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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,

petitioner,

vs.

CARLOS R. VEGA, et al.,

respondents.

G.R. No. 177790

January 17, 2011

Third Division

Sereno,

J.

FACTS:

The respondents Vegas filed an application for registration of title covering a parcel of land. They alleged
that they inherited the subject land from their mother, Maria, who in turninherited it from her father,
Lorenz. Their mothers siblings died intestate, all without leaving anyoffspring. The Republic filed an
opposition to respondents Vegas application for registration onthe ground that the subject land or
portions thereof were lands of the public domain and, assuch, not subject to private appropriation.
During the trial, respondents Vegas presentedseveral exhibits in compliance with the jurisdictional
requirements, as well as witnesses to proverespondents Vegas ownership, occupation and possession
of the land subject of theregistration. Significant was the testimony of Mr. Rodolfo Gonzales, a Special
Investigator of theCENRO of Los Baos, Laguna, under the DENR. He attested to having conducted
aninspection of the subject land and identified the corresponding Report which he had submittedto the
Regional Executive Director, Region IV. The report stated that the area subject of theinvestigation was
entirely within the alienable and disposable zone, and that there was no publicland application filed for
the same land by the applicant or by any other person.

During the trial, respondents

intervenors Buhays entered their appearance and moved tointervene in respondents Vegas application
for registration. Respondents

intervenors Buhaysclaimed a portion of the subject land consisting purportedly sold by respondents
Vegasmother,Maria, to the formers predecessors

in

interest

the sisters Gabriela and Isabel

byvirtue of a Bilihan ng Isang Bahagi ng Lupang Katihan. They likewise formally offered inevidence a
Subdivision Plan, which indicated the portion of the subject land, which they claimedwas sold to their
predecessors

in

interest.

The trial court, in its decision, granted respondents Vegas application and directed theLRA to issue the
corresponding decree of registration in the name of respondents Vegas andrespondents
-

intervenors Buhays predecessors, in proportion to their claims over the subjectland. The Republic
appealed the Decision of the trial court, arguing that respondents Vegasfailed to prove that the subject
land was alienable and disposable, since the testimony of Mr.Gonzales did not contain the date when
the land was declared as such. The appellate courtaffirmed in toto the decision of the trial court.

ISSUE

Whether or not, based on the evidence on record, respondents Vegas have sufficientlyestablished that
the subject land is alienable and disposable?RULING:

The best proofs in registration proceedings that a land is alienable and disposable are acertification from
the CENRO or Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)and a certified true copy of
the DENRs original classification of the land. The Court, however,has nonetheless recognized and
affirmed applications for land registration on other substantialand convincing evidence duly presented
without any opposition from the LRA or the DENR onthe ground of substantial compliance. Applying
these precedents, the Court finds that despite the absence of a certification bythe CENRO and a certified
true copy of the original classification by the DENR Secretary, therehas been substantial compliance with
the requirement to show that the subject land is indeedalienable and disposable based on the evidence
on record.First, respondents Vegas were able to present Mr. Gonzales of the CENRO who testifiedthat
the subject land is alienable and disposable, and who identified his written report on hisinspection of
the subject land.Second, Subdivision Plan Csd

04

02433

6, formally offered as evidence byrespondents

intervenors Buhays, expressly indicates that the land is alienable and disposable.Finally, upon being
informed of respondents Vegas application for original registration,the LRA never raised the issue that
the land subject of registration was not alienable anddisposable. In the Supplementary Report
submitted during the trial court proceedings, the LRAdid not interpose any objection to the application
on the basis of the nature of the land.
GONZALO VILLANUEVA

(represented by his heirs), petitioner,

vs.

SPOUSES FROILAN and LEONILA BRANOCO,

respondents.G.R. No. 172804 January 24, 2011 Second Division Carpio,

J.

FACTS:Gonzalo Villanueva, represented by his heirs,

sued Spouses Branoco to recover a parcelof land. The former claimed ownership over the property thru
purchase from Vere, who in turn,bought the property from Rodrigo. Gonzalo declared the property in
his name for tax purposessoon after acquiring it. In their answer, the Spouses Baranoco similarly claimed
ownership over the property thru purchase from Rodriguez, who in turn, acquired the property from
Rodrigo byway of donation. The Spouses entered the property and paid taxes afterwards.The trial court
ruled in favor of Gonzalo and declared him owner of the property, andordered the Spouses Branoco to
surrender possession to Gonzalo. The trial court rejected

Spouses Branocos claim of ownership after treating the Deed as a donation

mortis causa

whichRodrigo effectively cancelled by selling the Property to Vere. Thus, by the time Rodriguez soldthe
property to the Spouses, she had no title to transfer. On appeal, the CA granted the

Spouses appeal and set aside the trial court's ruling. it held that the deed of donation is one of

inter vivos. In his petition, Gonzalo seeks the reinstatement of the trial court's ruling. Alternatively,
petitioner claims ownership over the Property through acquisitive prescription,having allegedly
occupied it for more than 10 years.ISSUE:Whether or not Gonzalo acquired title over the
property?RULING:Gonzalo acquired no title over the property. Alternatively, petitioner grounds his
claim of ownership over the Property through his andVere's combined possession of the Property for
more than ten years, counted from Vere'spurchase of the Property from Rodrigo in 1970 until petitioner
initiated his suit in the trial court inFebruary 1986.
Petitioner anchors his contention on an unfounded legal assumption. The tenyear ordinary prescriptive
period to acquire title through possession of real property in theconcept of an owner requires
uninterrupted possession coupled with just title and good faith.

There is just title when the adverse claimant came into possession of the property through oneof the
modes recognized by law for the acquisition of ownership or other real rights, but thegrantor was not
the owner or could not transmit any right.

Good faith, on the other hand,consists in the reasonable belief that the person from whom the
possessor received the thingwas the owner thereof, and could transmit his ownership.

Although Vere and petitioner arguably had just title having successively acquired the

Property through sale, neither was a good faith possessor. As Rodrigo herself disclosed in theDeed,
Rodriguez already occupied and possessed the Property "in the concept of an owner"since 21 May 1962,
nearly three years before Rodrigo's donation in 3 May 1965 and sevenyears before Vere bought the
Property from Rodrigo. This admission against interest bindsRodrigo and all those tracing title to the
Property through her, including Vere and petitioner.Indeed, petitioner's insistent claim that Rodriguez
occupied the Property only in 1982, when shestarted paying taxes, finds no basis in the records. In short,
when Vere bought the Property fromRodrigo in 1970, Rodriguez was in possession of the Property, a
fact that prevented Vere frombeing a buyer in good faith.Lacking good faith possession, petitioner's only
other recourse to maintain his claim of ownership by prescription is to show open, continuous and
adverse possession of the Propertyfor 30 years.

Undeniably, petitioner is unable to meet this requirement.


MARGARITA F. CASTRO,

petitioner,

vs.

NAPOLEON A. MONSOD,

respondent.G.R. No. 183719 February 2, 2011 Second Division Nachura,

J.

FACTS:

Castro is the registered owner of a parcel of land. Monsod, on the other hand, is theowner of the
property adjoining the lot of Castro.Monsod caused the annotation of an adverse claim against a portion
of the property of Castro. The adverse claim was filed without any claim of ownership over the property.
Monsodwas merely asserting the existing legal easement of lateral and subjacent support at the rear
portion of his estate to prevent the property from collapsing, since his property is located at an

elevated plateau of 15 feet, more or less, above the level of Castros property.

Monsod alsofiled a complaint for malicious mischief and malicious destruction before the office of
thebarangay chairman. In defiance, Castro filed a complaint for damages with temporaryrestraining
order/writ of preliminary injunction. She also prayed that the Register of Deeds beordered to cancel the
annotation of the adverse claim on the TCT.Prior to the filing of the case before the RTC, there were
deposits of soil and rocks abouttwo (2) meters away from the front door of the house of Castro. As such,
she was not able topark her vehicle at the dead-end portion of the street. When Castro noticed a leak
that causedthe front portion of her house to be slippery, she hired construction workers to see where
theleak was coming from. The workers had already started digging when police officers sent byMonsod
came and stopped the workers from finishing their job.

Castro averred that when shebought the property from Manuela Homes in 1994, there was no
annotation or existence of anyeasement over the property. Monsod neither asked permission nor talked
to her with regard tothe use of 65 sq.m. of her property as easement. Upon learning of the adverse
claim, she feltdisturbed and experienced sleepless nights for fear that she would not be able to sell her
property. Castro admitted that her TCT does not cover the open space at the dead-end portionof the
Street.For his part, Monsod claimed that he and his family had been residing in MoonwalkVillage since
June 1984. Adjacent to his property is the land of Castro in Manuela Homes.When he bought the
property in 1983, the land elevation of Moonwalk Village was almost on thesame level as Manuela
Homes. However, sometime in 1985 and 1986, Pilar DevelopmentCorporation, the developer of
Manuela Homes, bulldozed, excavated, and transferred portionsof the elevated land to the lower
portions of Manuela Homes. Thus, Manuela Homes becamelower than Moonwalk Village. Before the
said excavation, Monsod personally complained toPilar Development Corporation and was assured that,
as provided by the National BuildingCode, an embankment will be retained at the boundary of Manuela
Homes and MoonwalkVillage, which is more or less fifteen (15) feet higher than Manuela Homes.
Manuela Homesretained the embankment consisting of soil and rocks. Monsod had the open space rip
rappedwith stones as reinforcement against any potential soil erosion, earthquake, and possibledigging
by any person. Monsod asserted that the affidavit of adverse claim was for theannotation of the lateral
and subjacent easement of his property over the property of petitioner,in view of the latter's manifest
determination to remove the embankment left by the developer of Manuela Homes.

The RTC rendered a decision in favor of Castro, ordering the cancellation of Monsods

adverse claim at the back of the TCT of Castro. The trial court ratiocinated that the adverseclaim of
respondent was non-registrable considering that the basis of his claim was aneasement and not an
interest adverse to the registered owner, and neither did he contest thetitle of petitioner. Furthermore,
the adverse claim of respondent failed to comply with therequisites provided under Section 70 of
Presidential Decree No. 1529. On appeal, the CAreversed the decision of the trial court and ordered the
retention of the annotation at the back of the TCT, not as an adverse claim, but a recognition of the
existence of a legal easement of subjacent and lateral support constituted on the lengthwise or
horizontal landsupport/embankment area of sixty-five (65) square meters, more or less, of the property
of Castro. The CA ruled that while respondent's adverse claim could not be sanctioned because itdid not
fall under the requisites for registering an adverse claim, the same might be dulyannotated in the title as
recognition of the existence of a legal easement of subjacent and lateralsupport. The purpose of the
annotation was to prevent Castro from making injuriousexcavations on the subject embankment as to
deprive the residential house and lot of Monsodof its natural support and cause it to collapse.