundation of all these actions of forcible entry and detainer which are designed to compel the party out of possession to respect and resort to the law alone to obtain what he claims is his. However.53 Even the owner who has title over the disputed property cannot take the law into his own hands to regain possession of his property. The owner must go to court. the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be turned out by strong hand. violence or terror. resort to force to gain possession rather than to some appropriate action in the courts to assert their claims. believing themselves entitled to the possession of property. Nothing would then stand in the way of the ousted squatter from reclaiming his prior possession at all cost. The determination of priority and superiority of possession is a serious and urgent matter that cannot be left to the squatters to decide. 137. as there are exceptions to its application. It leaves the parties where it finds them. Petty warfare over possession of properties is precisely what ejectment cases or actions for recovery of possession seek to prevent. The law restrains property owners from taking the law into their own hands. We held that: It must be stated that the purpose of an action of forcible entry and detainer is that. Possession is the only Issue for Resolution in an Ejectment Case The case for review before the Court of Appeals was a simple case of ejectment. To shut out relief to squatters on the ground of pari delicto would openly invite mayhem and lawlessness. One of these exceptions is where the application of the pari delicto rule would violate well-established public policy. Guevarra enjoys preferential right under Proclamation No."54 According to the Court of Appeals.49 The application of the pari delicto principle is not absolute. 137 because Article VI of the Code declares that the actual occupant or caretaker is the one qualified to apply for socialized housing. Articles 1411 and 1412 of the Civil Code48 embody the principle of pari delicto.50 In Drilon v. The Court of Appeals refused to rule on the issue of physical possession.52 Clearly. We explained the principle of pari delicto in these words: The rule of pari delicto is expressed in the maxims ‘ex dolo malo non eritur actio’ and ‘in pari delicto potior est conditio defedentis. (Emphasis ours) The Principle of Pari Delicto is not Applicable to Ejectment Cases The Court of Appeals erroneously applied the principle of pari delicto to this case.51 we reiterated the basic policy behind the summary actions of forcible entry and unlawful detainer. Nevertheless. Courts should not leave squatters to their own devices in cases involving recovery of possession. the appellate court held that the pivotal issue in this case is who between Pajuyo and Guevarra has the "priority right as beneficiary of the contested land under Proclamation No.
Pajuyo and Guevarra were at most merely potential beneficiaries of the law. 137. Even when Guevarra already knew that Pajuyo was reclaiming possession of the property. These facts make out a case for unlawful detainer. 137. However. Proclamation No. 137. He failed to do so. Based on the Kasunduan. Guevarra expressly admitted the existence and due execution of the Kasunduan. Quezon City. Instead.56 The administrative disposition and alienation of public lands should be threshed out in the proper government agency. sila’y kusang aalis ng walang reklamo. si COL[I]TO PAJUYO. 137. he and not Pajuyo appeared as the actual occupant of the lot. 137 into law on 11 March 1986. Unlawful detainer involves the withholding by a person from another of the possession of real property to which the latter is entitled after the expiration or termination of the former’s right to hold possession under a contract. Pajuyo allowed Guevarra to occupy the disputed property in 1985. Guevarra had the burden to prove that the disputed lot is within the coverage of Proclamation No. Courts should not preempt the decision of the administrative agency mandated by law to determine the qualifications of applicants for the acquisition of public lands. distinct from the determination of who has the actual physical possession or who has a better right of physical possession. na pansamantalang manirahan sa nasabing bahay at lote ng "walang bayad. In Pitargue. During the time that Guevarra temporarily held the property up to the time that Proclamation No. Payatas. Guevarra did not take any step to comply with the requirements of Proclamation No. Sa sandaling kailangan na namin ang bahay at lote. The records do not show that the contested lot is within the land specified by Proclamation No.57 The Court of Appeals’ determination of Pajuyo and Guevarra’s rights under Proclamation No. 137. Guevarra never applied as beneficiary of Proclamation No. There is no proof that Guevarra actually availed of the benefits of Proclamation No. kailangang panatilihin nila ang kalinisan at kaayusan ng bahay at lote. Guevarra did not present evidence to show that the contested lot is part of a relocation site under Proclamation No. 137 laid down the metes and bounds of the land that it declared open for disposition to bona fide residents.55 we ruled that courts have jurisdiction over possessory actions involving public land to determine the issue of physical possession. The determination of the respective rights of rival claimants to public land is.59 . Even assuming that the disputed lot is within the coverage of Proclamation No. Guevarra promised to vacate the premises on Pajuyo’s demand but Guevarra broke his promise and refused to heed Pajuyo’s demand to vacate. however. Pajuyo made his earliest demand for Guevarra to vacate the property in September 1994. Second. Third. 137 allegedly segregated the disputed lot. Eddie Guevarra. 137. express or implied. may-ari ng bahay at lote sa Bo. President Aquino signed Proclamation No. courts should expeditiously resolve the issue of physical possession in ejectment cases to prevent disorder and breaches of peace. ay nagbibigay pahintulot kay G. 137. 137 and Guevarra has a pending application over the lot. courts should still assume jurisdiction and resolve the issue of possession. 137 was premature. the jurisdiction of the courts would be limited to the issue of physical possession only. The Court of Appeals should not have given credence to Guevarra’s unsubstantiated claim that he is the beneficiary of Proclamation No." Kaugnay nito. Guevarra merely alleged that in the survey the project administrator conducted. but Guevarra was under obligation to maintain the premises in good condition.58 Pajuyo is Entitled to Physical Possession of the Disputed Property Guevarra does not dispute Pajuyo’s prior possession of the lot and ownership of the house built on it.54 First. The Kasunduan reads: Ako. Pajuyo permitted Guevarra to reside in the house and lot free of rent.
71 Guevarra turned his back on the Kasunduan on the sole ground that like him. or after accomplishment of the use for which the commodatum is constituted.68 The Kasunduan reveals that the accommodation accorded by Pajuyo to Guevarra was not essentially gratuitous. The Kasunduan binds Guevarra. The Kasunduan expressly articulated Pajuyo’s forbearance. We are not convinced. and that is allowing an absentee squatter who (sic) makes (sic) a profit out of his illegal act. the bailor. as there would still be an implied promise to vacate. he can demand the return of the thing at will.66 If the use of the thing is merely tolerated by the bailor.64 Thus. The obligation to deliver or to return the thing received attaches to contracts for safekeeping.63 An essential feature of commodatum is that it is gratuitous. Guevarra’s refusal to comply with Pajuyo’s demand to vacate made Guevarra’s continued possession of the property unlawful. Guevarra freely entered into the Kasunduan. Guevarra expressly vowed in the Kasunduan that he would vacate the property on demand. Case law on ejectment has treated relationship based on tolerance as one that is akin to a landlord-tenant relationship where the withdrawal of permission would result in the termination of the lease. Guevarra should know that there must be honor even between squatters.69 The tenant’s withholding of the property would then be unlawful. Guevarra contends that there is "a pernicious evil that is sought to be avoided. an action for unlawful detainer will lie.55 Where the plaintiff allows the defendant to use his property by tolerance without any contract.70 These contracts certainly involve the obligation to deliver or return the thing received. In a contract of commodatum. Pajuyo did not require Guevarra to pay any rent but only to maintain the house and lot in good condition. or contracts of commission. one of the parties delivers to another something not consumable so that the latter may use the same for a certain time and return it. Even assuming that the relationship between Pajuyo and Guevarra is one of commodatum. Guevarra is clearly a possessor in bad faith. We do not subscribe to the Court of Appeals’ theory that the Kasunduan is one of commodatum."72 Guevarra bases his argument on the preferential right given to the actual occupant or caretaker under Proclamation No. The Kasunduan is the undeniable evidence of Guevarra’s recognition of Pajuyo’s better right of physical possession. Guevarra as bailee would still have the duty to turn over possession of the property to Pajuyo. The imposition of this obligation makes the Kasunduan a contract different from a commodatum.65 If the bailor should have urgent need of the thing. The absence of a contract would not yield a different result. precarium is a kind of commodatum. Another feature of commodatum is that the use of the thing belonging to another is for a certain period. Guevarra cannot now impugn the Kasunduan after he had benefited from it. Pajuyo is also a squatter. Guevarra insists that the contract is void. .67 Under the Civil Code. The effects of the Kasunduan are also different from that of a commodatum. it obligated him to maintain the property in good condition.60 The defendant’s refusal to comply with the demand makes his continued possession of the property unlawful. failing which. administration and commodatum.62 This principle should apply with greater force in cases where a contract embodies the permission or tolerance to use the property. The Kasunduan is not void for purposes of determining who between Pajuyo and Guevarra has a right to physical possession of the contested property. 137 on socialized housing. he may demand its return for temporary use. cannot enter into a contract involving the land they illegally occupy. This is settled jurisprudence. the defendant is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate on demand. Guevarra pointed out. the bailor cannot demand the return of the thing loaned until after expiration of the period stipulated. Squatters. in which case the contractual relation is called a precarium.61 The status of the defendant in such a case is similar to that of a lessee or tenant whose term of lease has expired but whose occupancy continues by tolerance of the owner. While the Kasunduan did not require Guevarra to pay rent.
This would subvert the policy underlying actions for recovery of possession. it was Pajuyo who was in actual possession of the property because Guevarra had to seek Pajuyo’s permission to temporarily hold the property and Guevarra had to follow the conditions set by Pajuyo in the Kasunduan. There is also no proof that Pajuyo is a professional squatter who rents out usurped properties to other squatters. prior physical possession is not required. Moreover. acquire any legal right to said property. This case is between squatters. Prior possession is not always a condition sine qua non in ejectment. the owner of the land. he must allege and prove prior possession. intimidation.79 Ruling on Possession Does not Bind Title to the Land in Dispute We are aware of our pronouncement in cases where we declared that "squatters and intruders who clandestinely enter into titled government property cannot.56 Pajuyo did not profit from his arrangement with Guevarra because Guevarra stayed in the property without paying any rent.78 Actual or physical occupation is not always necessary. the courts could have evicted the contending squatters. he is entitled to remain on the property until a person who has title or a better right lawfully ejects him.81 In no way should our ruling in this case be interpreted to condone squatting. Such a ruling would discourage squatters from seeking the aid of the courts in settling the issue of physical possession. the plaintiff is deprived of physical possession of his land or building by means of force. however. Moreover. Guevarra is certainly not that person.77 One may acquire possession not only by physical occupation. Stripping both the plaintiff and the defendant of possession just because they are squatters would have the same dangerous implications as the application of the principle of pari delicto. Possession in the eyes of the law does not mean that a man has to have his feet on every square meter of the ground before he is deemed in possession.82 The owner can still go to court to recover lawfully the property from the person who holds the property without legal title. is not a party to the ejectment case. The only issue that we are addressing is physical possession. Pajuyo’s absence did not affect his actual possession of the disputed property. including local governments. by such act.74 In forcible entry.75 But in unlawful detainer. Pajuyo and Guevarra.73 This is one of the distinctions between forcible entry and unlawful detainer. In such a case. which is the government. does not preclude Pajuyo and Guevarra from introducing evidence and presenting arguments before the proper administrative agency to establish any right to which they may be entitled under the law.76 Pajuyo’s withdrawal of his permission to Guevarra terminated the Kasunduan. abate. In this case."80 We made this declaration because the person who had title or who had the right to legal possession over the disputed property was a party in the ejectment suit and that party instituted the case against squatters or usurpers. Control over the property still rested with Pajuyo and this is evidence of actual possession. it is for the proper government agency to decide who between Pajuyo and Guevarra qualifies for socialized housing. The ruling in this case. Since the party that has title or a better right over the property is not impleaded in this case. Squatters would then rather settle the issue of physical possession among themselves than seek relief from the courts if the plaintiff and defendant in the ejectment case would both stand to lose possession of the disputed property. strategy or stealth. the defendant unlawfully withholds possession after the expiration or termination of his right to possess under any contract. but also by the fact that a thing is subject to the action of one’s will. threat. Our ruling here does not diminish the power of government agencies. Attorney’s Fees and Rentals . The ruling on the issue of physical possession does not affect title to the property nor constitute a binding and conclusive adjudication on the merits on the issue of ownership. express or implied. Thus. Since Pajuyo has in his favor priority in time in holding the property. to condemn. we cannot evict on our own the parties. remove or demolish illegal or unauthorized structures in accordance with existing laws. Guevarra’s transient right to possess the property ended as well. Had the government participated in this case.
Atty. the Magpayos mortgaged the land to the Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) to secure a loan. No costs. 44707 entitled "Jose Ma. LUISITO & MA. was registered. title over the land was consolidated in favor of PBCom . affirming the Decision dated 15 December 1995 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City. The Decision dated 21 June 2000 and Resolution dated 14 December 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. We sustain the P300 monthly rentals the MTC and RTC assessed against Guevarra. Philippine Bank of Communications. SP No. PlaintiffAppellee versus Spouses Luisito and Ma. in whose name TCT No. is REINSTATED with MODIFICATION. Garcia. 1981. Branch 81 in Civil Case No. Defendant-Appellant". The award of attorney’s fees is deleted. The Deed of Real Estate Mortgage was registered at the Makati Register of Deeds and annotated on the Magpayos title.1âwphi1. 133140 August 10. Five Hundred Sixty Four Thousand (P564. Garcia. Attorney’s fees as part of damages are awarded only in the instances enumerated in Article 2208 of the Civil Code. PUNO. 1981. 43129 are SET ASIDE. Luisa Magpayo and Sheriff of Makati. the mortgage was extrajudicially foreclosed and at the public auction sale. SO ORDERED.00) Pesos according to PBCom. The redemption period of the foreclosed mortgage expired without the Magpayos redeeming the same. 12432. Garcia's Title was cancelled and in its stead Transfer Certificate of Title No. T. GARCIA.000. respondents. we GRANT the petition. S-108412/545 was issued in the name of the Magpayos. We find the amount reasonable compensation to Pajuyo. sold with the consent of his wife Remedios T. One Million Two Hundred Thousand (P1. petitioner. Q-96-26943.84 Attorney’s fees are not awarded every time a party prevails in a suit because of the policy that no premium should be placed on the right to litigate.00) Pesos according to them. WHEREFORE. No. J. viz.57 The MTC and RTC failed to justify the award of P3. 1999 JOSE MA. Luisa Magpayo and her husband Luisito Magpayo (the Magpayos).R. the same to their daughter Ma. hence. Guevarra did not dispute this factual finding of the two courts. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. Makati.R. Branch 31 in Civil Case No. Pedro V. The Magpayos failed to pay their loan upon its maturity. No. the award of attorney’s fees is the exception rather than the rule.R.: Atty. hence.: This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to set aside the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. The P300 monthly rental is counted from the last demand to vacate. Defendants.000 attorney’s fees to Pajuyo. The Decision dated 11 November 1996 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. T.nêt On March 9.200. Garcia. LUISA MAGPAYO AND PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS.000. COURT OF APPEALS.83 Thus. S-31269 covering a parcel of land identified as Lot 17 situated at Bel Air II Village. which was on 16 February 1995.1 The facts are as succinctly summarized by the appellate court. vs. SPS. On March 5. PBCom which was the highest bidder bought the land.85 We therefore delete the attorney’s fees awarded to Pajuyo.
The vendor. PBCom averred. Records). In its answer. No. 1980 (Certificate of Death. 2917-P. Dissatisfied. Pedro V. . 138233 was issued in its name. docketed as LRC Case No. that is. the lower court held that the mortgage executed by the Magpayo spouses in favor of PBCom was void. Garcia in favor of the Magpayos took . On October 4. 1985. The conclusion is therefore inescapable that the said mortgage is null and void for lack of one of the essential elements of a mortgage as required by Art. The court a quo denied the motion for summary judgment on the ground that PBCom raised in its answer both factual and legal issues which could only be ventilated in a fullblown trial. Magpayo's parents to enable them (Magpayos) to borrow from PBCom. . who was in possession of the land. public auction sale. which motion was denied. the Magpayos filed at the RTC of Makati a complaint seeking the nullification of the extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage. which Branch 148 thereof granted. This finding is evident from the other undisputed fact that a new Torrens title was issued to the defendants Magpayo spouses only on March 9. 1981 . For in his complaint. . Magpayo's brother. In reversing the trial court. 2085 of our Civil Code . on October 31. Pedro V. 39 PHIL. p. [A]t the time that the defendants Magpayo spouses executed the mortgage in favor of the defendant PBCom on March 5. 1985. it invalidated the foreclosure sale and nullified TCT No. The court a quo. Garcia (Garcia). Garcia. CESAR. Garcia filed a Motion for Summary Judgment praying that judgment be rendered in his favor to which PBCom counter-motioned that judgment should be rendered in its favor. from whom he alleges to have inherited it but who was not the registered owner of the property. and PBCom's title docketed as Civil Case No. Mrs. T. This complaint was dismissed for failure to prosecute. Garcia. 11891. in SP Proc. 138233 issued to PBCom. . refused to honor it and filed a motion for Intervention in the above-said PBCom petition. the Court of Appeals held: (P)laintiff-appellee's assertion that ownership over the disputed property was not transmitted to his sister and her husband-Magpayo spouses at the time of the execution of the Deed of Sale as he was still in actual and adverse possession thereof does not lie.2 In its summary judgment. by which admission he is bound. . inter alia. that Garcia's claim over the land is belied by the fact that it is not among the properties owned by his mother listed in the Inventory of Real Estate filed at the then CFI of Pasay City. the said spouses were not yet the owners of the property. PBCom appealed. 134). 17. that he inherited the land as one of the heirs of his mother Remedios T. on the other hand. Branch 27. Garcia Petitioner-Administrator. Upon service of the writ of possession. asserted that title over the land was transferred to them by Mrs.3 Thus. was not in possession and hence could not deliver the property merely by the execution of the document (MANALILI V. PBCom filed at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati a petition for the issuance of a writ of possession over the land. Since the execution of the deed of sale by Atty. The Magpayos. plaintiff-appellee alleged that he entered into possession of the disputed property only upon the demise of his mother. M731. "In the Matter of the Intestate Estate of Remedios T. the Magpayos. 1981. inter alia. The Magpayo spouses could not have acquired the said property merely by the execution of the Deed of Sale because the property was in the possession of the plaintiff. however. and the RTC Sheriff the instant suit for recovery of realty and damages wherein he alleged. Garcia thereupon filed against PBCom. Garcia Petition for Letters of Administration. . and that PBCom acquired no right thereover. It found that: . . . On October 15. Jose Ma. later issued a summary judgment. Pedro V.58 which cancelled the Magpayo's title and Transfer Certificate of Title No.
