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G.R. No.

L-46079 March 24, 1944

MARIA LOPEZ, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
MAGDALENA GONZAGA VDA. DE CUAYCONG, ET AL., defendants-appellees;
LOPEZ SUGAR CENTRAL MILL CO., INC., intervenor-appellant.

BOCOBO, J.:

The intervenor and appellant, the Lopez Sugar Central Mill Co., Inc., moves for a reconsideration of the resolution of this
Court promulgated on July 20, 1940, in so far as said resolution declared the deed of sale, Exhibit D, void in its entirety
and denied certain remedies prayed for.

In the decision of this Court under date of January 29, 1940, this Court held the sale in question void and of no effect in
so far as the three daughters, Maria Cristina, Josefina and Anita Cuaycong, were concerned because they had not taken
part therein, but valid as to the widow and other children of Cuaycong who had consented to the transaction. In said
decision, this Court ordered intervenor to removed the buildings constructed on Lot 178-B. Then, in the resolution dated
July 20, 1940, this Court held that said contract was void in its entirety. The portion of said resolution whose
reconsideration is sought reads: "And with respect to the widow of Cuaycong and his children of age, the sale was also
void, because they alienated, without a previous partition of the hacienda, a definite and concrete part thereof, although
they had only an abstract and undivided share of said property."

We shall discuss three questions raised in the motion for reconsideration: (1) Was the consent of the three daughters,
Maria Cristina, Josefina and Anita Cuaycong necessary to the sale in question? (2) What rights did the intervenor
acquire in this sale? (3) Whether the distillery building and other improvements constructed on Lot 178-B should be
removed by intervenor.

On the first question, we believe the consent of the three daughters above named was not necessary to the validity of
the sale in question. Each coowner may alienate his undivided or ideal share in the community.

Articles 392 and 399 of the Civil Code provide:

Articles 392. There is co-ownership whenever the ownership of a thing or of a right belong undivided to different
persons.

Art. 399. Todo condueo tendra la plena propiedad de su parte y la de los frutos y utilidades que le
correspondan, pudiendo en su consecuencia enajenarla, cederla o hipotecarla, y aun sustituir otro en su
aprovechamiento, salvo si se tratare de derechos personales. Pero el efecto de la enajenacion o hipoteca con
relacion a los condueos estara limitado a la porcion que se le adjudique en la division al cesar la comunidad.

Article 399. Each one of the co-owners shall have the absolute ownership of his part and that of the fruits and
profits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore sell, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in
its enjoyment, unless personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or mortgage with respect to the
coowners shall be limited to the share which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-
ownership.

Manresa has the following to say on this subject:

Cada condomino lo es del todo, y sobre el todo ejerce derechos dominicales, pero al mismo tiempo es
proprietario de una parte realmente abstracta, porque hasta que la division se efectue no queda aquella
determinada concretamente. Los derechos de los comuneros son, por lo expuesto, todo lo absolutos que el
dominio requiere, puesto que aquellos pueden gozar y disponer de la cosa comun, sin otras limitaciones que las
de no perjudicar en el ejercicio de su derecho los intereses generales de la comunidad, y poseen ademas la
plena propiedad de su parte, que pueden enajenar, ceder o hipotecar: parte que, repetimos, no sera cierta hasta
el momento de cesar la comunidad. El derecho de propiedad, por consiguiente, tal y como lo define el art. 348
del presente Codigo civil, con sus notas de absoluto y con su caracter de individualizacion, aparece ejercido en
el condominio, sin otra diferencia entre la propiedad singular y la comun que la que acertadamente establece el
codigo portugues (arts. 2175 y 2176), al decir 'que el propietario singular ejerce de modo exclusivo sus
derechos, y el proprietario en comun los ejerce conjuntamente con los otros'; pero, aadiremos nosotros,
estandole atribuidos al condomino de modo individual sobre su parte indivisa todos los derechos de tal
propietario, a mas del uso y disfrute de la cosa, que es comun a todos los propietarios. (Emphasis supplied.)

Each co-owner owns the whole, and over it he exercises rights of dominion, but at the same time he is the owner
of a share which is really abstract, because until the division is effected, such share is not concretely determined.
The rights of the co-owners are, therefore, as absolute as dominion requires, because they may enjoy and
dispose of the common property, without any limitation other than that they should not, in the exercise of their
right, prejudice the general interest of the community, and possess, in addition, the full ownership of their share,
which they may alienate, convey or mortgage; which share, we repeat, will not be certain until the community
ceases. The right of ownership, therefore, as defined in Art. 348 of the present Civil Code, with its absolute
features and its individualized character, in exercised in co-ownership, with no other differences between sole
and common ownership than that which is rightly established by the Portuguese Code (Arts. 2175 and 2176),
when it says "that the sole owner exercises his rights exclusively, and the co-owner exercises them jointly with
the other co-owners"; but we shall add, to each co-owner pertains individually, over his undivided share, all the
rights of the owner, aside from the use and enjoyment of the thing, which is common to all the co-owners.
(Emphasis supplied.)

Manresa further says that in the alienation of his undivided or ideal share, a co-owner does not meet the consent of the
others. (Vol. 3 pp. 486-487, 3rd Ed.)

