Add TAGS to your cases to easily locate them or to build your SYLLABUS.
Please SIGN IN to use this feature.
Highlight text as FACTS, ISSUES, RULING, PRINCIPLES to generate case DIGESTS and REVIEWERS.
Please LOGIN use this feature.
Show printable version with highlights
15 Phil. 311

[ G. R. No. 5359, February 23, 1910 ]




The petitioner  in this case asks for  the registration of two parcels of land under the Torrens system, as follows:

One parcel having an area of 243 hectares, 35 ares, and 32 centares, and the other an area of  3 hectares, 30 ares, and 85 centares, both parcels being situated in the barrio of Canan, municipality of Paniqui, Province of Tarlac.

The registration of these  lands was opposed by three different oppositors.   Manuel Rodriguez and the other heirs of Antonio Rodriguez, deceased,  claimed  in  opposition to the petition herein that they were the owners  of 43  quinones, 6  loanes, and  40  square brazas  of the first parcel above mentioned by virtue of the fact that the said Antonio Rodriguez, deceased, had purchased said land from Emigdio Navarro and Alfonso Torres on  the 23d day of October, 1894.  Ponciano  Diemsen claimed to be  the  owner of  2 hectares,  9 ares, and  60 centares of the  said first parcel above described by virtue of a purchase from Juan Valdez. Arcadio Paguia, as administrator of the estates of Antonio de Roxas and Rafaela Paguia,  claimed  that 3 hectares of the first parcel belonged to  the heirs of  said Antonio de Roxas, deceased.   It appears that the lands mentioned in the petition contain something over 80 hectares more, than the total of all the lands described in the documents of title introduced in evidence by the petitioner.   The court below, after  a careful consideration of the evidence relating to the quantity of  land  owned  by the petitioner,  arrived at thte conclusion that the petitioner had included in the lands described in his petition, and  also in the plan filed by him therewith,  several  parcels of land not described in  his muniments of title and that the  proofs did not justify him     in claiming this excess.  The court below accordingly dismissed the petition as to that portion of the lands described therein in excess  of the amount  of land described in the documents of title.  From this portion of  the decision of the court below the petitioner did not appeal.

The main question in this case arises from the opposition of Manuel Rodriguez and others with reference to that portion of the first parcel of land above-mentioned obtained by the petitioner by purchase from Emigdio Navarro.  As before stated, the  oppositors found their objection to the registration of the land in question in the claim that Emigdio Navarro had  sold  said land to the father of the oppositors,  Antonio  Rodriguez, on  the 23d day of October, 1894,  It appears, however,  from Exhibit  U, introduced in evidence by  the petitioner, that the said Antonio Rodriguez, as civil governor of the Province of Tarlac, on the 12th  day of November, 1894, transferred said land to said Emigdio Navarro,  which said transfer was the last step necessary to complete the purchase of said land by said Navarro at a public sale which took place in 1889.  It appears clearly  established from the proofs that from the time  of  said transfer, namely, November  12, 1894, said Navarro  continuously  possessed  the  land   thus  obtained down to the time  when he sold it to the petitioner in this case.   At the time of  the  sale to the petitioner the said Navarro was not only in possession of said land but also in possession of Exhibit U and of the old documents of title, Exhibits  V, W, and X, relating  to the land  in question. There is  no  proof in the case tending to  show  that the petitioner herein had any knowledge whatever of any claim laid to said lands on the part of the oppositors or had any knowledge that  Rodriguez claimed to have  been  the purchaser of said lands,  The court below well  says:
"That it does not appear anywhere  in the case that the petitioner knew of  the  pretensions to said lands on the part of said oppositors or that the petitioner did not buy the lands  of Navarro in good faith. Good faith is always presumed (article  34 of the Civil Code), and after leaving Emigdio Navarro  in  possession  of the said land and the document Exhibit  U for a period of twelve years prior to the sale to  the  petitioner,  the  oppositors  may  not now maintain as against the petitioner the pretended acquisition of the title to said lands by their father from Navarro a month before the execution of Exhibit U.  The opposition of Manuel Rodriguez and others is overruled."
After a careful examination of the record and the proofs, we find ourselves fully in accord with the conclusions of the court below.  Even conceding that  said Emigdio Navarro was the  real owner of the lands in question on the 23d day of October, 1894, and that on that  date he  executed and delivered a private document of  sale to the said Manuel Rodriguez of the  lands  in  question, it  is,  nevertheless,  a fact that in the year 1906 he executed and delivered  a public document of sale of the same land to the petitioner, Jose  Cojuangco,  who took said  land  in  good faith and without knowledge  of said private document and while said land was in the possession of his  vendor.  Article 1473 of the Civil Code reads as follows:
"Art.  1473. If the same  thing should have been sold to different vendees, the ownership shall be transferred to the person who may have first taken possession thereof in good faith, if  it should be personal property.

"Should it be real property, it shall belong to the person acquiring it who first recorded it in the registry.

"Should there be no entry, the  property shall belong to the person who first took possession of it in good faith, and, in the absence thereof,  to the  person who  presents the oldest title, provided there is good faith."
It is undisputed  that  neither document was registered and that the petitioner in this case first took possession of the land  in question in good faith.

The judgment of  the court below is hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellants.  So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ., concur.