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B. When prescription is inapplicable

1. By offender

The term of prescription shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine Archipelago. (Paragraph 2, Article 91, Revised Penal Code)

2. Registered lands

A Torrens Title is indefeasible in that it could not be assailed collaterally and it cannot be altered, modified or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law. 11 In addition, ownership supported by a certificate of title can neither be defeated by adverse, open and notorious possession nor prescription. As such, prescription and laches do not apply to registered land covered by the Torrens System. (Heirs of Alido v. Campano, G.R. No. 226065, 29 July 2019)

Section 47 of P.D. No. 1529 covers acquisitive prescription. A registered land therein can never be acquired by adverse possession. (Pangasinan v. Disolongo-Almazora, G.R. No. 200558, 01 July 2015)

3. Actions to demand right of way; to abate a nuisance

The following rights, among others specified elsewhere in this Code, are not extinguished by prescription:

1) To demand a right of way, regulated in Article 649;

2) To bring an action to abate a public or private nuisance. (Article 1143, Civil Code)

4. Action to quiet title if plaintiff is in possession

An action for reconveyance based on an implied trust generally prescribes in ten years. However, if the plaintiff remains in possession of the property, the prescriptive period to recover title of possession does not run against him. In such case, his action is deemed in the nature of a quieting of title, an action that is imprescriptible. (Ocampo v. Ocampo, Sr., G.R. No. 227894, 05 July 2017)

NB: For more discussions, see Quieting of Title.

5. Void contracts

An action to set aside a contract which is void ab initio does not prescribe. (Uy v. CA, G.R. No. 173186, 16 September 2015)

A contract is inexistent and void from the very beginning when (i) its cause, object or purpose is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy; (ii) it is absolutely simulated or fictitious; (iii) its cause or object did not exist at the time of the transaction; (iv) its object is outside the commerce of men; (v) it contemplates an impossible service; (vi) the intention of the parties relative to the principal object of the contract cannot be ascertained; or (vii) it is expressly prohibited or declared void by law. The action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe. (Dailisan v. CA, G.R. No. 176448, 28 July 2008)

6. Action to demand partition; distinguished from laches

a. ACTION TO DEMAND PARTITION

The action for partition does not prescribe so long as the co-ownership is expressly or impliedly recognized [Art. 494, Civil Code.] (Heirs of Sps. Infante v. CA, G.R. No. 77202, 22 June 1988)

As a co-owner of the property, therefore, petitioner has the right to demand partition, a right which does not prescribe. (Dailisan v. CA, supra.)

b. LACHES; ELEMENTS

The four (4) elements of laches are as follows:

1) conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under whom he claims, giving rise to the situation of which complaint is made for which the complaint seeks a remedy;

2) delay in asserting the complainant’s rights, the complainant having had knowledge or notice, of the defendant’s conduct and having been afforded an opportunity to institute a suit;

3) lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainant would assert the right on which he bases his suit; and

4) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complainant, or the suit is not held to be barred. (Pangasinan v. Disolongo-Almazora, supra.)

7. Property of public dominion

All lands not appearing to be clearly under private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Also, public lands remain part of the inalienable land of the public domain unless the State is shown to have reclassified or alienated them to private persons. (Heirs of Malabanan v. Republic, En Banc, G.R. No. 179987, 03 September 2013)

Where lands of the public domain are patrimonial in character, they are susceptible to acquisitive prescription. On the other hand, among the public domain lands that are not susceptible to acquisitive prescription are timber lands and mineral lands. The Constitution itself proscribes private ownership of timber or mineral lands. (Ibid.)

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