Valero V Grado
ANITA UNGAB-VALERO vs. AMANCIA-UNGAB GRADO
G. R. No. 163081, June 15, 2007
FACTS: Timoteo Ungab, deceased, owned a parcel of land 14.3375 hectares in Binuni, Bacolod, Lanao Del Norte. Petitioner is the only direct heir while respondents are heirs of the brothers and sisters of Timoteo except one named Felix. There is a showing that petitioner and her mother signed an Affidavit of Acknowledgment recognizing the rights of the brothers and sisters of Timoteo. In addition to that a compromise agreement was entered into by the parties showing that a trust was given to petitioner to hold the land subject of the controversy. When respondents asked for their share of the proceeds of the land, petitioner refused to grant the same on the ground that there exists no co-ownership between the parties and that the latter is the sole heir of the deceased Timoteo. The lower and appellate courts, however, ruled that there is co-ownership between the parties and that respondents are entitled to a share of the proceeds of the land. Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: Whether or not there is co-ownership.
RULING: The Supreme Court concur with the defense interposed by respondents that this case involves co-ownership and not about succession. The Affidavit of Acknowledgment renders petitioner estopped from claiming otherwise. Besides it is a well-settled rule that where one does not have any rightful claim over real property, the Torrens system of registration can confirm or record nothing. The land under dispute was already governed by a state of co-ownership even before the title was issued. What petitioner has over the property is a trust aside of course from the fact of being a co-owner. This is evidenced by the Affidavit of Acknowlegment and compromise agreement which established an express trust wherein respondents, as trustors, reposed their confidence on petitioner as trustee, that the latter will hold the land subject of the co-ownership. Therefore, there is no doubt that co-ownership exists.