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[G.R. No. 176448. July 28, 2008.] Jose S. Dailisan, petitioner, vs. CA and the hrs. of the Federico Pugao,et al, respondents. FACTS: TINGA, J: This is a Petition for Review of the Decision and Resolution of the CA which reversed and set aside the Decision of the RTC-QC. Petitioner filed a Complaint for partition before the RTCQC, alleging that he purchased 1/4 of the land of Federico Pugao identified as Lot 16 in Bago Bantay, QC covered by a TCT. According to petitioner, he had paid Federico several installments which totaled to P6K. When the mortgage was released, petitioner demanded the execution of a deed of absolute sale. Instead, Federico proposed to mortgage the property to petitioner as security for a P10K loan, payable in 3 months, and upon payment of the loan the deed of absolute sale would be executed. When Petitioner asked for the partition of the lot Federico refused and even sent a notice of eviction against petitioner. According to Federico, he allowed petitioner and his niece to occupy one 1/4 of his lot, and admitted that he executed in favor of petitioner a deed of real estate mortgage. The loan was paid, mortgage cancelled. Federico alleged that petitioner made him sign pages of what the former told him to be parts of the real estate mortgage. He filed a complaint for falsification and ejectment against petitioner. He passed away while this case was pending before the trial court. RTC found that respondents failed to disprove the validity of the deed of absolute sale, ruled in favor of petitioner and ordered the partition of the subject property. MR was denied. On appeal, CA granted and noted that petitioner should have filed an action for specific performance to compel Federico to honor the deed of absolute sale; but had already expired. CA noted that petitioner "filed the instant action for partition simply because it is not barred by prescription." It ruled that the sale was void because theres no consent and that there was no proof of payment of the price or consideration. MR was denied.

Nevertheless, one of the respondents testified that she was aware of the existence of the deed of sale way back in 1984. Yet, none of them took any action to annul the deed within the prescribed 4-year period which expired in 1988. According to Art. 1332, it would have been incumbent upon petitioner to show that he fully explained the terms of the contract to Federico if not for a crucial point. Respondents have lost both their right to file an action for annulment or to set up such nullity of the deed of sale as a defense in an action to enforce the same. Respondents were unable to overcome the presumption of validity of the deed of absolute sale as well as the regularity in its execution. CA ruled that petitioner's cause of action has prescribed following its conclusion that petitioner's action is actually one for specific performance, not partition. Interestingly, petitioner suddenly changed tack and declared that his original action was indeed an action for specific performance. He should not have gone that far. His objective is to make Federico honor their contract and perform his obligation to deliver a separate title covering the lot he sold to him but which can be done only after the portion is segregated from the rest of Federico's property. Petitioner's action before the RTC was properly captioned as one for partition because there are sufficient allegations in the complaint that he is a co-owner of the property. The regime of CO-OWNERSHIP exists when ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to different persons. By the nature of a co-ownership, a co-owner cannot point to a specific portion of the property owned in common as his own because his share therein remains intangible. The description "undivided 1/4 portion" shows that the portion sold is still undivided and not sufficiently identified. While the description provides a guide for identifying the location of the lot sold, there was no indication of its exact metes and bounds. This is the reason why petitioner was constrained to cause the survey of the property. As a co-owner of the property, therefore, petitioner has the right to demand partition, a right which does not prescribe. Ownership of the thing sold is acquired only from the time of delivery, either actual or constructive. Article 1498 provides that when the sale is made through a public instrument, the execution shall be equivalent to the delivery of the thing which is the object of the contract, if from the deed the contrary does not appear or cannot be inferred. The Court notes that Federico had already delivered the portion he sold to petitioner, subject to the execution of a technical survey, when he executed the deed of absolute sale, which is a public instrument. In view of the delivery in law, coupled with petitioner's actual occupation of the portion where his house stands, all that is needed is its segregation from the rest of the property. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The challenged Decision and Resolution are SET ASIDE, and the Decision of the RTC-QC is REINSTATED.

ISSUES: Was deed of absolute sale valid? HELD:The notarized deed of absolute sale as a public document has in its favor the presumption of regularity which may only be rebutted by evidence so clear, strong and convincing as to exclude all controversy as to the falsity of the certificate. The burden of proof to overcome the presumption lies on the party contesting such execution. The action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe. Respondents' claim is that the deed of sale is a voidable, and not void, contract because of mistake and/or fraud. Respondents stress Federico's low educational attainment and inability to understand the English language.

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[G.R. No. 72188. September 15, 1986.]

Rodolfo Eusebio, petitioner, vs. IAC and Rohimust Santos, respondents.

In the case instituted by petitioner against respondent, the RTC found that as a result of RODOLFO's payments made on behalf of FERNANDO, his share in the LOT had to be increased from 383 to 611, the participation of ROHIMUST was decreased to 200 sqm. That adjudication is now final.

ISSUE: Was the CA correct? HELD: The Appellate Tribunal erred in invoking Article 546 which prescribes the rights of the possessor in good faith as regards useful expenses. Article 546 presupposes, but does not establish, possession in good faith. The possession of the parties was in the concept of lessees of the LOT, which was not possession in good faith for purposes of Article 546. Conceding that the parties became coowners after the contract to sell was executed, neither coowner can claim possession in himself of any particular identified part of the LOT. The possession held by a co-heir of the undivided estate is understood to be enjoyed in the name of the rest of the heirs. An undivided estate is co-ownership by the heirs. The ownership of the physically undivided thing pertains to more than one person, thus defined as "the right of common dominion which two or more persons have in a spiritual part of a thing which is not physically divided" (Sanchez Roman). The provision of Article 543 is applicable. Under this provision, after the LOT is actually partitioned, respondent would be "deemed to have exclusively possessed the part which may be allotted to him upon the its division " consisting of the definite 200 sqm area assigned to him, together with all buildings and parts of buildings erected therein Petitioner can have no claim over such buildings or parts of a building, which improvements respondent can keep or demolish without paying any compensation. For the same reason, if there were buildings or parts of a building, found in the definite area assigned to petitioner, he will be deemed to have been in exclusive possession since the contract of the deed of sale was executed, and he can keep or demolish these improvements without paying any compensation WHEREFORE, the Resolution of respondent Court is hereby set aside, and its Decision in the same case, affirming the judgment of the Trial Court in toto, shall stand without modification. Let this case be remanded to the Trial Court for actual partition of the LOT between its co-owners under the provisions of Rule 69 of the Rules of Court.

The controversy in this case is between 2 co-owners of a parcel of land in La Loma, QC. Petitioner filed a suit in 1981 against Private Respondent before the CFI-QC for determination of their participations in the co-ownership, and for actual partition of the LOT. The court gave 611sqm to petitioner while 200 sqm was given to defendant. As the manner of dividing the LOT has yet to be determined, and it could not then be known which buildings have to be cut by a dividing line, the Trial Court simply provided for the demolition of any building or part claimed by either party, which would be within the area assigned to the other party. Respondent appealed to IAC which initially affirmed the judgment of the Trial Court in toto. However, on MR, it rendered a Resolution amending its previous affirmance, holding that Respondent "has the legal right to retain the house together with its improvements and the possession thereof until full payment of the value thereof." It is that modification which petitioner has alleged to be erroneous and which should be set aside.

The LOT was part of a subdivision owned by J.M. Tuazon & Co., It was occupied by Philip Zinsineth as a lessee since 1924, where he had constructed a house and garage. After his death, his "leasehold rights" were inherited by his two daughters, the mother of the contending parties. The parties concerned agreed that the leasehold rights will be placed in the name of petitioner to the extent of 383 sqm., and in the name of Fernando J. Santos, Jr., a son of to the extent of 428 sqm. On that same date, a contract to sell the LOT on installment was executed by GA, Inc. in favor of petitioner because GA, Inc. wanted to deal only with one person. However, Rodolfo and Fernando signed an affidavit reading, "That actually the property was bought by us jointly and the monthly installments shall be paid by us pro-rata to the area which we are presently occupying.
"That it is our understanding that as soon as the property is fully paid for by us, the same shall be subdivided so as to have two transfer certificates of title issued to us for our corresponding portions.

Installment payments under the Contract to Sell had not been kept up to date. Thus a new agreement followed that all overdue monthly installment will be advanced by petitioner. Full payment was made to GA, Inc., and TCT was issued solely in the name of petitioner. FERNANDO was not able to contribute his full share. FERNANDO subsequently transferred his rights to respondent who is his brother.

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[G.R. No. L-38018. October 31, 1978.] Marcelo Sotto, petitioner, vs. Pilar Teves, et al. and CA, respondents.
SYNOPSIS In 1913, the wife and two daughters of deceased Florentino Rallos, through counsel Filemon Sotto, manifested before the probate court their desire to preserve the co-ownership over the inherited properties, which included the five lots in question. Shortly thereafter Sotto married one of the daughters, Carmen. In 1925, the heirs reaffirmed by an oral agreement their 1913 written agreement, under which Carmen shall administer and receive in usufruct the fruits of the five lots, which however would devolve upon her death to her sister. Prior to this agreement, Sotto who had been acting as a pater familias to the Rallos family, caused the five lots in dispute to be registered either in the name of Carmen, or jointly in the names of Carmen and her mother, and later through fictitious sales and transfers, in the name of Carmen alone, and one lot in his name. Carmen bequeathed all her properties to Sotto. When the latter died the five lots were all titled in his name, which lots are now claimed by Florentino Rallos' direct descendants on the one hand, and by his (Sotto's) children out of wedlocked, on the other. They decided to remain co-owners pro-indiviso of his properties, and that Atty. Sotto's fiduciary relations with the Rallos family afforded a basis for imposing a constructive trust. Neither Carmen nor Atty. Sotto could, therefore, put his/her interest above, or in direct collision with, the interests of those who had reposed their trust and confidence in him/her. SYLLABUS 1. 2. 3. 6. 7. EXPRESS TRUST; CREATION; ARTICLE 1444, NEW CIVIL CODE. CO-OWNERSHIP IS A FORM OF TRUST; OBLIGATION OF COOWNERS. CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST; BASED ON FIDUCIARY RELATION; WHAT CONSTITUTES FIDUCIARY RELATION. EXPRESS TRUST; PROOF THEREOF. EFFECTS OF ACTS OF OWNERSHIP EXERCISED BY TRUSTEE OVER TRUST PROPERTY.

