Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 236

CO-OWNERSHIP/PARTITION/POSSESSION

ARNELITO ADLAWAN, G.R. No. 161916


Petitioner,
Present:
Panganiban, C.J. (Chairman),
- versus - Ynares-Santiago,
Austria-Martinez,
Callejo, Sr., and
Chico-Nazario, JJ.
EMETERIO M. ADLAWAN and
NARCISA M. ADLAWAN, Promulgated:
Respondents.
January 20, 2006
x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

Assailed in this petition for review is the September 23, 2003 Decision [1] of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 74921 which set aside the September 13, 2002
Decision[2]of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 7, in Civil Case No.
CEB-27806, and reinstated the February 12, 2002 Judgment [3] of the Municipal Trial
Court (MTC) of Minglanilla, Metro Cebu, in Civil Case No. 392, dismissing petitioner
Arnelito Adlawans unlawful detainer suit against respondents Emeterio and Narcisa
Adlawan. Likewise questioned is the January 8, 2004 Resolution [4] of the Court of
Appeals which denied petitioners 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, [5] 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[6] 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. [7] 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[8] 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.
[9]

On the other hand, respondents Narcisa and Emeterio, 70 and 59 years of


age, respectively,[10] 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 [11] and the
ancestral house standing thereon was owned by Ramon and their mother, Oligia
Maacap Adlawan. The spouses had nine [12]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.[13] 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,[14] 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 Dominadors signature at the back of petitioners
birth certificate was forged, hence, the latter is not an heir of Dominador and has no
right to claim ownership of Lot 7226. [15] They argued that even if petitioner is indeed
Dominadors acknowledged illegitimate son, his right to succeed is doubtful because
Dominador was survived by his wife, Graciana. [16]
On February 12, 2002, the MTC dismissed the complaint holding that the
establishment of petitioners filiation and the settlement of the estate of Dominador

are conditions precedent to the accrual of petitioners 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 plaintiffs cause of action, the above-entitled case is
hereby Ordered DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.[17]
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. Defendants-appellees are directed to restore to plaintiffappellant 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.[18]
Meanwhile, the RTC granted petitioners motion for execution pending
appeal[19] 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. [20] 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 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. [21] 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. [22]

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.[23]
Petitioners 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.[24] By intestate succession, Graciana and petitioner
became co-owners of Lot 7226.[25] 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).[26] 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.
[27]

The renowned civilist, Professor Arturo M. Tolentino, explained


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 deemed to
be instituted for the benefit of all. If the action is for the benefit of
the plaintiff alone, such that he claims possession for himself
and not for the co-ownership, the action will not prosper.
(Emphasis added)[28]
In Baloloy v. Hular,[29] respondent filed a complaint for quieting of title
claiming exclusive ownership of the property, but the evidence showed that
respondent has co-owners over the property. In dismissing the complaint for want of
respondents authority to file the case, the Court held that
Under Article 487 of the New Civil Code, any of the co-owners
may bring an action in ejectment. This article covers all kinds of
actions for the recovery of possession, including anaccion
publiciana and a reinvidicatory action. A co-owner may bring such an
action without the necessity of joining all the other co-owners as coplaintiffs because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of
all. Any judgment of the court in favor of the co-owner will benefit the
others but if such judgment is adverse, the same cannot prejudice the
rights of the unimpleaded co-owners. If the action is for the benefit of
the plaintiff alone who claims to be the sole owner and entitled to the

possession thereof, the action will not prosper unless he impleads the
other co-owners who are indispensable parties.
In this case, the respondent alone filed the complaint, claiming
sole ownership over the subject property and praying that he be
declared the sole owner thereof. There is no proof that the other coowners had waived their rights over the subject property or conveyed
the same to the respondent or such co-owners were aware of the case
in the trial court. The trial court rendered judgment declaring the
respondent as the sole owner of the property and entitled to its
possession, to the prejudice of the latters siblings. Patently then, the
decision of the trial court is erroneous.
Under Section 7, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, the respondent
was mandated to implead his siblings, being co-owners of the property,
as parties. The respondent failed to comply with the rule. It must,
likewise, be stressed that the Republic of the Philippines is also an
indispensable party as defendant because the respondent sought the
nullification of OCT No. P-16540 which was issued based on Free Patent
No. 384019. Unless the State is impleaded as party-defendant, any
decision of the Court would not be binding on it. 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. The absence of the respondents siblings, as parties,
rendered all proceedings subsequent to the filing thereof, including the
judgment of the court, ineffective for want of authority to act, not only
as to the absent parties but even as to those present. [30]
In the instant case, 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- adjudication over the
disputed property. It is clear therefore that 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 petitioners 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[31] and will thus be petitioners 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. InResuena v. Court of Appeals, [32] and Sering v. Plazo,[33] the co-owners who
filed the ejectment case did not represent themselves as the exclusive owner of the
property. InCelino v. Heirs of Alejo and Teresa Santiago,[34] the complaint for quieting
of title was brought in behalf of the co-owners precisely to recover lots owned in
common.[35]Similarly in Vencilao v. Camarenta,[36] 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 coownership 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) [37]
Clearly, the said cases find no application here because petitioners 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. [38]
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 coowner to file the instant case. Justice dictates that respondents who are now in the
twilight years of their life be granted 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
petitioners complaint in Civil Case No. 392, and its January 8, 2004 Resolution,
are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
PAZ GALVEZ, CARLOS TAM, and
TYCOON PROPERTIES, INC.,

G.R. No. 157954

Petitioners,
Present:

- versus -

PANGANIBAN, C.J.
Chairperson,
YNARES-SANTIAGO,

HON. COURT OF APPEALS and


PORFIRIO GALVEZ,

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

Respondents.

CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.

CALLEJO, SR., and

Promulgated:

March 24, 2006


x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

The factual antecedents of this case reveal that Timotea F. Galvez died intestate
on 28 April 1965.[1] She left behind her children Ulpiano and Paz Galvez. Ulpiano,
who

died

on24

July

1959,[2] predeceased Timotea and

was

survived

by

his

son, Porfirio Galvez. Timotea left a parcel of land situated at Pagdaraoan, San
Fernando, La Union, covered by Tax Declaration No. 39645 [3] and more particularly
described as follows:

A parcel of unirrigated riceland situated at Brgy. Pagdaraoan,


San Fernando, La Union under Tax Declaration No. 39645, series of
1957, with an area of 4,304.5 square meters, more or less bounded on
the North by Valentin and Isidoro Sobrepea; on the East by
Nicolas Ducusin; on the South by Victor Ducusin; and on the West by
the National Highway.[4]

Considering that all the other compulsory heirs of Timotea already received
their

respective

shares,[5] the

property

passed

by

succession,

both

to Timoteas daughter, PazGalvez, and to the formers grandson, Porfirio, the latter
succeeding by right of representation as the son of Ulpiano.

Porfirio Galvez was surprised to discover that on 4 May 1970,[6] Paz Galvez executed
an affidavit of adjudication stating that she is the true and lawful owner of the said
property. Tax Declarations No. 15749[7] and No. 12342[8] were then issued in the
name of Paz Galvez. On 22 June 1992, without the knowledge and consent
of Porfirio Galvez, Paz Galvez sold the property to Carlos Tam for a consideration of
Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) by way of a Deed of Absolute Sale. [9] Carlos Tam
thereafter filed an application for registration of said parcel of land under Land
Registration Case No. 2278 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando, La
Union. On 21 January 1994, Original Certificate of Title No. 0-2602 of the Registry of
Deeds of San Fernando, La Union, was issued in the name of Carlos Tam.
[10]

Subsequently, on 27 September 1994, Carlos Tam sold the property to Tycoon

Properties, Inc. through a Deed of Absolute Sale executed by the former in favor of
the latter.[11] As a result, the title of Carlos Tam over the property was cancelled and
a new one, Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-40390 [12] was issued in favor of
Tycoon Properties, Inc.

On 12 May 1994, Porfirio Galvez filed Civil Case No. 4895 before the RTC,
Branch 26, of San Fernando, La Union, for Legal Redemption with Damages and
Cancellation of Documents[13] against Paz Galvez and Carlos Tam. The Complaint
was later amended to implead as additional defendant, Tycoon Properties, Inc.
[14]

When Tycoon Properties, Inc. filed its Answer, it also filed a cross-claim against

Carlos Tam. In a decision[15] dated 15 December 1999, the trial court held:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby


rendered as follows:

1.

declaring null and void the Affidavit of


Adjudication executed by defendant PAZ GALVEZ
dated May 4, 1970;

2.

declaring null and void the Deed of Absolute


Sale over the property originally covered by Tax
Declaration No. 39645 executed by PAZ GALVEZ in
favor of CARLOS TAM;

3.

the Original Certificate of Title No. 0-2602, in


the name of CARLOS TAM be considered cancelled;

4.

The Deed of Sale between CARLOS TAM and


TYCOON PROPERTIES, Inc. is hereby ordered
cancelled with Transfer Certificate of Title No. T40390, being null and void;

5.

That CARLOS TAM shall receive from the


Clerk of Court, San Fernando City, La Union the
amount of Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) pesos, as
redemption of the property pursuant to law;

6.

That the property covered by Transfer


Certificate
of
Title
No.
T-40390,
be reconveyed (whole
property)
to
PORFIRIO
GALVEZ, he having redeemed one-half () of the
property from CARLOS TAM and other half of the
property belongs to him as co-heir of TIMOTEA
FLORES GALVEZ.

7.

Defendant PAZ GALVEZ and CARLOS TAM


shall be liable solidarily for the actual damages of
the plaintiff in the amount of Ten Thousand
(P10,000.00) pesos as well as moral damages in
the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos,
together with attorney's fees in the amount of Ten
Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos acceptance fee and
Five Hundred (P500.00) per appearance fee. [16]

Petitioners Paz Galvez, Carlos Tam and Tycoon Properties, Inc. appealed the decision
to the Court of Appeals.[17] In a decision of the Court of Appeals dated 28 August
2002,[18] the

appellate

court

resolved

to

affirm

the

decision

of

the

trial

court. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied in a resolution
dated 14 April 2003.[19]

Not contented with the decision of the Court of Appeals, petitioners are now before
this Court via Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

Petitioners

Carlos

Memorandum

[20]

Tam

and

Tycoon

Properties,

Inc.

separately

filed

but raised the same issues to wit:

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT REFUSED TO


HOLD THAT RESPONDENT'S CLAIM OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTY,
WHICH IS BASED ON AN IMPLIED TRUST, HAS ALREADY PRESCRIBED
BECAUSE THE ACTION WAS FILED 24 YEARS AFER PETITIONER
REPUDIATED THE SAID TRUST.

II

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO


RECOGNIZE THAT RESPONDENT'S CLAIM IS ALREADY BARRED BY
LACHES BECAUSE HE FAILED TO ASSERT HIS ALLEGED RIGHT FOR
ALMOST TWENTY FOUR (24) YEARS.

their

III

THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT


PETITIONERS [CARLOS TAM AND] TYCOON PROPERTIES ARE BUYERS IN
GOOD FAITH AND FOR VALUE AND HAS THE RIGHT TO RELY ON THE
FACE OF THE TITLE.[21]

In assailing the decisions of the trial and appellate courts, petitioners cite Article
1451[22] of the Civil Code and claim that an implied or constructive trust which
prescribes in ten years, was established between Paz Galvez and Porfirio Galvez. It
is petitioners unflinching stand that the implied trust was repudiated when
Paz Galvez executed an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication on 4 May 1970, registered the
same before the Register of Deeds of La Union on 4 June 1970 and secured a new
tax declaration in her name. From 4 May 1970to the time the complaint was filed
on 12 May 1994, 24 years have passed, hence, the action is clearly barred both by
prescription and laches.

We find the petition bereft of merit.

Ostensibly, this case is governed by the rules on co-ownership [23] since both
Paz Galvez and Porfirio Galvez are obviously co-owners of the disputed property
having inherited the same from a common ancestor. Article 494 of the Civil Code
provides that [a] prescription shall not run in favor of a co-owner or co-heir against
his co-owners or co-heirs as long as he expressly or impliedly recognizes the coownership.

It is a fundamental principle that a co-owner cannot acquire by prescription the


share of the other co-owners, absent any clear repudiation of the co-ownership.

[24]

In Santos v. Santos,[25] citing the earlier case of Adille v. Court of Appeals,[26] this

Court found occasion to rule that:

Prescription, as a mode of terminating a relation of co-ownership, must


have been preceded by repudiation (of the co-ownership). The act of
repudiation, in turn, is subject to certain conditions:(1) a co-owner
repudiates the co-ownership; (2) such an act of repudiation is
clearly made known to the other co-owners; (3) the evidence
thereon is clear and conclusive; and (4) he has been in possession
through open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession of the
property for the period required by law.

For title to prescribe in favor of a co-owner there must be a clear showing that he
has repudiated the claims of the other co-owners and the latter has been
categorically advised of the exclusive claim he is making to the property in
question. The

rule

requires

clear

communicated to the other co-owners.

repudiation
[27]

of

the

co-ownership

duly

It is only when such unequivocal notice

has been given that the period of prescription will begin to run against the other coowners and ultimately divest them of their own title if they do not seasonably
defend it.[28]

To sustain a plea of prescription, it must always clearly appear that one who was
originally a joint owner has repudiated the claims of his co-owners, and that his coowners were apprised or should have been apprised of his claim of adverse and
exclusive ownership before the alleged prescriptive period began to run. [29]

In Salvador v. Court of Appeals,[30] it was held that the possession of a co-owner is


like that of a trustee and shall not be regarded as adverse to the other co-owner but
in fact beneficial to all of them.

The case of Huang v. Court of Appeals[31] is instructive on the creation of trust


relationships.

Trust is a fiduciary relationship with respect to property which involves


the existence of equitable duties imposed upon the holder of the title
to the property to deal with it for the benefit of another. A person who
establishes a trust is called the trustor; one in whom confidence is
reposed as regards property for the benefit of another person is known
as the trustee; and the person for whose benefit the trust has been
created is referred to as the beneficiary or cestui que trust. Trust is
either express or implied. Express trust is created by the intention of
the trustor or of the parties. Implied trust comes into being by
operation of law. The latter kind is either constructive or resulting
trust. A constructive trust is imposed where a person holding title to
property is subject to an equitable duty to convey it to another on the
ground that he would be unjustly enriched if he were permitted to
retain it. The duty to convey the property arises because it was
acquired through fraud, duress, undue influence or mistake, or through
breach of a fiduciary duty, or through the wrongful disposition of
anothers property. On the other hand, a resulting trust arises where a
person makes or causes to be made a disposition of property under
circumstances which raise an inference that he does not intend that
the person taking or holding the property should have the beneficial
interest in the property. It is founded on the presumed intention of the
parties, and as a general rule, it arises where, and only where such
may be reasonably presumed to be the intention of the parties, as
determined from the facts and circumstances existing at the time of
the transaction out of which it is sought to be established.

Acts which may be considered adverse to strangers may not be considered adverse
insofar as co-owners are concerned. Thus, Salvador v. Court of Appeals reiterated
what acts constitute proof of exclusive ownership amounting to repudiation,
emphasizing that the act must be borne out of clear and convincing evidence of
acts of possession whichunequivocably amounts to an ouster or deprivation of the

right of the other co-owner. The case of Pangan v. Court of Appeals[32] enumerated
the following as constituting acts of repudiation:

Filing by a trustee of an action in court against the trustor to quiet title


to property, or for recovery of ownership thereof, held in possession by
the former, may constitute an act of repudiation of the trust reposed
on him by the latter.

The issuance of the certificate of title would constitute an open and


clear repudiation of any trust, and the lapse of more than 20 years,
open and adverse possession as owner would certainly suffice to vest
title by prescription.

An action for the reconveyance of land based on implied or


constructive trust prescribes within 10 years. And it is from the date of
the issuance of such title that the effective assertion of adverse title
for purposes of the statute of limitation is counted.

The prescriptive period may only be counted from the time petitioners
repudiated the trust relation in 1955 upon the filing of the complaint
for recovery of possession against private respondents so that the
counterclaim of the private respondents contained in their amended
answer wherein they asserted absolute ownership of the disputed
realty by reason of the continuous and adverse possession of the same
is well within the 10-year prescriptive period.

There is clear repudiation of a trust when one who is an apparent


administrator of property causes the cancellation of the title thereto in
the name of the apparent beneficiaries and gets a new certificate of
title in his own name.

It is only when the defendants, alleged co-owners of the property in


question, executed a deed of partition and on the strength thereof
obtained the cancellation of the title in the name of their predecessor

and the issuance of a new one wherein they appear as the new owners
of a definite area each, thereby in effect denying or repudiating the
ownership of one of the plaintiffs over his alleged share in the entire
lot, that the statute of limitations started to run for the purposes of the
action instituted by the latter seeking a declaration of the existence of
the co-ownership and of their rights thereunder.

In this case, we find that Paz Galvez effected no clear and evident repudiation of the
co-ownership. The execution of the affidavit of self-adjudication does not constitute
such sufficient act of repudiation as contemplated under the law as to effectively
exclude Porfirio Galvez from the property. This Court has repeatedly expressed its
disapproval over the obvious bad faith of a co-heir feigning sole ownership of the
property to the exclusion of the other heirs essentially stating that one who acts in
bad faith should not be permitted to profit from it to the detriment of others. In the
cases of Adille[33] and Pangan[34] where, as in this case, a co-heir was excluded from
his legal share by the other co-heir who represented himself as the only heir, this
Court held that the act of exclusion does not constitute repudiation.

On the issue of prescription, while admittedly prescription operates as a bar to


recovery of property, the ten-year period commenced to run from date of
registration. In this case, Carlos Tam obtained his title to the property on 21 January
1994. Since the complaint of Porfirio Galvez was filed on 12 May 1994, the same
was well within the ten-year period to file the action.

On the matter of laches, it is hornbook doctrine that laches is a creation of equity


and its application is controlled by equitable considerations. Laches cannot be used
to defeat justice or perpetrate fraud and injustice. [35] Neither should its application
be used to prevent the rightful owners of a property from recovering what has been
fraudulently registered in the name of another. [36] The equitable remedy of laches is,
therefore, unavailing in this case.

Finally, petitioners claim that if the sale would be nullified, the nullification should
extend only to the one-half share of Porfirio Galvez[37] but not to the share of
Paz Galvez, who, by her overt act of selling the property, manifested her intention to
dispose of her part.

Notably, Porfirio Galvezs complaint was captioned legal redemption with damages,
cancellation of documents and reconveyance of share.[38] In his prayer, he sought
for thereconveyance of his one-half share in the property and at the same time be
subrogated to the other half pertaining to Paz Galvez and sold to Carlos Tam after
reimbursement of the amount which the latter paid for the property.

The pertinent provisions of the Civil Code on legal redemption are as follows:

ART. 1619. Legal redemption is the right to be subrogated, upon the same terms
and conditions stipulated in the contract, in the place of one who acquires a
thing by purchase or dation in payment, or by any other transaction whereby
ownership is transmitted by onerous title.

ART. 1620. A co-owner of a thing may exercise the right of redemption in case the
shares of all the other co-owners or of any of them, are sold to a third person.
If the price of the alienation is grossly excessive, the redemptioner shall pay
only a reasonable one.

Should two or more co-owners desire to exercise the right of redemption,


they may only do so in proportion to the share they may respectively have in
the thing owned in common.

In the case of Hermoso v. Court of Appeals,[39] this Court, in interpreting the


provision of the law on legal redemption, held:

The purpose of Article 1067 (of the old Civil Code, now Article 1088 of
the present Civil Code) is to keep strangers to the family out of a joint
ownership, if, as is often the case, the presence of outsiders be
undesirable and the other heir or heirs be willing and in a position to
repurchase the share sold (De Jesus vs. Manlapus, 81 Phil. 144). While
there should be no question that an heir may dispose his right before
partition (Rivero vs. Serrano [CA] 46 O.G. 642; Wenceslao vs. Calimon,
46 Phil. 906; Hernaez vs. Hernaez, 32 Phil. 214), a co-heir would have
had to pay only the price for which the vendee acquired it
(Hernaez vs. Hernaez, Ibid.).

It is a one-way street. It is always in favor of the redemptioner since he


can compel the vendee to sell to him but he cannot be compelled by
the vendee to buy the alienated property.

In another case, [40] this Court reiterated that:

Legal redemption is in the nature of a privilege created by law partly


for reasons of public policy and partly for the benefit and convenience
of the redemptioner, to afford him a way out of what might be a
disagreeable or [an] inconvenient association into which he has been
thrust. (10 Manresa, 4th Ed., 317.) It is intended to minimize coownership. The law grants a co-owner the exercise of the said right of
redemption when the shares of the other owners are sold to a third
person.

The rule on redemption is liberally construed in favor of the original owner of the
property and the policy of the law is to aid rather than defeat him in the exercise of
his right of redemption.[41]

Thus, petitioners cannot be accommodated in this respect and we agree with the
trial court when it held:
The provision of Art. 1088 of the Civil Code of the Philippines is very
clear on the matter.

Art. 1088, provides: Should any of the heirs sell his


hereditary rights to a stranger before the partition, any or
all the co-heirs may be subrogated to the rights of the
purchaser by reimbursing him for the price of the sale,
provided they do so within the period of one (1) month
from the time they were notified in writing of the sale by
the vendor.

There was no written notice sent to Porfirio Galvez by Paz Galvez when
she sold her share over the land to Carlos Tam. Porfirio Galvez only
discovered on May 12, 1994 that the land was sold to Carlos Tam. Art.
1620, Civil Code of the Philippines, provides:

Art. 1620. A co-owner of a thing may exercise the right of


redemption in case the share of all the other co-owners or
any of them are sold to a third person. If the price of the
alienation is grossly excessive, the redemptioner shall pay
only a reasonable one.

No written notice of the sale was given by Paz Galvez (vendor)


to Porfirio Galvez, the co-owner as required under Art. 1623 of the Civil
Code. The written notice is mandatory. Hence, the right to redeem
commenced when plaintiff sought to exercise it by instituting the
complaint in the instant case on June 12, 1994. The complaint of legal
redemption may be filed even several years after the consummation of

sale (Zosima Verdad vs. Court of Appeals, et al.; G.R. No. 10972, April
29, 1996).[42]

As to petitioners Carlos Tam and Tycoon Properties, Inc.s claim that they are buyers
in good faith, same fails to persuade.

A purchaser in good faith and for value is one who buys the property without notice
that some other person has a right to or interest in such property and pays its fair
price before he has notice of the adverse claims and interest of another person in
the same property. So it is that the honesty of intention which constitutes good faith
implies a freedom from knowledge of circumstances which ought to put a person on
inquiry.[43]

Suffice it to state that both the trial and appellate courts found otherwise as Tam did
not exert efforts to determine the previous ownership of the property in
question[44] and relied only on the tax declarations in the name of Paz Galvez.[45] It
must be noted that Carlos Tam received a copy of the summons and the complaint
on 22 September 1994.This notwithstanding, he sold the property to Tycoon
Properties, Inc. on 27 September 1994. Significantly, Carlos Tam is also an owner of
Tycoon Properties, Inc. to the extent of 45%. [46] A notice of lis pendens dated 8 July
1997 filed with the Registry of Deeds of the Province of La Union was inscribed on
TCT No. T- 40390.[47] Despite the inscription, Tycoon Properties, Inc. mortgaged the
land to Far East Bank and Trust Company for the sum of P11,172,600.[48] All these
attendant circumstances negate petitioners claim of good faith.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 28


August 2002 and its Resolution dated 14 April 2003 are AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
TINING RESUENA, ALEJANDRA GARAY, LORNA RESUENA, ELEUTERIO
RESUENA, EUTIQUIA ROSARIO and UNISIMA RESUENA, petitioners,
vs.HON. COURT OF APPEALS, 11th DIVISION and JUANITO BORROMEO,
SR., respondents.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
This is a Rule 45 Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court
of Appeals affirming that of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu, [2] which in turn
reversed that of the Metropolitan Trial Court (mtc) of Talisay, Cebu. [3]
The facts are as follows:
Private respondent, the late Juanito Borromeo, Sr. [4] (hereinafter, respondent), is
the co-owner and overseer of certain parcels of land located in Pooc, Talisay, Cebu,
designated as Lots Nos. 2587 and 2592 of the Talisay-Manglanilla Estate.
Respondent owns six-eighths (6/8) of Lot No. 2587 while the late spouses Inocencio
Bascon and Basilisa Maneja (Spouses Bascon) own two-eights (2/8) thereof. On the
other hand, Lot No. 2592 is owned in common by respondent and the heirs of one
Nicolas Maneja. However, the proportion of their undivided shares was not
determined a quo.
Prior to the institution of the present action, petitioners Tining Resuena,
Alejandra Garay, Lorna Resuena, Eleuterio Resuena, and Unisima Resuena resided in
the upper portion of Lot No. 2587, allegedly under the acquiescence of the Spouses
Bascon and their heir, Andres Bascon. On the other hand, petitioner Eutiquia Rosario
occupied a portion of Lot No. 2592, allegedly with the permission of the heirs of
Nicolas Maneja, one of the original co-owners of Lot No. 2587. Respondent claims
that all petitioners have occupied portions of the subject property by virtue of his
own liberality.
Respondent developed portions of Lots Nos. 2587 and 2592 occupied by him
into a resort known as the Borromeo Beach Resort. In his desire to expand and
extend the facilities of the resort that he established on the subject properties,
respondent demanded that petitioners vacate the property. Petitioners, however,
refused to vacate their homes.
On 16 February 1994, respondent filed a Complaint[5] for ejectment with the MTC
against the petitioners. After a summary proceeding, the MTC, in a Decision[6] dated
10 October 1994, found that Lots Nos. 2587 and 2592 were owned in common by

respondent with other persons. The MTC ruled that respondent did not have a
preferential right of possession over the portions occupied by petitioners, since Lots
Nos. 2587 and 2592 were not yet partitioned nor the disputed portions assigned to
respondent as his determinate share. Thus, the MTC held that respondent had no
right to evict petitioners therefrom. Consequently, respondents Complaint was
dismissed.
Notably, the MTC held that respondent and the spouses Bascon were the owners
in common of Lot No. 2587 and their respective shares had not yet been
determined by partition as proven by a testimony given by respondent in Civil Case
No. R-14600, viz:
Q. And the participation there of Inocencio Bascon is 2/8 of the said parcel
of land?
A. Yes sir.
Q. And until the present that parcel of land is undivided?
A. It is not yet partitioned, but during the time of Basilisa Maneja we had
already made some indications of the portions that we came to occupy.
Q. That is the parcel of land where you have your beach resort?
A. Yes, sir; and that was our agreement, verbally, that with respect to the portion of
the land towards the sea-shore it will be my share and that portion of the land
towards the upper part will be theirs.[7]
On appeal, the RTC reversed the Decision of the MTC. It held that Article 487 of
the Civil Code, which allows any one of the co-owners to bring an action in
ejectment, may successfully be invoked by the respondent because, in a sense, a
co-owner is the owner and possessor of the whole, and that the suit for ejectment is
deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all co-owners. [8] The RTC also ruled that
assuming petitioners were authorized to occupy a portion of the co-owned property,
they could resume this occupation when the properties shall have been partitioned
and allocated to the ones who gave them permission to reside therein. It thus held:
WHEREFORE, judgment of the lower court is hereby reversed and the defendants
are hereby directed to vacate the premises in question without prejudice to their
going back to the land after partition shall have been effected by the coheirs and/or
co-owners among themselves but to the specific portion or portions adjudicated to
the person or persons who allegedly authorized them to occupy their portions by
tolerance.[9]
The Court of Appeals affirmed the Decision of the RTC; hence, this petition which
involves the following assignment of errors: [10]

1. That with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of jurisdiction, the


honorable eleventh division of the court of appeals erred in NOT APPLYING and/or in
NOT DECLARING private respondent juanito borromeo estopped in filing this
ejectment case against the herein six (6) petitioners.
2. That with grave abuse of discretion, the honorable eleventh division of the court
of appeals erred in incorrectly applying the statute of frauds, considering that the
verbal agreement entered into by and between spouses inocencio bascon and
basilisa maneja on the one hand and juanito borromeo on the other more than
twenty (20) years ago today, was already an EXECUTED CONTRACT.
3. That with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of jurisdiction, the
honorable eleventh division of the court of appeals erred in ignoring outright article
493 of the new civil code of the philippines, considering that the six (6) petitioners
are only ASSIGNEES, pure and simple, of co-owners spouses ignacio bascon and
basilisa maneja and/or andres bascon, the adopted son of the said spouses.
4. That granting arguendo that the herein six (6) petitioners have to be ejected, the
eleventh division of the court of appeals erred in NOT remanding this case to the
court of origin for the reception of evidence for damages, pursuant to and in
accordance with art. 546, new civil code.
The petition cannot prosper.
At the outset it must be stated that petitioners ground their petition on
respondents testimony in Civil Case No. R-14600 that he had agreed with co-owner,
Basilisa Maneja, on the portions they each were to occupy in Lot No. 2587 prior to
the partition of the property. However, respondents testimony and, consequently,
the agreement alluded to therein pertains solely to Lot No. 2587which, admittedly,
all of petitioners occupy, save for Eutiquia Rosario who occupies Lot No. 2592. No
argument was presented in this petition as regards the latters claim. Having no
basis to review Eutiquia Rosarios claim to be allowed to continue in her occupation
of Lot No. 2592, this Court maintains the holding of the RTC on this matter, as
affirmed by the Court of Appeals, that respondent has the right to eject petitioner
Eutiquia Rosario from Lot No. 2592.
With regard to the other five (5) petitioners, the Court notes that their first three
assignments of errors are interrelated and built on each other. Petitioners allege
that respondents testimony in Civil Case No. R-14600, expressing that the upper
two-eighths (2/8) portion of Lot No. 2587 would be occupied by Basilisa Maneja,
constituting as it does a waiver of said portion, has estopped respondent from
claiming the portion. Basilisa Maneja and her husband allegedly relied on this
agreement when the spouses assigned the upper portion of Lot No. 2587 to
petitioners. Moreover, petitioners claim that their occupation of the upper portion of
Lot No. 2587 had consummated the verbal agreement between respondent and
Basilisa Maneja and brought agreement beyond the purview of the Statute of
Frauds.

A careful perusal of the foregoing issues reveals that petitioners assumed the
following as proven facts: (1) respondent had indicated to Basilisa Maneja the
portions they were to occupy in Lot No. 2587; and (2) the Spouses Bascon assigned
to petitioners their portions of Lot No. 2587. By claiming these as the bases for their
assignment of errors, petitioners in essence are raising questions of fact. [11]
The issues raised by petitioners on the application of estoppel, statute of frauds,
and the assignment of properties owned in common in their favor, while ostensibly
raising questions of law, invite this Court to rule on questions of fact. This runs
counter to the settled rule that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for
review before the Court and the same must be distinctly set forth. [12]
It is not the function of this Court to weigh anew the evidence already passed
upon by the Court of Appeals for such evidence is deemed final and conclusive and
may not be reviewed on appeal. A departure from the general rule may be
warranted, among others, where the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are
contrary to the findings and conclusions of the trial court, or when the same is
unsupported by the evidence on record. [13]
In the instant case, the RTC and the Court of Appeals rendered judgment merely
on questions of law as applied to the facts as determined by the MTC. Consequently
this Court must proceed on the same set of facts without assuming, as petitioners
have done, the veracity of claims which have been considered, but not accepted as
facts, by the courts below.
Guided by the foregoing, this Court finds in this case that filtered of the muddle
from petitioners assignment of errors, it is unmistakable that respondent has a right
to eject the petitioners from Lot No. 2587.
Article 487 of the Civil Code, which provides simply that [a]ny one of the coowners may bring an action in ejectment, is a categorical and an unqualified
authority in favor of respondent to evict petitioners from the portions of Lot. No.
2587.
This provision is a departure from Palarca v. Baguisi,[14] which held that an action
for ejectment must be brought by all the co-owners. Thus, a co-owner may bring an
action to exercise and protect the rights of all. When the action is brought by one
co-owner for the benefit of all, a favorable decision will benefit them; but an
adverse decision cannot prejudice their rights. [15]
Respondents action for ejectment against petitioners is deemed to be instituted
for the benefit of all co-owners of the property [16] since petitioners were not able to
prove that they are authorized to occupy the same.
Petitioners lack of authority to occupy the properties, coupled with respondents
right under Article 487, clearly settles respondents prerogative to eject petitioners
from Lot No. 2587. Time and again, this Court has ruled that persons who occupy

the land of another at the latter's tolerance or permission, without any contract
between them, are necessarily bound by an implied promise that they will vacate
the same upon demand, failing in which a summary action for ejectment is the
proper remedy against them.[17]
Petitioners pose the strange claim that respondent had estopped himself from
filing an ejectment case against petitioners by his aforequoted testimony in Civil
Case No. R-14600. Such testimony is irrelevant to the case at bar, as it does nothing
to strengthen the claim of petitioners that they had a right to occupy the properties.
This testimony merely indicates that there might have been an agreement between
the Spouses Bascon and Borromeo as to which of them would occupy what portion
of Lot No. 2587. Yet this averment hardly establishes a definitive partition, or
moreover, any right of petitioners to dwell in any portion of Lot No. 2587. Besides,
[e]stoppel is effective only as between the parties thereto or their successors in
interest; thus, only the spouses Bascon or their successors in interest may invoke
such estoppel. A stranger to a transaction is neither bound by, nor in a position to
take advantage of, an estoppel arising therefrom. [18]
For the same reason, it is of no moment whether indeed, as petitioners claim,
there was a verbal contract between Basilisa Maneja and Borromeo when the latter
indicated the portions they each were to occupy in Lot No. 2587. Such verbal
contract, assuming there was one, does not detract from the fact that the common
ownership over Lot No. 2587 remained inchoate and undivided, thus casting doubt
and rendering purely speculative any claim that the Spouses Bascon somehow had
the capacity to assign or transmit determinate portions of the property to
petitioners.
Thus, in order that the petition may acquire any whiff of merit, petitioners are
obliged to establish a legal basis for their continued occupancy of the properties.
The mere tolerance of one of the co-owners, assuming that there was such, does
not suffice to establish such right. Tolerance in itself does not bear any legal fruit,
and it can easily be supplanted by a sudden change of heart on the part of the
owner. Petitioners have not adduced any convincing evidence that they have
somehow become successors-in-interest of the Spouses Bascon, or any of the
owners of Lot No. 2587.
Indeed, there is no writing presented to evidence any claim of ownership or
right to occupancy to the subject properties. There is no lease contract that would
vest on petitioners the right to stay on the property. As discussed by the Court of
Appeals,[19] Article 1358 of the Civil Code provides that acts which have for their
object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over
immovable property must appear in a public instrument. How then can this Court
accept the claim of petitioners that they have a right to stay on the subject
properties, absent any document which indubitably establishes such right?
Assuming that there was any verbal agreement between petitioners and any of the
owners of the subject lots, Article 1358 grants a coercive power to the parties by
which they can reciprocally compel the documentation of the agreement. [20]

Thus, the appellate court correctly appreciated the absence of any document or
any occupancy right of petitioners as a negation of their claim that they were
allowed by the Spouses Bascon to construct their houses thereon and to stay
thereon until further notice. On this note, this Court will no longer belabor
petitioners allegation that their occupation of Lot No. 2587 is justified pursuant to
the alleged but unproven permission of the Spouses Bascon.
All six (6) petitioners claim the right to be reimbursed necessary expenses for
the cost of constructing their houses in accordance with Article 546 of the Civil
Code.[21] It is well-settled that while the Article allows full reimbursement of useful
improvements and retention of the premises until reimbursement is made, applies
only to a possessor in good faith, i.e., one who builds on land with the belief that he
is the owner thereof. Verily, persons whose occupation of a realty is by sheer
tolerance of its owners are not possessors in good faith. [22]
The lower courts have made a common factual finding that petitioners are
occupying portions of Lots No. 2587 and 2592 by mere tolerance. Thus, petitioners
have no right to get reimbursed for the expenses they incurred in erecting their
houses thereon.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is DENIED and the Decision of
the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
SI V. CA
342 SCRA 653
FACTS:
Escolastica conveyed a parcel of land to her three sons. This is evidenced by three
deeds of sale. One of the sons then sold a part of the land to spouses Si. Jose and
his wife then sought to annul the sale alleging the co-ownership over the land.

HELD:
After the physical division of the lot among the co-owners, the community
ownership is terminated, and the right of preemption or redemption for each other
was no longer available. There is no co-ownership when the different portions
owned by the different people are already concretely determined and separately
identifiable,
even
if
not
yet
technically
described.
G.R. No. 122249. January 29, 2004]

REYNALDO, TELESFORO, REMEDIOS, ALFREDO and BELEN, all surnamed


AGUIRRE, VICENTA, HORACIO and FLORENCIO, all surnamed
MAGTIBAY and LEONILA, CECILIA, ANTONIO, and VENANCIO, all
surnamed MEDRANO, and ZOSIMA QUIAMBAO, petitioners, vs. COURT
OF APPEALS and ELIAS, JOSE, ARSENIA and ROGELIO, all surnamed
BALITAAN, and MARIA ROSALES, respondents.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court seeking the reversal of the Decision [1] dated July 26, 1995 rendered by the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 42350 which set aside the Decision [2] dated April
28, 1992 of the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City (Branch 2) in Civil Case No.
202,[3] and declared private respondents Heirs of Tiburcio Balitaan, as owners of the
parcel of unregistered land with an approximate area of 1,695 square meters,
located at Aplaya, Bauan, Batangas.
The facts of the case are as follows:
In his lifetime, Leocadio Medrano was the owner and possessor of a parcel of
residential land, situated in Aplaya, Bauan, Batangas, containing an area of 2,611
square meters.[4] The parcel of land was conjugal property, having been acquired by
Leocadio during his first marriage with one Emiliana Narito. Their union begot four
children, namely: (a) Gertrudes Medrano, now deceased, represented in this case by
her children, herein petitioners Telesforo, Reynaldo, Remedios, Alfredo, and Belen,
all surnamed Aguirre; (b) Isabel Medrano, likewise deceased, represented by her
children, herein petitioners Vicenta, Horacio, and Florencio, all surnamed Magtibay;
(c) Placido Medrano, also deceased, represented by his only child, herein petitioner
Zosima Quiambao; and (d) Sixto Medrano.
After the death of his first wife, Leocadio contracted a second marriage with
Miguela Cario. Their union bore four children, herein co-petitioners, namely:
Venancio, Leonila, Antonio and Cecilia, all surnamed Medrano.
Upon the death of Leocadio on March 19, 1945, the surviving heirs agreed that
Sixto should manage and administer the subject property.
Sixto died on May 17, 1974. It was only after his death that petitioners heard
rumors that Sixto had, in fact, sold significant portions of the estate of Leocadio. It
appears that on September 7, 1953, Sixto, without the knowledge and consent of
the petitioners, executed an Affidavit of Transfer of Real Property stating therein
that he was the only heir of Leocadio.[5]Sixto declared that Leocadio died on
September 16, 1949, instead of the actual date of his death on March 19,
1945. With the use of said affidavit and a survey plan, [6] Tax Declaration No. 40105
in the name of Leocadio was cancelled and Tax Declaration No. 44984 was issued in

the name of Sixto.[7] On August 29, 1957, Sixto sold to Maria Bacong a 160- square
meter portion of the subject land. [8] On September 28, 1959, Sixto sold to Tiburcio
Balitaan a 1,695 square meter portion of the same land. [9] Sometime in November
1967, Maria Bacong sold her property to Rosendo Bacong. [10]
Petitioners demanded the reconveyance of the portions sold by Sixto but
Tiburcio Balitaan, Maria Bacong and Rosendo Bacong refused to do so. Hence,
petitioners filed against them before the Regional Trial Court of Batangas (Branch
2), a complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Documents, Partition, Malicious
Prosecution and Damages, docketed as Civil Case No. 202. [11]
In their Answer, Maria Bacong and Rosendo Bacong contend that petitioners
have no cause of action because they acquired their property thru a valid deed of
sale dated August 29, 1957, executed by Sixto and, alternatively, petitioners cause
of action, if any, was barred by prescription and laches. [12]
In his Answer, Tiburcio Balitaan contends that petitioners have no cause of
action since petitioners were well-aware of the sale of the property to him by Sixto;
and that he was an innocent purchaser for value, in possession and enjoyment of
the land in the concept of absolute owner, peacefully and publicly. He further
echoed the contention of Maria and Rosendo Bacong that any cause of action
petitioners may have was barred by prescription and laches. [13]
Maria Bacong died during the pendency of the suit in the trial court and she was
substituted by her surviving heirs, namely, Lorenza, Elena, Felipa, Manuel, Marilou,
Ricardo, Medel, Monchito and Milag, all surnamed Medrano. [14] Tiburcio Balitaan also
died and was substituted by his heirs, herein private respondents, namely: his wife,
Maria Rosales and their four children: Elias, Jose, Arsenia and Rogelio, all surnamed
Balitaan.[15]
On July 28, 1989, petitioners and Rosendo Bacong, for himself and as attorneyin-fact of the heirs of Maria Bacong, entered into a compromise agreement to settle
the case between them.[16] The compromise agreement, as approved by the trial
court, provided that Rosendo Bacong and the heirs of Maria Bacong agreed to
pay P30,000.00 to petitioners in recognition of petitioners ownership of a 269square meter portion[17] and in consideration of which, petitioners recognized the full
ownership, rights, interest and participation of the former over said land. [18] The
area of the subject land is thus reduced to 2,342 square meters (2,611
square meters minus 269 square meters).
After trial on the merits, the trial court rendered judgment dated April 28, 1992,
ruling that private respondents did not dispute, by any evidence, the falsity of the
Affidavit of Transfer, as well as the fact that Sixto had co-owners to the property. It
found that private respondents affirmative defense of laches and/or prescription are
unavailing against a property held in co-ownership as long as the state of coownership is recognized. Consequently, the trial court upheld the sale made by

Sixto in favor of private respondents only to the extent that Sixto is entitled to by
virtue of his being a co-owner. [19]
In determining the area that Sixto could have validly sold to private
respondents, the trial court, in its decision, provided for the manner of partition
among the parties, based on the memorandum submitted by petitioners, thus:
For the four (4) children of the first marriage, namely:
(1) Gertrudes, who is already dead represented by her children Tefesforo,
Reynaldo, Remedios, Alfredo and Belen, all surnamed Aguirre
399.42 square meters;
(2) Isabel Medrano, who is already dead, represented by the plaintiffs, her
children Vicenta, Horacio and Florencio, all surnamed Magtibay
399.42 square meters;
(3) Placido Medrano (dead), represented by his only child Zosima Medrano
399.42 square meters; and
(4) Sixto Medrano 399.42 square meters only which he had the
right to dispose of in favor of Tiburcio Balitaan and Maria
Rosales.
The above consist of undivided interest, shares and participations from the
inheritance or succession to the conjugal estate of Leocadio Medrano and Emiliana
Narito.
For the children of the second marriage their shares in the inheritance from the
property of Leocadio Medrano are as follows:
(1) To Venancio Medrano - 138.32 square meters
(2) To Leonila Medrano - 138.32 square meters
(3) To Antonio Medrano - 138.32 square meters
(4) To Cecilia Medrano - 138.32 square meters
with all the above consisting of undivided shares, interest and participation in the
estate.
For the defendants Maria Rosales, surviving spouse of the deceased Tiburcio
Balitaan and their Children, an area of 399.42 square meters, the only area and
extent which Sixto Medrano could have legally dispensed of in their favor. [20]
Thus, the dispositive portion of the trial courts decision reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court renders judgment in favor of the
plaintiffs and against the defendants, to wit:
(a) Ordering the partition of the property in question among the plaintiffs and the
defendants; and
(b) Ordering the parties, plaintiffs and defendants, to make a partition among
themselves by proper instruments of conveyance and to submit before this Court a
project of partition should the parties be able to agree for the confirmation of the
Court within two (2) months upon receipt of this decision, otherwise this Court will
be constrained to appoint commissioners to make the partition in accordance with
law.
All other claims not having been duly proved are ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED.[21]
Aggrieved, private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. [22]
On July 26, 1995, the appellate court rendered judgment recognizing the validity
of the sale only with respect to the undivided share of Sixto Medrano as co-owner;
but nonetheless, declaring respondents as absolute owners of 1,695 square meters
of the subject property, reasoning that:
. . . Defendants-appellees have been in possession, in the concept of owner, of the
entire parcel of land sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by Sixto Medrano for more than ten
years, seventeen years to be exact (1958-1975). Relying on the affidavit of transfer
(Exhibit B) the tax declaration (Exhibit C) and the survey plan (Exhibit D) shown to
him by Sixto Medrano which indicate the latter as owner of the property in dispute,
Tiburcio Balitaan believed transfer to him was effected. (TSN, April 17, 1991, pp. 1417) and thus, entered the property as owner (Ibid. at p. 13) Tiburcio Balitaan,
believing himself as the lawful transferee, in addition, caused Tax Declaration No.
51038 to be issued in his name (Exhibits 6, 6-A, 6-B, and 6-C). Thus, although the
sale of the co-owned property is only valid as to the undivided share of Sixto
Medrano, defendants, by virtue of their open, adverse and uninterrupted possession
from 1958 (Exhibit G) to 1975, obtained title to the entire property and not just
Sixtos undivided share. This is pursuant to Article 1134 (1957a) of the New Civil
Code which provides that:
Ownership and other real rights over immovable property are acquired by ordinary
prescription through possession of ten years.
...
Plaintiffs did not at all inquire as to the status of their property all this time and thus
have been remiss of their duties as owners of the property. Plaintiffs waited until
Sixtos death to learn more about their property. Even though the co-ownership is to

be preserved in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, the plaintiffs should
have taken it upon themselves to look into the status of the property once in a
while, to assure themselves that it is managed well and that they are receiving what
is due them as co-owners of the parcel of land or to at least manifest their
continued interest in the property as normal owners would do. But the plaintiffs did
not show any interest in the way Sixto Medrano was managing the property which in
effect gave the latter carte blanche powers over the same. Such passivity is
aggravated by the fact that one of the plaintiffs resides a mere 600 meters away
from the disputed property (TSN, April 17, 1991, p. 13). By not showing any interest,
the plaintiffs have, in fact, slept on their rights and thus, cannot now exercise a
stale right.[23]
Petitioners sought reconsideration[24] but the appellate court denied it in a
Resolution dated October 5, 1995.[25]
In their present recourse, petitioners take exception from the appellate courts
findings that respondents have been in possession, in the concept of owner of the
entire parcel of land sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by Sixto Medrano for seventeen years
(1958-1975), relying on the Affidavit of Transfer and Tax Declaration No. 51038 in
the name of Sixto; and that Tiburcio acquired ownership of the whole property from
Sixto through ordinary prescription for ten years.
Petitioners submit that Tiburcio Balitaan was not a purchaser in good faith and
for value since there are enough circumstances which should have put him on guard
and prompted him to be more circumspect and inquire further about the true status
of Sixto Medranos ownership; that during his lifetime, Tiburcio was a neighbor of
petitioners and was well-aware that Sixto had other siblings but Tiburcio chose to
rely on the Affidavit of Transfer executed by Sixto Medrano declaring that he was
the only heir of Leocadio; that the Court of Appeals should not have faulted them for
failing to inquire about the status of the disputed property until after the death of
Sixto Medrano; that they are not guilty of laches.
It is settled that in the exercise of the Supreme Courts power of review, the
findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding on the Supreme
Court.[26] The exceptions to this rule are: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely
on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly
mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4)
when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of
fact are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went
beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both
the appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court;
(8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which
they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the
petitioners main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when the
findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted
by the evidence on record; and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly
overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly

considered, would justify a different conclusion. [27] Exceptions (4), (7), (10) and (11)
are present in the instant case.
We find the petition meritorious. [28] We agree with the petitioners that the Court
of Appeals committed a reversible error in upholding the claim of petitioners that
they acquired ownership of the subject property through prescription.
Acquisitive prescription of real rights may be ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary
acquisitive prescription requires possession of things in good faith and with just title
for the time fixed by law;[29] without good faith and just title, acquisitive prescription
can only be extraordinary in character. Regarding real or immovable property,
ordinary acquisitive prescription requires a period of possession of ten years,
[30]
while extraordinary acquisitive prescription requires an uninterrupted adverse
possession of thirty years.[31]
Ordinary acquisitive prescription demands that possession be in good faith,
which 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.
[32]
There is 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, but that the grantor is neither the owner nor in a
position to transmit the right.[33]
Article 1130 of the Civil Code states that the title for prescription must be true
and valid. In Doliendo vs. Biarnesa,[34] we elucidated on this provision, 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. 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 prescricion (a title which of itself is sufficient to transfer the
ownership without the necessity of the lapse of the prescription period); 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, in good faith, from one whom he believes to be the owner, and a titulo
putativo being one which is supposed to have preceded the acquisition of a thing,
although in fact it did not, as might happen when one is in possession of a thing in
the belief that it had been bequeathed to him. (Viso Derecho Civil, Parte Segunda, p.
541)[35]
The requirements for ordinary acquisitive prescription as hereinabove described
have not been met in this case.
It must be remembered that the burden of proving the status of a purchaser in
good faith lies upon him who asserts that status. It is not sufficient to invoke the
ordinary presumption of good faith, that is, that everyone is presumed to have

acted in good faith, since the good faith that is here essential is integral with the
very status that must be established.[36]
After a careful examination of the records, we find that private respondents
failed to discharge the burden of proof that Tiburcio Balitaan was a purchaser in
good faith. It is undisputed that Tiburcio practically lived his entire lifetime in the
area where the property in dispute is located and had been a neighbor of
petitioners. He knew that Sixto Medrano had other siblings because his son, Dr. Elias
Balitaan, is the godson by baptism of spouses Jose Aguirre and Gertrudes Medrano,
the latter being a deceased sister of Sixto. Thus, Tiburcio was not a complete
stranger to the Medrano clan. Yet, he deliberately chose to close his eyes to said
facts and despite his personal knowledge to the contrary, he purchased the
disputed property from Sixto on the basis of the misrepresentation of the latter in
his Affidavit of Transfer that he is the sole surviving heir of Leocadio. A purchaser
cannot close his eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man upon his guard,
and then claim that he acted in good faith under the belief that there was no defect
in the title of the vendor.[37]
Since the disputed property is an unregistered land, Tiburcio as buyer thereof
did so at his peril. Private respondents claim that Tiburcio bought the land in good
faith, that is, without notice that some other person has a right to or interest in the
property, would not protect them if it turns out, as it actually did in this case, that
the seller, Sixto Medrano, did not own the entire property at the time of the sale,
but only an undivided portion of the land as a co-owner. Private respondents failed
to show that the petitioners were notified of the subject sale or that respondents
gave their consent to the sale. Not being in good faith, the ten-year period required
for ordinary acquisitive prescription does not apply.
Even the thirty-year period under extraordinary acquisitive prescription has not
been met in this case. Private respondents claim to have been in possession, in the
concept of owner, of the entire parcel of land sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by Sixto
Medrano for only seventeen years (1958-1975).
In addition, as we have enunciated in Salvador vs. Court of Appeals,[38] to wit:
This Court has held that the possession of a co-owner is like that of a trustee and
shall not be regarded as adverse to the other co-owners but in fact as beneficial to
all of them. Acts which may be considered adverse to strangers may not be
considered adverse insofar as co-owners are concerned. A mere silent
possession by a co-owner, his receipt of rents, fruits or profits from the
property, the erection of buildings and fences and the planting of trees
thereon, and the payment of land taxes, cannot serve as proof of exclusive
ownership, 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.

Thus, in order that a co-owners possession may be deemed adverse to the cestui
que trust or the other co-owners, the following elements must concur: (1) that he
has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of
the cestui que trust or the other co-owners; (2) that such positive acts of
repudiation have been made known to the cestui que trust or the other coowners; and (3) that the evidence thereon must be clear and convincing.
[39]
(Emphasis supplied)
Tested against these guidelines, respondents failed to present competent
evidence that the acts of Sixto adversely and clearly repudiated the existing coownership among the heirs of Leocadio Medrano.
Private respondents reliance on the tax declaration in the name of Sixto
Medrano is unworthy of credit since we have held on several occasions that tax
declarations by themselves do not conclusively prove title to land. [40] Further,
private respondents failed to show that the Affidavit executed by Sixto to the effect
that he is the sole owner of the subject property was known or made known to the
other co-heirs of Leocadio Medrano.
Neither can we subscribe to the appellate courts view that petitioners are guilty
of laches. Laches is the negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable
time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has abandoned it
or declined to assert it.[41] It does not involve mere lapse or passage of time, but is
principally an impediment to the assertion or enforcement of a right, which has
become under the circumstances inequitable or unfair to permit. [42] The rule that
each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of the common property
implies that an action to demand partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by
laches.[43]
We have consistently held that if a co-owner sells the whole property as his, the
sale will affect only his own share but not those of the other co-owners who did not
consent to the sale.[44] Article 493 of the Civil Code provides:
Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and the fruits and
benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it,
and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights
are involved. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the
co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the
division upon the termination of the co-ownership.
It clearly provides that the sale or other disposition affects only the sellers
share pro indiviso, and the transferee gets only what corresponds to his grantors
share in the partition of the property owned in common. Since a co-owner is entitled
to sell his undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one co-owner without the
consent of the other co-owners is not null and void; only the rights of the coowner/seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a co-owner of the property.
[45]
Accordingly, we held in Bailon-Casilao vs. Court of Appeals:

From the foregoing, it may be deduced that since a co-owner is entitled to sell his
undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one-co-owner without the consent
of the other co-owners is not null and void.However, only the rights of the co-ownerseller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a co-owner of the property.
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, but the DIVISION
of the common property as if it continued to remain in the possession of the coowners who possessed and administered it [Mainit v. Bandoy, supra].
Thus, 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 for PARTITION
under Rule 69 of the Revised Rules of Court. 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.
Bautista, supra].[46]
It is clear therefore that the deed of sale executed by Sixto Medrano in favor of
Tiburcio Balitaan is a valid conveyance only insofar as the share of Sixto Medrano in
the co-ownership is concerned. Thus, the respondent court erred in declaring the
ownership of the entire 1,695-square meter property sold by Sixto, in favor of the
private respondents.
The next question is what is the area of the pro indiviso share pertaining to
Sixto Medrano that was sold to private respondents? The trial court endeavored to
determine the same by ascertaining the inheritance of each of the heirs of
Leocadio. However, the manner of partition as set out by the trial court in the text
of its decision needs to be amended so as to conform to the laws on intestate
succession under the Old Civil Code absent any allegation or showing that Leocadio
left any last will and testament.
It is not disputed that the 2,342-square meter property was a conjugal property
of Leocadio and Emiliana. Upon the death of Emiliana, which occurred many years
before the death of Leocadio in 1945, both deaths occurring before the enactment
of the New Civil Code in 1950, all the four children of the first marriage and the four
children of the second marriage shall share equally. The subject property should
have been divided into eight equal parts, pursuant to Articles 921 and 931 of the
old Civil Code,[47] or 292.75 square meters each. The respective heirs of the now
deceased children of Leocadio inherit by way of representation the respective
shares of their respective parents, pursuant to Articles 933 and 934 of the Old Civil
Code.[48]
At the time of death of Leocadio in 1945, Miguela was entitled only to the
usufruct of the land pursuant to Article 834 of the Old Civil Code, [49] which provides
that [i]f only one legitimate child or descendant survives, the widower or widow

shall have the usufruct of the third available for betterment, such child or
descendant to have the naked ownership until, on the death of the surviving
spouse, the whole title is merged in him.
Thus, to recapitulate, each of the heirs of Leocadio should inherit 292.75 square
meters, pro-indiviso (2,342 square meters 8 = 292.75 square meters) after
deducting from the original 2,611 square meters of the subject property the 269
square meters ceded to the heirs of Maria Bacong in a compromise agreement
among the petitioners and the heirs of Maria Bacong.The deceased children of
Leocadio are represented by their respective heirs by right of representation under
Articles 933 and 934 of the Old Civil Code.
Accordingly, the undivided shares of Leocadios eight children or their heirs by
right of representation, upon the death of Leocadio in 1945 are as follows:
(1) Venancio Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(2) Leonila Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(3) Antonio Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(4) Cecilia Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(5) Heirs of Gertrudes M. Aguirre,
Telesforo,
Reynaldo,
Remedios,
Alfredo
and
Belen,
all
surnamed
Aguirre- - 292.75
square
meters
(6) Heirs of Isabel M. Magtibay,
Vicenta,
Horacio
and
Florencio,
all
surnamed
Magtibay - 292.75
square
meters
(7) Heirs of Placido Medrano,
plaintiff Zosima Medrano
Quimbao - 292.75
square
meters
(8) Sixto Medrano - 292.75 square meters
During the pendency of the case in the trial court but after the death of Sixto,
petitioners sold 460 square meters to one Mateo Castillo. Consequently, the 460
square meters should be charged against the shares of petitioners only and should
not affect the 292.75 square meters undivided share of Sixto Medrano which he had

sold in 1959.[50] Accordingly, 460 square meters divided by 7 equals 65.71 square
meters. Deducting said area from 292.75 square meters, the final undivided share
of each of the seven heirs of Leocadio should be 227.04 square meters (292.75 65.71 = 227.04) and that pertaining to Sixto in 292.75 square meters.
Thus, the manner of partition set forth by the trial court in its decision should be
amended, as follows:
(1) Gertrudes M. Aguirre, deceased,
represented by her children, herein
petitioners Telesforo, Reynaldo,
Remedios, Alfredo and Belen, all
surnamed Aguirre- 227.04 square
meters
(2) Isabel
M.
Magtibay,
deceased,
represented by her children, herein
petitioners Vicenta, Horacio and
Florencio,
all
surnamed
Magtibay - 227.04 square meters
(3) Placido
Medrano,
deceased,
represented by his only child,
Placido Medrano - 227.04 square
meters
(4) Private
respondents
Maria
Rosales and heirs of Tiburcio
Balitaan, namely: Elias, Jose,
Arsenia
and
Rogelio
all
surnamed Balitaan (in lieu of
Sixto Medrano) - 292.75 square
meters
(5) Venancio Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(6) Leonila Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(7) Antonio Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(8) Cecilia Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(9) Rosendo Bacong - 269 square meters
(10) Mateo Castillo - 460 square meters

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The assailed decision of the Court of


Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 42350, dated July 26, 1995, is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The decision of the Regional Trial Court is REINSTATED with the following
MODIFICATIONS:
The sale in favor of private respondents is declared VALID but only insofar as the
292.75 square meters undivided share of Sixto Medrano in the subject property is
concerned.
Let the parcel of land, located at Aplaya, Bauan, Batangas, consisting of 2,611
square meters, be partitioned and distributed as determined by the Court in the text
of herein decision.Accordingly, let the records of the case be remanded to the
Regional Trial Court of Batangas City (Branch 2) in Civil Case No. 202 for further
appropriate proceedings under Rule 69 of the Rules of Court.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
SPOUSES ELEGIO* CAEZO and
DOLIA CAEZO,
Petitioners,

- versus -

G.R. No. 170189


Present:
CARPIO, J., Chairperson,
NACHURA,
BERSAMIN,**
ABAD, and
MENDOZA, JJ.

