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140. Sinaon vs. Sorogon, 136 SCRA 407 (1985) Aquino, J Facts 1.Canuta Soblingo on of the 5 children of Domingo Soblingo (thealleged owner of the lot in litigation when it was not yet registered) 2. 4 March 1916 Judge Carlos Imperial adjudicated to CanutaSoblingo Lot No 4781 of the Sta Barbara, Iloilo cadastre with an areaof 5.5 hectares. OCT No 6178-A was issued in 1917 to Canuta 3.1923- Canuta sold the lot to spouses Patricio Sinaon and JuliaSualibio (granddaughter of Canuta)a. Canutas were registered owners for more than 40years andhad possession of the lot during that period 4.1968 Sorongon (et al) amended their complaint filed in 1964 that Canuta and the Sinaons were TRUSTEES of the lot in litigation. Assuch the heirs of Domingos four heirs are entitled to 4/5 share. 5.Trial Court sustained the Trustee theory of Sorongon, andordered the Sinaons to convey 4/5 of Lot No 4781 to Sorongon et al. Issue WON Canuta and the Sinaons were mere trustees via an implied or expresstrust of the lot in litigation?Held/Ratio : No.1. Sinaons were registered owners for more than 40 years had becomeindefeasible and possession could not be disturbed. Any pretensionas to the existence of an implied trust should not be countenanced.Sorongon used unreliable oral evidence to prove the trust to whichThe Court said that title and possession cannot be defeated by oralevidence that can be easily fabricated and contradicted.2. The Court said that there was no express trust because Expresstrusts concerning real property cannot be proven by parol evidence(Art 1443, Civil Code). Citing Suarez vs Tirambulo where it was heldthat An implied trust cannot be established contrary to the recitalsof a Torrens Title, upon vague and inconclusive proof. No3.

The supposed trust in this case is a constructive trust arising byoperation of law. (Art 1465, Civil Code). It is not a trust in thetechnical sense.Note : Even assuming that there was an implied trust, prescription wouldhave worked in favor of the Sinaons. In Gerona vs de Guzman, the Court said that an action for reconveyance of realty, based upon aconstructive or implied trust resulting from fraud, may be barred byprescription. The prescriptive period is reckoned from the issuance of thetitle which operates as a constructive notice

Salao vs. Salao

Facts: After the death of Valentina Ignacio, her estatewas administered by her daughter Ambrosia. It waspartitioned extrajudically and the deed was signed byher four legal heirs namely her 3 children (Alejandra, J u a n , a n d A m b r o s i a ) a n d V a l e n t i n S a l a o , i n representation of his deceased father, Patricio. TheCalunuran fishpond is the property in contention inthis case. Prior to the death of Valentina Ignacio, herchildren Juan and Ambrosia secured a torrens title int h e i r n a m e s a 4 7 h a . f i s h p o n d l o c a t e d a t S i t i o Calunuran, Lubao, Pampanga. A decree was alsoissued in the names of Juan and Ambrosia for thePinanganacan fishpond which adjoins the Calunuranf i s h p o n d . A y e a r b e f o r e A m b r o s i a s d e a t h , s h e donated her one-half share in the two fishponds inquestion to her nephew, Juan Salo Jr. He was alreadythe owner of the other half of the fishponds havinginherited it from his father, Juan Salao Sr. AfterAmbrosia died, the heirs of Valentin Salao, BenitaS alao and the children of Victorina S alao, f iled ac o m p l a i n t a g a i n s t J u a n S a l a o J r . f o r t h e reconveyance to them of the Canluran fishpond asValentin Salaos supposed one third share in the145 ha. of fishpond registered in the names of JuanSalao Sr. and Ambrosia Salao. Defendants argument : V a l e n t i n S a l a o d i d n o t have any interest in the two fishponds and that thesole owners thereof were his father and his auntAmbrosia, as shown in the Torrens titles and that hewas the donee of Ambrosias one-half share. Plaintiffs argument : Their action is to enforce at r u s t w h i c h d e f e n d a n t J u a n S a l a o J r . a l l e g e d l y violated. The existence of trust was not definitelyalleged in the p lain tiff s complaint but in their appellants brief. RTCs Ruling : There was no community of propertya m o n g J u a n , A m b r o s i a a n d V a l e n t i n w h e n theCalunuran and the Pinanganacan lands werea c q u i r e d ; t h a t c o o w n e r s h i p o v e r t h e r e a l properties of Valentina Ignacio existed among herheirs after her death in 1914; that the co ownershipwas administered by Ambrosia and that it subsistedup to 1918 when her estate was partitioned amongher three children and her grandson, Valentin Salao.It rationalized that Valentins omission during hislifetime to ass ail th e Tor rens titles of Juan andAmbrosia signified that he was not a co-owner of thefishponds. It

