Civil Law – Property


  • Classification (according to mobility):
  1. Immovable – real property
  2. Movable – personal property
  • Requisites:
  1. Utility
  2. Individuality/Substantivity
  3. Susceptibility of appropriation
  • Real Rights
  1. no passive subject – claim against whole world
  2. object is corporeal thing (obligation)
  3. creates juridical relations through mode & title
  4. extinguished through loss or destruction of thing
  • Personal Rights
  1. Passive and active subject
  2. Object is an intangible thing (specific thing)
  3. Creates juridical relations through title
  4. Not extinguished through loss or destruction of thing
  • Immovable property
  1. By nature – cannot be moved from place to place because of their nature

a) land, buildings & all kinds of constructions adhered to soil

b) mine, quarries

  1. By incorporation – essentially movables but attached to an immovable that it becomes an integral part of it
  • trees, plants & growing fruits adhered to soil
  • everything attached to an immovable that it will break if separated
  • statues, paintings if intended by owner to be integral part of immovable
  • animal houses if intended by owner to become permanently attached to immovable
  1. By destination – movables but purpose is to partake of an integral part of an immovable
  • machinery placed by owner of the tenement & tend directly to meet the needs of such works/industry
  • fertilizers – when applied to soil
  • docks & floating structures
  1. By analogy/by law – contracts for public works, servitude & other real rights over immovable property
  • Movable property
  1. susceptible of appropriation that are not included in enumeration in immovable
  2. immovable that are designated as movable by special provision of law
  3. forces of nature brought under control by science
  4. things w/c can be transported w/o impairment of real property where they are fixed
  5. obligations which involve demandable sums (credits)
  6. shares of stocks of agricultural, commercial & industrial entities although they may have real estate
  • Classification of Movables
  1. consumable – cannot be utilized w/o being consumed
  2. non-consumable
  • Classification of Property (according to ownership):
  1. Public dominion –
  • intended for public use
  • intended for public service of state, provinces, cities & municipalities
  • Characteristics:
  • outside the commerce of men – cannot be alienated or leased
  • cannot be acquired by private individual through prescription
  • not subject to attachment & execution
  • cannot be burdened by voluntary easement
  1. Private Ownership –
  • patrimonial property of state, provinces, cities, municipalities
  1. exist for attaining economic ends of state
  2. property of public dominion when no longer intended for public use/service – declared patrimonial
  • property belonging to private persons – individually or collectively




·         Definitions of Ownership

  • Independent and general right of a person to control a thing particularly in his possession, enjoyment, disposition, and recovery, subject to no restrictions except those imposed by the state or private persons, without prejudice to the provisions of the law.
  • Power of a person over a thing for purposes recognized by law & within the limits established by law
  • Attributes:
  1. Jus possidendi – right to possess
  2. Jus utendi – right to enjoy
  3. Jus fruendi – right to fruits
  4. Jus abutendi – right to use and abuse
  5. Jus disponendi – right to dispose
  6. Jus vindicandi – right to exclude others from possession of the thing

Actions for possession:

1. movable – replevin (return of a movable)

2. immovable –

  • forcible entry – used by person deprived of possession through violence, intimidation (physical possession, 1 year unlawful deprivation)
  • unlawful detainer – used by lessor/person having legal right over property when lessee/person withholding property refuses to surrender possession of property after expiration of lease/right to hold property (physical possession, 1 year from unlawful deprivation)
  • accion publiciana – plenary action to recover possession
  • accion reinvindicatoria – recovery of dominion of property as owner
  1. Principle of self help – self defense


  • Person exercising rights is owner or lawful possessor
  • There is actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion of his property
  • Use force as may be reasonably necessary to repel or prevent it
  • Available only when possession has not yet been lost, if already lost – resort to judicial process
  • May be exercised by 3rd person – negotiorum gestio
  1. Right to enclose or fence w/o detriment to servitude constituted
  2. Right to surface & everything under it only as far as necessary for his practical interest (benefit or enjoyment)
  3. Right to hidden treasure found in own property
  • hidden and unknown movables w/c consist of money or precious objects
  • owner is unknown
  • by chance – if property owner is state – ½ belongs to finder; also if in another’s property; the finder must not be trespasser
  • Limitation on Ownership
  1. general limitations for the benefit of the state (eminent domain, police power, taxation)
  2. specific limitations imposed by law (servitude, easements)
  3. specific limitations imposed by party transmitting ownership (will, contract)
  4. limitations imposed by owner himself (voluntary servitude, mortgages, pledges)
  5. inherent limitations arising from conflicts with other similar rights (contiguity of property)
  6. owner cannot make use of a thing which shall injure/prejudice rights of 3rd persons (neighbors)
  7. acts in state of necessity – law permits injury or destruction of things owned by another provided this is necessary to avert a greater danger (with right to indemnity – vs. principle of unjust enrichment)
  8. true owner must resort to judicial process – when thing is in possession of another; law creates a disputable presumption of ownership to those in actual possession
  • identify property
  • show that he has better title