SPOUSES APOLINARIO and


Promulgated:
CONSORCIA L. BAUTISTA,
Respondents.
September 1, 2010
x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
G.R. No. 170189 is a petition for review [1] assailing the Decision[2] promulgated on 17
October 2005 by the Court of Appeals (appellate court) in CA-G.R. CV No.
75685. The appellate court granted the appeal filed by the Spouses Apolinario and

Consorcia L. Bautista (spouses Bautista) and dismissed the complaint for the
issuance of a writ of demolition with damages filed by the Spouses Elegio and Dolia
Caezo (spouses Caezo) without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate action with
the proper forum. In its Decision[3] on Civil Case No. MC-00-1069 dated 25 March
2002, Branch 213 of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City (trial court)
rendered judgment in favor of the spouses Caezo. The trial court also ordered the
issuance of a writ of demolition directing the removal of the structures built by the
spouses Bautista on the portion of the land belonging to the spouses Caezo.

The Facts
The appellate court narrated the facts as follows:
Spouses Elegio and Dolia Caezo (hereafter appellees) are the
registered owner[s] of a parcel of land with an area of One Hundred
Eighty Six (186) square meters, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
(TCT) No. 32911.
Spouses Apolinario and Consorcia Bautista (hereafter appellants) are
the registered owners of a parcel of land, containing an area of One
Hundred Eighty One (181) square meters, covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 31727. Both parcels of land are located at
Coronado Heights, Barangka Ibaba, Mandaluyong City and registered
with the Registry of Deeds of Mandaluyong City. Appellants lot is
adjacent to that of appellees [sic].
Sometime in 1995, appellees started the construction of a building on
their lot. During the construction, appellees discovered that their lot
was encroached upon by the structures built by appellants without
appellees knowledge and consent.
The three (3) surveys conducted confirmed the fact of
encroachment. However, despite oral and written demands, appellants
failed and refused to remove the structures encroaching appellees lot.
Attempts were made to settle their dispute with the barangay lupon,
but to no avail. Appellees initiated a complaint with the RTC for the
issuance of a writ of demolition.
For failure to file an Answer within the extended period granted by the
court, appellants were declared in default. Appellees were allowed to
present their evidence ex parte before an appointed commissioner.
Thereafter the RTC rendered the assailed decision in the terms earlier
set forth.[4]

The spouses Caezo filed their complaint for the issuance of a writ of demolition with
damages on 13 April 2000. In an Order dated 15 August 2000, the trial court
declared the spouses Bautista in default for failure to answer within the
reglementary period. The Public Attorneys Office, which represented the spouses
Bautista at the time, filed a Motion to Admit Answer dated 15 June 2000. The trial
court denied the motion in its Decision.
The Trial Courts Ruling
On 25 March 2002, the trial court promulgated its Decision in favor of the spouses
Caezo. The trial court found that the spouses Bautista built structures encroaching
on the land owned by the spouses Caezo. The spouses Bautista also refused to
remove the structures and respect the boundaries as established by the various
surveyors. A referral to the Barangay Lupon failed to settle the controversy
amicably. The trial court thus ruled that the spouses Bautista are builders in bad
faith, such that the spouses Caezo are entitled to an issuance of a writ of demolition
with damages.
The dispositive portion of the Decision reads as follows:
IN VIEW WHEREOF, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the
plaintiffs and against the defendants. Let a writ of demolition be
accordingly issued directing the removal/demolition of the structures
built by the defendants upon the portion of land belonging [to] the
plaintiffs at the formers expense.
Further,
1. the defendant is ordered to pay P50,000.00 (Philippine
Currency) as and by way of moral damages[; and]
2. [t]he defendant is hereby ordered to pay P30,000.00 as and
by way of attorneys fees.
SO ORDERED.[5]
The spouses Bautista filed a notice of appeal dated 29 April 2002 before the
appellate court.

The Appellate Courts Ruling

On 17 October 2005, the appellate court rendered its Decision which reversed
the 25 March 2002 Decision of the trial court. The appellate court ruled that since
the last demand was made on 27 March 2000, or more than a year before the filing
of the complaint, the spouses Caezo should have filed a suit for recovery of
possession and not for the issuance of a writ of demolition. A writ of demolition can
be granted only as an effect of a final judgment or order, hence the spouses Caezos
complaint should be dismissed. Thespouses Caezo failed to specify the assessed
value of the encroached portion of their property. Because of this failure, the
complaint lacked sufficient basis to constitute a cause of action. Finally, the
appellate court ruled that should there be a finding of encroachment in the action
for recovery of possession and that the encroachment was built in good faith, the
market value of the encroached portion should be proved to determine the
appropriate indemnity.
The dispositive portion of the appellate courts Decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is GRANTED. The
complaint filed by plaintiffs-appellees is hereby DISMISSED without
prejudice to the filing of the appropriate action with the proper forum.
SO ORDERED.[6]
Issues

The spouses Caezo enumerated the following grounds to support their


Petition:
I. Whether the Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in granting
the petition of the [spouses Bautista] and reversing the Decision
of the Court a quo; [and]
II. Whether the Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in stating that
the petitioners should have filed recovery of possession and not
writ of demolition.[7]

The Courts Ruling


The petition has merit.

The present case, while inaccurately captioned as an action for a Writ of Demolition
with Damages is in reality an action to recover a parcel of land or an accion
reivindicatoriaunder Article 434 of the Civil Code. Article 434 of the Civil Code
reads: In an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must
rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendants
claim. Accion reivindicatoria seeks the recovery of ownership and includes the jus
utendi and the jus fruendi brought in the proper regional trial court. Accion
reivindicatoria is an action whereby plaintiff alleges ownership over a parcel of land
and seeks recovery of its full possession.[8]
In order that an action for the recovery of title may prosper, it is indispensable, in
accordance with the precedents established by the courts, that the party who
prosecutes it must fully prove, not only his ownership of the thing claimed, but also
the identity of the same.[9] However, although the identity of the thing that a party
desires to recover must be established, if the plaintiff has already proved his right of
ownership over a tract of land, and the defendant is occupying without right any
part of such tract, it is not necessary for plaintiff to establish the precise location
and extent of the portions occupied by the defendant within the plaintiffs property.
[10]
The spouses Caezo were able to establish their ownership of the encroached
property. Aside from testimonial evidence, the spouses Caezo were also able to
present documentary and object evidence which consisted of photographs,
[11] transfer certificates of title,[12] and a relocation survey plan.[13]
The relocation survey plan also corroborated Elegio Caezos testimony on the reason
for the spouses Bautistas attitude regarding the encroached property. The
relocation survey plan showed that the spouses Bautistas property encroached
upon that of the spouses Caezo by 0.97 centimeters, while the spouses Bautistas
property was encroached upon by 1.01 centimeters by another landowner. Elegio
Caezo testified thus:
Q I am showing you a survey plan of lot 13. Can you please tell us what
is this survey plan?
A That is the survey plan of the surveyor whom we hired sir.
Q Can you please point
property indicated?
A This is our property, sir.

to

us

where

in

this

plan

is

your

Q The witness, your Honor, is pointing to Lot 13 indicated in the survey


plan. How about the property of the defendants?
A The defendants property is this, sir.
Q The witness, your Honor, is pointing to Lot 14 indicated in the survey
plan. Now, Mr. Witness, you said that the defendants wanted you to
recover that portion of your property encroached on from the property
adjacent to theirs. Please illustrate to us by referring to this survey
plan what the defendants meant?
A The defendants want us to get the portion they had encroached
on from Lot 15 because, according to them, Lot 15 also encroached on
their lot, sir.
Q The witness, your Honor, is pointing to Lot 15 indicated in
the plan. What happened next?
A We told them that this is not possible because Lot 15 is not adjacent
to our property, sir.
Q What did the defendants do?
A The defendants still refused to remove their structure, sir.
Q So, what happened?
A We filed a complaint against the defendants before the Office of the
Barangay Captain of Barangay Barangka, Ibaba, sir.
Q What happened in the Barangay?
A The Barangay council tried to settle the matter
between us. However, no settlement was reached, sir.

amicably

Q While in the barangay, did you offer anything to the defendants


in order to settle the case?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was it?
A We offered that if the defendants will remove the structures, we
are willing to shoulder half of the expenses for the removal.
Q What did the defendants say to this?
A They refused our offer and insisted on their previous position that we
get our portion from Lot 15, sir.
Q What did the Barangay do after failing to settle the case?
A The Barangay issued a Certification to File Action, sir.[14]

Given the efforts made by the spouses Caezo to settle the present issue prior to the
filing of a Complaint, the trial court was justified in ruling that the spouses Bautista
were in default and in not admitting their Answer. The Complaint was not the

spouses Bautistas first encounter with the present issue. Moreover, the spouses
Bautista failed to file their Answer even after the expiry of the motion of extension
granted to them.[15]
The testimony and the relocation survey plan both show that the spouses Bautista
were aware of the encroachment upon their lot by the owner of Lot 15 and thus
they made a corresponding encroachment upon the lot of the spouses Caezo. This
awareness of the two encroachments made the spouses Bautista builders in bad
faith. The spouses Caezo are entitled to the issuance of a writ of demolition in their
favor and against the spouses Bautista, in accordance with Article 450 of the Civil
Code.[16]
We affirm the awards made by the trial court in its Decision:
x x x Considering the length of time when [the spouses Caezo] were
deprived of beneficial use on the subject portion of land owned by
them, the [spouses Bautista] are likewise liable to payP30,000.00
(Philippine Currency) in accordance with Article 451 of the Civil Code.
With respect to the prayer for the award of P50,000.00 (Philippine
Currency) as moral damages, the court decides to give due course to it
in view of the fact that the [spouses Caezo] satisfactorily proved the
existence of the factual basis of the damages and its causal relation to
[the spouses Bautistas] acts. There was bad faith on the part of the
[spouses Bautista] when they built the structures upon the land not
belonging to them. This wrongful act is the proximate cause which
made the [spouses Caezo] suffer mental anguish, sleepless nights and
serious anxiety.The [spouses Caezo] positively testified about these
matters.
As regards the prayer for exemplary x x x damages, no sufficient
evidence were adduced which would warrant and justify this court to
award the same. The prayer for attorneys fees however, is found
meritorious hence, the same is hereby granted.[17]

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 75685 promulgated on 17 October 2005 is SET ASIDE and the
dispositive portion of the Decision of Branch 213, Regional Trial Court of
Mandaluyong

City

promulgated

on

25

March

2002

is AFFIRMED

with

MODIFICATION. A writ of demolition of the encroaching structures should be


issued against and at the expense of Spouses Apolinario and Consorcia L. Bautista

upon the finality of this judgment. Spouses Apolinario and Consorcia L. Bautista are
further ordered to pay Spouses Elegio and Dolia Caezo P30,000 as actual
damages; P50,000 as moral damages; and P30,000 as attorneys fees. The interest
rate of 12% per annum shall apply from the finality of judgment until the total
amount awarded is fully paid.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 101522 May 28, 1993
LEONARDO MARIANO, AVELINA TIGUE, LAZARO MARIANO, MERCEDES SAN
PEDRO, DIONISIA M. AQUINO, and JOSE N.T. AQUINO, petitioners,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, (Sixteenth Division), GRACE GOSIENGFIAO,
assisted by her husband GERMAN GALCOS; ESTER GOSIENGFIAO, assisted
by her husband AMADOR BITONA; FRANCISCO GOSIENGFIAO, JR., NORMA
GOSIENGFIAO, and PINKY ROSE GUENO, respondents.
The Baristers Law Office for petitioners.
Simeon T. Agustin for private respondents.

NOCON, J.:
Before Us is a petition foe review of the decision, dated May 13, 1991 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 13122, entitled Grace Gosiengfiao, et al. v. Leonardo
Mariano v. Amparo Gosiengfiao 1 raising as issue the distinction between Article
1088 2 and Article 1620 3 of the Civil Code.
The Court of Appeals summarized the facts as follows:
It appears on record that the decedent Francisco Gosiengfiao is the
registered owner of a residential lot located at Ugac Sur, Tuguegarao,
Cagayan, particularly described as follows, to wit:
"The eastern portion of Lot 1351, Tuguegarao Cadastre,
and after its segregation now designated as Lot 1351-A,
Plan PSD-67391, with an area of 1,1346 square meters."
and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-2416 recorded in the
Register of Deeds of Cagayan.

The lot in question was mortgaged by the decedent to the Rural Bank
of Tuguegarao (designated as Mortgagee bank, for brevity) on several
occasions before the last, being on March 9, 1956 and 29, 1958.
On August 15, 1958, Francisco Gosiengfiao died intestate survived by
his heirs, namely: Third-Party Defendants: wife Antonia and Children
Amparo, Carlos, Severino and herein plaintiffs-appellants Grace,
Emma, Ester, Francisco, Jr., Norma, Lina (represented by daughter
Pinky Rose), and Jacinto.
The loan being unpaid, the lot in dispute was foreclosed by the
mortgagee bank and in the foreclosure sale held on December 27,
1963, the same was awarded to the mortgagee bank as the highest
bidder.
On February 7, 1964, third-party defendant Amparo Gosiengfiao-Ibarra
redeemed the property by paying the amount of P1,347.89 and the
balance of P423.35 was paid on December 28, 1964 to the mortgagee
bank.
On September 10, 1965, Antonia Gosiengfiao on her behalf and that of
her minor children Emma, Lina, Norma together with Carlos and
Severino executed a "Deed of Assignment of the Right of Redemption"
in favor of Amparo G. Ibarra appearing in the notarial register of Pedro
(Laggui) as Doc. No. 257, Page No. 6, Book No. 8, Series of 1965.
On August 15, 1966, Amparo Gosiengfiao sold the entire property to
defendant Leonardo Mariano who subsequently established residence
on the lot subject of this controversy. It appears in the Deed of Sale
dated August 15, 1966 that Amparo, Antonia, Carlos and Severino were
signatories thereto.
Sometime in 1982, plaintiff-appellant Grace Gosiengfiao learned of the
sale of said property by the third-party defendants. She went to the
Barangay Captain and asked for a confrontation with defendants
Leonardo and Avelina Mariano to present her claim to said property.
On November 27, 1982, no settlement having been reached by the
parties, the Barangay captain issued a certificate to file action.
On December 8, 1982, defendant Leonardo Mariano sold the same
property to his children Lazaro F. Mariano and Dionicia M. Aquino as
evidenced by a Deed of Sale notarized by Hilarion L. Aquino as Doc.
No. 143, Page No. 19, Book No. V, Series of 1982.
On December 21, 1982, plaintiffs Grace Gosiengfiao, et al. filed a
complaint for "recovery of possession and legal redemption with

damages" against defendants Leonardo and Avelina Mariano. Plaintiffs


alleged in their complaint that as co-heirs and co-owners of the lot in
question, they have the right to recover their respective shares in the
same, and property as they did not sell the same, and the right of
redemption with regard to the shares of other co-owners sold to the
defendants.
Defendants in their answer alleged that the plaintiffs has (sic) no cause
of action against them as the money used to redeem lot in question
was solely from the personal funds of third-party defendant Amparo
Gosiengfiao-Ibarra, who consequently became the sole owner of the
said property and thus validly sold the entire property to the
defendants, and the fact that defendants had already sold the said
property to the children, Lazaro Mariano and Dionicia M. Aquino.
Defendants further contend that even granting that the plaintiffs are
co-owners with the third-party defendants, their right of redemption
had already been barred by the Statute of Limitations under Article
1144 of the Civil Code, if not by laches. 4
After trial on the merits, the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan, Branch I, rendered a
decision dated September 16, 1986, dismissing the complaint and stating that
respondents have no right of ownership or possession over the lot in question. The
trial court further said that when the subject property foreclosed and sold at public
auction, the rights of the heirs were reduced to a mere right of redemption. And
when Amparo G. Ibarra redeemed the lot from the Rural Bank on her own behalf and
with her own money she became the sole owner of the property. Respondents'
having failed to redeem the property from the bank or from Amparo G. Ibarra, lost
whatever rights the might have on the property. 5
The Court of Appeals in its questioned decision reversed and set aside the ruling of
the trial court and declared herein respondents as co-owners of the property in the
question. The Court of Appeals said:
The whole controversy in the case at bar revolves on the question of
"whether or not a co-owner who redeems the whole property with her
own personal funds becomes the sole owner of said property and
terminates the existing state of co-ownership."
Admittedly, as the property in question was mortgaged by the
decedent, a co-ownership existed among the heirs during the period
given by law to redeem the foreclosed property. Redemption of the
whole property by a co-owner does not vest in him sole ownership over
said property but will inure to the benefit of all co-owners. In other
words, it will not end to the existing state of co-ownership. Redemption
is not a mode of terminating a co-ownership.
xxx xxx xxx

In the case at bar, it is undisputed and supported by records, that


third-party defendant Amparo G. Ibarra redeemed the propety in
dispute within the one year redemption period. Her redemption of the
property, even granting that the money used was from her own
personal funds did not make her the exclusive owner of the mortgaged
property owned in common but inured to the benefit of all co-owners.
It would have been otherwise if third-party defendant Amparo G. Ibarra
purchased the said property from the mortgagee bank (highest, bidder
in the foreclosure sale) after the redemption period had already
expired and after the mortgagee bank had consolidated it title in which
case there would no longer be any co-ownership to speak of . 6
The decision of the Court of Appeals is supported by a long line of case law which
states that a redemption by a co-owner within the period prescribed by law inures
to the benefit of all the other co-owners. 7
The main argument of petitioners in the case at bar is that the Court of Appeals
incorrectly applied Article 1620 of the Civil Code, instead of Article 1088 of the same
code which governs legal redemption by co-heirs since the lot in question, which
forms part of the intestate estate of the late Francisco Gosiengfiao, was never the
subject of partition or distribution among the heirs, thus, private respondents and
third-party defendants had not ceased to be co-heirs.
On that premise, petitioners further contend that the right of legal redemption was
not timely exercised by the private respondents, since Article 1088 prescribes that
the same must be done within the period of one month from the time they were
notified in writing of the sale by the vendor.
According to Tolentino, the fine distinction between Article 1088 and Article 1620 is
that when the sale consists of an interest in some particular property or properties
of the inheritance, the right redemption that arises in favor of the other co-heirs is
that recognized in Article 1620. On the other hand, if the sale is the hereditary right
itself, fully or in part, in the abstract sense, without specifying any particular object,
the right recognized in Article 1088 exists. 8
Petitioners allege that upon the facts and circumstances of the present case,
respondents failed to exercise their right of legal redemption during the period
provided by law, citing as authority the case of Conejero, et al., v. Court of Appeals,
et al.9 wherein the Court adopted the principle that the giving of a copy of a deed is
equivalent to the notice as required by law in legal redemption.
We do not dispute the principle laid down in the Conejero case. However, the facts
in the said case are not four square with the facts of the present case.
In Conejero, redemptioner Enrique Conejero was shown and given a copy of the
deed of sale of the subject property. The Court in that case stated that the
furnishing of a copy of the deed was equivalent to the giving of a written notice
required by law. 11

The records of the present petition, however, show no written notice of the sale
being given whatsoever to private respondents. Although, petitioners allege that
sometime on October 31, 1982 private respondent, Grace Gosiengfiao was given a
copy of the questioned deed of sale and shown a copy of the document at the Office
of the Barangay Captain sometime November 18, 1982, this was not supported by
the evidence presented. On the contrary, respondent, Grace Gosiengfiao, in her
testimony, declared as follows:
Q. When you went back to the residence of Atty. Pedro
Laggui were you able to see him?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. When you saw him, what did you tell?
A. I asked him about the Deed of Sale which Mrs. Aquino
had told me and he also showed me a Deed of Sale. I
went over the Deed of Sale and I asked Atty. Laggui about
this and he mentioned here about the names of the legal
heirs. I asked why my name is not included and I was
never informed in writing because I would like to claim
and he told me to better consult my own attorney.
Q. And did you go?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. What kind of copy or document is that?
A. It is a deed of sale signed by my mother, sister Amparo
and my brothers.
Q. If shown to you the copy of the Deed of Sale will you be
able to identify it?
A. Yes, sir. 11
Thereafter, Grace Gosiengfiao explicitly stated that she was never given a copy of
the said Deed of Sale.
Q. Where did Don Mariano, Dr. Mariano and you see each
other?
A. In the house of Brgy. Captain Antonio Bassig.
Q. What transpired in the house of the Brgy. Captain when
you saw each other there?

A. Brgy. Captain Bassig informed my intention of claiming


the lot and I also informed him about the Deed of Sale
that was not signed by me since it is mine it is already
sold and I was informed in writing about it. I am a legal
heir and I have also the right to claim.
Q. And what was the reply of Don Mariano and Dr. Mariano
to the information given to them by Brgy. Captain Bassig
regarding your claim?
A. He insisted that the lot is already his because of the
Deed of Sale. I asked for the exact copy so that I could
show to him that I did not sign and he said he does not
have a copy. 12
The above testimony was never refuted by Dr. Mariano who was present before
Brgy. Captain Bassig.
The requirement of a written notice has long been settled as early as in the case
of Castillo v. Samonte, 13 where this Court quoted the ruling in Hernaez
v. Hernaez, 32 Phil., 214, thus:
Both the letter and spirit of the New Civil Code argue against any
attempt to widen the scope of the notice specified in Article 1088 by
including therein any other kind of notice, such as verbal or by
registration. If the intention of the law had been to include verbal
notice or any other means of information as sufficient to give the effect
of this notice, then there would have been no necessity or reasons to
specify in Article 1088 of the New Civil Code that the said notice be
made in writing for, under the old law, a verbal notice or information
was sufficient. 14
Moreover, petitioners themselves adopted in their argument respondents' allegation
In their complaint that sometime on October, 1982 they sought the redemption of
the property from spouses Leonardo Mariano and Avelina Tigue, by tendering the
repurchase money of P12,000.00, which the spouses rejected. 15 Consequently,
private respondents exercised their right of redemption at the first opportunity they
have by tendering the repurchase price to petitioners. The complaint they filed,
before the Barangay Captain and then to the Regional Trial Court was necessary to
assert their rights. As we learned in the case of Castillo, supra:
It would seem clear from the above that the reimbursement to the
purchaser within the period of one month from the notice in writing is a
requisite or condition precedent to the exercise of the right of legal
redemption; the bringing of an action in court is the remedy to enforce
that right in case the purchaser refuses the redemption. The first must

be done within the month-period; the second within the prescriptive


period provided in the Statute of Limitation. 16
The ruling in Castillo v. Samonte; supra, was reiterated in the case of Garcia
v. Calaliman, where We also discussed the reason for the requirement of the written
notice. We said:
Consistent with aforesaid ruling, in the interpretation of a related
provision (Article 1623 of the New Civil Code) this Court had stressed
that written notice is indispensable, actual knowledge of the sale
acquired
in
some
other
manners
by
the
redemptioner,
notwithstanding. He or she is still entitled to written notice, as exacted
by the code to remove all uncertainty as to the sale, its terms and its
validity, and to quiet and doubt that the alienation is not definitive. The
law not having provided for any alternative, the method of notifications
remains exclusive, though the Code does not prescribe any particular
form of written notice nor any distinctive method written notification of
redemption (Conejero et al. v. Court of Appeals et al., 16 SCRA 775
[1966]; Etcuban v. Court of Appeals, 148 SCRA 507 [1987]; Cabrera v.
Villanueva, G.R. No. 75069, April 15, 1988). 17 (Emphasis ours)
We likewise do not find merit in petitioners' position that private respondents could
not have validly effected redemption due to their failure to consign in court the full
redemption price after tender thereof was rejected by the petitioners. Consignation
is not necessary, because the tender of payment was not made to discharge an
obligation, but to enforce or exercise a right. It has been previously held that
consignation is not required to preserve the right of repurchase as a mere tender of
payment is enough on time as a basis for an action to compel the vendee a retro to
resell the property; no subsequent consignation was necessary to entitle private
respondents
to
such
18
reconveyance.
Premises considered, respondents have not lost their right to redeem, for in the
absence of a written notification of the sale by the vendors, the 30-day period has
not even begun to run.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED. Cost against
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 109910 April 5, 1995
REMEDIOS
G.
SALVADOR
and
GRACIA
G.
SALVADOR, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, ALBERTO and ELPIA YABO, FRANCISCA YABO, et al.,
respondents.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


Assailed in this petition is the legal determination made by the Court of Appeals on
the issues of which portion of Lot No. 6080 and Lot No. 6180 formed part of the
conjugal assets of the spouses Pastor Makibalo and Maria Yabo, and of whether or
not the rights of Pastor's co-heirs in the estate of Maria Yabo were extinguished
through prescription or laches.
Alipio Yabo was the owner of Lot No. 6080 and Lot No. 6180 situated in Barrio Bulua,
Cagayan de Oro City, containing an area of 1,267 and 3,816 square meters,
respectively. Title thereto devolved upon his nine children, namely, Victoriano,
Procopio, Lope, Jose, Pelagia, Baseliza, Francisca, Maria, and Gaudencia, upon his
death sometime before or during the second world war.
On 28 April 1976, Pastor Makibalo, who is the husband of Maria Yabo, one of Alipio's
children, filed with the then Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental a complaint,
docketed as Civil Case No. 5000, against the spouses Alberto and Elpia Yabo for
"Quieting of Title, Annulment of Documents, and Damages." In the complaint, he
alleged that he owned a total of eight shares of the subject lots, having purchased
the shares of seven of Alipio's children and inherited the share of his wife, Maria,
and that except for the portion corresponding to Gaudencia's share which he did not
buy, he occupied, cultivated, and possessed continuously, openly, peacefully, and
exclusively the two parcels of land. He then prayed that he be declared the absolute
owner of 8/9 of the lots in question. 1
On 8 October 1976, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the late Alipio
Yabo 2 lodged with the same court a complaint for partition and quieting of title with
damages, 3 docketed as Civil Case No. 5174, against Pastor Makibalo, Enecia Cristal,
and the spouses Eulogio and Remedies Salvador. They alleged that Lot No. 6080
and Lot No. 6180 are the common property of the heirs of Alipio Yabo, namely, the
plaintiffs, defendant Enecia Cristal, Maria Yabo and Jose Yabo, whose share had been
sold to Alberto Yabo; that after Alipio's death, the spouses Pastor and Maria
Makibalo, Enecia Cristal and Jose Yabo became the de facto administrators of the
said properties; and that much to their surprise, they discovered that the Salvador
spouses, who were strangers to the family, have been harvesting coconuts from the
lots, which act as a cloud on the plaintiffs' title over the lots.
The plaintiffs then prayed that (a) they, as well as defendant Pastor Makibalo, in
representation of his wife, and Enecia Cristal, in representation of Gaudencia, be
declared as the owners of the lots; (b) the Salvador spouses be declared as having
no rights thereto except as possible assignees of their co-defendants, Pastor
Makibalo and Enecia Cristal; (c) the lots be partitioned according to law among the
aforementioned co-owners; and (d) the defendants be made to pay for the value of
the fruits they harvested from the lots and for moral and exemplary damages,
attorney's fees, expenses of the litigation, and costs of the suit.

The two cases were consolidated and jointly heard by Branch 5 of the Court of First
Instance of Cagayan de Oro City.
By evidence, Pastor, Makibalo sought to prove the following allegations:
He was married to Maria Yabo who died on 17 March 1962. 4 In August 1949, Jose
and Victoriano, both surnamed Yabo, sold their respective shares in the disputed
lots to one Pedro Ebarat, and in 1952 the latter sold both shares to Pastor
Makibalo. 5 Ebarat formalized this conveyance by executing an Affidavit of Waiver
and Quitclaim dated 30 May 1969 in favor of Pastor. 6
On 16 January 1951, the heirs of the late Lope Yabo sold Lope's shares in the
litigated properties to one Dominador Canomon, 7 who, in turn, sold the same to
Pastor. 8 Canomon afterwards executed an Affidavit of Waiver and Quitclaim in favor
of the latter. 9
Pastor Makibalo likewise purchased the shares of Baseliza in the two lots in 1942, of
Procopio in 1957, of Francisca in 1958, and of Pelagia in 1967. The only share he did
not buy was that of Gaudencia. After every purchase, he took possession of the
portions bought and harvested the products thereof. 10
In 1966, Pastor sold back to Alberto a portion of Lot No. 6180 which was formerly
the share of Alberto's father, Procopio. 11
In December 1968, Pastor mortgaged the two lots to the spouses Eulogio and
Remedios Salvador. 12 On 26 September 1978, he executed a document
denominated as a "Confirmation and Quitclaim" whereby he waived all his rights,
interests, and participation in the lots in favor of the Salvador spouses. 13
On the other hand, by their evidence, l4 the spouses Alberto and Elpia Yabo tried to
prove that they had repurchased from Pastor Makibalo the share of Procopio, which
was previously sold to Pastor, and had bought the shares of Jose and Maria. 15
Filoteo Yabo denied having sold the share of his father, Lope Yabo, in the contested
lots and disowned his signature and those of his mother, brothers, and sisters
appearing at the back of Exhibit "C". 16
Ignacio Yabo testified that his father, Victoriano Yabo, did not know how to write and
sign his name. He further declared that he had no knowledge that his father affixed
his thumbmark in the document marked as Exhibit "A" purporting to alienate his
father's share in the disputed lots. l7
On 15 January 1983, the trial court rendered its decision

18

holding as follows:

Assuming that the thumbmark on the typewritten name "Jose Yabo" in


Exh. 3 was that of Jose Yabo, Alberto Yabo and Elpia R. Yabo purchased
the share of Jose Yabo in bad faith because they knew before and up to

the execution of Exh. 3 on October 24, 1972 that Jose Yabo was no
longer the owner of that area because from the documents she
borrowed from Mrs. Salvador they came to know that Jose Yabo had
sold his shares to Pedro Ebarat, and they have seen that Pastor
Makibalo has been in possession of those shares together with the
seven others exclusively as owner, he having mortgaged them to Mrs.
Salvador.
As Jose Yabo was no longer the owner of the one-ninth (1/9) shares
which he sold to Alberto Yabo and Elpia Yabo under Exh. 3, the sale is
null and void, and Alberto and Elpia acquired nothing because Jose
Yabo had no more title, right or interest to dispose of.
...
Pastor Makibalo had been in possession of Jose Yabo's share since 1949
after purchasing it from Ebarat, and has been in possession thereof up
to September 26, 1978 when he sold it to the spouses Eulogio Salvador
and Remedios Salvador, who are now in possession of the same.
Exh. A, evidencing the sale of Victoriano Yabo's share to Pedro Ebarat
was identified by the latter who testified that he sold it to Pastor
Makibalo in 1951. Exh. A is an ancient document 1949 when the
document came to existence up to now is more than 30 years, and the
document had been in the possession of Pastor Makibalo, then
Remedios Salvador who had interest in its preservation.
As regards the shares of Lope Yabo, the same had been sold by his
surviving spouse Juana Legaspi, and his children Filoteo, Andresa,
Jovita, Bonifacio, and Rundino for P105.00 on January 16, 1951 to
Dominador Conomon (Exh. C and C-1), who in turn sold it to Pastor
Makibalo in 1952, executing a formal Deed of Waiver and Quitclaim on
May
30,
1969
(Exh. D).
Exh. C is an ancient document, being more than 30 years old and has
been in the possession of Pastor Makibalo and then the spouses
Eulogio and Remedios Salvador who had an interest in its
preservation. The claim of Filoteo Yabo that the signatures appearing in
Exh. C are not his and those of his brothers and sisters are of no avail,
for if they were not the ones who affixed those signatures and so they
did not sell the shares of their father Lope Yabo, why did they not then
take possession of said shares they remained silent from 1951 to
September 16, 1976 a period of 25 years. They are now [e]stopped by
laches.

And as regards the shares of Baseliza, Francisca and Pelagia, there is


no evidence presented to effectively rebut the testimony of Pastor
Makibalo that he acquired the shares of Baseliza Yabo in 1942 by
changing it with a buffalo; that he bought the shares of Francisca Yabo
in 1958 and that he bought the shares of Pelagia Yabo in 1967; Pastor
Makibalo had been in possession of these shares from the time he
acquired them, continuously, adversely, openly, and peacefully, as
owner up to the time he sold his rights and interest therein to the
spouses Eulogio and Remedies Salvador. The heirs of Baseliza,
Francisca and Pelagia have not taken any step to protect their rights
over those shares for over 40 years in the case of Baseliza's share, for
about 20 years in the case of Francisca's share, and for more than 10
years in the case of Pelagia's share. Laches, likewise has rendered their
rights stale.
On March 10, 1966 Pastor Makibalo sold back to Alberto Yabo the share
of Procopio Yabo in Lot 6180 (Exh. 1 and 2), but there is nothing to
show that. Pastor Makibalo also sold back Procopio's share in Lot 6080.
So then, by purchase, Pastor Makibalo and Maria Yabo acquired the
shares of Baseliza, Victoriano, Jose, Lope, Procopio and Francisca, or six
(6) shares from Lots 6080 and 6180. These belonged to the conjugal
partnership of Pastor Makibalo and Maria Yabo. Maria Yabo had also a
share from Lots 6080 and 6180, and Pastor Makibalo acquired the
shares of Pelagia Yabo in both Lots 6080 and 6180. All in all; Pastor
Makibalo acquired eight shares in both Lot 6080 and 6180.
While Maria Yabo died on March 17, 1962, and so one-fourth (1/4) of
the shares of Baseliza, Victoriano, Jose, Lope, and Francisca, or onefourth of five-ninth (5/9) of both lots and one-fourth (1/4) of Lot 6080
should go to the children of the brothers and sisters of Maria Yabo by
virtue of the provisions of Article 1001 of the New Civil Code, the latter
have lost their rights thereto by laches for their inaction for a very long
period and their rights have become stale. On the other hand, Pastor
Makibalo who had been in possession of the whole of the eight shares
in both Lots 6080 and 6180, enjoying the fruits thereof exclusively,
uninterruptedly, publicly, peacefully, and continuously from the death
of Maria Yabo up to the filing of the complaint in Civil Case No. 5174 on
October 8, 1976, or a period of 14 years, had acquired title to the
whole of the eight shares in Lot 6080 and seven shares in Lot 6180
(the share of Procopio in Lot 6180 had been sold back to Alberto Yabo).
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered finding
Pastor Makibalo, now Eulogio Salvador and Remedios Salvador the
owner of eight (8) shares, equivalent to eight-ninth (8/9) of Lot No.
6080, and of seven (7) shares, equivalent to seven-ninth (7/9) of Lot
No. 6180, and therefore, ordering the partition of Lot 6080 so that the

one-ninth (1/9) alloted to Gaudencia Yabo will go to her heirs or their


assigns, and the remaining eight-ninth (8/9) will go to the spouses
Eulogio Salvador and Remedios Salvador, as successor of Pastor
Makibalo, and the partition of Lot 6180 so that the seven-ninth (7/9)
portion which formerly belonged to Baseliza, Victoriano, Jose, Lope,
Maria, Francisca, and Pelagia will go to the spouses Eulogio and
Remedios Salvador, the one-ninth (1/9) which formerly belonged to
Procopio, will go to Alberto Yabo, and the remaining one-ninth (1/9)
which formerly belonged to Gaudencia, will go to Gaudencia's heirs or
their assigns.
Doc. No. 720, recorded on page 28 of Notarial Register No. VII, and
acknowledged before Notary Public Isidro S. Baculio (Exh. E)
[purportedly executed by Maria Yabo and Pastor Makibalo] is hereby
declared null and void, and so the Office of the City Fiscal is directed to
cause an investigation of this matter to find out the person or persons
responsible for the falsification of the said document, and if the
evidence warrants, to file the corresponding criminal action in court.
The Office of the City Assessor of Cagayan de Oro City is, likewise,
directed to cause the cancellation of Tax Declarations Nos. 33553,
marked as Exh. H-3, 33557, marked as Exh. H-2, both in the name of
Alberto Yabo, for having been issued on the basis of a falsified
document. Let copies of this decision be furnished the Offices of the
City Fiscal and City Assessor, both of Cagayan de Oro City.
No pronouncement as to damages, attorney's fees and costs.
SO ORDERED.

19

The defendants in Civil Case No. 5000 and the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 5174
appealed from the decision to the Court of Appeals on 19 August 1983. 20
In its decision of 3 February 1993, 21 the Court of Appeals held that (a) Maria Yabo
did not sell her share to Alberto and Elpia Yabo; (b) prescription and laches have not
run against the private respondents with respect to the 1/9 share of Maria Yabo in
the estate of her father and to her conjugal share in the portions acquired from her
brothers and sisters; and (c) Procopio never sold his share in Lot No. 6080 to Pastor
Makibalo. More specifically it stated:
Exh. E is the document found by the lower court to be a falsification.
This finding appellants do not dispute and have not raised an error.
...
While acknowledging. that upon the death of Maria Yabo on March 17,
1962, one-half (1/2) of the share of Maria Yabo in Lots 6080 and 6180
and one-half (1/2) of Maria Yabo's conjugal share in the portions bought

from Basiliza, Victoriano, Jose, Lope, Pelagia and Francisca should go to


the children of the brothers and sisters of Maria in accordance with
Article 1001 of the Civil Code, the lower court rule that said children
have lost their rights by laches "for their inaction for a very long period
and their rights have become stale" (Decision, p. 16; Record, Vol. 2, p.
158).
Appellants in their second assignment of error aver that this is an error.
We agree that the lower court erred.
While between March 17, 1962 when Maria Yabo died and October 8,
1976, when Civil Case No. 5174 for partition was filed, was a period of
more than fourteen (14) years, that alone to our mind would not suffice
to establish laches or prescription. Upon the death of Maria Yabo,
appellee Pastor Makibalo and appellants and the other children of the
brothers and sisters of Maria, by operation of law become co-owners of
the one-ninth (1/9) share of Maria as heir of her father Alipio and the
conjugal share of Maria in the portions acquired from Basiliza,
Victoriano, Jose, Lope, Pelagia and Francisca. Time alone is not a
decisive factor. Appellee Pastor Makibalo, it must be remembered, is
the husband of Maria and, therefore, an uncle in-law of appellants. In
our culture, a demand by an heir or heirs for partition immediately
upon the death of a relative is more often taken not as a legitimate
assertion of a right but of something else, like greed. It must also be
noted that the spouses, the appellee Pastor Makibalo and his deceased
wife Maria, were childless and, therefore, appellants and the other
children of the brothers and sisters of Maria must have felt that at any
rate the property would go to them in the course of time. This probably
explains why appellants started asserting their right over the property
only after appellee Pastor Makibalo sold the same to the spouses
Eulogio and Remedios Salvador. Besides, Lots 6080 and 6180 have a
combined area only of 5,083 square meters and before the
development of Northern Mindanao, and even in 1962 when Maria Yabo
died, were not that valuable. This is shown by the fact that each heir
sold his other share only for P110.00.
As we have said not time alone. In the early case of Cortes v. Oliva, 33
Phil. 480, it was held that"(o)rdinarily, possession by one joint owner
will not be presumed to be adverse to the others, but will, as a rule, be
held to be for the benefit of all. Much stronger evidence is required to
show an adverse holding by one of several joint owners than by a
stranger; and in such cases, to sustain a plea of prescription, it must
always clearly appear that one who was originally a joint owner has
repudiated the claims of his co-owners, and that his co-owners were
apprised or should have been apprised of his claim of adverse and
exclusive ownership before the alleged prescription began to run (at

page 484). This ruling on prescription should apply with equal force to
laches.
The third assignment of error challenges the finding of the lower court
that "there is nothing to show that Pastor Makibalo also sold back
Procopio's share in Lot 6080" (Decision, p. 16; Records, Vol. 2,p. 158).
Exhibits 1 and 2 cover only Procopio's share in Lot 6180. In other
words, Exhibits 1 and. 2 conveyed back to Alberto Yabo only his father,
Procopio's share in Lot 6180.
There is indeed no evidence that Pastor Makibalo also sold back to
Alberto, his father Procopio's share in Lot 6080.
But from the evidence it appears that Procopio Yabo never sold his
share in Lot 6080 to Pastor Makibalo. So there was no need to convey
back Procopio's share in Lot 6080.
This fact is evident from the Affidavit of Confirmation of Sale (Exh. M)
dated April 22, 1970, executed by Alberto Yabo, which is the very
document relied upon by the lower court (Decision, p. 11; Record, Vol.
2, p. 153) in finding that "Alberto Yabo admitted that the share of his
father Procopio Yabo was previously bought by Pastor Makibalo." A look
at Exh. M, particularly par. 3 thereof, reveals that AlbertoYabo merely
acknowledged or confirmed the sale of his father's share to Pastor
Makibalo in Lot 6180. In effect, it at the same time proves that Lot
6080 was never sold by Procopio to appellee Pastor Makibalo;
otherwise, it would have been included in the said Affidavit of
Confirmation of Sale. The Deed of Absolute Sale (Exh. 2) subsequently
executed by Pastor Makibalo in favor of Alberto Yabo on April 23, 1970,
further proves this point, since the latter merely bought back what was
previously sold, his father's share in Lot 6180. 22
The respondent court then concluded and held as follows:
In summary, appellee Pastor Makibalo and his assigns, the spouses
Eulogio and Remedios Salvador, are entitled only to one-half () of the
one-ninth (1/9) share of Maria and three-fourths (3/4) of the six-ninth
(6/9) shares acquired from Basiliza, Victoriano, Jose, Lope, Pelagia and
Francisca. Accordingly, the partition should be done as follows:
(1) 1/9 of Lots 6080 end 6180 should be given to the heirs
of Gaudencia Yabo or their successors and assigns;
(2) 1/9 of Lot 6180 should go to Alberto Yabo and his wife
Elpia Yabo;

(3) 1/9 of Lot 6080 should be given to the heirs of


Procopio Yabo and their successors end assigns, including
Alberto Yabo;
(4) The 1/9 share of Maria Yabo in Lots 6080 and 6180
should be partitioned: One-half (1/2) for the surviving
spouse Pastor Makibalo (now the spouses Eulogio
Salvador and Remedios Salvador) and the other half for
the children of the brothers and sisters of Maria Yabo in
equal shares.
(5) The remaining 6/9, one-half (1/2) of which is conjugal
between Maria Yabo and appellee Pastor Makibalo should
be partitioned three-fourths (3/4) for Pastor Makibalo (now
the spouses Eulogio Salvador and Remedios Salvador) and
one-fourth (1/4) for the children of the brothers and
sisters of Maria Yabo in equal shares.
(6) Jose Yabo if he is still alive should participate in the
partition as heir of Maria otherwise he shall be
represented by his children.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, subject to the modification in the
partition, as indicated above, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED,
without pronouncement as to costs. The lower court is directed if
necessary to fully effect the partition, to conduct further hearings and
determine whether Jose Yabo is still alive and who are the children of
the brothers and sisters of Maria Yabo. 23
Unable to obtain a reconsideration of the said-decision, Remedios Salvador,
together with her daughter, Ma. Gracia Salvador, as one of the successors-ininterest of Eulogio M. Salvador who died during the pendency of the
appeal, 24 elevated the case to this Court contending that the respondent court
erred in ruling that: (1) the shares of Pelagia Yabo should be included in the
partition; (2) prescription and laches have not run against the private respondents
in relation to the 1/9 share of Maria Yabo in the estate of her father and to her
conjugal share in those acquired by purchase; (3) Procopio Yabo never sold to Pastor
Makibalo his share in Lot No. 6080; and(4) Jose Yabo should be allowed to
participate as heir of Maria even as he had openly rejected this option by refusing to
participate in both civil cases. 25
Article 160 of the Civil Code provides that all property of the marriage is presumed
to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains
.exclusively to the husband or to the wife. Since the shares of Jose, Victoriano, Lope,
Baseliza, Procopio, and Francisca in Lot No. 6180 and Lot No. 6080 had been
purchased by Pastor during his marriage with Maria, and there is no proof that these
were acquired with his exclusive money, the same are deemed conjugal properties.

Not forming part of the conjugal partnership are: (1) the 1/9 share inherited by
Maria which remained as her exclusive property pursuant to Article 146 (2) of the
Civil Code; (2) the 1/9 share of Gaudencia which was not sold to Pastor; and (3) the
1/9 share of Pelagia which was acquired by Pastor in 1967 or five years after the
death of his wife and which was therefore his exclusive property.
There is, thus; merit in the petitioners' first assigned error. The Court of .Appeals
should have excluded from the conjugal partnership the share of Pelagia which
Pastor had acquired after his wife's death.
Upon Maria's death in 1962, the conjugal partnership of gains was dissolved. 26 Half
of the conjugal properties, together with Maria's l/9 hereditary share in the disputed
lots, constituted Maria's estate and should thus go to her surviving heirs. 27 Under
Article 1001 of the Civil Code, her heirs are her spouse, Pastor Makibalo, who shall
be entitled to-one-half (1/2) of her estate, her brother, Jose, and the children of her
other brothers and sisters, who shall inherit the other half. There having been no
actual partition of the estate yet, the said heirs became co-owners thereof by
operation of law. 28
We now determine whether prescription and laches can be applied against the coheirs of Pastor Makibalo.
It has been said that Article 494 of the Civil Code which provides that each co-owner
may demand at any time the partition of the common property implies that an
action to demand partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by laches. 29 The
imprescriptibility of the action cannot, however, be invoked when one of the coowners has possessed the property as exclusive owner and for a period sufficient to
acquire it by prescription. 30
What needs to be addressed first is whether or not Pastor Makibalo has acquired by
prescription the shares of his other co-heirs or co-owners. Prescription as a mode of
acquiring ownership requires a continuous, open, peaceful, public, and adverse
possession for a period of time fixed by law.
This Court has held that the possession of a co-owner is like that of a trustee and
shall not be regarded as adverse to the other co-owners but in fact as beneficial to
all of them. 31 Acts which may be considered adverse to strangers may not be
considered adverse insofar as co-owners are concerned. A mere silent possession
by a co-owner, his receipt of rents, fruits or profits from the property, the erection of
buildings and fences and the planting of trees thereon, and the payment of land
taxes, cannot serve as proof of exclusive ownership, 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. 32
Thus, in order that a co-owner's possession may be deemed adverse to the cestui
que trust or the other co-owners, the following elements must concur: (1) that he
has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui

que trust or the other co-owners; (2) that such positive acts of repudiation have
been made known to the cestui que trust or the other co-owners; and (3) that the
evidence thereon must be clear and convincing. 33
In Pangan vs. Court of Appeals, 34 this Court had occasion to lay down specific acts
which are considered as acts of repudiation:
Filing by a trustee of an action in court against the trustor to quiet title
to property, or for recovery of ownership thereof, held in possession by
the former, may constitute an act of repudiation of the trust reposed
on him by the latter.
The issuance of the certificate of title would constitute an open and
clear repudiation of any trust, and the lapse of more than 20 years,
open and adverse possession as owner would certainly suffice to vest
title by prescription.
An action for the reconveyance of land based on implied or
constructive trust prescribes within 10 years. And it is from the date of
the issuance of such title that the effective assertion of adverse title
for purposes of the statute of limitation is counted.
The prescriptive period may only be counted from the time petitioners
repudiated the trust relation in 1955 upon the filing of the complaint
for recovery of possession against private respondents so that the
counterclaim of the private respondents contained in their amended
answer wherein they asserted absolute ownership of the disputed
realty by reason of the continuous and adverse possession of the same
is well within the l0-year prescriptive period.
There is clear repudiation of a trust when one who is an apparent
administrator of property causes the cancellation of the title thereto in
the name of the apparent beneficiaries and gets a new certificate of
title in his own name.
It is only when the defendants, alleged co-owners of the property in
question, executed a deed of partition and on the strength thereof
obtained the cancellation of the title in the name of their predecessor
and the issuance of a new one wherein they appear as the new owners
of a definite area each, thereby in effect denying or repudiating the
ownership of one of the plaintiffs over his alleged share in the entire
lot, that the statute of limitations started to run for the purposes of the
action instituted by the latter seeking a declaration of the existence of
the co-ownership and of their rights thereunder.
The records do not show that Pastor Makibalo adjudicated to himself the whole
estate of his wife by means of an affidavit filed with the Office of the Register of

Deeds as allowed under Section 1 Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, or that he caused
the issuance of a certificate of title in his name or the cancellation of the tax
declaration in Alipio's name and the issuance of a new one in his own name. The
only act which may be deemed as a repudiation by Pastor of the co-ownership over
the lots is his filing on 28 April 1976 of an action to quiet title (Civil Case No. 5000).
The period of prescription started to run only from this repudiation. However, this
was tolled when his co-heirs, the private respondents herein, instituted on 8
October 1976 an action for partition (Civil Case No. 5174) of the lots. Hence, the
adverse possession by Pastor being for only about six months would not vest in him
exclusive ownership of his wife's estate, and absent acquisitive prescription of
ownership, laches and prescription of the action for partition will not lie in favor of
Pastor. 35
The issue presented by the petitioners in their third assigned error involves a
question of fact. This Court is not ordinarily a trier of facts, its jurisdiction being
limited to errors of law. Thus; the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are as a
rule deemed conclusive. However, when the findings of facts of the appellate court
vary with those of the trial court, this Court has to review the evidence in order to
arrive at the correct findings. 36
In the instant case, a conflict in the findings of facts of the lower courts exists. The
trial court found that Pastor was the owner of Procopio's share in Lot No. 6080, as
there was nothing to show that he sold it back to Alberto Yabo. The respondent
court on the other hand, held that Procopio Yabo never sold his share in Lot No.
6080 to pastor, thus, there was no need to convey it back to Procopio's son, Alberto.
At this juncture, it is worthy to quote pertinent portions of the testimony of Pastor
Makibalo:
COURT: (To the witness.)
Q Where is AlbertoYabo living?
A It is there in their house at Bulua.
ATTY. JARAULA: (Continuing.)
Q In whose land?
A Alipio Yabo's land.
Q What relation has that land to the two (2) parcels of
land under litigation?
A I bought already.

Q So, will you please tell the Honorable Court, why Alberto
Yabo is staying on that land when you said you have
bought that land already.
A So, I sold back a portion to them because they
requested me.
COURT: (To the witness.)
Q When was that when you said that Alberto Yabo
requested a portion?
A In 1967.
COURT:
Q Did you give that portion which they requested?
A Their share being inherited from their father Procopio
was the portion they requested.
COURT
Q Yes. Did you grant that?
A Yes.
Q That is the area you sold to Alberto Yabo, pursuant to
his request?
A Because that was the land they inherited from their
father that was what they requested.
Q All right. So that, the area now being occupied by
Alberto Yabo?
A Yes. That land in the Centro.
Q This is now identified as Lot No. 6180?
A Yes, Your Honor.
ATTY. JARAULA: (Continuing.)
Q Where did you sign a document ceding that portion
requested by Alberto Yabo?

A We did not make any receipt in favor of AlbertoYabo


because they got only the receipt of that of his father.
COURT: (To the witness.)
Q You mean to say, that the receipt which Procopio signed
when he sold his share for [sic] the document which
Alberto got?
A Yes.
COURT:
All right.
ATTY. JARAULA (Continuing.)
Q Now, for how much did you buy. the shares of each of
the brothers and sisters of your wife?
A One Hundred Ten (P110.00) Pesos.
Q When you sold back to Alberto Yabo, the portion
corresponding to the share of his father Procopio in the
Poblacion, how much did he pay you?
A The same.
Q By the same, you are referring by the same amount of
One Hundred Ten (P110.00) Pesos?
A Yes, Sir. The same amount.

37

The petitioners contend that the sales or conveyances made by Alipio's heirs were
for their consolidated shares in the two lots. If this was so, and the receipt which
Procopio signed when he sold his consolidated share to Pastor was turned over to
Alberto, the inevitable conclusion is that Alberto redeemed his father's share in both
lots, not only in Lot: No. 6180. This conclusion is further buttressed by the abovequoted testimony of Pastor that he bought the shares (consolidated) of each of
Alipio's heirs for P110.00 and that when he sold back to Alberto the former share of
Procopio, Alberto paid him the same amount of P110.00.
However, since the share of Procopio in the two litigated parcels of land was
purchased by Pastor during his marriage with Maria, the same became conjugal
property, and half of it formed part of Maria's estate upon her death in 1962.
Accordingly, Pastor's resale in favor of Alberto could only be valid with respect to
Pastor's one-half (1/2) conjugal share and one-fourth (1/4) hereditary share as heir

of Maria. 38 The remaining one-fourth (1/4) should go to Pastor's co-heirs, the


private respondents herein.
Now on the fourth assigned error.
Section 1, Rule 69 of the Rules of Court requires that all persons interested in the
land sought to be partitioned must be joined as defendants in the complaints. All
co-owners and persons having an interest in the property are considered
indispensable parties and an action for partition will not lie without the joinder of
said persons. 39 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. 40
It must be recalled that in Civil Case No. 5174 the private respondents sought the
partition of the two lots based on the co-ownership which arose from the right of
succession to Alipio's estate. Since Jose Yabo confirmed, through his thumbmark in
the verification of the complaint, that he had already parted with his share in
Alipio's estate, he in effect admitted that he had ceased to be a co-owner of the two
lots which comprised his father's estate. Thus, his non-joinder as a party-plaintiff in
the complaint would appear to be proper. He does not, as well, appear to be an
indispensable party in Civil Case No. 5000.
As it turned out, however, the evidence and the issues which cropped up rendered
imperative the determination of the conjugal assets of Pastor Makibalo and Maria
Yabo and the partition of the latter's estate among her heirs. Her estate consists of
one-half() of the conjugal properties, which should then be divided pursuant to
Article 1001 of the Civil Code since the marriage produced no child; thus: one-half
() to Pastor, and the other half to her brother Jose, and to her nephews and nieces.
Insofar as the partition of Maria Yabo's estate is concerned, Jose is an indispensable
party. Strictly, the rule on indispensable parties may bar a partition of Maria's
estate. Considering, however, that such estate or its partition are but incidents in
Civil Case No. 5000 and Civil Case No. 5174, and the parties have not offered any
objection to the propriety of the determination and partition of her estate, then in
the light of Section 11 of Rule 3 41 and Sections 1 and 5, Rule 10 42 of the Rules of
Court, and following the rulings of this Court in the 1910 case of Alonso vs.
Villamor 43 and the 1947 case of Cuyugan vs. Dizon, 44 an amendment of the
complaint in Civil Case No. 5174 to implead Jose Yabo as party plaintiff would be in
order.
In Alonso, it was held that under Section 110 of the Code of Civil Procedure whose
first paragraph is substantially the same as the aforesaid Section 1 of Rule 10 and
Section 503 thereof, this Court "has full power, apart from that power and authority
which is inherent, to amend the process, pleadings, proceedings, and decision in
this case by substituting, as party plaintiff, the real party in interest." Our ruling
in Cuyugan states:

We, however, do not believe that the case should be dismissed for
plaintiff's failure to join her husband. (Sec. 11, Rule 2, Rules of Court).
Nor should the case be remanded to the court below and a new trial
ordered on this account. The complaint may and should be amended
here, to cure the defect of party plaintiffs, after final decision is
rendered. Section 11, Rule 2, and Section 2, Rule 17, explicitly
authorize such procedure. As this Court had occasion to say in Quison
vs. Salud, (12 Phil., 109, 116), "a second action would be but a
repetition of the first and would involve both parties, plaintiffs and
defendant, in much additional expense and would cause much delay,
in that way defeating the purpose of the section, which is expressly
stated to be "that the actual merits of the controversy may speedily be
determined without regard to technicalities and in the most
expeditious and inexpensive manner." (See also Diaz vs. De la Rama,
73 Phil., 104)
To avoid further delay in the disposition of this case, we declare Civil Case No. 5174
as thus duly amended. Consequently, Jose Yabo may participate in the partition of
the estate of Maria Yabo. The fourth assigned error must then be rejected.
In view of the foregoing disquisitions, the appealed judgment should be modified as
follows: (a) the former 1/9 share of Pelagia Yabo in Lots No. 6180 and 6080 which
she sold to Pastor should be treated as the latter's exclusive property which should
now pertain to the petitioners, his successors-in-interest; and (b) the former 1/9
share of Procopio Yabo in both lots should be divided as follows: 3/4 (respondent
Pastor's 1/2 conjugal share and 1/4 representing his share therein as Maria's heir)
for the spouses Alberto and Elpia Yabo, and 1/4 (representing the share therein of
Maria's collateral relatives as Maria's heirs) for the private respondents, including
Alberto and Jose Yabo. The partition of the two lots in controversy should therefore
be made in this wise:
(1) 1/9 share of Gaudencia Yabo should be allotted to her heirs or
successors-in-interest;
(2) 1/9 share formerly belonging to Pelagia Yabo to the petitioners as
successors-in-interest of Pastor Makibalo;
(3) 1/9 hereditary share of Maria Yabo to be divided as follows:
(a) 1/2 for the petitioners (as successors-in-interest of
Pastor Makibalo), and
(b) 1/2 for the private respondents, including Jose Yabo or
his heirs;
(4) 1/9 share formerly belonging to Procopio Yabo to be divided thus:

(a) 3/4 for Spouses Alberto and Elpia Yabo, and


(b) 1/4 for the other private respondents, including Jose
Yabo or his heirs;
(5) 5/9 shares which became the conjugal properties of Pastor Makibalo
and Maria Yabo to be divided thus:
(a) 3/4 for the petitioners (as successors-in-interest of
Pastor Makibalo), and
(b) for the private respondents, including Jose Yabo or
his heirs.
In sum, Lots Nos. 6180 anid 6080 should be partitioned as follows:
1/9 or 4/36 to Guadencia Yabo's heirs or successors-in-interest;
3/4 of 1/9 or 3/36 to the spouses Alberto and Elpina Yabo;
8/36 to the private respondents, including Jose Yabu or his heirs;
21/36 to the petitioners as successors-in-interest of Pastor Makibalo.
WHEREFORE, the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals of 8 February 1993 in
CA-G.R. CV No. 12839 is AFFIRMED, subject to the modifications indicated above.
Upon the finality of this decision, let this case be forthwith remanded to the court a
quo for further proceedings on the partition of Lots Nos. 6180 and 6080 in
conformity with this decision.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 133638. April 15, 2005]
PERPETUA VDA. DE APE, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS and GENOROSA CAWIT VDA. DE LUMAYNO, respondents.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Before Us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 45886 entitled, Generosa Cawit de Lumayno,
accompanied by her husband Braulio Lumayno v. Fortunato Ape, including his wife
Perpetua de Ape.