Private respondents filed suit in the CFI-Cebu against petitioner for the recovery of possession and ownership of the 5 parcels of land described in the complaint, with damages.
o The complaint was based upon the theory that a trust relation was established and created with respect to the said properties, with Atty. Filemon Sotto as TRUSTEE and as cestuis que TRUST, his mother-in-law, Maria Fadullon Vda. de Rallos; his wife, Carmen Rallos et al. Through sheer manipulation, fraudulent acts and means, non-existent and void decrees, fictitious sales and transfers, succeeded in causing the transfer of the ownership of the properties to the name of his wife Carmen Rallos, and finally to his name alone.

Petitioner denied that there was any trust relation between Don Filemon Sotto and Maria Fadullon Vda. de Rallos, et al. That even if such relationship existed, such a relationship could not have endured until the death of Don Filemon Sotto; that more than 1 year have already elapsed, the decrees had become indefeasible; that the parcels of land, having been transferred to the purchasers for value and in good faith, the present action for reconveyance will not prosper; and assuming that there was any trust relation. CFI dismissed the complaint, holding that neither was there an express nor an implied trust relation and that there was actual partition between them. The heirs appealed to the CA, and affirmed the judgment of the lower court. No express trust was created by the mere signing of the Mocion in behalf of the heirs of Florentino Rallos; On MR, CA reversed their earlier decision. However, agreed that the heirs had "by manifesting to the probate court that it was their desire to preserve and maintain the ownership of the inherited properties thereby intended and created by direct and positive acts an express trust among themselves" as it was in conformity with the evidence and the law. Atty. Sotto can be regarded as the constructive trustee of his wife and of the widow and descendants of Florentino Rallos.


FATS: GUERRERO, J: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Resolution of the CA which reconsidered the decision of the same Court and from the Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration of the previous Resolution. The Subject of the plaintiffs' action for declaration of ownership and/or reconveyance, and for the recovery of possession, rentals, damages and attorney's fees, are 5 parcels of land, all located in Cebu City. The aforesaid properties originally belonged to the conjugal partnership of the spouses Florentino Rallos and Maria Fadullon. When Florentino Rallos died, the parcels of land in question, and other properties of his estate, descended in testate succession to his sole heirs, his widow, et al. The Rallos heirs entrusted the settlement of the estate to Atty. Filemon Sotto. Cesar Sotto, nephew and one of the guardians judicially appointed to take care of Atty Sottos estate, delivered to one of the plaintiffs certain documents regarding the ownership of the subject parcels of land. The properties were to fall into the hands of his children out of wedlock, who are total strangers to the spouses Rallos and Fadullon.

ISSUE: Has express trust subsisted or was it repudiated? Should Atty. Sotto be considered a party in the express trust or merely a constructive trustee? HELD: It may be true that the heirs of Florentino Rallos intended and desired to keep the properties in co-ownership pro-indiviso when they signed the Mocion (motion on the disposition of assets) filed in their behalf to terminate the probate proceedings. The legal effect of said agreement to preserve the properties in co-ownership as expressed in writing and embodied in the Mocion was to create a form of an express trust among themselves as co owners of the properties. CO-OWNERSHIP is a form of trust and every co-owner is a trustee for the other. The relationship of each co-owner to the other co-owners is fiduciary in character and attribute. The property or thing held pro-indiviso is impressed with a fiducial nature that each co-owner becomes a trustee for the benefit of his co-owners and he may not do any act prejudicial to the interest of his co-owners.

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Under the law on Trusts, it is not necessary that the document expressly state and provide for the express trust, for no particular words are required for the creation of an express trust, it being sufficient that a trust is clearly intended. (Art. 1444). An EXPRESS TRUST is created by the direct and positive acts of the parties, by some writing or deed or will or by words evidencing an intention to create a trust. In the case at bar, An express trust was created by the heirs in respect to the properties in litigation when they agreed to preserve said properties in co-ownership among themselves as manifested and expressed into writing and filed as a pleading captioned in Mocion. RE SOTTO AS A CO-TRUSTEE: Petitioner's argument is based on an incorrect assumption. What the appellate court held was that Atty. Sotto can be regarded as the constructive trustee of his wife and of the widow and descendants of Florentino Rallos.
Shortly after the closure of the testate proceeding, Atty. Sotto contracted marriage with one of the daughters of Florentino Rallos. The attorney thereby became not only a family lawyer but also an actual member on the Rallos family by affinity. By reason of his marriage to Carmen Rallos, and on account of his prestige and tremendous social and political influence, Atty. Sotto enjoyed and exercised a personal, domestic, social, political and moral ascendancy and superiority not only over his wife but also over Maria Fadullon, Concepcion Rallos, and the latter's children. Upon the facts and under the law, Atty. Sotto can be regarded as the constructive trustee of his wife and of the widow and descendants of Florentino Rallos.

There is no violation of Art. 1443 which provides that "no express trust concerning an immovable or any interest therein may be proved by parol evidence," is not applicable. RE DISREGARD OF TORRENS TITLE Petitioner's reasoning holds no water because from the very nature of a trust relation which existed between Carmen Rallos and her co-owners, she cannot obtain and secure a torrens title to the properties in her name much less dispose of them by testament to her husband, a constructive trustee, to the prejudice and deprivation of the rights and interests of said co-heirs. A fiduciary relationship may exist even if the title to the property subject to the trust appears in the name of the trustee alone, because in cases of trusteeship, the legal title usually appears in the name of the trustee, while the equitable title remains with the cestui que trust. The principle holds that a trustee who takes a Torrens title in his name cannot repudiate the trust by relying on the registration, which is one of the well-known limitations upon the finality of a decree of title. Neither can the will executed by Carmen Rallos deprive the private respondents of their ownership over the five parcels of land. These lots were trust properties; Carmen Rallos was holding them in trust for her sister and the latter's children. Not being the absolute owner, Carmen Rallos could not legally convey their ownership by including them in their will. The last will and testament of Carmen Rallos was merely a vehicle of an existing trust and therefore, Atty. Filemon Sotto must be deemed to have received the properties not for himself but for the benefit of the cestui que trust. And as a trustee Atty. Sotto never alienated or disposed any of these properties during his lifetime recognizing his position as trustee and that he held them for the benefit and interest of the cestuis que trust. RE LACHES AND PRESCRIPTION The fictitious transfer of the subject lot proved by the testimony of the Private Secretary of Atty. Filemon Sotto does not indicate a clear repudiation of the trust or of the coownership; the alleged repudiation was not open, public and deliberate. The acts, on the contrary, were secretive and fraudulent assertions of exclusive ownership. As a GENERAL RULE the former's possession is not adverse and therefore cannot ripen into a title by prescription. Adverse possession in such a case requires the concurrence of the following circumstances: (a) that the trustee has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui que trust; (b) that such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the cestui que trust; and (c) that the evidence thereon should be clear and conclusive. Such registrations were ineffective and not binding upon the cestui que trust. SC is persuaded and convinced that the circumstances required by said decisions are not present in the case at bar.

Atty. Sotto's special relationship with the Rallos heirs inhibited him from any act or conduct that would put his interests above, or in direct collision with, the interests of those who had reposed their trust and confidence in him. Filemon Sotto did not become a co-trustee by virtue of his subsequent marriage to Carmen Rallos. The truth is he became a constructive trustee not only by reason of his marriage to Carmen Rallos but also on account of his prestige and tremendous social and political influence. RE PARTITION OF THE 5 LOTS: Respondents' claim of partition as testified to by Pilar Teves, was correct. Its ruling is based on the grounds of human experience, that it is our culture and tradition to revere the memory of our ancestor by keeping intact the estate in inheritance as long as possible, and to help one's brothers and sisters to benefit from the sweat and toil of our parents. The facts show that all the lots were registered originally before the alleged partition and adjudication. The acts of registration preceded the supposed partition and adjudication which inexplicably reversed the usual order of occurrence which is, that partition and adjudication normally precede registration. The conclusion is inescapable that petitioner's version did not take place and that the registration of the lots could not have resulted from the supposed partition and adjudication. RE PAROL EVIDENCE USED TO PROVED TRUST

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LACHES v PRESCIPTION Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. Estoppel rests on this rule: whenever a party has, by his declaration, act or omission, intentionally and deliberately led the other to believe a particular thing true, and to act, upon such belief, he cannot, in any litigation arising out of such declaration, act, or omission, be permitted to falsify it. The doctrine of laches is not strictly applied between near relatives, and the fact that the parties are connected by ties of blood or marriage tends to excuse an otherwise unreasonable delay. In fiduciary relationship, the beneficiaries have the right to rely on the trust and confidence reposed in the trustee. In the case at bar, there being no effective repudiation of the express trust created by and among the Rallos heirs, the defense of laches invoked by petitioner is unvailing. Atty. Sotto received from his wife, Carmen Rallos, the properties under her will fully impressed with their fiduciary character and in the full knowledge that said properties were trust properties as far back in 1913 when he drafted and prepared the Mocion Sobre la Disposicion de los Bienes and filed the same in the probate proceedings. He became a trustee of the trust properties, not as an innocent third party and neither for a valuable consideration. Notwithstanding the fact that the titles to the properties were ultimately transferred to the name of Atty. Filemon Sotto, widower, through administrative proceedings, the titling thereof must be regarded as for the benefit and interest of the cestui que trust, the private respondents herein. There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of demand; each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances. Private respondents are entitled to the relief prayed for, which is for the reconveyance of the properties to them. WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitioner. ** TRUSTEE'S POSSESSION CANNOT RIPEN INTO OWNERSHIP; EXCEPTION. From the standpoint of acquisitive prescription, or prescription of ownership, a trustee's possession of a trust property as a general rule is not adverse and therefore cannot ripen into a title by prescription. Adverse possession in such a case requires the concurrence of the following circumstances: (a) that the trustee has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui que trust; (b) that such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the cestui que trust; and (c) that the evidence thereon should be clear and conclusive.

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[G.R. No. L-13281. August 31, 1960.] Siari Valley Estates, Inc., petitioner, vs. Filemon Lucasan, et al., respondents.

shall contain a reference to the number of the certificate of title and the volume and page in the registration book where the certificate is registered. The requirement that the notice of levy should contain a reference to the number of the certificate of title and the volume and page in the registration book where the certificate is registered is made in order that the debtor as well as a third person may be properly informed of the particular land or property that is under the custody of the court. The situation differs if the land is unregistered in which case it is enough that the notice be registered under Act 3344.
"An attachment levied on real estate not duly recorded in the registry of property is not an incumbrance on the attached property, nor can such attachment, unrecorded in the registry, serve as a ground for decreeing the annulment of the sale of the property, at the request of another creditor." (Gonzales Diez vs. Delgado and Imperial).

