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ALFONSO YU and SOLEDAD YU, petitioners,

vs.
HON. JUDGE REYNALDO P. HONRADO, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal,
Branch XXV-Pasig, MARCELO STEEL CORPORATION, Detective CARLOS C. NUESTRO and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
For adjudication in this certiorari, prohibition and mandamus case is the possession of about forty-two metric tons
of scrap engine blocks (valued at more than forty thousand pesos), part of a stock which Marcelo Steel
Corporation sold to an alleged swindler and which scrap iron was allegedly purchased in good faith by the Yu
spouses from the swindler but retrieved from the purchasers by Marcelo Steel Corporation by means of a search
warrant.
Detective Carlos C. Nuestro of the police department of Makati, Metro Manila filed with the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Pasig an application for a search warrant, entitled"People vs. Alfonso Yu, Proprietor, Soledad
Junk Shop. In that application, Nuestro alleged that he "has been informed and verily believes that Alfonso Yu"
was in possession of "about 55 metric tons of unstripped assorted cast iron engine blocks.
In his testimony before respondent, Judge Nuestro declared that he had personal knowledge that Alfonso Yu kept
the said engine blocks, which were "embezzled"; that the said goods were purchased by Carlito Refuerzo on June
10, 1978 from Marcelo Steel Corporation; that Refuerzo paid for the goods with a check in the sum of P61,808.25,
which check was dishonored for insufficient funds; that Refuerzo sold the engine blocks on June 12, 1978 to the
Soledad Junk Shop and that Refuerzo was later apprehended and detained in the municipal jail of Makati.
Assistant Fiscal Ricardo S. Sumaway in a resolution dated October 22, 1979 in the case of Marcelo Steel
Corporation vs. Refuerzo, et al., found that Refuerzo, Ernesto Dumlao, Jose Alla and two other persons named
Larry and Boy defrauded Marcelo Steel Corporation in the sum of P95,434.50 as the value of 90,890 kilos of scrap
materials delivered to Refuerzo which were not paid for and that the Soledad Junk Shop paid Refuerzo P44,000
for 50,000 kilos of scrap materials.
Fiscal Sumaway found that Soledad Yu was not a co-conspirator of Refuerzo and that she was an innocent
purchaser for value .
This case is governed by the ruling in Chua Hai vs. Kapunan, Jr.; etc. and Ong Shu 104 Phil. 110 "that the
acquirer and possessor in good faith of a chattel or movable property is entitled to be respected and protected in
his possession, as if he were the true owner thereof, until a competent court rules otherwise".
It was further ruled in the Chua Hai case that "the filing of an information charging that the chattel was illegally
obtained through estafa from its true owner by the transferor of the bona fide possessor does not warrant
disturbing the possession of the chattel against the win of the possessor".
The Yu spouses bought the scrap engine blocks in good faith for 44,000 from the alleged swindler without any
notice that the same were obtained under false pretenses or by means of a bouncing check. The purchase by the
Yu spouses of the scrap engine blocks from Refuerzo, doing business under the tradename C. C. Varried
Corporation, was covered by a sales invoice and seemed to have been made in the ordinary course of business .
WHEREFORE, respondent Marcelo Steel Corporation is ordered to return and deliver to the Yu spouses within
ten days from notice of the entry of judgment in this case the 42.8 tons of scrap engine blocks in question. No
costs.
G.R. No. 1748
THE BISHOP OF CEBU, REPRESENTING THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
MARIANO MANGARON, defendant-appellant.
The plaintiff in this case relates to a tract of land in the district of Ermita of this city, it is alleged is at present
occupied by the defendant. The object of the original complaint was to recover the possession of the said land,
while in the amended complaint the plaintiff prays that the said land be declared to be the property of the Catholic
Church and that it be restored to the latter. Counsel for appellant admits in his brief that the object of the action is
the recovery of possession when he refers to the judgment of the court below as being "in favor of the plaintiff in
an action to recover the possession of certain real estate."
Neither party has exhibited any title papers to the land in question nor pay other documentary proof. They have
only offered certain parol evidence as to the former possession of the land and as to certain acts of ownership
exercised by the parties over the same.
The court below found
(a) "that the defendant's (Mangaron) parents and brothers had been in possession of the land in question until
about the year 1887;" (b) "that it had not been clearly shown in what capacity they had occupied the lands;" (c)
"that about the year 1887 the defendant and his relatives vacated the land by the virtue of an order from the
municipality, which declared that the land was included within the zone of materiales fuertes (fire zone) and the
houses in which they lived upon the said land without objection;" (d)"that after the land was vacated the parish
priest of the Ermita Church fenced the land and cleaned the same without any objection whatsoever on the part of
anyone; that the plaintiff claimed that this property had belonged to the Catholic Church from the time
immemorial, the defendant, his parents and brothers having occupied a part thereof by the mere tolerance of the
Catholic Church," (e) "that in the year 1898 the defendant, without the consent of anyone, entered upon the land
in question and built thereon a nipa house and continued to live thereon without the consent of the parish priest of
the Ermita Church or the plaintiff in third case." The court then ordered "that the defendants vacate the land
described in the complaint and pay the costs of this action"
Counsel appellant says in his brief "that the defendant claims to be owner of the land by inheritance." It is not
necessary for this court to apply to the present case the well-settled doctrine that it is not sufficient to allege a
universal title of inheritance without showing the manner and form in which such title was converted into a
singular title in favor of the person invoking the same, particularly where, as in the present, case, the question
involved does not relate to the ownership of the property but rather to who has the better right to the possession of
the same. But the court below suggest that there are several brothers of the defendant who might also claim the
same right to occupy the land but who, however, had not done so. The court says "from the evidence introduced at
the trial and from the fact that the defendant's brothers do not claim any right to the land in question, it seems that
the claim of the plaintiff is the more credible.
