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3. For lack of merit, the opposition filed by the spouses Manuel and Susana Braulio, Octabela Alba Vda. De Raz, Rodolfo Alba, Lourdes Alba and Beatriz Alba are hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.
The factual antecedents of the case as summed by the trial court and adopted by the Court of Appeals are as follows: G.R. No. 120066 September 9, 1999 OCTABELA ALBA Vda. De RAZ, Spouses MANUEL and SUSANA BRAULIO, RODOLFO, LOURDES and BEATRIZ all surnamed ALBA, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and JOSE LACHICA, respondents. Applicant Jose Lachica filed this application for title to land on April 28, 1958 with the claim that the land applied for was purchased by him and his wife, Adela Raz from, from one Eulalio Raz. The documents attached to the application are: technical description, surveyor's certificate, certification by the chief deputy assessor of Aklan and the blue print of Psu161277. The initial hearing was scheduled for October 31, 1958 and the certificate of publication in the Official Gazette was issued on September 23, 1958. The certification of posting of the notice of initial hearing was issued on October 13, 1958. The land applied for is residential, situated in the Poblacion of Banga, Aklan, with an area of 4,845 square meters, bounded on the northeast by the property of the Municipality of Banga (Sketch, Exh. "F"). The initial hearing was held on October 31, 1958. An order of general default was issued but those who presented their opposition, namely, Octabela Alba Vda. De Raz, Manuel and Susana Braulio, Jose Rago, representing Apolonia Rebeco, the Director of Lands and the Municipality of Banga represented by the Provincial Fiscal, were given thirty (30) days to file their written opposition. Manuel C. Braulio and Susana P. Braulio filed their opposition on October 31, 1958. They opposed the registration of the southeastern portion of the 240 square meters of the land applied for alleging that they are the owners in fee simple and possessors of said portion and all the improvements thereon
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Before us is an appeal by certiorari from a decision rendered by the Court of Appeals dated August 18, 1992 affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan, Branch I, in Land Registration Case No. K-101, LRC Record No. K. 15104, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1. The parcel of land described in Plan Psu-161277 and the improvements thereon situated in the Poblacion of the Municipality of Banga, Province of Aklan, Philippines, with an area of 4,845 square meters is brought under the operation of the property registration decree (PD No. 1529) and the title thereto is registered and confirmed in the name of applicant Jose Lachica, married to Adela Raz of Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines; 2. A ten (10) meter road width along the national road mentioned in the application be segregated for future road widening program upon payment of just compensation to be annotated at the back of the title;
for not less than 70 years together with their predecessor-ininterest deriving their title by purchase from the original owners. They prayed for the Court to declare them the true and absolute owners of the disputed portion of the same in their names. On October 31, 1958, Octabela Vda. de Raz filed her opposition. Jose Rago filed his opposition on November 29, 1958 as the duly constituted attorney-in-fact of Apolonia Rebeco although no special power of attorney was attached. He opposed the registration of the northeastern portion of the land applied for, with an area of 43.83 square meters. He alleged that his principal is the owner by right of succession and is in the possession of said portion with all its improvements for more than 80 years together with his predecessor-in-interest, continuously, peacefully and openly under claim of ownership. He prayed that his principal be declared the true and absolute owner of the disputed portion of 43.83 square meters.1âwphi1.nêt On March 22, 1966, the Court issued an Order allowing the applicant to hire another surveyor to segregate the noncontroversial portion of the land applied for and to notify the oppositors and their counsels. On January 12, 1970, a motion to lift the order of general default and to admit the attached opposition of Rodolfo Alba, Lourdes Alba and Beatriz Alba, as well as a motion to admit the attached amended petition of Octabela Vda. de Raz were filed. The Court in its order dated March 21, 1970 admitted said opposition and set aside the order of default. In their opposition, Rodolfo Alba, Lourdes Alba, represented by their attorney-in-fact, Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz, alleged that they are the co-owners of a portion of the land applied for with an area of 2,262 square meters bounded on the north by Januario Masigon, Nicolas Realtor, Agustina Rebeldia and Apolonia Rebeco, on the south by Eulalio Raz and on the west by the public market of Banga. They claimed to have inherited the above-mentioned portion from their late father, Eufrosino
M. Alba, who purchased the same from Dionisia Regado in 1918. Hence, they have been in possession continuously, openly and peacefully under claim of ownership of the abovementioned portion for not less 70 years. They prayed that the disputed portion of 2,262 square meters be registered as theirpro-indiviso property. In her amended opposition, Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz opposed the registration of the southeastern portion of the land applied for with an area of 331.44 square meters. She claimed to have been in peaceful, continuous and open possession together with her deceased husband, Eulalio Raz, under claim of ownership of the above-mentioned portion for not less than 70 years, by purchase from its owners. She likewise opposed the registration of the western portion of the land applied for, with an area of 676 square meters, having purchased the same from its original owners on (sic) her predecessor-in-interest has been open, peaceful and continuous under claim of ownership for a period of not less than 70 years. She prayed that the portion of 331.44 square meters be registered in her name and that of the heirs of Eulalio Raz, pro indiviso., and the other portion of 676 square meters be registered solely in her name. On February 25, 1970, the applicant Dr. Jose Lachica filed his consolidated opposition and reply to the motion to lift order of default stating that there is no reason to do so under the Rules of Court, and that the opposition of Rodolfo Alba, Lourdes Alba and Beatriz Alba, as well as the amended opposition of Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz are without merit in law and in fact. On March 21, 1970, the motion to lift the order of general default was granted and the opposition of Rodolfo Alba, Lourdes Alba and Beatriz Alba, as well as the opposition of Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz were all admitted. In the hearing of March 3, 1972, applicant offered for admission exhibits "A" to "I" and the testimonies of Pedro Ruiz (April 20, 1971), Jose Rago (Oct. 23, 1970) and Dr. Jose Lachica (July 16, 1971; Feb. 10, 1972). The Court admitted the same.
On March 13, 1974, the Court issued an order appointing Engr. Angeles Relor to act as Commissioner and delimit the portions claimed by the three sets of oppositors and submit an amended approved plan together with the technical description for each portion. The Commissioner's report and sketch was submitted on December 4, 1974. The applicant filed his opposition to the Commissioner's report on December 12, 1974. The Court in its order of December 13, 1974 required the Commissioner to submit an amended report and amended sketch. The Commissioner's corrected report and sketch was submitted on February 24, 1975 which the Court approved on February 25, 1975 there being no objection from the parties. On March 15, 1977, the Court issued an order whereby the testimony of oppositor Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz was stricken off the record for her failure to appear in the scheduled hearing on March 15, 1977. Again, in its order dated May 27, 1977 the testimony of Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz was stricken off record because the latter was bedridden and can not possibly appear for crossexamination. Oppositor Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz substituted by her heirs filed a formal offer of exhibits on August 24, 1988. Applicant filed his comments thereto on August 29, 1988. The Court admitted said exhibits and the testimony of their witness on March 1, 1989. In this application for title to land filed by applicant Jose Lachica, four oppositions were filed by the following: 1. Jose Rago, in representation of Apolonia Rebeco; 2. Manuel C. Braulio and Susana Braulio;
3. Rodolfo, Lourdes and Beatriz, all surnamed Alba, represented by Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz; and 4. Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz. In the hearing of October 23, 1970, counsel for oppositor Jose Rago manifested that he would file a motion for withdrawal of opposition and Jose Rago himself declared his conformity (Tsn, Oct. 23, 1970, p. 5). Although no formal motion to withdraw was actually filed, oppositor Rago has not presented evidence on his behalf; hence, his opposition must be disregarded. As regards oppositor Manuel C. Braulio ans Susana Braulio, a deed of sale supposedly executed by Susana Braulio and Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz in 1956 was identified by Felimon Raz, a witness for the oppositors (Tsn, Sept. 29, 1977, pp. 3 to 4). However, said deed cannot be found in the records. Even so, the Braulios have not presented evidence to show that by the time this application was filed, they and their predecessors-ininterest have been in actual, open, public, peaceful and continuous possession of the land claimed, in concept of owner, for at least 10 years sufficient to acquire title thereto (Arts. 1117, 1118, 1134, Civil Code of the Philippines). As such, the opposition of Manuel C. Braulio and Susana Braulio must be 2 dismissed. On the basis of the testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the applicant and the oppositor Raz, the court a quo rendered judgment in favor of the applicant as stated at the outset. In dismissing the claim of the remaining oppositors Rodolfo, Lourdes and Beatriz, all surnamed Alba, represented by Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz and Octabela Alba Vda. de Raz herself, the trial court in sum noted that said oppositors have never offered any explanation as to the nonpayment of realty taxes for the disputed portions of the subject property from 1941 to 1958 while the respondent/applicant continuously paid taxes under Tax Declaration No. 14181 covering said property from 1945-1958 when the case was 3 filed per certification issued by the Municipal Treasurer's Office of Banga. In rendering judgment in favor of respondent/applicant, the trial court stressed that while it is true that tax receipts and declarations of ownership for tax purposes are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership, they become strong evidence of ownership acquired by prescription when accompanied by proof of actual possession.
The Court of Appeals misapplied the basic rules governing the introduction of secondary evidence.2. now Section 5. 3. In rendering judgment in favor of private respondent. much less has he met the conditions for judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48 [a] of Act 141. The Civil law provisions on prescription are inapplicable. petitioners interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision of the trial court. and the doctrines in point. the Court of Appeals reasoned.1. 14181 is a "doctored" tax declaration. 3. There is absolutely no proof of the alleged sales made by Raz and Alba. as amended. as amended. for he was able to present sufficient substantial secondary evidence. . 3. 2. inter alia. Applicant/respondent has not satisfied the required quantum of evidence in land registration cases.7. 3. the trial court did not err in confirming that the applicant is the absolute owner in fee simple of the property subject of the application for registration entitling him to register the same in his name under the operation of PD 1529. The applicable law is Section 48 [a] of the Public Land Law or Act 141. Applicant/respondent's tax declarations have no probative value. The applicant/respondent's Tax Declaration No.8. as follows: On the basis of the testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the applicant.5. 3.3. The identity of the land has not been established. Unfazed. Private respondent has not acquired ownership in fee simple. in accordance with the requirements of Section 4. 3. 3.6. Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court. petitioners now come to this Court arguing that 1. It is of no moment that the applicant failed to produce the originals of those other deeds/documents of conveyances. 3. Petitionersoppositors have proven their right over the subject property. There is absolutely no reliable proof of the alleged theft of the deeds of sale.Dissatisfied. except perhaps for a 620 square meter portion of the land applied for because: 3.4. same Rule of the Revised Rules on Evidence.
S. on the SE.. Government of Banga (Public Market). . While he failed to present the other deeds of sale covering the other portions of the property.. Aklan. 42' W. Conc. N. He presented the Deed (Exh.81 m. He presented the clerk of the Municipal Treasurer's Office of Banga. 59. its contents may be proved. 14181 in the name of the tax declarant. proving that the land was declared for tax purposes in the name of the applicant and his wife. and Bogardas vs. Raylago vs. Republic vs. Jose Lachica is the absolute owner in fee simple of the land described in his application for its original registration in his name. Trinity Church. Beginning at a point marked 1 on plan. . He further exerted efforts and made a diligent search of those documents from the notary public but in vain. 14181 (Exh.08 m. 45 deg. being N. from B. N. for it in places where it is likely to be found. along line 3-4. and Bounded on the NE.L. that the due execution. S.S. October 3. 56 deg. G) executed by the vendor Faustino Martirez. 22 SCRA 1247. January 25. together with the fact that the same has been lost or destroyed. (Nn.L. to point "4" thence. petitioner acquired the property in 19401941. After proving the due execution and delivery of the document. 02' E. situated in Banga. In resume. 63.. who testified having seen those deeds as they were presented to him by the applicant and which were used as basis for the preparation and issuance of Tax Declaration No. The land contains an area of 4. Government vs.) 639. 33 deg. along line 2-3. secondary evidence of their contents is admissible without proof of their execution. He reported the loss to the authorities and even filed a case of theft. by National road. and on the NW.38 m. explained that when the original writing is not available for one reason or another which is the best or primary evidence.. fruitlessly made. . 46' E.845 square meters. along line 4-1. Ch. Mons. Jarabe. Mp. Martinez. by property of the Municipal Government of Banga (Public Market). 423. Aklan. . thence. The applicant has been paying the realty tax covering the property since 1945 and beyond 1958. 1... We find and so hold as did the trial court that Dr. of Banga. 22' W. 1957.26 m. 42' E. Tax Declaration No.. 817. to point "2" thence.L. 44 Phil.y. ruled that it is not necessary to prove the loss of the original document beyond all possibility of mistake. 87. to prove its contents is the testimony of some one who has read or known about it. to the point of beginning. Bearings true date of the survey. 33 deg. to point "3" thence. 37 deg.66 m. by property of Apolonia Rimate.. And Beall vs. per certification of the Municipal Treasurer of Banga (Exh. along line 1-2. delivery and reason for non-production of the original writing must first be produced. Court of Appeals. among others. A reasonable probability of its loss is sufficient and this may be shown by a bonafide (sic) and diligent search. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground by P. by the recollection of witnesses. 73. when the application for registration was filed in court.Thus. Dearing.. 1957. are of the view that that where the lost documents are more than thirty (30) years old and would thus prove themselves if produced.M. 4 Sandf. 1). by property of the Mpl. he has sufficiently established that they were notarized documents and were taken by his mother-in-law sometime in 1956. more or less. and that of the approval. H) was presented in Court. 73 SCRA 148. Cyl. 7 ala. 126. laid out the foundation before secondary evidence is introduced. In the case at bar. on the SW.
2. which are as a general rule deemed conclusive. and such findings are contrary to the submission of both appellant and appellee. 32 SCRA 516). open. adverse and continuous possession of the land applied for in the concept of owner for over 10 years when the application for registration was filed in court. and 10. .] Where there is a grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of 12 facts." hence.] When the judgment of the Court of Appeals is premised on a misapprehension of facts. and thereby also acquired the property by acquisitive prescription. 8 More explicitly. and thus in whatever way his occupancy might have commenced or continued under a claim of title exclusive of any other right and adverse to all other claimants. would justify a different conclusion. binding or conclusive on the parties and upon this 5 6 Court. the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals.] When the inference made by the Court of Appeals from its findings of fact is 11 manifestly mistaken. whatever right oppositors may have had over the property or any portion thereof was thereby also lost through extinctive prescription in favor of the applicant who had been in actual. Tio.The applicant has been in public. surmises and conjectures. continuous possession of the applicant since 1940. 845 square meter parcel of land he applied for. strongly ". otherwise known as the "Code of Civil Procedure". . may be reviewed by this Court in the following instances: 1. if property considered. 4. 13 7.] When the appellate court in making its findings went beyond the issues of the case. 5. de Delima vs. and the adverse.] When the factual findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are 9 contradictory. resulted in the acquisition of title to the land by acquisitive prescription (Vda.] When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation. having been in actual and adverse possession under claim of ownership for over ten (10) years. continuous and adverse possession of the property since 1940-41 up to the present to the exclusion of all. 9.10 3. to borrow the apt words of the ponente in the Delima case. 4 It is a fundamental and settled rule that findings of fact by the trial court and the Court of Appeals are final. absurd or impossible.] When the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties which. The primordial issue to be resolved is whether or not the private respondent/applicant is entitled to the confirmation of his ownership in fee simple for the 4. 14 8. militate against any judicial cognizance of a matter that could have been withheld in its ken.] When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence but such findings are contradicted 15 by the evidence on record. such proof of ownership of.] When the findings of fact are themselves conflicting. open.] When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based. 6. which will not be reviewed or disturbed on appeal unless these findings 7 are not supported by evidence or unless strong and cogent reasons dictate otherwise. in accordance with Sections 40 and 43 of Act 190. . Indeed.
12374 en la Oficina del Tasador Provincial de Capiz. leaves no room for doubt as to its identity. and [3.] the subject land is covered by Tax Declaration No.] the private respondent/applicant purchased the land from Faustino Martirez.] A Deed of Sale dated August 13. 17 A thorough review of the record convinces this Court that the general rule with regard to the conclusiveness of the trial court's and appellate tribunal's factual findings should not be applied because there are material circumstances which. and 5. however.) 6 sean cuarenta metros de frente por otros veinte y unmetrode fondo. . her husband. 1918.] 3. 25 The deed of conveyance was duly registered with the Registry 26 of Deeds of Aklan pursuant to Act No. he and his wife Octabela Alba conveyed a 240 square meter portion thereof to Susana Braulio on 24 November 5. 20[2. was not questioned by petitioners as its technical description delineated in the Escritura De 18 Venta Absoluta dated August 13. he acquired the land in question from three (3) sources. namely: a. 1933. actuado en el casco central del municipio de Banga. How this parcel was further reduced to 620 square meters is explained by the fact that the Municipal Government of Banga appropriated 220 square meters thereof for the Banga Public Market Road. cuyos linderos por el Norte con propiedad de Eufrosino Alba y con Eulalio Raz. cuyo valor amilarado actual es veinte pesos (P20. 2. 1941 allegedly executed by Faustino Martirez covering 840 square meters. 4.] the private respondent/applicant has paid the realty taxes on the land from 1945 up to the filing of his application in 1958.850 square meters of the land to the Municipality of Banga evidenced by a Spanish document denominated as a deed of sale dated April 29. b] 300 square meters allegedly purchased from private respondent's father-in-law Eulalio Raz.] 1. a circumspect scrutiny of the evidence extant on record reveals that with the exception of 620 square meters. however. 1956. Subsequently on May 29. y por al Oeste con al terreno del mercado municipal de Banga y con propiedad de Eufrosino Alba y al terreno tienes sus mojones de cemento en todos sus cuatro cantos de linderia y sin otro limite visible de linderia mas que dichos mojones y esta amillarado a mi nombre en una sola hoja declaratoria de propiedad Tax No. open and continuous possession of the subject land in the concept of owner since 1945. 332 in the name of Eulalio Raz. a review of the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals is not a function that this Court normally undertakes 6 unless the appellate court's findings are palpably unsupported by the evidence on record or unless the judgment itself is based on a misapprehension of facts. the heirs of Eufrocino Alba sold a 676 square meter portion of the parcel purchased by Eufrocino to Octabela Alba Vda.938 square meters to Eufrocino Alba evidenced by a deed of conveyance dated September 6. would have altered the result of the case. . 1941.00) . 334 on June 17. As stated earlier.] the private respondent/applicant has been in actual.In sum. to wit: Un terreno solar residencia antes palayero regado.] the private respondent/applicant has acquired the land by prescription. when properly considered. Sin ninguna mejora. 1969. First.725 square meters private respondent allegedly bought in 1940 from Eugrocino Alba. 1914. Faustino Martirez acquired a portion of 840 square meters from Eulalio Raz on January 15. both the trial court and the Court of Appeals adjudicated confirmed private respondent/applicant's title to the land on the basis of the findings that: 1. as well as the arguments proffered by private respondent.320 square meters to Eulalio Raz evidenced by a document entitled Escritura de 21 Venta Absoluta dated September 6. is seriously contested are the alleged purchases of the other two parcels from Eulalio Raz measuring 300 square meters and from Eufrocino Alba measuring 3. The sale involving the first parcel of land covering 840 square meters.] 1. de Raz.] 2. 802. 23 Raz retained 480 square meters. 14181. cds. 19 The records further reveal that Dionisia Regado sold: [1. total area of 840 square meters as well as its dimensions of 40 meters in front and 21 meters at the base. and c. 3. As can be gathered from the discussion of the appellate court. there has been no satisfactory showing of how private respondent/applicant acquired the remainder of the subject land. por Este con Eulalio Raz y con la carretera provincial de Kalibo a Banga. The records disclose that the subject land was originally owned by Dionisia Regado under Tax Declaration No. 1969 and is covered by Tax 27 Declaration No.725 square meters owing to the questionable circumstances surrounding their acquisition. 1918 22 written in Spanish. . de una extension superficial de ochocientos cuarenta metros cuadrados (840 mts. Capiz. por Sur con la misma carretera provincial y con terreno del municipio para mercado. What.
. y Silverio Relis. [a] contract of sale of realty cannot be proven by means of witnesses. situado en el municipio de Banga.. as in this case. Alba in the amount of P500. by property of the Mpl. al sur con Bienvenido M. 67. On the other hand. 5 30 of the said inventory described the parcel of land mentioned therein as follows: 5. No other evidence. 56 deg. thence S.. 33 deg. amillarado en nombre de Eufrocino Alba bajo el Tax No. at Himamaylan. as Reg. Such reliance on secondary evidence vis-a-vis the peculiar facts prevailing in this case rests on infirm legal bases much more so in the face of the overwhelming documentary evidence of petitioners arrayed against it because . 59. he only claims a portion of what is included in his title.. the land applied for is described technically per Psu 161277 as A parcel of land (as shown on Plan Psu-161277).Other than the foregoing transactions involving the subject land which are borne out by the documentary evidence on record.. situated in Poblacion. can be received except the documentary evidence referred to. 5 of his Exhibit "I" which is denominated as an "Inventory And Appraisal Of The Properties Of The Spouses Adela Raz De Lachica (Deceased) and Dr.. 87. If.38 m. 45 deg. An applicant for registration of land. Private respondent/applicant alleged that he purchased the remainder of the subject land measuring 3. Municipality of Banga. of Banga. on the SE. Serie 1940). and on the NW. Conrado Gensiano. therefore. Negros Occidental and notarized by Atty. 42' E. 22' W. he must clearly prove that the property sought to be registered is included in that title. being N.26 m. or by secondary evidence of their contents. Capiz. Pag. Instead he relied chiefly on secondary evidence to prove the existence thereof which was sustained by both the trial and the appellate courts. but must necessarily be evidenced by a written instrument. must prove not only the genuineness of his title but the identity of the land therein referred to.08 m. 37 deg. Alba y al Oeste con Cirilo rala y Adela Raz. . Jose Lachica. Province of Aklan. 02' E.81 m. along line 3-4. by National Road. if he relies on a document evidencing his title thereto. duly subscribed by the party charged. by property of Apolonia Rimate.. 46' E. 423. to the point of . or by his agent.L. by property of the Municipal Government of Banga (Public Market). and these are valueless as evidence unless they are drawn up in 28 writing in the manner aforesaid. Libro VIII. 63. con una extension aproximada de una (1) hectarea (20) areas y (35) centiareas poco mas o menos. 29 Second. on the SW. al Este con la carretera provincial Banga-Libacao.725 square meters from Eufrocino Alba sometime in 1940 averring that this parcel is listed as Item No. que linda el Norte con Lorenzo Retiro. Government of Banga (Public Market). private respondent/applicant did not produce the alleged deeds of conveyances evidencing the purported transfers made by Eulalio Raz and Eufrocino Alba in his favor. (Note: Said property was purchased by the spouses Jose Lachica and Adela Raz Lachica from Eufrocino M.66 m. 122. Bounded on the NE. Aklan. 33 deg. Not. Una parcela de terreno cocal secano." Item No.. to point "2" thence S. Mp.00. The document in such a case is either a basis of his claim for registration or not at all. 1. along line 2-3.M. there are glaring variances in the identities and technical descriptions of the land applied for by private respondent/applicant and the land he purportedly purchased from Eufrocino Alba.L. 12792 por valor de P390. . Beginning at a point marked "1" on plan. along line 4-1. to point "4" thence N. 42" W. to point "3" thence N. 73. along line 1-2. 1940. from B.00 as evidenced by aEscritura de Compraventa executed on November 25. in so far as regards such contracts.
d. 31 January 25. the lower court's reliance on prescription is not well-taken given the peculiar facts prevailing in this case.845 square meters. and on the NW by the Banga Public market whereas the land allegedly obtained from Eufrocino Alba is bounded on the N by Ernesto Retino and Silverio Relis. 41 the claim that the applicant had been incontinuous and uninterrupted possession of the disputed land was not given credence because it was negated by the fact that he declared the land for taxation purposes in October 1959 when he filed his application for registration although he could have done so in 1937 when he allegedly purchased the land. 14181 was preceded by 1954 Tax Declaration No. 13578 was preceded by 1953 Tax Declaration No. by itself. Bearings true date of survey. c. b. is not conclusive evidence of ownership. cocal. It needs be stressed in this regard that a person who claims that he has better right to real property must prove not only his ownership of the same but also must satisfactorily prove the identity thereof. The land declared for taxation purposes therein also has an area of 620 square meters. 1957. Fourth.] the land applied for is covered by Tax Declaration No.035 square meters. 43 If at all. 15792. Tax Declaration No. 37 36 . on the SW by the Banga-Kalibo National Road. on the S by Bienvenido Alba and on the W by the Cirilo Rala and Adela Raz. on the E by the Banga-Libaco Carreta Provincial.845 square meters on the bare claim that "the area has been decreased" to only 620 square meters. Tax Declaration No. decree. thus. rule. 6528 in the name of private respondent's wife. 35 Third. 13040 in the name of Adela Raz. private respondent's wife. 45 Along the same vein. It will be readily noted vis-a-vis the foregoing that: a.] the land applied for is palayero whereas the land allegedly acquired from Eufrocino Alba is cocal secano. The timing of the revision and its proximity to the date of filing of the application can not but engender serious doubts on the application more so considering that prior thereto realty tax payments covering the period 1945 to 1956 covered an area measuring 620 square meters and private respondent/applicant is banking on said payments to claim possession and ownership over the same period for an infinitely larger area of 4. The land declared therein for taxation purposes likewise measures 620 square meters. thus. 14181 geometrically ballooned from a modest 620 square meter lot to a huge parcel measuring 4. 44 Basic is the rule that no statute. a court's jurisdiction depends on the law existing at the time an action is filed 46 and a law continues to be in force with regard to all rights 47 which accrued prior to the amendment thereof. and that of the approval. October 3. the term palayero refers to land devoted to the planting rice.845 square meters. both trial and appellate courts placed undue reliance on Tax Declaration No.845 square meters whereas the land supposedly sold by Eufrocino Alba measures 12. regulation or policy shall be given retrospective effect unless explicitly stated so. although constituting proof of claim of 38 title to land. furthermore. 14181 while the parcel allegedly purchased from Eufrocino Alba is covered by Tax Declaration No.L. Conc. is not incontrovertible evidence of ownership unless they are supported by other effective proof. Still in another case. registration must be denied. 13578 in the name of private respondent/applicant and his spouse which shows that the land declared therein for taxation purposes covers an area of 620 square meters. held in one case 40 that where realty taxes covering thirty-one (31) years were paid only a few months prior to the filing of an application. 14181 considering that there is no satisfactory explanation of how the area of land covered by Tax Declaration No. on the SE by Apolinia Rimate. 32 Palay is unhusked rice. Tax Declaration No. Cyl.845 square meters in 1956 came about on account of an affidavit dated November 17. 39 It was.845) SQUARE METERS. As pointed out by petitioners. A tax declaration. Adela Raz. the foregoing facts only serves to underscore private respondent/applicant's crafty attempt to cloak with judicial color his underhanded scheme to seize the adjoining parcels of land and to enrich himself at the expense of its rightful owners. 134040 was preceded by 1947 Tax Declaration No. containing an area of FOUR THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE (4. unless the contrary is proved. It appears that the quantum leap from 620 square meters in 1947 to 4. The law in force at the time an action accrues is what governs the proceeding consistent with the fundamental dictum that laws shall have no retroactive effect. A belated declaration is. All points referred to are indicated on the plan and are marked on the ground by P. Tax declarations for a certain number of years. means coconut tree 33 34 plantation while secano denotes unwatered land or a dry sand bank. ordinance. 1957. indicative that the applicant had no real claim of ownership over the 42 subject land prior to the declaration and where there are serious discrepancies in the tax declarations as in this case. on the other hand. 1956 wherein private respondent/applicant requested the Municipal Assessor of Banga to issue a revised tax declaration covering 4.beginning. such payment does not constitute sufficient proof that the applicant had a bona fide claim of ownership prior to the filing of the application.S.] the land applied for has an area of 4. Mons.] the land applied for is bounded on the NE by the Banga Public Market.
53 For purposes of administration and disposition. public agricultural land may be defined as those alienable portions of the public domain which are neither timber nor mineral lands. On the other hand. (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open.] Titulo de compra or title by purchase and. under the Land Registration Act. 496.] Educational. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. 48.] Lands that are claimed to be owned by accession. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. the Court of Appeals relied on the provisions of Section 52 19 of Act 496 in relation to the Civil Code's provision's on prescription on the assumption that the subject land is private land.]Informacion posesoria or possessory information title.] Reservations 54 for town sites and for public and quasi-public purposes. as provided for in Articles 457. if such applicants or grantees and their heirs have occupied and cultivated said lands continuously 49 since the filing of their applications. continuous. which could become a Titulo gratuito or a gratuitous title. avulsion. to wit: (a) Those who prior to the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States have applied for the purchase. and . Public lands are broadly classified into 1.] Alienable or disposable lands.] Mineral lands.] Agricultural. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.] Inalienable or non-disposable public lands.] Timber lands. permits the registration of private lands claimed to be owned by the applicant in fee simple which refer to: 1. industrial or for similar productive purposes.] Residential. b. the lands of the public domain classified as "disposable" or "alienable" are further sub-classified into a. c]Composicion con el estado title or adjustment title. 2. From the foregoing classifications. not received title therefor. the controlling statute when the private respondent/applicant filed his application for registration on April 28. formation of islands. accretion. Thus the term includes residential. e. and. Section 19 of Act No.] Lands acquired by various types of titles from the government during the Spanish Regime by way of grants by the Spanish crown namely the: a. commercial and industrial lands for the reason 55 that these lands are neither timber nor mineral lands. 56 2. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of lands of the public domain suitable to agriculture. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. 461 and 464 of the Civil Code. 1942 and 6236. and. whether disposable or not. but have with or without default upon their part. as amended. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain under a bona fideclaim of ownership. c. charitable or other similar purposes.] Titulo real or royal grant. composition or other form of grant of lands of the public domain under the laws and royal decrees then in force and have instituted and prosecuted the proceedings in connection therewith. 1958 is Section 48 of Commonwealth Act 141. The following-described citizens of the Philippines.e.] Concession especial or special grant. b. abandoned river beds. under a bona fide claim of ownership for at least 30 years shall be entitled to the rights 51 granted in subsection (b) hereof. or for any other cause. d.In this case. Therein lies the flaw in the appellate court's postulate. commercial. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claim and issuance of a certificate of title therefor. Non-disposable public lands or those not susceptible of private appropriation include a. 50 (c) Members of the national cultural minorities who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. as amended by RA Nos. i. b. and d. A circumspect scrutiny of the assailed Decision readily shows that in the affirming the ruling of the trial court. The application for registration of private respondent is for judicial confirmation of an imperfect title considering that the land is presumed under the Regalian Doctrine to be part of the public domain. continuous. 48 which states that: Sec.
Needless to state. Suffice it to state that the land sought to be registered by private respondent hardly falls under any of the latter classifications of land referred to by Act No. it must be pointed out that . .845 square meters to the exclusion of petitioners who have been occupying portions of the disputed land constituted acts of deprivation tantamount to bad faith. Suffice it to state in this regard that to allow private respondent/applicant to benefit from his own wrong would run counter to the maxim ex dolo malo non oritur actio no man can be allowed to found a claim upon his own 65 wrongdoing. express or implied from the government." this provision of law must be read in conjunction with Art. without need of good faith. . . Indeed this Court has ruled that the .3. is because the statute of limitations with regard to public agricultural land does not operate against the State. . private respondent/applicant's possession of thirteen (13) years falls way below the thirty-year requirement mandated by Article 1137. The reason. 1134 of the Civil Code provides that "(o)wnership and other real rights over immovable property are acquired by ordinary prescription through possession of ten years. 1117 of the same Code. even assuming ex gratia argumenti that prescription can be applied in the manner invoked by the trial court and the appellate court. upon which benefit is obtained to the prejudice of a third 64 person. long the period may have extended. however. . . 1137. to reiterate our ruling. unless the occupant can prove possession and occupation of the same under claim of ownership for the required number of years to 59 constitute a grant from the State. it is fraud to knowingly omit or conceal a fact. prescription in the manner invoked by both courts can not be pleaded to bolster private respondent/applicant's claim because the possessor consists in the reasonable belief that the person from whom he received the thing was the owner thereof. never confers title thereto 58 upon the possessor. For purposes of prescription. Failure and intentional omission of the applicants to disclose the fact of actual physical possession by another person constitutes an allegation of actual fraud. it is indispensable that there be a showing of title from the state .] Lands which have been acquired in any other manner provided by law. 60 The good faith of . [N]o public land can be acquired by private persons without any grant. Given the foregoing facts. On the contrary. private respondent/applicant's act of appropriating for himself the entire area of 4. . Fifth. [c]oncealment and misrepresentation in the application that no other persons had any claim or interest in the said land. constitute specific allegations of extrinsic fraud supported by competent proof. as amended. there is just title when the adverse claimant came into possession of the property through one of the recognized modes of acquisition of ownership or other real rights but the grantor was not the owner or could not transmit any right." Hence. and 61 could transmit his ownership. the possession of public agricultural land. . 57 . xxx xxx xxx Indeed. Ownership and other real rights over immovables also prescribe through uninterrupted adverse possession thereof for thirty years. 62 It can not be said that private respondent's possession was con justo titulo y buena fe. 63 Likewise. . [W]hile Art. It need not be overemphasized that extraordinary acquisitive prescription can not similarly vest ownership over the property upon private respondent/applicant because Article 1137 of the Civil Code states in no uncertain terms that Art. (o)rdinary acquisitive prescription of things requires possession in good faith and with just title for the time fixed by law. This article states that ". . . 496. a prescriptive title to real estate is not acquired by mere possession thereof under claim of ownership for a period of ten years unless such possession was acquired con justo titulo y buena fe (with color of title and good faith).
Dionisia Regado. Aklan. with the exception of 840 square meters further reduced to 620 square meters on account of 220 square meters appropriated for the market road.] The 620 square meter portion on which private respondent Jose N.] the Deed of Sale dated April 29. 14181 which he was able to procure from the Municipal Assessor of Banga in 1956 on the basis of a selfserving affidavit which proffered the lame excuse that there was error in the statement of the area of the land which he claimed to be 4. Province of Aklan. Furthermore. Lachica's house is situated. K101. to be registered and confirmed in the name of private respondent. 332 in the name of Octabela Alba Vda. The foregoing only serves to underscore the paucity of the proof of private respondent/applicant to support his claim of ownership over the entire 4. De Raz.] the Deed of Sale dated July 10. Inocentes Alba and Estrella Alba.484 square meters. 1933 as confirmed in paragraph 2 of 70 the Escritura De Venta Absoluta executed by him on August 13. 1969. 81 1956 is also documented. 1914 covering 1. is hereby ORDERED segregated from the parcel of land described in Psu-161277 situated in the Poblacion of the Municipality of Banga.845 square meter area. 67 2. if at all. 1918 covering the 69 balance with an area of 2. De Raz was stricken off the record. there is no sufficient evidence showing that petitioners have been in open.938 square meters in favor of Eufrocino Alba. 755 square meters from anybody let alone the ancestral owner. WHEREFORE. 3. the case is hereby REMANDED to the court of origin for the reception of further . the bigger area of 3. 1953 Tax Declaration No. 3. K-15104 is hereby MODIFIED as follows: 1. 1915 covering 1. and 1947 Tax Declaration No. Be that as it may. adverse.938 square meter lot purchased by their father from Dionisia Regado to petitioner/oppositor Octabela alba Vda.845 square meters instead of 620 square meters which was the area reflected in earlier tax declarations namely.] Insofar as the ownership of the remainder of the subject land is concerned. De Raz's ownership of the remaining 240 square meter portion which she and her husband Eulalio Raz bought from Dionisia Regado 75 and the 676 square meter portion which they bought from the heirs of 76 77 Eufrocino Alba is fully substantiated by documentary proof.] A ten (10) meter road width along the National road mentioned in the application be segregated for future road widening programs upon the payment of just compensation to be annotated at the back of the title. sold a 676 square meter portion of the 2. 1918. His claim is anchored mainly on Revised Tax Declaration No. He has not adduced evidence to show how and when he was able to acquire. 66 The records further bear out that the original owner of the whole area was one Dionisia Regado who executed three (3) deeds of sale covering certain portions of the disputed lands. Faustino Martirez acquired only an 840 square meter portion of the land by purchase Eulalio Raz on January 15. LRC Record No. clearly delineating its metes and bounds. in view of their failure to present the technical descriptions of these areas. Philippines with an area of 4. 2. peaceful and continuous possession thereof in the concept of owner. 3344 on June 17. 68 and. After selling 840 square meters to Faustino Martirez. 1992 in Land Registration Case No. 1969. Susana Braulio's ownership of a 240 square meter 80 portion which she acquired from Octabela Alba Vda. adduced overwhelming evidence to prove their ownership of the portions they claim in the subject land. 72 This Deeds was duly registered with the Registry of 73 Deeds of Aklan in accordance with Act No. 13043.335 square 78 79 meters and another portion measuring 2. her predecessor-in-interest having acquired the same 82 from Dionisia Regado on September 6. De Raz's husband. 74 Petitioner/oppositor Octabela Alba Vda.262 square meters is likewise backed by documentary evidence. namely: 1. Virginia Alba.320 square meters executed in favor of Eulalio Raz.Sixth. 1954 Tax Declaration No. Lourdes Alba and Beatriz Alba's ownership of a portion measuring 1. 13578.] the Deed of Sale dated September 6. On May 29. is confined to only 620 square meters or what has been left of the 840 square meters he purchased from Faustino Martirez after 220 square meters thereof were appropriated by the Municipality of Banga for the Public Market Road. De Raz on November 11. petitioners/oppositors have. based on foregoing premises. considering that the testimony of Octabela Alba vda. 6528.850 square meters executed in favor of the Municipality of Banga. 1941. the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo. children of the deceased Eufrocino Alba. The land is covered by Tax Declaration No. Eulalio Raz retained 480 square meters to Susana Braulio 71leaving a balance of 240 square meters which remained undiposed. in stark contrast to the secondary proof of private respondent. Rodolfo Alba. exclusive. Branch 1 dated August 18. The evidence on record clearly points to the fact that private respondent/applicant's right. the Court has reservations on the propriety of adjudicating to petitioners the contested portions of the subject land.