FACTS: BAUTISTA ANGELO, J: The CFI-Zamboanga del Norte rendered decision ordering Filemon Lucasan to deliver to the Siari Valley Estates, Inc. the cattle in his pasture or pay its value amounting to P40K and damages in another sum of P40K. This was affirmed in toto by the SC, which became final and executory, a writ of execution was issued. The sheriff proceeded to levy on certain parcels of lands belonging to defendant, and were sold by the sheriff at public auction. The judgment debtor failed to redeem the land within the 1-year period, thus, the sheriff issued in favor of the purchaser the final certificate of sale, a copy was registered. Upon petition of the corporation, a writ of possession was issued directing the sheriff to place said corporation in its possession. Despite the writ, the corporation failed to take possession, hence it filed a motion reiterating its petition that it be placed in their possession. Judgment debtor filed an opposition alleging that he has erected a house and which he has extrajudicially constituted as a family home, the rest being in possession of third parties. The court denied the opposition, and issued an order directing the sheriff to place the corporation in possession of the lands sold to it. Debtor filed an MR which was also denied. But on a second MR, the court issued another order allowing the corporation to take possession of all the lands sold, with the exception of the parcel on which the family home was constituted, holding that the levy and sale were null and void. Hence this petition. Parcel 1 is a registered land covered by OCT, and Patent No, duly registered in the name of Filemon Lucasan. On this land stands a big house in the amount of P23K. It was constituted into a family home on June 21, 1955. Debtor contended that said lot and house being a family home are beyond the reach of judicial execution.

Since the notice of levy made by the sheriff contains no such reference, it follows that said notice is legally ineffective and as such did not have the effect of binding the property for purposes of execution. Consequently, the sale carried out by virtue of said levy is also invalid and of no legal effect. RE FAMILY HOME: Article 243 (2) NCC provides that "The family home extrajudicially formed shall be exempt from execution" EXCEPT "for debts incurred before the declaration was recorded in the Registry of Property." Can a judgment for a sum of money be considered a debt within the meaning of this provision even if said judgment is still pending appeal? The reason why a family home constituted after a debt had been incurred is not exempt from execution is to protect the creditor against a debtor who may act in bad faith by resorting to such declaration just to defeat the claim against him. If the purpose is to protect the creditor from fraud it would be immaterial if the debt incurred be undisputed or inchoate, for a debtor acting in good faith would prefer to wait until his case is definitely decided before constituting the family home. Hence the money judgment in question comes within the purview of the word debt used in Article 243 (2) of the new Civil Code. Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed, without prejudice on the part of petitioner to file a new petition for execution following strictly the requirements of the rule on the matter.

ISSUE: May the parcel of land be levied when the house on it is constituted as family home? HELD: The notice of levy described the property as unregistered land and the same was registered under Act 3344. In the notice of sale the property was described according to what is in the tax declaration and not according to what appears in the certificate of title. The rule provides that real property shall "be levied on in like manner and with like effect as under an order of attachment" (Rule 39). The attachment shall be made "by filing with the register of deeds a copy of the order, together with the description of the property attached, and a notice that it is attached. The notice

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[G.R. No. 164110. February 12, 2008.] Leonor B. Cruz, petitioner, vs. Teofila M. Catapang, respondent. FACTS: QUISUMBING, J : This petition for review seeks the reversal of the Decision and the Resolution of the CA which reversed the Decision of the RTC-Taal which had earlier affirmed the Decision of the MCTC-Taal ordering respondent to vacate and deliver possession of a portion of the lot coowned by petitioner, Luz Cruz and Norma Maligaya. MCTC(for petitioner)RTC (affirmed)CA(reversed) Petitioner and Norma Maligaya are the co-owners of a parcel of land in Taal, Batangas. With the consent of Norma, respondent built a house on a lot adjacent to the parcel of land. The house intruded on a portion of the coowned property. Petitioner was surprised to see a part of respondent's house intruding unto a portion of the co-owned property. She made several demands upon respondent to demolish the intruding structure and to vacate the portion encroaching on their property. Respondent refused and disregarded her demands. Petitioner filed a complaint for forcible entry against respondent before MCTC which decided in favor of petitioner, ruling that consent of only one of the coowners is not sufficient to justify defendant's construction of the house and possession of the portion of the lot in question RTC affirmed the MCTC's ruling. MR was denied. Respondent appealed to CA, which reversed the RTC's decision. The CA found no cause of action for forcible entry because respondent's entry into the property, considering the consent given by co-owner Norma Maligaya, cannot be characterized as one made through strategy or stealth which gives rise to a cause of action for forcible entry. MR was denied. Respondent argues that since Norma Maligaya is residing in the house she built, the issue is not just possession de facto but also one of possession de jure since it involves rights of co-owners to enjoy the property.

and prevent other co-owners from using the property in accordance with their rights. Under Article 491, none of the co-owners shall, without the consent of the others, make alterations in the thing owned in common. It necessarily follows that none of the co-owners can, without the consent of the other co-owners, validly consent to the making of an alteration by another person, such as respondent, 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. There being no consent from all co-owners, respondent had no right to construct her house on the co-owned property. Consent of only one co-owner will not warrant the dismissal of the complaint for forcible entry filed against the builder. The consent given by Norma in the absence of the consent of petitioner DID NOT VEST upon respondent any right to enter into the co-owned property. Her entry into the property still falls under the classification "through strategy or stealth". Entry into the land effected clandestinely without the knowledge of the other co-owners could be categorized as possession by stealth. As such, respondent's acts constitute forcible entry.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated and the Resolution of the CA are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 86, Taal, Batangas is REINSTATED.

ISSUES: Were the knowledge and consent of a co-owner a valid license to erect the bungalow on the premises owned pro-indiviso sans consent from the other co-owner? HELD: A co-owner cannot devote common property to his or her exclusive use to the prejudice of the co-ownership. A coowner cannot give valid consent to another to build a house on the co-owned property, which is an act tantamount to devoting the property to his or her exclusive use. Article 486 states each co-owner may use the thing owned in common provided he does so in accordance with the purpose for which it is intended and in such a way as not to injure the interest of the co-ownership or prevent the other co-owners from using it according to their rights. Giving consent to a third person to construct a house on the co-owned property will injure the interest of the co-ownership

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[G.R. No. 166519. March 31, 2009.] Nieves Plasabas and Marcos Malazarte, petitioners, vs. CA, Dominador Lumen, and Aurora Aunzo, respondents. FACTS: NACHURA, J: Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari (Rule 45) are the Decision of the CA and the Resolution denying reconsideration of the challenged decision. Petitioners filed a complaint for recovery of title to property with damages before the CFI-Maasin against respondents. The property subject of the case was a parcel of coconut land in the name of petitioner Nieves. Petitioners prayed that judgment be rendered confirming their rights and legal title to the subject property and ordering the defendants to vacate the occupied portion and to pay damages. Respondents denied petitioners' allegation of ownership and possession of the premises, their main defense, that the subject land was inherited by all the parties from their common ancestor, Francisco Plasabas. That petitioner Nieves, contrary to her allegations in the complaint, was not the sole and absolute owner of the land. Respondents raised in their memorandum that the case should have been terminated at inception for petitioners' failure to implead indispensable parties, the other coowners Jose, Victor and Victoria. RTC dismissed the case without prejudice for failure to implead the co-owners because final decree would necessarily affect their rights Petitioners elevated the case to the CA which affirmed the ruling of the trial court. The CA, further, declared that the non-joinder of the indispensable parties would violate the principle of due process, and that Article 487 of the Civil Code could not be applied considering that the complaint was not for ejectment, but for recovery of title or a reivindicatory action. MR was also denied.

Thus, petitioners do not have to implead their co-owners as parties. The ONLY EXCEPTION to this rule is when the action is for the benefit of the plaintiff alone who claims to be the sole owner and is, thus, entitled to the possession thereof. In such a case, the action will not prosper unless the plaintiff impleads the other co-owners who are indispensable parties. Here, the allegation of petitioners that they are the sole owners of the property in litigation is immaterial, considering that they acknowledged during the trial that the property is coowned by Nieves and her siblings, and that petitioners have been authorized by the co-owners to pursue the case on the latter's behalf. IMPLEADING THE OTHER CO-OWNERS IS NOT MANDATORY because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. RE DISMISSAL: The trial and appellate courts committed reversible error when they summarily dismissed the case. The rule is settled that the non-joinder of indispensable parties is not a ground for the dismissal of an action. The remedy is to implead the non-party claimed to be indispensable. Parties may be added by order of the court on motion of the party or on its own initiative at any stage of the action and/or at such times as are just. If petitioner refuses to implead an indispensable party despite the order of the court, the latter may dismiss the complaint/petition for the plaintiff's/petitioner's failure to comply therewith. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED, and the case is REMANDED to the trial court for appropriate proceedings. The trial court is further DIRECTED to decide on the merits of the civil case WITH DISPATCH.

ISSUE: Did CA err in affirming the dismissal of the case without deciding on its merits? HELD: The Court grants the petition and remands the case to the trial court for disposition on the merits. Article 487 provides that any one of the co-owners may bring an action for ejectment. The article covers all kinds of actions for the recovery of possession, including an accion publiciana and a reivindicatory action. A co-owner may file suit without necessarily joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. Any judgment of the court in favor of the plaintiff will benefit the other co-owners, BUT if the judgment is adverse, the same cannot prejudice the rights of the unimpleaded co-owners. With this disquisition, there is no need to determine whether petitioners' complaint is one for ejectment or for recovery of title. To repeat, Article 487 of the Civil Code applies to both actions.

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[G.R. No. 146294. July 31, 2006.] John Abing, petitioner, vs. Juliet Waeyan, respondent. FACTS: GARCIA, J: In this appeal by way of a petition for review (Rule 45), petitioner seeks to set aside the Decision of the CA, reversing that of the RTC-Benguet which affirmed an earlier decision of the MTC-Mankayan in an ejectment suit commenced by the petitioner against the respondent. MTC(for petitioner) RTC(affirmed) CA(reversed) Parties met in 1986 and fell in love. They had a commonlaw relations. They bought a 2-storey residential house in Mankayan, Benguet. Consequent to the purchase, the tax declaration was transferred in the name of respondent. Respondent left for overseas employment in Korea, and would send money to John who deposited the same in their joint bank account. They renovated the house, and annexed a new structure which housed a sari-sari store. This new structure and the sari-sari store thereat are the properties involved in this case. In 1995, they parted ways, and decided to partition their properties. They executed a MOA which was left unsigned by the parties although signed by the witnesses. In this agreement, John shall leave the couples' dwelling with Juliet paying him the amount of P428,870 representing his share in all their properties. On the same date Juliet paid John P232,397 as partial payment. The balance will be paid by Juliet in twelve monthly installment beginning November 1995. Respondent failed to make good the balance. Thus, Petitioner demanded her to vacate the annex structure. Respondent refused, prompting John to file an ejectment suit against her before the MTC. John alleged that he alone spent for the construction of the annex structure with his own funds and thru money he borrowed from his relatives. The tax declaration for the structure was under his name. John claimed exclusive ownership of the subject structure, which gave him the right to eject Juliet therefrom upon the latter's failure to pay the agreed balance. In her answer, Respondent countered that their original house was renovated thru their common funds and that the subject structure annexed thereto was merely an attachment or an extension of their original residential house, hence the same pertained to the two of them in common. MTC ruled that the same exclusively pertained to the petitioner. On respondent's appeal to the RTC, the latter affirmed that of the MTC. CA reversed that of the RTC, ruling that Juliet Waeyan is entitled to possess the property and maintain her business. John's cause of action should have been for a sum of money "because he claims that Juliet still owes him the payment for the extension."

