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Property

Characteristics and Classification

Immovable by Incorporation

In cases of immovable by incorporation, the Code nowhere requires that the attachment or incorporation
be made by the owner of the land. The only criterion is union or incorporation with the soil. A true building
(not merely superimposed on the soil) is immovable or real property, whether it is erected by the owner of
the land or by usufructuary or lessee (Ladera v. Hodges, CA-G.R. No. 8027-R, September 23, 1952).

The inclusion of the term building, separate and distinct from the land, in the enumeration of what may
constitute real properties under Art. 415 of the Civil Code, could mean only one thing – that a building is
by itself an immovable property. In the absence of any specific provision of law to the contrary, a building
is an immovable property, irrespective of whether or not said structure and the land on which it is adhered
to belong to the same owner (Lopez v. Orosa, Jr., G.R. Nos. L-10817-18, February 28, 1958).

Immovable by Destination

Movable equipment to be immobilized in contemplation of the law must first be "essential and principal
elements" of an industry or works without which such industry or works would be "unable to function or
carry on the industrial purpose for which it was established" (Mindanao Bus Company v. The City
Assessor & Treasurer, G.R. No. L-17870, September 29, 1962). Accordingly, In Davao Sawmill Co. v.
Castillo (61 Phil. 709), the Supreme Court ruled that machinery which is movable by nature becomes
immobilized when placed by the owner of the tenement, property or plant, but not so when placed by a
tenant, usufructuary, or any other person having only a temporary right, unless such person acted as the
agent of the owner (Burgos v. Chief of Staff, G.R. No. L-64261, December 26, 1984).

However, contracting parties may validly stipulate that a real property be considered as personal. The
Agreement between the parties provides “The PROPERTY is, and shall at all times be and remain,
personal property notwithstanding that the PROPERTY or any part thereof may now be, or hereafter
become, in any manner affixed or attached to or embedded in, or permanently resting upon, real property
or any building thereon, or attached in any manner to what is permanent.” After agreeing to such
stipulation, they are consequently estopped from claiming otherwise (Serb’s Products, Inc. v. PCI Leasing
and Finance, G.R. No. 137705, August 22, 2000).

Machinery Movable in Nature

Machinery which is movable by nature becomes immovable under Article 415, when placed by the owner
of the tenement, property or plant, but not so when placed by a tenant, usufructuary, or any other person
having only a temporary right, unless such person acted as the agent of the owner. (Davao Sawmill Co. v.
Castillo, 61 Phil 709)

Public Dominion

Article 424 of the Civil Code lays down the basic principle that properties of public dominion devoted to
public use and made available to the public in general are outside the commerce of man and cannot be
disposed of or leased by the local government unit to private persons. Properties of the local government
which are devoted to public service are deemed public and are under the absolute control of Congress.
Hence, local governments have no authority whatsoever to control or regulate the use of public properties
unless specific authority is vested upon them by Congress. When it is already withdrawn from public use,
the property then becomes patrimonial property of the local government unit concerned. It is only then
that the respondent municipality can "use or convey them for any purpose for which other real property
belonging to the local unit concerned might be lawfully used or conveyed" in accordance with the last
sentence of Section 10, Chapter II of Blg. 337, known as Local Government Code (Makasiano v. Diokmo,
G.R. No. 97764, August 10, 1992).

Ownership

Right to Enjoy and Dispose

The owner has the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing, without other limitations than those established
by law. Every owner has the freedom of disposition over his property. It is an attribute of ownership, and
this rule has no exception. The Republic being the owner of the disputed property enjoys the prerogative
to enter into a lease contract in the exercise of its jus disponendi (Rodil Enterprises Inc. v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 129609, November 29, 2001).

Corollary to such right, respondent also has the right to exclude from the possession of her property any
other person to whom she has not transmitted such property. Possession is an essential attribute of
ownership; thus, it would be redundant for respondent to go back to court simply to establish her right to
possess subject property (Isaguirre v. De Lara, G.R. No. 138053, May 31, 2000).

Right to Recover

The court in an ejectment case may delve on the issue of ownership or possession de jure solely for the
purpose of resolving the issue of possession de facto, it has no jurisdiction to settle with finality the issue
of ownership and any pronouncement made by it on the question of ownership is provisional in nature
(Spouses Manila v. Spouses Manzo, G.R. No. 163602, September 7, 2011).

