“A True Owner Reacts”
Private (R) Villlareal et. al. filed with CFI Rizal Application for Registration, alleging that they acquired the two agricultural lands by purchase from spouses Cervo, no encumbrance, and no other occupants.
Prayer: Be brought under LRA and have the title confirmed and registered in their names.
Property in question: Lots 1 and 2 of Plan Pse-147662 (Agri lands)
Petitioner Rizal Cement OPPOSED alleging that they are in possession of said land and has been religiously paying RE taxes in Binangonan, Rizal from the time it acquired the property from previous owner. Prayed that petition for registration be dismissed.
Private (R) replied that the whole 3 parcels of land (Lots 1,2,4 of PSU 2260) do not belong to the petitioner, but to them. They were in adverse and open possession of the said portion.
CFI denied the application for registration of private respondents, favored Rizal cement.
Private (R) appealed to CA.
⚖️ CA Ruling: Reversed the CFI decision
Hence the petition.
Who had been in actual possession of the land in question? (R) Villareal et. al.
(1) Testimonials gave credit to Villareal
“grave credence to the testimony of the witnesses for Villareal”
- Santiago Picadizo – Maria Certeza gave the land in question to Justice de Joya as atty’s fees.
- Isaac Reyes – Ignacia Guillermo the buyer of de Joya owned the lot
- Valentin Marquez – Rizal Cement built a house for factory, but removed it, and never took possession.
(2) No oppositions from Rizal Cement against giving of rents, surveys, and sale to the Respondents
Villareal et al’s possession tips the scales in their favor. The right to possess flows from ownership. No person will suffer from the adverse possession of another of what belongs to him. If Rizal Cement were the owner:
- it would not have allowed the tenants to cultivate the land and give the share to their predecessors (Maria Certeza).
- it would have opposed 2 surveys by spouses Cervo
- If they really bought Lot 2 from MC in 1909, no explanation why she sold the portion thereof to Apolonia and Valentin in 1924
(3) Rizal Cement did not present any witness in actual possession of the land in question
CA: Villareal possessed the property in the concept of an owner. (Article 433)
Possession is acquired by the material occupation of a thing or the exercise of a right or by the fact it is subject to the action of our will, or by the proper acts and legal formalities established for acquiring such right. [Article 523]
(4) Are the evidence of Rizal Cement conclusive? No.
tax receipts, tax declaration, and survey plan are not the conclusive and indisputable basis of one’s ownership of the property in question.
Mere tax declaration does not vest ownership of the property upon the declarant. 3 Settled is the rule that neither tax receipts nor declaration of ownership for taxation purposes alone constitutes sufficient evidence of ownership or of the right to possess realty. They must be supported by other effective proofs.
(5) Why Villareal had no tax dec? Assessor refused
The deputy assessor refused to issue because of different possessors
(6) How about Rizal’s technical description that it covered the lots in question? No original record in Bureau of Lands
- CA: No original record in BOLands
- Be that as it may, survey plans merely delimit areas sought to be registered.
- The annotation is nothing but a previous survey
- The plan nor its approval does not carry any adjudication of ownership
- Approval of Director of Lands is a certification that it is made in accordance with approved methods.