Aznar Brothers Realty Company v. Heirs of Augusto : 140417 : May 28,
2004 : J. Corona : Third Division : Decision
[G.R. NO. 140417 : May 28, 2004]
AZNAR BROTHERS REALTY COMPANY, Petitioner, v. HEIRS OF
ANICETO AUGUSTO & PETRONA CALIPAN, namely: TEODORICA ANDALES GERONIMO
AUGUSTO (deceased) represented by: NICOMEDES AUGUSTO JOVENCIO AUGUSTO TELESPORO
AUGUSTO LOLITA IGOT ROSARIO NEMBRILLO ALFREDO AUGUSTO URBANO AUGUSTO FELIPE
AUGUSTO TOMAS AUGUSTO ZACARIAS AUGUSTO (deceased) represented by: FELIPE
AUGUSTO EUGENIO AUGUSTO MANALO AUGUSTO FELIS AUGUSTO CERAPINO AUGUSTO CLARITA
AYING MAURA AUGUSTO CONCHITA AUGUSTO ARSENIA OMPAD (deceased) represented by:
SARAH AMIT ANDRES OMPAD ALBERTO OMPAD LILY DAGATAN all represented by ALFREDO
D E C I S I O N
This is a petition to review the decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV No. 51279 reversing the decision2 of Branch 27 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lapu-Lapu City. The CA ruled
that the claim of herein respondent Heirs of Aniceto Augusto (Heirs) had not
yet prescribed. The dispositive portion3 read:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, the appealed Order is hereby REVERSED and SET
The complaint is reinstated to
the docket of Branch 27 of the Regional Trial Court of Lapu-Lapu City to which
the records of the case is (sic) ORDERED REMANDED for appropriate action
in line with the disposition of this case.crvll
The facts of the case follow.
The subject matter of this controversy is Lot No. 4397, Opon
Cadastre, covered by Decree No. 531070 and situated in Dapdap, Mactan,
Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. It was owned by Aniceto Augusto who was married to
Petrona Calipan. When Aniceto died on December 3, 1934, he left behind five
children: Geronimo, Zacarias, Teoderica, Arsenia and Irenea. Apparently, the
property remained undivided as evidenced by Tax Declaration No. 026794 issued to Petrona Calipan in 1945.
Sometime in 1962, Tax Declaration No. 02679 in the name of
Calipan was cancelled pursuant to an Extrajudicial Partition5 executed before Notary Public Vicente Fanilag. In lieu thereof, tax declaration
certificates covering Lot No. 4397 were issued to the following: Filomeno
Augusto, Ciriaco Icoy, Felipe Aying, Zacarias Augusto, Abdon Augusto, Teoderica
Augusto, Pedro Tampus and Anacleto Augusto.
On February 13, 1962, these persons sold the property to
petitioner Aznar Brothers Realty Company (Aznar Realty) through a Deed of Sale
of Unregistered Land which was registered on the same date with the Register of
Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City.
On September 6, 1962, Carlos Augusto, claiming to be an heir of
his father Aniceto (when in fact he was the son of Zacarias and as such was
in reality a grandson of Aniceto),
filed a Petition for the Reconstitution of
Title. He alleged that the original copy and duplicate owners copy of the
title of the property sold to respondent Aznar were lost during the war.
On February 28, 1963, an Affidavit of Declaration of Heirs of
Aniceto Augusto was executed wherein Zacarias, Teoderica, Arsenia and Irenea
(Geronimo having died in December 1961) declared that, at the time of their
fathers death, he had five legitimate children and that he left behind 15
parcels of land covered by various tax declarations. The affidavit was signed
by Zacarias and thumbmarked by Teoderica, Arsenia and Irenea, with Carlos
Augusto and Filomeno Augusto as witnesses.
On April 15, 1963, TCT No. 0070 covering the property was issued
to petitioner Aznar Realty, which then secured Tax Declaration No. 01937.
On July 28, 1992, respondent Heirs filed Civil Case No. 2666-L
against petitioner Aznar Realty, and Carlos and Filomeno Augusto in the RTC of
Lapu-Lapu City, Branch 27, for (1) recovery of Lot No. 4397; (2) the
declaration of the Deed of Sale dated February 13, 1962 as null and void; (3)
the recognition of the Heirs; (4) the cancellation of the TCT issued to
petitioner Aznar Realty and (5) the issuance of a restraining order and/or writ
of preliminary injunction.
Only petitioner Aznar Realty filed an answer interposing the
defense of lack of cause of action and prescription. It asked for a preliminary
hearing on the affirmative defenses as if a motion to dismiss had been filed.
This was granted by the trial court.
After the hearing on the affirmative defenses, the trial court
ruled that the claim of respondent Heirs was already barred by prescription:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
On the basis of the foregoing facts and circumstances established
by evidence, this Court believes that the action of the plaintiffs is
undisputably barred by prescription.
Principally, plaintiffs action is for recovery of a parcel of land.
This type of action prescribes after ten
(10) years from the date of registration or from discovery of the fraud.
As held in the case of Caete v. Benedicto, 158 SCRA 575, an action for recovery of title or possession of
real property or an interest therein can only be brought within 10 years after
the cause of action accrues which is deemed to have taken place from the
registration of the document with the Register of Deeds for registration
constitutes a constructive notice to the whole world (Gerona v. de Guzman, 11
SCRA 153). In the case of Gicano v. Gegato, 157 SCRA 140, the Supreme Court ruled that action to recover
property which was filed only 23 years from the issuance of the title to the
property on the supposedly fraudulent sale, has been extinguished by
Moreover, in Casipit v. Court of Appeals, 204 SCRA 648, the Supreme Court held that the
prescriptive period for the reconveyance of fraudulently registered real
property is ten (10) years reckoned from the date of issuance of the
certificate of title.
The Deed of Sale of Unregistered Land dated February 13, 1962 was
registered on the same date at the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City as
appearing at the back page thereof.
Since that time up to the filing of this case on July 28, 1992, thirty
(30) years had elapsed.
And since the issuance
of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 0070 in the name of Aznar Brothers Realty
Co. on April 15, 1963 up to the institution of this action, twenty-nine (29)
years had elapsed.
The Court therefore
believes there is no more way by which plaintiffs action can rise from its
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