Accion reivindicatoria or accion de reivindicacion is an action whereby plaintiff alleges ownership over a
parcel of land and seeks recovery of its full possession. It is different from accion interdictal or accion
publiciana where plaintiff merely alleges proof of a better right to possess without claim of title (Javier v.
Veridiano II, G.R. No. L-48050, October 10, 1984).

Principle of Self-Help

The doctrine of self help can only be exercised at the time of actual or threatened dispossession. The
owner or a person who has a better right over the land must resort to judicial means to recover the
property from another person who possesses the land (German Management Services v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 76217, September 14, 1989).

Use Injuring Rights of Third Persons

It must be stressed that the use of one's property is not without limitations. Article 431 of the Civil Code
provides that "the owner of a thing cannot make use thereof in such a manner as to injure the rights of a
third person." Sic Utere Tuo Ut Alienum Non Laedas. Moreover, adjoining landowners have mutual and
reciprocal duties which require that each must use his own land in a reasonable manner so as not to
infringe upon the rights and interests of others. Although we recognize the right of an owner to build
structures on his land, such structures must be so constructed and maintained using all reasonable care
so that they cannot be dangerous to adjoining landowners and can withstand the usual and expected
forces of nature. If the structures cause injury or damage to an adjoining landowner or a third person, the
latter can claim indemnification for the injury or damage suffered (Andamo v. Intermediate Appellate
Court, G.R. No. 74761, November 6, 1990).
Accession

Accession Continua

In the context that such term is used in particular reference to Article 448 of the Civil Code, a builder in
good faith is one who, not being the owner of the land, builds on that land, believing himself to be its
owner and unaware of any defect in his title or mode of acquisition (PNB v. De Jesus, G.R. No. 149295,
September 23, 2003). Good faith consists in the belief of the builder that the land he is building on is his
and his ignorance of any defect or flaw in his title. And as good faith is presumed, petitioner has the
burden of proving bad faith on the part of the respondent (Pleasantville Development Corporation v. Court
of Appeals, G.R. No. 79688, February 1, 1996). Being mere lessees, the private respondents knew that
their occupation of the premises would continue only for the life of the lease. Plainly, they cannot be
considered as possessors nor builders in good faith. And even if the petitioners indeed promised to sell, it
would not make the private respondents possessors or builders in good faith so as to be covered by the
provisions of Article 448 of the Civil Code. The latter cannot raise the mere expectancy of ownership of
the aforementioned lot because the alleged promise to sell was not fulfilled nor its existence even proven
(Geminiano et al, v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 120303, July 24, 1996).

Under the law, the builder in good faith can compel the landowner to make a choice between
appropriating the building by paying the proper indemnity or obliging the builder to pay the price of the
land. The choice belongs to the owner of the land, a rule that accords with the principle of accession, i.e.,
that the accessory follows the principal and not the other way around. Even as the option lies with the
landowner, the grant to him, nevertheless, is preclusive. He must choose one. He cannot, for instance,
compel the owner of the building to instead remove it from the land. In order, however, that the builder
can invoke that accruing benefit and enjoy his corresponding right to demand that a choice be made by
the landowner, he should be able to prove good faith on his part (PNB v. De Jesus, G.R. No. 149295,
September 23, 2003).

The owner of the building erected in good faith on a land owned by another, is entitled to retain the
possession of the land until he is paid the value of his building, under Article 453. The owner of the land,
upon the other hand, has the option, under Article 361, either to pay for the building or to sell his land to
the owner of the building. But he cannot, as respondents here did, refuse both to pay for the building and
to sell the land and compel the owner of the building to remove it from the land where it is erected. He is
entitled to such motion only when, after having chosen to sell his land, the other party fails to pay for the
same (Ignacio et al. v. Hilario et al., G.R. No. L-175, April 30, 1946).

