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AMDG

Mariano v. CA
222 SCRA 736

DOCTRINE: 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 put an end to the existing state of co-ownership. Redemption is not a mode of termination of
a co-ownership

FACTS:
Decendent Francisco Gosienfiao, mortgage a residential lot to Rural Bank. Failing to pay the
loan, the lot was foreclosed and was awarded to be bank for being the highest bidder. Francisco
died intestate and was survived by his heirs, the third-party defendants and plaintiff-appellants.
Within the lots one year redemption period, one of the third-party defendants, Amparo, bought
the land from the bank using her personal funds. It is noted that the rest of the third-party
defendants executed a Deed of Assignment of the Right of Repurchase to Amparo.

Amparo sold the lot to then defendant spouses Leonardo and Avelina Mariano (now petitioners
in this case) who built a house on the said lot. When one of the plaintiff-appellants, Grace,
discovered such sale, she requested for a confrontation between her and the defendants in the
presence of the Barangay Captain. Grace asked that the defendants to present her claim of the
said property which never happened. It is also noted that the spouses sold the questioned lot to
their children, Lazaro and Dionicia.

The plaintiff-appellants filed a complaint for recovery of possession and legal redemption with
damages against the spouses. The plaintiffs alleged that they are co-owners of the lot hence
they have the right to it since they did not sell their shares. Also they alleged that they have the
right of redemption with regard to the shares of other co-owners sold to the spuses. In their
answer, the spouses raised that such lot was purchased by Amparo alone hence she became
the sole owner of the land. As to the right of redemption, though such right indeed exists, the
spouses alleged that it was already barred by Statute of Limitations or of by laches.

The RTC ruled in favor of the spouses and held that the plaintiffs had no right of ownership or
possession over the lot. The lower court further explained that when the lot was bought by the
bank, their rights were reduced to a mere right of redemption. Having failed to redeem the land
and Amparo solely repurchasing the land, the plaintiffs lost all their rights over the lot. However,
the Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts decision and ruled the plaintiffs were the co-
owners of the lot. It explained that although Amparo used her own money when she bought the
land, it did not make her the sole owner. Such redemption inured to the benefit of all the co-
owners.

ISSUES:
1. WON a notice was given to the petitioners? -- NO
2. WON the petitioners lost their right to redeem although no notice was received by them?
-- NO

HELD:
The right of legal redemption is granted within one month after the written notice was delivered
to the party granted of such right. It has been previously held by this Court that such written
notice is an indispensible requirement and the right of legal redemption will only run after such
notice was presented. Also, a copy of a deed of sale was considered as a notice.

Looking at the pieces of evidence, no written notice of the sale was ever presented to the
petitioners even during the confrontation. The private respondents (then plaintiff-apellants)
exercised their right of redemption at the first opportunity by tendering the repurchase price to
the spouses which refused to accept it.

A written notice must be given to remove all uncertainty as to the sale, its terms and its validity,
and to quiet and doubt that the alienation is not definitive. Establishing that no notice was ever
presented, the 30-day period has not yet started.

Lastly, the Court of Appeals was correct in ruling that the redemption of Amparo alone did not
terminate the co-ownership rather such action inured to the benefit of all co-owners.
Redemption is not a recognized mode of extinguishing co-ownership.

TKDC
Oliveros v. Lopez
168 SCRA 431

DOCTRINE: Under Article 494 and 1083 of the Civil Code, co-ownership of an estate should not
exceed twenty years, while the agreement to keep a thing undivided should not exceed ten
years. When parties stipulated a definite period to keep a thing undivided which exceeds the
maximum allowed by law, said stipulation shall be void only as to the period beyond such
maximum. Thus, co-ownership of an estate cannot exceed twenty years so property should be
divided after twenty years. Each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of the thing
owned in common insofar as his share is concerned.

Article 494 specifically mandates that each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of
the thing owned in common insofar as his share is concerned.

FACTS:
Upon his death, Lopez left the lot he owned to his widow and six children; the heirs did not
initiate any move to legally partition the property. After many years, the widow and the eldest
son, Candido, executed a deed of absolute sale of the undivided eastern portion of their
interests in favor of spouses Oliveras & Minor; another deed of absolute sale of the undivided
eastern part in favor of spouses Oliveras & Gaspar. The two Oliveras spouses had since
possessed the properties.

After many years, the counsel of the two Oliveras spouses wrote to the remaining heirs of Lopez
reminding them of the Oliveras spouses demand to partition the property so they could acquire
their titles without court action. The heirs didnt answer so the Oliveras spouses filed a complaint
for partition and damages.

