Civil Law

Dominica Cutanda et al. vs Heirs of Roberto Cutanda

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G.R. No. 109215 – 390 Phil. 740 – 335 SCRA 418 – Civil Law – Law on Property – Modes of Acquiring Ownership – Prescription; Acquisitive Prescription – Ten-Year Period

In 1988, the Heirs of Roberto Cutanda filed a complaint for recovery of possession against Dominica Cutanda et al. The Heirs alleged that the parcel of land being occupied by Dominica et al. was owned by Roberto Cutanda. The Heirs submitted a 1900 era tax declaration which was in the name of Roberto.

Dominica averred that Roberto was not the owner; that it was their grandfather, Anastacio, who owned the subject property and that they inherited the subject lot from him.

ISSUE: Who owns the subject lot?

HELD: Dominica et al.

Based on the evidence adduced, the predecessor in interest of Dominica et al. (Anastacio) had acquired, through prescription, the subject lot.

The lot was originally declared in the name of Roberto. However, in 1933, Anastacio obtained actual possession over the subject property. Under the old Code of Civil Procedure, “Ten years of actual adverse possession by any person claiming to be the owner for that time of any land or interest in land, uninterruptedly, continuously for ten years by occupancy, descent, grants or otherwise, in whatever way such occupancy may have commenced or continued, shall vest in every actual possessor of such land a full complete title.”

Applying this to the present case, by 1943, ten years after his possession of the subject parcel of land had begun, Anastacio Cutanda, became owner of the land in question through acquisitive prescription.

Hence, when the heirs or Roberto filed their recovery of possession case in 1988, they were already barred by prescription.

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Note that the in the Civil Code, there are two types of acquisitive prescription: ordinary (ten years) and extraordinary (thirty years).

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