The pertinent facts are as follows:


Cleopas Ape was the registered owner of a parcel of land particularly known as
Lot No. 2319 of the Escalante Cadastre of Negros Occidental and covered by
Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. RP 1379 (RP-154 [300]). [2] Upon Cleopas Apes
death sometime in 1950, the property passed on to his wife, Maria Ondoy, and their
eleven (11) children, namely: Fortunato, Cornelio, Bernalda, Bienvenido,
Encarnacion, Loreta, Lourdes, Felicidad, Adela, Dominador, and Angelina, all
surnamed Ape.
On 15 March 1973, Generosa Cawit de Lumayno (private respondent herein),
joined by her husband, Braulio, [3] instituted a case for Specific Performance of a
Deed of Sale with Damages against Fortunato and his wife Perpetua (petitioner
herein) before the then Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental. It was alleged
in the complaint that on 11 April 1971, private respondent and Fortunato entered
into a contract of sale of land under which for a consideration of P5,000.00,
Fortunato agreed to sell his share in Lot No. 2319 to private respondent. The
agreement was contained in a receipt prepared by private respondents son-in-law,
Andres Flores, at her behest. Said receipt was attached to the complaint as Annex A
thereof and later marked as Exhibit G for private respondent. The receipt states:
April 11, 1971
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
This date received from Mrs. Generosa Cawit de Lumayno the sum of THIRTY PESOS
ONLY as Advance Payment of my share in Land Purchased, for FIVE THOUSAND
PESOS LOT #2319.
(Signed)
FORTUNATO APE
P30.00 WITNESS:
(Illegible) [4]
As private respondent wanted to register the claimed sale transaction, she
supposedly demanded that Fortunato execute the corresponding deed of sale and to
receive the balance of the consideration. However, Fortunato unjustifiably refused
to heed her demands. Private respondent, therefore, prayed that Fortunato be
ordered to execute and deliver to her a sufficient and registrable deed of sale
involving his one-eleventh (1/11) share or participation in Lot No. 2319 of the
Escalante Cadastre; to pay P5,000.00 in damages; P500.00 reimbursement for
litigation expenses as well as additional P500.00 for every appeal made; P2,000.00
for attorneys fees; and to pay the costs.[5]

Fortunato and petitioner denied the material allegations of the complaint and
claimed that Fortunato never sold his share in Lot No. 2319 to private respondent
and that his signature appearing on the purported receipt was forged. By way of
counterclaim, the defendants below maintained having entered into a contract of
lease with respondent involving Fortunatos portion of Lot No. 2319. This purported
lease contract commenced in 1960 and was supposed to last until 1965 with an
option for another five (5) years. The annual lease rental was P100.00 which private
respondent and her husband allegedly paid on installment basis. Fortunato and
petitioner also assailed private respondent and her husbands continued possession
of the rest of Lot No. 2319 alleging that in the event they had acquired the shares of
Fortunatos co-owners by way of sale, he was invoking his right to redeem the same.
Finally, Fortunato and petitioner prayed that the lease contract between them and
respondent be ordered annulled; and that respondent be ordered to pay them
attorneys fees; moral damages; and exemplary damages. [6]
In their reply,[7] the private respondent and her husband alleged that they had
purchased from Fortunatos co-owners, as evidenced by various written instruments,
[8]
their respective portions of Lot No. 2319. By virtue of these sales, they insisted
that Fortunato was no longer a co-owner of Lot No. 2319 thus, his right of
redemption no longer existed.
Prior to the resolution of this case at the trial court level, Fortunato died and was
substituted in this action by his children named Salodada, Clarita, Narciso, Romeo,
Rodrigo, Marieta, Fortunato, Jr., and Salvador, all surnamed Ape. [9]
During the trial, private respondent testified that she and her husband acquired
the various portions of Lot No. 2319 belonging to Fortunatos co-owners. Thereafter,
her husband caused the annotation of an adverse claim on the certificate of title of
Lot No. 2319.[10] The annotation states:
Entry No. 123539 Adverse claim filed by Braulio Lumayno. Notice of adverse claim
filed by Braulio Lumayno affecting the lot described in this title to the extent of
77511.93 square meters, more or less, the aggregate area of shares sold to him on
the basis of (alleged) sales in his possession. Doc. No. 157, Page No. 33, Book No.
XI, Series of 1967 of Alexander Cawit of Escalante, Neg. Occ. Date of instrument.
June 22, 1967 at 8:30 a.m. (SGD) FEDENCIORRAZ, Actg. Register of Deeds. [11]
In addition, private respondent claimed that after the acquisition of those
shares, she and her husband had the whole Lot No. 2319 surveyed by a certain
Oscar Mascada who came up with a technical description of said piece of land.
[12]
Significantly, private respondent alleged that Fortunato was present when the
survey was conducted.[13]
Also presented as evidence for private respondent were pictures taken of some
parts of Lot No. 2319 purportedly showing the land belonging to Fortunato being
bounded by a row of banana plants thereby separating it from the rest of Lot No.
2319.[14]

As regards the circumstances surrounding the sale of Fortunatos portion of the


land, private respondent testified that Fortunato went to her store at the time when
their lease contract was about to expire. He allegedly demanded the rental payment
for his land but as she was no longer interested in renewing their lease agreement,
they agreed instead to enter into a contract of sale which Fortunato acceded to
provided private respondent bought his portion of Lot No. 2319 for P5,000.00.
Thereafter, she asked her son-in-law Flores to prepare the aforementioned receipt.
Flores read the document to Fortunato and asked the latter whether he had any
objection thereto. Fortunato then went on to affix his signature on the receipt.
For her part, petitioner insisted that the entire Lot No. 2319 had not yet been
formally subdivided;[15] that on 11 April 1971 she and her husband went to private
respondents house to collect past rentals for their land then leased by the former,
however, they managed to collect only thirty pesos; [16] that private respondent
made her (petitioners) husband sign a receipt acknowledging the receipt of said
amount of money;[17] and that the contents of said receipt were never explained to
them.[18] She also stated in her testimony that her husband was an illiterate and
only learned how to write his name in order to be employed in a sugar central. [19] As
for private respondents purchase of the shares owned by Fortunatos co-owners,
petitioner maintained that neither she nor her husband received any notice
regarding those sales transactions. [20] The testimony of petitioner was later on
corroborated by her daughter-in-law, Marietta Ape Dino. [21]
After due trial, the court a quo rendered a decision [22] dismissing both the
complaint and the counterclaim. The trial court likewise ordered that deeds or
documents representing the sales of the shares previously owned by Fortunatos coowners be registered and annotated on the existing certificate of title of Lot No.
2319. According to the trial court, private respondent failed to prove that she had
actually paid the purchase price of P5,000.00 to Fortunato and petitioner. Applying,
therefore, the provision of Article 1350 of the Civil Code, [23] the trial court concluded
that private respondent did not have the right to demand the delivery to her of the
registrable deed of sale over Fortunatos portion of the Lot No. 2319.
The trial court also rejected Fortunato and petitioners claim that they had the
right of redemption over the shares previously sold to private respondent and the
latters husband, reasoning as follows:
Defendants in their counterclaim invoke their right of legal redemption under Article
1623 of the New Civil Code in view of the alleged sale of the undivided portions of
the lot in question by their co-heirs and co-owners as claimed by the plaintiffs in
their complaint. They have been informed by the plaintiff about said sales upon the
filing of the complaint in the instant case as far back as March 14, 1973. Defendant
themselves presented as their very own exhibits copies of the respective deeds of
sale or conveyance by their said co-heirs and co-owners in favor of the plaintiffs or
their predecessors-in-interest way back on January 2, 1992 when they formally
offered their exhibits in the instant case; meaning, they themselves acquired
possession of said documentary exhibits even before they formally offered them in

evidence. Under Art. 1623 of the New Civil Code, defendants have only THIRTY (30)
DAYS counted from their actual knowledge of the exact terms and conditions of the
deeds of sale or conveyance of their co-heirs and co-owners share within which to
exercise their right of legal redemption.[24]
Within the reglementary period, both parties filed their respective notices of
appeal before the trial court with petitioner and her children taking exception to the
finding of the trial court that the period within which they could invoke their right of
redemption had already lapsed. [25] For her part, private respondent raised as errors
the trial courts ruling that there was no contract of sale between herself and
Fortunato and the dismissal of their complaint for specific performance. [26]
The Court of Appeals, in the decision now assailed before us, reversed and set
aside the trial courts dismissal of the private respondents complaint but upheld the
portion of the court a quos decision ordering the dismissal of petitioner and her
childrens counterclaim. The dispositive portion of the appellate courts decision
reads:
WHEREFORE, the decision dated March 11, 1994, is hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE insofar as the dismissal of plaintiffs-appellants complaint is concerned, and
another one is entered ordering the defendant-appellant Fortunato Ape and/or his
wife Perpetua de Ape and successors-in-interest to execute in favor of plaintiffappellant Generosa Cawit de Lumayno a Deed of Absolute Sale involving the oneeleventh (1/11) share or participation of Fortunato Ape in Lot No. 2319, Escalante
Cadastre, containing an area of 12,527.19 square meters, more or less, within (30)
days from finality of this decision, and in case of non-compliance with this Order,
that the Clerk of Court of said court is ordered to execute the deed on behalf of the
vendor. The decision is AFFIRMED insofar as the dismissal of defendants-appellants
counterclaim is concerned.
Without pronouncement as to costs. [27]
The Court of Appeals upheld private respondents position that Exhibit G had all
the earmarks of a valid contract of sale, thus:
Exhibit G is the best proof that the P5,000.00 representing the purchase price of the
1/11th share of Fortunato Ape was not paid by the vendee on April 11, 1971, and/or
up to the present, but that does not affect the binding force and effect of the
document. The vendee having paid the vendor an advance payment of the agreed
purchase price of the property, what the vendor can exact from the vendee is full
payment upon his execution of the final deed of sale. As is shown, the vendee
precisely instituted this action to compel the vendor Fortunato Ape to execute the
final document, after she was informed that he would execute the same upon arrival
of his daughter Bala from Mindanao, but afterwards failed to live up to his
contractual obligation (TSN, pp. 11-13, June 10, 1992).

It is not right for the trial court to expect plaintiff-appellant to pay the balance of the
purchase price before the final deed is executed, or for her to deposit the equivalent
amount in court in the form of consignation. Consignation comes into fore in the
case of a creditor to whom tender of payment has been made and refuses without
just cause to accept it (Arts. 1256 and 1252, N.C.C.; Querino vs. Pelarca, 29 SCRA
1). As vendee, plaintiff-appellant Generosa Cawit de Lumayno does not fall within
the purview of a debtor.
We, therefore, find and so hold that the trial court should have found that exhibit G
bears all the earmarks of a private deed of sale which is valid, binding and
enforceable between the parties, and that as a consequence of the failure and
refusal on the part of the vendor Fortunato Ape to live up to his contractual
obligation, he and/or his heirs and successors-in-interest can be compelled to
execute in favor of, and to deliver to the vendee, plaintiff-appellant Generosa Cawit
de Lumayno a registerable deed of absolute sale involving his one-eleventh (1/11 th)
share or participation in Lot No. 2319, Escalante Cadastre, containing an area of
12,527.19 square meters, more or less, within 30 days from finality of this decision,
and, in case of non-compliance within said period, this Court appoints the Clerk of
Court of the trial court to execute on behalf of the vendor the said document. [28]
The Court of Appeals, however, affirmed the trial courts ruling on the issue of
petitioner and her childrens right of redemption. It ruled that Fortunatos receipt of
the Second Owners Duplicate of OCT (RP) 1379 (RP-154 ([300]), containing the
adverse claim of private respondent and her husband, constituted a sufficient
compliance with the written notice requirement of Article 1623 of the Civil Code and
the period of redemption under this provision had long lapsed.
Aggrieved by the decision of the appellate court, petitioner is now before us
raising, essentially, the following issues: whether Fortunato was furnished with a
written notice of sale of the shares of his co-owners as required by Article 1623 of
the Civil Code; and whether the receipt signed by Fortunato proves the existence of
a contract of sale between him and private respondent.
In her memorandum, petitioner claimed that the Court of Appeals erred in
sustaining the court a quos pronouncement that she could no longer redeem the
portion of Lot No. 2319 already acquired by private respondent for no written notice
of said sales was furnished them. According to her, the Court of Appeals unduly
expanded the scope of the law by equating Fortunatos receipt of Second Owners
Duplicate of OCT (RP) 1379 (RP-154 ([300]) with the written notice requirement of
Article 1623. In addition, she argued that Exhibit G could not possibly be a contract
of sale of Fortunatos share in Lot No. 2319 as said document does not contain (a)
definite agreement on the manner of payment of the price. [29] Even assuming that
Exhibit G is, indeed, a contract of sale between private respondent and Fortunato,
the latter did not have the obligation to deliver to private respondent a registrable
deed of sale in view of private respondents own failure to pay the full purchase price
of Fortunatos portion of Lot No. 2319. Petitioner is also of the view that, at most,
Exhibit G merely contained a unilateral promise to sell which private respondent

could not enforce in the absence of a consideration distinct from the purchase price
of the land. Further, petitioner reiterated her claim that due to the illiteracy of her
husband, it was incumbent upon private respondent to show that the contents of
Exhibit G were fully explained to him. Finally, petitioner pointed out that the Court of
Appeals erred when it took into consideration the same exhibit despite the fact that
only its photocopy was presented before the court.
On the other hand, private respondent argued that the annotation on the
second owners certificate over Lot No. 2319 constituted constructive notice to the
whole world of private respondents claim over the majority of said parcel of land.
Relying on our decision in the case of Cabrera v. Villanueva,[30] private respondent
insisted that when Fortunato received a copy of the second owners certificate, he
became fully aware of the contracts of sale entered into between his co-owners on
one hand and private respondent and her deceased husband on the other.
Private respondent also averred that although (Lot No. 2319) was not actually
partitioned in a survey after the death of Cleopas Ape, the land was partitioned in
a hantal-hantal manner by the heirs. Each took and possessed specific portion or
premises as his/her share in land, farmed their respective portion or premises, and
improved them, each heir limiting his/her improvement within the portion or
premises which were his/her respective share. [31] Thus, when private respondent and
her husband purchased the other parts of Lot No. 2319, it was no longer undivided
as petitioner claims.
The petition is partly meritorious.
Article 1623 of the Civil Code provides:
The right of legal pre-emption or redemption shall not be exercised except within
thirty days from the notice in writing by the prospective vendor, or by the vendor,
as the case may be. The deed of sale shall not be recorded in the Registry of
Property, unless accompanied by an affidavit of the vendor that he has given
written notice thereof to all possible redemptioners.
Despite the plain language of the law, this Court has, over the years, been
tasked to interpret the written notice requirement of the above-quoted provision. In
the case Butte v. Manuel Uy & Sons, Inc.,[32] we declared that
In considering whether or not the offer to redeem was timely, we think that the
notice given by the vendee (buyer) should not be taken into account. The text of
Article 1623 clearly and expressly prescribes that the thirty days for making the
redemption are to be counted from notice in writing by the vendor. Under the old
law (Civ. Code of 1889, Art. 1524), it was immaterial who gave the notice; so long as
the redeeming co-owner learned of the alienation in favor of the stranger, the
redemption period began to run. It is thus apparent that the Philippine legislature in
Article 1623 deliberately selected a particular method of giving notice, and that

method must be deemed exclusive. (39 Am. Jur., 237; Payne vs. State, 12 S.W. 2(d)
528). As ruled in Wampler vs. Lecompte, 150 Atl. 458 (affd. in 75 Law Ed. [U.S.] 275)
why these provisions were inserted in the statute we are not informed, but we may
assume until the contrary is shown, that a state of facts in respect thereto existed,
which warranted the legislature in so legislating.
The reasons for requiring that the notice should be given by the seller, and not by
the buyer, are easily divined. The seller of an undivided interest is in the best
position to know who are his co-owners that under the law must be notified of the
sale. Also, the notice by the seller removes all doubts as to fact of the sale, its
perfection; and its validity, the notice being a reaffirmation thereof, so that the
party notified need not entertain doubt that the seller may still contest the
alienation. This assurance would not exist if the notice should be given by the buyer.
[33]

The interpretation was somehow modified in the case of De Conejero, et al. v.


Court of Appeals, et al. [34] wherein it was pointed out that Article 1623 does not
prescribe a particular form of notice, nor any distinctive method for notifying the
redemptioner thus, as long as the redemptioner was notified in writing of the sale
and the particulars thereof, the redemption period starts to run. This view was
reiterated in Etcuban v. The Honorable Court of Appeals, et al.,[35] Cabrera v.
Villanueva,[36] Garcia, et al. v. Calaliman, et al., [37] Distrito, et al. v. The Honorable
Court of Appeals, et al.,[38] and Mariano, et al. v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al. [39]
However, in the case of Salatandol v. Retes,[40] wherein the plaintiffs were not
furnished any written notice of sale or a copy thereof by the vendor, this Court
again referred to the principle enunciated in the case of Butte. As observed by
Justice Vicente Mendoza, such reversion is only sound, thus:
Art. 1623 of the Civil Code is clear in requiring that the written notification should
come from the vendor or prospective vendor, not from any other person. There is,
therefore, no room for construction. Indeed, the principal difference between Art.
1524 of the former Civil Code and Art. 1623 of the present one is that the former did
not specify who must give the notice, whereas the present one expressly says the
notice must be given by the vendor. Effect must be given to this change in statutory
language. [41]
In this case, the records are bereft of any indication that Fortunato was given
any written notice of prospective or consummated sale of the portions of Lot No.
2319 by the vendors or would-be vendors. The thirty (30)-day redemption period
under the law, therefore, has not commenced to run.
Despite this, however, we still rule that petitioner could no longer invoke her
right to redeem from private respondent for the exercise of this right presupposes
the existence of a co-ownership at the time the conveyance is made by a co-owner
and when it is demanded by the other co-owner or co-owners. [42] The regime of co-

ownership exists when ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to different


persons.[43] By the nature of a co-ownership, a co-owner cannot point to specific
portion of the property owned in common as his own because his share therein
remains intangible.[44] As legal redemption is intended to minimize co-ownership,
[45]
once the property is subdivided and distributed among the co-owners, the
community ceases to exist and there is no more reason to sustain any right of legal
redemption.[46]
In this case, records reveal that although Lot No. 2319 has not yet been formally
subdivided, still, the particular portions belonging to the heirs of Cleopas Ape had
already been ascertained and they in fact took possession of their respective parts.
This can be deduced from the testimony of petitioner herself, thus:
Q When the plaintiffs leased the share of your husband, were there any
metes and bounds?
A It was not formally subdivided. We have only a definite portion. (hantalhantal)
Q This hantal-hantal of your husband, was it also separate and distinct from
the hantal-hantal or the share of the brothers and sisters of your
husband?
A Well, this property in question is a common property.
Q To the north, whose share was that which is adjacent to your husbands
assumed partition?
A I do not know what [does] this north [mean].
COURT
(To Witness)
Q To the place from where the sun rises, whose share was that?
A The shares of Cornelia, Loreta, Encarnacion and Adela.
Q How could you determine their own shares?
A They were residing in their respective assumed portions.
Q How about determining their respective boundaries?
A It could be determined by stakes and partly a row of banana plantations
planted by my son-in-law.

Q Who is this son-in-law you mentioned?


A Narciso Ape.
ATTY. CAWIT
(Continuing)
Q You said that there were stakes to determine the hantal-hantal of your
husband and the hantal-hantal of the other heirs, did I get you right?
ATTY. TAN
Admitted, Your Honor.
ATTY. CAWIT
Q Mrs. Ape, in 1960, Cleopas Ape was already dead, is that correct?
A Certainly, since he died in 1950.
Q By the manifestation of your counsel that the entire land (13 hectares) of
your father-in-law, Cleopas Ape, was leased to Generosa Lumayno, is
this correct?
A No, it is only the assumed portion of my husband [which] was leased to
Generosa Lumayno.
Q For clarification, it was only the share of your husband [which] was leased
to Generosa Cawit Lumayno?
A Yes.[47]
ATTY. CAWIT
Q My question: is that portion which you said was leased by your husband to
the Lumayno[s] and which was included to the lease by your motherin-law to the Lumayno[s], when the Lumayno[s] returned your
husband[s] share, was that the same premises that your husband
leased to the Lumayno[s]?
A The same.
Q In re-possessing this portion of the land corresponding to the share of
your husband, did your husband demand that they should re-possess
the land from the Lumayno[s] or did the Lumayno[s] return them to
your husband voluntarily?

A They just returned to us without paying the rentals.


COURT
Q Was the return the result of your husbands request or just voluntarily they
returned it to your husband?
A No, sir, it was just returned voluntarily, and they abandoned the area but
my husband continued farming.[48]
Similarly telling of the partition is the stipulation of the parties during the pretrial wherein it was admitted that Lot No. 2319 had not been subdivided
nevertheless, Fortunato Ape had possessed a specific portion of the land ostensibly
corresponding to his share.[49]
From the foregoing, it is evident that the partition of Lot No. 2319 had already
been effected by the heirs of Cleopas Ape. Although the partition might have been
informal is of no moment for even an oral agreement of partition is valid and
binding upon the parties.[50] Likewise, the fact that the respective shares of Cleopas
Apes heirs are still embraced in one and the same certificate of title and have not
been technically apportioned does not make said portions less determinable and
identifiable from one another nor does it, in any way, diminish the dominion of their
respective owners.[51]
Turning now to the second issue of the existence of a contract of sale, we rule
that the records of this case betray the stance of private respondent that Fortunato
Ape entered into such an agreement with her.
A contract of sale is a consensual contract, thus, it is perfected by mere consent
of the parties. It is born from the moment there is a meeting of minds upon the
thing which is the object of the sale and upon the price. [52] Upon its perfection, the
parties may reciprocally demand performance, that is, the vendee may compel the
transfer of the ownership and to deliver the object of the sale while the vendor may
demand the vendee to pay the thing sold. [53] For there to be a perfected contract of
sale, however, the following elements must be present: consent, object, and price in
money or its equivalent. In the case of Leonardo v. Court of Appeals, et al.,[54] we
explained the element of consent, to wit:
The essence of consent is the agreement of the parties on the terms of the contract,
the acceptance by one of the offer made by the other. It is the concurrence of the
minds of the parties on the object and the cause which constitutes the contract. The
area of agreement must extend to all points that the parties deem material or there
is no consent at all.
To be valid, consent must meet the following requisites: (a) it should be intelligent,
or with an exact notion of the matter to which it refers; (b) it should be free and (c)

it should be spontaneous. Intelligence in consent is vitiated by error; freedom by


violence, intimidation or undue influence; spontaneity by fraud. [55]
In this jurisdiction, the general rule is that he who alleges fraud or mistake in a
transaction must substantiate his allegation as the presumption is that a person
takes ordinary care for his concerns and that private dealings have been entered
into fairly and regularly. [56] The exception to this rule is provided for under Article
1332 of the Civil Code which provides that [w]hen one of the parties is unable to
read, or if the contract is in a language not understood by him, and mistake or fraud
is alleged, the person enforcing the contract must show that the terms thereof have
been fully explained to the former.
In this case, as private respondent is the one seeking to enforce the claimed
contract of sale, she bears the burden of proving that the terms of the agreement
were fully explained to Fortunato Ape who was an illiterate. This she failed to do.
While she claimed in her testimony that the contents of the receipt were made clear
to Fortunato, such allegation was debunked by Andres Flores himself when the
latter took the witness stand. According to Flores:
ATTY. TAN
Q Mr. Witness, that receipt is in English, is it not?
A Yes, sir.
Q When you prepared that receipt, were you aware that Fortunato Ape
doesnt know how to read and write English?
A Yes, sir, I know.
Q Mr. Witness, you said you were present at the time of the signing of that
alleged receipt of P30.00, correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where, in what place was this receipt signed?
A At the store.
Q At the time of the signing of this receipt, were there other person[s]
present aside from you, your mother-in-law and Fortunato Ape?
A In the store, yes, sir.
Q When you signed that document of course you acted as witness upon
request of your mother-in-law?

A No, this portion, I was the one who prepared that document.
Q Without asking of (sic) your mother-in-law, you prepared that document or
it was your mother-in-law who requested you to prepare that document
and acted as witness?
A She requested me to prepare but does not instructed (sic) me to act as
witness. It was our opinion that whenever I prepared the document, I
signed it as a witness.
Q Did it not occur to you to ask other witness to act on the side of Fortunato
Ape who did not know how to read and write English?
A It occurred to me.
Q But you did not bother to request a person who is not related to your
mother-in-law, considering that Fortunato Ape did not know how to
read and write English?
A The one who represented Fortunato Ape doesnt know also how to read
and write English. One a maid.
Q You mentioned that there [was another] person inside the store, under
your previous statement, when the document was signed, there [was
another] person in the store aside from you, your mother-in-law and
Fortunato Ape, is not true?
A That is true, there is one person, but that person doesnt know how to
read also.
Q Of course, Mr. Witness, since it occurred to you that there was need for
other witness to sign that document for Fortunato Ape, is it not a fact
that the Municipal Building is very near your house?
A Quite (near).
Q But you could readily proceed to the Municipal Building and request one
who is knowledgeable in English to act as witness?
A I think there is no need for that small receipt. So I dont bother myself to
go.
Q You did not consider that receipt very important because you said that
small receipt?
A Yes, I know.[57]

As can be gleaned from Floress testimony, while he was very much aware of
Fortunatos inability to read and write in the English language, he did not bother to
fully explain to the latter the substance of the receipt (Exhibit G). He even dismissed
the idea of asking somebody else to assist Fortunato considering that a measly sum
of thirty pesos was involved. Evidently, it did not occur to Flores that the document
he himself prepared pertains to the transfer altogether of Fortunatos property to his
mother-in-law. It is precisely in situations such as this when the wisdom of Article
1332 of the Civil Code readily becomes apparent which is to protect a party to a
contract disadvantaged by illiteracy, ignorance, mental weakness or some other
handicap.[58]
In sum, we hold that petitioner is no longer entitled to the right of redemption
under Article 1632 of the Civil Code as Lot No. 2319 had long been partitioned
among its co-owners. This Court likewise annuls the contract of sale between
Fortunato and private respondent on the ground of vitiated consent.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision dated 25 March 1998 of the
Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision dated 11
March 1994 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 58, San Carlos City, Negros
Occidental, dismissing both the complaint and the counterclaim, is hereby
REINSTATED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
LEONARDO ACABAL and RAMON NICOLAS, petitioners, vs. VILLANER
ACABAL, EDUARDO ACABAL, SOLOMON ACABAL, GRACE ACABAL,
MELBA ACABAL, EVELYN ACABAL, ARMIN ACABAL, RAMIL ACABAL,
and BYRON ACABAL, respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the February 15, 2001
Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals reversing that of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Dumaguete City, Branch 35.[2]
In dispute is the exact nature of the document [3] which respondent Villaner
Acabal (Villaner) executed in favor of his godson-nephew-petitioner Leonardo Acabal
(Leonardo) on April 19, 1990.
Villaners parents, Alejandro Acabal and Felicidad Balasabas, owned a parcel of
land situated in Barrio Tanglad, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, containing an area of
18.15 hectares more or less, described in Tax Declaration No. 15856. [4] By a Deed of
Absolute Sale dated July 6, 1971, [5] his parents transferred for P2,000.00 ownership
of the said land to him, who was then married to Justiniana Lipajan. [6]

Sometime after the foregoing transfer, it appears that Villaner became a


widower.
Subsequently, he executed on April 19, 1990 a deed [7] conveying the same
property[8] in favor of Leonardo.
Villaner was later to claim that while the April 19, 1990 document he executed
now appears to be a Deed of Absolute Sale purportedly witnessed by a Bais City
trial court clerk Carmelo Cadalin and his wife Lacorte, what he signed was a
document captioned Lease Contract [9] (modeled after a July 1976 lease
agreement[10] he had previously executed with previous lessee, Maria Luisa
Montenegro[11]) wherein he leased for 3 years the property to Leonardo at P1,000.00
per hectare[12] and which was witnessed by two women employees of one Judge
Villegas of Bais City.
Villaner thus filed on October 11, 1993 a complaint [13] before the Dumaguete
RTC against Leonardo and Ramon Nicolas to whom Leonardo in turn conveyed the
property, for annulment of the deeds of sale.
At the witness stand, Villaner declared:
Q: It appears, Mr. Acabal, that you have signed a document of sale with the
defendant Leonardo Acabal on April 19, 1990, please tell the court
whether you have really agreed to sell this property to the defendant
on or before April 19, 1990?
A: We had some agreement but not about the selling of this property.
Q: What was your agreement with the defendant Leonardo Acabal?
A: Our agreement [was] that he will just rent. [14]
xxx
Q: Now, please tell the court how were you able to sign this document on
April 19, 1990?
A: I do not know why I signed that, that is why I am puzzled.
Q: Why, did you not read the contents of this document?
A: I have not read that. I only happened to read the title of the
Lease Contract.
Q: And do you recall who were the witnesses of the document which
you signed in favor of Leonardo Acabal?

A: Employees of Judge Villegas of Bais City.


Q: Did you see them sign that document?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: These signatures appearing in this document marked as Exhibit C
for the plaintiff and Exhibit 1 for the defendant, please
examine over (sic) these signatures if these were the
signatures of these witnesses who signed this document?
A: These are not the signatures of the two women.
Q: And after signing this document on April 19, 1990, did you appear before
a notary public to have this notarized?
A: No, I went home to San Carlos.[15]
xxx
Q: According to this document, you sell (sic) this property at P10,000.00, did
you sell this property to Leonardo Acabal?
A: No, sir.
Q: How about after April 19, 1990, did you receive this amount from
Leonardo Acabal?
A: No, sir.[16]
xxx
Q: Now you said that on May 25, 1990, Leonardo Acabal did not pay the
amount that he promised to you, what did you do of (sic) his refusal to
pay that amount?
A: I went to Mr. [Carmelo] Mellie Cadalin because he was the one
who prepared the papers and to ask Leonardo Acabal why he
will not comply with our agreement.
Q: By the way, who is this Mellie Cadalin?
A: Mellie Cadalin is also working in the sala of Judge Villegas.
Q: Who requested Mellie Cadalin to prepare this document?
A: Maybe it was Leonardo Acabal.

Q: By the way, when for the first time did you talk to Leonardo Acabal
regarding your agreement to lease this property to him?
A: March 14, 1990, in San Carlos.
Q: And what document did you give to him in order that that
document will be prepared?
A: I have given (sic) some papers and contract of lease that I have
signed to (sic) Mrs. Montenegro.[17] (Emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
xxx
Q: Now, Carmelo Cadalin [Mellie] also testified before this court that in fact
he identified the document marked as Exhibit C for the plaintiff that
what you executed on April 19, 1990 was a deed of sale and not a
contract of lease, what can you say to that statement?
A: That is a lie.
Q: And whats the truth then?
A: What really (sic) I have signed was the document of lease contract.
Q: Now, can you explain to the Honorable Court why it so happened
that on April 19, you were able to sign a deed of sale?
A: What I can see now is that perhaps those copies of the deed of
sale were placed by Mr. Cadalin under the documents which I
signed the lease contract. But why is it that it has already a deed of
sale when what I have signed was only the lease of contract or the
contract of lease.
Q: Now, Mr. Cadalin also stated before this court that he handed over to you
this Deed of Sale marked as Exhibit C and according to him you read
this document, what can you say to this statement?
A: Yes, there was a document that he gave me to read it (sic)but it was a
contract of lease.
Q: How sure are you that what you signed on April 19, 1990 was really a
contract of lease and not a contract of sale?
A: Because when I signed the contract of lease the witnesses that
witnessed my signing the document were the employees of
Judge Villegas and then I am now surprised why in the deed of

sale which I purportedly signed are witnessed by Carmelo


Cadalin and his wife Lacorte.[18] (Emphasis and underscoring
supplied)
On the other hand, Leonardo asserts that what Villaner executed was a Deed of
Absolute Sale for a consideration of P10,000.00 which he had already paid,[19] and
as he had become the absolute owner of the property, he validly transferred it to
Ramon Nicolas on May 19, 1990.[20]
Carmelo Cadalin who admittedly prepared the deed of absolute sale and who
appears as a witness, along with his wife, to the execution of the document
corroborated Leonardos claim:
Q: Mr. Cadalin, do you know the plaintiff Villaner Acabal?
A: Yes, I know.[21]
xxx
Q: And I would like to ask you Mr. witness why do you know Villaner
Acabal?
A: At the time that he went to our house together with Leonardo
Acabal he requested me to prepare a deed of sale as regards
to a sale of the property.[22]
xxx
Q: And after they requested you to prepare a document of sale,
what did you do?
A: At first I refused to [do] it because I have so many works to
do, but then they insisted so I prepared the deed.
Q: After you prepared the document, what did you do?
A: After I prepared it I gave it to him so that he could read the
same.
Q: When you say him, whom do you refer to?
A: Villaner Acabal.
Q: And did Villaner Acabal read the document you prepared?
A: Yes, he read it.

Q: And after reading it what did Villaner Acabal do?


A: He signed the document.
Q: Showing to you a document which is marked Exhibit C for the
plaintiff and Exhibit 1 for the defendants, please tell the
Honorable Court what relation this document has to the
document which you described earlier?
COURT INTERPRETER:
Witness is confronted with the said document earlier marked as
Exhibit C for the prosecution and Exhibit 1 for the defense.
A: Yes, this is the one.[23]
xxx
Q: Also stated in the document is the phrase Signed in the presence
of and there is a number and then two signatures, could you
please examine the document and say whether these
signatures are familiar to you?
A: Yes, number one is my signature and number 2 is the signature
of my wife as witness.[24]
xxx
Q: After Villaner Acabal signed the document, what did Villaner Acabal do?
A: He was given the payment by Leonardo Acabal. [25]
xxx
Q: Aside from the document, deed of absolute sale, that you mentioned
earlier that you prepared for Villaner Acabal and Leonardo Acabal, what
other documents, if any, did you prepare for them?
A:

Affidavit of non-tenancy
underscoring supplied)

and

aggregate

area. [26] (Emphasis

and

The complaint was later amended [27] to implead Villaners eight children as party
plaintiffs, they being heirs of his deceased wife.
By Decision of August 8, 1996, the trial court found for the therein defendantsherein petitioners Leonardo and Ramon Nicolas and accordingly dismissed the
complaint.

Villaner et al. thereupon brought the case on appeal to the Court of Appeals
which reversed the trial court, it holding that the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by
Villaner in favor of Leonardo was simulated and fictitious. [28]

[29]

Hence, Leonardo and Ramon Nicolas present petition for review on certiorari,
anchored on the following assignments of error:

I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT
RESPONDENT VILLANER ACABAL WAS DECEIVED INTO SIGNING THE DEED OF
ABSOLUTE SALE WHEN THE LATTER KNOWINGLY, FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY
EXECUTED THE SAME IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER LEONARDO ACABAL.
II.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT THE CONSIDERATION OF THE
DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE IN THE AMOUNT OF TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,0000.00)
WAS UNUSUALLY LOW AND INADEQUATE, ESPECIALLY TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE
LOCATION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.
III.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER WHY RESPONDENT
VILLANER ACABAL ONLY QUESTIONED THE POSSESSION AND OWNERSHIP OF
PETITIONER RAMON NICOLAS IN COURT AFTER THE LATTER WAS IN OPEN,
CONTINUOUS AND PEACEFUL POSSESSION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY FOR ALMOST
THREE (3) YEARS.
IV.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN LAW WHEN IT FAILED
TO DECLARE PETITIONER RAMON NICOLAS AS A BUYER IN GOOD FAITH AS THE
LATTER TOOK THE NECESSARY STEPS AN ORDINARY AND PRUDENT MAN WOULD
HAVE TAKEN BEFORE BUYING THE QUESTIONED PROPERTY.
V.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT VILLANER
ACABAL WHEN THE LATTER DID NOT PRESENT A SINGLE WITNESS TO TESTIFY ON
THE ALLEGED CONTRACT OF LEASE WHICH HE ALLEGEDLY SIGNED AND WITNESSED
BY THE EMPLOYEES OF JUDGE VILLEGAS.
VI.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN LAW WHEN IT RULED
THAT RULE 8, SECTION 8 OF THE 1987 (sic) RULE (sic) OF CIVIL PROCEDURE IS NOT

APPLICABLE IN THE CASE AT BAR, CONTRARY TO THE RULING OF THE LOWER


COURT.
VII.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT ORDERED PETITIONERS TO PAY
RESPONDENTS JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY BY WAY OF RENTAL THE SUM OF P10,000.00
PER YEAR FROM 1990 UP TO THE TIME THEY VACATE THE PREMISES. [30]
Procedurally, petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred when it failed
to apply Section 8, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court, respondent Villaner having failed to
deny under oath the genuineness and due execution of the April 19, 1990 Deed of
Absolute Sale.
Petitioners contention does not persuade. The failure to deny the genuineness
and due execution of an actionable document does not preclude a party from
arguing against it by evidence of fraud, mistake, compromise, payment, statute of
limitations, estoppel, and want of consideration. [31]
On the merits, this Court rules in petitioners favor.
It is a basic rule in evidence that the burden of proof lies on the party who
makes the allegations[32] ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat; cum per
rerum naturam factum negantis probatio nulla sit.[33] If he claims a right granted by
law, he must prove it by competent evidence, relying on the strength of his own
evidence and not upon the weakness of that of his opponent.
More specifically, allegations of a defect in or lack of valid consent to a contract
by reason of fraud or undue influence are never presumed but must be established
not by mere preponderance of evidence but by clear and convincing evidence.
[34]
For the circumstances evidencing fraud and misrepresentation are as varied as
the people who perpetrate it in each case, assuming different shapes and forms and
may be committed in as many different ways. [35]
In the case at bar, it was incumbent on the plaintiff-herein respondent Villaner
to prove that he was deceived into executing the Deed of Absolute Sale. Except for
his bare allegation that the transaction was one of lease, he failed to adduce
evidence in support thereof. His conjecture that perhaps those copies of the deed of
sale were placed by Mr. Cadalin under the documents which I signed the contract of
lease,[36] must fail, for facts not conjectures decide cases.
Attempting to seek corroboration of his account, Villaner presented Atty. Vicente
Real who notarized the document. While on direct examination, Atty. Real virtually
corroborated Villaners claim that he did not bring the document to him for
notarization,[37] on cross-examination, Atty. Real conceded that it was impossible to
remember every person who would ask him to notarize documents:

Q: And in the course of your notarization, can you remember each


and every face that come (sic) to you for notarization?
A: No, it is impossible.
Q: In the case of Villaner Acabal which you have his document
notarized (sic) in 1990, can you remember his face when he
came to you?
A: No.
Q: And can you also say, if a person who came to you having a
document to be notarized and if he will appear again after a
month, can you remember whether he was the one who came
to you?
A: Not so much because everyday there are many people who
appear with documents to be notarized,
Q: So, it is safe to say that if Villaner Acabal came to you on April 25
or rather April 16, 1990 andhave (sic) his document notarized
if he comes back in, say May 25, can you still remember if he
was the one who came to you?
A: I cannot be sure but at least, there are times I can remember
persons because he seems to be close to me already.
Q: Is this Villaner close to you?
A: Because he has been frequenting the house/asking for a copy of the
document.
Q: So, he became close to you after you notarized the document?
A: Yes.[38] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
On Villaners claim that two women employees of Judge Villegas signed as
witnesses to the deed[39] but that the signatures appearing thereon are not those of
said witnesses,[40] the same must be discredited in light of his unexplained failure to
present such alleged women employee-witnesses.
In another vein, Villaner zeroes in on the purchase price of the
property P10,000.00 which to him was unusually low if the transaction were one of
sale. To substantiate his claim, Villaner presented Tax Declarations covering the
property for the years 1971,[41] 1974,[42] 1977,[43] 1980,[44] 1983,[45] 1985,[46] as well as
a Declaration of Real Property executed in 1994. [47]

It bears noting, however, that Villaner failed to present evidence on the fair
market value of the property as of April 19, 1990, the date of execution of the
disputed deed. Absent any evidence of the fair market value of a land as of the time
of its sale, it cannot be concluded that the price at which it was sold was
inadequate.[48] Inadequacy of price must be proven because mere speculation or
conjecture has no place in our judicial system. [49]
Victor Ragay, who was appointed by the trial court to conduct an ocular
inspection[50] of the property and to investigate matters relative to the case, [51] gave
an instructive report dated December 3, 1994, [52] the pertinent portions of which are
hereby reproduced verbatim:
a) Only three (3) to four (4) hectares of the eighteen (18) were planted to sugar
cane, the rest was never cultivated;
b) the soil is reddish and somewhat sandy in composition;
c) the soil contains so much limestones (rocks consisting mainly of calcium
carbonate);
d) no part of the land in question is plain or flat, contrary to claim of the plaintiff
that almost 10 hectares of the land in question is plain or flat;
e) some areas, eastward of and adjacent of the land in question (mistakenly to be
owned by the defendant Nicolas) were planted to sugar cane by the owners
Kadusales;
f) the road going to the land in question (as claimed to be the road) is no longer
passable because it has been abandoned and not maintained by anyone, thus it
makes everything impossible for anybody to get and haul the sugar cane from the
area;
g) the Commissioner has discovered some stockpiles of abandoned harvested sugar
canes left to rot, along the side of the road, undelivered to the milling site because
of the difficulty in bringing up trucks to the scene of the harvest;
h) the sugarcanes presently planted on the land in question at the time of the ocular
inspection were three (3) feet in height and their structural built was thin or lean;
i) Most of the part of the 18 hectares is not planted or cultivated because the same
is too rocky and not suitable for planting to sugarcane. [53]
Additionally, Ragay reported that one Anatolio Cabusog recently purchased a 6hectare
property
adjoining
that
of
the
subject
property
for
only P1,600.00[54] or P266.67 per hectare. Given that, had the 18-hectare subject
property been sold at about the same time, it would have fetched the amount

of P4,800.00,[55] hence, the P10,000.00 purchase price appearing in the questioned


April 19, 1990 document is more than reasonable.
Even, however, on the assumption that the price of P10,000.00 was below the
fair market value of the property in 1990, mere inadequacy of the price per se will
not rule out the transaction as one of sale. For the price must
be grossly inadequate or shocking to the conscience such that the mind revolts at
it and such that a reasonable man would neither directly nor indirectly be likely to
consent to it.[56]
Still in another vein, Villaner submits that Leonardos transfer of the property to
Nicolas in a span of one month for a profit of P30,000.00 conclusively reflects
Leonardos fraudulent intent. This submission is a non sequitur.
As for Villaners argument that the sale of the property to Leonardo and the
subsequent sale thereof to Nicolas are void for being violative of the retention limits
imposed by Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law, the same fails. The pertinent provisions of said law read:
SECTION 6. Retention Limits. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person
may retain, directly or indirectly, any public or agricultural land, the size of which
may vary according to factors governing a viable family-sized farm, such as
commodity produced, terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility as determined by the
Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case
shall retention by the landowner exceed five (5) hectares. Three (3) hectares
may be awarded to each child of the landowner, subject to the following
qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years of age; and (2) that he is
tilling the land or directly managing the farm: Provided, That landowners whose
lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be allowed to keep the
areas originally retained by them thereunder: [57] Provided further, That original
homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original
homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as
long as they continue to cultivate said homestead.
xxx
Upon the effectivity of this Act, any sale, disposition, lease, management,
contract or transfer of possession of private lands executed by the original
landowner in violation of this Act shall be null and void: Provided, however,
that those executed prior to this Act shall be valid only when registered with the
Register of Deeds within a period of three (3) months after the effectivity of this Act.
Thereafter, all Registers of Deeds shall inform the DAR within thirty (30) days of any
transaction involving agricultural lands in excess of five (5) hectares.
xxx

SECTION 70. Disposition of Private Agricultural Lands. The sale or disposition of


agricultural lands retained by a land owner as a consequence of Section 6 hereof
shall be valid as long as the total landholdings that shall be owned by the transferee
thereof inclusive of the land to be acquired shall not exceed the landholding ceilings
provided for in this Act.
Any sale or disposition of agricultural lands after the effectivity of this Act
found to be contrary to the provisions hereof shall be null and void.
Transferees of agricultural lands shall furnish the appropriate Register of Deeds and
the BARC an affidavit attesting that his total landholdings as a result of the said
acquisition do not exceed the landholding ceiling. The Register of Deeds shall not
register the transfer of any agricultural land without the submission of his sworn
statement together with proof of service of a copy thereof to the BARC. (Emphasis
and underscoring supplied)
As the above-quoted provisions of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law
show, only those private lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture are covered by
it.[58] As priorly related, Victor Ragay, who was appointed by the trial court to
conduct an ocular inspection of the property, observed in his report that only three
(3) to four (4) hectares were planted with sugarcane while the rest of the property
was not suitable for planting as the soil was full of limestone. [59] He also remarked
that the sugarcanes were only 3 feet in height and very lean, [60] whereas sugarcanes
usually grow to a height of 3 to 6 meters (about 8 to 20 feet) and have stems 2 to 5
centimeters (1-2 inches) thick.[61]
It is thus gathered that the property was not suitable for agricultural purposes.
In any event, since the area devoted to the planting of sugarcane, hence, suitable
for agricultural purposes, comprises only 4 hectares at the most, it is less than the
maximum retention limit prescribed by law. There was then no violation of the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.
Even assuming that the disposition of the property by Villaner was contrary to
law, he would still have no remedy under the law as he and Leonardo were in pari
delicto, hence, he is not entitled to afirmative relief one who seeks equity and
justice must come to court with clean hands. In pari delicto potior est conditio
defendentis.[62]
The proposition is universal that no action arises, in equity or at law, from
an illegal contract; no suit can be maintained for its specific performance,
or to recover the property agreed to be sold or delivered, or the money
agreed to be paid, or damages for its violation. The rule has sometimes been
laid down as though it were equally universal, that where the parties are in pari
delicto, no affirmative relief of any kind will be given to one against the other.
[63]
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The principle of pari delicto is grounded on two premises: first, that courts
should not lend their good offices to mediating disputes among wrongdoers; [64] and
second, that denying judicial relief to an admitted wrongdoer is an effective means
of deterring illegality.[65] This doctrine of ancient vintage is not a principle of justice
but one of policy as articulated in 1775 by Lord Mansfield in Holman v. Johnson:[66]
The objection, that a contract is immoral or illegal as between the plaintiff and
defendant, sounds at all times very ill in the mouth of the defendant. It is not for his
sake, however, that the objection is ever allowed; but it is founded in general
principles of policy, which the defendant has the advantage of, contrary to the real
justice, as between him and the plaintiff, by accident, if I may so say. The principle
of public policy is this; ex dolo malo non oritur actio.[67] No court will lend its aid to a
man who founds his cause of action upon an immoral or an illegal act. If, from the
plaintiffs own stating or otherwise, the cause of action appears to arise ex turpi
causa,[68] or the transgression of a positive law of this country, there the court says
he has no right to be assisted. It is upon that ground the court goes; not for the sake
of the defendant, but because they will not lend their aid to such a plaintiff. So if the
plaintiff and the defendant were to change sides, and the defendant was to bring
his action against the plaintiff, the latter would then have the advantage of it; for
where both are equally in fault potior est conditio defendentis.[69]
Thus, to serve as both a sanction and as a deterrent, the law will not aid either party
to an illegal agreement and will leave them where it finds them.
The principle of pari delicto, however, is not absolute, admitting an exception
under Article 1416 of the Civil Code.
ART. 1416. When the agreement is not illegal per se but is merely prohibited, and
the prohibition by the law is designed for the protection of the plaintiff, he may, if
public policy is thereby enhanced, recover what he has paid or delivered.
Under this article, recovery for what has been paid or delivered pursuant to an
inexistent contract is allowed only when the following requisites are met: (1) the
contract is not illegal per se but merely prohibited; (2) the prohibition is for the
protection of the plaintiffs; and (3) if public policy is enhanced thereby. [70] The
exception is unavailing in the instant case, however, since the prohibition is clearly
not for the protection of the plaintiff-landowner but for the beneficiary farmers. [71]
In fine, Villaner is estopped from assailing and annulling his own deliberate acts.
[72]

More. Villaner cannot feign ignorance of the law, nor claim that he acted in good
faith, let alone assert that he is less guilty than Leonardo. Under Article 3 of the Civil
Code, ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith.
And now, Villaners co-heirs claim that as co-owners of the property, the Deed of
Absolute Sale executed by Villaner in favor of Leonardo does not bind them as they

did not consent to such an undertaking. There is no question that the property is
conjugal. Article 160 of the Civil Code[73] provides:
ART. 160. All property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal
partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the
wife.[74]
The presumption, this Court has held, applies to all properties acquired during
marriage. For the presumption to be invoked, therefore, the property must be shown
to have been acquired during the marriage. [75]
In the case at bar, the property was acquired on July 6, 1971 during Villaners
marriage with Justiniana Lipajan. It cannot be seriously contended that simply
because the tax declarations covering the property was solely in the name of
Villaner it is his personal and exclusive property.
In Bucoy v. Paulino[76] and Mendoza v. Reyes[77] which both apply by analogy, this
Court held that registration alone of the properties in the name of the husband does
not destroy the conjugal nature of the properties. [78] What is material is the time
when the land was acquired by Villaner, and that was during the lawful existence of
his marriage to Justiniana.
Since the property was acquired during the existence of the marriage of Villaner
and Justiniana, the presumption under Article 160 of the Civil Code is that it is the
couples conjugal property. The burden is on petitioners then to prove that it is not.
This they failed to do.
The property being conjugal, upon the death of Justiniana Lipajan, the conjugal
partnership was terminated.[79] With the dissolution of the conjugal partnership,
Villaners interest in the conjugal partnership became actual and vested with respect
to an undivided one-half portion.[80] Justiniana's rights to the other half, in turn,
vested upon her death to her heirs[81] including Villaner who is entitled to the same
share as that of each of their eight legitimate children. [82] As a result then of the
death of Justiniana, a regime of co-ownership arose between Villaner and his coheirs in relation to the property. [83]
With respect to Justinianas one-half share in the conjugal partnership which her
heirs inherited, applying the provisions on the law of succession, her eight children
and Villaner each receives one-ninth (1/9) thereof. Having inherited one-ninth (1/9)
of his wifes share in the conjugal partnership or one eighteenth (1/18) [84] of the
entire conjugal partnership and is himself already the owner of one half (1/2) or
nine-eighteenths (9/18), Villaners total interest amounts to ten-eighteenths (10/18)
or five-ninths (5/9).
While Villaner owns five-ninths (5/9) of the disputed property, he could not claim
title to any definite portion of the community property until its actual partition by
agreement or judicial decree. Prior to partition, all that he has is an ideal or abstract

quota or proportionate share in the property.[85] Villaner, however, as a co-owner of


the property has the right to sell his undivided share thereof. The Civil Code
provides so:
ART. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits
and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage
it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights
are involved. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the
co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the
division upon the termination of the co-ownership.
Thus, every co-owner has absolute ownership of his undivided interest in the coowned property and is free to alienate, assign or mortgage his interest except as to
purely personal rights. While a co-owner has the right to freely sell and dispose of
his undivided interest, nevertheless, as a co-owner, he cannot alienate the shares of
his other co-owners nemo dat qui non habet.[86]
Villaner, however, sold the entire property without obtaining the consent of the
other co-owners. Following the well-established principle that the binding force of a
contract must be recognized as far as it is legally possible to do so quando res non
valet ut ago, valeat quantum valere potest [87] the disposition affects only Villaners
share pro indiviso, and the transferee gets only what corresponds to his grantors
share in the partition of the property owned in common. [88]
As early as 1923, this Court has ruled that even if a co-owner sells the whole
property as his, the sale will affect only his own share but not those of the other coowners who did not consent to the sale. This is because under the aforementioned
codal provision, the sale or other disposition affects only his undivided share and
the transferee gets only what would correspond to this grantor in the partition of the
thing owned in common. Consequently, 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, 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.
From the foregoing, it may be deduced that since a co-owner is entitled to sell his
undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one co-owner without the consent
of the other co-owners is not null and void. However, only the rights of the coowner-seller are transferred., thereby making the buyer a co-owner of the property.
The proper action in cases like this is not for the nullification of the sale or 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, but the DIVISION
of the common property as if it continued to remain in the possession of the coowners who possessed and administered it. [89]

Thus, 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 for PARTITION
under Rule 69 of the Revised Rules of Court. 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. [90] (Italics in the
original; citations omitted; underscoring supplied)
This Court is not unmindful of its ruling in Cruz v. Leis[91] where it held:
It is conceded that, as a rule, a co-owner such as Gertrudes could only dispose of
her share in the property owned in common. Article 493 of the Civil Code provides:
xxx
Unfortunately for private respondents, however, the property was registered in TCT
No. 43100 solely in the name of Gertrudes Isidro, widow. Where a parcel of land,
forming part of the undistributed properties of the dissolved conjugal partnership of
gains, is sold by a widow to a purchaser who merely relied on the face of the
certificate of title thereto, issued solely in the name of the widow, the purchaser
acquires a valid title to the land even as against the heirs of the deceased spouse.
The rationale for this rule is that a person dealing with registered land is not
required to go behind the register to determine the condition of the property. He is
only charged with notice of the burdens on the property which are noted on the face
of the register or the certificate of title. To require him to do more is to defeat one of
the primary objects of the Torrens system.[92] (Citation omitted)
Cruz, however, is not applicable for the simple reason that in the case at bar the
property in dispute is unregistered. The issue of good faith or bad faith of a buyer is
relevant only where the subject of the sale is a registered land but not where the
property is an unregistered land. [93] One who purchases an unregistered land does
so at his peril.[94] Nicolas claim of having bought the land in good faith is thus
irrelevant.[95]
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals February 15, 2001
Decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 56148 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and another is
rendered declaring the sale in favor of petitioner Leonardo Acabal and the
subsequent sale in favor of petitioner Ramon Nicolas valid but only insofar as fiveninths (5/9) of the subject property is concerned.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 61584 November 25, 1992

DONATO
S.
PAULMITAN,
JULIANA
P.
FANESA
and
RODOLFO
FANESA, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, ALICIO PAULMITAN, ELENA PAULMITAN, ABELINO
PAULMITAN, ANITA PAULMITAN, BAKING PAULMITAN, ADELINA PAULMITAN
and ANITO PAULMITAN, respondents.

ROMERO, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal of the decision 1 of the
Court of Appeals, dated July 14, 1982 in CA-G.R. No. 62255-R entitled "Alicio
Paulmitan, et al. v. Donato Sagario Paulmitan, et al." which affirmed the decision 2 of
the then Court of First Instance (now RTC) of Negros Occidental, 12th Judicial
District, Branch IV, Bacolod City, in Civil Case No. 11770.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Agatona Sagario Paulmitan, who died sometime in 1953, 3 left the two following
parcels of land located in the Province of Negros Occidental: (1) Lot No. 757 with an
area of 1,946 square meters covered by Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. RO8376; and (2) Lot No. 1091 with an area of 69,080 square meters and covered by
OCT No. RO-11653. From her marriage with Ciriaco Paulmitan, who is also now
deceased, Agatona begot two legitimate children, namely: Pascual Paulmitan, who
also died in 1953, 4 apparently shortly after his mother passed away, and Donato
Paulmitan, who is one of the petitioners. Petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa is Donato's
daughter while the third petitioner, Rodolfo Fanes, is Juliana's husband. Pascual
Paulmitan, the other son of Agatona Sagario, is survived by the respondents, who
are his children, name: Alicio, Elena, Abelino, Adelina, Anita, Baking and Anito, all
surnamed Paulmitan.
Until 1963, the estate of Agatona Sagario Paulmitan remained unsettled and the
titles to the two lots mentioned above remained in the name of Agatona. However,
on August 11, 1963, petitioner Donato Paulmitan executed an Affidavit of
Declaration of Heirship, extrajudicially adjudicating unto himself Lot No. 757 based
on the claim that he is the only surviving heir of Agatona Sagario. The affidavit was
filed with the Register of Deeds of Negros Occidental on August 20, 1963, cancelled
OCT No. RO-8376 in the name of Agatona Sagario and issued Transfer Certificate of
Title (TCT) No. 35979 in Donato's name.
As regards Lot No. 1091, Donato executed on May 28, 1974 a Deed of Sale over the
same in favor of petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa, his daughter. 5
In the meantime, sometime in 1952, for non-payment of taxes, Lot No. 1091 was
forfeited and sold at a public auction, with the Provincial Government of Negros

Occidental being the buyer. A Certificate of Sale over the land was executed by the
Provincial Treasurer in favor of the Provincial Board of Negros Occidental. 6
On May 29, 1974, Juliana P. Fanesa redeemed the property from the Provincial
Government of Negros Occidental for the amount of P2,959.09. 7
On learning of these transactions, respondents children of the late Pascual
Paulmitan filed on January 18, 1975 with the Court of First Instance of Negros
Occidental a Complaint against petitioners to partition the properties plus damages.
Petitioners set up the defense of prescription with respect to Lot No. 757 as an
affirmative defense, contending that the Complaint was filed more than eleven
years after the issuance of a transfer certificate of title to Donato Paulmitan over
the land as consequence of the registration with the Register of Deeds, of Donato's
affidavit extrajudicially adjudicating unto himself Lot No. 757. As regards Lot No.
1091, petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa claimed in her Answer to the Complaint that she
acquired exclusive ownership thereof not only by means of a deed of sale executed
in her favor by her father, petitioner Donato Paulmitan, but also by way of
redemption from the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental.
Acting on the petitioners' affirmative defense of prescription with respect to Lot No.
757, the trial court issued an order dated April 22, 1976 dismissing the complaint as
to the said property upon finding merit in petitioners' affirmative defense. This
order, which is not the object of the present petition, has become final after
respondents' failure to appeal therefrom.
Trial proceeded with respect to Lot No. 1091. In a decision dated May 20, 1977, the
trial court decided in favor of respondents as to Lot No. 1091. According to the trial
court, the respondents, as descendants of Agatona Sagario Paulmitan were entitled
to one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 1091, pro indiviso. The sale by petitioner Donato
Paulmitan to his daughter, petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa, did not prejudice their rights.
And the repurchase by Juliana P. Fanesa of the land from the Provincial Government
of Negros Occidental did not vest in Juliana exclusive ownership over the entire land
but only gave her the right to be reimbursed for the amount paid to redeem the
property. The trial court ordered the partition of the land and directed petitioners
Donato Paulmitan and Juliana P. Fanesa to pay private respondents certain amounts
representing the latter's share in the fruits of the land. On the other hand,
respondents were directed to pay P1,479.55 to Juliana P. Fanesa as their share in the
redemption price paid by Fanesa to the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental.
The dispositive portion of the trial court's decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered on the second cause of
action pleaded in the complain as follows:
1. The deed of sale (Exh. "F") dated May 28, 1974 is valid insofar as
the one-half undivided portion of Lot 1091 is concerned as to vest
ownership over said half portion in favor of defendant Juliana Fanesa

and her husband Rodolfo Fanesa, while the remaining half shall belong
to plaintiffs, pro-indiviso;
2. Lot 1091, Cadastral Survey of Pontevedra, Province of Negros
Occidental, now covered by TCT No. RO-11653 (N.A.), is ordered
partitioned. The parties must proceed to an actual partition by property
instrument of partition, submitting the corresponding subdivision
within sixty (60) days from finality of this decision, and should they fail
to agree, commissioners of partition may be appointed by the Court;
3. Pending the physical partition, the Register of Deeds of Negros
Occidental is ordered to cancel Original Certificate of Title No. RO11653 (N.A.) covering Lot 1091, Pontevedra Cadastre, and to issue in
lieu thereof a new certificate of title in the name of plaintiffs and
defendants, one-half portion each, pro-indiviso, as indicated in
paragraph 1 above;
4. Plaintiffs are ordered to pay, jointly and severally, defendant Juliana
Fanesa the amount of P1,479.55 with interest at the legal rate from
May 28, 1974 until paid;
5 Defendants Donato Sagario Paulmitan and Juliana Paulmitan Fanesa
are ordered to account to plaintiffs and to pay them, jointly and
severally, the value of the produce from Lot 1091 representing
plaintiffs' share in the amount of P5,000.00 per year from 1966 up to
the time of actual partition of the property, and to pay them the sum of
P2,000.00 as attorney's fees as well as the costs of the suit.
xxx xxx xxx
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision. Hence this
petition.
To determine the rights and obligations of the parties to the land in question, it is
well to review, initially, the relatives who survived the decedent Agatona Sagario
Paulmitan. When Agatona died in 1953, she was survived by two (2) sons, Donato
and Pascual. A few months later in the same year, Pascual died, leaving seven
children, the private respondents. On the other had, Donato's sole offspring was
petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa.
At the time of the relevant transactions over the properties of decedent Agatona
Sagario Paulmitan, her son Pascual had died, survived by respondents, his children.
It is, thus, tempting to apply the principles pertaining to the right of representation
as regards respondents. It must, however, be borne in mind that Pascual did no
predecease his mother, 8 thus precluding the operation of the provisions in the Civil
Code on the right of representation 9 with respect to his children, the respondents.
When Agatona Sagario Paulmitan died intestate in 1952, her two (2) sons Donato

and Pascual were still alive. Since it is well-settled by virtue of Article 777 of the
Civil Code that "[t]he rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of
the death of the decedent," 10 the right of ownership, not only of Donato but also of
Pascual, over their respective shares in the inheritance was automatically and by
operation of law vested in them in 1953 when their mother died intestate. At that
stage, the children of Donato and Pascual did not yet have any right over the
inheritance since "[i]n every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes the
more
distant
ones." 11 Donato and Pascual excluded their children as to the right to inherit from
Agatona Sagario Paulmitan, their mother.
From the time of the death of Agatona Sagario Paulmitan to the subsequent passing
away of her son Pascual in 1953, the estate remained unpartitioned. Article 1078 of
the Civil Code provides: "Where there are two or more heirs, the whole estate of the
decedent is, before its partition, owned in common by such heirs, subject to the
payment of debts of the deceased." 12 Donato and Pascual Paulmitan were,
therefore, co-owners of the estate left by their mother as no partition was ever
made.
When Pascual Paulmitan died intestate in 1953, his children, the respondents,
succeeded him in the co-ownership of the disputed property. Pascual Paulmitan's
right of ownership over an undivided portion of the property passed on to his
children, who, from the time of Pascual's death, became co-owners with their uncle
Donato over the disputed decedent estate.
Petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa claims ownership over Lot No. 1091 by virtue of two
transactions, namely: (a) the sale made in her favor by her father Donato Paulmitan;
and (b) her redemption of the land from the Provincial of Negros Occidental after it
was forfeited for non-payment of taxes.
When Donato Paulmitan sold on May 28, 1974 Lot No. 1091 to his daughter Juliana
P. Fanesa, he was only a co-owner with respondents and as such, he could only sell
that portion which may be allotted to him upon termination of the coownership. 13 The sale did not prejudice the rights of respondents to one half (1/2)
undivided share of the land which they inherited from their father. It did not vest
ownership in the entire land with the buyer but transferred only the seller's proindiviso share in the property 14 and consequently made the buyer a co-owner of the
land until it is partitioned. InBailon-Casilao v. Court of Appeals, 15 the Court, through
Justice Irene R. Cortes, outlined the effects of a sale by one co-owner without the
consent of all the co-owners, thus:
The rights of a co-owner of a certain property are clearly specified in
Article 493 of the Civil Code, Thus:
Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of
the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore
alienate, assign or mortgage it and even substitute another person its

enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of
the alienation or mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be
limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon
the termination of the co-ownership. [Emphasis supplied.]
As early as 1923, this Court has ruled that even if a co-owner sells the
whole property as his, 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. Boon Liat, 44 Phil. 320 (1923)]. This is because under the
aforementioned codal provision, 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 [Ramirez v. Bautista, 14 Phil. 528 (1909)]. Consequently, 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, 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, 14 Phil. 730 (1910)].
From the foregoing, it may be deduced that since a co-owner is entitled
to sell his undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one coowner without the consent of the other co-owners is not null and void.
However, only the rights of the co-owner-seller are transferred, thereby
making the buyer a co-owner of the property.
Applying this principle to the case at bar, the sale by petitioner Donato Paulmitan of
the land to his daughter, petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa, did not give to the latter
ownership over the entire land but merely transferred to her the one half (1/2)
undivided share of her father, thus making her the co-owner of the land in question
with the respondents, her first cousins.
Petitioner Juliana P. Fanesa also claims ownership of the entire property by virtue of
the fact that when the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental bought the land
after it was forfeited for non-payment of taxes, she redeemed it.
The contention is without merit.
The redemption of the land made by Fanesa did not terminate the co-ownership nor
give her title to the entire land subject of the co-ownership. Speaking on the same
issue raised by petitioners, the Court, in Adille v. Court of Appeals, 16 resolved the
same with the following pronouncements:
The petition raises a purely legal issue: May a co-owner acquire
exclusive ownership over the property held in common?

Essentially, it is the petitioners' contention that the property subject of


dispute devolved upon him upon the failure of his co-heirs to join him
in its redemption within the period required by law. He relies on the
provisions of Article 1515 of the old Civil Code, Article 1613 of the
present Code, giving the vendee a retro the right to demand
redemption of the entire property.
There is no merit in this petition.
The right of repurchase may be exercised by co-owner with respect to
his share alone (CIVIL CODE, art. 1612, CIVIL CODE (1889), art. (1514.).
While the records show that petitioner redeemed the property in its
entirety, shouldering the expenses therefor, that did not make him the
owner of all of it. In other words, it did not put to end the existing state
of co-ownership (Supra, Art. 489). There is no doubt that redemption of
property entails a necessary expense. Under the Civil Code:
Art. 488. Each co-owner shall have a right to compel the other coowners to contribute to the expenses of preservation of the thing or
right owned in common and to the taxes. Any one of the latter may
exempt himself from this obligation by renouncing so much of his
undivided interest as may be equivalent to his share of the expenses
and taxes. No such waiver shall be made if it is prejudicial to the coownership.
The result is that the property remains to be in a condition of coownership. While a vendee a retro, under Article 1613 of the Code,
"may not be compelled to consent to a partial redemption," the
redemption by one co-heir or co-owner of the property in its totality
does not vest in him ownership over it. Failure on the part of all the coowners to redeem it entitles the vendee a retro to retain the property
and consolidate title thereto in his name (Supra, art. 1607). But the
provision does not give to the redeeming co-owner the right to the
entire property. It does not provide for a mode of terminating a coownership.
Although petitioner Fanesa did not acquire ownership over the entire lot by virtue of
the redemption she made, nevertheless, she did acquire the right to reimbursed for
half of the redemption price she paid to the Provincial Government of Negros
Occidental on behalf of her co-owners. Until reimbursed, Fanesa hold a lien upon the
subject property for the amount due her. 17
Finally, petitioners dispute the order of the trial court, which the Court of Appeals
affirmed, for them to pay private respondents P5,000.00 per year from 1966 until
the partition of the estate which represents the share of private respondents in the
fruits of the land. According to petitioners, the land is being leased for P2,000.00
per year only. This assigned error, however raises a factual question. The settled

rule is that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review. As a general
rule, findings of fact made by the trial court and the Court of Appeals are final and
conclusive and cannot be reviewed on appeal. 18
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
SECOND DIVISION

EDNA LOPEZ DELICANO, EDUARDO


ALBERTO LOPEZ, MARIO DIEZ CRUZ,
HOWARD
E.
MENESES,
CORAZON E. MENESES,

G.R. No. 191251

and
Present:

Petitioners,
CARPIO, J., Chairperson,
BRION,
- versus -

PERALTA,*
PEREZ, and
MENDOZA,** JJ.

PECHATEN CORPORATION,

Respondent.

Promulgated:
September 7, 2011

x--------------------------------------------------x

RESOLUTION

CARPIO, J.:
The Case

This petition for review1 assails the 13 November 2009 Amended Decision 2 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 105360. The Court of Appeals set aside its earlier
Decision3dated 18 February 2009, which affirmed the 27 August 2008 Order of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 37, Manila.

The Facts
Respondent Pechaten Corporation (respondent) is the registered owner of a parcel
of land (property) located at 852 Vicente Cruz Street, Sampaloc, Manila, and
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 95052 (TCT No. 95052).

In June 1993, respondent and Teodoro Alberto, Honorata Salmorin, Aquilina Hizon,
and Dalmacia Meneses entered into a two-year lease contract4 involving the
property. The parties agreed that the monthly rental for the first year 5 would
be P864, to be increased to P1,037 per month during the second year 6 of the
contract. Subsequently, the lessees executed a waiver of their rights or interest in
the lease contract in favor of Virgilio Meneses, the son of Dalmacia Meneses.

When
the
lease
contract
expired
on
30
June
1995,
respondent
offered Virgilio Meneses to renew the lease agreement or purchase the
property. Virgilio Meneses ignored the offer and failed to pay monthly rentals for the
property starting July 1995.

On 6 October 1999, respondent sent a demand letter to Virgilio Meneses to vacate


the property and pay the accrued rent of P141,032 or reasonable compensation for
the use of the property. When Virgilio Meneses refused, respondent filed with the
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) a case for unlawful detainer with damages
against Virgilio Meneses.

In his defense, Virgilio Meneses claimed that the MeTC has no jurisdiction over
the ejectment suit since it was filed more than four (4) years from the time the
contract expired on 30 June 1995. Virgilio Meneses argued that the remedy of
respondent
should
have
been accion publiciana.
Furthermore, Virgilio Meneses asserted that he was not a party to the lease
contract, and thus, respondent has no cause of action against him.

On 12 February 2002, the Manila MeTC-Branch 2 rendered a judgment 7 in favor of


respondent, the dispositive portion of which reads:

Wherefore, judgment is rendered ordering defendant [Virgilio Meneses], his


heirs, assigns, successors-in-interest and/or any other person claiming right
under him:

1.

to vacate the premises located at 852 Vicente Cruz St., Sampaloc, Manila;

2.

to pay the plaintiff corporation the amount of P1,200.00 per month from
July 1995 until the time that defendant vacate the premises as reasonable
compensation for the use and occupation of the premises;

3.

to pay the plaintiff the amount of P8,000.00 as attorneys fees; and

4.

to pay the costs.


SO ORDERED.8

On appeal, the Manila RTC-Branch 37 affirmed the MeTC judgment. In a


Decision9 dated 30 May 2008, the Manila RTC-Branch 37 agreed with the MeTC that
the one-year period should be reckoned from the time the last demand was made.
In this case, the last demand to vacate the property was made on 6 October
1999.10 The complaint for unlawful detainer was filed on 25 November 1999, which
is within the one-year reglementary period.

Meanwhile, the City of Manila filed on 12 August 2004 a complaint for expropriation
against respondent involving the property. The expropriation case, docketed as Civil
Case No. 04-110675, was raffled to Manila RTC-Branch 11, which issued a Writ of
Possession in favor of the City of Manila. On 27 March 2008, the Manila RTC-Branch
11 issued an Order of Expropriation in favor of the City of Manila.

Upon the death of Virgilio Meneses, he was substituted by his heirs, who are the
petitioners in this case. In view of the Orders of the Manila RTC-Branch 11 involving
the property in the expropriation case, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration
in the Manila RTC-Branch 37 of its Decision dated 30 May 2008. Petitioners moved to
dismiss the unlawful detainer case, alleging that the case was rendered moot by
virtue of the Writ of Possession issued by the Manila RTC-Branch 11 in the
expropriation case involving the property. Furthermore, petitioners stated that the
City of Manila had already turned over the property to them. Respondent opposed
the motion, alleging that the Order dated 27 March 2008 of the Manila RTC- Branch
11, declaring that the City of Manila has the lawful right to take the property for
public use, is the subject of appeal before the Court of Appeals.
On 27 August 2008, the Manila RTC-Branch 37 issued an Order partially
reconsidering its Decision dated 30 May 2008. The dispositive portion of the Order
reads:

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated May 30, 2008 is partially reconsidered. The
Decision dated February 12, 2002 issued by the court a quo is MODIFIED as
follows:
1.

the order requiring appellant to vacate the premises located at 852 Vicente
Cruz St., Sampaloc, Manila, is Set Aside for being moot and academic;

2.

appellant to pay the appellee the amount of P1,200.00 per month from July
1995 up to February 9, 2005;

3.

appellant to pay appellee the amount of P8,000.00 as attorneys fees; and

4.

cost of suit.

SO ORDERED.11

Respondent filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, seeking to annul
the Order dated 27 August 2008 of the Manila RTC-Branch 37. In its Decision dated
18 February 2009, the Court of Appeals dismissed respondents petition and affirmed
the 27 August 2008 Order of the Manila RTC-Branch 37.

Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration and a supplemental motion for


reconsideration. In its supplemental motion for reconsideration, respondent
attached a copy of the Decision 12 dated 24 March 2009 of the Court of AppealsSpecial Sixth Division in the related expropriation case entitled City of Manila
v. Pechaten Corporation. The Court of Appeals-Special Sixth Division reversed the
Order dated 27 March 2008 of the Manila RTC-Branch 11 and dismissed the
complaint for eminent domain filed by the City of Manila. Respondent alleged that
the decision of the Court of Appeals-Special Sixth Division in the expropriation case,
which became final and executory as of 14 April 2009,13 is a supervening event
which warrants the reconsideration of the Decision dated 18 February 2009 of the
Court of Appeals in this unlawful detainer case.

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

On 13 November 2009, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Amended Decision in


favor of respondent. The Court of Appeals agreed with respondent that the dismissal
of the expropriation case is a supervening event which warrants the reconsideration
of its Decision dated 18 February 2009. The dispositive portion of the Amended
Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Motion for Reconsideration
and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration are hereby GRANTED. Our
Decision dated 18 February 2009 is hereby RECONSIDERED and SET ASIDE.
Accordingly, the writ of possession issued by Branch 11 of Manila RTC in favor
of the City of Manila over the subject property is hereby DISSOLVED. 14

The Court of Appeals explained:

This court is justified in suspending or nullifying the writ of execution issued


by Manila RTC Branch 11 granting possession of the subject property to the
City of Manila. An order may be suspended or nullified when a supervening
event, occurring subsequent to the said order, bring about a material change
in the situation of the parties. In this case, the supervening event is the
finality of the decision rendered by the Special Sixth Division on the appeal
from the Order of the Manila RTC Branch 11 dated 27 March 2008. The said
Special Sixth Division Decision reversed and set aside the order of the RTC
and accordingly dismissed the complaint for eminent domain filed by the City
of Manila. This decision became final and executory as of 14 April 2009.
xxx

A writ of possession is an order whereby the sheriff is commanded to place a


person in possession of real or personal property. The decision rendered in
the expropriation case by the Special Sixth Division is a judgment on the
merits a consequence of the finality of the said judgment is the revocation of
the writ of possession. The order [issuing the writ of possession] placed the
City of Manila, which in turn granted the same to the Respondents
[petitioners], in possession prior to the decision of the Special Sixth Division.
Notwithstanding the writ of possession, title to the said property is still in the
name of the Petitioner. The possession of the property must revert back to
legal owner of the said property, in this case to Pechaten Corporation,
because the expropriation case was also rendered final and executory. 15

Hence, this petition.


The Issue

The issue in this case is whether petitioners are still entitled to retain possession
over the subject property despite the dismissal of the expropriation case.
The Ruling of the Court

We find the petition without merit.

Section 11, Rule 67 (Expropriation) of the Rules of Civil Procedure provides:

Sec. 11. Entry not delayed by appeal; effect of reversal. The right of the
plaintiff to enter upon the property of the defendant and appropriate the
same to public use or purpose shall not be delayed by an appeal from
judgment. But if the appellate court determines that plaintiff has no
right of expropriation, judgment shall be rendered ordering the
Regional Trial Court to forthwith enforce the restoration to the
defendant of the possession of the property, and to determine the
damages which the defendant sustained and may recover by reason of the
possession taken by the plaintiff. (Emphasis supplied)

In this case, the Court of Appeals-Special Sixth Division, in the related expropriation
case entitled City of Manila v. Pechaten Corporation, held that the expropriation of
the property was not for public use. In its Decision dated 24 March 2009, the Court
of Appeals-Special Sixth Division found that the expropriation of the property
pursuant to City Ordinance No. 7984 was intended for the sole benefit of the family
of Virgilio Meneses.16 Thus, the Court of Appeals-Special Sixth Division dismissed the
complaint for eminent domain. The City of Manila did not appeal the Decision, which
became final and executory on 14 April 2009.

Considering that the Decision of the Court of Appeals-Special Sixth Division


reversing the judgment of expropriation already became final and executory, it is
only proper that respondent should be restored to its rightful possession of the
property in accordance with Section 11, Rule 67 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the 13 November 2009 Amended


Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 105360. The Decision dated 30
May 2008 of the Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch 37, in Civil Case No. 04-108960,
affirming the 12 February 2002 Judgment of the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court,
Branch 2, isREINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R.

No.

180614

August

29,

2012

LEONARDO NOTARTE, GUILLERMO NOTARTE, REGALADO NOTARTE AND


HEIRS OF FELIPE NOTARTE,Petitioners, v. GODOFREDO NOTARTE,
Respondent.
VILLARAMA,

JR.,

J.:

FACTS:
Petitioners Leonardo, Guillermo, Regalado, all surnamed Notarte, and the heirs of
Felipe Notarte were co-owners of a 263,233-square meter land covered by Original
Certificate
of
Title
(OCT)
No.
48098.
On October 15, 1984, respondent Godofredo Notarte (Godofredo) bought a portion
of the said land from Patrocenia Nebril-Gamboa (Patrocenia), cousin of Felipe

Notarte. Thereafter, Godofredo filed a complaint before the MTC to correct and
remove the overlapping of boundaries of the lots originally covered by OCT No.
48098. He averred that the said parcel of land is no longer undivided as it had been
physically segregated into the designated shares of the registered owners.
Leonardo, et al. countered that the land was never validly partitioned since there
was neither extrajudicial nor judicial partition executed. They claimed that their
respective areas of possession were just orally assigned to each one of them.
ISSUE: Whether or not an

oral

partition

of

co-owned

property

is valid?

HELD: We sustain the RTC and CA in finding that the property covered by
OCT No. 48098 had already been partitioned long before respondent
purchased
his
lot.
CIVIL

LAW:

oral

partition

Under Article 1082 of the Civil Code, every act which is intended to put an end to
indivision among co-heirs is deemed to be a partition even though it should purport
to be a sale, an exchange, or any other transaction. Partition may thus be inferred
from circumstances sufficiently strong to support the presumption. The validity of
an oral partition is already well-settled. In another case, we have held that after
exercising acts of ownership over their respective portions of the contested estate,
petitioners are estopped from denying the existence of an oral partition.
On this point, this Court has ruled that: "on general principle, independent and in
spite of the statute of frauds, courts of equity have enforced oral partition when it
has been completely or partly performed. Regardless of whether a parol partition or
agreement to partition is valid and enforceable at law, equity will in proper cases,
where the parol partition has actually been consummated by the taking of
possession in severalty and the exercise of ownership by the parties of the
respective portions set off to each, recognize and enforce such parol partition and
the
rights
of
the
parties
thereunder."
The CAs decision is PARTLY AFFIRMED
JOSE Z. CASILANG, SR., SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS, NAMELY: FELICIDAD
CUDIAMAT VDA. DE CASILANG, JOSE C. CASILANG, JR., RICARDO C.
CASILANG, MARIA LOURDES C. CASILANG, CHRISTOPHER C. CASILANG, BEN
C. CASILANG, DANTE C. CASILANG, GREGORIO C. CASILANG, HERALD C.
CASILANG; AND FELICIDAD Z. CASILANG, MARCELINA Z. CASILANG,
JACINTA Z. CASILANG, BONIFACIO Z. CASILANG, LEONORA Z. CASILANG,
AND FLORA Z. CASILANG, Petitioners, v. ROSARIO Z. CASILANG-DIZON,
MARIO A. CASILANG, ANGELO A. CASILANG, RODOLFO A. CASILANG, AND
ATTY. ALICIA B. FABIA, IN HER CAPACITY AS CLERK OF COURT AND EXOFFICIO SHERIFF OF PANGASINAN AND/OR HER DULY AUTHORIZED
REPRESENTATIVE, Respondents.

DECISION
REYES, J.:
Before us is a petition for review of the Decision 1 dated July 19, 2007 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 79619, which reversed and set aside the
Decision2 dated April 21, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City,
Branch 41, in Civil Case No. 98-02371-D.
Antecedent Facts
The late spouses Liborio Casilang (Liborio) and Francisca Zacarias (Francisca) had
eight (8) children, namely: Felicidad Casilang (Felicidad), Ireneo Casilang (Ireneo),
Marcelina Casilang (Marcelina), Jacinta Casilang (Jacinta), Bonifacio Casilang
(Bonifacio), Leonora Casilang (Leonora), Jose Casilang (Jose) and Flora Casilang
(Flora). Liborio died intestate on October 11, 1982 at the age of 83, followed not
long after by his wife Francisca on December 25, 1982. Their son Bonifacio also
died in 1986, survived by his child Bernabe Casilang (Bernabe), while son Ireneo
died on June 11, 1992, survived by his four (4) children, namely: Mario Casilang
(Mario), Angelo Casilang (Angelo), Rosario Casilang-Dizon (Rosario) and Rodolfo
Casilang
(Rodolfo),
herein
respondents.
The estate of Liborio, which left no debts, consisted of three (3) parcels of land
located in BarangayTalibaew, Calasiao, Pangasinan, namely: (1) Lot No. 4676, with
an area of 4,164 square meters; (2) Lot No. 4704, containing 1,164 sq m; and (3)
Lot
No.
4618,
with
897
sq
m.
On May 26, 1997, respondent Rosario filed with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of
Calasiao, Pangasinan a complaint for unlawful detainer, docketed as Civil Case No.
847, to evict her uncle, petitioner Jose from Lot No. 4618. Rosario claimed that Lot
No. 4618 was owned by her father Ireneo, as evidenced by Tax Declaration (TD) No.
555 issued in 1994 under her fathers name. On April 3, 1997, the respondents
executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim3 whereby they adjudicated
Lot No. 4618 to themselves. In the same instrument, respondents Mario, Angelo
and Rodolfo renounced their respective shares in Lot No. 4618 in favor of Rosario.
In his Answer, Jose raised the defense that he was the lawful, absolute, exclusive
owner and in actual possession of the said lot, and that he acquired the same
through intestate succession from his late father. 4 For some reason, however, he
and his lawyer, who was from the Public Attorneys Office, failed to appear at the
scheduled pre-trial conference, and Jose was declared in default; thus, the adverse
judgment
against
him.5
On February 18, 1998, the MTC rendered judgment finding Rosario to be the owner
of Lot No. 4618, and ordering Jose to remove his house, vacate Lot No. 4618, and
pay Rosario P500.00 in monthly rentals from the filing of the complaint until she was
placed in possession, plus attorneys fees of P5,000.00, litigation expenses and
costs. On March 23, 1998, the MTC issued a writ of execution; and on August 28,
1998,
a
Writ
of
Demolition6 was
issued.

On June 2, 1998, the petitioners, counting 7 of the 8 children of Liborio and


Francisca,7 filed with the RTC of Dagupan City a Complaint, 8 docketed as Civil Case
No. 98-02371-D for Annulment of Documents, Ownership and Peaceful Possession
with Damages against the respondents. On June 10, 1998, the petitioners moved
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order,
which
the
RTC
however
denied
on
June
23,
1998.
Among the documents sought to be annulled was the 1997 Deed of Extrajudicial
Partition executed by Ireneos children over Lot No. 4618, as well as TD No. 555, and
by necessary implication its derivatives, TD No. 15177 (for the lot) and TD No.
15176 (for the house), both of which were issued in 1998 in the name of Rosario
Casilang-Dizon.9
The petitioners alleged in their complaint that all eight (8) children of Liborio
entered into a verbal partition of his estate, pursuant to which Jose was allotted Lot
No. 4618 as his share; that Ireneo never claimed ownership of Lot No. 4618, nor
took possession of it, because his share was the southwestern 1/5 portion of Lot No.
4676, containing an area of 1,308 sq m, 10 of which he took exclusive possession
during his lifetime; that Jose has always resided in Lot No. 4618 since childhood,
where he built his familys semi-concrete house just a few steps away from his
parents old bamboo hut; that he took in and cared for his aged parents in his house
until their deaths in 1982; that one of his children has also built a house on the
lot.11 Jose, said to be the most educated of the Casilang siblings, worked as an
insurance agent.12 The complete disposition of the intestate estate of Liborio per
the parties verbal partition appears as follows:
1. Lot No. 4676, with 4,164 sq m, declared under TD No. 534 in Liborios
name,13 was verbally partitioned among Marcelina (236 sq m), Leonora (1,965 sq
m), Flora (655 sq m), and Ireneo, represented by his children, the herein
respondents-defendants (1,308 sq m), as shown in aDeed of Extrajudicial Partition
with Quitclaim dated January 8, 1998, subsequently executed by all the Casilang
siblings
and
their
representatives.
2. Lot No. 4704, with 1,164 sq m, declared under TD No. 276 in Liborios
name,14 was divided among Jacinta and Bonifacio, who died in 1986 and is now
represented
by
his
son
Bernabe;
and
3. Lot No. 4618, containing 897 sq m, declared since 1994 under TD No. 555 in
Ireneos name,15 is now the subject of the controversy below. Jose insists that he
succeeded to it per verbal partition, and that he and his family have always
occupied the same peacefully, adversely and exclusively even while their parents
were alive.16
For her part, Rosario alleged in her answer with counterclaim, 17 which she filed on
September 15, 1998, that:
a) She is the actual and lawful owner of Lot No. 4618 with an area of 897 square
meters, having acquired the same by way of a Deed of Extra judicial Partition with
Quitclaim dated 3 April 1997 which was duly executed among herein Appellant
ROSARIO and her brothers, namely, MARIO, ANGELO and RODOLFO, all surnamed

CASILANG;
b) Her ownership over subject property could be traced back to her late father
IR[E]NEO which the latter inherited by way of intestate succession from his
deceased father LIBORIO sometime in 1992; that the residential house described in
herein Appellee JOSEs complaint is an illegal structure built by him in 1997 without
her (ROSARIOs) knowledge and consent; that in fact, an ejectment suit was filed
against Appellee JOSE with the Municipal Trial Court in Calasiao, Pangasinan in Civil
Case
No.
847;
c) The subject lot is never a portion of Appellee JOSEs share from the intestate of
his deceased father, LIBORIO; that on the contrary, the lot is his deceased brother
IR[E]NEOs share from the late LIBORIOs intestate estate; that in fact, the property
has long been declared in the name of the late IR[E]NEO as shown by Tax
Declaration No. 555 long before his children ROSARIO DIZON, MARIO[,] ANGELO and
RODOLFO, all surnamed CASILANG, executed the Deed of Partition dated 18
February 1998; that Appellee JOSE had actually consumed his shares which he
inherited from his late father, and after a series of sales and dispositions of the
same made by him, he now wants to take Appellants property;
d) Appellee JOSE is never the rightful owner of the lot in question and has not shown
any convincing proof of his supposed ownership; that the improvements introduced
by him, specifically the structures he cited are the subject of a Writ of Demolition
dated 28 August 1998 pursuant to the Order [dated] 17 August 1998 of the MTC of
Calasiao,
Pangasinan;
e) No protestation or objection was ever made by Appellee JOSE in Civil Case No.
847 (Unlawful Detainer case) where he was the defendant; that the truth was that
his possession of the subject property was upon the tolerance and benevolence of
his late brother IR[E]NEO during the latters lifetime and that Appellant ROSARIO;
f) The RTC Clerk of Court and Ex-officio Provincial Sheriff would just be doing her job
if she and her deputies would implement the writ of execution/demolition issued by
the MTC of Calasiao, Pangasinan since it is its ministerial duty to do so;
g) The Appellees have no cause of action; not having shown in their complaint the
basis, the reason and the very core of their claim as to why the questioned
document should be nullified.18 (Citation omitted)
In their reply19 to Rosarios aforesaid answer, the petitioners asserted that the MTC
committed a grave error in failing to consider a material factthat Jose had long
been in prior possession under a claim of title which he obtained by partition.
At the pre-trial conference in Civil Case No. 98-02371-D, the parties entered into the
following stipulations:
1. That the late LIBORIO is the father of FELICIDAD, MARCELINA, JUANITA, LEONORA,
FLORA
and
IR[E]NEO,
all
surnamed
CASILANG[;]
2. That the late LIBORIO died in 1982; That the late LIBORIO and his family resided

on Lot [No.] 4618 up to his death in 1982; That the house of the late LIBORIO is
located
on
Lot
[No.]
4618;
3. That Plaintiff JOSE used to reside on the lot in question because there was a case
for
ejectment
filed
against
him;
4. That the house which was demolished is the family house of the late LIBORIO
and FRANCISCA ZACARIAS with the qualification that it was given to the defendants;
5.

That

the

action

involves

members

of

the

same

family;

and

6. That no earnest efforts were made prior to the institution of the case in court. 20
Ruling of the RTC
After a full trial on the merits, the RTC in its Decision 21 dated April 21, 2003 decreed
as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the
plaintiffs
and
against
the
defendants
as
follows:
1. Declaring the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim dated April 3, 1997
null
and
void;
2. Declaring plaintiff Jose Z. Casilang Sr. as the lawful owner and possessor of the
subject Lot [No.] 4618 and as such, entitled to the peaceful possession of the same;
3. Ordering the defendants to pay to plaintiff Jose Z. Casilang Sr. attorneys fees in
the amount of [P]20,000.00 and litigation expenses in the amount of [P]5,000.00,
and
to
pay
the
costs
of
suit.
SO ORDERED.22
The RTC affirmed Joses ownership and possession of Lot No. 4618 by virtue of the
oral partition of the estate of Liborio by all the siblings. In the Deed of Extrajudicial
Partition with Quitclaim23 dated January 8, 1998, subsequently executed by all the
eight (8) Casilang siblings and their legal representatives?with Ireneo represented
by his four (4) children, and Bonifacio by his son Bernabe?petitioners Jose, Felicidad,
Jacinta and Bernabe, acknowledged that they had already received their
respective shares of inheritance in advance,24 and therefore, renounced their
claims over Lot No. 4676 in favor of co-heirs Marcelina, Leonora, Flora and Ireneo,
as follows:
[W]e hereby RENOUNCED, WAIVED AND QUITCLAIM, all our rights, interests and
participations over the WHOLE parcel of land [Lot No. 4676], left by the late,
LIBORIO CASILANG, in favor of our co-heirs, namely[:] MARCELINA Z. CASILANGPARAYNO, LEONORA Z. CASILANG-SARMIENTO, FLORA Z. CASILANG, MARIO A.
CASILANG, ANGELO A. CASILANG, ROSARIO A. CASILANG- DIZON AND RODOLFO A.
CASILANG[.]25

Thus, Jose expressly renounced his share in Lot No. 4676, which has an area of
4,164 sq m, because he had already received in advance his share in his fathers
estate, Lot No. 4618 with 897 sq m:
To the mind of the court, Jose Casilang could have not [sic] renounced and waived
his rights and interests over Lot [No.] 4676 if he believes that Lot [No.] 4618 is not
his, while the other lot, Lot [No.] 470 4, was divided between sister Jacinta Casilang
and brother Bonifacio Casilang[,] Sr., who was represented by his son. In the same
[way] as testified to by plaintiffs Felicidad Casilang and Jacinta Casilang, they signed
the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim wherein they waived and
renounced their rights and interests over Lot [No.] 4676 because they have already
received their share, which is Lot [No.] 470[4]. 26
The RTC found baseless the claim of Rosario that Lot No. 4618 was an inheritance of
her father Ireneo considering that a tax declaration is not conclusive proof of
ownership. The RTC even noted that the tax declaration of Ireneo started only in
1994, although he had been dead since 1992. Such being the case, the heirs of
Ir[e]neo Casilang has [sic] no basis in adjudicating unto themselves Lot No. 4618
and partitioning the same by executing the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with
Quitclaim.27
Appeal to the CA
Undeterred, Rosario appealed to the CA averring that: (1) the lower court erred in
declaring the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim dated April 3, 1997 as
null and void; and (2) the lower court erred in declaring Jose as the lawful owner and
possessor
of
the
subject
Lot
No.
4618.28
In the now assailed decision, the CA reversed the RTC by relying mainly on the
factual findings and conclusions of the MTC in Civil Case No. 847, viz:
Per the records, the above described property was subject of Civil Case No. 847
decided by the MTC of Calasiao, First Judicial Region, Province of Pangasinan which
rendered a judgment, supra, in favor of Appellant ROSARIO ordering herein Appellee
JOSE and all persons claiming rights under him to vacate the land of Appellant
ROSARIO. It was found by the MTC that the latter is the owner of the subject parcel
of land located at Talibaew, Calasiao, Pangasinan; that the former owner of the land
is the late IRENEO (who died on 11 June 1992), father of Appellant ROSARIO; that
Extra Judicial Partition with Quitclaim was executed by and among the heirs of the
late IRENEO; that MAURO [sic], ANGELO and RODOLFO, all surnamed CASILANG
waived and quitclaimed their respective shares over the subject property in favor of
Appellant ROSARIO; that Appellee JOSE was allowed by the late IRENEO during his
lifetime to occupy a portion of the land without a contract of lease and no rentals
being paid by the former; that Appellant ROSARIO allowed Appellee JOSE to
continue occupying the land after the Extra Judicial Partition with Quitclaim was
executed.29
Moreover, noting that the decision in Civil Case No. 847 in favor of Rosario was
issued on February 18, 1998 while the petitioners complaint in Civil Case No. 98-

02371-D was filed on June 2, 1998, the CA concluded that the latter case was a
mere afterthought:
If the latter has really a strong and valid reason to question the validity of the Deed
of Extra Judicial Partition with Quitclaim, supra, he could have done it soon after the
said Deed was executed on 3 April 1997. However, curiously enough, it was only
when the MTC ordered his eviction from the subject property that he decided to file
the instant case against the Appellants.30
Petition for Review in the Supreme Court
Now in this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners maintain that:
IN UPHOLDING THE LEGALITY [OF] THE DEED OF EXTRAJUDICIAL PARTITION AND
QUITCLAIM DATED APRIL 3, 1997, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GROSSLY
VIOLATED THE SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT OF JOSE Z. CASILANG[,] SR. AS DIRECT
COMPULSORY HEIR.31
Our Ruling and Discussions
There is merit in the petition.
Inferior
courts
are
empowered to rule on the
question of ownership raised
by the defendant in an
ejectment suit, but only to
resolve
the
issue
of
possession; its determination
is not conclusive on the issue
of ownership.
It is well to be reminded of the settled distinction between a summary action of
ejectment and a plenary action for recovery of possession and/or ownership of the
land. What really distinguishes an action for unlawful detainer from a possessory
action (accion publiciana) and from a reinvindicatory action (accion reinvindicatoria)
is that the first is limited to the question of possession de facto. Unlawful detainer
suits (accion interdictal) together with forcible entry are the two forms of ejectment
suit that may be filed to recover possession of real property. Aside from the
summary action of ejectment, accion publiciana or the plenary action to recover the
right of possession and accionreinvindicatoria or the action to recover ownership
which also includes recovery of possession, make up the three kinds of actions to
judicially
recover
possession.32
Under Section 3 of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, the Summary Procedure governs
the two forms of ejectment suit, the purpose being to provide an expeditious means
of protecting actual possession or right to possession of the property. They are not
processes to determine the actual title to an estate. If at all, inferior courts are
empowered to rule on the question of ownership raised by the defendant in such

suits, only to resolve the issue of possession and its determination on the ownership
issue is not conclusive.33 As thus provided in Section 16 of Rule 70:
Sec. 16. Resolving defense of ownership.When the defendant raises the defense
of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved
without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved
only to determine the issue of possession.
It is apropos, then, to note that in contrast to Civil Case No. 847, which is an
ejectment case, Civil Case No. 98-02371-D is for Annulment of Documents,
Ownership and Peaceful Possession; it is anaccion reinvindicatoria, or action to
recover ownership, which necessarily includes recovery of possession 34 as an
incident thereof. Jose asserts his ownership over Lot No. 4618 under a partition
agreement with his co-heirs, and seeks to invalidate Ireneos claim over Lot No.
4618 and to declare TD No. 555 void, and consequently, to annul the Deed of
Extrajudicial Partition and Quitclaim executed by Ireneos heirs.
It is imperative to review the
CAs factual conclusions since
they are entirely contrary to
those of the RTC, they have
no
citation
of
specific
supporting evidence, and are
premised on the supposed
absence
of
evidence,
particularly on the parties
verbal partition, but are
directly contradicted by the
evidence on record.
It must be noted that the factual findings of the MTC, which the CA adopted without
question, were obtained through Summary Procedure and were based solely on the
complaint and affidavits of Rosario, after Jose had been declared in default. But
since a full trial was had in Civil Case No. 98-02371-D, the CA should have pointed
out the specific errors and weaknesses in the RTCs factual conclusions before it
could rule that Jose was unable to present any evidentiary support to establish his
title, and that his continued possession of Lot No. 4618 was by mere tolerance of
Rosario. At most, however, the CA only opined that it was conjectural for the RTC to
conclude, that Jose had already received his inheritance when he renounced his
share in Lot No. 4676. It then ruled that the RTC erred in not considering the
findings of the MTC in Civil Case No. 847that Joses possession over subject
property was by mere tolerance. Said the appellate court:
Given the claim of the Appellee that Lot [No.] 4618 was orally given/assigned to
him by his deceased father LIBORIO, or that his claim was corroborated by his
sisters (his co-plaintiffs-Appellees), or that their claim is indubitably tied up with the
Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim over Lot No. 4676, still We cannot fully
agree with the pronouncement of the court a quo that Appellee JOSE could not have
renounced and waived his rights and interest over Lot [No.] 4676 if he believes that

Lot [No.] 4618 is not his. Wanting any evidentiary support, We find this stance as
conjectural being unsubstantiated by law or convincing evidence. At the most and
taking the factual or legal circumstances as shown by the records, We hold that the
court a quo erred in not considering the findings of the MTC in Civil Case No. 847
ruling that herein Appellee JOSEs possession over subject property was by mere
tolerance. Based as it is on mere tolerance, Appellee JOSEs possession therefore
could not, in any way, ripen into ownership. 35 (Citations omitted)
By relying solely on the MTCs findings, the CA completely ignored the testimonial,
documentary and circumstantial evidence of the petitioners, obtained by the RTC
after a full trial on the merits. More importantly, the CA did not point to any
evidence of Rosario that Ireneo had inherited Lot No. 4618 from Liborio. All it did
was
adopt
the
findings
of
the
MTC.
The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts, and unless the case falls under any of the
well-defined exceptions, the Supreme Court will not delve once more into the
findings of facts. In Sps. Sta. Maria v. CA,36 this Court stated:
Settled is the rule that the jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought before it from
the Court of Appeals via Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is limited to reviewing errors
of law. Findings of fact of the latter are conclusive, except in the following
instances: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or
conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or
impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is
based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting;
(6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the
case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the
appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to those of the trial court; (8) when the
findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are
based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners main
and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; and (10) when the findings of
fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the
evidence on record.37 (Citation omitted)
In the instant case, the factual findings of the CA and the RTC are starkly
contrasting. Moreover, we find that the CA decision falls under exceptions (7), (8)
and (10) above, which warrants another review of its factual findings.
The evidence supporting Rosarios claim of sole ownership of Lot No. 4618 is
the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim, which she executed with her
brothers Mario, Angelo and Rodolfo. There is no question that by itself, the said
document would have fully conveyed to Rosario whatever rights her brothers might
have in Lot No. 4618. But what needs to be established first is whether or not
Ireneo did in fact own Lot No. 4618 through succession, as Rosario claims. And here
now lies the very crux of the controversy.
A review of the parties
evidence shows that they
entered into an oral partition,

giving Lot No. 4618 to Jose as


his share, whereas Rosario
presented
no
proof
whatsoever that her father
inherited Lot No. 4618 from
his father Liborio.
Rosarios only proof of Ireneos ownership is TD No. 555, issued in his name, but she
did not bother to explain why it was dated 1994, although Ireneo died on June 11,
1992. Liborios ownership of Lot No. 4618 is admitted by all the parties, but it must
be asked whether in his lifetime Liborio did in fact transmit it to Ireneo, and if not,
whether it was conveyed to him by Liborios heirs. It is imperative for Rosario to
have presented proof of this transfer to Ireneo, in such a form as would have vested
ownership in him. We find, instead, a preponderance of contrary evidence.
1. In his testimony, Jose claimed that his parents bamboo house in Lot No. 4618
disintegrated from wear and tear; so he took them in to his semi-concrete house in
the same lot, which was just a few steps away, and he cared for them until they
died; shortly before Liborios death, and in the presence of all his siblings, his father
Liborio assigned Lot No. 4618 to him as his inheritance; his house was demolished
in 1998 as a result of the ejectment case filed against him; but his family continued
to live thereat after reconstructing the house; Ireneo and his family did not live in
Lot No. 4618; although Joses job as an insurance agent took him around
Pangasinan, he always came home to his family in his house in Lot No. 4618, which
he used as his permanent address; only Lot No. 4676 was included in the Deed of
Extrajudicial Partition dated January 8, 1998 because Lot No. 4618 had already been
distributed to Jose, and Lot No. 4704 had already been assigned to Jacinta and
Bonifacio
as
their
share
in
their
fathers
estate. 38
2.
Joses
testimony
was
corroborated
by
petitioners
Felicidad,39 Jacinta,40 Leonora,41 and Flora,42who all confirmed that their brother Jose
has always resided in Lot No. 4618 from his childhood up to the present, that he
took their aged parents into his house after their bamboo house was destroyed, and
he attended to their needs until they died in 1982. The sisters were also one in
saying that their father Liborio verbally willed Lot No. 4618 to Jose as his share in his
estate, and that their actual partition affirmed their fathers dispositions. Jacinta
claimed that she and Bonifacio have since taken possession of Lot No. 4704
pursuant to their partition, and have also declared their respective portions for tax
purposes.43 Flora corroborated Jacinta on their taking possession of Lot No. 4704, as
well as that Jose built his house on Lot No. 4618 next to his parents and they came
to live with him in their old age. Flora affirmed that Exhibit F correctly reflects
their verbal partition of Lot No. 4676, and that she was fully in accord with it. She
added that Felicidad and Marcelina had since constructed their own houses on the
portions of Lot No. 4676 assigned to them. 44 Felicidad mentioned that in their
partition, Ireneo was given a portion of Lot No. 4676, while Lot No. 4704 was divided
between Jacinta and Bonifacio, and Jose alone got Lot No. 4618. Leonora confirmed
that they were all present when their father made his above dispositions of his
estate.

3. Benjamin Lorenzo, a long-time neighbor of the Casilangs testified that Joses


house stands on Lot No. 4618 and Ireneo did not live with his family on the said lot
but
was
a
tenant
in
another
farm
some
distance
away. 45
4. For her part, Rosario merely asserted that her father Ireneo succeeded to Lot No.
4618 from Liborio, as shown in TD No. 555 (Exhibit 1); that she and her brothers
extra-judicially settled Ireneos estate, and that they each waived their shares in her
favor; and, that she has been paying taxes on Lot No. 4618. Rosario admitted,
however, that Jose has lived in the lot since he was a child, and he has
reconstructed his house thereon after its court-ordered demolition. 46 But Rosario on
cross-examination backtracked by claiming that it was her father Ireneo and
grandfather Liborio who built the old house in Lot No. 4618, where Ireneo resided
until his death; he even planted various fruit trees. Yet, there is no mention
whatsoever to this effect by any of the witnesses. Rosario also contradicted herself
when she denied that Jose lived there because his job as insurance agent took him
away often and yet admitted that Joses house stands there, which he reconstructed
after it was ordered demolished by the MTC. Inexplicably, Rosario disclaimed
knowledge of Ireneos share in Lot No. 4676, although she was a signatory, along
with her brothers and all the petitioners, in the deed of partition of the said lot,
whereby she got 1,308 sq m. Rosario also admitted that taxes were paid on the lot
only
beginning
in
1997,
not
before. 47
5. Benjamin Dizon, husband of Rosario, testified that Rosario was losing appetite
and sleep because of the case filed by Jose; that Ireneo died in another farm; that
Ireneo had a house in Lot No. 4618 but Jose took over the house after he died in
1992.48 Respondent Angelo, brother of Rosario, claimed that when he was 13 or 14
years old, he heard his grandfather tell his father Ireneo that he would inherit Lot
No. 4618. On cross-examination, Angelo insisted that his father had always lived
with his family in his grandfathers house in Lot No. 4618, that Jose did not live there
but was given another lot, although he could not say which lot it was; he admitted
that his grandmother lived with Jose when she died, and Ireneos share was in Lot
No.
4676.49
6. On rebuttal, Jose recounted that after his four children were married, Ireneo lived
as a tenant in another farm; that during a period of illness he lived in Manila for
some time, and later resided in Cagayan with his two married sons; and lastly on his
return, worked as a tenant of the Maningding family for about 10 years in Calasiao,
staying in a hut one kilometer away. Jose also claimed that Ireneo had asked Liborio
for a portion of Lot No. 4676, a lot which is bigger than Lot No. 4618 by several
hundreds
of
square
meters.50
7. On sur-rebuttal, Rosario claimed that her grandparents, father and mother lived
in Lot No. 4618 when she was a child until she married and left in 1976; that her
uncle Jose asked permission from Liborio to be allowed to stay there with his family.
She admitted that Jose built his house in 1985, three years after Liborio died, but as
if to correct herself, she also claimed that Jose built his house in Lot No. 4676,
and not in Lot No. 4618. (Contrarily, her aunt Leonora testified that Jose built his
house in Lot No. 4618 while their parents were alive.) 51 Moreover, if such was the
case, Rosario did not explain why she filed Civil Case No. 847, if she thought her
uncle built his house in Lot No. 4676, and not in Lot No. 4618. 52 Rosario also

claimed that Ireneo always came home in the evenings to his father Liborios house
from the Maningding farm, which he tenanted for 10 years, but obviously, by then
Liborios house had long been gone. Again, confusedly, Rosario denied that she
knew
of
her
fathers
share
in
Lot
No.
4676.
From the testimonies of the parties, we are convinced that the conclusion of the RTC
is well-supported that there was indeed a verbal partition among the heirs of
Liborio, pursuant to which each of his eight children received his or her share of his
estate, and that Joses share was Lot No. 4618.
The parties verbal partition
is valid, and has been ratified
by their taking possession of
their respective shares.
The validity of an oral partition is well-settled in our jurisdiction. In Vda. de Espina
v. Abaya,53 this Court declared that an oral partition is valid:
Anent the issue of oral partition, We sustain the validity of said partition. An
agreement of partition may be made orally or in writing. An oral agreement for the
partition of the property owned in common is valid and enforceable upon the
parties. The Statute of Frauds has no operation in this kind of agreements, for
partition is not a conveyance of property but simply a segregation and designation
of the part of the property which belong to the co-owners. 54
In Maestrado v. CA,55 the Supreme Court upheld the partition after it found that it
conformed to the alleged oral partition of the heirs, and that the oral partition was
confirmed by the notarized quitclaims executed by the heirs subsequently. 56
In Maglucot-Aw v. Maglucot,57 the Supreme Court elaborated on the validity of parol
partition:
On general principle, independent and in spite of the statute of frauds, courts of
equity have enforce [sic] oral partition when it has been completely or partly
performed.
Regardless of whether a parol partition or agreement to partition is valid and
enforceable at law, equity will [in] proper cases[,] where the parol partition has
actually been consummated by the taking of possession in severalty and the
exercise of ownership by the parties of the respective portions set off to each,
recognize and enforce such parol partition and the rights of the parties thereunder.
Thus, it has been held or stated in a number of cases involving an oral partition
under which the parties went into possession, exercised acts of ownership, or
otherwise partly performed the partition agreement, that equity will confirm such
partition and in a proper case decree title in accordance with the possession in
severalty.
In numerous cases it has been held or stated that parol partition may be sustained
on the ground of estoppel of the parties to assert the rights of a tenant in common
as to parts of land divided by parol partition as to which possession in severalty was
taken and acts of individual ownership were exercised. And a court of equity will

recognize the agreement and decree it to be valid and effectual for the purpose of
concluding the right of the parties as between each other to hold their respective
parts
in
severalty.
A parol partition may also be sustained on the ground that the parties thereto have
acquiesced in and ratified the partition by taking possession in severalty, exercising
acts of ownership with respect thereto, or otherwise recognizing the existence of
the
partition.
A number of cases have specifically applied the doctrine of part performance, or
have stated that a part performance is necessary, to take a parol partition out of the
operation of the statute of frauds. It has been held that where there was a partition
in fact between tenants in common, and a part performance, a court of equity
would have regard to and enforce such partition agreed to by the parties. 58
Joses possession of Lot No. 4618 under a claim of ownership is well borne out by
the records. It is also consistent with the claimed verbal partition with his siblings,
and fully corroborated by his sisters Felicidad, Jacinta, Leonora, and Flora, who
further testified that they each had taken possession of their own shares and built
their
houses
thereon.
A possessor of real estate property is presumed to have title thereto unless the
adverse claimant establishes a better right. 59 Moreover, under Article 541 of the
Civil Code, one who possesses in the concept of owner has in his favor the legal
presumption that he possesses with a just title, and he cannot be obliged to show or
prove it. Similarly, Article 433 of the Civil Code provides that actual possession
under a claim of ownership raises a disputable presumption of ownership. Thus,
actual possession and exercise of dominion over definite portions of the property in
accordance with an alleged partition are considered strong proof of an oral
partition60 which the Court will not hesitate to uphold.
Tax declarations and tax
receipts are not conclusive
evidence of ownership.
It is settled that tax declarations and tax receipts alone are not conclusive evidence
of ownership. They are merely indicia of a claim of ownership, 61 but when coupled
with proof of actual possession of the property, they can be the basis of claim of
ownership through prescription.62 In the absence of actual, public and adverse
possession, the declaration of the land for tax purposes does not prove
ownership.63 We have seen that there is no proof that Liborio, or the Casilang
siblings conveyed Lot No. 4618 to Ireneo. There is also no proof that Ireneo himself
declared Lot No. 4618 for tax purposes, and even if he or his heirs did, this is not
enough basis to claim ownership over the subject property. The Court notes that TD
No. 555 was issued only in 1994, two years after Ireneos death. Rosario even
admitted that she began paying taxes only in 1997. 64 More importantly, Ireneo
never claimed Lot No. 4618 nor took possession of it in the concept of owner.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated
July 19, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 79619 is

hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the Decision dated April 21, 2003 of the
Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch 41 in Civil Case No. 98-02371-D
is REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.
USUFRUCT
G.R. No. L-123

December 12, 1945

JOSEFA
FABIE, petitioner,
vs.
JOSE GUTIERREZ DAVID, Judge of First Instance of Manila, NGO BOO SOO
and JUAN GREY, respondents.
Sancho
Onocencio
Serverino
B.
Orlina
for
No appearance for other respondents.

for
respondent

Ngo

petitioner.
Soo.

OZAETA, J.:
The petitioner Josefa Fabie is the usufructuary of the income of certain houses
located at 372-376 Santo Cristo, Binondo, and 950-956 Ongpin, Santa Cruz, Manila,
under the ninth clause of the will of the deceased Rosario Fabie y Grey, which
textually reads as follows:
NOVENO. Lego a mi ahijada menor de edad, Maria Josefa de la Paz Fabie,
en usufructo vitalicio las rentas de las fincas situadas en la Calle Santo Cristo
Numeros 372 al 376 del Disrito de Binondo, de esta Ciudad de Manila,
descrita en el Certificado Original de Titulo No. 3824; y en la Calle Ongpin,
Numeros 950 al 956 del Distrito de Santa Cruz, Manila descrita en el
Certificado Original de Titulo No. 5030, expedidos por el Registrador de
Titulos de Manila, y prohibo enajene, hipoteque, permute o transfiera de
algun modo mientras que ella sea menor de edad. Nombro a Serafin Fabie
Macario, mi primo por linea paterna tutor de la persona y bienes de mi
ahijada menor, Maria Josefa de la Paz Fabie.
The owner of Santo Cristo property abovementioned is the respondent Juan Grey,
while those of the Ongpin property are other person not concern herein. Previous to
September 1944 litigation arose between Josefa Fabie as plaintiff and Juan Grey as
defendant and the owner of the Ongpin property as intervenors, involving the
administration of the houses mentioned in clause 9 of the will above quoted (civil
case No. 1659 of the Court of First Instance of Manila). That suit was decided by the
court on September 2, 1944, upon a stipulation in writing submitted by the parties

to and approved by the court. The pertinent portions of said stipulation read as
follows:
(4) Heretofore, the rent of said properties have been collected at times by the
respective owners of the properties, at other times by the usufructuary, and
lastly by the defendant Juan Grey as agent under a written agreement dated
March 31, 1942, between the owners of both properties and the usufructuary.
(5) When the rents were collected by the owners, the net amounts thereof
were duly paid to the usufructuary after the expenses for real estate taxes,
repairs and insurance premiums, including the documentary stamps, on the
properties and the expenses of collecting the rents had been deducted, and
certain amount set aside as a reserve for contingent liabilities. When the
rents were collected by the usufructuary, she herself paid the expenses
aforesaid. When the rents are collected by the defendant Juan Grey under the
agreement of March 31, 1942, the net amounts thereof were duly paid to the
usufructuary, after deducting and setting aside the items aforesaid, monthly,
until the month of October 1943, when the usufructuary refused to continue
with the agreement of March 31, 1942.
xxx

xxx

xxx

II. The parties hereto jointly petition the Court to render judgment adopting
the foregoing as finding of facts and disposing that:
(8) Beginning with the month of September 1944, the usufructuary shall
collect all the rents of the both the Sto. Cristo and the Ongpin properties.
(9) The usufructuary shall, at her own cost and expense, pay all the real
estate taxes, special assessments, and insurance premiums, including the
documentary stamps, and make all the necessary repairs on each of the
properties, promptly when due or, in the case of repairs, when the necessary,
giving immediate, written notice to the owner or owners of the property
concerned after making such payment or repairs. In case of default on the
part of the usufructuary, the respective owners of the properties shall have
the right to make the necessary payment, including penalties and interest, if
any, on the taxes and special assessments, and the repairs and in that event
the owner or owners shall entitled to collect all subsequent rents of the
property concerned until the amount paid by him or them and the expenses
of collection are fully covered thereby, after which the usufructuary shall
again collect the rents in accordance herewith.
(10) The foregoing shall be in effect during the term of the usufruct and shall
be binding on the successors and assigns of each of the parties.

(11) Nothing herein shall be understood as affecting any right which the
respective owners of the properties have or may have as such and which is
not specifically the subject of this stipulation.
In June 1945 Josefa Fabie commenced an action of unlawful detainer against the
herein respondent Ngo Boo Soo (who says that his correct name is Ngo Soo),
alleging in her amended complaint that the defendant is occupying the premises
located at 372-376 Santo Cristo on a month-to month rental payable in advance not
latter than the 5th of each month; that she is the administratrix and usufructuary of
said premises; "that the defendant offered to pay P300 monthly rent payable in
advance not later than the 5th of every month, beginning the month of April 1945,
for the said of premises including the one door which said defendant, without
plaintiff's consent and contrary to their agreement, had subleased to another
Chinese, but plaintiff refused, based on the fact that the herein plaintiff very badly
needs the said house to live in, as her house was burned by the Japanese on the
occasion of the entry of the American liberators in the City and which was located
then at No. 38 Flores, Dominga, Pasay; that defendant was duly notified on March
24 and April 14, 1945, to leave the said premises, but he refused"; and she prayed
for judgment of eviction and for unpaid rentals.
The defendant answered alleging that he was and since 1908 had been a tenant of
the premises in question, which he was using and had always used principally as a
store and secondarily for living quarters; that he was renting it from its owner and
administrator Juan Grey; "that plaintiff is merely the usufructuary of the income
therefrom, and by agreement between her and said owner, which is embodied in a
final judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila, her only right as usufructuary
of the income is to receive the whole of such income; that she has no right or
authority to eject tenants, such right being in the owner and administrator of the
house, the aforesaid Juan Grey, who has heretofore petitioned this Court for
permission to intervene in this action; that plaintiff herein has never had possession
of said property; that defendant's lease contract with the owner of the house is for
5-year period, with renewal option at the end of each period, and that his present
lease due to expire on December 31, 1945 . . .; that on June 1, 1945, defendant
made a written offer to plaintiff to compromise and settle the question of the
amount of rent to be paid by defendant . . . but said plaintiff rejected the same for
no valid reason whatever and instituted the present action; that the reason plaintiff
desires to eject defendant from the property is that she wishes to lease the same to
other persons for a higher rent, ignoring the fact that as usufructuary of the income
of the property she has no right to lease the property; that the defendant has
subleased no part of the house to any person whomsoever.
Juan Grey intervened in the unlawful detainer suit, alleging in his complaint in
intervention that he is the sole and absolute owner of the premises in question; that
the plaintiff Josefa Fabie is the usufructuary of the income of said premises; by
virtue of a contract between him and the intervenor which will expire on December
31, 1945, with the option to renew it for another period of five years from and after
said date; that under the agreement between the intervenor and plaintiff Josefa

Fabie in civil case No. 1659 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, which was
approved by the court and incorporated in its decision of September 2, 1944, the
only right recognized in favor of Josefa Fabie as usufructuary of the income of said
premises is to receive the rents therefrom when due; and that as usufructuary she
has no right nor authority to administer the said premises nor to lease them nor to
evict tenants, which right and authority are vested in the intervenor as owner of the
premises.
The municipal court (Judge Mariano Nable presiding) found that under paragraph 9
of the stipulation incorporated in the decision of the Court First Instance of Manila in
civil; case No. 1659, the plaintiff usufructuary is the administratrix of the premises
in question, and that the plaintiff had proved her cause. Judgment was accordingly
rendered ordering the defendant Ngo Soo to vacate the premises and to pay the
rents at the rate of P137.50 a month beginning April 1, 1945. The complaint in
intervention was dismissed.
Upon appeal to the Court of First Instance of Manila the latter (thru Judge Arsenio P.
Dizon) dismissed the case for the following reason: "The main issue *** is not a
mere question of possession but precisely who is entitled to administer the property
subject matter of this case and who should be the tenant, and the conditions of the
lease. These issues were beyond the jurisdiction of the municipal court. This being
case, this Court, as appellate court, is likewise without jurisdiction to take
cognizance of the present case." A motion for reconsideration filed by the plaintiff
was denied by Judge Jose Gutierrez David, who sustained the opinion of Judge
Dizon.lawphi1.net
The present original action was instituted in this Court by Josefa Fabie to annul the
order of the dismissal and to require to the Court of First Instance to try and decide
the case on the merits. The petitioner further prays that the appeal of the
intervenor Juan Grey be declared out of time on the ground that he receive copy of
the decision on August 3 but did not file his notice of appeal until August 25, 1945.
1. The first question to determine is whether the action instituted by the petitioner
Josefa Fabie in the municipal court is a purely possessory action and as such within
the jurisdiction of said court, or an action founded on property right and therefore
beyond the jurisdiction of the municipal court. In other words, is it an action of
unlawful detainer within the purview of section 1 of Rule 72, or an action involving
the title to or the respective interests of the parties in the property subject of the
litigation?
Said section 1 of Rule 72 provides that "a landlord, vendor, vendee, or other person
against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the
expiration or termination of the right to hold possession, by virtue of any contract,
express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any such landlord,
vendor vendee, or other person, may, at any time within one year after such
unlawful deprivation of withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper
inferior court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of

possession, or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of
such possession, together with the damages and costs."
It is admitted by the parties that the petitioner Josefa Fabie is the usufructuary of
the income of the property in question and that the respondent Juan Grey is the
owner thereof. It is likewise admitted that by virtue of a final judgment entered in
civil case No. 1659 of the Court of First Instance of Manila between the usufructuary
and the owner, the former has the right to collect all the rents of said property for
herself with the obligation on her part to pay all the real estate taxes, special
assessments, and insurance premiums, and make all necessary repairs thereon, and
in case default on her part the owner shall have the right to do all those things, in
which event he shall be entitled to collect all subsequent rents of the property
concerned until the amount paid by him and the expenses of collection are fully
satisfied, after which the usufructuary shall again collect the rents. There is
therefore no dispute as to the title to or the respective interests of the parties in the
property in question. The naked title to the property is to admittedly in the
respondent Juan Grey, but the right to all the rents thereof, with the obligation to
pay the taxes and insurance premiums and make the necessary repairs, is, also
admittedly, vested in the usufructuary, the petitioner Josefa Fabie, during her
lifetime. The only question between the plaintiff and the intervenor is: Who has the
right to manage or administer the property to select the tenant and to fix the
amount of the rent? Whoever has that right has the right to the control and
possession of the property in question, regardless of the title thereto. Therefore, the
action is purely possessory and not one in any way involving the title to the
property. Indeed, the averments and the prayer of the complaint filed in the
municipal court so indicate, and as a matter of fact the defendant Ngo Soo does not
pretend to be the owner of the property, but on the contrary admits to be a mere
tenant thereof. We have repeatedly held that in determining whether an action of
this kind is within the original jurisdiction of the municipal court or of the Court of
First Instance, the averments of the complaint and the character of the relief sought
are primarily to be consulted; that the defendant in such an action cannot defeat
the jurisdiction of the justice of the peace or municipal court by setting up title in
himself; and that the factor which defeats the jurisdiction of said court is the
necessity to adjudicate the question of title. (Mediranvs. Villanueva, 37 Phil., 752,
759; Medel vs. Militante, 41 Phil., 526, 529; Sevilla vs. Tolentino, 51 Phil., 333; Supia
and Batioco vs. Quintero and Ayala, 59 Phil., 312; Lizo vs. Carandang, G.R. No.
47833, 2 Off. Gaz., 302; Aguilarvs. Cabrera and Flameo, G.R. No. 49129.)
The Court of First Instance was evidently confused and led to misconstrue the real
issue by the complaint in intervention of Juan Grey, who, allying himself with the
defendant Ngo Soo, claimed that he is the administrator of the property with the
right to select the tenant and dictate the conditions of the lease, thereby implying
that it was he and not the plaintiff Josefa Fabie who had the right to bring the action
and oust the tenant if necessary. For the guidance of that court and to obviate such
confusion in its disposal of the case on the merits, we deem it necessary and proper
to construe the judgment entered by the Court of First Instance of Manila in civil
case No. 1659, entitled "Josefa Fabie and Jose Carandang, plaintiffs, vs. Juan Grey,

defendant, and Nieves G. Vda. de Grey, et al., intervenors-defendants" which


judgment was pleaded by the herein respondents Juan Grey and Ngo Soo in the
municipal court. According the decision, copy of which was submitted to this Court
as Appendix F of the petition and as Annex 1 of the answer, there was an
agreement, dated March 31, 1942, between the usufructuary Josefa Fabie and the
owner Juan Grey whereby the latter as agent collected the rents of the property in
question and delivered the same to the usufructuary after deducting the expenses
for taxes, repairs, insurance premiums and the expenses of collection; that in the
month of October 1943 the usufructuary refused to continue with the said
agreement of March 31, 1942, and thereafter the said case arose between the
parties, which by stipulation approved by the court was settled among them in the
following manner: Beginning with the month of September 1944 the usufructuary
shall collect all the rents of the property in question; shall, at her own cost and
expense, pay all the real estate taxes, special assessments, and insurance
premiums, including the documentary stamps, and make all the necessary repairs
on the property; and in case of default on her part the owner shall the right to do
any or all of those things, in which event he shall be entitled to collect all
subsequent rents until the amounts paid by him are fully satisfied, after which the
usufructuary shall again collect the rents. It was further stipulated by the parties
and decreed by the court that "the foregoing shall be in effect during the term of
the usufruct and shall be binding on the successors and assigns of each of the
parties."
Construing said judgment in the light of the ninth clause of the will of the deceased
Rosario Fabie y Grey, which was quoted in the decision and by which Josefa Fabie
was made by the usufructuary during her lifetime of the income of the property in
question, we find that the said usufructuary has the right to administer the property
in question. All the acts of administration to collect the rents for herself, and to
conserve the property by making all necessary repairs and paying all the taxes,
special assessments, and insurance premiums thereon were by said judgment
vested in the usufructuary. The pretension of the respondent Juan Grey that he is
the administrator of the property with the right to choose the tenants and to dictate
the conditions of the lease is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the said
clause of the will, the stipulation of the parties, and the judgment of the court. He
cannot manage or administer the property after all the acts of management and
administration have been vested by the court, with his consent, in the usufructuary.
He admitted that before said judgment he had been collecting the rents as agent of
the usufructuary under an agreement with the latter. What legal justification or valid
excuse could he have to claim the right to choose the tenant and fix the amount of
the rent when under the will, the stipulation of the parties, and the final judgment of
the court it is not he but the usufructuary who is entitled to said rents? As long as
the property is properly conserved and insured he can have no cause for complaint,
and his right in that regard is fully protected by the terms of the stipulation and the
judgment of the court above mentioned. To permit him to arrogate to himself the
privilege to choose the tenant, to dictate the conditions of the lease, and to sue
when the lessee fails to comply therewith, would be to place the usufructuary

entirely at his mercy. It would place her in the absurd situation of having a certain
indisputable right without the power to protect, enforce, and fully enjoy it.
One more detail needs clarification. In her complaint for desahucio Josefa Fabie
alleges that she needs the premises in question to live in, as her former residence
was burned. Has she the right under the will and the judgment in question to
occupy said premises herself? We think that, as a corollary to her right to all the
rent, to choose the tenant, and to fix the amount of the rent, she necessarily has
the right to choose herself as the tenant thereof, if she wishes to; and, as she fulfills
her obligation to pay the taxes and insure and conserve the property properly, the
owner has no legitimate cause to complain. As Judge Nable of the municipal court
said in his decision, "the pretension that the plaintiff, being a mere usufructuary of
the rents, cannot occupy the property, is illogical if it be taken into account that that
could not have been the intention of the testatrix."
We find that upon the pleadings, the undisputed facts, and the law the action
instituted in the municipal court by the petitioner Josefa Fabie against the
respondent Ngo Soo is one of unlawful detainer, within the original jurisdiction of
said court, and that therefore Judges Dizon and Gutierrez David of the Court of First
Instance erred in holding otherwise and in quashing the case upon appeal.
2. The next question to determine is the propriety of the remedy availed of by the
petitioner in this Court. Judging from the allegations and the prayer of the petition, it
is in the nature of certiorari and mandamus, to annul the order of dismissal and to
require the Court of First Instance to try and decide the appeal on the merits. Under
section 3 of Rule 67, when any tribunal unlawfully neglects the performance of an
act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, and there is
no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, it may
be compelled by mandamus to do the act required to be done to protect the rights
of the petitioner. If, as we find, the case before the respondent judge is one of
unlawful detainer, the law specifically requires him to hear and decide that case on
the merits, and his refusal to do so would constitute an unlawful neglect in the
performance of that duty within section 3 of Rule 67. Taking into consideration that
the law requires that an unlawful detainer case be promptly decided (sections 5 and
8, Rule 72),it is evident that an appeal from the order of dismissal would not be a
speedy and adequate remedy; and under the authority ofCecilio vs. Belmonte (48
Phil., 243, 255), and Aguilar vs. Cabrera and Flameo (G.R. No. 49129), we hold
thatmandamus lies in this case.
3. The contention of the petitioner that the appeal of the intervenor Juan Grey was
filed out of time is not well founded. Although said respondent received copy of the
decision of the municipal court on August 3, 1945, according to the petitioner (on
August 6, 1945, according to the said respondent), it appears from the sworn
answer of the respondent Ngo Soo in this case that on August 8 he filed a motion for
reconsideration, which was granted in part on August 18. Thus, if the judgment was
modified on August 18, the time for the intervenor Juan Grey to appeal therefrom
did not run until he was notified of said judgment as modified, and since he filed his

notice of appeal on August 23, it would appear that his appeal was filed on time.
However, we observe in this connection that said appeal of the intervenor Juan
Grey, who chose not to answer the petition herein, would be academic in view of
the conclusions we have reached above that the rights between him as owner and
Josefa Fabie as usufructuary of the property in question have been definitely settled
by final judgment in civil case No. 1659 of the Court of First Instance of Manila in the
sense that the usufructuary has the right to administer and possess the property in
question, subject to certain specified obligations on her part.
The orders of dismissal of the respondent Court of First Instance, dated September
22 and October 31, 1945, in the desahucio case (No. 71149) are set aside that court
is directed to try and decide the said case on the merits; with the costs hereof
against the respondent Ngo Soo.
Moran, C.J., Paras, Jaranilla, Feria, De Joya, Pablo, Perfecto, Bengzon, and Briones,
JJ., concur.
SOPHIE M. SEIFERT and ELISA ELIANOFF, Petitioners, v. MARY MCDONALD
BACHRACH, in her capacity as administratrix of the estate of the deceased
E. M. Bachrach, and CONRADO BARRIOS, Judge of First Instance of
Manila, Respondents.
Ross,

Selph,

Carrascoso

Delgado,

Dizon

First Assistant
Esmeraldo

Solicitor
Umali

&
General

&

Janda,
Flores

Roberto
for

for Petitioners.
for Respondents.

A. Gianzon
the

and Solicitor
Government.

SYLLABUS
1. OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; CONFORMITY TO PETITION FILED IN COURT;
LIBERALITY AS CONSIDERATION. The respondents allege that the conformity
given by M. McD. B. to the petition of September 16, 1940, as well as the payments
made by her of the monthly allowances under the order of October 2, 1940, "was an
act of pure liberality on her part and, therefore, could not be construed as giving
rise to any obligatory relations between said respondent executrix and the parties
receiving said monthly allowances." The allegation is unacceptable. Conformity is
consent. According to a universal law, recognized in the Civil Code, consent is the
source of obligations. That respondent has given her conformity as an act "of pure
liberality on her part" does not change the nature of the legal effect of the consent
given. The commitment she made with her conformity cannot be dismissed upon
the ground that it was given as "pure liberality" or for any other motive. Provided
the consent was freely given, and regardless of the motive behind the act, it gives
rise to all proper legal effects. The conformity or agreement of all the parties to the
petition of September 16, 1940, gives it the nature of a contract. The contracting
parties are bound to respect and to abide by the commitments in said contract. The
contract cannot be lightly dismissed. Respondents allegation that M. McD. B. had
given her conformity without any consideration, is belied by her own allegation to

the effect that she gave said conformity as "an act of pure liberality on her part."
Pure liberality is a consideration recognized by the Civil Code. No other
consideration
is
entertained
in
donations.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; APPROVAL BY COURT, EFFECT OF ON CONTRACT. The contract in
this case has the added force and solemnity of having been approved by the order
of judge A of October 2, 1940. The contract has been elevated to the category of a
judgment. Its enforceability depends not only on the good faith of the parties but on
a legal and executory order issued by a competent court. While respondent M. M. B.
cannot ignore her plighted word, she has absolutely no right to consider the order of
October 2, 1940, as a mere scrap of paper. Otherwise, if their orders could be simply
ignored, challenged or taken with scorn, there is no use for the existence of courts.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ALLOWANCES, AGREEMENT TO PAY, IN ABSENCE OF PROVISION IN
WILL OR IN LAW. Respondents alleged that "there is no provision in the will of the
deceased E. M. Bachrach or in any statute requiring" the payment of the monthly
allowances provided in the order of October 2, 1940. But is there any prohibition for
the parties to agree in the payment of said monthly allowances? Was there any
reason for the lower court to withhold its approval to the agreement? The allegation
seems to imply an argument based on the denial of the basic right of the parties to
enter into any kind of agreement neither forbidden by law nor against public
morals.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ORDER OF COURT INSTRUCTING PAYMENT OF ALLOWANCES,
EFFECT OF. The respondents alleged that the order of October 2, 1940, "was not
intended to be a judicial mandate but merely an authority for the respondent Mary
McDonald Bachrach to do certain acts which she could not perform under the law or
under the provisions of the will of the deceased E. M. Bachrach without judicial
authority." The allegation finds no support in the order wherein M. McD. B. is
"authorized and instructed forthwith to pay" the monthly allowances in question.
Instructed means commanded. The inclusion of the last word negatives
respondents allegation. M. McD. B. did not appeal against the order. She cannot
now deny validity to the command involved in the word "instructed." Besides, an
"order," the title of the document, cannot be anything other than a mandate,
compulsory
by
nature.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; USUFRUCT; RIGHT OF USUFRUCTUARY TO TRANSFER. Impairment
of her usufruct is also alleged by the administratrix. How can she now complain of
the alleged impairment after alleging that she gave her conformity to the
agreement, the basis of the order of October 2, 1940, as "an act of pure liberality on
her part?" Was she not the owner of her usufruct? Could she not give away her
usufruct or any part of it in favor of any person? If she disposed of a portion of said
usufruct for the benefit of the sisters of her deceased husband, without being
subject to compulsion, or fraud, or mistake, but freely and conscientiously, there is
no
reason
for
her
to
complain
now.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ALLOWANCES AS ADVANCES OF INHERITANCE NOT COVERED BY
MORATORIUM. Allowances due and payable to heirs as advances of their
inheritance, are not covered by the moratorium provided in Executive Orders Nos.
25 and 32, which refer to debts.

DECISION
PERFECTO, J.:
Petitioners, sisters and heirs of the late E. M. Bachrach, who died in Manila on
September 28, 1937, pray for a command from this Court calculated to compel the
lower court to execute its order of October 2, 1940, which reads as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Upon consideration of the petition of Sophie M. Seifert, Ginda M. Skundina, Elisa
Elianoff and Annie Bachrach Levine, of September 16, 1940, wherein they pray that
the administratrix and usufructuary of the properties left by the deceased E. M.
Bachrach be authorized to pay them, beginning July 1, 1940, and until they receive
their share of the estate left by the deceased E. M. Bachrach upon the death of his
widow, a monthly allowance of P500; P250; P250; and P250, respectively, and the
additional sum of P3,000 to the said Sophie M. Seifert, who is in poor health, the
said allowances to be deducted from their shares of the estate of the deceased E.
M. Bachrach upon the death of his widow, Mary McDonald Bachrach;
"All the parties interested in the estate left by the deceased E. M. Bachrach having
expressed their conformity to the said petition, and there existing no reason why
the
same
should
not
be
granted.
"Petition granted; and the administratrix and usufructuary Mary McDonald Bachrach
is hereby authorized and instructed forthwith to pay to the said Sophie M. Seifert,
Ginda M. Skundina, Elisa Elianoff and Annie Bachrach Levine a monthly allowance of
five hundred (P500) pesos; two hundred fifty (P250) pesos; two hundred fifty (P250)
pesos; and two hundred fifty (P250) pesos, respectively, beginning July 1, 1940, and
until the said heirs receive their share of the estate left by the deceased E. M.
Bachrach upon the death of his widow, and the additional sum of three thousand
(P3,000)
pesos
to
the
heir
Sophie
M.
Seifert.
"The payment of the monthly allowances herein granted to the said heirs Sophie M.
Seifert, Ginda M. Skundina, Elisa Elianoff and Annie Bachrach Levine other than
those corresponding to the months of July, August and September, shall be made on
or before the 5th day of each month, beginning October, 1940; shall be taken from
the properties to be turned over to the heirs of the deceased E. M. Bachrach and the
usufruct of which will belong to his widow, Mary McDonald during her life; and shall
be deducted from the share of the said heirs of the estate of the deceased E. M.
Bachrach
upon
the
death
of
his
widow.
"Upon verbal petition of Attorney Carrascoso, and it appearing from the record that
two of the clients whom his law firm represents reside outside of the Philippines, the
administratrix and usufructuary, Mary McDonald Bachrach, is hereby authorized and
instructed to pay directly to Attorneys Ross, Lawrence, Selph & Carrascoso the
monthly allowances corresponding to the heirs Sophie M. Seifert, Ginda M.

Skundina,

and

Elisa

Elianoff.

"No opposition having been filed to the amended report, rendition of accounts, and
liquidation of the community property of the conjugal partnership of E. M. Bachrach,
deceased, and Mary McDonald Bachrach as surviving spouse presented by the
administratrix under date of September 17, 1940, the same are hereby approved
and
granted.
It
is
so
ordered."cralaw
virtua1aw
library
"QUIRICO

ABETO

"Judge"
The petition in virtue of which the above order was issued and to which all the
interested parties in the estate have expressed their conformity, as stated in the
order,
reads
as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Comes now Sophie M. Seifert, Ginda M. Skundina, Elisa Elianoff, and Annie
Bachrach, and to this Honorable Court respectfully state:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"1. That paragraph sixth and eighth of the will of the deceased E. M. Bachrach
provide
as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Sixth: It is my will and do herewith bequeath and devise to my beloved wife Mary
McDonald Bachrach for life all the fruits and usufruct of the remainder of all my
estate after payment of the legacies, bequests and gifts provided for above; and
she may enjoy such usufruct and use or spend such fruits as she may in any
manner
wish.
"Eighth: It is my wish that upon the death of my beloved wife, Mary McDonald
Bachrach, all my estate, personal, real and otherwise, and all the fruits and usufruct
thereof which during her life pertained to her, shall be divided as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"One-half (1/2) thereof shall be given to such charitable hospitals in the Philippines
as she may designate; in case she fails to designate, then said sum shall be given to
the Chief Executive of these Islands who shall distribute it, share and share alike to
all charitable hospitals in the Philippines excluding those belonging to the
governments of the Philippines or of the United States:" One-half (1/2) thereof shall
be divided, share and share alike by and between my legal heirs, to the exclusion of
my
brothers.
"2.
That
on
July
22,
order:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

1940,

this

Court

entered

the

following

"It appearing from the report filed by the commissioner, the Acting Assistant Clerk
of the Court, that the only heirs of the deceased E. M. Bachrach, according to the
evidence presented, are his widow Mary McDonald Bachrach and his sisters Sophie
M. Seifert, Annie Bachrach, Ginda Skundina and Elisa Elianoff, the Court hereby
declares said Mary McDonald Bachrach, Sophie M. Seifert, Annie Bachrach, Ginda
Skundina and Elisa Elianoff as the only legal heirs of said deceased, all of whom are

of

legal

age.

"So

ordered.

"Your petitioners who are the legal heirs of the deceased E. M. Bachrach beside his
widow, Mary McDonald Bachrach, respectfully request that she, as administratrix
and usufructuary of her deceased husbands properties, be authorized to pay your
petitioners from and after July 1, 1940, and until they receive their share of the
estate left by the deceased E. M. Bachrach upon the death of his widow, a monthly
allowance of P500, P250, P250, and P250, respectively, and the additional sum of
P3,000 to the heir Sophie M. Seifert, who is in poor health, the said allowances to be
deducted from your petitioners share of the estate of the deceased E. M. Bachrach
upon
the
death
of
the
widow;
"All parties interested in the estate left by the deceased E. M. Bachrach are
agreeable
to
this
petition.
"Manila,

September

"ROSS,
By

SELPH,
(Sgd.)
for

M.

(Sgd.)

Skundina,

Bank
virtual

Seifert

Bldg.,

Manila

1aw

library

"ANNIE

(Sgd.)

BACHRACH

"MARY

Administratrix

McDONALD

BACHRACH

and

(Sgd.)

Usufructuary

"ROMAN

OZAETA

"Solicitor
No

appeal

Jr.

Sophie

City

agree:chanrob1es

JANDA

CARRASCOSO,

and

National

"We

T.

&

Ginda

Elianoff,

414

1940.

CARRASCOSO
"ANTONIO

Attorneys
Elisa

16,

General"
has

been

taken

against

the

foregoing

order

by

any

party.

From July 1, 1940, to December 31, 1941, the administratrix, respondent Mary
McDonald Bachrach, made the payments as ordered. According to respondents, the
total amount paid amounted to P40,250. The monthly allowances or advances due
from January 1, 1942, to July 31, 1945, were not paid. The total amount is P32,500
or P21,500 for Sophie M. Seifert and P10,750 for Elisa Elianoff. Payments were
resumed from August, 1945, to January, 1947. Petitioners have been demanding
from respondent Mary McDonald Bachrach the payment of the monthly allowances

from January 1, 1942, to July 31, 1945, but respondent refused to pay. As alleged in
her memorandum, the executrix "decided to stop the payment", among several
reasons, in view of the "inconsiderate, unappreciated and unkind attitude" of
petitioners, the increasing burden on Mrs. Bachrachs usufruct, and improbability of
reimbursement to the estate of the payments and of the return to the executrix of
the
usufructuary
value
of
said
allowances.
On February 18, 1947, petitioners filed with the lower court a petition for the
issuance of a writ of execution ordering, on the authority of the order of October 2,
1940, the administratrix to pay the allowances for February, 1947, and those in
arrears for the period comprising January 1, 1942, to July 31, 1945, and that in case
the administratrix should fail to pay the above amounts within 24 hours after receipt
of notice, the Hongkong and China Banking Corporation be ordered to deliver to
attorneys for petitioners the total sum of P33,000, to be withdrawn from the funds
that the administratrix has on deposit in said bank in the name of the estate of E. M.
Bachrach.
The petition was denied on February 27, 1947. On March 4, 1947, petitioners filed a
motion for the reconsideration of said order. On March 14, 1947, the motion for
reconsideration was denied. Not satisfied with the orders of February 27, and March
14, 1947, of the lower court, petitioners filed with us the petition in this case.
For a proper understanding of the controversy we quote hereunder the text of the
will
of
E.
M.
Bachrach:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"I, E. M. Bachrach, a naturalized American citizen from the State of New York and
resident of the City of Manila, Philippine Islands, being of sound and disposing mind
and memory and not acting under duress, menace, fraud or undue influence of
whatever nature, do hereby make, publish and declare the following to be my Last
Will
and
Testament,
to-wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"First: I hereby declare that I have no child or children, grandchild or grandchildren.
"Second: My failure to make any provision in this Will for my brothers is intentional.
"Third: I hereby revoke and cancel any and all Wills by me heretofore made.
"Fourth: I hereby bind, obligate, and instruct my executors or administrators to
make and pay the following bequests, legacies or gifts, to-wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"(a) To Mary McDonald Bachrach, my beloved wife, I give one-half () of the
proceeds of the house known as "Casa Blanca," my residence at 105 Manga Avenue,
Sta. Mesa, Manila, and of the rights to the lease on the parcel of land wherein said
house is built. As all the furniture, fixtures and silverware contained in the house
were bought by my beloved wife Mary McDonald Bachrach out of her own personal
funds, and furniture, fixtures and silverware, being her own property, I hereby order
that the same be returned to her and disposed of by her as she may wish and for
her
own
benefit.
"(b) To Mary McDonald Bachrach, my beloved wife, I give an allowance of five

hundred

pesos

(P500)

each

month

as

living

expenses.

"(c) To Mina Levine, daughter of Hyman Levine, the sum of ten thousand pesos
(P10,000)
to
be
paid
to
her
upon
my
death.
"(d) To Hyman Levine, the sum of one thousand pesos (P1,000) for each year of
service he has given me or the Bachrach Motor Co., Inc., that is one thousand pesos
(P1,000) for each year since January, 1917, when he entered the employment of the
Bachrach
Motor
Co.,
Inc.
"(e) To Martin Elianoff and his wife Luba Elianoff, the sum of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000)
jointly.
"(f) To Afna Elianoff, daughter of Martin Elianoff, the sum of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000) which amount is to be deposited in any bank her father may choose, and
is to be used for her education and upon her becoming of age, she may withdraw
and use the remainder thereof if any, as she may deem fit.
"(g) To Temple Emil Congregation, the sum of ten thousand pesos(P10,000).
"(h) To Sofie Seifert, wife of John Seifert, now residing at San Francisco, California,
the
sum
of
ten
thousand
pesos
(P10,000).
"(i) To Ginda Scundin, married to Henoch Scundin, now residing at Kiev, Russia, the
sum
of
ten
thousand
pesos
(P10,000).
"(j) To Lisa Elianoff, widow of Abraham Elianoff, now residing at Moscow, Russia, the
sum
of
ten
thousand
pesos
(P10,000).
"Fifth: I hereby choose and appoint my beloved wife, Mary McDonald Bachrach, as
my administratrix and executrix to hold, keep, possess and invest all my remaining
properties
for
the
benefit
and
advantage
of
the
estate.
"Sixth: It is my will and do herewith bequeath and devise to my beloved wife Mary
McDonald Bachrach for life all the fruits and usufruct of the remainder of all my
estate after payment of the legacies, bequests and gifts provided for above; and
she may enjoy such usufruct and use or spend such fruits as she may in any
manner
wish.
"Seventh: It is my express wish that the business of the Bachrach Motor Co., Inc.,
the controlling shares of which I hold and own, shall not be dissolved, disposed of,
or discontinued for a period of at least FIVE years after my death, unless the
company is conducted at a losing basis; and the payment of the bequests, legacies
and gifts above mentioned shall be made from my income and estate as shall least
disturb or disrupt the business of the Bachrach Motor Co., Inc., as a going concern;
"Eighth: It is my wish that upon the death of my beloved wife, Mary McDonald
Bachrach, all my estate, personal, real and otherwise, and all the fruits and usufruct
thereof which during her life pertained to her, shall be divided as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"One-half (1/2) thereof shall be given to such charitable hospitals in the Philippines
as she may designate; in case she fails to designate, then said sum shall be given to
the Chief Executive of these Islands who shall distribute it, share and share alike to
all charitable hospitals in the Philippines excluding those belonging to the
governments
of
the
Philippines
or
of
the
United
States;
"One-half (1/2) thereof shall be divided, share and share alike by and between my
legal
heirs,
to
the
exclusion
of
my
brothers.
"Before signing this Last Will and Testament, I hereby declare that I have read and
understood each and every provision hereof, and hereby publish and declare the
same
as
my
Last
Will
and
Testament.
"Done
(Sgd.)

in

this

City

of
"E.

Manila,

this

3rd
M.

day

of

December,

1935.

BACHRACH"

The following facts can also be taken into consideration: (1) A report filed by
respondent Mary McDonald Bachrach on January 24, 1941, giving in detail a list of
properties belonging to the heirs of E. M. Bachrach, shows a total value of
P1,069,494.34; (2) The administratrix has in her possession the sum of
P351,016.91; (3) The administratrix has made "all the transfers or is proceeding
with the transfers in the name of the estate of E. M. Bachrach for the heirs of the
said E. M. Bachrach," of the properties whose total value according to the last
project of partition is P1,069,494.34; (4) Among the properties in the possession of
the administratrix is the sum of P351,016.91 which has already been adjudicated to,
and belongs, although still pro indiviso, to the heirs of the deceased E. M. Bachrach,
from which, according to petitioners, the monthly allowances due to petitioners
should be paid in accordance with the order of October 2, 1940; (5) Petitioners
allege that the monthly allowances due them shall not be taken from the one-half of
the properties amounting to P1,069,494.34 which is the share of the charitable
hospitals, but from their respective participations in said property; (6) The Solicitor
General agreed to the payment of the monthly allowances as per his conformity
signed at the bottom of the petition of September 15, 1940; (7) Respondent Mary
McDonald Bachrach has made advance payments to charitable institutions
amounting to P22,000 from the participation of the charitable hospitals without prior
authority from the probate court; (8) On May 27, 1947, the Solicitor General filed a
manifestation undoubtedly for the protection of one-half of each and every asset of
the estate of the deceased E. M. Bachrach, belonging to the charitable hospitals, in
accordance with the eighth clause of the will; (9) On June 9, 1947, petitioners
answer by stating that their monthly allowances shall not be taken from the shares
or participation belonging to the charitable hospitals but from petitioners
participation or interest in the other one-half of the estate of E. M. Bachrach which
belongs to the heirs of the deceased; (10) On June 11, 1947, the Solicitor General
filed an additional manifestation in which it expresses its satisfaction over the
statement
made
by
petitioners
on
June
9,
1947.
There is no question that the monthly allowances provided in the order of October 2,
1940, were agreed upon by all the parties for the maintenance of the four sisters of

the deceased E. M. Bachrach, including herein petitioners. In the order of February


27, 1947, Judge Conrado Barrios found that the heirs-petitioners Sophie M. Seifert
and Elisa Elianoff "are in dire need of funds for support."cralaw virtua1aw library
Several reasons are advanced by respondents in their opposition to the compliance
with and execution of the order of Judge Abeto dated October 2, 1940. We shall pass
upon
the
important
ones.
They allege that the conformity given by Mary McDonald Bachrach to the petition of
September 16, 1940, as well as the payments made by her of the monthly
allowances under the order of October 2, 1940, "was an act of pure liberality on her
part and, therefore, could not be construed as giving rise to any obligatory relations
between said respondent executrix and the parties receiving said monthly
allowances." The allegation is unacceptable. Conformity is consent. According to a
universal law, recognized in our Civil Code, consent is the source of obligations. That
respondent has given her conformity as an act "of pure liberality on her part" does
not change the nature of the legal effect of the consent given. The commitment she
made with her conformity cannot be dismissed upon the ground that it was given as
"pure liberality" or for any other motive. Provided the consent was freely given, and
regardless of the motive behind the act, it gives rise to all proper legal effects. The
conformity or agreement of all the parties to the petition of September 16, 1940,
gives it the nature of a contract. The contracting parties are bound to respect and to
abide by the commitments in said contract. The contract cannot be lightly
dismissed. Respondents allegation that Mary McDonald Bachrach had given her
conformity without any consideration, is belied by her own allegation to the effect
that she gave said conformity as "an act of pure liberality on her part." Pure
liberality is a consideration recognized by the Civil Code. No other consideration is
entertained in donations. The contract in this case has the added force and
solemnity of having been approved by the order of Judge Abeto of October 2, 1940.
The contract has been elevated to the category of a judgment. Its enforceability
depends not only on the good faith of the parties but on a legal and executory order
issued by a competent court. While respondent Mary M. Bachrach cannot ignore her
plighted word, she has absolutely no right to consider the order of October 2, 1940,
as a mere scrap of paper. Otherwise, if their orders could be simply ignored,
challenged or taken with scorn, there is no use for the existence of courts.
Respondents alleged that "there is no provision in the will of the deceased E. M.
Bachrach or in any statute requiring" the payment of the monthly allowances
provided in the order of October 2, 1940. But is there any prohibition for the parties
to agree in the payment of said monthly allowances? Was there any reason for the
lower court to withhold its approval to the agreement? The allegation seems to
imply an argument based on the denial of the basic right of the parties to enter into
any kind of agreement neither forbidden by law nor against public morals.
The respondents alleged that the order of October 2, 1940, "was not intended to be
a judicial mandate but merely an authority for the respondent Mary McDonald
Bachrach to do certain acts which she could not perform under the law or under the
provisions of the will of the deceased E. M. Bachrach without judicial authority." The
allegation finds no support in the order wherein Mary McDonald Bachrach is
"authorized and instructed forthwith to pay" the monthly allowances in question.

Instructed means commanded. The inclusion of the last word negatives


respondents allegation. Mary McDonald Bachrach did not appeal against the order.
She cannot now deny validity to the command involved in the word "instructed."
Besides, an "order", the title of the document, cannot be anything other than a
mandate,
compulsory
by
nature.
Impairment of her usufruct is also alleged by the administratrix. How can she now
complain of the alleged impairment after alleging that she gave her conformity to
the agreement, the basis of the order of October 2, 1940, as "an act of pure
liberality on her part?" Was she not the owner of her usufruct? Could she not give
away her usufruct or any part of it in favor of any person? If she disposed of a
portion of said usufruct for the benefit of the sisters of her deceased husband,
without being subject to compulsion, or fraud, or mistake, but freely and
conscientiously, there is no reason for her to complain now. When she gave her
conformity to the petition upon which the order of October 2, 1940, was issued, she
did it undoubtedly in the same spirit of charity with which her deceased husband, E.
M. Bachrach, had written his will. She deserves commendation for the beauty of her
act in seconding the attitude of helpfulness of her husband towards the petitioners.
Charity is the choicest flower of the human spirit. While the late E. M. Bachrach and
his widow were concerned in helping charitable hospitals, they did not forget the
needy sisters of the deceased, as charity must start at home. We are not willing to
help respondent withdraw now what she has given to petitioners voluntarily and
with
noble
spirit
of
liberality.
Because petitioners perfected an appeal against the order of the lower court
granting the administratrix the authority prayed for in her petition of February 19,
1947, to sell "the portion of the estate destined for charity," respondents complain
that petitioners have improperly and against the principles of orderly procedure,
split the order of October 2, 1940, and simultaneously perfected an ordinary appeal
from a part of the order of February 27, 1947, and filed the present petition for a
writ of mandamus in connection with the other part. The complaint is groundless.
The present petition refers to the execution of the order of October 2, 1940, while
the appeal in question has been filed against the order of February 27, 1947,
granting the executrixs petition dated February 19, 1947, the basic pleading in the
record
on
appeal
of
March
31,
1947.
The last important argument of respondents is that no execution can validly be
issued in connection with the order of October 2, 1940, because of the moratorium
provided in Executive Order Nos. 25 and 32, which is still in full force and effect. The
allegation cannot be entertained. The monthly allowances provided in the order of
October 2, 1940, are not among the money obligations for which a moratorium has
been decreed. The allowances in question are advances of an inheritance. They
have been paid and are to be paid to petitioners as advances of the respective
shares in the estate of their deceased brother E. M. Bachrach. They are not debts.
The moratorium refers to debts. It is enough to look at the title of the executive
orders
in
question.
Section

of

Rule

39

provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Execution as of right. Execution shall issue upon a final judgment or order upon

the expiration of the time to appeal when no appeal has been perfected."cralaw
virtua1aw
library
The provision is mandatory. There is no question that the order of October 2, 1940,
has become final. Upon the facts in this case and the law applicable thereto, it is the
ministerial duty of the lower court to order the execution of October 2, 1940. Failure
to comply with said ministerial duty is a proper case for mandamus.
For all the foregoing, we grant the petition, and the respondent lower court is
ordered to proceed with the execution of its order of October 2, 1940, and to issue
the
proper
writs.
Paras, Bengzon and Tuason, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
FERIA, J.:
I
BRIONES,

concur
M.,

in
conforme:chanrob1es

the
virtual

result.
1aw

library

Es incuestionable el derecho de las peticionarias a los adelantos devengados y


acumulados durante la guerra, pero no cobrados a causa de la misma. Habiendose
autorizado y ordenado el pago de dichos adelantos en virtud de auto judicial de
fecha 2 de Octubre, 1940, previa conformidad expresa de la administradora
recurrida, todos los beneficios y derechos derivados del mismo a favor de las
peticionarias son validos y efectivos, por lo menos hasta que dicho auto se revoque
o modifique mediante procedimientos apropiados al efecto. No hay nada en autos
que demuestre que ese auto haya dejado alguna vez de estar en vigor. Consta, por
el contrario, que cuando despues de la liberacion de Filipinas de la ocupacion
japonesa las peticionarias trataron de cobrar lo que se les debia en virtud del
referido
auto,
este
tenia
plena
fuerza
y
efectividad.
Asi que sin necesidad de discutir si el auto en cuestion ha creado un estado juridico
firme e irrevocable, o se halla en todo tiempo sujeto al control del Juzgado,
susceptible de revocacion, alteracion o modificacion de acuerdo con las
circunstancias y condiciones variables de la testamentaria, resulta evidente que no
habiendose revocado o modificado la orden, la misma debe hacerse efectiva con
efecto retroactivo. Lo contrario seria una mala practica procesal. El buen orden de
los tramites y procedimientos judiciales exige que las ordenes validas y existentes
se
hagan
efectivas.
Carece de importancia el que esto se llame orden de ejecucion, o lo que sea. Lo
importante es que el Juzgado de cumplimiento a la orden; y si no lo hace, se le
puede
compeler
mediante
mandamus.
En el presente caso es posible que la administradora y usufructuaria tenga derecho

a pedir que se le releve o dispense de los efectos de la orden de 2 de Octubre,


1940, si tuviere buenos fundamentos para ello; pero no solo no lo ha pedido formal
y seriamente, de acuerdo con la regla y practica procesal pertinente, sino que,
aunque lo hiciera, dudamos mucho que pueda prosperar el pedimento, constando,
como consta, que la herencia yacente no solo no ha sufrido una dislocacion
irremediable, sino que cuenta con fondos montantes a 351 mil pesos muchisimo
mas que suficientes para sufragar los adelantos en cuestion, sin detrimento del
usufructo
de
la
recurrida.
Ademas, si el Estado ya ha recibido y esta recibiendo sustanciales anticipos de la
mitad que le corresponde en la herencia por que las peticionarias, que son
hermanas del testador, no han de tener, por lo menos, el mismo derecho?
Voto,
PABLO,

por

tanto,
M.,

en

favor

de

disidente:chanrob1es

la

concesion
virtual

del
1aw

recurso.
library

Disiento. En mi humilde opinion no procede el recurso de mandamus en el caso


presente. La apelacion es el remedio adecuado para revisar la orden del Hon. Juez
Barrios de 27 de Febrero de 1947 que desestimo la mocion de las recurrentes de 18
de Febrero del mismo ao. La mocion de reconsideracion esta bien denegada.
La orden de 2 de Octubre de 1940 que concede pension a las recurrentes (monthly
allowance) no es irrevocable, que con el simple transcurso del tiempo ya es deber
ministerial del Juzgado el cumplir o mandar cumplir por medio del Sheriff sus
disposiciones. La naturaleza de la obligacion de dar pension esta sujeta en algunos
casos a las fluctuaciones de la capacidad economica del obligado; en otros, en la
necesidad del pensionista. Uno que presta pension de P200 mensuales, por
ejemplo, que esta recibiendo en sus negocios un ingreso liquido de P2,000 no esta
obligado a continuar concediendo la misma cantidad si, por las vicisitudes de una
guerra, no obtiene ganancias sino que queda arruinado. Un nio recien nacido no ha
de recibir una pension igual a la que recibiria si estuviese estudiando medicina.
Aunque existiera una sentencia final sobre la prestacion de una pension, su cuantia
no es irrevocable, ni firme: esta sujeta a varias circunstancias de cada caso
particular y es el Juzgado el que tiene la facultad de de-terminar su aumento o
diminucion, su pago completo o suspension, despues de oir a las partes
interesadas. "Se concede considerable amplitud al juzgado de primera instancia
para modificar o revocar sus propias ordenes, en tanto en cuanto esten pendientes
las actuaciones en el mismo juzgado y se presenten en tiempo oportuno solicitudes
o mociones para tales modificaciones por las partes interesadas." (Oas contra
Javillo
y
otros,
54
Jur.
Fil.,
643.)
Es absurda la teoria de que la orden de 2 de Octubre de 1940 dictada en la
Testamentaria de E. M. Bachrach es ejecutoria y es deber ministerial del Juzgado el
hacer cumplir sus disposiciones. El articulo 1. de la Regla 39 no es aplicable al
caso presente; no es aplicable a las actuaciones sobre la administracion y
distribucion de los bienes de difuntos; es solamente aplicable a los asuntos
ordinarios.
Y si es final esa orden de 2 de Octubre de 1940, como si fuera una sentencia

dictada en un asunto ordinario, entonces seria mas improcedente an el


mandamus. Desde la fecha de su promulgacion hasta el 27 de Febrero de 1947 en
que se dicto la orden, cuya revocacion piden las recurrentes, han transcurrido ya
seis aos, cuatro meses y veinticinco dias. Despues del transcurso de cinco aos ya
no se puede pedir por medio de una simple mocion la ejecucucion de una
sentencia.
(Articulo
6,
Regla
39.)
.
Si es erronea o no la orden de 27 de Febrero de 1947, el error debe corregirse en
una apelacion y no en un recurso especial de mandamus. Solamente se puede
hacer uso de tal remedio cuando no existe en el curso ordinario de los
procedimientos un medio facil, adecuado y expedito como la apelacion. (Herrera
contra Barretto, 25 Jur. Fil., 253; Gala contra Cui y Rodriguez, 25 Jur. Fil., 540;
Provincia de Tarlac contra Gale, 26 Jur. Fil., 356: Napa contra Weissenhagen, 29 Jur.
Fil., 188; Gobierno de las Islas Filipinas contra Juez de Primera Instancia de Iloilo y
Bantillo, 34 Jur. Fil., 166; Ello contra Juez de Primera Instancia de Antique, 49 Jur. Fil.,
160; Santos contra Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Cavite, 49 Jur. Fil., 416; Regala
contra Juez del Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Bataan, 77 Phil., 684; Ong Sit contra
Piccio,
78
Phil.,
785.)
Debe
HILADO, J.,

denegarse

la

dissenting:chanrob1es

solicitud.

virtual

1aw

library

I am constrained to dissent from the foregoing opinion of the majority. In my view of


the case, its final analysis boils down to the pivotal question of whether the petition
dated September 16, 1940, filed by the instant petitioners (Sophie M. Seifert and
Elisa Elianoff) and Ginda M. Skundina and Annie Bachrach, bearing the conformity of
the instant respondent Mary McDonald Bachrach as "administratrix and
usufructuary", as well as that of the Solicitor General, and transcribed on pages 3-5
of the majority decision, became so binding upon the probate court after it granted
said petition by its order of October 2, 1940, inserted on pages 1-3 of the same
decision, that it became the ministerial duty of said court to subject the estate
under administration absolutely and unqualifiedly to the payment of each and every
monthly allowance specified in the said petition, regardless of the vicissitudes which
the estate might go through before its final settlement and distribution after
payment of "the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of administration, the
allowances to the widow, and inheritance tax", or any of these concepts, as
provided in Rule 91, section 1. The majority opinion enumerates these so-called
allowances, quoting from the lower courts order of October 2, 1940, as
follows:chanrob1es
virtual
1aw
library
Sophie
Ginda
Elisa
Annie

M.

Seifert

M.

Skundina
Elianoff

Bachrach

P500.00

monthly;

250.00

monthly;

250.00
Levine

250.00

monthly;
monthly.

beginning July 1, 1940, through the war years, to the present, plus an additional

P3,000

to

Sophie

M.

Seifert

"who

is

in

poor

health."

Paragraph VI of the petition alleges that of the above amounts the administratrix,
who is the same widow of the deceased, did not pay petitioners the monthly
allowances from January 1, 1942, to July 31, 1945, or a total of P21,500 for
petitioner Sophie M. Seifert, and P10,750 for petitioner Elisa Elianoff. Roughly, this
would comprise the war years when the business of the aforesaid estate was laid
prostrate and its properties suffered heavy losses, which facts and circumstances
must have been taken into consideration by the respondent judge Hon. Conrado
Barrios, when by his order of February 27, 1947, he denied petitioners petition filed
on February 19, 1947, excepting that part relating to the "allowances" of petitioners
Sophie M. Seifert and Elisa Elianoff for the months of February and March, 1947,
which said judge ordered to be paid "out of the available funds of the estate." These
so-called allowances cannot be, in my opinion, other than advancements on
account of petitioners hereditary portions. They are not real allowances in the
sense of something which they have a right to receive from the estate pending
actual delivery of their hereditary portions. There is no law that would give them
that right, in view of the fact that they are not the widow nor the minor or
incapacitated children, or members of the family, of the deceased.
Under section 684 of the Code of Civil Procedure, those entitled to such allowances
were the widow and minor children of the deceased. In section 753 of the same
Code these are referred to as "the family of the deceased." And under Rule 84,
section 3, of the present Rules of Court those entitled to such allowances are "the
widow and minor or incapacitated children" of the deceased. But even their right to
receive the allowance is there provided to be made "under the direction of the
court," which implies the continuing power of the probate court to control at least
the amount of the allowances, according to the varied and unpredictable
circumstances under which the estate may pass from time to time during the
judicial administration thereof. The last cited provision ends, in referring to the
allowances, with the important clause: "such allowances as are provided by law."
And article 147 of the Civil Code ordains that the amount allowed for support, in the
cases referred to in article 146, shall be reduced or increased proportionately
according to the increase or reduction of the necessities of the recipient and the
means of the person obliged to give it. Even if petitioners had been included in the
cases referred to in article 146 (which are those mentioned in article 143) of the
Code which would have given them a legal right to support it would seem
clear, even in that hypothesis, that the probate court, in granting the aforesaid
petition of September 16, 1940, should not be deemed to have given up its legal
authority and duty to exercise a continuing control over the amount of the
allowance, as contemplated in said article 147 and as held in Gorayeb v. Hashim, 47
Phil., 87, 88, hereinafter more particularly discussed. Neither could said court have
validly
renounced
such
a
vital
part
of
its
jurisdiction.
The pertinent legal provisions to which reference is thus made are found in articles
143, 146, and 147 of the Civil Code. Article 147 expressly provides that the amount
allowed for support (allowance) in the cases to which article 146 refers shall be
reduced or increased proportionately according to the increase or reduction of the
necessities of the recipient and the means of the person obliged to give it. And it
was upon such provision that this Court held in Gorayeb v. Hashim, supra, as

follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"With reference to the amount of the maintenance allowance awarded by the court
below, it may be observed that inasmuch as in respect to modifications, a judgment
rendered in a suit for separate maintenance is not regarded as final and may be
modified at any time for sufficient reasons upon application to the court having
original jurisdiction, the appellate courts will, as a rule, not interfere with the
findings and conclusions of the lower courts in regard to such allowances. Upon the
evidence before us, we cannot say that in this case the allowance is so excessive as
to
call
for
our
interference."cralaw
virtua1aw
library
Of course, while the case just cited was concerned with the allowance of a wife, the
governing legal principle is the same in other cases of support comprised within the
same
codal
articles
providing
for
a
wifes
support.
If even in cases of allowance or support provided for by law the competent court
retains a continuing power in the proceedings or the case involving the same, to
control and direct the giving thereof as regards its amount, and if "in respect to
modifications, a judgment rendered in a suit for separate maintenance (the rule
should be the same in an estate proceeding because the reason therefor is the
same in both cases) is not regarded as final and may be modified at any time for
sufficient reasons upon application to the court having original jurisdiction", why
should the probate court in the instant case be denied that power or control when
the allowances claimed are not even provided for by law, nor by will, nor by
contract?
Title VI of Book I of the Civil Code does not contain any provision for such an
allowance to parties situated as are petitioners herein. The will of the deceased E.
M.
Bachrach
does
not
contain
any
provision
therefor.
The majority opinion, however, holds that "the conformity or agreement of all the
parties to the petition of September 16, 1940, gives it the nature of a contract." I
cannot subscribe to this holding. The conformity of respondent to that petition was
given in her double capacity of "administratrix and usufructuary." As administratrix,
she was a mere agent of the probate court and was not acting in her personal
capacity. And while as usufructuary she was acting in such personal capacity, in the
very nature of things, the fundamental inquiry which now demands our
consideration is whether the probate courts granting of the aforesaid petition made
it so binding upon said court that it has no other alternative but to order or
authorize specific payment of all the monthly allowances mentioned in the petition
that the court by granting said petition lost all control over the matter and
became thenceforward completely powerless to order a reduction of the so-called
allowances even though facts and circumstances subsequently supervening advised
such reduction in the courts judgment and discretion. Such a proposition amounts
to nothingless than to assert that the probate court was by the will of the parties
divested of a very substantial part of its jurisdiction and control over the estate. It is
said that "the conformity or agreement of all the parties to the petition of
September 16, 1940, gives it the nature of a contract." If we were to consider such
an alleged contract to have been entered into by respondent, as judicial
administratrix, it could not be her personal contract if at all, it would be the

contract of the probate court, of which she was a mere agent as such administratrix,
and which granted the petition; but this is entirely unthinkable. A probate court, or
any other court of justice for that matter, cannot, and never does, enter into any
contract or agreement regarding its jurisdiction, much less to barter it away wholly
or partially. And even if it should be said that respondent Mary McDonald Bachrach
entered into that agreement or contract also as a usufructuary although I do not
admit even this it is obvious that her will, as thus expressed therein, was and is
subordinated to the superior will of the probate court. In other words, the fact that
she, as usufructuary, may agree that she be authorized by the court to pay the socalled allowances, if the probate court, which is the guardian and keeper of the
estate of the deceased, should at any time consider such burden as too onerous
upon the estate for the reasons already stated above or any other than the court
might have had, it is the will of said court that must prevail and not that of the
usufructuary. Such a contingency concretely happened with respect to the
"allowances" corresponding to the war years, which the court evidently considered
unjustifiable due to the "reduction . . . of the means: of the estate by reason of the
war; and the court in effect ordered a reduction of the "allowances" in general by
refusing to order payment of those corresponding to said years.
Under clause eight of the will of the deceased (pp. 8-9, majority opinion) the
testators legal heirs will have no right to receive the half of his estate, personal,
real and otherwise, bequeathed to them, until his widows death "upon the death
of my beloved wife," is the testators textual phrase. During the judicial
administration of the estate the probate court had the duty to give preferential
consideration to the payment of the deceaseds debts and obligations, aside from
the administration expenses. The probate court must have considered that during
that period the estate might suffer losses which would diminish its assets, as it
actually did during the late war when the business and properties of the estate
suffered heavy losses and were subjected to a terrible financial frustration.
Consequently, in the exercise of its control over the disbursements to be made,
among other things, by way of the so-called allowances to the present petitioners,
that court had to consider all these matters and even eventualities, and to act
accordingly, not permitting the widow and the legal heirs to deviate it from the
course most in consonance with the will of the testator and the law, in the courts
best judgment and discretion. And I am persuaded that this is exactly what Judge
Barrios did when he denied authority for the payment of the so- called allowances
corresponding to the war years. If we held the probate court, and after the closing of
the estate proceeding, the widow, absolutely bound to the payment of each and all
of the so- called monthly allowances to petitioners, regardless of losses in the
meantime suffered by the estate, until the widows death it may happen that upon
the arrival of the time predetermined by the testator the demise of his widow
for his legal heirs to receive their portion in the estate, petitioners will have
received, by way of "allowances", more than the portion intended by the testator, to
the damage and prejudice of other legal heirs who have not given their conformity
to what the majority opinion calls an "agreement" or a "contract" between
petitioners
and
the
widow.
Furthermore, a sounder construction of the petition of September 16, 1940, would
be that whatever may have been agreed upon by the parties therein was without
prejudice to the continuing control and power of the probate court over the subject-

matter

thereof

under

the

applicable

provisions

of

the

law

and

rules.

