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[No. 3013. January 24, 1908.]


THE ROMAN CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH ET
AL., plaintiffs, vs. CERTAIN MUNICIPALITIES ix THE
PROVINCE OF ILOCOS SUR ET AL. defendants.
REALTY; CHURCH PROPERTY; POSSESSION IN
GOOD FAITH.Where land belonging to the Roman Catholic
Church is temporarily abandoned because of war, and is then
occupied by one who has no right or title thereto, he is not a
possessor in good faith and can not lawfully claim the
structures erected thereon. (Arts. 362 and 433, Civil Code.)

ORIGINAL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Recovery of


possession of realty.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the eourt.
Hartigan, Rolidc d Gutierrez, for plaintiffs.
AttorncyGcneral Araneta and Buencamino & Diokno,
fot defendants.
WILLARD, J.:
Tliis is an original action brought in this court by virtue of
the provisions of Act No. 1376. It is in all respects similar
to the case of The Roman Catliolie1 Church vs. The
Municipalities of the Province of Tarlac.
It is therefore by the court adjudged and decreed that
this action be dismissed without costs as to all of the
defendants except the municipalities of Dolores, La Paz,
Candon, and Santa Cruz, and except as to the defendants,
_______________
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9 Phil. Rep., 4oO.


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PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED


ROMAX CATHOLIC CHURCH VS. MUNICIPALITIES.

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Gregorio Aglipay, Eosalio Eduarte, Elipio Blanco, Benigno


de Lara, and Candido Gironella.
It is further adjudged and decreed that all of the
property described in the complaint be eliminated
therefrom except that which is hereinafter described, and
as to the property thus eliminated this court makes no
determination in regard to the rights of the parties to this
action in relation thereto.
In reference to the municipality of Dolores, the evidence
shows that the plaintift's are not entitled to recover the
building called by them in their complaint "a convent." It is
proved to our satisfaction tliat this b'uildiiig was erected
and lias been used as a muuicipal buildiug. Three churches
liave been built upon tlie lot originally dedicated to that
purpose, the last one liaving been coiistructed about two
years ago. Witli this construction the plaiiitiffs had nothiug
to do. That tlie plaiiitift's are entitled to the possessioii of
the lot and laud can not be questioned. However, tlie
present building was oonstructed by persons wbo have
presented uo writteu or otlier evideuce of ownership. They
simply took possession of the property when its former
possessors Avere compelled to abandon it by reason of war.
Tliey can not be considered as possessors iu good faitli.
(Art. 433, Civil ('ode.) Not beiug possessors in good faith,
they are not entitled to the stvuctiire erected upon land not
their owu. (Art. 362, Civil Code.)
We have said that the la.st cliuroh was constructefl upon
the site of the former churclies. The evidence is in couflict
upon this point, but we thiiik it sxistains our conclusion.
Howev.er that inay be, it would of course follow that, if in
fact the present building is uot upou the lot in question, the
plaintiffs would have no interest whatever tlierein.
[Here follcnvs tlie formal part. of the judgment, which is
omitted.]
So ordered.
Arellano, 0. J., Torres, Hapa, and Tracey, JJ., concur.
CARSON, J., with whom concurs JOHXSON, J.,
concurring:
I agree with tlie conclusions except in as far as they
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VOL. 10, JANUARY 24, 1908

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURH VS. MUNICIPALITIES.

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rest on the finding that the possession of those persons who


built the newly erected church in the municipality of
Dolores was not possession "in good faith" (de bucna fe) ;
and that they, therefore, lose all rigkts which are
guaranteed to possessors in good faith under the provisions
of the Civil Code.
It is admitted that this church was erected within the
last two years by voluntary subscriptions of the adherents
of tlie Aglipayan Churcli; it appears that they did so with
the.consent and permission of the municipality of Dolores,
wliich was at that time in actual possession. of the land on
wkich it was built, and that the municipality clairaed the
right of possession of this land by virtue of the treaty of
Paris, and tlie grant of the control of public property in the
Philippines acquired by the United States under that
treaty, to the Government of the Philippine Islands, for the
benefit of the people of these Islands.
I agree with the majoritj' opinion that tliis contention is
not well founded, but article,433 of the Civil Code provides
tliat he shall be deemed to be a possessor in good faith who
is not aware tliat there is a defect in his title or in the inode
whereby he acquired possessiou which invalidates it, and
article 434 provides that iu such cases good faith must
always be presumed and the burden of proof is ou liiin who
alleges bad faith.
There is uot a scintilla of proof of bad faith in the record,
and, indeect, that question never was raised. I am uuable
to understand on \yhat basis tlie court holds that those
persons wlio built the church and are now in possossion
knew that the municipality did not liave the right to
possession of the land and the power to authorize tliem to
build thereon, and without proof of sucli knowledge tlie
foregoing provisions of the Civil Code forbid the
presumption of bad faith. The question of good faith does
not rest on the final decision of the courts as to the
soundness of the title, but, as provided in article 433, on
the knowledge or lack of knowledge of the party in
possession of a defect in his title.
Writ of possession granted.
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