Cruz v. De Leon

“Possessor Must Be Respected and Protected”

GR No. and Date: 6546, Juan 15, 1912
Ponente: Torres
Parties: Gregoria Cruz et. al. vs. Domingo De Leon et. al. (about 30)

Facts

In Aug 1907, Cruz was represented by her sisters registered with Court of Land Registration 2 parcels of land in Calumpit, Bulacan.

On Feb 20, 1908, the court granted and issued decree of general default, decreeing the registration of the two properties to the sisters.

Defendants de Leon et. al opposed on the grounds that they were the owners and possessors of certain building lots on the 2 lots. Decision was obtained by fraud, hence they were not able to attend.

Court reheard the case

(D) Allegations of the Opponents about 30 individuals: Their lots are within the parcels of land registered by the Cruz sisters and they acquired them by inheritance or purchase.

CLR favored the sisters: “found against the oppositions presented and ordered the registration of the two parcels of land, in the names of the four sisters.”

Contentions

Cruz

Opponents are usurpers of certain portions

Have not proved that they occupy the portions of the land by virtue of any permission, nor by tolerance

Not shown what manner they entered the land

De Leon

They and PDII (predecessors) were in possession as owners of the lots, all more than 10 years.

“Opponents” appealed to SC. (About 30)

Whether or not proper to register the land with the inclusion of the lots subject to those oppositions

Applicants sisters have shown conclusively that they are the legitimate owners and possessors of the 2 parcels of land, yet they have not established that they are the owners now in the possession of the opponents, and whether the opponent’s alleged lots are within the boundaries of the 2 parcels of land.

Witness 1 (The agent of a former lessee of the 2 parcels of land from 1879 to 1881) testified that he had not collected any rent from those that occupied with their houses within Barrio Frances.

Witness 2: Victoria Cruz, the one who took over the lease of the land, said that the contract of lease she executed with the applicant’s mother, the said lots were not included, and her lease only extended to the fences of the said lots. She believed there was no usurpation.

The lots claimed by the opponents were not acknowledged by the applicant’s mother as hers.

No evidence showing how the opponents and their PII began to occupy the lots in question and entered by tolerance of their alleged owners.

It would be improper to include the disputed lots in the registration.

Let it be borne in mind that owners of the most perfect titles may be deprived and dispossessed of their properties by abandonment, negligence, or carelessness, and by usurpers who, by the lapse of time specified by law, acquire the same by prescription.

430 OCC: Possession is the holding of a thing or the enjoyment of a right, together with the intention of acquiring ownership of the thing or right.

Every possessor has a right to be respected in his possession

Should he be disturbed, he must be protected or possession must be restored to him by means established in the laws of procedure.

Art. 446P – No conclusive proof that the lots of the opponents are comprised within the lands of the applicants.

The opponents are in possession precariously by the tolerance of their legitimate owners.

The two parcels of land are proper, with the exclusion of the lots or portions of land owned by the opponents. CLR decision affirmed with modification (Exclude lands owned by opponents, a correct survey, approved, and proper title be issued).

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