  • Accession – owner of thing becomes owner of everything it may produce or those which may be incorporated or united thereto
  1. principle of justice
  2. accessory follows the principal
  • Accession continua – accession to products of the thing
  • Rights of owners: natural, industrial & civil fruits

exception: possession in good faith by another, usufruct, lease, antichresis

  • Obligation of owners:
  • Immovables – accretion
  1. Alluvion – owner of lands adjoining banks of river belongs the accretion gradually received from effects of the water’s current
  • Requisites:
  1. deposit is gradual & imperceptible
  2. made through effects of current of water
  3. land where accretion takes place is adjacent to banks of river
  • Rights of riparian owner

Right to accretion ipso facto – no need to make an express act of possession

  1. Avulsion – transfer of a known portion of land from one tenement to another by force of current of waters
  • Rights of riparian owner
  • Right to portion of land transferred if not claimed by owner within 2 years (prescription)
  • Right to trees uprooted if not claimed by owner w/in 6 months; subject to reimbursement for necessary expenses for gathering them & putting them in safe place

3. Change of river bed

  • Right of owner of land occupied by new river course
  1. Right to old bed ipso facto in proportion to area lost
  2. Owner of adjoining land to old bed shall have right to acquire the same by paying its value – value not to exceed the value of area occupied by new bed
  3. Formation of island in non-navigable river
  • owner of margin nearest to islands formed – if nearest to it
  • owner of both margins – if island is in the middle (divided into halves longitudinally)
  1. building, planting & sowing
  • General Rule – whatever is built, planted or sown belongs to owner of land; presumption is owner made them at his expense
  • Exception: contrary is proven
  • Right of owner of material
  1. Right to be indemnified or paid of value of property by owner of land
  2. Right to remove materials if he can do so w/o injury to work constructed if owner has not paid
  3. Right to damages and demolition even if with injury to work if owner of land is in bad faith
  • Right of owner when another builds, plants or sows in his land: (OWNER & BUILDER BOTH IN GOOD FAITH)
  1. Appropriate as his own after paying for indemnity
  2. Oblige the planter, builder to pay for price of land or rent, except when value of lands is greater than thing built – convert to rent
  • Right of Builder in good faith before payment of indemnity of owner in good faith
  1. Right to retain land & building
  2. Right not to be compelled to pay for rent
  3. Right of retention ceases when obliged to pay for value of and if he fails to do so
  • Right of owner in good faith when builder is in bad faith
  1. Right to appropriate what has been built w/o paying indemnity
  2. Order demolition of building
  3. Compel the builder to pay for price of land or rent
  4. Right to damages
  • Right of builder in bad faith when owner is in good faith

Right to be reimbursed for necessary expenses for preservation of land

  • Right of Builder in good faith when owner is in bad faith
  1. Right to indemnity for value of building
  2. Right to damages
  3. Right to demolish w/o payment of indemnity
  • Bad faith on both builder & owner – in pari delicto (no cause of action vs. each other)
  • Right of 3rd person who owns materials
  1. Right to be indemnified for value of materials irrespective of good faith or bad faith of builder or owner; if builder has no property, owner is subsidiarily liable
  2. When builder is in bad faith & owner in good faith & owner compel builder to remove improvements, owner is not subsidiarily liable
  3. When 3rd person is paid by builder, builder may demand from landowner the value of labor & materials

b) Movables

  1. Conjunction / adjunction – 2 movable things which belong to different owners are united to form a single object
  • Test to determine w/c one is the principal:
  1. that to w/c the other intended to be united as ornament or for its use of perfection
  2. value
  3. volume
  • Rights:
  1. If both are in good faith – owner of principal acquired the accessory with indemnification
  2. If both are in good faith – may separate them if no injury will be caused; if value of accessory is greater than principal, owner of accessory may demand separation even if damages will be caused to the principal (expenses to be borne by one who caused the conjunction)
  3. If owner of accessory is in bad faith – owner of accessory with damages to principal
  4. If owner of principal is in bad faith – owner of accessory shall have option of principal paying value of accessory or removal of accessory despite destruction of principal
  5. Owner of accessory or principal has right to indemnity when thing adjuncts w/o his consent – may demand that a thing equal is kind, value and price
  1. Specification – One employs the materials of another in whole or in part on order to make a thing of a different kind; transformation
  • Rights:
  1. If person who made the transformation is in good faith – he shall appropriate the thing transformed as his own with indemnity to owner of material for its value
  2. If material is more precious than transformed thing – owner of material may appropriate the new thing to himself after indemnity paid to labor or demand indemnity for materials
  3. If person who made the transformation is in bad faith, owner of material shall appropriate the work to himself w/o paying maker or demand indemnity for value of materials & damages
  4. If transformed thing is more valuable than material, owner of material cannot appropriate
  1. Commixtion / confusion – 2 things of the same or different kinds are mixed & are not separable w/o injury
  • Rights:
  1. If both owners are in good faith – Each owner shall acquire a right proportional to the part belonging to him (vis-a-vis the value of the things mixed or confused)
  2. If one owner is in bad faith – he shall lose the thing belonging to him plus indemnity for damages caused to owner of other thing mixed with his thing
  3. If both in bad faith   no cause of action against each other


