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August 28, 2014

Vasquez vs. CA

By With No comments:
Facts:
  • A lot of the Himalayan Cadastre was registered under the name of spouses Olea.
  • October 1959:  the lot was leased by respondent-spouses Olea to spouses Vasquezz. 
  • September 21, 1964: the spouses Olea sold the lot to spouses Vasquez under a Deed of Sale for the amount of P9,000.00. The Deed of Sale was duly ratified and notarized. 
  • On the same day and along with the execution of the Deed of Sale, a separate instrument, denominated as Right to Repurchase, was executed by the parties granting spouses Olea the right to repurchase the lot for P12,000.00, likewise duly ratified and notarized.
  • January 2, 1969: spouses Olea sold the same lot to Benito Derrama, Jr., after securing spouses Vasquez' title, for the sum of P12,000.00. Upon the protestations of spouses Vasquez, assisted by counsel, the said second sale was cancelled after the payment.
  • January 15, 1975: Respondents Spouses Olea filed an action against the Spouses Vasquez and Gayanelo seeking to redeem the subject property which was previously sold by Spouses Olea to Spouses Vasquez on September 21, 1964.
  • Spouses Vasquez resisted this action for redemption on the premise that the Right to Repurchase is just an option to buy since it is not embodied in the same document of sale but in a separate document, and since such option is not supported by a consideration distinct from the price, said deed for right to repurchase is not binding upon them. 
  • RTC ruled against spouses Vasquez ordering them to resell the lots to spouses Olea for the repurchase price of P24,000.00, which amount combines the price paid for the first sale and the price paid by defendants to Benito Derrama, Jr. 
  • Spouses Vasquez insist that they cannot be compelled to resell the lot contending that the nature of the sale over the said lot between them and spouses Olea was that of an absolute deed of sale and that the Right to Repurchase can only be either an option to buy or a mere promise on their part to resell the property. 
  • They argued that since the "RIGHT TO REPURCHASE" was not supported by any consideration distinct from the purchase price it is not valid and binding on the petitioners pursuant to Article 1479 of the Civil Code.

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August 24, 2014

Spouses Lequin vs. Sps. Vizconde

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Facts:
  • In 1995, spouses Ramon and Virginia Lequin, residents bought the subject lot consisting of 10,115 sq. m. from one Carlito de Leon.  The sale was negotiated by respondent Raymundo Vizconde.  
  • In 1997, spouses Vizconde represented to spouses Lequin that they had also bought from Carlito de Leon a 1,012 sq. m. lot adjacent to the Lequins and built a house thereon.  
  • As later confirmed by de Leon, however, the 1,012 sq. m. lot claimed by the Vizcondes is part of the 10,115 sq. m. lot Lequin bought from him.
  • With the consent of the Vizcondes, spouses Lequin then constructed their house on the 500-square meter half-portion of the lot claimed by respondents, as this was near the road.  
  • Given this situation where the house of Lequins stood on a portion of the lot allegedly owned by Vizcondes, the former consulted a lawyer, who advised them that the 1,012 sq. m. lot be segregated from the subject lot whose title they own and to make it appear that they are selling to respondents 512 square meters thereof.  
  • This sale was embodied in the February 12, 2000 Kasulatan where it was made to appear that the Vizcondes paid PhP 15,000 for the purchase of the 512-square meter portion of the subject lot.  
  • In July 2000, petitioners tried to develop the dried up canal located between their 500-square meter lot and the public road.  However, the respondents objected, claiming ownership of said dried up canal or sapang patay.
  • This prompted the Liquins to look into the ownership of the dried up canal and the lot claimed by the respondents  Carlito de Leon told petitioners that what he had sold to respondents was the dried up canal or sapang patay and that the 1,012-square meter lot claimed by respondents really belongs to petitioners.
  • In 2001, petitioners filed a complaint praying for the Kasulatan to be declared as null and void ab initio.
  • The RTC found the  Kasulatan allegedly conveying 512 square meters to respondents to be null and void due to:  (1) the vitiated consent of  petitioners in the execution of the simulated contract of sale; and (2) lack of consideration, since it was shown that while petitioners were ostensibly conveying to respondents 512 square meters of their property, yet the consideration of PhP 15,000 was not paid to them and, in fact,they were the ones who paid respondents PhP 50,000.
  • Upon appeal by the respondent-spouses, CA reversed the ruling. 