Assuming that to be true. was issued four (4) days following the execution of the deed of real estate mortgage is of no moment. then the sale was consummated and the Magpayos were free to exercise the attributes of ownership including the right to mortgage the land. viz. 44-45 ). The petition has no merit. Ownership and possession are two entirely different legal concepts. plaintiff-appellee was not in possession of the property at the time of the execution of said public instrument. 149 SCRA 32. 1992 Ed. He has no valid title thereto." (page 2. then contrary to his claim. 55).: Due to the wrong cited case. Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code of the Philippines. He now comes before us raising the following errors committed by the Court Appeals: I The respondent Court of Appeals has departed from the accepted and usual course of proceedings when it decided the appeal subject of this case based on issues which were raised neither in the trial court nor in the appellant's brief.59 place earlier or on August 1. Furthermore.. p. started only "at the time of the filing of the complaint in this present case up to the present. Garcia had control of the property which was registered in his name and that the deed of sale was likewise registered. petitioner contends that the following facts were admitted by the parties in the trial court: . the trial court could not distinguish ownership from possession. Summary Judgment). Anent the second-assignment of error. made its own findings of facts which were contrary to the said admissions. His possession is certainly not in the concept of an owner. Plaintiff-appellee's possession as found by the trial court. despite ruling that Summary Judgment was proper. Again. one done in bad faith (to defeat PBCom's Writ of Possession). p. His possession in fact was that of an intruder. II The Court of Appeals decided the appeal in a manner not in accord with applicable jurisprudence when it disregarded the admissions of the private respondents and. the trial court opined erroneously that "Magpayo Spouses could not have acquired the property merely by the execution of the deed of sale because the property was in the possession of the plaintiff" (Order. Anent the first assignment of error. and the public instrument of sale is also registered. This is so because as early as 1981. petitioner alleged that the Court of Appeals resolved the issues "ownership" and "possession" though they were not raised by PBCom in its appellant's brief. Court of Appeals. When the land is registered in the vendor's name. TCT No. for registration under the Torrens system does not vest ownership but is intended merely to confirm and register the title which one may already have on the land (Municipality of Victorias v. Petitioner Garcia moved for a reconsideration of above decision which was denied. S-108412. III The Decision of the respondent Court of Appeals was not in accord with established jurisprudence and even contradicts itself. That the Magpayos' title. as far as the issue of the propriety of the Summary Judgment is concerned. 10). it appearing that the vendor Atty. The allegation is belied by page 17 of PBCom's appellate brief. plaintiff-appellee's possession which started only in 1986 could not ripen into ownership. 1980. the sale may be considered consummated and the buyer may exercise the actions of an owner (Tolentino. title thereto was registered in the name of the Magpayo Spouses which title was subsequently cancelled when the property was purchased by PBCom in a public auction sale resulting in the issuance of title in favor of the latter in 1985.
Magpayo's Cross-Claim for being sham and frivolous. for an expeditious settlement of the case. On the other hand. and affidavits that no important questions or issues of fact are involved (except the determination of the amount of damages) and that therefore the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.10 Literally.7 Needless to state. At the time of the alleged sale to the Magpayo spouses.5 Indeed petitioner did not cite any page number of the records or refer to any documentary Exhibit to prove how and who admitted the said facts. move with supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof. Pedro Garcia and his wife Remedios exercised their right to dispose of what they owned when they sold the subject property to the Magpayo spouses. at any time. at the time of the execution of the instrument in favor of the Magpayo spouses was not in possession of the subject property. Atty. It is true that petitioner made the initial move for summary judgment.6 Under Rule 34. admissions. — A party seeking to recover upon a claim. Sec. The property subject of this dispute was previously the conjugal property of the said spouses. either party may move for a summary judgment — the claimant by virtue of Section 1 and the defending party by virtue of Section 2. possession is defined as the holding of a thing or the enjoyment of a right. Ownership exists when a thing pertaining to one person is completely subjected to his will in a manner not prohibited by law and consistent with the rights of others.60 1. 1980. 3. viz. upon motion by either party. move with supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or any part thereof. he became. Summary judgment for defending party.9 Atty. 1.: Sec. depositions. Pedro V. or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may. PBCom likewise moved for a summary judgment with supporting affidavit and documentary exhibits. When his mother Remedios Tablan (sic) Garcia died.4 We reject the contention of petitioner for a perusal of the records shows that these alleged admitted facts are his own paraphrased portions of the findings of fact listed by the trial court in the summary judgment. Petitioner's third assignment of error that he alone as plaintiff in the trial court is entitled to a summary judgment merits scant attention. — A party against whom a claim. to wit: COUNTER-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT PBCom Is Entitled To A Summary Judgment The procedure for summary judgment may be availed of also by the defending parties who may be the object of unfounded claims as clearly shown in Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 34. a co-owner of the property. there appearing from the pleadings. sometime in October. to possess means to actually and . petitioner was in possession of the property. one of which is the right to dispose of the thing by way of sale. 5. Pedro V. Garcia and Remedios Tablan Garcia. 2. Summary judgment for claimant. The petitioner is a compulsory heir of the late spouses Atty. The petitioner and his family have been and are continuously to the present in actual physical possession of the property.8 Ownership confers certain rights to the owner. counterclaim. Garcia. it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court to render summary judgment in PBCom's favor by DISMISSING plaintiff's Complaint as well as Sps. at any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served. xxx xxx xxx WHEREFORE. there was no error on the part of the appellate court in resorting to summary judgment as prayed for by both parties. by operation of law. We stress again that possession and ownership are distinct legal concepts. 4. A summary judgment is one granted by the court. or cross-claim is asserted or a declaratory relief is sought may. 2. counter-claim. Nonetheless.
00) Pesos.16 All said. On the same day. the lower court gave credence to the evidence on record that it was the herein petitioner himself who approached the buyer and offered to sell subject parcel of land and he was also the one who received said consideration of P7. 1975 by the Bureau of Lands under Free Patent No. whether his belief be right or wrong. 1999 SERVANDO MANGAHAS.1971. Pablo Simeon and Leonora Cayme. it is of no moment that petitioner was in possession of the property at the time of the sale to the Magpayo spouses. occupied and possessed the subject property. We held in Caniza v. respondents. 4 the spouses. Servando Mangahas 8 During the trial below. vs. the Magpayo spouses were already the owners when they mortgaged the property to PBCom. COURT OF APPEALS and SPOUSES SIMEON and LEONORA CAYME. 9 Pursuant thereto the Register of Deeds in . "one who possesses as a mere holder acknowledges in another a superior right which he believes to be ownership. 5 which is an agricultural land with an area of 15. 44707 is AFFIRMED. they sold the said piece of land to the spouses. It was not a hindrance to a valid transfer of ownership. On the other hand.15 The deed of sale operates as a formal or symbolic delivery of the property sold and authorizes the buyer to use the document as proof of ownership. 1990 2 and the Court of Appeals' Resolution of October 12. Court of Appeals 14 that an owner's act of allowing another to occupy his house. the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. No. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.000.R. for Seven Thousand (P7."12 On the other hand. Consequently.1âwphi1.11 "A possessor in the concept of an owner may be the owner himself or one who claims to be so. rent-free does not create a permanent and indefeasible right of possession in the latter's favor. THE HON. 1990. the private respondents filed with the Bureau of Lands a Free Patent application for the same land in dispute. Rodil. 6 On February 1. PURISIMA. We also uphold the Court of Appeals in holding that the mortgage to PBCom by the Magpayo spouses is valid notwithstanding that the transfer certificate of title over the property was issued to them after the mortgage contract was entered into.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court seeking to nullify the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 dated May 25. 3 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.61 physically occupy a thing with or without right.000.nêt SO ORDERED. which application was approved on August 27. This buttresses the ruling that indeed the property was no longer considered owned by petitioner's parents. Possession may be had in one of two ways: possession in the concept of an owner and possession of a holder. as evidenced by the affidavit 7 executed by the former in favor of the latter in the presence of the herein petitioner. Costs against petitioner.R.000. J. the antecedent facts that matter can be culled as follows: Since April 1955. No. Registration does not confer ownership. it is merely evidence of such ownership over a particular property. 576411. From the records on hand. Severo S.17 IN VIEW WHEREOF.0871 hectares. petitioner's subsequent claim of ownership as successor to his mother's share in the conjugal asset is belied by the fact that the property was not included in the inventory of the estate submitted by his father to the intestate court. Rodil and Caridad S."13 The records show that petitioner occupied the property not in the concept of an owner for his stay was merely tolerated by his parents. 95815 March 10. petitioner.
Occidental Mindoro. by virtue of a prior sale he inked with the spouses Rodil on December 7. 1985. 00 as and for attorney's fees. P-6924 (Free Patent NO. Petitioner denied having offered the same land for sale to the private respondents or ever receiving the amount of P7.62 Mamburao. petitioner Servando Mangahas paid the amount of P7. the private respondents had long before demanded from the petitioner the return of the premises in question but the latter refused to vacate the place. 14 In due time. 1969. Petitioner theorized that he entered into the possession of the land under controversy. 576411) of the Office of the Register of Deeds for the Province of Occidental Mindoro. docketed as Civil Case No. It was also shown that petitioner. 1990. allowing him (petitioner) to occupy and cultivate the said parcel of land. two (2) hectares planted to rice and one (1) hectare used as "tumana" with a house erected thereon. 15 With the denial 16 of his Motion for Reconsideration and/or New Trial. and to deliver the possession of the land in question together with all the improvements thereon unto the plaintiffs. Private respondents did not get any share in the fruits or harvest of the land except on one occasion. and (d) Ordering the defendant to pay the costs of suit. (c) Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P5. supposedly executed by Severe Rodil. in favor of the plaintiffs (now the private respondents). SO ORDERED. when they commenced the present action for recovery of ownership and the possession of real property. he has been in continuous occupation and possession in concepto de dueño up to the present. and to which document the signature of petitioner as a witness was procured through fraud. Private respondents tolerated petitioner's possession until February 5. sometime in 1969. deceit and misrepresentation. as mentioned in the "Kasulatan ng Pagtanggap ng Salapi 12 Twelve (12) hectares of the property were then developed into a fishpond. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. However. Petitioner was permitted by the private respondents to continue possessing and working on the same land.000. even after the sale. 13 He further averred that respondent Leonora Cayme misled the Bureau of Lands into granting her a Free Patent for subject parcel of land on the basis of a "Deed of Relinquishment of Rights". judgment is hereby rendered: (a) Declaring the plaintiffs to be the absolute and registered owners of the land in question covered by and described in OCT No. (b) Ordering defendant and all persons claiming under him to remove their respective houses constructed thereon. P6924.00 to the Rodils. his right thereto being evidenced by the "Kasulatan ng Pagtangap ng Salapi" dated December 7. 17 The issues posited by petitioner boil down to: .00. the consideration of the alleged sale of February 1. Occidental Mindoro issued the corresponding Original Certificate of Title No. 000. when the petitioner gave them onehalf (1/2) "tiklis" (big basket) of "tilapia". 1986. petitioner seasonably appealed to the Court of Appeals which came out with a judgment of affirmance on May 25. upon the request of the private respondents themselves because they were then busy in their palay business. the parties went to trial which culminated in the rendition by the court a quo of its decision of November 14. the spouses Rodil had already applied for subject tract of land with the Bureau of Lands which application was not acted upon even until the aforesaid sale. enjoying the fruits thereof to the exclusion of all others. 11 For allowing him to occupy and cultivate the same. 10 Records show that before the sale.000. and since then. R-528 before Branch 45 of the Regional Trial Court in San Jose. Servando Mangahas. premises considered. had been in possession thereof by virtue of the agreement between him and the spouses Rodil. 1971. 1969.
he became the owner of subject property ipso jure. 20 and The Director of Lands vs. . 21. Consequently. Petitioner can not now feign ignorance of such judicial admission which he has resolutely repudiated in his present petition. the Court of Appeals opined: . Manila Electric Company. from whom he traces the origin of his supposed title. Findings of fact by the trial court are not to be disturbed on appeal. especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals. tacked to his own possession. 27 On the other hand. the total period of possession in his favor would suffice to vest in him the ownership of the property under the law on prescription. In disposing of the issue. The factual milieu obtaining with respect to the petition under scrutiny has rendered petitioner's reliance on the applicability of the aforestated principles misplaced. 1985. . . . the Bureau of Lands had no authority to issue the Free Patent in question. . But the rule admits of some exceptions as when such findings of fact are contrary to what the trial court found. on April 1955 (Exhibit "F" for the plaintiff-appellees and exhibit "5" for the defendant). which land became a private property by operation of law. II. petitioner stressed that by prescription.63 I WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE LAND IN QUESTION IS NO LONGER PART OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN FOR THE REASON THAT DEFENDANT IS ALREADY. . findings by the Court of Appeals on factual questions are conclusive and ought not to be disregarded. 576411 FROM THE BUREAU OF LANDS. et al. the Court discerns no basis for disturbing the finding by the lower court as affirmed by the Court of Appeals. 28 Mere allegation of error without more will not prevail over the findings by the trial court. the spouses Rodil. 24 As found by the lower court below. THE OWNER THEREOF BY VIRTUE OF A GOVERNMENT GRANT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW AND EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE. Bengzon. Petitioner theorized that with the length of possession of his predecessors-in-interest. WHETHER THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING PLAINTIFF LEONORA CAYM E GUILTY OF FRAUD AND MISREPRESENTATION IN SECURING FREE PATENT NO. citing the early case of Cariño vs. et al. The defendant-appellant's grantor or predecessor in interest (Severo Rodil) possession of the property. . 26 Acquisition of ownership under the law on prescription cannot be pleaded in support of petitioner's submission that subject land has ipso jure become his private property. Since the complaint in the case at bar was filed on February 25. 23 the requirement of at least thirty years continuous possession has not been complied with even if We were to tack Rodil's period of possession. In the computation of time necessary for prescription the following rules srules shall be observed: (1) The present possessor may complete the period necessary for prescription by tacking his possession to that of his grantor or predecessor in interest . except for cogent reasons. that the possession of the spouses Rodil. Article 1138 of the Civil Code provides. and had been withdrawn and segregated from the alienable and disposable part of the public domain. 18 So also. as when the findings of fact are not duly supported by evidence. . Insular Government 19 up to and including the more recent cases of The Director of Lands vs. As regards the issue of fraud tainting the acquisition of the questioned Free Patent. 22 petitioner argued. which was then null and void. BY OPERATION OF LAW. 25 contrary to his disclaimer. petitioner had admitted. commenced only in April 1955. Even if we were to disregard the need for a proper application. subject matter of the litigation. The first issue is mainly predicated on the theory that the petitioner acquired ownership of the disputed land by acquisitive prescription. as in the case under consideration.
EMILIA MARCELO and RUBEN MARCELO. . Angat. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Sotera Paulino-Marcelo. Bulacan. 1999 SOTERA PAULINO MARCELO. . Bulacan. Lucia. it was claimed. 131803 April 14. respondents Cruz and Flores denied the allegations of petitioners. It would appear that on 06 October 1982.R. Lucia. In their answer. petitioners. 2880 and No. owned by the late Jose Marcelo and his spouse. to wit: This court has found that the defendant-appellant is a person whose credibility is much in doubt. Fraud is never presumed. No pronouncement as to costs. .) WHEREFORE. through her testimony and the supporting documentary evidence. (Emphasis ours). by respondents Fernando Cruz and Servando Flores. She has convincingly shown to this court. GABRIELA M. that she is in fact the rightful owner of the property in dispute . the fraud theorized upon by petitioner is belied by what the Court of Appeals found. FERNANDO CRUZ and SERVANDO FLORES. No. however. averred that two parcels of land in Sta. COURT OF APPEALS. Petitioners seek the reinstatement of the RTC decision which has ordered respondents Fernando Cruz and Servando Flores to return the ownership and possession of a portion of unregistered and untitled land located in Sta. declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declarations No. to the extent of 7. had effectively asserted a cause of action for ejectment (unlawful detainer). since it is presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns and private transactions have been fair and regular. herein petitioners. vs. The mere failure of private respondents to execute a deed of sale because they demanded first an accounting of the lots used as collaterals by petitioner and the amount of loans secured could not be considered as fraud. VITUG. . inclined to toe the line of the trial court's finding that private respondents are liable for fraud. of Malolos. In the petition under scrutiny. ANGELES. Lucia. filed with the Regional Trial Court of Malolos. Angat. . assailing at the same time the jurisdiction of the trial court to act on the complaint which. 31 viz. It must be alleged and proven. On the other hand. We have found the plaintiff-appellee Leonora Simeon Cayme to be straightforward and credible. 32 (Emphasis supplied.540 2 square meters thereof. The complaint.64 Petitioner has not adduced before the lower court a preponderance of evidence of fraud.: We are not. Branch 19. respondents. SIMEONA CUENCO. had been encroached. an action for the recovery of a portion of unregistered land in Sta. SO ORDERED. 2882. J The reversal of the 28th November 1996 decision 1 of the Court of Appeals setting aside that of the Regional Trial Court ("RTC"). Fraud is the deliberate or intentional evasion of the normal fulfillment of an obligation. whoever alleges fraud or mistake affecting a transaction must substantiate his allegation. 29 Thus. Fraus est odiosa et non praesumeda . the petition is DENIED and the decision appealed from AFFIRMED. It is well settled that a party who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it. Bulacan. HON. to herein petitioners. is sought in this petition for review on certiorari. later amended on 12 October 1983. Court of Appeals. 30 The requirement that fraud must be established by clear and convincing evidence has been reiterated in Cuizon vs. Bulacan. heirs of the deceased Jose Marcelo.