Sanchez Roman also says ("Estudios de Derecho Civil", vol. 3, pp. 174-175):

Muestra el 399 la integridad esencial del derecho de cada condueo en la porcion mental que en el condominio
o comunidad le corresponde.

xxx xxx xxx

. . . el ser condueo o coparticipe de una propiedad no significa quedar privado de todo reconocimiento de
disposicion de la cosa, del libre uso de su derecho dentro de las condiciones circunstanciales de tal estado
juridico, ni que para ejercer el uso y disfrute, o el de libre disposicion, sea preciso el previo consentimiento de
todos los interesados.

Article 399 shows the essential integrity of the right of each co-owner in the mental portion which belongs to him
in the co-ownership or community.

xxx xxx xxx

To be a co-owner of a property does not mean that one is deprived of every recognition of the disposal of the
thing, of the free use of his right within the circumstantial conditions of such juridical status, nor is it necessary,
for the use and enjoyment, or the right of free disposal, that the previous consent of all the interested parties be
obtained. . . .

According to Scaevola (Codigo Civil, vol. 7, pp. 154-155):

2.a Derecho absoluto de cada comunero respecto de su parte o cuota. Respecto de esta se equipara al
propietario individual. Es, en efecto, un propietario singular, con todos los derechos inherentes a tal condicion.
La cuota del comunero, o sea la parte que idealmente le corresponde en la cosa o derecho comun y que se
halla representada por una cantidad determinada, es suya y puede disponer de ella como le plazca, porque no
afecta al derecho de los demas. Dicha cantidad equivale a un credito contra la cosa o derecho comun,
propiedad particular de cada acreedor (comunero). Las diversas cuotas suponen idealmente otras tantas
unidades de cosa o derecho, pertenencientes de modo singular a los various propietarios, o sea una unidad a
cada dueo.

2nd. Absolute right of each co-owner with respect to his part or share. With respect to the latter, each co-
owner is the same as an individual owner. He is a singular owner, with all the rights inherent in such condition.
The share of the co-owner, that is, the part which ideally belongs to him in the common thing or right and is
represented by a certain quantity, is his and he may dispose of the same as he pleases, because it does not
affect the right of the others. Such quantity is equivalent to a credit against the common thing or right, and is the
private property of each creditor (co-owner). The various shares ideally signify as many units of thing or right,
pertaining individually to the different owners; in other words a unit for each owner."

It follows that the consent of the three daughters Maria Cristina, Josefina and Anita Cuaycong to the sale in question
was not necessary.

II

The second question is: What rights did the intervenor acquire in this sale? The answer is: the same rights as the
grantors had as co-owners in an ideal share equivalent in value to 10,832 square meters of the hacienda. No specific
portion, physically identified, of the hacienda has been sold, but only an abstract and undivided share equivalent in value
to 10,832 square meters of the common property. What portion of the hacienda has been sold will not be physically and
concretely ascertained until after the division. This sale is therefore subject to the result of such partition, but this
condition does not render the contract void, for an alienation by the co-owner of his ideal share is permitted by law, as
already indicated. If in the partition this lot 178-B should be adjudicated to the intervenor, the problem would be
simplified; otherwise, the sellers would have to deliver to the intervenor another lot equivalent in value to Lot No. 178-B.
Incidentally, it should be stated that according to Rule 71, sec. 4, of the new Rules of Court, regarding partition of real
estate, the commissioners on partition shall set apart the real property "to the several parties in such lots or parcels as
will be most advantageous and equitable, having due regard to the improvements, situation and quality of the different
parts thereof." (Emphasis supplied.) Consequently, without deciding that the commissioners on partition must assign Lot
5 178-B to intervenor, we deem it proper to state that if in the partition proceedings, the commissioners should set apart
said lot to intervenor, they would be acting within the letter and spirit of the provision, just quoted, of Rule 71, sec. 4; and
that they will probably make such adjudication.

In the Sentence of December 29, 1905, the Supreme Tribunal of Spain declared that the alienation, by a co-owner, of
either an abstract or a concrete part of the property owned in common does not mean the cessation of the ownership.
Said sentence held:

No es de estimar el primer motivo, porque tal estado de derecho no desaparece, ni siquiera se desvirtua, con
respecto a los copropietarios entre si, por haber ambos, o alguno de ellos, ejecutado actos que pudieran
reputarse no comprendidos en las facultades inherentes a la administracion, unicas que de mutuo acuerdo se
habian conferido en determinados bienes, porque si bien todo condueo puede enajenar, ceder o hipotecar la
propiedad de su parte, el efecto de tal enajenacion esta limitado, con referencia a los condueos, a la porcion
que se le adjudique ulteriormente, conforme al articulo 399 del Codigo civil, y no implica la cesacion de la
comunidad, ya se refiera la venta a parte abstracta de los bienes, ya a parte concreta y determinada de los
mismos, porque esto ultimo, que podra afectar a la forma y condiciones con que en su dia haya de practicarse
la particion, no altera en manera alguna la situacion juridica de los que poseen colectivamente, mientras no se
realice la division de la cosa comun, que se declara no haber tenido efecto. (Italics supplied.)

The first assignment of error cannot be sustained, because such legal status does not disappear, nor is it
impaired, with respect to the co-owners between themselves simply because both or either of them executed
acts which may be considered as beyond the powers inherent in administration, the only powers which by
mutual agreement had been conferred as to certain properties, inasmuch as although every co-owner may
alienante, grant, or mortgage the ownership of his share, the effect of such alienation is limited, with reference to
the co-owners, to the portion which may be adjudicated to him later, according to Art. 399 of the Civil Code, and
does not imply the cessation of the community, whether the sale refers to an abstract part of the property, or to a
concrete and definite part thereof, because though in the latter case the form and conditions of the subsequent
partition may be effected, nevertheless, the juridical situation of the collective owners is not in any way altered so
long as the partition of the common property is not carried out, which is declared not to have taken place.
(Emphasis supplied.)

Applying the above doctrine to the instant case, it cannot be said that the sale of Lot 178-B to the intervenor had the
effect of partitioning the hacienda and adjudicating that lot to the intervenor. It merely transferred to the intervenor an
abstract share equivalent in value to 10,832 square meters of said hacienda, subject to the result of the subsequent
partition. The fact that the agreement in question purported to sell a concrete portion of the hacienda does not render the
sale void, for it is a well-established principle that the binding force of a contract must be recognized as far as it is legally
possible to do so. "Quando res non valet ut ago, valeat quantum valere potest." (when a thing is of no force as I do it, it
shall have as much force as it can have.") It is plain that Margarita G. Vda. de Cuaycong and her children of age
intended to sell to intervenor no more than what could convey only their ideal share, equivalent in value to 10,1832
square meters of the hacienda, that ideal share alone must be deemed to have been the subject-matter of the sale in
question. They are presume to know the law that before partition, conventional or judicial, coowner may dispose of any
physically identified portion of the common property; and that any conveyance by a coowner is subject to the result of a
subsequent partition. This interpretation of the contract does no harm to the minor daughters, as the sale in question is
subject to the result of the partition which intervenor may demand.

As a successor in interest to an abstract or undivided share of the sellers, equivalent in value to 10,832 square meters of
the property owned in common, the intervenor has the same right as its predecessors in interest to demand partition at
any time, according to article 400 of the Civil Code which reads:

Art. 400. Ningun copropietario estara obligado a permanecer en la comunidad. Cada uno de ellos podra pedir en
cualquier tiempo que se divida la cosa comun.

Esto no obstante, sera valido el pacto de conservar la cosa indivisa por tiempo determinado, que no exceda de
diez aos. Este plazo podra prorrogarse por nueva convencion.

III

The third and remaining question is whether the distillery building and other improvements constructed on Lot 178-B
should be removed by the intervenor. It is clear that the sale in question being valid, subject to the result of the partition
which the intervenor has a right to demand as a coowner, the intervenor is a builder in good faith. Hence, if in the
partition already discussed, Lot 178-B should not be adjudicated to the intervenor as a coowner, then article 361 of the
Civil Code would have to be applied. Said article provides:

Art. 361. El dueo del terreno en que se edificare, sembrare o plantare de buena fe, tendra derecho a hacer
suya la obra, siembra o plantacion, previa la indemnizacion establecida en los articulos 453 y 454, o a obligar al
que fabrico o planto a pagarle el precio del terreno, y al que sembro la renta correspondiente.

Therefore, upon reconsideration we hereby declare the deed of sale, Exh. D. valid, binding as it is, not only upon the
widow and her children who consented thereto but also upon her three minor daughters Maria Cristina, Josefina and
Anita Cuaycong. It is hereby further adjudicated that the intervenor as a coowner has a right to demand partition; that if
in the partition, Lot No. 178-B should not be adjudicated to the intervenor being a builder in good faith; and that
consequently, our order in the decision of January 29, 1940, requiring intervenor to remove the buildings constructed on
said lot should be and is hereby cancelled and withdrawn.
G.R. No. 87148 March 18, 1992

MARCIANA CONSIGNADO and NAZARlO ASENDIDO, petitioners,


vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, (Ninth Division), MILAGROS MATINING and HERACLEO
MATINING, respondents.

PADILLA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision * of the Court of Appeals (Ninth Division) in CA-G.R. SP NO.
14729, dated 15 February 1989.

The antecedents are as follows:

On 8 August 1985. the Petitioners-spouses Marciana Consignado and Nazario Asendido filed with the Municipal Trial
Court of Nagcarlan, Laguna a complaint 1 against the private respondent Milagros Matining, assisted by her husband
Heracleo Matining, docketed therein as Civil Case No. 608, alleging among others as follows:

3. Plaintiff Marciana Consignado is the absolute owner of a parcel of residential land, together with a
house existing thereon, as her paraphernal property located at 46 Avenida Rizal (Poblacion), Nagcarlan,
Laguna, more particularly described as follows:

A parcel of land located in Avenida Rizal, Nagcarlan, Laguna. Bounded on the North by
property of Rosita Urreta; on the East by Avenida Rizal; on the South by property of the
Heirs of Santos Doria and on the West by a canal and property of Mateo Suelto,
containing an area of Fifty Eight (58) square meters, more or less;

4. Her (Marciana) ownership thereto is evidenced by Tax Declaration No. 25209 declared in her name,
with an assessed value of Pl,220.00, as well as by other documents, including document dated
December 31, 1949 and for which she (Marciana) had been paying realty takes up to the current year;

5. Said property originated from her (Marciana) grandfather Bernabe Consignado, having been
previously declared in his name under Tax Declaration No. 48 for the year 1938;.

6. In turn, she (Marciana) inherited the same property from her father Florentino Consignado, as per
Document of Adjudication of Share in her favor and which was duly registered under Act 3344 by the
Register of Deeds of Laguna on May 13, 1981;

7. Sometime in 1974, when defendant pleaded that she became homeless after her house was burned,
said defendant was allowed by herein plaintiffs out of Christian charity to occupy a portion of the property
as long as they (plaintiffs) do not need the same;

8. However, without the consent or knowledge of Plaintiffs, defendant removed the kitchen and the
dining room, which caused damage to the plaintiffs in the sum of P5,000.00;

9. Hence, from August 31, 1983, written demands to vacate the same were made to defendant by herein
plaintiffs, through her (Marciana) sister Estebana Consignado, in order for them (plaintiffs) to repossess it
as they need it for their own use, the last of which was a written demand dated April 14, 1985, received
on April 22 1985;

10. Notwithstanding repeated demands, defendant refused and still refuses to vacate said property
thereby unlawfully withholding possession thereof up to this date;

xxx xxx xxx

On their second cause of action, the petitioners (as plaintiffs) further alleged:
13. Due to the deliberate refusal of defendant to vacate said property despite the first oral demandmade
in 1980, plaintiffs who are being deprived of possession of the same suffered actual damages at the rate
of P50.00 monthly, which is the reasonable amount for the use and occupation thereof amounting to a
total sum of P2,300.00 up to July 31, 1985;

14. By reason of the filing of the present action, plaintiffs have incurred and will incur expenses of
litigation in the sum of Pl,000.00;

15. Plaintiffs likewise engaged the services of counsel in handling this case in Court and for whom she
(defendant) is obliged to pay for attorney's fee in the sum of P300.00 for every court appearance therein;

The petitioners prayed in their complaint that

. . ., judgment be rendered at (sic) the defendant by ordering her, as follows:

a. to vacate the property in question, including her agents and represntatives found
therein;

b. to pay to the plaintiffs actual damages in the sum of P2,300.00, as reasonable amount
for the use and occupation of said property from August 31, 1983, date of the first written
demand up to July 31, 1985, at the rate of P50.00 monthly;

c. to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of P5,000.00; representing the value of the damage as
caused by defendant's removal and/or destruction of the kitchen and dining room;

d. to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of Pl,000.00 as expenses of litigation;

e. to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of P300.00 as reasonable attorney's fee for every court
appearance until terminated, and

f. with costs against the defendant

Thereafter, as ordered by the court a quo, the private respondents filed their answer, 2 admitting some allegations but
denying the material allegations of the complaint, and by way of special and affirmative defenses and counterclaim, alleged as
follows:

(7) That this Honorable Court has no jurisdiction over the nature of the action or suit;

(8) That the late Bernabe Consignado was the original owner of the residential land with the existing
house thereon, located at 46 Avenida Rizal Street, Nagcarlan, Laguna, with an area of 86 Square
meters, more or less, under Tax Declaration No. 19636;

(9) That the residential land and house in question was inherited by his son, the late Florentino
Consignado who have (sic) four (4) legitimate children, namely, Macario, Estebana, Margarita, and
Marciana, all surnamed Consignado;

(10) That the late Florentino Consignado's two daughters Estibana and Margarita Consignado had
inherited their respective shares and the residential land and house existing thereon was adjudicated to
Macario Consignado and Marciana Consignado consisting of 86 Square meters and 'after deducting the
respective shares of their relatives, Ofelia Urreta and Rosita Urreta of 14 square meters, each, the
vacant portion of land within the 86 sq.meters, the remaining 58 square meters, which belongs in co-
ownership to Macario Consignado and Marciana Consignado;

(11) That during the lifetime of Macario Consignado, who was then residing in the house in land (sic) in
question, plaintiff Marciana Consignado in conspiracy, connivance, and collusion with her two (2) sisters,
Margarita and Estebana, all surnamed Consignado, with event (sic) bad faith and without the knowledge
and consent of the former (Macario Consignado) caused the execution of a document of "Pagpapatibay
Ng Kabahagi Sa Samahang Pag-aari" on May 12, 1981 before Ex-Officio Norary (sic) Public, Judge
Orlando R. Tuico, under Doc. No. 184; Page No. 21; Book No. IX; Series of 1981, appropriting (sic) to
herself the whole 58 square meters of the residential land in question, registered the same with the
Registered (sic) of Deeds in Sta. Cruz, Laguna and transferring the land in her name under Tax
Declaration No. 25209, which xerox copy of the document is hereto attached as Annex "1" and made an
integral part hereof;

(12) That defendants Milagros Matining with her husband Heracleo Matining and their family was allowed
by Macario Consignado who was then a widower, to rent the house and stay with him on August 5, 1976
paying a monthly rental of P30.00, but after one (1) month, Macario Consignado became sickly, so much
so, that defendant and her family took care of Macario Consignado and Macario Consignado refused to
accept payment of monthly rentals from defendant and her family;

