Civil Law

Spouses Elegio and Dolia Cañezo vs Spouses Apolinario and Consorcia Bautista

Can't share this digest on Facebook? Here's why.

image_printPrint this!

G.R. No. 170189 – 644 Phil. 43 – 629 SCRA 580 – Civil Law – Law on Property – Recovery of Property – Accion Reivindicatoria

Builder in Bad Faith – Knowledge of Encroachment

Spouses Elegio and Dolia Cañezo are the owners of a lot (Lot 13) in Mandaluyong. Adjacent to their lot is Lot 14 owned by Spouses Apolinario and Consorcia Bautista. The Cañezos and the Bautistas have their respective titles over their lots. In 1995, the Cañezos discovered that the Bautistas encroached upon their property. The Cañezos sent oral and written demands to the Bautistas to remove their structure but the Bautistas refused on the ground that the Cañezos should demand the encroached space from Lot 15, which is next to the Bautistas, because that lot encroached upon the Bautistas which forced them to encroach upon the lot of the Cañezos. The problem is, that lot is not adjacent to the lot of the Cañezos.

In March 1999, the Cañezos sent a final demand letter to the Bautistas. In April 2000, the Cañezos filed a Complaint for Issuance of a Writ of Demolition against the Bautistas. The Bautistas did not file a responsive pleading and the RTC ruled in favor of the Cañezos.

On appeal, the RTC was reversed by the CA. The CA ruled that the Cañezos availed of the wrong remedy.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals is correct.

HELD: No. The present case, while inaccurately captioned as an action for a “Writ of Demolition with Damages” is in reality an action to recover a parcel of land or an accion reivindicatoria under Article 434 of the Civil Code. Article 434 of the Civil Code reads: “In an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant’s claim.” Accion reivindicatoria seeks the recovery of ownership and includes the jus utendi and the jus fruendi brought in the proper regional trial court. Accion reivindicatoria is an action whereby plaintiff alleges ownership over a parcel of land and seeks recovery of its full possession.

The spouses Cañezo were able to establish their ownership of the encroached property. Aside from testimonial evidence, the spouses Cañezo were also able to present documentary and object evidence which consisted of photographs, transfer certificates of title, and a relocation survey plan.

Anent the issue of whether or not the Bautistas were builders in good faith, the testimony and the relocation survey plan both show that the spouses Bautista were aware of the encroachment upon their lot by the owner of Lot 15 and thus they made a corresponding encroachment upon the lot of the spouses Cañezo. This awareness of the two encroachments made the spouses Bautista builders in bad faith. Spouses Cañezo are entitled to the issuance of a writ of demolition in their favor and against the spouses Bautista, in accordance with Article 450 of the Civil Code.

Read full text.

image_printPrint this!

Leave a Reply