ISSUE: Did CA err in holding that the subject premises is owned by the two of them in common? HELD: Evidence is wanting to support petitioners naked claim. He even failed to reveal how much he spent. All that petitioner could offer by way of reinforcing his claim of spending his own funds and borrowed money in putting up the subject structure was the affidavit executed by a certain Manuel Macaraeg to the effect that petitioner borrowed P30K from him. But Macaraeg stated in his affidavit that it was sometime in 1990 when John borrowed said amount from him. The subject structure was constructed two years after he borrowed P30K, it is even doubtful whether the amount he allegedly borrowed from the latter went into the construction of the structure in dispute. There is a paucity of evidence, testimonial or documentary, to support petitioner's self-serving allegation that the annex structure which housed the sari-sari store was put up thru his own funds and/or money borrowed by him. In this connection, Article 147 of the FC is instructive. That in In the absence of proofs to the contrary, any property acquired by common-law spouses during their period of cohabitation is presumed to have been obtained thru their joint efforts and is owned by them in equal shares. Their property relationship is governed by the rules on coownership. And under this regime, they owned their properties in common "in equal shares." Being herself a co-owner of the structure in question, respondent as ruled by the CA, may not be ejected. True, under Article 487, a co-owner may bring an action for ejectment against a co-owner who takes exclusive possession and asserts exclusive ownership of a common property. In this case, evidence is totally wanting to establish John's or Juliet's exclusive ownership of the property in question. Neither did Juliet obtain possession by virtue of a contract, express or implied, or thru intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth. Respondent was in possession of the subject structure and the sari-sari store by virtue of her being a co-owner thereof. As such, she is as much entitled to enjoy its possession and ownership as John. The ruling of the CA that the subject MOA, being unsigned parties, has no binding effect between them. However, As correctly held by the CA, Juliet's failure to pay John the balance of the latter's share in their common properties could at best give rise to an action for a sum of money against Juliet, or for rescission of the said agreement and not for ejectment. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed CA Decision is AFFIRMED, except that portion thereof denying effect to the parties' Memorandum of Agreement for being unsigned by both.

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[G.R. No. 32047. November 1, 1930.] Manuel Melencio, et al., plaintiffs-appellants, vs. Dy Tiao Lay, defendant-appellee.

FACTS: OSTRAND, J: The plaintiffs brought the present action against the defendant-appellee for the recovery of the possession of a parcel of land in Cabanatuan. The plaintiffs also demand an increased monthly rental for the use and occupation of the parcel; and if it is found that the said appellee was occupying the land by virtue of a contract of lease, such contract should be declared null and void for lack of consent, concurrence, and ratification by the owners. The defendant alleged that he was occupying the said parcel land by virtue of a contract of lease executed in favor of his predecessor-in-interest, and which contract is still in force; That the mother of the plaintiffs, as administratrix of the estate of one of the original co-owners of the parcel of land, recognized and ratified the existence and validity of the contract because of the execution of a public document, and by collecting from the assignees of the original lessee the monthly rent. It appears from the evidence that the land in question was originally owned by Julian Melencio. He died leaving his widow, Ruperta Garcia, and his 5 children (Juliana, Ramon, Ruperta, Pedro, and Emilio). Emilio also died, his minor son Jose P. Melencio succeeded to his interest in the said parcel of land by representation. A question has been raised if the land was community property, but the evidence is undisputed that Ruperta Garcia in reality held nothing but a widow's usufruct in the land. Ruperta Garcia, and children executed a contract of lease of the land in favor of Yap Kui Chin, but neither Jose nor Ramon were mentioned in the lease. The term of the lease was for 20 years, extendible for a like period at the option of the lessee. The lessee took possession of the parcel in question and erected the mill as well as the necessary buildings, and in matters pertaining to the lease, he dealt with Pedro Melencio who acted as manager of the property held in common by the heirs of Julian Melencio. The original lessee died and the lease was transferred twice more before it came into the hands of Dy Tiao Lay. Ramon (one of Julians children) died, his widow Liberata, was appointed administratrix of his estate. The land which includes the parcel in question was registered under the Torrens system. The lease was not mentioned in the certificate of title, but it was stated that one house and three warehouses on the land were the property of Yap Kui Chin. The heirs of Julian made an extrajudicial partition of parts of the inheritance. The land in question fell to the share of

the children of Ramon, who are the original plaintiffs in the present case. Their mother, Liberta, as administratrix, collected the rent for the lease at P20.20 per month until 1926, when she demanded of the lessee that the rent should be increased to P300 per month, and she was then informed by the defendant that a written lease existed and that according to the terms, the defendant was entitled to an extension of the lease at the original rental. The plaintiffs denied any knowledge of the existence of such a contract of lease which was executed without their consent and was void. A copy of the contract of lease was found among the papers of the deceased Pedro. This action was brought to SET ASIDE THE LEASE and to RECOVER POSSESSION OF THE LAND. Upon trial, the court below rendered judgment in favor of the defendant declaring the lease valid.

ISSUE: Was the lease valid? HELD: The contention of the appellants is that the contract of lease (Exhibit C) is null and void, among the reason is that calls for an alteration of the property in question, therefore ought to have been signed by all the co-owners as by law required in the premises. The first proposition is based on article 397 which provides that "none of the owners shall, without the consent of the others, make any alterations in the common property even though such alterations might be advantageous to all." SC does not think that the alterations are of sufficient importance to nullify the lease, especially so since none of the co-owners objected to such alterations until over twenty years after the execution of the contract of lease. The court below based its decision on the case of Enriquez vs. A. S. Watson & Co but an examination of the Enriquez case will show that it differs materially from the present. In that case all of the co-owners of a lot and building executed a contract of lease of the property for the term of eighteen years in favor of A. S. Watson & Co.; one of the co-owners was a minor, but he was represented by his legally appointed guardian, and the action of the latter in signing the lease on behalf of the minor was formally approved by the CFI. In the present case only a small majority of the co-owners executed the lease in question. The contract of lease here in question is null and void. It has been suggested that by reason of prescription and by acceptance of benefits under the lease, the plaintiffs are estopped to question the authority for making the lease. There is no proof that Ramon Melencio and his successor over had knowledge of the existence of the lease in question prior to 1926. We cannot by mere suspicion conclude that they were informed of the existence of the document and its terms; it must be remembered that under a strict interpretation of the terms of the lease, the lessees could remain indefinitely in their tenancy unless the lessors could purchase the mill and the buildings on the land. In such circumstances, better evidence than that presented by the defendant in regard to the plaintiffs' knowledge of the lease must be required.

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The fact that Ramon during his lifetime received his share of the products of land owned in common with his coheirs is not sufficient proof of knowledge of the existence of the contract of lease when it is considered that the land in question was only a small portion of a large tract which Pedro was administering in connection with other community property. The appealed judgment as to the validity of the lease is therefore REVERSED, and it is ordered that the possession of the land in controversy be delivered to the intervenor Liberata as administratrix of the estate of the deceased Ramon Melencio. It is further ordered that the defendant pay to said administratrix a monthly rent of P50 for the occupation of the land from May 1st, 1926, until the land is delivered to the administratrix. The sum of P272 demanded by the defendant in his counterclaim may be deducted from the total amount of the rent due and unpaid. The buildings erected on the land by the defendant and his predecessors in interest may be removed by him, or otherwise disposed of, within six months from the promulgation of this decision.

Separate Opinions JOHNSON, J.: I reserve my vote. STREET and VILLAMOR, JJ., dissenting: Although the name of Ramon Melencio, father of the plaintiffs in this action, was not in fact signed to the lease in question, and the lease did not even so much as mention him as one of the co-owners, the undersigned are nevertheless of the opinion that Ramon Melencio, and his children after him, are estopped from questioning said lease, for the reason that, from 1905 to the time of his death in 1914, Ramon Melencio enjoyed the benefits of the lease, as did his widow and children after him, until May, 1926, when the widow repudiated the lease, as a preliminary to the bringing of this action by the plaintiffs. By their acceptance of the benefits of the lease over so long a period, the persons now questioning the lease and their father, their predecessor in interest, are estopped to question the authority for making the lease. This estoppel cures the want of the special power contemplated in article 1548 of the Civil Code. In addition to the estoppel arising from the acceptance of benefits under the lease, an estoppel further arises from the fact that Ramon Melencio, during the years following the execution of the lease, stood and saw the lessees place upon the property improvements of a value of more than P100K for which reason, also equity will not permit the lease to be disturbed to the prejustice of the lessee.

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[G.R. No. 171571. March 24, 2008.] Republic of the Philippines, (MCIAA), petitioner, vs. Heirs of Francisca Dignos-Sorono, et al., respondents. FACTS: CARPIO-MORALES, J: Assailed via petition for review on certiorari is the decision of the CA affirming that of the RTC of Lapu-lapu City Lot Nos. 2296 (A) and 2316 (B) were adjudicated on (1929) by the CFI-Cebu in four equal shares. The two lots were not partitioned by the adjudicatees. The heirs of Tito Dignos, sold (1957) for P2,565.59 the entire two lots to the then Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) via a public instrument entitled "Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale" without the knowledge of respondents whose predecessors-in-interest were the adjudicatees of the rest of the 3/4 portion of the two lots. Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), erected (1996) a security fence traversing Lot B and relocated a number of families who had built their dwellings within the airport perimeter, to a portion of said lot. Respondents soon asked the agents of MCIAA to cease giving third persons permission to occupy the lots but the same was ignored. Respondents filed a Complaint for Quieting of Title, Legal Redemption with Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction against MCIAA before the RTC alleging that the existence of the tax declarations "would cast a cloud on their valid and existing titles" to the lots. They alleged that "corresponding OCT in favor of the decreed owners were issued, and in all probability, were lost during the WWII." (This claim was not specifically denied by petitioner). Respondents further alleged that neither they nor their predecessors-in-interests sold, alienated or disposed of their shares in the lots of which they have been in continuous peaceful possession. Respondents furthermore alleged that neither petitioner nor its predecessor-in-interest had given them any written notice of its acquisition of the 1/4 share of Tito Dignos. Petitioner maintained that from the time the lots were sold to CAA, it has been in open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession; through acquisitive prescription (extra ordinary), it had acquired valid title to the lots since it was a purchaser in good faith and for value; At all events, petitioner contended that respondents' action was barred by estoppel and laches. The trial court found for respondents. That respondents and their predecessors-in-interest were in peaceful and continuous possession of their shares in the lots, and were disturbed only in 1996. The trial court brushed aside petitioners contention on the ground that registered lands cannot be the subject of acquisitive prescription.