JJ. Jr. Puno.J. . C. Kapunan and Pardo.1âwphi1. on official leave....evidence for the petitioners to establish the other requisites for the confirmation of title and registration in their names of the areas they respectively claim. concur. Davide.nêt SO ORDERED.
Ana. 8269. Ruperto Tumibay. Cabanatuan City in Civil Case No. RUPERTO TUMIBAY. ELENA TUMIBAY. by the CA and by this Court. * NARCISO TUMIBAY. 2010 Cabanatuan City. T-11574 was issued in Narciso s name. filed on January 17. the Register of Deeds of Cabanatuan City issued TCT No. Ordering the defendants to reconvey the said property to the said Yolanda T. Narciso subsequently sold the subject property to the other petitioners in this case. for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion. The petitioners. SO ORDERED. Ordering the annulment of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-23150. MANUELA SEVERINO VDA. premises considered. under Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. such as TCT Nos. Elena Tumibay. Soro (Yolanda) and her husband. 1738. T-23150. Sta. Branch 30. After finality. No. 27151 and 42467 in their names.00 as actual and moral damages. On December 30. De Perida and Gregoria Dela Cruz (petitioners). Soro and Julita T. to 2 3 reverse and set aside the decision dated August 24. 1984 by the respondent Yolanda T. 152016 April 13. 2. 1738 of the Registry of Deeds of 1 . ANA.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Baguio City SECOND DIVISION G. DE PERIDA and GREGORIA DELA CRUZ. In obedience to 4 the writ. thereby causing the issuance of TCT Nos. 27151 and 42467 of the Register of Deeds of Cabanatuan City. the Branch Clerk of Court of this Court is hereby authorized to execute the necessary deed of conveyance in favor of said Yolanda T. 4. J. FACTUAL BACKGROUND The facts of the case. Ana (Julita). Soro and defendant Julita T. T-11574. Declaring the plaintiff Yolanda T. the grandmother of Yolanda and Julita. as the sole heirs of Estela Perida and owners of the land covered originally by Original Certificate of Title No. Thru a "Bilihang Tuluyan ng Lupa" dated February 2 and 13. Declaring the "Bilihang Tuluyan ng Lupa" dated February 2 & 13. 1999 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). SPS. gathered from the records. Sta. EDUARDO TUMIBAY. 3. Ordering the defendants. The RTC decision was affirmed. STA. DECISION BRION.R.083 square meter parcel of land in Cabanatuan City (subject property) originally titled in the name of Francisca Sacdal. The subject of the case was a 1. were the defendants in Civil Case No. 8269. the RTC rendered a decision. in the name of the other defendants. OCT No.000. Ana. filed by petitioners Narciso Tumibay (Narciso). 2002 of the Former Special Tenth Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. Corazon Tumibay. as follows: 1. 1967 and all sales executed subsequent thereto as null and void ab initio. Sta. Eduardo Tumibay. ANA and FELICISIMO STA.000. SPS. and attorney s fee of P5. decision is hereby rendered. the RTC on Yolanda s motion issued a writ of execution.00 and cost of suit. are briefly summarized below. 56489. and 5. Petitioners. YOLANDA T. CORAZON TUMIBAY. SORO and HONORIO SORO.1738 was cancelled and Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.T-98649 and TCT 5 No. vs. the order dated September 6. successively. including the respondent Julita T. issued in the name of Narciso Tumibay and all subsequent titles issued thereafter. Soro and Julita T. The assailed CA decision nullified. The assailed CA Resolution denied the petitioners subsequent motion for reconsideration. whose dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. an action for annulment and recovery of ownership with damages. T-98650 in the names of Yolanda and Perlita. Sta. JULITA T. respondent Honorio Soro. jointly and severally to pay the plaintiff P5.: Before us is the petition for review on certiorari. and in default thereof. Manuela Severino Vda.Respondents. 2001 and resolution dated January 29. 1967. Ana. SP No. 1993.
The appellate court. the demolition of the improvements can be done only after a special order of the RTC. They insisted that the removal or demolition of the improvements was the logical consequence of the RTC decision. issued upon the respondents motion. After the CA s denial of their motion for reconsideration. but extends as well to those necessarily included therein or . filed with the RTC a motion to be restored to the possession of the subject property and to demolish the improvements thereon.13 and may not vary the terms of the judgment it seeks to enforce. with their respective spouses. 1999 RTC Order and directed the RTC to fix the time within which the petitioners should remove the improvements from the subject property. The CA decided the petition on August 24." THE CASE FOR THE RESPONDENTS The respondents submit that the petitioners argument runs counter to the express provisions of Rule 39. The settled general principle is that a writ of execution must conform strictly to every essential particular of the judgment promulgated. Thus. to further require them to file an ejectment suit to oust the petitioners would amount to encouraging multiplicity of suits. They cite Nazareno v. THE PETITION The petitioners argue that the writ of execution should conform to the dispositive portion of the decision sought to be executed and the demolition of the existing improvements was not expressly ordained in the decision.On March 3. THE RTC RULING The RTC issued an Order (dated September 6. Yolanda and Perlita. As a general rule. the petitioners filed the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. OUR RULING We find no merit in the petition. Court of Appeals. the writ of execution should conform to the dispositive portion of the decision to be executed. the CA declared void the September 6. They submit that to 10 11 A judgment is not confined to what appears on the face of the decision We are not persuaded by the petitioners argument that. When the RTC denied their motion for reconsideration. noted that since the RTC ordered the petitioners to reconvey to the respondents the subject property that contains improvements the petitioners introduced. nor may it go beyond the terms of the judgment sought to be executed. In sustaining the petitioners views. 2001. an execution is void if it is in excess of and beyond the original judgment or award. 1999 RTC Order denying the respondents motion to be restored to possession of the subject property and to demolish the improvements thereon. it 7 cannot go beyond the terms of the judgment. we have held that a judgment is not confined to what appears on the face of the decision.12 which held that "being declared owner of the subject lot does not also mean that [the winning party] is automatically entitled to possession of all improvements thereon. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. by order. Section 10. paragraph (d) of the Rules of Court. Section 47 of the Rules of Court that a judgment is conclusive on all matters that the parties could have raised. THE CA RULING 8 9 effect the demolition. 1999) denying the respondents motion. the RTC noted that a writ of execution should conform to the dispositive portion of the decision sought to be executed. since the RTC decision to reconvey to respondents the subject property did not expressly order the removal of improvements thereon. THE ISSUE The core issue is whether the CA erred when it declared void the September 6. in accordance with paragraphs (c) and (d) of Section 10. and after the petitioners failed to remove the improvements within the time fixed by the RTC. the respondents elevated their case to the CA via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. the RTC cannot. reach these improvements and accordingly act to enforce its decision. after due hearing. applying Rule 39.6 The petitioners opposed the motion on the ground that there was nothing in the RTC decision that ordered the demolition of existing improvements. the respondents must file an ejectment case.14 Nonetheless. 1999.
if necessary. Court of Appeals We find that the petitioners misread the ruling in Nazareno v. subject only to the issuance of a special order by the court for the removal of the improvements. that the petitioners have any right to possess the improvements on the land independently of their claim of ownership of the subject property. issued upon motion of the judgment obligee after due hearing and after the former has failed to remove the same within a reasonable time fixed by the court. Rule 39. the sheriff or other proper officer should oust him. we explained that a judgment for the delivery or restitution of property is essentially an order to place the prevailing party in possession of the property. 1999 RTC Order. a declaration of ownership does not include a declaration of the right to possession. Rule 39. Court of Appeals. To get the true intent and meaning of a decision. much less any proof.xxxx (c) Delivery or restitution of real property. having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final order. Evite. (Emphasis supplied. as understood in its correct sense. We remind the petitioners that we do not allow the piecemeal interpretation of our Decision as a means to advance one s case. Section 47. The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court of the Philippines. 21 . no specific portion thereof should be isolated and read in this 20 context. Guiao. Any costs. and employing such means as may be reasonably necessary to retake possession. The removal of the improvements on the land under these circumstances is deemed read into the decision. the officer shall oust all such persons therefrom with the assistance. the decision must be considered in its entirety. as there is no allegation. that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged.17 we stressed that this rule fully conforms with Rule 39. In Baluyut v. in Perez v. . demolish or remove said improvements. of the Rules of Court provides the procedure for execution of judgments for specific acts.The officer shall demand of the person against whom the judgment for the delivery or restitution of real property is rendered and all persons claiming rights under him to peaceably vacate the property within the three (3) working days. What Nazareno actually holds is that adjudication of ownership would include the delivery of possession if the defeated party has not shown any right to possess the land independently of his rejected claim of ownership. where the ownership of a parcel of land was decreed in the judgment. and restore possession thereof to the judgment obligee.When the property subject of execution contains improvements constructed or planted by the judgment obligor or his agent. the respondents right to possession of the subject property fully follows. we find that the CA committed no reversible error in declaring void the September 6. damages. as follows: SECTION 10. (d) Removal of improvements on property subject of execution. . nor is a categorical statement needed in the decision that in such event the sheriff or other proper officer shall have the authority to remove the improvements on the property if the defendant fails to do so within a reasonable period of time. of appropriate peace officers. Thus. orwhich was actually and 18 necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. Read in this manner. rents or profits awarded by the judgment shall be satisfied in the same manner as a judgment for money. If the defendant refuses to surrender possession of the property to the prevailing party. Execution of judgments for specific act. otherwise. Court of 19 Appeals when they understood the ruling to mean that in all cases. paragraphs (c) and (d).) Petitioners misread Nazareno v. (Emphasis supplied)1avvphi1 In Buñag v. Thus. may be as follows: xxxx (c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest.22 In light of the foregoing. fully applies to the present case. the officer shall not destroy. Effect of judgments or final orders. Section 10 sets the procedure for execution of judgment for specific acts 15 16 In addition. the delivery of possession of the land was considered included in the decision where the defeated party's claim to possession was based solely on his claim of ownership. the respondents have full right to possession of the subject property. No express order to this effect needs to be stated in the decision.necessary thereto. This ruling. paragraph (c) of the Rules of Court that provides: SECTION 47. Section 10. except upon special order of the court. and place the judgment obligee in possession of such property.
The Court is directed to conduct a hearing with dispatch. Thus. We have always frowned upon any scheme to prolong litigations and we view the present dispute as an unwarranted effort to avoid the implementation of a judgment painstakingly arrived at. we hereby DENY the petition and AFFIRM the decision dated August 24. 2001 and resolution dated January 29. BRION Associate Justice . Logramente thru a "Bilihang Lubusan ng Lupa" dated July 17. 56489 insofar as it declared void the Order dated September 6. SP No. has effectively delayed the full execution of the final and executory RTC judgment. Besides. a third party to the present dispute. Branch 30. may have on the subject property is adequately protected by the inscription of her adverse claim in the land titles. 1999 RTC Order that denied the respondents motion to be restored in possession. 2002 of the Former Special Tenth Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. In doing so. condemn this kind of abuse of judicial process. in a proper forum. 8269.Treble costs against petitioners We lament that the petitioners.R. We cannot countenance. we deem it fit to impose treble costs against the petitioners. 2003. in light of all the foregoing. T-98649 and T-98650. whatever right Corazon T. and the latter caused the annotation of her adverse claim in the TCT Nos. ARTURO D. and in fact. by instituting the present petition. Any right she may have can only be raised or brought by her as the affected party. with due notice to the parties involved. Cabanatuan City in Civil Case No. in accordance with Section 10 (d) of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court. Logramente. or the real party-in-interest. 23 2008 informing us that Julita sold her pro indiviso share in the subject property to one Corazon T. SO ORDERED. they deprived the winning respondents of the fruits of the judgment. Treble costs against the petitioners. However. this supervening event has no bearing to the present case where the only issue involved is the propriety of the September 6. We note that the petitioners filed a Manifestation dated August 28. WHEREFORE. 1999 of the Regional Trial Court. and made a mockery of the RTC judgment that has stood scrutiny all the way to our level.
Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 160657 June 30, 2004
On 27 November 2003, the CSC, through its Office of Legal Affairs, filed with this Court a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65, assailing the 9 July 2003 Decision of 8 the Court of Appeals, which it received on 30 July 2003. In a Resolution dated 13 January 2004, the Court, without giving due course to the petition, directed the 9 respondent to file her comment thereon. The OSG was surprised by the twin legal moves taken by the CSC without their consent and participation. On 22 December 2003, the OSG filed a Manifestation and Motion stating that considering the CSC s manifested intention to file its own petition, the OSG had no recourse but to withdraw its 21 November 2003 Motion 10 for Extension and allow the CSC to actively pursue its own case. We required the 11 CSC to comment on the OSG s Manifestation and Motion. In their Comment filed on 27 April 2004, the CSC asserted that Under Section 16 (3), Chapter 3, Subtitle A, Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987, its Office for Legal Affairs was 12 authorized to represent the CSC "before any Court or tribunal". In the meantime, respondent filed her Comment on the Petition for Certiorari.13 She prayed for the immediate dismissal of the petition, as the proper remedy for the CSC was not the special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65, but a petition for review under Rule 45. Moreover, since the period for filing a petition for review had already elapsed, according to the respondent, the CSC had deliberately resorted to the special civil action. We agree with the respondent. So, we dismiss the petition. There is little need to elaborate on the reasons, which are after all, elementary in procedural law. The special civil action for certiorari lies only to correct acts rendered without jurisdiction, in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion.14 The grave abuse of discretion imputed to the Court of Appeals was its finding that respondent was not guilty of the charges against her, a charge that if true, would only constitute an error in law. Certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction, not errors of procedure or mistakes in the findings or conclusions of the lower court. As long as a court acts within its jurisdiction, any alleged errors committed in the exercise of its discretion will amount to nothing more than errors of judgment which are reviewable by timely appeal and not by special civil action for certiorari.15 Neither is certiorari warranted if there is another plain, speedy and 16 adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The remedy to the adverse 17 decision of the Court of Appeals in this case is a petition for review under Rule 45. The OSG, counsel of record for the CSC, well understood the proper procedure for appeal, and undertook the initiatory step for a petition for review by filing a Motion for Extension of Time to file such petition.18 It is unclear if the CSC had known about
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, petitioner, vs. NIMFA P. ASENSI, respondent. RESOLUTION TINGA, J.: Respondent Nimfa Asensi was ordered dismissed by petitioner Civil Service Commission ("CSC") from her position as Revenue District Officer of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Lucena City. Her dismissal came after an investigation revealed that she had falsified entries in her Personal Data Sheet (PDS) relative to her educational background.1 Aggrieved, respondent filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, assailing the CSC Resolution ordering her dismissal. On 9 July 2003, the Court of Appeals Fourth Division promulgated a D E C I S I O 2 N holding that the dismissal of respondent was not warranted, and setting aside 3 the assailed resolution of the CSC. Acting upon the CSC s motion for reconsideration, the Court of Appeals denied it in a R E S O L U T I O N dated 29 October 2003. The Office of the Solicitor General ("OSG") received a copy of the 29 October 2003 Resolution on 7 November 2003. Having until 22 November 2003 to file a petition for review on certiorari before this Court, on 21 November 2003, the OSG filed a motion for extension until 22 December 2003 to file the petition for review.4 This Court granted the OSG s motion in a Resolution dated 9 December 5 2003. Apparently, the CSC remained in the dark as to the legal moves made by its counsel, the OSG. On 25 November 2003, the CSC, filed a Manifestation To File Its 6 Own Petition for Review. This Manifestation was signed by three lawyers from the Office of Legal Affairs of the CSC.7
the OSG s Motion, though the answer to that question does not really matter to the disposition of this case. The Court granted the OSG s Motion, allowing the OSG to file its Petition until 22 December 2003. The OSG, being the designated legal representative of the Government and its instrumentalities, has a long history of association with this Court and acquired in the process an awesome wealth of experience in appellate practice. Had the CSC relied on its counsel s expertise, it would have been spared of the needless burden of salvaging its petition from outright dismissal and, of course, the inevitable ignominy which such dismissal entails. Instead, the CSC, using its own lawyers, filed the wrong mode of review. The CSC s assertion as to the capacity of its Office of Legal Affairs to appear before this Court is of dubious legal basis. A similar issue was raised, albeit pertaining to the legal officers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, in the Court s R E S O L U T I O N in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. La Suerte Cigar and Cigarette 19 Factory. The BIR therein asserted that on the basis of Section 220 of the Tax Reform Act of 1997, its legal officers were allowed to institute civil and criminal actions and proceedings in behalf of the government. The Court disagreed, saying that it is the Solicitor General who has the primary responsibility to appear for the 20 government in appellate proceedings, it being the principal law officer and legal 21 defender of the government. The Court also cited with approval, the exception 22 enunciated in Orbos v. Civil Service Commission which is that the government office may appear in its own behalf through its legal personnel or representative only if it is adversely affected by the contrary position taken by the OSG. Herein, there is no indication that the OSG has adopted a position contrary to that of the CSC; hence, appearance by the CSC on its own behalf would not be warranted. Yet, even if the CSC Office of Legal Affairs were allowed to represent the CSC in this petition, still the dismissal of the case would still be warranted in view of the erroneous mode by which the assailed Court of Appeals D E C I S I O N was elevated. Moreover, the OSG, which had been given until 22 December 2003 to file the petition for review, did not file any such petition, interposing instead 23 the Manifestation and Motion. This Manifestation, of course, did not stay the period for filing the petition for review. Thus, such period has already elapsed for good. On account of the lapse of the period, there is no need for us to pass upon the OSG sManifestation and Motion. We are hardly sympathetic to the CSC s predicament. Not only did it supply the noose by which it was hung, it also tied the knot. Had the CSC been in consultation with its counsel of record, the petition could have been taken without incident. Instead, without seeking the heed of sager minds, it went off by its lonesome into
high noon, ill-equipped. There is nothing left to do but pronounce the demise of the case. The Petition is DISMISSED. No costs. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, SandovalGutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., andAzcuna, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION
WHEREFORE, finding the application meritorious and it appearing that the applicants, Spouses Marciano [sic] and Erlinda Laburada, have a registrable title over the parcel of land described as Lot 3A, Psd-1372, the Court declares, confirms and orders the registration of their title thereto. As soon as this decision shall become final, let the corresponding decree be issued in the name of spouses Marciano [sic] and Erlinda Laburada, both of legal age, married, with residence and postal address at No. 880 Rizal Ave., Manila. After the finality of the decision, the trial court, upon motion of petitioners, issued an order 4 dated March 15, 1991 requiring the LRA to issue the corresponding decree of registration. However, the LRA refused. Hence, petitioners filed this action for mandamus. 5 Attached to the LRA's comment on the petition is a report dated April 29, 1992 signed by Silverio G. Perez, director of the LRA Department of Registration, which explained public respondent's refusal to issue the said decree: 6
G.R. No. 101387 March 11, 1998 SPOUSES MARIANO and ERLINDA LABURADA, represented by their attorney-infact, MANUEL SANTOS, JR., petitioner, vs. LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY, respondent.
PANGANIBAN, J.: In an original land registration proceeding in which applicants have been adjudged to have a registrable title, may the Land Registration Authority (LRA) refuse to issue a decree of registration if it has evidence that the subject land may already be included in an existing Torrens certificate of title? Under this circumstance, may the LRA be compelled by mandamus to issue such decree? The Case These are the questions confronting this Court in this special civil action for mandamus 1 under Rule 65 which asks this Court to direct the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to issue the corresponding decree of registration in Land Registration Case (LRC) No. N-11022. 2 The Facts Petitioners were the applicants in LRC Case No. N-11022 for the registration of Lot 3-A, Psd-1372, located in Mandaluyong City. On January 8, 1991, the trial court, acting as a land registration court, rendered its decision disposing thus: 3 In connection with the Petition for Mandamus filed by Petitioners through counsel, dated August 27, 1991 relative to the above-noted case/record, the following comments are respectfully submitted: On March 6, 1990, an application for registration of title of a parcel of land, Lot 3-A of the subdivision plan Psd-1372, a portion of Lot 3, Block No. 159, Swo-7237, situated in the Municipality of San Felipe Neri, Province of Rizal was filed by Spouses Marciano [sic] Laburada and Erlinda Laburada; After plotting the aforesaid plan sought to be registered in our Municipal Index Sheet, it was found that it might be a portion of the parcels of land decreed in Court of Land Registration (CLR) Case Nos. 699, 875 and 817, as per plotting of the subdivision plan (LRC) Psd-319932, a copy of said subdivision plan is Annex "A" hereof; The records on file in this Authority show that CLR Case Nos. 699, 875 & 917 were issued Decree Nos. 240, 696 and 1425 on August 25, 1904, September 14, 1905 and April 26, 1905, respectively;
However. . . San Jose vs. Metro Manila. It was also informed [sic] that for this Authority to issue the corresponding decree of registration sought by the petitioners pursuant to the decision dated January 9. if any. 63189 Pedro K. a copy is Annex "B" hereof. San Jose vs. Hence. issued in the name of Compania Agricola de Ultramar. In view of the foregoing explanation. 63189. To this motion. To date. 1995. is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. No. Swo-7237 is really covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. cannot be located because TCT #6595 is incomplete. N-11022 (Regional Trial Court of Pasig. what concrete and specific steps. per verification of the records on file in the Register of Deeds of Rizal. petitioners filed an urgent motion. it was found that Lot 3-B of the subdivision plan Psd1372 being a portion of Lot No. . and destroy the integrity of the same (O. 6395. 159. Blk. Hon. After verification of the records on file in the Register of Deeds for the Province of Rizal. 1995. the Court resolved to require the Solicitor General to report to the Court in detail. the Court responded with a Resolution. Branch 68). which states: 9 With reference to your letter dated November 13. 1991 and Order dated March 15. this case will be submitted to the Court for dismissal to avoid duplication of title over the same parcel of land. al. 7237. however. 1997. would result in the duplication of [the] title over the same parcel of land. a copy is Annex "D" hereof. a copy is attached as Annex "F" hereof. and thus contravene the policy and purpose of the Torrens registration system. 1991. et. Ramon S. After the filing of memoranda by the parties.O. de Buenaflor. 159. a copy is Annex "C" hereof. 355. Psd-1372 and situated in Mandaluyong City.On May 23. 1991 and order dated March 15. Desuasido stating among others that Lot 3-B. 1995. 3.). Block No. dated November 27. No. 355. Pedro E.). the solicitor general submitted his compliance with the above resolution. a letter of this Authority was sent to the Register of Deeds. the title issued for Lot 3-A of the subdivision plan Psd1372 cannot be located because TCT No. . 29337 issued in the name of Pura Escurdia Vda. . Hon. no reply to our letter has as yet been received by this Authority. . 875 and 917. that prompted this Authority to send another letter dated April 15. 1991. Lot 3-A of the subdivision plan Psd-1372. of Feline M. Pasig. of the subdivision plan Psd-1372. within fifteen (15) days from receipt of this Resolution. or in lieu thereof a certified copy of the subsisting certificate of title with complete technical description of the parcel of land involved therein. However. 1991. et al. Plan S. 29337 is a transfer from Transfer Certificate of Title No. requesting for a certified typewritten copy of OCT No. 29337 issued in the name of Pura Escurdia Vda. 1995. 7 for an early resolution of the case. a certified true copy of the Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. . chief of the LRA Ordinary and Cadastral Decree Division. 6595 consisting of several sheets are [sic] incomplete.W. per unsigned letter of the Register of Deeds of Pasig. it was found that the technical description of the parcel of land described therein is not readable.. 6595. dated October 23. 1992 to the Register of Deeds of Pasig. On December 29. For this Authority to issue the corresponding decree of registration sought by the petitioners pursuant to the Decision dated January 8. On May 20. Metro Manila. to which was attached a letter. Cortez. Eutropio Migriño. 1991.R. requesting for a certified true copy of the Original Certificate of Title No. the solicitor general prays that the petition be dismissed for being premature. Eutropio Migriño. and thus contravene the policy and purposes of the torrens registration system. 355. and destroy the integrity of the same (G. Acting on the urgent motion for early resolution of the case dated 04 September 1995 filed by petitioner Erlinda Laburada herself. 355 was received by this Authority. dated September 4. Said TCT No. Metro Manila. have been taken by respondent since 19 May 1993 (the date of respondent's Memorandum) to actually verify whether the lot subject of LRC Case No. de Bunaflor [sic] which was transfer[ed] from Transfer Certificate of Title No. enclosed herewith is a copy of our letter dated 29 April 1992 addressed to Hon. a copy is Annex "E" hereof. described as Lot 3A. a portion of Lot 3. might be a portion of the parcels of land decreed in Court of Land Registration Case (CLR) Nos. it would result in the duplication of titles over the same parcel of land. After examining the furnished OCT NO. the title issued for the subject lot.R. 699. which ordered: 8 .
Branch LXVIII (68). 12 Fourth.Issue Petitioners submit this lone issue: 10 Whether or not Respondent Land Registration Authority can be compelled to issue the corresponding decree in LRC Case No." 13 On the other hand. Metro Manila to furnish LRA of [sic] the certified copies of TCT No. enjoys the conclusive presumption of validity. once the judgment becomes final and executory under section 30. the decree of registration must issue as a matter of course. petitioners claim that they have a "clear legal right to the act being prayed for and the LRA has the imperative duty to perform" because." They cite four reasons why the writ should be issued. We explained this in Gomez vs. 1529. however. the court shall forthwith issue an order to the Commissioner of Land Registration for the issuance of the decree of registration and certificate of title. it is the "sole concern of said private person-holders of said titles to institute in a separate but proper action whatever claim they may have against the property subject of petitioners' application for registration. it cannot refuse to issue the corresponding decree. it may no longer be reopened. considering that "[the] Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land already decreed in an earlier land registration case and [so] a second decree for the same land is null and void. set aside. TCT No.D. 1529 (Property Registration Decree) which provides that. as in this case. 8816 which is not allowed under Section 48 of P. 6595. after judgment has become final and executory." 11 Since there was no showing that the LRA filed an opposition in this proceeding. petitioners contend that they suffered from the delay in the issuance of their title. the legislature must recognize any judgment that may be rendered in this case "as final and make provision for its satisfaction. much less. Rodriguez 15 which held: 16 Nevertheless."14 On the question of whether the LRA can be compelled to issue a decree of registration." The application for registration of the petitioners in this case would. TCT No. . the LRA. 29337 and TCT No. having been issued under the Torrens system. even granting that procedural lapses have been committed in the proceedings below.) We agree with the solicitor general. "(t)he very purpose of the Torrens system would be destroyed if the same land may be subsequently brought under a second action for registration." Third. Court of Appeals: 17 It is not disputed that the decision dated 5 August 1981 had become final and executory. appear to be a collateral attack of TCT No. No." Rather. 8816. They anchor this claim on section 30 of P. Second. 1529 in that. the judgment they seek to enforce in this petition is not yet executory and incontrovertible under the Land Registration Law. . It must be noted that petitioners failed to rebut the LRA report and only alleged that the title of the Payatas Estate was spurious. N-11022 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig. This being the law. 6595" notwithstanding the lack of opposition from the holders of said titles. they do not have any clear legal right to implement it. a strict adherence to the rules would result in a situation where the LRA would be compelled to issue a decree of registration over land which has already been decreed to and titled in the name of another. the State "consented to its being sued" in this case[. 355. under the circumstances. First. Sole Issue: Is Mandamus the Right Remedy? Petitioners contend that mandamus is available in this case. Petitioners contend that section 30 should be read in relation to section 32 of P. .D. the "jurisdictional requirement of notices and publication should be complied with. for the LRA "unlawfully neglect[ed] the performance of an act which the laws specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office . 29337 snf [sic] TCT No. without offering any proof to substantiate this claim. As we declared in an early case. We hold that mandamus is not the proper remedy for three reasons.] thus. Petitioners vigorously maintain that said decision having become final. represented by the solicitor general. We have unambiguously ruled that a judgment of registration does not become executory until after the expiration of one year after the entry of the final decree of registration. it is not the duty of the LRA to "take the cudgels for the private persons in possession of OCT No. contends that the decision of the trial court is not valid. . The Court's Ruling The petition is not meritorious. these may be ignored by the Court in the interest of substantive justice. That is.D. (Emphasis supplied. because of "the failure of the Register of Deeds of Pasig. This is especially true when. reviewed. First: Judgment Is Not Yet Executory Contrary to the petitioners' allegations. the solicitor general cites Ramos vs. as land registration is an in rem proceeding.
" Such decree shall not be opened by reason of the absence. Considering the probable duplication of titles over the same parcel of land. However. in several decisions. Upon the other hand. clearly stated that. 1995. he clearly acted without jurisdiction. every decree or certificate of title issued in accordance with this section shall be incontrovertible. 39). the decree of registration shall not be opened. or other disability of any person affected thereby. 3. and PD 1529. irrespective of whether they were personally notified of the application for registration. it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee. 38 of Act 496 which provides: Sec. 19since the principle behind original registration is to register a parcel of land . after verification from the records submitted by the Registry of Deeds of Rizal. They are specifically called upon to "extend assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings. A second decree for the same land would be null and void. Unlike ordinary civil actions. Upon the expiration of said term of one year. Every decree of registration shall bind the land. the decree of registration is binding upon and conclusive against all persons including the government and its branches. has held that as long as a final decree has not been entered by the Land Registration Commission (now NLTDRA) and the period of one (1) year has not elapsed from date of entry of such decree. to the right of any person deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by decree of registration obtained by fraud to file in the competent Court of First Instance a petition for review within one year after entry of the decree. or citation." True. therefore. and thereby destroy the integrity. and whether they filed an answer to said application. or included in the general description "To all whom it may concern. the LRA's reaction is reasonable. a decree of confirmation and registration shall be entered. TCT No. infancy. the LRA's refusal to issue a decree of registration is based on documents which. Perez and Felino M. land registration is an in rem proceeding and. 3630. whether mentioned by name in the application. nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments or decrees. Rodriguez. 6595 has already been issued. may render the judgment of the trial court void. If the court after hearing finds that the applicant or adverse claimant has title as stated in his application or adverse claim and proper for registration. Whenever the phrase "innocent purchaser for value" or an equivalent phrase occurs in this Act. This Court. over which TCT No. respectively. when respondent Judge set aside in his decision.W. 29337 was issued in lieu of TCT No. and their act is the act of the court. It shall be conclusive upon and against all persons. (As amended by Sec. in regard to Lot 3-B of said Lot 3. however. 18 this Court ruled that the LRA is mandated to refer to the trial court any doubt it may have in regard to the preparation and the issuance of a decree of registration. the decision of 5 August 1981 and the order of 6 October 1981. subject only to the right of appeal hereinbefore provided: Provided. But any person aggrieved by such decree in any case may pursue his remedy by action for damages against the applicant or any other person for fraud in procuring the decree. 3. mortgagee. provided no innocent purchaser for value has acquired an interest. however. Block 159. of the Torrens system of registration. if verified. even imperative. dated April 29.O. Act No. 1. or other encumbrancer for value. Thus. Sec. Petitioners' contention is not correct. That no decree or certificate of title issued to persons not parties to the appeal shall be cancelled or annulled. 1992 and November 27. Plan S. including the Insular Government and all the branches thereof. 6595. Second: A Void Judgment Is Possible That the LRA hesitates in issuing a decree of registration is understandable. Rather than a sign of negligence or nonfeasance in the performance of its duty.petitioners assert.-7237. the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the registration proceeding continues to be under the control and sound discretion of the court rendering it. and Sec. subject. the adjudication of land in a cadastral or land registration proceeding does not become final. In Ramos vs. but shall remain in full force and effect forever. Act No. 38. Cortez. If there is any such purchaser. the property which petitioners are seeking to register Lot 3-A of Subdivision Plan Psd-1372 is a portion of Lot No. 3621. dated 25 March 1985. in the sense of incontrovertibility until after the expiration of one (1) year after the entry of the final decree of registration. In this respect. LRA officials act not as administrative officials but as officers of said court. It is settled that a land registration court has no jurisdiction to order the registration of land already decreed in the name of another in an earlier land registration case. and quiet title thereto. This stance of petitioners finds support in Sec. subject only to the exceptions stated in the following section. notice. such issuance may contravene the policy and the purpose. we must point out that the letters of Silverio G.
the issuance of a decree of registration to petitioners will run counter to said principle. The court has no power in a subsequent proceeding (not based on fraud and within the statutory period) to adjudicate the same title in favor of another person. of a lot already previously decreed and registered in favor of the petitioners. in favor of respondent city. it frequently occurs that only portions of a parcel of land included in an application are ordered registered and that the limits of such portions can only be roughly indicated in the decision of the court. the pivotal issue is one of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court. laches or claims of better right. In a quite impressive line of decisions. No. To declare the later title valid would defeat the very purpose of the Torrens system which is to quiet title to the property and guarantee its indefeasibility. L-13333. Moreover. because when once decreed by a court of competent jurisdiction. et al. the title to the land thus determined is already a res judicata binding on the whole world. this Court held in Valmonte and Jacinto vs. Third: Issuance of a Decree Is Not a Ministerial Act The issuance of a decree of registration is part of the judicial function of courts and is not a mere ministerial act which may be compelled through mandamus. November 24. can not avail in the case at bar if the court a quo. as to which we here express no opinion. . in which this Court. had no jurisdiction over the subject matter in decreeing on June 30. et al. This requires trained technical men. the segregation therefrom of a portion being adjudicated to another party. such as the preparation of amended plans and amended descriptions. 48 Phil. Furthermore. 1957. G.. the registration. As said by this Court in the case of De los Reyes vs. section 177). 20 Thus. Justice Barrera. 227. 234: Examining section 40. prom. to fit the said decision. it follows that the Court of First Instance has no power or jurisdiction to entertain proceedings for the registration of the same parcels of land covered by the certificates of title of the respondents. 1959. This is so. after the rendition of a decision by a registration or cadastral court. through Mr. sitting as land registration court. De Villa.only once. especially where the decision orders a subdivision of a lot. That can hardly be done by the court itself. if it is proven that the land which petitioners are seeking to register has already been registered in 1904 and 1905. As ruled in Duran vs. who hold certificates of title under the Land Registration Act becomes indefeasible.R. we find that the decrees of registration must be stated in convenient form for transcription upon the certificate of title and must contain an accurate technical description of the land. Nable: 22 Moreover. the proceedings being in rem. Olivia: 21 As the title of the respondents. there remain many things to be done before the final decree can be issued. In such cases amendments of the plans and sometimes additional surveys become necessary before the final decree can be entered. the registration of the property in the name of first registered owner in the Registration Book is a standing notice to the world that said property is already registered in his name. the law very wisely charges the chief surveyor of the General Land Registration Office with such duties (Administrative Code. Hence. said: As thus viewed. All the other contentions of respondent regarding possession in good faith. The City of Tagaytay. v. the latter applicant is chargeable with notice that the land he applied for is already covered by a title so that he has no right whatsoever to apply for it. Thus. Such has been our express ruling in the case of Rojas. It would undermine the faith and confidence of the people in the efficacy of the registration law. while perhaps valid in an appropriate ordinary action.. it has been well-settled that a Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land already decreed in an earlier land registration case and a second decree for the same land is null and void.
but it cannot be enjoined to decide for or against one of the parties. objections raising merely technical questions will be disregarded. 28 In view of the foregoing.Furthermore. 6595. . although the final decree is actually prepared by the Chief of the General Land Registration Office. 23 Likewise. after which the said court shall act with deliberate speed according to the facts and the law. in turn. If the right is clear and the case is meritorious. to determine with finality whether Lot 3-A is included in the property described in TCT No. 27 The court has to decide a question according to its own judgment and understanding of the law. the writ of mandamus can be awarded only when the petitioners' legal right to the performance of the particular act which is sought to be compelled is clear and complete. 24 Under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. is ordered to ACT. the administrative officer. SO ORDERED. to avoid multiplicity of suits and needless delay. on the other hand. with deliberate and judicious speed. it is not legally proper to require the LRA to issue a decree of registration. 26 As stated earlier.. However. as herein discussed. within sixty (60) days from notice. this Court deems it more appropriate to direct the LRA to expedite its study. as in this case.. (Emphasis supplied. . JJ. and to submit a report thereon to the court of origin within sixty (60) days from receipt of this Decision. is ORDERED to submit to the court a quo a report determining with finality whether Lot 3-A is included in the property described in TCT No. according to the facts and the law as herein discussed.) Indeed. the issuance of the final decree can hardly be considered a ministerial act for the reason that said Chief of the General Land Registration Office acts not as an administrative officer but as an officer of the court and so the issuance of a final decree is a judicial function and not an administrative one (De los Reyes vs. Vitug and Quisumbing. The Land Registration Authority. Jr. De Villa. supra). it is well-settled that the issuance of such decree is not compellable by mandamus because it is a judicial act involving the exercise of discretion. After receipt of such report. a clear legal right is a right which is indubitably granted by law or is inferable as a matter of law. . Bellosillo. to settle the issue of whether the LRA may issue the decree of registration. a judicial act is not compellable bymandamus. the land registration court. A court may be compelled by mandamus to pass and act upon a question submitted to it for decision. the petition is hereby DISMISSED but the case is REMANDED to the court of origin in Pasig City. . WHEREFORE. concur. mandamus cannot issue. 6595. Davide. 25 But where the right sought to be enforced is in substantial doubt or dispute.
