Cano v. Director of Lands

G.R. No. L-10701, 16 January 1959, 105:1

FACTS:

Land Registration Case No. 12: CFI of Sorsogon decreed the registration of Lots Nos. 1798 and 1799 of the Juban (Sorsogon) Cadastre under the following conditions: xx that the two parcels of land described in plan SWO-24152, known as Lots Nos. 1798 and 1799 of the Cadastral Survey of Juban, with their improvements, be registered in the name of Maria Cano (reservista), Filipina, 71 years of age, widow and resident of Juban, province of Sorsogon, with the understanding that Lot No. 1799 shall be subject to the right of reservation in favor of Eustaquia Guerrero pursuant to Article 891 of the Civil Code xx.The decision being final, the decree and the Certificate of Title (No. 0-20) were issued in the name of Maria Cano, subject to reserva troncal in favor of Eustaquia Guerrero. Counsel for the reservee (reservatorio) Guerrero filed a motion with the Cadastral Court, alleging the death of the original registered owner and reservista, Maria Cano, on September 8, 1955, and praying that the original Certificate of Title be ordered cancelled and a new one issued in favor of movant Eustaquia Guerrero.

This was opposed by the sons of the reservista. who contended that the application and operation of the reserva troncal should be ventilated in an ordinary contentious proceeding, and that the Registration Court did not have jurisdiction to grant the motion. The lower court granted the petition for the reason that the death of the reservista vested the ownership of the property in the petitioner as the sole reservatario troncal. The oppositors, heirs of the reservista Maria Cano, duly appealed from the order, insisting that the ownership of the reservatario can not be decreed in a mere proceeding under sec. 112 of Act 496, but requires a judicial administration proceedings. In this connection, appellants argue that the reversion in favor of the reservatario requires the declaration of the existence of the following facts:
a.The property was received by a descendant by gratuitous title from an ascendant or from a brother or sister
b.Said descendant dies without issue;
c.The property is inherited by another ascendant by operation of law; and
d.The existence of relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which said property came.

ISSUE:

Whether Guererro is entitled to the land in question. [YES.]

HELD:

The requisites enumerated by appellants have already been declared to exist by the decree of registration wherein the rights of the appellee as reservatario troncal were expressly recognized. Lot No. 1799 was acquired by the applicant Maria Cano by inheritance from her deceased daughter, Lourdes Guerrero who, in turn, inherited the same from her father Evaristo Guerrero and, hence, falls squarely under the provisions of Article 891 of the Civil Code. Eustaquia Guerrero, being the nearest of kin, excludes all the other private oppositors, whose degree of relationship to the decedent is remoter.

This decree having become final, all persons are barred thereby from contesting the existence of the constituent elements of the reserva. The only requisites for the passing of the title from the reservista to the appellee are: (1) the death of the reservista; and (2) the fact that the reservatario has survived the reservista. It is a consequence of these principles that upon the death of the reservista, the reservatario nearest to the prepositus (the appellee in this case) becomes, automatically and by operation of law, the owner of the reservable property. It is equally well settled that the reservable property can not be transmitted by a reservista to her or his own successors mortis causa, (like appellants herein) so long as a reservatorio within the third degree from the prepositus and belonging to the line whence the property came, is in existence when the reservista dies. The rights of the reservataria Eustaquia Guerrero have been expressly recognized, and it is nowhere claimed that there are other reservatarios of equal or nearer degree. It is thus apparent that the heirs of the reservista are merely endeavoring to prolong their enjoyment of the reservable property to the detriment of the party lawfully entitled thereto.

*Case digest by Jan Robert M. Corre, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio College Law School, SY 2018-2019

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