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Property defined Property may be defined as
anything which is or may be the object of
appropriation (Art. 414, CC)

Distinguished from thing Strictly speaking, the
concept of thing is broader than the concept of
property, because while property refers only to
those objects which are or may be the object of
appropriation, thing refers also to those which are
not or may not be the object of appropriation. In
other words, thing is the genus, while property is the
species. Under our Civil Code, however, the two
terms are used interchangeably.

Classification According to its nature, property may
be either:

(1) Immovable or real property; or
(2) Movable or personal property. (Art. 414,

According to its ownership, it may be either:
(1) Of public dominion; or
(2) Of private ownership. (Art. 419, CC.)

Immovable property The following are immovable

(1) Land, buildings, roads and constructions of all
kinds adhered to the soil;
(2) Trees, plants and growing fruits while they are
attached to the land or form an integral part of
an immovable;
(3) Everything attached to an immovable in a fixed
manner in such a way that it cannot be
separated therefrom without breaking the
material or deterioration of the object;
(4) Statues, reliefs, paintings or other objects for use
or ornamentation, placed in buildings or on
lands by the owner of the immovable in such a
manner that it reveals the intention to attach
them permanently to the tenements;
(5) Machinery, receptacles, instruments or
implements intended by the owner of the
tenement for an industry or works which may
be carried on in a building or on a piece of land,
and which tend directly to meet the needs of the
said industry or works;
(6) Animal houses, pigeon-houses, beehives, fish
ponds or breeding places of similar nature, in
case their owner has placed them or preserves
them with the intention to have them
permanently attached to the land, and forming a
permanent part thereof; the animals in these
places are included;
(7) Fertilizer actually used on a piece of land;
(8) Mines, quarries, and slag dumps, while the
matter thereof forms part of the bed, and waters
either running or stagnant;
(9) Docks ad structures which, though floating, are
intended by their nature and object to remain at
a fixed place on a river, lake or coast;
(10) Contracts for public works, and servitudes
and other real rights over immovable property.
(Art. 415, NCC)

Kinds/classes The different classes of immovable are:

(1) Immovables by nature, or those which cannot be
moved from place to place, such as those mentioned
in Nos. 1 and 8 of Art. 415 of the Civil Code.
(2) Immovables by incorporation, or those which are
attached to an immovable in such a manner as to
form an integral part thereof, such as those
mentioned in Nos. 1 (except land and roads), 2,3,4,
and 6 (except the animals) of Art. 415.
(3) Immovables by destination, or those which are
placed in an immovable for the use, exploitation or
perfection of such immovable, such as those
mentioned in Nos. 4,5,6 (except animal houses) 7
and 9 of Art. 415.
(4) Immovables by analogy, or those which are
considered by operation of law, such as those
mentiond in NO. 10 of Art. 415

Movable property The following things are deemed to be
personal property:

(1) Those movables susceptible of appropriation
which are not included in Art. 415.
(2) Real property which by any special provision of
law is considered as personalty;
(3) Forces of nature which are brought under
control by science;
(4) In general, all things which can be transferred
from place to place without impairment of the
real property to which they are fixed. (Art.416,

The following are also considered, personal property;

(1) Obligations and actions which have for their
object movables or demandable sums; and
(2) Shares of stock of agricultural, commercial and
industrial entities, although they may have real
estate. (Art. 417, CC.)

Tests to determine movables The tests which must
be applied successively are:

(1) Whether the object can be transported from
place to place;
(2) Whether the change of location can take place
without injury to the immovable to which it
may be attached; and
(3) Whether it is not included in the enumeration
found in Art. 415 of the Civil Code

Property of Public Dominion The following things are
property of public dominion:

(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals,
rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed by
the state, banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of
similar character (Art. 420, No. 1, CC.)
(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for
public use and are intended for some public service
or for the development of the national wealth (Art.
420, No. 2, CC); and
(3) Property for public use, in the provinces, cities and
municipalities, such as provincial roads, city streets,
municipal streets, squares, fountains, public waters,
promenades, and public works for public service
paid for by said provinces, cities or municipalities
(Art. 424, par.1,CC)

Characteristics of property of public dominion They are
outside of the commerce of man. Consequently;
(1) They cannot be appropriated
(2) They cannot be alienated;
(3) They cannot be acquired by prescription;
(4) They cannot be subject to attachment or execution;
(5) They cannot be burdened with voluntary easements.

