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Quieting of Title (Arts.

476-481 NCC) involving prescription and purchaser in good faith, but the appellate court dismissed
Nature. the appeal and affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court.
Prescription.
Who are allowed to bring. It was established by the evidence on record that the land in question was, in 1950,
Heirs of Olviga v CA; G.R. No. 104813. October 21, 1993. still forest land when Eutiquio Pureza, then only twelve years old, and his father
cleared and cultivated it. In 1954, they introduced improvements such as, coconut
G.R. No. 104813 October 21, 1993 trees, jackfruit, mangoes, avocado and bananas. When the area was released for
disposition, the Bureau of Lands surveyed the same in 1956 in the name of Eutiquio
HEIRS OF JOSE OLVIGA, NAMELY: PLACIDA S. OLVIGA, VIRGILIO OLVIGA, Pureza. Since then, the land has been known as Lot 13, Pls-84 of the Guinayangan
LOLITA OLVIGA, CARMENCITA O. ALPUERTO and JEANETTE OLILA, petitioners, Public Land Subdivision. Godofredo Olviga, a son of Jose Olviga then living with the
vs. latter, protested the survey but without respect to a one-half-hectare portion "sa
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ANGELITA R. GLOR, SERILINA G. JAMON, dakong panulukan ng Amihanan-Silanganan." This protest or "tutol" (Exh. B) of
EMELITA G. MADELA, EMAN G. MANALO, MYRNA GLOR, FELIPE GLOR, Godofredo Olviga, brother of petitioners Virgilio Olviga and Lolita Olviga Olila, is of
GAUDENCIO GLOR and CORNELIO GLOR, respondents. public record in the Bureau of Lands (Exh. B). In said document, Godofredo Olviga
expressly admitted that the lot belonged to Eutiquio Pureza, except the 1/2 hectare
Natalio T. Paril, Jr. for petitioners. portion claimed by him (Godofredo) which was included in the survey of Pureza's Lot
13.
Leovigildo L. Cerilla for private respondents.
In 1960, Eutiquio Pureza filed a homestead application over Lot 13. Without his
application having been acted upon, he transferred his rights in said lot to Cornelia
GRIO-AQUINO, J.: Glor in 1961. Neither the homestead application of Eutiquio nor the proposed transfer
of his rights to Cornelio Glor was acted upon by the Director of Lands for reasons that
This is a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. the records of the Bureau of Lands do not disclose.
30542, affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Calauag, Quezon
ordering the defendants, heirs of Jose Olviga (petitioners herein), to reconvey the In 1967, Jose Olviga obtained a registered title for said lot in a cadastral proceeding,
land in dispute to the plaintiffs, heirs of Cornelia Glor (now private respondents),and in fraud of the rights of Pureza and his transferee, Cornelio Glor and his family who
to pay attorney's fees and the costs of suit. were the real and actual occupants of the land.

This case started as an action (Civil Case No. C-883) filed in the Regional Trial Court What must have happened as found by the Court of Appeals, is that since Cornelio
of Calauag, Quezon by Angelita Glor and her children against the heirs of Jose Olviga Glor, Sr. was sickly, and his wife (now widowed) Angelita Glor, was unschooled, they
for reconveyance of a parcel of land, measuring 54,406 square meters (5.44 has), failed to follow up Pureza's homestead application over Lot 13 in the cadastral
more or less, known as Lot 13, Pls-84 of the Guinayangan Public Land Subdivision. proceedings in the Municipal Court of Guinayangan Public Land Subdivision, Pls-84,
Case 1 (Philcusa-Foa). In fact, they were not aware of the proceedings. Angelita Glor
The court, after due trial, rendered judgment in favor of the private respondents, the testified that no notice was ever posted on Lot 13 about the proceedings nor did the
dispositive portion of which reads: barangay captain, tell her about them. Neither did she receive any notice from the
court sheriff or any court employee. This non-posting of the hearing of the cadastral
WHEREFORE, and considering the foregoing judgment is hereby rendered in favor of hearing on the land, or in the barangay hall, was confirmed by petitioner Virgilio
the PLAINTIFFS and against the defendants as heirs of Jose Olviga to reconvey the Olviga himself who testified that he did not notice any papers posted on the property
land in dispute to the plaintiffs as heirs of Cornelio Glor Sr.; condemning the in question (tsn, October 18, 1990, pp. 83-84). On the other hand, petitioner's father
defendants jointly and severally to pay the plaintiffs attorneys fees of P5,000.00 plus Jose Olviga, claimed both Lots 12 and 13, which are adjoining lots, in the same
the costs of the suit. The counterclaim interposed by defendants is dismissed. ( p. 12, cadastral proceedings. He falsely omitted in his answer mention of the fact that other
Rollo.) persons were in possession of, and claiming adverse interest in, Lot 13 and that the
land had been surveyed for Eutiquio Pureza, the former occupant who sold his
The judgment was appealed to the Court of Appeals by the defendants who raised interests to private respondents' parent. Cornelio Glor, in 1961. Glor was Olviga's
several factual issues regarding possession and fraud, as well as legal issues neighbor. As a result, both Lots 12 and 13 were declared as uncontested in the name
of Jose Olviga (Exh. 7), and were registered in his name in 1967 in Original Petitioners now seek a review of the above decision. They allege that the present
Certificate of Title, No. 0-12713 (Exh. 5). In 1971, Olviga requested that OCT No. 0- action has already prescribed; (2) the Court of Appeals erred when it ruled that the
12713 be split into two (2) TCT's, one each for the two (2) lots. TCT Nos. T-103823 private respondents' cause of action accrued not in 1967 but in 1988; (3) that the
and T-103824 were issued for lots 12 and 13, respectively. Jose Olviga later Court of Appeals erred when it failed to consider that private respondents as mere
transferred Lot 13 to his son-in-law, Jaime Olila and daughter, Lolita Olviga resulting homestead transferees cannot maintain an action for reconveyance; (4) that the Faja
in the cancellation of TCT. No. 241314 in the names of the spouses (Exh. 3). and Caragay-Layno cases have no bearing and direct application to the case at bar;
and (5) that private respondents have not proven by preponderance of evidence their
It was also established that the spouses Jaime Olila and Lolita Olviga Olila, were not ownership and possession of the disputed land.
innocent purchasers for value of the land from their father, and have never been in
the possession. The Glors and their predecessor-in-interest (Cornelio Glor Sr., and With regard to the issue of prescription, this Court has ruled a number of times before
Eutiquio Pureza) were the ones found to be in possession of the property. an action for reconveyance of a parcel of land based on implied or constructive trust
prescribes in ten years, the point of reference being the date of registration of the
From said finding, and conclusions, the appellate court in its decision dated January deed of the date of the issuance of the certificate of title over the property (Vda. de
13, 1992, resolved the issues presented, thus: Portugal vs. IAC, 159 SCRA 178). But this rule applies only when the plaintiff is not in
possession of the property, since if a person claiming to be the owner thereof is in
. . ., whether or not plaintiffs' action is really one for quieting of title that does not actual possession of the property, the right to seek reconveyance, which in effect
prescribe; or assuming that their demand for reconveyance of the lot in question seeks to quiet title to the property, does not prescribe.
prescribes in ten years, being based on an implied trust, whether their cause of action
should be counted from the date of the issuance of the late Jose Olviga's title over In Sapto vs. Fabiana, 103 Phil. 683, 686-687, appellants' predecessors sold to
said lot in 1967 and has, therefore, already prescribed, or whether the prescriptive appellees in 1931 a parcel of land. The sale was approved by the Provincial Governor
period should be counted from the date plaintiffs acquired knowledge of said title of Davao but was never registered. Possession of the land was, however, transferred
sometime in 1988. to Fabiana and the latter has been in possession thereof from 1931 up to the present.
The widow and children of Samuel Sapto filed an action to recover the land. This
The first question should be answered in the affirmative. . . . Court in affirming the validity of the sale in favor of appellee (Fabiana) held:

xxx xxx xxx No enforcement of the contract is in fact needed, since the delivery of possession of
the land sold had consummated, the sale and transferred title to the purchaser,
But even assuming that plaintiffs' action for reconveyance, being based on an implied registration of the contract not being indispensable as between the parties. Actually
or constructive trust, prescribes in ten years, the lower court again correctly ruled that the action for conveyance was one to quiet title, i.e., to remove the cloud cast upon
their cause of action should be considered to have accrued not from the date of appellee's ownership by the refusal of the appellants to recognize the sale made by
registration of the title of Jose Olviga, defendants' predecessor-in-interest, over the lot their predecessors. This action accrued only when appellants initiated their suit to
in question in 1967, but only from the time the plaintiffs learned of such title in 1988. . recover the land in 1954. Furthermore, it is an established rule of American
... jurisprudence (made applicable in this jurisdiction by Art. 480 of the New Civil Code)
that actions to quiet title to property in the possession of the plaintiff are
xxx xxx xxx imprescriptible (44 Am. Jur. p. 47; Cooper vs. Rhea, 39 L.R.A. 930; Inland Empire
Land Co. vs. Grant County, 138 Wash. 439 245 Pac. 14).
All in all, therefore, the court a quo did not err in holding that plaintiffs' action against
defendants-appellants for the reconveyance of the lot in question filed on April 10, In Faja vs. Court of Appeals, 75 SCRA 441, 446, this Court likewise reiterated the
1989, or in less than a year after they learned of the issuance of a title over said lot to ruling that:
Jose Olviga, predecessor-in-interest of defendants, has not yet prescribed.
. . . There is settled jurisprudence that one who is in actual possession of a piece of
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from herein is AFFIRMED in toto, with costs land claiming to be owner thereof may wait until his possession is disturbed or his title
against defendants-appellants. (pp. 48-51, Rollo.) is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right, the reason for the rule being, that
his undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right to seek the aid of a court of
equity to ascertain and determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and
its effect on his own title, which right can be claimed only by one who is in HON. COURT OF APPEALS and HEIRS OF FRANCISCO N. DONASCO, namely:
possession. No better situation can be conceived at the moment for Us to apply this MELINDA D. PELAYO, MARIETTA D. SINGSON, MYRNA D. CUEVAS, NATIVIDAD
rule on equity than that of herein petitioners whose mother, Felipa Faja, was in D. PELAYO, YOLANDA D. CACERES and MARY DONASCO, respondents.
possession of the litigated property for no less than 30 years and was suddenly
confronted with a claim that the land she had been occupying and cultivating all these Bernardo S. Chan for petitioners.
years, was titled in the name of a third person. We hold that in such situation the right
to quiet title to the property, to seek its reconveyance and annul any certificate of title Orlando A. Galope for respondents.
covering it, accrued only from the time in possession was made aware of a claim
adverse to his own, and it is only then that the statutory period of prescription
commences to run against possessor. DAVIDE, JR., J.:

In the case at bar, private respondents and their predecessors-in-interest were in An action denominated as one for specific performance and damages was brought by
actual possession of the property since 1950. Their undisturbed possession gave the private respondents against the petitioners before the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
them the continuing right to seek the aid of a court of equity to determine the nature of of Caloocan City which, after due trial, rendered a decision in favor of the petitioners.
the adverse claim of petitioners, who in 198 disturbed their possession. On appeal, the respondent Court reversed the trial court's decision.

The other issues raised in the petition are factual. It is from this judgment that the petitioners have appealed to this Court by way of a
petition for review on certiorari.
The Court of Appeals and the trial court correctly based their findings of tact on the
testimonies of the parties and their witnessess. It can be said therefore that those The material facts of this case are simple and undisputed.
conclusions are based on substantial evidence. No cogent reason exists to disturb
them. As reiterated in a long line of decisions, it is beyond the province of this Court Petitioner Vicente Pingol is the owner of Lot No. 3223 of the Cadastral Survey of
to make its own findings of facts different from those of the trial court as affirmed by Caloocan, with an area of 549 square meters, located at Bagong Barrio, Caloocan
the Court of Appeals (Vda. de Cailles vs. Mayuga 170 SCRA 347; New City and more particularly described in Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 7435 of
Owners/Management of TML Garments, Inc. vs. Zaragosa, 170 SCRA 563). In the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City. On 17 February 1969, he executed a "DEED
petitions for review of decisions of the Court of Appeals, the jurisdiction of this Court OF ABSOLUTE SALE OF ONE-HALF OF (1/2) [OF] AN UNDIVIDED PORTION OF A
is confined to a review of questions of law, except when the findings of fact are not PARCEL OF LAND" in favor of Francisco N. Donasco which was acknowledged
supported by the records or are so glaringly erroneous as to constitute a serious before a notary public. The parcel of land referred to herein is Lot No. 3223 and the
abuse of discretion (Lim vs. Court of Appeals, 158 SCRA 307; Samson vs. CA, 141 pertinent portions of the document read as follows:
SCRA 194; Republic vs. IAC, 144 SCRA 705). The case at bar does not fall under the
exceptions. That for and in consideration of the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND AND FIVE
HUNDRED THIRTY (P20,530.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency, the VENDOR hereby
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision of the Court of Appeals, the these presents SELL, CONVEY AND CONVEY by way of Absolute Sale the one-half
petition for review is DENIED, with costs against the petitioners. (1/2) portion, equivalent to Two Hundred Seventy Four and point Fifty (274.50)
square meters, to VENDEE, the above-mentioned property, his heirs, assigns and
SO ORDERED. successors-in- interest;

Pingol v CA; G.R. No. 102909. September 6, 1993. That the VENDOR hereby confesses and acknowledges the receipt of TWO
THOUSAND (P2,000.00) PESOS from VENDEE as advanced (sic) and partial
G.R. No. 102909 September 6, 1993 payment to the above-cited consideration of the Sale herein mentioned, leaving
therefor a balance of Eighteen Thousand and Five Hundred Thirty (P18,530) Pesos to
SPOUSES VICENTE and LOURDES PINGOL, petitioners, be paid in several equal installments within a period of six (6) years, beginning
vs. January, 1970;
That after computing the above-mentioned equal installments, the VENDEE agrees payment of the property in question but to no avail. They further alleged that the
and undertakes to pay unto the VENDOR a monthly amount equivalent to Two defendants were committing "acts of forcible entry and encroachment" upon their land
Hundred Fifty Seven (sic) and Thirty Six Centavos (P257.36) within a period of and asked that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to restrain the defendants
Seventy One (71) months and on the Seven Two [sic] (72) month, the amount of from the acts complained of.
(P257.44) as the last and final installment thereof;
Plaintiffs then prayed that the defendants be ordered, inter alia:
That the VENDEE agrees that in case of default in the payment of the installment due
the same shall earn a legal rate of interest, and to which the VENDOR likewise a. . . . to accept the amount of P10,161.00, more or less, plus the stipulated
agrees; legal rate of interest due thereon, as full and complete payment of the balance for the
agreed price/consideration on the one- half (1/2) portion of the parcel of land . . .;
That the VENDEE undertakes to pay unto the VENDOR the herein monthly [and]
installment within the first five (5) days of each month and the same shall be made
available and to be paid at the residence of the VENDOR, payment to be made either b. . . . to execute the final deed of sale on the one-half (1/2) portion of the lot . .
directly to the VENDOR, his wife or his authorized representative or factor; . in accordance with the partition reflected in the survey and subdivision plan, . . . .5

That in case of partition of the above-described property between herein VENDOR In their answer with counterclaim, 6 defendants admitted the execution of the
and VENDEE the same shall be divided into two (2) equal parts, the VENDOR gets aforementioned deed of sale, the segregation of the portion sold and the preparation
the corner facing J. De Jesus and Malolos Avenue and the VENDEE shall get the and approval of the subdivision plan, but set up the following special and affirmative
portion with fifteen 15 meters frontage facing J. De Jesus Street only.1 defenses: (1) plaintiffs' cause of action had already prescribed; (2) the deed of sale
embodied a conditional contract of sale "as the consideration is to be paid on
Pursuant to the contract, Donasco paid P2,000.00 to Pingol. The one-half portion, installment basis within a period of six years beginning January, 1970"; (3) the
designated as Lot No. 3223-A, was then segregated from the mother lot, and the subdivision plan was prepared on the assumption that Francisco Donasco would be
parties prepared a subdivision plan (Exhibit "C") which was approved by the Land able to comply with his obligation; (4) when Francisco died, he had not fully paid the
Registration Commission.2 total consideration agreed upon; and (5) considering the breach by Francisco of his
contractual obligation way back in 1976, the sale was deemed to have been
Francisco immediately took possession of the subject lot and constructed a house cancelled and the continuous occupancy of Francisco after 1976 and by his heirs
thereon. In January 1970, he started paying the monthly installments but was able to thereafter was by mere tolerance of Vicente Pingol. They then asked that the plaintiffs
pay only up to 1972. be ordered to vacate the premises and to pay them attorney's fees and a reasonable
compensation for the use of the land.
On 13 July 1984, Francisco Donasco died. At the time of his demise, he had paid
P8,369.00, plus the P2,000.00 advance payment, leaving a balance of P10,161.00 on In their Reply and Answer to Counterclaim, 7 the plaintiffs pointed out that there is no
the contract price. 3 Lot No. 3223-A remained in the possession of Donasco's heirs. provision in the deed of sale for its cancellation in case of default in the payment of
the monthly installments and invoked Article 1592 of the New Civil Code. They
On 19 October 1988, the heirs of Francisco Donasco filed an action for "Specific specifically denied the allegations in the counterclaim.
Performance and Damages, with Prayer for Writ of Preliminary Injunction" against the
spouses Vicente and Lourdes Pingol (petitioners herein) before the RTC of Caloocan The issues having been joined, the case was then tried on the merits.
City. The action was docketed as Civil Case No. 13572 and raffled off to Branch 125
of the said court. On 22 January 1990, the trial court rendered a decision 8 dismissing the complaint
and ordering the plaintiffs to pay the defendants P350.00 as reasonable monthly
In their complaint, 4 the plaintiffs (private respondents herein) averred that after the rental for the use of the premises from the filing of the complaint, P10,000.00 by way
death of their father, they offered to pay the balance of P10,161.00 plus the stipulated of attorney's fees, and the costs of the suit. It held that: (1) the deed of absolute sale
legal rate of interest thereon to Vicente Pingol but the latter rebuffed their offer and in question, marked and offered in evidence as Exhibit "A," is a contract to sell, not a
has "been demanding for a bigger and unreasonable amount, in complete variance to contract of sale, since Vicente Pingol had no intention to part with the ownership of
what is lawfully due and payable." They stated that they had "exerted earnest efforts the loan unless the full amount of the agreed price had been paid; (2) the contract
to forge or reach an amicable and peaceful settlement with the defendants" for the was deemed to have been cancelled from the moment the late father of the plaintiffs
defaulted in the payment of the monthly installments; (3) title and ownership over the Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred:
lot did not pass to Francisco Donasco and his heirs since the contract to sell was
never consummated; and (5) assuming, arguendo, that the plaintiffs have a cause of I
action for specific performance, such action had already prescribed since the
complaint was filed only on 19 October 1988 or more than ten years from the time IN HOLDING THAT THE DOCUMENT (EXHIBIT "A") DENOMINATED AS
that they could have lawfully demanded performance.9 "ABSOLUTE DEED OF SALE OF ONE-HALF () OF AN UNDIVIDED PORTION OF
A PARCEL OF LAND" IS AN ABSOLUTE DEED OF SALE SUFFICIENT TO
Plaintiffs elevated the case to the Court of Appeals where the appeal was docketed CONFER OWNERSHIP ON THE VENDEE AND HIS SUCCESSORS-IN-INTEREST,
as CA-G.R. CV No. 25967. On 12 November 1991, the said court rendered a decision DESPITE THE FACT THAT BY ITS TERMS AND CONDITIONS, LIKE THE PRICE
10 reversing the appealed decision and decreeing as follows: BEING PAYABLE ON INSTALLMENTS WITHIN A FIXED PERIOD, THE SAME IS A
CONDITIONAL DEED OF SALE.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE
and another one is rendered: II

