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[ GR No. 5453, Aug 04, 1911 ]



19 Phil. 415

[ G.R. No. 5453, August 04, 1911 ]




On February 28, 1907, Domingo Cumagun,  the administrator of the estate of the deceased Pedro Cumagun, filed a complaint in the Court of First  Instance of Cagayan against Juliana Allingay, alleging: that  the  said  Pedro Cumagun was the owner  and in  peaceful  possession, for many years, of a sementera or  parcel of rice land inherited from his father and located in the barrio of Macusi,  in Penablanca, Cagayan, the situation and boundaries of which are specified in the complaint; that on  August 17, 1893, Cumagun gave the said sementera as security to  Caspar Mapagu for 25 pesos with the condition that, until this  sum should be returned to the creditor Mapagu, the  latter  might use the land mentioned; that thereupon Mapagu  delivered the sementera to  the  spouses Pedro Danguilan and Juliana Allingay for their use, on  condition that they deliver to Mapagu a  third of the  annual crop;  that Pedro Cumagun died intestate on January 20, 1895, while he was still the owner of the said sementera, which was redeemed on  June 3, 1903, by Maxima Cumagun, a  sister  of  the  deceased,  who  also paid the creditor Mapagu the 25  pesos aforementioned; that on November 21, 1905, the  plaintiff,  Domingo Cumagun, was authorized by the Court of First Instance to administer the estate of the deceased Pedro Cumagun; that the plaintiff, as such administrator, was entitled  to the possession of the land  in  question, but that,  notwithstanding his demand made  upon the defendant Allingay, in writing,  after the redemption of the land and one year prior to the beginning of this suit, to give him possession of the property by reason of its redemption, she refused to turn it over to him; that the defendant was unlawfully holding the sementera in question, and  by  its  detention  had occasioned  to the  plaintiff damages to the amount of P200.  The complaint concluded by asking that judgment be rendered in plaintiff's favor by sentencing the defendant to restore to him the said sementera and to pay him P200,  the amount of the losses and damages sustained, with the costs.

The defendant in her answer  denied each and all of the allegations contained  in the said complaint, in each and all of its paragraphs.

The case having come to trial, the court, after hearing the plaintiff's  testimony, rendered judgment on March 6, 1909, in  favor  of the plaintiff as the  administrator of the estate  of the deceased  Pedro Cumagun, by  ordering  the defendant, Juliana Allingay, to deliver  to him the possession of the aforesaid sementera and to pay him the sum  of P127.50, the amount of the damages  suffered by the plaintiff by the unlawful detention of  the property from December, 1905, to March, 1909.   The costs were assessed against the defendant. The latter took exception to this judgment and, by a written motion,  asked for a new trial on the ground that the  findings contained in the  judgment were openly and  manifestly  contrary to  the weight of the  evidence.   This motion was denied and an exception was taken by the defendant whose counsel duly presented the proper bill of exceptions which was certified and forwarded to the  clerk of this court.

This suit concerns the recovery of "possession of a  piece of agricultural land which was delivered, as security  for a loan, by  the owner of the property, which land  is  now detained by a tenant on shares of the creditor, although the debt has been fully paid for over a year.

The defendant, the widow of the tenant on shares, Pedro Danguilan, in  refusing to  return the said land alleged that she was the owner of the  same by prescription,  inasmuch as,  in  1891, Gaspar Mapagu delivered the  property to her said husband,  who thereafter  had cultivated it as his own and had held  it  quietly and peacefully for nearly twenty years,  and that, for this reason, she and her husband should be declared to  be the owners  of the land,  as they had acquired it  by prescription. Besides the fact that the defendant has  not, in a satisfactory manner, proven the dominion which  it is claimed she and her husband, in his lifetime, exercised  over the  land in question,, held by them as owners, and the nature of the just title under which the defendant now holds the  said property, in the  notarial  instrument, Exhibit B, it is recorded, as a statement  made  by Gaspar Mapagu that, as Maxima Cumagun had paid  him the  sum of  25 pesos, borrowed by the  owner of the said land, Pedro  Cumagun, he returned to the former,  on June 3, 1903, the instrument of debt, Exhibit A, and conferred upon her, the said Maxima Cumagun, authority to take charge of the land: referred to, she receiving it from the  defendant, Juliana Allingay, the widow of Pedro Danguilan, as the latter were his tenants on shares and raised tobacco and corn on it.

