G.R. No. 1132. April 02, 1904

Please log in to request a case brief.

3 Phil. 604

[ G.R. No. 1132. April 02, 1904 ]




This case concerns a piece of land containing 1,897 square meters
and 24 square centimeters, situated on the Island of Tanduay, of this
city. The subject-matter of the suit, as to its identity, is well
defined and leaves no room for doubt between the parties litigant.

This land is at the present time in the possession of the three
defendants, as children and lawful heirs of their father, Don Santiago
Naguit; in his lifetime it was regarded as one tract, but is now
considered as divided into three parcels, one for each heir.

The plaintiff, Don Martiniano Veloso, brings suit for the recovery
of all three of these parcels as part of the Island of Tanduay, of
which, with the exception of certain portions, he claims to be the

In 1901 the defendants recorded a possessory information covering
the three parcels. This inscription, which appears in the books of the
Northern Register of Manila, is one of the facts alleged in the
complaint by Veloso as the ground of his action for the recovery of the
land. The attorney for the defendants says: ” The recorded possessory
informations which Mr. Veloso mentions, the existence of which he
therefore knows, were not presented but reserved for exhibition in case
of necessity.” (P. 117).

The fact that the possessory informations are recorded is one of the
grounds of the action brought by Veloso. The relief sought is a
declaration of his sole and exclusive ownership of the lot in question,
and the annulment of the possessory informations obtained upon them by
the defendants, and consequently the cancellation of the record thereof
in the register of property of the northern district of this city,
within which the land in question is located.

The complaint was filed September 28, 1901, and consequently before
the enactment of the present Code of Civil Procedure. The entire case
was conducted up to this stage in accordance with the former law of
Civil Procedure, with one exception, that of the taking of evidence.

The title deeds upon which the plaintiff relies run back to the year
1621. (1) The most recent document is a deed of gift from Don Melchor
Veloso to Don Martiniano. (2) Don Melchor obtained title by a similar
gift from his brothers and sisters, Don Buenaventura, Doña Damiana, and
Don Mariano, legitimate children of Don Gabino Veloso, deceased, who in
his will bequeathed the Island of Tanduay to these children, (3) Don
Gabino Veloso in his lifetime had become the owner of the island by
purchase from Don Jose Perez Garcia and Don Jose Luciano Boca, the 17th
of June, 1868, the consideration being 12,000 pesos. (4) Roca had
purchased half of it from Don Leopoldo Segundo Pacheco March 11th,
1868, and was tenant in common with Perez Garcia, who, on the 6th of
September, 1865, had purchased the property from the testamentary
estate of Don Cristobal Arlegui, purchasing first the dominium utile
and subsequently the entire fee, the legal title having been conveyed
to him by the Convent of San Sebastian, the 18th of November, 1865, in
consideration of 3,000 pesos. Subsequent to this date he conveyed a
half interest to Pacheco in the month of December for 6,000 pesos, and
this half interest, as has been stated, was conveyed in turn to Roca.
(5) The Convent of San Sebastian, and formerly the corporation of
Recoletos, had acquired the island by donation, made the 2d of
September, 1621, by Doña Ines Daytin, with the consent of her husband,
Don Miguel Banal.

The attorney for the defendants spoke at some length concerning
these documents, but did not except to their admission, and did not
refer to them again in his reply ok elsewhere in the course of the
suit. And it is certain that an exception based upon the objections
made by the defendants’ attorney could have been successfully opposed
by no others than the heirs of the donor, Ines Daytin.

The plaintiff in his complaint anticipated the defense of
prescription by the defendants, but the latter expressly stated in
their answer that they had not thought of making use of the defense of
prescription, and that it was not necessary for them to do so.
Consequently this phase of the case was not discussed in the pleadings.
The question was, however, raised in the evidence by means of two
witnesses. One of them said that Santiago Naguit, under whom^ the
defendants claim ¦” had been in possession for forty years, more or
less.” The other witness said that he knew that Naguit had been in
possession of the lot in question for thirty years, more or less. These
witnesses were testifying in 1902. (Record, pp. 223 and 227.) With
respect to this plea of the statute of limitations, the documentary
evidence of the defense is conclusive, to’ wit, a restoring order, and
an interdict of peaceful possession. In the restoring order obtained by
Don Santiago Naguit against Don Gabino Veloso, a judgment was rendered
in favor of Naguit January 28, 1880, ordering the restoration of
possession to him, which judgment was affirmed subsequently by the Audiencia
of Manila by judgment dated February 21 of the same year. As the order
of the Court of First Instance was made in January, 1880, it follows
that the statement therein contained that the complaint had been filed
the 22d of October of the preceding year, means that it was filed in
October, 1879, and that when the witnesses for the interdict testified
that it was a fact that the plaintiff had been in quiet and peaceable
possession of the lot in question for more than three years, it
appeared that he had been in possession since September or October,