(1) Ordering appellee-vendor Vicente Pingol to accept the sum of P10,161.00, IN HOLDING THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE VENDEE FAILED
plus the legal interest due thereon from the date of institution of this action on October TO COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT (EXHIBIT "A")
19, 1988; SPECIFICALLY TO COMPLETE THE PAYMENT OF THE CONSIDERATION ON
THE DATE STIPULATED IN THE CONTRACT WHICH WAS SUPPOSED TO BE IN
(2) Upholding the validity of the "DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE OF ONE- HALF JANUARY 1976, COMPLETE PAYMENT THEREOF CAN STILL BE ENFORCED IN
(1/2) (of) AN UNDIVIDED PORTION OF A PARCEL OF LAND" (Exh. A), and by AN ACTION INSTITUTED BY THE HEIRS OF THE VENDEE FILED ON OCTOBER
virtue and on the strength of which declaring the "Heirs of the Deceased Francisco N. 19, 1988 OR A PERIOD OF MORE THAN TWELVE (12) YEARS FROM THE TIME
Domingo" as the owners of the 274.50 sq. m. land, denominated as Lot 3223-A, COMPLETE PAYMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE;
(LRC) Psd-146255 under the technical description (exh. D) and reflected in the Plan
of Subdivision Survey which was approved By Commissioner of Land Registration on III
August 13, 1971 (exh. C), representing one-half portion [of] lot 3223, situated at the
corner of Malolos Avenue and G. de Jesus St., Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City, and IN HOLDING THAT THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS' ACTION IS ONE WHICH IS AN
covered by TCT No. 7435 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City (exh. B); and OFFER TO COMPLETE THE PAYMENT LEFT UNPAID BY PRIVATE
RESPONDENTS' FATHER WHICH DOES NOT PRESCRIBE;
(3) Ordering the defendants-appellees to pay the costs.
IV
SO ORDERED. 11
IN HOLDING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS' CAUSE OF ACTION HAS NOT
The Court of Appeals ruled that the deed of sale in question reveals the clear PRESCRIBE.14
intention of Vicente Pingol to part with the ownership of the one-half portion of the
land by way of an absolute sale; that the failure to fully pay the agreed price was not a The decisive issue in this case is whether Exhibit "A" embodies a contract of sale or a
ground for the cancellation of the sale; and that the plaintiffs' action is imprescriptible contract to sell. The distinction between the two is important for in a contract of sale,
since it is akin to an action to quiet title to property in one's possession.12 the title passes to the vendee upon the delivery of the thing sold, whereas in a
contract to sell, by agreement, ownership is reserved in the vendor and is not to pass
Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeals, the defendants, hereinafter until the full payment of the price. In a contract of sale, the vendor has lost and cannot
referred to as the petitioners, filed this petition for certiorari on 9 January 1992. recover ownership until and unless the contract is resolved or rescinded, whereas in a
Plaintiffs, hereinafter referred to as the private respondents, filed their comment contract to sell, title is retained by the vendor until the full payment of the price, such
thereto on 10 September 1992 to which the petitioners filed a reply 11 November payment being a positive suspensive condition, failure of which is not a breach but an
1992. We gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their event that prevented the obligation of the vendor to convey title from becoming
respective memoranda, 13 which they subsequently complied with. effective.15
A perusal of Exhibit "A" leads to no other conclusion than that it embodies a contract In the sale of immovable property, even though it may have been stipulated that upon
of sale. The plain and clear tenor of the "DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE OF ONE-HALF failure to pay the price at the time agreed upon the rescission of the contract shall of
(1/2) [OF] AN UNDIVIDED PORTION OF A PARCEL OF LAND" is that "the VENDOR right take place, the vendee may pay, even after the expiration of the period, as long
hereby . . . SELL, CONVEY AND CONVEY by way Absolute Sale the one-half (1/2) as no demand for rescission of the contract has been made upon him either judicially
portion . . . to the VENDEE . . . his heirs, assigns and successors-in-interest." That or by a notarial act. After the demand, the court may not grant him a new term.
the vendor, petitioner Vicente Pingol, had that clear intention was further evidenced
by his failure to reserve his title thereto until the full payment of the price. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals did not find that a notarial or judicial
rescission of the contract had been made. Although Vicente Pingol asserts that he
In Dignos vs. Court of Appeals, 16 we held that a deed of sale is absolute in nature had declared to Francisco Donasco that he was cancelling the contract, he did not
although denominated as a "Deed of Conditional Sale" where there is no stipulation in prove that his demand for rescission was made either judicially or by a notarial act.
the deed that title to the property sold is reserved in the seller until the full payment of
the price, nor is there a stipulation giving the vendor the right to unilaterally resolve Petitioners fault the respondent Court for holding that the action of the petitioners is
the contract the moment the buyer fails to pay within a fixed period. Exhibit "A" not barred by the statute of limitations. They argue that the private respondents'
contains neither stipulation. What is merely stated therein is that "the VENDEE action, being based upon a written contract, has prescribed since it was brought only
agrees that in case of default in the payment of the installments due the same shall in 1988 or more than ten years from the time when the latter could have lawfully
earn a legal rate of interest, and to which the VENDOR likewise agrees." demanded performance.19