The complaint is directed against the illegal act of spoliation committed by the defendant in October, 1898, while
as he himself says there was no priest in Ermita who could take care of the church and of the land in question, the
American troops having occupied the parish house according to the defendant, and the Filipino troops having
occupied it according to other witness. This is one of the points as to which there is no dispute between the parties,
the defendant and the witnesses of both important details relating to this matter.
Counsel for appellant sums up his brief in the following paragraph:
The defendant was the legal owner of the property when he was unlawfully ejected by the plaintiff in 1879, and
we insist that he had a right to reenter upon the land when he did so, the time for prescription not having expired
since he was ejected in 1879.
Upon this point the court below said: "The occupation of the land by the defendant in the year 1898 was illegal,
for, if her brought he had a right to the land, he should have applied to the courts for the possession of what
belonged to him, and not proceed to occupy property claimed (he should have said possessed) by another against
the will of the latter."
The conclusion of law of the trial court is entirely in conformity with the conclusion would sanction the recovery
of possession through violence or other unlawful and arbitrary means, and would permit a person to take the law
into his own hands. "If a person thinks that he is entitled to the property which another possesses he should claim
the same from the person in possession. If the latter accedes and voluntarily returns possession and acknowledges
that the property does not belong to him, there is no necessity of any one interfering, but if the person in
possession refuses to deliver the property, the one who believes himself to be entitled to it, however well founded
his belief may be, can not take the law into his own hands but must seek the aid of the competent authorities." The
action of the defendant in 1898 was therefore absolutely unlawful.
But in this case it appears (1) that it can not be affirmed that the possession enjoyed by the defendant was
improperly lost; that possession ceased by virtue of an order from the municipality and no proof to the contrary
has been offered on this point; (2) that it is impossible to say what was the nature of the possession prior to the
year 1877 that is to say, whether it was held by right or by the mere tolerance of the plaintiff in this case.
The code refers to the recovery of the possession, according to law, which was improperly lost, and to "recover
according to law means through the proper writs and actions, or by requesting the aid of competent authorities in
the special cases where the provisions of article 441 may apply." "Of course," continues Manresa "the acts of
violence or secrecy or mere tolerance can not affect the right of possession." Consequently the defendant in this
case could never have lawfully and legally done what he did, to wit, to reenter upon the land which he had been
ejected by the city of Manila. If the order of the municipality was illegal, and the possession was improperly lost,
the defendant should have requested the assistance of the competent authorities to recover it. He should
have applied to the executive or administrative officials, as the case might have been, or to the courts of justice in
a plenary action for possession, for a year having elapsed since he was ejected from the premises, he could not
maintain a summary action for possession.
The question is whether, after the promulgation of the Civil Code, the accion publiciana, which had for its object
the recovery of possession in a plenary action before an action for the recovery of title could be instituted, still
existed. It is well known that under the legislation prior to the Civil Code, both substantive and adjective, there
were three remedies which a party unlawfully dispossessed could avail himself of, to wit:
The accion interdictal, which could be brought within a year, in a summary proceeding; the plenary action for
possession in an ordinary proceeding, which could only be brought after the expiration of a year; and the action for
title in an ordinary proceeding, which was brought in case the plenary action for possession failed. The accion
interdictal had for its object the recovery of the physical possession; the plenary action for possession, the better
right to such possession; and the action for title, the recovery of the ownership.
We lay down as a conclusion that if the plaintiff, when he was deprived in October, 1898, of the possession which
he had enjoyed quietly and peacefully for twenty years, more or less, had within a year instituted the accion
interdictal, or summary action for possession, he would have been, necessarily and undoubtedly, restored to the
possession of the land. It would have availed the defendant nothing to allege, as he now alleges, that he had
merely recovered the possession which he improperly lost in 1877, when he dispossessed the plaintiff as he did.
But a year elapsed and the plaintiff brought this summary action for possession, and we also lay down as a
conclusion that such summary action for possession could not be maintained, either under the old Code of Civil
Procedure or under the new Code of Procedure in Civil Actions.
This quiet and peaceful possession of twenty years, more or less, thus lost in a moment, could not be recovered in
a summary action for possession after the expiration of one year, but possession could still be recovered through
the accion publiciana, which involved the right to possess. This latter action would be then based upon the fact
that he, having been in possession for twenty years, could not lose the same until he had been given an opportunity
to be heard and had been defeated in an action in court by another with a better right. (The same laws.) This fact of
itself would have been sufficient to recover the possession, not in summary, but in a plenary action, in which it
would likewise have availed the defendant nothing to allege that all that he did was to recover a possession
improperly lost in 1877. In one way or the other the plaintiff would have recovered such possession, in the first
case the physical possession and in the second case the right to possess, which is not lost by the mere occupation
of a third person, whether such occupation was effected violently, secretly, or arbitrarily.
But the doubt which now exists is whether, after the promulgation of the Civil Code, the accion publiciana
continued to exist.
The doubt arises from the provisions of article 460 of the Civil Code, which reads as follows:
The possessor may lose his possession
1. By the abandonment of the thing. 2. By transfer to another for a good or valuable consideration. 3. By the
destruction or total loss of the thing or by the thing becoming unmarketable. 4. By the possession of another, over
against the will of the former possessor, if the new possession has lasted more than one year.