that as stated in their document (Exh.000 square meters of "palayero" or riceland and 7. the trial court found and ratiocinated: The crux of the matter at issue apparently revolves on the so-called pasture land (parang) supposedly sold by the Sarmientos and Engracia dela Cruz to defendant Fernando Cruz. This is evident as indicated by the fact that the same was only declared by Fernando Cruz in his name in 1961 as evidence by the tax declaration issued in his favor (Exh F). thus: Evidence adduced by the plaintiffs through the testimony of plaintiff Gabriela Angeles showed that the parcel of land subject of litigation covering Lot 3098 and embraced under Tax Declaration No. I). Plaintiffs caused the relocation survey of said property and per plan of Lot 3096 and Lot 3098 of the Angat Cadastre as surveyed for the heirs of Jose Marcelo (Exh. the said "parang" is a part and parcel of plaintiffs' property to . On the other hand. the land sold to defendant Fernando Cruz contained 6. and Florentino all surnamed Sarmiento. Marta. 4482 (Exh.856 square meters was declared by said Fernando Cruz in his name which circumstance.856 square meters of "parang" or pasture land. 1960 (Exh.000 square meters. They invariably declared that the portion sought to be recovered by plaintiffs is part of the land which defendant Fernando Cruz acquired in 1960 from the Heirs of Jorge Sarmiento. F). Defendant Fernando Cruz heretofore purchased the said property from Engracia de la Cruz and Vicente. The said "parang" was never included and/or embraced in the Tax Declaration No. that on November 3. 1968 defendant Fernando Cruz sold the whole lot to defendant Servando Flores (Exh. As soon as the said property was sold to Fernando Cruz. they attempted to cultivate the disputed portion sometime in 1968. 1968 (Exh. A) was originally owned by spouses Jose Marcelo and Sotera Paulino and they had been in continuous possession of said property since 1939. F).856 square meters (Exh. D). B). 2). 2882 (Exh. 4882 (Exh E) of the Sarmientos at the time of the said sale in favor of defendant Fernando Cruz pursuant to an extrajudicial partition with sale dated November 19. 1960 (Exh. pursuant to a "Kasulatan ng Partisyon sa Labas ng Hukuman at Bilihang Patulayan" dated November 19. 8505 (Exh.800 3 square meters. According to Gabriela. On the other hand. includes the encroached portion (7. B-1). increased his landholding to 13.540 square meters of plaintiffs' property). The Tax Declaration No. they discovered in 1967 that a portion of said property had been encroached by defendant Fernando Cruz.856 square meters to defendant Servando Flores pursuant to a deed of sale (Kasulatan ng Bilihan) dated November 3. E) covering the property in the name of Jorge Sarmiento and Engracia Cruz covered an area of 6. 3 & 4). but were barred from doing so by defendant Servando Flores who claimed that the area was part of the land he bought from co-defendant Fernando Cruz. 4 Evaluating the evidence of the contending parties. The said property was subsequently sold by defendant Fernando Cruz to defendant Servando Flores. Following the death of plaintiffs' father in 1965. which he then declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration No. that defendant Fernando Cruz caused the entire parcel to be surveyed sometime in 1967 (Exhs. who thereupon occupied and cultivated it. 7540 square meters of Lot 3098 had been encroached by defendant Fernando Cruz as indicated in the shaded portion of said plan (Exh. D) covering an area of 6.65 The appellate court adopted the summary of evidence made by the trial court. C) which sale. both defendants testified to refute plaintiffs' evidence. Defendant Fernando Cruz sold his property with an area of 13. the adjoining property described and classified as "parang" with an area of 7.
Maria Sarmiento and Florentino Sarmiento.856 square meters. 6 Respondent Cruz and Flores went to the Court of Appeals. The respondent court erred in disregarding the findings of facts of the trial court. The plan of Lot 3096 and Lot 3098 of the Angat Cadastre (Exhs B and B-1) inevitably indicated that what has been encroached by defendants refers to the "parang" of 7. was denied. Petitioner moved for a reconsideration." executed on 19 March 1960 by Engracia de la Cruz (widow of Jorge Sarmiento) and her children Vicente Sarmiento. has not been included. E).66 which they had been in possession thereof prior to World War II and evidenced by Tax Declaration No. The respondent court erred in not applying the doctrine laid down by this Honorable Court in Tero vs." containing 7. to 13. this agreement provided thus: . The counterclaims is hereby dismissed for lack of factual and/or legal basis. Contrary to the insistence of petitioners.000 square meters. the appellate court reversed the judgment of the court a quo. in its now assailed decision.540 square meters lawfully.540 square meters to the plaintiffs as indicated in the relocation survey plan. 7 Petitioners assert that the property sold by the Sarmientos to respondent Cruz on 19 November 1950.856 square meters. No actual and/or moral damages (sic) is awarded for lack of factual evidence. under a "Kasulatan ng Partisyon sa Labas ng Hukuman at Bilihang Patuluyan.540 square meters which defendant Fernando Cruz declared the same in his name in 1961. 2882 (Exh A). and that the "parang. however. Petitioners argue that — 1. whereas the petitioner proved the 7. and b. petitioners assails the holding of the Court of Appeals that the action initiated in 1982 by petitioners against respondent Flores would not prosper on the theory that Flores already has acquired ownership of the disputed land by ordinary acquisitive prescription. as the respondent court already stated that was sold to respondent Cruz was the 6. Tero.000. hence respondents can not account as to how they acquire said lot. 2. 4882 (Exh.231 square meters of their parents in their possession since 1939. and substitute its own perception of the facts contrary to the incontrovertible evidence. 5 The trial court thereupon ruled in favor of petitioners. the dispositive portion of its decision concluded: WHEREFORE.800 square meters which he then sold to respondent Flores. The petition must be denied." covers only the "palayero" or riceland. This explains the unnecessary increase of his property from 6. 131 SCRA 105 considering that the respondents never acquired the 7. the motion. the "Kasulatan ng Partisyon sa Labas ng Hukuman at Bilihang Patuluyan.00. To pay attorney's fees in the amount of P5. In this latest recourse. judgment is hereby rendered against the defendants ordering the following: a. pertained not only to the "palayero" but also to the "parang" as well. which measures about 6. To return the ownership and possession of 7.000 square meters which he purchased from the Sarmientos pursuant to an extrajudicial partition with sale and embraced under Tax Declaration No.540 square meters formed part of 19.
13 Possession. the 13. such possessory acts. that possession should be adverse. Oeste. the palayero and the parang. acquisitive prescription can only be extraordinary in character.I. 8 (Emphasis supplied).856 square-meter property. Ang Palayero ay may sukat na 6. Walang mejoras at ang hangganan sa paligid ay makikilala sa pamamagitan ng mga matutuwid na sikang o pilapil na buhay. not being in the concept of an owner. Na akong si Engracia de la Cruz at ang aking yumao ng asawang si Jorge Sarmiento (nuong nabubuhay ito) ay nakapagpundar ng isang lupa na ang buong description ay gaya ang sumusunod.00 Tax No. Marta.856 square meters. In order to ripen into ownership. 4482 ay lupang palayero lamang ang nakatala. do not start the running of the period of prescription. for taxation purposes in 1960 in the Office of the Provincial Assessor and forthwith a new tax declaration was issued in his name for the entire 13. 10 Thus. Sur. sold to defendant Fernando Cruz a rice land containing an area of 6. peaceful and uninterrupted. Este. a trustee. The trial court itself likewise found that the sale by the Sarmientos to respondent Cruz covered both the riceland and the pasture land. no matter how long. Under the said document. Engracia de la Cruz and her children Vicente.856 metros cuadrados. an agent or a pledgee. Juan de la Cruz hoy Jose Marcelo y Mariano de la Cruz hoy Felipe de Leon. Isang parselang lupang PALAYERO na may kasamang PARANG (Cogonales) na matatagpuan sa Barrio ng Santa Lucia. 15 without good faith and just title.. Acquisitive prescription is a mode of acquiring ownership by a possessor through the requisite lapse of time. to use the common law equivalent of the term. P. public.e. Bulacan. it said: . key Antonio de la Rosa. respondent Cruz sold. and Florentino.856 square meters of land to respondent Flores under a "Kasulatan ng Bilihan. Humahangga sa Norte. i. respondent Cruz declared both parcels. . klasipikado 2-b. kaya't ngayon ay magalang naming hinihiling na matala ang naturang parang. mere possession with a juridical title. . cannot be ripen into ownership by acquisitive prescription. Ordinary acquisitive prescription requires possession of things in good faith and with just title for the time fixed by law. all surnamed Sarmiento. possession must be in the concept of an owner. 4482. must be en concepto de dueno. if not. Kina Miguel Illescas. 14 Acquisitive prescription of dominion and other real rights may be ordinary or extraordinary. 2. to exemplify. by a usufructuary." Respondent Flores immediately took possession of the property to the exclusion of all others and promptly paid the realty taxes thereon. . 4482 and a pasture land (parang) containing an area of 7. such as. 9 In turn. at ang parang ay may sukat na 7. or. . amillarado P270. . Ayon sa Tax No. Flores had been in possession of the entire area in the concept of an owner and holding it in that capacity for almost fourteen (14) years before petitioners initiated their complaint on 06 October 1982. . . 12 Acts of possessory character executed due to license or by mere tolerance of the owner would likewise be inadequate. subalit ito'y mayroong kasamang parang na hindi lamang naipatala niyang nakaraang pasukan ng lupa sa tanggapan ng Assessor Provincial. Ciriaco Reyes. kina Fabian Garcia at Juan Geronimo.67 1. It is worthy to note that the ownership of the adjoining property by defendant Fernando Cruz originated from an extrajudicial partition with sale (Kasulatan ng Partisyon sa Labas ng Hukuman at Bilihang Patuluyan dated November 19. Shortly after the execution of the deed of sale in his favor. on 03 November 1968.000 square meters and embraced under Tax Declaration No. 1960 .000 metros cuadrados. to constitute the foundation of a prescriptive right. Angat. a lessee. y Juan de la Cruz. . 11 unless the juridical relation is first expressly repudiated and such repudiation has been communicated to the other party. . From that time on.
but that the grantor is neither the owner nor in a position to transmit the right. at the time of the sale. While it is true that the possession of the entire area by his predecessor-in-interest (Fernando Cruz) may not have been peaceful as it was indeed characterized with violence which resulted in the death of Jose Marcelo. 541). Hence. this cannot be said of appellant Flores' possession of the property." It is evident that by a "titulo verdadero y valido" in this connection we are not to understand a "titulo que por si solo tiene fuerza de transferir el dominio sin necesidad de la prescripcion" (a title which of itself is sufficient to transfer the ownership without the necessity of the lapse of the prescription period). 17 There is. 19 the Supreme Court has explained the law in Article 1130 of the Civil Code which states that the "title for prescription must be true and valid. peaceful and uninterrupted. As explicitly mentioned in the document of sale (Exh. F) and further surveyed in his favor (Exhs. 21 The Court finds no cogent reasons to reverse the above findings of the appellate court and thus gives its affirmance to the assailed decision.68 As regards. No cost. Biarnesa. it explained: In the instant case. in respect of which no evidence to the contrary appears on record." Thus: We think that this contention is based on a misconception of the scope and effect of the provisions of this article of the Code in its application to "ordinary prescription. although in fact it did not. as might happen when one is in possession of a thing in the belief that it had been beoueathed to him. appellant Flores' possession of the entire parcel which includes the portion sought to be recovered by appellees was not only in the concept of an owner but also public. Parenthetically. WHEREFORE. Ordinary acquisitive prescription demands. Parte Segunda. from one whom he believes to be the owner. I) executed in 1968. the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION . 18 In Doliendo vs. 1134. appellant Servando Flores took possession of the controverted portion in good faith and with just title. that the possession be "in good faith and with just title. This is so because the said portion of 7. the whole area consisting of the riceland and pasture land was already covered by a tax declaration in the name of Fernando Cruz (Exh. and we accept the opinion of a learned Spanish law writer who holds that the "titulo verdadero y valido" as used in this article of the code prescribes a "titulo colorado" and not merely "putativo." a "titulo colorado" being one "which a person has when he buys a thing.1âwphi1. as aforesaid.nêt SO ORDERED. the disputed portion referred to as "parang" was included in the sale to appellant Flores." (Viso Derecho Civil. 3 & 4). p. Ownership and other real rights over the immovable property are acquired by ordinary prescription through possession of ten years. real or immovable property. just title when the adverse claimant comes into possession of the property through any of the modes recognized by law for the acquisition of ownership or other real rights.540 square meters was an integral part of that bigger tract of land which he bought from Fernando Cruz under public document (Exh I). in good faith. Article 1134 of the Civil Code provides: Art. upon the other hand. 20 The records of the case amply supports the holding of the appellate court that the requirements for ordinary prescription hereinabove described have indeed been duly met." 16 The good faith of the possessor consists in the reasonable belief that the person from whom the thing is received has been the owner thereof and could thereby transmit that ownership." and a "titulo putativo" "being one which is supposed to have preceded the acquisition of a thing.
00. authorized Carmen Ty to occupy the land. de Guzman and Rio Rivera for P5. THE CITY REGISTER OF DEEDS OF GENERAL SANTOS CITY and HOECHST PHILS. Petitioner maintained that . de Guzman sold the lot to his married daughter and her husband. de Guzman filed with the Board of Liquidators.R.12 On March 21. on February 13. On March 11.. DE GUZMAN. Lucena Ong-Ante's adverse claim was annotated on the title of the lot. Bubon. 1967. for unknown reasons. RIO RIVERA and CAROLINA DE GUZMAN. evidenced by an Agreement of Transfer of Right. 2000 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Thus. Cotabato. foreclosed on the mortgage and acquired the lot at the foreclosure sale. petitioner. General Santos City re-amended complaint14 for reversion of Lot 5249 Ts217 and cancellation of titles against Enrique P. another claimant of Lot 5249 Ts-217. General Santos City. Inc. For failure to settle their obligation. de Guzman. respondents. Petitioner contended since Lot 5249 Ts-217 was awarded to Eusebio Diones. the Register of Deeds.13 Meanwhile. 1974... 814 to de Guzman.. for brevity) for P700. the City Registrar of Deeds. General Santos. ENRIQUE P. General Santos City and cancellation of titles. 105630 February 23. DE GUZMAN. Inc.69 G. 1974. General Santos City. on October 29.4 On November 12. General Santos City and Hoechst Phils. On August 29. 1981. Phils. the Board of Liquidators cancelled the award previously given to Eusebio Diones. 1956. Ts-217.5 From the time he purchased the lot. J. Spouses RIO RIVERA and CAROLINA R. a 450 square meter land situated in Dadiangas.15 petitioner Republic of the Philippines averred that Enrique P. 1967. No. Miscellaneous Sales Application No. Inc.1 reversing and setting aside that of the Regional Trial Court. the real estate mortgage and certificate of sale were not registered with the Register of Deeds. hence. situated at Dadiangas. Inc. de Guzman obtained Original Certificate of Title No. INC. the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources approved and issued Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. the Director of Lands ordered the awards and issuance of a patent in favor of de Guzman. executed a deed of real estate mortgage involving the lot. the Board of Liquidators. spouses Rio Rivera and Carolina R.. Eusebio Diono had no right to execute a deed of transfer in favor of Enrique de Guzman.00. 1955. de Guzman..9 Sometime in 1973. mortgagee Hoechst Phils. de Guzman was not in occupation of the lot in question. 1950. The covering deed of sale could not be located10 and Rio Rivera admitted that his father-in-law Enrique P. respondents. 1967. issued Original Certificate of Title No. as mortgagor and mortgagee.7 On September 5. A certificate of sale was issued in favor of Hoechst Phils. PARDO. On January 14. However. de Guzman. Branch 22. The facts are as follows: After public bidding held on March 18.3 awarded Lot 5249 Ts217. On August 12. P-29712 through fraudulent means.2 and dismissing the complaint for reversion of lot 5249. T-7203 to spouses Rio Rivera and Carolina R. 1973. 00222-E. 1967. Ong Ante paid the corresponding real estate taxes from 1963 until 1980. the Register of Deeds of General Santos City issued Transfer Certificate of Title No.11 On September 4. for lack of merit. In 1963. to Eusebio Diones of Takurong.6 and submitted supporting documents. de Guzman did not occupy it..000. petitioner Republic of the Philippines filed with the Court of First Instance. In its re-amended complaint. 16th Judicial District.. Carmen Ty remained the occupant of the land until this time. spouses Rivera and Hoeschst. Carolina R. Lucena Ong Ante. Eusebio Diono transferred his rights over the lot to Enrique P. P-29712 in the name of de Guzman.8 On September 26. vs.: This is a petition for review assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals. the transfer certificate of title remained in the name of spouses Rivera. de Guzman (de Guzman. respectively. 1977.