Furthermore, as found by the Court of Appeals, the acts of the parties, We disagree.
contemporaneous and subsequent to the contract, clearly show that an absolute deed
of sale was intended, by the parties and not a contract to sell: Although the private respondents' complaint before the trial court was denominated
as one for specific performance, it is in effect an action to quiet title. In this regard, the
[P]ursuant to the deed, the vendor delivered actual and constructive possession of following excerpt from Bucton vs. Gabar 20 is apropos:
the property to the vendee, who occupied and took such possession, constructed a
building thereon, had the property surveyed and subdivided and a plan of the property The real and ultimate basis of petitioners' action is their ownership of one- half of the
was prepared and submitted to the Land Registration Commission which approved it lot coupled with their possession thereof, which entitles them to a conveyance of the
preparatory to segregating the same and obtaining the corresponding TCT in his property. In Sapto, et al. v. Fabiana [103 Phil. 683, 686-87 (1958)], this Court,
name. Since the sale, appellee continuously possessed and occupied the property as speaking thru Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, explained that under the circumstances no
owner up to his death on July 13, 1984 and his heirs, after his death, continued the enforcement of the contract is needed, since the delivery of possession of the land
occupancy and possession of the property up to the present. Those sold had consummated the sale and transferred title to the purchaser, and that,
contemporaneous and subsequent events are demonstrative acts that the vendor actually, the action for conveyance is one to quiet title, i.e., to remove the cloud upon
since the sale recognized the vendee as the absolute owner of the property sold. All the appellee's ownership by the refusal of the appellants to recognize the sale made
those attributes of ownership are admitted by defendants in their answer, specifically by their predecessors.
in paragraphs 7 and 9 of their special and affirmative defenses.17
That a cloud has been cast on the title of the private respondents is indubitable.
The contract here being one of absolute sale, the ownership of the subject lot was Despite the fact that the title had been transferred to them by the execution of the
transferred to the buyer upon the actual and constructive delivery thereof. The deed of sale and the delivery of the object of the contract, the petitioners adamantly
constructive delivery of the subject lot was made upon the execution of the deed of refused to accept the tender of payment by the private respondents and steadfastly
sale 18 while the actual delivery was effected when the private respondents took insisted that their obligation to transfer title had been rendered ineffective.
possession of and constructed a house on Lot No. 3223-A.
A vendee in an oral contract to convey land who had made part payment thereof,
The delivery of the object of the contract divested the vendor of the ownership over entered upon the land and had made valuable improvements thereon, is entitled to
the same and he cannot recover the title unless the contract is resolved or rescinded bring suit to clear his title against the vendor who had refused to transfer the title to
pursuant to Article 1592 of the New Civil Code which provides that: him. It is not necessary that the vendee has an absolute title, an equitable title being
sufficient to clothe him with personality to bring an action to quiet title.21
Prescription thus cannot be invoked against the private respondents for it is aphoristic
that an action to quiet title to property in one's possession is The case originated from an action for quieting of title filed by petitioner Mario Titong.
imprescriptible. 22 The rationale for this rule has been aptly stated thus: The Regional Trial Court of Masbate, Masbate, Branch 44[1] ruled in favor of private
respondents, Victorico Laurio and Angeles Laurio, adjudging them as the true and
The owner of real property who is in possession thereof may wait until his possession lawful owners of the disputed land. Affirmed on appeal to the Court of Appeals,
is invaded or his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right. A person petitioner comes to us for a favorable reversal.
claiming title to real property, but not in possession thereof, must act affirmatively and
within the time provided by the statute. Possession is a continuing right as is the right Petitioner alleges that he is the owner of an unregistered parcel of land with an area
to defend such possession. So it has been determined that an owner of real property of 3.2800 hectares, more or less, surveyed as Lot No. 3918, and declared for taxation
in possession has a continuing right to invoke a court of equity to remove a cloud that purposes in his name. He claims that on three separate occasions in September
is a continuing menace to his title. Such a menace is compared to a continuing 1983, private respondents, with their hired laborers, forcibly entered a portion of the
nuisance or trespass which is treated as successive nuisances or trespasses, not land containing an area of approximately two (2) hectares, and began plowing the
barred by statute until continued without interruption for a length of time sufficient to same under pretext of ownership. Private respondents denied this allegation, and
affect a change of title as a matter of law.23 averred that the disputed property formed part of the 5.5-hectare agricultural land
which they had purchased from their predecessor-in-interest,[2] Pablo Espinosa on
Private respondents shall, however, be liable to pay the legal rate of interest on the August 10, 1981.
unpaid balance of the purchase price from the date default or on 6 January 1976,
when the entire balance should have been paid, pursuant to the provision in the deed In his testimony, petitioner identified Espinosa as his adjoining owner[3], asserting
of sale. that no controversy had sprouted between them for twenty years until the latter sold
Lot No. 3479 to private respondent Victorico Laurio.[4] This was corroborated by
WHEREFORE, except as above modified, the Decision appealed from is hereby Ignacio Villamor, who had worked on the land even before its sale to Espinosa in
AFFIRMED. As modified, the interest on the unpaid balance of P10,161.00, at the 1962. The boundary between the land sold to Espinosa and what remained of
legal rate, shall be computed from 6 January 1976. Upon the payment by the private petitioners property was the old Bugsayon river. When petitioner employed
respondents to the petitioners of the said amount and the interest thereon, the latter Bienvenido Lerit as his tenant in 1962, he instructed Lerit to change the course of the
are ordered to deliver Transfer Certificate of Title No. 7435 to the Register of Deeds old river and direct the flow of water to the lowland at the southern portion of
of Caloocan City who shall cancel the same and issue two new transfer certificates of petitioners property, thus converting the old river into a riceland.[5]
title in lieu thereof, one of which shall be in the name of the herein private
respondents covering Lot No. 3223-A and the other in the name of the petitioners For his part, private respondent anchors his defense on the following facts:
covering the remainder of the lot.
He denied petitioners claim of ownership, recounting that the area and boundaries of
SO ORDERED. the disputed land remained unaltered during the series of conveyances prior to its
coming into his hands. According to him, petitioner first declared the land for taxation
Titong v CA; G.R. No. 111141. March 6, 1998. purposes under Tax Declaration No. 2916,[6] which showed that the land had an area
of 5.5 hectares and was bounded on the North by the Bugsayon River; on the East by
[G.R. No. 111141. March 6, 1998] property under the ownership of Lucio Lerit; on the South by property owner by
Potenciano Zaragoza; and on the West by property owned by Agapito de la Cruz.[7]
MARIO Z. TITONG, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (4th Private Respondent then alleges that, on December 21, 1960, petitioner sold this
Division), VICTORICO LAURIO and ANGELES LAURIO, respondents. property to Concepcion Verano vda. de Cabug, after which Tax Declaration No.
DECISION 5339[8] was issued in her favor. In compliance with their mutual agreement to
ROMERO, J.: repurchase the same, petitioner reacquired the property by way of sale[9] on August
24, 1962 and then declared it for taxation purposes in his name under Tax
Like a priceless treasure coveted by many, but capable of ownership by only one, this Declaration No. 5720.[10] However, the property remained in petitioners hands for
20,592 square-meter parcel of land located at Barrio Titong, Masbate, Masbate is only four (4) days because, on August 28, 1962, he sold it to Espinosa[11] who then
claimed by two contestants in this petition for review on certiorari. Unfortunately, legal declared it in his name under Tax Declaration No. 12311.[12] Consequently, the
title over the property can be vested in only one of them. property became a part of the estate of Pablo Espinosas wife, the late Segundina
Liao Espinosa. On August 10, 1981, her heirs executed an instrument denominated private respondents title and ownership over the property and to pay attorneys fees,
as Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Simultaneous Sale whereby the 5.5-hectare litigation expenses, costs and moral damages.
property under Tax Declaration No. 12311 was sold to private respondent[13] in
consideration of the amount of P5,000.00. Thereafter, Tax Declaration No. 12738 was Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the decision. On motion
issued in the name of private respondent. In all these conveyances, the area and for reconsideration, the same was denied for lack of merit. Hence, this petition for
boundaries of the property remained exactly the same as those appearing in Tax review on certiorari.
Declaration No. 2916 under petitioners name.
At the outset, we hold that the instant petition must be denied for the reason that the
It was proved at the proceedings in the court a quo that two (2) surveys were made of lower court should have outrightly dismissed the complaint for quieting of title. The
the disputed property. The first survey[14] was made for petitioner, while the second remedy of quieting of title may be availed of under the circumstances enumerated in
was the relocation survey ordered by the lower court. As anticipated, certain the Civil Code:
discrepancies between the two surveys surfaced. Thus, contrary to petitioners
allegation in his complaint that he is the owner of only 3.2800 hectares, he was ART. 476. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein,
actually claiming 5.9789 hectares, the total areas of Lot Nos. 3918, 3918-A and 3606. by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which is
On the other hand, Lot No. 3479 pertaining to Espinosa, was left with only an area of apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid, ineffective, voidable, or
4.1841 hectares instead of the 5.5 hectares sold by petitioner to him. Apprised of the unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title, an action may be brought to
discrepancy, private respondent filed a protest[15] before the Bureau of Lands remove such cloud or to quiet the title.
against the first survey, likewise filing a case for alteration of boundaries before the
municipal trial court, the proceedings of which, however, were suspended because of An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real
the instant case.[16] property or any interest therein.