Even if upon failure of the builder to pay for the land when such is demanded by the land owner, the latter
does not become automatically the owner of the improvement under Art. 445 (Filipinas Colleges, Inc. v.
Timbang, et al., G.R. No. L-12812, September 29, 1989). Where the improvements have been destroyed
by a fortuitous event without the fault of the landowner, the basis for the builder’s right to retain the
premises is extinguished; hence there is no other recourse for him but to vacate the premises and deliver
the same to the landowner (Manotok Realty Inc. v. Tecson, G.R. No. L-47475, August 19, 1988).

Article 448 of the Civil Code cannot apply where a co-owner builds, plants or sows on the land owned in
common for then he did not build, plant or sow upon land that exclusively belongs to another but of which
he is a co-owner. The co-owner is not a third person under the circumstances, and the situation is
governed by the rules of co-ownership (Spouses Del Campo v. Abesia, G.R. No. L-49219, April 15,
1988). However, when the co-ownership is terminated by a partition and it appears that the house of an
erstwhile co-owner has encroached upon a portion pertaining to another co-owner which was however
made in good faith, then the provisions of Article 448 should apply to determine the respective rights of
the parties. The right to appropriate the works or improvements or to oblige the builder to pay the price of
the land belongs to the landowner and not to the courts (Ignao v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No.
72876, January 18, 1991).
It is the owner of the land who is allowed to exercise the option because his right is older and because, by
the principle of accession, he is entitled to ownership of the accessory thing. The law requires no more
than that the owner of the land should choose between indemnifying the owner of the improvements or
requiring the latter to pay for the land (Bernardo v. Bataclan, G.R. No. L-44606, November 28, 1938).

Accession Natural

Accretion is the process whereby the soil is deposited, while alluvium is the soil deposited on the estate
fronting the river bank; the owner of such estate is called the riparian owner (Heirs of Emilio Navarro v.
Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 68166, February 12, 1997). Accretion benefits a riparian owner
when the following requisites are present: (1) that the deposit be gradual and imperceptible; (2) that it
resulted from the effects of the current of the water; and (3) that the land where accretion takes place is
adjacent to the bank of a river (Agustin v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. Nos. L-66075-76, July 5,
1990).

Accretion was formed by the dumping of boulders, soil and other filling materials on portions of the
Balacanas Creek and the Cagayan River bounding their land. It cannot be claimed, therefore, that the
accumulation of such boulders, soil and other filling materials was gradual and imperceptible, resulting
from the action of the waters or the current of the Balacanas Creek and the Cagayan River (Vda. De
Nazareno v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 98045, June 26, 1996).

However, an increase in the area of one’s land through an accretion left by the change of course or the
northward movement of a body of water does not automatically become registered land just because the
lot which receives such accretion is covered by a Torrens title. As such, it must also be placed under the
operation of the Torrens System (Cureg v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 73465, September 7,
1989).

Alluvium

The accretion received by the land adjoining the banks of the river must be the result of the natural action
of the current of the river. The accretion does not automatically become registered land just because the
land which receives it is covered by Torrens title. Registration does not give title to the land, but merely
confirms and thereafter protects the title already possessed by the owner, making it imprescriptible by
occupation. (Grande v. CA, 115 Phil 521).

Quieting of Title

An action to quiet title, under Art. 476 of the Civil Code, is a common-law remedy for the removal of any
cloud or doubt or uncertainty on the title to real property. It is essential for the plaintiff or complainant to
have a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property which is the subject matter of the action.
Also, the deed, claim, encumbrance or proceeding that is being alleged as a cloud on plaintiff's title must
be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy
(Robles v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123509, March 14, 2000).

The cloud on title consists of: (1) any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding; (2) which is
apparently valid or effective; (3) but is in truth and in fact invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable;
and (4) may be prejudicial to the title sought to be quieted (Phil-Ville Dev. Housing Corp. v. Spouses
Bonifacio et al., GR No. 167391, June 8, 2011).

Co-Ownership

Obligations of Each Co-Owner


Each co-owner or tenant in common of undivided realty has the same rights therein as the others; he may
use and enjoy the same without other limitation except that he must not prejudice the rights of his co-
owners, but until a division is effected, the respective parts belonging to each can not be determined;
each co-owner exercises joint dominion and is entitled to joint use (Pardell v. Bartolome, G.R. No. L-
4656, November 18, 1912).