Even through petitioners are among the "legal heirs" mentioned by the testator in
the 8th clause of his will, under said clause they will not be entitled to take delivery
of and receive their shares in the estate until the demise of the decedents widow.
So that the so- called allowances, or more accurately, advancements spoken of in
the courts order of October 2, 1940, were not granted as a matter of right.
Consequently, I am of the considered opinion that the respondent judge acted
entirely within the powers of the probate court that he was presiding in refusing to
issue a writ of execution or otherwise to order payments, as prayed for by petitions,
and in entering its order of February 27, 1947. And, as in Gorayeb v. Hashim, supra,
I believe we should here apply the same rule that "the appellate courts will, as a
rule, not interfere with the findings and conclusions of the lower courts in regard to
such allowances." it is submitted that the instant petition should be denied.
MORAN, C.J. :chanrob1es

virtual

1aw

library

I concur in this opinion of Mr. Justice Hilado.


G.R. No. 152809 August 3, 2006
MERCEDES
MORALIDAD, Petitioner,
vs.
SPS. DIOSDADO PERNES and ARLENE PERNES, Respondents.
DECISION
GARCIA, J.:
Under consideration is this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court to nullify and set aside the following issuances of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 61610, to wit:
1. Decision dated September 27, 2001, 1 affirming an earlier decision of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City which reversed that of the Municipal Trial
Court in Cities (MTCC), Davao City, Branch 1, in an action for unlawful detainer
thereat commenced by the petitioner against the herein respondents; and
2. Resolution dated
reconsideration.

February

28,

2002,

denying

petitioners

motion

for

At the heart of this controversy is a parcel of land located in Davao City and
registered in the name of petitioner Mercedes Moralidad under Transfer Certificate
of Title (TCT) No. T-123125 of the Registry of Deeds of Davao City.
In her younger days, petitioner taught in Davao City, Quezon City and Manila. While
teaching in Manila, she had the good fortune of furthering her studies at the
University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. While schooling, she was offered to teach at the

Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese, which she did for seven (7) years. Thereafter, she
worked at the Mental Health Department of said University for the next seventeen
(17) years.
During those years, she would come home to the Philippines to spend her twomonth summer vacation in her hometown in Davao City. Being single, she would
usually stay in Mandug, Davao City, in the house of her niece, respondent Arlene
Pernes, a daughter of her younger sister, Rosario.
Back in the U.S.A. sometime in 1986, she received news from Arlene that Mandug at
the outskirts of Davao City was infested by NPA rebels and many women and
children were victims of crossfire between government troops and the insurgents.
Shocked and saddened about this development, she immediately sent money to
Araceli, Arlenes older sister, with instructions to look for a lot in Davao City where
Arlene and her family could transfer and settle down. This was why she bought the
parcel of land covered by TCT No. T-123125.
Petitioner acquired the lot property initially for the purpose of letting Arlene move
from Mandug to Davao City proper but later she wanted the property to be also
available to any of her kins wishing to live and settle in Davao City. Petitioner made
known this intention in a document she executed on July 21, 1986. 3 The document
reads:
I, MERCEDES VIA MORALIDAD, of legal age, single, having been born on the 29th
day of January, 1923, now actually residing at 8021 Lindbergh Boulevard,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., wishes to convey my honest intention regarding
my properties situated at Palm Village Subdivision, Bajada, Davao City, 9501, and
hereby declare:
1. That it is my desire that Mr. and Mrs. Diosdado M. Pernes may build their house
therein and stay as long as they like;
2. That anybody of my kins who wishes to stay on the aforementioned real property
should maintain an atmosphere of cooperation, live in harmony and must avoid
bickering with one another;
3. That anyone of my kins may enjoy the privilege to stay therein and may avail the
use thereof. Provided, however, that the same is not inimical to the purpose thereof;
4. That anyone of my kins who cannot conform with the wishes of the undersigned
may exercise the freedom to look for his own;
5. That any proceeds or income derived from the aforementioned properties shall be
allotted to my nearest kins who have less in life in greater percentage and lesser
percentage to those who are better of in standing.
xxx xxx xxx

Following her retirement in 1993, petitioner came back to the Philippines to stay
with the respondents on the house they build on the subject property. In the course
of time, their relations turned sour because members of the Pernes family were
impervious to her suggestions and attempts to change certain practices concerning
matters of health and sanitation within their compound. For instance, Arlenes
eldest son, Myco Pernes, then a fourth year veterinary medicine student, would
answer petitioner back with clenched fist and at one time hurled profanities when
she corrected him. Later, Arlene herself followed suit. Petitioner brought the matter
to the local barangay lupon where she lodged a complaint for slander, harassment,
threat and defamation against the Pernes Family. Deciding for petitioner, the lupon
apparently ordered the Pernes family to vacate petitioners property but not after
they are reimbursed for the value of the house they built thereon. Unfortunately,
the parties could not agree on the amount, thus prolonging the impasse between
them.
Other ugly incidents interspersed with violent confrontations meanwhile transpired,
with the petitioner narrating that, at one occasion in July 1998, she sustained cuts
and wounds when Arlene pulled her hair, hit her on the face, neck and back, while
her husband Diosdado held her, twisting her arms in the process.
Relations having deteriorated from worse to worst, petitioner, on July 29, 1998,
lodged a formal complaint before the Regional Office of the Ombudsman for
Mindanao, charging the respondent spouses, who were both government
employees, with conduct unbecoming of public servants. This administrative case,
however, did not prosper.
Then, on August 3, 1998, petitioner filed with the MTCC of Davao City an unlawful
detainer suit against the respondent spouses. Petitioner alleged that she is the
registered owner of the land on which the respondents built their house; that
through her counsel, she sent the respondent spouses a letter demanding them to
vacate the premises and to pay rentals therefor, which the respondents refused to
heed.
In their defense, the respondents alleged having entered the property in question,
building their house thereon and maintaining the same as their residence with
petitioners full knowledge and express consent. To prove their point, they invited
attention to her written declaration of July 21, 1986, supra, wherein she expressly
signified her desire for the spouses to build their house on her property and stay
thereat for as long as they like.
The MTCC, resolving the ejectment suit in petitioners favor, declared that the
respondent spouses, although builders in good faith vis--vis the house they built on
her property, cannot invoke their bona fides as a valid excuse for not complying
with the demand to vacate. To the MTCC, respondents continued possession of the
premises turned unlawful upon their receipt of the demand to vacate, such
possession being merely at petitioners tolerance, and sans any rental. Accordingly,

in its decision dated November 17, 1999,


petitioner, as plaintiff therein, to wit:

the MTCC rendered judgment for the

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of herein plaintiff and against


the defendants, as follows:
a) Directing the defendants, their agents and other persons acting on their behalf to
vacate the premises and to yield peaceful possession thereof to plaintiff;
b) Ordering defendants to pay P2,000.00 a month from the filing of this complaint
until they vacate premises;
c) Sentencing defendants to pay the sum of P120,000.00
pay the cost of suit.

as attorneys fees and to

Defendants counterclaim are hereby dismissed except with respect to the claim for
reimbursement of necessary and useful expenses which should be litigated in an
ordinary civil actions. (sic)
Dissatisfied, the respondent spouses appealed to the RTC of Davao City.
In the meantime, petitioner filed a Motion for Execution Pending Appeal. The motion
was initially granted by the RTC in its Order of February 29, 2000, but the Order was
later withdrawn and vacated by its subsequent Order dated May 9, 2000 6 on the
ground that immediate execution of the appealed decision was not the prudent
course of action to take, considering that the house the respondents constructed on
the subject property might even be more valuable than the land site.
Eventually, in a decision 7 dated September 30, 2000, the RTC reversed that of the
MTCC, holding that respondents possession of the property in question was not, as
ruled by the latter court, by mere tolerance of the petitioner but rather by her
express consent. It further ruled that Article 1678 of the Civil Code on
reimbursement of improvements introduced is inapplicable since said provision
contemplates of a lessor-lessee arrangement, which was not the factual milieu
obtaining in the case. Instead, the RTC ruled that what governed the parties
relationship are Articles 448 and 546 of the Civil Code, explaining thus:
Since the defendants-appellees [respondents] are admittedly possessors of the
property by permission from plaintiff [petitioner], and builders in good faith, they
have the right to retain possession of the property subject of this case until they
have been reimbursed the cost of the improvements they have introduced on the
property.
Indeed, this is a substantive right given to the defendants by law, and this right is
superior to the procedural right to [sic] plaintiff to immediately ask for their removal
by a writ of execution by virtue of a decision which as we have shown is erroneous,
and therefore invalid. (Words in brackets supplied),

and accordingly dismissed petitioners appeal, as follows:


WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision appealed from is REVERSED and
declared invalid. Consequently, the motion for execution pending appeal is likewise
denied.
Counter-claims of moral and exemplary damages claimed by defendants are
likewise dismissed. However, attorneys fees in the amount of fifteen thousand
pesos is hereby awarded in favor of defendants-appellants, and against plaintiffs.
SO ORDERED.

Therefrom, petitioner went to the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 61610.


On September 27, 2001, the CA, while conceding the applicability of Articles 448
and 546 of the Civil Code to the case, ruled that it is still premature to apply the
same considering that the issue of whether respondents right to possess a portion
of petitioners land had already expired or was already terminated was not yet
resolved. To the CA, the unlawful detainer suit presupposes the cessation of
respondents right to possess. The CA further ruled that what governs the rights of
the parties is the law on usufruct but petitioner failed to establish that respondents
right to possess had already ceased. On this premise, the CA concluded that the
ejectment suit instituted by the petitioner was premature. The appellate court thus
affirmed the appealed RTC decision, disposing:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for review is hereby denied
for lack of merit. Accordingly, the petitioners complaint for Unlawful Detainer is
DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
With the CAs denial of her motion for reconsideration in its Resolution of February
28, 2002, petitioner is now before this Court raising the following issues:
I. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE UNLAWFUL
DETAINER CASE FOR BEING PREMATURE WHICH DECISION IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE
WITH LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE.
II. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN APPLYING ARTICLES 448
AND 546 AND THE PROVISIONS OF THE CODE ON USUFRUCT INSTEAD OF ARTICLE
1678 OF THE CIVIL CODE.
The Court rules for the petitioner.
The Court is inclined to agree with the CA that what was constituted between the
parties herein is one of usufruct over a piece of land, with the petitioner being the
owner of the property upon whom the naked title thereto remained and the

respondents being two (2) among other unnamed usufructuaries who were simply
referred to as petitioners kin. The Court, however, cannot go along with the CAs
holding that the action for unlawful detainer must be dismissed on ground of
prematurity.
Usufruct is defined under Article 562 of the Civil Code in the following wise:
ART. 562. Usufruct gives a right to enjoy the property of another with the obligation
of preserving its form and substance, unless the title constituting it or the law
otherwise provides.
Usufruct, in essence, is nothing else but simply allowing one to enjoy anothers
property. 9 It is also defined as the right to enjoy the property of another
temporarily, including both the jus utendi and the jus fruendi, 10 with the owner
retaining the jus disponendi or the power to alienate the same. 11
It is undisputed that petitioner, in a document dated July 21, 1986, supra, made
known her intention to give respondents and her other kins the right to use and to
enjoy the fruits of her property. There can also be no quibbling about the
respondents being given the right "to build their own house" on the property and to
stay thereat "as long as they like." Paragraph #5 of the same document earmarks
"proceeds or income derived from the aforementioned properties" for the
petitioners "nearest kins who have less in life in greater percentage and lesser
percentage to those who are better of (sic) in standing." The established facts
undoubtedly gave respondents not only the right to use the property but also
granted them, among the petitioners other kins, the right to enjoy the fruits
thereof. We have no quarrel, therefore, with the CAs ruling that usufruct was
constituted between petitioner and respondents. It is thus pointless to discuss why
there was no lease contract between the parties.
However, determinative of the outcome of the ejectment case is the resolution of
the next issue, i.e., whether the existing usufruct may be deemed to have been
extinguished or terminated. If the question is resolved in the affirmative, then the
respondents right to possession, proceeding as it did from their right of usufruct,
likewise ceased. In that case, petitioners action for ejectment in the unlawful
detainer case could proceed and should prosper.
The CA disposed of this issue in this wise:
xxx Section 1, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, provides
xxx
xxx xxx xxx
From the foregoing provision, it becomes apparent that for an action for unlawful
detainer to prosper, the plaintiff [petitioner] needs to prove that defendants
[respondents] right to possess already expired and terminated. Now, has

respondents right to possess the subject portion of petitioners property expired or


terminated? Let us therefore examine respondents basis for occupying the same.
It is undisputed that petitioner expressly authorized respondents o occupy portion of
her property on which their house may be built. Thus "it is my desire that Mr. and
Mrs. Diosdado M. Pernes may build their house therein and stay as long as they
like." From this statement, it seems that petitioner had given the respondents the
usufructuary rights over the portion that may be occupied by the house that the
latter would build, the duration of which being dependent on how long respondents
would like to occupy the property. While petitioner had already demanded from the
respondents the surrender of the premises, this Court is of the opinion that the
usufructuary rights of respondents had not been terminated by the said demand
considering the clear statement of petitioner that she is allowing respondents to
occupy portion of her land as long as the latter want to. Considering that
respondents still want to occupy the premises, petitioner clearly cannot eject
respondents. 12
We disagree with the CAs conclusion of law on the matter. The term or period of the
usufruct originally specified provides only one of the bases for the right of a
usufructuary to hold and retain possession of the thing given in usufruct. There are
other modes or instances whereby the usufruct shall be considered terminated or
extinguished. For sure, the Civil Code enumerates such other modes of
extinguishment:
ART. 603. Usufruct is extinguished:
(1) By the death of the usufructuary, unless a contrary intention clearly appears;
(2) By expiration of the period for which it was constituted, or by the fulfillment of
any resolutory condition provided in the title creating the usufruct;
(3) By merger of the usufruct and ownership in the same person;
(4) By renunciation of the usufructuary;
(5) By the total loss of the thing in usufruct;
(6) By the termination of the right of the person constituting the usufruct;
(7) By prescription. (Emphasis supplied.)
The document executed by the petitioner dated July 21, 1986 constitutes the title
creating, and sets forth the conditions of, the usufruct. Paragraph #3 thereof states
"[T]hat anyone of my kins may enjoy the privilege to stay therein and may avail the
use thereof. Provided, however, that the same is not inimical to the purpose thereof"
(Emphasis supplied). What may be inimical to the purpose constituting the usufruct
may be gleaned from the preceding paragraph wherein petitioner made it

abundantly clear "that anybody of my kins who wishes to stay on the


aforementioned property should maintain an atmosphere of cooperation, live in
harmony and must avoid bickering with one another." That the maintenance of a
peaceful and harmonious relations between and among kin constitutes an
indispensable condition for the continuance of the usufruct is clearly deduced from
the succeeding Paragraph #4 where petitioner stated "[T]hat anyone of my kins
who cannot conform with the wishes of the undersigned may exercise the freedom
to look for his own." In fine, the occurrence of any of the following: the loss of the
atmosphere of cooperation, the bickering or the cessation of harmonious
relationship between/among kin constitutes a resolutory condition which, by express
wish of the petitioner, extinguishes the usufruct.
From the pleadings submitted by the parties, it is indubitable that there were indeed
facts and circumstances whereby the subject usufruct may be deemed terminated
or extinguished by the occurrence of the resolutory conditions provided for in the
title creating the usufruct, namely, the document adverted to which the petitioner
executed on July 21, 1986.
As aptly pointed out by the petitioner in her Memorandum, respondents own
evidence before the MTCC indicated that the relations between the parties "have
deteriorated to almost an irretrievable level." 13 There is no doubt then that what
impelled petitioner to file complaints before the local barangay lupon, the Office of
the Ombudsman for Mindanao, and this instant complaint for unlawful detainer
before the MTCC is that she could not live peacefully and harmoniously with the
Pernes family and vice versa.
Thus, the Court rules that the continuing animosity between the petitioner and the
Pernes family and the violence and humiliation she was made to endure, despite her
advanced age and frail condition, are enough factual bases to consider the usufruct
as having been terminated.
To reiterate, the relationship between the petitioner and respondents respecting the
property in question is one of owner and usufructuary. Accordingly, respondents
claim for reimbursement of the improvements they introduced on the property
during the effectivity of the usufruct should be governed by applicable statutory
provisions and principles on usufruct. In this regard, we cite with approval what
Justice Edgardo Paras wrote on the matter:
If the builder is a usufructuary, his rights will be governed by Arts. 579 and 580. In
case like this, the terms of the contract and the pertinent provisions of law should
govern (3 Manresa 215-216; se also Montinola vs. Bantug, 71 Phil.
449). 14 (Emphasis ours.)
By express provision of law, respondents, as usufructuary, do not have the right to
reimbursement for the improvements they may have introduced on the property.
We quote Articles 579 and 580 of the Civil Code:

Art. 579. The usufructuary may make on the property held in usufruct such useful
improvements or expenses for mere pleasure as he may deem proper, provided he
does not alter its form or substance; but he shall have no right to be indemnified
therefor. He may, however, remove such improvements, should it be possible to do
so without damage to the property. (Emphasis supplied.)
Art. 580. The usufructuary may set off the improvements he may have made on the
property against any damage to the same.
Given the foregoing perspective, respondents will have to be ordered to vacate the
premises without any right of reimbursement. If the rule on reimbursement or
indemnity were otherwise, then the usufructuary might, as an author pointed out,
improve the owner out of his property. 15 The respondents may, however, remove or
destroy the improvements they may have introduced thereon without damaging the
petitioners property.
Out of the generosity of her heart, the petitioner has allowed the respondent
spouses to use and enjoy the fruits of her property for quite a long period of time.
They opted, however, to repay a noble gesture with unkindness. At the end of the
day, therefore, they really cannot begrudge their aunt for putting an end to their
right of usufruct. The disposition herein arrived is not only legal and called for by
the law and facts of the case. It is also right.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the
CA are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the decision of the MTCC is
REINSTATED with MODIFICATION that all of respondents counterclaims are
dismissed, including their claims for reimbursement of useful and necessary
expenses.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
CANCIO
Associate Justice

C.

GARCIA

G.R. No. 107132. October 8, 1999]


MAXIMA HEMEDES, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS,
DOMINIUM REALTY AND CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, ENRIQUE D.
HEMEDES, and R & B INSURANCE CORPORATION, respondents.
[G.R. No. 108472. October 8, 1999]
R & B INSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT
OF APPEALS DOMINIUM REALTY AND CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION,
ENRIQUE D. HEMEDES and MAXIMA HEMEDES, respondents.

DECISION
GONZAGA_REYES, J.:
Assailed in these petitions for review on certiorari is the decision[1] of the
eleventh division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 22010 promulgated on
September 11, 1992 affirming in toto the decision of Branch 24 of the Regional Trial
Court of Laguna in Civil Case No. B-1766 dated February 22, 1989, [2] and the
resolution dated December 29, 1992 denying petitioner R & B Insurance
Corporations (R & B Insurance) motion for reconsideration. As the factual
antecedents and issues are the same, we shall decide the petitions jointly.
The instant controversy involves a question of ownership over an unregistered
parcel of land, identified as Lot No. 6, plan Psu-111331, with an area of 21,773
square meters, situated in Sala, Cabuyao, Laguna. It was originally owned by the
late Jose Hemedes, father of Maxima Hemedes and Enrique D. Hemedes. On March
22, 1947 Jose Hemedes executed a document entitled Donation Inter Vivos With
Resolutory Conditions[3] whereby he conveyed ownership over the subject land,
together with all its improvements, in favor of his third wife, Justa Kauapin, subject
to the following resolutory conditions:
(a) Upon the death or remarriage of the DONEE, the title to the property donated
shall revert to any of the children, or their heirs, of the DONOR expressly designated
by the DONEE in a public document conveying the property to the latter; or
(b) In absence of such an express designation made by the DONEE before her death
or remarriage contained in a public instrument as above provided, the title to the
property shall automatically revert to the legal heirs of the DONOR in common.
Pursuant to the first condition abovementioned, Justa Kausapin executed on
September 27, 1960 a Deed of Conveyance of Unregistered Real Property by
Reversion[4] conveying to Maxima Hemedes the subject property under the following
terms That the said parcel of land was donated unto me by the said Jose Hemedes, my
deceased husband, in a deed of DONATION INTER VIVOS WITH RESOLUTORY
CONDITIONS executed by the donor in my favor, and duly accepted by me on March
22, 1947, before Notary Public Luis Bella in Cabuyao, Laguna;
That the donation is subject to the resolutory conditions appearing in the said deed
of DONATION INTER VIVOS WITH RESOLUTORY CONDITIONS, as follows:
(a) Upon the death or remarriage of the DONEE, the title to the property donated
shall revert to any of the children, or their heirs, of the DONOR expressly designated
by the DONEE in a public document conveying the property to the latter; or

(b) In absence of such an express designation made by the DONEE before her death
or remarriage contained in a public instrument as above provided, the title to the
property shall automatically revert to the legal heirs of the DONOR in common.
That, wherefore, in virtue of the deed of donation above mentioned and in the
exercise of my right and privilege under the terms of the first resolutory condition
therein contained and hereinabove reproduced, and for and in consideration of my
love and affection, I do hereby by these presents convey, transfer, and deed unto
my designee, MAXIMA HEMEDES, of legal age, married to RAUL RODRIGUEZ, Filipino
and resident of No. 15 Acacia Road, Quezon City, who is one of the children and
heirs of my donor, JOSE HEMEDES, the ownership of, and title to the property
hereinabove described, and all rights and interests therein by reversion under the
first resolutory condition in the above deed of donation; Except the possession and
enjoyment of the said property which shall remain vested in me during my lifetime,
or widowhood and which upon my death or remarriage shall also automatically
revert to, and be transferred to my designee, Maxima Hemedes.
Maxima Hemedes, through her counsel, filed an application for registration and
confirmation of title over the subject unregistered land. Subsequently, Original
Certificate of Title (OCT) No. (0-941) 0-198 [5] was issued in the name of Maxima
Hemedes married to Raul Rodriguez by the Registry of Deeds of Laguna on June 8,
1962, with the annotation that Justa Kausapin shall have the usufructuary rights
over the parcel of land herein described during her lifetime or widowhood.
It is claimed by R & B Insurance that on June 2, 1964, Maxima Hemedes and her
husband Raul Rodriguez constituted a real estate mortgage over the subject
property in its favor to serve as security for a loan which they obtained in the
amount of P6,000.00. On February 22, 1968, R & B Insurance extrajudicially
foreclosed the mortgage since Maxima Hemedes failed to pay the loan even after it
became due on August 2, 1964. The land was sold at a public auction on May 3,
1968 with R & B Insurance as the highest bidder and a certificate of sale was issued
by the sheriff in its favor. Since Maxima Hemedes failed to redeem the property
within the redemption period, R & B Insurance executed an Affidavit of
Consolidation dated March 29, 1974 and on May 21, 1975 the Register of Deeds of
Laguna cancelled OCT No. (0-941) 0-198 and issued Transfer Certificate of Title
(TCT) No. 41985 in the name of R & B Insurance. The annotation of usufruct in favor
of Justa Kausapin was maintained in the new title. [6]
Despite the earlier conveyance of the subject land in favor of Maxima Hemedes,
Justa Kausapin executed a Kasunduan on May 27, 1971 whereby she transferred the
same land to her stepson Enrique D. Hemedes, pursuant to the resolutory condition
in the deed of donation executed in her favor by her late husband Jose
Hemedes. Enrique D. Hemedes obtained two declarations of real property - in 1972,
and again, in 1974, when the assessed value of the property was raised. Also, he
has been paying the realty taxes on the property from the time Justa Kausapin
conveyed the property to him in 1971 until 1979. In the cadastral survey of
Cabuyao, Laguna conducted from September 8, 1974 to October 10, 1974, the

property was assigned Cadastral No. 2990, Cad. 455-D, Cabuyao Cadastre, in the
name of Enrique Hemedes. Enrique Hemedes is also the named owner of the
property in the records of the Ministry of Agrarian Reform office at Calamba,
Laguna.
On February 28, 1979, Enriques D. Hemedes sold the property to Dominium
Realty and Construction Corporation (Dominium). On April 10, 1981, Justa Kausapin
executed an affidavit affirming the conveyance of the subject property in favor of
Enrique D. Hemedes as embodied in the Kasunduan dated May 27, 1971, and at the
same time denying the conveyance made to Maxima Hemedes.
On May 14, 1981, Dominium leased the property to its sister corporation Asia
Brewery, Inc. (Asia Brewery) who, even before the signing of the contract of lease,
constructed two warehouses made of steel and asbestos costing about
P10,000,000.00 each. Upon learning of Asia Brewerys constructions upon the
subject property, R & B Insurance sent it a letter on March 16, 1981 informing the
former of its ownership of the property as evidenced by TCT No. 41985 issued in its
favor and of its right to appropriate the constructions since Asia Brewery is a builder
in bad faith. On March 27, 1981, a conference was held between R & B Insurance
and Asia Brewery but they failed to arrive at an amicable settlement.
On May 8, 1981, Maxima Hemedes also wrote a letter addressed to Asia
Brewery wherein she asserted that she is the rightful owner of the subject property
by virtue of OCT No. (0-941) 0-198 and that, as such, she has the right to
appropriate Asia Brewerys constructions, to demand its demolition, or to compel
Asia Brewery to purchase the land. In another letter of the same date addressed to
R & B Insurance, Maxima Hemedes denied the execution of any real estate
mortgage in favor of the latter.
On August 27, 1981, Dominium and Enrique D. Hemedes filed a complaint [7] with
the Court of First Instance of Binan, Laguna for the annulment of TCT No. 41985
issued in favor of R & B Insurance and/or the reconveyance to Dominium of the
subject property. Specifically, the complaint alleged that Dominium was the
absolute owner of the subject property by virtue of the February 28, 1979 deed of
sale executed by Enrique D. Hemedes, who in turn obtained ownership of the land
from Justa Kausapin, as evidenced by the Kasunduan dated May 27, 1971. The
plaintiffs asserted that Justa Kausapin never transferred the land to Maxima
Hemedes and that Enrique D. Hemedes had no knowledge of the registration
proceedings initiated by Maxima Hemedes.
After considering the merits of the case, the trial court rendered judgment on
February 22, 1989 in favor of plaintiffs Dominium and Enrique D. Hemedes, the
dispositive portion of which states
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:

(a) Declaring Transfer Certificate of Title No. 41985 of the Register of Deeds
of Laguna null and void and ineffective;
(b) Declaring Dominium Realty and Construction Corporation the absolute
owner and possessor of the parcel of land described in paragraph 3 of the
complaint;
(c) Ordering the defendants and all persons acting for and/or under them to
respect such ownership and possession of Dominium Realty and
Construction Corporation and to forever desist from asserting adverse
claims thereon nor disturbing such ownership and possession; and
(d) Directing the Register of Deeds of Laguna to cancel said Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 41985 in the name of R & B Insurance Corporation,
and in lieu thereof, issue a new transfer certificate of title in the name of
Dominium Realty and Construction Corporation. No pronouncement as to
costs and attorneys fees.[8]
Both R & B Insurance and Maxima Hemedes appealed from the trial courts
decision. On September 11, 1992 the Court of Appeals affirmed the assailed
decision in toto and on December 29, 1992, it denied R & B Insurances motion for
reconsideration. Thus, Maxima Hemedes and R & B Insurance filed their respective
petitions for review with this Court on November 3, 1992 and February 22, 1993,
respectively.
In G.R. No. 107132[9], petitioner Maxima Hemedes makes the following
assignment of errors as regards public respondents ruling
I
RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN APPLYING ARTICLE 1332 OF
THE NEW CIVIL CODE IN DECLARING AS SPURIOUS THE DEED OF CONVEYANCE OF
UNREGISTERED REAL PROPERTY BY REVERSION EXECUTED BY JUSTA KAUSAPIN IN
FAVOR OF PETITIONER MAXIMA HEMEDES.
II
RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING AS VOID AND OF
NO LEGAL EFFECT THE KASUNDUAN DATED 27 MAY 1971 EXECUTED BY JUSTA
KAUSAPIN IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT ENRIQUE HEMEDES AND THE SALE OF THE
SUBJECT PROPERTY BY RESPONDENT ENRIQUE HEMEDES IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT
DOMINIUM REALTY AND CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION.
III
RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING RESPONDENTS
ENRIQUE AND DOMINIUM IN BAD FAITH.

IV
RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING THAT ORIGINAL
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. (0-941) 0-198 ISSUED IN THE NAME OF PETITIONER
MAXIMA HEMEDES NULL AND VOID.
V
RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT NO LOAN WAS
OBTAINED BY PETITIONER MAXIMA HEMEDES FROM RESPONDENT R & B INSURANCE
CORPORATION.
VI
RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT NO REAL ESTATE
MORTGAGE OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTY WAS EXECUTED BY PETITIONER MAXIMA
HEMEDES IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT R & B INSURANCE CORPORATION.
VII
RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE VALID TITLE
COVERING THE SUBJECT PROPERTY IS THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. (0941) 0-198 IN THE NAME OF PETITIONER MAXIMA HEMEDES AND NOT THE
TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE (TCT) NO. 41985 IN THE NAME OF R & B
INSURANCE CORPORATION.[10]
Meanwhile, in G.R. No. 108472[11], petitioner R & B Insurance assigns almost the
same errors, except with regards to the real estate mortgage allegedly executed by
Maxima Hemedes in its favor.Specifically, R & B Insurance alleges that:
I
RESPONDENT COURT ERRONEOUSLY ERRED IN APPLYING ARTICLE 1332 OF THE
CIVIL CODE.
II
RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE ON (sic) THE
KASUNDUAN BY AND BETWEEN JUSTA KAUSAPIN AND ENRIQUE NOTWITHSTANDING
THE FACT THAT JUSTA KAUSAPIN BY WAY OF A DEED OF CONVEYANCE OF
UNREGISTERED REAL PROPERTY BY REVERSION CEDED THE SUBJECT PROPERTY TO
MAXIMA SOME ELEVEN (11) YEARS EARLIER.
III
RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE ON (sic) THE
AFFIDAVIT OF REPUDIATION OF JUSTA KAUSAPIN NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT

SHE IS A BIAS (sic) WITNESS AND EXECUTED THE SAME SOME TWENTY-ONE (21)
YEARS AFTER THE EXECUTION OF THE DEED OF CONVEYANCE IN FAVOR OF MAXIMA.
IV
RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE COMPLAINT OF
ENRIQUE AND DOMINIUM HAS PRESCRIBED AND/OR THAT ENRIQUE AND DOMINIUM
WERE GUILTY OF LACHES.
V
RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING R & B AS A MORTGAGEE NOT IN
GOOD FAITH.
VI
RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT GRANTING THE DAMAGES PRAYED
FOR BY R & B IN ITS COUNTERCLAIM AND CROSSCLAIM. [12]
The primary issue to be resolved in these consolidated petitions is which of the
two conveyances by Justa Kausapin, the first in favor of Maxima Hemedes and the
second in favor of Enrique D. Hemedes, effectively transferred ownership over the
subject land.
The Register of Deeds of Laguna issued OCT No. (0-941) 0-198 in favor of
Maxima Hemedes on the strength of the Deed of Conveyance of Unregistered Real
Property by Reversion executed by Justa Kausapin. Public respondent upheld the
trial courts finding that such deed is sham and spurious and has no evidentiary
value under the law upon which claimant Maxima Hemedes may anchor a valid
claim of ownership over the property. In ruling thus, it gave credence to the April 10,
1981 affidavit executed by Justa Kausapin repudiating such deed of conveyance in
favor of Maxima Hemedes and affirming the authenticity of the Kasunduan in favor
of Enrique D. Hemedes. Also, it considered as pivotal the fact that the deed of
conveyance in favor of Maxima Hemedes was in English and that it was not
explained to Justa Kausapin, although she could not read nor understand English;
thus, Maxima Hemedes failed to discharge her burden, pursuant to Article 1332 of
the Civil Code, to show that the terms thereof were fully explained to Justa
Kausapin. Public respondent concluded by holding that the registration of the
property on the strength of the spurious deed of conveyance is null and void and
does not confer any right of ownership upon Maxima Hemedes. [13]
Maxima Hemedes argues that Justa Kausapins affidavit should not be given any
credence since she is obviously a biased witness as it has been shown that she is
dependent upon Enrique D. Hemedes for her daily subsistence, and she was most
probably influenced by Enrique D. Hemedes to execute the Kasunduan in his
favor. She also refutes the applicability of article 1332. It is her contention that for
such a provision to be applicable, there must be a party seeking to enforce a

contract; however, she is not enforcing the Deed of Conveyance of Unregistered


Real Property by Reversion as her basis in claiming ownership, but rather her claim
is anchored upon OCT No. (0-941) 0-198 issued in her name, which document can
stand independently from the deed of conveyance. Also, there exist various
circumstances which show that Justa Kausapin did in fact execute and understand
the deed of conveyance in favor of Maxima Hemedes. First, the Donation Intervivos
With Resolutory Conditions executed by Jose Hemedes in favor of Justa Kausapin
was also in English, but she never alleged that she did not understand such
document. Secondly, Justa Kausapin failed to prove that it was not her thumbmark
on the deed of conveyance in favor of Maxima Hemedes and in fact, both Enrique D.
Hemedes and Dominium objected to the request of Maxima Hemedes counsel to
obtain a specimen thumbmark of Justa Kausapin. [14]
Public respondents finding that the Deed of Conveyance of Unregistered Real
Property By Reversion executed by Justa Kausapin in favor of Maxima Hemedes is
spurious is not supported by the factual findings in this case.. It is grounded upon
the mere denial of the same by Justa Kausapin. A party to a contract cannot just
evade compliance with his contractual obligations by the simple expedient of
denying the execution of such contract. If, after a perfect and binding contract has
been executed between the parties, it occurs to one of them to allege some defect
therein as a reason for annulling it, the alleged defect must be conclusively proven,
since the validity and fulfillment of contracts cannot be left to the will of one of the
contracting parties.[15]
Although a comparison of Justa Kausapins thumbmark with the thumbmark
affixed upon the deed of conveyance would have easily cleared any doubts as to
whether or not the deed was forged, the records do not show that such evidence
was introduced by private respondents and the lower court decisions do not make
mention of any comparison having been made.[16] It is a legal presumption that
evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced. [17] The failure of private
respondents to refute the due execution of the deed of conveyance by making a
comparison with Justa Kausapins thumbmark necessarily leads one to conclude that
she did in fact affix her thumbmark upon the deed of donation in favor of her
stepdaughter.
Moreover, public respondents reliance upon Justa Kausapins repudiation of the
deed of conveyance is misplaced for there are strong indications that she is a
biased witness. The trial court found that Justa Kausapin was dependent upon
Enrique D. Hemedes for financial assistance. [18] Justa Kausapins own testimony
attests to this fact Atty. Conchu:
Q: Aling Justa, can you tell the Honorable Court why you donated this particular
property to Enrique Hemedes?

A: Because I was in serious condition and he was the one supporting me


financially.
Q: As of today, Aling Justa are you continuing to receive any assistance from
Enrique Hemedes?
A: Yes Sir.
(TSN pp. 19 and 23, November 17, 1981)[19]
Even Enrique Hemedes admitted that Justa Kausapin was dependent upon him for
financial support. The transcripts state as follows:
Atty. Mora:
Now you said that Justa Kausapin has been receiving from you advances for food,
medicine & other personal or family needs?
E. Hemedes:
A: Yes.
Q: Was this already the practice at the time this Kasunduan was executed?
A: No that was increased, no, no, after this document.
xxx xx xxx
Q: And because of these accommodations that you have given to Justa Kausapin;
Justa Kausapin has in turn treated you very well because shes very grateful
for that, is it not?
A: I think thats human nature.
Q: Answer me categorically, Mr. Hemedes shes very grateful?
A: Yes she might be grateful but not very grateful.
(TSN, p. 34, June 15, 1984)[20]
A witness is said to be biased when his relation to the cause or to the parties is
such that he has an incentive to exaggerate or give false color to his statements, or
to suppress or to pervert the truth, or to state what is false. [21] At the time the
present case was filed in the trial court in 1981, Justa Kausapin was already 80
years old, suffering from worsening physical infirmities and completely dependent
upon her stepson Enrique D. Hemedes for support. It is apparent that Enrique D.
Hemedes could easily have influenced his aging stepmother to donate the subject

property to him. Public respondent should not have given credence to a witness that
was obviously biased and partial to the cause of private respondents. Although it is
a well-established rule that the matter of credibility lies within the province of the
trial court, such rule does not apply when the witness credibility has been put in
serious doubt, such as when there appears on the record some fact or circumstance
of weight and influence, which has been overlooked or the significance of which has
been misinterpreted.[22]
Finally, public respondent was in error when it sustained the trial courts decision
to nullify the Deed of Conveyance of Unregistered Real Property by Reversion for
failure of Maxima Hemedes to comply with article 1332 of the Civil Code, which
states:
When one of the parties is unable to read, or if the contract is in a language not
understood by him, and mistake or fraud is alleged, the person enforcing the
contract must show that the terms thereof have been fully explained to the former.
Article 1332 was intended for the protection of a party to a contract who is at a
disadvantage due to his illiteracy, ignorance, mental weakness or other handicap.
[23]
This article contemplates a situation wherein a contract has been entered into,
but the consent of one of the parties is vitiated by mistake or fraud committed by
the other contracting party. [24] This is apparent from the ordering of the provisions
under Book IV, Title II, Chapter 2, section 1 of the Civil Code, from which article
1332 is taken. Article 1330 states that A contract where consent is given through mistake, violence, intimidation, undue
influence, or fraud is voidable.
This is immediately followed by provisions explaining what constitutes mistake,
violence, intimidation, undue influence, or fraud sufficient to vitiate consent. [25] In
order that mistake may invalidate consent, it should refer to the substance of the
thing which is the object of the contract, or to those conditions which have
principally moved one or both parties to enter into the contract. [26] Fraud, on the
other hand, is present when, through insidious words or machinations of one of the
contracting parties, the other is induced to enter into a contract which, without
them, he would not have agreed to. [27] Clearly, article 1332 assumes that the
consent of the contracting party imputing the mistake or fraud was given, although
vitiated, and does not cover a situation where there is a complete absence of
consent.
In this case, Justa Kausapin disclaims any knowledge of the Deed of Conveyance
of Unregistered Real Property by Reversion in favor of Maxima Hemedes. In fact, she
asserts that it was only during the hearing conducted on December 7, 1981 before
the trial court that she first caught a glimpse of the deed of conveyance and thus,
she could not have possibly affixed her thumbmark thereto. [28] It is private
respondents own allegations which render article 1332 inapplicable for it is useless
to determine whether or not Justa Kausapin was induced to execute said deed of

conveyance by means of fraud employed by Maxima Hemedes, who allegedly took


advantage of the fact that the former could not understand English, when Justa
Kausapin denies even having seen the document before the present case was
initiated in 1981.
It has been held by this Court that mere preponderance of evidence is not
sufficient to overthrow a certificate of a notary public to the effect that the grantor
executed a certain document and acknowledged the fact of its execution before
him. To accomplish this result, the evidence must be so clear, strong and convincing
as to exclude all reasonable controversy as to the falsity of the certificate, and when
the evidence is conflicting, the certificate will be upheld. [29] In the present case, we
hold that private respondents have failed to produce clear, strong, and convincing
evidence to overcome the positive value of the Deed of Conveyance of Unregistered
Real Property by Reversion a notarized document. The mere denial of its execution
by the donor will not suffice for the purpose.
In upholding the deed of conveyance in favor of Maxima Hemedes, we must
concomitantly rule that Enrique D. Hemedes and his transferee, Dominium, did not
acquire any rights over the subject property. Justa Kausapin sought to transfer to
her stepson exactly what she had earlier transferred to Maxima Hemedes the
ownership of the subject property pursuant to the first condition stipulated in the
deed of donation executed by her husband. Thus, the donation in favor of Enrique
D. Hemedes is null and void for the purported object thereof did not exist at the
time of the transfer, having already been transferred to his sister. [30] Similarly, the
sale of the subject property by Enrique D. Hemedes to Dominium is also a nullity for
the latter cannot acquire more rights than its predecessor-in-interest and is
definitely not an innocent purchaser for value since Enrique D. Hemedes did not
present any certificate of title upon which it relied.
The declarations of real property by Enrique D. Hemedes, his payment of realty
taxes, and his being designated as owner of the subject property in the cadastral
survey of Cabuyao, Laguna and in the records of the Ministry of Agrarian Reform
office in Calamba, Laguna cannot defeat a certificate of title, which is an absolute
and indefeasible evidence of ownership of the property in favor of the person whose
name appears therein.[31] Particularly, with regard to tax declarations and tax
receipts, this Court has held on several occasions that the same do not by
themselves conclusively prove title to land.[32]
We come now to the question of whether or not R & B Insurance should be
considered an innocent purchaser of the land in question. At the outset, we note
that both the trial court and appellate court found that Maxima Hemedes did in fact
execute a mortgage over the subject property in favor of R & B Insurance. This
finding shall not be disturbed because, as we stated earlier, it is a rule that the
factual findings of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals,
are entitled to respect, and should not be disturbed on appeal. [33]

In holding that R & B Insurance is not a mortgagee in good faith, public


respondent stated that the fact that the certificate of title of the subject property
indicates upon its face that the same is subject to an encumbrance, i.e.
usufructuary rights in favor of Justa Kausapin during her lifetime or widowhood,
should have prompted R & B Insurance to ...investigate further the circumstances
behind this encumbrance on the land in dispute, but which it failed to do. Also,
public respondent considered against R & B Insurance the fact that it made it
appear in the mortgage contract that the land was free from all liens, charges, taxes
and encumbrances.[34]
R & B Insurance alleges that, contrary to public respondents ruling, the
presence of an encumbrance on the certificate of title is not reason for the
purchaser or a prospective mortgagee to look beyond the face of the certificate of
title. The owner of a parcel of land may still sell the same even though such land is
subject to a usufruct; the buyers title over the property will simply be restricted by
the rights of the usufructuary. Thus, R & B Insurance accepted the mortgage subject
to the usufructuary rights of Justa Kausapin. Furthermore, even assuming that R & B
Insurance was legally obliged to go beyond the title and search for any hidden
defect or inchoate right which could defeat its right thereto, it would not have
discovered anything since the mortgage was entered into in 1964, while the
Kasunduan conveying the land to Enrique D. Hemedes was only entered into in
1971 and the affidavit repudiating the deed of conveyance in favor of Maxima
Hemedes was executed by Justa Kausapin in 1981. [35]
We sustain petitioner R & B Insurances claim that it is entitled to the protection
of a mortgagee in good faith.
It is a well-established principle that every person dealing with registered land
may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued and the law will in
no way oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the
property.[36] An innocent purchaser for value [37] is one who buys the property of
another without notice that some other person has a right to or interest in such
property and pays a full and fair price for the same at the time of such purchase or
before he has notice of the claim of another person. [38]
The annotation of usufructuary rights in favor of Justa Kausapin upon Maxima
Hemedes OCT dose not impose upon R & B Insurance the obligation to investigate
the validity of its mortgagors title.Usufruct gives a right to enjoy the property of
another with the obligation of preserving its form and substance. [39] The
usufructuary is entitled to all the natural, industrial and civil fruits of the
property[40]and may personally enjoy the thing in usufruct, lease it to another, or
alienate his right of usufruct, even by a gratuitous title, but all the contracts he may
enter into as such usufructuary shall terminate upon the expiration of the usufruct.
[41]

Clearly, only the jus utendi and jus fruendi over the property is transferred to
the usufructuary.[42] The owner of the property maintains the jus disponendi or the

power to alienate, encumber, transform, and even destroy the same. [43] This right is
embodied in the Civil Code, which provides that the owner of property the usufruct
of which is held by another, may alienate it, although he cannot alter the propertys
form or substance, or do anything which may be prejudicial to the usufructuary. [44]
There is no doubt that the owner may validly mortgage the property in favor of
a third person and the law provides that, in such a case, the usufructuary shall not
be obliged to pay the debt of the mortgagor, and should the immovable be attached
or sold judicially for the payment of the debt, the owner shall be liable to the
usufructuary for whatever the latter may lose by reason thereof. [45]
Based on the foregoing, the annotation of usufructuary rights in favor of Justa
Kausapin is not sufficient cause to require R & B Insurance to investigate Maxima
Hemedes title, contrary to public respondents ruling, for the reason that Maxima
Hemedes ownership over the property remained unimpaired despite such
encumbrance. R & B Insurance had a right to rely on the certificate of title and was
not in bad faith in accepting the property as a security for the loan it extended to
Maxima Hemedes.
Even assuming in gratia argumenti that R & B Insurance was obligated to look
beyond the certificate of title and investigate the title of its mortgagor, still, it would
not have discovered any better rights in favor of private respondents. Enrique D.
Hemedes and Dominium base their claims to the property upon the Kasunduan
allegedly executed by Justa Kausapin in favor of Enrique Hemedes. As we have
already stated earlier, such contract is a nullity as its subject matter was
inexistent. Also, the land was mortgaged to R & B Insurance as early as 1964, while
the Kasunduan was executed only in 1971 and the affidavit of Justa Kausapin
affirming the conveyance in favor of Enrique D. Hemedes was executed in
1981. Thus, even if R & B Insurance investigated the title of Maxima Hemedes, it
would not have discovered any adverse claim to the land in derogation of its
mortgagors title. We reiterate that at no point in time could private respondents
establish any rights or maintain any claim over the land.
It is a well-settled principle that where innocent third persons rely upon the
correctness of a certificate of title and acquire rights over the property, the court
cannot just disregard such rights. Otherwise, public confidence in the certificate of
title, and ultimately, the Torrens system, would be impaired for everyone dealing
with registered property would still have to inquire at every instance whether the
title has been regularly or irregularly issued. [46] Being an innocent mortgagee for
value, R & B Insurance validly acquired ownership over the property, subject only to
the usufructuary rights of Justa Kausapin thereto, as this encumbrance was properly
annotated upon its certificate of title.
The factual findings of the trial court, particularly when affirmed by the
appellate court, carry great weight and are entitled to respect on appeal, except
under certain circumstances.[47] One such circumstance that would compel the Court
to review the factual findings of the lower courts is where the lower courts

manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which,
if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion. [48] Also, it is axiomatic
that the drawing of the proper legal conclusions from such factual findings are
within the peculiar province of this Court. [49]
As regards R & B Insurances prayer that Dominium be ordered to demolish the
warehouses or that it be declared the owner thereof since the same were built in
bad faith, we note that such warehouses were constructed by Asia Brewery, not by
Dominium. However, despite its being a necessary party in the present case, the
lower courts never acquired jurisdiction over Asia Brewery, whether as a plaintiff or
defendant, and their respective decisions did not pass upon the constructions made
upon the subject property. Courts acquire jurisdiction over a party plaintiff upon the
filing of the complaint, while jurisdiction over the person of a party defendant is
acquired upon the service of summons in the manner required by law or by his
voluntary appearance. As a rule, if a defendant has not been summoned, the court
acquires no jurisdiction over his person, and any personal judgment rendered
against such defendant is null and void. [50] In the present case, since Asia Brewery is
a necessary party that was not joined in the action, any judgment rendered in this
case shall be without prejudice to its rights. [51]
As to its claim for moral damages, we hold that R & B Insurance is not entitled
to the same for it has not alleged nor proven the factual basis for the same. Neither
is it entitled to exemplary damages, which may only be awarded if the claimant is
entitled to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. [52] R & B
Insurances claim for attorneys fees must also fail. The award of attorneys fees is the
exception rather than the rule and counsels fees are not to be awarded every time a
party wins a suit. Its award pursuant to article 2208 of the Civil Code demands
factual, legal and equitable justification and cannot be left to speculation and
conjecture.[53] Under the circumstances prevailing in the instant case, there is no
factual or legal basis for an award of attorneys fees.
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of public respondent and its resolution
dated February 22, 1989 are REVERSED. We uphold petitioner R & B Insurances
assertion of ownership over the property in dispute, as evidenced by TCT No. 41985,
subject to the usufructuary rights of Justa Kausapin, which encumbrance has been
properly annotated upon the said certificate of title. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

EASEMENT
MARGARITA F. CASTRO,

G.R. No. 183719

Petitioner,
Present:

CARPIO, J.,
Chairperson,
- versus -

NACHURA,
PERALTA,
ABAD, and
MENDOZA, JJ.

Promulgated:
NAPOLEON A. MONSOD,
Respondent.

February 2, 2011

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court, assailing the Decision[1] dated May 25, 2007 and the Resolution [2] dated July
14, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 83973.

The antecedents of the case are as follows:

Petitioner is the registered owner of a parcel of land located on Garnet


Street, Manuela Homes, Pamplona, Las Pias City, and covered by Transfer Certificate
of Title (TCT) No. T-36071, with an area of one hundred thirty (130) square meters
(sq.m.). Respondent, on the other hand, is the owner of the property adjoining the
lot of petitioner, located onLyra Street, Moonwalk Village, Phase 2, Las Pias
City. There

is

concrete

fence,

more

or

dividing Manuela Homes from Moonwalk Village.

less

two

(2)

meters

high,

[3]

On February 29, 2000, respondent caused the annotation of an adverse claim


against sixty-five (65) sq.m. of the property of petitioner covered by TCT No. T36071. The adverse claim was filed without any claim of ownership over the
property. Respondent was merely asserting the existing legal easement of lateral
and subjacent support at the rear portion of his estate to prevent the property from
collapsing, since his property is located at an elevated plateau of fifteen (15) feet,
more or less, above the level of petitioners property. [4]Respondent also filed a
complaint for malicious mischief and malicious destruction before the office of
the barangay chairman.[5]

In defiance, petitioner filed a complaint for damages with temporary restraining


order/writ of preliminary injunction before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Las Pias
City. Petitioner also prayed that the Register of Deeds of Las Pias City be ordered to
cancel the annotation of the adverse claim on TCT No. T-36071. [6]
Prior to the filing of the case before the RTC, there were deposits of soil and rocks
about two (2) meters away from the front door of the house of
petitioner. As such, petitioner was not able to park her vehicle at the dead-end
portion of Garnet Street. When petitioner noticed a leak that caused the front
portion of her house to be slippery, she hired construction workers to see where the
leak was coming from. The workers had already started digging when police officers
sent by respondent came and stopped the workers from finishing their job. [7]

Petitioner averred that when she bought the property from Manuela Homes in 1994,
there was no annotation or existence of any easement over the property.
Respondent neither asked permission nor talked to her with regard to the use of 65
sq.m. of her property as easement. Upon learning of the adverse claim, she felt
disturbed and experienced sleepless nights for fear that she would not be able to
sell her property. Petitioner admitted that TCT No. 36071 does not cover the open
space at the dead-end portion of Garnet Street.[8]

For his part, respondent claimed that he and his family had been residing
in Moonwalk Village since June 1984. Adjacent to his property is the land of
petitioner in ManuelaHomes. When he bought the property in 1983, the land
elevation of Moonwalk Village was almost on the same level as Manuela Homes.
However, sometime in 1985 and 1986, Pilar Development Corporation, the
developer of Manuela Homes, bulldozed, excavated, and transferred portions of the
elevated

land

to

the

lower

portions

Thus, Manuela Homes became lower than Moonwalk Village.[9]

of Manuela Homes.

Before the said excavation, respondent personally complained to Pilar


Development Corporation and was assured that, as provided by the National
Building Code, an embankment will be retained at the boundary of Manuela Homes
and Moonwalk Village, which is more or less fifteen (15) feet higher than Manuela
Homes.[10]

Manuela Homes retained the embankment consisting of soil and rocks. Respondent
had the open space riprapped with stones as reinforcement against any potential
soil erosion, earthquake, and possible digging by any person.

Respondent asserted that the affidavit of adverse claim was for the annotation of
the lateral and subjacent easement of his property over the property of petitioner,
in view of the latters manifest determination to remove the embankment left by the
developer of Manuela Homes.
On October 11, 2004, the RTC rendered a decision, [11] the dispositive portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this court hereby renders
judgment: (1) ordering the cancellation of [respondents] adverse claim
at the back of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-36071 at the expense of
[respondent] Napoleon Monsod; (2) ordering the said [respondent] to
pay the herein [petitioner] the amount of Php50,000.00 as moral
damages; and (3) dismissing [petitioners] claim for actual damages,
attorneys fees, litigation costs and costs of suit and [respondents]
compulsory counterclaim for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.[12]

The trial court ratiocinated that the adverse claim of respondent was nonregistrable considering that the basis of his claim was an easement and not an
interest adverse to the registered owner, and neither did he contest the title of
petitioner. Furthermore, the adverse claim of respondent failed to comply with the
requisites provided under Section 70 of Presidential Decree No. 1529. [13]

On appeal, the CA reversed the decision of the trial court in a Decision [14] dated May
25, 2007, the fallo of which reads:

WHEREFORE,
premises
considered,
the
instant
appeal
is GRANTED. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 198, Las
Pias City dated October 11, 2004 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
Court hereby orders the retention of the annotation at the back of
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-36071, not as an adverse claim, but a
recognition of the existence of a legal easement of subjacent and
lateral support constituted on the lengthwise or horizontal land
support/embankment area of sixty-five (65) square meters, more or
less, of the property of [petitioner] Margarita Castro. The writ of
preliminary injunction issued by this Court on April 18, 2006 is hereby
made
permanent.
[Petitioners]
claim
for
damages
is
likewise DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.[15]

The CA ruled that while respondents adverse claim could not be sanctioned because
it did not fall under the requisites for registering an adverse claim, the same might
be duly annotated in the title as recognition of the existence of a legal easement of
subjacent and lateral support. The purpose of the annotation was to prevent
petitioner from making injurious excavations on the subject embankment as to
deprive the residential house and lot of respondent of its natural support and cause
it to collapse. Respondent only asked that petitioner respect the legal easement
already existing thereon.[16]

On June 15, 2007, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. However, the CA
denied the same in a Resolution[17] dated July 14, 2008.

Hence, this petition.

The issue in this case is whether the easement of lateral and subjacent support
exists on the subject adjacent properties and, if it does, whether the same may be
annotated at the back of the title of the servient estate.

Article 437 of the Civil Code provides that the owner of a parcel of land is the owner
of its surface and of everything under it, and he can construct thereon any works, or
make any plantations and excavations which he may deem proper. However, such
right

of

the

owner

is

not

absolute

limitations: (1) servitudes or easements,

[18]

and

is

subject

(2) special laws,

[19]

to

the

following

(3) ordinances,[20] (4)

reasonable requirements of aerial navigation,[21] and (5) rights of third persons.[22]

Respondent filed before the RTC an affidavit of adverse claim, the pertinent portions
of which read:

5. That our adverse claim consists of rights of legal or compulsory


easement of lateral and subjacent support (under the Civil Code) over
a portion of the above-described property of owner Margarita F. Castro,
that
is,
covering
the
lengthwise
or
horizontal
land
support/embankment area of sixty-five (65) square meters, more or
less.

6. That said registered owner has attempted to destroy and/or remove


portions of the existing lateral/subjacent land and cement supports
adjoining the said two properties. In fact, a portion of the easement
was already destroyed/removed, to the continuing prejudice of herein
adverse claimant, and that a formal complaint against said registered
owner was filed by the herein adverse claimant before the Office of the
Barangay Chairman of Talon V, Las Pias City and the same proved
futile.[23]

Respondents assertion that he has an adverse claim over the 65 sq.m. property of
petitioner is misplaced since he does not have a claim over the ownership of the
land. The annotation of an adverse claim over registered land under Section 70 of
Presidential Decree 1529[24] requires a claim on the title of the disputed land.
Annotation is done to apprise third persons that there is a controversy over the

ownership of the land and to preserve and protect the right of the adverse claimant
during the pendency of the controversy. It is a notice to third persons that any
transaction regarding the disputed land is subject to the outcome of the dispute. [25]

In reality, what respondent is claiming is a judicial recognition of the existence of


the easement of subjacent and lateral support over the 65 sq. m. portion of
petitioners property covering the land support/embankment area. His reason for the
annotation is only to prevent petitioner from removing the embankment or from
digging on the property for fear of soil erosion that might weaken the foundation of
the rear portion of his property which is adjacent to the property of petitioner.