Private respondent testified that petitioner is one of the four heirs of his mother, Under this provision, a claimant must show that there is an instrument, record, claim,
Leonida Zaragoza. In the Extrajudicial Settlement with Sale of Estate of the deceased encumbrance or proceeding which constitutes or casts a cloud, doubt, question or
Leonida Zaragoza,[17] the heirs adjudicated unto themselves the 3.6-hectare shadow upon the owners title to or interest in real property.[24] The ground or reason
property of the deceased. The property involved is described in the instrument as for filing a complaint for quieting of title must therefore be an instrument, record,
having been declared under Tax Declaration No. 3301[18] and as bounded on the claim, encumbrance or proceeding. Under the maxim expresio unius est exclusio
North by Victor Verano, on the East by Benigno Titong, on the South by the alterius, these grounds are exclusive so that other reasons outside of the purview of
Bugsayon River and on the West by Benigno Titong. On September 9, 1969, Tax these reasons may not be considered valid for the same action.[25]
Declaration No. 8723 was issued to petitioner for his corresponding share in the
estate. Had the lower court thoroughly considered the complaint filed, it would have had no
other course of action under the law but to dismiss it. The complaint failed to allege
However, instead of reflecting only .9000 hectare as his rightful share in the that an instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding beclouded the plaintiffs
extrajudicial settlement[19] petitioners share was bloated to 2.4 hectares. It therefore title over the property involved. Petitioner merely alleged that the defendants
appeared to private respondent that petitioner encroached upon his (Laurios) property (respondents herein), together with their hired laborers and without legal justification,
and declared it a part of his inheritance.[20] The boundaries were likewise altered so forcibly entered the southern portion of the land of the plaintiff and plowed the same:
that it was bounded on the North by Victor Verano, on the East by Benigno Titong, on
the South by property owner Espinosa, and on the West by property owner Adolfo He then proceeded to claim damages and attorneys fees. He prayed that, aside from
Titong.[21] Private respondent accordingly denied that petitioner had diverted the issuing a writ or preliminary injunction enjoining private respondents and their hired
course of the Bugsayon River after he had repurchased the land from Concepcion laborers from intruding into the land, the court should declare him the true and
Verano vda. de Cabug[22] because the land was immediately sold to Espinosa absolute owner thereof. Hence, through his allegations, what petitioner imagined as
shortly thereafter.[23] clouds cast on his title to the property were private respondents alleged acts of
physical intrusion into his purported property. Clearly, the acts alleged may be
The lower court rendered a decision in favor of private respondents, declaring him as considered grounds for an action for forcible entry but definitely not one for quieting of
the true and absolute owner of the litigated property and ordering petitioner to respect title.
When the issues were joined by the filing of the answer to the complaint, it would
have become apparent to the court that the case was a boundary dispute. The In other words, a sale is a contract transferring dominion and other real rights in the
answer alleged, among other matters, that petitioner, in bad faith, surreptitiously, thing sold.[29] In the case at bar, petitioners claim of ownership must of necessity fail
maliciously and fraudulently had the land in question included in the survey of his land because he has long abdicated his rights over the land when he sold it to private
which extends to the south only as far as the Bugsayon River which is the visible and respondents predecessor-in-interest.
natural and common boundary between the properties.[26] Moreover, during the
hearing of the case, petitioner proved that it was actually a boundary dispute by Petitioners claim that he acquired ownership over the disputed land through
evidence showing what he considered as the boundary of his property which private possession for more than twenty (20) years is likewise unmeritorious. While Art. 1134
respondents perceived as actually encroaching on their property. In this regard, the of the Civil Code provides that (o)wnership and other real rights over immovable
following pronouncements of the Court are apropos: property are acquired by ordinary prescription through possession of ten years, this
provision of law must be read in conjunction with Art. 1117 of the same Code. This
x x x (T)he trial court (and likewise the respondent Court) cannot, in an action for article states that x x x (o)rdinary acquisitive prescription of things requires
quieting of title, order the determination of the boundaries of the claimed property, as possession in good faith and with just title for the time fixed by law. Hence, a
that would be tantamount to awarding to one or some of the parties the disputed prescriptive title to real estate is not acquired by mere possession thereof under claim
property in an action where the sole issue is limited to whether the instrument, record, of ownership for a period of ten years unless such possession was acquired con justo
claim, encumbrance or proceeding involved constitutes a cloud upon the petitioners titulo y buena fe (with color of title and good faith).[30] The good faith of the
interest or title in and to said property. Such determination of boundaries is possessor consists in the reasonable belief that the person from whom he received
appropriate in adversarial proceedings where possession or ownership may properly the thing was the owner thereof, and could transmit his ownership.[31] For purposes
be considered and where evidence aliunde, other than the `instrument, record, claim, of prescription, there is just title when the adverse claimant came into possession of
encumbrance or proceeding itself, may be introduced. An action for forcible entry, the property through one of the modes recognized by law for the acquisition of
whenever warranted by the period prescribed in Rule 70, or for recovery of ownership or other real rights but the grantor was not the owner or could not transmit
possession de facto, also within the prescribed period, may be availed of by the any right.[32]
petitioners, in which proceeding the boundary dispute may be fully threshed out.[27]
Petitioners have not satisfactorily met the requirements of good faith and just title. As
Nonetheless, even if the complaint below were to be considered as a valid one for aptly observed by the trial court, the plaintiffs admitted acts of converting the
quieting of title, still, the instant petition for review on certiorari must fail. boundary line (Bugsayon River) into a ricefield and thereafter claiming ownership
thereof were acts constituting deprivation of the rights of others and therefore
As a general rule, findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are binding and conclusive tantamount to bad faith.[33] To allow petitioner to benefit from his own wrong would
upon this Court. Such factual findings shall not be disturbed normally unless the same run counter to the maxim ex dolo malo non oritur actio (no man can be allowed to
are palpably unsupported by the evidence on record or the judgment itself is based found a claim upon his own wrongdoing). Extraordinary acquisitive prescription
on a misapprehension of facts.[28] Upon an examination of the records, the Court cannot similarly vest ownership over the property upon petitioner. Art. 1137 of the
finds no evident reason to depart from the general rule. Civil Code states that (o)wnership and other real rights over immovables prescribe
through uninterrupted adverse possession thereof for thirty years, without need of title
The courts below correctly held that when petitioner sold, ceded, transferred and or of good faith. Petitioners alleged possession in 1962 up to September 1983 when
conveyed the 5.5-hectare land in favor of Pablo Espinosa, his rights of ownership and private respondents entered the property in question spanned twenty-one (21) years.
possession pertaining thereto ceased and these were transferred to the latter. In the This period of time is short of the thirty-year requirement mandated by Art. 1137.
same manner, Espinosas rights of ownership over the land ceased and were
transferred to private respondent upon its sale to the latter. This finds justification in Petitioner basically anchors his claim over the property on the survey plan prepared
the Civil Code, as follows: upon his request,[34] the tax declaration in his name,[35] the commissioners report
on the relocation survey,[36] and the survey plan.[37] Respondent court correctly held
ART. 1458. By the contract of sale one of the contracting parties obligates himself to that these documents do not conclusively demonstrate petitioner's title over Lot Nos.
transfer the ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other to pay 3918-A and 3606.
therefor a price certain in money or its equivalent.
A survey is the act by which the quantity of a parcel of land is ascertained and also a
A contract of sale may be absolute or conditional. paper containing a statement of courses, distances, and quantity of land.[38] A survey
under a proprietary title is not a conveyance. It is an instrument sui generis in the amiss to conclude that either petitioner misapprehended the lower courts decision or
nature of a partition; a customary mode in which a proprietor has set off to himself in he is trying to contumaciously mislead or worse, deceive this Court.
severalty a part of the common estate.[39] Therefore, a survey, not being a
conveyance, is not a mode of acquiring ownership. A fortiori, petitioner cannot found With respect to the awards of moral damages of P10,000.00 and attorneys fees of
his claim on the survey plan reflecting a subdivision of land because it is not P2,000.00, the Court finds no cogent reason to delete the same. Jurisprudence is
conclusive as to ownership as it may refer only to a delineation of possession.[40] replete with rulings to the effect that where fraud and bad faith have been established,
the award of moral damages is in order.[48] This pronouncement finds support in Art.
Furthermore, the plan was not verified and approved by the Bureau of Lands in 2219 (10) of the Civil Code allowing the recovery of moral damages for acts
accordance with Sec. 28, paragraph 5 of Act No. 2259, the Cadastral Act, as enumerated in Art. 21 of the same Code. This article states that (a)ny person who
amended by Sec. 1862 of Act No. 2711. Said law ordains that private surveyors send wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
their original field notes, computations, reports, surveys, maps and plots regarding a customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage. The moral
piece of property to the Bureau of Lands for verification and approval.[41] A survey damages are hereby increased to P30,000.00. We agree with the respondent court in
plan not verified and approved by said Bureau is nothing more than a private writing, holding that the award of attorneys fees is justified because petitioner filed a clearly
the due execution and authenticity of which must be proven in accordance with Sec. unfounded civil action.[49]
20 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. The circumstance that the plan was admitted in
evidence without any objection as to its due execution and authenticity does not WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED and the
signify that the courts shall give probative value therefor. To admit evidence and not questioned Decision of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED. This Decision is
to believe it subsequently are not contradictory to each other. This Court cannot alter immediately executory. Costs against petitioner.
the conclusions of the Court of Appeals on the credibility accorded to evidence
presented by the parties.[42] SO ORDERED.