The last provision of this article has given rise to the doubt whether possession which is lost by the occupation of
another against the will of the former possessor is merely possession de facto or possession de jure. The most
powerful reason why it is thought that it refers to possession both de facto and de jure is that, whereas the two are
equally lost in the manner indicated in the first three provisions of this article, it would be rather strange that the
fourth provision should only refer to possession de facto.
This, however, is not convincing because not only can the right of possession of any kind be lost in the aforesaid
three ways, but the right of ownership as well. It could not be inferred from this, however, that the right of
ownership can be lost in the fourth manner indicated. The legislation and the jurisprudence of all countries will
allow a party after he has lost possession to bring an action to recover the ownership of the property that is to
say, to recover what belongs to him except where he is barred by the statute of limitations. There is no law
fixing one year and one day as the period of prescription of such actions.
Manresa expressly propounds this question and says:
Meditation upon the nature of possession, being convinced as we are of the fact that possession constitutes a right,
a right in rem, whenever it is exercised over real property or property rights, has merely served to strengthen as far
as possible our conviction of the existence of the accion publiciana. We confess, willing to rely only upon a sound
basis, that a doubt has occurred to us as to whether or not such action should be exercised by the possessor, as we
find nothing definite upon which to place such reliance, although we have noticed that most of the authors admit
that he should, and we know that where there is a right there is a cause of action
We have later seen this question raised and the proposition advanced that, although, as an exception to the general
rule, such action is based upon equity, but as equity is not sufficient to allow the exercise of such action, it would
be necessary to have a legal provision, an article in the code, establishing the same, a provision and an article
which do not exist, and their nonexistence shows that there is no such thing as the accion publiciana.
That we have no knowledge of the existence of any legal text or recent provisions which expressly relate to such
action, is true. The same thing is true in France. However, the majority of the authors admit its existence. Among
us it existence is also generally admitted by the authorities on civil and procedural law. But we do not desire to
base our conclusions upon the arguments of the authorities, particularly when we note that Sanchez Roman is the
only one who has attempted to support in any way his conclusions. It is sufficient, says this author, that the right
existing, there should be an action to protect it. There is no necessity of any special declaration in the Civil Code.
We are of the same opinion as the author in question, but certainly not because we believe that if the possessor is
deprived of the accion publiciana his right ceases to be a right in rem. In regard to this matter we refer to what we
have already said in our preliminary consideration of the question of possession.
In regard to this matter the idea is present in the code that possession should be considered as an actual right and it
is so stated in various articles of that code, as for instance in article 438. It would be impossible to admit that a
mere physical act would confer all the rights which a possessor ordinarily enjoys.
Article 445 presupposes that possession may be considered either as de facto or de jure, for when it refers to
controversies arising from the possession de facto, it clearly indicates that other controversies may arise which
would not relate to the possession de facto. Further it can not be conceived that had its intent been different it
should have preferred actual possession to any other possession. The article in question ends with the following
significant words: "The thing shall be placed in deposit or judicial keeping until the possession or ownership
thereof is decided in the proper manner." That is to say, the question of fact can not be determined until the
question of law has been decided either in regard to the ownership or in regard to the possession (pp. 220-221).
Further, let us take another subject, for instance, the subject for easements. It was generally believed that theaccion
confesoria existed. Vain delusion! We have carefully examined all the provisions of the code relating to easements
and we find absolutely nothing in regard to such an action. Then the accion confesoria is another error. It does not
really exist. Then, if the owner of the dominant estate is denied the use of the easement, it would not be because he
has not a right to such use of it. The only thing that he has not is the action.
No; such an absurdity can not be admitted. It is impossible to conceive that a person has a right which need not be
respected by others, and such respect can not be exacted unless the law provides an adequate remedy for its
enforcement. If a person has aright over any kind of property, such right would not be complete unless it could be
enforced as against the whole world. The action is the recognition of the right; it is the weapon for its protection;
the right certainly does not arise from the action, but on the contrary the action arises from the right. There is a
right recognized by the code then this is sufficient! That right necessarily carries with it the action to enforce it,
the life-giving force. The action is, under this aspect, the actual enforcement of the right, and these two things are
so closely allied that if the action is denied the right is also virtually and actually denied. the accion publiciana,
therefore, exists, not for the sake of equity, but because it must necessarily exist if the right to possession exists or
can exist as provided in article 445, and as is inferred from the other articles of the code dealing with this subject.
There are not, in reality, any practical difficulties, for the courts consider as owners many who are simply
possessors, and actions for title are maintained upon evidence which appears to be proof of ownership, but which
in reality is not, for the reason that the title under which such ownership is claimed is not always in question, but
merely its superiority over the claim of title of another. In a word, it is necessary to state the nature of the action
but not the name by which it is known, and the claim being a just one, it is allowed in an action for title which in a
multitude of cases would be nothing but an accion publiciana (plenary action for possession). Do not give the
name of the action because it is not necessary; merely ask that the right be enforced. Who can reject the claim ?
(Pages 223-224.)
Paragraph 4 of article 460 is not an innovation in the Civil Code, nor does it mean the modification or reformation
of the old law. Law 17, title 30 of the third Partida contains the same provision: "One who holds property can not
lose the possession thereof except in one of the following manners: (1) If he is ejected from it by force; (2) if
another person occupies in while he is absent and upon his return refuses him admission. . . . But although he may
lose the possession in either of the aforesaid manners, he can, however, recover the same, and even the title thereto
by an action in court." There is no doubt that paragraph 4 of article 460 is nothing but a repetition of the law in
force prior to the Civil Code. He who loses possession in either of these ways may demand the return of the same
in an action in court, as well as the ownership of the property, the glossator in expanding the word juizio which
appears in the law, saying, "by means of an action, unde vi, namely, that of recovery, or by any such restorative
means." So that the possession thus lost may be recovered not only in an action unde vi but some other restorative
means, such as the accion publiciana or a penal action; this aside from an action for title.