petitioners declared the above-described parcels of land in their name for taxation purposes and exercised exclusive possession thereof in the concept of owners by installing as caretaker one Fermin Lozano. for petitioners. Municipality of Cauayan. claiming to be the owner of the land in question by virtue of a deed of sale executed in his and one Bienvenido G. On appeal. and the order dated September 19. On August 12. Guillermo. The case. entitled.250) square meters or fifty (50) meters at the east side by one hundred twenty-five (125) meters at the North and South. Second Branch. No.] Thereafter. Diosdado B. Branch II-895. 60142-R.000) square meters or fifty (50) meters facing the Provincial Road by one hundred (100) meters long. petitioners-spouses Flordeliza and Honorio Valisno purchased from the legal heirs of Agapita V. bounded on the North by Pedro del Rosario. Jr. Epifanio Q. pp. 41-42. Jr. the appellate court in a decision promulgated on January 19. Francisco A. VALISNO and HONORIO D. L-55152 August 19. Blanco. No. 1964. [Annex "B". VALISNO. Valisno. Petition. and on the West. Applicant. Noriega's favor on June 30. on the east by Agapita Blanco and on the west by Cauayan Diversion Road and Matias del Rosario. respondents. 1978. Province of Isabela. was in due time resolved in favor of petitioners who were declared owners thereof. [c] a parcel of land situated in the Municipality of Cauayan. petitioners. On January 22. Cayaba. petitioners instituted before the then Court of First Instance of Isabela a complaint against private respondent for recovery of possession of said parcels of land. Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Isabela. 1967 by the heirs of Dr. Manuel and Rosario.. private respondent Vicencio Q. and VICENCIO CAYABA. 1968. the appeal being docketed as CA-G. He subsequently erected a six-door apartment on said land. 1986 FLORDELIZA L. Ramirez for private respondent. 1980." the order dated July 2. reversed the decision of the lower court and dismissed the complaint of petitioners on a finding that: FERNAN. Province of Isabela.R. Oppositors. Flordeliza Valisno and Honorio D. having an area of Six Thousand Two Hundred Fifty (6. PLAN. Rollo. by private respondent to the then Court of Appeals. and. all surnamed Blanco. Vicencio Q.CHAPTER 9 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. Guillermo. Cayaba. dismissing the opposition filed by petitioners on the ground of res judicata. on the south by Alberto Tungangui. on the East by the Provincial Road. J. docketed as Civil Case No. JUDGE ANDRES B. 1970. by Terreno del Estado. bounded on the north by Matias del Rosario. vs. two parcels of land. vs. "Application for Registration of Title.R. on the South by Alberto Tungangui. Branch 11-N-204 of the then Court of First Instance of Isabela. ousted Fermin Lozano from possession of the land. Second Branch. now Matias del Rosario. 1980. particularly described as follows: . HON. denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration. [a] a tract of land situated at Sitio Sisim Barangay Cabaruan. Lava. Verano. namely.: Challenged in this petition for certiorari with prayer for a temporary restraining order are two  orders issued by respondent judge in Land Registration Case No. who had his house built thereon. having an area of Five Thousand (5. however. The antecedents are as follows: On August 21.
i. 60142-R. 433 and 541 of the New Civil Code]. 343.Firstly. moved for the dismissal of said opposition on the ground that the same is barred by a prior judgment. the appellees' evidence. 41. [Annex "E". 17009. 64 Phil. 1979. [Smith Bell & Co. as the land occupied by the appellant has not been successfully Identified with that described in the complaint. Paterno v. [Deering v. Director of Lands. possesses it with a just title and he need not show or prove why he is possessing the same. raising as grounds therefor the following: RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED GRAVELY IN DISMISSING PETITIONERS' OPPOSITION TO RESPONDENTS' APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF TITLE. however. vs. by Dr. and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim' as well as the doctrine enunciated in a long line of decision [sic] starting from Lim vs. Secondly. Salud. the 'land in question described in the complaint and sketched in Exhibit C . Rep. 32-40. Guillermo Blanco. between the evidence of the appellees and that of the appellant. 60142-R. we fail to see anything in the evidence of the appellees showing that their property encroaches. Petition. basing his entitlement thereto on the aforementioned deed of sale as well as the decision of the appellate court in CA-G. Rollo). No.. We unhesitatingly choose the latter in the matter of Identifying the property in question because it is a vicinity plan [Exhibit "8"] showing the position of the land in relation not only to the properties adjoining the same but also with known boundaries and landmarks in the area. 83. No. Dr. 155 U. Clearly. therefore. . 238] Therefore. since the area and boundaries of the property are mere estimations. In an action to recover. pp. [Arts. Art. the appellate court's decision in CA-G.' is completely different from the land appearing in the Subdivision Plan of the appelles appellant. Finally. Wisona Harvester Workers. the lower court issued the first of the assailed orders dismissing the petitioner's opposition on the ground of res judicata. On April 26. on September 25. Despite the opposition of petitioners to said motion to dismiss. private respondent filed before the Court of First Instance of Isabela an application for registration in his name of the title of the lands in question. 5355.. L-15620. Rollo] When their motion for reconsideration was denied. Sup. in view of the provision of Article 434 of the New Civil Code which reads. Effective Judicial Implementation of Land and Forestry Laws. is unreliable. except the self-serving sketch prepared by the appellees' own witness. 1967. one noted authority states: The proposition that in Identifying a particular piece of land its boundaries and not the area are the main factors to be considered holds true only when the boundaries given are sufficiently certain and the Identity of the land proved by the boundaries clearly indicates that an erroneous statement concerning the area can be disregarded. 1980. Rollo] Private respondent. [Annex "B". much less covers that of the property presently occupied by the appellant. On the other hand. Petition.] A petition for review on certiorari of said decision filed by petitioners before this Court was denied due course. Director of Lands. the instant action should have been dismissed outright.. [Annex "A". Fourth Advanced Course for Municipal Courts (1971). September 30. Verano on June 30. particularly the description in Tax Declaration No. We refuse to give any weight to this piece of evidence because it was prepared by someone who' has an incentive to exaggerate or give false color to his statement or to suppress or prevent the truth or to state what is false. petitioners filed the instant petition." Petition. 19631. 50 Phil. Ct. Subsequently. the property must be Identified. he. Blanco.R. pp. having constructed a sixdoor apartment in the premises which he lets to both transients and residents of the locality. p. petitioners filed an opposition to the application. cit. 434.' [Bilog. Rollo. Expressing the same sentiment. Being the actual possessor of the property. (Annex "C-l. p.S. reached thru pure guess-work. WHICH IS HIGHLY IRREGULAR IN LAND REGISTRATION PROCEEDINGS. it is undisputed that the appellant is the present occupant of the land since he purchased the same from Tomasita F. 8791].e.R. Petition. their respective area and boundaries being completely dissimilar.
for the expeditious termination of the land registration case. this Court gave due course to the petition and required the parties to file their briefs. The case of Abellera vs. who becomes defendant in the counterclaim may either then answer the counterclaim or be declared in default.] . Oliva. in LRC Case No. Let there be no retrogression in the application of sound rules and doctrines. ruled that "while in a cadastral case.e. if ever. On July 8.. sustained the dismissal of the application for registration of therein appellants upon a motion to dismiss filed by five  oppositors. is indeed unique and peculiar. or may file a motion to dismiss the same. however. 1981. (pp. In ordinary civil cases. " [Menor v. it having been indubitably shown that the court a quo did not have jurisdiction over the res as the lands sought to be registered in appellants' name had previously been registered in the names of the oppositors. allows the application of the rules contained therein in land registration proceedings in a suppletory character or whenever practicable and convenient.1980 [ANNEX "E"] AND SEPTEMBER 19. this Court in Duran v. praying that he be included as co-applicant to the land sought to be registered. 1985. thru counsel. In said case. heavily relied upon by petitioners needs re-evaluation. 3 SCRA 154. prior judgment can not be set up in a motion to dismiss. wherein the Court invariably ruled that a "final judgment in an ordinary civil case determining the ownership of certain land is res judicata in a registration case when the parties and the property are the same as in the former case. res judicata is available to a claimant in order to defeat the alleged rights of another claimant. pp. the counterclaim would be considered a complaint. Sr. In the course of our study of pertinent jurisprudence.. speaking for the Court. failed to file his brief within the given period which expired on October 9. The latter choice was what respondent Cayaba opted for. 1981. Rule 132 in connection with Rule 8 of the Rules of Court. the case was consider submitted for decision without the brief of private respondent. instead of prohibiting expressly authorizes the lower court in land registration or cadastral proceedings to entertain a motion for dismissal on the ground of res judicata or prescription. Quintana. Of course. II-N-204. Justice Paras dissented. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT A MOTION TO DISMISS OPPOSITION IS PROPER IN A LAND REGISTRATION CASE. Although as We have earlier said. 425 and Santiago v. FAROL THAT RES JUDICATA CANNOT BE SET UP IN A LAND REGISTRATION CASE. AND THAT RES JUDICATA MAYBE RAISED IN SAID MOTION TO DISMISS. Santos. " Concurring in said opinion were then Chief Justice Yulo and Associate Justices Moran and Ozaeta. Farol 74 Phil. Prompt disposal of cases or such claims is the main purpose of said rules. Noriega. It must be noted that the opposition partakes of the nature of an answer with a counterclaim. The original plaintiff. Thus. the Land Registration Act [Act 496] does not provide for a pleading similar or corresponding to a motion to dismiss. 18-19. Nicolas. 29 Phil. Br. Thus. Mr. Mr. Quintana." [Ibid. i. and not from it being unauthorize. Private respondent. this time with the original defendant becoming the plaintiff. such situation rarely. the irregularity that petitioners complain of stems basically from the infrequent use of a motion to dismiss in land registration cases. Versoza v. WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING HIS ORDERS OF JULY 2. 284.supra. But while this may be so. this Court received a copy of the motion to amend application filed by Bienvenido G. 1980 [ANNEX "H"]. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED GRAVELY IN DISREGARDING THE PRECEDENT OF ABELLERA VS. a motion to dismiss the opposition having been filed and more importantly. Rollo) On April 1. it is not highly irregular as petitioners would characterize it. 619. 54 Phil. granted. THAT RESPONDENT CAYABA IS ACTUALLY TRYING TO SECURE TITLE TO WHAT REALLY IN THE LAND OF THE PETITIONERS. 657. 56 Phil. 286287) In support of his opinion. RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED GRAVELY IN HOLDING THAT THE REQUISITES FOR RES JUDICATAEXIST IN THE CASE AT BAR. happens in land registration cases. on the other hand. Petitioners did so on August 26. RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED GRAVELY. SPECIALLY IN THE FACE OF STRONG INDICATIONS. Justice Bocobo. We observe that the situation obtaining in the case at bar. nevertheless. To have allowed the registration proceeding to run its usual course would have been a mere exercise in futility. saying "in my opinion. RESPONDENT JUDGE ERRED GRAVELY IN DEPRIVING PETITIONERS HEREIN OF THEIR DAY IN COURT. the dismissal of petitioner's claim will not necessarily or automatically mean adjudication of title to the individual respondents but it will certainly facilitate the consideration of their claims which cease to be contested. The same consideration applies to the case at bar. 1981. Verily. ALREADY IN THE RECORD. Justice Paras cited the cases of Menor v.
Venturanza. The conflicting claims of petitioners and respondent Cayaba [in behalf of the coownership] with respect to the land under consideration had been put to rest in CA-G." [Yusingco v. therefore. 81 Phil. is to grant the dismissal of either the application for registration or the opposition thereto. et al. he was doing so in behalf of the co-ownership. Gonzales. where their claim over the land in question was fully aired and ventilated. Cayco. as in the case at bar. it is in the nature of an accion reinvidicatoria. Said decision having attained finality. Go Pay. when private respondent Cayaba defended his ownership over the land in question. as the Abellera case. [Carandang v. et al. possession is sought on the basis of ownership and the same is true in registration cases. p.. . the cause of action remains the same. the better policy. Vol. 281]. Aguilar v. Consequently. such as a registration court. Nonetheless. respondent court had denied them their day in court. No. Petitioners complain that by dismissing their opposition. Epifanio Q. Abes..R. does not enable one to escape the operation of the principle that one and the same cause of action shall not be twice litigated. hereby abandoned. Ong Hing Lian. The inclusion of private respondent Cayaba's co-owner. 70 Phil. 60142-R is a final judgment on the merits rendered by a court which had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. No. This is evident from the fact that one of the evidence he presented to prove ownership was the deed of sale executed by the heirs of Dr. 60142-R. One right of a co-owner is to defend in court the interests of the co-ownership. once it has been indubitably shown. Branch II-895 as well as CA-G. Cost against petitioners. should therefore be. Civil Code of the Philippines. both for practicality and convenience. 7th Edition. Bienvenido Noriega. that one or the other is barred by a prior judgment. Development Bank of the Phil. That both courts should have equal jurisdiction is not a requisite of res judicata. Annotated. In effect. v. Court of First Instance of Capiz. as real rights are involved therein. et al. v. R. No. 68. 21 SCRA 1378. "But the employment of two different forms of action. subject matter and cause of action. between the registration case under consideration and the previous civil action for recovery of property. II. With respect to the subject matter. 258. The ruling in the Abellera case. 26 SCRA 76. annul a final judgment of another court of general jurisdiction? To our mind. what useful purpose would be served by allowing a party to present evidence of ownership over the land sought to be registered when the final result would necessarily be in favor of the claimant who had set up the defense of res judicata? And supposing the land registration court finds that the party against whom the principle of res judicata operates does have a better right or title to the land. Registration of title in one's name is based on ownership. Albano v. [c] it must be a judgment on the merits and [d] there must be between the first and second actions identity of parties. [b] it must have been' rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and of the parties. 258] Thus. the instant petition is hereby dismissed. 21 SCRA 411. the allegations and the prayer for relief therein raise the issue of ownership. while in the latter proceedings.. Sr. the exclusion is directed against the whole world. 60142-R. If. the same remains the law of the case between the parties. while the second case is being heard by one of a limited jurisdiction. In both cases. The second case is for registration of title. 22 SCRA 690. The only difference is that in the former case. It is only the form of action which is different.. Ma. 133 SCRA 344] The decision in CA-G. It is well to remind petitioners that they had their day in court in Civil Case No.R. Coloma. Finding no error to have been committed by respondent judge in dismissing petitioners' opposition. 17 SCRA 824. Cardona. in the application for registration does not result in a difference in parties between the two cases. such dismissal must be affirmed. Sumarariz v. between the two cases there is identity of causes of action because in accion reinvidicatoria. It does not matter that the first case was decided by a court of general jurisdiction. In fact. what happens to the principle of res judicata? Can a court sitting as a land registration court in effect. this Court held in Dais v.There is no doubt that the principle of res judicata operates in the case at bar. the exclusion is directed against particular persons. Garcia de Lim Toco v. held that res judicata can be set up by a claimant to defeat the alleged right of another claimant. WHEREFORE. [Paras. Cruz et al. Gonzales v.. 42 SCRA 590 and the cases cited therein. While the complaint in the first action is captioned for recovery of possession. there can be no question that the land sought to be recovered by petitioners are the very same parcels of land being sought to be registered in Cayaba's and Noriega's names. as it is. Rodil. For said principle to apply: [a] the former judgment must be final.. supra. It is enough that the court which decided the first case on the merits had validly acquired jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties.. identity of parties. of subject matter and of cause of action. There is. Tuason Co. 106 Phil. 896] that the answers in a cadastral proceedings partake of an action to recover title. the plaintiff and the applicant seek to exclude other persons from ownership of the land in question. [51 Phil. Verano is his and Bienvenido Noriega's favor. et al. San Diego v.
The Court rules that appeals in cadastral proceedings may be taken by a simple notice of appeal.respondents. Or does such appeal fall within the exception provided by the same interim rules for special proceedings under Rule 109 of the Rules of Court and other cases wherein multiple appeals are allowed. except in the cases referred to in sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph 19 hereof. as provided in the Interim Rules and Guidelines relative to the implementation of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1981 (Batas Pambansa Blg. Period of Appeal. THE HONORABLE SINFORIANO A. The decree for the registration was accordingly ordered by respondent court. 129). Tizon for private respondent." 1 Petitioners had moved in 1973 for the case to be heard by the now defunct Court of First Instance of Samar. adopted by the Supreme Court on January 11. Regional Trial Court. as follows: 18. pursuant to the new Interim Rules of Court. L-66242 August 31. Branch XXVII.R. 1910 of the Catbalogan Cadastral Survey. Tito V. Petitioners thus state their claim to the lot. Respondent court granted respondents' motion for the issuance of a decree on the theory that an appeal taken in a cadastral case involves "multiple appeals. The conflicting parties presented both their oral and documentary evidence in support of their respective claims over the lot. Meliton.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. and that subsequent thereto. The filing of a record on appeal shall be dispensed with. No appeal bond shall be required for an appeal. The pertinent provisions of Appellate Procedure on appeals are contained in sections 18 and 19 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines. on one hand. the respondent regional trial court rendered its decision in favor of respondents-claimants. represented by Tito V. The lot involved is Lot No. p. Elimination of record on appeal and appeal bond. on September 14. Catbalogan. succeeded in possessing the land. (Decision. in which case an appeal must still be filed by the filing of a record on appeal within a period of 30 days provided for the purpose. had already been in continuous possession of said lot for more than forty-three (43) years when he filed his answer in 1932. as follows: "Cornelio Labrada who had previously deforested the area which is now the disputed Lot No. 1984 HEIRS OF CORNELIO LABRADA represented by NATIVIDAD L. and the HEIRS OF ISABEL YBOA. in his capacity as Presiding Judge. His son. possession of the property in issue passed to Meliton's direct heirs. Immediately after his demise. TEEHANKEE. 1983 by filing a notice of appeal with a prayer that the records be elevated to the Intermediate Appellate Court. or at least from 1894. . vs.J. who until the present are still in possession thereof." for which the filing of the record on appeal was required. Mateo Leanda for petitioner. It is contested by the claimants. they have now filed the petition at bar for the setting aside of respondent court's questioned orders denying due course to their appeal and ordering the issuance of a decree of registration on the lot in question in favor of respondents. 19. petitioners filed their appeal on August 6. and that he continued his possession until 1943 when he died. Meliton Labrada was succeeded in the possession of said land until he himself died sometime in 1976. petitioners-heirs of Cornelio Labrada. Over a month later. 1910.: The procedural issue at bar is whether an appeal by a conflicting claimant to a specific lot of cadastral survey proceedings from the adverse decision of the regional trial court in favor of another conflicting claimant may be taken by filing a simple notice of appeal within the reglementary 15-day period. DIOCTON. Within 2 days from receipt of the adverse decision. respondents-claimants filed their motion for the issuance of a decree contending that petitioners had failed to perfect their appeal because they failed to file a record on appeal. Acting C. None of the heirs of Isabel Iboa is in possession of any portion of the questioned lot. 1983. Samar. Said predecessors-in-interest had filed their respective answers in the cadastral proceedings in June. MONSANTO.1 ). Petitioners' motion for reconsideration having failed. On July 11. 1983. and by respondents-heirs of Isabel Yboa on the other. 1983. Tizon. petitioner. No. 1932.
In all such cases of contested lots. there remain only "around 8 contested ones [lots] which have not yet been adjudicated not counting the 180 lots which were 'archived' by a predecessor of 5 the presiding judge. records may readily be kept of each lot or lots so contested by the same parties and the State. and elevating only the particular record for the specific lot. resolutions. (c) the allowance or disallowance. since the original record has to remain with the probate court in connection with the other various pending matters. awards. Appeals. The Court provided for specific exceptions with respect to "appeals in special proceedings in accordance with Rule 109 of the Rules of Court. Such record on appeal under the Rules still had to be printed. judgment. The period for appeal from final orders.(a) All appeals." This readily shows the lack of any difficulty to keep separate records for specific lots claimed by conflicting parties." wherein multiple appeals at different stages of the case are allowed such as when the order or judgment on appeal refers to: (a) the allowance or disallowance of a will. order. as well as decongesting judicial dockets. This is not the case in cadastral proceedings. (e) a final determination in the lower court of the rights of the party appealing in proceedings relating to settlement of the estate of a deceased person or the administration of a trustee or guardian. and given a separate sub-number corresponding to each contested lot. judgments or decisions of any court in all cases shall be fifteen days counted from the notice of the final order. have the legislators and the Court sought to simplify the rules to assist the parties in obtaining just. or decision appealed from. the entire original record shall be transmitted with all the pages prominently numbered consecutively. Therefore. as follows: SEC. The exceptions must be strictly construed. of any claim against the estate or any claim presented on behalf of the estate in offset to a claim against it. resolution. subject of judgment and appeal. must be taken within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment. This old requirement of a record on appeal by itself laid the appellate procedure open to a number of dilatory and vexing questions of clerical errors and claims of omitted pleadings and orders which in tum required the filing of an amended record on appeal. failing which the land is declared to belong to the State. the period of appeal shall be thirty (30) days. Thus. administrator. particularly section 39 thereof which provides for a 15-day period within which to take an appeal and expressly abolished the need of a record on appeal. 39. (d) the settlement of the accounts of an executor. (b) In appeals in special proceedings in accordance with Rule 109 of the Rules of Court and other cases wherein multiple appeals are allowed. trustee or guardian. except in habeas corpus cases and in the cases referred to in paragraph (b) hereof. (b) determination of the lawful heirs of a deceased person or their distributive shares in the estate. award. leaving with the lower court the records or pleadings referring to disputed lots not covered by said court's adjudication. All that respondent trial court had to do was to transmit the original record consisting of the pleadings of the parties and its decision and orders. In lieu therefor. The appeal sought to be taken in the petition at bar concerning conflicting claims of the parties to a specific lot clearly falls under this general rule. which petitioners have in effect so elevated with their petition at bar as per Annexes "A" to "I" of their petition. No record on appeal shall be required to take an appeal. 129. therefore. a party appealing from a specific order is required to file the corresponding record on appeal. In these cases. in whole or in part. Cadastral proceedings involve contest over specific lots which may be claimed by parties who have timely filed their respective answers. In this particular cadastral proceeding. a record of appeal being required. These rules were issued pursuant to the provisions of Batas Pambansa Blg. expeditious and inexpensive determination of every court case. resolution or award appealed from. 2 together with the transcripts and exhibits. petitioners' appeal must be given due course and the issuance of a decree of registration and the corresponding certificate of title were prematurely and baselessly ordered by respondent court and must be set aside. as stated by respondent court itself in its questioned order. mimeographed or typed in 12 copies 4 resulting many times in typographical errors and adding needless expense and additional burden on litigants. . 3 It must not be lost sight of that the basic objective of this innovative Rule which dispenses with the filing of a record on appeal and the filing of an appeal bond was and is to simplify appellate court procedure by doing away with the tedious and expensive requirement of reproducing practically the entire original record of the case in the record on appeal in the trial court. together with an index of the contents thereof. and (f) the final order or judgment rendered in the case. then the original records pertaining to such lot(s) may be readily elevated. Upon the trial court's rendering of its judgment as to such specific lot(s).
JJ. 1983 and to transmit to the Intermediate Appellate Court the records of the case pertaining to the disputed Lot No. the petition is granted.ACCORDINGLY. together with the oral and documentary evidence as hereinabove indicated. Melencio-Herrera. and De la Fuente. (b) annulling any certificate of title which may have been issued to respondents pursuant thereto. Dispensing with briefs or memoranda. Jr. Gutierrez. Plana.. judgment is hereby rendered (a) setting aside the questioned orders which denied due course to petitioners' appeal and ordered the issuance of a decree of registration. 1910 of the Catbalogan Cadastral survey. concur. No costs. . Relova. and (c) ordering respondent court to give due course to petitioners' appeal from its decision of July 11.
38910-A was one of those transferred to the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City which was given a new number T. Branch 113. represented by the Land Registration Commissioner. CV No.T. But this Free Patent was issued by the President of the Philippines on May 12. 38910 by making it appear that it originated from Original Certificate of Title (O.C. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (REPRESENTED BY THE LAND REGISTRATION COMMISSIONER).C.T. and LUCRESIA K. vs. respondents. 1935 under Commonwealth Act (C." and CAG. the Free Patent granted by the President of the Philippines in favor of Guillermo Cruz was issued on May 12. CV No. Rizal. 13674-A.R. No. No. SR. 383 registered in the name of Guillermo Cruz. 141145 November 12. 84. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz.C. No.) No. 1955. No. 2. 2004 1. Both O. 2846P.T. No. was cancelled and in lieu thereof. This O.T. Almanza. T. respondents claimed that they purchased their land from Guillermo Cruz on June 7.T. Sr. Volume I-A. this title was registered in the Registration Book of the Registry of Deeds of Pasig. 1932 covering a parcel of land described in Plan F-44878 situated in Barrio Sampaloc. are intact and in the files of the Registry of Deeds of Pasig.).1688 hectares. docketed as Civil Case No.T. the Republic of the Philippines.C. Contrary to petitioner s allegations. The land covered by this Free Patent is located at Barrio Tanay. On "its face. or on May 19. on September 18. 1999 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. ISIA vs.C. not May 12.T. T. 383 was issued to Guillermo Cruz on August 22. a complaint for annulment of title. is spurious as shown by the following: .C.C. 1937. appearing on p. filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 35230. However.CHAPTER 10 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.C. No.T. and then to the Registry of Deeds of Las Piñas. with an area of 22. they (respondents) sold the land to the Insurance Savings and Investment Agency (ISIA). Rizal. J. Rizal.T. 38910 issued by the Governor General of the Philippine Islands on March 17. On the same day. Impleaded as defendants were spouses Wilson and Lucresia Orfinada. The complaint alleges that Transfer Certificate of Title (T. Eventually.R. 38910-A issued by the Register of Deeds of Pasig. Pasay City. Las Piñas." On May 8. 1935. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. 1937. no Free Patent could have been issued by the President prior to such date. No. as amended. Tanay.C.T. This O. now Pasig City. "Republic of the Philippines (represented by the Land Registration Commissioner) vs. 1985.A. otherwise known as the Public Land Act. assailing the Joint Decision dated December 13. Enrique Factor and Pilar Development Corporation. No. The corresponding Deed of Sale was duly registered in the Registry of Deeds of Pasig. petitioner. No.C. Rizal. in the names of respondents. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz. Las Piñas. O. This O. No. In their answer. ORFINADA.C.C. This Act took effect only on November 7. was pursuant to Free Patent No.8387 hectares.C. respondents. T." T. Rizal (now Las Piñas City). 1935. On the basis of this Free Patent. This Free Patent covers a parcel of land described in Plan F-48390 consisting of 21. Respondents obtained T.R. 1936. 32815. No.C. in the names of respondents. 38910-A was issued in their names. Hence. Rizal and annotated at the back of O. 38910-A. 38910-A in respondents names was derived from O. and the Register of Deeds of Pasay City.T. Orfinada and the Register of Deeds of Pasay City. Orfinada. 1981. specifically on May 12. 141.C. No.T. was based on a Free Patent granted by the President of the Philippines on May 12. ORFINADA.1688 hectares situated in Barrio Almanza.: Before us is the instant petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 1 Rules of Civil Procedure.T. Due to the decentralization of this Office.T.C.T. WILSON P. Wilson P. 1935. petitioner. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz and its derivative title .) No. O.. 383 was actually issued and registered in the name of Paulino Cruz. No. (now Las Piñas City) consisting of 22. Lucresia K. 1956.T.
. the RTC of Pasay City. Sr. 2846-P filed by the petitioner against respondents. the principle is that it is the act of registration that operates to transfer the title to the land. (NGA vs. Orfinada. was duly registered with the Register of Deeds of Pasig. C. Exh. CV No. filed with the RTC of Makati. at the time of such purchase.C. 38910-A (Exh. M). 2262. it is overwhelmingly indisputable and certain that Transfer Certificate of Title No. The defendants then interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals. vs. "Jurisprudentially.Meantime. from the culled evidence the defendants just purchased the property in question when the same was offered to them without inquiring further and firmly relied upon the fact of the Original Certificate of Title in the name of Guillermo Cruz (Exh. DD. 65.. Rizal. 7 SCRA 60. the RTC rendered a Decision dated February 23.A. the same being a direct transfer from Original Certificate of Title No. 7 SCRA 351: A purchaser in good faith is one who buys property of another without notice. 65). In disposing of the case. 27) in the name of Wilson P.R. a complaint for recovery of the subject property against Enrique Factor and Pilar Development Corporation. "With precision and clarity. 1956 (Exh. twenty-nine (29) years of possession is more than the requirement for acquiring land under the possessory information (See Republic vs. public and adverse possession as established with competent evidence testimonial and documentary. they being innocent purchasers in good faith and for value. Under this system title of the defendants is made binding against the whole world. 1956. being the new owner of the same parcel of land. the government provides to the owner a Torrens Certificate of Title which is submitted for cancellation when the property is transferred to another person who will then be entitled to the issuance of the new Torrens Title. wherein it was annotated at the back of Original Certificate of Title 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz (Exh. And to facilitate registration under this system. the trial court held: "Deliberating on the evidence as completely and clearly narrated/illustrated above. 27). Going back to Civil Case No.. rendered its Decision dismissing the complaint. Rizal and the corresponding Transfer Certificate of Title No. I. "It is no less significant to mention that the defendants were in possession of the property for twenty-nine (29) years already at the time when this complaint for annulment of title was filed on May 8. xxx "Evidently. on January 25. 77 SCRA 78). Lagare. 383 (Exh. then from Pasay City to Las Piñas. docketed as Civil Case No. Undeniably. "there being no competent evidence" to prove the allegations therein. 65) and after the perfection of the sale in favor of the defendants that deed of sale was registered with the Registry of Deeds of Pasig. actual. that some other person has a right to. Copuyoc. Branch 113.A. Exh. ordering the defendants to vacate the land. 1991. ISIA. and to facilitate transactions relative thereto by giving the public the right to rely upon the fact of a Torrens Certificate of Title and to dispense with the need of inquiring further except when the party concerned has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that should impel a reasonably cautious man to make such further inquiry (Capitol Subdivision. and said OCT was cancelled and in lieu thereof the Pasig Register of Deeds issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. Pascua vs. (Exh. the main purpose of the Torrens System is to avoid conflicts of title in and to real estate. including the government. The aforesaid Transfer Certificate of Title was transferred to the Register of Deeds of Pasay from the Register of Deeds of Pasig. 38910-A in the name of Wilson P. 1985. the land in question is registered under the Torrens System. 35230. Inc. (38910-A) 13674-A of the Registry of Deeds of Las Piñas (Exh. Branch 143. married to Lucresia K. The possession can be characterized as continuous. Importantly. 1937. Orfinada was duly issued on September 18. K) in the name of Guillermo Cruz. Exh. 161 SCRA 368). or before he has notice of the claim or interest of some other persons in the property.. Clear enough. K. K. the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exh. pursuant to a Free Patent issued by the President of the Philippines on May 12. Exh. The required number of years is only twenty (20) years. Province of Negros Occidental. Orfinada on September 18. 157 SCRA 380) as soon as the deed of transfer shall have been presented and registered in the office of the Register of Deeds. Rizal. the posture of these defendants would certainly prevail for it was tersely said by the Honorable Supreme Court in the case of Fule vs. 1989 in favor of ISIA. M) was issued in the name of the defendants. docketed as CA-G. 2-Orfinada) executed by Guillermo Cruz in favor of Wilson F. Rightfully. or interest in such property and pays a full and fair price for the same. In due course. Orfinada.
The fact remains that the land lies in Bo. Court of Appeals. 32815 (filed by petitioner). petitioner here. to assert that it is fake and spurious it has to be supported by strong and compelling evidence that it is so. said report is tenuous. 2846-P. when adopted and confirmed by the Court of Appeals. in its first assigned error. Tanay. Branch 113 in Civil Case No.R. thus: "WHEREFORE. (3) when the finding is grounded entirely on speculations. On December 13. (Cabrera vs. The reason being that a notarial document is evidence of the facts in clear unequivocal manner therein expressed. In reliance to the case of Legaspi vs. CV No. 2262 and RTC of Pasay City. uncorroborated and unsubstantiated. upon motion of ISIA. Aganon. (6) when the Court of . C. 2262 dated February 23. 2846-P dated January 25.. except: (1) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken. to maintain the integrity of titles secured thereunder. this Court held that factual findings of the trial court. Cabrera vs.. 2) and the verification report (Exh. Las Piñas and actually in the possession of defendants. Rizal has not been established with competent evidence. we held that: "[I]n Reyes v. (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting. in Civil Case No.R. in the instant petition. the annulment of a registration under the Torrens System should be made with the utmost caution. 32815. To contradict all these." In their comment. And anent the title of the defendants. 2. Court of Appeals. (4) when the judgment of the Court of Appeals is based on misapprehension of facts. PREMISES CONSIDERED. the Appellate Court ordered the consolidation of CAG." Petitioner. Sacay. SO ORDERED. "Finally. are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. "Between the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exh. 28 SCRA 407. Branch 113. respondents contend that factual findings of the Court of Appeals are binding on this Court.R. ascribes to the Court of Appeals the following errors: "1. when adopted and confirmed by the Court of Appeals. surmises or conjectures. 3 In Go vs. The Court of Appeals likewise erred when it did not consider that the Torrens System is not a means of acquiring lands but merely a system for registration of title. there must be evidence that is clear. A) giving a conclusion that the title of Wilson P.A. Later. the former has to be sustained. docketed as CA-G. Branch 143 in Civil Case No." Petitioner Republic appealed from the above Decision to the Court of Appeals. Obviously. The plaintiff was so dependent on the LRA Verification Committee (Exh."The assertion of plaintiff that the land in question lies in Sampaloc. CV No. 1989 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.2 but there are exceptions. To the mind of the Court. is raising factual issues. Dy vs. Villanueva. 1991 dismissing plaintiffappellant s complaint is likewise AFFIRMED in toto. The Court of Appeals grossly erred and acted under a misapprehension of facts in ruling that the title of the Orfinadas is valid. TCT No. 1) The decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati. Costs against appellant.A. complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity. Moreover. Branch 143. the Court of Appeals promulgated the assailed Joint Decision affirming in toto the Decisions of the RTC of Makati. CV No. C. in Civil Case No. 35330 (filed by ISIA) and CA-G. A) which the plaintiff was firmly dependent in its cause of action. (2) when there is a grave abuse of discretion. 160 SCRA 672. No costs. 165 SCRA 473). Orfinada is fake and spurious. are final and conclusive on this Court. 2) The decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City. (38910-A) 13674-A. Almanza. convincing and more than merely preponderant. we had occasion to rule that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review on certiorari filed with this Court. It has in its favor the presumption of regularity. (Ytuirralde vs. the Honorable Supreme Court said: The evidentiary nature of public document must be sustained in the absence of strong. absurd or impossible. factual findings of the trials courts. 1999. this Court may no longer review the assailed Joint Decision. Time and again. 163 SCRA 214). Considering that the issues raised in the petition are factual.
"In civil cases. the nature of the facts to which they testify. No. their intelligence.T. Whereas. in the last analysis. 383 was issued in the name of Guillermo Cruz (from which T. the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. The Committee Reports further state that." Petitioner. and value of the aggregate evidence on either side and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term greater weight of the evidence or greater weight of the credible evidence. 13409 in the name of Paulino Cruz with those of T. and also their personal credibility so far as the same legitimately appear upon the trial. was granted on May 12.C. (9) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which." Pursuant to this Free Patent. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz) and found that Free Patent No. O. is invoking one of the exceptions mentioned above. 38910-A in the names of respondents is spurious. 383 was issued in the name of Paulino Cruz by the same Registry of Deeds. with an area of "22 hectares. Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Court provides the guidelines in determining preponderance of evidence. 1981. 38910-A in respondents names (derived from O. in making its findings.T. 13409 in the name of Paulino Cruz issued by Governor General Theodore Roosevelt on March 17.C. 383 should be the same as what appears on Free Patent No.C. the probability or improbability of their testimony.T.Appeals.T. 1981. No.T No.C. went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee. which law was not yet enacted at that time. 38910 derived therefrom is in the name of Marina Cruz Vda. 1935 by the President pursuant to C. 38910-A could not have been issued in the names of respondents and. would justify a different conclusion. It is evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto. No. i.T. 1932 covering a parcel of land in Barrio Sampaloc. 13409 in the name of Paulino Cruz.C. means probability of the truth. No. the Committee concluded that T. Rizal. No.C. the court may consider all the facts and circumstances of the case." However. No. in contending that T. No. It took effect only on November 7. therefore.T No. (8) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based.C. their interest or want of interest. then Acting Register of Deeds of Pasig.C. No.T." The Committee compared the data appearing on Free Patent No. The court may also consider the number of witnesses. The basic issue for our resolution is whether petitioner has proved by preponderance of evidence that T. the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. Manalatas letters. Rizal.T. 1936. In determining where the preponderance or superior weight of evidence on the issues involved lies. De San Jose. the Director of the Bureau of Lands (now Land Management Bureau) wrote the Administrator of the Land Registration Commission (now Land Registration Authority) pointing to the dubiousness of T. though the preponderance is 4 not necessarily with the greater number. 383 in the name of Paulino Cruz "is no longer available.T. if properly considered. pursuant to the directive of the Committee. thus: "In civil cases. Tanay. Thereafter. 383 . Ramon Manalastas. the Free Patent on the basis of which O.e.A. 141 (Public Land Act). the witnesses manner of testifying. Tanay. Preponderance of evidence is the weight. 13409 was issued by Governor General Theodore Roosevelt on March 17. (7) when the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court.C.C. "We therefore presume that the description of the land covered by O. On the basis of Atty. their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying. T. Preponderance of evidence is a phrase which. 38910-A originated). the Committee submitted to the Director of Lands its Verification Report and Supplementary Report which disclose the following: In his letters dated October 9 and November 15. opt to evaluate the evidence of both parties on the basis of the old and cold records before us. the same is "manufactured and spurious. No. informed the said Committee that O." Petitioner. The Land Registration Commission then formed a Committee to conduct an investigation.C.T.. 1932. Section 1. when the judgment of the Court of Appeals is based on misapprehension of facts.T. We.T. 38910-A in the names of respondents. credit. Atty." Evidence for petitioner shows that on October 21. and (10) when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on record. in filing this petition. 38910-A in the names of respondents is a nullity asserts that (a) the latter derived their title fraudulently from O. No. It embraces a parcel of land in Barrio Sampaloc. therefore. not in the names of respondents. his office has in its files a "certified copy" of Free Patent No.C. No.C.
