by John Lloyd Macunat

MATEO H. REYES v. MATEO RAVAL REYES, GR No. L-21703-04, 1966-08-31

Facts:

three brothers

Mateo H., Juan H., and Francisco H.

all surnamed Reyes... are the registered owners of several parcels of land,... of the Laoag (Ilocos Norte)... embraced in and covered by Original

Certificate of Title... of the same cadastral surve... hese titles were issued pursuant to a decree of registration... petitioners... filed... a motion for issuance of writs of possession over all the lots

Respondent... opposed the motion... he claimed that he has... been in, and is entitled to, the possession thereof... having acquired by way of absolute sale (not recorded) from petitioners' brother... he court a quo issued... the writ of possession... petitioners presented... a motion to compel respondent... to surrender and deliver to them the owners' duplicates of Original Certificates of Title

Respondent opposed this motion.

The court a quo denied petitioners' motion... on the ground that the parcels of land covered by both titles are subjects of litigation in Civil Case... and the same has not yet been decided on the merits by it.

Issues:

who between petitioners-appellants or respondent-appellee has a better right to the possession or custody of the disputed owners' duplicates of certificates of title.

Ruling:

we see no valid and plausible reason... to justify, on this ground, the withholding from the registered owners, such as the petitioners-appellants herein, the custody and possession of the owners' duplicates of certificates of title

In a decided case, this Court has already held that the owner of the land in whose... favor and in whose name said land is registered and inscribed in the certificate of title has a more preferential right to the possession of the owner's duplicate than one whose name does not appear in the certificate and has yet to establish his right to the possession thereto.

It being undisputed that respondent had already availed of an independent civil action to recover his alleged co-owner's share in the disputed lots by filing a counterclaim for partition in said Civil Case... his rights appear to be amply protected... we again see no justifiable reason for respondent to retain the custody of the owners' duplicates of certificates of title.

respondent Mateo Raval Reyes is hereby ordered to deliver to petitioners the owners' duplicates of Original Certificates of Title

Principles: