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Prescription – General Provisions

[Title V, Chapter 1: General Provisions]

(Arts. 1106 – 1116, NCC)

1106. Prescription
1106.1 Definition: mode of acquiring (or losing) ownership and other real rights through the lapse of time in the manner and under
the conditions laid down by law. Possession should be:
a. In the concept of an owner
b. Public
c. Peaceful
d. Uninterrupted
e. Adverse– claimant must clearly, definitely, and unequivocally notify the owner of his intention to avert an exclusive ownership
in himself
1106.2 Proof needed: Because prescription is an extraordinary mode of acquiring ownership, all the essential ingredients,
particularly the period of time, must be shown clearly.
1106.3 Reasons or Bases for Prescription:
a. Economic necessity– otherwise, property rights would remain unstable
b. Freedom from judicial harassment– occasioned by claims without basis
c. Convenience in procedural matters– in certain instances, juridical proof is dispensed with
d. Presumed abandonment or waiver– in view of the owner's indifference or inaction
1106.4 Classification of Prescription:
a. As to whether rights are acquired or lost:
i. Acquisitive prescription (prescription of ownership and other real rights)
1) Ordinary prescription
2) Extraordinary prescription
ii. Extinctive prescription
b. As to the object or subject matter:
i. Prescription of property
1) Prescription of real property
2) Prescription of personal rights
ii. Prescription of rights
1106.5 Laches: (or "estoppel by laches") is unreasonable delay in the bringing of a cause of action before the courts of justice;
failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could o r
should have been done earlier; a creation of equity.
1106.6 Rationale for Laches: If a person fails to act as soon as possible in vindication of an alleged right, it is possible that the right
does not really exist.
1106.7 Prescription distinguished from Laches
Prescription Laches
Concerned with the FACT of delay Deals with the EFFECT of unreasonable delay
1106.8 Constitutional Provision: The right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials or employees,
from them or from their nominees or transferees, shall not be barred by prescription, laches, or estoppel.
1107. Who May Acquire Property or Rights by Prescription
a. Those who can make use of the other modes of acquiring ownership
i. Prescription is also a mode of acquiring ownership so it's just the same. Thus, if a person can become an owner by
donation, he can also become an owner by prescription.
ii. Donation by paramour to husband – can he acquire it by prescription, since he can't validly receive it as a donation? Yes,
but only by extraordinary prescription since he would be lacking the element of "just title".
b. Even minors and other incapacitated persons
i. This is because only juridical capacity is required for possession, not capacity to act.
1108. Persons Against Whom Prescription May Run
1008.1 Four Groups:
a. Minors and other incapacitated persons who have parents, guardians or other legal representatives
b. Absentees who have administrators, either appointed by them before their disappearance, or appointed by the courts;
c. Persons living abroad, who have managers or administrators;
d. Juridical persons, except the State and its subdivisions (except with reference to patrimonial property, Art. 1113)
○ These people are supposed to be protected by those in charge. If they are not properly protected through the latter's
negligence, a claim for damages against the latter can prosper.
1008.2 Re minors without parents: prescription can still run against minors, the insane, and those in jail, except that these people
may still bring the action within a number of years after their disability has been removed:
a. 3 years – in case of recovery of land
b. 2 years – in other civil actions
1109. Persons Against Whom Prescription May Not Run:
a. Between Husband and Wife
i. The close relationship between them, engendered by affection or influence, may prevent one from suing the other.
ii. There has been no prescription even if there has been a "separation of property"
1) Exceptions:
a) The prescriptive period for legal separation suits (Art. 120)
b) Alienations made by the husband, without the wife's consent
b. Between Parents and Children
i. No prescription shall run between them during the minority or insanity of the latter.
ii. Even if the child is neither insane nor incapacitated, an adverse possession cannot be predicated on the possession of
the parent as against the child, or in the possession of the child as against the parent.
c. Between Guardian and Ward: no prescription runs between them during the continuance of the guardianship. This is so even if
the guardian expressly repudiates the guardianship (without court approval); otherwise, the trust relationship would be
1110. Prescription, acquisitive and extinctive, runs in favor of, or against a married woman – refers to a married woman and a
1111. Prescription Obtained by Co-Proprietor or Co-Owner – co-owner or co-proprietor acts for the interest of the whole co -ownership.
○ Limitation: the prescription obtained by a co-owner must have reference to the property held in common, naturally; otherwise
the Article does not apply.
1112. Requisites for Renunciation of Property Acquired by Prescription:
1112.1 Requisites:
a. Renouncer must have capacity to alienate property
b. The property acquired must have already been obtained
c. The renouncing must be made by the owner of the right
d. The renouncing must not prejudice the rights of other, such as creditors
1112.2 Form:
a. May be express or implied (tacit)
b. Requires no consent on the part of the person to be benefited
c. Requires no solemnities or formalities
1112. 3 Implied or Tacit Renunciation: when there is an action which implies the abandonment of the right acquired.
1113. Things That May Be Acquired by Prescription:
1113.1 Generally – all things within the commerce of man.
1113.2 Patrimonial Property: of the State or any of its subdivisions may be acquired by prescription; in the same category as private

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1113. 3 Things or Properties That Cannot Be Acquired by Prescription:
a. Public property
b. Privately owned unregistered lands – presumed to be public lands
c. Those protected by a Torrens title
d. Movables acquired through a crime
e. Those outside commerce of men
f. Properties of spouses, parents and children, wards and guardians, under the restrictions imposed by law
1114. Rights of Creditors to Make Use of Prescription: While the rights may be waived, third persons with a right recognized by law
should not be prejudiced.
1115. Specific Provisions on Prescription: found elsewhere in the Code, or in special laws, prevail over the provisions of this Chapter.
a. Legitimate child may bring an action to claim legitimacy as long as he is alive
b. An illegitimate child may bring an action to establish illegitimate filiation during his lifetime
c. The real right of possession of real property is lost at the end of 10 years
d. The proceeding for the deportation of an alien must be brought within 5 years from the date the cause for deportation arose
e. An action to annul a sale of shares of stock in a corporation
f. The suit for refund of taxes erroneously or illegally assessed must be brought within the statutory period of 2 years
g. An action for accounting or reliquidation of agricultural crops should be brought within 3 years from the threshing of the
crops in question
1116. Transitional Rules for Prescription:
a. If the period for prescription BEGAN and ENDED under the OLD laws, said OLD laws govern.
b. If the period for prescription BEGAN under the NEW Civil Code, the NEW Civil Code governs.
c. If the period began under the OLD law, and continues under the NEW Civil Code, the OLD law applies.
i. Exception:
1) In this 3rd rule, it is the NCC that will apply, provided these are present:
a) NCC requires a shorter period;
b) This shorter period has already elapsed since Aug. 30, 1950, the date when NCC took effect.

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