Atty. Even assuming that O. 383 in the name of Paulino Cruz. 13674-A. No. T. that the Director of Lands came to realize that respondents land title. testified that in obedience to the order of the trial court.T. He paid the corresponding fee under O.C. 1936. Victoriano Torres. Ramon Manalastas. had the entry of encumbrance canceled. No. Atty. Petitioner insists that there is only one O. No.T. it does not follow that the corresponding O. No.T. 38910-A was given a new title number by the said Register of Deeds which is 6 T. 13409 was granted by the Governor General on March 17.C. Las Piñas. There being no O.T. No.C. we agree with the Court of Appeals and the trial court that petitioner s complaint must be dismissed for its failure to prove its allegations by preponderance of evidence. still we cannot conclude that respondents committed fraud in obtaining their title. in maintaining that T. their attorney-in-fact. 38910-A. Tanay. He came to know that the original copy of the title was transferred by the Registry of Deeds of Pasig to the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City. 383 and it is in the name of Paulino Cruz. 13409. had the land re-surveyed and sold the same to the Insurance Savings and Investment Agency (ISIA).T. 383 in the name of Paulino Cruz as admitted by petitioner." This means that while Free Patent No. its allegations that respondents secured their title through fraud and misrepresentation by making it appear that it originated from such O.T. this Free Patent was the basis for the issuance of O. No. Such assertion does not persuade us considering that per admission of petitioner itself. it was only on October 21. then Acting Register of Deeds of Pasig.C. The land covered by Free Patent No. the Register of Deeds of Pasay City. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. took effect only on November 7.C. O.R. this case was transferred to the RTC.T. 13409 in the name of Paulino Cruz. During the hearing. No. 383 in the name of Paulino Cruz "is no longer available." Considering that O. 383 in the name of their predecessor-in-interest. No. relies on a "certified copy" of Free Patent No. and (b) that O. I. a witness for petitioner. 9614248. No. 383 (in the name of Paulino Cruz) should be the same as what appears on Free Patent No. Evidence for respondents shows that Atty. No. after such length of time. 13409. No. petitioner. he went to the same Registry of Deeds to ask for the cancellation of the entry of a mortgage contract an encumbrance appearing at the back page of the original copy of T. C. Modesto Jimenez. No. Guillermo Cruz.C. 1981. or after 26 years.5 One time.C.T. This prompted ISIA to file with the RTC of Pasay City a complaint for recovery of property against them. based on Free Patent No. Rizal. 1935 considering that the governing law. However. as shown by the Deed of 8 Absolute Sale duly registered in the Registry of Deeds of Pasig.C.A.C. specifically that T. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz from the Registry of Deeds of Pasig. is spurious. Branch 143 at Makati. As earlier mentioned. 13409. now 13674-A.C. No.C. being authorized by respondents. No. the Committee Reports state that the investigators merely "presume that the description of the land covered by O. 38910-A in the names of respondents is spurious. he brought the following: 1) Original copy of O. II Petitioner maintains that T. 383 was issued to Paulino Cruz on the basis of Free Patent No.C.T. Then Atty. 141 (Public Land Act). No.T.T. Later. and 2) Xerox copy of the certified true copy of the same O. 383 in the name of Paulino Cruz no longer exits. No. No.T.T.T. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz.T.C.T. 383. to conclude that this title is not genuine? Records are silent on this point. Indeed. petitioner claims that this Free Patent was issued by the President of the Philippines on May .T. 38910-A in the names of respondents.C. is not authentic since the Free Patent on which it was based could not have been issued on May 12. What prompted the Director of Lands. In contending that the respondents title is void. Let it be stressed that respondents Wilson and Lucresia Orfinada purchased the property from Guillermo Cruz as early as June 7. admitted that O. 383 to Paulino Cruz. No. Jimenez. was able to secure a certified true copy of O. Rolando Golla.C. 383 must fail.T. while the property embraced by the Free Patent of Guillermo Cruz is in Barrio Almanza.T.in the name of Paulino Cruz.T.7 After considering the evidence presented by both parties.C. 1932. 38910-A originated therefrom.C. not Guillermo Cruz. 38910-A is spurious just because it was derived from O. According to petitioner.C. 1955. 13409 is in Barrio Sampaloc. is not in the files of the Registry of Deeds of Pasig. So he proceeded there and upon his request.C. No.T. petitioner also points out that the Free Patent on which it was based is defective. No. But Atty. an employee of the Registry of Deeds of Pasig. No.C.C. Jimenez also learned that the original copy of T.T. 2262. was actually issued to Paulino Cruz and registered in his name.C. ISIA found that a portion of the area was occupied by Pilar Development and Enrique Factor.
A. respondents being buyers in good faith have acquired rights over the property. He need not go beyond what he saw on the face of the title.T. thus: "If a person purchases a piece of land on the assurance that the seller's title thereto is valid.T. The reliance is misplaced.C. an employee of the same Registry of Deeds presented to the trial court the original copy of O. pursuant to C.C. Rizal. The Court of Appeals held: "When Wilson Orfinada and Guillermo Cruz entered into a Contract of Deed of Absolute Sale (Folder of Exhibits. No. No. 1956.T No. 27). Orfinada. in Registration Book No. page 84. public confidence in the Torrens System would be eroded and land transactions would have to be attended by complicated and inconclusive investigations and uncertain proof of ownership. Atty. the Pasig Register of Deeds issued. He had no knowledge whatsoever of any irregularity of the title. But this Act took effect only on November 7. under Act No. 65. 38910-A.T. was issued and registered in the name of one Marina Cruz Vda." 10 . No. x x x. 1956 (Exh. de San Jose. p.C. After three (3) months or on August 22. 1935. p. xxx A careful review of the records indicates that the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exh. 145) and said OCT was cancelled and in lieu thereof. as Original Certificate of Title No.T. when the President issued to Guillermo Cruz his Free Patent. Las Piñas. No. 141 (Public Land Act). 145). 38910-A in the name of Wilson Orfinada. No. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz exists. 65. what was required from Orfinada was merely to look at OCT 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz.T. Petitioner failed to dispute this evidence. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz (Exh. we cannot disregard such rights and order the cancellation of the certificate of title. 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz. Consequently. Likewise. There is sufficient evidence to show that this O. Inscribed on this title is the following: "It is further certified that said land was originally registered on the 22nd day of August in the year nineteen hundred and thirty-seven. l-4. 383.C. wherein it was annotated at the back of Original Certificate of Title No. 38910. pursuant to C. pursuant to a free patent granted by the President of the Philippines. If we were to void a sale of property covered by a clean and unencumbered torrens title. 1937. on September 18.C.C. Court of Appeals. Jimenez testified that he was able to obtain a certified true copy of the said title from the Registry of Deeds of Pasig.C. respondents presented to the trial court the original copy of T. It invites our attention that T." In Legarda vs. Transfer Certificate of Title No. if not even violent. 38910-A is a nullity. p. not in 1935. Rizal. Significantly. 2-Orfinada. Hence. Rolando Golla. was duly registered with the Register of Deeds of Pasig. Respondents property is in Barrio Almanza. M. 85) executed by Guillermo Cruz in favor of Wilson P. What is clear from the record is that when Wilson Orfinada purchased the property in question on September 18. the same was offered to him. now in the custody of the Registry of Deeds of Las Piñas.T No. petitioner would not rest in claiming that T. no Free Patent could have been issued on that date.A. Tanay. the Registry of Deeds of Rizal issued to him O. it can easily be discerned that it was on May 12. He did not inquire further and firmly relied on the face of the original certificate of title in the name of Guillermo Cruz (Exh. 1935. of the Office of Register of Deeds of Rizal. 85). As far as Orfinada is concerned. we sustained the buyer s right to rely on the correctness of the certificate of title. 1937. No.12. the year nineteen hundred and thirty seven. 1936 or prior to May 12. 383. No. 141."9 From the above statement. Even assuming that there was a defect in O. Consequently. the OCT 383 shown to him was free from any flaw or defect that could give rise to any iota of evidence that it is fake and spurious. on the 12th day of May. p. p. not in the names of respondents. 383 in the name of Paulino Cruz. Still. derived from O. plaintiff-appellant is implying that defendant is not a buyer in good faith. The consequence would be that land conflicts could proliferate and become more abrasive. Rizal. she should not run the risk of being told later that her acquisition was ineffectual after all.C. 141 (Public Land Act). 383 in the name of Guillermo Cruz.T. Suffice it to state that the land covered by Marina s title is in Barrio San Roque.
11 Similarly. concur. contrary to the evident purpose of the law. and Garcia. on leave. No costs. 32815 is hereby AFFIRMED. Every person dealing with the registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued therefore and the law will in no way oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the property." On petitioner s second assigned error.. the general rule that the direct result of a previous void contract cannot be valid. CV No. Corona. . persons dealing with property covered by a Torrens certificate of title are not required to go beyond what appears on its face. J. The sanctity of the Torrens system must be preserved. SO ORDERED. Carpio-Morales. suffice it to state that the Court of Appeals did not say that the Torrens System is a means of acquiring lands. 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the court cannot disregard such rights and order the cancellation of the certificate. in Heirs of Spouses Benito Gavino and Juana Euste vs. everyone dealing with the property registered under the system will have to inquire in every instance as to whether the title had been regularly or irregularly issued. Moreover. otherwise. the petition is DENIED. JJ. of other title existing prior to the issuance thereof not annotated on the Torrens title.Indeed. a Torrens title is generally conclusive evidence of ownership of the land referred to therein. The assailed Joint Decision dated December 13. is inapplicable in this case as it will directly contravene the Torrens system of registration. The effect of such outright cancellation will be to impair public confidence in the certificate of title.R. Where innocent third persons. Panganiban. WHEREFORE..12 we held: "x x x. relying on the correctness of the certificate of title thus issued. A Torrens title is incontrovertible against any informacion possessoria. acquire rights over the property. (Chairman). Court of Appeals. and a strong presumption exists that a Torrens title was regularly issued and valid.
008876 was identified as Lot No. No.) No. 0-1618. who was then 91 years old. Thus. vs. 13615-R was cancelled by T. Lourdes Leyson paid for the realty taxes over the property. 156357 February 18. 03276-R and T. as well as its Resolution in CA-G. BONTUYAN. FE LEYSON QUA. CV No. OCT No. No. Free Patent No. T. was also registered under the name of Gregorio Bontuyan under OCT No. daughter of Gregorio Bontuyan.D. Despite his knowledge that the property had been purchased by his son-in-law and daughter. No.3 Because of the construction of a provincial road. No. filed an application with the Bureau of Lands for a free patent over Lot No. 12. No. However. On the basis of the said deed. 64471 denying the motion for reconsideration of the said decision. 13272. the latter was cancelled by a new tax declaration. No. 17150 of Cebu Cadastre No. 0-1619 was issued to and under his name on March 18 21. JOSEFINA L. 21267 effective 1974. 1974. Cebu City. No. 1976. married to Vivencia . in turn. No. respectively. 0-1618 and OCT No. No. the tax declaration issued thereon continued to be under the names of the spouses 16 Noval.D. No. 008876 under the 9 same names effective 1967.D. Naciansino Bontuyan. The plan survey was approved on September 30. 1971. LEYSON and ESPERANZA V. The Antecedents Calixto Gabud was the owner of a parcel of land located in Barangay Adlawon.D. No. 17150 in favor of his son. the property was surveyed by Cadastral Land Surveyor Mauro U. No.D.D.D. 13615-R in favor of Simeon Noval. J. 1959.000.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. 100356 in the names of the spouses Noval.D.D. then 103 years old. No. in favor of Protacio Tabal.D. 008876 was cancelled by T. 20 Gregorio Bontuyan executed a Deed of Absolute Sale over Lot No. Tabal executed a Deed of Sale over the property covered by T. respondents. SR. All 15 these tax declarations were in the names of the spouses Noval.000. 13272. 10 1966.petitioners. LEYSON. 01-001-00646. On February 14. On April 28. 1980. GABRIEL V. No. 0-1619.D. The property covered by T. No. CARIDAD V. 03276-R was cancelled by T. 1964. In 1989.: 1 This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA). 1968.D. NACIANSINO BONTUYAN and MAURECIA B. 2005 Bontuyan. No. Gabriel on January 22. was cancelled by T. Another parcel of land. Gregorio Bontuyan. LEYSON. Meanwhile. 1392 in the ENGR. On May 22.00. DR.D. 0-1619 was cancelled by TCT No.D.12 Thereafter. No. T. On the basis of the said deed. which was declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration (T. 510463 was issued over Lot No. the property was divided into two parcels of land covered by T. Gregorio Bontuyan. Lot No. 17150 on December 4. T. married to Leodegaria Bontuyan. on the basis of which Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. as well as the other lot covered by T. covered by OCT No.. Leyson for P4.R. 21267 was cancelled by T.D. DECISION CALLEJO.00. 01979-R. 01-17455 effective 1980. On February 20. 14 13 23821 which. 17150 in his favor. 008876 in favor of Lourdes V.D. Subsequently. The latter tax declaration was then cancelled by T. 01979-R. 17150 19 for taxation purposes under T. Gabud executed a Deed of Absolute Sale4 over the property covered by T. 13596 effective 1974. POBLETE. Mabolo. for P800. 1968. the spouses Noval.D. He then declared Lot No. in favor of Naciansino Bontuyan for P3.R. Lourdes Leyson took possession of the property and had it fenced. 13615-R in the name of Protacio Tabal 6 5 effective 1949.7 Gregorio Bontuyan received a copy of the said tax declaration in behalf of the spouses 8 Noval. executed another Deed 21 of Absolute Sale over Lot Nos. No. while the property covered by T.D. No. 01979-R was identified as Lot No. 03276-R.D.D.D. and that he first entered upon and began cultivating the same in 1918. 03276-R in 19452 with the following boundaries: North Calixto Gabud East Marcelo Cosido South Pedro Bontuyan West Asuncion Adulfo. On January 5. T.00. No. 13272 and 17150. Despite the said sale. T. No. 1948. on November 19. the spouses Noval executed a Deed of Absolute Sale11 over the two lots covered by T. He alleged therein that the property was public land and was 17 neither claimed nor occupied by any person.
Lourdes Leyson died intestate. 1980. Gabriel Leyson. 0-1619 in favor of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) as security for a loan of P11. wrote Engr. 1968 who. Nieves Atilano. Leyson. judgment be rendered in their favor. forthwith. after due proceedings. Despite being informed that the said spouses owned the property. Engr. through counsel. On June 24. Engr. took possession thereof as owner. The spouses Bontuyan.000. to wit: (a) Confirming the ownership of the plaintiffs on the lots in question. On March 30.00) as the share of the plaintiffs of the produce of the lots in question. (d) Ordering the defendant to pay plaintiffs the sum of P50. thereafter. the tenants refused to vacate the same. Shortly thereafter. the spouses Bontuyan executed a Real Estate Mortgage over Lot No. filed a complaint against Engr.D.00 as appearance fee every time the case is called for trial. that the two lots were but portions of a parcel of land owned by Calixto Gabud. 1993. married to Vivencia Bontuyan. Leyson in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City for quieting of title and damages. 17150 and 13272. Gregorio Bontuyan died 23 intestate on April 12. 1392.00.00 as moral damages and exemplary damages may be fixed by the court. the spouses Bontuyan left the Philippines and resided in the United States. as well as OCT No.000.24 Naciansino Bontuyan had earlier executed an affidavit that the property was not tenanted.00 as actual expenses for the preparation and filing of the complaint. (e) Ordering defendant to pay plaintiffs the sum of P5. Based on the said deed. 17150 covered by OCT No. one of the late Lourdes Leyson s children. (f) Ordering defendant to pay the costs.200. demanding that he be furnished with all the documents evidencing his 26 ownership over the two lots.D.000. 1981. 0-1619 and TCT No. 13272 in favor of Naciansino. 1993. Simeon Noval later sold the property to Lourdes Leyson on May 22. and was subdivided into two parcels of land because of the construction of a provincial road on the property. Pacifico Bontuyan. 03276-R. (c) Ordering defendant to pay plaintiffs the sum of P50. Gabud later sold the two lots to Protacio Tabal. and Gregorio Bontuyan was issued a free patent over the property through fraud. it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court to render judgment against the defendant and in favor of the plaintiffs. which was ignored. thus: 22 WHEREFORE. No. The spouses Bontuyan redeemed the property from DBP on September 22. The tenants also refused to deliver to the spouses the produce from the property. they demanded the production of documents evidencing the latter s ownership of the property. one of the children of Gregorio Bontuyan. Jose Bontuyan. were null and void and that the plaintiffs acquired no title over the property.00 as reimbursement of attorney s fees and the further sum of P500. The spouses Bontuyan returned to the Philippines in 1988 to redeem the property from DBP only to discover that there were tenants living on the property installed by Engineer Gabriel Leyson. 01-001-00877 was issued to and under the name of Naciansino over the said property starting 1994. They alleged that they were the lawful owners of the two lots and when they discovered. covered by T. In his answer to the complaint. (b) Ordering defendant to pay the plaintiffs the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20. T. Engr. Naciansino Bontuyan. that the property was occupied and cultivated by the tenants of Engr. No. Leyson interposed a counterclaim against the spouses Bontuyan and repleaded as an integral part thereof all the material allegations in his affirmative . Leyson ignored the letter. executed an Extrajudicial Settlement25 of the latter s estate and adjudicated Lot No. Leyson averred. 1981. premises considered. 1989. the surviving heirs of Gregorio Bontuyan. upon their return from the United States. by way of affirmative defenses. Meanwhile. On February 12. Engr. and (g) Granting to plaintiffs such other reliefs and remedies just and 27 equitable in the premises. Vivencia Noval and Naciansino Bontuyan. Lots Nos. The spouses Bontuyan prayed that.000. Leyson concluded that the said patent.name of Naciansino Bontuyan on December 2. who sold the same to Simeon Noval.
000. The fallo of the decision reads: 29 In due course. He prayed that.000.000. On January 21. 0-1619 in the name of Gregorio Bontuyan and TCT No. namely: Dr. after due proceedings. Fe L. d-3) P50.000.00 as attorney s fees and appearance fee of P1. d) On the Counterclaim.000. Leyson. Qua.00 as expenses of litigation. Defendant further prays for such other reliefs just and equitable in the premises. Plaintiffs should pay the Defendants the following sums: d-1) P50. Dr. judgment be rendered in his favor. Esperanza Leyson and Caridad Leyson as the true and legal owners and possessors of the parcels of land in issue. the other children of Lourdes Leyson. Leyson and Caridad V. to order Plaintiffs to pay the Defendant the following sums: d-1) P50. d-4) P15. Fe L. They prayed that. Fe Leyson Qua. were allowed to intervene as defendants. Fe L. 28 Wherefore. Leyson and his four (4) sisters. d-2) P500. Leyson and his four (4) sisters. in their counterclaim. 0-1619 in the name of Gregorio Bontuyan and TCT No.00 as exemplary damages. paragraphs 7 to 26 of the answer of their brother. judgment be rendered in their favor as follows: . after due hearing. namely. b) Declaring the Defendant and his four (4) sisters. Poblete. Esperanza V. d-4) P10. this Honorable Court is prayed to render judgment in favor of the Defendant and the Defendants-in-Intervention and against the Plaintiffs as follows: a) Promissory Plaintiffs complaint for failure to include indispensable parties and for lack of cause of action. Poblete. Mrs. Leyson. In their reply. Esperanza V.00 per hearing. Josefina L. Poblete.000.00 as moral damages to each Intervenor. Leyson. Qua. Leyson and Esperanza V. 1999. d) And on the Counterclaim. d-3) P20. Qua.00 as attorney s fees and appearance fee of P1.defense. Qua.000. Poblete. Leyson and Caridad V. Mrs. 1392 in the name of Naciansino Bontuyan null and void and to order the Register of Deeds to cancel the same and issue new ones in favor of the Defendant Gabriel V.00 as expenses of litigation. Fe L.00 per hearing. c) Declaring OCT No. Josefina L. thus: a) Dismissing Plaintiffs complaint for failure to include indispensable parties. Esperanza Leyson and Caridad Leyson as the true and legal owners and possessors of the parcels of land in issue. Poblete. Caridad V. Josefina L. Mrs. b) Declaring the Defendant and his four (4) sisters. 1392 and the reconveyance of the property was barred by laches and prescription. namely. Josefina L. namely: Dr. Engr. Dr. Defendant further prays for such other reliefs just and equitable in the premises. the original defendant. the spouses Bontuyan averred that the counterclaim of the defendants for the nullity of TCT No. Josefina L.000. namely: Dr.000. c) Declaring OCT No.000. They filed their answer-in-intervention wherein they adopted. the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the Leyson heirs and against the spouses Bontuyan. Mrs. 1392 in the name of Naciansino Bontuyan null and void and to order the Register of Deeds to cancel the same and issue new ones in favor of the Defendant Gabriel V. d-2) P500.00 as moral damages. Leyson.00 as exemplary damages.
c) 100. The appellate court held that the Leyson heirs were the owners of Lot No. 17150. the decision of the RTC. foregoing considered judgment is hereby rendered dismissing plaintiff s complaint for dearth of evidence declaring the defendant and the intervenors as the true and legal owners and possessors of the subject parcels of land.000. b) 1. who thus acquired title over the property. 0-1619 CANNOT BE RULED UPON IN THESE PROCEEDINGS BROUGHT BY THE RESPONDENTS FOR THE QUIETING OF THEIR TITLE.00 moral damages for defendant and intervenors.32 Fourth Assignment of Error THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT RECONVEYANCE OF TITLE OF LOT 17150 COVERED BY OCT NO.00 litigation expenses. The CA ruled that the answer of the Leyson heirs to the complaint constituted a collateral attack of OCT No. On the first two assignments of errors.000. Second Assignment of Error THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONERS ANSWER WITH COUNTERCLAIM.000. 1392 in the name of Naciansino Bontuyan null and void. 0-1619 AND PRESENTLY COVERED BY TCT NO. Fe Qua. d) 10. Intermediate Appellate Court was misplaced. 0-1619 contained in their answer constituted a direct attack on the said title.000. The Leyson heirs then filed a petition for review with this Court and made the following assignments of error: First Assignment of Error . 0-1619 which was proscribed by law.00 attorney s fees. SO ORDERED. 0-1619 and TCT No. The spouses Bontuyan appealed the decision to the CA which affirmed. 17150 was concerned.33 Fifth Assignment of Error THE APPELLATE COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GRANTING ATTORNEY S FEES AND APPEARANCE FEES DESPITE RESPONDENTS FRAUD IN ACQUIRING TITLE OVER THE 34 SUBJECT PROPERTIES. They assert that The trial court held that Simeon Noval had sold the lots to Lourdes Leyson on May 22. The Leyson heirs filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision insofar as Lot No. PRAYING FOR THE CANCELLATION OF PLAINTIFFS TORRENS CERTIFICATE IS A MERE COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE 31 TITLE. They maintain that the appellate court s reliance on the ruling of this Court 35 in Cimafrancia v. 0-1619. 13273. while the spouses Bontuyan were the owners of Lot No. 1392 IN THE NAME OF NACIANSINO BONTUYAN.00 exemplary damages.WHEREFORE. 30 THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED ERROR WHEN IT RULED THAT THE NULLITY OR THE VALIDITY OF OCT NO. and e) 10. 1999 BY RULING THAT PETITIONERS ARE DECLARED THE OWNERS OF LOT 13273 BUT RESPONDENTS ARE DECLARED THE OWNERS OF LOT 17150 UNDER OCT NO. 1968. ordering the Register of Deeds to cancel OCT No. DESPITE THE APPELLATE COURT S AFFIRMING THE FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT FRAUD WAS COMMITTED BY GREGORIO BONTUYAN (RESPONDENTS PREDECESSOR-ININTEREST) IN ACQUIRING TITLE OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTIES. 1392 and issue new ones in favor of defendant Gabriel Leyson and intervenors Josefina Poblete. contending that their counterclaim for the nullification of OCT No. declaring OCT No. with modification.000. IN FAVOR OF PETITIONERS HAD PRESCRIBED. Third Assignment of Error THE APPELLATE COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT MODIFIED THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DATED JANUARY 21. 0-1619 AND PRESENTLY COVERED BY TCT NO. ordering plaintiff to pay defendant and intervenors the following: a) P50. 0-1619 in the name of Gregorio Bontuyan and TCT No. the petitioners aver that the counterclaim in their answer to the complaint constituted a direct attack of the validity of OCT No. 1392. The CA denied the motion.00 per appearance. Esperanza Leyson and Caridad Leyson.
It is admissible in evidence without necessity of preliminary proof as to its authenticity and due execution. Since Gregorio Bontuyan was not the owner of the property. v. constitute evidence of great weight that person under whose name the real taxes were declared has a claim of right over the land. or to any of the respondents for that matter. acquired the subject lots. thus: This case involves two parcels of land Lot 17150 and Lot 13273. as in this case. 17150. . on the other hand. The petitioners. They have in their favor tax receipts covering the subject lots issued since 1945. and that the property became private land only when Free Patent No. The evidence on record shows that Calixto Gabud sold the property to Protacio Tabal 38 on February 14. 1392 and ordering the respondents to reconvey the property covered by the said title to the petitioners. 1959. In this case. which would have fortified their claim that they were the owners of the property. such. No. Lot 17150 is registered under the Torrens System under the names of plaintiffs-appellants. likewise. 1959. Simeon Noval then sold the property to Lourdes Leyson on May 22. 41 100356 covering the property under the name of Simeon Noval. The document is. conveying the subject lots in favor of Protacio Tabal. the respondents failed to discharge this burden.37 However. 510463 was issued to and under the name of Gregorio Bontuyan. Plaintiffs-appellants.40 The respondents failed to adduce any evidence to prove that Lourdes Leyson. At the dorsal portion of the said tax declaration. Court of Appeals36wherein this Court held that the counterclaim of the petitioners therein constituted a direct attack on a certificate of title. to defendant-appellee and intervenors-appellees. continuous possession in the concept of an owner. Inc. were burdened to prove their claim in their complaint that Gregorio Bontuyan was the owner of Lot No. considering that the latter was his son-in-law. 1959. 1968.42 We note that the respondents failed to adduce in evidence any receipts of real property tax payments made on the property under their names. the respondents assert that the decision of the CA is correct. 1948. We agree with the contention of the petitioners that the CA erred in not nullifying OCT No. 0-1619 and TCT No. as plaintiffs in the court a quo. The respondents. 1968. 17150 and that they acquired the property in good faith and for valuable consideration from him. Further. Likewise presented is the Deed of Absolute Sale of the subject lots dated January 5.D. Gregorio Bontuyan. They claim that Lot No. covering Lot No. 17150 was still public land when Lourdes Leyson purchased the same from Simeon Noval. 496. They plead that their answer to the complaint should be liberally construed so as to afford them substantial justice. Defendant-appellee and intervenors-appellees also presented the Deed of Absolute Sale of the subject lots dated May 22. executed by spouses Simeon Noval and Vivencia Bontuyan in favor of Lourdes Leyson. sold the property to Gregorio Bontuyan. Gregorio Bontuyan could not feign ignorance of Simeon Noval s ownership of the property. The deed is a notarial document. Calixto Gabud. a notarial document. The deed is a notarial document.what is controlling is the ruling in Pro Line Sports Center. While. likewise. Uriarte who notarized the deed of sale over the property executed by Protacio Tabal in favor of Simeon Noval on January 5. adverse. Plaintiffs-appellants presented only the Free Patent and OCT No. 0-1619. however. It has in its favor the presumption of regularity. as amended. There exist (sic) no trace of irregularity in the transfers of ownership from the original owner. issued in the name of Gregorio Bontuyan. On the other hand. A notarial document is evidence of the facts in clear. if accompanied with open. indeed. there was even an annotation that the property was transferred to Simeon Noval as shown by the deed of sale executed before Notary Public Gregorio A. and that he (Gregorio Bontuyan) was the one who received the owner s copy of T. defendant-appellee and intervenors-appellees presented before the trial court the Deed of Absolute Sale dated February 14. records show that defendant-appellee and intervenors-appellees are the true owners of the subject lots. executed by Protacio Tabal in favor of spouses Simeon Noval and Vivencia Bontuyan. offered no convincing evidence as to how their predecessor-in-interest. As the Latin adage goes: NEMO DAT QUOD NON HABET. while Lot 13273 remained to be unregistered. We agree with the findings of the CA. tax receipts and declarations are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership. and that the latter sold the property to Simeon Noval on 39 January 5. 1948. or even Simeon Noval. cited Section 55 of Act No. to buttress their stance. executed by Calixto Gabud. unequivocal manner therein expressed. the respondents herein. he could not have sold the same to his son Naciansino Bontuyan and the latter s wife.
As to Lot No. 13273, We find no sufficient reason why defendant-appellee and intervenors-appellees should be disturbed in their ownership and possession of the same.43 As copiously shown by the record, Gregorio Bontuyan filed his application for a free patent with the Bureau of Lands on December 4, 1968 in gross bad faith, thereby defrauding Lourdes Leyson of the said property through deceit. Gregorio Bontuyan falsely declared in the said application: (a) that he entered upon and cultivated the property since 1918 and that the property was not claimed or occupied by any person; and (b) that Lot No. 17150 was located in Sirao, Cebu City, when, in fact, the property was located in Adlawon, Cebu City. Lourdes Leyson was not notified of the said application and failed to file any opposition thereto. Gregorio Bontuyan was then able to secure Free Patent No. 510463 on November 19, 1971 and OCT No. 0-1619 on March 21, 1974. It appears in the said title that the property s location was indicated as "Sirao, Cebu City."44 Indeed, the CA declared that Gregorio Bontuyan had acquired title to the property through fraud: However, as to Lot No. 17150, We find that despite the fraud committed by Gregorio Bontuyan (plaintiffs-appellants predecessor-in-interest) in acquiring his title over the said lot, ownership over the said lot should be adjudged in favor of plaintiffs-appellants. Records, indeed, show that, at the time when Gregorio Bontuyan applied for Free Patent, Gregorio Bontuyan was living with his daughter, Vivencia Bontuyan (defendant-appellee s predecessor-in-interest). Thus, Gregorio Bontuyan must have known that at the time when he applied for free patent on December 1968, the subject lots were already sold on May 1968 by his daughter Vivencia Bontuyan in favor of Lourdes Leyson, predecessor-in-interest of defendants-appellees. Moreover, records further show that Gregorio Bontuyan sold twice Lot [No.] 17150 to plaintiffs-appellants. The first was in 1976 and the other was in 1980. Plaintiffsappellants offered no reasonable explanation why Gregorio Bontuyan have (sic) to sell twice Lot No. 17150 in favor of plaintiffs-appellants. As found by the trial court, these are badges of bad faith which affect the validity of the title of Gregorio Bontuyan over the subject lots. We are aware that the torrens system does not create or vest title. It only confirms and records title already existing and vested. It does not protect a usurper from the true owner. It cannot be a shield for the commission of fraud. It does not permit
one to enrich himself at the expense of another. Where one does not have any rightful claim over a real property, the torrens system of registration can confirm or record nothing.45 The findings of the CA affirmed the findings of the trial court in its decision, thus: After having thoroughly analyzed the records and the evidences adduced during the trial of this case, this Court is convinced and sincerely believes that the lots in question were originally owned by Calixto Gabud as evidenced by T.D. [No.] 03276R marked as Exh. "1." In 1945, this consisted of only one lot in Adlawon, Cebu City, as there was no provincial road yet. However in 1948, the said parcel of land was divided into two because a provincial road was constructed passing through it. Hence, T.D. [No.] 03276R and T.D. [No.] 01979-R were issued to Calixto Gabud. On February 16, 1948, Calixto Gabud sold the said parcels of land to spouses Protacio Tabal and Ludegaria (sic) Bontuyan as evidenced by an Absolute Deed of Sale, Exh. "2." On January 5, 1959, spouses Protacio Tabal and Ludegaria (sic) Bontuyan, in turn, sold the same parcels of land to spouses Simeon Noval and Vivencia Bontuyan as evidenced by a Deed of Sale, Exh. "4." It is noteworthy to mention at this point in time that Vivencia Bontuyan is one of the daughters of Gregorio Bontuyan, the father of herein plaintiff Naciansino Bontuyan. In May 1968, spouses Simeon Noval and Vivencia Bontuyan sold the subject parcels of land to Lourdes vs. (sic) Leyson, the mother of herein defendant as evidenced by a Deed of Sale marked as Exh. "6." It is quite perplexing for the court to imagine that Gregorio Bontuyan, father of herein plaintiff, who was then residing with spouses Simeon Noval and Vivencia Bontuyan at 179 C San Jose dela Montaña, Mabolo, Cebu City, as reflected in his application for Free Patent (Exhs. "8" & "26") dated December 4, 1968 was unaware of the sale of the subject parcels of land made by his daughter Vivencia Bontuyan and spouse Simeon Noval to Lourdes Leyson. It is evident that, after the sale from spouses Noval to Lourdes Leyson in May 1968, Gregorio Bontuyan applied for Free Patent for the same parcels of land in December 1968 claiming to have cultivated the land since 1918, stating therein the location as Sirao and not Adlawon which is the true and correct location. Sirao and Adlawon are two different barangays which are not even adjacent to each other. In fact, as borne out by Exh. "25," it is separated by Barangay Guba. In 1974, Free Patent No. 510463 and OCT# 0-1619 was issued to Gregorio Bontuyan covering subject property, the location of which is in Barangay Sirao in consonance to his application. Gregorio Bontuyan s application for Free Patent over subject parcels of land had raised in the mind of this Court reasonable badges of bad faith on his part as the subject parcels of land were already sold by his daughter Vivencia Bontuyan and spouse Simeon Noval to Lourdes Leyson. Another badge of bad faith is raised in the mind of this Court when he (Gregorio) sold the subject parcels of land twice to his son
Naciansino Bontuyan in 1976 and 1980, respectively, wherein both Deeds of Sale 46 were notarized by different Notary Publics, (Exhs. "10" & "16"). Considering that Lourdes Leyson was in actual possession of the property, the respondents cannot, likewise, claim that they were in good faith when Gregorio Bontuyan allegedly sold the property to them on April 28, 1980.1awphi1.nét Anent the third and fourth assignments of error, we do not agree with the ruling of the CA that the petitioners failed to directly attack the validity of OCT No. 0-1619. The CA failed to consider the fact that, in their respective answers to the complaint, the petitioners inserted therein a counterclaim wherein they repleaded all the material allegations in their affirmative defenses, that Gregorio Bontuyan secured OCT No. 0-1619 through fraud and deceit and prayed for the nullification thereof. While Section 47 of Act No. 496 provides that a certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack, the rule is that an action is an attack on a title if its object is to nullify the same, and thus challenge the proceeding pursuant to which the title was decreed.l^vvphi1.net The attack is considered direct when the object of an action is to annul or set aside such proceeding, or enjoin its enforcement. On the other hand, an attack is indirect or collateral when, in an action to obtain a different relief, an attack on the proceeding is nevertheless made as an incident 47 thereof. Such action to attack a certificate of title may be an original action or a counterclaim in which a certificate of title is assailed as void. A counterclaim is considered a new suit in which the defendant is the plaintiff and the plaintiff in the complaint becomes the defendant. It stands on the same footing and is to be 48 tested by the same rules as if it were an independent action. Furthermore, since all the essential facts of the case for the determination of the title s validity are now before the Court, to require the party to institute cancellation proceedings 49 would be pointlessly circuitous and against the best interest of justice. The CA, likewise, erred in holding that the action of the petitioners to assail OCT No. 0-1619 and TCT No. 1392 and for the reconveyance of the property covered by the said title had already prescribed when they filed their answer to the complaint. Case law has it that an action for reconveyance prescribes in ten years, the point of reference being the date of registration of the deed or the date of issuance of the certificate of title over the property. In an action for reconveyance, the decree of registration is highly regarded as incontrovertible. What is sought instead is the transfer of the property or its title, which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another person s name, to its rightful or legal owner, or to one who 50 has a better right.
However, in a series of cases, this Court declared that an action for reconveyance based on fraud is imprescriptible where the plaintiff is in possession of the property subject of the acts. In Vda. de Cabrera v. Court of Appeals,51 the Court held: ... [A]n action for reconveyance of a parcel of land based on implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years, the point of reference being the date of registration of the deed or the date of the issuance of the certificate of title over the property, but this rule applies only when the plaintiff or the person enforcing the trust is not in possession of the property, since if a person claiming to be the owner thereof is in actual possession of the property, as the defendants are in the instant case, the right to seek reconveyance, which in effect seeks to quiet title to the property, does not prescribe. The reason for this is that one who is in actual possession of a piece of land claiming to be the owner thereof may wait until his possession is disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right, the reason for the rule being, that his undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right to seek the aid of a court of equity to ascertain and determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his own title, which right can be claimed only by one who is in possession. Similarly, in the case of David v. Malay,52 the same pronouncement was reiterated by the Court: ... There is settled jurisprudence that one who is in actual possession of a piece of land claiming to be owner thereof may wait until his possession is disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right, the reason for the rule being, that his undisturbed possession gives him a continuing right to seek the aid of the court of equity to ascertain and determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his own title, which right can be claimed only by one who is in possession. No better situation can be conceived at the moment for Us to apply this rule on equity than that of herein petitioners whose ... possession of the litigated property for no less than 30 years and was suddenly confronted with a claim that the land she had been occupying and cultivating all these years, was titled in the name of a third person. We hold that in such a situation the right to quiet title to the property, to seek its reconveyance and annul any certificate of title covering it, accrued only from the time the one in possession was made aware of a claim adverse to his own, and it is only then that the statutory period of prescription commences to run against such possessor.1awphi1.nét The paramount reason for this exception is based on the theory that registration proceedings could not be used as a shield for fraud.53Moreover, to hold otherwise would be to put premium on land-grabbing and transgressing the broader principle
in human relations that no person shall unjustly enrich himself at the expense of 54 another. In the present case, Lourdes Leyson and, after her death, the petitioners, had been in actual possession of the property. The petitioners were still in possession of the property when they filed their answers to the complaint which contained their counterclaims for the nullification of OCT No. 0-1619 and TCT No. 1392, and for the consequent reconveyance of the property to them. The reconveyance is just and proper in order to put a stop to the unendurable anomaly that the patentees should have a Torrens title for the land which they and their predecessors never possessed and which has been possessed by another in the concept of an owner.55 On the fifth assignment of error, we rule for the petitioners. The award of attorney s and appearance fees is better left to the sound discretion of the trial court, and if such discretion is well exercised, as in this case, it will not be disturbed 56 on appeal. With the trial and the appellate courts findings that the respondents were in bad faith, there is sufficient basis to award attorney s and appearance fees to the petitioners. Had it not been for the filing of a baseless suit by the respondents against the petitioners, the latter would not have sought the services of counsel to defend their interests and represent them in this case.1awphi1.nét IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals declaring the respondents the owners of Lot No. 17150 covered by OCT No. 0-1619 and TCT No. 1392; and setting aside the award of attorney s fees in favor of the petitioners by the Regional Trial Court are REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. The Court hereby AFFIRMS the ownership of the petitioners of Lot No. 17150. OCT No. 0-1619 and TCT No. 1392 covering the said lot are hereby nullified. The Register of Deeds is ORDERED to cancel TCT No. 1392 and to issue another title over the property in favor of the petitioners as co-owners thereof. The trial court s award of P50,000.00 for attorney s fees to the petitioners is AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. Puno, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.