Neither had respondents' action prescribed, as actions for quieting of title cannot prescribe if the plaintiffs are in possession of the property in question. The trial court held that the questioned sale was valid only with respect to Tito Dignos' 1/4 share of the lots, and that the sale was subject to the right of legal redemption by respondents following Article 1088 of the Civil Code.
Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary rights to a stranger before partition, any or all of the co-heirs may be subrogated to the rights of the purchaser by reimbursing him for the price of the sale, provided they do so within the period of one month from the time they were notified in writing of the sale by the vendor.

RTC held that the period for legal redemption had not yet lapsed; and the redemption price should be 1/4 of the purchase price paid by the CAA for the two lots. CA affirmed the trial court's decision.

ISSUE: Did CA err in affirming the trial court's decision? NO. HELD: Article 493 provides:
Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation of the mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the 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. CAA thus acquired only the rights pertaining to the sellersheirs of Tito Dignos, which is only 1/4 undivided share of the two lots. RE redemption price Article 1088 applies. The Court may take judicial notice of the increase in value of the lots. And as mentioned, the heirs of Tito Dignos did not notify respondents about the sale. At any rate, since the Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale stipulates, thus:
That the HEIRS-VENDORS, their heirs, assigns and successors, undertake and agree to warrant and defend the possession and ownership of the property/ies herein sold against any and all just claims of all persons whomsoever and should the VENDEE be disturbed in its possession, to prosecute and defend the same in the Courts of Justice

petitioner is not without any remedy. This decision is, therefore, without prejudice to petitioner's right to seek redress against the vendors-heirs of Tito Dignos and their successorsin-interest. WHEREFORE, the petition is, in light of the foregoing disquisition, DENIED.

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[G.R. No. 163744. February 29, 2008.] Metropolitan Bank And Trust Co., petitioner, vs. Nicholson Pascual a.k.a. Nelson Pascual, respondent. FACTS: VELASCO, JR., J: Respondent and Florencia Nevalga got married (1985). Florencia bought from spouses Sering a 250-sqm lot with a three-door apartment in Makati City. TCT was issued in the name of Florencia, "married to Nelson Pascual." Florencia filed a suit for the declaration of nullity of marriage (1994). After trial, the RTC-QC declared the marriage null and void. The dissolution and liquidation of the ex-spouses' conjugal partnership of gains followed. The couple did not liquidating their conjugal partnership. Florencia together with spouses Oliveros, obtained (1997) a PhP58M loan from petitioner secured by several real estate mortgages (REMs) on their properties, including the subject conjugal property. Among the documents Florencia submitted was a document denominated as "Waiver" that respondent purportedly executed (1995), which did not incidentally include the lot in question. Due to the failure to pay their loan obligation when it fell due, Metrobank initiated foreclosure proceedings. At the auction sale, Metrobank emerged as the highest bidder. Respondent got wind of the foreclosure proceedings. Thus, he filed before the RTC a Complaint to declare the nullity of the mortgage of the disputed property. He alleged that the property is still conjugal property and was mortgaged without his consent. Metrobank alleged that the disputed lot was paraphernal, and asserted having approved the mortgage in good faith. The RTC Declared the REM Invalid. RTC invoked Art. 116 FC, providing that "all property acquired during the marriage, whether the acquisition appears to have been made, contracted or registered in the name of one or both spouses, is presumed to be conjugal unless the contrary is proved." That the disputed property may not be validly encumbered by Florencia without Nicholson's consent. The trial court also declared Metrobank as a mortgagee in bad faith. Metrobank's MR was denied. The CA Affirmed with Modification the RTC's Decision. Moral damages and attorney's fees were ordered deleted. Metrobank moved but was denied reconsideration by the CA.

HELD: The Disputed Property is Conjugal First, while Metrobank is correct in saying that Art. 160 of the Civil Code, the Family Code, is the applicable legal provision since the property was acquired prior to the enactment of the Family Code, IT ERRS in its theory that there must be a showing that the property was acquired during marriage using conjugal funds. Second, if proof obtains on the acquisition of the property during the existence of the marriage, then the presumption of conjugal ownership applies. The correct lesson of Francisco and Jocson is that proof of acquisition during the marital coverture is a condition sine qua non for the operation of the presumption in favor of conjugal ownership. Termination of Conjugal Property Regime does not ipso facto End the Nature of Conjugal Ownership While the declared nullity of marriage severed the marital bond and dissolved the conjugal partnership, the character of the properties acquired before such declaration continues to subsist as conjugal properties until and after the liquidation and partition of the partnership. In Dael v. Intermediate Appellate Court, SC ruled that pending its liquidation following its dissolution, the conjugal partnership of gains is converted into an implied ordinary co-ownership among the surviving spouse and the other heirs of the deceased. In this pre-liquidation scenario, Art. 493 NCC shall govern the property relationship between the former spouses, where:
Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.

In the case at bar, Florencia constituted the mortgage on the disputed lot (1997), or a little less than two years after the dissolution of the conjugal partnership, but before the liquidation of the partnership. What governed the property relations of the former spouses when the mortgage was given is Art. 493. Under it, Florencia has the right to mortgage or even sell her one-half (1/2) undivided interest in the disputed property even without the consent of Nicholson. Therefore, the rights of Metrobank, as mortgagee, are limited only to the 1/2 undivided portion that Florencia owned. The remaining 1/2 is null and void, Nicholson not having consented to the mortgage of his undivided half. WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The appealed Decision of the CA upholding with modification the Decision of the RTC-Makati City is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the REM over the lot covered by TCT No. 156283 of the Registry of Deeds of Makati City is hereby declared valid only insofar as the pro indiviso share of Florencia thereon is concerned.

ISSUE: a. Did CA err in declaring subject property as conjugal by applying Article 116 FC? NO. b. Did CA err in not holding that the declaration of nullity of marriage ipso facto dissolved the regime of community of property of the spouses? NO. Art 493 governs.

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[G.R. No. 160956. February 13, 2008.] Joaquin Quimpo, Sr., petitioners, vs. Consuelo Abad vda. De Beltran, et al, respondents. FACTS: NACHURA, J: This Petition for Review on Certiorari assails the Decision of the CA, and the Resolution denying the motion for its reconsideration. Eustaquia Perfecto-Abad was the owner of several parcels of land in Camarines Sur. She died intestate (1948) leaving these parcels of land to her grandchild and great grandchildren, namely, Joaquin Quimpo and respondents. Joaquin and respondents undertook an oral partition of parcel III and parcel IV. Half of the properties was given to Joaquin and the other half to the respondents. No document of partition was executed because Joaquin refused to execute a deed. Consuelo and Ireneo occupied their respective shares in parcel III, and installed several tenants over their share in parcel IV. Joaquin became the administrator of the remaining undivided properties and of the shares of respondents Danilo, Marites, Anita and Helen, who were still minors at that time. When respondents Danilo, Marites, Anita and Helen wanted to take possession of the portions allotted to them, but Joaquin prevented them from occupying the same. Joaquin also refused to heed respondents' demand for partition of parcels I and II, prompting respondents to file a complaint for judicial partition and/or recovery of possession with the RTC-Camarines Sur. Joaquin denied the material allegations and asserted absolute ownership over parcels III and IV, claiming that he purchased these lands from Eustaquia evidenced by deeds of sale (1946). He, likewise, claimed continuous, peaceful and adverse possession. That Consuelo's occupation of the portion of the San Jose property was by mere tolerance. He died during the pendency of the case and was substituted by his wife and his children. RTC rendered a Decision in favor of respondents, declaring them as co-owners of all the properties left by Eustaquia, and declared void the purported deeds of sale executed by Eustaquia for lack of consideration and consent. The RTC also sustained the oral partition among the heirs in 1966. On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC ruling. The CA also rejected petitioners' argument that the action was barred by prescription and laches, explaining that prescription does not run against the heirs so long as the heirs, for whose benefit prescription is invoked, have not expressly or impliedly repudiated the co-ownership. The CA found no repudiation on Joaquin's part. It, therefore, concluded that respondents' action could not be barred by prescription or laches.

RE LACK OF CONSIDERATION: Respondents established that at the time of the purported sale Joaquin Quimpo was not gainfully employed. No other testimonial or documentary evidence was offered to prove that Joaquin was duly employed and had the financial capacity to buy the subject properties in 1946. RE LACK OF CONSENT: Both the trial court and the CA found that Eustaquia was already mentally incapacitated by then, and could no longer be expected to give her consent to the sale. RE ABSOLUTE DOMINION: Petitioners presented Tax Declarations all in the name of Eustaquia. Therefore, enervate their claim instead. RE ORAL PARTITION: For 43 years, Consuelo and Ireneo occupied their portions of the San Jose property and significantly, Joaquin never disturbed their possession. They also installed tenants in parcel IV, and Joaquin did not prevent them from doing so, nor did he assert his ownership over the same. These point to the fact that there was indeed an oral partition of parcels III and IV. From Maglucot-Aw v. Maglucot and Hernandez v. Andal, it has been held that parol partitions may be sustained on the ground of estoppel of the parties to assert the rights of a tenant in common as to parts of land divided by parol partition as to which possession in severalty was taken and acts of individual ownership were exercised. And a court of equity will recognize the agreement and decree it to be valid and effectual for the purpose of concluding the right of the parties as between each other to hold their respective parts in severalty. A parol partition may also be sustained on the ground that the parties thereto have acquiesced in and ratified the partition by taking possession in severalty, exercising acts of ownership with respect thereto, or otherwise recognizing the existence of the partition. Similarly, SC affirms the CA ruling that respondents are coowners of the subject 4 parcels of land, having inherited the same from a common ancestor. Jurisprudence is replete with rulings that any CO-OWNER may demand at any time the partition of the common property unless a co-owner has repudiated the co-ownership. This action for partition does not prescribe and is not subject to laches. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision and Resolution of the CA are AFFIRMED.