  • Reasons:
  1. prevent litigation
  2. protect true title & possession
  3. real interest of both parties which requires that precise state of title be known
  • Action to quiet title
  • put end to vexatious litigation in respect to property involved; plaintiff asserts his own estate & generally declares that defendant’s claim is w/o foundation
  • when proper:
  1. contract has been extinguished or terminated
  2. contract has prescribed
  3. remove cloud
  • Action to remove cloud
  • intended to procure cancellation, delivery, release of an instrument, encumbrance, or claim constituting a on plaintiff’s title which may be used to injure or vex him in the enjoyment of his title
  • Cloud – any instrument which is inoperative but has semblance of title
  • Requisites:
  1. Plaintiff must have legal or equitable interest
  2. Need not be in possession of property
  3. Return to defendant all benefits received – he who wants justice must do justice


  • Liability for damages:
  1. collapse – engineer, architect or contractor
  2. collapse resulting from total or partial damage; no repair made – owner; state may compel him to demolish or make necessary work to prevent if from falling
  3. if no action – done by government at expense of owner


  • Co-ownership
  • plurality of subjects – many owners
  • unity of material (indivision) of object of ownership
  • recognition of ideal shares
  • Causes/Sources:
  1. law
  2. contracts
  3. succession
  4. fortuitous event/chance – commixtion
  5. occupancy – 2 persons catch a wild animal
  • Distinguished from partnership
  • partnership created only by agreement; co-ownership has many sources
  • purpose of partnership is to obtain profit; co-ownership is collective enjoyment of a thing
  • in partnership there is juridical personality distinct from individuals, none in co-ownership
  • partnership can be created for more than 10 years, not in co-ownership
  • partners cannot transfer rights w/o consent of other co-partners, not co-ownership
  • partnership extinguished when partner dies, not in co-ownership
  • distribution of profits in partnerships may be stipulated, this is not flexible in co-ownership but depends on ideal share/interest
  • Rights of co-owners
  1. Right to benefits proportional to respective interest; stipulation to contrary is void
  2. Right to use thing co-owned
    1. for purpose for which it is intended
    2. without prejudice to interest of ownership
    3. without preventing other co-owners from making use thereof
  3. Right to change purpose of co-ownership by agreement
  4. Right to bring action in ejectment in behalf of other co-owner
  5. Right to compel co-owners to contribute to necessary expenses for preservation of thing and taxes
  6. Right to exempt himself from obligation of paying necessary expenses and taxes by renouncing his share in the pro-indiviso interest; but can’t be made if prejudicial to co-ownership
  7. Right to make repairs for preservation of things can be made at will of one co-owner; receive reimbursement therefrom; notice of necessity of such repairs must be given to co-owners, if practicable
  8. Right to full ownership of his part and fruits
  9. Right to alienate, assign or mortgage own part; except personal rights like right to use and habitation
  10. Right to ask for partition anytime
  11. Right of pre-emption
  12. Right of redemption
  13. Right to be adjudicated thing (subject to right of others to be indemnified)
  14. Right to share in proceeds of sale of thing if thing is indivisible and they cannot agree that it be allotted to one of them
  • Duties/Liabilities
  1. Share in charges proportional to respective interest; stipulation to contrary is void
  2. Pay necessary expenses and taxes – may be exercised by only one co-owner
  3. Pay useful and luxurious expenses – if determined by majority
  4. Duty to obtain consent of all if thing is to be altered even if beneficial; resort to court if non-consent is manifestly prejudicial
  5. Duty to obtain consent of majority with regards to administration and better enjoyment of the thing; controlling interest; court intervention if prejudicial – appointment of administrator
  6. No prescription to run in favor co-owner as long as he recognizes the co-ownership; requisites for acquisition through prescription
    1. he has repudiated through unequivocal acts
    2. such act of repudiation is made known to other co-owners
    3. evidence must be clear and convincing
  1. Co-owners cannot ask for physical division if it would render thing unserviceable; but can terminate co-ownership
  2. After partition, duty to render mutual accounting of benefits and reimbursements for expenses
  3. Every co-owner liable for defects of title and quality of portion assigned to each of the co-owner
  • Rights of 3rd parties
  1. creditors of assignees may take part in division and object if being effected without their concurrence, but cannot impugn unless there is fraud or made notwithstanding their formal opposition
  2. non-intervenors – retain rights of mortgage and servitude and other real rights and personal rights belonging to them before partition was made.



  • Possession – holding of a thing or enjoyment of a right
  1. occupancy – actual or constructive (corpus)
  2. intent to possess (animus)
  • How acquired:
  1. material occupation – possession as a fact
    1. physical
    2. constructive – tradicion brevi manu (one who possess a thing short of title of owner – lease );

tradicion constitutum possesorium (owner alienates thing but continues to possess – depositary, pledgee, tenant)

  • cannot be recognized at the same time in 2 different personalities except co-possession
  • question arise regarding fact of possession
  1. present possessor preferred
  2. 2 possessors – one longer in possession
  3. dates of possession the same – one who presents a title
  4. both have titles – judicial resolution
  1. subject to action of our will- possession as a right
    1. tradicion simbolica – delivering object or symbol of placing thing under control of transferee (keys)
    2. tradicion longa manu – pointing out to transferee the things which are being transferred
  1. proper acts and legal formalities established for acquiring rights – donation, sale
  • What can be subject of possession – things or rights which are susceptible of being appropriated
  • Degrees of possession:
  1. holding w/o title and in violation of right of owner
  2. possession with juridical title but not that of owner
  3. possession with just title but not from true owner
  4. possession with just title from true owner
  • Classes of ownership:
  1. in concept of owner – owner himself or adverse possessor