According to the Oliveras spouses, possession of the disputed properties was delivered to them
with the knowledge and consent of the heirs; however, according to the heirs, no sale transpired
as the vendors, the widow and Candido, could not sold specific portions of the property making
Oliveras spouses possession and occupation of specific portions of the properties illegal. Trial
court ruled that the deeds of absolute sale are valid and ordered the segregation of the lot.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the two deeds of absolute sale were null and void since the lot had not
yet been partitioned. -- NO
2. Whether or not the action for partition has prescribed. -- NO

HELD:
1. Under Article 494 and 1083 of the Civil Code, co-ownership of an estate should not
exceed twenty years, while the agreement to keep a thing undivided should not exceed ten
years. When parties stipulated a definite period to keep a thing undivided which exceeds the
maximum allowed by law, said stipulation shall be void only as to the period beyond such
maximum. Thus, co-ownership of an estate cannot exceed twenty years so property should
be divided after twenty years. Each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of the
thing owned in common insofar as his share is concerned.

In this case, the heirs maintained the co-ownership beyond 20 years so when the widow and
Candido sold definite portions of the lot, they validly exercised dominion over them because,
by operation of law, the co-ownership had ceased. The filing of the complaint for partition by
the Oliveras spouses who are legally considered as subrogated to the rights over the
partitions of lot in their possession merely served as formality on the widow and Candidos
act of terminating co-ownership.

2. Prescription may have barred the filing of complaint under Article 1144 (a) of the Civil
Code; however, Article 494 specifically mandates that each co-owner may demand at any
time the partition of the thing owned in common insofar as his share is concerned. In this
case, although the complaint was filed after thirteen years from the execution of the deeds of
sale, the Oliveras spouses action for partition was timely and properly filed.

MLAV
Delima v. C.A.
201 SCRA 641

DOCTRINE: The issuance of the new title constituted an open and clear repudiation of the trust
or co-ownership.

FACTS:
Lino Delima acquired a lot from the Friar Lands Estate in Cebu. He later died leaving as his only
heirs three brothers and a sister namely: Eulalio Delima, Juanita Delima, Galileo Delima and
Vicente Delima. After his death, a title was issued in the name of his legal heirs, as represented
by Galileo Delima.

Galileo Delima declared the lot in his name for taxation purposes and paid the taxes thereon
from 1954 to 1965. Petitioners, who are the surviving heirs of Eulalio and Juanita Delima, filed
with the Court of First Instance of Cebu an action for reconveyance and/or partition of property
and for the annulment of the land title with damages against their uncles Galileo Delima and
Vicente Delima.

The trial court rendered a decision in favor of petitioners.

The decision was appealed, and the CA reversed the lower courts decision. It held that all other
heirs (Eulalio, Juanita and Vicente Delima) had already relinquished and waived their rights to
the property in favor of Galileo, considering that he alone paid the remaining balance of the
purchase price and the realty taxes.

ISSUE:
WON Galileo Delima already acquired the property by prescription -- YES

HELD:
When a co-owner 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 in his name, in effect denying or repudiating the ownership of the other co-owners
over their shares, 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.

Since an action for reconveyance of land based on implied or constructive trust prescribes after
ten (10) years, it is from the date of the issuance of such title that the effective assertion of
adverse title for purposes of the statute of limitations is counted.

Evidence shows that TCT No. 2744 in the name of the legal heirs of Lino Delima, represented
by Galileo Delima, was cancelled by virtue of an affidavit executed by Galileo Delima and that
on February 4, 1954, Galileo Delima obtained the issuance of a new title in his name numbered
TCT No. 3009 to the exclusion of his co-heirs. The issuance of this new title constituted an open
and clear repudiation of the trust or co-ownership, and the lapse of ten (10) years of adverse
possession by Galileo Delima from February 4, 1954 was sufficient to vest title in him by
prescription.

As the certificate of title was notice to the whole world of his exclusive title to the land, such
rejection was binding on the other heirs and started as against them the period of prescription.
Hence, when petitioners filed their action for reconveyance and/or to compel partition on
February 29, 1968, such action was already barred by prescription. Whatever claims the other
co-heirs could have validly asserted before can no longer be invoked by them at this time.


DJTV
Mariategui v. C.A.
205 SCRA 337

DOCTRINE: 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.

FACTS:
Lupo Mariategui died without a will. During his lifetime, Lupo Mariategui contracted three (3)
marriages. With his first wife he begot four (4) children. With his second wife, he begot a
daughter. And with his third wife, he begot three children.

At the time of his death, Lupo Mariategui left certain properties which he acquired when he was
still unmarried. Lupo's descendants by his first and second marriages executed a deed of
extrajudicial partition whereby they adjudicated unto themselves lots in the Muntinglupa Estate.
Thereafter, an Original Certiicate of Title (OCT) was issued in the name of the said heirs.
Subsequently, the registered owners caused the subdivision of the said lot into for which
separate transfer certificates of title were issued to the respective parties.