In the proceedings concerning the order of peaceful possession (interdicto de retener)
of another portion of the land in question, brought by Naguit against
one Gregorio Cleofas, the plaintiff and his witnesses stated, in March,
1887, that Naguit had been in possession for two years, so that the
possession dated from March, 1885.

From September, 1876, to September, 1901, the date of the filing of
the present complaint, only twenty-five years have elapsed, and from
1885 to 1901 sixteen years. It follows, therefore, that the period of
thirty or forty years’ possession, affirmed by these witnesses, is
conclusively conradicted by the documentary evidence of the defendants
themselves, from which the period of only twenty-five years appears
with respect to one portion and of sixteen years with respect to the
other, this being insufficient for the period of extraordinary
prescription without title, under the provisions of law 21, title 29 of
the Third Partida, entirely similar to the provisions of article 1959
of the Civil Code now in force. We can not, therefore, sustain the
exception of extraordinary prescription of thirty years, first because
the plea of prescription was not set up in the pleadings, and second,
because even had the issue been raised, the evidence does not show the
lapse of a period of thirty years, as required by the law.

Nor can we sustain the exception of ordinary prescription of ten or
twenty years for the same reason, to wit, that the plea of prescription
was not presented by the pleadings. But even had prescription been
pleaded, it would have been necessary, in order to make out a defense
on the ground of ordinary prescription, both by the old law and by the
present law, to show in addition to the passage of time, a just title
by virtue of which possession commenced. (Art. 1957 of the Civil Code.)
With respect to the two portions of land which were the objects of the
two interdicts already referred to, the documentary evidence presented
by the defendants themselves says nothing except that they were swampy
lands, which Don Santiago Naguit had filled in, and that the filling of
one of them had cost him $300 and of the other $100. Throughout the
entire course of the case the defendants have not shown that the fact
of mere occupation or filling of a piece of land is a legal title of
possession and ownership which is sufficient to overcome the titles
presented by the plaintiff in support of his complaint, recorded in
authentic public instruments, and against the contents of which no
allegation of falsity or any other allegation sufficient to overcome
them has been made in the manner required either by the old law or by
the law now in force.

These deeds are the original deed of donation of 1621; the deed of possession of 1641; th,e deed of enfiteusis or conveyance of the dominium utile made in 1849; the deed
of conveyance of the same dominium utile of 1865; the deed of consolidation of the dominium utile with the dominium directum
in the same year; the deed of conveyance of an
undivided half interest, the first in the same year 1865, and the
second in 1868; the sale of both half interests in the same year 1868,
and finally the deeds of donation dated 1891 and 1900, bringing the
title down to the plaintiff under the deed of gift made in the year

The mere allegation that these are titles sine re, not accompanied
by possession, is not sufficient; in the first place, because although
physical possession may not have accompanied them, nevertheless
juridical possession was always inherent in them by operation of law;
in the second place, because a mere physical possession is unavailing
against title deeds until this adverse possession is raised to the
category of ownership; in the third place, because among the benefits
derived from possession, such as the right to utilize the prohibitive
remedies, to finally obtain a title by prescription, and the right to
the presumption of ownership as against any other person seeking
possession, is not included the right to oppose an action for recovery;
and in the fourth place, because the record does not show an absolute
lack of possession on the part of the persons holding those titles, or
even that their possession had been denied or unrecognized, but rather
the contrary.