1987. respectively. to cancel OCT No. null and void. Inc. General Santos City. Declaring the Miscellaneous Sales Patent No.70 the documents presented by de Guzman to support his miscellaneous sales application were either issued by fictitious persons who were not employees of the Board of Liquidators. P-29712 in the name of Enrique de Guzman covering Lot 5249.18 . Inc. the Owner's Duplicate of said TCT No. spouses Rivera appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. Ts-217 situated at Dadiangas. dated October 29. Furthermore. 3. IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING.16 It held that the supporting documents submitted by de Guzman were falsified. OCT No. The trial court ruled that Rio Rivera and Carolina R. Actual possession of the land by the applicant and making improvements thereto were among the legal requirements to be complied with by an applicant. 1988. to Surrender to the Register of Deeds. General Santos City. General Santos City. in favor (sic) Hoechst Philippines. plaintiff having preponderantly proven the allegations of the complaint. Transfer Certificate of Title No. they knew that their vendor de Guzman was not in possession of the lot. ADRE Judge17 On November 10. General Santos City. de Guzman put them on notice of knowledge of a defect in the acquisition of title to the land. Dismissing the counterclaim with costs against the defendants. Inc. De Guzman was neither in actual possession of the land. de Guzman were not innocent purchasers for value since their close relationship with Enrique P. (s/t) ABEDNEGO O. nor made improvements thereto. Admittedly. situated at Dadiangas. and 5. de Guzman. P-29712 in the name of Enrique de Guzman and owner's duplicate of TCT No. to the mass of public domain. On July 9. 4. to cancel the owner's duplicate original of said Title No. Ordering the reversion of Lot No. ordering the Register of Deeds. 814 and OCT No. July 9. Thus. giving preference to qualified and actual occupant. T-7203 or any subsequent transfer certificate of title issued in the name of Hoechst Philippines. 5249. Ordering the Register of Deeds. and all other subsequent transfer certificate of titles derived therefrom should said defendants Enrique P. Also. Ts-217. 5249. Petitioner asserted that Lot 5249 Ts-217 must be reverted back to the mass of public domain. the trial court rendered decision in favor of petitioner. T-2703 in the name of spouses Rivera was null and void for they were not innocent purchasers for value. as he alleged in his sales application. T-7203 in the name of Enrique de Guzman and Rio Rivera. 2. General Santos City. Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. T-2703 in the name of Rio Rivera and Carolina de Guzman on file with this (Register of Deeds) Office.. The trial Court ordered the reversion of the land to the mass of public domain. and TCT No. if any. the fact that de Guzman was not in possession of the property disqualified him from being awarded the sales patent. P-29712 issued in his name was obtained through fraudulent means. 814 and Original Certificate of Title No. or contained inconsistencies that cast doubt on their authenticity.. The dispositive portion decreed as follows: WHEREFORE. Ts-217. fail to surrender their respective certificate of titles over Lot No. Ordering Rio Rivera and Carolina de Guzman and/or Hoechst Philippines. 1977. subject to the administration and disposition of the Director of Lands or the Board of Liquidators as the case maybe. SO ORDERED. General Santos City. P-29712 issued to de Guzman pursuant thereto were null and void. and once surrendered. T-7203 in the name of Rio Rivera and Carolina de Guzman and the Certificate of Sale executed by the City Sheriff. P29712 and TCT No. General Santos City. Rio Rivera and Carolina de Guzman or Hoechst Philippines. 1987. judgment is hereby rendered: 1. hence. Inc.
There is no question that de Guzman was not in possession of the property. a petition for review on certiorari of the Court of Appeals' decision. It held that no other evidence. the Court of Appeals rendered decision reversing the decision of the trial court. 1992. On August 19. Thus. P-29712 through fraudulent means.19 The Court of Appeals ruled that when Enrique P. We rule in the negative. 814 and OCT No. The Court of Appeals ruled that the issuance of the original certificate of title converted the lot into a private land. without any other proof of bad faith on the part of spouses Rivera. it is not merely his right but his specific duty to conduct investigations of alleged fraud in securing patents and the corresponding titles thereto. in order that the appropriate action for reversion may be filed by the Government. the title became indefeasible after the expiration of one (1) year from issuance thereof. converted into a private registered land. the Republic of the Philippines filed with this Court. did not dispute the presumption that they were innocent purchasers for value. Petitioner avers that respondent spouses Rivera being related by consanguinity and affinity to de Guzman were not innocent purchasers for value. if the purpose of such investigation is to determine whether or not fraud had been committed in securing such title. and governed by the Property Registration Decree (P. Initially. The land became registered under the Torrens system. The Court of Appeals concluded that de Guzman misrepresented facts in his application since he was not the possessor at the time he applied for the sales patent. At any rate. de Guzman misrepresented facts in his application for sales patent. the Court of Appeals held that the land has passed to innocent purchasers for value. the Director of Lands had neither control nor jurisdiction over the land. were either fabricated or issued by fictitious persons. de Guzman obtained Original Certificate of Title No.22 The next issue to determine is whether or not Enrique P. We disagree. Petitioner Republic of the Philippines contends that Enrique de Guzman obtained the Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. de Guzman were null and void. we gave due course to the petition and required the parties to file their respective memoranda. The appellate court gave little credit to the investigation report relied upon by the trial court.21 The parties have complied. the Court of Appeals ruled that title founded on fraud or misrepresentation could not be assailed since more than one year had lapsed from the issuance of the public land patent. we resolve the question of whether or not the Director of Lands loses authority over the land the moment an original certificate of title is issued covering the same. namely. The Court of Appeals found that no fraud attended the issuance of the patent and Original Certificate of Title to de Guzman. the Court . Furthermore. It stated that the discrepancy in the name Diono and Diones appearing in the records was a mere typographical error.20 On February 17. Petitioner avers that the supporting documents submitted by de Guzman together with his sales application. In fact. Even the Court of Appeals sustained the factual finding of the trial court on this point. However. 1992. Nonetheless. whether testimonial or documentary.D. thereby placing it beyond the authority of the Director of Lands. However. de Guzman validly obtained the sales patent and the original certificate of title. P-29712. The Court of Appeals argued that mere relationship to de Guzman. The authority of the Director of Lands to investigate conflicts over public lands is derived from Section 91 of the Public Land Act. While title issued on the basis of a patent is as indefeasible as one judicially secured. the Court of Appeals sustained the finding of the trial court that Enrique P. the land ceased to be part of the public domain. Being a private land. such indefeasibility is not a bar to an investigation by the Director of Lands as to how such title had been acquired. 1529). both the sales application and original certificate of title issued in favor of Enrique P. spouses Rivera. de Guzman and spouses Rivera were not in possession of the property. We grant the petition. was presented to prove that the documents presented by de Guzman were issued by fictitious persons or entirely fabricated. Hence. 1993.71 On May 25.
will not make him an innocent purchaser or mortgagee for value. We agree with the trial court that spouses Rivera are not innocent purchasers for value.R. and it appears that he had such notice of the defects as would have led to its discovery had he acted with the measure of precaution which may be required of a prudent man in a like situation. vs. We do not agree with the Court of Appeals that the presumption of a buyer in good faith must prevail. Spouses Rivera are related by consanguinity and affinity to Enrique P. LARRY GEMINIANO and MARLYN GEMINIANO. In discharging the burden. the buyer can hardly be regarded as buyer in good faith. it is not enough to invoke the ordinary presumption of good faith. 120303 July 24. or his willful closing of his eyes to the possibility of the existence of a defect in the vendors or mortgagor's title.:p This petition for review on certiorari has its origins in Civil Case No. We order the reversion to the mass of public domain of Lot 5249."24 The last issue to resolve is whether the spouses Rivera are innocent purchasers for value. 814 and Original Certificate of Title No.1âwphi1. respondents. ASUNCION GEMINIANO. and MARY A. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. de Guzman. the ruling is erroneous. and then claim that he acted in good faith under the belief that there was no defect in the title of the vendor or mortgagor. petitioners. and all subsequent transfer certificates of title derived therefrom. ERNESTO GEMINIANO. J. No. NICOLAS. Carmen Ty was in possession of the land since 1963 and paid the real estate taxes thereon. 9214 of Branch 3 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) in Dagupan City for unlawful detainer and damages. if it afterwards develops that the title was in fact defective. As heretofore stated. COURT OF APPEALS. we GRANT the petition and REVERSE the decision of the Court of Appeals.nêt No costs. JR. His mere refusal to believe that such defect exists. and Transfer Certificate of Title No."25 "The rule is settled that a buyer of real property which is in the possession of persons other than the seller must be wary and should investigate the rights of those in possession. DAVIDE."23 "The indefeasibility of a title does not attach to titles secured by fraud and misrepresentation. We declare Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. 1996 FEDERICO GEMINIANO. MARIA GEMINIANO. as null and void. Rio Rivera testified that his father-in-law was not in possession of the lot in question. In fact."27 WHEREFORE. "The burden of proving the status of a purchaser in good faith and for value lies upon him who asserts that status. T-7203 in the name of spouses Rio Rivera and Carolina R.72 of Appeals held that an action for cancellation of patent or title could not be maintained after the lapse of one year from the date of issuance thereof. The next issue is whether or not the validity of the patent and the original certificate of title can still be assailed after the lapse of one year from the issuance of the disputed title. General Santos City. located in Dadiangas. "Where public land is acquired by an applicant through fraud and misrepresentation. We rule that the State can assail a patent fraudulently issued by the Director of Lands. DOMINADOR NICOLAS. P-29712 in the name of Enrique P. the State may institute reversion proceedings even after the lapse of one year. without such inquiry. SO ORDERED. The petitioners ask the Court to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals . de Guzman. Otherwise. de Guzman knew that de Guzman was not in possession of the land."26 "A purchaser or mortgagee cannot close his eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man upon his guard. Ts-217.
however. And even if the lease legally existed. in turn. including that portion on which the house stood. The parties then submitted their respective position papers and the case was heard under the Rule on Summary Procedure. After the expiration of the lease contract in November 1985. not an ejectment case where the only issue was physical possession of the property. in favor of the private respondents for P40. which resulted in its acquisition by one Maria Lee in 1972. During the pre-trial conference.73 affirming the decision of Branch 40 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City. its implied renewal was not for the period stipulated in the original contract. As regard the petitioners' alleged failed promise to sell to the private respondents the lot occupied by the house. Subsequently.000. the parties agreed to confine the issues to: (1) whether there was an implied renewal of the lease which expired in November 1985. 3 On 9 February 1993. the lot was registered in the latter's name. who in turn sold it in 1984 to the spouses Agustin and Ester Dionisio. . a letters addressed to private respondent Mary Nicolas demanding that she vacate the premises and pay the rentals in arrears within twenty days from notice. ordered the petitioners to reimburse the private respondents the value of the house in question and other improvements. but only on a month-to-month basis pursuant to Article 1687 of the Civil Code. which allow reimbursement of up to one-half of the value of the useful improvements. holding that Articles 448 and 546 of the Civil Code. which.00. the petitioners filed with the MTCC of Dagupan City a complaint for unlawful detainer and damages. there was no lease to speak of. On the first issue. reversed the MTCC. much less. the rights of the private respondents were specifically governed by Article 1678. because the latter knew that their occupation of the premises would continue only during the life of the lease. On a 12-squaremeter portion of that lot stood the petitioners' unfinished bungalow. which allow possessors in good faith to recover the value of improvements and retain the premises until reimbursed. (2) whether the lessees were builders in good faith and entitled to reimbursement of the value of the house and improvements. 3765-B-1 containing an area of 314 square meters was originally owned by the petitioners' mother. the petitioners sent. 4 Upon failure of the private respondents to heed the demand. and (3) the value of the house. the court held that since the petitioners' mother was no longer the owner of the lot in question at the time the lease contract was executed in 1978. and allowed the latter to retain the premises until reimbursement was made. the petitioners' mother refused to accept the monthly rentals. with an alleged promise to sell to the latter that portion of the lot occupied by the house. Besides. or removal of the improvements should the lessor refuse to reimburse. the petitioners' mother executed a contract of lease over a 126 squaremeter portion of the lot. via registered mail. a renewal thereof. de Geminiano. It appears that Lot No. On 14 February 1992. It turned out that the lot in question was the subject of a suit.00 per month for a period of seven years commencing on 15 November 1978. which the petitioners sold in November 1978 to the private respondents for the sum of P6. in view of its acquisition by Maria Lee as early as 1972. The court resolved the second issue in the negative. Lee sold the lot to Lily Salcedo. 2 As such. did not apply to lessees like the private respondents. 1 The private respondents then introduced additional improvements and registered the house in their names. The refusal of the petitioners' mother to accept the rentals starting January 1986 was then a clear indication of her desire to terminate the monthly lease. the Dionisio spouses executed a Deed of Quitclaim over the said property in favor of the petitioners. Paulina Amado vda. In 1982. the court held that such should be litigated in a proper case before the proper forum.
000. sown or planted in good faith. The trial court thus ordered the private respondents to vacate the premises. without altering the form or substance of the property leased. the builder or plantercannot be obliged to buy the land if its value is considerably more than that of the building or trees. provided no damage is caused to the principal thing. there being no controverting evidence presented.000.00 and to pay the latter P10. He shall not. The parties shall agree upon the terms of the lease and in case if disagreement.00 a month as reasonable compensation for their stay thereon from the filing of the complaint on 14 April 1993 until they vacated. Article 448 of the Civil Code should apply. useful improvements which are suitable to the use for which the lease is intended. after payment of the indemnity provided for in articles 546 and 548. the lessee shall not be entitled to any reimbursed. as well as the alleged assurance made by the petitioners that the lot on which the house stood would be sold to them. and to pay the sum of P1. The private respondents claim they are builders in good faith.00 as litigation expenses. the lessee may remover the improvements.00 as attorney's fees and P2.000. and as such. or to oblige the one who built or planted to pay the price of the land. but he may remove the ornamental objects. 5 On appeal by the private respondents. the court deemed as conclusive the private respondents' allegation that the value of the house and improvements was P180. the RTC of Dagupan City reversed the trial court's decision and rendered a new judgment: (1) ordering the petitioners to reimburse the private respondents for the value of the house and improvements in the amount of P180. the lessor upon the termination of the lease shall pay the lessee one-half of the value of the improvements at that time. shall have the right to appropriate as his own the works. hence. plus costs. The crux of the said issue then is whether the private respondents are builder in good faith or mere lessees. xxx xxx xxx Art 1678. They rely on the lack of title of the petitioners' mother at the time of the execution of the contract of lease.00. and (2) allowing the private respondents to remain in possession of the premises until they were fully reimbursed for the value of the house. cause any more impairment upon the property leased than is necessary. the present petition. With regard to ornamental expenses. . pay the petitioners P40. the court shall fix the terms thereof. Should the lessor refuse to reimburse said amount. however.000. On appeal. In such case. if the owner of the land does not choose to appropriate the building or trees after proper indemnity. the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the RTC 7 and denied 8 the petitioners' motion for reconsideration. 6 It ruled that since the private respondents were assured by the petitioners that the lot they leased would eventually be sold to them. even though the principal thing may suffer damage thereby. in good faith. and the one who sowed. they could be considered builders in good faith. this time by the petitioners. Hence. The Court is confronted with the issue of which provision of law governs the case at bench: Article 448 or Article 1678 of the Civil Code? The said articles read as follows: Art 448. were entitled to reimbursed of the value of the house and improvements with the right of retention until reimbursement and had been made.000. and the lessor does not choose to retain them by paying their value at the time the lease is extinguished.74 On the third issue. However. The owner of the land on which anything has been built. he shall pay reasonable rent. sowing or planting. If the lessee makes.00 as attorney's fees. the proper rent.
they cannot be considered as possessors nor builders in good faith. It does not apply where one's only interest is that of a lessee under a rental contract. 10 only the temporary use and enjoyment thereof. which allows full reimbursement of useful improvements and retention of the premises until reimbursement is made.. 14 This estoppel applies even though the lessor had no title at the time the relation of lessor and lessee was created. it would always be in the power of the tenant to "improve" his landlord out of his property. Court of Appeals. 9 After all. the same was not substantiated by convincing evidence. but also in some third person while they remain in possession of the leased premises and until they surrender possession to the landlord. is therefore well-established. the private respondents knew that their occupation of the premises would continue only for the life of the lease. in relation to Article 546 of the same Code.75 It has been said that while the right to let property is an incident of title and possession. 16 Being mere lessees.e. or to assert a better title not only in themselves. that the right to indemnity under Article 1678 of the Civil Code arises only if the lessor opts to appropriate the improvements. The land was allegedly acquired later by one Maria Lee by virtue of an extrajudicial foreclosure of mortage. 18 this Court has held that Article 448 of the Civil Code. Neither the deed of sale over the house nor the contract of lease contained an option in favor of the respondent spouses to purchase the said lot. 17 In a plethora of cases. "a state of forced coownership" would not be created between the petitioners and the private respondents. however. Not having taken any steps in order that the alleged promise to sell may be enforced. is not present in this case. one who builds on land with the belief that he is the owner thereof. it would not make the private respondents possessors or builders in good faith so as to covered by the provision of Article 448 of the Civil Code. Anent the alleged promise of the petitioners to sell the lot occupied by the private respondents' house. 11 In this case. the private respondents cannot bank on the promise and profess any claim nor color of title over the lot in question. There is no need to apply by analogy the provisions of Article 448 on indemnity as was done in Pecson vs. applies only to a possessor in good faith. both parties admit that the land in question was originally owned by the petitioners' mother. because under Article 1403 of the Civil Code. Lee. For. unless some note or memorandum thereof be produced. 15 and may be asserted not only by the original lessor. ownership of the property is not being transferred. the right of the private respondents as lessees are governed by Article 1678 of the Civil Code which allows reimbursement to the extent of one-half of the value of the useful improvements. however. an agreement for the sale of real property or an interest therein is unenforceable. 12 The petitioners' mother therefore remained in possession of the lot. as correctly pointed out by the petitioners. It is undisputed that the private respondents came into possession of 126 square-meter portion of the said lot by virtue of contract of lease executed by the petitioners' mother as lessor. And even if the petitioners indeed promised to sell. Suffice it to say. but also by those who succeed to his title. The latter cannot raise the mere expectancy or ownership of the aforementioned lot because the alleged promise to sell was not fulfilled nor its existence even proven. Since the . i. otherwise. The first thing that the private respondents should have done was to reduce the alleged promise into writing. and the private respondents as lessees. a person may be lessor and occupy the position of a landlord to the tenant although he is not the owner of the premises let. never sought a writ of possession in order that she gain possession of the property in question. as lessees who had undisturbed possession for the entire term under the lease. 13 The private respondents. 19 because the situation sought to be avoided and which would justify the application of that provision. are then estopped to deny their landlord's title. and carries with it a recognition of the lessor's title. It must be stressed. Plainly.
