CASE DIGEST: Heirs of Valientes vs. Ramas

G.R. No. 157852: December 15, 2010

HEIRS OF DOMINGO VALIENTES, Petitioners, v. Hon. ReInerio (Abraham) B. Ramas, Acting Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 29, 9th Judicial Region, San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur and Vilma V. Minor, Respondents.



Petitioners claim that they are the heirs of Valientes who, before his death, was the owner of a parcel of land in Zamboanga delSur. In 1939, Valientes mortgaged the subject property to secure his loan to the spouses Belen. In the 1950s, the Valientes family purportedly attempted, but failed, to retrieve the subject property from the spouses Belen. Through an allegedly forged document captioned VENTA DEFINITIVA purporting to be a deed of sale of the subject property between Valientes and the spouses Belen, the latter obtained title over the land. On February 28, 1970, the legitimate children of the late Valientes, had their Affidavit of Adverse Claim. Upon the death of the spouses Belen, their surviving heirs executed an extra-judicial settlement with partition and sale in favor of private respondent Minor, the present possessor of the subject property. On June 20, 1979, Minor filed with the then CFI a "PETITION FOR CANCELLATION OF MEMORANDUM OF ENCUMBRANCE APPEARING IN THE TITLE IN HER POSSESSION" which the RTC granted. On the other hand, petitioners filed a complaint for the cancellation of the title in Minors possession and its reconveyanceto them. On this complaint, Minor filed an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss on the ground of forum shopping and litis pendentia, which the RTC dismissed. Undeterred, Minor filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was granted. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration based on this decision which was denied. They appealed it to the CA, which although found that there was no forum shopping nor litis pendentia, dismissed the case on the ground of prescription and laches.


Whether or not prescription or laches has already set in to bar the filing of the case at hand.

HELD: Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED


When the plaintiff is in possession of the subject property, the action, being in effect that of quieting of title to the property, does not prescribe. In the case at bar, petitioners are not in possession of the subject property. In this case, if it were to be considered as that of enforcing an implied trust, should have therefore been filed within ten years from the issuance of TCT to spouses Belen.But, the case was instituted beyond the prescriptive period.

As to the alternative defense of petitioners, applying Arts. 1141, 1134 and 1137 of the Civil Code, thus entitling them to a 30 year period to assail the title, the Court ruled that the applicable law in this instant case is Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree (since it is more specific that the general rules of the above mentioned articles of the Civil Code). Under the Torrens System as enshrined in P.D. No. 1529, the decree of registration and the certificate of title issued become incontrovertible upon the expiration of one year from the date of entry of the decree of registration, without prejudice to an action for damages against the applicant or any person responsible for the fraud.

It took petitioners 28 before filing this case. This period is unreasonably long for a party seeking to enforce its right to file the appropriate case. Thus, petitioners claim that they had not slept on their rights is patently unconvincing.

The Decision of the CA and the Resolution are AFFIRMED.