    1. may be converted into ownership through acquisitive prescription
    2. bring actions necessary to protect possession
    3. ask for inscription of possession
    4. demand fruits and damages from one unlawfully detaining property
  1. in concept of holder – usufruct, lessee, bailee
  2. in oneself – personal acquisition
    1. he must have capacity to acquire possession
    2. intent to possess
    3. possibility to acquire possession
  1. in name of another – agent; subject to authority and ratification if not authorized; negotiorum gestio
    1. representative has intention to acquire for another and not for himself
    2. person from whom it is acquired has intention of possessing it
  1. in good faith – not aware that there exist flaw in title or mode w/c invalidates it; mistake upon doubtful question of law; always presumed; it may be interrupted – by extraneous evidence or suit for recovery of property of true owner
  2. in bad faith – aware of defect
  • Possession through succession
  1. possession of hereditary property is deemed transmitted w/o interruption from moment of death ( if accepted) and if not accepted ( deemed never to have possessed the same )
  2. one who succeeds by hereditary title shall not tack the bad faith of predecessors in interest except when he is aware of flaws affecting title; but effects of possession in good faith shall not benefit him except from date of death of decedent.
  • Minors/ Incapacitated

may acquire material possession but not right to possession; may only acquire them through guardian or legal representatives

  • Acquisition
  1. cannot be acquired through force or intimidation when a possessor objects thereto – resort to courts
  2. the following do not affect acts of possession ( not deemed abandonment of rights ); possession not interrupted
    1. acts merely tolerated
    2. clandestine and unknown acts
    3. acts of violence
  • Rights of possessor:
  1. Right to be respected in his possession; if disturbed – protected by means established by law; spoliation
  2. Possession acquired and enjoyed in concept of owner can serve as title for acquisitive prescription
    1. Possession has to be in concept of owner, public, peaceful and uninterrupted
    2. Title short of ownership
  3. Person in concept of owner has in his favor the legal presumption of just title (prima facie)
  4. Possession of real property presumes that movables are included
  5. Co-possessors deemed to have exclusively possessed part which may be allotted to him; interruption in whole or in part shall be to the prejudice of all
  6. Possessor in good faith entitled to fruits received before possession is legally interrupted ( natural and industrial – gathered or severed; civil – accrue daily )
  7. Possessor in good faith entitled to part of net harvest and part of expenses of cultivation if there are natural or industrial fruits ( proportionate to time of possession ); owner has option to require possessor to finish cultivation and gathering of fruits and give net proceeds as indemnity for his part of expenses; if possessor in good faith refuses – barred from indemnification in other manner
  8. Possessor has right to be indemnified for necessary expenses whether in good faith or in bad faith; Possessor in good faith has right of retention over thing unless necessary expenses paid by owner
  9. Possessor in good faith has right to be reimbursed for useful expenses with right of retention; owner has option of paying expenses or paying the increase in value of property which thing acquired by reason of useful expenses
  10. Possessor in good faith may remove improvements if can be done w/o damage to principal thing- unless owner exercises option of paying; possessor in bad faith not entitled.
  11. Possessor in good faith and bad faith may not be entitled to payment for luxurious expense but may remove them provided principal is not injured – provided owner does not refund the amount expended
  12. Improvements caused by nature or time to inure to the benefit of person who has succeeded in recovering possession
  13. Wild animals possessed while in one’s control; domesticated – possessed if they retain habit of returning back home
  14. One who recovers, according to law, possession unjustly lost is deemed to have enjoyed it w/o interruption
  • Liabilities/duties of Possessor
  1. Return of fruits if in bad faith – fruits legitimate possessor could have received
  2. Bear cost of litigation
  3. Possessor in good faith not liable for loss or deterioration or loss except when fraud and negligence intervened
  4. Possessor in bad faith liable for loss or deterioration even if caused by fortuitous event
  5. Person who recovers possession not obliged to pay for improvements which have ceased to exist at time of occupation
  • Loss of possession:
  1. abandonment of the thing – renunciation of right; intent to lose the thing
  2. assignment made to another by onerous or gratuitous title
  3. destruction or total loss of the thing or thing went out of commerce
  4. possession of another if new possession lasted longer that 1 year ( possession as a fact); real right of possession not lost except after 10 years
  • Not lost:
    1. Unlawfully deprived or lost
    2. Acquired at public sale in good faith – with reimbursement
    3. Provision of law enabling the apparent owner to dispose as if he is owner
    4. Sale under order of the court
    5. Purchases made at merchant stores, fairs or markets
    6. Negotiable document of title
  1. Even for time being he may not know their whereabouts, possession of movable is not deemed lost
  2. When agent encumbered property without express authority – except when ratified
  3. Possession may still be recovered:
  • Possession is equivalent to title
  1. possession is in good faith
  2. owner has voluntarily parted with the possession of the thing
    1. possessor is in concept of an owner


