Property rules: Dreaming high | Inquirer Business

Property rules: Dreaming high


Glistening stones cast on pure gold. Bags adorned with monogram. Parcels of land with infinite boundaries. The flutter of crisp bills. Mine….

Then a thud.


Richie, the poor lad from the north, woke up from his catatonic stupor. He was at it again. His plot-rich daydreams all revolved around earthly acquisitions. He yearns to own, possess and enjoy an asset he can call his very own.


Q: What are the modes by which Richie can acquire ownership?

A: Ownership is acquired by occupation and by intellectual creation. Ownership and other real rights over property are acquired and transmitted by law, by donation, by estate and intestate succession, and in consequence of certain contracts, by tradition. They may also be acquired by means of prescription. (Art. 712, Civil Code)


Q: What can be owned by occupation?

A: Things appropriable by nature which are without an owner, such as animals that are the object of hunting and fishing, hidden treasure and abandoned movables, are acquired by occupation. (Art. 713, Civil Code)

However, the ownership of a piece of land cannot be acquired by occupation. (Art. 714, Civil Code)

Q: How can Richie acquire a property through intellectual creation?


A: By intellectual creation, the following persons acquire ownership: (1) The author with regard to his literary, dramatic, historical, legal, philosophical, scientific or other work; (2) The composer; as to his musical composition; (3) The painter, sculptor, or other artist, with respect to the product of his art; (4) The scientist or technologist or any other person with regard to his discovery or invention. (Art. 721, Civil Code)

The author and the composer, mentioned in Nos. 1 and 2, shall have the ownership of their creations even before the publication of the same. Once their works are published, their rights are governed by the Copyright laws.

The painter, sculptor or other artist shall have dominion over the product of his art even before it is copyrighted.

The scientist or technologist has the ownership of his discovery or invention even before it is patented. (Art. 722, Civil Code)


Q: How come donation is a mode of acquiring ownership?

A: Donation is an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously of a thing or right in favor of another, who accepts it. (Art. 725, Civil Code)

Q: What are the two kinds of donations?

A: Donations which are to take effect upon the death of the donor partake of the nature of testamentary provisions, and thus shall be governed by the rules on succession. (Art. 728, Civil Code).

When the donor intends that the donation shall take effect during the lifetime of the donor, this shall be a donation inter vivos. (Art. 729, Civil Code)

Q: In what way is succession a mode of acquiring ownership?

A: Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a person are transmitted through his death to another or others either by his will or by operation of law.  (Art. 774)

Q: What is prescription? How is it as a mode of acquiring ownership?

A: By prescription, one acquires ownership and other real rights through the lapse of time in the manner and under the conditions laid down by law.

In the same way, rights and conditions are lost by prescription. (Art. 1106, Civil Code)


Q: What is acquisitive prescription?

A: Acquisitive prescription of dominion and other real rights may be ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary acquisitive prescription requires possession of things in good faith and with just title for the time fixed by law. ((Art. 1117, Civil Code). Possession, however, has to be in the concept of an owner, public, peaceful and uninterrupted. (Art. 1118, Civil Code) Therefore, acts of possessory character executed in virtue of license or by mere tolerance of the owner shall not be available for the purposes of possession. (Art. 1119, Civil Code).

Against a title recorded in the Registry of Property, ordinary prescription of ownership or real rights shall not take place to the prejudice of a third person, except in virtue of another title also recorded; and the time shall begin to run from the recording of the latter. As to lands registered under the Land Registration Act, the provisions of that special law shall govern. (Art. 1126, Civil Code).



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Ma. Soledad Deriquito-Mawis is currently the Dean of College of Law, Lyceum of the Philippines University; and President of Philippine Association of Law Schools

TAGS: Civil Code, Donations, ownership, property

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