Recover property; fraud, mistake; prescription


FIRST DIVISION: [G.R. No. 237028, June 18, 2018] MARCELINO S. ANDRINO, REPRESENTED BY ILUMINADA C. RESTIFICAR V. TOP SERVICES, INC., AND THE REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF RIZAL.

The motion for extension of time to file a petition for review on certiorari dated February 13, 2018 is GRANTED. Nonetheless, after review of the records, the Court (resolves to DENY the petition and AFFIRM the Court of Appeals' (CA) Decision dated August 25, 2017 and Resolution dated January 23, 2018 in CA-G.R. CV No. 105984 for failure to sufficiently show that the CA committed any reversible error in affirming the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 255, Las PiƱas City.

The CA correctly upheld the findings of the RTC that the action of petitioner had long prescribed. It is now well-settled that the prescriptive period to recover property obtained by fraud or mistake, giving rise to an implied trust under Article 1456 of the Civil Code, is 10 years pursuant to Article 1144. This 10-year prescriptive period begins to run from the date the adverse party repudiates the implied trust. The registration of an instrument in the Office of the Register of Deeds constitutes constructive notice to the whole world, and, therefore, discovery of the fraud is deemed to have taken place at the time of registration. Such registration is deemed to be a constructive notice that the alleged fiduciary or trust relationship has been repudiated.[1]

Notably, an action for reconveyance and annulment of title does not seek to question the contract which allowed the adverse party to obtain the title to the property. What is put on issue in an action for reconveyance and cancellation of title is the ownership of the property and its registration. It does not question any fraudulent contract. Should that be the case, the applicable provisions are Articles 1390 and 1391 of the Civil Code.[2]All the other issues raised by petitioner are factual in nature and we find that they have already duly passed upon by the trial court and the CA. These questions of fact are generally not within the scope of a review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Petitioner failed to raise any compelling and exceptional reasons for us to depart from this general rule. Thus, the factual findings of the trial court and the CA must be accorded respect.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated August 25, 2017 and Resolution dated January 23, 2018 in CA-G.R. CV No. 105984 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED. Leonardo-De Castro, J., designated as Acting Chairperson of the First Division per Special Order No. 2559 dated May 11, 2018; Gesmundo, J., designated as Acting Member of the First Division per Special Order No. 2560 dated May 11, 2018.

[1]Aboitiz v. Po, G.R. No. 208450, June 5, 2017, 825 SCRA 457, 482-484 citing Crisostomo v. Garcia, Jr., G.R. No. 164787, January 31, 2006, 481 SCRA 402 and Duque v. Domingo, G.R. No. L-33762, December 29, 1977, 80 SCRA 654.

[2]Id. at 483-484.

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