[G.R. No. 8975. July 23, 1915. ]
ZACARIAS CONSPECTO, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MAXIMO FRUTO Et. Al., defendants SILVESTRE FURING, MARCELO BANASTAO, LEON FRUTO, MICAEL BARRAMEDA, EUTIQUIO BIGATA, FRANCISCO ESTOPARE, ALFONSO BONCAN, and FLORENTINO HITOSIS, Appellants.
Federico Olbes for Appellants.
Recaredo Ma. Calvo for Appellee.
1. LIMITATION OF ACTIONS; WHAT LAW GOVERNS. — Section 39 of the Code of Procedure in Civil Actions provides that, "civil actions can only be commenced within the periods prescribed in this chapter, after the cause of action accrues." When the entire period of prescription provided for under Act No. 190 has lapsed between the time the right of action accrued and the time when the action is actually commenced, the provisions of said Act are applicable.
2. ID.; EFFECT OF DISMISSAL OR ABANDONMENT UPON PERIOD OF LIMITATION. — The commencement of a civil action stops the running of the statute of prescription or limitations. Its dismissal, however, or voluntary abandonment, by the plaintiff leaves the parties in exactly the same position as though no action had been commenced at all. The commencement of an action, by reason of its dismissal or abandonment, takes no time out of the period of prescription. When an action is commenced within the period of limitation (prescription) and is abandoned or dismissed by reason of the death of the plaintiff, the operation of the statute is prevented if the suit is recommenced within a reasonable time by the representatives of the deceased. Failure to carry the suit on, by the personal representatives, when the same has been dismissed or abandoned by the deceased, will amount to an abandonment.
3. ADVERSE POSSESSION AS BAR TO EJECTMENT. — An entry upon land, without right or title, followed by continuous and uninterrupted possession, under claim of right, for the period of time named in the statute of limitations (prescription), constitutes a statutory bar to an action of ejectment against one who otherwise has the better right of possession. It is the very essence of the statute of limitations that whether the party had a right to the possession or not, if he entered under the claim of such right and remained in possession for the period named in the statute of prescription, the right of action of the plaintiff, who had the better title, is barred by that adverse possession. The right given by the statute of limitations (prescription) does not depend upon, and has no necessary connection with the validity of the claim under which the possession is held. Otherwise there would be no use for the statute of limitations or adverse possession as a defense to an action. If the decision is made to depend upon the validity of the respective titles of the plaintiff and defendant, there can be no place for the consideration of the question of adverse possession. It is because the plaintiff has the better title, that the defendant is permitted to rely upon such uninterrupted possession. It is not necessary, in order to maintain the defense of prescription, that the defendant should have a proper title, under which he claims possession. It is sufficient, if he asserts ownership of the land and that this assertion is accompanied by an uninterrupted possession for the period named in the statute. An action for the recovery of title to, or possession of, real property, or an interest therein, can only be brought within ten years after the cause of action has accrued.
D E C I S I O N
The purpose of this action is to recover the possession of a parcel of land composed of 59 hectares and 65 centares. The action was commenced on the 9th day of March, 1912. The parcel is particularly described in the second paragraph of the complaint. The plaintiff alleges that he is the owner; that the defendants are illegally dispossessing him of the possession thereof. The defendants claim possession by prescription. At the close of the trial the lower court decreed the possession of all of said parcel to plaintiff except that portion occupied by the defendants Francisco Gamba and Miguel Gabiaso: From that decision the other defendants, Maximo Fruto, Silvestre Furing, Marcelo Banastao, Leon Fruto, Micael Barrameda, Eutiquio Bigata, Francisco Estopare, Alfonso Boncan, and Florentino Hitosis, appealed to this court and made the following assignments of error:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"I. The court has erred in not holding prescription of action against the plaintiff.
"II. The court has erred in not holding prescription of ownership in favor of the defendants.
"III. The court has erred in sentencing the defendants Maximo Fruto, Silvestre Furing, Marcelo Banastao, Leon Fruto, Micael Barrameda, Eutiquio Bigata, Francisco Estopare, Alfonso Boncan, and Florentino Hitosis to deliver to the plaintiff the parcels of land they possess as owners, which are described in pages 10, 11, and 12 of the stenographic notes.
"IV. The court has erred in not sentencing the plaintiff to pay for the improvements made by the defendants, after it had ordered restitution or delivery to the plaintiff of the parcels of land they possess.
"V. The court has erred in ordering the defendants to deliver to the plaintiff the parcels of land they possess, without their first being reimbursed for the value of the improvements."cralaw virtua1aw library
A motion for a new trial was made in the lower court by the appellants. That motion was never decided. Apparently it was abandoned by the appellants for the reason that before it was decided they presented their bill of exceptions. They evidently concluded to rely upon the facts stated in the pleadings and not denied and the decision of the lower court and the law applicable thereto. The presentation of a bill of exceptions pending the decision of a motion for a new trial is an abandonment of said motion. The defendants denied each and every fact alleged in the complaint. In the absence, therefore, of a motion for a new trial, we are limited to the facts stated in the decision. They are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. That in 1893 Jose Ramos Goy Senco purchased the said parcel of land from the Government. At that time the land was wild and uncultivated (baldio realengo).
2. The title of Jose Ramos Goy Sengco was not registered until the 17th of July, 1897.
3. On the 13th day o