HLURB Regional Officer Antonio Decatoria. No. Borbajo. At the instance of Bontuyan.: 1 Before this Court is a Rule 45 petition assailing the Decision dated 21 September 2 2001 of the Court of Appeals which reversed theDecision dated 14 September 1999 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City. (the Solons) were the registered owners of a parcel of agricultural land (Lot 10183-A). Region Office VII.910 square meters situated at Barangay Bacayan. Bontuyan proceeded to develop a subdivision which was later named Hidden View Subdivision I by its residents and 9 homeowners. married to Patricio 7 P."12 The incident prompted the homeowners of Hidden View Subdivision I to inquire with the HLURB about the validity of the registration of the subdivision road lots in the name of Borbajo. respondents. Bongo. as evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale6 dated 18 June 1991. Borbajo also decided to develop into a subdivision the other properties adjacent to Hidden View Subdivision I which she acquired. Lucy Solon. The residents and homeowners of Hidden View Subdivision I heard reports to the effect that Borbajo had purchased the entire subdivision from Bontuyan through an oral agreement. replied that under the law the owner or developer of the subdivision should have legal title or right over the road lots of the subdivision and that if the title or right is in the name of other persons it follows that there is failure to comply with the FELICITACION B. CORAZON NOMBRADO. invited Borbajo to a meeting. ELY D. Meanwhile. J. SPS. since the lots have already been registered in Borbajo s name. Cebu City as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Bontuyan sold the resulting lots to 5 different individuals. .Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. ROBERTO ALVAREZ. They also asked whether she had the necessary documents for the development of Hidden View Subdivision II and ST Ville Properties.. was submitted to the Cebu Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). covering an area of 13. vs. On 24 July 1991. with the corresponding License to Sell issued on 16 August 1994. 152440 January 31. She named this new subdivision ST Ville Properties. BORBAJO. married to Danilo S. the corresponding subdivision plan. On 29 July 1994. in their personal capacities. the three (3) road lots. 127642. DECISION TINGA. In a letter13 dated 17 March 1997. Branch 58. and GILBERT ANDRALES. 2005 Among the lots sold are the ones which later became the subject of this case. to be subdivided into 11 twenty-three (23) lots. She also secured a Certificate of Registration dated 18 August 1994 for another subdivision project called Hidden View Subdivision II from the HLURB. Borbajo confirmed her claim of ownership over the subdivision and the road lots. Later. approved the subdivision 4 plan. in his own behalf and as attorney-in-fact of the Solons and following the subdivision scheme in the plan. MARCELINA A. they obtained the titles to the lots more than a month later on 8 30 July 1991. Bontuyan (Bontuyan). Using the advance payments of his lot purchasers. she applied for and received SSA 674-5-94 issued by the Cebu City Planning and Development Department. SARCON. and Prescillana B. Helen Solon and Vicente Solon. HIDDEN VIEW HOMEOWNERS. covering the parcel of land embraced by TCT No. However. SARCON. the Hidden View Homeowners. 05005 for the ST Ville Properties project and a License to Sell the same from the HLURB. Sr. he applied for and secured from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) a License to Sell10 dated 29 July 1991. As a consequence. She also told them that they have "no right regarding the road right-ofway. On 6 June 1991. Thus. Inc. petitioner. the property was surveyed on 19 May 1991 to convert it into a subdivision. The factual antecedents are as follows: Jose C. When confronted by the homeowners about her claim that she had bought the subdivision from Bontuyan. 73709 of 3 the Register of Deeds of Cebu City. the Regional Technical Director of the DENR. Borbajo. Bongo (Bongo). showing three (3) road lots as such. she secured Certificate of Registration No.R. Georgina Solon. in Cebu. The road lots were sold to petitioner Felicitacion B. They also heard that they have no right to use the road lots. The two new subdivision projects were located at the back of Hidden View Subdivision I. Lands Management Sector. Jr. INC.
Borbajo elevated the case to this Court. Borbajo filed before the RTC of Cebu City. premises considered. and her construction workers.D. and. the present appeal is hereby GRANTED. an action for damages and injunction against Hidden View Homeowners. According to her. In fact. CEB-20796 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one is hereby rendered DISMISSING the complaint. and (c) in declaring that she is not entitled to the injunctive relief. and as borne out by her testimony before the RTC. after hearing on the merits. 957 which requires that the road lots in a subdivision development shall be in the name of the developer or owner. that judgment be rendered making the restraining order or preliminary injunction permanent and ordering the defendants to pay 16 damages.) No. Inc. They aver that Borbajo fraudulently obtained her titles to the road lots through a falsified deed of sale which was the document presented to the Office of 23 the Register of Deeds. respondents argue that the sale of the road lots made by Bontuyan in favor of Borbajo was illegal and contrary to the provisions of Presidential Decree (P. the trial court rendered its decision dated 14 September 1999. The appellate court allegedly violated prevailing jurisprudence when it held that she fraudulently secured the registration of the three (3) road lots since a certificate of title cannot be collaterally attacked except in direct proceedings instituted for that purpose. subject to the right of the defendants to regulate the passage thereof by the plaintiff and the general public. of which Borbajo is 22 neither. has filed a separate case for annulment of title against Borbajo which is now pending before Branch 9 of the RTC of Cebu City. The HLURB Officer pointed out that Hidden View Subdivision II and ST Ville Properties had not filed an application for registration and license to sell with the HLURB. Branch 58. she has a right in esse which deserves legal protection. Borbajo imputes error to the appellate court (a) in reversing the decision of the trial court which declared her to be the developer of Hidden View Subdivision I. On the other hand. Borbajo prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) directing respondents to maintain the status quo and to desist from preventing her delivery trucks and other construction vehicles. the dispositive portion of which reads: "WHEREFORE. making the injunction permanent. After trial. It denied respondents motion to dismiss on the ground that it is the HLURB which has 17 jurisdiction over the case. hence. judgment is hereby rendered enjoining the defendants to close [sic] the road lots in question. No pronouncement as to any damages and as to costs. In her petition. The trial court issued a TRO effective for seventy-two (72) hours. They also point out that the use by Borbajo of the road lots . hence. No pronouncement as to costs. The appealed Decision in Civil Case No."18 On appeal. spouses Marcelina A..15 On 28 August 1997. premises considered. Further. The counterclaim of defendants-appellants is likewise dismissed for lack of legal and factual bases.14 On 10 August 1997. Hidden View Homeowners. the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court decision. Sarcon and Ely D. and directing the plaintiff to donate the road lots in question to the government of Cebu City. Sarcon.20 Borbajo contends that the appellate court erred in reversing the finding of the RTC that she is the developer of Hidden View Subdivision I. the homeowners caused the construction of a guardhouse at the entrance of Hidden View Subdivision I and hired the services of a security guard to prevent unauthorized persons and construction vehicles from passing through their subdivision. After due hearing. The decretal portion of the appellate court s decision dated 21 September 2001 reads: WHEREFORE. (b) in finding that she had fraudulently secured the registration of the three (3) road lots.requirements of the law."19 Undaunted. Inc. it also granted Borbajo s application for a writ of preliminary injunction. from passing through the road lots. The measures adversely affected the residents of the subdivisions at the back. as well as Borbajo herself since her delivery trucks and heavy equipment used in the construction of her housing projects then on-going had been effectively prevented from passing through the road lots. Roberto Alvarez and Corazon Nombrado and Gilbert Andrales (respondents herein). she claims that she is entitled to the injunctive relief considering that she is the registered owner of these road lots in 21 question and. SO ORDERED. she was the true developer of Hidden View Subdivision I even though the License to Sell was issued in the name of Bontuyan. SO ORDERED.
Moreover. and (f) failing to award damages to the respondents. the Court of Appeals lost sight of the settled and decisive fact that Borbajo is one of the registered coowners of the road lots along with Bongo. the appellate court ruled that the fact of registration of the road lots in Borbajo s name was insufficient to defeat the right of the homeowners of the subdivision and preclude them from regulating their use and administration thereof in accordance with existing laws and 30 regulations. or diminished in a collateral . Noticeably. (c) finding that the road lots are open to the public and the only right of the residents therein is to regulate its use. (b) finding that the manner by which Borbajo acquired the road lots is irrelevant to the resolution of the issues in this case. the lower court addressed only the issue of whether 26 respondents have the right to close the road lots. and the question of damages. A Torrens title can be attacked only for fraud. The ultimate question for resolution is whether respondents may legally prevent Borbajo from using and passing through the three (3) road lots within Hidden View Subdivision I. the road lots are not the nearest point 24 between the development project of Borbajo and the provincial road. all dated 30 July 1991.for the ingress and egress of heavy equipment has continuously resulted in the rapid deterioration of the roads. without other limitations than those established by law. (d) not finding that the elements of an easement of a right-of-way are not present. this instant judicial recourse. Such attack must be direct. The evidence reveals that Borbajo and Bongo were issued TCTs. It also pointed out that fraud is manifest in the acquisition of titles thereto. The appellate court found that the injunctive writ was erroneously issued as the same was not based on an actual right sought to be protected by law. A co-owner. ordaining that road lots may be titled only in the name of the owner of the subdivision or its developer. such as Borbajo. It is a well-known doctrine that the issue as to whether title was procured by falsification or fraud can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for the purpose. (e) finding that the injunction was properly issued and the court ordered Borbajo to donate the road lots in favor of 28 the local government unit. however. as amended. Apparently. It concluded that respondents cannot legally close the road lots because these are intended for public use. The trial court allegedly erred in: (a) finding that Borbajo was the developer of Hidden View Subdivision I. fruendi. abutendi.29 Further. However. Borbajo is entitled to avail of all the attributes of ownership under the Civil Code jus utendi. and not by a collateral proceeding. disponendi et vindicandi. is entitled to use the property owned in common under Article 486 of the Civil Code. No. modified.25 The result which Borbajo seeks to achieve which is to reinstate the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court has to be granted. Borbajo submitted this point. as amended. her title thereto is tainted by the discovery of fraud she allegedly perpetrated in securing the questioned titles. enlarged. the appellate court dwelt at length on the question of whether Borbajo was the developer of the Hidden View Subdivision I as she claimed. 957. Hence. For its part. These titles were issued pursuant to the Deed of Absolute Sale dated 18 June 1991 which also mentioned the road lots as such.D. The Court of Appeals ruled that the road lots cannot be sold to any person pursuant to P. The title represented by the certificate cannot be changed. the Court of Appeals addressed the trial court s errors assigned by the respondents herein. In resolving the controversy. It opted not to resolve the question pertaining to the validity of Borbajo s acquisition of the road lots and her title thereto on the ground 27 that a Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. Respondents oppose the issuance of a preliminary injunction because notwithstanding the registration of the subject road in Borbajo s name.32 Article 428 of the New Civil Code is explicit that the owner has the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing. respondents cannot close the road lots to prevent Borbajo from using the same. As a registered co-owner of the road lots. altered. 957.D. It likewise held that Borbajo had not complied with the requisites of a compulsory easement of right-of-way and pointed out the general rule that mere convenience for the dominant estate is not what is required by law as the basis for 31 setting up a compulsory easement. No. It is worthy of note that the right of respondents to use the road lots themselves is not in dispute. Although Borbajo has claimed that she was the developer of the subdivision and that Bontuyan s name was indicated in the License to Sell. In the process. but not for the reasons which she has raised nor for the grounds which the lower court relied upon. within one year after the date of the issuance of the decree of registration. with her focus set on the provisions of P. Therefore. The fact that Borbajo was the developer of Hidden View Subdivision I was not clearly established by evidence. Finally. for the three (3) road lots situated within the Hidden View Subdivision I. they assert that they are merely exercising acts of ownership which include the right to prevent others from enjoying the thing owned by them. it is a settled rule that a Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked. such claim carried scant weight in the absence of a certificate of registration of the subdivision project issued in her name by the HLURB and other documents which prove that she was indeed the developer.
subject to the final outcome of Civil Case No. An easement can exist only when the servient and the dominant estates belong to different owners. A preliminary injunction order may be granted only when the application for the issuance of the same shows facts entitling the applicant to the relief demanded. J.. a separate case for annulment of titles over the road lots is now pending before the court. however. with Borbajo as a registered co-owner of the road lots. WHEREFORE. Branch 9. The certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible title to 34 the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. is entitled to the injunctive relief. it is utterly pointless to discuss whether she is entitled to the easement of right of way. Branch 58. Verily. Austria-Martinez.proceeding.. One of the characteristics of an easement is that it can be imposed only on the property of another. There are serious allegations that the issuance of the TCTs over the road lots was tainted with fraud as evidenced by alterations made on the face of the certificates and discrepancies in the records of the contract of absolute sale filed before the Office 35 of the Register of Deeds and the Notarial Division of the RTC of Cebu City. Likewise. Puno. Sr.39 A preliminary injunction is not proper when its purpose is to take the property out of the possession or control of one party and transfer the same to the hands of another who did not have such control at the inception of the case and whose legal title has not clearly been 40 established. and (b) the act against which injunction is 38 to be directed as a violation of such right. the dominant estate cannot be the servient estate at the same time. the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 21 September 2001 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. Borbajo remains registered a co-owner and therefore her right to use the road lots subsists. SO ORDERED. JJ. never on one s own property. we are bound by the value in law and the evidentiary weight of the titles in the name of Borbajo. Callejo. Respondents in their Answer neither claimed nor asked for the right to regulate the use of the road lots or that the road lots be donated to the Cebu City Government. As long as the titles are not annulled. In the meantime. we are not foreclosing any future determination by appropriate forum on the legality of Borbajo s titles over the road lots. her right to the road lots ceases as well as her right-of-way by virtue of said titles. 33 One final note. However. Both 36 from the text of Article 649 of the Civil Code and the perspective of elementary common sense. 41 . (Chairman). being a registered co-owner of the three (3) road lots.. concur.37 Borbajo. If the court finds that the titles of Borbajo were obtained fraudulently. is made permanent. The requisites to justify an injunctive relief are: (a) the existence of a right in esse or the existence of a right to be protected. No costs. 21239 pending before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. on official leave. and Chico-Nazario. there was utterly no basis for the trial court to include as it did its disposition along these lines in the decretal portion of its decision. in upholding the efficiency value of the disputed titles for purposes of the present petition. Thus.
V-1113 and Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 1989.  ERNESTO T. The Director of Lands objected to Buto s application on the ground that the . TCT No. long before the end of the Spanish regime. represented by JAYNOL TAMA TAN BUTO. 149609 Present: at Barrio Makar. AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. G. LUY. J. TChairperson.THIRD DIVISION HEIRS OF TAMA TAN BUTO.983) square meters. 34648. T-35185 presently in the name of Ernesto T. its .versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO. located The Director of Lands and Leyva opposed the application for registration by Buto. SP No. This case involves the ownership of a parcel of land with an area of seven thousand nine hundred eighty-three (7. On April 13..R.558) square __________________ meters. 62961. covering an area of fifty-four thousand five hundred fifty-eight (54. Promulgated: Respondent.: This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision dated April 30. General Santos City. 2001 and the Resolution dated August 17. 1954. CHICO-NAZARIO. Leyva. before the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Cotabato. 34648 was cancelled and TCT No. 486. then registered owner under TCT No. Luy (Luy). in Land Registration Case No. V-160 in the name of Eligio T. Petitioners.On account of the sale. N-62. Leyva (Leyva). T-35185 was issued to Luy on April 19. T3-50 of The Facts the Makar Townsite covered by Sales Patent No. JJ. Luy purchased the land from Eligio T.R. J. Buto claims that he inherited the land from his late father Datu Buto Tumagon who was in possession thereof continuously. publicly and exclusively in the concept of an owner. Datu Tama Tan Buto (Buto) applied for the registration of the lot under plan SA-V-5244-D in accordance with Section 122 of DECISION Act No. The land subject of Buto s application is identical to Lot 3 of the approved Plan No. The land originally formed part of the property described in plan SA-V-5244-D x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x NACHURA. No. On August 11. 1989. 2001 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. and NACHURA.
the registration and adjudication of the aforementioned parcel of land. the Land Registration Court has no jurisdiction over the same. which is to file a petition for review within one (1) year from the issuance of a decree of registration obtained by fraud.  The 1968 Decision of the appellate court further ruled that Buto failed to pursue the remedies available to him as a person aggrieved by registration of a land under Act No. 30813-R. consequently. 55 years old. The appellate court ruled that the trial court. instituted an application for The decision of the trial court was appealed by Leyva to the CA docketed as CA-G.  datedMarch 15. 1968 and was accordingly entered in the book of judgments. Buto s participation in the auction sale is tantamount to his admission that the land belonged to the public domain. opposed the application because he was the registered owner of the land. 65) was issued in favor of the oppositor Leyva. or to institute an ordinary action for the cancellation and/or reconveyance of title. V-160 issued by the Register of Deeds of Cotabato. sitting as a land registration court. Philippines. Sales Patent No. 1968. covering the land in question was finally granted to the oppositor Leyva on October 9. In a Decision  registration of land previously registered. the applicant and the oppositor Leyva participated.subject property forms part of the public domain. has limited jurisdiction. Leyva. Having taken that position. the CA reversed the decision of the CFI and dismissed the application for registration of Buto. Accordingly. The Register of Deeds of the Province of Cotabato is hereby directed to cancel Original Certificate of Title No. Buto. Hence. the land was scheduled to be sold at public auction. the CFI issued a Decision granting the application for registration of the land in the name of Buto due to the finding of fraud in the procurement of the sales patent by Leyva. From this award applicant appealed but his appeal was dismissed. V-160 (Exh. After the requisite investigation conducted by the representatives of the Bureau of Lands of his Sales Application. V-1113. and the requirements of the law complied with. V-160. It has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the application filed by Buto since the land was already registered in the name of Leyva under OCT No. with all improvements existing thereon. Oppositor was declared the highest bidder and. resident of Kindap. SO ORDERED. 1954 (Exh. At the said auction sale. is hereby decreed in favor of TAMA TAN BUTO. Kiamba. as evidenced by OCT No. V-160 in the name of Eligio T. Leyva. Furthermore. Buto is estopped from taking a stand contrary to it. the property was awarded to him (Leyva) by the Director of Lands.  The CA decision dated March 15. Cotabato. Original Certificate of Title No.R.  The pertinent findings of fact by the CA in the 1968 decision are herein quoted: . 1968 became final and executory on April 6. 496. No. for his part. On February 27. married to Ulana Baliwan. 65) and by virtue of the Sales Patent. The dispositive portion of the trial court s decision reads: PREMISES CONSIDERED. instead of filing the appropriate remedy provided for by law. 1961.
1961 decision of the trial court. a Resolution  was issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 1999. N-62. 62961. the trial court   On May 12. and the Director of Lands. and successors-ininterests. respondent judge did not have any On December 14. Luy alleged the lack of jurisdiction of the judge who issued the same citing the decision of the CA dated March 15. The WHEREFORE. the heirs of Buto inquired with the CA if an appeal was made on the decision of the trial court dated February 27. N-62. The dispositive portion of the Resolution reads: WHEREFORE. 1968. the Court hereby orders the cancellation of the remaining titles of Eligio Leyva and all derivative titles of certain persons/entities listed above from the fraudulent title of Eligio Leyva. General Santos City. Collaterally. 2000. and the Sheriff is directed to place the Heirs of TAN BUTO in actual possession of the land. entitled Heirs of Tama Tan Buto.R. the decision of the registration court was the subject of an earlier reversal via the decision of this court promulgated on March 15. docketed as CA-G. 2000. The Register of Deeds of General Santos [City] is directed to cancel the titles listed in this resolution and in lieu thereof. his heirs. let a writ of execution be issued against private respondents. represented byJaynol Tama v.  of title and directed the issuance of a writ placing the heirs of Buto in possession of the subject land. issued an Order reads:  granting the writ of execution. is obviously without legal basis. let a writ of possession be issued in favor of petitioner and his heirs against all occupants of the lands. 2001. in Registration Case No.In 1999. PREMISES CONSIDERED. 12 Judicial Region of Cotabato City entitled APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF LAND/TAMA TAN BUTO. 2000. SO ORDERED.  On September 10. SO ORDERED. which ordered the cancellation of petitioner s certificate of title and issuance of a writ to place private respondents in possession of the premises. LRC th Record No. ordering the cancellation of Luy s certificate . Branch 22. No. Put a little differently. as repeatedly stated. Luy filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition. and assigns. Leyva. 1961. was not received on appeal by this Court as per verification from our records of appealed civil case. 1968 in CA-G. SP No. 2000. 8541 of the Regional Trial Court (CFI). he/she should issue titles in the name of the Heirs of TAMA TAN BUTO. 30813-R.R.  pertinent portions of the decision read: Considering that. the heirs of Buto filed a Motion for Execution of the February 27. represented by Emmanuel Leyva & Conception Leyva Cornelio. the Chief of the Judicial Records Division of the CA issued a Certification to this effect: This is to certify that Land Reg. In view of the above-cited certification. the CA decided the case  granting the petition of Luy. Heirs of Eligio T. the resolution of [the] respondent judge issued on December 14. Case No. seeking to annul the RTC Resolution dated December 14. The dispositive portion of the Order On April 30.
and writ of demolition which may have been subsequently issued. the same was denied in a Resolution recourse. T-35185 of petitioner and from issuing. WHEREFORE. and of cause of action. identity of parties. 2001. It may be stated in this connection that a sales patent issued in accordance with the Public Land Act and registered in conformity with the provisions of the Land Registration Act (Act No. 204 SCRA 524 ). Sambillon. 2001. 107 Phil. A certificate of title cannot be the subject of collateral attack (Trinidad v. blockading or barring people or any kind of motor vehicle from entering or leaving the same. The heirs of Buto can no longer question the decision of the CA dated March 15. are hereby SET ASIDE. and (d) there must be. Hence. The Ruling of the Court We rule in the affirmative. However. The Issue The present petition assails the Decision dated April 30. 62961. 198 ). the petition is GRANTED. there is a concurrence of all these requisites. The requisites of res judicata are: (a) The former judgment must be final. SP No. and disturbing the business activities of petitioner therein. 2001 of the CA in CA-G. 2000 and [the] writ of possession dated January 9. (b) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. are hereby ENJOINED from entering petitioner s property. A motion for reconsideration was timely filed by the heirs of Buto. The judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction operates as res judicata and bars subsequent cases filed by the same parties and their successors-in-interest. Respondent Sheriff and respondent heirs of Tama Tan Buto. (c) it must be a judgment on the merits. The resolution of respondent judge dated December 14. 496) becomes irrevocable and enjoys the same privileges as Torrens title issued thereunder (Samonte v.  The sole issue in this case is whether or not the heirs of Buto are barred by res judicata. Intermediate Appellate Court. Respondent Register of Deeds is enjoined from canceling TCT No. a transfer certificate of title to the heirs of Tama Tan Buto. involving the same subject matter and cause of action. Costs against private respondents. in lieu thereof.  between the first and the second actions.jurisdiction to issue the same as in fact the whole registration proceedings have effectively been voided and set aside. SO ORDERED. of subject matter. 1968 which has long become final and executory. While the . this In this case.  datedAugust 17. 2001 and the Resolution dated August 17.R. and all persons acting for and in their behalf.
As previously stated.983 square meters in TCT No. V-160. As all the requisites of res judicata are present in this case. V-160 in the name of Leyva. the heirs of Buto There is also no denying the identity of the parties in this petition and in the previous case decided with finality by the CA in CA-G. is the legal substitute of Leyva.  The requirement of identity of cause of action is met in the present petition. can no longer question the March 15. V-160 filed by the heirs of Buto in RTC. No. the trial court cancelled OCT No. are barred by this principle. 1968 in CA-G. what is ultimately challenged in the present case is the decision of the CA dated March 15. 1961. T34648 in the name of Leyva was cancelled. the parcel of land consisting of 7. On appeal. and the subsequent grant of said motions by the trial court are without force and effect for being inconsistent with the rules of procedure established by this Court. litigating for the same thing. By virtue of a valid contract of sale between Leyva and Luy. 1968 is an offshoot of the decision of the CFI in LRC Case No. No. Although the name of Luy does not appear in LRC No. General Santos City. N-62 dated February 27. was part of the 54. It is clear that the trial court no longer had jurisdiction to act on these motions of the heirs of Buto because the decision of the CA regarding the parcel of land in question is already final. and in the same capacity.558 square meters of land covered by OCT No. V-160 in the name of Leyva. As previously pronounced by this Court. and had transfer certificates of title covering the subdivided lots issued in his name. and adjudicated the land to Buto. Due to Buto s participation in the said auction sale. T-35185 was issued to Luy. T-35185. writ of possession. there is identity of parties not only where the parties are identical. The CA pronounced that the finding of fraud by the trial court in the procurement of registration of the subject parcel of land was unfounded. T-35185 in the name of Luy. The motions for the issuance of writ of execution. As mentioned above. Leyva subdivided the land in OCT No. but also when the parties are in privity with them such as between their .R.R. N-62 and in CA-G. The appellate court ruled that the participation of Buto in the auction sale conducted by the Bureau of Lands is acquiescence by him that the land belonged to the public domain. Branch 22. V-1113 which was the basis for the issuance of OCT No. successors-in-interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action. TCT No. 30813-R which already attained finality on April 6. under the same title.aforesaid decision and resolution are not yet final. 30813-R.  The heirs of Buto are invoking the same ground of fraud to nullify Sales Patent No. Based on a finding of fraud. V-160 in the name of Leyva. and cancellation of derivative titles from OCT No. and thereafter. 1968. TCT No. 1968 Decision of the CA. as successor-in-interest and as the new owner of the land covered by TCT No. Luy. he was placed in estoppel and may no longer insist on his claim of ownership over the land.R. the CA Decision dated April 6. No. A final judgment or there is still identity of parties. 30813-R. the CA reversed the decision of the trial court.
Olivia. Any question as to the soundness or validity of a decision of any court of this land which has already attained finality may no longer be reviewed by this Court. They also claim that the notices from the court regarding the filing of briefs were not sent to them. Once a certificate of title is issued under the Land Registration Act in lieu of a sales patent. the certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears thereon. is conclusive between the same parties and their successors-in-interest litigating on the same issue. This is so. The heirs of Buto argue that due process was not accorded to them in CA-G. Any question with regard to the findings of the appellate court should have been timely brought on appeal or other appropriate remedy provided for by law. a homestead patent once registered under the Land Registration Act. 30813-R. The court has no power in a subsequent proceeding (not based on fraud and within the statutory period) to adjudicate the same title in favor of another person. the land is considered registered under the Torrens system and the title of the patentee become indefeasible. the registration of the property in the name of Another reason why we can no longer entertain the present petition is because after the expiration of one (1) year from the issuance of the decree of registration. They are merely conjectures unsupported by evidence. The attack on its validity on the ground of fraud was reversed by the CA in theMarch 15. it was enunciated that: All these allegations of the heirs of Buto cannot be sustained.  InDuran v. the title to the land thus determined is already a res judicata binding on the whole world. can not be the subject matter of a cadastral proceeding. The same may be said of a sales patent.order on the merits by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the parties. 1953. attained the status of indefeasibility one year after its issuance. From the finality of said decision. Furthermore.R. because when once decreed by a court of competent jurisdiction. The findings of facts of the CA are deemed conclusive upon this Court. They claim that they were unaware of the CA decision. any other attack on the certificate of title issued to Leyva must fail. title that was issued to Leyva on November 27. The primary and fundamental purpose of the Torrens System of registration is to finally settle the titles to land and put to stop any question of legality of title thereto. Pursuant to this purpose. They further assert that the decision is of doubtful validity since the justices who promulgated the same appear to have used the same pen in signing their names in the decision. That being the purpose of the law. and any title issued thereon is null and void. the proceeding being in rem. there would be no end to litigation if every property covered by torrens title may still be relitigated in a subsequent land registration proceedings. xxxx A Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction to decree again the registration of land already decreed in an earlier land registration case and a second decree for the same land is null and void. The certificate of . No. 1968 decision.
106 Phil. It would undermine the faith and confidence of the people in the efficacy of the registration law. The City of Tagaytay. the latter applicant is chargeable with notice that the land he applied for is already covered by a title so that he has no right whatsoever to apply for it. SO ORDERED.. Gaz..the first registered owner in the Registration Book is a standing notice to the world that said property is already registered in his name. the Petition is hereby DENIED.. et al. Cost against petitioners. v. 60  Off. Hence.. NACHURA Associate Justice . premises considered. ANTONIO EDUARDO B. 820. 512. (Rojas. To declare the later title valid would defeat the very purpose of the Torrens system which is to quiet title to the property and guarantee its indefeasibility.) WHEREFORE. et al.
On April 29. 1988 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City. now Gregorio Araneta University Foundation (GAUF) sought to intervene in Civil Case No. AND THE REMINGTON REALTY DEVELOPMENT. directed the cancellation of GAUF s Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. the lower court in Civil Case No. 1961 was declared null and void for being a forgery.R. with an area of 871.982 square meters and covered by TCT No. 1986: GREGORIO ARANETA UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION. Respondents. 35487. 1961 was submitted in Civil Case No. 2009 In view of the failure of the Government and its instrumentality." a compromise agreement dated November 28. was expropriated by the Republic of the Philippines.. C-24153 and the issuance in lieu thereof of new titles in the name of the respondent Heirs of Gregorio Bajamonde over Lots 54 and 75 of the Gonzales Estate. Thus. C-760) which was duly approved by the court. 131. Branch 120. 2 23872 and its Resolution of August 16. vs. INC.: In this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. the compromise agreement entered into by and between Araneta University and the tenants on November 28.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF KALOOKAN CITY. a complaint in Civil Case No. had been awarded to Gregorio Bajamonde. in Civil Cases Nos. C-760 issued the order dated August 29. On the basis of this "Kasunduan. 139672 March 4. C-24153 for Lots 75 and 54 which as adverted to above. herein petitioner Gregorio Araneta University Foundation (GAUF) assails and seeks to set aside the 1 Decision dated March 31. However.376 square meters. on motion by the heirs of Gregorio Bajamonde. xxx. 1986 and the Order4 dated December 23. 1999. 6376 (Civil Case No. On appeal to the Court of Appeals in CA-G. both of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. the then Araneta Institute of Agriculture. the occupants and tenants of the estate filed on October 20. with the understanding that the Government would resell the property to its occupants. denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. xxx xxx xxx Incidentally. 1999 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. J. it appears that on the basis of the "Kasunduan" and the forged compromise. 17347 and 17364. C-760) on the ground that 52 tenants of the property and Araneta Institute of Agriculture entered into an agreement or "Kasunduan" whereby the former conveyed to the latter their priority rights to purchase portion of the estate with an area of 507. the Gonzales or Maysilo estate in Malabon. Araneta University was able to register in its name with the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City Transfer Certificate of Title No. 6376 (now Civil Case No. and the partial decision rendered in accordance therewith was likewise declared null and void and of no force and effect. 45330-R the appellate court sustained the nullity of the "Kasunduan" and the compromise agreement in accordance thereto. No. 6376 (Civil Case No. No. 1954. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. 1961. in Civil Case No. C-760) with the then Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasig Branch) to compel PHHC to sell to the tenants their respective occupied portions of the Gonzales estate. REGISTER OF DEEDS OF KALOOKAN CITY.R. 1960. 3 . BRANCH 120.R. L-4918. among others. Included in this compromise agreement are Lots 75 and 54 awarded to Gregorio Bajamonde. No. 131 and affirmed by the Supreme Court on May 14. in G.R. Rizal. 1950 by the then Court of First Instance of Rizal in Civil Case No. then Rural Progress Administration and later the People s Homesite and Housing Corporation (PHHC). SP No. Petitioner. HEIRS OF GREGORIO BAJAMONDE AND SATURNINA MENDOZA. The assailed decision upheld the Joint Order dated August 29. to implement the decision in Civil Case No. C-760 which. The factual antecedents as found by the CA are quoted hereunder: By virtue of a decision rendered on March 29. NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY.
7 otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree.R. (2) Ordering the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City to cancel TCT No.. the said "Kasunduan" or compromise agreement was declared null and void for being a forgery. GAUF essentially alleged that the twin orders in question were issued by the trial court without jurisdiction as the same constituted a collateral attack on its certificate of title (TCT No. 174671 for lot 54 were issued by the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City on December 27. 1989. or any portions thereof. C-24153 for Lots 75 and 54 in the name of Araneta University was cancelled and TCT No. C-760). the appellate court denied the petition for annulment. TCT No. and their agents or representatives from squatting. Gavino Miguel. respondent Judge Arturo Romero issued in Civil Case No. et al. 1990.685 square meters to the herein other respondent." With its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the CA in its resolution of August 16. And then on May 27. CA-G. 6376 (now Civil Case No. 1986. 23872. In its petition. 17347 and 17364. C-760) an order for the execution of the aforesaid joint order dated August 29. No. A petition for review filed with the Supreme Court. In explanation of the denial. Inc. On June 29. 1988 the lower court issued the order for issuance of a writ of execution for the enforcement of the joint order dated August 29. It clearly appears that the basis of respondent judge in issuing the questioned order is the declared nullity of the "Kasunduan."petitioner GAUF was able to register in its name with the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City TCT No. it is also in the same case and court where the cancellation should be sought as a result of the nullity of the "Kasunduan. 17347 and 17364 rendered by the then Court of First Instance of Rizal and affirmed likewise by this Court in CA-G. the CA ruled as follows: It may not be remiss to state that by virtue of the "Kasunduan" which was submitted in Civil Case No. Graciano Napbua. However. docketed as G. staying and taking possession of Lots 75 and 54. including all the improvements and structures existing thereon. 17347 and 17634. 14839. Meanwhile. on December 23. Accordingly. 1973. 1991.R. 45330-R in a decision promulgated on February 7. Such ruling was appealed to the Court of Appeals.(1) Declaring that any transfer or conveyance of Lots 75 and 54 or any purpose thereof from Gregorio Bajamonde to Araneta Institute of Agriculture or Gregorio Araneta University Foundation. 6376 (now Civil Case No. 1529). C-24153 for Lots 54 and 75 which had been awarded to Gregorio Bajamonde. the heirs of Bajamonde sold a portion of lot 54 consisting of 7. 1999. 1988). (in compliance with the joint order dated December 23. 1988 to the rightful owner thereof. or their assignee or successors-in-interest as rescinded. assailed the said order via a petition for certiorari. SP No. No. it was in the same case where. (3) Ordering the Clerk of Court to issue writ of possession in favor of Gregorio Bajamonde or heirs. No. 174672 for lot 75 and TCT No. Angel Cabrera and nine other persons. Gregorio Bajamonde. Eventually. C24153 issued in the name of Gregorio Araneta University Foundation and to issue a new Transfer Certificate of Title over lots 75 and 54 in the name of Gregorio Bajamonde or heirs. 1989. petitioner GAUF is now before this Court via the instant recourse submitting for our consideration the following arguments: . 1988. Sergio Yeban. C-24153 for Lots 75 and 54 which had been awarded to Gregorio Bajamonde.D. docketed as CA-G. Correspondingly.R. GAUF was able to register in its name with the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City TCT No. which was however dismissed for lack of merit in a decision promulgated by this Court on June 29. 6376 (now Civil Case No. 1529 (P. 1986 and the Order dated December 23. Inc. 45330-R which affirmed the decision rendered in Civil Cases Nos. GAUF filed with the CA a petition for annulment6 of the aforementioned Joint Order dated August 29. In the herein challenged decision dated March 31. and to restore said lots 75 and 54 to the real owners.5 On January 14. occupying. C-24153) in violation of Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. C-760) where the nullified "Kasunduan" was submitted by the petitioner and the private respondents herein. with a restraining order against Nonong Ridad. 1988. 1986. docketed as CA-G. xxx. Remington Realty Development. SP No.R. GAUF Personnel Homeowners Association.R. the finality of the orders impugned in the present petition cannot be therefore disturbed without impugning likewise the finality of the orders rendered in Civil Cases Nos. by virtue of the said "Kasunduan." It was in Civil Case No. 1999. in Civil Cases Nos. Gregorio Bajamonde and/or heirs. injunction and restraining order in this Court. 89969 was likewise denied with finality on February 19.
2. C- . Well-settled is the rule that the indefeasibility of a title does not attach to titles secured by fraud and misrepresentation. petitioner s arguments center on the question of whether or not the trial court has jurisdiction to issue the Joint Order dated August 29. 17347 and 17364 and likewise effectively invalidated in CA-G. 3. nonetheless the case cannot constitute a collateral attack on the petitioner's title which. 1961. GAUF voluntarily submitted in Civil Case No. Here. COURT OF APPEALS. NO. it is indirect or collateral when.13 In view of these circumstances. petitioner argues that the trial court is bereft of jurisdiction to issue the disputed orders. became the basis of the Compromise Agreement and the Partial Decision dated December 23.R. 4. however. C-24153 WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 48 OF P. 1961. as in the present case. 1986 OF THE HEIRS OF GREGORIO BAJAMONDE. C-760. a suit for specific performance and damages and not a direct proceeding for the cancellation of its title. in turn. NO. 1961. On this premise. a course of action prohibited by Section 48 of P. The rule that a title issued under the Torrens System is presumed valid and. and thus challenge the judgment pursuant to which the title was decreed. 45330-R DO NOT BAR THE PETITION TO ANNUL JUDGMENT. No. C10 760 and the writ of execution issued in connection therewith. 184 SCRA 531]. C-760 had jurisdiction to annul petitioner s title. OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE PROPERTY REGISTRATION DECREE. On the other hand. 1988 Order. An action or proceeding is deemed an attack on a title when the object of the action is to nullify the title. "A VOID JUDGMENT MAY BE ASSAILED OR IMPUGNED AT ANY TIME" [ZAIDE. is the best proof of ownership does not apply where the very 12 certificate itself is faulty as to its purported origin. 1986 AND MANIFESTATION AND MOTION DATED JULY 1.R. C-760 was originally an action for specific performance and damages. while it may be true that Civil Case No. notwithstanding the original denomination of the said action as one for specific performance and damages. hence. to begin with. 24153 constituted a collateral attack on its title. 1986 and December 23. With the reality that the presumption of authenticity and regularity enjoyed by the petitioner s title has been overcome and overturned by the aforementioned decisions nullifying the aforesaid Compromise Agreement from whence the petitioner's title sprung. It bears stressing that the source of GAUF's title was the Compromise Agreement purportedly executed by Gregorio Bajamonde. It is undeniable that petitioner s TCT No. We agree with the CA that the trial court in Civil Case No. C-760 the purported "Kasunduan" which. was irregularly and illegally issued. THE SUPPOSED RULINGS IN CIVIL CASE NOS. an attack 9 on the judgment is nevertheless made as an incident thereof. AS WELL AS THE RULING IN CA-G. 1986 AND THE DECEMBER 23.8 Fundamentally. it was petitioner GAUF no less which sought to intervene in Civil Case No. 1988 ORDER OF THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT ARE NULL AND VOID AB INITIO FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION BECAUSE IT (SIC) AMENDED THE ALREADY FINAL AND EXECUTORY ORDER OF JULY 19. that title can never be indefeasible as its issuance was replete with badges of fraud and irregularities that rendered the same nugatory. JR. 17347 AND 17364. 1529 because said orders were issued in connection with Civil Case No. THE RULING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS THAT THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE PETITION TO ANNUL JUDGMENT ARE ALLEGEDLY BARRED BY THE RULE OF RES JUDICATA IS CONTRARY TO LAW.1. VS. 45330-R. were declared null and void in Civil Cases Nos. C-760 in its Partial Decision dated December 23. or enjoin its enforcement. the subject property was conveyed to it in compliance with and in satisfaction of the said Partial Decision in Civil Case No. It is the petitioner s thesis that the orders in question directing the cancellation of its TCT No. THE SAID PROCEEDINGS CONSTITUTE A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON PETITIONER'S TCT NO. in an action or proceeding to obtain a different relief. it was as if no title at all was ever issued in this case to the petitioner and therefore this is hardly the occasion to talk of collateral attack against a title. This Compromise Agreement was approved by the trial court in Civil Case No. et al. The attack is direct when the object of the action is to annul or set aside such judgment. 1978 DISMISSING AND GRANTING THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE COMPLAINT IN CIVIL CASE NO. We find the present petition unmeritorious. C-474 OF THE THEN CFI OF RIZAL FILED BY THE DECEASED GREGORIO BAJAMONDE. C-24153 IN THE HEARING OF THE OMNIBUS MOTION DATED MAY 12. THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO CANCEL PETITIONER GAUF'S TCT NO. C-760 and claimed that it has rights or interests in the subject matter being litigated therein. THE JOINT ORDER OF AUGUST 29. 1529. 11 No. As petitioner s own evidence shows. which directed the cancellation of the petitioner's title over Lots 54 and 75 of the former Gonzales /Maysilo Estate and ordered the issuance of new titles over the same lots in the name of the Heirs of Gregorio Bajamonde. The same Compromise Agreement and Partial Decision. D.D. It must be emphasized that. on November 28.
therefore. petitioner cannot anymore question the final and executory order. C-760. the tenants. petitioner s challenge with respect to the jurisdictional competence of the trial court to order the cancellation of its certificate of title in Civil Case No. xxx xxx xxx On the part of the Intervenor. an adverse judgment has already been rendered against it. when that same Compromise Agreement and the Partial Decision in connection therewith were eventually nullified. 1961 and the subsequent Amicable Settlement dated July 13. it was unnecessary to institute a separate action to nullify petitioner s title. to wit: (a) that the judgment sought to be annulled is void for want of . 1986 and Order dated December 23. we find no reason to disturb the trial court s finding that: Even on the assumptions that the void "Compromise Agreement" dated November 28. in a petition for annulment with the CA. as here. respectively. its ruling upon all questions involved are mere errors of judgment 15 reviewable by appeal. issues may be raised before this Court unless exceptional circumstances exist to warrant a review of the facts. precluded from raising this argument for the first time on appeal. Quite the contrary. Hence. Petitioner is.14 Clearly then. Any error in the judgment of the trial court should have been raised by petitioner through appeal by way of a petition for review with the CA. In any event. the trial court having acquired jurisdiction not only over the subject matter of the case but also over the parties thereto. that court was unquestionably exercising its jurisdiction to hear and resolve those incidents pursuant to the appellate court s directive. it was likewise petitioner itself and/or its privies or assignees which instituted numerous petitions relative to the validity/enforceability of the Compromise Agreement and the Partial Decision and the validity of petitioner s certificate of title. However. this Court is inclined to believe that the instant petition was a last-ditch effort on the part of petitioner GAUF to secure a reversal of the final and executory orders of the trial court in Civil Case No. the validity of petitioner s title was an issue litigated in Civil Case No. C-760. including motions assailing the Compromise Agreement and the Partial Decision upon which petitioner s title was based. We cannot agree with petitioner s opinion on this point. GAUF concede the various decisions which have declared the Compromise Agreement and the Partial Decision void but argues that the annulment of the Compromise Agreement will not affect the validity of petitioner s TCT No. as petitioner did in this case. 1961.24153 was issued in enforcement or execution of a partial decision in Civil Case No. when the trial court granted respondent heirs Omnibus Motion and Motion to Vest Title in its assailed Joint Order of August 29. C-760 on account of the presentation therein of the Compromise Agreement which. C-474 and the authenticity of the amicable settlement attached to the present petition are factual issues improperly and belatedly raised in this appeal. As it were.zw+ Interestingly. Case law teaches that if the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and the person of the parties. C-474 was not raised therein as a ground for the annulment of the Joint Order dated August 29. 1978 against the tenant Gregorio Bajamonde or heir over Lots 75 and 54 of the Gonzales Estate because it was not judicially approved by this Court nor by other competent courts and that it was also regarded as rescinded by the heirs of Gregorio Bajamonde. 1986 and December 23. it is rather too late in the day for the petitioner to now turn its back and disclaim that jurisdiction. in its present petition for review. In fact. It is elementary that in a petition for review under Rule 45 only legal. C-760. Rule 47 of the 18 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure permits annulment of judgment only on two (2) grounds. the trial court acted very much within its jurisdiction in ordering the cancellation of petitioner's title in the same Civil Case No.16 A perusal of the GAUF s petition filed with the CA would also show that the alleged valid amicable settlement of Civil Case No.17 In light of the foregoing. Having voluntarily submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the trial court through the process of intervention. the purported withdrawal of Civil Case No. to stress.1avvphi1. C474 which was an action for annulment of the Compromise Agreement dated November 28. 1978 between the intervenor and Gregorio Bajamonde or heirs were both valid. more so where. With the above. Having failed to file such an appeal. 1988 Order. C-24153 on the ground that GAUF s title was allegedly not issued by virtue of the Compromise Agreement but rather the purported withdrawal by Gregorio Bajamonde of his complaint in Civil Case No. All in all. Lest it be forgotten. it cannot insist on the enforcement of the terms and conditions of the Amicable Settlement dated July 13. not factual. C-760 must simply collapse. have all the rights (sic) to regard as rescinded the said two (2) agreements by reason of the consistent refusals or failures of the intervenor to fully comply with or to abide with its obligations or commitments to the affected tenants. and as correctly pointed out by the CA in the decision under review. in one of those petitions. 1988. was the springboard of petitioner s title. C-760. The fact still remains that the ultimate source of petitioner s right to Lots 54 and 75 is the voided Compromise Agreement. particularly Gregorio Bajamonde or heirs. the appellate court ordered the trial court to hear and pass upon all unresolved incidents in Civil Case No.
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO Associate Justice . 89969.R. neither of which obtain herein. not to mention the confusion such course of action would entail in the speedy administration of justice simply dictates the rejection of petitioner s legal maneuverings to avoid the consequences of adverse decisions and orders that have long become final and executory. No.R. For this Court now to annul the Joint Order is for it to vacate its Resolution in G. its privies. SP No. IN VIEW WHEREOF. or (b) that it has been obtained by fraud. which Order was upheld by the CA in CA-G. SP No. 89969. No. In closing. SO ORDERED.R. TERESITA J. 1999 of the Court of Appeals and its resolution dated August 16. assignees and/or successors in interest are bound by these final and executory decisions and orders. Costs against the petitioner. 1999 in CA-G.R. let it be mentioned that a writ of execution for the enforcement of the assailed August 29. 23872 are hereby AFFIRMED. The policy of judicial stability.jurisdiction or lack of due process of law. 1988. 1986 Joint Order had already been issued by the trial court in its Order of May 27. 19 20 14839 and ultimately by this Court no less in G. the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed decision dated March 31. Petitioner.
RODOLFO M.   2.R. the herein petitioner Renato S. as follows: x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x At the core of this case is a parcel of land with an area of 300 square meters.THIRD DIVISION DECISION RENATO S. Respondents. reversing and setting aside an earlier decision of the Regional Trial Court at Makati City dismissing respondents complaint per quieting of title. more or less. denying petitioner s motion for reconsideration. .R. thereat commenced by them against. among others. QUINIO.. as found by the trial court and as adopted by the July 15. CARPIO MORALES. CV No. and Resolution dated 28 April 1998. certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to nullify and set aside the following issuances of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.versus CORONA. Chairman SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. JJ. located at San Antonio Valley I. may briefly be stated. SANCHEZ. 2005 Court of Appeals. Decision dated 27 January 1998. No. and GARCIA. 133545 GARCIA. J. 51764. Promulgated: The material facts. Sanchez. G. Petitioner.. QUINIO and ISMAEL M. Parañaque City and originally . to wit: 1.: Present: Under consideration is this appeal by way of a petition for review on PANGANIBAN. J. etc.
72406. 94-1736. who happened to own the lot adjacent to the parcel sought to be acquired. 70372 of the Registry of Paranaque. purchase. petitioner. . 391688 of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal. Abel. when later apprised that their property was the subject of several transactions and that a building was being constructed thereon pursuant to a building permit issued to Renato S. resulting in the issuance in the latter s name of TCT No. Abel. Abel s TCT No. District IV (Makati) issued on 13 July 1979 TCT No. was raffled to Branch 147 of the court. as may be expected. S-89991 in herein respondents name. which complaint. before proceeding with the purchase. This sale was registered with the spouses Romeo Abel and Ma. 72406 did petitioner conclude the Quinios ). married to Ma. on 17 May 1994. executing for this purpose a deed of absolute sale in the latter s favor. repaired to the Registry of Deeds of Paranaque to look into the authenticity of TCT No. docketed as Civil Case No. Sanchez. Santiago (Santiago. the Quinios instituted on 12 May 1994 before the Regional Trial Court at Makati City a complaint for quieting of title and cancellation of titles against Sanchez and the In turn. one Renato Sanding. Romeo Abel sold the subject parcel of land to herein petitioner Renato Sanchez on 16 November 1993. Quinio(collectively the Registry of Deeds of Paranaque. Renato Sanding subsequently sold the property to Romeo Abel. Nora S. Nora Abel. hereinafter) under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Quinio and Ismael M. was issued TCT No. and. Only upon being assured of the authenticity of Romeo S.owned by and registered in the name of one Celia P. 81125 was issued in the name of petitioner. the Registry of Deeds of Metro Manila. Santiago sold the disputed parcel to herein respondents Rodolfo M. On 12 July 1979. It appears that. 72406 which was then in the hands of Romeo S. Following the registration of the conveying deed of absolute sale. by virtue of a deed of absolute sale covering the same parcel of land purportedly executed in his favor on 22 February 1993 by Santiago. A little over thirteen (13) years later. TCT No. Disturbed.
the Quinios went on appeal to the Court of Appeals whereat their recourse was docketed as CA-G. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 1993 in favor of Spouses Romeo S. 1979 in favor of Rodolfo M. CV NO. Quinio and Ismael M. As stated at the outset hereof. Abel is hereby ordered CANCELLED including any and all titles. Petitioner latches his case on his being an innocent purchaser for value of the land in question. Defendants-appellees to jointly and solidarily pay plaintiffs-appellants attorney s fees in the amount of TEN THOUSAND (P10. deeds or proceedings derived or that may emanate therefrom. the Court of Appeals. has a better right over it than the Quinios. the trial court. the singular issue to be resolved is who between petitioner. 51764. built and made on the property covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 72406 issued on May 19. Defendant-appellee Renato S. and respondents. WHEREFORE. who lost no time in registering the conveying deed of sale and securing title in their names. therefore. Sanchez and any and all persons acting in his behalf is ordered to DEMOLISH and REMOVE any and all buildings. structures. is entitled to the subject land. From that time on.R. on the other. thus:  Hence. Transfer Certificate of Title No. S-89991. this recourse by petitioner Renato S. In a subsequent resolution dated 28 April 1998. on one hand. in a decision dated 6 July 1995. Sanchez. We find no merit in the petition.After due proceedings. in a decision dated 27 January 1998. Costs against defendants-appellees. ownership and other rights . tenements and works constructed. Nora S.000. Quinio is forever quieted. rendered judgment dismissing the complaint.00) PESOS. the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED. Following the denial of their motion for reconsideration. and asserts the rights and guarantees accorded by law on such purchaser. it being its holding that Sanchez was an innocent purchaser for value of the disputed property and. It cannot be over-emphasized that Santiago sold the subject land in July 1979 to respondents. reversed and set aside the appealed decision of As we see it. Abel and Ma.  SO ORDERED. S-89991 issued on July 13. the appellate court denied herein petitioner s motion for reconsideration. the trial court.
Abel s TCT No. Santiago was no longer possessed of transmissible rights over such property when she executed on 22 February 1993 a deed of sale in favor of Renato Sanding. should thus be upheld. Abel. Under the foregoing principle derived from the above case law. Baltazar s vendees have no rights as against Good Earth. as in the cases for example of De la Cruz v. 72406 and petitioner s TCT No.would not defeat respondents superior right to the property in question. Court of Appeals explains why: 81125 descending therefrom . 144 . subsequent certificate. the earlier in date must prevail. For. 35 Phil. But assuming. Even so. the law must protect and prefer the lawful holder of registered title over the transferee of a vendor bereft of any transmissible rights. The aforesaid deed. and. Thus. Even if petitioner and Romeo S. we said in Margolles vs. we also said: Lastly. testifying below. ex gratia argumenti. The doctrine would apply rather when. it is a settled rule that when two certificates of title are issued to different persons covering the same land in whole or in part. having emanated from an older title. Court of Appeals. 70372 and Romeo S. cannot be applied where the owner still holds a valid and existing certificate of title covering the same interest in a realty. De . Baltazar vs. in case of successive registrations where more than one certificate is issued over the land. could not have conveyed valid title over the land. Santiago. still have to be posited and recognized. Their recourse is against Baltazar himself. in fine. In Torres vs. even if We grant Mota the status of an innocent mortgagee. the superior right of respondents will Lest it be overlooked. he who holds in good faith that certificate which is earlier in date has superior right over the land covered thereby. Fule v. as the term is juridically understood. are to be accorded the status of innocent purchasers for value. as between two persons both of whom are in good faith and both innocent of any negligence. in cases where two (2) certificates of title covering the same parcel of land are issued to two (2) different persons. the consequent issuance in Renato Sanding s name of TCT No. the former s immediate predecessor-in-interest. Court of Appeals:  We might assume for the moment and for purposes of argument only that Baltazar s vendees had successfully proven they were purchasers in good faith and for value. Fabie.flowing therefrom over the land in question pertained to respondents. denied having executed the deed of sale adverted to in favor of Renato Sanding. the doctrine relied upon by the appellate court that a forged instrument may become the root of a valid title. In other words. the authenticity of such deed and the bona fides of the corresponding transaction. The titles of the petitioners. the person holding a prior certificate is entitled to the land as against a person who relies on a Moreover.
the of exceptions. Borbon. the same piece of registered land. Such disastrous results which would shake and destroy the stability of land titles had not been foreseen by those who had endowed with indefeasibility land titles issued under the Torrens system (Emphasis supplied). the forger thru insidious means obtains the owner's duplicate certificate of title. Act 496. then registered owners without the least fault on their part could be divested of their title and deprived of their property. 1965. But the guarantee generally case. on what appears on the face of the covering certificate without inquiring not provide clear answer on how the second vendee. 7 SCRA 351. for in such a case the new certificate is binding upon the owner (Sec. 1963. 546. accorded a Torrens title holder to be secured in his ownership as long as he has not outstanding valid certificate of title in the hands and name of the first vendee. Sec.N. Philippine National Bank.. The respondent had a valid title x x x It never parted with it. Prior tempore potior jure as We have said in Register of Deeds v. If the petitioner's contention as to indefeasibility of his title should be upheld. L-17951. it could not be charged with negligence in the keeping of its duplicate certificate of title or with any act which could have brought about the issuance of another certificate upon which a purchaser in good faith and for value could rely. January 30. and not that of the innocent holder's. G. At bottom then.D. his would be indefeasible as against the whole world.. 1529). 80687. Saleeby. April 10. The claim of indefeasibility of the petitioner's title under the Torrens land title system would be correct if previous valid title to the same parcel of land did not exist. 590. No. converts it in his name. 31 Phil. stubborn reality is that such a second title was issued and whence two (2) other thus: titles eventually descended. Hodges vs. as petitioner did with respect to the land in owner (Santiago). Umali. it never was able to secure a certificate of title despite the existence of an  . and subsequently sells or otherwise encumbers it to an innocent holder for value. No. Philippine Railway. February 28. No. who appear to have never relinquished the document. 49 Phil. L-17641. 1989. But if the owner holds a valid and existing certificate of title. C. 50 Phil. Inc.Legare. Renato Sanding.R. 53. voluntarily disposed of any right over the covered property admits of a couple herein respondents. And although the records do question. P. Dy Buncio & Co. 791 (Emphasis supplied). No. citing Legarda v. 55. the present petition basically features an instance where It may be that one dealing with property brought under the Torrens two (2) different persons acquired by purchase at different times from the same system of land registration may rely. deals with one of them. Roman Catholic Bishop v. handed or delivered to anyone its owner's duplicate of the transfer certificate of title. in this further as to the title of the seller or mortgagor. Reyes v. and Republic v. 13 SCRA 46.
Following the lessons imparted by Margolles. SO ORDERED. Abel. the instant petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED. the spring cannot rise higher than its source. 72406 in the name of Romeo S. since no one can acquire a right greater than what the transferor himself has. but must yield to. as the appellate court rightfully held. Hodges. 81125 in the name of petitioner Renato S. Abel or Renato Sanding. FOR ALL THE FOREGOING. inasmuch as his title is traceable to that of Romeo S.N. As the saying goes. Abel and the derivative TCT No. In all. however. are in accordance with law and applicable jurisprudence. whatever right Renato Sanding may have acquired over the disputed property cannot prevail over. petitioner cannot plausibly have better rights than either Romeo S. Sanchez. this Court finds and so holds that the assailed decision and resolution of the appellate court decreeing the cancellation of TCT No. supra. Torres and C. the superior right thereon of respondents. No pronouncement as to costs. Baltazar. . And. who in turn derived his right and title from Renato Sanding.
that on February 12. FELIX MACAJILOS and QUIRICO MACAJILOS. who was at the time the manager of RBSI. Declaring the foreclosure of the mortgaged property null and void ab initio. 9096 before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities. After trial.R. they are already in estoppel since the mortgage document was duly registered with the Register of Deeds and they have constructive notice thereof.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. that in 1975. 1995 2 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental. that Macajilos have always been in actual possession under claim of ownership of the subject property from the time of their mother's death up to the present. 51290. that. Jr. 6 . DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. 022478. In their complaint. Lamberto. 1987. that Macajilos filed a criminal case for estafa through falsification of public document (Criminal Case No. Siaton. on the basis of the foregoing discussion. Fidela averred in her answer that the property belonged to her late husband. Branch 39 3 in Civil Case No.4 Macajilos alleged that they are the children of the late Gregoria Macalipay Macajilos who during her lifetime owned and possessed a parcel of residential land situated at Poblacion. (Macajilos) against RBSI and Fidela Macalipay (Fidela) on July 27. Dumaguete City. a nephew of Gregoria to build a house on the subject property where he lived together with his wife Fidela. Fidela executed an "Affidavit of Heirship" before a Notary Public at Dumaguete City falsely claiming to be the sole heir of Gregoria Macalipay and adjudicating to herself the subject property.R. 2006 RURAL BANK OF SIATON. that the extrajudicial foreclosure and the public auction proceedings were duly published and that the Sheriff's Certificate of Sale in favor of RBSI and the final deed of sale were registered with the Register of Deeds of the Province of Negros Oriental. Declaring [Macajilos] the rightful owners of the land subject matter of this case. Macajilos allowed Juanito Macalipay. 152483 July 14. respondents. that Lamberto was the manager of RBSI when Fidela obtained a loan using as collateral the subject property. the trial court found in favor of Macajilos. On the other hand. that Fidela failed to redeem the property thus RBSI was able to transfer the tax declaration to its name. judgment is hereby rendered: 1. that Fidela and Lamberto continued to live in the house even after the death of Juanito.: This petition for review on certiorari assails the April 18. that upon Gregoria's death on July 25. having predeceased Gregoria. Inc. Branch I) against Fidela and Lamberto immediately upon discovery of the foreclosure sale. 2. JR. petitioner. (NEGROS ORIENTAL).. vs.5 RBSI claimed it considered Fidela to be the owner of the subject property as she was in actual physical possession thereof when she applied for a loan. Lamberto. The controversy arose from the complaint for removal of cloud over title to and/or recovery of real property and damages filed by Felix Macajilos and Quirico Macajilos. No. 1959. that RBSI knew that Fidela did not own the subject property. Negros Oriental with an area of 441 square meters. which affirmed the July 12. that in her counter affidavit in the preliminary investigation of that criminal case. if they owned the subject property. J. that she lacks formal education and anything she did was the work of her son. Fidela denied that she signed the "Affidavit of Heirship". that Macajilos maliciously built a house on the subject property pretending to be the owners thereof. Sr. 2001 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.'s (RBSI) motion for reconsideration. thus: WHEREFORE. their father Quirico Macajilos. INC. Juanito Macalipay. 9049. 2001 Resolution denying petitioner Rural Bank of Siaton. and the November 12.. 1975. In its answer. CV No. that the tax declaration in the name of Gregoria Macalipay was cancelled and transferred to the name of Fidela under Tax Declaration No. and their son. Macajilos inherited the subject property as compulsory heirs of Gregoria. Dumaguete City. that Fidela defaulted thus the subject property was foreclosed and sold at public auction with RBSI as the only and highest bidder.
As a general rule.11 Consequently. Ordering the Provincial Assessor's Office to cancel Tax Dec. Rather. 022478 in the name of Fidela Macalipay. c.000. After a review of the records. P10. P5. While it is true that Fidela was no longer presented as a witness after the pre-trial conference for reasons not borne out by the records. the trial court sought to have Fidela dropped from the case considering her admission during the pre-trial conference that Macajilos owned the subject property. 022478 in the name of Fidela Macalipay and issue another Tax Declaration in the name of Felix Macajilos and Quirico Macajilos covering the same property. whether they are barred from recovering the subject property due to estoppel and laches.3. Thus. The pre-trial order dated December 2. The assigned errors revolve around four principal issues: (1) who between Macajilos and RBSI has a superior right over the property. SO ORDERED. The trial court noted that RBSI failed to ascertain whether Fidela was the lawful owner of the property being mortgaged.000. 1988. and d. Atty. the trial court ruled that RBSI must suffer for its failure to investigate and determine the lawful owner of the subject property who turned out to be Macajilos. b. and 5. Inc. During the hearing on April 18. RBSI contends that Fidela owned the mortgaged property based on her answer to the complaint where she asserted that she inherited the subject property from her late husband.00 as moral damages. P10. thus. (3) assuming the Macajilos brothers have a better right. However. Ordering the Rural Bank of Siaton. Hence.000. However. Ordering the Rural Bank of Siaton. It argues that the lower courts should not have given credence to the subsequent repudiation by Fidela of her ownership over the subject property during the pre-trial conference as the same was done allegedly in exchange for her being dropped from the instant case. 8 binding on this Court. 7 RBSI principally raises questions of fact that have been settled by the court a quo. the award of damages should be modified by deleting the award of exemplary damages for lack of factual and legal bases. this petition. However. To begin with. and (4) whether the award of damages in favor of Macajilos was proper. 1987 reflected Fidela's admissions during the pre-trial conference: 2. Fidela was not dropped from the case. RBSI has failed to produce evidence to show that Fidela's admission was not freely and knowingly given. The contention lacks merit. Rosalinda Ybañez continued to represent Fidela throughout the trial of this case. that it was her own son. costs of the suit.00 as attorney's fees. . Moreover. Co-defendant Fidela Macalipay's claims: that the property in question did really belong to plaintiffs [herein respondents Macajilos brothers] by virtue of their rightful succession to the same. Juanito Macalipay. we rule that RBSI failed to impugn the ruling of the lowers courts on the main issue of ownership over the subject property. Inc. Anent the first issue. to immediately release from mortgage the land covered by Tax Dec. surmises or conjectures. RBSI claims that the instant case falls under recognized exceptions to this general rule because the lower courts' conclusions 9 are grounded entirely on speculations. and are based on 10 a misapprehension of facts. No investigator inspected the premises. The Court of Appeals denied RBSI's appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto. whether RBSI was a mortgagee-buyer in good faith of the subject property. this does not necessarily mean that her repudiation of ownership over the subject property was prompted by ill-will against RBSI. questions of fact are not covered by a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court because it is limited to a review of errors of law committed by the appellate court especially so in the case at bar where the findings of fact of the trial court and Court of Appeals coincide and are. it relied on the tax declaration in Fidela's name and the "Affidavit of Ownership and Possession" that she executed. (2) assuming the Macajilos brothers have a better right. No. 4. counsel for Macajilos objected. to pay [Macajilos] the following: a.00 as exemplary damages.
Ybañez: Yes. who subsequently became an officer-in-charge as manager of co-defendant Rural Bank of Siaton. had nothing to do with this property. Fidela was a daughterin-law of Logronio: 13 Wait a minute. the plaintiff's cousin. who so maneuvered her into signing certain documents. Is the mother of Lamberto COURT: xxxx COURT: . Lamberto. and in fact still has nothing. right? Ybañez: Yes. who soon became OIC Logronio: Who was the OIC at the time. The first cousin of the plaintiffs. the trial court recalled the events that transpired during the pre-trial conference where Fidela freely and knowingly acknowledged that Macajilos were the rightful owners of the subject property. Is that correct? Logronio: Yes. said Rural Bank of Siaton did grant a loan to her although the proceeds of said loan only went into the hands of Lamberto Macalipay. which ownership she 12 recognizes. the co-defendant Fidela Macalipay. in effect making her a debtor of Rural Bank of Siaton. which circumstances were never explained to her by her son Lamberto Macalipay. that Fidela Macalipay recognizes the fact that she absolutely had nothing. 1988. to do with the property in question. it should be noted that on April 18. that is what the defendant COURT: And even your client. your honor. what happened now[?] Did you convince Fidela that she was just a daughter-in law? In this case. COURT: Fidela Macalipay whom you are representing is merely the daughter Ybañez: 14 COURT: Yes. the same property's ownership being always that of plaintiffs. and that as a consequence of it. thus: COURT: Then. who soon became the OIC of the Rural Bank who did something using Fidela's name. admits that it was only her son.Lamberto Macalipay. her son. (Italics supplied) Although the records do not contain the transcript during the pre-trial conference. COURT: is the wife of the plaintiff's cousin? And even her husband. your honor.
based on the alleged admission by respondent Quirico Macajilos. The records show that Tax Declaration No. "Yes. 25864 for the year 1969 and Tax Declaration No.18 Tax Declaration No. these tax declarations constitute strong evidence of ownership over the 23 subject property by Gregoria Macalipay. Yet. This issue is being raised by RBSI for the first time on appeal and only belatedly in its memorandum before this Court. 1065121 for the year 1974 over the subject property were all in the name of Gregoria Macalipay. Clearly. the lower courts' finding that the subject property rightly belonged to Macajilos was not principally grounded on Fidela's admission. and her admissions in open court with the assistance of her counsel of record. issues and arguments not adequately brought to the attention of the trial court need not be. the trial court correctly ruled that the mortgage over the subject property and the foreclosure proceedings were a nullity. Thus. Rather. among others." admitting it. they constitute good indicia of possession in the concept of owner and a claim of title over the subject 22 property. It is true that tax declarations or realty tax payments are not conclusive evidence of ownership. Tax Declaration No. we agree with the findings of the Court of Appeals that the same should not be given weight. and ordinarily will not be. It bears stressing that only a thumb mark appears on top of her printed name at the last page of her answer and the name of the lawyer who prepared the same was not even indicated. Coupled with her uncontested actual possession of the subject property. Neither could Tax Declaration No. An issue which was neither averred in the complaint nor raised during the trial in the court below cannot be raised for the first time on appeal as it would be offensive to the basic rules of fair 24 20 . considered by a reviewing court as 25 they cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. 1389519 for the year 1949. In her opposition to the motion to have her declared in default. 022478 in the name of Fidela and the "Affidavit of Ownership and Possession" be the source of any derivative right of ownership of RBSI over the subject property considering that these documents were the products of the aforementioned fraudulent scheme. Jr. that should this Court rule in favor of Macajilos. the "Affidavit of Heirship" was fraudulent and could never be Fidela's source of ownership over the subject property. there was a plea for understanding and a statement that the attached answer was prepared by an unnamed lawyer. during the pre-trial conference of this case. In 1975. without being formally engaged. this admission merely confirmed the undisputed documentary evidence which showed Gregoria Macalipay as the owner of the subject property and the same passed on to her two sons upon her death. We note that in its Memorandum. your honor. as far as ownership is concerned. 10651 in the name of Gregoria Macalipay cancelled through the execution of an "Affidavit of Heirship" where she claimed to be the sole heir of Gregoria Macalipay. The records also show that Fidela's answer was 16 belatedly filed with the trial court. (Emphasis supplied) As regards Fidela's initial assertion of ownership over the subject property. the plaintiff really owned this property. the lower courts correctly gave weight to the latter.But Fidela said. and that respondents Macajilos brothers should be declared the lawful owners of the subject property. Our target now is the Rural Bank of Siaton who appears to have purchased this property and the foreclosure. and Fidela Macalipay. Atty. as between the allegations in the answer which was merely thumbmarked by Fidela and prepared by an unknown lawyer. The tax declarations in the name of Gregoria Macalipay takes on great significance because Fidela tacked her claim of ownership to that of Gregoria Macalipay. she was merely the wife of Juanito who was a nephew of Gregoria. the mortgage should be declared valid insofar as the one-half portion of the subject property is concerned. out of pity and compassion for Fidela who was an indigent. Rosalinda Ybañez. At any rate. the mother of herein respondents Macajilos. 85817 covering the period prior to the year 1949. Well-settled is the rule that points of law. Ybañez: Yes. theories. on cross-examination that there was an oral settlement of the estate of Gregoria Macalipay where respondents Macajilos brothers agreed that the subject property should be apportioned between respondent Quirico Macajilos. COURT: What is the problem of this case now? Logronio: So. RBSI contended. Thus. Neither she nor Juanito could inherit from Gregoria whose compulsory heirs are respondents Macajilos. Fidela had Tax Declaration No. and have it transferred to their name and even threatening to 15 eject the plaintiffs who are the real owners x x x. Jr. we have no more problem with Fidela. however.
a witness for RBSI. However. it did not take steps to ascertain whether Fidela was.34 However. especially because it is a banking institution. the sole heir of Gregoria Macalipay.36 As its defense. Based on the foregoing. which is less than the required 3029 year-period for extraordinary acquisitive prescription to set in. However. without notice that some other person has a right to.37 Even in its Reply38 dated June 21. as to whether his father. Only six years had elapsed from the auction sale to the filing of the instant case. the relinquishment of respondent Felix Macajilos' one-half share in the subject property in favor of Fidela 27 would amount to an oral donation of real property which. explained that when RBSI was established in 1974. Certainly. Instead. there was so much money coming from the Central Bank that the bank was in a hurry to grant loans and was not strict with the documents presented by 33 prospective borrowers as collateral. would not protect him if it turns out that the seller does not actually own the property. Atty. and placed full faith on the false documents submitted by Fidela. we agree with the trial court and the Court of Appeals that RBSI was a mortgagee-buyer in bad faith.000. Teodoro Singson. One who purchases an unregistered land does so at his peril. must have at least exercised due diligence before entering into said contract. RBSI admitted that Lamberto was the officer-in-charge (OIC) of the bank prior to 1978 or when the first two mortgage debts were contracted by his mother.40 Far from being prudent. thus. i. assume that the aforementioned oral settlement did take place. Consequently. as will be discussed in detail shortly. which was reiterated in Sales v. RBSI dwells on the alleged error of the trial court in finding Lamberto as the manager of RBSI when the mortgage debts were contracted when in fact Lamberto was a mere clerk-typist. it is clear that RBSI chose to close its eyes to facts which should have put a reasonable man on his guard. RBSI relied solely on Tax Declaration No. son of Fidela. RBSI was a mortgagee-buyer in bad faith. While the findings of the lower courts that RBSI was a mortgagee-buyer in bad faith is in accord with the evidence on record. or interest in. it placed full faith on the false representation of Fidela that her husband.00. Juanito Macalipay. in 1976 for 10. we must point out.play. and in 1978 for P12. The fact that Lamberto was the son of its prospective debtor. that they overlooked the fact that the subject property is an unregistered piece of land.35 To make matters worse. Bandin. Juanito Macalipay. a mortgagee is not expected to conduct an exhaustive investigation on the history of the mortgagor's title but RBSI. was the son of Gregoria Macalipay. neither did it inquire from Lamberto. RBSI failed to exercise the proper diligence in verifying the true owners of the subject property. to wit: in 1975 for P2. and that Lamberto was 39 demoted to the rank of a clerk-typist only in 1978. "the issue of good faith or bad faith of a buyer is relevant only where the subject of the sale is a registered land but not where the property is an unregistered land.00.300. in contracting the aforesaid mortgages. under Article 749 of 28 the Civil Code. Be that as it may. The subject property was mortgaged three times by Fidela to RBSI.30 It is a standard practice for banks before approving a loan to send representatives to the premises of the land offered as collateral and to investigate who are the real 31 owners thereof. the property. the records show that RBSI categorically admitted during the pre-trial conference that Lamberto was the manager of the bank when the loan transactions took place.000. What is more. Singson admitted that RBSI was aware that Tax Declaration No. the . Anent the second issue. is null and void. justice and due process. Rather.00. 022478 in the name of Fidela as well as the 32 "Affidavit of Possession and Ownership" that RBSI required her to execute. 2002 filed before this Court. indeed. who was then the manager of the bank when the first loan was granted to her in 1975. in the case at bar. we cannot bend backwards to examine this issue raised by RBSI at this late stage in the proceedings. However. Court of 42 Appeals.e. we need not belabor this point because whether Lamberto was an OIC or a mere clerk-typist of the bank when the mortgage debts were contracted will not excuse RBSI from exercising prudence in verifying the true owners of the subject property. was the son of Gregoria Macalipay." Nevertheless. As 41 we ruled in David v. Fidela. Fidela failed to pay the third thus the property was extrajudicially foreclosed and sold at public auction with RBSI as the only and highest bidder. no investigator was sent to the location of the subject property to verify the real owners thereof. Thus. 022478 in the name of Fidela was previously in the name of Gregoria Macalipay and that the tax declaration was transferred to the name of Fidela through the 26 "Affidavit of Heirship" she executed naming her as the sole heir of Gregoria Macalipay. His claim of having bought the land in good faith. After fully paying the first two mortgage debts. RBSI hastily granted the loan without investigation. This void donation to Fidela did not ripen into ownership through acquisitive prescription because.. however. even if we were to consider RBSI's new theory and. Banks are expected to exercise more care and prudence than private individuals in their dealings because their business is impressed with public interest. should have prompted RBSI to be more cautious in granting the loan. it cannot now claim that it acted in good faith on the belief that there was no defect in the title of Fidela. Fidela. Atty. At any rate.
