Petitioners-spouses Encarnacion L. Cuizon and Salvador Cuizon rely on Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-3121 in the name of Encarnacion L. Cuizon, married to Salvador Cuizon, issued by the Registry of Deeds of Agusan del Norte on March 15, 1984,[1] pursuant to a notarized Extra-Judicial Settlement with Sale dated August 3, 1983 (1983 Extra-Judicial Settlement with Sale) executed by the heirs of Placida Tabada-Lambo (Placida), wherein they adjudicated unto themselves the one-fourth share of Placida, and, at the same time, sold said portion to their co-heir, Encarnacion L. Cuizon.[2]

On the other hand, respondents have in their favor a notarized Deed of Sale of Real Property dated September 19, 1968, (1968 Deed of Sale) 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 (Angel), husband of respondent Mercedes C. Remoto, and father of the other respondents, Leonida R. Meynard, Celerina R. Rosales and Remedios C. Remoto.[4]

RTC rendered a decision in favour of respondents which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.


Who has a better right to the property in dispute?


As correctly ruled by both the trial court and the CA, the 1968 Deed of Sale executed by Placida in favor of Angel should prevail over the 1983 Extra-Judicial Settlement with Sale made by the heirs of Placida in favor of petitioners-spouses Cuizon. Prior tempore, potior jure. It simply means, He who is first in time is preferred in right. The only essential requisite of this rule is priority in time, and the only one who can invoke this is the first vendee.[14] Records bear the fact that when Placida sold her one-fourth portion of the property covered by TCT No. RT-183 in 1968, the 1983 Extra-Judicial Settlement with Sale was still inexistent, and more importantly, said portion was yet to be transferred by succession to Placidas heirs. The records also show that after Placida sold her portion to Angel, the latter immediately took possession of the same. Applying the principle of priority in time, it is clear that Angel, and consequently his heirs, the respondents herein, have a superior right to the property.

Digest Credit: Abby Parwani


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