  • Usufruct – right to enjoy another’s property with correlative duty of preserving its form and substance
    1. things – movable/immovable
    2. rights – provided it is not strictly personal
  • Kinds:
  1. legal – parents over children
  2. voluntary – contracts, wills
  3. mixed – prescription
  4. total
  5. partial
  6. simultaneous
  7. successive
  8. pure
  9. conditional
  10. With a term
  • Rights of usufructuary:
  1. Right to civil, natural & industrial fruits of property
  2. Right to hidden treasure as stranger
  3. Right to transfer usufructuary rights – gratuitous or onerous; but is co-terminus with term of usufruct; fruits proportionate at duration of usufruct; but can’t do acts of ownership such as alienation or conveyance except when property is:
  4. consumable
  5. intended for sale
  6. appraised when delivered; if not appraised & consumable – return same quality (mutuum)
  7. Right not exempt from execution and can be sold at public auction by owner
  8. Naked owner still have rights but w/o prejudice to usufructuary; may still exercise act of ownership –bring action to preserve
  9. Right to fruits growing at time usufruct begins; growing fruits at termination of usufruct belongs to owner
  10. Right to necessary expenses from cultivation at end of usufruct
  11. Right to enjoy accessions & servitudes in its favor & all benefits inherent therein
  12. Right to make use of dead trunks of fruit bearing trees & shrubs or those uprooted/cut by accident but obliged to plant anew
  13. Right of usufructuary of woodland – ordinary cutting as owner does habitually or custom of place; cannot cut down trees unless it is for the restoration of improvement of things in usufruct – must notify owner first
  14. Right to leave dead, uprooted trees at the disposal of owner with right to demand that owner should clear & remove them – if caused by calamity or extraordinary event – impossible to replace them
  15. Right to oblige owner to give authority & furnish him proofs if usufruct is extended to recover real property or real right
  16. Right to necessary expenses
  17. Right to introduce useful & luxurious expenses but with no obligation of reimbursement on part of owner; may remove improvement if can be done w/o damage
  18. Right to set-off improvements against damages he made against the property
  19. Right to administer when property is co-owned; if co-ownership cease – usufruct of part allotted to co-owner belongs to usufructuary – not affected
  20. Right to demand the increase in value of property if owner did not spend for extraordinary repairs when urgent & necessary for preservation of thing
  • Rights of naked owner
  1. Alienate thing
  2. Can’t alter form or substance
  3. Can’t do anything prejudicial to usufructuary
  4. Construct any works Y make any improvement provided it does not diminish value or usufruct or prejudice right of usufructuary
  • Obligations of usufructuary:
  1. Pay expenses to 3rd persons for cultivation & production at beginning of usufruct; whose who have right to fruits should reimburse expenses incurred
  2. Generally, usufructuary has no liability when due to wear & tear, thing deteriorates, obliged to return in that state; except when there is fraud or negligence, then he shall be liable
  3. Before entering into usufructuary::
  • Notice of inventory of property (appraisal of movables & description)
  • Posting of security
  1. not applicable to parents who are usufructuary of children except when 2nd marriage contracted
  2. excused – allowed by owner, not required by law or no one will be injured
  • failure to give security: owner may demand that:
  1. immovables be placed under administration
  2. NI can be converted into registered certificates or deposited in bank
  3. Capital & proceeds of sale of movables be invested in safe securities
  4. Interest on proceeds or property under admin belong to usufructuary
  5. Owner may retain property as administrator w/ obligation to deliver fruits to usufructuary until he gives sufficient security
  6. Effect of security is retroactive to day he is entitled to fruits

4.   Take care of property as a good father of family

  1. Liable for negligence & fault of person who substitute him
  2. If usufruct is constituted on animals – duty bound to replace dead animals that die from natural causes or became prey; if all of them perish w/o fault but due to contagious disease / uncommon event – deliver remains saved; if perish in part due to accident – continue on remaining portion; if on sterile animals – as if fungible – replace same kind & quality
  3. Obliged to make ordinary repairs – wear & tear due to natural use of thing and are indispensable for preservation; owner may make them at expense of usufructuary – during existence of usufruct
  4. Obliged to make expenses due to his fault; cannot escape by renouncing usufruct
  5. Pay legal interest from extraordinary expenses made by owner
  6. Payment of expenses, charges & taxes affecting fruits
  7. Payment of interest on amount paid by owner charges on capital
  8. Obliged to notify owner of act of 3rd person prejudicial to rights of ownership – he is liable if he does not do so for damages – as if it was caused through his own fault
  9. Expenses, cost & liabilities in suits brought with regard to usufructuary – borne by usufructuary
  • Obligations of owner
  1. extraordinary expenses; usufructuary obliged to inform owner when urgent is the need to make them
  2. expenses after renunciation of usufruct
  3. taxes & expenses imposed directly on capital
  4. if property is mortgaged, usufructuary has no obligation to pay mortgage; if attached, owner to be liable for whatever is lost by usufructuary
  5. if property is expropriated for public use – owner obliged to either replace it or pay legal interest to usufructuary of net proceeds of the same
  • Extinguishment of usufruct
  1. death of usufructuary – unless contrary intention appears
  2. expiration of period of usufruct
  3. merger of usufruct & ownership
  4. renunciation of usufructuary – express
  5. total loss of thing
  6. termination of right of person constituting usufruct
  7. prescription – use by 3rd person
  • loss in part – remaining part shall continue to be held in usufruct
  • usufruct cannot be constituted in favor of a town, Corp or assoc. for more than 50 years
  • usufruct constituted on immovable whereby a building is erected – & building is destroyed – right to make use of land & materials
  • if owner wishes to construct a new building – pay usufructuary the value of interest of land & materials
  • both share in insurance if both pays premium; if only owner – then proceeds will go to owner only
  • effect if bad use of the thing – owner may demand the delivery of and administration of the thing with responsibility to deliver net fruits to usufructuary
  • at termination of usufruct:
  • thing to be delivered to owner with right of retention for taxes & extraordinary expenses w/c should be reimbursed
  • security of mortgage shall be cancelled