Law 2, title 34, book 11 of the "Novisima Recopilacion" contains in its title the following prohibitive provision:
"No one shall be deprived of his possession until he has had an opportunity to be heard and his right is defeated in
accordance with the law."
As a legal precedent to paragraph 4 of article 460 we have law 3, title 8, of the same book 11, which says: "The
laws of some cities provide that he who has been in possession of a building, vineyard, or other land for one year
and one day, peacefully and adversely to the person claiming to be entitled to such possession who travels in and
out of the village, shall not be held responsible therefor. There being doubt as to whether such possession for the
period of one year and one day requires title in good faith, we, to dispell this doubt, do hereby order that he who
holds such possession for the period of one year and one day shall not be exempt from liability therefor while in
possession unless such possession of one year and one day was accompanied by title in good faith."
If the whole provision of article 460, paragraph 4, was contained in the old law and such was the meaning and
efficacy that possession of one year and one day had under the said old law, the courts must give some satisfactory
and convincing explanation why the meaning and efficacy of such possession of one year and one day referred to
in the code should be different. We are unable to give such explanation, because in the act which was the basis of
the present code nothing new was provided upon this subject, nor was any rule or procedure specified by which
the various sections of the new law should be governed. Therefore the provisions of the code should be construed,
as to the possession of one year and one day, as they were construed in the prior legislation, unless it appears that
the intention of the legislature was otherwise that is to say, unless it appears that the said legislature intended
exactly the contrary of what had been established preceding the enactment of the code.
The right acquired by the person who has been in possession for one year and one day is the right that the former
possessor lost by allowing the year and one day to expire. The right is lost by the prescription of the action. And
the action which prescribes upon the expiration of the year is "the action to recover or to retain possession; " that is
to say, the interdictory action. (Art. 1968, par. 1.) then the only right that can be acquired now, as before, by the
person who was in possession for one year and one day is that he can not be made to answer in an interdictory
action, but this is not so in a plenary action unless he had some title in good faith. The former possessor who had
been in possession for twenty years, more or less, was considered as owner, and unless he was given an
opportunity to be heard, and was defeated in law, he could not be deprived of such possession; and
notwithstanding all this, and in spite of such prohibition, the maintenance of a possession wrongfully taken from
the former possessor by a willful act of the actual possessor had to be sustained.
The lessee, the depositary, the pledgee, the intruder, the usurper, the thief himself, after the expiration of a year
would not be responsible for the possession of which the lawful possessor was wrongfully deprived, and if the
latter could produce no evidence of his right of ownership the only thing that he could do according to the
contrary theory it would be impossible for him to recover such possession thus lost by any other means.
If, in addition to the fact of possession, the action for the enforcement of which prescribes after the expiration of
one year and one day, there exists without any doubt whatsoever the right to possess (or more properly speaking in
the case at bar, to continue to possess, which said right of possession would be a right in rem, such possession
would not be on a less favorable footing than a mere possession de facto; and, if in the latter case the interdictory
action lies, the action which existed prior to the enactment of the code, to wit, the accion publiciana, should
continue to lie in the former case. The code establishes rights and the Law of civil Procedure prescribes actions for
the protection of such rights, and we can not look to the code to find any provision defining the action which every
civil right carries with it.
This is the reason why as a title of chapter 3 of the code in which article 460 is included, and a sanction of the
whole of title 5, book 2, which deals with possession, article 446 provides that every possessor has a right to be
respected in his possession, and should he be disturbed therein, he must be protected or possession must be
restored to him by the means established in the laws of procedure.
The code refers to the laws of procedure enacted in Spain in 1881 and extended to the Philippines in 1888. Article
1635 of the old Code of Civil Procedure makes provision for summary proceedings to retain or to recover, to
protect or to restore, possession, provided the action is brought within a year, but after the expiration of this period
the party may bring such action as may be proper. This latter action, as has been explained before, may be either
the plenary action for possession referred to or an action for title. This assumed, and reading article 1635 of the old
Code of Civil Procedure immediately before article 446 of the Civil Code, we are unable to conceive how that
could be successfully denied after the 8th of December, 1889, when the Civil code went into effect, which could
not be denied prior to that date, to wit, the existence of the accion publiciana to recover the right of possession, to
enforce the right to possess, which although it could not be brought within the year as a mere interdictory action
for the protection of the mere physical possession, there can be no valid reason why it could not be brought after
the expiration of the year in order to protect the right and not the mere physical possession.
Article 1635 of the old Code of Civil Procedure not having been repealed by the Civil Code, if the accion
publiciana existed prior to its enactment, it must necessarily exist after such enactment. We consequently conclude
that the action brought by the plaintiff in this case to recover the possession of which he was unlawfully deprived
by the defendant can be properly maintained under the provisions of the present Civil Code considered as a
substantive law, without prejudice to any right which he may have to the ownership of the property, which
ownership he must necessarily establish in order to overcome the presumption of title which exist in favor of the
lawful possessor, the plaintiff in this case, who had been in the quiet and peaceful possession of the land for
twenty years, more or less, at the time he was wrongfully dispossessed by the defendant.