(13) That Macario Consignado in his illness was being cared for, by defendant even at the Veterans
Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, until his death on November 21, 1982;

(14) That after four (4) years of constant care of defendant's family of Macario Consignado in his
sickness and in consideration of Macario Consignado's love and affection to defendant and his (sic)
family, Macario Consignado executed a Deed of Donation (Kasulatan ng Pagbibigay Pala) on August 27,
1980 before Notary Public, Venderlube Tubana, under Doc. No. 318; Page No. 67; Book No. 32; series
of 1980, which xerox copy is hereto attached as Annex "2" and made an integral part hereof;

(15) That on February, 25, 1982 plaintiff Marciana Consignado and her brother Macario Consignado
verbally decided to partition their co-ownership residential land and house in question, adjudicating 29
square meters of the aforecited residential land and house in the Southern portion to Macario
Consignado and the 29 square meters in the Northern portion to plaintiff Marciana Consignado;

(16) That as a consequence of the verbal partition between plaintiff Marciana Consignado and Macario
Consignado the existing kitchen being located in the portion adjudicated to Macario Consignado, he
requested the husband of defendant to remove the same;

(17) That by virtue of the donation made by Macario Consignado to defendant and her husband in Annex
2's defendant because (sic) the owner of the 29 square meters of the residential land and house thereon,
hereby depriving this Honorable Court to acquire jurisdiction over the nature of the action or suit, as
ownership of the disputed portion exclusively belong (sic) to the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court;

xxx xxx xxx

After the preliminary conference and trial on the merits of the case, the MTC of Nagcarlan, Laguna rendered on 2 March
1987 a decision, 3 the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, Marciana Consignado and Nazario
Asendido and against the defendants, Milagros Cuenco-Matining and Heracleo Matining, ordering the
defendants to immediately vacate the premises in question and to turn over possession thereof to the
plaintiffs, to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P30.00 a month as fair rental value of the property or reasonable
compensation for the use and occupation of the premises from April 14, 1985 per Exhibit "E-2" until they
finally vacate it, to pay P2,000.00 as reasonable attorney's fees, and to pay the cost of suit. For lack of
merit, the counterclaim of the defendants is hereby denied.

SO ORDERED.

From the aforesaid decision, the private respondents (as defendants) appealed to the RTC of San Pablo City, Laguna,
Branch 29, their appeal being docketed therein as Civil Case No. SP-2886. On 12 May 1988, the said court rendered a
decision, 4 affirming the decision of the MTC of Nagcarlan, Laguna, the pertinent portion of which reads:

The lower Court in its exhaustive decision, found that the evidence of ownership presented by the
defendant is not sufficient to override plaintiff's evidence. It is correct. At least for the purpose of
determining who should be the rightful possessor of the questioned premises. Plaintiffs, unless their right
to ownership of the area in question, has not (sic) been defeated in an appropriate proceeding should be
entitled to the possession, of the land and house in controversy.
ALL TOLD, there being no compelling reasons to disturb the decision of the lower Court, its decision is
hereby affirmed en toto, with costs against defendants-appellants.

SO ORDERED.

Dissatisfied, the private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals, their appeal being docketed therein as CA-G.R.
SP No. 14729, assigning for resolution the sole issue of:

WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS HERACLEO AND MILAGROS MATINING ARE ENTITLED TO


OWN ONE HALF (1/2) PORTION OF THE PREMISES IN QUESTION.

On 15 February 1989, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision, 5 the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is PARTIALLY GRANTED. Petitioners Spouses Milagros and
Heracleo Matining are entitled to the possession of only 11.16 square meters, southern portion of the
subject house and lot, located at No. 46 Avenida Rizal, Nagcarlan, Laguna; they are, however, ordered
to vacate the other portion of 17.84 square meters, the possession of which lawfully pertains to
respondents-spouses Marciana Consignado and Nazario Asendido, and other co-owners.

Petitioners are further ordered to pay the fair rental value as reasonable compensation for the use and
occupancy of the 17.84 square meters from April 22, 1985, the date the demand letter to vacate was
received by petitioners, until they finally vacate it. No attorney's fees may be awarded in favor of
respondents in view of the partial relief adjudged in favor of petitioners. No costs.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

The Court of Appeals held, among others, as follows:

We agree with the petitioners.

We find that the deed of donation (Exhibit 3) conforms with the required solemnities prescribed by Article
749 (1) of the Civil Code in that both donation and its acceptance are written in the same public
instrument and that the property donated can be identified by the designated boundaries.

The subsequent insertion of the tax declaration, assessed value of the property, the area of the property
conveyed are inconsequential to the validity of the donation as those matters are not required to be
stated in the deed. Moreover, Article 750 of the Civil Code does not require that the deed of donation
must expressly state that a reservation has been made. That there was a reservation can be proved by
evidence aliunde (extrinsic evidence) (Ed. of Registrar General of Spain, April 17, 1907, cited in p. 685,
Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated, 10th Edition, 1981). To allow every unauthorized
insertion of any matter into the deed of donation, or any other deed for that matter, to affect its validity
would put the donor into the mercy of any mischievous person.

The deed of donation of August 27, 1980 (Exhibit 3) was not registered under Section 113, P.D. 1529,
known as the Property Registration Decree (effective June 11, 1978); but, registration with the Registry
of property of the deed of donation is not a requisite for validity of the document between the parties and
their assignees. As the deed of donation is formally and intrinsically valid and that no third persons with a
better right or title to the property subject of the deed of donation would be prejudiced, the deed of
donation has attained legal efficacy to the extent of Macario's share.

4. Petitioners contend that the Regional Trial Court erred when it held that they are not entitled, as
owners and possessors, to the southern portion of the house and lot with an area of twenty-nine (29)
square meters.

We do not agree.
Macario Consignado, predecessor-in-interest of petitioners, as intestate heir to the estate of his father
Florentino Consignado, is a co-owner to the estate only to the extent of the one-fifth (1/5) of the fifty-eight
(58) square meters of the subject premises, or approximately 11.16 square meters. As co-owner,
Macario Consignado, has full ownership of his part and he may therefore in accordance with Article 493
of the Civil Code, alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment.
Thus, his share, equivalent only to 11.16 square meters, must be deemed to have been acquired by
petitioners herein by virtue of the deed of donation executed in their favor. This conclusion finds support
in the following cases:

(1) The juridical concept of co-ownership is unity of the object or property and plurality of
subjects (3 Manresa 386). Each co-owner, jointly with the other co-owners, is the owner
of the whole property, but at the same time of the undivided aliquot part thereof (3
Manresa; 387). Each co-owner has the right to sell, assign or dispose of his share, unless
personal rights are involved (Art. 399, Civil Code), and therefore, he may lose said rights
to others, as by prescription thereof by a co-owner (Bargayo et al. vs. Camomut, 40 Phil.
857). (Sixon vs. Fetelino (CA) 47, OG 300, cited p. 293, Padilla Civil Law, Vol. II, Seventh
Edition, 1983). (Emphasis ours)

(2) The fact that the agreement in question purported to sell a concrete portion of the
hacienda does not render the sale void, for it is a well-established principle that the
binding force of a contract must be recognized as far as it is legally possible to do so.
"Quando res non valet ut ago, valeat quantum valere potest." (When a thing is of no force
as I do it, it shall have as much force as it can have.). It is plain that Margarita G. Vda. de
Cuayong and her children of age intended to sell to intervenor no more than what they
could legally and rightfully dispose of, and as they could convey only their ideal share,
equivalent in value to 10,832 square meters of the hacienda, that ideal share alone must
be deemed to have been the subject-matter of the sale in question. They are presumed
to know the law that before partition, conventional or judicial, no coowner (sic) may
dispose of any physically identified portion of the common property; and that any
conveyance by a coowner (sic) is subject to the result of a subsequent partition. This
interpretation, of the contract does no harm to the minor daughters, as the sale in
question is subject to the result of the partition which intervenor may demand. (Lopez vs.
Vda. de Cuaycong 74 p. 601, 609) (Emphasis ours)

In the present case, it appears that petitioners are occupying, to the exclusion and prejudice of private
respondents, twenty-nine (29) square meters in the southern portion of the subject premises. To the
extent of the excess area of 17.84 square meters occupied by petitioners from that which was assigned
to them, should the latter be evicted therefrom.

Petitioners interpose the present petition, contending, that the Court of Appeals erred: (1) in resolving the question of
ownership as if actual title, not mere possession of subject premises, is involved in the instant case; (2) in considering
evidence piecemeal or in isolation from the rest of the entire evidence to arrive at a conclusion; (3) in basing its findings
or conclusions on mere surmises, not on the evidence on record; (4) in changing the theory of the private respondents
on appeal; and (5) in giving due course to private respondents' appeal in G.R. No. SP No. 14729.

It is a well-settled rule that

. . . inferior courts may not be divested of their jurisdiction over ejectment cases simply because the
defendant sets up a claim of ownership over the litigated property. But where the question of possession
can not be resolved without passing upon the issue of possession can not be resolved without passing
upon the issue of ownership, because the latter is inseparably linked with the former, the case must be
dismissed, for the inferior court loses jurisdiction over the same. 6

Otherwise stated

In actions of forcible entry and detainer, the main issue is possession de facto independently of any claim
of ownership or possession de jure that either party may set forth in his pleading. As incidents of the
main issue of possession de facto, the inferior court can decide the questions of (a) whether or not the
relationship between the parties is one of landlord and tenant; (b) whether or not there is a lease contract
between the parties, the period of such lease contract and whether or not the lease contract has already
expired; (c) the just and reasonable amount of the rent and the date when it will take effect; (d) the right
of the tenant to keep the premises against the will of the landlord; and (e) if the defendant has built on
the land a substantial and valuable building and there is no dispute between the parties as to the
ownership of the land and the building, their rights according to the Civil Code. Defendants' claim of
ownership of the property from which plaintiff seeks to eject him is not sufficient to divest the inferior
court of its jurisdiction over the action of forcible entry and detainer. However, if it appears during the trial
that the principal issue relates to the ownership of the property in dispute and any question of possession
which may be involved necessarily depends upon the result of the inquiry into the title, previous rulings of
this Court are that the jurisdiction of the municipal or city court is lost and the action should be
dismissed. 7

In the case at bar, as can be gleaned from the decision of the MTC of Nagcarlan, Laguna, the evidence adduced by the
parties show that the question of ownership is actually involved in the case and has to be resolved in order to decide the
question of possession. Thus, the said court held:

From the evidence presented by the parties, this court finds the following undisputed facts; That the
property in question was originally owned by Bernabe Consignado, which was inherited by operation of
law, by his son, Florentino Consignado, which in turn, was allotted to his daughter the plaintiff, Marciana
Consignado, by virtue of a deed of partition executed by her sisters, Estebana Consignado and
Margarita Consignado on May 12, 1981 (Exhibit "B"), to the exclusion of their brothers, Gelacio and
Macario Consignado; that during the lifetime of Macario Consignado, he lived in subject house and lot,
who in his old age, was taken cared of by the defendants who lived with him, staring (sic) from August 5,
1976 until his death.

The plaintiffs' claim of ownership were (sic) based on the following documentary evidences; (a) a duly
registered notarized document executed by plaintiffs sisters, Estebana and Margarita Consignado
(Exhibit "B") allotting the property in question to plaintiff, Marciana Consignado; (b) Real Property Tax
Declaration Nos. 23642 and 25209 in the name of plaintiff, Marciana Consignado (Exhibits C and C-2)
reinfored (sic) by the payment of taxes thereon (Exhibits D to D-4) and (c) the ancient private documents
executed by the late Florentino Consignado and Gelacio Consignado (Exhibit H) instituting Margarita,
Estebana and Marciana Consignado (the plaintiff) as heirs to inherit the property in question.

The defendants interposed no objection to the ownership of a portion of the lot in question by plaintiff,
Marciana Consignado. They only claimed the portion which should by allotted to plaintiff's late brother
Macario Consignado, whom they maintained as allegedly preterited by the execution of Exhibit "H" and
Exhibit "B".

Hence, the crucial issue in the instant case is the claim of ownership of a portion of the subject house
and not by defendants as may be gleaned from their position paper which states So it stands to reason
that the 58 square meters, more or less, and the house thereon are owned in common by plaintiff
Marciana Consignado and her late brother, Macario Consignado; and further maintained "That on August
27, 1980, before the death of Macario Consignado, he donated 29 square meters, more or less,
including the house, which portion of residential lot and house was verbally divided by plaintiff, Marciana
Consignado and his brother Macario Consignado on February 29, 1982, so that 29 square meters, more
or less, and the house therein up to the present wherein the defendants claimed ownership" (see
paragraphs 3 and 4 of defendants' position paper submitted by their counsel, Atty. Edilberto U.
Coronado, dated December 4, 1985).

On the foregoing stand of the defendants, this Court concludes that the claim of ownership over the 29
square meters, more or less, portion of the lot in question and the house thereon was the sole basis of
the unregistered "Kasulatang Pagpapatibay Pala" executed in their favor by the late Macario Consignado
on August 27, 1980 before the faith of Notary Public Vanderlube I. Tubana, marked in evidence as
Exhibit "3". Since the question of possession can not be resolved without deciding the issue of
ownership, this Court tried to, resolve said issue only to determine the issue of possession, pursuant to
the material provisions of Section 33 (2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 and letter B (10) of the interim
Rules of Court, a Supreme Court resolution dated January 11, 1983.
In the ejection cases the question of ownership is brought in issue in the pleadings, the issue of
ownership therein shall be resolved in conjunction with the issue of possession (See Sec. 3 (c) of
Republic Act No. 5967).

It will thus be seen from the evidence adduced during the trial before the MTC that the issues joined by the parties were
not simply of possession de facto but were those of possession de jure and of lawful title and ownership of the property
in dispute. Such issues are beyond the jurisdiction of the MTC of Nagcarlan, Laguna to pass upon and decide.

Nor did the MTC of Nagcarlan, Laguna have concurrent jurisdiction with the Regional Trial Court to pass on both the
issues of possession and ownership under Sec. 3(c) of RA No. 5967, which provides as follows:

Sec. 3. Besides the civil cases over which the City Courts have jurisdiction under Section eighty-eight of
Republic Act Numbered Two Hundred ninety-six, as amended, it shall likewise have concurrent
jurisdiction with the Court of First Instance over the following:

xxx xxx xxx

(c) In ejection cases where the question of ownership is brought in issue in the pleadings. The issue of
ownership shall therein be resolved in conjunction with the issue of possession.

For, as held by this Court in Pelaez vs. Reyes: 8

. . . We are of the considered opinion that the evident import of Section 3 above is to precisely grant to
the city courts concurrent original jurisdiction with the courts of first instance over the cases enumerated
therein, which include "ejection cases where the question of ownership is brought in issue in the
pleadings." To sustain petitioner's contention about the meaning of the last phrase of paragraph (c) of
said section regarding the resolution of the issue of ownership in conjunction with the issue of
possession' is to disregard the very language of the main part of the section which denotes unmistakably
a conferment upon the city courts of concurrent jurisdiction with the courts of first instance over ejection
cases in which ownership is brought in issue in the pleadings. It is to Us quite clear that the fact that the
issue of ownership is to be resolved "in conjunction with the issue of possession" simply means that both
the issues of possession and ownership are to be resolved by the city courts. And the jurisdiction is
concurrent with the Court of First Instance precisely because usually questions of title are supposed to
be resolved by superior courts. In other words, this grant of special jurisdiction to city courts is to be
distinguished from the power ordinarily accorded to municipal courts to receive evidence of title only for
the purpose of determining the extent of possession in dispute. (emphasis supplied)

Considering, therefore, that the evidence presented by the parties during the trial before the municipal trial court
show that the question of possession de facto could not be determined without settling that of possession de
jure and ownership, the MTC of Nagcarlan, Laguna lost its jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 608 and the case
should have been dismissed.

But the MTC of Nagcarlan, Laguna proceeded to render judgment in Civil Case No. 608 and, in turn, the private
respondents herein, as defendants in the MTC, appealed the decision of the latter court to the RTC of Laguna.
Thereafter, the parties filed with the RTC of Laguna their respective memoranda. 9

Section 11, Rule 40 of the Rules of Court provides that

A case tried by an inferior court without jurisdiction over the subject matter shall be dismissed on appeal
by the Court of First Instance. But instead of dismissing the case, the Court of First Instance in the
exercise of its original jurisdiction, may try the case on the merits if the parties therein file their pleadings
and go to trial without objection to such jurisdiction.

As the MTC of Laguna had no jurisdiction over the unlawful detainer case in view of the raised question of title or
ownership over the property in dispute, the RTC of Laguna also had no appellate jurisdiction to decide the case on the
merits. It should have dismissed the appeal. However, it had original jurisdiction to pass upon the controversy. It is to be
noted, in this connection, that in their respective memoranda filed with the RTC of Laguna, the petitioners and private
respondents did not object to the said court exercising its original jurisdiction, instead, they discussed the merits of the
case from their respective positions. The RTC of Laguna, therefore, could, as it did, decide the case on the merits in the
exercise of its original jurisdiction pursuant to the aforequoted provisions of Section 11, Rule 40 of the Rules of Court. As
held by this Court in Caeveral and Bautista v. Encarnacion, et al., 95 Phil. 849, 852, thru Mr. Justice Roberto
Concepcion:

xxx xxx xxx

Although the Court of Fast Instance had no appellate jurisdiction to decide the ejectment case on the
merits, inasmuch as the municipal court had no original jurisdiction over said case, in view of the
question of title to real property, upon which the right of possession was dependent (Pedro Teodoro vs.
Agapito Balatbat et al. G.R. No. L-6314, decided on January 22, 1954) said court of first instance had
original jurisdiction to pass upon such issue. What is more, it did exercise its original jurisdiction without
any objection on the part of the Bautistas. Indeed, in their motion for reconsideration dated March 1,
1952, the latter merely assailed the accuracy of the findings of the court of first instance on the merits of
the case, thus clearly accepting and, even, invoking the jurisdiction of the court to pass upon the same.
The Bautistas did not question said jurisdiction until March 12, 1952, when they filed a pleading entitled
"additional ground for the reconsideration of the decision of the Court", alleging, for the first time, that the
"Court had no jurisdiction to try the case on the merits". It was, however, too late to raise this issue, for
the court had original jurisdiction over the case and had exercised it with the implied consent of the
Bautistas (Amor vs. Gonzales, 42 Off. Gaz., [No. 121] p. 3203, 76 Phil., 481; Zapanta vs. Bartolome, et
al., CA-G.R. No. 2592, April 27, 1949, 46 Off. Gaz. [ll] 5447). As provided in section 11, Rule 40, of the
Rules of Court:

A case tried by an inferior court without jurisdiction over the subject matter shall be
dismissed on appeal by the Court of First Instance. But instead of dismissing the case,
the Court of First Instance in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, may try the case on
the merits if the parties therein file their pleadings and go to the trial without any objection
to such jurisdiction.

In view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby denied and the case dismissed, with costs against the
petitioners.

As previously stated, the RTC of Laguna affirmed en toto the decision of the MTC. On appeal to the Court of Appeals,
said court partially granted the private respondent's petition for review when it decreed that ''Spouses Milagros and
Heracleo Matining are entitled to the possession of only 11.6 square meters, southern portion of the subject house and
lot, located at No. 46 Avenida Rizal, Nagcarlan, Laguna; they are, however, ordered to vacate the other portion of 17.84
square meters, the possession of which lawfully pertains to respondents-spouses Marciana Consignado and Nazario
Asendido, and other co-owners (sic)."

Petitioners now contend, among others, that the Court of Appeals erred in resolving the question of ownership as if
actual title, not mere possession of subject premises, is involved in the instant case.

The petitioners' contention is untenable. Since the MTC and RTC of Laguna decided the question of ownership over the
property in dispute, on appeal the Court of Appeals had to review and resolve also the issue of ownership. Besides, the
petitioners did not complain when the MTC and RTC of Laguna decided the issue of ownership in their favor; they are
now precluded from assailing the Court of Appeals simply because, on appeal, it decided the same issue partially
against them.

The Court, after a thorough review of the records, finds no cogent reason to disturb the findings and conclusions of the
Court of Appeals in its questioned decision.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the judgment of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.