43 In the case at bar. he discovered that Fidela had mortgaged the subject property to RBSI by transferring the tax declaration to her name after falsely claiming in the "Affidavit of Heirship" that she was the sole heir of Gregoria Macalipay. However. the rightful owners of the subject property. areAFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the award of exemplary damages is DELETED for lack of basis. respondents Macajilos brothers performed acts which showed their intent to assert their rightful ownership over the subject property.J. 9049 declaring respondents Felix Macajilos and Quirico Macajilos. The fact that the mortgages and subsequent foreclosure proceedings were duly registered with the register of deeds will not cure their nullity because Fidela never owned the subject property. As previously discussed.. 51290 which affirmed the July 12. Although the discussion on RBSI's bad faith would now seem superfluous given the application of this doctrine. could or should have been done earlier. Specifically. Jr. CV No. Branch 39 in Civil Case No. concur. reckless. Consequently. 2001 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Chico-Nazario. we likewise agree with the findings of the Court of Appeals that respondent Macajilos brothers are not barred by laches or estoppel from recovering the ownership of the subject property.R. Anent the fourth issue. J. fraudulent. in 1980. the award of exemplary damages should be deleted since there is no clear and convincing proof that RBSI acted in a wanton. the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. Callejo. respondents Macajilos brothers filed a criminal case against Fidela and Lamberto for estafa through falsification of public 45 document. Jr. After knowing about the foreclosure of the subject property. In 1987.application of this doctrine will not affect the outcome of this case. this finding of bad faith by the trial court is sufficiently supported by the evidence on record.49 WHEREFORE. respondent Quirico Macajilos. All in all. the trial court awarded moral and exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees in view of 48 its finding that RBSI acted in bad faith. RBSI bought the property during the auction sale at its own peril and must suffer the consequences of its failure to investigate the true owners of the subject property who turned out to be respondents Macajilos brothers. Jr. these acts show that respondents Macajilos brothers did not sleep on their rights but reasonably took steps to assert their ownership over the subject property. In the case at bar. . Upon investigation with the provincial assessor's office. by the exercise of due diligence. Panganiban. Essentially. took possession of the subject property46 and demanded Fidela to vacate. Neither can respondent Macajilos brothers be said to have slept on their rights. They are not estopped from denying the representations of Fidela that she owns the subject property because they were never privy to the loan agreements between the bank and Fidela. Austria-Martinez. oppressive or malevolent manner to warrant the imposition of the same. for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time. to do that which. in 1981 or within a year from the discovery of the fraudulent scheme perpetuated by Fidela. the finding of bad faith is still relevant in the resolution of the last issue with respect to the award of damages. laches is the failure or neglect. Sr. SO ORDERED. it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time. 1995 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental. came across the notice of 44 public auction of the subject property in the public market. The April 18.. 2001 Decision and November 12. we note that the task of fixing the amount of damages primarily rests with the trial court as the circumstances of each case may warrant 47 provided that the bases therefor are fully established. respondent Quirico Macajilos. Dumaguete City. C..J. warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has either abandoned or declined to assert it. Anent the third issue. the instant case to remove cloud over the title and/or recovery of real property and damages was filed by respondents Macajilos brothers against RBSI as an off-shoot of the latter's demand on respondent Quirico Macajilos to vacate the subject property.
1963. 1963. Tagaytay City. by Report of October 15. Branch 3 of the Cavite CFI adjudged in Case No." From a Report dated September 5. petitioners. the court declared its April 2. & SOLID BUILDERS. 1962. Presiding Judge. Branch 18. 2" of the Landicho property to the Taal Development 7 Corporation which was issued TCT No. Beljica in turn sold "Lot No. 146208 August 12. INC.8 On April 11. however. LRC (GLRO) Record No. 22973 a motion to 14 intervene dated August 10. 167. LRC Record No.R. N-249. 1965.13 The Heirs of Roxas later filed in Case No. Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cavite HEIRS OF BALDOMERO ROXAS y HERMANOS.CHAPTER 11 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. the land registration court. 2000 which respectively dismissed petitioners' petition for certiorari and denied their motion for reconsideration of the dismissal. N-7208. situated in Tagaytay City2 were surveyed and approved by the Bureau of Lands on March 29.018 square meters. 2" of the Landicho property to the Republic Planters Bank which eventually acquired it on July 7. The Taal Development Corporation later mortgaged "Lot No. N-72008.. No. J. . LRC Record No. 4 1953 in LRC Case No. By Order of June 29. T-4211. By Decision of April 2. 3255. that the confirmation 11 could not be done due to "overlapping claims on the area. 1963 decision final and accordingly ordered the Land Registration Commission (LRC) to issue a decree of confirmation and registration. 1963. Jr. REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK. the alleged overlapping by Psu-136750 of Psu-113427 was overlooked. vs. 9 22973. ALFONSO S. 1965 following the foreclosure sale thereof after the former failed to comply with its mortgage obligation. represented by EDUARDO GONZALES. 157 was 5 accordingly issued to Landicho.: Assailed via petition for review on certiorari are the Court of Appeals 1 Resolutions dated July 28. respondents. in the meantime. HON. more or less. 1983 prepared by Geodetic Engineer Basilio Cabrera. 1978 which was granted. Jr. stated.10 The LRC. died on April 20. GARCIA. OCT No. filed an application for registration covering the Roxas property at the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Cavite. 22973 the registration of the Roxas property in favor of the heirs. Republic Planters Bank was then issued TCT No. It turned out that in Case No. 1941 under Psu-113427 for the heirs of Baldomero Roxas y Hermanos 3 (Roxas property).. LRC (GLRO) Record No. 3445. N-249 LRC Record No. 1987 prepared by the Chief of the Surveys Division Regional Management Bureau who was directed by the court to comment on Engineer Cabrera's report. husband of one of the children of the spouses Sixto Roxas and Alejandra Luz heirs of the late Baldomero Roxas (Roxas). 2000 and November 6. it is gathered that Psu-136750 (covering 12 the Landicho property) overlapped Psu N-113427 (covering the Roxas property). Vicente Singson. Two (2) parcels of land with a total land area of 438. N-249. RTC. and a later Report dated November 12. Vicente Singson. By Order of May 23. 167. A parcel of land also situated in Tagaytay was surveyed under Psu-136750 for Martin Landicho (Landicho property) and was decreed in his name on May 23. docketed as Case No. 2" of the Landicho property was later sold to Porfirio Beljica who was 6 issued TCT No.. 1988. DECISION CARPIO-MORALES. 2004 "Lot No.
recalled its order for the issuance of a decree of confirmation and registration. and only recourse now is to seek the annulment of the certificates of title issued in [LRC] case no.28 29 The appellate court.which took over the cases pending before Branch 3 of the former CFI of Cavite. 4211. after hearing the testimony of Isidro R.. is Psu-113427. by Order of January 21. not an interlocutory order. 1991. addresses and civil status of all the heirs of Roxas. Thus there is nothing more to be adjudicated in the names of the applicants now the intervenors Heirs of Baldomero Roxas. directed the parties "to have Plan PSU-113427 amended to exclude the portions already titled [in the name of Landicho] without prejudice to filing the corresponding case for 15 annulment of titles. 1963 decision." The complaint. 1963 which states that there are several overlappings upon the very land subject matter of this application and which have been adjudicated in previous land registration proceedings in which said land had been issued corresponding certificates of title pursuant to the provisions of Act 496 and that only a small portion remains undecreed. 1997. were evidenced by documents including titles.27 Petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of their complaint having been denied by Order of April 10. whereas the subsequent transfer of the Landicho property to Republic Planters Bank and later to intervenor Solid Builders. noting that titles to properties cannot be collaterally attacked. Cellez.23 denied. granted. In the same Order. petitioners filed apetition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. a subject of appeal and not certiorari. which was docketed as Civil Case No. the existence of which documents petitioners admitted in their Complaint and Amended Complaint. 19 . to which a portion of the Landicho property appeared to have been subsequently sold by Republic Planters Bank and which was allowed to 21 intervene.17 x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) By the said Order of July 2. N-249. testified that the parcels of land subject matter of this proceedings and covered by Plan Psu-113427 is [sic] entirely within the perimeters of the parcel of land surveyed for Martin Landicho and Librado Catapang under Plan Psu-136750 which was subsequently decreed and titled in case N-167. without prejudice to the right of 16 the Heirs of Roxas to file the "proper action for annulment and reconveyance [of 18 the Roxas property] in the proper court. Branch 18 of the RTC of Tagaytay dismissed herein petitioners' complaint for lack of merit. N-249. Inc. the land registration court thus set aside its April 2. TG-1212. herein petitioners . Republic Planters Bank then filed its Answer to the Amended Complaint with Counterclaim. filed an Answer in Intervention with Counterclaim. GLRO Rec. ruled: xxx After evidence pro and con for the reopening of this case to determine the merits of the report of the Land Registration Commission of October 15. said to have been included in the Landicho title. 167 and the reconveyance of the properties in the proper regional trial court. resolving two motions to reopen the decree of registration in LRC Case No." By Order of July 2. and dismissed LRC Case No. 1991. it finding that the only basis of their claim of ownership to the Roxas property. DENR. by Order of December 17. TCT No.24 Solid Builders Inc. dismissed petitioners' petition for certiorari on the ground that the RTC Tagaytay's order dismissing their complaint is a final. 1991. now the subject of the present decision. It later filed a 22 Motion for Summary Judgment which was. 1999. Solid Builders Inc.heirs of Roxas filed before the RTC of Cavite in Tagaytay City a complaint against the Republic Planters Bank for the cancellation of the latter's title over the Landicho property. 20 was later amended to enumerate the names. the land registration court. 2000. No. hence. counsel for the parties in open Court this morning. Geodetic Engineer and Chief of the Technical Standards and Surveys of the Bureau of Lands. by Resolution of July 28. "to the extent of that portion which overlapped the [Roxas] property. N7208 in the name of Martin Landicho precursor of oppositor Republic Planters Bank derived its title. subsequently filed a Second Motion for Summary 26 25 Judgment which was. 2000." On October 4.
1999 Order of the trial court dismissing their complaint on February 1. c. 2000 Resolution having been denied by Resolution of November 6. 2000 to appeal. that is. They. submitting the following xxx REASONS FOR THE PETITION A. PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED HIS DISCRETION IN APPLYING THE RULING IN ARMY AND NAVY CLUB OF MANILA. ET AL. however. JOINED AFTER PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FILED THEIR ANSWERS TO THE AMENDED COMPLAINT. will grant a motion for summary judgment is within its power or authority in law to perform. the resulting decision may not be set aside either directly or indirectly by petition for certiorari. so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion or virtual refusal to perform the duty 33 enjoined or to act in contemplation of law. Petitioners' assignment of errors of the trial court before the appellate court. If indeed petitioners received the December 17. B. Respondent Court of Appeals also committed error of law in applying the presumption of completeness of service after five (5) days from receipt of the first notice.. THE SAME BEING ONE FOR CANCELLATION OF TITLE OR DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF TITLES. It is settled that an order dismissing a complaint is a final. that what were being assailed were errors not of jurisdiction but 35 of judgment. and the subject matter of the case. that the trial court exercised its powers in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostilities. but may only be corrected on appeal or other direct review. to wit: a. PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED HIS DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS' ALLEGATION IN THE COMPLAINT ABOUT TRANSFERS OF TITLES TO SUPPOSED SUBSEQUENT PURCHASERS WARRANT DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT THROUGH SUMMARY JUDGMENT. despite the grave abuse of discretion committed by public respondent Presiding Judge Alfonso Garcia of the trial court. considering the actual receipt of the registered mail by the petitioners. in any event. resort to certiorari is precluded. certiorari may be availed of. they had fifteen 32 days or until June 8. not certiorari. did not appeal and instead filed on July 24. the Order denying which motion they received on May 26. contrary to petitioners' argument that the rule on summary judgment applies to . Its propriety rests on its sound exercise of 36 discretion and judgment. BASED ON THE OPPOSITION FILED BY THE INTERVENOR WHOSE ONLY BASIS FOR INTERVENTION IS A DEED OF PROMISE TO SELL WHICH HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY DECLAREED NULL AND VOID BY ANOTHER COURT OF 34 COMPETENT JURISDICTION. COURT OF APPEALS. When the remedy of appeal is available but is lost due to petitioner's own negligence or error in the choice of remedies. Whether a trial court. they lodged the petition for review on certiorari at bar. AND THERE BEING SERIOUS AND TRIABLE ISSUES ON THE MERITS.R. 110223. G. 1997. Respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that the dismissal of the complaint by way of granting private respondents' motion for summary judgment is a proper subject of appeal. it must be shown that the trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. shows. C. not an interlocutory order. which has jurisdiction over the person of the parties to. in the greater interest of substantial justice. hence. the petition for certiorari was filed out of time. NO. 2000. VS. 2000 a motion for reconsideration thereof. (Underscoring supplied). PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED HIS DISCRETION IN DENYING PETITIONERS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. Even if. PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ERRED IN APPLYING THE RULE ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN THE CASE AT BAR. a proper subject of appeal. b. That is settled.Petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the appellate court's July 28. 2000 before the Court of Appeals the petition for certiorari. d. however. In the event that it errs in finding that there is no genuine issue to thus call for the rendition of a summary judgment.31(Underscoring supplied) The petition fails. INC. 200030 for lack of merit and. APRIL 8. Parenthetically. 2000 and filed on February 3. Respondent Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion in resorting to strict technicality in dismissing the petition for certiorari.
1957 ed..D. . of course. SO ORDERED. Under this definition and from the provision of section 1 of Rule 36.. As observed in the note of the Advisory Committee of the United States Supreme Court. or cross-claim". p. and an action for declaratory relief. after the lapse of one year from the date of issuance of the questioned decree. I. J. except. 497) xxx In England it was first employed only in cases of liquidation claims. the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. has already passed into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value. If the property. not to set aside the decree. The contention cannot be sustained. where the material facts alleged in the complaint are required to be proved. At all events. JJ. (Underscoring supplied) The foregoing discussions leave it unnecessary to pass on the second reason proffered for the petition. 152941 (the Property Registration Decree) within a period of six years from the time the right to bring such action accrues. but to institute an ordinary action in 39 the ordinary court of justice for reconveyance. Summary judgment procedure is a method for promptly disposing of actions in which there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. (Chairman). the rule is applicable to all kinds of actions. It is argued that section 1 of Rule 36 providing for the remedy of summary judgment for the claimant contemplates action or cases which are in the nature of money claims. concur. It is contended that the procedure of summary judgment is not warranted in the instant case since it is not an action "to recover upon a claim. counterclaim. No. Faustino37 holds so.42 WHEREFORE. Sandoval-Gutierrez. Panganiban. that bearing on the timeliness of the filing of the petition for certiorari before the appellate court. for liquidated or unliquidated claims. De Leon v. it having become incontrovertible and no longer open to review..only two kinds of action an action to recover a debt or a liquidated demand for money. on leave. there would seem to be no limitation as to the type of actions in which the remedy is available. or if he had become insolvent or if the action is barred by prescription. but there has been a steady enlargement of the scope of the remedy until it is now used in actions to recover land or chattels and in all other actions at law. the remedy is to file an action for damages from the person 40 who allegedly registered the property through fraud. and Corona. quoted by former Chief Justice Moran in his comments on the Rules of Court (Vol. except for a few designated torts and 38 breach of promise of marriage. however. to file an action for recovery against the Assurance Fund under Section 95 of P. the remedy of one who has established his ownership over a property but which property has been wrongfully or erroneously registered through fraud or mistake in another's name is.
In the complaint. petitioner's motion for reconsideration. filed a motion to dismiss 3 on the ground of prescription. that the spouses Cayetanos. 1 it was alleged. 2 G. CAYETANO.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION A complaint in intervention was filed by one Asteria Maulauen containing similar allegations and relief sought i. Subsequently. LEONOR C. private respondents objected to its approval 8 and reiterated their motion to dismiss grounded on prescription 9 to which petitioner filed an objection. Since the spouses Cayetanos obtained OCT No. 1988 11 was rendered by the trial court dismissing petitioner's complaint and Maulauen's complaint in intervention. per Resolution dated April 29." 5 Trial thus ensued with petitioner having presented two (2) witnesses. and ALEJANDRO B.respondents. CAYETANO. ANA. Pablo Sta. They argue that petitioner's filing of the complaint for reconveyance on August 27. 1993. JR. public respondent Court of Appeals. as defendants below.e. Respondent Court of Appeals erred in disregarding the uncontroverted fact that petitioner and his predecessors-ininterest have been in open and continuous possession in the concept of owner of the land in question long before the issuance in 1962 of Original Certificate of Title No. ERNESTO P. appointed a commissioner who will conduct a relocation survey to 6 identify the lots claimed by petitioner and intervenor Maulauen. J. that her land was fraudulently included by the spouses Cayetanos in the same registration proceedings which was also sold to respondent Manahan. 1962 was too late considering the well-settled jurisprudence that an action for reconveyance of real property based on implied or constructive trust prescribes 4 in 10 years. petitioner filed an Objection. the subject land be segregated from the area covered on Plan PSU-183419 and thereafter be reconveyed to them with damages. Private respondents. 17218 on August 17. on motion of petitioner. 10 A decision dated August 9. vs. Jr. 1997 PABLO STA. Camarines Sur (hereafter subject land). fraudulently included the subject land in the registration proceedings covering two (2) lots situated in the same locality (described in Plan PSU-183419) notwithstanding petitioner's and his deceased mother's continuous and actual possession of the subject land since 1951 when they inherited said property upon the death of petitioner's father. Upon submission 7 by the commissioner of his Report dated March 2. FRANCISCO. 1973 which spanned 11 years and 5 months from the registration of spouses Cayetanos' OCT No. Leonor Cayetano (hereafter spouses Cayetanos) and Alejandro B. 989 over the subject land on March 26.. and his now-deceased mother Socorro Sta.: The controversy stemmed from an action for reconveyance filed by herein petitioner Pablo Sta. 1962 and thereafter sold the same to private respondent Manahan who was issued TCT No. . declaring private respondent Manahan as the rightful owner of the land covered by TCT No. in a nutshell.. 1994. to resolve said motion would require presentation of evidence which would be practically a trial on the merits of this case. Sr. petitioner and his mother pray that TCT No. On appeal. Ana. 1973. 1987. affirmed the trial court judgment and denied. without the knowledge of petitioner and his mother. Hence. 989. Ana against private respondent Ernesto Cayetano. To this motion to dismiss. 17218 be cancelled. Ana. and thus she prays for its reconveyance. COURT OF APPEALS. 115284 November 13. 17218 and ordering petitioner to deliver/surrender possession of the subject land to private respondent Manahan. No. and furthermore. 989 over the subject land on March 26. the trial court. Manahan on August 27. 1973. The trial court deferred the resolution of petitioner's motion to dismiss as "the ground alleged therein does not appear to be indubitable. Calabanga. MANAHAN. involving a 900 squaremeter parcel of land in Barrio San Antonio. this petition wherein petitioner claims that: I. in the same year. petitioner. in a 12 decision dated October 12.R.
. Equally settled is that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten (10) years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property. The petition has no merit. . a party is bound by the theory he adopts and by the cause of action he stands on and cannot be permitted after having lost thereon to repudiate his theory and cause of action and adopt another and seek to re-litigate the matter anew either in the same forum or on appeal. the complaint for reconveyance was nonetheless well-within said period since the ten (10) years began to lapse only from the time petitioner had actual knowledge of private respondents' adverse claim of ownership over the subject land. discussion of the other assigned errors is unnecessary. Naravasa. 17 Likewise unpersuasive is the claim that. SO ORDERED. and neither was it prayed for. III. 989 over the subject land was registered.. Respondent Court of Appeals erred in not applying the wellestablished doctrine that IMPRESCRIPTIBLE is "an action for reconveyance which in effect seeks to quiet title to property against its registered owner". 13 A 14 long line of decisions of this Court. the petition is hereby DENIED. C. premises considered. if filed by one in possession of the property. Romero.". as it is alleged therein that "the property in question is within the property in trust for the plaintiffs. Petitioner cannot escape the onset of prescription by arguing now that his action for reconveyance is really one that seeks a quieting of title (which is admittedly imprescriptible) and not one based on implied or constructive trust. From the complaint. JJ. which petitioner alleges to be shortly after August 7. Thus. is AFFIRMED. Respondent Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial court's award of affirmative relief in favor of private respondent Manahan when such relief was not raised in the pleadings. his pleadings. therefore. affirming the trial court judgment of August 9. or inconsistent with. such as those cited by the trial court and 15 respondent CA. . 1988. WHEREFORE.II. Respondent Court of Appeals erred in ignoring the Commissioner's Report. determinative of the instant petition's fate. it is evident that petitioner's theory is based on implied or constructive trust. 1993. Melo and Panganiban. 18 The reckoning date in this case. It is well to emphasize at this juncture that a party cannot subsequently take a position 16 contrary to. Both lower courts correctly found that petitioner's action for reconveyance has prescribed when the complaint therefor was filed only in 1973 or eleven (11) years from March. 989 was issued in the name of the spouses Cayetanos. 1973 when TCT No. is on leave. is March 26. 1962 when the spouses Cayetanos' OCT No. IV. An action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust must perforce prescribe in ten (10) years and not otherwise. The decision of respondent Court of Appeals dated October 12. concur. As the above resolution of the issue of prescription is. 17218 was issued in the name of private respondent Manahan. 1962 the date OCT No. . . illustrates this rule. by itself. granting the verity of the ten-year prescriptive period.J.
respondent. more or less. 2000 2. PANGANIBAN. Bernardino.000. attorney's fees of P15.R. Ordering the plaintiffs to vacate the premises in question and turn over the possession of the same to the defendant Gerarda Selma. BERNARDINO SECUYA. Requiring the plaintiffs to pay defendant the sum of P20. Rufina. this court hereby finds the preponderance of evidence to be in favor of the defendant Gerarda Selma as judgment is rendered: 1. NATIVIDAD SECUYA. CORAZON SECUYA. 1998 CA Resolution which denied 5 petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration. The Case Before us is a Petition for Review seeking to set aside the July 30. de Selma. according to Art. . Exh "D"). Petitioners asserted ownership over the disputed parcel of land. "K"). Corazon. 38580. litigation expenses of P5. Among others it was stipulated in said agreement of partition that the said portion of one-third so ceded will be located adjoining the municipal road (par. 5. 1998 Decision of 1 the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. Marcelino. vda. "D"). RUFINA SECUYA. 4 BENIGNA SECUYA.nêt SO ORDERED. Miguel. the action must fail. Paciencia Sabellona took possession and occupation of that one-third portion of Lot 5679 adjudicated to her. GLICERIA SECUYA and PURITA SECUYA. 10.000. 2217. the plaintiff must show not only that there is a cloud or contrary interest over the subject real property. "K-2).R. CV No. Likewise challenged is the October 14. in view of all the foregoing [evidence] and considerations. 1938 with Paciencia Sabellona. Gliceria and Purita all surnamed Secuya against Gerarda M.1âwphi1. During the lifetime of Maxima Caballero. 136021 February 22. MIGUEL SECUYA. VDA. Lot 5679 has an area of 12. whereby the former bound herself and parted [with] one-third (1/3) portion of Lot 5679 in favor of the latter (Exh. The Facts The present Petition is rooted in an action for quieting of title filed before the RTC by Benigna. Cancellation of Certificate of Title of Gerarda vda. Natividad. Dismissing this Complaint for Quieting of title. she sold the three thousand square meter portion thereof to Dalmacio Secuya on October 20. GERARDA M. de Selma and damages. 9. MARCELINO SECUYA. The CA ruled: WHEREFORE. DE SELMA. In the present case. J. "K-1". alleging the following facts: xxx xxx xxx 8.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.00 pursuant to Art. she entered into that AGREEMENT OF PARTITION dated January 5. Friar Lands Sale Certificate Register of the Bureau of Lands (Exh. vendee and patentee of Lot 5679.000 as moral damages. petitioners. referred to and covered [o]n Page 279. 3. 1953. Later. The parcel of land subject of this case is a PORTION of Lot 5679 of the Talisay-Minglanilla Friar Lands Estate.750 square meters. 11 and to pay the costs of this suit.: In action for quieting of title. [there being] no error in the appealed decision. which affirmed the 2 judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City. vs. and the covering patent issued. the same is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. The property was originally sold. 2208 No.00. because petitioners failed to show the requisite title.3 The decretal portion of the trial court Decision reads as follows: WHEREFORE. No. but that the have a valid title to it. de Cariño (Exhs. to Maxima Caballero Vda.
After the purchase [by] Dalmacio Secuya.00). petitioners urge the Court to resolve the following questions: . p. p. Such sale was admitted and confirmed by Ramon Sabellona. The CA noted that the said law prohibited the alienation or encumbrance of land acquired under a free patent or homestead patent. is embraced and included within the boundary of the later acquisition by respondent Selma. Record. CEB-4247 and now the petitioners. In 1967. Hence. sisters.850. 12. it ruled that petitioners anchor their claim on an "Agreement of Partition" which is void for being violative of the Public Land Act. from whom 7 defendant-appellee derives her title. nephews and nieces are the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. With the permission and tolerance of the Secuyas.. 5679 was adjudicated to the widow. 5679 with an area of 12. T-35678 (Exhibit "6". Edilberto Superales married Rufina Secuya. in concept of owner. In 1972. 1954. and in the confrontation and conciliation proceedings at the Lupong Tagapayapa. tsn.750 square meters of the TalisayMinglanilla Friar Lands Estate. marked as Exhibit "5". this Petition. Cesaria Caballero was the widow of Silvestre Aro. Ramon Sabellona inherited all the properties left by Paciencia Sabellona. Dalmacio Secuya died on November 20. Record. registered owner of the mother lot. evidenced by Exhibit "P".8 The Issues In their Memorandum.302 square meters. 1976(Exh. Defendant-respondent Gerarda Selma lodged a complaint.302 square meters as evidenced by TCT No. 8/8/89-Calzada). hence. 14. defendant-respondent Gerarda Selma bought a 1. defendant-respondent Selma was asserting ownership over the land inherited by plaintiffs-petitioners from Dalmacio Secuya of which they had long been in possession . Orozco (Exh. 8. Said house is inside Lot 5679-C-12-B. Record. having bought the same sometime in February 1975 from Cesaria Caballero as evidenced by a notarized Deed of Sale (Exhibit "5". tsn 7/25/88 Daclan).for a consideration of ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P1. evidenced by that deed of absolute sale.. 1985. 4752 (Exhibit "10". . on the other hand. niece of Dalmacio Secuya. Upon Silvestre Aro's demise. 1953. by means of a private document which was lost (p. . The land in question. for a period of five years from the issuance of the said patent. Record. per Certification dated August 10. The CA Ruling In affirming the trial court's ruling. consisting of 9. predecessor-in interest of plaintiffs of the property in litigation on October 20. a 3. per that KATAPUSAN NGA KABUT-ON UG PANUGON NI PACIENCIA SABELLONA (Last Will and Testament of Paciencia Sabellona). On the other hand. "F"). p.000-square meter portion of Lot 5679. Thus his heirs brothers. 13. Cesaria Caballero. the appellate court debunked petitioners' claim of ownership of the land and upheld Respondent Selma's title thereto. Pursuant to such will. Edilberto Superales constructed his house on the lot in question in January 1974 and lived thereon continuously up to the present (p. "C"). their complaint (Annex "C"). 323) and ha[ve] been in possession of the same since then. along lines 18-19-20 of said lot. dated July 9. by Geodetic Engineer Celestino R. executed and acknowledged before Notary Public Teodoro P. No. she bought the bigger bulk of Lot 5679. 1961. 324). 15. per that instrument denominated CONFIRMATION OF SALE OF UNDIVIDED SHARES. Such claim of defendant-respondent Selma is a cloud on the title 6 of plaintiffs-petitioners. 341) wherein one-half plus one-fifth of Lot No. Lot. before the Barangay Captain of the place. p. Ramon Sabellona was the only [or] sole voluntary heir of Paciencia Sabellona. 11.000 square-meter portion of Lot 5679. "B"). Dalmacio. 1975. dated September 28. Then on February 19. It held that respondent's title can be traced to a valid TCT. 8. his heirs executed an "Extrajudicial Partition and Deed of Absolute Sale" (Exhibit "11". Respondent Selma's version of the facts. 340). and had the plaintiffs-petitioners summoned. as shown by Transfer Certificate of Title No. together with his brothers and sisters he being single took physical possession of the land and cultivated the same. only heir of Paciencia Sabellona. Villarmina (Exh. was summarized by the appellate court as follows: She is the registered owner of Lot 5679-C-120 consisting of 9.
depose the following and say: 1. encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. the validity of private respondent's title. they must show that the deed.1. and may be prejudicial to said title. petitioners allege that TCT No. the implications of the Agreement of Partition. is a cloud on their title as owners and possessors of the I. Talisay. In the case at bar. record. an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet title. do petitioners have the requisite title that would enable them to avail themselves of the remedy of quieting of title? Petitioners anchor their claim of ownership on two documents: the Agreement of Partition executed by Maxima Caballero and Paciencia Sabellona and the Deed of Confirmation of Sale executed by Ramon Sabellona.] and 2. Luis Caballero. An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real property or any interest therein. Cebu. of legal age. which is a portion of Lot 5679. second. vda. by virtue of [the] Agreement of Partition dated January 5. the subject real property. the plaintiffs or complainants must demonstrate a legal or an equitable title to. 3. voidable or unenforceable. 1938[. That I am the applicant of vacant lot No. Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. we will divide the issues into three: first. and third. is worded as follows: AGREEMENT OF PARTITION The Petition fails to show any reversible error in the assailed Decision. 2. committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in not making a finding that respondent Gerarda M. encumbrance or proceeding that purportedly casts a cloud on their title is in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy. 4. of legal age. for private sale in my favor. as well as the court. We will now examine these two documents. residing and with postal address in Tungkop. issued in the name of Private Respondent Selma. as Luis Caballero has no means o[r] any way to pay the government.11 This point is clear from Article 476 of the Civil Code. de Selma [was] a buyer in bad 9 faith with respect to the land. who is now the actual occupant of said lot I deem it wise to have the said lot paid by me. claim. Whether or not the trial court. in my favor. which reads: Whenever there is cloud on title to real property or any interest therein. Paciencia Sabellana y Caballero. Cebu. But the underlying question is. or an interest in. Oriental Negros. The Court's Ruling subject property. 1938. MAXIMA CABALLERO. Whether or not there was a valid transfer or conveyance of one-third (1/3) portion of Lot 5679 by Maxima Caballero in favor of Paciencia Sabellona. ineffective. 5679-C-120. That the said Lot 5679 was formerly registered in the name of Felix Abad y Caballero and the sale certificate of which has already been cancelled by the Hon. Minglanilla. Said portion of one-third (1/3) will . That for and in representation of my brother. by reason of any instrument. 5679 of the Talisay-Minglanilla Estate and the said application has already been indorsed by the District Land Officer. now residing and with postal address in the Municipality of Dumaguete. That as soon as the application is approved by the Director of Lands. which is a 3. the validity of the Deed of Confirmation of Sale executed in favor of the petitioners. Preliminary Matter: The Action for Quieting of Title In an action to quiet title. married to Rafael Cariño. First Issue: The Real Nature of the "Agreement of Partition" The duly notarized Agreement of Partition dated January 5. Manila. Filipina. single. I hereby bind myself to transfer the one-third (l/3) portion of the above mentioned lot in favor of my aunt. claim.000 square-meter portion of Lot No. 5679-C-120 covered by the TCT.10 Likewise. For a clearer understanding of the above matters.
allegedly because it had been lost. hereby accept and take the portion herein adjudicated to me by Mrs." That Maxima Caballero bound herself to give one third of Lot No. Rather. Instead.be subdivided after the approval of said application and the same will be paid by her to the government [for] the corresponding portion. the Agreement was not registered. prescription may. 1953. Cebu. Maxima Caballero held the portion specified therein as belonging to Paciencia Sabellona when the application was eventually approved 15 and a sale certificate was issued in her name. Likewise. but she never did so during her lifetime. the disputed property. this Agreement is not one of partition. As a result of the Agreement. and instead sold the same to a third person not privy to the Agreement. petitioners have not proven that they are the rightful successors-in-interest of Paciencia Sabellona. Equally important. In the memorandum of 19 incumbrances of TCT No. it is evident that Paciencia acquiesced to the covenant and is thus bound to fulfill her obligation therein. An implied trust comes into being by operation of law. It is a fiduciary relationship that obliges the trustee to deal with 13 the property for the benefit of the beneficiary. thus. Paciencia and her successors-in-interest did not do anything to enforce their proprietary rights over the disputed property or to consolidate their ownership over the same."12 The Agreement: An Express Trust. who purchased the property from Maxima's heirs. Trust is the right to the beneficial enjoyment of property. the legal title to which is vested in another. we have hereunto set our hands this 5th day of January. as part of Lot No. 6. however. 5629 to Paciencia Sabellona upon the approval of the former's application is clear from the terms of the Agreement. Maxima Caballero of Lot No. they did not even register the said Agreement with the Registry of Property or pay the requisite land taxes. Under Article 1444 of the Civil Code. which would have been the best evidence of the transaction. The present Agreement of Partition involves an express trust. IN WITNESS WHEREOF. had been the 16 subject of several sales transactions and covered by several transfer certificates of title. In fact. was never presented in court. Second Issue: The Purported Sale to Dalmacio Secuya Even granting that the express trust subsists. 5679. The Absence of the Purported Deed of Sale Petitioners insist that Paciencia sold the disputed property to Dalmacio Secuya on October 20. Not a Partition Notwithstanding its purported nomenclature. An express trust is created by the intention of the 14 trustor or of the parties. 3087 issued in the name of Maxima. her heirs sold the entire Lot No. because there was no property to partition and the parties were not coowners. if a repudiation of the trust is proven by clear and convincing evidence and made 18 known to the beneficiary. at Talisay. in the absence of proof that the said transactions were fraudulent and irregular. knew of it. she should have transferred the same to the latter. There was a repudiation of the express trust when the heirs of Maxima Caballero failed to deliver or transfer the property to Paciencia Sabellona. 5. . bar a beneficiary's action for recovery. Paciencia Sabellana y Caballero. there was no notation of the Agreement between her and Paciencia. it being sufficient that a trust is clearly intended. While petitioners had been doing nothing. and that the sale was embodied in a private document. "[n]o particular words are required for the creation of an express trust. I. the subsequent sales transactions involving the land in dispute and the titles covering it must be upheld. The Repudiation of the Express Trust While no time limit is imposed for the enforcement of rights under express 17 trusts. it is in the nature of a trust agreement. While a sale of a piece of land appearing in a private deed is binding between the parties. Thus. Consequently. Trust relations between parties may either be express or implied. such document. 5679 Talisay-Minglanilla Estate and will pay the corresponding portion to the government after the subdivision of the same. From 1954 when the sale certificate was issued until 1985 when petitioners filed their Complaint. That the said portion of one-third (1/3) will be located adjoining the municipal road. 1988. Neither was there any allegation that Silvestre Aro. it could not bind third persons. However. 5679 to Silvestre Aro in 1955.
but only has to rely on the title. without any protestation or complaint from the petitioners. 5679. Moreover. The Questionable Value of the Deed Executed by Ramon Sabellona To prove the alleged sale of the disputed property to Dalmacio. one of the petitioners. its probative value is doubtful. As noted earlier. Petitioners' Failure to Exercise Owners' Rights to the Property Petitioners insist that they had been occupying the disputed property for fortyseven years before they filed their Complaint for quieting of title. Private respondent cannot be faulted for believing this representation. Moreover. had been the subject of several sales transactions. His status as heir of Paciencia was not affirmatively established. petitioners instead presented the testimony of Miguel Secuya. Cesaria Caballero. they insist that she could not be regarded as a purchaser in good faith who is entitled to the protection of the Torrens system. while petitioners could not present the purported deed evidencing the transaction between Paciencia Sabellona and Dalmacio Secuya. The presence of anything which excites or arouses suspicion should then prompt the vendee to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title of the vendor appearing on the face of the certificate. They argue that they had been gathering the fruits of such property.it cannot be considered binding on third persons. Third Issue: The Validity of Private Respondent's Title Petitioners debunk Private Respondent Selma's title to the disputed property. The aforesaid principle admits of an unchallenged exception: that a person dealing with registered land has a right to rely on the Torrens certificate of title and to dispense without the need of inquiring further except when the party has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that would impel a reasonably cautious man to make such inquiry. the lot. including the disputed portion. were actually occupying the disputed lot. considering that petitioners' claim was not noted in the certificate of the title covering Lot No. private respondent in contrast has the necessary documents to support her claim to the disputed property. Moreover. While the Deed executed by Ramon ratified the transaction. If petitioners really believed that they owned the property. while petitioners' claim is barren of proof. However. Paciencia's alleged heir. Thus. he was not presented in court and was thus not quizzed on his knowledge or lack thereof of the 1953 transaction. or when the purchaser has knowledge of a defect or the lack of title in his vendor or of sufficient facts to induce a reasonably prudent man to inquire into the status of title of the property in litigation. petitioners' immediate predecessor-in-interest. private respondent's title is amply supported by clear evidence. assured her that petitioners were just tenants on the said lot. we held: It is settled doctrine that one who deals with property registered under the Torrens system need not go beyond the same. a party who has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that would move a reasonably cautious man to make an inquiry will not be protected by the 22 Torrens system. if it is not embodied in a public 20 instrument and recorded in the Registry of Property. Court of Appeals. In any case. . He is charged with notice only of such burdens and claims as are annotated on the title. Indeed. they did nothing to enforce whatever proprietary rights they had over the disputed parcel of land. and a Deed21 confirming the sale executed by Ramon Sabellona. and hence does not merit the protection of the law. The testimony of Miguel was a bare assertion that the sale had indeed taken place and that the document evidencing it had been destroyed. Granting arguendo that private respondent knew that petitioners. it would seem that they had been remiss in their duty to pay the land taxes. In Sandoval v. One who falls within the exception can neither be denominated an innocent purchaser for value purchaser in good faith. through Superales and his family. there is no proof that they had exercised their rights and duties as owners of the same. alleging that she was aware of their possession of the disputed properties. they have should have been more vigilant in protecting their rights thereto. yet. The title thereto had been transferred several times. we must stress that the vendor.