did not give credence to the testimoniesof plaintiffs witnesses because their memories couldno t b e tru sted and becaus e no s trong evidence supported the declarations. Moreover, the partiesinvolved in the alleged trust were already dead. Judgment appealed to CA but the amounts involvedexceeded tw o hundred thousand pes os , the CAelevated the case to the SC. Issue :( 1 ) W / N p l a i n t i f f s m a s s i v e o r a l e v i d e n c e sufficient to prove an implied trust, resultingo r c o n s t r u c t i v e , r e g a r d i n g t h e t w o fishponds. Held : SC affirmed lower courts decision.(1)Plaintiffs pleading and evidence cannot berelied upon to prove an implied trust. Thetrial courts firm conclusion that there wasn o c o m m u n i t y o f p r o p e r t y d u r i n g t h e lifetime of Valentina Ignacio or before 1914i s s u b s t a n t i a t e d b y d e f e n d a n t s documentary evidence. There was n o resulting trust in this case because therenever was any intention on the part of Juan,Ambrosia and Valentin to create any trust. There was no constructive trust because theregistration of the 2 fishponds in the namesof Juan and Ambrosia was not vitiated byfraud or mistake. This is not a case where tos a t i s f y t h e d e m a n d s o f j u s t i c e i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o c o n s i d e r t h e C a l u n u r a n fishpond as being held in trust by the heirsof Juan Salao Sr. for the heirs of ValentinSalao. And even assuming that there was animp lied trust, plaintiffs action is clearl yb a r r e d b y p r e s c r i p t i o n w h e n i t f i l e d a n action in 1952 or after the lapse of more than 40 years from the date of registration

FABIANvFABIAN
; 29, 1968 CASTROJanuary NATURE Appeal taken from the decision of the CFI dismissing plaintiffs complaint for reconveyance FACTS - On January 1, 1909, Pablo Fabian bought from the Philippine Government lot 164 of the Friar Lands Estate in Muntinlupa, Rizal. He died on August 2, 1928, survived by four children, namely, Esperanza, Benita I, Benita II, and Silbina. - On October 5, 1928 Silbina Fabian and Teodora Fabian, niece of the deceased, executed an affidavit and on November 14, 1928 the acting Director of Lands, on behalf of the Government, sold lot 164, under deed 17272, to Silbina and Teodora

Fabian. - In 1929, the vendees took physical possession thereof, cultivated it, and appropriated the produce therefrom (and concededly have up to the present been appropriating the fruits from the land exclusively for themselves). In that same year, they declared the lot in their names for taxation purposes under tax declaration 3374. Since 1929 up to the present, they have been paying the real estate taxes thereon. - On July 18, 1960 the plaintiffs filed the present action for reconveyance against the defendants spouses, averring that Silbina and Teodora, through fraud perpetrated in their affidavit, made it appear that "el finado Pablo Fabian no dejo ningun otro heredero sino los declarantes con derecho a heredar el lote No. 164 de la hacienda de Muntinlupa", which is a false narration of facts because Silbina knew that she is not the only daughter and heir of the deceased Pablo Fabian, and Teodora likewise knew all along that, as a mere niece of the deceased, she was precluded from inheriting from him in the presence of his four surviving daughters. - The defendants claim that Pablo Fabian was not the owner of lot 164 at the time of his death on August 2, 1928 because he had not paid in full the amortizations on the lot; that they are the absolute owners thereof, having purchased it from the Government for the sum of P120, and from that year having exercised all the attributes of ownership thereof up to the present; and that the present action for reconveyance has already prescribed. - The lower court rendered judgment on June 28, 1962, declaring that the defendants spouses had acquired a valid and complete title to the property by acquisitive prescription, and accordingly dismissed the complaint, with costs against the plaintiffs. ISSUES 1. WON Pablo Fabian was the owner of lot 164 at the time of his death, in the face of the fact, admitted by the defendants-appellees, that he had not then paid the entire purchase price thereof 2. WON laches may bar an action to enforce a constructive trust 3. WON title to the land has vested in the appellees through the mode of acquisitive prescription HELD 1. YES Ratio Lot 164 was a part of the Friar Lands Estate of Muntinlupa, Rizal; its sale to Pablo Fabian was therefore governed by Friar Lands Act. While under section 15 of the said Act, title to the land sold is reserved to the Government until the purchaser makes full payment of all the required installments and the interest thereon, this legal reservation refers to the bare, naked title. The equitable and beneficial title really went to the purchaser the moment he paid the first installment and was given a certificate of sale. The assignment and sale of the lot to the defendants. Silbina