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Ang Yu Asuncion vs. CA

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Facts:
  • July 29, 1987: An amended Complaint for Specific Performance was filed by petitioners Ang Yu Asuncion and others against Bobby Cu Unjieng, Rose Cu Unjieng and Jose Tan before RTC.
  • Petitioners (Ang Yu) alleged that:
- they are the tenants or lessees of residential and commercial spaces owned by Bobby Unijeng and others located in Binondo, Manila (since 1935)
that on several occasions before October 9, 1986, the lessors informed the lessees (petitioners) that they are offering to sell the premises and are giving them priority to acquire the same; 
- that during the negotiations, Bobby Cu Unjieng offered a price of P6-million while they made a counter offer of P5-million;
- that they wrote them on October 24, 1986 asking that they specify the terms and conditions of the offer to sell; that when plaintiffs did not receive any reply, they sent another letter dated January 28, 1987 with the same request; 
  • The RTC found that Cu Unjiengs’ offer to sell was never accepted by the petitioners (Ang Yu) for the reason that they did not agree upon the terms and conditions of the proposed sale, hence, there was no contract of sale at all. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court. This decision was brought to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari which subsequently denied the appeal on May 6, 1991 “for insufficiency in form and substance”. (Referring to the first case filed by Ang Yu)
  • November 15, 1990: While the case was pending consideration by this Court, the Cu Unjieng spouses executed a Deed of Sale transferring the subject petitioner to petitioner Buen Realty and Development Corporation.
  • Petitioner Buen Realty and Development Corporation, as the new owner of the subject property, wrote a letter to the lessees demanding that the latter vacate the premises.
  • August 30, 1991: the RTC ordered the Cu Unjiengs to execute the necessary Deed of Sale of the property in litigation in favor of plaintiffs Ang Yu Asuncion, Keh Tiong and Arthur Go for the consideration of P15 Million pesos in recognition of petitioners’ right of first refusal and that a new Transfer Certificate of Title be issued in favor of the buyer. The court also set aside the title issued to Buen Realty Corporation for having been executed in bad faith. On September 22, 1991, the Judge issued a writ of execution.
  • The CA reversed the RTC ruling.

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August 19, 2014

Heirs of Intac vs. CA

By With No comments:
Facts:
  • Ireneo Mendoza, married to Salvacion Fermin, was the owner of the subject property located in Quezon city which he purchased in 1954. (TCT No. 242655)
  • Ireneo had two children: respondents Josefina and Martina (respondents), Salvacion being their stepmother. 
  • When he was still alive, Ireneo, also took care of his niece, Angelina, since she was three years old until she got married. 
  • On October 25, 1977, Ireneo, with the consent of Salvacion, executed a deed of absolute sale of the property in favor of Angelina and her husband, Mario (Spouses Intac). 
  • Despite the sale, Ireneo and his family, including the respondents, continued staying in the premises and paying the realty taxes. After Ireneo died intestate in 1982, his widow and the respondents remained in the premises. After Salvacion died, respondents still maintained their residence there. Up to the present, they are in the premises, paying the real estate taxes thereon, leasing out portions of the property, and collecting the rentals.
  • The controversy arose when respondents sought the cancellation of TCT No. 242655, claiming that the sale was only simulated and, therefore, void.
  • The heirs of Ireneo, the respondents in this case, alleged that: 1. When Ireneo was still alive, Spouses Intac borrowed the title of the property (TCT No. 106530) from him to be used as collateral for a loan from a financing institution; 2. they objected because the title would be placed in the names of said spouses and it would then appear that the couple owned the property; that Ireneo, however, tried to appease them, telling them not to worry because Angelina would not take advantage of the situation considering that he took care of her for a very long time; that during his lifetime, he informed them that the subject property would be equally divided among them after his death; and 3. that respondents were the ones paying the real estate taxes over said property.
  • Spouses Intac countered, among others, that the subject property had been transferred to them based on a valid deed of absolute sale and for a valuable consideration; that the action to annul the deed of absolute sale had already prescribed; that the stay of respondents in the subject premises was only by tolerance during Ireneo’s lifetime because they were not yet in need of it at that time; and that despite respondents’ knowledge about the sale that took place on October 25, 1977, respondents still filed an action against them.
  • RTC ruled in favor of the respondents saying that the sale to the spouses Intac was null and void. The CA also ruled that there was no consideration in the sale to the spouses Intac and that the contract was one for equitable mortgage.