Public lands; public domain; government lands Public
lands and public domain are synonymous. They refer only
to government lands which are opened to private
appropriation and settlement by homestead and similar
acts as provided by law. On the other hand, public lands
and government lands are not synonymous. Government
lands include not only public lands, but also other lands
already reserved for or devoted to public use or subject to
private right. Therefore, the government owns lands, which
are known as public lands or public domain as well as lands
which are not public lands or public domain.

Classification of public domain Lands of the public
dominion are classified into: (1) agricultural; (2) industrial
or commercial; (3) residential; (4) resettlement; (5)
mineral; (6) timber or forest; (7) grazing lands; and (8)
such other classes as may be provided by law.

Property of private ownership Property of private
ownership, besides patrimonial property of the State,
provinces, cities and municipalities, consists of all property
belonging to private persons, either individually or
collectively. (Art 425, CC)

Patrimonial Property Those property of the State which
are not intended for public use, or for public service, or for
the development of the national wealth, as well as those
property of provinces, cities and municipalities which are
not intended for public use are patrimonial (Arts. 421, 424,

2. OWNERSHIP (ART. 427-483)
Definition Ownership may be defined as the independent
right of exclusive enjoyment and control of a thing for the
purpose of deriving therefrom all advantages required by
the reasonable needs of the owner and the promotion of
the general welfare but subject to the restrictions imposed
by law and the rights of others

Elements(RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP) The traditional
attributes or elements of ownership are:

(1) Jus possidendi right to possess;
(2) Jus utendi the right to use and enjoy;
(3) Jus fruendi the right to the fruits;
(4) Jus accessionis the right to accessories;
(5) Jus abutendi the right to consume the thing by
its use;
(6) Jus disponendi the right to dispose or alienate;
(7) Jus vindicandi the right to vindicate or recover.

Limitations The limitations upon the right of ownership

(1) General limitations imposed by the state for its
benefit such as the power of eminent domain,
the police power, and the power of taxation;
(2) Specific limitations imposed by law, such as legal
(3) Limitations imposed by the party transmitting
the property either by contract or by will;
(4) Limitations imposed by the owner himself, such
as voluntary servitudes, mortgages, pledges and
lease rights; and
(5) Inherent limitations arising from conflict with
other rights, such as those caused by contiguity
of property.

We might add to the above enumeration the Constitutional
prohibition regarding acquisition of real estate by aliens
and other Constitutional limitations.

Doctrine of self-help The doctrine of self-help refers to the
force in defense of property now recognized in Art. 429 of
the Civil Code. Force in defense of property is justified if the
following requisites will concur:

(1) The force must be employed by the owner or lawful
possessor of the property;
(2) There must be an actual or threatened physical
invasion or usurpation of the property;
(3) The invasion or usurpation must be unlawful; and
(4) The force employed must be reasonably necessary
to repel the invasion or usurpation. (Art. 429, CC.)

Force in the defense of property as contemplated in Art.
429 of the Civil Code is what is sometimes known as the
doctrine of self-help.

Extent of Ownership of Land The owner of a parcel of land
is the owner of its surface and of everything under it, and
he can construct thereon any works or make any
plantations and excavations which he may deem proper,
without detriment to servitudes and subject to special laws
and ordinances. He cannot complain of the reasonable
requirements of aerial navigation. (Art. 437, CC)

Hidden Treasure By treasure is understood, for legal
purposes, any hidden and unknown deposit of money,
jewelry, or other precious objects, the lawful ownership of
which does not appear. (Art. 439, NCC)

Ownership of Hidden Treasure Hidden treasure belongs to
the owner of the land, building or property on which it is

Nevertheless, when the discovery is made on the property
of another or of the State or any of its subdivisions, and by
chance, one-half thereof shall be allowed to the finder. If the
finder is a trespasser, he shall not be entitled to any share
of the treasure.