Having reached this conclusion, the judgment of the court below is accordingly affirmed, with the cost of this
action against the appellant. So ordered.
VICENTE RODRIGUEZ Y HERMANOS, plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.
JOSE TAIO, defendant-appellant.
On February 18, 1909, Vicente Rodriguez and brothers, through their attorneys, filed with the Court of First
Instance of Tayabas a complaint amending their previous one of January 5 and alleging, as a cause of action, that
they are the owners of a parcel of rice land, of an area such as is commonly sown with 2 cavanes of seed,
situated in the barrio of Remedios of the pueblo of Mauban, Province of Tayabas, the boundaries of which are, on
the north, the land of Epifania Rodriguez, on the east, the bands of Clara Escueta, and on the south and west, the
Quinamit River; that they are occupied the said parcel until the year 1906, when they were disposed by the
defendant Jose Taio who, since then, has usurped it and occupied it without the permission and notwithstanding
the opposition of the plaintiffs who, in consequence thereof, have been deprived of the said land and of its fruits
and products, by reason of which they have suffered injury and damages to the amount of P300; that they therefore
pray that he aforedescribed land be restored to them and that the defendant be sentenced to the payment of the said
amount and the costs.
The defendant Jose Taio, in answer to the proceeding complaint, denies each and all of the allegations thereof
except such portions as he subsequently admits or modifies, and alleges that the land claimed belongs to Epifania
Rodriguez Sanchez, a native o these Islands now residing in Cadiz, Spain; that in the 1906 the defendant took
possession of the said land as the administrator of its said owner and it at the present time in possession as such
administrator, duly authorized to administer her properties in Tayabas; wherefore he prays that the case be
dismissed with the costs against the plaintiffs.
The case having come to trial, the testimony was taken and Ramon Rodriguez and Igmidio Talabon were
examined as witnesses for the plaintiffs; the witnesses for the defendant were the last named, and Hugo Lopez and
Francisco Pastrana. Their testimony was not recorded stenographically at the trial, although in the bill of
exceptions the following statement is made:
Be it likewise recorded for the purposes of this bill of exceptions, that the facts proved in this case are all
those mentioned and related as proved in the judgment pronounced by the court and which is as follows.
This judgment was rendered on March 31, 1909, and it is ordered therein that the plaintiffs recover from the
defendant the possession of the land in litigation with the costs of the trial against the defendant, whose counsel,
by a motion of the 5th of April following, made a motion for a new trial on the grounds that the judgment was not
in accordance with the law and that the evidence did not justify the judgment of the court. This motion was denied,
to which exception was taken by the defendant party, who duly filed the corresponding bill of exceptions which
was certified and forwarded to the clerk of this court.
The purpose of the present litigation, according to the terms of the claim made in the amended complaint, is to
obtain the restitution of the land from the possession of which the plaintiffs were deprived by the defendant Jose
Taio; and therefore the action brought has for its object the recovery of the said land from the third party who
usurped it and holds it to the prejudice of the plaintiffs. Article 444 of the Civil Code prescribes that "Acts which
are merely tolerated and those clandestinely executed, without knowledge of the possessor of the thing, or by
force, do not affect the possession.
Article 446 of the same code provides that "Every possessor has a right to be respected in his possession must be
restored to him by the means established in the laws of procedure.
In accordance with the legal precepts laid down in the pre inserted article of the Civil Code, it is unquestionable
that the action for the recovery of possession, prosecuted by the plaintiffs against the defendant, who personally
and against the will of the legitimate possessors of the said land, usurped and now holds it, is maintainable under
the law.
It is a doctrine established by the jurisprudence of this court that, even after the promulgation of the Civil Code,
which did not repeal article 1635 of the previous Law of Civil Procedure, the accion publiciana subsists to obtain
from the court protection of the right of possession. Consequently, the action prosecuted by the plaintiff for the
recovery of the possession unlawfully taken by the defendant is proper, without prejudice to the right that lies with
the latter with respect to the ownership, which must be proven in opposition to the presumption of title which
already existed in favor of the legitimate possessor who in the present case is the plaintiff, he having enjoyed a
quiet and peaceable possession of the land for a period of about twenty years when he was unlawfully deprived
thereof by the defendant. (Bishop of Cebu vs. Mangaron, 6 Phil. Rep., 286.)
In the case of Ledesma vs. Marcos (9 Phil. Rep., 618), the doctrine is established that the provisions of Act No.
136 and the Code of Civil Procedure which give exclusive jurisdiction to the justices of the peace for one year
after the cause of action arises, to try cases of detention of real property, do not assume to deprive the Courts of
First Instance of their jurisdiction in other cases for the recovery of possession of realty.
So that the loss of possession dealt with in article 460 of the Civil Code may only be recovered within one year
and one day by means of the action for the recovery of possession prescribed by section 80 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, but when it is a question of real property its restitution may nevertheless be claimed, in a Court of First
Instance, even after one year and one day, by means of the proper plenary action for the recovery of possession,
that is, the old action known as publiciana.
The act of spoliation is a positive attempt against the rights of a private party and against public order and must
instantly be suppressed, without regard to the title held by the injured part, in order to avoid disturbances in the
community and to prevent anyone from taking the administration of justice into his own hands; therefore, whoever
possesses a thing as the owner of it, as well as he who holds it merely as tenant while the dominion appertains to
another, is entitled to ask for the restitution thereof by prosecuting the proper action against the despoiler, even
though the latter be the proprietor or owner of the property. (Roxas vs. Mijares, 9 Phil. Rep., 252.)