Similarly, petitioners tax declaration issued under his name is not even persuasive Sps. Portic v Cristobal; G.R. No. 156171. April 22, 2005.
evidence of his claimed ownership over the land in dispute. A tax declaration, by
itself, is not considered conclusive evidence of ownership.[43] It is merely an indicium Spouses RICARDO and G.R. No. 156171
of a claim of ownership.[44] Because it does not by itself give title, it is of little value in FERMA PORTIC,
proving ones ownership.[45] Moreover, the incompatibility in petitioners tax Petitioners, Present:
declaration and the commissioners report as regards the area of his claimed property Panganiban, J.,
is much too glaring to be ignored. Tax Declaration No. 8717 states that petitioners Chairman,
property has an area of 3.2800 hectares while the totality of his claim according to the Sandoval-Gutierrez,
commissioned geodetic engineers survey amounts to 4.1385 hectares. There is - versus - Corona,
therefore a notable discrepancy of 8,585 square meters. On the other hand, private Carpio Morales, and
respondents claimed property, as borne out by Tax Declaration No. 12738, totals 5.5 Garcia, JJ
hectares, a more proximate equivalent of the 5.2433-hectare property as shown by Promulgated:
the commissioners report. ANASTACIA CRISTOBAL,
Respondent. April 22, 2005
There is also nothing in the commissioners report that substantiates petitioners claim x -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- x
that the disputed land was inside his property. Petitioner capitalizes on the lower
courts statement in its decision[46] that as reflected in the commissioners report
dated May 23, 1984 (Exhibit 3-3-A), the area claimed is inside lot 3918 of the DECISION
defendants (Exhibit 2)[47] or the private respondents. A careful reading of the
decision would show that this statement is found in the summary of defendants
(herein private respondents) evidence. Reference to Lot No. 3918 may, therefore, be PANGANIBAN, J.:
attributed to mere oversight as the lower court even continues to state the defendants
assertion that the 2-hectare land is part of their 5.5-hectare property. Hence, it is not
A
n agreement in which ownership is reserved in the vendor and is not to pass to the [Petitioners] defaulted in the payment of the monthly amortizations due on the
vendee until full payment of the purchase price is known as a contract to sell. The mortgage. The Social Security System foreclosed the mortgage and sold the subject
absence of full payment suspends the vendors obligation to convey title. This property at public auction with the Social Security System as the highest bidder.
principle holds true between the parties, even if the sale has already been registered.
Registration does not vest, but merely serves as evidence of, title to a particular On May 22, 1984, before the expiration of the redemption period, [petitioners] sold the
property. Our land registration laws do not give title holders any better ownership than subject property in favor of [respondent] in consideration of P200,025.89. Among
what they actually had prior to registration. others, the parties agreed that [respondent] shall pay the sum of P45,025.89 as down
payment and the balance of P155,000.00 shall be paid on or before May 22, 1985.
The Case The parties further agreed that in case [respondent] should fail to comply with the
conditions, the sale shall be considered void and [petitioners] shall reimburse
Before us is a Petition for Review[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, challenging [respondent] of whatever amount already paid.
the January 29, 2002 Decision[2] and the November 18, 2002 Resolution[3] of the
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 66393. The assailed Decision disposed as On the same date, [petitioners] and [respondent] executed a Deed of Sale with
follows: Assumption of Mortgage whereby [petitioners] sold the subject property in favor of
[respondent] in consideration of P80,000.00, P45,000.00 thereof shall be paid to the
WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the appealed decision is hereby REVERSED Social Security System.
and SET ASIDE. A new one is hereby entered ORDERING defendant-appellant to
pay the unpaid balance of P55,000.00 plus legal interest of 6% per annum counted On July 30, 1984, spouses Clodualdo Alcantara and Candelaria Edrosalam, the
from the filing of this case. The ownership of defendant-appellant over the subject original owners of the subject property, sold the subject property in favor of
property is hereby confirmed. [respondent] for P50,000.00.

No pronouncement as to costs.[4] On the same date, [respondent] executed a Deed of Mortgage whereby [respondent]
constituted a mortgage over the subject property to secure a P150,000.00
indebtedness in favor of [petitioners].

In the challenged Resolution,[5] the CA denied petitioners Motion for Partial [Respondent] paid the indebtedness due over the subject property to the Social
Reconsideration. Security System.

