"I chose to go to law school because I thought that someday, somehow I'd make a difference." -A.

July 1, 2014

Lasquite Vs. Victory Hills

Facts:

  • 1971: Jose Manahan executed a Deed of Quitclaim or Assignment of Rights in over a parcel of land in favor of Conrado Lasquite. 
  • Lasquite applied for a Free Patent over the lot. Pending the approval of the application, he sold 1/2 of the land to Juanito Andrade. 
  • Upon the grant of the patent application, OCTs were issued in their names.
  • 1983: Prescillas filed a protest with the Bureau of Lands to question the grant of free patent in favor of Lasquite and Andrade claiming that they have been in possession of the lot since 1940. 
  • Prescillas also instituted a case for reconveyance alleging that Lasquite forged the signature of Jose Manahan in the deed since Manahan died prior to its execution.
  • The Manahans filed complaint for annulment of title, reconveyance and damages.
  • Claiming to be the owner of the lot (OCT 380) which was allegedly registered in 1937 to to Jose Manahan by virtue of Homestead Patent, Victory Hills filed a motion to intervene.
  • RTC upheld the title of Lasquite and Andrade. It disregarded OCT 380 and ruled that it lacked the signature of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce which is a requirement for the patent's validity. 
  • The CA reversed the RTC's ruling and declared victory Hills as the Absolute owner of the lot.

Issues: 
1. WON Victory Hills is entitled to reconveyance of the lot since their Homestead Patent cannot be simply defeated by the subsequent grant of Free Patent to Lasquite and Andrade.
2. WON the claim of Victoria Hills had prescribed.


Held:

1. No. To give OCT No. 380 probative value in court would be to allow variance or an evasion or circumvention of the requirement laid down in Section 105 of Act No. 2874. We are thus warned that any title sourced from the flawed OCT No. 380 could be void. On this basis, we are justified to consider with great care any claims derived therefrom.

The established legal principle in actions for annulment or reconveyance of title is that a party seeking it should establish not merely by a preponderance of evidence but by clear and convincing evidence that the land sought to be reconveyed is his. It is rather obvious from the foregoing disquisition that respondent failed to dispense such burden. Indeed, the records are replete with proof that respondent declared the lots comprising Lot No. 3050 for taxation purposes only after it had instituted the present case in court. This is not to say of course that tax receipts are evidence of ownership, since they are not, albeit they are good indicia of possession in the concept of owner, for no one would ordinarily be paying taxes for a property not in his actual or at least constructive possession.

2. The action has not prescribed.

An action for reconveyance based on an implied trust prescribes in 10 years. The reference point of the 10-year prescriptive period is the date of registration of the deed or the issuance of the title. The prescriptive period applies only if there is an actual need to reconvey the property as when the plaintiff is not in possession of the property. 

However, if the plaintiff, as the real owner of the property also remains in possession of the property, the prescriptive period to recover title and possession of the property does not run against him. In such a case, an action for reconveyance, if nonetheless filed, would be in the nature of a suit for quieting of title, an action that is imprescriptible.

The action assumed the nature of a suit to quiet title; hence, imprescriptible. However, in our view, respondent Victory Hills has failed to show its entitlement to a reconveyance of the land subject of the action.

Reference:
G.R. No. 175375 June 23, 2009
CONRADO O. LASQUITE and TEODORA I. ANDRADE, Petitioners, 
vs. VICTORY HILLS, INC., Respondent.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

The Law Chic Bar Exam FREE Downloads Notes Materials
Copyright © 2014 kite | All Rights Reserved. Design By Templateclue - Published By Gooyaabi Templates