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G.R. No. L-32974 July 30, 1979


Petition for certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction to nullify the Order of respondent Judge directing the execution of the final judgment in Civil Case No. C-90, entitled "Bartolome Ortiz vs. Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, et al.," and the Writ of Execution issued to implement said Order, allegedly for being inconsistent with the judgment sought to be enforced.

Civil Case No. C-90 was filed by Bartolome Ortiz who sought the review and/or annulment of the decision of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, giving preference to the sales applications of private respondents Quirino Comintan and Eleuterio Zamora over Lot No. 5785, PLS-45, located at Barrio Cabuluan, Calauag, Quezon.


·         The lot in controversy was formerly the subject of Homestead of Martin Dolorico II, plaintiff's ward who died. plaintiff who continued the cultivation and possession of the property, without however filing any application to acquire title thereon. Plaintiff’s war named Martin Dolirico I as his heir and successor in interest, so that in 1951 Martin Dolorico I executed an affidavit relinquishing his rights over the property in favor of defendants Quirino Comintan and Eleuterio Zamora, his grandson and son-in-law, respectively, and requested the Director of Lands to cancel the homestead application.

·         Defendants Comintan and Zamora filed their respective sales applications Nos.

·         Ortiz, plaintiff filed his protest alleging that he should be given preference to purchase the lot inasmuch as he is the actual occupant and has been in continuous possession of the same since 1931.

·         inspite of plaintiff's opposition, "Portion A" of the property was sold at public auction wherein defendant Comintan was the only bidder.

·         investigation was conducted on plaintiff's protest by Assistant Public Lands Inspector Serapion Bauzon who submitted his report to the Regional Land Officer and who in turn rendered a decision dismissing plaintiff's claim and giving due course to defendants' sales applications on the ground that the relinquishment of the homestead rights of Martin Dolorico I in favor of Comintan and Zamora is proper, the former having been designated as successor in interest of the original homestead applicant and that because plaintiff failed to participate in the public auction, he is forever barred to claim the property.

·         plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of this decision which was denied by the Director of Lands.

·         finally, on appeal to the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

·         the decision rendered by the Regional Land Officer was affirmed in toto. 

·          Plaintiff appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals.

·         Two (2) years after the rendition of the judgment by the court a quo, while the case was pending appeal and upon petition of private respondents Quirino Comintan and Eleuterio Zamora, respondent Court appointed respondent Vicente Ferro, Clerk of Court, as Receiver to collect tolls on a portion of the property used as a diversion road.

·         private respondents filed a petition for appointment of a new receiver with the court a quo. This petition was granted and the receiver was reappointed.


·         Petitioner sought the annulment of this Order with the CA, but said Court ruled that its decision had already become final.

·         Not satisfied with such denial, petitioner filed a petitioner for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary injunction before this Court, praying for the annulment of the Order reappointing the Receiver. On July 13, 1970, the petition was dismissed by this Court

·       Private respondent filed a motion officer to:

o   deliver the land subject but allowing defendants to file a bond, in lieu of the P13,632.00 required to be paid to plaintiff, conditioned that after the accounting of the tolls collected by plaintiff.

o   Ordering further the plaintiff to render an accounting of the tolls he collected from March of 1967 to December 31, 1968 and from September 1969 to March 31, 1970, and deliver said tolls collected to the receiver and if judgment is already executed, then to Quirino Comintan and Eleuterio Zamora

o   to condemn plaintiff to pay moral damages for withholding the tools which belong to your movant.

·       Respondent Judge granted the motion on the grounds that The tolls collected by the plaintiff on an unimproved portion naturally belong to the defendants, following the doctrine on accretion and  his right over the same is ipso jure. And that  collected tolls on the diversion road shall be deducted to the  P13,632.00 of bond


·         Accordingly, a Writ of Execution was issued after private respondent Quirino Comintan had filed the required bond.

·        Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but denied by the respondent judge.

·        Petitioner thus filed the instant petition, contending that judgment declared the he is a a possessor in good faith, he is entitled to the payment of the value of the improvements introduced by him on the whole property, with right to retain the land until he has been fully paid such value. Hence, that all the fruits of the property, including the tolls collected by him from the passing vehicles, which according to the trial court amounts to P25,000.00, belongs to him.


