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Juliana Caragay-Layno vs Court of Appeals
26 December 1984, 133 scra 718
Land Titles and Deeds – Judgment Confirms Title – Only claimed portion/property can be adjudged
Mariano De Vera died in 1951. His widow administered his property until her death in 1966. De Vera’s nephew (Salvador Estrada) took over as administrator of De Vera’s estate. Prior to the widow’s death, she made an inventory showing that De Vera’s property (located in Calasiao, Pangasinan) measures 5417 sq. m (more or less). Estrada however noticed that the Torrens title under De Vera indicated that his property measures 8752 sq. m. He learned that the discrepancy is the 3732 sq. m. being occupied by Juliana. Estrada sued to evict Juliana.
Juliana averred that she and her father have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and in the concept of an owner of the land since 1921; that they’ve been paying taxes; that the title held by Estrada was registered in 1947 but it only took them to initiate an action in 1967 therefore laches has set in.
ISSUE: Whether or not the disputed portion should be adjudged in favor of De Vera’s estate.
HELD: No. The inclusion of Juliana’s land in De Vera’s title was erroneously done. It was shown that Juliana, an unlettered woman, agreed to have Mariano de Vera borrow her title for the purposes of Mariano obtaining a loan during de Vera’s lifetime; that when de Vera registered his portion of land adjoined to that of Juliana, the latter’s land was erroneously included.
The error is highlighted by the fact that de Vera’s widow, in her inventory before she died, attested that de Vera’s portion of land is only 5417 sq. m. more or less. The discrepancy approximates the portion of land actually being occupied by Juliana. By that, the only portion that can be adjudged in favor of de Vera’s estate is that which was being claimed by the widow (in her inventory). A recalculation must however be made to specify the exact measure of land belonging to each: 3732 sq m should be retained by Juliana (portion which she actually occupies) and 5020 sq. m. should go to de Vera’s estate.
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