ISSUE:Did CA err in ruling that co-ownership exists among petitioners and respondents over the subject parcels of land? NO. HELD: The contention has no merit.

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[G.R. No. 170080. April 3, 2007.] Consolacion Q. Austria, petitioner, vs. Constancia Q. Lichauco, et al, respondents. FACTS: TINGA, J: Petitioner assails the Decision of the CA and its Resolution, which respectively affirmed the decision of the RTC-Makati and denied petitioner's MR. Parties are siblings nephews and niece. They are coowners of 2 parcels of land with an aggregate area of 661 sqm located in Palanan. The parcels of land have permanent improvements which straddle both lots, namely, a residential bungalow and 2 units, two-storey apartments, the titles are registered jointly in the names of the parties as CO-OWNERS. The plaintiffs-appellees allege that they informed (1996) defendant-appellant of their desire to have the subject properties partitioned based on the percentage of each coowner's respective share. Defendant-appellant Austria refused to accede to any of the schemes presented by the realtor for the physical apportionment of the subject properties between the coowners thereof. Plaintiffs-appellees filed a complaint with the RTC against the defendant-appellant Austria and two other defendants as unwilling co-plaintiffs for partition of the subject property. <procedural maneuverings> The assailed lower lower court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs-appellees.(respondents). <more procedural maneuverings from Austria> Petitioner elevated the case to the CA which dismissed her petition and affirmed the trial court's decision but deleted the order that petitioner pay reasonable rental for her use of a portion of the disputed properties. The appellate court denied reconsideration. Respondents allege that they cannot be compelled to remain in co-ownership only because of petitioner's unjustified refusal to consent to a partition.

In the latter case (B), the parties may, if they are able to agree, make partition among themselves by proper instruments of conveyance, and the court shall confirm the partition so agreed upon. The SECOND PHASE commences when it appears that the parties are unable to agree upon the partition directed by the court. In that event, partition shall be done for the parties by the court with the assistance of not more than 3 commissioners. This second stage may well also deal with the rendition of the accounting itself and its approval by the court after the parties have been accorded opportunity to be heard thereon, and an award for the recovery by the party or parties thereto entitled of their just share in the rents and profits of the real estate in question. In the case at bar, the proceedings have only reached the first phase. There is no question that a co-ownership exists between petitioner and respondents. To this extent, the trial court was correct in decreeing partition in line with the Civil Code provision that no co-owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-ownership. The trial court went astray when it also authorized the sale of the subject properties to a third party and the division of the proceeds thereof. The trial court conditioned the sale upon the price and terms acceptable to respondents only, and adjudicated the proceeds of the sale again only to respondents- this is objectionable. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED IN PART. The Decision of the CA is REVERSED in so far as it affirms the portion of the decision of the RTC-Makati City which authorizes the sale, conveyance or transfer of the properties subject of this case and the division of the proceeds of said sale to respondents herein. The Decision and Resolution are AFFIRMED in all other respects.

ISSUE: Did the lower court err in allowing the sale of the entire property in dispute? YES. HELD: There are TWO STAGES in every action for partition. FIRST PHASE is the determination of whether a coownership in fact exists and a partition is proper, i.e., not otherwise legally proscribed, and may be made by voluntary agreement of all the parties interested in the property. This phase may end either: (a) with a declaration that plaintiff is not entitled to have a partition either because a co-ownership does not exist, or partition is legally prohibited; or (b) with a determination that a co-ownership does in truth exist, partition is proper in the premises, and an accounting of rents and profits received by the defendant from the real estate in question is in order.

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[G.R. No. 163081. June 15, 2007.] Anita Ungab-Valeroso, petitioners, vs. Amancia UngabGrado, et al, respondents. FACTS: QUISUMBING, J: This petition for review assails both the Decision of the CA and its Resolution which denied petitioners' MR. The CA had affirmed with modification the Decision of the RTC-Iligan City. Subject of this case is a 14 hectare land in Binuni, Lanao registered in the name of Timoteo Ungab under an OCT. Petitioner is the only child of Timoteo, now deceased. Respondent Felix Ungab is the brother of Timoteo while the other respondents are the heirs of Timoteo's other brothers and sisters. The heirs of Ciriaco Ungab filed a complaint in the CFI against the brothers, sisters and heirs of Timoteo for the partition, accounting and reconveyance of the subject land. The parties submitted a written compromise agreement. The CFI rendered judgment adopting in toto the compromise agreement. The parties did not have the land partitioned but divided the proceeds of the land in accordance with the decision. However, Anita refused to give respondents their respective shares. Thus, Respondents filed against petitioners Anita and her husband a complaint for recovery of possession, partition, enforcement of compromise agreement and damages. During the pre-trial, respondents presented in court the affidavit of Timoteo acknowledging that he co-owned with his brothers and sisters, Simeona, Eugenia, Lorenzo, Lazaro, Felix and Margarito, a parcel of land with an area of 19 hectares in Binuni. Respondents also presented the Affidavit of Acknowledgment of Anita Ungab and her mother acknowledging the rights of Simeona, Eugenia, Lorenzo, Lazaro, Felix and Margarito as co-owners of the land. In their defense, the Spouses Anita and Ruselo claimed that Anita exclusively owns the land as sole heir of Timoteo. Anita was not privy to the compromise agreement. RTC held that the compromise agreement bound all the parties including their heirs and assigns, and Timoteo's affidavit whose presumption of regularity petitioners failed to overcome, and the compromise agreement created an express trust which has not yet prescribed. Petitioners elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court's decision.

HELD: SC agrees that the instant case does not involve successional rights as correctly pointed out by respondents, who are claiming an alleged right of co-ownership existing prior to the issuance of the land title in the name of Timoteo. The records lack evidence sufficiently showing that the land covered by Homestead Application referred to in the Affidavit of Timoteo is the same land covered by the OCT which originated from a Homestead Patent No. The records do not show whether Homestead Application was the one granted in Homestead Patent. The court cannot just fill in the deficiency in the evidence submitted by the concerned parties. However, that even there is still evidence on record proving that the respondents and Timoteo indeed own the land in common. For one, there is the Affidavit of Acknowledgment. The truth or falsehood of the Affidavit of Acknowledgment is a question of fact, of which this Court cannot take cognizance. But since it is a notarized document, it enjoys the presumption of regularity. Petitioners' allegation that she was misled by her mother into signing the affidavit could not overcome this presumption. RE PRESCRIPTION: This claim is unmeritorious. When the parties started sharing the proceeds of the land, they had in effect partially executed the compromise agreement and the judgment. Such partial execution weighs heavily as evidence that they agreed on the co-ownership arrangement. Note also that the judgment did not explicitly order the partition of the land itself, but merely identified the rights to and respective shares of the parties in said land. Petitioners argue that the co-ownership was already extinguished because the Civil Code provides that an agreement to keep a thing undivided shall not exceed ten years. But this term limit may be extended. The action to reconvey does not prescribe so long as the property stands in the name of the trustee. To allow prescription would be tantamount to allowing a trustee to acquire title against his principal and true owner. The Affidavit of Acknowledgment AND the compromise agreement established an express trust wherein the respondents, as trustors, reposed their confidence on petitioner as trustees, that they will hold the land subject of the co-ownership. There are no particular words required in the creation of an express trust, it being sufficient that a trust is clearly intended This express trust is shown in the two documents. Express trusts do not prescribe except when the trustee repudiates the trust. In the present case, the Affidavit of Acknowledgment AND the compromise agreement were presented not to show how respondents acquired their rights over the property but as proof that their rights therein exist. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision and the Resolution of the CA are AFFIRMED.

ISSUE: Were respondents co-owners of the subject parcel of land? YES. Was the respondents' suit for partition in the court below legal? YES.

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[G.R. No. L-22621. September 29, 1967.] Jose Maria Ramirez, plaintiff-appellee, vs. Jose Eugenio Ramirez, et al, defendants-appellants, Angela M. Butte, defendant-appellee.

which it is intended. But the co-ownership may be terminated in accordance with article 498. They assume that the alleged "inestimable damage" is equivalent to rendering it "unserviceable for the use for which it is intended." The alleged "inestimable damage" has not been established, the conclusion drawn by appellants does not follow necessarily. There is nothing to show that, after segregating plaintiff's share, the buildings left on the remaining 1,301.34 square meters, representing defendants' share, would be unserviceable, either for commercial or for residential purposes. In fact, every one of the aforementioned commissioners, including the one representing defendants recommended the segregation of plaintiff's share. The commissioners merely failed to agree on the precise configuration. second issue: The record does not show that this offer of the plaintiff had not been "taken into consideration" by the lower court. Defendants had not accepted it. And neither do they accept it now, for they would want the plaintiff to pay a price higher than that offered by him. As regards the last alleged error, it is obvious that the segregation of plaintiff's share inures to the benefit not only to the plaintiff, but, also, of the defendants, and that both should, consequently, defray the incidental expenses. WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with the costs of this instance against herein defendants-appellants.


FACTS: CONCEPCION, C.J: Appeal by the defendants from a decision of the CFI-Manila. Plaintiff brought this action against defendants for the partition of a parcel of land situated at the Northwestern corner of Escolta particularly described in a TCT and belonging pro indiviso to both parties, one sixth (1/6) to the plaintiff and five-sixths (5/6) to the defendants. 2 of the defendants expressed its conformity to the partition, the other defendants objected to the physical partition upon the theory that said partition is "materially and legally" impossible and "would work great harm and prejudice to the co-owners." By agreement of the parties the lower Court referred the matter to a COMMISSION to determine whether the property is susceptible of partition, and submit a plan therefor, if feasible, as well as to report thereon. Subsequently, the commissioners submitted their individual reports with their respective plans for the segregation of plaintiff's share. The Court rendered a decision declaring that plaintiff is entitled to the segregation of his share, and directing that the property be partitioned in accordance with the plan submitted by commissioner Valencia, and that the expenses be paid by both parties proportionately.

ISSUE: 1) Did CFI err in holding that said property is legally susceptible of physical division? NO. 2) Did CFI err in accepting the recommendation of commissioner Valencia? NO. 3) Did CFI err in not ordering that the incidental expenses be borne exclusively by petitioner? NO. HELD: first alleged error: No evidence has been introduced in support of this allegation. The same is predicated upon the assumption that a real estate suitable for commercial purposes is likely to suffer a proportionately great diminution in value when its area becomes too small. If plaintiff's share were segregated from the property in question, there would still remain a lot of 1,300 sqm for appellants. This size is not inconsequential. In other words, its value would be not be impaired on account of the segregation of plaintiff's share. Appellants argue that plaintiffs share should be sold to them. Citing the provision of Article 495 that "Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding article, the co-owners cannot demand a physical division of the thing owned in common, when to do so would render it unserviceable for the use for

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[G.R. No. 76351. October 29, 1993.] Virgilio B. Aguilar, petitioner, vs. CA and Senen B. Aguilar, respondents.

parties. The trial court likewise ordered defendant to vacate the property and pay plaintiff rentals. Defendant sought relief from the CA, which set aside the order of the trial court as well as the assailed judgment rendered by default. Hence this petition.