and Teodora were therefore null and void as to that portion sold to Teodora, and as well as to that portion which lawfully devolved in favor of the appellants. To the extent of the participation of the appellants, application must be made of the principle that if property is acquired through fraud, the person obtaining it is considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property comes. Reasoning The reservation of the title in favor of the Government is made merely to protect the interest of the Government so as to preclude the purchaser from encumbering or disposing of the lot purchased before the payment in full of the purchase price. Outside of this protection the Government retains no right as an owner. And when said purchaser finally pays the final installment on the purchase price and is given a deed of conveyance and a certificate of title, the title at least in equity, retroacts to the time he first occupied the land, paid the first installment and was issued the corresponding certificate of sale. 2. YES Ratio In constructive trusts, the rule is that laches constitutes a bar to actions to enforce the trust, and repudiation is not required, unless there is a concealment of the facts giving rise to the trust. Reasoning Assignment of sale certificate 547 was effected on October 5, 1928; and the actual transfer of lot 164 was made on the following November 14. It was only on July 8, 1960, 32 big years later, that the appellants for the first time came forward with their claim to the land. It is not seriously asserted that the appellees concealed the facts giving rise to the trust. On the contrary, the stipulation of facts of the parties states with striking clarity "that defendants herein have been in possession of the land in question since 1928 up to the present publicly and continuously under claim of ownership; they have cultivated it, harvested and appropriated the fruits for themselves." 3. YES Obligations and Contracts A2010page 193 Prof. Labitag Ratio An action for reconveyance of real property based upon a constructive or implied trust, resulting from fraud, may be barred by the statute of limitations, and the action therefor may be filed within four years from the discovery of the fraud, the discovery in that case being deemed to have taken place when new certificates of title were issued exclusively in the names of the respondents therein. Reasoning Upon the undisputed facts in the case at bar, not only had laches set in when the appellants instituted their action for, reconveyance in 1960, but as well their right to enforce the constructive trust had already prescribed. Ten years actual adverse possession by any person claiming to be the owner for that time of any land or interest in land, uninterruptedly continued for ten years by occupancy, descent, grants, or otherwise, in whatever way such occupancy may have commenced or continued, shall vest in every actual occupant or possessor of such

land a full and complete title. Disposition The judgment a quo, dismissing the complaint, is affirmed. No pronouncement as to costs. Voting Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur. Makalintal, J., concurs in the result Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. L-63575 January 20, 1988 ROSA GICANO and NENITA GEOLLEGUE, petitioners, vs. ROSA GEGATO, RESURRECCION GEGATO and CATALINA GEGATO, respondents.

NARVASA, J.: An action to recover an immovable from a defendant allegedly holding it under a constructive trust prescribes in ten (10) years, counted from the issuance of title to said defendant: so we have ruled in a number of cases; 1 and so We rule in this case. This case concerns a rather large tract of land, with an area of 225,322 square meters, situated in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental. The land, known as Lot 818, was originally owned, at least as far as this case is concerned, by two co-owners in equal shares: (1) Maximo Juanico, married to Rosa Gegato, and (2) Matilde Geolingo, married to Dionisio Mongcal. Their co-ownership was so set out in their certificate of title, TCT No. 30009. 2 Maximo Juanico died on May 21, 1942, survived by his wife, the aforenamed Rosa Gegato, and three (3) minor children: Presentacion, Resurreccion, and Catalina. 3 The other co-owner, Matilde Geolingo, and her husband, Dionisio Mongcal, also died; and their only child, Loreto Mongcal, executed an affidavit adjudicating to herself, as sole heir, her mother's one-half (1/2) share in Lot 818. 4 That share she sold on December 14, 1951 to Rosa Gicano. In virtue thereof, TCT No. 30009 of the original coowners was cancelled and a new one, TCT No. 8878, was issued in the names of (1) Maximo Juanico, married to Rosa Gegato (1/2 share) and (2) Rosa Gicano, married to Gorgonio Geollegue (1/2 share). 5 On August 23, 1952, a document was executed which gave rise to the controversy at bar. That document purported to be a Deed of Sale, or more properly, a deed of dacion

