Case Digest: Ney & Ney vs. Spouses Quijano


G.R. No. 178609, August 4, 2010

Justice Nachura

Facts: Manuel Ney and Romulo Ney are the registered owners of a residential lot. A three-door apartment was constructed on the lot, one for Manuel, one for Romulo and the last one for spouses Quijano.

Spouses Quijano filed a suit for reconveyance, asserting that they are co-owners for having paid part of the purchase price. The RTC dismissed the complaint, but the CA reversed. The CA treated the case as one for quieting of title despite the fact that the prayer was only for partition of the subject property.

Issue: Whether or not the a case for reconveyance may be treated as one for quieting of title.

Held: Yes. Undoubtedly, respondents did not only seek the partition of the property and the delivery of the title, but also the reconveyance of their share which was inadvertently included in petitioner's TCT.

An action for reconveyance is one that seeks to transfer property, wrongfully registered by another, to its rightful and legal owner. Indeed, reconveyance is an action distinct from an action for quieting of title, which is filed whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein, by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title for purposes of removing such cloud or to quiet title. However, we find nothing erroneous in the CA ruling treating respondentsaction for reconveyance as an action to quiet title.

The Court has ruled that the 10-year prescriptive period applies only when the person enforcing the trust is not in possession of the property. If a person claiming to be its owner is in actual possession of the property, the right to seek reconveyance, which in effect seeks to quiet title to the property, does not prescribe. The reason is that the one who is in actual possession of the land claiming to be its owner may wait until his possession is disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right. His undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right to seek the aid of a court of equity to ascertain and determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his own title, which right can be claimed only by one who is in possession.

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