FACTS: BELLOSILLO, J: This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision of the CA declaring null and void the orders and the judgment by default and the order of then CFI-Rizal and directing the trial court to set the case for pre-trial conference. Petitioner Virgilio and respondent Senen are brothers; Virgilio is the youngest and 7th children of the late Maximiano Aguilar, while Senen is the fifth. The brothers purchased a house and lot in Paraaque where their father could spend and enjoy his remaining years in a peaceful neighborhood. Initially, they agreed that Virgilio's share in the co-ownership was 2/3 while that of Senen was 1/3. By virtue of a written memorandum they agreed that their interests in the house and lot should be equal, with Senen assuming the remaining mortgage obligation of the original owners with the SSS in exchange for his possession and enjoyment of the house together with their father. Virgilio was then disqualified from obtaining a loan from SSS, they agreed that the deed of sale would be executed and the title registered in the meantime in the name of Senen. The father died, petitioner demanded from private respondent that the latter vacate the house and that the property be sold and proceeds thereof divided among them. Respondent refused; Thus petitioner filed an action to compel the sale of the house and lot so that the they could divide the proceeds between them. Petitioner prayed that the proceeds be divided on the basis of two-thirds (2/3) in his favor and one-third (1/3) to respondent. Petitioner also prayed for monthly rentals for the use of the house by respondent after their father died. Respondent had no objection to the sale as long as the best selling price could be obtained; but the proceeds should be divided equally; and, that being a co-owner, he was entitled to the use and enjoyment of the property.

ISSUES: Did the trial court correctly declared respondent in default for his failure to appear at the pre-trial and in allowing petitioner to present his evidence ex-parte? YES. HELD: The law is clear that the appearance of parties at the pre-trial is mandatory. A party who fails to appear at a pretrial conference may be non-suited or considered as in default. CA did not act wisely in overruling the denial. SC sustains the trial court and rule that it did not abuse its discretion in denying the postponement for lack of merit. Respondent at least should have personally appeared in order not to be declared as in default. RE MERITS OF THE CASE: On the basis of the pleadings of the parties and the evidence presented ex parte, petitioner and respondents are co-owners of subject house and lot in equal shares; either one of them may demand the same of the house and lot at any time and the other cannot object to such demand; thereafter the proceeds of the sale shall be divided equally according to their respective interests. SC upholds the trial court in ruling in favor of petitioner, except as to the effectivity of the payment of monthly rentals by respondent as co-owner which SC here declare to commence only after the trial court ordered respondent to vacate. Article 494 of the Civil Code provides that no co-owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-ownership, and that each coowner may demand at any time partition of the thing owned in common insofar as his share is concerned. Corollary to this rule, Art. 498 of the Code states that whenever the thing is essentially indivisible and the co-owners cannot agree that it be allotted to one of them who shall indemnify the others, it shall be sold and its proceeds accordingly distributed. However, being a co-owner respondent has the right to use the house and lot without paying any compensation to petitioner, as he may use the property owned in common so long as it is in accordance with the purpose for which it is intended and in a manner not injurious to the interest of the other co-owners. Until a division is made, the respective share of each cannot be determined and every co-owner exercises, together with his co-participants joint ownership over the pro indiviso property, in addition to his use and enjoyment of the same. justice and equity demand that respondent and his family vacate the property so that the sale can be effected immediately. Respondent should pay a rental from the time the trial court ordered him to vacate. When petitioner filed an action to compel the sale of the property and the trial court granted the petition and ordered the ejectment of respondent, the co-ownership was deemed terminated and the right to enjoy the possession jointly also ceased.

<procedural issues re pre trial.> CFI rendering judgment found the brothers to be coowners of the house and lot in equal shares on the basis of their written agreement. But it ruled that plaintiff has been deprived of his participation in the property by defendant's continued enjoyment of the house and lot, free of rent, despite demands for rentals and continued maneuvers of defendant to delay partition. The trial court also upheld the right of plaintiff as co-owner to demand partition. That the property should be sold to a third person and the proceeds divided equally between the

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[G.R. No. 176858. September 15, 2010.] Heirs of Juanita Padilla, petitioners, vs. Dominador Magdua, respondent. FACTS: CARPIO, J: Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Orders of the RTC-Tacloban City. Juanita Padilla, the mother of petitioners, owned a piece of land in Tanauan, Leyte. After Her death , petitioners as legal heirs of Juanita, sought to have the land partitioned. Petitioners informed their eldest regarding their plans. Petitioners were surprised that Ricardo had declared the land for himself, prejudicing their rights as co-heirs. It was then discovered that Juanita had allegedly executed a notarized Affidavit of Transfer of Real Property making him the sole owner of the land. The records do not show that the land was registered under the Torrens system. Petitioners filed an action with the RTC for recovery of ownership, possession, partition and damages. Petitioners sought to declare void the sale of the land by Ricardo's daughters to respondent. They alleged that Ricardo, through misrepresentation, had the land transferred in his name without the consent and knowledge of his co-heirs. Petitioners further alleged that Juanita executed a written instrument stating that she would be leaving behind to her children the land which she had inherited from her parents. Dominador filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction; should be in MTC. RTC dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. The assessed value was P590.00. Petitioners filed an MR arguing that the action was not merely for recovery of ownership and possession, partition and damages but also for annulment of deed of sale- action beyond pecuniary estimation. Dominador filed another MD on the ground of prescription. RTC reconsidered its previous stand and took cognizance of the case. Nonetheless, the RTC denied the motion for reconsideration and dismissed the case on the ground of prescription. The case was filed only in 2001 or more than 30 years since the Affidavit was executed in 1966. The RTC explained that while the right of an heir to his inheritance is imprescriptible, yet when one of the coheirs appropriates the property as his own to the exclusion of all other heirs, then prescription can set in.

Aside from the Affidavit, Dominador did not present any proof to show that Ricardo's possession of the land had been open, continuous and exclusive for more than 30 years in order to establish extraordinary acquisitive prescription. He merely assumed that Ricardo had been in possession of the land for 30 years based on the Affidavit submitted to the RTC. The petitioners alleged that Ricardo left the land after he separated from his wife sometime after 1966 and moved to another place. The records do not mention, however, whether Ricardo had any intention to go back to the land or whether Ricardo's family ever lived there. Moreover, Ricardo and petitioners are co-heirs or coowners of the land. Co-heirs or co-owners cannot acquire by acquisitive prescription the share of the other co-heirs or coowners ABSENT a clear repudiation of the co-ownership, as expressed in Article 494. Since possession of co-owners is like that of a trustee, in order that a co-owner's possession may be deemed adverse to the cestui que trust or other co-owners, the following requisites must concur: (1) that he has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui que trust or other co-owners, (2) that such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the cestui que trust or other co-owners, and (3) that the evidence thereon must be clear and convincing. In the present case, all three requisites have been met. After Juanita's death, petitioners sought for the partition of their mother's land. The heirs, including Ricardo, were notified about the plan. Ricardo, through a letter notified petitioners, as his co-heirs, that he adjudicated the land solely for himself. Accordingly, Ricardo's interest in the land had now become adverse to the claim of his co-heirs after repudiating their claim of entitlement to the land. In the present case, the prescriptive period began to run only from 5 June 1998, the date petitioners received notice of Ricardo's repudiation of their claims to the land. Only a mere three years had lapsed. This three-year period falls short of the 10-year or 30-year acquisitive prescription period required by law in order to be entitled to claim legal ownership over the land. Thus, Dominador cannot invoke acquisitive prescription. Thus, SC directs the RTC to try the case on the merits to determine who among the parties are legally entitled to the land. WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We REVERSE AND SET ASIDE the Orders of the RTC.

ISSUE: Is whether the present action already barred by prescription? HELD: SC finds that the conclusion of the RTC in dismissing the case on the ground of prescription is speculative. The RTC incorrectly relied on the Affidavit alone in order to dismiss the case without considering petitioners' evidence. The facts show that the land was sold to Dominador by Ricardo's daughters during the lifetime of Ricardo. However, the alleged deed of sale was not presented as evidence and neither was it shown that Ricardo's daughters had any authority from Ricardo to dispose of the land.

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[G.R. No. L-44426. February 25, 1982.] Sulpicio Carvajal, petitioner, vs. CA and Eutiquiano Camarillo and Liberata Cacabelos, respondents.

Without partition, either by agreement between the parties or by judicial proceeding, a co-heir cannot dispose of a specific portion of the estate. For where there are two or more heirs, the whole estate of the decedent is owned in common by such heirs. Upon the death of a person, each of his heirs becomes the undivided owner of the whole estate left with respect to the part or portion which might be adjudicated to him, a community of ownership being thus formed among the coowners of the estate or co-heirs while it remains undivided. Under Article 493 NCC, each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto and he may alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, the effect of the alienation or the mortgage with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited, by mandate of the same article, to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. He has no right to sell or alienate a concrete, specific, or determinate part of the thing in common to the exclusion of the other co-owners because his right over the thing is represented by an abstract or ideal portion without any physical adjudication. An individual co-owner cannot adjudicate to himself or claim title to any definite portion of the land or thing owned in common until its actual partition by agreement or judicial decree. Prior to that time all that the co-owner has is an ideal or abstract quota or proportionate share in the entire thing owned in common by all the co-owners. What a co-owner may dispose of is only his undivided aliquot share, which shall be limited to the portion that may be allotted to him upon partition. BEFORE PARTITION, a co-heir can only sell his successional rights. In the case at bar, the fact that the sale executed were made before the partition of the property among the co-heirs does not annul or invalidate the deeds of sale and both sales are valid. However, the interests thereby acquired by petitioner and respondents are limited only to the parts that may be ultimately assigned to Estefanio and Evaristo, respectively, upon the partition of the estate SUBJECT to provisions on subrogation of the other co-heirs to the rights of the strangerpurchaser provided in Article 1088. Respondent court's ruling that the sale by Estefanio in favor of petitioner is not valid because of lack of notice to his co-heirs is erroneous. Such notice in writing is not a requisite for the validity of the sale. Its purpose is merely to apprise the coheirs of the sale of a portion of the estate, for them to exercise their preferential right of subrogation under Article 1088. That is, the right to redeem the property sold within one month from the time they were notified in writing of the sale by a co-heir. Thus, respondents have no right to eject petitioners nor demand payment of rentals for the use of the property in dispute. NEITHER PETITIONER NOR RESPONDENTS CAN RIGHTFULLY CLAIM THAT WHAT THEY BOUGHT IS THE PART IN DISPUTE. Accordingly, respondent court's judgment is set aside and judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the complaint of respondents-plaintiffs in the court below.

