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Benitez, Cesar Marc T.

Unenforceable Contracts
Case # 336

Hernandez vs. Court of Appeals


No. L-41132, 160 SCRA 821 , April 27, 1988

Facts:

In 1959, Fr. Garcia applied for the registration in his name of Lots 1-A, 1-B, and 2
of Plan Psu-174210 in San Dionisio, Paranaque. The property adjoined that of Hernandez, and
both properties were once owned by San Buenaventura. A boundary dividing the properties was
set by cadastral surveyors from the Bureau of Lands through laying down official monuments.
The monuments were set along a line which the landowners previously agreed upon as the
correct boundary between the properties. Hernandez did not oppose the application leaving the
heirs of Andres Buenaventura as the only oppositors.

Hernandez learned of an anomaly of the application when the court ordered the
registration of the lots in Fr. Garcias name. Hernandez filed a petition for review of the decree
but the petition was dismissed on the grounds of prematurity since a new trial was ordered upon
motion of the heirs-oppositors. The Court of First Instance ruled that Garcia is the owner of Lots
1-A and 2 while the heirs-oppositors as owners of Lot 1-B. The Court of Appeals ruled that Fr.
Garcia is the absolute owner by acquisitive prescription.

Hernandez re-filed his petition for the opening of the decree. The application was
irregular because it disregarded the existing Bureau of Lands monuments designating boundaries
which was previously agreed upon. He was misled to believe that no encroachment was made by
Fr. Garcia.

Trial Court and Court of Appeals dismissed the petition. Under the Statute of
Frauds, the agreement regarding the boundaries is unforceable because it was not reduced to
writing. Hence, this petition.

Issue:

Whether or not Hernandez is entitled to the relief sought.

Ruling:

The appealed decision of the Court of Appeals was reversed and set aside and
another one entered, ordering the Register of Deeds of Rizal to register the 220 square meters in
question in favor of petitioner Victorino Hernandez; and to cancel Original Certificate of Title
No. 8664 and issue a new one in favor of the private respondents excluding said 220-square-
meter area belonging to the petitioner. No pronouncement as to cost.
Ratio:

Yes. The Statute of Frauds finds no application to this case. Not every agreement
"affecting land" must be put in writing to attain enforceability. Under the Statute of Frauds,
Article 1403(2) (e) of the Civil Code, such formality is only required of contracts involving
leases for longer than one year, or for the sale of real property or of an interest therein.
Hernandez's testimony is thus admissible to establish his agreement with Fr. Garcia as to the
boundary of their estates. It is also to be noted that the presence of Hernandez's tenants on the
land within his side of the border, were this to be reckoned from the "mojones," further buttresses
his claim.

The foregoing considerations demonstrate more than adequately that the inclusion of the
220-square-meter area in the Original Certificate of Title No. 8664 of the Register of Deeds of
Rizal is null and void.