Meycauayan contended that since it is a purchaser in good faith and for value. respectively. Dominador Nicolas. Meycauayan filed a Petition for Intervention in G. Neither can they retain the premises until reimbursement is made.R.R.") promulgated on December 8. 2004 HEIRS OF TRINIDAD DE LEON VDA. Meycauayan alleged that on 14 May 1992. it purchased three parcels of land from Maguesun which form part of the property awarded to the heirs of Trinidad de Leon Vda. with an area of 3.2 On 22 May 1997. No. is awarded to herein petitioner Trinidad de Leon vda. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in C. 7231 and 7239. 118436 entitled "Heirs of Manuel A.674 square meters. judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the instant petition.: The Case This is a petition to cite for indirect contempt the officers of Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation ("Meycauayan") for defying the final and executory Decision and Resolution of this Court in G. TG-373. herein substituted as petitioners.76 petitioners refused to exercise that option. Roxas and Trinidad de Leon Vda. Court of Appeals and Maguesun Management & Development Corporation" ("G. Upon finality of this Decision. the Court of Appeals denied the petition for review and affirmed the findings of the trial court. 1994 is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. 118436"). 38328 ("Trinidad de Leon Vda. G.461 and 10. 1529. de Roxas v. 118436. the instant petition is hereby GRANTED.R. et al. The trial court dismissed the petition to set aside the decree of registration.R. respondents. 138660 February 5." Cost against the private respondents. No. described in Plan AS-04-000108. et al. De Roxas ("Roxas heirs"). registration of title over the subject parcels of land. 9214 entitled "Federico Geminiano. Lot Nos. Maguesun Management & Development Corporation. and REINSTATING the decision of Branch 3 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Dagupan City in Civil Case No.R. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. petitioners vs. Accordingly. No. et al. CV No. this Court reversed the appellate court's decision in G. de Roxas and her heirs. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. REVERSING and SETTING ASIDE the decision of the Court of Appeals of 27 January 1995 in CA-G. vs. 34337. 20 the private respondents cannot compel them to reimburse the one-half value of the house and improvements. 118436.R. On 21 March 1997. DE ROXAS. the Court should . 21 WHEREFORE. The private respondents' sole right then is to remove the improvements without causing any more impairment upon the property leased than is necessary.1 The Antecedents This petition stems from a case filed by Trinidad de Leon Vda. SP No.A. the Land Registration Authority is hereby directed to ISSUE with reasonable dispatch the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title pursuant to Section 39 of Presidential Decree No.R. J. No. DECISION CARPIO. as shown and supported by the corresponding technical descriptions now forming part of the Records of LRC No. SO ORDERED. De Roxas to set aside the decree of registration over two unregistered parcels of land in Tagaytay City granted to Maguesun Management and Development Corporation ("Maguesun") before the Regional Trial Court on the ground of actual fraud. De Roxas v. On appeal. COURT OF APPEALS and MAGUESUN MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. No.
one of the items sought to be clarified is whether the derivative titles (i. 118436 cannot impair its rights as a purchaser in good faith and for value. the titles derived from Maguesun Management and Development Corporation's ["Maguesun"] Original Certificate of Title No. the Land Registration Authority ("LRA") submitted a Report to the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City. Meycauayan filed with the land registration court a "Motion For Leave To Intervene And For Period Of Time To File Opposition To The Report Dated March 25. Meycauayan contends that the adverse decision in G. this Court denied the Petition for Intervention. the unconditional order of the Supreme Court to LRA to issue the corresponding certificate of title to the Roxas heirs necessarily implies that the OCT issued to Maguesun and its derivative titles shall be canceled. the Roxas heirs filed a Motion for Clarification with this Court raising the following issues: a) Whether it is necessary for the trial court to first order the LRA "to cancel Decree No." On 4 June 1998. 118436 became final and executory. the Decision dated 21 March 1997 in G. Further. N-197092 in the name of Maguesun Management and Development Corporation to enable (the LRA) to issue another decree in favor of the Heirs of Manuel A." b) Whether an order from the trial court is necessary for "the Register of Deeds concerned to cancel OCT No. on 21 August 1997. praying that the land registration court: a) Order the LRA to cancel Decree No. so that new decree of registration and certificate of title . On 13 April 1998. 0-515 and issued to Meycauayan Central Realty Corp.e. for it cannot [be] assumed that the Supreme Court intended that the same parcel of land shall be covered by more than one certificate of title. Branch 18 ("land registration court"). together with Maguesun's certificates of title. since "Zenaida Melliza (from whom Maguesun supposedly bought the lots) conveyed no title over the subject parcels of land to Maguesun Corporation as she was not the owner thereof. No. the Roxas heirs filed a Supplement to Motion for Clarification. 0-515 and all its derivative titles. the pertinent portions of which are: 1.R. On 25 June 1997. Thus. Roxas and Trinidad de Leon Vda. and c) Order the issuance of the Decree with respect to the decision of the Supreme Court dated 21 March 1997.R. de Roxas"? Or is that order necessarily included in the dispositive portion of the Supreme Court decision directing the LRA "to issue with reasonable dispatch the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title" in favor of the Roxas heirs? Please note that this necessary implication is a consequence of the Supreme Court finding that the decree in favor of Maguesun was wrongfully issued because it was "not entitled to the registration decree" as it had no registrable title. Roxas and Trinidad de Leon Vda. c) Whether an order from the trial court is necessary before the LRA can comply with the Supreme Court decision directing the LRA "to issue with reasonable dispatch the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title" in favor of the Roxas heirs? On 23 June 1998. This Court also denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Maguesun.77 afford it the opportunity to be heard.) should be canceled. N-197092 in the name of Maguesun to enable it to issue another decree in favor of the heirs of Manuel A. considering that the original certificate of title issued to Maguesun was based on an illegal decree of registration as found by this Honorable Court. 1998 Filed By The LRA And To File Complaint-in-Intervention. in LR Case No. TG-373. In petitioners' Motion for Clarification. No. de Roxas. 0-515 and all its derivative titles"? Or is that order necessarily included in the dispositive portion of the Supreme Court decision directing the LRA to issue the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title in favor of the Roxas heirs.. b) Order the Register of Deeds to cancel OCT No.
the total amount of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P1. "That only then. In order to settle once and for all Meycauayan's allegation that it was a buyer in good faith. and to show that its derivative titles should be declared void and canceled by this Honorable Court. 1997. However. "The President of herein intervenor right after secured from the Tagaytay City Office of the Register of Deeds certified true copies of torrens titles over its Tagaytay City properties. The pertinent portions of the Resolution read: . "That on March 25. are alleged: a. Immediately thereafter. "That prior to paying the agreed purchase price in full to respondent Maguesun." 3.000." f. 24295 and 24296 containing an area of 2. the intervenor purchased for value several parcels of real property from private respondent Maguesun Management and Development Corp." b. the herein intervenor proceeded to pay. Maguesun. "That investigation made by the intervenor with the Office of Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City showed that in all the certified true copies of the titles to the properties above-mentioned which were registered in the name of Maguesun. status and condition of the titles of Maguesun over the aforesaid properties. Meycauayan committed the proscribed act of forum-shopping by filing with the trial court a motion for leave to intervene raising again the issue of its alleged ownership of portions of the land. after it secured certified true copies of the titles mentioned in the preceding paragraph from the Office of the Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City. T-24294. 24294. 4. were canceled and in lieu thereof. it was a buyer in bad faith. Meycauayan's Petition for Intervention was denied by this Honorable Court in its Resolution dated 25 June 1997. d.019 square meters each. did intervenor come to know of the existence of a case involving the properties sold to it by respondent Maguesun on May 14. the following sub-headline.00) to Maguesun." e.78 can be issued to petitioners." c. in big bold letters. in full. covered by TCT Nos. "That on May 14. as ordered in the decision of this Honorable Court dated 21 March 1997. new titles in the name of intervenor were issued by the Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City. this Court acted favorably on the Roxas heirs' Motion for Clarification and its Supplement. an officer of the intervenor corporation was informed of a newspaper report stating. a denial that has since become final and executory. an investigation with the Tagaytay City Office of the Register of Deeds was made to determine and ascertain the authenticity. as stated in petitioners' Motion for Clarification. through its duly authorized officer. petitioners will show herein that the sale to Meycauayan was spurious or. more or less." h. From the Petition for Intervention filed by Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation ("Meycauayan") with this Honorable Court on 22 May 1997. to wit: x x x". the following statements. which has become final and executory? 2. the last entry which appeared was the following. executed the corresponding Deeds of Absolute Sale. the aforementioned TCT Nos. among others. 24295 and 24296. g.500. "That after the corresponding taxes and/or fees were paid by herein intervenor. 1992. to wit: SC RULES ON ROXAS FAMILY LAND ROW IN TAGAYTAY". "Appearing that the properties to be purchased by the herein intervenor from respondent Maguesun have no existing liens and/or encumbrances and considering that the properties do not appear to be the subject of a pending case which would affect the titles of those who may subsequently purchase the same. at the very least. In a Resolution dated 29 July 1998. 1992.
de Roxas. 0-515 having been nullified. the Register of Deeds shall CANCEL OCT No. therefore. 0-515 and all its derivative titles. No. T-25628. Maguesun Management and Development Corp."4 The Complaint is almost an exact reproduction of the Petition for Intervention filed by Meycauayan before this Court.79 Upon careful consideration of the points made by petitioners in their motions. 1529. T-25689. Heirs of Manuel A. OCT No. N-197092 originally issued in the name of Maguesun Management and Development Corporation without need of an order from the land registration court. the latter three being already in the name of Meycauayan Realty and Development Corporation (also designated as "Meycauayan Central Realty. TCT Nos. 25689. T-25690 and T-27390. This is a necessary consequence of the Court's earlier finding that the foregoing documents were illegally issued in the name of respondent. declare that our directive on the LRA to issue with reasonable dispatch the corresponding decree of registration and certificate of title also includes. cause the issuance of new decrees and titles thereto. of Decree No. it is now incumbent upon the LRA to issue in lieu of the cancelled decree a new one in the name of petitioners as well as the corresponding original certificate of title. without need of an order of the land registration court. and (b) ISSUE with reasonable dispatch a new decree of registration and a new original certificate of title (OCT) in favor of petitioners pursuant to Section 39 of Presidential Decree No.. Cancellation of OCT No. Meycauayan filed a Complaint for reconveyance. The Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City then canceled TCT Nos. hence. namely. thus: First. T-25625. 1529. But in light of Section 39 of Presidential Decree No. . Decree No. T-25688. On 20 April 1999. ACCORDINGLY. damages and quieting of title with the trial court entitled "Meycauayan Central Realty Corp. T-25626. City Assessor of Tagaytay City and Land Registration Authority. this Court finds the same meritorious and. and all its derivative titles. as part thereof. T-25626. a clarification is in order. T-25690 and T-27390 were derivative titles already in the name of Meycauayan. all titles derived therefrom must also be considered void it appearing that there had been no intervening rights of an innocent purchaser for value involving the lots in dispute. Inc. as well as OCT No. N-197092 which originated from the LRA must be cancelled by the LRA itself. T-25689. Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City. T-25627. 25690 and 27390 registered in the name of plaintiff Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation and reconvey said properties to the plaintiff corporation by reinstating the said cancelled titles or if the same not be possible. 2. 0-515. The Complaint prayed for judgment: 1. under Section 40 of P. On 5 April 1999.D. T-25688. Roxas and Trinidad de Leon Vda. v. For this reason.3 TCT Nos. (Emphasis added) On 11 December 1998. T-25627. and T-25690. the dispositive portion of our decision dated March 21. on the other hand. 0515. T-25688. Thereafter. the Roxas heirs filed a Motion for Issuance of Writ of Possession with the land registration court. T-25628. 25688. the land registration court issued an order denying the LRA Report dated 25 March 1998 and the Motion for Leave to Intervene filed by Meycauayan since the Supreme Court Resolution of 29 July 1998 had rendered them moot. Ordering the defendants Land Registration Authority and the Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City to cancel the titles and decree of registration they issued in lieu of TCT Nos. 1529 (the "Property Registration Decree"). the cancellation. the Land Registration Authority shall: (a) CANCEL Decree No." and "Meycauayan Realty Corporation"). N-197092. 1997 is clarified. On account of this cancellation. Ordering the defendant City Assessor of Tagaytay City to reinstate the Assessments for real estate taxes it previously cancelled covering the properties of plaintiff. has earlier entered a copy thereof in his record book. T-25689. properly devolves upon the Register of Deeds who. We. the Court hereby resolves to GRANT petitioners' Motion for Clarification together with the Supplement thereto.
Rule 71 of the Rules of Civil Procedure: (1)Meycauayan's defiance of the final and executory Decision and Resolution of this Court in G. the trial court dismissed for lack of merit Meycauayan's complaint for reconveyance. Meycauayan filed a "Special Appearance Questioning Court Jurisdiction and Opposition to the Motion for Issuance of Writ of Possession Against Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation" with the land registration court. No. Jr. the Roxas heirs filed on 2 June 1999 this petition to cite for indirect contempt the officers of Meycauayan. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. which were the subject of this Court's Decision and Resolution in G. Lamson. The Issues The parties raised the following issues: 1. guilty of indirect contempt. and 3.80 3.R. (3) its act of filing a Complaint raising the same issues in its Petition for Intervention which this . Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff the amount of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P200.00). let a resolution of the motion filed by the movants herein be deferred until the Supreme Court had resolved with finality the petition for contempt of herein movant in G.000. On 2 September 1999.R. Meycauayan filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the Court of Appeals assailing the trial court's dismissal of the complaint. 6. constitutes indirect contempt under Section 3. 4. 118436. No. is now res judicata. 138660. the land registration court issued an order. 118436 bind Meycauayan.7 On 24 August 2000.000. and thus Meycauayan and its Executive Vice President Juan M. No.000. The Roxas heirs allege that the following acts of Meycauayan constitute indirect contempt under Section 3.R.000. and 7. We find Meycauayan's Executive Vice-President Juan M. 5. Rule 71 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. damages and quieting of title involving parcels of land. 118436. 118436 is beyond the trial court's jurisdiction. 2. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff actual and/or compensatory damages in the total amount of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500. Jr. 0-515.00). and (3) Meycauayan is guilty of forum shopping.6 The trial court likewise denied Meycauayan's Motion for Reconsideration in an Order dated 20 June 2000. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff the costs of suit. Whether this Court's Decision and Resolution in G. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff Attorney's fees in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P100. insofar as Meycauayan Central Realty is concerned. Lamson.R.5 On 6 May 1999. We also find that Meycauayan committed forum shopping. On 7 March 2000. are guilty of direct contempt. Meanwhile. damages and quieting of title. However. No.00). (2) the complaint's prayer for the trial court to annul the decision of the Supreme Court in G. The Court's Ruling The petition is meritorious. Whether Meycauayan's act of filing with the trial court a complaint for reconveyance. The trial court held that (1) the nullity of OCT No. Ordering the defendants Roxas and Maguesun to jointly and solidarily pay the plaintiff exemplary damages in the amount of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P200. Whether Meycauayan is guilty of forum shopping. which is the source of Meycauayan's titles. (2) its act of filing pleadings before the land registration court to prevent execution of the Decision and Resolution. in the light of the foregoing.00) as and by way of nominal damages. let a Writ of Possession be issued against Maguesun Management and Development Corporation in these cases. No.R.
944. and an opportunity given to the respondent to comment thereon within such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by himself or counsel. . the Decision in G. Jur. The issue of whether the Decision in G. 118436 may be enforced against Maguesun but not against Meycauayan which is a stranger to the case. Inc. Montalban vs. T-25628. is not liable for contempt of court for filing an action for reconveyance. but such conduct as tends to bring the authority of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the due administration of justice (17 C. et al. 35 Phil. such conduct as tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or prejudice parties litigant or their witnesses during litigation (12 Am. This Court has thus repeatedly declared that the power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts and is essential to the preservation of order in judicial proceedings and to the enforcement of judgments.R. Canonoy. directly or indirectly. Meycauayan's defiance of this Court's Decision and Resolution by filing an action for reconveyance.R. justice or dignity of the court. On the other hand. This Court also found that there had been no intervening rights of an innocent purchaser for value involving the lots in dispute." and "Meycauayan Realty Corporation"). T-25689. Clearly. No. 4). 118436 is binding on Meycauayan. T-25625. Director of Prisons. 118436 does not bind Meycauayan because it was not a party in the case. 3. this Court's Resolution dated 29 July 1998 clarified the Decision dated 21 March 1997 by ordering the Register of Deeds to CANCEL OCT No. justice and dignity. Meycauayan alleges that the Decision in G. namely. 118436 has no basis in view of this Court's clear pronouncement to the contrary. Furthermore. T-25627.After a charge in writing has been filed. or degrade the administration of justice. cited in 14 SCRA 813). obstruct. the latter three already in the name of Meycauayan Realty and Development Corporation (also designated as "Meycauayan Central Realty. Cloribel. v. 58 Phil.R..S. Section 3(d) of Rule 71 reads: SEC.J. 0-515 and all its derivative titles. a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt: xxx (d) Any improper conduct tending.R.9 Meycauayan's persistent attempts to raise issues long . No. In Halili. Contempt of court is defined as a disobedience to the Court by acting in opposition to its authority.8 this Court explained the concept of contempt of court: Contempt of court is a defiance of the authority. Commissioner of Immigration vs. Indirect Contempt Meycauayan's obstinate refusal to abide by the Court's Decision in G. therefore. orders. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience of the court's orders. quieting of title and damages involving the same parcels of land which this Court already decided with finality constitutes indirect contempt under Section 3(d). to impede. Meycauayan insists that as a purchaser in good faith and for value its rights cannot be prejudiced by the alleged fraudulent acquisition by Maguesun of the subject properties. No. Indirect contempt to be punished after charge and hearing. Rule 71 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. In re Kelly. 389. Meycauayan. quieting of title and damages.81 Court had already denied and urging the trial court to ignore and countermand the orders of this Court. 20 SCRA 1241. Meycauayan's continuing resistance to this Court's judgment is an affront to the Court and to the sovereign dignity with which it is clothed. and consequently. to the due administration of justice (Slade Perkins vs.R. and mandates of the court. T-25688. According to Meycauayan. T-25626. The fact that this Court specifically ordered the cancelation of Meycauayan's titles to the disputed parcels of land in the Resolution dated 29 July 1998 should have laid to rest the issue of whether the Decision and Resolution in G. 271. et al. 38 SCRA 1). No. 118436 binds Meycauayan was already addressed by this Court when it denied Meycauayan's Petition for Intervention. No. and T-25690. TCT Nos. CIR.
