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Philomatheia Land Titles Case Doctrines

Philomatheia Land Titles Case Doctrines

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Published by Geoc Battad

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Published by: Geoc Battad on Jun 18, 2012
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It is clear that the evidence of petitioners is insufficient to establish that Malabanan has acquiredownership over the subject property under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. There is no substantiveevidence to establish that Malabanan or petitioners as his predecessors-in-interest have been inpossession of the property since 12 June 1945 or earlier. The earliest that petitioners can date back theirpossession, according to their own evidence
the Tax Declarations they presented in particular
is to theyear 1948. Thus, they cannot avail themselves of registration under Section 14(1) of the PropertyRegistration Decree.
Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14(2) as basis for registration. While the subject propertywas declared as alienable or disposable in 1982, there is no competent evidence that is no longerintended for public use service or for the development of the national evidence, conformably with Article422 of the Civil Code. The classification of the subject property as alienable and disposable land of thepublic domain does not change its status as property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of theCivil Code. Thus, it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription.
But even if the signatures were a forgery, and the sale would be regarded as void, the Deed of Mortgageis VALID, with respect to the mortgagees. The mortgagee had the right to rely upon what appeared in thecertificate of title, and did not have to inquire further. If the rule were otherwise, the efficacy andconclusiveness of Torrens Certificate of Titles would be futile and nugatory.
Thus the rule is simple: the fraudulent and forged document of sale may become the root of a valid title if the certificate has already been transferred from the name of the true owner to the name indicated bythe forger. The fact that at the time of the foreclosure sale proceedings the mortgagees may have alreadyknown of the plaintiffs' claim is immaterial. What is important is that at the time the mortgage was
executed, the mortgagees in good faith actually believed Duran’s mother to be the owner, as evidenced
by the registration of the property in the name of said mother."
Good faith consists in the possessor's belief that the person from whom he received the thing was theowner of the same and could convey his title. Good faith, while it is always to be presumed in the absenceof proof to the contrary, requires a well-founded belief that the person from whom title was received washimself the owner of the land, with the right to convey it. There is good faith where there is an honestintention to abstain from taking any unconscientious advantage from another. Otherwise stated, goodfaith is the opposite of fraud and it refers to the state of mind which is manifested by the acts of theindividual concerned.
Claim on the Assurance Fund1. Any person who sustains loss or damage under the following conditions:
that there was no negligence on his part; and
that the loss or damage was sustained through any omission, mistake, or misfeasance of the clerk of court, or the register of deeds, his deputy or clerk, in the performance of their respective duties under theprovisions of the land Registration Act,' or2 Any person who has been deprived of any land or any interest therein under the following conditions:
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that there was no negligence on his part;
that he was deprived as a consequence of the bringing of his land or interest therein under the provisionsof the Property Registration Decree; or by the registration by any other persons as owner of such land; orby mistake, omission or misdescription in any certificate or owner's duplicate, or in any entry ormemorandum in the register or other official book, or by any cancellation; and
that he is barred or in any way precluded from bringing an action for the recovery of such land orinterest therein, or claim upon the same.
Any prospective buyer or mortgagee of such a property, if prudent and in good faith, is normally expectedto inquire into all these and related facts and circumstances.
Another thing that defendants Morta and Medina Cue must have investigated, as any prudent buyer ormortgagee should before consummating any transaction on real property, in the matter of payment of taxes on the property.
Where two certificates (of title) purport to include the same land, the earlier in date prevails.
In successive registrations, where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate orinterest in land, the person claiming under the prior certificate is entitled to the estate or interest.
Hence, in point of priority of issuance, private respondents' title prevails over that of petitioner MWSS.
Lastly, a certificates is not conclusive evidence of title if it is shown that the same land had already beenregistered and an earlier certificate for the same is in existence.