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Vda. De Catindig vs. Heirs of Roque

By With No comments:
Facts:
  • The subject property in this case is a fishpond which was part of the Malolos Cadastre and has an area of more than thirteen hectares. As shown in Original Certificate of Title, it is co-owned or registered in the names of the different persons. (note: there are 16/16 shares)
  • The co-owners of the fishpond leased it to Mrs. Catindig for a term of ten years counted from October 1, 1941 for a total rental of six thousand pesos.
  • After the termination of the lease on September 30, 1951, Mrs. Catindig remained in possession of the fishpond because she was negotiating with the co-owners for the purchase thereof. She wanted to buy it for P52,000.
  • On October 18, 1960 German Ramirez, one of the co-owners, executed a deed wherein he sold his 2/16 share to Mrs. Catindig for P6,500  The sale was annotated on the title on October 19, 1960. 
  • Two weeks later, Pedro Villanueva, one of the co-owners, learned of the sale executed by German Ramirez. That sale retroacted to April 13, 1950.
  • In 1960 the respondents filed this action against Mrs. Catindig to compel her to allow them to redeem the portion sold by German Ramirez. 
  • The respondents amended their complaint by including  a prayer for the recovery of the possession of the fishpond.
  • The RTC declared void certain documents of sale regarding portions of the fishpond in litigation. It ordered Mrs. Catindig to deliver to the respondents (except German Ramirez) the possession of the said fishpond and to allow the respondents to redeem from Mrs. Catindig the 2/16 portion of the fishpond which German Ramirez had sold to her.
  • CA affirmed in toto the RTC ruling. CA said that Mrs. Catindig did not pay P52,000 (the projected sale) and that it the contract was simulated. Hence, this appeal. 

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August 16, 2014

Modina vs. CA

By With No comments:
Facts:
  • This case involves parcels of land registered under the name of Ramon Chiang.
  • Chiang theorized that  the subject properties were sold to him by his wife, Merlinda Plana Chiang as evidenced by a Deed of Sale and were subsequently sold by Chiang to the petitioner Serafin Modina. (Dates of sale:August 3, 1979 and August 24, 1979, respectively.)
  • Modina brought a Complaint for Recovery of Possession with Damages against the private respondents before the RTC.
  • Upon learning the institution of the said case, Merlinda presented a Complaint-in-intervention, seeking the declaration of nullity of the Deed of Sale between her husband and MODINA on the ground that the titles of the parcels of land in dispute were never legally transferred to her husband. 
  • She contended that fraudulent acts were allegedly employed by her husband to obtain a Torrens Title in his favor.  However, she confirmed the validity of the lease contracts with the other private respondents.
  • MERLINDA also admitted that the said parcels of land were those ordered sold by the CFI of Iloilo in “Intestate Estate of Nelson Plana” where she was appointed as the administratix, being the widow of the deceased, her first husband.  An Authority to Sell was issued by the said Probate Court for the sale of the same properties.
  • RTC ruled in favor of the wife Merlinda declaring the two sales in August 1979 as void and inexistent. 
  • Upon appeal, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC ruling.