en pago de deuda, intended to satisfy a debt of P2,333.33 of the late Maximo Juanico to Rosa Gicano by the conveyance, according to the express terms of the document, of said Maximo Juanico's one-half (1/2) share in Lot 818. It was signed by Rosa Gegato and her second husband, Raymundo Pundon. The latter took part in the transaction as judicial guardian of two (2) of Rosa's surviving minor children, Resurreccion and Catalina the third, Presentacion, having earlier died without issue. It was acknowledged by them before Notary Public Vicente T. Remitio. The sale was registered, TCT No. 8878 was cancelled, and on September 8, 1952 the Register of Deeds issued TCT No. 10189, covering the entirety of Lot 818, solely in the name of Rosa Gicano, married to Gorgonio Geollegue. 6 Twenty-three (23) years afterwards, or on February 13, 1976, Rosa Gegato and her daughters, Resurreccion and Catalina, brought an action in the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental against Rosa Gicano and her husband, Gorgonio Geollegue, to compel the latter to reconvey Lot No. 818 to them and/or pay damages. 7 Rosa Gegato and her daughters alleged that it had never been their intention to transfer the entire one-half (1/2) share in Lot No. 818 to Rosa Gicano in payment of Maximo Juanico's debt in the sum of P2,333.33, but only one-third of the share of the minors in said undivided half of the property; that they were deceived into believing that it was only this one-third interest which was really being conveyed by the Deed of Sale of August 23, 1952, and it was on that understanding that Rosa Gegato and her minor children's judicial guardian, Raymundo Pundon, had signed the deed, both of them being unable to read and write English; that they discovered the fraud perpetrated on them only in 1975, when they hired a surveyor to partition the property and the latter informed them that title to Lot No. 818 had long since issued solely in the name of Nenita Geollegue, who had purchased it from her mother, Rosa Gegato Geollegue and had in due course obtained title in her name, TCT 31543, on June 23, 1964; and that on October 17, 1974, said Nenita Geollegue had mortgaged the lot to the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank as security for a loan of P156,000.00. 8 Rosa Gicano and her co-defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint alleging as grounds therefor, plaintiffs' lack of cause of action, laches, estoppel, and prescription. 9 The Trial court denied the motion in so far as it was based on the first ground, lack of cause of action. 10 It deferred resolution thereon as regards the other grounds until after trial on the merits. 11 Subsequently, however, after considering the pre-trial briefs and memoranda submitted by the parties in connection with the pre-trial, and without scheduling the case for trial on the merits any longer, the Trial Court promulgated an Order dismissing the complaint on the ground of prescription and laches. 12 It opined that the action, being one for reconveyance predicated on an implied trust, prescribed in 10 years, commencing from the date that the initial document of transfer was registered and title issued; and since 23 years had already elapsed on the day of the institution of the action at bar, reckoned from the registration of the deed of sale and issuance of title, the suit was time-barred. The Trial Court's Order was however reversed by the Court of Appeals, on an appeal taken by Rosa Gegato, et al., and the case was remanded with instructions that a full

dress trial on the merits be conducted. In its Decision promulgated on May 26, 1982, 13 the Appellate Court declared that the outright dismissal of complaint on the ground of prescription was premature and violative of due process because it denied the parties the opportunity to prove their claims and defenses. It also held that the action was not in truth time-barred. The Appellate Court's reasoning does not however appear persuasive. It said that absent any proof to the contrary, the one-half (1/2) share of the deceased Maximo Juanico in Lot 818, originally owned in common by him with Matilde Geolingo, must be presumed to be conjugal in character; hence, only one-half (1/2) of said half constituted the estate of Maximo Juanico upon his death, the other half pertaining in ownership to his widow, Rosa Gegato, as her conjugal share; hence, Rosa Gegato's conjugal share could not have been meant to be included in the Deed of Sale of August 23, 1952, there being nothing in its language in fact to show this, and that deed was valid only in so far as concerned the transfer of 1/3 of her children's inheritance, but void as regards the remaining 2/3 for lack of cause or object in accordance with Article 1409 of the Civil Code, the action to declare its illegality being imprescriptible under Article 1410 of the same Code. But the action instituted by the plaintiffs Rosa Gegato, et al. was not one to declare the deed of sale of August 23, 1952 void ab initio, for lack of cause or object in accordance with Article 1409 of the Civil Code, which is really imprescriptible, but to annul it on account of fraud, on the theory of constructive trust, which prescribes in ten (10) years. In the case at bar, Rosa Gegato and her minor children by her deceased husband, Maximo Juanico (said children being represented by their judicial guardian, Ramundo Pundon) had executed a deed of sale and acknowledged it before a notary public which, upon its face, transferred the entirety of Maximo Juanico's right, share and interest in Lot 181 to Rosa Gicano. Now, if it be true that they were deceived into executing that deed of sale by Rosa Gicano, who taking advantage of their ignorance had made them believe that the deed conveyed only 1/3 of the children's share in their inheritance from their father, they certainly had the right to sue Rosa Gicano, and after presenting evidence of the fraud perpetrated upon them, recover so much of the property as they had never intended to transfer, and recover the damages thereby suffered by them. But they certainly did not have all the time in the world to bring that suit. They had to do it within ten (10) years from the issuance to Rosa Gicano of title to the property on the strength of the supposedly fraudulent deed of sale. 14 They did not file their action within this statutory period. They filed it only after twenty-three (23) years. When filed, their action had already been extinguished by prescription. They had slept on their rights. Time eroded their right of action and ultimately erased it, as a sand castle on a shore is slowly and inexorably obliterated by the rising tide. Their action was therefore correctly dismissed, even without a trial on the merits being first had. We have ruled that trial courts have authority and discretion to dismiss an action on the ground of prescription when the parties' pleadings or other facts on record show it to be indeed time-barred; (Francisco v. Robles, Feb. 15, 1954; Sison v. McQuaid, 50 O.G. 97; Bambao v. Lednicky, Jan. 28, 1961; Cordova v. Cordova, Jan. 14, 1958; Convets,, Inc. v. NDC, Feb. 28, 1958; 32 SCRA 529; Sinaon v. Sorongan, 136 SCRA 408); and it may do so on the basis of a motion to dismiss, 15 or an answer