Lupo's children by his third marriage filed with the lower court an amended complaint claiming
that the lots were owned by their common father, Lupo Mariategui, and that, with the
adjudication of the lots to their co-heirs, they (children of the third marriage) were deprived of
their respective shares in the lots. Plaintiffs pray for partition of the estate of their deceased
father and annulment of the deed of extrajudicial partition.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of lack of cause of action and
prescription. The motion to dismiss was denied by the trial court. The plaintiffs elevated the case
to the Court of Appeals (CA) but the CA upheld the trial courts decision.

ISSUE:
Whether or not prescription barred private respondents' right to demand the partition of the
estate of Lupo Mariategui. -- NO

HELD:
Prescription does not run against private respondents with respect to the filing of the action for
partition so long as the heirs for whose benefit prescription is invoked, have not expressly or
impliedly repudiated the co-ownership. In other words, prescription of an action for partition
does not lie except when the co-ownership is properly repudiated by the co-owner.

Otherwise stated, a co-owner cannot acquire by prescription the share of the other co-owners
absent a clear repudiation of co-ownership duly communicated to the other co-owners.
Furthermore, an action to demand partition is imprescriptible and cannot be barred by laches.
On the other hand, an action for partition may be seen to be at once an action for declaration of
co-ownership and for segregation and conveyance of a determinate portion of the property
involved.

Petitioners contend that they have repudiated the co-ownership when they executed the
extrajudicial partition excluding the private respondents and registered the properties in their
own names. However, no valid repudiation was made by petitioners to the prejudice of private
respondents. Assuming petitioners' registration of the subject lot was an act of repudiation of the
co-ownership, prescription had not yet set in when private respondents filed the present action
for partition.

Petitioners' registration of the properties in their names did not operate as a valid repudiation of
the co-ownership.

In Adille vs. Court of Appeals (157 SCRA 455, 461-462 [1988]), the Court held:
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.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated
December 24, 1980 is Affirmed.

NKVS
Paulmitan v. C.A.
215 SCRA 866

DOCTRINE: 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. 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.

FACTS:
Agatona Sagario Paulmitan, who died sometime in 1953, left the two parcels of land located in
the Province of Negros Occidental. From her marriage with Ciriaco Paulmitan, who is also now
deceased, Agatona begot two legitimate children, namely: Pascual Paulmitan, who also died in
1953, 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.

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. 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.

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. Juliana P. Fanesa redeemed the
property. On learning of these transactions, respondents children of the late Pascual Paulmitan
filed on 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 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.

ISSUE:
1. W/N Donato and Pascual (through his heirs) are co-owners of the land.
2. W/N Juliana has acquired ownership of the property due to the same being
forfeited and subsequently redeemed.

HELD:
1
st
Issue: YES, they are co-owners.

When Agatona Sagario Paulmitan died intestate in 1952, her two (2) sons Donato and Pascual
were still alive. 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." 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.
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 co-ownership. 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 pro-
indiviso share in the property 14 and consequently made the buyer a co-owner of the land until
it is partitioned.

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.
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. 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.

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-owner-seller are transferred, thereby
making the buyer a co-owner of the property.

2
nd
Issue: NO, she is only entitle to the spiritual share of Donato.

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.

The right of repurchase may be exercised by co-owner with respect to his share alone. 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. 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 co-owners 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 co-ownership.

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.


MCSS
Acevedo v. Abesamis
217 SCRA 186

FACTS:
Herodotus and 7 others were left an estate consisting of real properties in Quezon City and
Caloocan City. Herodotus became the administrator pending partition. For the meantime, the
property is owned in common by the heirs.

The case pended for 16 years with the court. Miguel et al (respondents) then filed a Motion for
Approval of Sale for them to sell their shares of the estate. The court approved the motion.
Respondents were able to find a buyer in the person of Yu Hwa Ping who agreed to buy the
properties for P12 Million. He paid P6 million as earnest money.

Herodotus assailed the approval of the sale claiming that the price is quite low. The court
ordered Miguel et al to find a higher bidder within a specified time frame which was later
extended to 7 months but still no other buyer could provide better terms.

Finally, it was agreed by the parties that respondents sell their share to the price already agreed
upon with Ping and that the Herodotus can negotiate his price with Ping. But Herodotus still filed
a Supplemental Opposition against the approval of the conditional sale.

The court affirmed the approval of the sale and ordered Herodotus to sell his share at the same
rate that the other heirs sold their share to Ping.

ISSUE:
WON the other heirs can sell their shares of the estate prior to adjudication. -- YES

HELD:
An heir can sell his share without final adjudication. An heir is a co-owner of the property
(estate) before adjudication.

Although the Rules of Court do not specifically state that the sale of an immovable property
belonging to an estate of a decedent, in a special proceeding, should be made with the approval
of the court, this authority is necessarily included in its capacity as a probate court. Therefore, it
is clear that the probate court in the case at bar, acted within its jurisdiction in issuing the Order
approving the Deed of Conditional Sale.