insists that it was a purchaser in good faith because it had no knowledge of any pending case involving the lots. however.R. Furthermore. 118436 that there had been no intervening rights of an innocent purchaser for value involving the lots in dispute. (2) the court which rendered it had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. The Decision in G. touching on the points or matters in issue in the first suit. by a court of competent jurisdiction acting upon a matter within its authority ..12 As held in Buaya v. so long as the decision remains unreversed.rendered upon the merits.17 Since Meycauayan checked with the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City.:13 x x x An existing final judgment or decree . Meycauayan then had actual knowledge.R. In its Memorandum. No. as found by this Court in G.R. No. the purchaser must go beyond the certificates of title and make inquiries concerning the rights of the actual possessor. As held in Heirs of Pael v. Meycauayan stresses that to ensure the authenticity of the titles and the annotations appearing on the titles. committed actual fraud in obtaining the decree of registration of the subject properties. 118436 binds Meycauayan under the principle of "privity of interest" since it was a successor-in-interest of Maguesun. Meycauayan checked with the Register of Deeds and the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City. This is in accordance with the doctrine of res judicata which has the following elements: (1) the former judgment must be final. Court of Appeals:20 In the case of Santiago Land Development Corporation vs.14 The application of the doctrine of res judicata does not require absolute identity of parties but merely substantial identity of parties. Litigations must end and terminate sometime and somewhere. petitioner maintained that as a purchaser pendente lite of the land in . 118436.is conclusive of the rights of the parties and their privies. identity of parties. without fraud or collusion. 276 SCRA 674 ). Maguesun.15 There is substantial identity of parties when there is community of interest or privity of interest between a party in the first and a party in the second case even if the first case did not implead the latter.18 Where the land sold is in the possession of a person other than the vendor. Inc. No.16 The Court ruled in G. in the same or any other judicial tribunal of concurrent jurisdiction.19 Meycauayan therefore cannot invoke the right of a purchaser in good faith and could not have acquired a better right than its predecessor-in-interest. the Roxas family has been in possession of the property uninterruptedly through their caretaker. No. xxx Courts will simply refuse to reopen what has been decided. the prevailing party should not be deprived of the fruits of the verdict by subsequent suits on the same issues filed by the same parties.10 Well-settled is the rule that when a court of competent jurisdiction has tried and decided a right or fact. 106194. once it has been considered and decided with finality. subject matter and causes of action. 118436 that Meycauayan's predecessor-in-interest.R.R.11 More so where the Supreme Court has already decided the issue since the Court is the final arbiter of all justiciable controversies properly brought before it. Stronghold Insurance Co. and (4) there must be between the first and the second actions. Jose Ramirez. who resided on the property. The effective and efficient administration of justice requires that once a judgment has become final. They will not allow the same parties or their privies to litigate anew a question. This Court has already rejected Meycauayan's claim that it was a purchaser in good faith when it ruled in G. it is conclusive on the parties and those in privity with them.82 since laid to rest by a final and executory judgment of no less than the highest tribunal of the land constitute contumacious defiance of the authority of this Court and impede the speedy administration of justice. particularly the cancelation of the notice of lis pendens. Meycauayan. before it purchased the lots. Court of Appeals (G. (3) the judgment must be on the merits. No. This ruling holds in all other actions or suits. of the pending case involving the lots despite the cancelation of the notice of lis pendens on the titles. Meycauayan claims that the trial court had already canceled the notice of lis pendens on the titles when it purchased the lots from Maguesun.
is an abuse of the court's processes and constitutes direct contempt. No. Section 7 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court provides: SEC.000). Jr. at least if they knowingly disobey the court's mandate.R. Lamson. decree. the officers. 7. petitioner in fact having stepped into the shoes of PNB in a manner of speaking. Jr. petitioner stands exactly in the shoes of Reyes and is bound by any judgment or decree which may be rendered for or against the latter. should be fined ten thousand pesos (P10. 118436. he may be punished by a fine not exceeding thirty thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both. We rejected this position and said that "since petitioner is not a stranger to the action between Quisumbing and the PNB. it was argued that the denial of the Motion to Intervene would be a denial likewise of due process. signed the verification and certification of non-forum shopping for the Petition for Intervention and the Complaint for Reconveyance. it follows that it cannot claim any further right to intervene in the action. Meycauayan Executive Vice President Juan M. the same shall be a ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt. The Court ruled that there had been no intervening rights of an innocent purchaser for value involving the lots in dispute. Section 5 of Rule 7 of the Rules of Court provides that "if the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping.27 does not negate the existence of forum shopping. was struck down in Santiago Land where we held that "petitioner is not really denied protection. too.25 Direct Contempt Meycauayan's act of filing a Complaint for Reconveyance. There is also forum shopping when a party institutes two or more actions based on the same cause on the expectation that one or the other court might look with favor on the party. Jr. It is represented in the action by its predecessor in interest.26 In this case. also constitutes forum shopping.21 A purchaser cannot close his eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man on guard and then claim that he acted in good faith believing that there was no defect in the title of the vendor. seeking another and possibly favorable opinion in another forum other than by appeal or special civil action of certiorari. or order is addressed to the corporation only. since a lawful judicial command to a corporation is in effect a command to the officers. 118436. x x x In this case. which this Court had already denied. Damages and Quieting of Title. Section 2. which this Court denied." The fact that Meycauayan did mention in its certification of non-forum shopping its attempt to intervene in G. may be punished for contempt for disobedience to its terms. since petitioner is a transferee pendente lite with notice of the pending litigation between Reyes and private respondent Carreon. Lamson. The Decision of this Court in G.R. No."24 Thus. which this Court had already adjudicated with finality.If the respondent is adjudged guilty of indirect contempt committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank. Lamson. Meycauayan Executive Vice President Juan M. the Court had already rejected Meycauayan's claim on the subject lots when the Court denied Meycauayan's Petition for Intervention in G. No. The filing by Meycauayan of an action to re-litigate the title to the same property. 118436 and the Complaint for Reconveyance. Forum shopping is the act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum. Damages and Quieting of Title with the trial court. it had a right to intervene under Rule 12. But this. No.83 litigation. caused the preparation and the filing of the Petition for Intervention in G. for improper conduct tending to impede the orderly administration of justice. as well as the corporation itself. 118436 is already final and executory.R. Quieting of Title and Damages raising the same issues in its Petition for Intervention. Indeed.23 Juan M." As in the instant Petition.22 For the penalty for indirect contempt. This disclosure does not exculpate Meycauayan for . as well as a cause for administrative sanctions." Indeed.R. "Even though a judgment. Punishment for indirect contempt. . one who buys property with full knowledge of the flaws and defects of the title of his vendor and of a pending litigation over the property gambles on the result of the litigation and is bound by the outcome of his indifference.
A corporation and those who are officially responsible for the conduct of its affairs may be punished for contempt in disobeying judgments. to Potenciana Maramba and her seven (7) children. Jr. J. On 23 October 1926 Antonio Lipato in his capacity as attorney-in-fact sold the portion of Gregoria Listana to Gaudencio Jacob. Thereafter Gaudencio entered the portion of Lot 1874 that was sold to him and started harvesting the coconuts found therein. vs. COURT OF APPEALS and FELISA JACOB.934 square meters was awarded to Gregoria Listana. Gaspar and Nicomedes.000) or imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) days. No. Gregoria Listana was at that time seriously ill of tuberculosis. GUILTY of DIRECT CONTEMPT for forum shopping and FINE them TWO THOUSAND PESOS (P2. Felix.: This case involves a 3. On 17 August 1926 the claimants reached a compromise agreement to divide Lot 1874 among themselves. represented herein by her attorney-in-fact JAIME LLAGUNO.1 The compromise agreement was submitted to the cadastral court on 17 August 1926 and on even date adjudication was rendered in accordance with the terms of the agreement. It was originally a part of Lot 1874. are each fined P2. namely. Balinad. Lamson. a 14. Hence. respondents. 2000 ALEJANDRO MILLENA. Florencio. Gregoria executed on 9 October 1926 a power of attorney in favor of her cousin Antonio Lipato which authorized the attorney-in-fact to sell the portion of Lot 1874 belonging to his principal. Incidentally.282-square meter land that was subject of a cadastral proceeding during the 1920's before the Court of First Instance of Albay. if committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank. or both. petitioner. we find Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation and its Executive Vice President Juan M. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.000) each. or orders of a court made in a case within its jurisdiction.934-square meter parcel of land in far-flung Bgy. together with the latter's seven (7) children. Lamson. Daraga. To her death was inevitable. Emeteria. 127797 January 31. The Court warns them that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall merit a more severe penalty. decrees. Ruperta. GUILTY of INDIRECT CONTEMPT and FINE him TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10. Albay. Jr.000 for direct contempt of court for forum shopping. the proceeds of the sale would be used for her interment. we find Meycauayan Central Realty Corporation's Executive Vice President Juan M. Jr. BELLOSILLO.28 The general rule is that a corporation and its officers and agents may be held liable for contempt.2 Thus the northern portion of Lot 1874 with an area of approximately 3.R.29 Under Section 1 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. Among the claimants in the cadastral case were Gregoria Listana and her sister-in-law Potenciana Maramba. Lamson. Approximately one-fourth (1/4) of the lot went to Gregoria Listana while the remaining three-fourths (3/4) portion. Conformably with Gregoria's instruction. But Gaudencio explained . WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. Meycauayan30 and its Executive Vice President Juan M. Furthermore. all surnamed Listana.000). Marcela. direct contempt is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos (P2. Gregoria died on the same day the land was sold. When Potenciana Maramba learned about Gaudencio's entering the land and harvesting the coconuts she confronted him.84 deliberately seeking a friendlier forum for its case and re-litigating an issue which this Court had already decided with finality.
(c) enjoining the construction of a house on said lot by Alejandro Millena and. son of Potenciana Maramba. (c) whether respondent appellate court correctly affirmed the order of reconveyance by the trial court. She prayed for judgment (a) declaring her the lawful and absolute owner of the one-fourth (1/4) northern portion of Lot 1874. .85 that he had every right to do whatever he pleased with the land since he had lawfully bought it from Gregoria Listana. Alejandro Millena. Petitioner raises the following issues: (a) whether prescription has now barred the action for reconveyance. Petitioner Alejandro Millena appealed to the Court of Appeals which on 12 August 1996 affirmed the trial court but deleted the award of P10. the Justice of the Peace dismissed the case. Felisa Jacob.00. (b) whether the documents and pieces of evidence used by respondent Court of Appeals as basis in its assailed Decision were duly authenticated and proved by private respondent. Thus on 17 March 1992 respondent Felisa Jacob through her attorney-in-fact Jaime Llaguno filed a complaint against petitioner Alejandro Millena for annulment of title with preliminary injunction and damages before the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City which she subsequently amended on 19 March 1992 by including a claim for reconveyance with preliminary injunction and damages. We resolve. His continuous. The extrajudicial settlement adjudicated to respondent Felisa Jacob. rendered a decision ordering petitioner Alejandro Millena to reconvey by proper document the portion of 3. Albay. the heirs of Florencio Listana sold the entire Lot 1874 including the portion sold by Gregoria Listana to Gaudencio Jacob to petitioner Alejandro Millena on 30 September 1986 for P6. of the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City.934 square meters in question from Lot 1874 to respondent Felisa Jacob and awarded to her P10. and. 3.nêt After the dismissal of the case.6 After the appellate court denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration.1âwphi1. After the death of Florencio Listana and notwithstanding the protest filed by Felisa Jacob. On 3 October 1994 Judge Wenceslao R. sometime in November 1981 respondent Felisa Jacob discovered that Florencio Listana. However.5 On 6 November 1981 respondent Felisa Jacob immediately filed a protest before the Bureau of Lands in Legazpi City alleging that she was the absolute owner of a one-fourth (1/4) portion of Lot 1874 having acquired it through an extrajudicial partition in 1966.3 Thus.00 for attorney's fees.934-square meter portion of Lot 1874. making the injunction permanent. Br. Gaudencio Jacob continued with his possession of the onefourth (1/4) portion of Lot 1874.000. (d) ordering Alejandro Millena to pay damages in the amount of P50.4 Thereafter.00 for attorney's fees. (b) ordering Alejandro Millena to reconvey the aforesaid portion of Lot 1874 to her. Villanueva Jr.000. actual and peaceful possession lasted for almost forty (40) years until 4 April 1966. However. Felisa Jacob prayed that an investigation be conducted and that the Free Patent issued in the name of Florencio Listaria covering Lot 1874 be annulled and set aside. a nephew of Florencio Listana and grandson of Potenciana Maramba. after trial.00.284square meter area of Lot 1874 which included the portion adjudicated to Felisa Jacob in 1966. daughter of Gaudencio Jacob. when he and his children executed an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of his deceased wife Brigida Jacob. the 3. T-71657 covering the whole of Lot 1874. and that through misrepresentation and deceit Florencio Listana was able to secure title for the whole of Lot 1874. respondent Felisa Jacob had the land annually declared as her property and paid the corresponding real property taxes. Potenciana Maramba filed an ejectment case against Gaudencio Jacob before the Justice of the Peace in Legazpi. acquired from the Bureau of Lands in Legazpi City Free Patent Certificate of Title No. he filed with this Court a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.000. on 31 December 1926 the court ruled that Gaudencio entered the land in question without force and intimidation since he had with him a document of sale over the land which authorized him to take possession thereof. was eventually issued Transfer Certificate of Title No.000. and. VH-23536 dated 28 August 1980 covering the entire 14.
An action for reconveyance can indeed be barred by prescription. When an action for reconveyance is based on fraud.9 In view of this. In order to possess. can it be said that Felisa Jacob was in possession of the contested portion of Lot 1874? Article 523 of the Civil Code states that possession is the holding of a thing or the enjoyment of a right. the action for reconveyance had clearly prescribed. The court decided in favor of Gaudencio Jacob and held that he had the right to possess the contested one-fourth (1/4) portion of Lot 1874. This interim period. it must be filed within four (4) years from discovery of the fraud. Likewise. had a span of more than twelve (12) years. Second. Petitioner Alejandro Millena questioned the very existence and authenticity of several documents which according to him the Court of Appeals used as basis for its assailed Decision. thus. For the rule is that the registration of an instrument in the Office of the Register of Deeds constitutes constructive notice to the whole world and therefore the discovery of the fraud is deemed to have taken place at the time of registration. and such discovery is deemed to have taken place from the issuance of the original certificate of title.10 Apparently Felisa Jacob met the requisite elements of possession. But. In fact the municipal treasurer of Daraga. Alejandro Millena insisted that respondent Felisa Jacob never proved the existence of these documents. Jaime Llaguno. he submits. (c) the power of attorney executed by Gregoria Listana authorizing her cousin Antonio Lipato to sell her one-fourth portion of Lot 1874. she instructed her nephew Jaime Llaguno to continue working as caretaker of the land. a deliberate intention to possess it. Alejandro Millena questioned the genuineness of the compromise agreement dated 17 August 1926 among the claimants of Lot 1874. it must be stressed that prescription cannot be invoked in an action for reconveyance when the plaintiff is in possession of the land to be reconveyed. Moreover. Immediately after acquiring the property through an extrajudicial settlement in 1966. The records of the case show that respondent Felisa Jacob had exercised dominion over the contested parcel of land. her nephew. the issue of prescription is pivotal considering that title to the property was procured in 1980 while the action for reconveyance was filed only in 1992. predecessor-in-interest of Felisa Jacob. issued a certification dated 10 March 1992 that respondent Felisa Jacob was the declared owner of Lot 1874-P — the litigated portion — and that she had been paying its real property taxes since 1967. the Court of Appeals erred in assuming their existence and using them to support its assailed Decision.7 On the other hand.8 In his petition Alejandro Millena argues that both the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals failed to pass upon the issue of prescription. . one must first have control of the thing and. Petitioner Millena averred that the alleged compromise agreement did not bear the signatures of the contracting parties except for the thumb mark of Gregoria Listana from whom Gaudencio Jacob bought the property. Consequently. petitioner may not validly invoke prescription as defense against respondent Feliza Jacob. Alejandro Millena assailed the authenticity and even the existence of the decision of the Justice of the Peace of Legazpi dated 31 December 1926 in which the court dismissed the suit filed by Potenciana Maramba against Gaudencio Jacob. an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten (10) years from the date of the issuance of the original certificate of title or transfer certificate of title. According to him. according to petitioner.86 First. (b) the Justice of the Peace decision dated 31 December 1926 dismissing the ejectment suit filed by Potenciana Maramba against Gaudencio Jacob. nonetheless. second. These are the elements of possession. Felisa made improvements on the land and paid its property taxes. Albay. She exercised control over the parcel of land in litigation through her caretaker. As to the special power of attorney and the deed of sale. Thus. These documents were (a) the compromise agreement dated 17 August 1926 between Gregoria Listana and Potenciana Maramba over Lot 1874. (d) the deed of sale executed by Antonio Lipato in favor of Gaudencio Jacob. her declaration that the land was her property and the payment of real property taxes manifested clearly that she was in possession of the land. and.
She likewise offered as evidence a certification from the municipal treasurer that she had been declaring the land as her property for tax purposes since 1967. proof was adduced showing that her predecessor-in-interest. 1926 on which date Gregoria Listana died. The latter was seriously sick of tuberculosis. .16 The foregoing pronouncements of the Justice of the Peace confirmed the existence of the compromise agreement. She testified before the trial court that she had been in actual possession of the land since 1966. which was penned in Spanish. her father Gaudencio Jacob. the power of attorney and the deed of sale. a decree of registration is no longer open for review or attack. . evidence of title may be introduced. . . Having resolved the issue of genuineness. It also bore the seal of the court and an attestation that such was a true copy. finally they arrived at a compromise agreement whereby Potenciana Maramba ceded to Gregoria Listana one-fourth (1/4) portion of the land referred to. Antonio Lipato executed a document of sale over the land in favor of defendant herein [Gaudencio Jacob]. . In fact on October 23. Moreover. The focal issue that needs to be answered and which would ultimately resolve the other issues raised by petitioner is the genuineness of the decision of the Justice of the Peace dated 31 December 1926. . even though the issuance thereof may have been attended by fraud and that the title may be inherently defective. [T]he land was surveyed and . and for this purpose. And since no appeal was made. The basic rule is that after the lapse of one (1) year from entry. . The land [subject matter of this suit for unlawful detainer] was claimed by one and the other. This is because a judgment is conclusive as to the facts admitted by the pleadings or assumed by the decision.11 However for the sake of substantial justice we shall thoroughly discuss the points raised by petitioner. The action. petitioner Alejandro Millena failed to adduce any evidence demonstrating the spurious character of the decision. And foreseeing that someday she would die . .87 Questions of authenticity of documents being one of fact. and were such that the judgment could not legally have been rendered without them.14 Moreover. This compromise agreement was submitted to the Cadastral Court . In fact. she executed a power-of-attorney (Exh "1") in favor of her cousin Antonio Lipato in order that in case of her death he would sell the land and the proceeds thereof be paid for the expenses of her interment . were co-owners [of Lot 1874]. seeks to transfer or reconvey the land from the registered owner to the rightful owner. Such decision may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record or by his deputy. while respecting the decree as incontrovertible. . . this Court will not ordinarily disturb the conclusions of the Court of Appeals on this matter. The law nevertheless safeguards the rightful party's or the aggrieved party's interest in the titled land from fraud and improper technicalities by allowing such party to bring an action for reconveyance to him of whatever he has been deprived as long as the property has not been transferred or conveyed to an innocent purchaser for value. it can therefore be said that the facts enumerated by the Justice of the Peace in its decision are likewise correct. . Calleja. where they were essential to the judgment. respondent Felisa Jacob had submitted evidence showing a strong claim of ownership over the contested parcel of land. the 31 December 1926 decision of the Justice of the Peace had long become final and the findings of fact therein conclusive.15 The Justice of the Peace found that — [P]lainfiff Potenciana Maramba and Gregoria Listana . . had lawfully possessed the property from 1926. the northern portion equivalent to one-fourth part was delivered to Gregoria Listana. In an action for reconveyance the issue involved is one of ownership.12 We have examined the copy of the decision and found it to be genuine. . . Being a public document the decision is admissible in evidence without further proof of its due execution or genuineness. was duly signed by Justice of the Peace Manuel M. . Third. and an adjudication was rendered in accordance with the tenor of the compromise agreement .13 The decision.
