Cuison vs Remoto

FACTS:

Petitioner spouses Encarnacion LamboCuizon and Salvador Cuizon rely on TCT No. RT-3121 in the name of Encarnacion, married to Salvador, issued by the Registry of Deeds of Agusan Del Norte on March 15, 1984. TCT No. RT-3121 stems from a notarized Extra-Judicial Settlement with Sale dated August 3, 1983 executed by the heirs of Placida Tabada-Lambo, wherein they adjudicated to themselves the one-fourth share of Placida, and, at the same time, sold said portion to Encarnacion, their co-heir. (TCT No. RT-183, where TCT 3121 came from, originally covers 16 hectares in the name of Placida (married to GervacioLambo), Eugenio Tabada, RaymundaTabada and PatreciaTabada, each being one-fourth shareowner.) On the other hand, respondents have a notarized Deed of Sale of Real property dated September 19, 1968, involving a portion of the same property covered by TCT No. RT-183, measuring 4,300 square meters, executed by Placida in favor of Angel Remoto, husband of respondent Mercedes C. Remoto. In a previous decision dated March 9, 1990, the court ruled for the property to be reconveyed in favor of respondents in the case they filed against petitioners.The respondents can legally claim possession and ownership of the lot in dispute covered by the duly notarized but unregistered Deed of Sale of Real Property. Vendor Placida Tabada, her husband, and vendee Angel Remoto also signed the document. The Petitioners contended that at the time the 1968 deed of sale was executed, no written notice was given to all possible co-redemptioners, co-heirs, and co-owners[1].

ISSUE/S:

  1. W/N the Remotos have the better right to the property over the Cuizons (Who has a better right to the property?)
  2. W/N a property co-owned can be disposed of freely by one of the co-owners (co-ownership issue[2])

HELD:

  1. Yes, the Remotos have the better right to the property. It is because of the following reasons:

First, the 1968 Deed of Sale executed by Placida in favor of Angel Remoto should prevail over the Extrajudicial Settlement with Sale made by the heirs of Placida in favor of Cuizon. This is supported by the maxim prior tempore, potior jurewhich means that he who is first in time is preferred in right. When Placida sold her one-fourth portion of the property to the respondents in this case, they immediately took possession. The sale, as mentioned earlier, is evidenced by the duly notarized deed of sale that although unregistered is acknowledged by a notary public which makes it a public document and admissible in evidence.

The contention of the petitioner that the document was unregistered is of no merit because it does not affect the validity of the contract. Registration only serves to bind third persons. The petitioners are not third persons with respect to the Deed of Sale as Encarnacion is an heir of Placida. The petitioners also had a knowledge of the unregistered deed of sale prior to his claimed acquisition of the land. This is evidenced by the statement of the witnesses. The knowledge of the petitioners had the effect of registering the land as to them. Second, Petitioners heavily rely on the TCT issued in their names. At the time the document was entered into by the heirs of Placida, they no longer were the owner of the property as it was already sold to Angel. Nemodat quod non habet or no one can give what one does not have.

  1. Yes, Placida can dispose of her portion of the property.

The petitioners contested that no notice was given to all possible redemptioners or heirs at the time of the execution. The said right of legal redemption only pertain to Placida’s co-owners and not to her heirs. This notice serves as an assurance that no one would contest the alienation.Also, records show that even if the property is not formally subdivided, particular portions belonging to the co-owners have already been allocated and have been exercising proprietary rights over their allotments (mortgages, deed of sale with right to repurchase).

More importantly, Placida’s right to sell her portion of the property is supported by Art 493 of the NCC which provides that:

Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.

Digest Credit: Badeth Dc

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