If the things found be of interest to science or the arts, the
State may acquire them at their just price, which shall be
divided in conformity with the rule stated. (Art. 438, NCC).

Discovery of treasure by strangers In order that the rule
stated in the second paragraph of Art. 438 can be applied, it
is necessary that the following requisites must concur:
(1) The treasure must consist of money, jewelry or
other precious objects;
(2) It must be hidden and unknown;
(3) Its lawful ownership does not appear;
(4) The discovery must be by chance; and
(5) The discoverer must be a stranger and not a

- Accession may be defined as the right pertaining to
the owner of a thing over everything which is
produced thereby, or which is incorporated or
attached thereto, either naturally or artificially (Art.
440, CC).
- From the very definition itself, it is clear that it is not
a mode of acquiring ownership; it is merely a
consequence of the right of ownership
- Furthermore, under Art. 712 of the Civil Code which
enumerates the different modes of acquiring
ownership or other real rights, accession is not

Kinds Accession may be classified as follows:

A. Accession discreta, or the right pertaining to the
owner of a things over everything which is produced

(1) Natural fruits, or spontaneous products of the soil,
and the young and other products of animals (Art.
442, CC).
(2) Industrial fruits, or those produced by lands of any
kind through cultivation or labor (Art. 442, CC)
(3) Civil fruits, or rents of buildings, the price of leases
of lands and other property and the amount of
perpetual or life annuities or other similar income
(Art. 442, CC)

B. Accession continua the rights pertaining to the
owner of a thing over everything which is
incorporated or attached thereto, either naturally or

(1) With regard to immovable property:
(a) Accession industrial, or that which takes place in
case of:
(i) building
(ii) planting
(iii) sowing (Arts. 445-455)

(b) Accession natural, which may be in the form of :
(i) Alluvion, or the accretion which lands
adjoining the banks of rivers gradually
receive from the effects of the current of
the water. (Art. 457, CC)
(ii) Avulsion, or the accretion which takes
place whenever the current of a river,
lake creek or torrent segregates from an
estate on its bank a known portion of land
and transfers it to another estate (Art.
459, CC);
(iii) Change of river beds, or that which takes
place when a river bed is abandoned
through the change in the course of the
waters. (art. 461, CC);
(iv) Islands formed either on seas within the
jurisdiction of the Philipines, on lakes, and
on navigable or floatable rivers (Art. 464,
CC) or on non-navigable and non-
floatable rivers (Art. 465, CC).

(2) With regard to movable property:
(a) Adjunction or conjunction, or that which takes
place whenever movable things belonging to
different owners are united in such a way that
they cannot be separated without injury,
thereby forming a single object. (Art. 466, CC).
(b) Commixtion or confusion, or that which takes
place whenever there is a mixture of things solid
or liquid belonging to different owners, the
mixture of solids being called commixtion, while
that of liquids, confusion (Art. 472, CC)
(c) Specification, or that which takes place
whenever a person imparts a new form to
materials belonging to another person (Art. 474,

Rule of accession discreta To the owner of the thing

(1) natural fruits;
(2) industrial fruits; and
(3) civil fruits. (Art. 474, CC)

Exceptions The exceptions to the above rule are as

(1) If the thing is in the possession of a possessor in
good faith, in which case such possessor is
entitled to the fruits (Art. 544, CC).
(2) If the thing is subject to a usufruct, in which case
the usufructuary is entitled to the fruits (Art.
566, NCC)
(3) If the thing is leased, in which case the lessee is
entitled to the fruits of the thing, although such
lessee must pay to the owner rentals which are
in the nature of civil fruits (Art. 1654, CC)
(4) If the thing is in the possession of an antichretic
creditor, in which case such creditor is entitled
to the fruits with the obligation of applying them
to the interest and principal (Art. 2132, CC)