In 1621, according to the public instrument marked “Exhibit A,”
which records the original donation, the donor said; “There are
(referring to the lands at Tanduay) some nipa groves and fields. They,
are under cultivation, and there are some Chinamen there, who pay the
rent and acknowledge the ownership of the donor; * * *” and the procurator of the donees, in accepting the donation,
in an instrument of the same date, said that the native inhabitants of
the district wherein the said Don Miguel and his wife resided, were to
be preferred to any others with respect to the cultivation of the
lands, on the same conditions as before, without increasing the charge
or rent. For the formal act of possession solicited by the procurator,
notice was served upon the governor of Quiapo and three of the
principal inhabitants, and there was no opposition, possession having
been given on the 19th of October, 1641, although among some of the
people who were present, some stated that they had lawsuits pending
with the donor,
but demand having been made upon them to state what the grounds of the
suits were, or to show the deeds to the lands which they said were
theirs, they failed to do so.

On the 30th of January, 1868, the Audiencia of Manila
decided on appeal the opposition made by Victoriano et al. against an
action of possession brought by Jose Perez Garcia, one of the
predecessors of the present plaintiff, and the judgment rendered, which
was introduced in evidence by the defendants, reads as follows:

” Whereas that in order that the interdict for the
acquisition of possession may be granted, it is one of the
indispensable requisites that no one be in possession of the lands of
which possession is sought under claim of ownership or usufruct;
whereas, the possessor can not be deprived of his possession without
having his day in court; whereas those who have opposed the possession
claimed by Don Jose Perez Garcia allege that they are in possession of
part of the lands on the Island of Tanduay, and that Perez Garcia has
not proved the contrary, the order appealed is affirmed with respect to the portions of land not possessed by others,
but is reversed with respect to the lands which are possessed by
others, and the parties are remitted to their ordinary action for the
determination of the question of ownership.”

As documentary evidence introduced by the defendants it may properly
be considered against them in so far as it is unfavorable to them in
this suit. From the decision in question it appears very evident that
Jose Perez Garcia was given judicial possession by the inferior court
of the lands of the Island of Tanduay solicited by him, which
possession was affirmed on appeal by the final judgment of January 30,
1868, except as to certain lands which had been the object of
opposition by Victoriano et al.; that as to the defendants it must be
considered as conclusively established that from the month of January,
1868, Don Jose Perez Garcia, in addition to the right of possession
accompanying his ownership of the lands in question, had the actual
possession judicially conferred by means of an interdict; that on that
date Don Santiago Naguit had not yet thought of going upon the two
pieces of land which, according to the two interdicts which he brought
against Gabino Veloso and Gregorio Cleofas, he had filled in during
18T6 and 1885, respectively; that these lands which he entered upon and
filled in during 1876 and 1885 were possessed judicially, notoriously,
and publicly by Don Jose Perez Garcia, at least since 1868, unless the
defendants can show that Naguit succeeded to the interest of Victoriano
et al. as to whom the judgment of 1868 had reserved their possession
against the claims of Perez Garcia; that in consequence thereof, the
entrance by Naguit upon lands lawfully possessed by another, without
any contract to authorize such entrance, was an act necessarily
illegal, which could not be considered as lawful possession, and much
less lawful possession under title of ownership, for such a possession
can not exist in favor of two possessors at the same time, and it is
unquestionable that the possession obtained by Perez Garcia in 1868 was
possession as
owner (arts. 445 and 447, Civil Code); that the possession testified to
in the possessory informations recorded in the Registry of Property of
the northern district of Manila, is wholly insufficient as a ground for
opposition to the lawful possession of Perez Garcia as owner, and
consequently as that of his uninterrupted successors down to the
present plaintiff, and which has been shown conclusively by the
documentary evidence presented by the defendants themselves.

Consequently the record should be canceled and the plaintiff’s right
recognized, not only to the ownership of the land, but to the
possession thereof against a mere trespasser, especially as his
ownership is evidenced by title deeds which have not been attacked as
false or in any wise overcome in this suit.

We therefore decide (1) that the building lot in the barrio of
Tanduay, district of Quiapo, city of Manila, described and specified in
the complaint according to its metes and bounds as three parcels now
divided between the three defendants as heirs of Santiago Naguit, is
the property of the plaintiff, Martiniano M. Veloso; that the
possessory informations obtained by the defendants and recorded in the
registry of the northern district of this city, are null and void, and
the cancellation thereof is
hereby directed; and (2) that we give judgment against the defendants
for the costs of the trial court, but do not award costs on the appeal.

Torres, Cooper, Willard, and Mapa, JJ., concur.

Johnson and McDonough, JJ., did not sit in this case.

Date created: January 24, 2019


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Apply Filters