  • Different Modes of acquiring ownership:
  • Occupation
  • Donation
  • Prescription
  • Succession
  • Tradition
  • MODE– Proximate cause of ownership ( sales, donation)
  • TITLE – Remote cause of ownership; merely constituted the means

·         OCCUPATION

  1. There should be a corporeal thing (tangible) which must have a “corpus” (body) & that thing should have no owner
  2. There must be actual occupancy; thing must be subjected to one’s control/disposition
  3. There must e an intention to occupy
  4. Accomplished according to legal rules
  • What are the things susceptible to occupation?
  • things that are w/o owner – res nullius; abandoned
  • stolen property cannot be subject of occupation
  • animals that are the object of hunting & fishing

kinds of animals:

  • wild – considered res nullius when not yet captured; when captured

& escaped – become res nullius again

  • domesticated animals – originally wild but have been captured & tamed; now belong to their capturer; has habit of returning to premises of owner; becomes res nullius if they lose that habit of returning & regain their original state of freedom
  • domestic/tame animals – born & ordinarily raised under the care of people; become res nullius when abandoned by owner
  • hidden treasure (only when found on things not belonging to anyone)
  • abandoned movables
  • Animals:

a)     Swarm of bees

  • owner shall have right to pursue them to another’s land (owner to identify latter for damages, if any)
  • land owner shall occupy/retain the bees if after 2 days, owner did not pursue the bees
  • Domesticated animals
    • may be redeemed within 20 days from occupation of another person; if no redemption made, they shall pertain to the one who caught them
  • Pigeons & fish
    • when they go to another breeding place, they shall be owned by the new owner provided they are not enticed
  • Movables:

1)   Treasure found on another’s property

  • consist of (1) money, precious objects & 2) hidden & owner is unknown
  • finding must be by chance in order that stranger may be entitled to ½ of the treasure
  • Movable found w/c is not treasure
  • must be returned to owner
  • if finder retains the thing found – may be charged with theft
  • if owner is unknown, give to mayor; mayor shall announce finding of the movable for 2 weeks in way he deems best
  • of owner does not appear 6 months after publication, thing found shall be awarded to finder
  • if owner appears, he is obliged to pay 1/10 of value of property to finder as price
  • if movable is perishable or cannot be kept w/o deterioration or w/o expenses it shall be sold at public auction 8 days after the publication
  • What cannot be acquired by occupation

Ownership of a piece of land

  • because when a land is without an owner, it pertains to the state
  • land that does not belong to anyone is presumed to be public land
  • but when a property is private and it is abandoned – can be object of occupation

PRESCRIPTION – mode by which one acquires ownership and other real rights thru lapse of time; also a means by which one loses ownership, rights & actions; retroactive from the moment period began to run

  • Kinds:

1.   Acquisitive

  1. Extinctive
  • Who may acquire by prescription:
  1. person who are capable of acquiring property by other legal modes
  2. STATE
  3. minors – through guardians of personally
  • Against whom prescription run:
  1. minors & incapacitated person who have guardians
  2. absentees who have administrators
  3. persons living abroad who have administrators
  4. juridical persons except the state with regards to property not patrimonial in character
  5. between husbands & wife
  6. between parents & children (during minority/insanity)
  7. between guardian & ward (during guardianship)
  8. between co-heirs/co-owners
  9. between owner of property & person in possession of property in concept of holder
  • Things subject to prescription: all things within the commerce of men
  1. private property
  2. patrimonial property of the state
  • Things not subject to prescription:
  1. public domain
  2. in transmissible rights
  3. movables possessed through a crime
  4. registered land
  • Renunciation of prescription:
  • persons with capacity to alienate may renounce prescription already obtained but not the right to prescribe in the future
  • may be express or tacit
  • prescription is deemed to have been tacitly renounced; renunciation results from the acts w/c imply abandonment of right acquired
  • creditors & persons interested in making prescription effective may avail themselves notwithstanding express or tacit renunciation


