RUBIAS VS. BATILLER G.R. No. L-35702 (May 29, 1973)

On August 31, 1964, Domingo Rubias, a lawyer, filed a suit to recover the ownership and
possession of certain portions of a lot located in Barrio General Luna, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo, which he bought from his father-in-law, Francisco Militante in 1956. The lot was occupied by Isaias Batiller, who illegally entered said portions of the lot on two occasions—in 1945 and 1959. Rubias also prayed for damages and attorney’s fee. Meanwhile, in his answer, Batiller claims that he and his predecessors-in-interest have always been in actual, open, and continuous possession since time immemorial under claim and ownership of the portions of the lot in question. Batiller claims that due to the allegations, he has suffered moral damages in the amount of P2,000 and a sum of P500 for attorney’s fees.

What is the status of the sale?

The stipulated facts and exhibits of record indisputably established plaintiff’ s lack of cause of action and justified the outright dismissal of the complaint. Plaintiff’s claim of ownership to the land in question was predicated on the sale thereof for P2,000.00 made in 1956 by his father-in-law, Francisco Militante, in his favor, at a time when Militante’s application for registration thereofhad already been dismissed by the Iloilo land registration court and was pending appeal in the Court of Appeals. Hence, there was no right or title to the land that could be transferred or sold by Militante’s purported sale in 1956 in favor of plaintiff. Manifestly, then plaintiff’s complaint against defendant, to be declared absolute owner of the land and to be restored to possession thereof with damages was bereft of any factual or legal basis. Article 1491 of our Civil Code (like Article 1459 of the Spanish Civil Code) prohibits in its six paragraphs certain persons, by reason of the relation of trust or their peculiar control over the property, from acquiring such property in their trust or control either directly or indirectly and "even at a public or judicial auction," as follows: (1) guardians; (2) agents; (3) administrators; (4)public officers and employees; judicial officers and employees, prosecuting attorneys, and lawyers; and (6) others especially disqualified by law.

Digest Credit: Shem Gasatan


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