FACTS: TEEHANKEE, J: The Court reverses the appellate court's decision affirming in toto the judgment of the CFIPangasinan, declaring plaintiffs-respondents the lawful owners of the land in question and ordering defendant (herein petitioner) to pay monthly rentals until possession of the property is surrendered to respondents, for unless there is partition of the estate of the deceased, either extrajudicially or by court order, a co-heir cannot validly claim title to a specific portion of the estate and sell the same. Title to any specific part of the estate does not automatically pass to the heirs by the mere death of the decedent and the effect of any disposition by a co-heir before partition shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him upon the dissolution of the communal estate. What a co-heir can validly dispose of is only his hereditary rights. Private respondents are husband and wife and had instituted a complaint before the CFI for ejectment and recovery of possession against petitioner, alleging that they are the owners in fee simple of a parcel of commercial land, pro-indiviso situated in Tayug, Pangasinan, having bought the same from Evaristo G. Espique by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale. The property in question is a 1/5 portion of land originally owned by Hermogenes Espique and his wife. After their death, their five children succeeded them in the ownership of the whole lot. Petitioner presently occupies 2/5 of the whole lot inherited pro-indiviso by the Espique children . Petitioner alleges that he purchased the northern one-half portion of the lot he is occupying from Estefanio Espique and that the southern one-half portion is leased to him by Tropinia Espique. The land subject of the controversy is the lot he had bought from Estefanio which respondents claim they had bought from Evaristo. Both sales were made while the petition for partition filed by Evaristo Espique was still pending.

ISSUE: May the respondents eject the petitioners? HELD: The action for ejectment and recovery of possession instituted by respondents in the lower court is premature. For what must be settled first is the action for partition. Unless a project of partition is effected, each heir cannot claim ownership over a definite portion of the inheritance.

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[G.R. No. 56550. October 1, 1990.] Marina Z. Reyes, et al, petitioners, vs. Alfredo B. Concepcion, et al, respondents. FACTS: CORTES, J: Petitioners filed with the CFI a complaint for injunction and damages seeking to enjoin private respondents Socorro Marquez Vda. De Zaballero, et al., from selling to a 3rd party their pro-indiviso shares as co-owners in 8 parcels of registered land in Cavite (96 hectares). Petitioner claimed that under Article 1620 of the NCC, they, as co-owners, had a preferential right to purchase these shares from private respondents for a reasonable price. Respondent trial judge denied the ex parte application for a writ of preliminary injunction, on the ground that petitioners' registered notice of lis pendens was ample protection of their rights. Private respondents received the summons and copies of the complaint, then filed their answer with counterclaim, praying for the partition of the subject properties. That six and nine tenth (6-9/10) hectares of the land covered by Parcel A; approximately twelve (12) hectares of that covered by parcel B; and the entire parcel C are subject of expropriation proceedings instituted by the NHA Based on the evidence the current valuation of the land and the improvements is at P95,132.00 per hectare; Plaintiffs received a written notice from the defendants and the intervenor offered to buy the latter's share in the properties listed in the complaint

Respondent trial judge rendered a pre-trial order granting petitioners a period of 10 days from receipt of the subdivision plan to be prepared by a competent geodetic engineer within which to express their approval or disapproval of the said plan, or to submit within the same period, if they so desire, an alternative subdivision plan. Petitioners contend that the question of reasonable value of the subject properties remains a contentious issue of fact ascertainable only after a full trial. To settle once and for all the controversy between the parties, private respondents filed a motion requesting that petitioners be required to formally specify which of the two options under ARTICLE 498 they wished to avail of:
o that petitioners' shares in the subject properties be sold to private respondents, at the rate of P12.50 per square meter; or o that the subject properties be sold to a third party, itervenor

and its proceeds thereof distributed among the parties. Respondent trial judge issued an order which directed the parties to signify whether or not they agree to the scheme of allotting the subject properties to one of the co-owners, at the rate of P12.50 per square meter, or whether or not they know of a third party who is able and willing to buy the subject properties at terms and conditions more favorable than that offered by intervenor.. Petitioners filed a motion for clarification as to the true identity of the third party allegedly willing to purchase the subject properties. Respondent trial judge rejected the motion on the ground that it was irrelevant. The judge ruled that petitioners did not possess a preemptive right to purchase private respondents' shares in the co-ownership. Thus, finding that the subject properties were essentially indivisible, respondent trial judge ordered the holding of a public sale of the subject properties pursuant to Article 498 NCC. Without awaiting resolution of their MR, petitioners filed the present petition for certiorari, alleging that the respondent trial judge acted without jurisdiction, or in grave abuse of its discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, in issuing his order that denied petitioners' claim of a pre-emptive right to purchase private respondents' pro-indiviso shares and which, peremptorily, ordered the public sale of the subject properties. SC issued a TRO enjoining the sale of the subject properties at public auction.

1. 2. 3. That the subject properties are incapable of physical partition; That the price of P12.50 per square meter is grossly excessive; That they are willing to exercise their pre-emptive right for an amount of not more than P95,132.00 per hectare, which is the fair and reasonable value of said properties;

4. That the statutory period for exercising their pre-emptive right was suspended upon the filing of the complaint;.


1. 2. That the reasonable price of the subject properties is P12.50 per square meter; That plaintiffs' right of legal pre-emption had lapsed upon their failure to exercise the same within the period prescribed in Art. 1623 of the Civil Code of the Philippines; That, assuming the soundness of plaintiffs' claim that the price of P12.50 per square meter is grossly excessive, it would be to the best interest of the plaintiffs to sell their shares to the VOLCANO SECURITIES TRADERS AND AGRI-BUSINESS CORPORATION, whose sincerity, capacity and good faith is beyond question, as the same was admitted by the parties herein; That the subject properties consisting approximately 95 hectares may be physically partitioned without difficulty in the manner suggested by them to plaintiffs, and as graphically represented in the subdivision plan, which will be furnished in due course to plaintiffs' counsel.


ISSUE: Did RTC commit grave abuse of discretion in denying the claim of petitioner of its preemptive right to purchase the property? And in ordering the sale of subject parcels of land? NO.


HELD: This claim is patently without basis. The legal provisions on co-ownership do not grant to any of the owners of a property held in common a pre-emptive right to purchase the pro-indiviso shares of his co-owners. Petitioners' reliance on Article 1620 is misplaced.

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Article 1620 contemplates of a situation where a co-owner has alienated his pro-indiviso shares to a stranger. By the very nature of the right of "LEGAL REDEMPTION", a coowner's right to redeem is invoked only after the shares of the other co-owners are sold to a third party or stranger to the coownership. But in the case at bar, at the time petitioners filed their complaint for injunction and damages against private respondents, no sale of the latter's pro-indiviso shares to a third party had yet been made. Thus, Article 1620 finds no application to the case at bar. Also, No merit to petitioners' contention that private respondents had acknowledged the pre-emptive right of petitioners to purchase their shares at a "reasonable price". Although it appears that private respondents had agreed to sell their pro-indiviso shares to petitioners, the offer was made at a fixed rate of P12.50 per square meter. It cannot be said that private respondents had agreed, without qualification, to sell their shares to petitioners. Hence, petitioners cannot insist on a right to purchase the shares at a price lower than the selling price of private respondents. Petitioners have no legal right to enjoin private respondents from alienating their pro-indiviso shares to a third party. The rights of a co-owner of a property are clearly specified in Article 493. The law does not prohibit a co-owner from selling, alienating or mortgaging his ideal share in the property held in common. The law merely provides that the alienation or mortgage shall be limited only to the portion of the property which may be allotted to him upon termination of the coownership and, as earlier discussed, that the remaining coowners have the right to redeem, within a specified period, the shares which may have been sold to the third party. Therefore, respondent trial judge committed no grave abuse of discretion when he denied petitioners' claim of a pre-emptive right to purchase private respondents' pro-indiviso shares. RE ORDER OF SALE: Respondent trial judge's order was issued in accordance with the laws pertaining to the legal or juridical dissolution of co-ownerships. Private respondents' counterclaim for the partition of the subject properties is recognized by Article 494 which lays down the GENERAL RULE that no co-owner is obliged to remain in the co-ownership. NONE of the legal exceptions under Article 494 applies to the case at bar. Private respondents' counterclaim for the partition of the subject properties was therefore entirely proper. However, petitioners adopted the adamant position that the subject properties were incapable of physical partition. Initially, private respondents disputed this position. Thus, private respondents relented and adopted petitioner's position that the partition of the subject properties was not economically feasible, and, consequently, invoked the provisions of Article 498. Inasmuch as the parties were in agreement as regards the fact that the subject properties should not be partitioned, and private respondents continued to manifest their desire to terminate the co-ownership arrangement between petitioners

and themselves, respondent trial judge acted within his jurisdiction when he issued his order requiring the parties to answer certain questions for the purpose of determining whether or not the legal conditions for the applicability of Article 498 of the New Civil Code were present in the case. The sale of the property held in common referred to in the above article is resorted to when (1) the right to partition the property among the coowners is invoked by any of them but because of the nature of the property, it cannot be subdivided or its subdivision [See Article 495] would prejudice the interests of the co-owners [See Section 5 of Rule 69], and (2) the co-owners are not in agreement as to who among them shall be allotted or assigned the entire property upon reimbursement of the shares of the other coowners. Petitioners have NO JUSTIFIABLE GROUNDS to ignore the queries posed by respondent trial judge and to insist that hearings be conducted in order to ascertain the reasonable price at which they could purchase private respondents' proindiviso shares. Since it became evident that the parties could not agree on who among them would be allotted the subject properties, the Court finds that respondent trial judge committed no grave abuse of discretion in ordering the holding of a public sale for the subject properties, and the distribution of the proceeds thereof amongst the co-owners, as provided under Article 498. Contrary to petitioners' contention, there was no need for further hearings in the case because it is apparent from the various allegations and admissions of the parties made during the pre-trial proceedings, and in their respective pleadings, that the legal requisites for the application of Article 498 of the New Civil Code were present in the case. No factual issues remained to be litigated upon. WHEREFORE, the present petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The temporary restraining order issued by the Court is hereby LIFTED.