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Possession


Definition

 The holding of a thing or enjoyment of a right whether
by material occupation or by the fact that the thing or
the right is subjected to the action of the possessor’s
will
 It is a real right independent of and apart from
ownership, is the right OF possession (jus
possessionis) which is different from the right TO
possess (jus posseidendi) which is merely an incident
of ownership
Possession v. Occupation

 Occupation is a mode of acquiring ownership which
involves some form of holding (Art. 712 & 713, NCC).
Possession is the holding of a thing or enjoyment of a
right (Art. 532, NCC)
 Occupation can take place only with respect to property
without an owner while possession can refer to all
kinds of property, with or without an owner
 Occupation, in itself, when proper confers ownership;
possession in itself, does not confer ownership
Essential Requisites of
Possession

 Holding or control of a thing or right (corpus)
consists of either:
 Exercise of a right or
 Constructive possession (intent to possess is crucial)
Ramos v. Director of Lands
Director v. CA
 Intention to possess (animus possedendi)
 By virtue of one’s own right, not necessarily as
owner but as the effect of a right claimed by the
holder
Degrees of Holding
Possession

 Mere holding or possession without title whatsoever and in
violation of the right of the owner (possession or a thief or
usurper of land)
 Possession + juridical title but not that of ownership which
will never ripen into full ownership so long as there is no
repudiation of concept under which property is held.
 Possession + just title or title sufficient to transfer ownership
but not from the true owner. This degree of possession ripens
into full ownership by lapse of time.
 Possession + just title from true owner. The delivery of
possession transfers ownership.
Classes of Possession
Natural v. Civil

Natural – physical holding (detention)
Civil – natural + intention of claiming the
benefits of the thing or right for one’s self.
By claim of the possessor over the thing
As an owner – can ripen to ownership
As a non-owner – ownership
pertaining to another person
Classes of Possession

 By character of possession
GF
BF
Case: Kasilag v. Rodriguez
 Possession of oneself or possession exercised in one’s own
name and possession in the name of another (Art. 524)
What May be Possessed

All things or rights which may be subject to
appropriation = susceptible of possession
(Art. 530)
May not be possessed:
Res communes (beyond human control)
Property of public dominion
Right under discontinuous and/or non-
apparent easement
How is Possession
Acquired

 Material occupation of the thing
 Subjection to the action of our will
 Doctrine of constructive possession which
encompasses constructive delivery
 Traditio Brevi Manu
 Traditio Constitutum possessorium
 Proper acts and legal formalities
Case: Banco Filipino Espanyol v. Peterson
Who May Possess

 By the same person
 By his legal representatives
 By his agent
 By any person without power whatsoever, but
subject to ratification, without prejudice to proper
case of negotorium gestio (Art. 2144, 4129, 2150)
 Subject to qualifications, minors and incapacitated
persons ( Art 525)
Acts w/o Any Effect on
Possession

 Acts merely tolerated (Art. 537)
Case: Macasaet v. Macasaet
 Acts executed clandestinely and without the
knowledge of the possessor (Art. 537)
 Acts by violence as long as the possessor objects
thereto (Art. 536)
Cases: Cuaycong v. Benedicto
Astudillo v. PHHC
Peran v. CFI
Rules on Conflict of
Possession

 General Rule: Possession cannot be recognized in
different personalities/individuals except in cases of
co-possession by co-possessors without conflict in
claims or interest
 If there is conflict, preference is given to:
 Present or actual possessor
 If there are two or more possessors, the one longer in
possession
 if dates are the same, the one who presents title
 If all are equal, thing shall be placed in judicial deposit
pending determination of possession/ownership
Effects of Possession

Every possessor has a right to be respected in
his possession; if possession is disturbed,
possessor’s right shall be protected or he may be
restored in his possession.
Entitlement to fruits
Reimbursement for expenses
Possession of movable acquired in good faith =
title
Actions to Recover
Possession

 Summary Proceedings – FE/UD
Also, under Art. 539, the possessor may ask for a
WPMI within 10 days from filing of complaint in
forcible entry. WPMI is also available in UD
upon appeal
 Accion publiciana
 Accion Reinvidicatoria
 Action for replevin
 Self-help under Art. 429
Entitlement to Fruits

Subject Possessor in GF Possessor in BF
Fruits gathered To the possessor To the owner (received
and may have
received)
Cultivation expenses of Not reimbursed to Reimbursed to
gathered fruits possessor possessor
Fruits pending and Prorated according to To owner
charges time
Production expensed Indemnity pro rata to No indemnity in cases
of pending fruits possessor (owner’s of pending fruits
option) in (1) Money or
(2) by allowing full
cultivation and
gathering of fruits
Reimbursement for
Expenses

Subject GF Possessor BF Possessor
Necessary expenses for Reimbursed to possessor + Reimbursed to possessor
preservation retention w/o retention
Useful expenses to Reimbursed to possessor at No reimbursement
increase productivity or owner’s option at (1)
value initial cost or (2) plus value
+ retention
May remove if no
reimbursement and no
damage to the principal
Ornamental Expenses Reimbursement at owner’s Owner’s Option:
option: (1) removal if no 1. Removal or
injury or (2) cost without 2. Value at the time of
removal recovery
Reimbursement for
Expenses
Subject  GF Possessor BF Possessor
Taxes and Charges on Charged to owner Charged to owner
capital
Taxes and charges on fruits Charged to possessor Charges to owner
(inc. yearly taxes)
Other charges Prorated To the owner
Improvements no longer No reimbursement No reimbursement
existing
Liability for accidental loss Only if acting with Liable in every case
or deterioration fraudulent intent or
negligence, after summons
Improvements due to time To the owner or lawful To the owner or lawful
and nature possessor possessor
Possession of Movable

 Good faith possession= title (Case: Yu v. Honrado)
 One who has lost a movable or has been unlawfully deprived
thereof may recover it without reimbursement, except if
 possessor acquired at a public sale or in markets or in fairs (Art.
1505), or under order of competent court or statutory power of
sale (At. 1505 [2])
 If title is lost by prescription of 4 yrs (in gf) or 8 yrs (regardless
of GF) [Art. 1132]
 If possessor is a holder in due course of a negotiable document
of title to goods (Art 1518)
 If the owner is precluded by his conduct in denying the seller’s
title (Art. 1505) estoppel
Effects of Possession in
the Concept of Owner

 Possession may ripen to full ownership upon lapse of
time
 Presumption of just title and cannot be obliged to show or
prove it (Art. 541) except in Art. 1131
 Possessor may bring all actions necessary to protect his
possession except accion reinvidicatoria
 Self-help is available (Art. 429)
Effects of Possession in
the Concept of Owner

 May ask for inscription of real right of possession in the
registry of property
 Has right to fruits and reimbursement for expenses, if in
GF
 Upon recovery of possession to which he has been
unlawfully deprived, may demand fruits and damages
 Generally, can do on things possessed everything that the
law authorizes the owner to do until he is ousted by one
who has a better right
Presumptions in Favor
of the Possessor

 Enjoyment of possession in the same character in which possession was
acquired, until contrary is proved
 Possession in in GF, until contrary is proved (Art. 527)
 Continuity of initial GF in which possession was commenced (Art. 528)
Case: Cabral v. Cordero
 Non-interruption of possession in favor of present possessor who proves
possession at a previous time until contrary is proved (Art. 554, See Arts.
1120-1124)
 Continuous possession of which one was unlawfully deprived (Art. 561)
 Present possession presumed to be the possession at previous time and
has continued to be so during intervening time unless contrary is proved
Other Presumptions WRT Specific
Property/Rights

 Extension of possession of real property to all
movables contained therein so long as it is not shown
that they should be excluded (Art. 426)
 Non interruption of possession of hereditary
property (Art. 533 and 1078)
 If just title in favor of possessor in the concept of
owner (Art 541 st Art. 1141)
Extinguishment of
Possession

 Abandonment
 Assignment
 Destruction of the thing or thing goes out of
commerce
 Possession by another
 Lasts longer than 1 year
 Real right of possession not lost until after 10 years
 Subject to acts which are merely tolerated (Art. 537)
No Extinguishment

 Acts executed by stealth and without the knowledge
of the possessor
 Acts merely tolerated by the possessor unless
authorized or ratified
 Violence
 Temporary ignorance of the whereabouts of movable
property
A possessor who recovers possession is considered to
have uninterrupted possession (Art. 561, 536, 539)