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August 13, 2014

Mapalo vs. Mapalo

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Facts:
  • The spouses Miguel Mapalo and Candida Quiba were the registered owners of a residential land located in Pangasinan. (1,635 sq. m.)
  • The spouses donated the eastern half of the land to Miguel’s brother – Maximo Mapalo who was about to get married.
  • However, they were deceived into signing, on October 15, 1936, a deed of absolute sale over the entire land in Maximo’s favor. Their signatures were procured by fraud because they were made to believe by Maximo and the lawyer who acted as notary public who "translated" the document, that the same was a deed of donation in Maximo's favor covering one-half of their land. (It must be noted that the spouses are illiterate farmers).
  • Although the document of sale stated a consideration of Five Hundred (P500.00) Pesos, the aforesaid spouses did not receive anything of value for the land. 
  • In 1938, Maximo Mapalo, without the consent of the spouse, registered the sale in his favor.
  • After thirteen years (1951), he sold the land to the Narcisos.  (Evaristo, Petronila Pacifico and Miguel) who thereafter registered the sale and obtained a title in their favor. 
  • In 1952, the Narcisos filed a complaint with the CFI to be declared owners of the entire land, for possession of its western portion; for damages; and for rentals. 
  • The Mapalo spouses filed a counterclaim seeking cancellation of the the Narcisos’ titles as to the western half of the land. They said that their  signatures to the deed of sale of 1936 was procured by fraud and that the Narcisos were buyers in bad faith.
  • They also filed another complaint wherein they asked the court to declare deeds of sale of 1936 and of 1951 over the land in question be declared null and void as to the western half of said land.
  • CFI ruled in favor of the Mapalo spouses. Upon appeal filed by Narcisos, CA reversed the lower court’s ruling solely on the ground that the consent of the Mapalo spouses to the deed of sale of 1936 having been obtained by fraud, the same was voidable, not void ab initio, and, therefore, the action to annul the same, within four years from notice of the fraud, had long prescribed. (From March 15, 1938).  Hence, this appeal.

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Zambales Mining Workers: Lift the DENR Suspension Orders and Resume Mining Operations

By With 1 comment:
On the morning of August 9, 2014, over 1,000 mine workers from the town of Sta. Cruz, Zambales, gathered in what was believed to be an opening salvo for their campaign in defense of the mining operations in their area. They are calling the local officials to support them in their fight to win their jobs back.


The fate of more than 3,000 workers, mostly from this town, now hangs in the balance after the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region III of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DENR) suspended the operations of four mining firms in Central Luzon. These companies are as follows:

  • Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation
  • Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines, Inc.
  • Eramen Minerals, Inc. 
  • LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc

By reason of the suspension of the operations of the above-mentioned mining entities, the workers formed a group called Coalition of Mine Workers, Families, and Communities (CMWFC) with the goal of pressing for the resumption of the mine operations of the four companies as well as for the lifting of the cease and desist and suspension orders issued by DENR last June 9 and July 15, 2014.
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August 12, 2014

Baranda vs. Gustillo

By With No comments:
Facts:
  • A petition for reconstitution of title was filed with the CFI (now RTC) of Iloilo involving a parcel of land known as Lot No. 4517 of the Sta. Barbara Cadastre covered by OCT No. 6406 in the name of Romana Hitalia.
  • The OCT was cancelled and TCT No. 106098 was issued in the names of petitioners Baranda and Hitalia.
  • The Court issued a writ of possession which Gregorio Perez, Maria P. Gotera and Susana Silao refused to honor on the ground that they also have TCT No. 25772 over the same Lot No. 4517.
  • The Court found out that TCT No. 257772 was fraudulently acquired by Perez, Gotera and Susana.
  • Thereafter, the court issued a writ of demolition which was questioned by Perez and others so a motion for reconsideration was filed.
  • Another case was filed by Baranda and Hitalia (GR. NO. 62042) for the execution of judgement in the resolutions issued by the courts.
  • In the meantime, the CA dismissed a civil case (GR. NO. 00827) involving the same properties. (NOTE: This time three cases na ang involve excluding the case at bar.)
  • The petitioners prayed that an order be released to cancel No.T-25772. Likewise to cancel No.T-106098 and once cancelled to issue new certificates of title to each of Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia To cancel No.T-25772. Likewise to cancel No.T-106098 and once cancelled to issue new certificates of title to each of Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia.
  • In compliance with the order or the RTC, the Acting Register of Deeds Avito Saclauso annotated the order declaring TCT T-25772 null and void, cancelled the same and issued new certificate of titles in the name of petitioners. 
  • However, by reason of a separate case pending in the Court of Appeals, a notice of lis pendens was annotated in the new certificate of title. 
  • This prompted the petitioners to move for the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens in the new certificates. 
  • Judge Tito Gustilo then ordered the Acting Register of Deeds for the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens but the Acting Register of Deeds filed a motion for reconsideration invoking Sec 77 of PD 1529.