Electrical wirings inside a condominium unit form part of the common areas under R.A. 4726 and not of
the individual units, notwithstanding its location within the unit (Limson v. Wack Wack Condominium
Corp., G.R. No. 188802, February 14, 2011).

Alterations in the Thing Owned in Common

Alterations include any act of strict dominion or ownership and any encumbrance or disposition has been
held implicitly to be an act of alteration. The construction of a house on the co-owned property is an act of
dominion. Therefore, it is an alteration falling under Article 491 of the Civil Code. (Cruz v. Catapang, G.R.
No. 164110, Feb. 12, 2008)

Sale by Co-Owners

Until a partition is made among co-owners, no one of them can claim any particular portion of an
undivided property as exclusively as his own. That portion can only be ascertained until such time as the
co-ownership shall have ceased. (Gonzales, et al. v. Ichon, et al. 47 OG 12, Dec. 1951, CA)

When a Prescription Shall Run In Favor of a Co-Owner Against His Co-Owners

In order that title may prescribe in favor of a co-owner, the following requisites must concur: 1.) the co-
owner has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the other co-owners; 2.)
such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the other co-owners; 3.) the evidence thereof
is clear and convincing. (Robles v. CA., G.R. No. 123509, Mar. 14, 2000/ Deiparine v. CA., 299 SCRA
668, Dec. 4, 1998)

Extinguishment of Co-Ownership

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. The proper action in cases
like this is not for the nullification of the sale or for the recovery of possession of the thing owned in
common from the third person who substituted the co-owner or co-owners who alienated their shares, but
the division of the common property as if it continued to remain in the possession of the co-owners who
possessed and administered it (Bailon-Casilao v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-78178, April 15, 1988).

Prescription as a rule does not run against co-owners and co-heirs as long as the co-ownership is
expressly or impliedly recognized (Galvez, et al., v. CA et al., G.R. No. 157954, March 26, 2006). In order
that the title may prescribe in favor of a co-owner, the following requisites must concur: (1) the co-owner
has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the other co-owners; (2) such
positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the other co-owners; and (3) the evidence thereof
is clear and convincing (Robles v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123509, March 14, 2000).
Possession

Possession is acquired by the material occupation of a thing or the exercise of a right or by the fact it is
subject to the action of our will, or by the proper acts and legal formalities established for acquiring such
right (Rizal Cement Co., Inc. v. Villareal, G.R. No. L-30272, February 28, 1985). Possession in the eyes of
the law does not mean that a man has to have his feet on every square meter of ground before it can be
said that he is in possession. It is sufficient that petitioner was able to subject the property to the action of
his will (Somodio v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 82680, 15 August 1994).

Possession in Good Faith

Possession in good faith ceases from the moment defects in the title are made known to the possessors,
by extraneous evidence or by suit for recovery of the property by the true owner. Whatever may be the
cause or the fact from which it can be deduced that the possessor has knowledge of the defects of his
title or mode of acquisition, it must be considered sufficient to show bad faith (Wong v. Carpio, G.R. No.
L-50264, October 21, 1991).

Theory of Irrevindicability

One who has lost or has been unlawfully deprived of a movable may recover the same from the person in
possession of the same and the only defense the latter may have is if he has acquired it in good faith at a
public sale in which case the owner cannot obtain its return without reimbursing the price paid therefore
(De Garcia v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-20264, January 30, 1971). There are three requisites to make
possession of movable property equivalent to title, namely: (a) the possession should be in good faith; (b)
the owner voluntarily parted with the possession of the thing; and (c) the possession is in the concept of
owner. Undoubtedly, one who has lost a movable or who has been unlawfully deprived of it cannot be
said to have voluntarily parted with the possession thereof (Ledesma v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
86051, September 1, 1992).

Fruits

Under the law, a person who is in possession and who is being ordered to leave a parcel of land while
products thereon are pending harvest, has the right to a part of the net harvest, as expressly provided by
Article 545 of the Civil Code (Abobo v. Eusebio, G.R. No. L-11977, April 29, 1959). However, a possessor
in bad faith shall reimburse the fruits received and those which the legitimate possessor could have
received (Angeles vs. Guevara, No. L-15697, October 31, 1960).