The facts are established in the judgment appealed from, that Ramon Rodriguez, for himself, and in the
representation of which coheirs, was in possession of the land in question (which is admitted by the defendant);
that Taio entered into the possession of the property, not in his own name, but as the representative of Epifania
Rodriguez, residing at the present time in Spain, notwithstanding the objection of the plaintiffs: wherefore it is
said in the judgment appealed from, in considering the propriety of the restitution, that if the said Epifania
Rodriguez has any title of ownership to the said property she may show it on the institution of a proper action.
For the foregoing reasons, and accepting those contained in the judgment appealed from, it is proper in our
opinion to affirm, and we do hereby affirm the said judgment, with the costs against the appellant. So ordered.
VENANCIA B. MAGAY, assisted by her husband, VICTORIANO R. MAGAY, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
EUGENIO L. ESTIANDAN, defendant-appellant.
Appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Palawan in an accion publiciana filed by plaintiff-
appellee Venancia B. Magay, assisted by her husband, Victoriano R. Magay, against the defendant-appellant
Eugenio L. Estiandan in Civil Case No. 518, finding plaintiff-appellee as the registered owner of the land in
question under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 2004, ordering defendant-appellant to vacate the property within
fifteen (15) days after the decision has become final, and to pay plaintiff-appellee the amount of Ten Pesos
(P10.00) monthly as rentals on the land from October 1965 until he vacates the premises, and to pay the amount of
Six Hundred Pesos (P600.00) by way of attorney's fees and the costs of the suit.
The facts of the case as found by the trial court are as follows:
During the hearing of this case, the Court gathered from the evidence of the plaintiff, that the
plaintiff Venancia B. Magay bought the land. in question. from her mother-in-law, Soledad de
los Reyes. The land was formerly titled in the name of Soledad de los Reyes under Original
Certificate of Title No. E-2020 which was subsequently cancelled and transferred in the name
of the herein plaintiff under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 2004.
The defendant has constructed two houses in the land in question. Before this property was
sold by Soledad de los Reyes to the plaintiff, the former sent two letters, to the defendant
telling him to vacate the premises. After the plaintiff has acquired the property in question, she
sent other letters to the defendant advising him to vacate the premises, Exhibits 'E' and F The
plaintiff has declared the property in question for purposes of taxation, Exhibit 'G' and has
paid the real estate taxes, Exhibit 'H'. Due to the refusal of the defendant to vacate the
premises in question, the plaintiff was obliged to hire the services of a lawyer and spent
P600.00 for attorney's fees.
On the other hand, the defendant testified that he has filed a miscellaneous sales application,
Exhibit '6' over the land in question. said application, according to him, is now pending in the
Bureau of Lands and it has neither-been rejected nor approved. The defendant bases his
application on the decision rendered by Judge Bartolome Revilla in the case of El Gobierno de
las Islas Filipinos contra Antonio Aborot y otros Exhibit '5' adjudicating the land in question in
favor of the Government of the Philippines. Moreover, the defendant questions the validity of
the title issued to Soledad de log Reyes, alleging that the issuance and reconstitution thereof
was done under anomalous circumstances.
Appellants brought this case on appeal directly to this Court on the representation that only questions of law are
involved. After a careful analysis of the issues raised, it appears that the principal question to be resolved is
whether appellant can question in this proceedings the validity of Original Certificate No. E-2020 issued to
Soledad de los Reyes, now d and of the subsequent issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 2W4 by the
Register of Deeds to plaintiff-appellee as a consequence of the registration of the deed of sale executed by Soledad
de los Reyes in favor of plaintiff-appellee dated June 26, 1963, on the ground that Original Certificate of Title No.
E-2020 was allegedly "fraudulently issued" to the late Soledad de los Reyes in 1948.
It is well-settled that a torrens title cannot be co attacked. The issue on the validity of the title can only in action
expressly instituted for that purpose.
1
Even assuming that the land in question is still part of the public domain,
then the appellant is not the proper party to institute the reversion of the land but it must be the Solicitor General in
the name of the Republic of the Philippines.
2

Finally, We also find no merit in appellant's contention that the lower Court erred in assuming jurisdiction over the
case. As clearly emphasized by Justice Fred Ruiz Castro (now Chief Justice of this Court) in Serrano v. Munoz Hi
Motors, Inc.,"
3
jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint, irrespective
of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein-a matter that
can be resolved only after and as a result of the trial. Nor may the jurisdiction of the court be made to depend upon
the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for, were we to be governed by such rule, the
question of jurisdiction could depend almost entirely upon the defendant." The lower court did not commit any am
in declaring that plaintiff-appellee's complaint is actually an accion publiciana rather than one for unlawful
detainer, within the intendment of Section 1, Rule 70 of the procedural law.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the
appellant.
THE HEIRS OF JUMERO, plaintiff-appellants,
vs.
JACINTO LIZARES, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Under the name of the heirs of Jumero, fifteen persons, as the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Benedicto
Jumero, demand the restitution of a piece of land which is, and has been for the past forty years, in the possession
of Jacinto Lizares. This land has an area of five hectares and sixty ares, and adjoins on the north, east, and west,
the property of Aniceto Lacson, and on the south, that of Gregoria Vinco. It is alleged in the complaint that this
land belonged to Benedicto Jumero, and that he willed it of his four children, all now deceased as well as the said
Jumero, named Luisa, Felix, Florentino, and Pedro, and that the plaintiffs, grandchildren and great grandchildren,
descend from the three last mentioned. The only descendant of Luisa, Gregoria Meruegos, is not a party to the suit
and therefore appears as a defendant together with Jacinto Lizares.
