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[G.R. No. L-10080. November 3, 1917. ]

ENRIQUE M. BARRETTO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TOMAS CABAÑGIS, Defendant-Appellee.

Thos. D. Aitkin for Appellant.

Willians, Ferrier & SyCip for Appellee.


1. PURCHASE OF LAND BY ONE WHO AT THE TIME HAD FULL KNOWLEDGE THAT HIS VENDOR WAS WITHOUT TITLE OR INTEREST THEREIN. — O Et. Al. commenced an action against C. recover, as owner, a certain parcel of land. A final decision had been rendered holding that O Et. Al. were without right or title in said land. Thereafter B. purchased said land of O Et. Al. with full knowledge that his vendor was without right, title or interest in the same. B. thereafter commenced an action to recover, as owner, said parcel of land. Held: Under the facts stated in the opinion, that B was without right in the premises and could not recover the possession of the land C.



The purpose of the present action was to recover the possession of a certain piece or parcel of land described with some degree of particularity in the first paragraph of the complaint, together with damages estimated at P105,000 with interest and costs.

The defendant answered by a general denial and by a special defense. In his special defense the defendant alleged:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(a) That in certain proceedings instituted and tried in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, civil case No. 3073, in which Salvadora Ocampo, Luis Abella and Geronimo Abella were plaintiffs, and Toman Cabañgis, the here defendant, was were litigated and judicially determined.

"(b) That in the said proceedings to plaintiffs claimed the ownership of the same lands described in the complaint of record, basing their claim on the same grounds mentioned in the complaint in this record.

"(c) That a copy of the complaint presented in the said previous action, dated October 21, 1904, is hereby annexed, marked Exhibit A, and is hereby referred to and made an integral part of this answer.

"(d) That in the said proceedings, the defendant, Tomas Cabañgis, opposed the said claim of the plaintiffs, submitting the above-mentioned question of ownership to the consideration and decision of said Court of First Instance of the city of Manila.

"(e) That said court was and is a court of general jurisdiction, exercising and enjoying competent jurisdiction over the parties and matter in said proceedings.

"(f) That in the said proceedings, after determining the respective claims of the parties, said court rendered judgment on the 9th day of February, 1907, in favor of the plaintiffs. That the defendant appealed from said judgment of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands, which tribunal, by its decision rendered on the 28th day of December, 1908, revoked the judgment of the lower court as follows, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"‘Without prejudice to the filling of an extended opinion later, the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed and the defendant is absolved from the complaint without special finding as to costs, and twenty days hereafter let judgment be entered in conformity herewith, and ten days later let the record be returned to the court wherein it originated, for appropriate action. So ordered.

"(g) That thereafter, to wit, on January 16, 1909, the 20 days specified in the aforesaid decision having expired, judgment was entered by the said Supreme Court in conformity therewith, a copy of which judgment is attached hereto, marked Exhibit B, and made a part of this answer."cralaw virtua1aw library

In addition to the foregoing defense the defendant further set up the defense prescription, alleging —

"That during more than thirty years last past, or since the year 1843, the defendant and his immediate predecessors in interest have been and now are in the actual, uninterrupted, open, public, and continuous possession of the land above described, under claim of absolute title thereto, and exclusive of any other right and adverse to all other claimants."cralaw virtua1aw library

Upon the issue thus presented the cause was brought on for trial on the 18th day of July, 1912. After hearing the evidence the lower court rendered a judgment, the dispositive part of which is as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"It is accordingly considered and adjudged that plaintiff take nothing by his complaint, and that defendant recover his costs."

From that judgment the plaintiff appealed to this court. The appellant makes two assignments of error as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"1. The trial court erred in holding that the matter in litigation was res adjudicata.

"2. The trial court erred in not rendering decision in favor of appellant on the merits."cralaw virtua1aw library

In relation to the first assignment of error it may be said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

First. That the plaintiff admits that he is the successor in interest of the said Salvador Ocampo, Luis Abella, and Geronimo Abella, mentioned in the answer of the defendant.

Second. The record shows that the land in question in this particular case is identically the same land which was litigated between the said Ocampo et a. and the said Tomas Cabañgis in case No. 3073 of the Court of First Instance (R. G. No. 3983 of the Supreme Court.)

Third. The record shows that in that case (No. 3073, Court of First Instance, and No. 3983 of the Supreme Court) it was held that the plaintiffs were without right to the possession of the parcel of land in question.

