Evelyn Ong vs Court of Appeals

June 4, 2015
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356 SCRA 768 – Civil Law – Land Titles and Deeds – Land Ownership – Prescription – Indefeasibility of Title

In 1985, Avelina, Amelia, Camilo, Pedro, and Darius, all surnamed Quiamco, through a public instrument, donated their properties to their elder sister Trinidad Quiamco who accepted said donation. Later, a title over said properties was issued in the name of Trinidad.

In 1994, Richard and Nilda Cabucos purchased the said property from Trinidad. Subsequently, a new title was issued in their favor.

In 1995, the spouses Cabucos demanded Evelyn Ong and her children to vacate the said property. Evelyn Ong was the widow of Darius. Ong and her children had been occupying a portion of the property since 1972. They refused to vacate hence an action for unlawful detainer was filed against them by the spouses Cabucos.

In their defense, Ong alleged that they had acquired ownership of the said property through prescription. She alleged that the said portion of property was donated to them by Pedro and his wife in 1972 and has since been in uninterrupted, open, continuous and peaceful possession of the property and religiously paying the realty taxes therefor.

ISSUE: Whether or not Ong and her children acquired ownership over the said property through acquisitive prescription.

HELD: No. Ong’s alleged possession of subject property since 1972 cannot render nugatory the right of the spouses Cabucos as holders of a certificate of title. Prescription does not run against registered land. A title, once registered, cannot be defeated even by adverse, open and notorious possession.

Further, in asserting ownership by donation, Ong and her children were in effect assailing the title of spouses Cabucos. A Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked; the issue on its validity can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for that purpose.

 

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