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VICENTE STO. DOMINGO BERNARDO vs.

CATALINO BATACLAN
66 Phil 598
G.R. No. L-44606 November 28, 1938
Doctrine:
The Civil Code confirms certain time-honored principles of the law of property. One of these
is the principle of accession whereby the owner of property acquires not only that which it
produces but that which is united to it either naturally or artificially.
Whatever is built, planted or sown on the land of another, and the improvements or repairs
made thereon, belong to the owner of the land (art. 358). Where, however, the planter,
builder, or sower has acted in good faith, a conflict of rights arises between the owners and it
becomes necessary to protect the owner of the improvements without causing injustice to
the owner of the land.
Facts:
1.

Bernardo learned when he entered into the premises of the property purchased from
Pastor Samonte that the latter authorised Catalino Bataclan to make improvements
thereon. In a civil case to secure possession, the court ruled that Bataclan was a
builder and possessor in good faith and was entitled to reimbursement for the works
and improvements,

2.

The court gave the plaintiff 30 days within which to choose between the sale of the
land or to buy the works. Bernardo decided to sell the land to the defendant but the
latter informed the court that he is unable to pay the sum required. The court then
awarded the respondent 30 days to purchase the land or else the property will be
sold in a public auction.

3.

In the auction sale, Toribio Teodoro was the highest bidder for 8,000 Pesos. The
purchaser sought judicial remedy for the possession of the property.

Issue:
W/N the defendant lost his right to retain the property pending payment for indemnity.
Decision:
The Court ruled that the right to retain the property has already been lost. Due to the failure
and inability of the defendant to pay the purchase price the subject property was sold in a
public auction which Bernardo asked for, without any protest from Bataclan. Therefore, the
court found no reason to keep the property in the possession of the defendant.
the Court explained that Article 448 provides a just and equitable solution to the
impracticability of creating "forced co-ownership" by giving the owner of the land the option
to acquire the improvements after payment of the proper indemnity or to oblige the builder or
planter to pay for the land and the sower to pay the proper rent. The owner of the land is
allowed to exercise the said options because his right is older and because, by the principle
of accession, he is entitled to the ownership of the accessory thing.

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