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[G.R. No. 32030. July 2, 1930. ]

SOFIA LAVARRO, ET AL., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. REGINA LABITORIA, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants.

M. H. de Joya and Enrique Tiangco,, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Mariano Escueta,, for Defendants-Appellants.


1. LAND REGISTRATION; IMPROVEMENTS; "RES JUDICATA." — In 1916 a tract of coconut land was registered in favor of S and the defendants in the present action. Subsequently, in the same year, the herein defendants brought an action for the partition of the land with its improvements. The action was finally terminated in 1927 and S was awarded 68,877 square meters of land and 850 coconut palms as her share. Shortly afterwards, the present action was brought by S and her two daughters to recover compensation for improvements consisting of coconut palms and alleged to have been planted by S and her first husband. Held, that all improvements were determined and adjudicated by the court in the former case and that the matter was res judicata.

2. "RES JUDICATA." — A judgment upon the merits bars a subsequent suit upon the same cause though brought in a different form of action.

3. ID.; SPLITTING OF CAUSES OF ACTION. — A party will not be permitted to split up a single cause of action and make it a basis for several suits, and the plaintiff in the former action cannot subsequently avail himself of the residue by way of offset in an action against him by the opposite party (15 R. C. L., 965).

4. LAND REGISTRATION; OWNERSHIP OF TREES AND PLANTS; PROCEEDINGS IN EQUITY. — Trees and plants annexed to the land are parts thereof, and unless rights or interests in such trees or plants are claimed in the registration proceedings by others, they become the property of the persons to whom the land is adjudicated. By timely proceedings in equity matters of that character, if fraudulent, may sometimes be corrected.



Anastacio Labitoria, who died over thirty years ago, was the original owner of a tract of land divided into three parcels and situated in the barrio of Mangilag, municipality of Candelaria, Province of Tayabas. He left four children, Francisco, Liberata, Tirso, and Eustacio Labitoria. Francisco acquired the shares of Tirso and Eustacio together with the greater part of that of Liberata, and thus became the owner of nearly all of the land. After his death, his children, Macario and Regina Labitoria, became the owners of his interest in the land.

Sofia Lavarro is the daughter of Liberata Labitoria, and in or about the year 1897, her first husband, Crispulo Alcantara, borrowed P330 from Francisco Labitoria on the condition that Alcantara should plant 3,300 coconut palms on the land to be divided in equal shares between the parties, the loan to be divided in equal shares between the parties, the loan to be paid back by turning over to the creditor 330 coconut palms out of the share of Alcantara and Sofia. Under this agreement, about 1,700 palms were planted by Alcantara, but later on, further plantings were made by his wife, Sofia Lavarro.

In July, 1916, the land was registered in the names of Macario Labitoria, Regina Labitoria, Bernardo Labitoria, Vidal Labitoria, Ariston Lavarro, Sofia Lavarro, and Isidro Lavaris. Nothing seems to have been said about the improvements on the land and no special mention of them appears in the certificate of title. Neither were the respective shares of the persons to whom the land was adjudicated definitely determined.

On October 31, 1916, Macario, Regina, and Bernardo Labitoria and Ariston Lavarro brought an action against Sofia Lavarro and her then husband, Emeterio Pureza, for the partition of the land with its improvements. The action is civil case No. 351 of the Court of First Instance of Tayabas. In her answer in that case, Sofia Lavarro set up a cross-complaint alleging, among other things, that she was a co
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