At the conclusion of the trial, Florentino's children, named Anatolio, Hilaria, and Felisa, having testified as
witnesses for the defendant, Lizares, in opposition to the allegations of the complaint, were likewise therein
included as defendants, by an amendment authorized by the court. So that, of the heirs of Benedicto Jumero, the
descendant of one entire branch, Luisa, and three of those of another branch, that Florentino, impugned the
complaint and take no part in the claim for the restitution of the land of their common predecessor in interest.
The following facts are admitted: First, that all the heirs named Jumero are actually the descendants of Benedicto
Jumero; second, that the land, which is the subject of the suit, passed into the possession of Jacinto Lizares, for the
sum of 50 pesos, about forty years before; and third, that the reason for his transfer was the fact that Nicolas
Jumero, a son of Felix, was drafted for the army, and to secure his release from the military service, or to pay the
attorney who was to negotiate the release, the 50 pesos were required.
The whole question involved is whether the 50 pesos were received as a mortgage loan, as the plaintiffs claim, or
as the price of sale, as maintained from the beginning by the defendants, Jacinto Lizares and Gregoria Meruegos,
and subsequently by Anatolio, Hilaria, and Felisa Jumero, the latter represented by her husband, Basilio Alferio.
The plaintiffs claim that the land was delivered under mortgage in order that Lizares might have the usufruct until
it should be redeemed through the payment of the 50 pesos. The defendants assert the land was sold outright to
Lizares for the price of 50 pesos.
The Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros decided the case in favor of the defendants and absolved them
from the complaint. The plaintiffs appealed.
Having forwarded a bill of exceptions, with a right to a revision of the evidence, two errors are alleged in this
instance against the judgment of the lower court.
First. For having admitted, notwithstanding the objection of the plaintiffs, the testimony introduced by the
appellees relative to the purchase of the land in question by Jacinto Lizares.
Second. Because the trial judge entertained doubt as to the character of the contract, by virtue of which the
defendant, Jacinto Lizares, possesses the land in question, and because, by reason of this doubt, he absolved the
defendants, and did not declare that there was preponderance of evidence in favor of the plaintiff appellants.
With respect to the first assignment of error, it is alleged that, as the question involves the purchase of real estate,
the testimony of witnesses is not admissible, and that at the time the land in question was supposed to have been
purchased, the laws of the Partidas were in force, and, in accordance with law 6, title 5, of the 5th Partida, it was
necessary for the validity of the contract that the sale be made by a public instrument. The law cited provides that
the purchase and sale may be made in two ways by a public instrument, and without one. The first is when the
vendee says to the vendor: "I wish that a document of sale be made." Such a sale, although the vendee and the
vendor agree on the price, is not completed until the instrument is made and executed, because, before that is
done, one or the other may repent. The sale may be made without an instrument when the vendee and the vendor
both agree upon the price thereof and exchange the thing for the price, without mentioning the instrument.
The first assignment of error is therefore without foundation. In accordance with the legislation of the Partidas,
patterned after the Roman law, the contract of purchase and sale is eminently consensual and, consequently only
requires consent for its perfection. In order that an instrument be necessary, it was required that this form should
also be the subject of consent and that the validity of the contract be made defendant thereon: I wish a bill of sale
to be made of the thing sold, was what the vendee should say to the vendor, according to the law cited, in order
that he might not be bound until after the execution of the instrument.
As to the second assignment of error, it is true that the trial judge while in doubt, and by reason of his doubt,
which still existed after weighing the contradictory testimony, decided the suit in favor of the defendant. In so
doing, he committed no error whatever, but, on the contrary, complied with the second paragraph of article 6 of
the Civil Code, which provides:
When there is no law exactly applicable to the point in controversy, the customs of the place shall be observed,
and, in the absence thereof, the general principles of law.
And it is a general principle of law that, in case of doubt, the condition of he who possesses is the better one. The
defendant in whose favor the doubt was decided is the possessor.
But, in reality, it was not a case of doubt, neither with respect to the law nor the facts adduced by the witnesses,
whose testimony, rationally weighed, does not show an evident preponderance of proof in favor of the plaintiffs,
but all to the contrary.
By law, in conformity with article 448 of the Civil Code, this case could not but be decided in favor of the
defendant.
The possessor by virtue or ownership has in his favor the legal presumption that he holds possession by reason of
a sufficient title and he can not be forced to show it.
The defendant, Lizares, who was possessed the land in litigation for forty years, alleges that he is possession
thereof by virtue of a title of purchase and sale, which is a title of transfer of ownership; he is, consequently, the
possessor under title of ownership, and, in conformity with the law, he has in his favor the legal presumption that
he possesses the land under sufficient title and he ca not be obliged to produce it. A purchase verbally made gives
a perfect title which, with the occupation or possession of the thing, confers ownership upon the possessor,
provided that he holds himself out as its owner, until it be proved that he is not. It was incumbent upon the
plaintiffs to prove a character distinct from that of owner, and only then could they compel the defendant to prove
(rather than to show, as ) very properly observes the learned commentator, Manresa) the title which actually
confers upon him the status of owner. But the plaintiffs were unable to prove a character distinct from that of
owner, by due and sufficient proof of a title under mortgage, or that of antichresis, which latter was certainly
unknown in the Philippine Islands before the publication of the Civil Code, except in exceedingly rare cases of
pretorian pledges judicially established and approved and this they were unable to do, for the reason that, as
established at the trial, no instrument whatever was executed of the alleged mortgage of or of such an antichresis;
and, at all times, at least since the promulgation of the Civil Code, the mortgage and the antichresis, as restrictions
of the ownership, must necessarily be recorded in writing, under the first paragraph of rule 4 of the transitory
provisions of the Civil Code, in connection with articles 1875, 1279, and 1280.