Good and bad faith in accession continua As applied to the
builder, planter or sower, good faith consists in ignorance
of the ownership of another, while bad faith consists in the
knowledge of such ownership. In other words, there is good
faith if he is not aware that there is a flaw or defect in his
title or mode of acquisition which invalidates it, while there
is bad faith if he is aware of such flaw or defect (See Art,
526, CC). As applied either to the owner of the land or to
the owner of the materials, good faith consists in the
ignorance of the acts of the builder, planter or sower, or if
he was aware of such acts, there was opposition on his part,
while bad faith consists in knowledge of such acts and
without opposition on his part (Art. 453, par.2, NCC).

Rules of accession industrial

(see Ampils Accession Charts)

Rules of Accession Natural The rules of accession natural
are as follows:

1. Alluvion The accretion belongs ipso jure to the
riparian owner (Art. 457, CC)
2. Avulsion The portion still belongs to the owner
of estate from which it is detached, provided he
removes the same within two years. If he does
not, it belongs ipso jure to the owner of the
estate to which it is attached. In the case of
uprooted tress, the owner of the estate to which
they are transferred becomes the conditional
owner from the moment that they are cast upon
his estate. The original owner may still claim
them within six months. (Arts. 459, 460, CC.)

Alluvion and avulsion distinguished The two may be
distinguished from each other in the following ways:

Accretion is gradual Accretion is sudden and
Accretion cannot be
Accretion can be identified
There is merely an
There is fist a detachment
followed by attachment
Accretion belongs to the
owner of the land to which
the attachment is made ipso
The ownership is retained
by the owner of the land
from which it is detached, at
least for a certain period.

3. Abandoned River Beds The abandoned bed
ipso facto belongs to the owners whose lands are
occupied by the new course in proportion to the
area lost. However, the owners of the lands
adjoining the old bed shall have the right to
acquire them by paying the value thereof, which
value shall not exceed the value of the area
occupied by the new bed. (Art. 461, CC).

4. Islands Those formed on the seas within the
jurisdiction of the Philippines, on lakes, and on
navigable or floatable rivers belong to the State,
while those formed on non-navigable or non-
floatable rivers belong to the riparian owners
nearest to each of them or to both riparian
owners if the island is in the middle of the river,
in which case it shall be divided longitudinally in
halves. (Arts. 464, 465, CC.)

Kind of adjunction In general, adjunction or
conjunction is classified as follows:

(1) Inclusio or engraftment;
(2) Soldadura or attachment
(a) ferruminatio, when things united are
made of same metal;
(b) plumbatura, when the things united are
made of different materials;

(3) Tejido or weaving;
(4) Pintura or painting; and
(5) Escritura or writing.

Tests to determine principal in adjunction In
general there are four tests which may be applied. In
their order of preference, they are as follows:

(1) That to which the other has been united as an
ornament, of for its use or perfection.
(2) The thing of greater value.
(3) If they are of equal value that of the greater
(4) If not one of these tests can be applied then
the question will be resolved by taking into
consideration all pertinent provisions
applicable as well as their respective merits,
utility and volume. (Arts. 467, 468, CC;
Manresa 282.)

In painting, sculpture, writings, printed matter,
engraving, and lithographs, however, the board,
metal, stone, canvas, paper or parchment shall be
deemed the accessory thing. (Art. 468, par.2, CC.)

Rules of adjunction The rules of adjunction or
conjunction are as follows:

(1) If separation is possible without injury
Owners may demand separation,
irrespective of good or bad faith.
(2) If separation is not possible without
(a) If made in good faith Accesio cedit
principali, with obligation of owner of
principal or reimbursing value of
(b) If made in bad faith by owner of
accessory Accesio cedit principali,
with liability of owner of accessory
for damages.
(c) If made in bad faith by owner of
principal Initiative passes to the
owner of accessory. He can choose
between (1) demanding
reimbursement of value of accessory
plus damages or (2) demanding
separation plus damages.