Fourth. The record further shows (Exhibit ZZ) that during the pendency of said other action (R.G. No. 3983) the plaintiff herein purchased the said parcel of land from the said plaintiffs in that action, Ocampo Et. Al.; that at the time of said purchase, which was three days after the promulgation of the decision in the first case (R.G. No. 3983) and before it became final, the plaintiff herein, as will more fully appear by the following, which is a copy of the transfer of said property to the plaintiff herein:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"In consideration of the agreed price in the contract of this same date and in view of the fact that Enrique M. Barretto, a resident of this city, is willing to defray all the expenses and costs which heretofore may be incurred in the action which, under No. 3983 of the general register of the Supreme court of these Islands, we are engaged in against Tomas Cabañgis — the latter being the defendant and appellant, and we the plaintiffs and appellee — we solemnly declare by these presents that we assign and convey to the said Enrique M. Barretto, his heirs and assigns, all our rights or those which we may exercise in the referred action as to our ownership over a piece of land in the barrio of Vitas, in the district of Tondo, Manila, which was acquired through purchase from the Augustinian friars by our predecessor in interest, Luis Abella y Rojo, now deceased; and

"By virtue of this assignment and conveyance, we authorized the said Enrique M. Barretto to continue the said action against the said Tomas Cabañgis, to appeal it, if necessary, to the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as to compromise it if he finds it convenient to his interest; all to be done at his own account and risk and without any further liability on our part. Should ownership and possession of said land be decreed in our favor, it shall be understood to have been done so in behalf of the said Enrique M. Barretto.

"In witness whereof, we have signed this document, in Manila, Philippine Islands, this 29th day of December,



(Sgd.) "G. ABELLA."cralaw virtua1aw library

I agree:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library


"United States of America,

Philippines Islands,

City of Manila

"Before me, Matias Sanchez, a notary public for this city, personally appeared Salvadora Ocampo, the widow of Abella, exempt from the cedula tax on account of sex; Luis Abella, of legal age, married, with cedula No. F1478929, issued at Manila on January 26, 1909; Geronimo Abella, of legal age, married, with cedula No. F1525554, issued at Manila on April 16, 1009; and Enrique M Barretto, of legal age, widower, with cedula No. F1487229, issued at Manila on June 30, 1909, all of whom are known to me to be the same persons who executed the foregoing instrument and acknowledged that the same is their free act and deed.

"Manila, December 29, 1909.


"Notary Public, whose appointment expires,

December 31, 1910."cralaw virtua1aw library

Fifth. That the present plaintiff, even though he became the owner of whatever interest Ocampo Et. Al. had in the land in question before the decision in case R.G. No. 3983 became final, did not have himself substituted in their stead in said litigation, but, upon the contrary, permitted further proceedings to be had, with full knowledge thereof, in that case in the name of Ocampo Et. Al.

Sixth. That while the plaintiff herein purchased the parcel of land in question with full knowledge of the pendency of the litigation between his vendors and the defendant herein, and while he made no effort to be substituted instead of his vendors, and while he permitted certain proceedings to be had after the date of his purchase in the name of Ocampo Et. Al., and while the decision in that case became final upon the 18th day of January, 1909, he did not commence the present action until the month of November, 1911.

The decision in the former case (R.G. No. 3983) was promulgated upon the 26th day of December, 1909. The defendant with full knowledge that it had been declared that Ocampo Et. Al. were without right or title in the lands in question, purchased the same upon the 29th day of December, 1909. He is, therefor, the successor in interest of Ocampo Et. Al. with full knowledge that the question of the ownership of that land had been judged and settled. A question decided or passed upon by a court of competent jurisdiction is received as evidence of truth. The question of the ownership of the land in question had been settled before the present plaintiff became the owner thereof, of which fact he had full knowledge. He is, before, bound by the result of the former litigation and cannot be permitted again to litigate that question.

With reference to the second assignment of error the record contains a large preponderance of evidence showing that the defendant and his predecessors had occupied the parcel of land in question for about fifty years, quietly, peaceably and without interruption.

After a careful examination of the record, and without discussing at greater length the authorities cited by the appellant against the application of the doctrine of res ad judicata, we are of the opinion and so decide that the judgment of the lower court should affirmed, with cost. So ordered.

Carson, Street, and Malcolm, JJ., concur.

Araullo, J., did not sit in the case.

Separate Opinions

TORRES, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

The judgment rendered in the previous case , No. 3983, being already final, I concur.

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