  • Kinds of Acquisitive prescription
  1. ordinary
  2. extra-ordinary
  • Requisites for ordinary prescription:
  1. possession in good faith
  2. just title
  3. within time fixed by law
  • 4 years for movables
  • 8 years for immovables
  1. in concept of an owner
  2. public, peaceful, uninterrupted
  • Requisites for extra-ordinary prescription:
  1. just title is proved
  2. within time fixed by law
  • 10 years for movables
  • 30 years for immovables
  1. in concept of an owner
  2. public, peaceful, uninterrupted
  • Reasonable belief that person who transferred thing is the owner & could validly transmit ownership
  • Must exist throughout the entire period required for prescription
  • JUST TITLE (TRUE & VALID) – must be proved & never presumed
  • Titulo Colorado
  • Titulo putativo
  • title must be one which would have been sufficient to transfer ownership if grantor had been the owner
  • through one of the modes of transferring ownership but there is vice/defect in capacity of grantor to transmit ownership
  • possession not by mere tolerance of owner but adverse to that of the owner
  • claim that he owns the property
  • Must be known to the owner of the thing
  • Acquired & maintained w/o violence
  • Uninterrupted (no act of deprivation by others) in the enjoyment of property
  • Natural
    • through any cause, possession ceases for more than 1 year
    • if 1 year of less – as if no interruption
      • civil
    • produced by judicial summons; except
  1. void for lack of legal solemnities
  2. plaintiff desist from complaint/allow proceedings to lapse
  3. possessor is absolved from complaint
  • express or tacit renunciation
  • possession in wartime
  1. Present possessor may tack his possession to that of his grantor or predecessor in interest
  2. Present possessor presumed to be in continuous possession I intervening time unless contrary is proved
  3. First day excluded, last day included
  • there must be privity between previous & present possessor
  • possible when there is succession of rights
  • if character of possession different:
  • predecessor in bad faith possessor in good faith – use extraordinary prescription


  • By lapse of time fixed by law
  • 30 years
    • action over immovables from time possession is lost
  • 10 years
    • mortgage action
    • upon written contract
    • upon obligation created by law
    • upon a judgement
  • 8 years
    • action to recover movables from time possession is lost
  • 6 years
    • upon an oral contract
    • upon a quasi-contract
  • 5 years
    • actions where periods are not fixed by law
  • 4 years
    • upon injury to rights of plaintiff
    • upon a quasi-delict
  • 1 year
    • for forcible entry & detainer
    • for defamation
  • Rights not extinguished by prescription:
  1. demand right of way
  2. abate public /private nuisance
  3. declare contract void
  4. recover property subject to expressed trust
  5. probate of a will
  6. quiet title

Characteristics of DONATION:

  • Unilateral – obligation imposed on the donor
  • Consensual – perfected at time donor knows of acceptance
  • Requisites of Donation:
  1. Reduction in patrimony of donor
  2. Increase in patrimony of donee
  3. Intent to do act of liberality
  4. Donor must be owner of property donated
  • Requirements of a donation:
  1. subject matter – anything of value; present property & not future, must not impair legitime
  2. causa – anything to support a consideration: generosity, charity, goodwill, past service, debt
  3. capacity to donate & dispose & accept donation
  4. form – depends on value of donation
  • Kinds of Donation according to Effectivity:
Donation Inter Vivos Donation Mortis Causa
Disposition and acceptance to take effect during lifetime of donor and donee Disposition happens upon the death of donor
Already pertains to the donee unless there is a contrary intent Even if there is a term of effectivity and effectivity is upon the death of the donor, still entitled to fruits
Formalities required – follow law on donations and certain kinds of donations & law on obligations and contracts (suppletory) Formalities required – follow law on succession to be valid, and donation must be in the form of a will
Irrevocable at the instance of the donor; may be revoked only by reasons provided by law Revocable ad mutuum (exclusive will of donor)
Revoked only for reasons provided for by law (except onerous donations)
  • Acceptance
    • acceptance must be made personally or thru agent
    • donation may be made orally or in writing
  • movable:

5,000 & below – may be oral or written, if oral it must be with

simultaneous delivery of thing/document &

acceptance need not be in writing

above 5,000 – must be written and accepted also in writing

  • immovable – must be in a public instrument & acceptance must also be in a public instrument (in same instrument or in other instrument)
  • In case of doubt with regards to nature of donation: inter vivos
  • Badges of mortis causa:
  1. Title remains with donor (full or naked ownership)& conveyed only upon death
  2. Donor can revoked ad mutuum
  3. Transfer is void if transferor survives transfer
  • Kinds of donation INTER VIVOS
  • pure/simple
  • remuneratory
  • conditional
  • onerous
Pure/Simple Remuneratory Conditional Onerous
a) Consideration

Merits of doneeLiberality or merits of donee or burden/ charge of past services provided they do not constitute demandable debtValuable consideration is imposed but value is less than value of thing donatedValuable consideration givenb) law to apply/ forms

Law on donationsLaw on donationsExtent of burdenLaw on obligations


excess>donationc)   form of acceptance

RequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredd) reservation w/regards to personal support & legitime

ApplicableApplicableApplicableNot Applicablee)   warranty against eviction & hidden defects

In bad faith onlyIn bad faith onlyIn bad faith onlyAppliesf) revocation


  • Who may give donations

– All persons who may contract and dispose of their property

  • Who may accept donations:

1. natural & juridical persons w/c are not especially disqualified by law

2. minors & other incapacitated

a) by themselves

  • if pure & simple donation
  • if it does not require written acceptance

b) by guardian, legal representatives if needs written acceptance

  1. natural guardian – not more than 50,000
  2. court appointed – more than 50,000
  3. conceived & unborn child, represented by person who would have been  a guardian if already born
  • Who are disqualified to donate:

1. guardians & trustees with respect to property entrusted to them

2. husband & wife

3. between paramours/persons guilty of adultery

4. between parties guilty of same criminal offense

5. made to public officers, wife, descendant, ascendant

  • Other persons disqualified to receive donations:
  1. priest who heard confession of donor during his last illness
  2. relatives of priest within 4th degree, church, order, community where priest belongs
  3. physician, nurse, etc. who took care of donor during his last illness
  4. individuals, corporations, associations not permitted
  • What may be given:
  • All or part of donor’s present property provided he reserves sufficient means for the support of the ff:
  • himself
  • relatives who by law are entitled to his support
  • legitimes shall not be impaired
  • when w/o reservation or if inofficious, may be reduced on petition of persons affected
  • except: conditional donation & donation mortis causa
  • except: future property
  • Rule: Priority in time, priority in right

1. If movable – one who first take possession in good faith

2. If immovable – one who recorded in registry of property in good faith

– no inscription, one who first took possession in good faith

– in absence thereof, one who can present oldest title

  • applies only to donation inter vivos
  • not applicable to onerous donations
  • With regards to donations made by person without children or descendants at time     of donation:
  1. If donor should have legitimate, legitimated or illegitimate children
  2. If child came out to be alive & not dead contrary to belief of donor
  3. If donor subsequently adopts a minor child
  • Action for revocation based on failure to comply with condition in case of conditional donations
  • Action for revocation by reason of ingratitude
  1. Donee commits offense against person, honor, property of donor, spouse, children       under his parental authority
  2. Donee imputes to donor any criminal offense or any cat involving moral turpitude even if he should prove it unless act/crime has been committed against donee himself, spouse or children under his parental authority
  3. Donee unduly refuses to give support to donor when legally or morally bound to give support to donor
Ipso jure revocation, no need for action., court

decision is merely

declaratoryneeds court actionneeds court actionExtent: portion which may impair legitime of heirsExtent: whole portion but court may rule partial revocation onlyExtent: Whole portion returnedProperty must be returnedProperty in excessProperty to be returned

Alienation/mortgages done prior to recording in Register of Deeds:

If already sold or cannot be returned – the value must be returned

If mortgaged – donor may redeem the mortgage with right to recover from doneeAlienations/mortgages imposed are void unless registered with Register of DeedsPrior ones are void; demand value of property when alienated and can’t be recovered or redeemed from 3rd personsFruits to be returned at filing of action for revocationFruits to be returned at filing of complainant Prescription of action is 4 years from birth, etc.Prescription is 4 years from non-fulfilmentPrescription is 1 year from knowledge of fact and it was possible for him to bring actionAction cannot be renouncedAction cannot be renounced in advance Right of action transmitted to heirsRight of action at instance of donor but may be transmitted to heirsHeirs can’t file actionAction extends to donee’s heirsAction does not extend to donee’s heirs

  • Exception to rule on intransmissibility of action with regards to revocation due to ingratitude:
    • donor has instituted proceedings but dies before bringing civil action for revocation
    • donor already instituted civil action but died, heirs can substitute
    • donee killed donor or his ingratitude caused the death of the donor
    • donor died w/o having known the ingratitude done
    • criminal action filed but abated by death
  1. personal to the donor; general rule is heir cannot institute if donor did not institute
  2. heirs can only file in the ff cases:
  1. can only make heirs of donee liable if complaint was already filed when donee died
  • Inofficious donations:
  1. shall be reduced with regards to the excess
  2. action to reduce to be filed by heirs who have right to legitimate at time of donation
  3. donees/creditors of deceased donor cannot ask for reduction of donation
  4. if there are 2 or more donation: recent ones shall be suppressed
  5. if 2 or more donation at same time – treated equally & reduction is pro rata but donor may impose preference which must be expressly stated in donation


Civil Law (Property) Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001


About Magz

First of all, I am not a lawyer. I'm a graduate of AB Political Science and went to the College of Law but stopped going to law school for some reasons. I'm a passionate teacher who has been teaching English to speakers of other languages and a person who likes writing and blogging. I lost some important files and software when my computer broke down so the reason I created this website is to preserve the notes, reviewers and digests I collected when I was at the law school and at the same time, I want to help out law students who do not have enough time to go and read books in the library.

Posted on August 9, 2014, in Civil Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Thanks Magz for the review materials….this will add to my source of  law informations…Im now conducting a self review since i cannot attend a formal review due to time constraints.. Im a full time worker of a power industry ….Please keep on posting…Salamat po…

  2. Like it much

  3. Hi my father is the oldest of the siblings .but since my grandparents which the parents of my father died without any papers to show who will have their property.
    So the other sibling of my father took the tittles of the properties of my grandparents . And he is the one also making the decisions and give small area only to the other siblings . So my father which is the oldest get small peace of land o lay while him and two more siblings has big properties.
    But ofcourse as his daughter . I feel pity to My father because he only got small properties.
    So my questions are:

    1: who has the right to decide the properties from my grandparents ?
    2: they said that mostly the oldest of the sibling will be the one who should have more rights to hold the titles and make it fairly amount of land ?
    3:if I consult this to the DAR do you think we could make this right ?
    4: do you think it will cost us much money if we will put this in court to get correct?

    Please help me we really needed an answer and idea because their siblings are Soemtimes fighting because of this problem .
    Please help us thank you .

  4. edward miaros mosqueda jr.

    thank for the notes

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