Rules of confusion The rules of confusion or commixtion
are as follows:

(1) If made in good faith Proportionate co-
ownership is created.
(2) If made in bad faith Owner is responsible for
union loses the thing belonging to him and is
also liable for damages.

Rules of specification The rules of specification are as

(1) If made in good faith Maker becomes the
owner, with obligation of reimbursing value of
material employed.
Exception If material employed is more
precious than the products, initiative passes to
the owner. He can choose between (a)
appropriating the product with obligation of
reimbursing value of the work or (b) demanding
reimbursement of value of the material.

(2) If made in bad faith Initiative passes to the
owner of the material. He can choose between
(a) appropriating product without any
obligation whatsoever or (b) demanding
reimbursement of value of the material plus

Exception If value of product, for artistic or
scientific reasons, is considerably more than that of
the material, only the second option is available.

Quieting of title An action may be brought to
remove the cloud or to quiet the title to real
property or any interest therein if the following
requisites are present:

(1) the plaintiff must have legal or equitable
title to, or interest in the real property
which is the subject matter of the action.
(Art. 477, NCC)
(2) There must be a cloud on such title (art.
476, CC)
(3) Such cloud must be due to some
instrument, record, claim, encumbrance
or proceeding which is apparently valid
or effective but is in truth and in fact
invalid, ineffective, voidable or
unenforceable, and is prejudicial to the
plaintiffs title. (Art. 476, CC); and
(4) The plaintiff must return to the defendant
all benefits he may have received from
the latter, or reimburse him for expenses
that may have redounded to his benefit.
(Art. 479, CC)

2. CO-OWNERSHIP (ART.S 484- 501)

Definition There is co-ownership whenever the
ownership of an undivided thing or right belongs to
different persons. (Art. 484, CC). It has also been defined as
the right of common dominion which two or more persons
have in a spiritual part of a thing which is not materially or
physically divided (3 Sanchez Roman 162).

Distinguished from partnership Co-ownership is
distinguished from an ordinary partnership in the following
ways :

(1) As to creation: Whereas co-ownership may be
created by law, contract, succession, fortuitous
event, or occupancy, partnership is always
created by contract.
(2) As to purpose: Whereas the purpose of co-
ownership is the common enjoyment of the
thing or right owned in common, the purpose of
a partnership is to obtain profits.
(3) As to personality: Whereas a co-ownership has
no juridical personality, which is separate and
distinct from that of the co-owners, a
partnership has.
(4) As to duration: Whereas an agreement not to
divide the community property for more than
ten years is not allowed by law, such an
agreement would be perfectly valid in the case
of partnerships. This is so, because under the
law, there is no limitation upon the duration of
(5) As to power of members: Whereas a co-owner
has no power to represent the co-ownership,
unless there is an agreement to that effect, a
partner has the power to represent the
partnership, unless there is a stipulation to the
(6) As to effect of disposition of shares: If a co-owner
transfers his share to a third person, the latter
becomes automatically a co-owner, but if a
partner transfer his share to a third persons, the
latter does not become a partner, unless agreed
upon by all of the partners.
(7) As division of profits: Whereas in co-ownership
the division of the benefits and charges is fixed
by law, in a partnership the division of profits
and losses may be subject to the agreement of
the partners.
(8) As to effect of death: Whereas the death of a co-
owner has no effect upon the existence of the co-
owership, the death of a partner shall result in
the dissolution of the partnership.

Limitations upon use of property The property should be
used only:

(1) in accordance with the purpose for which it is
(2) In such a way as not to injure the interest of the co-
ownership; and
(3) In such a way as not to prevent the other co-owners
from using it according to their right. (Art. 486, CC)

Acts of Preservation Acts of preservation may be made at
the will of one of the co-owners but he must if practicable,
first notify the other co-owners. Such co-owners can
compel the latter to contribute proportionately to the
expenses incurred. These expenses shall include taxes.
(Arts. 488, 489, NCC)

Acts of Administration An act of administration may be
defined as any act which refers to the better enjoyment of
the thing owned in common. This includes useful and