(Question B.11, Civil Law, 2019 Bar Exam)
Mr. R is the registered owner of a parcel of land located in Cebu City covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 1234 issued in 1955. Since his acquisition of the lot, Mr. R and his family had been in continuous, open, and peaceful possession thereof. Mr. R died in 1980, resulting in the land being transferred in the names of his heirs, i.e., A, B, and C, who became registered owners thereof as per TCT No. 5678. During the entire time, said land had never been encumbered or disposed, and that its possession always remained with them.
Sometime in 1999, A, B, and C wanted to build a concrete fence around the parcel of land, but they were opposed by Mrs. X, who started claiming ownership over the same property on the strength of a Deed of Absolute Sale purportedly entered into by her with Mr. R during the time that he was still alive. Aggrieved, A, B, and C intend to file a complaint for quieting of title against Mrs. X.
(a) What are the substantive requisites for the action to prosper? Do they obtain in this case? Explain. (3%)
(b) Within what period should A, B, and C file the complaint for quieting of title? Explain. (2%)
(c) Assuming that B and Care residing abroad, may A, without the knowledge of B and C, file the complaint for quieting of title on behalf of all the heirs? Explain. (2%)
(a) First question:
The substantive requisites are:
1) The plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of the action; and
2) The deed, claim, encumbrance or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy.
In the case at bar, both requisites are present. The plaintiffs (A, B, and C) have legal title to the real property by virtue of succession and/or inheritance. On the other hand, the Deed of Absolute Sale of Mrs. X is casting cloud on the title.
Thus, the requisites obtain in this case.
(b) An action to quiet title is a real action over immovables, which prescribes after thirty (30) years.
(c) Yes. Answer
Under jurisprudence, co-owner may initiate a complaint for quieting of title brought on behalf of the co-owners as it is presumed to have been filed to benefit his co-owners. Rule
In the case at bar, as a co-owner, A may initiate a complaint for quieting of title without the knowledge of B and C. The suit will be presumed to have been filed to benefit the other co-owners, B and C. Apply
Thus, A may file the complaint for quieting of title on behalf of all the heirs and even without the knowledge of B and C. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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