And since he himself insisted that his house was constructed in 1980. Secretary Lucio Londonio. or interest in. if not impossible. but rather a state or condition of mind which can only be judged by actual or fancied tokens or signs. or before he has notice of the claim or interest of some other persons in the property.88 The evidence on record without doubt tilts in favor of respondent Felisa Jacob. we are necessarily controlled by the evidence as to the conduct and outward acts by which alone the inward motive may. testified in court that he has been living near the contested parcel of land for thirtyseven (37) years. it was noted that only a portion of the defendant's [Alejandro Millena's] kitchen encroached a small portion of the lot in question and his house merely occupied an abandoned road adjoining the lot in question which cast doubt to the defendant's claim of possession and ownership of the property in question. is in the final analysis a question of intention. good faith is the opposite of fraud and it refers to the state of mind which is manifested by the acts of the individual concerned. who is also a brother-in-law of petitioner Alejandro Millena. for him not to have noticed Felisa Jacob's nephew and caretaker Jaime Llaguno planting and harvesting crops in the disputed land. Thus.21 We are hard-pressed to believe the claim of petitioner that he purchased Lot 1874 in good faith.18 Certain pieces of evidence when put together would prove that petitioner Alejandro Millena had actual knowledge of facts that would have made an ordinary prudent purchaser of land go beyond what appears on the face of the certificate of title and inquire into its genuineness. the incorporation of the 3. Otherwise stated. with safety. the caretaker of the land. Petitioner also avers that he is an innocent purchaser for value and that an action for reconveyance cannot prosper against him. Londonio told the court that the land was originally owned by Gaudencio Jacob and that ownership hereof was later transferred to Felisa Jacob. planting banana and coconut trees on the land. The inclusion of an area in a certificate of title which the registered owner or successful applicant has placed no claim on and has never asserted any right of ownership thereof is void and of no effect. without notice that some other person has a right to.934-square meter northern portion of Lot 1874 in the Free Patent Certificate Title issued to Florencio Listana on 28 August 1980 was clearly erroneous and irregular. The first evidence to be considered is the 3 October 1994 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City wherein it ruled — [D]uring the ocular inspection conducted by this court. contrary to his asseverations. such property at the time of such purchase. Truly. or the lack of it. Good faith. but in ascertaining the intention by which one is actuated on a given occasion. He further testified that he would often see Jaime Llaguno. good faith is not a visible. petitioner Alejandro Millena would have seen and noticed the crops and fruit trees planted by Jaime Llaguno on the land. Having lived adjacent to the contested lot six (6) years prior to his purchase of Lot 1874 in 1986. tangible fact that can be seen or touched. petitioner was not a purchaser in good faith since there were circumstances sufficient to arouse his curiosity and prod him to inquire into the real status of his sellers' title. be determined. Land registration proceedings cannot be made a shield for fraud or for enriching a person at the expense of another. Finally. Although petitioner Alejandro Millena holds a certificate of title covering the contested parcel of land. In fact Bgy. A purchaser in good fait is one who buys property of another.17 Thus. a perusal of the records reveals that petitioner Alejandro Millena prior to his purchase of the land in 1986 had knowledge of the protest filed by Feliza Jacob before the Bureau of Lands .20 it would have been difficult. He argues that the finding of respondent appellate court of bad faith was not supported by evidence.19 Prescinding from this pronouncement we can conclude that petitioner Alejandro Millena lived right beside the contested portion of Lot 1874. such possession of a certificate of title alone does not necessarily make the holder thereof the true owner of all the property described therein.
. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Rivera and Maria D. ROMERO. Consequently. 1951 leaving his daughters Priscila D.000 to his sister Salud. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 12 August 1996 as well as its Resolution of 6 December 1996 denying petitioner Alejandro Millena's motion for reconsideration is AFFIRMED. Ludovico: Are you aware of the protest that was filed by Felisa Jacob . represented by Maria Dizon Jocson. represented by Angela R. "L" and "L1") in favor of private respondent Felisa Jacob. petitioners. . Respondent's refusal stemmed from her desire to keep for herself the parcel of land covered by OCT 10384 where she presently resides. petitioner is ORDERED to reconvey within thirty (30) days from the finality of this Decision that northern portion in question of Lot 1874 consisting of 3. No. sir. 10384.188 square meters covered by Original Certificate of Title No. claiming that her father donated it to her sometime in 1936 with the conformity of the other heirs. represented by Lucio Salamat and Danilo Salamat. Gaudencio. Branch 18 of Malolos. Jr. Sometime in 1987. VALENTA DIZON GARCIA. The sale was evidenced by a private document bearing the signatures of his sisters Valenta and Natividad as witnesses. as Attorneyin-Fact. Bulacan. THE HEIRS OF GAUDENCIO DIZON. 3 Gaudencio died on May 30. the lot in question? Alejandro Millena: Yes. petitioners instituted an action for compulsory judicial partition of real properties registered in the name of Agustin Dizon with the Regional Trial Court. NATIVIDAD DIZON TAMAYO. This he admitted during his cross-examination on 7 February 1994 — Atty. Salud. Garcia. vs.000 to his sister Salud Dizon Salamat. The action was prompted by the refusal of herein respondent Natividad Dizon Tamayo to agree to the formal distribution of the properties of deceased Agustin Dizon among his heirs. Among the properties left by the decedent was a parcel of land in Barrio San Nicolas.nêt SO ORDERED. respondents. Bulacan. the petition is DENIED. Eduardo sold his hereditary rights in the sum of P3. 2 On June 2. Gaudencio likewise sold his hereditary rights for the sum of P4. WHEREFORE. THE HEIRS OF ANSELMA REYES DIZON. represented by Catalina Dizon Espinosa. Jocson as heirs. 1998 THE HEIRS OF SALUD DIZON SALAMAT. Agustin Dizon died intestate on May 15. The subject property is also declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration No. 1944.1âwphi1. with costs against petitioner. Valenta and Natividad as surviving heirs.934 square meters as shown in the location map (Exhs.R. 1874.: Before us is a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals dated June 15. 1949.89 against Florencio Listana in 1981. 1942 leaving behind his five children Eduardo. 110644 October 30. Hagonoy. with an area of 2. represented by Raymundo D. 1993. The trial court noted that the alleged endowment which was made orally by the deceased Agustin Dizon to herein respondent partook of the nature of a donation which required the . 1 On January 8. Dizon. J. 10376 in the name of respondent. represented herein by her attorney-in-fact Jaime Llaguno. before the Bureau of Lands at Legazpi City in connection with Lot No. The sale was evidenced by a notarized document which bore the signature of Eduardo Dizon and a certain Angela Ramos as witnesses.
The alleged donation in the case at bar was done orally and not executed in a public document. the document which was presented by respondent in support of her claim that her father donated the subject parcel of land to her was a mere private document of conformity which was executed by her elder brother.90 observance of certain formalities set by law. The acceptance may be made in the same deed of donation or in a separate public document. let a project of partition be drawn pursuant to Sec 2. In support of her claim. which execution is undisputed. . proper instruments of conveyance for confirmation and approval by the Court. SO ORDERED. specifying therein the property donated and the value of the charges which the donee must satisfy. Moreover. in her favor and the house owned by Valenta Dizon Garcia. The Court of Appeals further stated that the attestation by Eduardo. in 1936. the trial court rendered judgment in favor of respondent. It is clear from Article 749 that a transfer of real property from one person to another cannot take effect as a donation unless embodied in a public document. The Court of Appeals. Rule 69. stated that notwithstanding the unexplained erasures and alterations. Rules of Court. Parties are enjoined to draw the prospect of partition as equitably and equally as possible with the least inconvenience and disruption of those in possession or in actual occupation of the property. Hagonoy Cadastre 304-D owned by Natividad Dizon Tamayo. described and covered by OCT 10384 in the name of the heirs of Agustin Dizon is part of the Dizon estate while respondent claims that her father donated it to her sometime in 1936 with the consent of her co-heirs. Art 749 of the Civil Code reads: In order that the donation of an immovable may be valid. however. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. of the oral donation of the subject land made by his father to respondent Natividad. If the acceptance is made in a separate instrument. finding that the partition of the estate of Agustin Dizon is in order. Nevertheless. Rule 69. Cad 304-D. the donor shall be notified thereof in an authentic form and this step shall be noted in both instruments. executing. Should the parties fail to come up with an acceptable of partition. Petitioners. it must be made in a public document. together with the improvements thereon. coupled with the tax declaration and payment of taxes in respondent's name would show that the trial court did not err in ruling that the subject land should pertain to Natividad Tamayo as inheritance from her parents. if necessary. a cursory reading of the signed statement of Eduardo Dizon. showed that there was an oral donation of the litigated land from Agustin Dizon to Natividad Dizon Tamayo 4 in 1936. respondent Natividad presented a private document of conformity which was allegedly signed and executed by her elder brother. We reverse. the Court will appoint commissioners as authorized by Sec 3. Eduardo in 1956. Petitioners contend that Lot 2557. unless it is done during the lifetime of the donor. Eduardo. question the authenticity of the document inasmuch as it is marred by unexplained erasures and alterations. who will be guided by the dispositive portion hereof. All costs and expenses incurred in connection with the partition are to be shared equally by the parties. 5 It may not be amiss to point out that the brothers Eduardo and Gaudencio had already ceded their hereditary interests to petitioner Salud Dizon Salamat even before 1950. Rules of Court assigning to each heir the specific share to which he is entitled taking into consideration the disposition made in favor of Salud Dizon Salamat and the adjudication of Lot 2557. in affirming the decision of the RTC. in 1936.
who. respondent cannot still claim ownership over the property. 10 we had occasion to state that a mere silent possession by a co-owner. 8 it is well settled that possession. a cursory reading of the signed statement of Eduardo Dizon. Mere actual possession by one will not give rise to the inference that the possession was adverse because a co-owner is. a signature was blotted out with a black pentel pen and the three other signatures 7 of the alleged witnesses to the execution of the document at the lower portion of the document were dated June 1. Moreover. A co-ownership is a form of a trust. The elements in order that a co-owner's possession may be deemed adverse to the cestui que trust or the co-owner are: (1) that he has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to ouster of the cestui que trust or other co-owners (2) that such positive acts or repudiation have been made known to the cestui que trust or other co-owners and (3) that the evidence thereon must be clear and convincing. Bulacan? . 6 To repeat. if it is not borne out by clear and convincing evidence that he exercised acts of possession which unequivocably constituted an ouster or deprivation of the rights of the other co-owners. and is unblemished by alteration or circumstances of suspicion. with each owner being a trustee for each other 9 and possession of a co-owner shall not be regarded as adverse to other co-owner but in fact is beneficial to them. While it is true that a void donation may be the basis of ownership which may ripen into title by prescription. shows that there was an oral donation . It is undeniable that petitioners and respondent. 1951. the document which was allegedly executed by Eduardo was marred by unexplained erasures and alterations. Curiously. In any case. produced from a custody in which it would naturally be found if genuine. namely.91 The Court of Appeals. This could only mean that the witnesses attested to the veracity of the document 5 years earlier. are co-owners of the properties left by the latter. 12 Respondent herself testified: xxx xxx xxx Q: Now who is in possession of this particular residential land in Bo. constructed a piggery and has planted trees thereon. . to constitute the foundation of a prescriptive right. ." Significantly. An anciert document refers to a private document which is more than thirty (30) years old. albeit orally. assuming that Agustin really made the donation to respondent. Jocson signed the document as witnesses two days after the death of their father Gaudencio. One is the house where respondent presently resides while the other is a house built by respondent's sister Valenta. had already sold his hereditary rights to his sister Salud in 1949. being heirs of the deceased. In the case of Salvador v. as earlier mentioned. however. two of the signatories. San Nicolas. . fruits or profits from the property. Respondent was never in adverse and continous possession of the property. if the document was executed in 1956 or 15 years later. his receipt of rents. . cannot serve as proof of exclusive ownership. entitled to possession of the property. must be adverse and under a claim of title. that the document was executed in 1936. placed much reliance on the said document and made the dubious observation that ". While the document was originally penned in black ink. Court of Appeals. Priscila D. if we are to give credence to respondent's claim. after all. the number thirty-six (36) in blue ink was superimposed on the number fifty-six (56) to make it appear that the document was executed in 1936 instead of in 1956. 11 Not one of the aforesaid requirements is present in the case at bar. Rivera and Maria D. which execution is undisputed. the erection of buildings and fences and the planting of trees thereon and the payment of land taxes. Hagonoy. the document relied upon by the Court of Appeals could hardly satisfy the requirements of the rule on ancient documents on account of unexplained alterations. There are two houses standing on the subject property. . Records show that the house on Lot 227 where the respondent lives is actually the ancestral house of the Dizons although respondent has remodelled it.
No. 10384 is hereby declared to belong the estate of Agustin Dizon.* GUNTER LENTFER and JOHN CRAIGIE YOUNG CROSS. Makati City.R. the parties should be guided by Article 500 of the Civil Code which states that: "Upon partition. and John Craigie Young Cross. SO ORDERED. 2004 VICTORIA MOREÑO-LENTFER. Oriental Mindoro. No costs. . the fact that the subject property is declared for taxation purposes in the name of respondent who pays realty taxes thereon under Tax Declaration No. The decision reversed the judgment3 of the Regional Trial Court of Calapan City. DECISION QUISUMBING. 48272. It is well settled that tax declarations or realty tax payments are not conclusive evidence of ownership. they engaged the notarial services of Atty. The facts are as follows: The petitioners are Gunter Lentfer. Sir. Lot 2557. J. vs. . 13 It is obvious from the foregoing that since respondent never made unequivocal acts of repudiation. Oriental Mindoro. Puerto Galera. The sale of the beach house and the assignment of the lease . the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED. 15 As regards the improvements introduced by the respondent on the questioned lot. Rodrigo C. 2001. Respondent Hans Jurgen Wolff is a German citizen.R. she cannot acquire ownership over said property through acquisitive prescription. and Resolution2 dated February 22. residing in San Lorenzo Village. sir.92 A: I am in possession of that land. respondent. Hagonoy Cadastre 304-D covered by Original Certificate of Title No. Victoria Moreño-Lentfer. you said that you have your residential house there. since when have you stayed there? A: I was born there. all residing in Sabang. Q: Do you have your residential house there? A: Yes. Finally. of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Donations Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. on March 6. Oriental Mindoro. 2002. R-4219. there shall be a mutual accounting for benefits received and reimbursements for expenses made. CV No. HANS JURGEN WOLFF. 152317 November 10. a German citizen. Q: Now.: For review on certiorari are the Decision1 dated June 14. and (2) the assignment of Cross' contract of lease on the land where the house stood. Q: And you are staying there up to the present? A: Yes. Sir. an Australian citizen. Puerto Galera. Petitioners alleged that with respondent. Dimayacyac for: (1) the sale of a beach house owned by petitioner Cross in Sabang. petitioners. The testimony of her son that she merely allowed her sister Valenta to build a house on the lot 14 is pure hearsay as respondent herself could have testified on the matter but chose not to. his Filipina wife. xxx xxx xxx. 1992. Sir." WHEREFORE. 14376 is of no moment. . in Civil Case No. Branch 39.