Issue: What is the nature of the duty of a Register of Deeds to annotate or annul a notice of lis pendens in a torrens certificate of title.

Held: 

Section 10, Presidential Decree No. 1529 states that "It shall be the duty of the Register of Deeds to immediately register an instrument presented for registration dealing with real or personal property which complies with all the requisites for registration. ... If the instrument is not registrable, he shall forthwith deny registration thereof and inform the presentor of such denial in writing, stating the ground or reasons therefore, and advising him of his right to appeal by consulta in accordance with Section 117 of this Decree."

Section 117 provides that "When the Register of Deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be taken or memoranda to be made in pursuance of any deed, mortgage or other instrument presented to him for registration or where any party in interest does not agree with the action taken by the Register of Deeds with reference to any such instrument, the question shall be submitted to the Commission of Land Registration by the Register of Deeds, or by the party in interest thru the Register of Deeds. ... ."

The function of ROD is ministerial in nature
The function of a Register of Deeds with reference to the registration of deeds encumbrances, instruments and the like is ministerial in nature. The respondent Acting Register of Deeds did not have any legal standing to file a motion for reconsideration of the respondent Judge's Order directing him to cancel the notice of lis pendens annotated in the certificates of titles of the petitioners over the subject parcel of land. 

In case of doubt as to the proper step to be taken in pursuance of any deed ... or other instrument presented to him, he should have asked the opinion of the Commissioner of Land Registration now, the Administrator of the National Land Title and Deeds Registration Administration in accordance with Section 117 of Presidential Decree No. 1529.

No room for construction for the laws on functions of ROD
The elementary rule in statutory construction is that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal, their meaning must be determined from the language employed and the statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says. The statute concerning the function of the Register of Deeds to register instruments in a torrens certificate of title is clear and leaves no room for construction.

Read the full text:
G.R. No. 81163 September 26, 1988 
EDUARDO S. BARANDA and ALFONSO HITALIA, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE JUDGE TITO GUSTILO, ACTING REGISTER OF DEEDS AVITO SACLAUSO, HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and ATTY. HECTOR P. TEODOSIO, respondents.
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August 7, 2014

Ramos vs. Director of Land

By With No comments:
Facts:
  • In 1882, Restituto Romero y Ponce apparently gained possession of a tract of land located in the municipality of San Jose, Province of Nueva Ecija.
  • Ponce obtained a possessory information title of the land (by taking advantage of the Maura Law or Royal Decree of Feb. 13, 1994) and registered the land in 1896.
  • In 1907, the part of the land (Parcel 1) was sold by Ponce to petitioner Ramos and to his wife Ambrosia Salamanca.
  • Ramos instituted appropriate proceedings to have his title registered. 
  • The Director of Lands and Director of Forestry opposed the application on the following grounds: Ramos had not acquired a good title from the Spanish government; The first parcel was forest land.
  • RTC and CA ruled against Ramos. 
  • It has been seen however that the predecessor in interest to Ramos at least held this tract of land under color of title.
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August 3, 2014

What are the powers of the COMELEC?

By With No comments:
These are the mandated powers and functions of the COMELEC as provided for under Article 9 (Constitutional Commissions) of the 1987 Constitution:


  • Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of and elections, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.
  • Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay official decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.
  • Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.
  • Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purposes of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful credible elections.
  • Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, of coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and accredit citizens arms of the Commission on Elections.
  • File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of elections laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.
  • Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidates.
  • Recommend to the President the removal of any officer of employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its directive, order, or decision.
  • Submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.

Note: EEDDRFRRS or R3E2D2FS
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