Whether or not petitioner is still entitled to retain for his own exclusive benefit all the fruits of the property.


We find this contention untenable.

There is no question that a possessor in good faith is entitled to the fruits received before the possession is legally interrupted.  Possession in good faith ceases or is legally interrupted from the moment defects in the title are made known to the possessor, by extraneous evidence or by the filing of an action in court by the true owner for the recovery of the property. Hence, all the fruits that the possessor may receive from the time he is summoned in court, or when he answers the complaint, must be delivered and paid by him to the owner or lawful possessor. 

However, even after his good faith ceases, the possessor in fact can still retain the property, pursuant to Article 546 of the New Civil Code, until he has been fully reimbursed for all the necessary and useful expenses made by him on the property. This right of retention has been considered as one of the conglomerate of measures devised by the law for the protection of the possessor in good faith. Its object is to guarantee the reimbursement of the expenses, such as those for the preservation of the property, or for the enhancement of its utility or productivity. It permits the actual possessor to remain in possession while he has not been reimbursed by the person who defeated him in the possession for those necessary expenses and useful improvements made by him on the thing possessed. The principal characteristic of the right of retention is its accessory character. It is accessory to a principal obligation. Considering that the right of the possessor to receive the fruits terminates when his good faith ceases, it is necessary, in order that this right to retain may be useful, to concede to the creditor the right to secure reimbursement from the fruits of the property by utilizing its proceeds for the payment of the interest as well as the principal of the debt while he remains in possession. This right of retention of the property by the creditor, according to Scaevola, in the light of the provisions of Article 502 of the Spanish Civil Code, is considered not a coercive measure to oblige the debtor to pay, depriving him temporarily of the enjoyment of the fruits of his property, but as a means of obtaining compensation for the debt. The right of retention in this case is analogous to a contract of antichresis and it can be considered as a means of extinguishing the obligation, inasmuch as the right to retain the thing lasts only for the period necessary to enable the creditor to be reimbursed from the fruits for the necessary and useful expenses. 

According to Manresa, the right of retention is, therefore, analogous to that of a pledge, if the property retained is a movable, and to that of antichresis, if the property held is immovable. This construction appears to be in harmony with similar provisions of the civil law which employs the right of retention as a means or device by which a creditor is able to obtain the payment of a debt. Thus, under Article 1731 of the New Civil Code, any person who has performed work upon a movable has a right to retain it by way of pledge until he is paid. Similarly, under Article 1914 of the same Code, the agent may retain in pledge the things which are the object of the agency until the principal effects reimbursement of the funds advanced by the former for the execution of the agency, or he is indemnified for all damages which he may have suffered as a consequence of the execution of the agency, provided he is free from fault. To the same effect, the depositary, under Article 1994 of the same Code, may retain the thing in pledge until the full payment of what may be due him by reason of the deposit. The usufructuary, pursuant to Article 612 of the same Code, may retain the property until he is reimbursed for the amount paid for taxes levied on the capital (Article 597) and tor extraordinary repairs (Article 594).

In all of these cases, the right of retention is used as a means of extinguishing the obligation. As amply observed by Manresa: "El derecho de retencion, lo hemos dicho, es el derecho de prenda o el de anticresis constituido por la ley con independencia de las partes."  In a pledge, if the thing pledged earns or produces fruits, income, dividends or interests, the creditor shall compensate what he receives with those which are owing him. In the same manner, in a contract of antichresis, the creditor acquires the right to receive the fruits of an immovable of his debtor with the obligation to apply them to payment of the interest, if owing, and thereafter to the principal of his credit.  The debtor can not reacquire enjoyment of the immovable until he has actually paid what he owes the creditor. 

Applying the afore-cited principles to the case at bar, petitioner cannot appropriate for his own exclusive benefit the tolls which he collected from the property retained by him. It was his duty under the law, after deducting the necessary expenses for his administration, to apply such amount collected to the payment of the interest, and the balance to the payment of the obligation.

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