On these grounds alone, the judgment appealed from should be affirmed. But conceding, for a moment, some
value to the testimony taken, and on the hypothesis that it were necessary to consider it critically and reasonably in
order to reach a conviction beyond all doubt, by a preponderance of evidence offered by one of the litigating
parties, even then, and in such a case, this preponderance could not be admitted in favor of the plaintiffs.
The following witnesses testified for the plaintiffs: Dionisio Acodo, as to the delivery of the 50 pesos under
security of the land; Gregorio Vinco, Romualda Jumero, and Cosme Jumero, to the effect that, twenty years
before, according to the first two, and two years before, according to the last, the defendant, Jacinto Lizares, had
negotiated with their predecessors in interest, Felix Jumero and Pedro Jumero, respectively, for the conversion of
the mortgage into a sale; Rufino Brasileo, with respect to what he had heard Jacinto Lizares say to Gregoria
Vinco and another woman, that if they had not sued him, he would have allowed them to redeem the land; and
Aniceto Lacson, as to his attempt, at the request of Jacinto Lizares, to buy the land for the latter.
Examining all this testimony in detail, the following particular can not be criticized:
First. Gregoria Vinco, the adjacent owner to the south of the land in litigation, testified that twenty years before
Jacinto Lizares sent for her father-in-law, Felix Jumero, who went to the house of Jacinto Lizares in company with
his eldest son, Nicolas, the husband of the witness, with her husband's sister, Romualda, and the witness herself,
and that there Lizares told them that, as the land was mortgaged, he would add 150 pesos more, in order that the
land might be sold to him. When the witness was asked on cross-examination when she had married her husband,
Nicolas, she replied: "Thirty-eight years ago; that is, two or four years after he was chosen as a recruit."
Romualda Jumero testified:
When my brother was drafted, it happened that my father did not have the money to redeem him, and he went and
borrowed the sum of 50 pesos from Lieutenant Jacinto Lizares, and gave him that land as security.
Q. Who told you that your father and Jacinto Lizares made that agreement?A. I accompanied my father when
we went to Lizares's house.
Q. Who was your companion when you and your father went of Jacinto Lizares's house?A. We two, my father
and I.
Q. Can you tell us when you went with your father to Lizares's house?A. About forty years ago.
Q. How many times were you in Lieutenant Lizares's house to talk about that land?A. I only went once.
The conclusion is, first, that Romualda Jumero, contrary to the statement made by Gregoria Vinco, did not go to
Jacinto Lizares's house, and did not hear what is asserted to have been said about the conversion of the mortgage
into a sale; and, second, that this witness testified in regard to the alleged contract of guaranty, made as she herself
asserted, forty years before, and when questioned at the beginning of her testimony, "How old are you?" replied,
"About forty years, I believe."
The following witnesses testified for the defendant: Gregoria Meruegos, Hilaria Jumero, Anatolio Jumero, Basilio
Alferio as the husband of Felisa Jumero, Simon Lizares, and Francisco Lizares. Of these, the first four, and the
last, averred that the sale was made by the Jumero family; that is, by the four children of Benedicto Jumero,
because of the need to redeem from the military service a son of Felix Jumero, the husband of Gregoria Vinco
who, as aforesaid, is an adjacent owner of land to the south of the property in question and the same person who,
according to the testimony of Hilaria Jumero, built two houses, a large and a small one, on the land in dispute "and
on account of that the suit began." The witness Hilaria Jumero testified that Aniceto Lacson made her an offer to
buy the land in question for 700 pesos, inasmuch as it had been acquired very cheaply. This testimony was
confirmed by Aniceto Lacson, in rebuttal, who stated that he had offered her 400 pesos, but that Hilaria Jumero
replied that Jacinto Lizares had also made her an offer.
Gregoria Meruegos, on cross-examination, stated that she had on some occasion said that the land in question was
pledged to Lizares, but that as it had not been redeemed it was the same as though the latter had acquired it by
purchase. "If you had not sued me, I would have allowed you to redeem the land," are words that the plaintiffs'
witness, Rufino Brasileo, attributes to Lizares. Such are the results obtained from the original evidence.
With all the testimony of the witnesses, proof was not adduced of the existence of the mortgage contract, which,
on the other hand, would not cause the debtor's land to pass to the control of the creditor.
It is not irrational to accept as conclusive the testimony of the defendant's witnesses, although they were partners-
on-shares of, or in any other manner defendant on, the defendant, because they testified against their own interest
in affirming that the land had been transferred by sale.
It is likely, considering the custom of the locality, and indeed a general one throughout the Islands, that the land
was sold with right of redemption, and hence that its redemption should be spoken of as possible or as a mere
concession on the part of the creditor; but, on such a hypothesis, it was redemption which could not be demanded
of the vendee, by reason of the prescription acquired, whether the time is computed in accordance with the
previous legislation, or whether, as it is strictly proper, such time limit, already expired, be that specified in the
Civil Code; inasmuch as, even admitting that it was stipulated that the right to repurchase or redeem should last for
an indefinite time, such period is restricted to ten years, under paragraph 2 of article 1508 of the Civil Code, and
this period has already elapsed since its promulgation. (Art. 1939, Civil Code.)
The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellants.