G.R. No. L-19248, 28 February 1963, 7 SCRA 452
This is a case of double sale of the same parcel of unregistered land decided in favor of defendant-appellee Pilapil, originally appealed by plaintiff-appellant Hanopol to the CA, but later certified to this Court for proper adjudication, the issues involved being exclusively of law.
Appellant Hanopol claims ownership of the land by virtue of a series of purchases effected in 1938 by means of private instruments, executed by the former owners Teodora, Lucia, Generosa, Sinforosa and Isabelo, all surnamed Siapo.
On the other hand, appellee Pilapil asserts title to the property on the strength of a duly notarized deed of sale executed in his favor by the same owners on December 3, 1945, which deed of sale was registered in the Registry of Deeds of Leyte on August 20, 1948 under the provisions of Act No. 3344.
Whether the registration of the second deed of sale in favor of appellee Pilapil affects his right as the first vendee?
Yes. It thus appears that the “better right” referred to in Act No. 3344 is much more than the mere prior deed of sale in favor of the first vendee.
In the case at bar, there appears to be no clear evidence of Hanopol’s possession of the land in controversy. In fact, in his complaint against the vendors, Hanopol alleged that the Siapos took possession of the same land under claim of ownership in 1945 and continued and were in such possession at the time of the filing of the complaint against them in 1948. Consequently, since the Siapos were in actual occupancy of the property under claim of ownership, when they sold the said land to appellee Pilapil on December 3, 1945, such possession was transmitted to the latter, at least constructively, with the execution of the notarial deed of sale, if not actually and physically as claimed by Pilapil in his answer filed in the present case. Thus, even on this score, Hanopol cannot have a better right than appellee Pilapil who, according to the trial court, “was not shown to be a purchaser in bad faith”.
*Case digest by Nikki P. Ebillo, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020