Expenses

The amount of the "indemnizacion" is the amount of the expenditures mentioned in articles 453 and 454
of the Civil Code, which in the present case is the amount of the necessary and useful expenditures
incurred by the defendant (Enriquez v. Manuel De Guzman, G.R. No. L-28721, October 5, 1928). Under
Article 453 (now Article 546) of the Civil Code, a possessor in good faith who makes useful improvements
on the estate possessed is entitled to demand payment of the value thereof and to retain estate until the
expenditures incurred therein are paid to him (Martin v. Hermanos, G.R. No. 16736, December 22, 1921).

The right given a possessor in bad faith is to remove improvements applies only to improvements for pure
luxury or mere pleasure, provided the thing suffers no injury thereby and the lawful possessor does not
prefer to retain them by paying the value they have at the time he enters into possession (Metropolitan
Waterworks and Sewerage System v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-54526, August 25, 1986).
Easements

Easement of Right of Way

The requisites for the grant of easement of right of way are: (1) The dominant estate is surrounded by
other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a public highway; (2) There is payment of proper
indemnity; (3) The isolation is not due to the acts of the proprietor of the dominant estate; and (4) The
right of way claimed is at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate; and insofar as consistent with
this rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest. To justify
the imposition of an easement of right of way, there must be real, not fictitious or artificial, necessity for it.
Mere convenience for the dominant estate is not what is required by law as the basis of setting up a
compulsory easement (Dichoso Jr. v. Marcos, G.R. No. 180282, April 11, 2011).

The owner should be compensated for the monetary equivalent of the land since the easement was
intended to perpetually or indefinitely deprive the owner of his proprietary rights through the imposition of
the conditions which affect the ordinary use, free enjoyment and disposal of the property or as on this
case, when the introduction of structures or objects which by their nature, create or increase the
probability of injury, death upon or destruction of life and property found on the land is necessary
(Spouses Cabahug v. National Power Corporation, G.R. No. 186069, January 30, 2013).

Requisites for a Compulsory Easement of Right of Way

1.) claimant must be an owner of enclosed immovable or one with real right; 2.)there must be no
adequate outlet to a public highway; 3.) right of way must be absolutely necessary; 4.) isolation must
not be due to the claimant’s act; 5.) must be established at the point least prejudicial to the servient
estate; 6.) payment of proper indemnity. The burden of proving the existence of these requisites lies on
the owner of the dominant estate. Mere convenience for the dominant estate does not suffice to serve as
a basis for the easement. (Floro v. Llenado, 244 SCRA 713/ Cristobal et al v. CA, G.R. No. 125339, 22
June 1998).

Nuisance

Nuisance

Nuisance per se: a nuisance under any and all circumstances because it constitutes a direct menace to
public health or safety, and, for that reason, may be abated summarily under the undefined law of
necessity. Nuisance per accidens: that which depends upon certain conditions and circumstances and its
existence being a question of fact, it cannot be abated without due hearing thereon in a tribunal authorize
to decide whether such a thing does in law constitute a nuisance. (Iloilo Ice and Cold Storage Co. v.
Municipal Council of Iloilo, 24 Phil., 471; Monteverde v. Generoso, 52 Phil., 123, 127.)

DONATION

Donations Mortis Causa

The distinguishing characteristics of a donation mortis causa are the following: 1.) It conveys no tile or
ownership to the transferee before the death of the transferor; or, what amounts to the same thing, that
the transferor should retain the ownership (full or naked) and control of the property while alive; 2.) That
before his death, the transfer should be revocable by the transferor at will, ad nutum; but revocability may
be provided for indirectly by means of a reserved power in the donor to dispose of the properties
conveyed; 3.) That the transfer should be void if the transferor should survive the transferee. (Austria-
Magat v. CA., G.R. No. 106755, Feb 1, 2002).
Revocation of Donation

The right to file the action is transmissible to the donor’s heirs, and may be exercised against the donee’s
heirs. Even if Article 1197 of the New Civil Code provides that the courts may fix the duration when the
obligation does not determine the period but from its nature and circumstances it can be inferred that a
period was intended, this general rule cannot be applied when it would serve no other purpose than to
delay or lead to an unnecessary and expensive multiplication of suits.