which sets up such ground as an affirmative defense; 16 or even if the ground is alleged after judgment on the merits, as in a motion for reconsideration; 17 or even if the defense has not been asserted at all, as where no statement thereof is found in the pleadings, 18 or where a defendant has been declared in default. 19 What is essential only, to repeat, is that the facts demonstrating the lapse of the prescriptive period, be otherwise sufficiently and satisfactorily apparent on the record: either in the averments of the plaintiffs complaint, or otherwise established by the evidence. WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on May 26, 1982 is REVERSED, and the Order of the Trial Court dated October 29, 1976 dismissing the action for reconveyance and damages instituted by respondents Rosa Gegato, et al. on the ground of prescription is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED as being in accord with the relevant facts and the law. Costs against respondents. Teehankee, C.J., Cruz, Paras * and Gancayco, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 71110 November 22, 1988 PAZ VILLAGONZALO, ESTELA VILLAGONZALO, AIDA VILLAGONZALO, HERMINIA VILLAGONZALO, GWENDOLYN VILLAGONZALO, JENSINE VILLAGONZALO and LEONILA VILLAGONZALO, petitioners, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and CECILIA A. VILLAGONZALO, respondents. Julio L. Falcone and Makilito B. Mahinay for petitioners. Adelino B. Sitoy for private respondent.

REGALADO, J.: From a decision rendered in favor of herein petitioners, as plaintiffs, against herein private respondent, as defendant, in an action for reconveyance in the then Court of First Instance of Leyte, 1 which reads:
Wherefore, decision is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against defendant declaring Lot No. 7429 of the Ormoc Cadastre, situated at Bo. Dolores, Ormoc City, with an area of 97,213 square meters, more or less, as the conjugal property of the deceased spouses, Juan Villagonzalo and Felicisima Abella Villagonzalo hereby ordering the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 4259 in the name of Cecilia A. Villagonzalo and ordering the Register of Deeds of Ormoc City to issue another Transfer Certificate of Title in the name of spouses Juan C. Villagonzalo and Felicisima A. Villagonzalo, Filipinos, of legal age, residents of Cebu City now deceased and survived by the present plaintiffs and defendants, each of whom upon payment of the inheritance

taxes with the BIR, shall be entitled to 1/9 share of the land, subject to claims by other heirs and creditors within a period of two (2) years as provided for by the Rules of Court, and further ordering the partition of the said land within a period of ninety (90) days from the finality of this decision and if the parties cannot agree on the partition this Court may appoint a commissioner to partition the same without pronouncement as to costs. 2

therein defendant appealed to the former Intermediate Appellate Court which, in a decision 3 of the Second Civil Cases Division in AC-G.R. No. 65128, reversed the appealed judgment and dismissed the complaint for reconveyance. As found by the respondent Court
The facts in this regard show that on February 22, 1961, Juan C. Villagonzalo, the predecessor-in-interest of the parties, purchased Lot No. 7429 of the Ormoc Cadastre, situated at Barrio Dolores, Municipality of Ormoc, containing an area of 97,213 sq. meters covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 24611 of the Register of Deeds of Ormoc City, from the Heirs of Roman Matuguina for Pl,500.00 (Exhibits A and 6, Folder of Exhibits, pp. 1, 15). It was made to appear however that the sale was in the name of his daughter, defendant Cecilia Villagonzalo, who was single, since he borrowed from her the sum of P500.00 to complete the full payment of the price of the lot. Consequently, TCT No. 4259 was issued in the name of defendant Cecilia A. Villagonzalo as the registered owner (Exhibit 5, Ibid., p. 15) on July 18, 1962. The complaint was filed on April 2, 1975 thirteen (13) years after the issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 4259 on the subject land in the name of the defendant Cecilia Villagonzalo. 4

