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CITY OF MANILA v. JACINTO DEL ROSARIO | G.R. No.

1284 | November 10, 1905

DOCTRINE: Where one derives title to real property from another, the declaration, act, or omission of the
latter, in relation to the property, is evidence against the former only when made while the latter holds the
title.

FACTS:

1. This is an action to recover the possession of 2 lots (building lots), located in Calles Clavel and
Barcelona, district of Tondo, presently occupied by del Rosario

2. Del Rosario moved for the dismissal of the case upon the ground that the City of Manila failed to
establish the allegations in the complaint

• CFI of Manila ruled in favor of City of Manila

3. Del Rosario now puts in issue the trial court’s finding that City of Manila was entitled to the
ownership and possession of the land in question

ISSUE: WON Lorenzo del Rosario’s statements are binding upon Jacinto del Rosario

RULING: NO
(NOTE: Case is really about who owns the lots, whether it’s the City of Manila or Jacinto del Rosario. I
included all the facts, but the most important part that is relevant to our class in Evidence is the
documentary evidence presented by Lorenzo del Rosario.)

City of Manila introduced both documentary and oral evidence to establish that it owns the 2 lots
and not del Rosario
A. Oral Evidence

1. John Wilson — testified that he did not know of his own knowledge if the land in question
belonged to the City

2. Eduardo Timoteo — testified that the land included in Calles Clavel and Barcelona was
formerly part of Plaza Divisoria, which belonged to the Central Government (not the city), and
that he did not know to whom it now belongs

• this witness referred to the land included in the Calles, and not to the lots in the complaint

3. Juan Villegas — testified that the land in question was formerly included in the Gran
Divisoria, and that all the land included in it belonged to the City

• this testimony is in conflict with Timoteo (who said that the land belonged to the Central
Government)

• Villegas’ testimony is hearsay — he only knew of this fact from some of the oldest
residents in that section of the City

• City of Manila introduced Villegas’ testimony for the purpose of proving that the City was
“generally” considered the owner of the land —> in order to establish presumption of
actual ownership

• Court: testimony not sufficient to establish such presumption

- Sec. 334 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires common reputation that is equivalent
to universal reputation

- testimony from “some of the oldest residents” do not constitute common reputation

4. Sotera Roco — testified that Lorenzo del Rosario had paid P100 to her brother Cipriano
Roco for the purpose of instituting a possessory information as to the property abutting on
Calle Clavel

• it appears that Lorenzo del Rosario acquired the land from Cipriano Roco and sold it to his
brother Jacinto del Rosario, the defendant in this case

• hearsay testimony

• Court: even if the hearsay testimony is admissible, we do not see how it can be inferred
from her testimony that the City of Manila is the real owner of the property
5. Modesto Reyes (City Attorney) and Lorenzo del Rosario (brother of defendant) — testified as
to the authenticity of some of the documentary evidence introduced by City of Manila

B. Documentary Evidence

1. Petition presented by Lorenzo del Rosario to the City of Manila mayor (September 26, 1891)
+ letter written by him to the Municipal Board of Manila (October 9, 1901) —> contained an
offer to the Municipality of Manila to purchase the land of Calle Clavel

• Lorenzo admitted the authenticity of both documents

- admitted that he signed the first document (petition to the city mayor) because he
thought the land belonged to the city —> he had been informed by some of the city
officials that the land did not belong to the municipality, but to Cipriano Roco y Vera

- stated that he signed the second document (letter to the municipal board) because
the President of the Municipal Board, Señor Herrera, advised him to do so in order
to avoid litigation with the City

• Court: provisions of section 346 of the Code of Civil Procedure are applicable to the
case at bar in so far as they declare that an offer of compromise is not admissible in
evidence

- Lorenzo del Rosario signed the first document BEFORE he acquired from Cipriano
Roco y Vera the ownership of the land, the second document being signed AFTER
he had transferred the land to Jacinto del Rosario, who took possession of the same
and had it registered, as City of Manila admits, on February 23, 1893
- Therefore, whatever statements Lorenzo del Rosario might have made in the
documents (petition + letter) mentioned, they are not binding upon Jacinto del
Rosario, because, under section 278 of the Code of Civil Procedure, “where one
derives title to real property from another, the declaration, act, or omission of the
latter, in relation to the property, is evidence against the former only when made
while the latter holds the title.”

2. Map of the City of Manila

• Court: no value since the reliability of the map was not proven during the trial
3. 2 public instruments executed on March 7, 1900 between defendant Jacinto del Rosario and
Telesfora Apostol y Perea

• Court: such show that Jacinto was in possession of the land under good title and with
the status of owner of the land

City of Manila itself admits in the complaint that Jacinto’s possession of the land in Calle
Barcelona was recorded since March 1901, and his possession of that in Calle Clavel since
February 1893
• this shows that Del Rosario had been in the adverse possession of the land

• Article 448 of the Civil Code states that he must be presumed to hold under a just title, unless the
contrary is shown

In view of the foregoing, we hold that the defendant had a perfect right to ask for the dismissal of the
case on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to establish the allegations in the complaint, and the court
erred in overruling his motion to dismiss.