G.R. No. 2058. December 22, 1905

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5 Phil. 457

[ G.R. No. 2058. December 22, 1905 ]




Judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff for the possession
of a certain lot of land described in the complaint as lot No. 120,
Calle Clavel, Tondo, Manila, and declaring said lot to be the property
of the estate of which the plaintiff is administrator.

The plaintiff introduced in evidence an agreement in writing
executed on the 4th of July, 1882, and signed by the appellants and by
Francisca Hilario, whereby the said Francisca Hilario, since deceased,
gave the appellants permission to enter upon the land in question, and
to occupy it for such time as the said Francisca Hilario or her heirs
should permit, the appellants, on their part, expressly acknowledging
the right and title of the said Francisca Hilario, deceased, to the
possession and ownership of said property, and, among other
stipulations, binding themselves to close the opening in the wall which
divided the said lot from their own, should any question ever arise
over the title thereto.

Plaintiff also introduced in evidence a transcript of the record of
a criminal case in the Court of First Instance of Manila, during the
course of which one of the appellants, Timoteo Lanuza, on the 11th day
of January, 1900, declared under oath that the lot in question was the
property of the said Francisca Hilario, and that he had been treating
with her for the purchase thereof.

The defendants admit the execution of the above-described agreement,
and that they took possession of the lot under and by virtue thereof,
but they allege that they entered into it under the mistaken belief
that Francisca Hilario was in fact the owner of the property, that they
discovered later that she held the property merely as administratrix
for the true owner, and that on the 7th of December, 1892, they loaned
the true owner, one Joaquin Lao-Jico, 200 pesos, and took from him an
agreement in writing whereby he promised to sell them the said property
for 500 pesos, an agreement which was never consummated, however,
because he died a short time thereafter.

The defendants offered in evidence this alleged agreement for the
sale of the property, and certain other documents which tended to show
that the title to said property was in the said Joaquin Lao-Jico, but
the trial court, over the objection of the defendants, refused to admit
these documents in evidence. These documents are made a part of the
bill of exceptions, and we are of opinion that the trial court properly
refused to admit them in evidence, as on the defendant’s own showing
the agreement to sell did not pass title or dominion over the property,
and only gave the defendants a right to demand the fulfillment of the
terms thereof, should it appear that the instrument is what it purports
to be, and that the title was in fact in the said Joaquin Lao-Jico.
(Art. 1451, Civil Code.)

This evidence being excluded, we have before us only the
above-described permission to the defendants to occupy the lot in
question at the will of the deceased Francisca Hilario, her heirs, or
legal representatives, and the plaintiff having made demand for
possession, is entitled thereto in accordance with the terms of that

We do not think that the plaintiff affirmatively established title
to the lot in question, and so much of the judgment of the trial court
as undertakes to declare title to the said lot in the estate of which
the plaintiff is administrator should be reversed.

No weight can be given to the defendants’ claim to title by
prescription, for even if it were admitted that they had been in
possession for the full prescriptive period, they took possession by
virtue of the express permission of the deceased Francisca Hilario, and
continued in possession by virtue of said permission until January 15,
1900, as appears from the above-mentioned certified copy of the
statement under oath of one of the defendants, Timoteo Lanuza. (Art.
44, Civil Code.)

The judgment of the trial court should be modified in accordance
with this opinion, by substituting for the finding of the trial court
that the lot in question is the property of the estate represented by
the plaintiff, a finding that neither plaintiff nor defendants have
proven title to the property in question, but that the plaintiff
administrator is entitled to possession thereof; thus modified the
judgment should be affirmed, with the costs of this instance against
the appellants, After the expiration of twenty days let judgment be
entered in accordance herewith, and the record returned to the court
wherein it originated for execution thereof. So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, and Johnson, JJ., concur.

Date created: April 28, 2014


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