7005 as total consideration for the sale and assignment of the lease rights. Dimayacyac surreptitiously executed a deed of sale whereby the beach house was made to appear as sold to Moreño-Lentfer for only P100. but the total consideration of 220. According to respondent. Moreño-Lentfer and Atty. The above defendants-appellees are jointly and severally held liable to pay plaintiff-appellant the amount of P200. THE PRINCIPLE OF JUSTICE AND EQUITY. who in this case is Cross.0004 at Solid Bank Corporation. the date the amount was received by defendant-appellee Victoria Moreno-Lentfer. SO ORDERED.000. 2001. Thus. the instant petition raising the following issues: 1) DOES ARTICLE 1238 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE APPLY IN THE CASE AT BAR?13 2) DOES THE PRINCIPLE OF SOLUTIO INDEBITI UNDER ARTICLE 2154 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE. The case against defendant-appellee Rodrigo Dimayacyac is dismissed.93 right would be in the name of petitioner Victoria Moreño-Lentfer. thus: WHEREFORE. as follows: 1. representing the amount of expenses incurred in the repairs and maintenance of the property plus legal interest starting from October 28. the court a quo dismissed the complaint for failure to establish a cause of action. Apprised of his interest to own a house along a beach.8 Aggrieved. SO ORDERED. however. Respondent is the third person who paid the consideration on behalf of Moreño-Lentfer. and the buyer is the debtor. But the payment is in any case valid as to the creditor who has accepted it. dismissing the complaint for the reason that plaintiff has not established a cause of action against the defendants with costs against the plaintiff.000 Deutschmarks (DM) would be paid by respondent Hans Jurgen Wolff.9 But in its Decision10 dated June 14. 1992. the debtor. respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals.12 Hence. Respondent agreed and through a bankto-bank transaction.00 Philippine Currency.6 The assignment of the lease right was likewise made in favor of Moreño-Lentfer. by virtue of Article 1238.000. . payment by respondent is considered a donation. After trial. the judgment appealed from is hereby REVERSED and a new one is hereby rendered. Defendants-appellees spouses Genter11 and Victoria Moreno-Lentfer and John Craigie Young Cross are jointly and severally held liable to pay plaintiff-appellant the amount of 220. Petitioners insist that respondent did not intend to be reimbursed for said payment and debtor Moreño-Lentfer consented to it. and 3. he paid Cross the amount of DM 221. the Lentfer spouses were his confidants who held in trust for him.00 DM German Currency or its present peso equivalent plus legal interest starting from March 8. Petitioners posit that in a contract of sale. However. R-4219 with the lower court for annulment of sale and reconveyance of property with damages and prayer for a writ of attachment. 1993.7 Upon learning of this. which requires the debtor's consent.000. 1238. namely Moreño-Lentfer in this case. Payment made by a third person who does not intend to be reimbursed by the debtor is deemed to be a donation. thus: ACCORDINGLY. 2. respondent filed a Complaint docketed as Civil Case No. the date of the last final demand letter. the Lentfer couple urged him to buy petitioner Cross' beach house and lease rights in Puerto Galera. A promissory note was executed by said respondent in favor of petitioner Cross. APPLY IN THE CASE AT BAR?14 Article 1238 of the New Civil Code provides: ART. the appellate court reversed the decision of the trial court. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff. a time deposit account in the amount of DM 200. the seller is the creditor. Cross.
If so. Anent the second issue. both the donation and its acceptance must be in writing for the donation to be valid. we find petitioners' stance without merit. the donation of money equivalent to P3. based on the exchange rate in the year 1992. Since the subject of donation is the purchase money. to say that it was only the money used in the purchase that was donated to her. Accordingly. petitioners argue. and the person who . he immediately filed a complaint for annulment of the sale and reconveyance of the property with damages and prayer for a writ of attachment. Trying to apply Art. Citing Article 74815 of the New Civil Code. Previously. The instant case. the qualifying circumstance in Art. it remains valid and binding.000. Petitioners could not brush aside the fact that a donation must comply with the mandatory formal requirements set forth by law for its validity. On this point. we are constrained to take the petitioners' claim of liberality of the donor with more than a grain of salt. before the Court of Appeals. The quasi-contract of solutio indebiti harks back to the ancient principle that no one shall enrich himself unjustly at the expense of another. respondent argues his conduct never at any time intimated any intention to donate in favor of petitioner MoreñoLentfer. But in any event. petitioners insist that since the deed of sale in favor of Moreño-Lentfer was neither identified or marked nor formally offered in evidence. It was not. 748 for instances of oral donation.297. Respondent's acts contradict any intention to donate the properties to petitioner Moreño-Lentfer. Moreover.297. the donation is invalid for non-compliance with the formal requisites prescribed by law. Respondent also calls our attention to the sudden change in petitioners' theory. respondent had trusted the Lentfer spouses to keep a time deposit account for him with Solid Bank for the purpose of making the purchase of the cited properties. Petitioner Moreño-Lentfer's claim of either cash or property donation rings hollow. Article 1238 of the New Civil Code is not applicable in this case. Respondent Moreño-Lentfer at that time claimed the beach house.18 It applies where (1) a payment is made when there exists no binding relation between the payor. The absence of intention to be reimbursed. 748 of the New Civil Code is applicable. 1238 to the instant case is like forcing a square peg into a round hole. Art. the appellate court found that respondent is not related or even close to the Lentfer spouses. respondent contends that the alleged donation is void for non-compliance with the formal requirements set by law. equivalent to P3. in contrast. the petitioners claimed that what was donated were the subject properties. respondent actually stayed in the beach house in the concept of an owner and shouldered the expenses for its maintenance and repair amounting to P200.16 But when a large amount of money is involved. together with the lease right. the principle of solutio indebiti under Article 215417 of the New Civil Code should be the applicable provision in the resolution of this controversy. was donated to her.800 as well as its acceptance should have been in writing. Noteworthy. Further.94 Respondent counters that Article 1238 bears no relevance to the case since it applies only to contracts of loan where payment is made by a third person to a creditor in favor of a debtor of a previously incurred obligation. Respondent further says there was no simultaneous delivery of the money as required by Art. the parties unjustly enriched would be liable to the other party who suffered thereby by being correspondingly injured or damaged. Hence. Hence. They add that since it was not annulled. 1238.000 for the entire period of his stay for ten weeks. respondent avers that since the amount involved exceeds P5. Obviously.800. When respondent learned that the sale of the beach house and assignment of the lease right were in favor of Victoria Moreño-Lentfer. they insist that what was actually donated was the money used in the purchase of subject properties. A donation is a simple act of liberality where a person gives freely of a thing or right in favor of another. Moreover. she had changed her theory. is negated by the facts of this case. But before this Court. the same cannot be given any evidentiary value. who accepts it. involves a contract of sale where no real creditor-debtor relationship exists between the parties. who has no duty to pay.
She acquired the properties through deceit. petitioner. fraud and abuse of confidence. The principle of justice and equity does not work in her favor but in favor of respondent Wolff. of the express prohibition under the Constitution23 that nonFilipino citizens cannot acquire land in the Philippines. Since reconveyance is the proper remedy. records show that a bank-to-bank payment was made by respondent Wolff to petitioner Cross in favor of co-petitioner Moreño-Lentfer. and 2. Whatever she may have received by mistake from and at the expense of respondent should thus be returned to the latter. Veredigno Atienza. There was no binding relation between respondent and the beneficiary. Costs against petitioners. The constitutional prohibition against aliens from owning land in the Philippines has no actual bearing in this case. J. PAY respondent Wolff nominal damages in the amount of P50. 2004 SHOPPER’S PARADISE REALTY & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.000. EFREN P. 2002. We note. 2001 and Resolution dated February 22. respondent's expenses for the maintenance and repair of the beach house is for his own account as owner thereof. The Court of Appeals held that respondent was not entitled to the reconveyance of the properties because. of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.19 In the instant case. 148775 January 13. represented by its president.00. No. 48272 reversing the lower court's judgment are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. and (2) the payment is made through mistake. if the demands of justice are to be served. entered into a twenty-five year lease with Dr. she had an obligation to return it. A clear distinction exists between the ownership of a piece of land and the mere lease of the land where the foreigner's house stands. two conditions must concur to declare that a person has unjustly enriched himself or herself.95 received the payment. Respondent was under no duty to make such payment for the benefit of Moreño-Lentfer. DECISION VITUG. dated June 14. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. CV No.20 Following Article 2221 of the New Civil Code. and (b) such benefit is derived at the expense of or to the damage of another. we see no legal reason why reconveyance could not be allowed. However. however. WHEREFORE. It need not be an issue for now. petitioner Shopper’s Paradise Realty & Development Corporation. namely: (a) a person is unjustly benefited. . and not through liberality or some other cause. we deem it just and equitable under the circumstances to award respondent nominal damages in the amount of P50. The assailed Decision. Since Moreño-Lentfer received something when there was no right to demand it.24 pursuant to Articles 222125 and 222226 of the New Civil Code. the petition is hereby DENIED. ROQUE. The payment was clearly a mistake. since respondent's property right has been invaded through defraudation and abuse of confidence committed by petitioners.: On 23 December 1993. RECONVEY to respondent Hans Jurgen Wolff the beach house and the lease right over the land on which it is situated.R. Moreño-Lentfer. respondent. inter alia. vs. Thus.R. Petitioners-particularly the spouses Gunter Lentfer and Victoria Moreño-Lentfer--are hereby ORDERED to: 1.22 We are convinced petitioner Moreño-Lentfer had been unjustly enriched at the expense of respondent.000. SO ORDERED. that subject properties consist of a beach house and the lease right over the land where the beach house stands.
He. Respondent came to know of the assailed contracts with petitioner only after retiring to the Philippines upon the death of his father. Roque. the agreements have been perfected and partially executed by the receipt of his father of the downpayment and deposit totaling to P500. situated at Plaza Novaliches. Plaintiff knew very well of the existence of the lease. Roque. Roque. with an area of two thousand and thirty six (2. Roque alleged that he had long been the absolute owner of the subject property by virtue of a deed of donation inter vivos executed in his favor by his parents. development and operation of a commercial building complex on the property. one of the surviving children of the late Dr. Registration."1 . Roque. On 15 February 1995. Roque. The contract of lease and the memorandum of agreement. and it is a rule that contracts take effect not only between the parties themselves but also between their assigns and heirs (Article 1311. a deed of donation need not be registered in order to be valid between the parties. Felipe C. Felipe C. respondent filed a case for annulment of the contract of lease and the memorandum of agreement. Roque. Felipe. Roque likewise entered into a memorandum of agreement for the construction. it remains valid considering that no third person is involved. with a prayer for the issuance of a preliminary injunction. Roque a check for P250. Efren P. petitioner and Dr. the trial court dismissed the complaint of respondent. both notarized. were to be annotated on TCT No.036) square meters. on 26 December 1978. it explained: "Ordinarily. Respondent. Plaintiff cannot be the third person because he is the successor-in-interest of his father. however. The title to the property. delegated to his father the mere administration of the property. Thus. He is bound by the contract even if he did not participate therein. In a letter. On 9 August 1996. 30591 within sixty (60) days from 23 December 1993 or until 23 February 1994.00 "downpayment" to Dr. and that the late Dr. is important in binding third persons.000. Felipe Roque. "The registration of the Deed of Donation after the execution of the lease contract did not affect the latter unless he had knowledge thereof at the time of the registration which plaintiff had not been able to establish." Simultaneously. Roque. 30591 of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City in the name of Dr.96 Felipe C. however. Petitioner issued to Dr. Roque on 10 February 1994 constrained petitioner to deal with respondent Efren P. covered by Transfer of Certificate of Title (TCT) No.00 by way of "reservation payment. or on 11 May 1994.000. met with the officers of the defendant corporation at least once before he caused the registration of the deed of donation in his favor and although the lease itself was not registered.00. was no longer the owner of the subject property at the time the lease on the subject property was agreed upon. The annotations. 109754 of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. respondent advised petitioner "to desist from any attempt to enforce the aforementioned contract of lease and memorandum of agreement". over a parcel of land. Civil Code) and therefore. Felipe Roque and Elisa Roque. Quezon City. petitioner issued a check for another P250. Conformably with the agreement. Felipe Roque had no authority to enter into the assailed agreements with petitioner. Dr. the lessor.000. Moreover. remained in the name of Dr. but the negotiations broke down due to some disagreements. in fact. the lease contract together with the memorandum of agreement would be conclusive on plaintiff Efren Roque. plaintiff Efren Roque (could) no longer assert the unregistered deed of donation and say that his father. before Branch 222 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. however. The death of Dr. were never made because of the untimely demise of Dr. The donation was made in a public instrument duly acknowledged by the donor-spouses before a notary public and duly accepted on the same day by respondent before the notary public in the same instrument of donation. when Felipe Roque entered into a leased contract with defendant corporation. dated 3 November 1994. now deceased. while he resided in the United States of America. and it was only transferred to and in the name of respondent sixteen years later. under TCT No.
"Q. Felipe C.3 In donations of immovable property. Yes. Roque at the time of your transaction with him that all these three properties were given to his children by way of donation? "A. viz. in any event. I mean inheritance. By inheritance. albeit unregistered. petitioner seeks a reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals and the reinstatement of the ruling of the Regional Trial Court. Yes. Yes." "x x x xxx xxx "Q.97 The Trial court ordered respondent to surrender TCT No. nasa pangalan pa ni Dr. will comprise one whole. The appellate court based its findings largely on the testimony of Veredigno Atienza during cross-examination. Inheritance in the form of donation? "A. the law requires for its validity that it should be contained in a . and the other to Cesar Roque? "A. did you have such information confirmed by Dr. Yong kay Ruben pupunta kay Ruben. The existence. one to Ruben Roque. The trial court and the appellate court have not erred in holding that the non-registration of a deed of donation does not affect its validity. Biglang-awa did it for us. That being the case. "Q. Yong kay Efren palibhasa nasa America sya. Roque. donation results in an effective transfer of title over the property from the donor to the donee. "Q. you said there is another lot which was part of development project? "A. So in effect. When was the information supplied to you by Biglang-awa? Before the execution of the Contract of Lease and Memorandum of Agreement? "A. at the time of the execution of the agreement or soon before. Aside from these two lots. the subject of the construction involved in this case. the other to Efren. What I am only asking you is. however. We were a team and so Biglang-awa did it for us. Ruben and Cesar. No. Roque that this property was given to his three (3) sons. "Q. Roque so that the adjoining properties of his two sons. Roque himself? "A. "Q. While it shared the view expressed by the trial court that a deed of donation would have to be registered in order to bind third persons. "Q. were you told by Dr. it argues that the presumption of good faith it so enjoys as a party dealing in registered land has not been overturned by the aforequoted testimonial evidence. the first in the name of Ruben Roque and the second. of the donation in favor of respondent is undisputed. because I was doing certain things. You did the inquiry from him. "Q. 109754 to the Register of Deeds of Quezon City for the annotation of the questioned Contract of Lease and Memorandum of Agreement. the appellate court. this was the main concept of Dr."2 In the instant petition for review. and that. What Architect Biglang-awa told us in his exact word: "Yang mga yan pupunta sa mga anak. As being itself a mode of acquiring ownership. respondent is barred by laches and estoppel from denying the contracts. You were informed by Dr. But you yourself did not? "A. and that such actual knowledge had the effect of registration insofar as petitioner was concerned. On appeal. Felipe C. The other whole property belongs to Cesar. "Q. the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court and held to be invalid the Contract of Lease and Memorandum of Agreement. how was this property given to them? "A. any information gathered by Biglang-awa was of the same effect as if received by you because you were members of the same team? "A. Felipe C. Yes. concluded that petitioner was not a lessee in good faith having had prior knowledge of the donation in favor of respondent.
those which the party subsequently attempts to assert.4 The Civil Code provides. "The act of registration shall be the operative act to convey or affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned.An owner of registered land may convey. for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time. his knowledge of that prior unregistered interest would have the effect of registration as regards to him."5 It is enough. Laches. the conditions he must satisfy are: 1) lack of knowledge or of the means of knowledge of the truth as to the facts in question. lease. charge or otherwise deal with the same in accordance with existing laws. No. the donation must be registered in the registry of Property (Registry of Land Titles and Deeds). But no deed. by him of the real facts.12 It has not . an expectation. lease. mortgages. states: "SECTION 51. in its real sense. 496 (Land Registration Act). is the failure or neglect. 2) reliance.11 With respect to the party claiming the estoppel. during November. and in the same year. that "titles of ownership. Roque. was apprised of the fact that the subject property actually belonged to respondent. to do that which. which are not duly inscribed or annotated in the Registry of Property (now Registry of Land Titles and Deeds) shall not prejudice third persons. at least. by exercising due diligence. but shall operate only as a contract between the parties and as evidence of authority to the Register of Deeds to make registration.D. Conveyance and other dealings by registered owner.8 The appellate court was not without substantial basis when it found petitioner to have had knowledge of the donation at the time it entered into the two agreements with Dr. mortgage.1awphil. could or should have been done earlier. between the parties to a donation of an immovable property. in good faith. it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time. Roque had been an authorized agent of respondent. and he is not required to go beyond the certificate to determine the condition of the property7 but. 2) an intent or. A special power of attorney is thus necessary for its execution through an agent.. Neither is respondent estopped from repudiating the contracts. specifying therein the property donated and the value of the charges which the donee must satisfy. Section 50 of Act No.10 Respondent learned of the contracts only in February 1994 after the death of his father. During their negotiation. petitioner. and 3) action or inaction based thereon of such character as to change his position or status calculated to cause him injury or prejudice. could respondent then be said to have neglected to assert his case for unreasonable length of time.ne+ The Court cannot accept petitioner’s argument that respondent is guilty of laches. or other rights over immovable property. and 3) the knowledge. It was not shown that Dr. actual or constructive.6 Consistently. calculated to convey the impression that the facts are otherwise than. Felipe C. as so amended by Section 51 of P. the registration shall be made in the office of the Register of Deeds for the province or city where the land lies. leases or other voluntary instruments as are sufficient in law. 1529 (Property Registration Decree). He may use such forms of deeds. where such party has knowledge of a prior existing interest which is unregistered at the time he acquired a right thereto. the agent acts in representation or in behalf of another with the consent of the latter. and in all cases under this Decree. in order to bind third persons. through its representatives.98 public document. he assailed the validity of the agreements. In a contract of agency. however. or other voluntary instrument. upon the conduct or statements of the party to be estopped. that this conduct shall influence. except a will purporting to convey or affect registered land shall take effect as a conveyance or bind the land. that the donation be made in a public document but." (emphasis supplied) A person dealing with registered land may thus safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued therefore. mortgage. or be acted upon by. The essential elements of estoppel in pais. are: 1) a clear conduct amounting to false representation or concealment of material facts or. the other party. Hardly. at least. warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or declined to assert it.9 Article 1878 of the Civil Code expresses that a special power of attorney is necessary to lease any real property to another person for more than one year. and inconsistent with. The lease of real property for more than one year is considered not merely an act of administration but an act of strict dominion or of ownership. in relation to the party sought to be estopped.
. petitioner has been shown not to be totally unaware of the real ownership of the subject property. and the decision of the Court of Appeals declaring the contract of lease and memorandum of agreement entered into between Dr. No costs. WHEREFORE. there is no cogent reason to reverse the Court of Appeals in its assailed decision. more importantly. the petition is DENIED. Altogether. Roque and Shopper’s Paradise Realty & Development Corporation not to be binding on respondent is AFFIRMED. Felipe C. SO ORDERED.99 been shown that respondent intended to conceal the actual facts concerning the property.