Recovery of possession of property; bar by prescription

Respondent argues that the action of petitioner to recover possession of the property is already barred by prescription.

The Supreme Court does not agree. An action to recover possession of a registered land never prescribes in view of the provision of Section 44 of Act No. 496 to the effect that no title to registered land in derogation of that of a registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse possession. It follows that an action by the registered owner to recover a real property registered under the Torrens System does not prescribe.Despite knowledge of this avowed doctrine, the trial court ruled that petitioners cause of action had already prescribed on the ground that the imprescriptibility to recover lands registered under the Torrens System can only be invoked by the person under whose name the land is registered.

Again, the Supreme Court does not agree. It is well settled that the rule on imprescriptibility of registered lands not only applies to the registered owner but extends to the heirs of the registered owner as well. Recently in Mateo v. Diaz, the Court held that prescription is unavailing not only against the registered owner, but also against his hereditary successors because the latter step into the shoes of the decedent by operation of law and are the continuation of the personality of their predecessor-in-interest. Hence, petitioners, as heirs of Anacleto Nieto, the registered owner, cannot be barred by prescription from claiming the property. (G.R. No. 150654; December 13, 2007)