The Facts On August 6, 1984, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-71316 in the names of spouses
Clodualdo Alcantara and Candelaria Edrosalam was cancelled and in lieu thereof
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-113299 was issued in the name of [respondent].
The facts were summarized by the appellate court as follows:
On May 20, 1996, [petitioners] demanded from [respondent] the alleged unpaid
Spouses Clodualdo Alcantara and Candelaria Edrosalam were the original registered balance of P55,000.00. [Respondent] refused to pay.
owners of a parcel of land with three-door apartment, located at No. 9, 1st Street
BBB, Marulas, Valenzuela City. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-71316 was issued On June 6, 1996, [petitioners] filed this instant civil case against [respondent] to
in the names of spouses Clodualdo Alcantara and Candelaria Edrosalam. remove the cloud created by the issuance of TCT No. T-113299 in favor of
[respondent]. [Petitioners] claimed that they sold the subject property to [respondent]
On October 2, 1968, spouses Clodualdo Alcantara and Candelaria Edrosalam sold on the condition that [respondent] shall pay the balance on or before May 22, 1985;
the subject property in favor of [petitioners] with the condition that the latter shall that in case of failure to pay, the sale shall be considered void and [petitioners] shall
assume the mortgage executed over the subject property by spouses Clodualdo reimburse [respondent] of the amounts already paid; that [respondent] failed to fully
Alcantara and Candelaria Edrosalam in favor of the Social Security System. pay the purchase price within the period; that on account of this failure, the sale of the
subject property by [petitioners] to [respondent] is void; that in spite of this failure,
[respondent] required [petitioners] to sign a lease contract over the apartment which
[petitioners] occupy; that [respondent] should be required to reconvey back the title to In their Motion for Partial Reconsideration, petitioners contended that their action was
the subject property to [petitioners]. not one for the enforcement of a written contract, but one for the quieting of title -- an
action that was imprescriptible as long as they remained in possession of the
[Respondent] on her part claimed that her title over the subject property is already premises.[11] The CA held, however, that the agreement between the parties was
indefeasible; that the true agreement of the parties is that embodied in the Deed of valid, and that respondents title to the property was amply supported by the
Absolute Sale with Assumption of Mortgage; that [respondent] had fully paid the evidence.[12] Therefore, their action for the quieting of title would not prosper,
purchase price; that [respondent] is the true owner of the subject property; that because they failed to show the invalidity of the cloud on their title.
[petitioners] claim is already barred by laches.[6]
Hence, this Petition.[13]

After trial, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Valenzuela City rendered this judgment
in favor of petitioners: The Issue

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court hereby adjudicates on this case as


follows: In its Memorandum, petitioners raise the following issues for our consideration:

1.) The Court hereby orders the quieting of title or removal of cloud over the (1) Whether or not the [petitioners] cause of action is for quieting of title.
[petitioners] parcel of land and three (3) door apartment now covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title No. T-113299 of the Registry of Deeds for Caloocan City and Tax (2) Whether or not the [petitioners] cause of action has prescribed.[14]
Declaration Nos. C-018-00235 & C-031-012077 respectively, of Valenzuela City;
The main issue revolves around the characterization of the parties agreement and the
2.) The Court hereby orders the [respondent] to reconvey in favor of the viability of petitioners cause of action.
[petitioners] the parcel of land and three (3) door apartment now covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title No. T-113299 of the Registry of Deeds of Caloocan City after
reimbursement by the [petitioners] of the amount actually paid by the [respondent] in This Courts Ruling
the total amount of P145,025.89;

3.) The Court hereby DENIES damages as claimed by both parties.[7] The Petition has merit.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals


Main Issue:
Nature of the Action: Quieting of Title or
The Court of Appeals opined that the first Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Enforcement of a Written Contract
embodied the real agreement between the parties, and that the subsequent Deeds
were executed merely to secure their respective rights over the property.[8] The MOA
stated that Cristobal Petitioners argue that the action they filed in the RTC was for the quieting of title.
had not fully paid the purchase price. Although this statement might have given rise to Respondents demand that they desist from entering into new lease agreements with
a cause of action to annul the Deed of Sale, prescription already set in because the the tenants of the property allegedly attests to the fact of their possession of the
case had been filed beyond the ten-year reglementary period,[9] as observed by the subject premises.[15] Further, they point to the existence of Civil Case No. 7446, an
CA. Nonetheless, in conformity with the principle of unjust enrichment, the appellate action for unlawful detainer that respondent filed against them,[16] as further proof of
court ordered respondent to pay petitioners the remaining balance of the purchase that fact. Being in continuous possession of the property, they argue that their action
price.[10] for the quieting of title has not prescribed.[17]
On the other hand, respondent joins the appellate court in characterizing the action
petitioners filed in the RTC as one for the enforcement of the MOA. Being based on a 3. That while the balance of P155,000.00 has not yet been fully paid the FIRST
written instrument, such action has already prescribed, respondent claims.[18] She PARTY OWNERS shall retain the ownership of the above described parcel of land
adds that petitioners could not have been in continuous possession of the together with its improvements but the SECOND PARTY BUYER shall have the right
subject property because, under a duly notarized lease agreement, they have been to collect the monthly rentals due on the first door (13-A) of the said apartment;[23]
paying her a monthly rental fee of P500, which was later increased to P800.

Two questions need to be answered to resolve the present case; namely, (1) whether
Cristobals title to the property is valid; and (2) whether the Portics are in possession The above-cited provision characterizes the agreement between the parties as a
of the premises, a fact that would render the action for quieting of title imprescriptible. contract to sell, not a contract of sale. Ownership is retained by the vendors, the
Portics; it will not be passed to the vendee, the Cristobals, until the full payment of the
Validity of Title purchase price. Such payment is a positive suspensive condition, and failure to
comply with it is not a breach of obligation; it is merely an event that prevents the
The CA held that the action for the quieting of title could not prosper, because effectivity of the obligation of the vendor to convey the title.[24] In short, until the full
Cristobals title to the property was amply supported by evidence. price is paid, the vendor retains ownership.

Article 476 of the Civil Code provides as follows: The mere issuance of the Certificate of Title in favor of Cristobal did not vest
ownership in her. Neither did it validate the
Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein, by reason of alleged absolute purchase of the lot. Time and time again, this Court has stressed
any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid that registration does not vest, but merely serves as evidence of, title. Our land
or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, registration laws do not give the holders any better title than that which they actually
and may be prejudicial to said title, an action may be brought to remove such cloud or have prior to registration. [25]
to quiet the title.
Under Article 1544 of the Civil Code, mere registration is not enough to acquire a new
An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real title. Good faith must concur.[26] Clearly, respondent has not yet fully paid the
property or any interest therein. purchase price. Hence, as long as it remains unpaid, she cannot feign good faith. She
is also precluded from asserting ownership against petitioners. The appellate courts
finding that she had a valid title to the property must, therefore, be set aside.
Suits to quiet title are characterized as proceedings quasi in rem.[19] Technically,
they are neither in rem nor in personam. In an action quasi in rem, an individual is Continuous Possession
named as defendant.[20] However, unlike suits in rem, a quasi in rem judgment is
conclusive only between the parties.[21] The issue of whether the Portics have been in actual, continuous possession of the
premises is necessarily a question of fact. Well-entrenched is the rule that findings of
Generally, the registered owner of a property is the proper party to bring an action to fact of the Court of Appeals, when supported by substantial evidence, are final and
quiet title. However, it has been held that this remedy may also be availed of by a conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal.[27] This Court finds no cogent
person other than the registered owner because, in the Article reproduced above, title reason to disturb the CAs findings sustaining those of the trial court, which held that
does not necessarily refer to the original or transfer certificate of title.[22] Thus, lack of petitioners had been in continuous possession of the premises. For this reason, the
an actual certificate of title to a property does not necessarily bar an action to quiet action to quiet title has not prescribed.
title. As will be shown later, petitioners have not turned over and have thus retained
their title to the property. WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The challenged Decision and Resolution of
the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the RTC of
On the other hand, the claim of respondent cannot be sustained. The transfer of Valenzuela City in Civil Case No. 4935-V-96, dated September 23, 1999, is hereby
ownership of the premises in her favor was subject to the suspensive condition REINSTATED. No pronouncement as to costs.
stipulated by the parties in
paragraph 3 of the MOA, which states as follows: SO ORDERED.