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Frondarina v.

Malazarte (2006)
Petitioners: Esperanza Frondarina and Husband, Pedro Frondarina
Respondents: Napoleon Malazarte and Laura Malazarte
DOCTRINE: Although tax declarations or real estate payments of property
are not conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless, they are good
indicia of possession in the concept of an owner.
FACTS:
1. Flordelina Santos acquired Lot 5, Block 15-B, in Gordon Heights
Subdivision, Olongapo City from a certain Illuminado Amar.
2. The property was then transferred by Santos to Cirila Gongora, sister of
Esperanza Frondarina (petitioner) as shown in the Deed of Transfer of
Possessory Right over a Lot.
a. Gongora filed a Miscellaneous Sales Application (MSA) with the
Bureau of Lands.
b. Lot was declared in Gongoras name for taxation purposes under
several Tax Declarations (1970, 1974, 1980)
c. paid the real estate taxes due on said property as shown by a
receipt evidencing payment of the real estate taxes on the property
for the years 1980-1985.
3. Petitioner Esperanza, in turn, obtained the disputed lot from her sister,
Cirila Gongora, as evidenced by the Waiver and/or Renunciation of
Rights to a Parcel of Land.
a. filed an MSA with the Bureau of Lands over the disputed lot.
b. declared the disputed lot in her name in 1986 Tax Declaration and
paid real estates taxes on the property for the years 1986 to 1988.
c. had the lot surveyed, fenced it with four (4) strands of barbed wire,
and tended two (2) mango and one (1) coconut trees and planted
different kinds of vegetables on the lot.
4. On the other hand, the Malazartes alleged that in 1988, they bought the
said lot from Romeo Valencia and have resided on the lot since then.
a. They constructed their house on the lot without a building permit
as their application was denied due to petitioners complaint.
5. The Malazartes threatened the formers caretaker and even dug holes on
the lot to put up posts, riprapped the rear of the lot, and deposited hollow
blocks to construct a house.
a. Defense of Malazartes: they got permission to enter the land from
Mr. Valencia
6. City Engineers Office told Malazartes to stop construction as they had
no building permit. However, Malazartes continued construction.
7. Olongapo MTCC: in favor of Sps. Frondarina; Malazartes did not have
prior possession of the subject lot. Their possession of the land was also
not adverse, uninterrupted, open and in the concept of owners.

a. Romeo Valencia, admitted that his possession of the disputed lot


had already been questionedfor almost three (3) yearsby Sps.
Frondarina before he sold it to Malazartes
8. RTC: Malazartes were in actual and physical possession of the disputed
lot through Valencia;
a. CA: sustained RTC; Sps Frondarina failed to prove that they were in
actual and physical possession of the disputed lot; possession only
through caretaker who did not appear as witness because of
alleged threats made by Malazartes and their predecessor-ininterest, Romeo Valencia.
ISSUE: WON Sps. Frondarina are entitled to possession of the Lot
(possession in the concept of owners)
RULING + RATIO: Yes, Sps. Frondarina are entitled to possession as they
and their predecessors-in-interest had been in peaceful, physical possession
of the said lot since 1971.
1. Sps. Frondarina went to the lot 3 or 4 times a week and exercised acts of
ownership and possession over it by fencing the sides of the lot with
barbwire, planting vegetables like camote, okra, and others, and by
tending two (2) mango trees and one (1) coconut tree planted by
Esperanzas sister, Cirila Gongora;
a. Also had a caretaker, a neighbor residing at an adjacent lot, who
oversaw the disputed lot when they were not there.
b. it was not possible for Valencia to be on the said lot most of the time
because his job as Councilor Jesus Danugraos driver took up most
of his time.
2. Although tax declarations or real estate payments of property are not
conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless, they are good indicia of
possession in the concept of an owner.
3. Tax declarations are clear manifestations and strong indications of
possession and occupation of a parcel of land. Tax Declarations (below)
of Sps. Frondarinas and that of their predecessors-in-interest are earlier
than and superior to those of Malazartes.
a. Gorgona - year 1970,1974, 1980; Esperanza- 1986
b. Valencia - 1985, 1988- Malazartes
4. The old tax receipts of Sps. Frondarinas are also evidential and
suggestive demonstration of their possession of the subject lot in the
concept of an owner.
a. payments of real estate taxes over the disputed lot by the
Frondarinas are much earlier than those made by the Malazartes.
5. The Miscellaneous Sales Application filed by predecessor-in-interest
Cirila Gongora (1971) is also much earlier that that filed by Valencia
(1977).

a. The earlier filing of sales application by the predecessor-in-interest


of petitionersCirila Gongoraindicates petitioners occupation
and possession of the disputed lot ahead of Romeo Valencias
alleged occupation and possession of it.
6. Since the Malazartes were informed by Frondarinas that the disputed lot
was owned by them and had the right of possession over said lot, but
still, Malazartes persisted in building their house on it, Malazartes are
therefore declared builders in bad faith and shall lose their house without
any right to reimbursement.

DISPOSITION: WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The March 13,


2001 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 61335 and the
September 13, 2000 Decision of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court in
Civil Case No. 192-0-2000 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE; and the
February 28, 2000 Decision of the Olongapo City MTCC in Civil Case No.
2853 is hereby REINSTATED.