Since the land in question has alreadybeen registered under OCT No. 994 dated April 19, 1917, the subsequent registration of the same land onMay 3, 1917 is null and void.
Where two certificates (of title) purport to include the same land, the earlier in date prevails. Insuccessive registrations, where more than one certificate is issued in respect of a particular estate orinterest in land, the person claiming under the prior certificate is entitled to the estate or interest; and theperson is deemed to hold under the prior certificate who is the holder of, or whose claim is deriveddirectly or indirectly from the person who was the holder of the earliest certificate issued in respectthereof.
Based on the foregoing patent irregularities, the court finds the attendance of fraud in the issuance of TCT
No. 4211 and all its derivative titles which preceded the defendants’ titles.
Evidently, TCT No. 4211cannot be validly traced from OCT No. 994.
Being void
ab initio, it did not give rise to any transmissible rights with respect to the land purportedlyinvalid, and resultantly, the defendants, being the holders of the latest derivatives, cannot assert any rightof ownership over the lands in question.
‘The void
ab initio
land titles issued cannot ripen into privateownership.
The fact of expropriation is extremely significant, for titles acquired by the State by way of expropriationare deemed cleansed of whatever previous flaws may have attended these titles.
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As Justice Vitug explained in Republic v. Court of Appeals, and then Associate Justice Puno reiterated inReyes v. NHA: "In an rem proceeding, condemnation acts upon the property. After condemnation, theparamount title is in the public under a new and independent title; thus, by giving notice to all claimantsto a disputed title, condemnation proceedings provide a judicial process for securing better title againstall the world than may be obtained by voluntary conveyance."
This doctrine was derived from the opinion of then Chief Judge Stephen Breyer in Cadorette v. U.S., thatby giving notice to all claimants to a disputed title, condemnation proceedings provide a judicial processfor securing better title against all the world than may be obtained by voluntary conveyance."
The titles of the Republic, as the predecessor-in-interest of the MANOTOKS, are presumed valid by virtueof their acquisition resulting from the exercise of its inherent power of eminent domain that need not begranted even by the fundamental law. Thus, the alleged flaws concerning the certificates of title issuedprevious to the exercise of the State of its inherent power did not affect or render invalid the subsequenttransfers after the forced sale.
It is already settled that a counterclaim is considered an original complaint and as such, the attack on thetitle in a case originally for recovery of possession cannot be considered as a collateral attack on the title.
It is true that the indefeasibility of torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. In the instant case, theoriginal complaint is for recovery of possession filed by petitioner against private respondent, not anoriginal action filed by the latter to question the validity of TCT on which petitioner bases its right.
`A counterclaim is considered a complaint, only this time, it is the original defendant who becomes theplaintiff. It stands on the same footing and is to be tested by the same rules as if it were an independentaction.
A notice of lis pendens, once duly registered, may be cancelled by the trial court before which the actioninvolving the property is pending. However, it may only be exercised under exceptional circumstances:a)
Where such circumstances are imputable to the party who caused the annotationb)
Where the litigation was unduly prolonged to the prejudice of the other party because of several continuances procured by petitionerc)
Where the case which is the basis for the lis pendens notation was dismissed for nonprosequitur on the part of the plaintiff d)
Where judgment was rendered against the party who caused such a notation. In suchinstances, said notice is deemed ipso facto cancelled.
Lis Pendens literally means pending suit. It refers to the jurisdiction, power or control which a courtacquires over the property involved in a suit, pending the continuance of the action, and until final judgment.
Founded upon public policy and necessity, lis pendens is intended to keep the properties in litigationwithin the power of the court until the litigation is terminated, and to prevent the defeat of the judgmentor decree by subsequent alienation.
Its notice is an announcement to the whole world that a particular property is in litigation and serves as awarning that one who acquires an interest over said property does so at his own risk, or that he gambleson the result of the litigation over said property.
Sec. 77 of P.D. No. 1529 provides the appropriate measure to have a notice of lis pendens cancelled outfrom the title, that is by presenting to the Register of Deeds, after finality of the judgment rendered in themain action, a certificate executed by the clerk of court before which the main action was pending to theeffect that the case has already been finally decided by the court, stating the manner of the disposalthereof.

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