CD: Spouses Beltran v. Nieves

October 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm (2010, Case Digests) (, , , )

SPOUSES BELTRAN v. NIEVES
G.R. No. 175561 October 20, 2010
Carpio, J.

Doctrine:
– A certificate of title is conclusive evidence of ownership. Registered owners are entitled to the possession of the property covered by the title from the time such title was issued in their favor. No entitlement to possess the property is granted on the basis of an unregistered deed of sale.

– The tax declarations presented are not conclusive evidences of ownership, but are good indicators of possession in the concept of an owner.

– The only issue in an ejectment case is the physical possession of real property: possession de facto and not possession de jure. Prior physical possession is material only in forcible entry cases. In an ejectment suit, the question of ownership may be provisionally ruled upon only for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto.

– A person who occupies the land of another at the latter’s tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand. In case of failure, a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against them.

– Any question regarding the validity of a title can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack.

Facts:
Respondent Nieves is the registered owner of the subject parcel of land as well as the house thereon. Milagros Beltran is Nieves’ niece, being the daughter of Gaston, Nieves’ brother. In asserting their ownership and rightful occupation against Nieves, petitioners spouses Beltran claim that Nieves sold the land and house to Gaston. The deed of sale, which Nieves disclaims having signed, remains unregistered.

The MTC and, subsequently, the RTC respected the right of possession of the spouses Beltran. The CA reversed the decision.

Issues:
1. Whether or not an unregistered deed of sale is sufficient to grant ownership over the property
2. Whether or not title is material in ejectment suits

Held:
1. No. No entitlement to possess the property is granted on the basis of an unregistered deed of sale. A certificate of title is conclusive evidence of ownership. Registered owners are entitled to the possession of the property covered by the title from the time such title was issued in their favor [Spouses Apostol v. Court of Appeals, 476 Phil. 403 (2004)].

The tax declarations presented by the spouses Beltran are not conclusive evidences of ownership, but are good indicators of possession in the concept of an owner.

Whatever right of possession that the spouses Beltran may have over the subject property cannot prevail over that of Nieves for the simple reason that Nieves is the registered owner of the subject property and the alleged deed of sale remains unregistered.

2. No. The only issue in an ejectment case is the physical possession of real property: possession de facto and not possession de jure. In an ejectment suit, the question of ownership may be provisionally ruled upon only for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto [Umpoc v. Mercado, 490 Phil. 120,136 (2005)].

A person who occupies the land of another at the latter’s tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand, failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against them [Calubayan, et al. v. Pascual, 128 Phil. 160, 163 (1967)].

Although it is true that the spouses Beltran, and not Nieves, were in prior physical possession of the subject property, this argument cannot hold water as prior physical possession is material only in forcible entry cases (Spouses Apostol v. Court of Appeals, supra).

Any question regarding the validity of Nieves’ title can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack (Section 48, P.D. No. 1529).

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