Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1908 > March 1908 Decisions > G.R. No. L-4233 March 18, 1908 - EXEQUIEL DELGADO v. MANUEL RIESGO

010 Phil 428:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-4233. March 18, 1908. ]

EXEQUIEL DELGADO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. MANUEL RIESGO, ET AL., Defendants-Appellees.

Alberto Barretto and Luciano de la Rosa, for Appellant.

Jose Altavas, for Appellees.

SYLLABUS


1. REALTY; TRANSFER BY GIFT; BURDEN OF PROOF. — Plaintiff, formerly the possessor of certain real property, gave it to another and permitted the latter to occupy it and to pay the taxes thereon as owner for a number of years. Held, That, in the absence of a preponderance of evidence favorable to the plaintiff’s contention, and which it was his duty to product, his claim that he is still the owner of the property can not be sustained.


D E C I S I O N


CARSON, J. :


Complaint prays that defendants be enjoined from leaving an attachment upon a certain tract of land, which he alleges to be his property.

The defendants deny complaint’s claim of ownership, and allege that the land is the property of one Francisco Delgado, and that when the preliminary injunction issued at the instance of complaint was served upon them, they were lawfully proceeding to levy an attachment upon this land in pursuance of a writ of execution upon a judgment for debt in favor of Warner Barnes & Co., and against the said Francisco Delgado.

The only question to be considered is whether the plaintiff established his claim of ownership of the land in question with sufficient certainty to justify the court in granting his prayer for an injunction to protect the claim which he asserts.

It is admitted that the plaintiff was the owner of the land in the year 1900, but it was proven that since that time it has been in the possession of Francisco Delgado, his cousin, who cultivated it, paid the taxes upon it, and with knowledge of the plaintiff entered. It was also proven that the plaintiff had stated on one occasion that he had given the land as a wedding present to his cousin Francisco, when Francisco married his sister in 1900: and that he had stated that the land was the property of his cousin, Francisco, on an occasion when Warner, Barnes & Co. were endeavoring to induce the plaintiff to mortgage it as security for the payment of a debt due them from the plaintiff.

The plaintiff testified that his cousin, Francisco Delgado, occupied the land merely as his "man in charge;" that he paid the taxes by his discretion, and while he admitted and that he knew that his cousin had declared the land in his own name on the land assessment records, plaintiff swore that he had not authorized him so to do. Plaintiff did not deny the statement of the witnesses that he had told them that the land had been given to Francisco as a wedding present, although he was on the stand after this testimony had been introduced in evidence and had no opportunity to do so if he desired.

The trial court was of opinion that this evidence did not sustain the plaintiff’s allegation of ownership of the land in question, and we think this finding must be sustained. The presumption that the plaintiff having been the owner of the land in 1900 continued to own it up to the time of the finding of his complaint, would appear to be rebutted, as between the plaintiff and these defendants, by evidence of its delivery to Francisco Delgado, and its occupation by him for a number of years under a claim of ownership, taken together with the plaintiff’s admissions that he had given the land to Francisco Delgado and that Francisco was the owner.

It was the duty of the plaintiff to sustain his allegation of ownership by a preponderance of evidence, and, having failed so to do, his prayers for a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from attaching the land was properly denied.

It has been suggested that the evidence as to the statements of the plaintiff touching the gift of the land was not the best evidence of such a gift and that it was therefore improperly admitted. But no objection was made to the admission of this evidence in the court below, and in the absence of objection we think the court properly took it into consideration in rebuttal of plaintiff’s claim of ownership.

Counsel for plaintiff objection in the court below to the introduction of evidence as to the payment of taxes by Francisco Delgado, and his entry of the property in his own name in the land assessment records. We agree with counsel that proof that one paid taxes on a certain piece of land, and that it stands in his name in the land assessment records, is not conclusive proof of ownership; but such testimony would appear to the competent and material in this case in so far as it tends to throw light upon the nature of the claim of possession asserted by the occupants of the land, with knowledge and tacit consent of the plaintiff.

The judgment of the trial court is affirmed with the costs of this instance against the Appellant. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, Willard and Tracey, JJ., concur.




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