This  averment,  recorded in  a  notarial  instrument  and corroborated by other evidence found in the record,  does not appear to  have been impugned or invalidated by  any proof to the contrary, as the defendant produced no evidence of any kind at the trial.

Article 1941 of the Civil  Code prescribes that possession, one of the requisites under the preceding article, No. 1940; must be in the capacity of an owner, because the possession enjoyed in such capacity alone can serve as a title to  acquire ownership,  in accordance  with the explicit provision of article 447 of the same code, which says:
"Only the possession acquired and enjoyed by virtue of ownership can serve as a title to acquire it."
From these  legal  provisions  it is logically deduced that the possession  of the lessee, of the trustee, of the pledgee, of the tenant on shares or planter, and of all those who hold in the name or representation  of another, can not serve as a basis of prescription, for it is inconceivable that the latter could be  based on  a  possession devoid  of the requisites established by law,  because it would then become a cloak for fraud and bad faith.

The defendant Allingay had, with her deceased husband, Pedro Danguilan, been holding the land in question in the capacity of tenants on shares or planters of Gaspar Mapagu, the usufructuary creditor of Pedro Cumagun, and therefore the possession  now enjoyed by the defendant can be in no wise in the capacity of owner; moreover, in  refusing to deliver the property to the successor of its legitimate proprietor, she acted in bad faith, with the deceitful intention of appropriating  the land to herself without just reason or title.

In view of the  evidence shown by  the record in this case, and  no  proof  to  the contrary  having been produced,  the land in litigation was beyond doubt the property of  the deceased Pedro Cumagun, and consequently, his son, the administrator of his estate, was entitled to  regain   its possession  from  the defendant who, on her part, has  not proved that she  had any good reason  to detain  it  to  the plaintiff's prejudice.

Furthermore, the contract guaranteed by the said land, according to Exhibit  A, was one of loan, and not of sale with right to repurchase, nor does the frequent use of the word  redemption, both  in said instrument and  in Exhibit B, acknowledging payment of the debt, prove that such a second contract was made, and that the nature of the first was changed, for it was obviously the will and intention of the contracting parties to guarantee, by the land in question, the loan of 20 pesos  [25 pesos], without interest, as the creditor was to enjoy the property by  having the  usufruct thereof.   Neither were  the  defendant and  her deceased husband contracting parties in  the alleged contract of sale with right to repurchase, and it has not  been disclosed in this suit  how and  why they received the land from the alleged  purchaser  in  order to legitimately acquire it  by prescription.

With respect to the  identity of the land  claimed,  this was duly proved at the  trial, especially by the documents presented, and is not affected by the error or  grave mistake of measurement in the complaint, inasmuch as, according to the provisions of section  109 of the Code of Civil  Procedure, the facts are found according to the evidence and the action determined by the facts established.

As  regards the notarial instrument, Exhibit B, its authenticity does not  appear to be disputed or impugned by the appellant, and, as such, was admitted  by the court, for the objection thereto made by the defendant  amounts to the contention that the contents of the said instrument can not be considered as a  cancellation of a mortgage; this is true, but  the contents of that document are corroboratory proof of the facts set forth in the complaint.

For the foregoing  reasons, and having determined the errors assigned to the judgment appealed from on March 6, 1909, it is proper, in our opinion, to affirm the same, as we hereby do, with  the costs against the defendant.

Mapa, Johnson, Carson, and  Moreland,  JJ., concur.