On such factual moorings, the respondent court, now the Court of Appeals, held that the right of action of therein plaintiffs-appellees, petitioners herein, had prescribed for the reasons that follow. 5 It ratiocinated that when private respondent obtained Transfer Certificate of Title No. 4259 in her name she thereby excluded herein petitioners from the estate of their deceased predecessor-in-interest and, consequently, she set up a title to the land adverse to them. The registration of the deed of sale with the Register of Deeds, so it opined, was constructive notice to the whole world of defendant's adverse claim to the property, thereby repudiating any fiduciary or trust relationship involved. It anchored its conclusion on doctrinal holdings that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years counted from the date when adverse title is asserted by the possessor of the property. Prescinding therefrom into the field of laches, respondent court further noted that because of the neglect and inaction of the present petitioners, the private respondent was thereby made to feel secure in her belief that she had rightly acquired the controverted land and that no legal action would be filed against her. She was thus induced to spend time, money and effort for the cultivation of the land and the payment of the taxes thereon. It then further rested its conclusion on the established principle that inaction and neglect of a party to assert a right can convert what could otherwise be a valid claim into a stale demand.

Petitioners have come before Us contending that their action was seasonably filed because private respondent's registration of the land in her name was not a repudiation of the implied trust created between her and their father; and, confusing extinctive for aquisitive prescription, that good faith and just title are essential requisites in this case. The respondent court is correct and certiorari must be denied. It is now well settled that an action for reconveyance of real property to enforce an implied trust shall prescribe after ten years, 6 since it is an action based upon an obligation created by law, 7 and there can be no doubt as to its prescriptibility. 8 It is likewise established that said period of ten years is counted from the date adverse title to the property is asserted by the possessor thereof. In the case at bar, that assertion of adverse title, which consequently was a repudiation of the implied trust for the purpose of the statute of limitations, took place when Transfer Certificate of Title No. 4259 was issued in the name of private respondent on July 18, 1962. As succinctly but pithily resolved in Vda. de Pama vs. Pama, et al.: 9
... Considering the settled doctrine that an action for reconveyance of real property based upon constructive or implied trust prescribes in ten (10) years counted from the date adverse title is asserted by the possessor of the property (Diaz vs. Gorricho, 103 Phil. 261; Candelaria vs. Romero, 109 Phil. 100; J. M. Tuazon vs. Magdangal, 114 Phil. 42); that when respondent Guillermo Pama caused the registration on June 18, 1956 of the affidavit of adjudication declaring himself to be the sole heir of the late Mateo Pama and obtained Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-4006 in his own name, he thereby excluded petitioners from the estate of the deceased Mateo Pama and, consequently, set up a title adverse to them; that such registration constitutes constructive notice to petitioners of the respondent's adverse claim to the property (Carantes vs. Court of Appeals, 76 SCRA 514, 523; Gerona vs. de Guzman, 11 SCRA 153, 157); and it appearing that petitioners filed their complaint for reconveyance only on April 28, 1969, or twelve (12) years, ten (10) months and ten (10) days after their cause of action had accrued on June 18, 1956; this Court resolved to dismiss this petition and to affirm the questioned order dismissing petitioner's complaint ... 10

There is also evidence of record that as far back as 1961, private respondent refused to give any share in the produce of the land to petitioners; that in 1963 she mortgaged the property in her own name; and that in 1969, she leased the same to one Ramon Valera, without the petitioners taking preventive or retaliatory legal action. 11 The rule in this jurisdiction is that an action to enforce an implied trust may be barred not only by prescription but also by laches, in which case repudiation is not even required. 12 Whether the trust is resulting or constructive, its enforcement may be barred by laches. 13 Petitioners were, therefore, correctly faulted for their unjustified inaction. WHEREFORE, the judgment of the respondent Court is hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-22571 May 25, 1973 JOSEFINA VALDEZ, JAIME VALDEZ, ROGELIO ALMONTE, RAQUEL ALMONTE and RAUL ALMONTE, the latter two minors, represented in this action by their father, FRANCISCO ALMONTE, plaintiffs-appellees, -versusTEOFILA OLORGA, by herself and in representation of minor CARMEN VALDEZ and RENATO OLORGA, defendants-appellants. Salvador P. Socrates for plaintiffs-appellees. Perfecto de los Reyes and Clarito A. Demaala for defendants-appellants.

