QUESTION: Sir John, my family has been occupying a piece of farm land NOT our own in Mindanao for 36 years already. My dad knows who the owner is because we have a copy of the Spanish Title but we don't know where they are. Can we have it titled in our name?
ANSWER: Yes. Your dad can file for an ADVERSE POSSESSION.
ADVERSE POSSESSION is the Right of an occupant of land to acquire title against the real estate owner, where possession has been actual, continuous, hostile, visible, distinct and in the concept of owner for the statutory period. (Note: Statutory period is 30 years: adverse possession does not apply on lands titled under the Torrens System).
QUESTION: Can we sell this Right of Adverse Possession to someone else?
ANSWER: Your right is classified as the right to claim. You can sell it after you get a title under your name. But if you sell it to someone before you get a title under your name, the buyer will surely have a hard time claiming the right of adverse possession because he cannot meet the required minimum 30 years of length of occupancy of the land.