An easement or servitude is an encumbrance imposed upon an immovable for the


benefit of another immovable belonging to a different owner. [26] There are two kinds
of easements according to source. An easement is established either by law or by
will of the owners.[27] The courts cannot impose or constitute any servitude where
none existed. They can only declare its existence if in reality it exists by law or by
the will of the owners. There are therefore no judicial easements. [28]

Article 684 of the Civil Code provides that no proprietor shall make such excavations
upon his land as to deprive any adjacent land or building of sufficient lateral or
subjacent support. An owner, by virtue of his surface right, may make excavations
on his land, but his right is subject to the limitation that he shall not deprive any
adjacent land or building of sufficient lateral or subjacent support. Between two
adjacent landowners, each has an absolute property right to have his land laterally
supported by the soil of his neighbor, and if either, in excavating on his own
premises, he so disturbs the lateral support of his neighbors land as to cause it, or,
in its natural state, by the pressure of its own weight, to fall away or slide from its
position, the one so excavating is liable.[29]
In the instant case, an easement of subjacent and lateral support exists in favor of
respondent. It was established that the properties of petitioner and respondent
adjoin each other. The residential house and lot of respondent is located on an
elevated plateau of fifteen (15) feet above the level of petitioners property. The

embankment and the riprapped stones have been in existence even before
petitioner became the owner of the property. It was proven that petitioner has been
making excavations and diggings on the subject embankment and, unless
restrained, the continued excavation of the embankment could cause the
foundation of the rear portion of the house of respondent to collapse, resulting in
the destruction of a huge part of the family dwelling. [30]

We sustain the CA in declaring that a permanent injunction on the part of petitioner


from making injurious excavations is necessary in order to protect the interest of
respondent. However, an annotation of the existence of the subjacent and lateral
support is no longer necessary. It exists whether or not it is annotated or registered
in the registry of property. A judicial recognition of the same already binds the
property and the owner of the same, including her successors-in-interest.
Otherwise, every adjoining landowner would come to court or have the easement of
subjacent and lateral support registered in order for it to be recognized and
respected.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision dated May 25, 2007 and the
Resolution dated July 14, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 83973 are
hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION that the annotation at the back of
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-36071, recognizing the existence of the legal
easement of subjacent and lateral support constituted on the lengthwise or
horizontal land support/embankment area of sixty-five (65) square meters, more or
less, of the property of petitioner Margarita F. Castro, is hereby ordered removed.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 177807/G.R. No. 177933 Case Digest
G.R. No. 177807/G.R. No. 177933, October 11, 2011
Emilio Gancayco
vs City Government of Quezon City and MMDA
Ponente: Sereno
Facts:

In 1950s, retired justice Emilio Gancayco bought a parcel of land located in EDSA.
Then on March 1956, Quezon City Council issued Ordinance No. 2904 requiring the
construction of arcades for commercial buildings to be constructed. At the outset, it
bears emphasis that at the time Ordinance No. 2904 was passed by the city council,
there was yet no building code passed by the national legislature. Thus, the
regulation of the construction of buildings was left to the discretion of local
government units. Under this particular ordinance, the city council required that the
arcade is to be created by constructing the wall of the ground floor facing the
sidewalk a few meters away from the property line. Thus, the building owner is not
allowed to construct his wall up to the edge of the property line, thereby creating a
space or shelter under the first floor. In effect, property owners relinquish the use of
the space for use as an arcade for pedestrians, instead of using it for their own
purposes.
The ordinance covered the property of Justice Gancayco. Subsequently, sometime in
1965, Justice Gancayco sought the exemption of a two-storey building being
constructed on his property from the application of Ordinance No. 2904 that he be
exempted from constructing an arcade on his property.
On 2 February 1966, the City Council acted favorably on Justice Gancaycos request
and issued Resolution No. 7161, S-66, subject to the condition that upon notice by
the City Engineer, the owner shall, within reasonable time, demolish the enclosure
of said arcade at his own expense when public interest so demands.
Decades after, in March 2003, MMDA conducted operations to clear obstructions
along EDSA, in consequence, they sent a notice of demolition to Justice Gancayco
alleging that a portion of his building violated the National Building Code.
Gancayco did not comply with the notice and filed a petition for TRO with the RTC
Quezon City to prohibit the MMDA from demolishing his property. The RTC rendered
its Decision on 30 September 2003 in favor of Justice Gancayco. It held that the
questioned ordinance was unconstitutional, ruling that it allowed the taking of
private property for public use without just compensation. The RTC said that
because 67.5 square meters out of Justice Gancaycos 375 square meters of
property were being taken without compensation for the publics benefit, the
ordinance was confiscatory and oppressive. It likewise held that the ordinance
violated owners right to equal protection of laws.
MMDA appealed with the CA. CA held that the MMDA went beyond its powers when
it demolished the subject property. It further found that Resolution No. 02-28 only
refers to sidewalks, streets, avenues, alleys, bridges, parks and other public places
in Metro Manila, thus excluding Justice Gancaycos private property. Lastly, the CA
stated that the MMDA is not clothed with the authority to declare, prevent or abate
nuisances.
Issues: (1) WHETHER OR NOT JUSTICE GANCAYCO WAS ESTOPPED FROM ASSAILING
THE VALIDITY OF ORDINANCE NO. 2904. (2) WHETHER OR NOT ORDINANCE NO.
2904 IS CONSTITUTIONAL.(3) WHETHER OR NOT THE WING WALL OF JUSTICE
GANCAYCOS BUILDING IS A PUBLIC NUISANCE. (4) WHETHER OR NOT THE MMDA
LEGALLY DEMOLISHED THE PROPERTY OF JUSTICE GANCAYCO.

Ruling:
(1) We find that petitioner was not guilty of estoppel. When it made the undertaking
to comply with all issuances of the BIR, which at that time it considered as valid,
petitioner did not commit any false misrepresentation or misleading act.
(2) Justice Gancayco may not question the ordinance on the ground of equal
protection when he also benefited from the exemption. It bears emphasis that
Justice Gancayco himself requested for an exemption from the application of the
ordinance in 1965 and was eventually granted one. Moreover, he was still enjoying
the exemption at the time of the demolition as there was yet no valid notice from
the city engineer. Thus, while the ordinance may be attacked with regard to its
different treatment of properties that appears to be similarly situated, Justice
Gancayco is not the proper person to do so.
(3) The fact that in 1966 the City Council gave Justice Gancayco an exemption from
constructing an arcade is an indication that the wing walls of the building are not
nuisances per se. The wing walls do not per se immediately and adversely affect
the safety of persons and property. The fact that an ordinance may declare a
structure illegal does not necessarily make that structure a nuisance. Clearly, when
Justice Gancayco was given a permit to construct the building, the city council or
the city engineer did not consider the building, or its demolished portion, to be a
threat to the safety of persons and property. This fact alone should have warned the
MMDA against summarily demolishing the structure.
Sangguniang Bayan cannot declare a particular thing as a nuisance per se and
order its condemnation. It does not have the power to find, as a fact, that a
particular thing is a nuisance when such thing is not a nuisance per se; nor can it
authorize the extrajudicial condemnation and destruction of that as a nuisance
which in its nature, situation or use is not such. Those things must be determined
and resolved in the ordinary courts of law.
MMDA illegally demolished Gancayco's property.

CRISPIN DICHOSO, JR.,

G.R. No. 180282

EVELYN DICHOSO VALDEZ, and ROSEMARIE


DICHOSO PE BENITO,
Present:
Petitioners,
CARPIO, J.,
- versus -

Chairperson,
NACHURA,
PERALTA,
ABAD, and
MENDOZA, JJ.

PATROCINIO L. MARCOS,

Promulgated:

Respondent.

April 11, 2011

x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking
to reverse and set aside the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision [1] dated January 31,
2007 and Resolution[2] dated October 23, 2007 in CA-G.R. CV No. 85471. The
assailed Decision reversed and set aside the July 15, 2005 decision [3] of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Laoag City, Branch 14, in Civil Case No. 12581-14; while the
assailed Resolution denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioners
Crispin Dichoso, Jr., Evelyn Dichoso Valdez, and Rosemarie Dichoso Pe Benito.

The facts of the case, as culled from the records, are as follows:

On August 2, 2002, petitioners filed a Complaint for Easement of Right of


Way[4] against respondent Patrocinio L. Marcos. In their complaint, petitioners

alleged that they are the owners of Lot No. 21553 of the Cadastral Survey of Laoag
City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-31219; while respondent is the
owner of Lot No. 1. As petitioners had no access to a public road to and from their
property, they claimed to have used a portion of Lot No. 1 in accessing the road
since 1970. Respondent, however, blocked the passageway with piles of sand.
Though petitioners have been granted another passageway by the spouses
Benjamin and Sylvia Arce (Spouses Arce), the owners of another adjacent lot,
designated as Lot No. 21559-B, the former instituted the complaint before the RTC
and prayed that:

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that


judgment be rendered:

1. Granting the plaintiffs right of way over an area of 54 square meters


more or less of Lot 01 by paying the defendant the amount
of P54,000.00, and that the right be annotated on defendants title;

2. Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P30,000.00


as damages for attorneys fees and costs of suit;

Other reliefs, just and equitable under the premises, are likewise
sought.[5]

Instead of filing an Answer, respondent moved [6] for the dismissal of the complaint
on the ground of lack of cause of action and noncompliance with the requisite
certificate of non-forum shopping.

During the hearing on respondents motion to dismiss, the parties agreed that an
ocular inspection of the subject properties be conducted. After the inspection, the
RTC directed the parties to submit their respective position papers.

In a resolution[7] dated May 12, 2004, the RTC denied respondents motion to dismiss
and required the latter to answer petitioners complaint.
In his Answer,[8] respondent denied that he allowed anybody to use Lot No. 1 as
passageway. He stated that petitioners claim of right of way is only due to
expediency and not necessity. He also maintained that there is an existing
easement of right of way available to petitioners granted by the Spouses Arce.
Thus, there is no need to establish another easement over respondents property.

In an Order[9] dated July 6, 2005, the RTC declared that respondents answer failed to
tender an issue, and opted to render judgment on the pleadings and thus deemed
the case submitted for decision.

On July 15, 2005, the RTC rendered a decision [10] in favor of petitioners, the
dispositive portion of which reads, as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered, as


follows:

1.

granting plaintiffs a right of way over an area of 54 square


meters more or less over Lot 01 owned by defendant
Patrocinio L. [Marcos] appearing in the Laoag City Assessors
sketch (Annex A) found on page 28 of the record of the case;

2.

ordering plaintiffs to pay defendant


of P54,000.00 as proper indemnity; and

3.

ordering the Register of Deeds of Laoag City to duly


annotate this right of way on defendants title to the property.

the

amount

SO ORDERED.[11]
The RTC found that petitioners adequately established the requisites to justify
an easement of right of way in accordance with Articles 649 and 650 of the Civil

Code. The trial court likewise declared petitioners in good faith as they expressed
their willingness to pay proper indemnity. [12]

On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision and consequently
dismissed petitioners complaint. Considering that a right of way had already been
granted by the (other) servient estate, designated as Lot No. 21559-B and owned by
the Spouses Arce, the appellate court concluded that there is no need to establish
an easement over respondents property. The CA explained that, while the
alternative route through the property of the Spouses Arce is longer and circuitous,
said access road is adequate. It emphasized that the convenience of the dominant
estate is never the gauge for the grant of compulsory right of way. Thus, the
opening of another passageway is unjustified. [13]

Aggrieved, petitioners come before this Court, raising the following issues:

I.
CAN PETITIONERS BE ENTITLED TO A GRANT OF LEGAL
EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY FROM THEIR LANDLOCKED PROPERTY
THROUGH THE PROPERTY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT WHICH IS THE
SHORTEST ROUTE IN GOING TO AND FROM THEIR PROPERTY TO
THE PUBLIC STREET AND WHERE THEY USED TO PASS?

II.
CAN RESPONDENT REFUSE TO GRANT A RIGHT OF WAY ON THE
DESIRED PASSAGEWAY WHICH HE CLOSED SINCE THERE IS ANOTHER
PASSAGEWAY WHICH IS MORE CIRCUITOUS AND BURDENSOME AND IS
BELATEDLY OFFERED UNTO PETITIONERS?

III.
CAN PETITIONERS BE COMPELLED TO AVAIL OF A LEGAL
EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY THROUGH THE PROPERTY OF ARCE
WHICH WAS BELATEDLY OFFERED BUT HAS BEEN FORECLOSED BY THE
BANK AND WHEREIN THE LATTER IS NOT A PARTY TO THE CASE? [14]
The petition is without merit.

It is already a well-settled rule that the jurisdiction of this Court in cases


brought before it from the CA by virtue of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is limited to
reviewing errors of law. Findings of fact of the CA are conclusive upon this Court.
There are, however, recognized exceptions to the foregoing rule, namely:

(1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises,


or conjectures;

(2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or


impossible;

(3) when there is grave abuse of discretion;

(4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;

(5) when the findings of fact are conflicting;

(6) when, in making its findings, the Court of Appeals went


beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the
admissions of both the appellant and the appellee;

(7) when the findings are contrary to those of the trial


court;

(8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific


evidence on which they are based;

(9) when the facts set forth in the petition, as well as in the
petitioner's main and reply briefs, are not disputed by the respondent;
and

(10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed


absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. [15]
The present case falls under the 7 th exception, as the RTC and the CA arrived
at conflicting findings of fact and conclusions of law.

The conferment of a legal easement of right of way is governed by Articles


649 and 650 of the Civil Code, quoted below for easy reference: [16]

Article 649. The owner, or any person who by virtue of a real


right may cultivate or use any immovable, which is surrounded by
other immovables pertaining to other persons and without adequate
outlet to a public highway, is entitled to demand a right of way through
the neighboring estates, after payment of the proper indemnity.

Should this easement be established in such a manner that its use may
be continuous for all the needs of the dominant estate, establishing a
permanent passage, the indemnity shall consist of the value of the
land occupied and the amount of the damage caused to the servient
estate.

In case the right of way is limited to the necessary passage for the
cultivation of the estate surrounded by others and for the gathering of
its crops through the servient estate without a permanent way, the
indemnity shall consist in the payment of the damages caused by such
encumbrance.

This easement is not compulsory if the isolation of the immovable is


due to the proprietors own acts.

Article 650. The easement of right of way shall be established at the


point least prejudicial to the servient estate, and, insofar as consistent
with this rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public
highway may be the shortest.

To be entitled to an easement of right of way, the following requisites should


be met:

1. The dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables and


has no adequate outlet to a public highway;

2. There is payment of proper indemnity;

3. The isolation is not due to the acts of the proprietor of the


dominant estate; and

4. The right of way claimed is at the point least prejudicial to


the servient estate; and insofar as consistent with this rule, where the
distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be the
shortest.[17]
Petitioners may be correct in the theoretical reading of Articles 649 and 650
of the Civil Code, but they nevertheless failed to show sufficient factual evidence to
satisfy the above-enumerated requirements.[18]

It must be stressed that, by its very nature, and when considered with
reference to the obligations imposed on the servient estate, an easement involves
an abnormal restriction on the property rights of the servient owner and is regarded
as a charge or encumbrance on the servient estate. It is incumbent upon the owner
of the dominant estate to establish by clear and convincing evidence the presence
of all the preconditions before his claim for easement of right of way may be
granted.[19] Petitioners failed in this regard.

Admittedly, petitioners had been granted a right of way through the other
adjacent lot owned by the Spouses Arce. In fact, other lot owners use the said outlet
in going to and coming from the public highway. Clearly, there is an existing outlet
to and from the public road.

However, petitioners claim that the outlet is longer and circuitous, and they
have to pass through other lots owned by different owners before they could get to
the highway. We find petitioners concept of what is adequate outlet a complete
disregard of the well-entrenched doctrine that in order to justify the imposition of an
easement of right of way, there must be real, not fictitious or artificial, necessity for
it. Mere convenience for the dominant estate is not what is required by law as the
basis of setting up a compulsory easement. Even in the face of necessity, if it can
be satisfied without imposing the easement, the same should not be imposed. [20]

We quote with approval the CAs observations in this wise:

As it shows, [petitioners] had been granted a right of way


through the adjacent estate of Spouses Arce before the complaint
below was even filed. [Respondent] alleged that this right of way is
being used by the other estates which are similarly situated as
[petitioners]. [Petitioners] do not dispute this fact. There is also a
reason to believe that this right of way is Spouses Arces outlet to a
public road since their property, as it appears from the Sketch Map, is
also surrounded by other estates. The fact that Spouses Arce are not
insisting on a right of way through respondents property, although an
opening on the latters property is undoubtedly the most direct and
shortest distance to P. Gomez St. from the formers property, bolsters
our conviction that they have adequate outlet to the highway which
they are now likewise making available to [petitioners].

The convenience of the dominant estate has never been the gauge for the
grant of compulsory right of way. To be sure, the true standard for the grant of the
legal right is adequacy. Hence, when there is already an existing adequate outlet
from the dominant estate to a public highway, as in this case, even when the said
outlet, for one reason or another, be inconvenient, the need to open up another
servitude is entirely unjustified.[21]

Thus, in Cristobal v. CA,[22] the Court disallowed the easement prayed for
because an outlet already exists which is a path walk located at the left side of
petitioners property and which is connected to a private road about five hundred
(500) meters long. The private road, in turn, leads to Ma. Elena Street, which is
about 2.5 meters wide, and finally, to Visayas Avenue. This outlet was determined
by the Court to be sufficient for the needs of the dominant estate.

Also in Floro v. Llenado,[23] we refused to impose a right of way over


petitioners property although private respondents alternative route was admittedly
inconvenient because he had to traverse several ricelands and rice paddies
belonging to different persons, not to mention that said passage is impassable
during the rainy season.

And in Ramos v. Gatchalian Realty, Inc.,[24] this Court refused to grant the
easement prayed for even if petitioner had to pass through lots belonging to other
owners, as temporary ingress and egress, which lots were grassy, cogonal, and
greatly inconvenient due to flood and mud because such grant would run counter to
the prevailing jurisprudence that mere convenience for the dominant estate does
not suffice to serve as basis for the easement. [25]
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Court of
Appeals Decision dated January 31, 2007 and Resolution dated October 23, 2007 in
CA-G.R. CV No. 85471 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
APOLINARDITO C. QUINTANILLA

G.R. No. 160613

and PERFECTA C. QUINTANILLA,


Petitioners,

Present:

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
-versus-

Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA,*

NACHURA, and
REYES, JJ.

PEDRO ABANGAN and

Promulgated:

DARYL'S COLLECTION INTL. INC.,


Respondents.

February 12, 2008

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

RESOLUTION

NACHURA, J.:

Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Civil

Procedure

Decision

[2]

seeking

the

reversal

of

the

Court

datedApril 21, 2003, which affirmed the Decision

[3]

of

Appeals

(CA)

of the Regional Trial

Court (RTC), Branch 57 of Cebu City, dated June 21, 2000.


This controversy flows from a case for Easement of Right of Way filed by petitioner
Apolinardito C. Quintanilla (Apolinardito) and his mother, petitioner Perfecta C.
Quintanilla (Perfecta) against respondent Pedro Abangan (Pedro) and respondent
Daryl's Collection International, Inc. (DARYL'S).

Sometime in the 1960s, Perfecta bought Lot No. 3771-B-1-A, with an area of 2,244
square meters, located at Inayawan, Cebu City (the dominant estate) from one
Dionisio Abasolo, who formerly owned all the properties therein. Thereafter, Perfecta
donated the dominant estate to Apolinardito, who is now the registered owner
thereof.[4] Petitioners own QC Rattan Inc., a domestic corporation engaged in the
manufacture and export of rattan-made furniture. In the conduct of their business,
they use vans to haul and transport raw materials and finished products. As they

wanted to expand their business and construct a warehouse on their property (the
dominant estate), they asked for a right of way from Pedro sometime in April 1994.

However, it appears that Pedro, who was the owner of Lot No. 3771-A-1, containing
an area of 1,164 square meters [5] (the servient estate) and a lot near the dominant
estate, sold the same to DARYL'S on March 24, 1994,[6] and thereafter, DARYL'S
constructed a warehouse over the servient estate, enclosing the same with a
concrete fence.

Petitioners, thus, sought the imposition of an easement of right of way, six (6)
meters in width, or a total area of 244 square meters, over the servient estate.

On June 21, 2000, the RTC dismissed the case for lack of merit. The RTC held that
petitioners failed to establish that the imposition of the right of way was the least
prejudicial to the servient estate. The RTC noted that there is already a concrete
fence around the area and that six (6) meters from the said concrete fence was a
concrete warehouse. Thus, substantial damage and substantial reduction in area
would be caused the servient estate. Moreover, the RTC observed that petitioners'
insistence on passing through the servient estate would make for easy and
convenient access to the main thoroughfare for their vans. Otherwise, if the right of
way were to be constituted on any of the other surrounding properties, their vans
would have to make a turn. On this premise, the RTC opined that mere convenience
to the dominant estate was not necessarily the basis for setting up a compulsory
easement of right of way.

Aggrieved, petitioners went to the CA on appeal.

In its Decision dated April 21, 2003, the CA affirmed the RTC Decision, holding that
the criterion of least prejudice to the servient estate must prevail over the shortest
distance. A longer way may, thus, be established to avoid injury to the servient
tenement, such as when there are constructions or walls which can be avoided by a

round-about way,[7] as in this case. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration,


[8]

but the same was denied in the CA Resolution[9] dated September 24, 2003.

Hence, the instant petition based on the following grounds:

a) IN A COMPULSORY EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY, AS SET


FORTH IN THE PRECONDITIONS UNDER ARTICLES 649[10] AND 650[11] OF
THE NEW CIVIL CODE, THE DETERMINATION OF THE LEAST
PREJUDICIAL OR LEAST DAMAGE TO THE SERVIENT ESTATE SHOULD BE
AT THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND NOT
AFTER THE FILING, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE OWNER OF THE SERVIENT
ESTATE IS GUILTY OF ABUSE OF RIGHTS CONSIDERED AS THE
GREATEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WRONGS OR BAD FAITH BY
CONSTRUCTING A CONCRETE FENCE AND WAREHOUSE THEREON
THROUGH MISREPRESENTATION TO THE OFFICE OF THE CEBU CITY
BUILDING OFFICIAL THAT IT HAD GRANTED A RIGHT OF WAY OF SIX (6)
METERS TO PETITIONERS; AND

b) WHETHER OR NOT COMPLIANCE WITH THE PRECONDITIONS SET


FORTH IN ARTICLES 649 AND 650 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE
IS SUPERIOR TO THE MERE CONVENIENCE RULE AGAINST THE OWNER
OF THE DOMINANT ESTATE.

Petitioners claim that DARYL'S constructed the concrete fence only after petitioners
filed the case for an Easement of Right of Way against Pedro on May 27, 1994. They
submit that the criterion of least prejudice should be applied at the time of the filing
of the original complaint; otherwise, it will be easy for the servient estate to evade
the burden by subsequently constructing structures thereon in order to increase the
damage or prejudice.[12] Moreover, they pointed out that a Notice of Lis Pendens was
annotated on Pedro's title. Thus, petitioners aver that DARYL'S is in bad
faith and is guilty of abuse of rights as provided under Article 19 [13] of the New Civil
Code.[14]
On the other hand, DARYL'S counters that petitioners belatedly imputed bad faith to
it since petitioners' pre-trial brief filed with the RTC contained no allegation of bad

faith

or

misrepresentation.

Moreover,

DARYL'S

reiterates

its

position

that

establishing a right of way over the servient estate would cause substantial
damage, considering that a concrete fence has already been erected thereon. Most
importantly, DARYL'S submits that petitioners can have adequate ingress to or
egress from the dominant estate by passing through other surrounding vacant lots.
Lastly,
DARYL'S points out that when Perfecta bought the dominant estate from Dionisio
Abasolo, the surrounding lots were also owned by the latter. [15]

For his part, Pedro manifests that he is adopting all the defenses invoked by
DARYL'S in the belief that he is no longer a party to the instant case as he had
already sold the servient estate to DARYL'S and a title already issued in the latter's
name.[16]

The instant petition lacks merit.

We hold that Apolinardito as owner of the dominant estate together with Perfecta
failed to discharge the burden of proving the existence and concurrence of all the
requisites in order to validly claim a compulsory right of way against respondents. [17]
It should be remembered that to be entitled to a legal easement of right of way, the
following requisites must be satisfied: (1) the dominant estate is surrounded by
other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a public highway; (2) proper
indemnity has been paid; (3) the isolation was not due to acts of the proprietor of
the dominant estate; and (4) the right of way claimed is at the point least prejudicial
to the servient estate.[18]

The fourth requisite is absent.

We are in full accord with the ruling of the CA when it aptly and judiciously held, to
wit:

As provided for under the provisions of Article 650 of the New Civil
Code, the easement of right of way shall be established at the point
least prejudicial to the servient estate, and, insofar as consistent with
this rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public
highway may be the shortest. Where there are several tenements
surrounding the dominant estate, and the easement may be
established on any of them, the one where the way is shortest and will
cause the least damage should be chosen. But if these two
circumstances do not concur in a single tenement, as in the instant
case, the way which will cause the least damage should be used, even
if it will not be the shortest. The criterion of least prejudice to the
servient estate must prevail over the criterion of shortest distance. The
court is not bound to establish what is the shortest; a longer way may
be established to avoid injury to the servient tenement, such as when
there are constructions or walls which can be avoided by a round-about
way, as in the case at bar.

As between a right of way that would demolish a fence of strong


materials to provide ingress and egress to a public highway and
another right of way which although longer will only require a van or
vehicle to make a turn, the second alternative should be
preferred. Mere convenience for the dominant estate is not what is
required by law as the basis for setting up a compulsory
easement. Even in the face of necessity, if it can be satisfied without
imposing the easement, the same should not be imposed.

Finally, worthy of note, is the undisputed fact that there is already a


newly opened public road barely fifty (50) meters away from the
property of appellants, which only shows that another requirement of
the law, that is, there is no adequate outlet, has not been met to
establish a compulsory right of way.

Such pronouncement by the CA is in line with this Court's ruling in Quimen v. Court
of Appeals,[19] where we held that as between a right of way that would demolish a
store of strong materials to provide egress to a public highway, and another right of
way which, although longer, will only require an avocado tree to be cut down, the
second alternative should be preferred.

As a rule, findings of fact of the CA, affirming those of the trial court,
are generally final and conclusive on this Court.[20] While this Court has recognized
several exceptions[21] to this rule, none of these exceptions finds application in this
case. Ergo, we find no cogent reason and reversible error to disturb the unanimous
findings of the RTC and the CA as these are amply supported by the law and
evidence on record.

WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Court of
Appeals Decision, dated April 21, 2003, and Resolution dated September 24,
2003 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 185240

January 20, 2010

SPS.
MANUEL
AND
VICTORIA
vs.
SPS. SANTOS AND ERLINDA TAN, Respondents.

SALIMBANGON, Petitioners,

DECISION
ABAD, J.:
This case is about the admissibility of testimony that tends to modify a written
agreement among the parties and the extinction of the easement of right of way
upon consolidation in one person of the ownership of the dominant and the servient
estates.
The Facts and the Case
Guillermo Ceniza died intestate on July 11, 1951, leaving a parcel of land at
Poblacion, Mandaue City. Twenty years later on July 17, 1973 his children Benedicta,
Guillermo, Jr., Victoria, Eduardo, and Carlos executed an extrajudicial declaration of
heirs and partition, adjudicating and dividing the land among themselves as follows:
1. To Benedicta T. Cabahug, Lot A subject to a perpetual and
grat[u]itous road right of way 1.50 m. wide along its NW. boundary
in favor of Lots B, E, and D, of the subdivision;
2. To Eduardo Ceniza, Lot B subject to a perpetual and grat[u]itous
road right of way 1.50 m. wide along its SW. boundary in favor of
Lots A, D & E of the subdivision;

3. To Carlos Ceniza, Lot C;


4. To Guillermo Ceniza Jr., Lot D subject to a perpetual and
grat[u]itous road right of way 1.50 m. wide along its NE. boundary in
favor of Lot B and E of the subdivision; and
5. To Victoria Ceniza, Lot E, subject to a perpetual and grat[u]itous
road right of way 1.50 m. wide along its SW. boundary in favor of Lot
D of the subdivision.1
Lots A, B, and C were adjacent to a city street. But Lots D and E were not, they
being interior lots. To give these interior lots access to the street, the heirs
established in their extrajudicial partition an easement of right of way consisting of
a 3-meter wide alley between Lots D and E that continued on between Lots A and B
and on to the street. The partition that embodied this easement of right of way was
annotated on the individual titles issued to the heirs.
Roughly, the lots including the easement of right of way would take the following
configurations,2 not drawn here to accurate size and proportion but illustrative of
their relative locations:

But, realizing that the partition resulted in an unequal division of the property, the
heirs modified their agreement by eliminating the easement of right of way along
Lots A, D, and E, and in its place, imposed a 3-meter wide alley, an easement of
right of way, that ran exclusively along the southwest boundary of Lot B from Lots D
and E to the street.3 Thus:

Victoria (now petitioner Victoria Salimbangon) later swapped lots with Benedicta
with the result that Victoria became the owner of Lot A, one of the three lots
adjacent to the city street. Victoria and her husband (the Salimbangons)
constructed a residential house on this lot and built two garages on it. One garage
abutted the street while the other, located in the interior of Lot A, used the alley or
easement of right of way existing on Lot B to get to the street. Victoria had this alley
cemented and gated.
Subsequently, however, respondent spouses Santos and Erlinda Tan (the Tans)
bought Lots B, C, D, and E from all their owners. The Tans built improvements on Lot
B that spilled into the easement area. They also closed the gate that the
Salimbangons built. Unable to use the old right of way, the Salimbangons lodged a
complaint with the City Engineer of Mandaue against the Tans. For their part, the
Tans filed an action with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue against the
Salimbangons in Civil Case MAN-3223 for the extinguishment of the easement on
Lot B and damages with application for preliminary injunction. 4 The Salimbangons
filed their answer with counterclaims.
After hearing or on February 9, 2001 the RTC rendered judgment, upholding the
Salimbangons easement of right of way over the alley on Lot B, the lot that
belonged to the Tans. The court pointed out that the easement in this case was
established by agreement of the parties for the benefit of Lots A, D, and E.
Consequently, only by mutual agreement of the parties could such easement be
extinguished. The RTC declined, however, to award damages to the Salimbangons.
Both parties appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV 73468. On July 27,
2007 the CA5 reversed the RTC decision, extinguished the easement of right of way
established on the alley in Lot B of the Tans, and denied the Salimbangons claim for
damages. The court ruled that based on the testimony of one of the previous
owners, Eduardo Ceniza, the true intent of the parties was to establish that

easement of right of way for the benefit of the interior lots, namely, Lots D and E.
Consequently, when ownership of Lots B, D, and E was consolidated into the Tans,
the easement ceased to have any purpose and became extinct. The Salimbangons
filed a motion for reconsideration but the CA denied the same in its resolution of
October 14, 2008. This prompted them to file the present petition.
Questions Presented
Two questions are presented:
1. Whether or not the CA erred in admitting in evidence contrary to the parol
evidence rule Eduardo Cenizas testimony respecting the true intent of the
heirs in establishing the easement of right of way as against what they stated
in their written agreement; and
2. Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that the easement of right of way
established by the partition agreement among the heirs for the benefit of Lot
A has been extinguished.
The Courts Ruling
One. The Salimbangons point out that the CA ought to have rejected Eduardo
Cenizas testimony that the heirs had intended to establish the easement of right of
way solely for the benefit of the interior Lots D and E which had no access to the
city street. The partition agreement also made Lot A, now owned by the
Salimbangons, a beneficiary of that easement. Thus:
2. To Eduardo Ceniza [now the Tans], Lot B subject to a perpetual and
grat[u]itous road right of way 1.50 m. wide along its SW. boundary in
favor of Lots A, D & E of the subdivision;6 (Underscoring supplied)
The parol evidence rule, said the Salimbangons, precluded the parties from
introducing testimony that tended to alter or modify what the parties had agreed on
above.
But the exclusionary provision of the parol evidence rule admits of exceptions.
Section 9, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules on Evidence states:
Sec. 9. Evidence of written agreements. - When the terms of an agreement have
been reduced to writing, it is considered as containing all the terms agreed upon
and there can be, between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence
of such terms other than the contents of the written agreement. However, a party
may present evidence to modify, explain or add to the terms of the written
agreement if he puts in issue in his pleading:
(a) An intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in the written agreement;

(b) The failure of the written agreement to express the true intent and
agreement of the parties thereto;
(c) The validity of the written agreement; or
(d) The existence of other terms agreed to by the parties or their successors
in interest after the execution of the written agreement.
The term "agreement" includes wills. (7a)
Here, the Tans had put in issue the true intent and agreement of the parties to the
partition when they alleged in their complaint that, contrary to what paragraph 2
quoted above seems to imply, the easement was actually for the benefit of Lots D
and E only. The complaint thus said:
So that in the same partition instrument, the said heirs voluntarily agreed to
establish the so-called "perpetual and gratuitous easement of road right of way"
along LOT A, with 1.50 meters wide and along LOT B, with the same 1.50 meters
wide.
Understandably, this servitude voluntarily constituted on LOTS A and B was had for
the benefit and use by the owners of LOTS D (Guillermo Ceniza, Jr.) and
E (defendant Victoria Ceniza Salimbagon).7 (Underscoring supplied)
Consequently, with the above averment, the Tans were entitled to introduce
evidence to establish the true intent and agreement of the parties although this
may depart from what the partition agreement literally provided.
At any rate, as the CA said, the Salimbangons did not object at the hearing to
admission of Eduardo Cenizas testimony even when this seemed at variance, as far
as they were concerned, with the partition agreement among the heirs.
Consequently, the Salimbangons may also be deemed to have waived their right to
now question such testimony on appeal.
Two. The Salimbangons point out that the partition agreement among the heirs
established in their favor, as owners of Lot A, an easement of right of way on Lot B
from the interior of their lot to the city street. Since theirs was an easement
established by agreement of the parties, only by mutual agreement could the same
be extinguished.
But, firstly, as Eduardo Ceniza testified, the true agreement of the heirs was for the
establishment of an easement of right of way for the benefit solely of the lots that
did not have direct access to the street, namely Lots D and E. His testimony made
sense.1avvphi1
As originally constituted in that agreement, each of Lots A and B was to contribute a
strip of 1.5 meters between them that when combined formed a 3-meter wide alley

leading from Lots D and E to the street. To the extent that Lots A and B retained the
right to use the 1.5-meter portion that they contributed to the establishment of the
easement, the agreement gave their owners the right to use the common alley as
well. As Eduardo testified, however, the true intent of the heirs was to give Lots D
and E access to the street. Lots A and B did not need this alley since they were
facing the street.1avvphi1
Consequently, when the owner of Lots D and E also became the owner of Lot B, the
easement of right of way on Lot B became extinct by operation of law. 8 The
existence of a dominant estate and a servient estate is incompatible with the idea
that both estates belong to the same person.
Secondly, there is no question that when the heirs realized that it was not fair to
take strips of 1.5 meters from each of Lots A, D, and E for the easement of right of
way when these lots were already small, the heirs executed a "Cancellation of
Annotation of Right of Way, etc." that cancelled the easement of right of way they
earlier established on Lots A, D, and E and in its place imposed a 3-meter wide
easement of right of way solely on Lot B.
Although the "cancellation" document did not say so, it was implicit that the
changed location of the easement cancelled not only the 1.5-meter strip of
easement imposed on Lot A of the Salimbangons but also their right to use the new
3-meter easement alley that lay entirely on Lot B. Strictly speaking, if the
Salimbangons insist that their right as dominant estate under the original partition
agreement remains, then that would be partly on a 1.5-meter strip of their own Lot
A and partly on the equivalent 1.5-meter strip on the side of Lot B, not on the new
3-meter alley established entirely on Lot B.
The point is that, obviously, in establishing the new easement of right of way, the
heirs intended to abandon the old one. Since this 3-meter alley on Lot B directly
connected Lots D and E to the street, it is also obvious that only the latter lots were
its intended beneficiary. And, with the ownership of Lots B, D, and E now
consolidated in a common owner, namely, the Tans, then the easement of right of
way on Lot B may be said to have been extinguished by operation of law. 9
ACCORDINGLY, this Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS in all respects the
decision dated July 27, 2007 and resolution dated October 14, 2008 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV 73468.
SO ORDERED.
BRYAN U. VILLANUEVA, petitioner, vs. HON. TIRSO D.C. VELASCO in his
capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City,
Branch
88,
JULIO
N.
SEBASTIAN
and
SHIRLEY
LORILLA, respondents.
DECISION

QUISUMBING, J.:
This petition for certiorari assails (1) the decision [1] dated December 27, 1996 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 39166, dismissing petitioners petition for
review under Rule 65 with prayer for the issuance of a cease and desist order and/or
temporary restraining order, and (2) the resolution [2]dated August 14, 1997 denying
the subsequent motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner Bryan Villanueva is the registered owner of the parcel of land covered
by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 127862 of the Register of Deeds of Quezon
City. He bought it from Pacific Banking Corporation, the mortgagee of said
property. The bank had acquired it from the spouses Maximo and Justina Gabriel at
a public auction on March 19, 1983. When petitioner bought the parcel of land there
was a small house on its southeastern portion. It occupied one meter of the twometer wide easement of right of way the Gabriel spouses granted to the Espinolas,
predecessors-in-interest of private respondents, in a Contract of Easement of Right
of Way. The pertinent portion of the contract dated November 28, 1979, states:
. . . in order to have an access to and from their aforementioned land where their
houses are constructed and to have an outlet to Tandang Sora Ave. which is the
nearest public road and the least burdensome to the servient estate and to third
persons, it would be necessary for them to pass through spouses MAXIMO GABRIEL
and JUSTINA CAPUNOs land and for this purpose, a path or passageway of not less
than two (2) meters wide of said spouses property is necessary for the use
of ROMEO, RODOLFO, NENITA and AURORA ESPINOLA and for all their needs in
entering their property.
xxx
WHEREFORE, in view of the fact that the property of the ESPINOLA had been bought
by them from MAXIMO CAPUNO, father of MAXIMO GABRIEL, spouses MAXIMO
GABRIEL and JUSTINA CAPUNO hereby agree and permit RODOLFO, ROMEO, NENITA
and AURORA ESPINOLA and their families to have a permanent easement of right
of way over the aforementioned property of said spouses limited to not more than
two meters wide, throughout the whole length of the southeast side of said property
and as specifically indicated in the attached plan which is made an integral part of
this Contract as Annex A;
This Agreement shall be binding between the parties and upon their heirs,
successors, assigns, without prejudice in cases of sale of subject property that will
warrant the circumstances.[3]
Unknown to petitioner, even before he bought the land, the Gabriels had
constructed the aforementioned small house that encroached upon the two-meter
easement. Petitioner was also unaware that private respondents, Julio Sebastian
and Shirley Lorilla, had filed on May 8, 1991, Civil Case No. Q-91-8703, for
easement, damages and with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or

restraining order against the spouses Gabriel.[4] As successors-in-interest, Sebastian


and Lorilla wanted to enforce the contract of easement.
On May 15, 1991, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order. On
August 13, 1991, it issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction ordering the
Gabriels to provide the right of way and to demolish the small house encroaching on
the easement. On August 15, 1991, the Gabriels filed a motion for reconsideration
which was also denied. Thus, they filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of
Appeals.
On March 26, 1992, the Eighth Division of the Court of Appeals dismissed the
petition and upheld the RTCs issuances. The decision became final and executory on
July 31, 1992.[5]
On January 5, 1995, Judge Tirso Velasco of the RTC in Quezon City, Branch 88,
issued an Alias Writ of Demolition. On June 20, 1995, the sheriff tried to demolish
the small house pursuant to the writ. Petitioner filed a Third Party Claim with Prayer
to Quash Alias Writ of Demolition. He maintains that the writ of demolition could not
apply to his property since he was not a party to the civil case. His Third Party Claim
with prayer to quash the writ of demolition was denied for lack of merit on August
16, 1995.[6] The motion for reconsideration as well as the Supplemental Motion for
Reconsideration dated September 12, 1995 were denied on October 19, 1995. [7]
Petitioner, thereafter, filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals,
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 39166, asserting that the existence of the easement of
right of way was not annotated in his title and that he was not a party to Civil Case
No. Q-91-8703, hence the contract of easement executed by the Gabriels in favor of
the Espinolas could not be enforced against him. The Court of Appeals dismissed
the petition for lack of merit and denied the reconsideration, disposing thus:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby dismissed by this court for lack of merit.
No costs considering the failure of private respondents to file their comment,
despite notice.[8]
Hence, this instant petition.
Petitioner now avers that the appellate court erred in declaring,
(1) THAT FOLLOWING THE ESSENCE OF INHERENCE AND INTRANSMISSIBILITY OF AN
EASEMENT, A RIGHT OF WAY CAN EXIST EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT EXPRESSLY STATED
OR ANNOTATED ON THE TORRENS TITLE;
(2) THAT PETITIONER, AS PROSPECTIVE BUYER, SHOULD HAVE EXERCISED
ORDINARY PRUDENCE BY TAKING THE INITIATIVE TO DETERMINE THAT AN
EASEMENT HAS BEEN CONSTITUTED ON THE PROPERTY HE INTENDS TO BUY; AND,

(3) THAT IN AS MUCH AS THE HEREIN PETITIONER IS NOT A PARTY TO CIVIL CASE
NO. Q-91-8703, HE CANNOT BE BOUND BY ANY JUDGMENT OR ORDER RENDERED
THEREIN.[9]
Primarily, the issue is whether the easement on the property binds petitioner.
Petitioner argues it could not be enforced against him. First, he says that a right
of way cannot exist when it is not expressly stated or annotated on
the Torrens title. According to him, even if an easement is inherent and inseparable
from the estate to which it actively belongs as provided in Art. 617 of the Civil Code,
[10]
the same is extinguished when the servient estate is registered and the
easement was not annotated in said title conformably with Section 39 of the Land
Registration Law. Second, petitioner points out that the trial court erred when it
faulted him for relying solely on the clean title of the property he bought, as it is
well-settled that a person dealing with registered land is not required to go beyond
what is recorded in the title. He adds that it is private respondents who should have
made sure their right of way was safeguarded by having the same annotated on the
title with the Register of Deeds. He adds that Section 76 of P.D. No. 1529 [11] also
requires that when a case is commenced involving any right to registered land
under the Land Registration Law (now the Property Registration Decree), any
decision on it will only be effectual between or among the parties thereto, unless a
notice of lis pendens of such action is filed and registered in the registry office
where the land is recorded. There was no such annotation in the title of the disputed
land, according to petitioner. Lastly, since he was not a party to Civil Case No. Q-918703, petitioner argues that he cannot be bound by the writ of demolition and be
forcibly divested of a portion of his land without having his day in court.
Private respondents Sebastian and Lorilla, for their part, adopted the disquisition
of the appellate court as their Comment and asked for the dismissal of the petition
and P100,000.00 in damages. In its decision the appellate court, citing the decision
of the lower court, stressed that unlike other types of encumbrance of real property,
a servitude like a right of way can exist even if they are not expressly stated or
annotated as an encumbrance in a Torrens title because servitudes are inseparable
from the estates to which they actively or passively belong. Moreover, Villanueva
was bound by the contract of easement, not only as a voluntary easement but as
a legal easement. A legal easement is mandated by law, and continues to exists
unless its removal is provided for in a title of conveyance or the sign of the
easement is removed before the execution of the conveyance conformably with
Article 649[12]in accordance with Article 617[13] of the Civil Code.
At the outset, we note that the subject easement (right of way) originally was
voluntarily constituted by agreement between the Gabriels and the Espinolas. But
as correctly observed by the Court of Appeals, the easement in the instant petition
is both (1) an easement by grant or a voluntary easement, and (2) an easement by
necessity or a legal easement. A legal easement is one mandated by law,
constituted for public use or for private interest, and becomes a continuing property
right.[14] As a compulsory easement, it is inseparable from the estate to which it

belongs, as provided for in said Article 617 of the Civil Code. The essential requisites
for an easement to be compulsory are: (1) the dominant estate is surrounded by
other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a public highway; (2) proper
indemnity has been paid; (3) the isolation was not due to acts of the proprietor of
the dominant estate; (4) the right of way claimed is at a point least prejudicial to
the servient estate; and (5) to the extent consistent with the foregoing rule, where
the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest.
[15]
The trial court and the Court of Appeals have declared the existence of said
easement (right of way). This finding of fact of both courts below is conclusive on
this Court,[16] hence we see no need to further review, but only to re-affirm, this
finding. The small house occupying one meter of the two-meter wide easement
obstructs the entry of private respondents cement mixer and motor vehicle. One
meter is insufficient for the needs of private respondents. It is well-settled that the
needs of the dominant estate determine the width of the easement. [17] Conformably
then, petitioner ought to demolish whatever edifice obstructs the easement in view
of the needs of private respondents estate.
Petitioners second proposition, that he is not bound by the contract of easement
because the same was not annotated in the title and that a notice of lis pendens of
the complaint to enforce the easement was not recorded with the Register of Deeds,
is obviously unmeritorious. As already explained, it is in the nature of legal
easement that the servient estate (of petitioner) is legally bound to provide the
dominant estate (of private respondents in this case) ingress from and egress to the
public highway.
Petitioners last argument that he was not a party to Civil Case No. Q-91-8703
and that he had not been given his day in court, is also without merit. Rule 39, Sec.
47, of the Revised Rules of Court:
SEC. 47. Effect of judgments or final orders. The effect of a judgment or final order
rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the
judgment or final order, may be as follows:
(a) In case of a judgment or final order against a specific thing, or in respect to the
probate of a will, or the administration of the estate of a deceased person, or in
respect to the personal, political, or legal condition or status of a particular person
or his relationship to another, the judgment or final order is conclusive upon the title
to the thing, the will or administration, or the condition, status or relationship of the
person; however, the probate of a will or granting of letters of administration shall
only be prima facie evidence of the death of the testator or intestate;
(b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter
directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation
thereto, conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by
title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special
proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in
the same capacity; and

(c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest,
that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order
which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and
necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. (Emphasis ours).
Simply stated, a decision in a case is conclusive and binding upon the parties to
said case and those who are their successor in interest by title after said case has
been commenced or filed in court. [18] In this case, private respondents, Julio
Sebastian and Shirley Lorilla, initiated Civil Case No. Q-91-8703 on May 8, 1991,
[19]
against the original owners, the spouses Maximo and Justina Gabriel. Title in the
name of petitioner was entered in the Register of Deeds [20] on March 24, 1995, after
he bought the property from the bank which had acquired it from the
Gabriels. Hence, the decision in Civil Case No. Q-91-8703 binds petitioner. For,
although not a party to the suit, he is a successor-in-interest by title subsequent to
the commencement of the action in court.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision and
resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
SPOUSES CAMILO L. SABIO, and MA. MARLENE A. LEDONIOSABIO, petitioners, vs. THE INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE BANK, INC.
(now UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES), GOLDENROD, INC., PAL
EMPLOYEES SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, INC., AYALA
CORPORATION,
LAS
PIAS
VENTURES,
INC.,
FILIPINAS
LIFE
ASSURANCE COMPANY (now AYALA LIFE ASSURANCE, INC.), AYALA
PROPERTY
VENTURES
CORPORATION,
and
AYALA
LAND,
INC., respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 48870 which affirmed and modified the judgment of
the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 65, in Civil Case No. 18540, an action for
specific performance and damages.
The object of the controversy is a portion of a vast tract of land measuring
approximately 152,454 square meters, located at Tindig na Manga, Almanza, Las
Pias City. Designated as Lots 2 and 3, and 6 (formerly covered by two Certificates of
Title, namely: TCT Nos. 65161 and 65162), this vast estate was registered in the
name of Las Pias Ventures, Incorporated (or LPVI). [1] In the early 1970s, the said
property was the subject of several land registration, as well as civil, cases.

On May 25, 1973, the spouses Gerardo and Emma Ledonio, one of the parties in
LRC Case No. PN-107 affecting the land, assigned to the spouses Camilo and Ma.
Marlene Sabio (herein petitioners) all their rights, interests, title and participation
over a contiguous portion of the subject property measuring 119,429 square
meters, particularly that which was covered by TCT No. 65162. [2] For this purpose, a
deed of assignment with assumption of mortgage was later executed by the Ledonio
spouses in favor of the Sabio couple on November 23, 1981. [3]
Similarly, while the subject property was still the object of several pending
cases, the International Corporate Bank, Inc. (or Interbank) acquired from the TransResource Management and Development Corporation all of the latters rights to the
subject property by virtue of a deed of assignment executed between them on July
12, 1984.[4]
Sometime thereafter, or on March 6, 1985, the Sabios and Interbank settled
their opposing claims by entering into a Memorandum of Agreement (or MOA)
whereby the Sabios assigned, conveyed and transferred all their rights over the
parcel covered by TCT No. 65162 to Interbank, with the express exception of a
58,000 square meter contiguous portion of said lot. The MOA also provided, to wit:
xxxxxxxxx
2. That for and in consideration of the aforementioned assignment, conveyance and
transfer by the FIRST PARTY (i.e., the Sabios), the latter (SECOND
PARTY, i.e., Interbank) shall:
a. PAY to the FIRST PARTY the sum of SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P750,000.00), Philippine Currency, receipt of which in full is hereby acknowledged
by the FIRST PARTY from the SECOND PARTY;
b. Subject to the rights of the SECOND PARTY under the provisions of No. 4
hereunder, COMPLETE and PERFECT its ownership and title to the afore-described
three (3) parcels of land with all the improvements thereon, situated at Tindig Na
Manga (Almanza), Las Pias, Rizal (now Metro Manila), covered by Transfer Certificate
of Title No. S-65161-Metro Manila, Book T-328, Page 161 (formerly No. 190713-Rizal,
Book T-1227, Page 113) and Transfer Certificate of Title No. S-65162-Metro Manila,
Book T-328, Page 162 (formerly No. 190714-Rizal, Book T-1227, Page 114), AND,
ASSIGN, CONVEY and TRANSFER unto and in favor of the FIRST PARTY a
CONTIGUOUS PORTION of the afore-described parcel of land, with all the
improvements thereon, covered by the aforementioned Transfer Certificate of Title
No. S-65162-Metro Manila, Book T-328, Page 162 (formerly No. 190714-Rizal, Book
T-1227, Page 114). The aforementioned CONTIGUOUS PORTION referred to in
paragraph 1 hereof with an area of FIFTY EIGHT THOUSAND (58,000) SQUARE
METERS, the exact location of which is, as far as practicable, as indicated in the
sketch plan, which is hereto attached as Annex D and made an integral part hereof,
LOT 6-B;

c. Bear and defray all costs, fees and expenses incidental to and/or connected with
the segregation, survey, registration and delivery to the FIRST PARTY of a new
transfer certificate of title in the name of the FIRST PARTY, free from all liens and
encumbrances, over the afore-described parcel of land herein assigned, conveyed
and transferred by the SECOND PARTY;
d. Constitute and grant and by these presents has CONSTITUTED and GRANTED
without indemnity whatsoever in favor of the FIRST PARTY and of said parcel of land
to be covered by a new transfer certificate of title in the name of the FIRST PARTY
with an area of FIFTY EIGHT THOUSAND (58,000) SQUARE METERS, a permanent
and perpetual RIGHT OF WAY sufficient for all the needs of said parcel of land
through out the properties already owned and/or to be acquired by the SECOND
PARTY, particularly the parcels of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
85717, Transfer Certificate of Title No. S-65161-Metro Manila, Book T-328, Page 161
(formerly No. 190703-Rizal, Book T-127, Page 113) and Transfer Certificate of Title
No. S-65162-Metro Manila, Book T-328, Page 162 (formerly No. 190714-Rizal, Book
T-1227, Page 114), it being understood that the right of way herein contemplated
shall not be less than TEN (10) meters in WIDTH. [5]
The said MOA was annotated on TCT Nos. 65161 and 65162 on March 8, 1985
pursuant to paragraph 4 thereof. The same paragraph also granted Interbank the
right to assign all its rights and interests outlined in the MOA, provided that all the
obligations of Interbank specified in the aforequoted paragraphs 2.b, 2.c and 2.d
shall also bind all of its assigns, heirs and successors. Subsequently, Interbank
transferred all its rights and interests to the Las Pias Ventures, Incorporated (or
LPVI). In turn, the portion covered by TCT No. 65161 designated as Lot Nos. 2 and 3
were acquired from LPVI by the Ayala Group of Companies (herein respondents)
through a merger between LPVI and Ayala Land, Incorporated (or ALI), in whose
favor TCT Nos. T-41263 and T-41262 were issued on April 25, 1994.
Lot No. 6, then covered by TCT No. S-65162, was also subsequently transferred
first to LPVI, then to ALI, and a new title, TCT No. T-41261, was issued also on April
25, 1994. Another contiguous parcel, then covered by TCT No. 85717, was acquired
by the Ayala Group sometime in 1993, which was eventually subdivided and retitled
in favor of ALI. This entire property became the site of what was known then as
Ayala Las Pias Subdivision. Years later, this first class residential subdivision was
renamed Ayala Southvale.
Thereafter, a dispute arose concerning the 58,000 square meter contiguous
portion subject of the MOA that was to be conveyed and transferred back to the
Sabios by Interbank. Also in controversy was the permanent and perpetual right of
way that Interbank was obligated to constitute in favor of the Sabios 58,000 square
meter portion. The Sabios were thereby constrained to institute an action for
Specific Performance and Damages against Interbank, Goldenrod Incorporated, PAL
Employees Savings and Loan Association, Incorporated or (PESALA) and the Ayala
Group of Companies comprised of the Ayala Corporation, LPVI, Insular Life
Assurance Company, Ltd., Filipinas Life Assurance Company, ALI, Ayala Property

Ventures, Incorporated (or APVI), and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (or BPI). BPI
was later dropped as a party-defendant.
The Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 64, in Civil Case No. 1854,
summarized the Sabios claims in their complaint, thus:
Plaintiffs claimed that defendant Interbank was obligated to complete and perfect
its ownership and title to the parcels of land so that Interbank could transfer to
plaintiffs the absolute ownership and title over the contiguous portion.
They also claimed that one of the commitments of defendant Interbank which
induced plaintiffs to execute the agreement without which plaintiffs would not have
executed was that defendant Interbank would clear the contiguous portion of all
occupants and wall-in the same, together with the parcels of land belonging to
defendants. Allegedly, the property had already been cleared, by defendant Ayala
Group, of occupants except for the contiguous portion thereof.
Plaintiffs alleged that defendants, particularly Ayala Group, failed to comply with
their commitments and obligations in the MOA specifically those arising from the
abovementioned provisions thereof.Hence, plaintiffs have been prevented from
utilizing for productive purposes the land.
They further alleged that they were constrained to obtain a loan from Interbank
(Exhs. E, E-1, F, F-1, G and G-1) where the contiguous portion of
the property was used as collateral (Exhs. H, H-1, I, I-1, J and J-1) and this loan is
now deemed paid (Exhs. K, L, M-2, N, O, P to P-2) and plaintiffs are now considered
released. Plaintiffs claimed Actual and Compensatory damages in the amount of
P500,000.00 and Exemplary Damages in the amount of P250,000.00. [6]
The defendants answer was summed up by the trial court as follows:
Defendants disclaimed liability. Defendants Ayala Corp., Ayala Life, ALI, APVI
(collectively referred to as Ayala Group), PESALA, and LPVI, claimed that they were
not privy to the MOA, the contract from which the alleged obligations arose. In the
transactions they were each involved in, subsequent to the MOA, pursuant to which
they each acquired the property which was originally transferred by the plaintiffs to
defendant Interbank, said property acquired did not include the contiguous portion
which plaintiffs claimed was the subject of non-compliance of the obligations agreed
upon. On the contrary, in each transaction, the contiguous portion was expressly
excluded in the corresponding contracts (Exhs. C-1, D-2, 2-Ayala, 5-6, 2-A-PESALA),
hence, plaintiffs have no cause of action against them and even assuming that
defendants were privy to the MOA, they would still have no obligation to clear the
contiguous portion of the property as there was no express or implied provision in
the MOA that the party to whom the property was transferred would clear the same.
[7]

Sometime thereafter, the defendants submitted a Notice of Confession of


Judgment and Motion for Partial Decision Against Answering Defendant for the
alleged purpose of securing an entry of judgment against them while avoiding the
formality, time and expense of ordinary proceedings. In particular, the defendants
confessed judgment with regard to the plaintiff spouses prayer emanating from the
MOA, and asked that judgment be rendered directing the defendants to comply with
their obligations as defined in the pertinent provisions of the MOA. Moreover, the
defendants signified willingness to abide by the MOA, and complete and perfect title
to the parcel of land, including that portion which was to be assigned to the plaintiff
spouses. With regard to that 58,000 square meter parcel, the defendants also
acknowledged the obligation to segregate that contiguous portion and deliver title
thereto to the plaintiff spouses free from liens and encumbrances.
However, the defendants also averred that fulfillment of its obligation under the
MOA became impossible due to the plaintiff spouses own acts. First, defendants
posited that they were ready to deliver the title to the 58,000 square meter parcel
and had, in fact, prepared the Deed of Conveyance [8] required by the Register of
Deeds, but the plaintiffs themselves refused to sign the said deed unless the subject
property was cleared of all squatters and other illegal occupants. The defendants
nevertheless repudiated plaintiffs claim that they (defendants) were obligated to
clear the said property of all squatters and occupants, much less to fence the said
property, arguing that no such obligation was imposed in the MOA. Secondly, the
defendants noted that the property in question became the subject of an action for
recovery
of
ownership
filed
by
the
Ledonio
spouses
against
the
Sabios. Consequently, the annotation of the notice of lis pendens caused to be
registered by the Ledonios on the titles hampered the delivery of the title covering
the 58,000 square meter portion to the Sabios.
The defendants further admitted the obligation to grant an easement of right of
way under the MOA, manifesting that not only did the defendants constitute and
grant such right of way, but that they were also willing and prepared to provide an
alternative choice at the pleasure of the plaintiff spouses. [9] Moreover, the mortgage
obligations of the plaintiff spouses annotated on the titles covering the 58,000
square meter portion had already been paid off by the defendants, [10] prompting the
latter to seek a court order cancelling the Notice of Lis Pendens and annotation of
the MOA on the titles covering the subject parcel of land.
The issues having been joined, the trial court focused on the primordial matter
of contention, that is: Whether or not the defendants had the obligation to clear the
subject 58,000 square meter portion of all occupants and to fence the said
premises, before conveyance of the property can be considered as full compliance
with the obligation imposed upon the defendants under the MOA. The trial court
also sought to address the preliminary issue of whether or not an order directing the
cancellation of the annotation of the MOA and notices of lis pendens on the titles
covering the subject property was warranted.

The trial court ruled in favor of the defendants, finding that the MOA did not
impose, whether expressly or impliedly, on Interbank and its transferees the
obligation to clear the subject 58,000 square meter portion of squatters and other
illegal occupants. Be that as it may, the trial court awarded actual and exemplary
damages to the plaintiff spouses for losses they incurred due to the defendants
delay in complying with the MOA, considering that the defendants filed their
confession of judgment only after the lapse of six (6) years from the filing of the
action. More particularly, the trial court disposed as follows:
In view of the foregoing, Defendant Ayala Group is ordered to pay plaintiffs Camilo
and Marlene Sabio P500,000.00 in actual damages and P250,000.00 in exemplary
damages. Plaintiffs, however, are directed to specifically comply with the obligations
under the MOA by executing a Deed of Conveyance upon payment by the defendant
of the foregoing amount. The Register of Deeds is directed to cancel the notice of lis
pendens as regards this case, and the annotation of the subject Memorandum of
Agreement, both of which are annotated on TCTs Nos. T-5331 to T-5334, the TCTs
covering the contiguous portion of the property.
Costs against defendant Ayala Group.[11]
The opposing parties filed their respective motions for reconsideration, but both
were denied by the trial court. Consequently, all the parties filed separate appeals
before the Court of Appeals.Nevertheless, the trial court issued an order granting
the defendants motion for partial immediate execution pending appeal by directing
the Register of Deeds to immediately cancel and/or cause the cancellation of the
notice of lis pendens and other annotations as regards this case and the annotation
of the Memorandum of Agreement on TCT Nos. T-5331 to T-5334 and titles derived
therefrom.[12]
Meanwhile, in their appeal before the Court of Appeals, the Sabios (plaintiffsappellants) ascribed the following errors to the trial court:
I. The trial court erroneously disregarded the other provisions and parts of
the MOA which could have evinced the reasons for, and the
circumstances attendant to, the execution of the said MOA.
II. The trial court erred in not finding that the defendants-appellants (Ayala
Group of Companies) are obligated to perfect and complete ownership
and title to the entire property covered by TCT No. T-5331, including that
portion which the defendant-appellants must assign, convey and transfer
to the plaintiffs-appellants (Sabio spouses).
III. The trial court erred in failing to appreciate the testimony of plaintiffappellant Camilo L. Sabio to the effect that Interbank and Ayala
Investment and Development Corporation would enter into a joint venture
to develop the entire parcel, including the surrounding real estate, into a
first class residential subdivision, necessitating the removal of all illegal

occupants and enclosing the perimeters of the said property with a wall
that would include the 58,000 square meter portion pertaining to the
Sabio spouses.
IV. The trial court erred in its interpretation of the phrase free from all liens
and encumbrances as appearing in the MOA, by invoking inapplicable
jurisprudence when it is the intention of the parties to the MOA, in using
said phrase, that should prevail.
V. The trial court erred in not finding that all eighteen (18) parcels of land,
comprising what was then known as the Ayala Las Pias Subdivision,
covered by eighteen (18) titles in the name of LPVI, are all servient
estates referred to in paragraph 2.d of the MOA.
VI. The trial court erred in not ordering the defendants-appellants to cause
the annotation of the easement of right of way on all eighteen (18) titles.
VII. The trial court erred in ordering the cancellation of the annotation of the
MOA and Notices of Lis Pendens on LPVIs TCT Nos. T-5331 to 5334.
VIII. The trial court erred in compelling the plaintiffs-appellants Sabios to
sign the draft deed of conveyance when said document was a gross
violation of paragraphs 2.b, 2.c, and 2.d of the MOA.
IX. While the trial court was right in concluding that the Sabio spouses
suffered damages, their losses could not be compensated as actual
damages, the same being incapable of accurate pecuniary estimation.
X. The trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in issuing the order dated September 21, 1994
directing the cancellation of the annotation of the MOA and the Notices of
Lis Pendens on LPVIs titles.[13]
In contrast, the defendants-appellants merely impugned the trial courts
judgment for having awarded actual and exemplary damages to the plaintiffsappellants Sabio spouses, while failing to award damages in their (defendantsappellants) favor.
On April 30, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered the decision subject of the
instant petition for review, affirming with modification the trial courts ruling. The
Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts conclusion that under the MOA, the
Interbank and the defendants-appellants did not assume the obligation to clear the
subject contiguous portion of the land of occupants and to wall in the same. [14] The
Court of Appeals further agreed with the trial courts ruling that since the intentions
of the parties to the MOA were clearly worded in the provisions they expressly
stipulated on, there was no reason to interpret the MOA differently. [15]

The Court of Appeals also rejected the Sabios position that the purpose and
spirit of the establishment of a right of way in their favor under paragraph 2.d was
to grant them the same rights as any homeowner would have to freely pass through
all the roads in the proposed subdivision. The Court of Appeals ruled that the phrase
permanent and perpetual right of way must be construed in its ordinary and
accepted signification, that is, to provide ingress to, and egress from, the dominant
estate, as well as to provide adequate and convenient passage to and from the
nearest highway. The defendants-appellants having complied with the obligation to
establish the right of way, the Court of Appeals determined that there was no need
to annotate the easement on the titles not affected by said road right of way. In fact,
while the MOA mentioned only TCT Nos. 65161 and 65162, which were later
replaced by TCT Nos. 5333 and 5331, no other titles were mentioned.
Finally, while the Court of Appeals ruled that the defendants-appellants are not
entitled to damages, the said court reversed the trial courts award of damages to
the Sabios, concluding that their claim for damages, whether actual or exemplary,
was unsubstantiated and devoid of legal basis.
Hence, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment decreeing:
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
the awards for actual and exemplary damages in favor of the plaintiffs are hereby
SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.[16]
After a careful and thorough disquisition of the facts of this case and the
arguments raised in this petition, we find no reversible error on the part of the Court
of Appeals. In this petition for review before us, petitioner attributed to the Court of
Appeals ten (10) alleged errors:
I. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to law and jurisprudence in affirming
the decision of the trial court directing the petitioners to affix their
signatures to the draft deed of conveyance (Exhibits CC thru CC-4, EEEE
thru EEEE-4 and 4-Ayala), and in releasing respondents from their
obligations under paragraphs 2.b, 2.c, and 2.d of the MOA. Petitioners are
justified in refusing to affix their signatures to said draft.
II. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to law and jurisprudence in affirming
the ruling of the trial court that the mere execution of the draft deed of
conveyance (Exhibits CC thru CC-4, EEEE thru EEEE-4 and 4-Ayala)
prepared sometime in January 1990 by respondents Ayala Group of
Companies, successors-in-interest of respondent The International
Corporate Bank, Inc. (now Union Bank of the Philippines), pursuant to
paragraph 4 of the MOA, as second party, for the signature of the
petitioners as first party, constitutes sufficient and valid compliance with
the commitment and obligation of the second party to assign, convey and

transfer unto and in favor of the first party the aforementioned


contiguous portion --- Lot 6-B, Psu-80886 (Exhibits A-34, II-1, 1-A-Ayala
and 6-A-Ayala) --- with all the improvements thereon as mandated by the
provisions of paragraph 2.b of the MOA, despite the fact that, admittedly,
said Lot 6-B, Psu 80886 (Exhibits A-34, II-1, 1-A-Ayala and 6-A-Ayala) is
still in the hostile and adverse actual occupation and possession of third
parties. More so, because paragraph 2.b of the MOA mandates that
respondents Ayala Group of Companies shall assign, convey and transfer
unto and in favor of the petitioners not only the aforementioned Lot 6-B,
Psu 80886 (Exhibits A-34, II-1, 1-A-Ayala and 6-A-Ayala) but also all the
improvements thereon.
III. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to law and jurisprudence in utterly
disregarding the import and significance of the premises or Whereases of
the MOA and the various annexes thereto forming integral parts thereof
(Exhibits A-6 thru A-9, A-10 thru A-15, A-16 thru A-22, A-23 thru A-26, A27 thru A-30, A-31 thru A-33, and, A-35 thru A-46), evidencing the
reasons behind and the circumstances surrounding the execution thereof,
so that the court may be placed in the position/situation of the parties
thereto at the time the agreement was executed.
IV. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to law and jurisprudence in not
holding that --- as expressly agreed and stipulated in paragraph 2.b of the
MOA (Exhibits A thru A-5 and 1-Ayala) Psu-80886 (Exhibits A-34, II-1, 1-AAyala and 6-A-Ayala) with all the improvements thereon, respondents
Ayala Group of Companies are mandated to first complete and perfect
their ownership and title to the entirety to the afore-described Lot 6, Psu
80886 with all the improvements thereon, earlier covered by T.C.T. No. S65162-Metro Manila, Book T-328, Page 162, in the name of CPJ
Corporation, later by T.C.T. No. T-5331-Las Pias, Metro Manila, Book 27,
Page 131 in the name of respondent Las Pias Ventures, Inc. (Exhibits KK
thru KK-3 and 3-Ayala) and now covered by T.C.T. No. T-41261-Las Pias,
Metro Manila, Book 207, Page 61 in the name of respondent Ayala Land,
Inc., including the aforementioned Lot 6-B, Psu-80886 (Exhibits A-34, II-1,
1-A-Ayala and 6-A-Ayala) which respondents Ayala Group of Companies
are committed and obligated to assign, convey and transfer unto and in
favor of petitioners.
V. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to
disregarding the legal effect upon paragraph
and supplemental complaint dated 23 April
judgment made on 18 June 1993 and
respondents Ayala Group of Companies on 05
day of the hearing of the above-entitled case
judicial admissions contemplated by Section
Rules of Evidence) of the Rules of Court.

law and jurisprudence in


IV of the second amended
1990 of the confession of
the statement made by
November 1993 --- the first
--- both of which constitute
4, Rule 129, Part IV (New

VI. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to law and jurisprudence in


disregarding the following intention of the parties to the MOA as
evidenced by the annexes thereto (Exhibits A-6 thru A-9; A-10 thru A-15;
A-16 thru A-22; A-23 thru A-26; and A-35 thru A-46) in the use of the
phrase free from all liens and encumbrances in paragraph 2.c thereof: --free from any and all liens/encumbrances and/or problems of whatever
kind and nature, including adverse claims, notices of lis pendens, and/or
claims of occupants/possessors who were not parties to any of the cases
mentioned in the aforementioned documents referred to in the
aforementioned annexes.
VII. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to law and jurisprudence in holding
that the two roads right of way (Exhibits 6-B and 6-C) --- confined and
limited to Lot 10, Psu-80886 --- then covered by T.C.T. No. 85717 and later
by T.C.T. No. T-5332-Las Pias, Metro Manila, Book 27, Page 132 (Exhibits
LL thru LL-2 and 3-Ayala) in the name of respondent Las Pias Ventures,
Inc., --- proposed by respondents Ayala Group of Companies constitute
sufficient and valid compliance with the mandate of paragraph 2.d of the
MOA, and, in releasing respondents Ayala Group of Companies from their
commitment and obligation of complying therewith.
VIII. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to law and jurisprudence in
affirming the decision of the trial court directing the cancellation of the
annotation of the MOA and of the notices of lis pendens on the following
Transfer Certificates of Title: T.C.T. No. T-5331-Las Pias, Metro Manila,
Book 27, Page 131 (Exhibits KK thru KK-3 and 3-Ayala); T.C.T. No. T-5332Las Pias, Metro Manila, Book 27, Page 132 (Exhibits LL thru LL-2 and 3-AAyala); T.C.T. No. T-5333 (Exhibits MM thru MM-2 and 3-B-Ayala); and
T.C.T. No. T-5334-Las Pias, Metro Manila, Book 27, Page 134 (Exhibits NN
thru NN-2 and 3-C-Ayala); and, in not directing that the judgment in the
above-entitled case be annotated on all the eighteen (18) Transfer
Certificates of Title covering a total of eighteen (18) parcels of land earlier
known as the Ayala Las Pias Subdivision and now as Ayala Southvale.
IX. The Court of Appeals acted contrary to law and jurisprudence in
disregarding the legal effect upon paragraphs IV, XII, XIII and XIV of the
second amended and supplemental complaint dated 23 April 1990 of the
confession of judgment made on 18 June 1993 by respondents Ayala
Group of Companies and their statement made on 05 November 1993 --the first hearing of the above-entitled case --- both of which constitute
judicial admissions contemplated by Section 4, Rule 129, Part IV (New
Rules of Evidence) of the Rules of Court.
X. In affirming the order issued by the trial court on 21 September 1994,
acting with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals likewise acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

We shall deal with these alleged errors, not in numerical order, but by subject
matter, for clarity and better articulation of the issues involved.
The first matter of contention is the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between
the petitioners (spouses Sabio) and Interbank. [17] The petitioners posit that while the
MOA is explicit in requiring Interbank, and the respondents as its transferees, to
complete and perfect ownership and title to the entire estate, including
improvements thereon, the court a quo and the Court of Appeals failed to compel
the respondents to abide by their commitment to assign, convey and transfer the
subject 58,000 square meter portion to the petitioners free from all liens and
encumbrances.
It is their contention that the presence of illegal occupants and the existence of
unauthorized improvements on the subject parcel negates the respondents claim
that they have completed and perfected their ownership and title over said
property. The fact that the subject parcel is possessed and occupied by squatters is
a clear indication that the respondents were never in possession. Before the
respondents can assign, convey and transfer title to the subject parcel, they must
also be able to place the petitioners in possession thereof since possession is a
necessary attribute of ownership. [18] Thus, for the petitioners, there must first be
removal of the illegal occupants and unauthorized structures, and the subject parcel
should be walled-in before said property is transferred by the respondents to
them. Otherwise, such transfer and conveyance would be meaningless, illusory and
impracticable.
The petitioners also contend that under the circumstances, any conveyance of
the subject parcel by the respondents would not be free from all liens and
encumbrances as stipulated in paragraph 2.c of said MOA. Their premise is that the
presence of squatters and unauthorized improvements should be considered a lien
or encumbrance on the subject parcel, even including such other problems as
adverse claims, notices of lis pendens, and claims of other occupants and
possessors who were not parties to the cases involving the subject parcel.
Consequently, the petitioners assail the alleged failure of the court a quo and
the Court of Appeals to: (1) consider the intention of the parties as manifested in
the annexes to the MOA; and (2) to give significance to the premises and whereas
clauses of the MOA in the interpretation of the phrase free from all liens and
encumbrances in paragraph 2.c of the MOA. [19] These related matters concerning the
intention of the parties to the MOA, the stipulations in the annexed documents, and
the interpretation of the phrase free from all liens and encumbrances were earlier
raised by the petitioners in their appeal before the Court of Appeals, [20] advancing
the same arguments and premises already discussed in the case below.
The trial court dealt exhaustively on these issues, finding that:
However, defendant Interbank has no obligation to clear the contiguous portion of
the land of occupants and to wall-in the same for nothing in the MOA obligates

Interbank to do so. Plaintiffs alleged that the clearing and walling-in of occupants
was a principal commitment and inducement without which plaintiffs would not
have executed the MOA. If such were the case, a provision to that effect should
have been expressly stipulated in the MOA or at least implied therein. Plaintiff
Camilo Sabio is a member of the bar who engaged in the practice of law for over
twenty years and is currently holding public office. In drafting the MOA and/or
agreeing to the stipulations in the same, a person of his stature could have been
more circumspect. The occupants were already in the contiguous portion of the
property when the MOA was executed and if plaintiffs had wanted to ensure that
defendant Interbank would take responsibility for clearing the property of
occupants, they could have specifically provided for it.
Plaintiffs claimed that the obligation to clear and wall-in the occupants was implied
in the provisions of the MOA, to complete and perfect ownership and title to the
land and to (transfer) to plaintiffs the contiguous portion with all improvements and
to deliver the new TCT free from all liens and encumbrances. This court finds that
there is no implication of that sort. If the terms of a contract are clear and leave no
doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of the
stipulations shall control. If the words appear contrary to the evident intention of the
parties, the latter shall prevail over the former. (Art. 1370, Civil Code of the
Philippines). The evidence does not show that the parties had intentions other than
those commonly understood from the aforementioned terms in the MOA. The
plaintiffs have failed to prove that the intention of the parties was other than that
expressed by the literal meaning of the terms of the MOA.
Plaintiffs further alleged that the obligations to clear and wall-in occupants and to
secure the cancellation of the Notice of Lis Pendens regarding the case of Ledonio v.
Sabio annotated on the TCTs of the contiguous portion of the property are included
in the obligation to deliver the new TCT free from all liens and encumbrances, and
that the obligation to clear the occupants shanties is deemed included in the
obligation to complete and perfect ownership and title to the land and to transfer to
plaintiffs the contiguous portion with all improvements, the shanties being deemed
included in the term improvements. This allegation is untenable. Words which may
have different significations shall be understood in that which is most in keeping
with the nature and object of the contract (Art. 1375, Civil Code of the Philippines),
otherwise, it is presumed the words were used in their primary and general
acceptation.
Occupation by the occupants of the contiguous portion of the property is not an
encumbrance which defendant Interbank is obligated to clear the property
from. The meaning of the words, free from all encumbrance does not include
adverse possession of a third person. (Yuson and De Guzman v. Diaz, 42 Phil. 22
[1921]). An adverse possession by another is not an encumbrance in law and does
not contradict the condition that the property be free from encumbrances; nor is it a
lien which connotes security for a claim. Likewise, a Notice of Lis Pendens is not a
lien or encumbrance. It is a mere cautional notice to a prospective buyer or

mortgagee of a parcel of land under litigation, and cannot conceivably be the lien or
encumbrance contemplated by law. (Underscoring ours)[21]
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed and quoted with approval the abovestated findings and conclusion of the trial court, while adding that:
Indeed, an assiduous examination of the MOA and its WHEREAS clauses yields no
basis for a necessary inference that the Interbank undertook to clear the 58,000 sq.
m. portion to be assigned to plaintiffs of occupants/squatters, and to wall-in the
same before turning over the title thereto. The MOA was negotiated for more than
one year (see TSN, December 3, 1993, pp. 17-19), and during the negotiations one
hundred (100) to two hundred (200) squatter families were already occupying the
58,000 sq. m. portion (TSN, December 10, 1993, p. 15). Plaintiffs assert that unless
the squatters are removed from the contiguous portion and the area is properly
walled in to make their removal effective, the predominant purpose of paragraph 2b to transfer ownership and title without plaintiffs having to spend a single cent
would be illusory and meaningless; thus the complaint alleges that the removal of
the occupants and the walling in of the 58,000 sq. m. portion was one of the
principal commitments made by Interbank which induced plaintiffs to execute the
MOA.
In light of the above circumstances, it is highly inconceivable and illogical that the
plaintiffs did not insist on expressly providing the necessary stipulations and in
words that leave nothing to further interpretation. Plaintiff Sabio, a lawyer, took part
personally and with the assistance of another lawyer, in the drafting of the MOA,
and the negotiations took about a year, and no reason is suggested why he
refrained from including therein specific language containing what he considers the
principal commitment of the second party to remove the squatters and wall-in the
58,000 portion to be conveyed to him.That the commitment must be implied, or
inferred by interpretation or be shown by evidence outside of the document
convinces us that the plaintiffs expectations were an afterthought. (Underscoring
ours)[22]
It is a long-held cardinal rule that when the terms of an agreement are reduced
to writing, it is deemed to contain all the terms agreed upon and no evidence of
such terms can be admitted other than the contents of the agreement itself.
[23]
Accordingly, the trial court and the Court of Appeals referred to no other
document but the MOA itself, the stipulations of which are deemed the law between
the contracting parties. The lower courts found that nowhere in the MOA did
Interbank commit to clear the subject parcel of squatters or illegal
occupants. Neither was Interbank obliged to remove whatever unauthorized
improvements were introduced in the said property. Nor is there any stipulation that
would constrain the respondents to fence or wall-in the subject parcel along its
perimeters. There being no such obligation on the part of the respondents, they
cannot be compelled by the courts, even on the petitioners adamant insistence, to
first rid the subject parcel of squatters, remove all improvements and fence the
perimeter thereof, before conveyance or transfer can be effected.

Indeed, it is not the province of the courts to amend a contract by construction,


or to make a new contract for the parties by interjecting material stipulations, or
even to read into the contract words which it does not contain. [24] Since the MOA of
the parties was reduced to writing, such agreement is deemed to contain all its
terms and there cannot be, between the parties and their successors-in-interest,
any evidence of the terms of the written agreement other than the contents of the
agreement itself.[25]
Nevertheless, petitioners invoke the whereas clauses of the MOA, as well as the
other documents that preceded the execution of the MOA, arguing that these will
provide proof of the real intention of the parties when they executed the MOA. They
strongly contend that these documents reflect their true intentions that Interbank,
and its successors-in-interest, are obligated to clear the subject parcel of illegal
occupants and structures, then fence its boundaries. At the outset, however, we
note that petitioners, in their pleadings, never put in issue the allegation that the
MOA failed to express the true intent of the parties thereto. Instead, they adopt
inconsistent positions in regard to the MOA, that by itself, it is valid and binding on
the parties and their successors-in-interest on the one hand, while they also seek
the courts cognizance of extraneous documents to radically modify or add to the
terms of the written agreement on the other hand.
We have uniformly held that it is only where a party puts in issue in the
pleadings the failure of the written agreement to express the true intent of the
parties thereto that said party may present evidence to modify, explain or add to
the terms of the written agreement.[26] The fact that the terms of the MOA are
explicit and leave no doubt as to the intention of the parties, coupled with
petitioners failure to contest the contract for failing to express the true intention of
the parties, behooves the courts not to read into the MOA any other intention that
would contradict its apparent import, [27] such that the literal meaning of its
stipulations must control.[28]
Be that as it may, we shall, for the sake of discussion, peruse the documents
referred to by petitioners as allegedly containing the factual and legal bases for
their claim that respondents are obligated to first clear the subject parcel of all
illegal occupants and structures, and then wall-in said property before there can be
fulfillment of the stipulation to assign, transfer and convey the same to petitioners.
Going by chronological order, the first document is a Deed of
Assignment[29] dated May 25, 1973 between the Ledonio spouses and petitioners,
whereby the Ledonios absolutely assigned and transferred to the Sabios three (3)
parcels of land for and in consideration of services rendered. There is no reference
therein to illegal occupants, structures, and other obligations such as fencing in
these properties.
The second document dated April 14, 1980 is an Agreement [30] between the CPJ
Corporation, the spouses Epifanio and Cecilia Alano, and Trans-Resource
Management and Development Corporation (or TRMDC), whereby CPJ Corporation

sold to the Alanos and TRMDC, as financier of the Alanos, three (3) parcels of
property, one of which later became the subject of the MOA between Interbank and
petitioners. In the said document, the Alanos and TRMDC agreed to buy the
property on an As Is basis, without warranty of any kind as to title and possession
on the part of the seller, CPJ Corporation. The Alanos and TRMDC thereby admitted:
full knowledge of all the legal incidents and adverse claims affecting the said
properties which have been and are being asserted by opposing parties in the
pending cases/litigations involving the subject properties, i.e., LRC Cases Nos.
PN-107 (LRC Rec. No. N-30603) and N-6336 (LRC Rec. No. N-34761), and Civil
Case No. 187222, of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, as well as by other third
persons not parties in the said pending cases/litigations, in respect of which the
SECOND PARTY hereby agree(s) to and will assume full and sole responsibility
for the settlement or removal thereof and save free and harmless the FIRST
PARTY from any and all liability resulting and arising therefrom; x x x. [31]
A related document was the Contract to Buy and Sell [32] between the Alano
spouses and TRMDC arising from the agreement between CPJ Corporation, the
Alanos and TRMDC. Therein, the Alanos committed to free the titles from all liens
and encumbrances on or before a certain date, but with particular reference to the
litigation of any and all cases affecting the properties, x x x especially those cases
mentioned under the Deed of Cession and Assignment dated April 14, 1980
executed by the same parties. Contrary to petitioners suppositions, there is no
mention of the presence and clearing of squatters from the premises as a
condition. In both documents, instead, there are definite references to the pending
cases/litigations as the source of the liens and encumbrances on the subject
property, not including therein any other extrajudicial claims of ownership or
possession.
The fourth contract is a Deed of Assignment with Assumption of
Mortgage[33] between Gerardo and Emma Ledonio as assignors, and the Sabio
couple as assignees, executed by said parties on November 23, 1981. By the very
nature of the contract, the only obligation that the Sabios assumed from the
Ledonios were those under the mortgage in favor of the Philippine National
Bank. Again, there was no mention of illegal occupants and structures, and
therefore, no imposition to rid the property subject of the said mortgage of such
persons and structures.
Then, there were executed on June 28, 1984, by and between TRMDC and
Interbank, the Memorandum of Agreement [34] and the Addendum thereto. [35] In the
former, the property subject of this petition was among those assigned, transferred
and conveyed to Interbank (covered by TCT Nos. S-65161 and 65162), on the
condition that there be settlement within one (1) year of all the attending liens and
problems enumerated as follows:
LIENS

Entry No. 67527/L.P. No. 1753: NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS: By virtue of the notice
of lis pendens presented and filed by Camilo L. Sabio, counsel for the plaintiffs,
notice is hereby given that an action/petition for review has been commenced
and is now pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal in Civil/LRC Rec. No.
19722, entitled Gerardo G. Ledonio, et al. versus Eduardo C. Guico, involving
the property described herein.
Entry No. 69433/L.P. No. 1763: NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS: By virtue of the notice
of lis pendens presented and filed by Camilo L. Sabio, counsel for the
intervenor, notice is hereby given that an action/petition for intervention has
been commenced and is now pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal in
Civil/LRC Rec. No. 657, 758, 976 entitled E. Mayuga, F. Baltazar, et al. vs. F.
Baltazar, S. Ledonio, et al., involving the property described herein.
Entry No. 69434/L.P. No. 1762: NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS: By virtue of the notice
of lis pendens presented and filed by Camilo L. Sabio, counsel for the
plaintiff/defendants, notice is hereby given that an action/petition for review has
been commenced and is now pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal in
Civil/LRC Rec. No. 657, 758, 976 entitled E. Mayuga, F. Baltazar, et al. versus F.
Baltazar, G. Ledonio, et al., involving the property described herein.
Entry No. 25081/T-190713: ADVERSE CLAIM - In an affidavit duly subscribed and
sworn to, the spouses EPIFANIO J. ALANO and CECILIA P. ALANO, claim among
other things, that the property described in this certificate of title is the subject
of a Letter-Agreement executed by the herein owner and the adverse claimants.
Entry No. 65120/L.P. No. 1140: LIS PENDENS: By virtue of a notice of lis pendens,
presented and filed by Camilo L. Sabio, counsel for the Respondent-CounterPetitioners, notice is hereby given that an action has been commenced and is
now pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal in LRC Case No. P-107, LRC
Rec. No. N-30603, entitled GERARDO G. LEDONIO, et al. versus CPJ
CORPORATION, et al., involving the land described in this certificate of title.
Entry No. 38000/S-65161: AGREEMENT - In favor of SPS. EPIFANIO J. ALANO, SR.
and CECILIA P. ALANO and TRANS-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, in an instrument duly executed by the herein registered owner
agrees to sell, transfer and convey unto SPS. EPIFANIO J. ALANO, SR. and
CECILIA P. ALANO and TRANS-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION for the sum of P5,250,000.00 subject to the terms and conditions
set forth in Doc. No. 133, Page No. 28, Book No. II; Series of 1980 of Notary
Public for Makati, Metro Manila, Ma. Cynthia Q. Halaquea.
Entry No. 40608/S-65161: CONTRACT TO BUY AND SELL - By virtue of an
instrument duly executed by and between EPIFANIO J. ALANO and CECILIA P.
ALANO and TRANS-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
the former have agreed to sell unto the latter the property described herein for
a total consideration of FOURTEEN MILLION FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY SEVEN

THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TEN PESOS (P14,467,710.00) subject to the terms


and conditions set forth in Doc. No. 148, Page 31, Book II; Series of 1980 of
Notary Public for Makati, Metro Manila, Ma. Cynthia Q. Halaquea. [36]
In paragraph 2.c of the MOA, the parties stipulated that Interbank shall render
full and free assistance to TRMDC in exploring, negotiating and consummating
appropriate settlement agreements with the parties/claimants concerned, including
defraying the required cost of such settlements with view to cleaning/settling all of
said liens/problems within the prescribed period, but with specific reference to the
liens and problems enumerated in the preceding paragraph. Clearly, the claims of
third parties such as squatters were not among those enumerated as liens or
problems affecting the subject property. Neither was Interbank obligated under the
terms of said agreement to clear the subject property of illegal occupants, there
being no specific mention of their presence therein. On the other hand, the
Addendum to the MOA between TRMDC and Interbank is a mere amendment to the
computations of the principal debt and interests of TRMDC loan with
Interbank. There is nothing in said document that even touches on the subject of
claims, liens and problems affecting the property.
In furtherance of their stipulations in the MOA and Addendum thereto, TRMDC
executed a Deed of Assignment[37] on July 12, 1984 in favor of Interbank involving,
among others, the parcel subject of this petition. Said documents cited the MOA
entered into by the same parties, reiterating TRMDCs undertaking to assign,
transfer and convey absolute ownership and title in fee simple over the properties
described therein free from any and all liens/encumbrances and/or problems of
whatever kind and nature within a specified period of time. While the phrase,
problems of whatever kind and nature may be broadly construed, the succeeding
paragraph stressed that TRMDC is obligated to execute a Deed of Assignment
pending its accomplishment and/or compliance with its obligations under the MOA
and Addendum to the MOA. Thus, the obligations of TRMDC were effectively limited
to those specifically enumerated in the two preceding documents which, as
mentioned earlier, did not include clearing the property of squatters and
unauthorized structures.
Finally, the MOA between petitioners and Interbank, as previously discussed, did
not make mention of squatters and illegal structures. Neither did they stipulate that
Interbank was obligated to clear the subject property of such occupants and
structures, and neither did the said MOA impose on Interbank the obligation to wallin the subject property.
In fine, there is no factual or legal basis for petitioners claim that the
respondents are obligated to rid the subject property of squatters and unauthorized
structures. Neither is there any provision in the cited documents that sustains
petitioners contention. Consequently, the court a quo and the Court of Appeals did
not err in finding that respondents were not under compulsion to clear the subject
property of squatters and unauthorized structures under the MOA, inasmuch as
there was no obligation to fence the perimeter of the subject property. The terms of

the MOA and the preceding contracts are clear and leave no doubt as to their
meaning; hence, they cannot be interpreted in a way that would please the
petitioners, but should rather be fulfilled according to the literal sense of their
stipulations.[38]
However, petitioners would argue that there was no necessity to make specific
provisions with respect to the removal of the occupants and structures from, and
walling-in of, the subject property. To them, it was sufficient that both parties knew
the actual condition of the property. Petitioner Camilo Sabio testified to that effect,
stating that the real intention or agreement of the parties was that the obligation to
complete and perfect ownership and title included the removal of all squatters and
unauthorized structures, and to fence the perimeter of the subject property.
However, the Court of Appeals correctly concluded that petitioner Camilo Sabios
testimony in this regard cannot be taken advantage of to inject into the agreement
any understanding which is contradictory to or at variance with the terms thereof
without violating the parol evidence rule x x x. The rule is that when the terms of an
agreement have been reduced to writing, it is considered as containing all the terms
agreed upon and there can be between the parties and their successors-in-interest,
no evidence of such terms other than the contents of the written agreement. [39]
There are exceptions to said rule, however, such as when:
1. There is an intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in the writing;
2. The written agreement fails to express the true agreement and intent of
the parties thereto;
3. The validity of the written agreement is in question; and
4. There exists other terms agreed by the parties or their successors-ininterest after the execution of the written agreement. [40]
In the instant case, the MOA between the Sabios and Interbank was never
assailed for any intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in the writing by any of
the parties. More importantly, petitioners never alleged in any of their pleadings
that the MOA failed to express the true agreement and intent of the parties
thereto. In fact, petitioner Camilo Sabio would be hard put to question the very
contents of the MOA since he admittedly participated in the drafting of the MOA
with the assistance of legal counsel. [41] Even if he would belatedly complain that the
MOA did not state the true intentions of the parties, he is estopped from doing
so. Indeed, the Court of Appeals noted, it is highly inconceivable and illogical that
petitioner Camilo Sabio, an experienced lawyer who personally took part in the
preparation of the MOA with the assistance of another lawyer, in the course of
negotiations that lasted about a year, did not insist on expressly providing the
necessary stipulations and in words that leave nothing to further interpretation. [42]

He cannot now insist that the court should accept his bare testimony that there
was a verbal understanding between the parties to the MOA, such that there was no
necessity to make specific provisions concerning the removal of illegal occupants
and structures, nor even to fence the subject parcel of land. His testimony may
have been unrebutted, but unsubstantiated testimony offered as proof of verbal
agreements which tend to vary the terms of a written agreement is inadmissible
under the parol evidence rule.[43]
Furthermore, the validity of the MOA was never questioned. In fact, the
petitioners are vigorously pursuing its execution, albeit in a manner that departs
from the stipulations contained therein. Since no fraud or mistake that would vitiate
the validity of the MOA has been alleged, parol evidence cannot be admitted to
incorporate additional contemporaneous conditions which are not mentioned at all
in the written agreement.[44] Neither have petitioners shown that after the execution
of the MOA, the parties and their successors-in-interest agreed to terms other than
those appearing in the MOA.
In sum, there is no justification in the instant case to admit parol evidence to
support the petitioners claims. It is a cardinal rule of evidence, not just one of
technicality but of substance, that the written document is the best evidence of its
own contents. It is also a matter of both principle and policy that when the written
contract, by agreement of the parties, is established as the repository of their
stipulations, any other evidence is excluded and the same cannot be used as a
substitute for such contract, nor even to alter or contradict them. Although the parol
evidence rule is inflexible, it admits of four (4) exceptions, as earlier
discussed. Since none of these exceptions was ever put in issue in the pleadings, in
accordance with Rule 130, Section 9 of the Rules of Court, the parol evidence rule
must be strictly adhered to in this instant case. Therefore, the stipulations of the
contract being the law between the parties, the courts have no recourse but to
enforce them as they were agreed upon and written. [45]
With more reason do we agree with the findings of the Court of Appeals that the
existence of squatters and unauthorized structures in the subject property is not
covered by the phrase liens and encumbrances. The word lien, by common
acceptation, refers to a legal claim or charge on property to secure the payment of
a debt or obligation, and which may often be used interchangeably with the word
encumbrance. We adopt this Courts definition of the words lien and encumbrance as
set forth in People v. RTC,[46] and quoted in the impugned decision of the Court of
Appeals, viz:[47]
In People v. RTC (178 SCRA 299), the Supreme Court held that not all claims against
a property can be considered a lien within the contemplation of law; it was held:
x x x. A lien is a qualified right or a propriety interest, which may be exercised over
the property of another. It is a right which the law gives to have a debt satisfied out
of a particular thing. It signifies a legal claim or charge on property, either real or
personal, as a collateral or security for the payment of some debt or obligation.

Similarly, an encumbrance is a burden upon land, depreciative of its value, such as


lien, easement, or servitude, which, though adverse to (the) interest of (the)
landowner, does not conflict with his conveyance of (the) land in fee.
The following are considered encumbrances: A claim, lien, charge, or liability
attached to and binding real property; e.g., a mortgage, judgment lien, lease,
security interest, easement or right of way, accrued and unpaid taxes. A lien is
already an existing burden or charge on the property while a notice of lis pendens,
as the very term connotes, is only a notice or warning that a claim or possible
charge on the property is pending determination by the court. [48]
Petitioners have failed to show how squatters and unauthorized structures can
fall under the definition of liens and encumbrances. The documents relied upon by
petitioners themselves enumerate the liens and encumbrances and other claims on
the subject property. However, no such burdens on the property concerning the
squatters appear in said documents. The courts cannot supply or read into these
documents words which they clearly do not contain. All things considered, the Court
of Appeals did not err in concluding that the possession of squatters or any other
persons occupying the subject property without any legal right whatsoever, cannot
and should not be considered a lien or encumbrance as commonly defined and
accepted.
The second object of contention is the Deed of Conveyance proposed by
respondents, but rejected by petitioners. [49] In said document, respondents Ayala
Corporation, in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the MOA between
Interbank and the Sabios, stipulated that:
WHEREAS, the FIRST PARTY had already completed the segregation of the said
58,000-square meter portion of Lot 6 (Psd80888) in accordance with the Bureau of
Lands approved survey plan, a copy of which is hereto attached as Annex C. As
such, the FIRST PARTY is now in a position to comply with its obligation under
Section 5 of the said Deed of Sale (Annex B) to convey the property to the SECOND
PARTY, now described as follows:
Lot 6-B, Psd-13-008573, TCT No. T-5331
of Las Pias Registry of Deeds
A PARCEL OF LAND (Lot 6-B of the subdivision plan Psd-13-008573, being a portion
of Lot 6, Psu-80886, (Swo-20609), LRC Record No. 43516), situated in Barrio
Almanza Dos, Las Pias, Metro Manila.Bounded on the NW., & NE., along lines 1 to 6
by Lot 8; on the SE., along line 6-7 by Lot 10 both of plan Psu-80886); and on the S.,
& W., along lines 7-8-1 by Lot 6-A of the subdivision plan. x x x containing an area of
FIFTY EIGHT THOUSAND (58,000) SQ. METERS.
NOW, THEREFORE, for and in consideration of the foregoing, the FIRST PARTY
Transfers, Assigns, Cedes and Conveys unto the SECOND PARTY the said 58,000-

square-meter portion of Lot 6-B, Psd-13-008573, covered by TCT No. T-5331 of Las
Pias Registry of Deeds and described in the above fourth WHEREAS clause.
That as part of the consideration of this Conveyance, the SECOND PARTY binds
himself to file a Notice of Withdrawal of the case entitled Sps. Camilo and Ma.
Marlene A. Ledonio vs. The International Corporate Bank, et al., docketed as Civil
Case No. 18540 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 145. [50]
The Sabios, however, refused to sign said deed of conveyance on the ground
that it was grossly violative of the law and the MOA, [51] more particularly arguing
that:
I. Mere execution of the deed of conveyance does not constitute sufficient
and valid compliance with par. 2.b of the MOA;
II. Ayala Corporation failed to complete and perfect ownership and title to
the subject property since it was never in actual occupation, possession,
control and enjoyment of said property;
III. Under the law, symbolic delivery by mere execution of the deed of
conveyance is not sufficient since actual possession, control and
enjoyment is a main attribute to ownership.
We do not agree, for the law is clear on this matter. 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 the petitioners by virtue of the deed of
conveyance.[52]
Parallel to our ruling in Dulay Enterprises, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[53] we find
that petitioners contention that respondents never acquired ownership over the
subject property since the latter was never in possession of the subject property nor
was the property ever delivered is totally without merit. Under the aforementioned
Article 1498, the mere execution of the deed of conveyance in a public document is
equivalent to the delivery of the property. Since the execution of the deed of
conveyance is deemed equivalent to delivery, prior physical delivery or possession
is not legally required.
It is well-established that ownership and possession are two entirely different
legal concepts.[54] Just as possession is not a definite proof of ownership, neither is
non-possession inconsistent with ownership. [55] Thus, it is of no legal consequence
that respondents were never in actual possession or occupation of the subject
property. They, nevertheless, perfected and completed ownership and title to the
subject property.

Notwithstanding the presence of illegal occupants on the subject property,


transfer of ownership by symbolic delivery under Article 1498 can still be effected
through the execution of the deed of conveyance. As we held in Power Commercial
and Industrial Corp. v. Court of Appeals, [56] the key word is control, not possession,
of the subject property. Considering that the deed of conveyance proposed by
respondents did not stipulate or infer that petitioners could not exercise control over
said property, delivery can be effected through the mere execution of said deed.
Petitioners, as owners, have several options. Among these, they could file
ejectment suits against the occupants, or to amicably secure the latters evacuation
of the premises. Whatever mode petitioners choose, it signifies their control and
their intention as owners to obtain for themselves and to terminate said occupants
actual possession thereof.[57] It is sufficient that there are no legal impediments to
prevent petitioners from gaining physical possession of the subject property. As
stated above, prior physical delivery or possession is not legally required and the
execution of the deed of sale or conveyance is deemed equivalent to delivery. This
deed operates as a formal or symbolic delivery of the property sold and authorizes
the buyer or transferee to use the document as proof of ownership. Nothing more is
required.
Petitioners cannot deny that the deed of conveyance can effectively transfer
ownership as it constitutes symbolic or constructive delivery of the subject
property. Neither can they negate the fact that as owners, they can exercise control
over the said property. Respondents are not obligated to remove the occupants
before conveying the subject property to petitioners.
Petitioners argue that for them to have to spend to clear the subject property of
illegal occupants and structures would violate par. 2.c of the MOA, which imposed
on Interbank and its successors-in-interest the burden to bear all costs, fees and
expenses incidental to segregation, survey, registration and delivery of a new title
to the petitioners. It is patently clear that expenses for removal of illegal occupants
and structures are not among those listed in said paragraph 2.c. The Court of
Appeals noted that the obligation to defray all the costs and fees was connected
with the delivery to petitioners of a new certificate of title, free from all liens and
encumbrances. Had the parties to the MOA intended for Interbank and its
successors-in-interest to be obligated to shoulder the expense of clearing the
subject property of squatters and illegal structures, language to that effect could
have easily and logically have been employed. As it happened, petitioners omitted
to include this as a condition when they drafted the MOA. If the parties thereto
really intended to impose on Interbank and its successors-in-interest the obligation
to eject the squatters from the subject property and defray the cost therefor, it
should have been stated in the MOA. The terms of the MOA are so clear as to leave
no room for any other interpretation.[58]
There is also no truth to petitioners allegation that the deed of conveyance
merely transferred to the Sabios all the rights and participation of respondents over
the subject property. The Deed of Conveyance clearly states that the FIRST PARTY

(respondent Ayala Corporation) Transfers, Assigns, Cedes and Conveys unto the
SECOND PARTY (Sabios) the said 58,000 square-meter portion of Lot 6-B, Psd-13008573, covered by TCT No. T-5331 of Las Pias Registry of Deeds and described in
the above fourth WHEREAS clause. Thus, the deed of conveyance complied with par.
2.b of the MOA, which provided that the said property shall be assigned and
conveyed after Interbank and its successors-in-interest shall complete and perfect
ownership and title to said property.
Another object of contention is the stipulated permanent and perpetual right-ofway, which under par. 2.d of the MOA shall be sufficient for all the needs of said
parcel of land throughout the properties already owned and/or to be acquired by the
SECOND PARTY (Interbank) particularly the parcels of land covered by TCT No.
85717, TCT No. S-65161, and TCT No. S-65162, which right-of-way shall not be less
than ten (10) meters wide. Petitioners contend that it is the purpose and spirit of the
MOA that (they) shall have the same right to pass through the Ayala Corporations
proposed subdivision like any other homeowner therein. [59]
Respondents counter that the right-of-way it has proposed is one with a definite
lane and width and which is the most convenient route to the main access road that
connects Ayala-Las Pias to the Ayala-Alabang Road. Moreover, at petitioners option,
respondents were willing to provide another access road to service the subject
property.[60] The proposed right-of-way is particularly described in TCT No. T-5332,
containing an area of approximately 370,868 square meters. [61]
We agree with the Court of Appeals that the phrase permanent and perpetual
right of way should be construed in its ordinary and accepted signification, i.e., to
provide ingress to and egress from the dominant estate, or to provide passage in
going to the highway from the dominant estate and back. The MOA itself does not
provide that petitioners shall have free access to all the roads within the proposed
subdivision that respondents would establish on the estate. Had the parties
intended that petitioners be given such access, the same should have been
incorporated in the MOA. Once again, the courts cannot read into the MOA any other
intention that would contradict the apparent agreement. The courts cannot
embellish the precise stipulations of the MOA just for the convenience of petitioners.
An easement is an abnormal restriction on respondents property rights, and the
imposition thereof must be tempered and limited to the ordinary needs of
petitioners property, not to satisfy their caprices.The law requires that the right-ofway must be at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate, and when
applicable, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may
be the shortest.[62]
While the proposed right-of-way traversed respondents properties, the same
should not encroach into the latters proposed subdivision roads. Petitioners access
to all the subdivision roads like any homeowner therein is not a necessity and goes
beyond mere convenience on their part. Otherwise, that would be stretching the
purpose and meaning of a right-of-way beyond its legal and general acceptation.The

fact is that respondents did not lack in satisfying the requirements in par. 2.d of the
MOA. Instead of the minimum width of 10 meters, the proposed right-of-way is
twenty-five (25) meters wide,[63] more than double the stipulated minimum
width. There is really no reason for petitioners to complain and want for more.
While this may already be moot and academic, petitioners raise the issue that
respondents confession of judgment [64] did not deny certain allegations contained in
paragraphs IV, XII, XIII, and XIV of the formers second amended and supplemental
complaint;[65] hence, they constitute express judicial admissions which the courts
should have considered.[66]
While respondents denominated their pleading as a confession of judgment, it is
more in the nature of a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings or a summary
judgment. Indeed, respondents asked the court a quo to render partial judgment
based on their admission of the genuineness and contents of certain documentary
evidence offered by both parties. It is clear that respondents made no admission
that would support any of petitioners contentions that deviate from the very
stipulations in the MOA. There can be no implied admission of allegations which are
extraneous to the contents of the documents expressly admitted by
respondents. Their specific denials of certain allegations in petitioners complaint
still stand in their answer. In fact, respondents did not state anything that would
contradict their earlier defenses and arguments already on record. It was a mere
reiteration of their stand that the MOA, as worded, be implemented literally and
without further delay.
It cannot also be said that respondents are deemed to have admitted the
allegations in Camilo Sabios testimony as to the circumstances surrounding the
execution of the MOA. As petitioners themselves noted, respondents counsel
declared in open court that: (a) they were ready to agree and admit all the
documentary evidence that the counsel (Atty. Sabio) has anyway enumerated in his
pre-trial brief x x x;(b) its very clear that this case could be decided based on the
pleadings and documentary evidence x x x; and (c) it is admitted by the defendants
and we are ready to admit the documentary evidence that theyll be presenting.
[67]
Clearly, respondents only admitted all the documentary evidence, not the
testimonial evidence offered by petitioners.
We stated earlier that this issue is already moot and academic for the supposed
judicial admissions referred to by petitioners, had they been considered by the
lower court, would not alter the outcome of this case. The lower courts conclusions,
insofar as the implementation of the MOA is concerned, are more than amply
supported by documentary evidence. Apart from those matters expressly admitted
by respondents, there can be no implied admissions which the lower court could
properly recognize. Besides, as earlier discussed, the documents themselves are the
best evidence of the agreements between the parties in the absence of compelling
evidence to the contrary.

Related to the issue of the confession of judgment is petitioners claim for


damages. The trial court found that petitioners are entitled to P500,000.00 in actual
damages and P250,000.00 in exemplary damages. On appeal, however, the Court of
Appeals reversed the trial courts ruling, finding the awards for actual and exemplary
damages in favor of petitioners unwarranted, and setting the same aside.
Petitioners have failed, in this petition, to present any persuasive proof that they
are entitled to the damages awarded by the trial court. As found by the Court of
Appeals, the claim for actual damages remained unsubstantiated and unproven. It is
well-settled that actual or compensatory damages must be duly proved and proved
with reasonable degree of certainty. [68] It is the fundamental principle of the law on
damages that while one injured by a breach of contract shall be awarded fair and
just compensation commensurate with the loss sustained as a consequence of the
defendants acts or omission, a party is entitled only to such compensation for the
pecuniary loss that he has duly proven. Actual damages cannot be presumed and
cannot be based on just flimsy, remote, speculative and nonsubstantial proof. [69]
Petitioners also failed to establish that the delay in the implementation of the
MOA was the sole responsibility of respondents. In fact, no factual basis was
presented to support the claim for not only actual or compensatory damages, but
also for exemplary damages. Petitioners failed to show that respondents acted in a
wanton, fraudulent, reckless or malevolent manner that would warrant the award of
exemplary damages.[70]
Anent the directive to cancel the annotation of the MOA and the Notices of Lis
Pendens on TCT Nos. T-5331, T-5332, T-5333 and T-5334, [71]petitioners argue that
the maintenance of the annotation of the MOA and the notices of lis pendens is
necessary to protect their rights should the property be sold to third persons for
value. They also stress that the MOA expressly mandates the annotation of the MOA
on TCT Nos. S-65161 and S-65162.[72]
The Court of Appeals found that:
With respect to the annotation of the MOA, paragraph 4 of the MOA itself expressly
provides that the obligations assumed under paragraphs 2.b, 2.c and 2.d thereof
(par. 2.d contains the right of way provision) shall be binding upon all the assigns,
heirs and successors of the parties, and that the MOA shall be annotated on TCT No.
65161 and TCT No. 65162, which became eventually TCT No. 5333 and TCT No.
5331. No mention is made of the other titles to be owned and/or acquired by
defendant-appellant, and the omission cannot be supplied by construction. [73]
We agree. Indeed, the MOA only require that it be annotated on TCT Nos. 65161
(now 5333) and 65162 (now 5331). Thus, there should be no reason to extend this
requirement to other titles not mentioned in the MOA.
Petitioners also take exception to the refusal of the lower court to annotate the
judgment in the case below on all eighteen (18) titles covering the parcels of land

comprising Ayala Southvale Subdivision.The underlying intention of petitioners is to


have the easement of right-of-way annotated on all of the titles. Respondents
counter that there is no such need because the right-of-way has been delineated
and segregated and, hence, there is no reason to annotate the same on the titles
that are not affected thereby.
Again, we find no merit in petitioners contention, especially since the easement
of right-of-way as offered by respondent is more than adequate for the needs of the
subject property, and that it was properly constituted without imposing unnecessary
burden on the other properties of respondents. There can really be no justification
for annotation on the titles that are not subject to the easement.
Finally, we come to the tenth and last error assigned by petitioners, i.e., that the
trial court erred in ordering the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens on TCT Nos.
T-5331 to T-5334 and all titles derived therefrom. In its Resolution,[74] the Court of
Appeals held that:
Nevertheless, the appellants argument that the trial court committed grave abuse
of discretion in ordering the cancellation of the notices of lis pendens before finality
of the assailed judgment in the absence of good reasons to justify execution
pending appeal is untenable. The order of cancellation of the notices of lis pendens
was not issued by the trial court under Section 2, Rule 38 of the Rules of Court
regarding execution pending appeal which requires the existence of good reasons,
but under Section 24 of Rule 14 and Section 77 of PD 1529 which allow the trial
court to cancel notice of lis pendens even before final resolution of the case on the
merits upon finding that the notice is for the purpose of molesting the adverse
party, or that it is not necessary to protect the rights of the party who caused it to
be registered. (Underscoring ours)
We find no cogent reason to disturb the ruling of the Court of Appeals in this
regard. In light of the foregoing discussion, the trial court did not abuse, gravely or
otherwise,
its
discretion
when
it
allowed
the
cancellation
of
the
annotations. Accordingly, neither did the Court of Appeals err when it affirmed the
order of the trial court on the finding that there was no longer any necessity to
protect the rights of petitioners over the titles that were either not affected by the
easement or not mentioned in the MOA.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant petition for review is
DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 30, 1997 in CA-G.R. CV
No. 48870 is AFFIRMED in toto.No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
NUISANCE

CLR-PROPERTY
LIST OF CASES
2015-2016
CASES:

KINDS/NATURE OF
PROPERTY/ACCESSION/POSSESSION/OWNERSHIP

1. Fels Energy Inc vs. Province of Batangas- --------Feb. 16, 2007


2. Davao Sawmill Co. vs. Castillo----------------------61 Phil 709
3. Board of Assessment Appeals QC vs. Meralco----10 SCR 68
4. Rep vs Lat Vda. De Castillo-------------------------- June 30, 1988
5. Yap vs Tanada----------------------------------------- July 18, 1988
6. Sec. of DENR vs. Yap--------------------------------- Oct. 8, 2008
7. Pasio vs. Monterroyo-------------------------------- July 31, 2008
8. Land Bank vs. Rep------------------------------------ Feb. 4, 2008
9. Villarico vs. Sarmiento---------------------------------Nov 11 2004

10. Laurel vs. Garcia--------------------------------------- July 25,


1990
11

Lopez vs. Espinosa

Sept. 4, 2009

12

Cabrera vs. Getarueda

April 21, 2009

13

Padilla vs. Velasco

Jan. 19, 2009

14

Sps. Lopez vs. Sps. Lopez

Nov. 25, 2009

15

Sps. Narvaez vs. Sps. Alciso

July 27, 2009

16

Heirs of Limense vs. Vda. De


Ramos

Oct. 28, 2009

17

Sulo sa Nayon vs. Nayong


Pilipino Foundation

Jan. 20, 2009

18

Sps. Macasaet vs. Sps.


Macasaet

Sept. 30, 2004

19

Sps. Nuguid vs. CA and Pecson

Feb. 13, 2005

20

Pecson vs. CA

May 26, 1995

Garcia vs. CA

Aug. 10, 1999

21

Caisip vs. People

Nov. 18, 1970

22

German Mgt. and Services vs.


CA

Sept. 14, 1989

23

Custodio vs. CA

Feb. 9, 1996

24

Ignacio vs. Hilario

April 30, 1946

25

Filipinas Colleges vs. Timbang

Sept. 19, 1959

26

Bernardo vs. Bataclan

Nov. 28, 1938

27

Manotoc-Realty vs. Tecson

Aug. 19, 1988

28

Ignao vs. IAC

Jan. 18, 1991

29

MWSS vs. CA

Aug. 25, 1986

30

Azarcon vs. Eusebio

April 29, 1959

31

Martinez vs. Baganus

28 Phil 50

32

Reynante vs. CA

April 08, 1992

33

Ronquillo vs. CA

March 20, 1991

34

Agustin vs. IAC

July 5, 1990

35

Borbajo v. Hiddenview
Homeowners

Jan. 31, 2005

36

Aneco Realty vs. Landex Devt.

July 28, 2008

37

Pada-Kilario vs. CA

Jan. 19, 2000

38

Tayag vs. Yuseco

97 Phil 712

39

Alviola vs. CA

289 SCRA 537

40

Rep. vs. Santos III

Nov. 12, 2012

41

Guizon vs. City of Manila

42

Chavez vs. PEA

43

Rep. Vs. Heirs of Luisa Villa


Abrille
Martinez vs. Mun. Of San Mateo

44

72 Phil 437

May 7, 1976
6 Phil 3

44

Vda. De Roxas vs. Our Ladys


foundation, Inc.

March 6, 2013

45

Tuatis vs. Sps. Escol

October 27, 2009

46

Sps. Canezo vs. Sps. Bautista

Sept. 1, 2010

47

Jagualing vs. CA

48

Bernardo vs. Bataclan

66 Phil 590

49

Ballatan vs. CA

March 2, 1999

50

Grande vs. CA

115 Phil 521

194 SCRA 607

QUIETING OF TITLE:

1. Mananquil vs. Maico- Nov. 21, 2012

2. RAGASA vs. ROA and the EX-OFFICIO SHERIFF OF QC , June 30, 2006

3. TEOFISTO OO, ET. ALS. vs. VICENTE N. LIM, March 9, 2010

CO-OWNERSHIP/PARTITION/POSSESSION;

4. Pardell vs. Bartolome- 23 P 450


5. Adlawan v. Adlawan
Jan. 20, 2006; G.R. No. 161916
6. Galvez V. CA et.al.
G.R. No. 157954, March 24, 2006
7. Resuena et.al. v. CA, et.al.
G.R. No. 128338, March 28, 2005
8. Sps. Si vs. CA- 342 SCRA 653
9. Aguirre et.al. v. CA - G.R. No. 122249, Jan. 29, 2004
10.

Canezo v. Bautista - Sept. 1, 2010; 629 S 580

11.

Mariano vs. CA-May 28, 1993

12.

Salvador vs. CA- April 5, 1995

13.

Vda. De Ape vs. CA- April 15, 2005

14.

Ramirez vs. Ramirez 20 SCRA 384

15.

Acabal vs. Acabal March 31, 2005

16.

Paulmitan vs. CA- Nov. 1992

17.

Delicano vs. Pechaten- Sept. 7, 2011

18.

Notarte vs. Notarte- Aug. 29, 2012

19.

Casilang vs. Casilang-Dizon- Feb. 20, 2012

USUFRUCT;

20.Orozco vs. Araneta- 90 Phil 399


21.NHA vs. CA- 456 SCRA 17
22.Fabie vs. David- 75 Phil 536
23.Seifert vs. Bachrach- 79 P 748
24.MORALIDAD vs. PERNES, Respondents. August 3, 2006
25.Hemedes vs. CA- Oct. 8, 1999

************************************************************************

EASEMENTS;
26.

Castro vs. Monson- Feb. 2, 2011

27.

Gancayco vs. City Govt. of QC- #184478- Oct. 11, 2011

28.

Dichoso vs. Marcos April 11, 2011

29.

Quintanilla vs. Abangan- Feb. 12, 2008

30.

Sps. Salinbajon vs. Tan Jan. 21, 2010

31.

Villanueva vs. Velasco November 27, 2000

32.

Sabio vs. Intl Corp. Bank- Sept. 4, 2001

NUISANCE
33.

Monteverde vs. Generoso 52 P 123

34.

Velasco vs. Manila Electric- 40 SCRA 342

35.

Hidalgo Ent. Vs. Balandan- 91 P 488

36.

Timoner vs. People- 125 SCRA 830

37.

Clama vs. CA- 176 SCRA 555

38.

AC Ent., Inc. vs. Frabelle Properties Corp.- 506 SCRA 625

39.

Gancayco vs. City Govt. of QC- #184478- Oct. 11, 2011

MODES OF ACQUIRING OWNERSHIP


OCCUPATION/DONATIONS:
40.

Pajunar vs. CA- 175 SCRA 464

41.

Catabian vs. Tungcut- 11 P 49

42.

Nepomuceno vs. CA- 139 SCRA 206

43.

Matabuena vs. Cervantes- 38 SCRA 284

44.

Arcaba vs. Batocael- Nov. 22, 2001

45.

Beaterio vs. CA- 137 SCRA 459

46.

Alejandro vs. Geraldez- Aug. 18, 1977

47.

Puig vs. Penaflorida- Jan. 31, 1966

48.

Gestopa vs. CA- ct. 5, 2000

49.

Maglasang vs. Heirs of Corazon Cabatingan- June 5, 2002

50.

Calanasan vs. Dolorito- Nov. 25, 2013