The right of an heir to dispose of the decedents property, even if the same is under
administration, is based on the Civil Code provision stating that the possession of hereditary
property is deemed transmitted to the heir without interruption and from the moment of the
death of the decedent, in case the inheritance is accepted. Where there are however, two or
more heirs, the whole estate of the decedent is, before its partition, owned in common by such
heirs.

CRF
Aguilar v. CA
227 SCRA 472

DOCTRINE: Any of the Co-owners may demand the sale of the house and lot at any time and
the other cannot object to such demand; thereafter the proceeds of the sale shall be divided
equally according to their respective interests. (batasnatin)

FACTS:
Petitioner Virgilio and respondent Senen are brothers and purchased a house and lot in
Paraaque where their father could spend and enjoy his remaining years in a peaceful
neighborhood. Initially, the brothers agreed that Virgilio's share in the co-ownership was two-
thirds while that of Senen was one-third. By virtue of a written memorandum dated 23 February
1970, Virgilio and Senen agreed that henceforth their interests in the house and lot should be
equal, with Senen assuming the remaining mortgage obligation of the original owners with the
Social Security System (SSS) in exchange for his possession and enjoyment of the house
together with their father. It was further agreed that Senen would take care of their father and
his needs since Virgilio and his family were staying in Cebu. After Maximiano Aguilar died in
1974, petitioner demanded from private respondent that the latter vacate the house and that the
property be sold and proceeds thereof divided among them but the latter refused to do so
thereby causing the petitioner to file a complaint. In his complaint, petitioner prayed that the
proceeds of the sale, be divided on the basis of two-thirds (2/3) in his favor and one-third (1/3)
to respondent. Petitioner also prayed for monthly rentals for the use of the house by respondent
after their father died. The respondent alleged that he had no objection to the sale as long as
the best selling price could be obtained; that if the sale would be effected, the proceeds thereof
should be divided equally; and, that being a co-owner, he was entitled to the use and enjoyment
of the property.

On 26 July 1979, rendering judgment by default against defendant, the trial court found him and
plaintiff to be co-owners of the house and lot, in equal shares on the basis of their written
agreement. However, it ruled that plaintiff has been deprived of his participation in the property
by defendant's continued enjoyment of the house and lot, free of rent, despite demands for
rentals and continued maneuvers of defendants, to delay partition. The trial court also upheld
the right of plaintiff as co-owner to demand partition. Since plaintiff could not agree to the
amount offered by defendant for the former's share, the trial court held that this property should
be sold to a third person and the proceeds divided equally between the parties.The trial court
likewise ordered defendant to vacate the property and pay plaintiff P1,200.00 as rentals
2
from
January 1975 up to the date of decision plus interest from the time the action was filed.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the plaintiff as a co-owner demand a partition of the said property? -- YES

HELD:
The Court holds that on the basis of the pleadings of the parties and the evidence presented ex
parte, petitioner and respondents are co-owners of subject house and lot in equal shares; either
one of them may demand the sale of the house and lot at any time and the other cannot object
to such demand; thereafter the proceeds of the sale shall be divided equally according to their
respective interests.

Article 494 of the Civil Code provides that no co-owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-
ownership, and that each co-owner may demand at any time partition of the thing owned in
common insofar as his share is concerned. Corollary to this rule, Art. 498 of the Code states
that whenever the thing is essentially, indivisible and the co-owners cannot agree that it be,
allotted to one of them who shall indemnify the others, it shall be sold and its proceeds
accordingly distributed. This is resorted to (1) when the right to partition the property is invoked
by any of the co-owners but because of the nature of the property it cannot be subdivided or its
subdivision would prejudice the interests of the co-owners, and (b) the co-owners are not in
agreement as to who among them shall be allotted or assigned the entire property upon proper
reimbursement of the co-owners.

Salvador v. CA
G.R. No. 109910, April 5, 1995

FACTS:
Alipio Yabo was the owner of Lot No. 6080 and Lot No. 6180 situated in Barrio Bulua,
Cagayan de Oro City, whose title devolved upon his nine children, including Maria, upon his
death sometime before or during the second world war.
In 1976, Pastor Makibalo, who is the husband of Maria, filed a complaint 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.
On 8 October 1976, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the late Alipio Yabo
lodged a complaint for partition and quieting of title with damages 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.
To cut the story short, the trial court decided in favor of the plaintiffs; thus, the
defendants appealed trial courts decision to the Court of Appeals. The CA held, among others,
that 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.

ISSUE: WON prescription and laches can be applied against the co-heirs of Pastor Makibalo?

RULING:
NO.
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. The imprescriptibility of the action cannot,
however, be invoked when one of the co-owners has possessed the property as exclusive
owner and for a period sufficient to acquire it by prescription.
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. 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-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.
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.