MAKALINTAL, J.: The present appeal was taken by the defendants directly to this Court by record on appeal filed way back in 1964. The case, however, was submitted for decision only on September 4, 1970. In a motion dated April 25, 1973, the defendants appellants prayed that decision herein be expedited. A reading of the brief of the appellants shows that most of the arguments advanced therein challenge the findings of fact made by the court a quo. As pointed out by the plaintiffs-appellees, such findings are no longer reviewable by this Court, its jurisdiction being limited to deciding purely legal questions. The following facts as stated in the decision appealed from may therefore be considered established: This is an action for partition filed by the living children and grandchildren of the late spouses Federico Valdez, Sr. and Juanita Batul against the heir and widow of Federico Valdez, Jr. The action concerns Lot No. 18, of Puerto Princesa Cadastre, covered by T.C.T. No. T-94 in the name of Federico Valdez, Jr. Federico Valdez, Sr. died in Manila in the year 1931 and his wife, Juanita Batul, died in 1939. The spouses left the following children as their heirs: (1) Avelina Olorga, who died in 1941, leaving as her heir co-defendant Renato Olorga; (2) Elisa Valdez-Almonte, who died in 1947, leaving Rogelio, Raquel and Raul, all surnamed Almonte, as her heirs; (3) the plaintiff Josefina Valdez; (4) Federico Valdez, Jr., who died in September, 1960, leaving as his heirs defendants Teofila Olorga, his wife, and Carmen Valdez, his daughter; and (5) Jaime Valdez, coplaintiff herein. In 1924, the spouses Federico Valdez, Sr. and Juanita Batul, bought Lot No. 18, the property now in dispute, from Dolores M. de Gutierrez for P500.00. In 1930, the old Valdez family, as vendees, occupied and lived in the premises of Lot No. 18. After the death of Federico Valdez, Sr., Juanita Batul, in

the year 1936, executed a contract of lease over a portion of Lot No. 18 in favor of the protestant church of Puerto Princesa, Exhibit "A". The same Juanita Batul leased in 1939 a portion of Lot No. 18 to Mr. Gregorio Quicho. The transfer of the lot in the name of Federico, Sr., was never done because the owner's original certificate of title was lost. Josefina Valdez and Federico Valdez, Jr. commissioned their cousin Concepcion Castro to negotiate with the Gutierrez family (Exhibit "C") in 1948 in order that the property in question may be transferred to them. It turned out that the Gutierrez family was asking for an additional amount of P2,500.00 (Exh. "D"). Mrs. Castro came back to Puerto Princess without having realized her mission. In the same year she went back to Manila with Federico Valdez, Jr., and Mr. Gregorio Quicho. The deed was executed for the amount of P2,200.00 which was given by Mr. Gregorio Quicho, as payment for back rentals and payment for the purchase of that portion of lot No. 18 which he was renting and occupying. In executing the deed of sale, EXHIBIT "I" , the name of Federico Valdez, Jr. appeared as the only vendee. This was done pursuant to the wishes of Mr. Quicho who advanced the money, in order that he could facilitate the deed of sale between him and the Valdezes, with the understanding that Federico Valdez, Jr. will hold the same in trust for his other brother and sisters (Testimony of Mrs. Castro). When Federico Valdez, Jr. was still living, he never attempted to exclude the herein plaintiffs from ownership of the land in question. Said plaintiffs have been in open continuous and uninterrupted possession of the premises they are occupying inside the lot in question long before the execution of the deed of sale (Exh. "I"). It was only after the death of Federico Valdez, Jr. that the widow Teofila Olorga tried to eject the plaintiffs. As clearly stated in the memorandum for the plaintiffs the following facts are undisputed: (1) That the land in question Lot No. 18 of the Puerto Princesa Cadastre, was originally purchased by the spouses Federico Valdez, Sr. and Juanita Batul from Dolores M. de Gutierrez for P500.00; (2) That the parties herein, plaintiffs and defendants alike, are all successors-ininterest of the spouses Federico Valdez, Sr., and Juanita Batul, either as forced or compulsory heirs or in representation thereof; (3) That the above-named spouses had been in open, public, peaceful and uninterrupted occupation and possession of Lot No. 18, the property in question, since the year 1930 or 1933;

(4) That in 1939, Mr. Gregorio Quicho rented a portion of the lot in question from Juanita Batul; (5) That Mr. Quicho advanced the amount of P2,200.00 partly as purchase price of the portion purchased by him, in the final execution of the deed of sale, Exhibit "I"; and (6) That a part of the property in question, Lot 18-B, is still registered in the name of Federico Valdez, Jr., under T.C.T. No. T-634, cancelling T.C.T. No. 75. The following facts, although not admitted by the defendants, were not disputed: (1) That the Valdez Family, in 1930 or 1933, entered into, possessed and occupied Lot 18, the property in question; (2) That Juanita Batul, in 1936, entered into a contract of lease (Exh. "A") with the Baptist Church of Puerto Princesa over a portion of Lot 18; (3) That in 1947, upon discovering that the land in question had not been transferred in the name of their parents, Josefina Valdez made efforts to have the said land transferred to them, and commissioned Mrs. Castro, together with Federico Valdez, Jr., to negotiate with the Gutierrez family for the purpose, which culminated in the execution of the deed of sale, Exhibit "I"; (4) That in the course of said negotiation undertaken by Mrs. Castro, Federico Valdez, Jr, was brought to Manila where the deed of sale was finally placed in his name alone, with the express understanding that he will hold the same in trust for his other brother and sisters; (5) That the placing of the deed of sale in the name of Federico Valdez, Jr. alone, instead of the "Heirs of Federico Valdez, Sr." or "Heirs of Juanita Batul" was done through the suggestion of Mr. Quicho who wanted to facilitate his own deed of sale over the portion that he purchased; (6) That at the time of the execution of the deed of sale (Exh. "I"), Valdez, Jr. was barely 21 years old, a sophomore student in the high school, and he, together with his wife, were without any lucrative trade or calling; (7) That Josefina Valdez and her co-plaintiffs had been in continuous, public, peaceful and uninterrupted possession and occupation of the premises in question long before the death of Valdez, Jr.; (8) That Valdez, Jr. never asserted, nor attempted to assert, during his lifetime, sole and exclusive ownership of the premises in question, against the herein plaintiffs; and

(9) That during the lifetime of Valdez, Jr. he sold a portion of the land in question and leased other portions thereof to private parties, but he did so with the consent and approval of her elder sister, Josefina Valdez. In this connection we have to consider also the offer of evidence by the plaintiffs as matters to be testified by Mr. Gregorio Quicho were he present and able to testify and which were admitted by the defendants, such that the presentation of Mr. Quicho was waived by the plaintiffs. The testimony of Mr. Quicho which would have been given by him if he were presented and which were admitted by the defendants are as follows: (1) That a deed of sale for a consideration of P500.00 was executed by the spouses Gutierrez in favor of the spouses Federico Valdez, Sr. and Juanita Batul, over Lot 18 of Puerto Princesa Cadastre, the very lot in question, in the year 1924; (2) That Mr. Quicho rented and occupied since 1939, a portion of Lot 18, the lot in question, from Juanita Batul; (3) That the amount of P2,200.00 which was paid to Dolores M. Gutierrez for the execution of the deed of sale, Exhibit "I", was delivered by Mr. Gregorio Quicho, for payment of unpaid back rentals and as advances for the purchase of the portion of Lot 18 which he finally acquired; (4) That Mr. Quicho was instrumental in having the deed of sale executed in the name of Federico Valdez, Jr. the portion which he wanted to acquire. The legal point raised by the appellants is that since the land in question was sold to the late Federico Valdez, Jr. in 1948 and the Transfer Certificate of Title, so he alleges, was issued in his name in 1950, the action had already prescribed when it was filed more than ten (10) years thereafter, or in 1962; that furthermore, from the date of the sale up to the time his death in 1960 he exercised exclusive ownership of the land. In other words the appellants claim both extinctive and acquisitive prescription. Both claims are belied by the facts as found by the court a quo, which held: (1.) that when the deed of sale was executed and the name of Federico Valdez, Jr. was made to appear therein as the only vendee, "this was done pursuant to the wishes of Mr. Quicho who advanced the money, in order that he could facilitate the deed of sale between him and the Valdezes, With the understanding that Federico Valdez, Jr. will hold the same in, trust for his other brother and sisters;" and (2) that when 'Federico Valdez, Jr. was still living, "he never attempted to exclude the herein plaintiffs from ownership of the land in question, (and) said plaintiffs have been in continuous and uninterrupted possession of the premises they are occupying inside the lot in question long before the execution of the deed of sale (Exh. "I"), (and) it was only after the death of Federico Valdez, Jr. (in 1960) that the widow, Teofila Olorga, tried to eject the plaintiffs." Given the antecedents of the property and the fact that its acquisition by Federico Valdez, Jr. was for the benefit not of himself alone but also of his brother and sisters, although for purposes of

convenience he was made to appear as the sole vendee, the juridical relation that arose among them was one of co-ownership, with the plaintiffs-appellees actually in possession of a portion of the property. Under Article 494 of the Civil Code, "No prescription shall run in favor of a coowner or co-heir against his co-owners or co-heirs so long as he expressly or impliedly recognizes the co-ownership." Insofar as the aspect of extinctive prescription referred to in this article is concerned, it is but a restatement of Article 1965 of the Spanish Civil Code, which provides: "As between co-heirs, co-owners, or proprietors of adjacent estates, the action to demand the partition of the inheritance or of the thing held in common, or the survey of the adjacent properties, does not prescribe." And from the standpoint of acquisitive prescription, or prescription of ownership, this Court has held in numerous decisions involving fiduciary relations such as those occupied by a trustee with respect to the cestui que trust that as a generalrule the former's possession is not adverse and therefore cannot ripen into a title by prescription. Adverse possession in such a case requires, the concurrence of the following-circumstances: (a) that the trustee has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui que trust; (b) that such, positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the cestui que trust and (c) that the evidence thereon should be clear and conclusive. * These circumstances are not present in this case. In view of the foregoing considerations the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed. With costs. Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra, JJ., concur