Clearly. Melo. .1âwphi1. the Petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Purisima and Gonzaga-Reyes. petitioners do not have the requisite title to pursue an action for quieting of title. concur. SO ORDERED. Costs against petitioners. Vitug. JJ.nêt WHEREFORE..
Although they were already civilly married. Asuncion used her maiden name in the Deed of Sale because. Antipolo. Urlan and Asuncion Milambiling left for Europe on their honeymoon and from there.: Petitioners De Guzman spouses seek the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals holding that the Assurance Fund established under the Property Registration Decree is not liable for the losses allegedly sustained by petitioners. posing as the spouses Milambiling. being conservative. JR. It appears that while the spouses Milambiling were in Saudi Arabia. Marilyn Belgica. Belgica said that she left it in their house in the Philippines and forgot to bring it with her. Lucia Realty to a long-time friend and one of their principal wedding sponsors. On 24 July 1986. for declaration of nullity of sale and title with damages. executed a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of [the] spouses de Guzman who paid the stipulated purchase price of P99. Javiniar accompanied the said couple to the house of [the] spouses De Guzman. Milambiling was also told about the circumstances that led to the cancellation of their title. Branch 73. Urlan Milambiling was angry and immediately called up his relatives in the Philippines and asked them to find out from the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal what happened to their title. Rizal. the impostor-couple were able to convince the de Guzmans to buy the property.. vs.200. a couple identifying themselves as the spouses Urlan and Asuncion Milambiling went to the house of a certain Natividad Javiniar. 143281. He was informed that the Certificate of Title covering the said parcel of land had indeed been transferred in their names but was subsequently cancelled and title transferred in the names of x x x the spouses De Guzman. Belgica committed to the Milambiling spouses that she will personally deliver the title to them in Saudi Arabia. the spouses Milambiling learned from Belgica through an overseas telephone call that a transfer certificate of title of the said parcel of land had already been issued in their names. xxx [The] spouses De Guzman appealed the decision of the trial court to the Court of Appeals. Urlan Milambiling quickly returned to the Philippines. On 20 November 1985. On 18 July 1991. N-117249 in the names of [the] De Guzman[s]. Inc. the spouses Milambiling filed an action against [the spouses De Guzman] before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo. J. [the Court of Appeals] rendered its decision affirming the decision of the court a quo. The facts that led to the present proceedings are succinctly set forth by the Court of Appeals as follows: On 01 July 1985. she did not want to use her married name until she was married in church. the impostor-couple. [G.R. Rizal. Belgica arrived in Saudi Arabia but the title was not with her. On 30 April 1986. inquiring if the latter could find a buyer for their lot located in Vermont Subdivision. After their church wedding on 05 July 1985. Sometime in May 1986. RESOLUTION KAPUNAN.FIRST DIVISION Later. Before leaving for abroad. Rizal from Sta. Lucia Realty and Development. petitioners. they proceeded to Saudi Arabia where they were working as accountant and nurse. Lucia Realty and the corresponding Certificate of Title still in the name of Sta. the spouses Milambiling entrusted the Deed of Sale of the parcel of land they bought from Sta. August 3. No. Having somehow obtained possession of the owner s duplicate copy of the certificate of title in the name of the spouses Milambiling. respectively.00. 2000] SPOUSES FRANCISCO and AMPARO DE GUZMAN. who volunteered to register the sale and transfer the title in their names. . Urlan Milambiling and Asuncion Velarde purchased a parcel of land situated in Antipolo. Upon learning of the above. a real estate broker. [the De Guzmans] registered the said sale with the Register of Deeds of Marikina who cancelled the certificate of title in the name of the Milambilings and issued TCT No. THE NATIONAL TREASURER OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MARIKINA CITY. respondents.
through the bringing of the same under the provisions of this Act or by the registration of any other persons as owner of such land. . Section 101 of the Land Registration Act (Act No. Action for compensation from funds. omission. or register of deeds. 95. and any person who is wrongfully deprived of any land or any interest therein. Section 95 of Presidential Decree No. 101.200. or by the registration by any other person as owner of such land. provides: SEC. the Property Registration Decree. or misdescription in any certificate or owner s duplicate. similarly states: SEC. or by any cancellation. or by any mistake. without negligence on his part. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants adjudging the Assurance Fund liable to the amount actually paid by the plaintiffs which is in the amount of P99. or is deprived of land or any estate or interest therein in consequence of the bringing of the land under the operation of the Torrens system or arising after original registration of land. b) that he was deprived as a consequence of the bringing of his land or interest therein under the provisions of the Property Registration Decree. or the Registrar of Deeds.] [impleading the National Treasurer of the Republic of the Philippines and the  Register of Deeds of Marikina City. and who by the provisions of this Act is barred or in any way precluded from bringing an action for the recovery of such land or interest therein. or other employees of the Registry in the performance of their respective duties under the provisions of the Land Registration Act. It may be discerned from the foregoing provisions that the persons who may recover from the Assurance Fund are: 1) Any person who sustains loss or damage under the following conditions: a) that there was no negligence on his part. without negligence on his part. and who by the provisions of this Decree is barred or otherwise precluded under the provision of any law from bringing an action for the recovery of such land or the estate or interest therein. mistake or malfeasance of the court personnel. or 2) Any person who has been deprived of any land or interest therein under the following conditions: a) that there was no negligence on his part. through fraud or in consequence of any error.00 and ordering the defendants Treasurer and/or Registrar to pay or cause the payment of the said amount to herein plaintiffs. may bring in any court of competent jurisdiction an action against the Treasurer of the Philippine Archipelago for the recovery of damages to be paid out of the Assurance Fund. On 01 July 1992.  The precursor of Section 95. Branch 153[. and b) that the loss or damage sustained was through any omission. may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for the recovery of damage to be paid out of the Assurance Fund. mistake or misdescription in any certificate of title or in any entry or memorandum in the registration book. sustains loss or damage. Any person who without negligence on his part sustains loss or damage through any omission. 496). the High Tribunal issued a resolution denying the petition on the ground that no reversible error was committed by the Court of Appeals. or by mistake. 1529. or claim upon the same. the RTC rendered its decision finding in favor of the De Guzman spouses.[The] spouses De Guzman then went to the Supreme Court on a petition for review on certiorari. A person who. his deputy. or in any entry or memorandum in the register or other official book. omission.] On January 20. [the] spouses De Guzman filed [an] action for damages against the Assurance Fund before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig. omission or misdescription in any certificate of The National Treasurer and the Marikina Registrar of Deeds appealed from the above decision. SO ORDERED. We affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals. or of any deputy or clerk of the register of deeds in the performance of their respective duties under the provisions of this Act. 1995. mistake or misfeasance of the clerk. or of any examiner of titles. thus: IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. The Court of Appeals found merit in the appeal and reversed the decision of the RTC. now. otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree. On 11 February 1993.
or by mistake. Puno. omission or misdescription in any certificate or owner s duplicate. the Government is not an insurer of the unwary citizen s property against the chicanery of scoundrels. Moreover. ACCORDINGLY. or the Registrar of Deeds. the original owners were able to judicially recover the property from them. however. Court of  Appeals.. On the contrary. Petitioners' claim is not supported by the purpose for which the Assurance Fund was established. his deputy. Petitioners recourse is not against the Assurance Fund. Pardo. does not entitle them to compensation under the Assurance Fund. The Court of Appeals correctly held that petitioners circumstances do not fall under the first case. . concur. Petitioners did not suffer any prejudice because of the operation of this doctrine.. the petition is DENIED. Neither was the deprivation due to the registration by any other person as owner of such land. mistake or malfeasance of the court personnel. or other employees of the Registry in the performance of their respective duties.J. While we commiserate with petitioners. or claim upon the same. Davide. The Assurance Fund is intended to relieve innocent persons from the harshness of the doctrine that a certificate is conclusive evidence of an indefeasible title to land. and Ynares-Santiago. and c) that he is barred or in any way precluded from bringing an action for the  recovery of such land or interest therein. As we said in Treasurer of the Philippines vs.. (Chairman). petitioners were negligent in not ascertaining whether the impostors who executed a deed of sale in their (petitioner's) favor were really the owners of the property. or in any entry or memorandum in the register or other official book or by any cancellation. petitioners sought to avail of the benefits of the Torrens System by registering the property in their name. who appear to be victims of unscrupulous scoundrels. we cannot sanction compensation that is not within the law's contemplation. but against the rogues who duped them. Nor does petitioners situation fall under the second case. They were not deprived of their land as a consequence of the bringing of [the] land or interest therein under the provisions of the Property Registration Decree. Jr. Petitioners have not alleged that the loss or damage they sustained was through any omission. or in any entry or memorandum in the register or other official book or by any cancellation. JJ. C. as the Court of Appeals pointed out. That petitioners eventually lost the property to the original owners.owner s duplicate. Unfortunately for petitioners.
vs. modified nor set aside. the private respondents filed a Motion to Transfer Case to Branch 71 in order to avoid any conflict of decision between two  On October separate branches of this court which are co-equal to each other.R. but to dismiss the case outright. as well as its  July 19. On October 24. the remedy is not to transfer the case to Branch 71. praying in the main that an order be issued directing the Register of Deeds of Rizal to cancel the owner s duplicate copy of OCT No. Rizal. 1995. denied by the respondent Court in an Order dated July 19. 1995. ALBERTO GUANIO. 93-1310 thereof. GERVACIO. 4331 of the Registry of Deeds of Rizal. J. 4331 it has issued pursuant to the order of the Regional Trial Court  of Antipolo. 1995. As culled from the records. The petitioners motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid decision was. represented by CIRILO TUAZON. in lieu of the lost copy. 1995. the respondent Court rendered its herein assailed decision dismissing the petitioners petition  for certiorari. 1995 filed by the petitioners thru counsel as well as the opposition thereto dated October 12.  CALLEJO. otherwise. and (3) Neither Branch 74 nor Branch 71 has the jurisdiction to annul the said order since the jurisdiction to annul the same is exclusively lodged with the Court of Appeals.  issued an Order in LRC Case No.. Branch 74 issued an Order denying the petitioners prayer to dismiss the case as well as the private respondents motion to transfer case. the petitioners opposed the motion on the following grounds: (1) Under the doctrine of judicial stability or non-interference which bars Branch 74 from entertaining the case. 11.: Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the March 12. the same is hereby denied. 1996 Resolution denying the petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. 1994 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo. 1996 Decision of the Court of Appeals. (2) The Order promulgated by Branch 71 on August 17. to wit: For resolution is the Motion to Transfer Case dated September 25. 4331. is subsisting. VISITACION V. DECISION On September 25. as provided in Section 9 of  Batas Pambansa Bilang 129. On March 12. in LRC Case No. SR. No. 1995 filed by the respondents. and that OCT No. petitioners. 1995 filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul the order. Assailing the above-quoted order to have been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. VICTORIO. respondents. 125758. on file with the Registry of Deeds of Pasig. INES MOLINA. Rizal. 1996. Branch 71. granting the petition for the issuance of new owner s duplicate copy of OCT NO. LUISA VICTORIO. had long attained finality and can no longer be amended. likewise. the petitioners averred inter alia that the private respondents had no cause of action against them. Branch 71 would not have ordered the issuance of a new duplicate OCT in lieu of  that which was irretrievably lost. . ERLINDA V. and FROILAN C. 93-1310 granting the petitioners prayer for the issuance of a second owner s duplicate copy of Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. Branch 71 of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo. Defendant s prayer for dismissal of this case is likewise denied. as prayed for by the private respondents. 4331 null and void and directing the Register of Deeds of Pasig to issue a new one to the petitioners. In their Answer filed on August 14. The petitioners. JAIME B. GREGORIO. that Branch 74 had no jurisdiction to annul and/or reverse an order of a co-equal court. HON. 4331 had long become final and executory and considering that the present case involves an action for the cancellation and nullification of the title which is entirely different from the said petition. declaring the lost owner s duplicate copy of OCT No. thru counsel and it appearing that the Order dated August 17. which was docketed as Civil Case No. Rizal. the petitioners on December 4. COURT OF APPEALS and MA. the private respondents filed with Branch 74 of the same court an action for Quieting of Title and Nullification and Cancellation of Title. January 20. which is founded on a different cause of action and further considering the reasons stated therein to be bereft of merit.SECOND DIVISION [G. therefore. 1996. prayed that the private respondents motion to transfer case be denied and an order be issued dismissing outright the petition on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. GERVACIO. 1994. 95-3577. On June 19. 1994. 1995. 2004] HEIRS OF SUSANA DE GUZMAN TUAZON. Rizal. the petition at bench stemmed from the following factual backdrop On August 17. Branch 71.
a certified photocopy of which is hereto attached as Annex C and made a part hereof. Maria Gonzaga. a certified photocopy of which is hereto attached as Annex E and made a part hereof. a certified photocopy of which Deed of Absolute Sale is hereto attached as Annex D and made a part hereof and as a consequence thereof. IS FOR QUIETING OF TITLE AND CANCELLATION OF ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 1931. the surviving spouse of Nazario de Guzman. BRANCH 74. a certified photocopy of which is hereto attached as Annex D-1 and made a part hereof. to wit: 2. 21839 was issued by the Register of Deeds of Rizal in the name of Alejandro Santos. Transfer Certificate of Title No. III THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO. was issued in the names of the said spouses. 4331 was cancelled and in lieu thereof. 95-3577 are herein-below reproduced. 4. II THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE PETITION FOR ISSUANCE OF OWNER S DUPLICATE OF OCT NO. Nazario de Guzman was the owner in fee simple of those parcels of land situated at Barrio Dilang-Cainta. Alejandro Santos sold the above-described parcel of land to the spouses Jacinto de la Cruz and Andrea de Leon and Transfer Certificate of Title No. On April 7. Gabriel de la Cruz sold the above-described parcels of land to Isidro Victorio. 4331 issued by the Register of Deeds of Rizal. IS FOR RECONSTITUTION OF TITLE. and consequently. 5. a photocopy of which is hereto attached as Annex A and made a part hereof and which parcels of land are more particularly described as follows: 3. the predecessor of the petitioners. The pertinent allegations made by the private respondents in their petition in Civil Case No. This is because the complaint must contain a concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting the  plaintiff s cause of action and specify the relief sought. the jurisdiction of the courts. Transfer Certificate of Title No. a certified photocopy of which is hereto attached as Annex C-1 and made part hereof. RIZAL. 44790 was issued by the Register of Deeds of Rizal. a certified photocopy of which Sale in Spanish is hereto attached as Annex B and made part hereof. RIZAL. The petition has no merit. 1941. On June 9. It is axiomatic that the allegations in the complaint determine the nature of  the action. sold the above-described parcel of land to Alejandro Santos. embraced in and covered by then Original Certificate of Title No. the present petition. The petitioners allege the following grounds therefor: I THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE PETITION FILED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS IN CIVIL CASE NO. 1941 by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale. 6. and Original Certificate of Title No. 21839 was cancelled and in lieu thereof Transfer Certificate of Title No. On June 19. Rizal. a certified photocopy of which is hereto attached as Annex B-1 and made a part hereof. Transfer Certificate of Title No. IV THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS HAVE NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST THE PETITIONERS. HAS JURISDICTION TO ENTERTAIN THE PETITION FILED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS IN CIVIL CASE NO. .Hence. with the approval of the Court. 43164 was cancelled and in lieu thereof Transfer Certificate of Title No. by virtue of that Deed of Absolute Sale of Land executed by the former in favor of the latter. 4331. 1943. 44851 in the name of Isidro Victorio a certified photocopy of which is hereto attached as Annex E-1 and made a part hereof. 43164. 4331 FILED BY PETITIONERS IN BRANCH 71 OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO. the spouses Jacinto de la Cruz and Andrea de Leon sold to Gabriel de la Cruz the above-described parcels of land pursuant to the Deed of Absolute Sale they executed on the same date. On October 13. 95-3577. 44790 was cancelled and in its place was issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. 95-3577 IN BRANCH 74 OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO.
44851 to be consolidated with the parcel of land shown on Plan PSU188478 as Lot 1 and 2 thereof. Branch 71 in LRC Case No. casts a cloud on the titles of the petitioners and should be ordered cancelled. asking for the issuance of a second owner s duplicate copy of the Original Certificate of Title No. as null and void and directed the Register of Deeds of Pasig. it is respectfully prayed that an order be issued directing the Register of Deeds of Rizal to cancel the owner s duplicate copy of Original Certificate of Title No. respondents should be made liable to pay herein petitioners litigation expenses as may be incurred in the prosecution of this case and such amount of exemplary damages as may be fixed by this court. In Baricuatro. G-1. declaring the owner s duplicate copy of Original Certificate of Title No. 304776.a. which show that the owner s duplicate copy of Original Certificate of Title No.000. 4331 which was supposedly lost. On November 5. Court of Appeals. On August 17. 4331 was lost while in the possession of his mother. Susana de Guzman and they found this out after the death of Susana de Guzman Tuazon. not only to place things in their proper place. which were deliberately concealed by the respondents from the Court. 4331. 4331 it has issued pursuant to the order of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo. That by reason of the unlawful and illegal acts of respondents heirs of Susana de Guzman Tuazon in causing the issuance of a fake second owner s duplicate copy. 304778 and 304779. respectively. Rizal. and F-3. 4331 was already cancelled. and subdivided in accordance with consolidationsubdivision plan (LRC) PCS-188478 into 4 lots and the corresponding titles for each resulting subdivision lots were issued as per Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 4331. Isidro Victorio in turn sold to petitioners by virtue of those Deeds of Absolute Sale hereto attached as Annexes G. Such remedy may be availed of under the circumstances enumerated in the Civil Code: 9. Metro Manila to issue a new owner s duplicate copy of Original Certificate of Title No. the private respondents assert therein that the issuance to petitioners of a new owner s duplicate copy of OCT No. 13. Such order of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo. despite the documentary evidences annexed hereto. Such order of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo.  v. as captioned. Originating in equity jurisprudence. Branch 71. WHEREFORE. 304777. the parcels of land now covered by Annexes F to F-3 as follows: 13. 93-1310 thereof should be annulled as the said Court was made to believe the oral testimony of respondent Cirilo Tuazon. we held that: [Q]uieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud upon or doubt or uncertainty with respect to title to real property. so that the complainant and those claiming under him may be forever afterward free from any danger of hostile claim. casts a cloud on the titles of the private respondents and. the competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and other claimants. In an action for quieting of title. which was procured by fraudulent representation. F-1. 8. Branch 71 in LRC Case No. 1994. its purpose is to secure an adjudication that a claim of title to or an interest in property. to make the one who has no rights to said immovable respect and not disturb the other. and even to abuse the property as he deems best (citation omitted). Isidro Victorio had caused the parcels of land covered by the Transfer Certificate of Title No. 1993. the petitioners were forced to hire the services of counsel and to pay the latter the amount of P200. 4331. the respondents filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo Rizal. one for quieting of title and nullification and cancellation of title. and he could afterwards without fear introduce the improvements he may desire. Rizal. therefore. should be ordered cancelled. and G-3. adverse to that of the complainant. 4331 and which petition was docketed as LRC Case No.7.00 as attorney s fees. 10. Thus. 13. . 93-1310 is based on the perjured testimony of respondent Cirilo Tuazon that the copy of the owner s duplicate copy of Original Certificate of Title No. to use. That likewise as a result of respondent s action. 11. and made part hereof. but also for the benefit of both. F-2. The issuance of a new owner s duplicate copy of Original Certificate of Title No. Jr. is invalid. 12.b. 93-1310 in said Court. an order was issued by the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo. G-2. Branch 71 in LRC Case No. so that he who has the right would see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated. Branch 71. A cursory examination of the foregoing averments readily shows that the private respondents petition is indeed. having no factual and legal basis.  Rizal. photocopies of which are all hereto attached as Annexes F. 93-1310 thereof. Rizal.
B. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein. voidable. SP No. affecting as it does title to or possession of real property. The petitioners. 26. and does not pass upon the  ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. 39167 is hereby AFFIRMED. the same has no bearing on the petitioners cause in this case. in lieu of the lost one. 931310 involved the issuance. The purpose of the action is merely to have the same reproduced. Thus. 4331 issued to the petitioners by virtue of the August 17. IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING. encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. and may be prejudicial to said title. and not a mere annulment of a final order of the RTC as  viewed under par. claim. 9. Act No. SO ORDERED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 12. . Penultimate to the primary relief sought is the private respondents prayer for the cancellation of the new owner s duplicate copy of OCT No. 1529 and R. asseverate that their petition in LRC Case No. The trial court will then conduct a full-blown trial wherein the parties will present their respective evidence on the issue of ownership of the subject properties to enable the court to resolve the said issue. of the owner s copy of OCT No. 1994 Order of Branch 71 in LRC Case No. Quisumbing. No. Blg. thrust of the private respondents petition is for nullification of the order of Branch 71 on the ground of fraud. if not the real.P. An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real property or any interest therein. record. Austria-Martinez and Tinga. is non sequitur. 26. Verily. committed no reversible error when it denied the petitioners motion to dismiss the private respondents petition in Civil Case No. Corollarily. jurisdiction over which is clearly vested in the Regional Trial Court as provided in par. 19. 931310 is based on Section 109 of P. 26. in both species of reconstitution under Section 109 of P. in the same form they were when the loss or destruction occurred. 95-3577 before Branch 74. Sec. ineffective. cannot be given serious consideration. after proper proceedings. which is exactly what the private respondents did when they filed Civil Case No. Registering land under the Torrens System does not create or vest title because registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership.A. 93-1310 was a petition for reconstitution which can be validly made only in case it is the original copy of the certificate of title with the Register of Deeds which is lost or destroyed. Hence.. concur. any question involving the issue of ownership must be threshed out in a separate suit. 1529. Sec.R.ART. The argument. therefore. Precisely.  known as the Property Registration Decree. No. Under the circumstances. 129. and the mere fact that they themselves misconstrued the legal effect of the facts thus alleged and proved will not prevent the court from placing the just construction thereon and adjudicating the issue accordingly. 93-1310. the private respondents petition before Branch 74 makes out a case for quieting of title. A certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the particular property described  therein. contrary to the petitioners asseveration. and the cause of action of which is  based on Republic Act No.P. 476. the nature of the action denotes a restoration of the instrument which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed in its original form and condition. otherwise. Puno. It bears stressing at this point that ownership should not be confused with a certificate of title. even the petitioners allusion to paragraph 12 of the private respondents petition above. an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title. Branch 74. B. 4331. (Chairman). the petition is DENIED. by reason of any instrument. 129. JJ. 1529 or under Rep. Regardless of whether petitioners cause of action in LRC Case No. 4331 which is governed by Section 109 of Presidential Decree No. the Court of Appeals erred when it found that LRC Case No. or unenforceable. (2). 95-3577. in support of their claim that the main. We have declared that under our system of pleading it is the duty of the courts to grant the relief to which the parties are shown to be entitled by the allegations in their pleadings and the facts proved at the trial.D. however. the case before Branch 74 was actually a real action. and nullification and cancellation of title. 1996 in CA-G. No.D. Blg. (2). likewise. Hence. the private respondents complaint before Branch 74 seeks the removal of a cloud from and an affirmation of their ownership over the disputed properties covered by the titles issued subsequent to the cancellation of OCT No.
in Civil Case No. Paula Arcega executed what purported to be a deed of conditional sale over the land in favor of Josefina Arcega and the spouses Regalado Santiago and Rosita Palabyab. The three other bedrooms. 1985 Civil Case No. [G. before Paula Arcega died. filed on October 24. 1971. Josefina Arcega. 1970. respondents. Presiding Judge of the RTC of Malolos. TCT No. Private respondent Quirico Arcega. They maintain that the purchase price was actually paid to Paula Arcega and that said amount was spent by the deceased in the construction of her three-door apartment on the parcel of land in question. 1971 executed by the deceased Paula Arcega covering a parcel of land embraced under TCT No. After trial. supposedly upon payment of the remaining balance.000. 1971. 8470-M. by which TCT No. Bulacan.00. vs. 8470-M before the RTC of Malolos. viz. Her residential house stood there until 1970 when it was destroyed by a strong typhoon. were occupied by the petitioners who were the supposed vendees in the sale. 1971 by the late Paula Arcega. for and in consideration of P20. Bulacan. Bulacan.000. on July 18. 1985 or more than fourteen (14) years from the time the cause of action accrued. petitioner spouses averred that private respondent's cause of action was already barred by the statute of limitations considering that the disputed deed of absolute sale was executed in their favor on July 18. 1985. 1991 Decision of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G. COURT OF APPEALS.. On April 10. in favor of herein petitioners over a parcel of land consisting of 927 square meters. 1971. 1971. smaller than the master's bedroom. sister of private respondent.FIRST DIVISION of Paula Arcega. Incidentally. T-115510 in favor of the defendants. was cancelled and a new title. CV No. 1997] SPOUSES REGALADO SANTIAGO and ROSITA PALABYAB.: Assailed in this petition for review under Rule 45 is the November 8. Subsequently. Paula Arcega was the registered owner of that certain parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Branch 19. The action therein sought to declare null and void the Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan ng Lupa executed on July 18. 25069. No. on July 20. It was expressly provided that the vendor would execute and deliver to the vendees an absolute deed of sale upon full payment by the vendees of the unpaid balance of the purchase price of P13. T-148989 was issued in the name of petitioners.R. Paula Arcega executed a deed of absolute sale of the same parcel of land in favor of petitioners. the master's bedroom. T-115510.000.R. Regional Trial Court of Malolos. was declared in default for failure to file her answer within the reglementary period. the RTC rendered judgment in favor of private respondent Quirico Arcega.00 was not actually paid by the vendees to his sister. while private respondent's complaint was filed in court only on October 24. TCT No.000. Marilao. Petitioners also deny that the sale was fictitious. It affirmed in toto the judgment of Branch 19. petitioners. the other petitioner. Narciso Arcega and private respondent Quirico Arcega. 103959.. and QUIRICO ARCEGA. a house of four bedrooms with a total floor area of 225 square meters was built over the parcel of land in question. Answering the complaint before the RTC. CAMILO C. MONTESA. On December 9. Paula Arcega died single and without issue. seeking to declare null and void the deed of sale executed by his sister during her lifetime in favor of the petitioners on the ground that said deed was fictitious since the purported consideration therefor of P20. as heir of his deceased sister. THE HON.00 as downpayment. 148989 was issued on July 20. was occupied by Paula Arcega until her death despite the execution of the alleged deed of absolute sale. The vendees were supposed to pay P7. JR. Bulacan. J. leaving as heirs  her two brothers. with toilet and bath. situated in Barangay Tabing Ilog. JR. the petitioners herein. JOSEFINA ARCEGA. August 21. Significantly. T-115510. Thereupon. THE HON.00.: "(a) Declaring as null and void and without legal force and effect the 'Kasulatan Ng Bilihang Tuluyan ng Lupa' dated July 18. in the name . DECISION HERMOSISIMA.
Sometime in 1970. A rice miller. 1985 and the other three smaller bedrooms are occupied by spouses. the trial court. T-148989. T-115510. pp. the couple borrowed the title and then mortgaged the property with the SSS. She executed a deed of sale to effect the transfer of the property in the name of the defendants and thereafter the latter mortgaged the same for P30. Court of Appeals. defendants Regalado Santiago and Rosita Palabyab. as affirmed in toto by the public respondent Court of Appeals. Did the deceased indeed give defendant Josefina Arcega half of her property out of love and gratitude? Such circumstance appears illogical if not highly improbable. 6. While it is true that Rosita Palabyab stayed with the deceased since childhood. this case is on all fours with Suntay v. Hence.000. the public respondent Court of Appeals dismissed the same. which is unconscionably low for 937 square meters in favor of the defendants sometime on July 18.). Luis Cuvin who emphatically claimed that no money was involved in the transaction as the parties have other agreement.00 and the same all went to the additional construction of the house. Paula deemed it wise to lend her title to them for purposes of loan with the SSS. distant relative and a niece of the wife of Narciso Arcega. is merely designed as an accommodation for purposes of loan with the SSS.00 with a floor area of 225 square meters consisting of four bedrooms .000. Paula Arcega and her brothers sold another property which they inherited for P805. T-148989 issued and registered in the names of defendants Josefina Arcega and spouses Regalado Santiago and Rosita Palabyab as null and void.00 dated July 18. 1971 in favor of the defendants and the same was notarized by Atty. 19 Oct. the said amount is not sufficient.00.00 as attorney's fees.000. p.000.000. a strong typhoon destroyed the house of Paula Arcega and the latter together with the defendants decided to construct a new house. rec. the same cannot be said with respect to defendant Josefina Arcega. subject to real estate mortgage with the Social Security System. (c) Ordering the reconveyance of the property including all improvements thereon covered by TCT No. Nino. 1971 who are all members of SSS. and (d) To pay jointly and severally the amount of P10." In ruling for private respondent. Paula Arcega and her brothers sold the property which they inherited for P45. who stayed with deceased sometime in 1966 at the age of 19 years and already working as a saleslady in Manila. to the plaintiff. The house as finally finished in 1983 is worth more than P100.Why did you say that the house is owned by spouses Santiago but the lot is bought by you and Rosita? A.(b) Declaring TCT No.00 but the amount actually released was only P25. affirming in all respects the RTC judgment. The petition is unmeritorious. 295-300. found that: "On the basis of the evidence adduced. however. this petition.950. On the counterclaim. 1985 died single and without issue. Thereafter.00 out of her savings for the construction of the house sometime in 1971 and after the same and the proceeds of the loan were exhausted. a certain Federico Suntay was the registered owner of a parcel of land in Sto. deemed it wise to augment her funds for construction purposes by way of a mortgage with the SSS which only defendants could possibly effect they being members of the SSS. Hagonoy. 1960 as a   .000. Bulacan. Since the SSS requires the collateral to be in the name of the mortgagors. The allegations of the defendants that the property was given to them (Kaloob) by the deceased has no evidentiary value. All the defendants being members of the SSS.00. and Josefina Arcega. Paula Arcega executed a simulated deed of sale (Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan ng Lupa) for P20. Paula Arcega spent the initial amount of P30.000. There is clear indication that the deed of sale. There is only one title but both of us owned it. the same is hereby dismissed for lack of legal and/or factual  basis (p. it appears that plaintiff Quirico Arcega and his brother Narciso Arcega are the only surviving heirs of the deceased Paula Arcega who on April 10. As a matter of fact defendant Josefina Arcega in her unguarded moment unwittingly told the truth that couple (Regalado Santiago and Rosita Palabyab) had indeed borrowed the title and then mortgaged the same with the SSS as shown in her direct testimony which reads: 'Atty Villanueva: Q.Because at that time.00 and one-third (1/3) thereof went to Paula Arcega which she spent a portion of which for the finishing touches of the house. the same was not as yet completed.After the death of Paula Arcega defendant Josefina Arcega and Narciso Arcega constructed their own house at back portion of the lot in question.000. A big master's bedroom complete with a bath and toilet was occupied by Paula Arcega up to the time of her death on April 10. Federico applied on September 30. Verily. There. decision. 5)" On appeal. (TSN dtd. Paula Arcega cognizant of the shortage of funds in her possession in the amount of P30. '88. now TCT No.
however. He did not even attempt to. is contrary to the principle of ownership and a clear badge of simulation that renders the whole transaction void and without force and effect. In any case.miller-contractor of the then National Rice and Corn Corporation (NARIC). in lieu thereof. Rafael. it is not the intention nor the function of the notary public to validate and make binding an instrument never. For purposes of circumvention. is a circumstance which is unmistakably added proof of the fictitiousness of the said transfer. However.00. indeed. he should have entered the alnd and occupied the premises thereof. All told. the same being contrary to the  principle of ownership. To achieve this Rafael prepared a notarized Absolute Deed of Sale whereby Federico. pursuant to Article 1409 of the New Civil Code: "The following contracts are inexistent and void from the beginning: xxx xxx (2) Those which are absolutely simulated or fictitious. as new owner. Rafael Suntay." xxx xxx The fact that.000. worse. TCT No. in the first place. Luis Cuvin who notarized the deed disclaimed the truthfulness of the document when he testified that "NO MONEY WAS INVOLVED IN THE TRANSACTION. he thought of allowing his nephew-lawyer. while Paula Arcega remained virtually in full possession of the completed house and lot using the big master's bedroom with bath and toilet up to the time of her death on April 10. Definitely. refused to deliver the title insisting that said property was "absolutely sold and conveyed [to him] xxx for a consideration of P20. never intended to convey the property thereto from one party to the other for valuable consideration." In the case before us. 1969. Arcega had no business whatsoever remaining in the property and. without just cause. though the notarization of the deed of sale in question vests in its favor the presumption of regularity. Here. After the sale. Certificate of Title No. they would have collected rentals from Paula Arcega for the use and occupation of the master's bedroom as she would then be a mere lessee of the property in question.00. notwithstanding the title transfer. and for other valuable consideration. we observed in that case: "Indeed the most protuberant index of simulation is the complete absence of an attempt in any manner on the part of the late Rafael to assert his rights of ownership over the land and rice mill in question. Philippine currency. Federico remained in actual possession. any legitimate vendee of real property who paid for the property with good money wil not accede to an arrangement whereby the vendor continues occupying the most favored room in the house while he or she. the transaction entered into by the petitioner's and The conceded fact that subject deed of absolute sale executed by Paula Arcega in favor of petitioners is a notarized document does not justify the petitioners' desired conclusion that said sale is undoubtedly s true conveyance to which the parties thereto are irrevocably and undeniably bound. or in the alternative. not a single piece of evidence was presented to show that this was the case. the transaction was . xxx xxx xxx the late Paula Arcega on July 18. conveyed to Rafael said parcel of land with all its existing structures." We therein ruled in favor of Federico Suntay and found that the deed of sale in question was merely an absolutely simulated contract for the purpose of accommodation and therefore void. they were relegated to a small bedroom without bath and toilet. Sometime in the months of June to  August. 1971 was a veritable deed of absolute sale. but his application was disapproved because he was tied up with several unpaid loans. to make the application for him. the parties to the "Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan ng Lupa. he would have collected rentals from Federico for the use and occupation of the land and its improvements. cultivation and occupation of the disputed lot from the time the deed of sale was executed until the present. T36714 was issued in the name of Rafael.000. If he stood as owner. Federico requested Rafael to deliver back to him the owner's duplicate of the transfer certificate of title over the properties in question for he intended to use the property as collateral in securing a bank loan to finance the expansion of his rice mill. to still occupy the big master's bedroom with all its amenities until her death on April 10. if petitioners really stood as legitimate owners of the property. 0-2015 in the name of Federico was cancelled and. xxx xxx xxx. the failure of petitioners to take exclusive possession of the property allegedly sold to them. Rather. as it was purported to be." as shown by the evidence and accompanying circumstances. If. to collect rentals from the alleged vendee Paula Arcega. The intention of the parties still is and always will be the primary consideration in determining the true nature of a contract." Furthermore. then Ms. 1985. endures the disgrace and absurdity of having to sleep in a small bedroom without bath and toilet as if he or she is a guest or a tenant in the house. 1985. To be considered with great significance is the fact that Atty. intended to have any binding legal effect upon the parties thereto. for and in consideration of P20. Upon the execution and registration of said deed. In retrospect. while petitioners were able to occupy the property in question. All that the late Rafael had was a title in his name.
the Torrens system of registration can confirm or record nothing. That in conformity with the above plans and schemes of the defendants. No. It cannot be a shield for the commission of fraud. That in order to secure the loan from the Social Security System it was necessary that the lot on which the proposed house would be erected should be registered and titled in the names of the defendants.). That in 1971. as collateral. 7. like the testimony of Notary Public. The rule on parole evidence under Section 9. 1971. And. Petitioners. 115510. decided among themselves to build a new house on the property of PAULA ARCEGA above described and to borrow money from the Social Security System to finance the proposed construction. private respondent Quirico Arcega. insist that both the trial court and the respondent court should have followed the Parole Evidence Rule and prevented evidence. which impugned the two notarized deeds of sale. That defendants pursuing their unlawful scheme registered the said void and inexistent KASULATAN NG BILIHANG TULUYAN NG LUPA with the office of the Register of Deeds of Bulacan. the title to which they were able to register in their names through the simulated sale. in the name of PAULA ARCEGA and the issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title No. mistake or imperfection in the written agreement. Page No. or (d) The existence of other terms agreed to by the parties or their successors in interest after the execution of the written agreement. It only confirms and records title already existing and vested. pp. 52. (a) An intrinsic ambiguity. even the original registration of immovable  property does not vest title thereto. where a party who is entitled to the benefit of the rule waives the benefit thereof by allowing such evidence to be received without objection and without any effort to have it (b) The failure of the written agreement to express the true intent and agreement of the parties thereto. the defendants. a party may present evidence to modify. procured the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title No. securing the payment thereof with a Real Estate Mortgage on the above-described property then already titled in their names as aforestated (pp. That act has never been recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership. Atty. defendants secured a loan from Social Security System in the amount of P30. It does not permit one to enrich himself at the expense of another. a xeroxed copy of which is hereto attached as Annex C and made integral part hereof. 6. 2-3. XIX. then or thereafter paid either wholly or partially. The Torrens system does not create or vest title. Moreover. who by then were already employed in private firms and had become members of the Social Security System by virtue of their respective employments.00. did not operate to vest upon petitioners ownership over Paula Arcega's property. That still in furtherance of their unjust and unlawful schemes. TCT No. 148989. The fact that petitioners were able to secure a title in their names. 148989. 1-5. Book No. xxx xxx xxx 9.  rec. Where one does not have any rightful claim over a real property. 253. the parol evidence rule may be waived by failure to invoke it. the whole parcel of land above described for the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20. In this case.000. as by failure to object to the introduction of parol evidence. Rule 130 is qualified by the following exceptions: However. in their names.merely used to facilitate a loan with the SSS with petitioners-mortgagors using the property in question. complaint. As a matter of fact. private respondent Quirico Arcega was able to put in issue in his complaint before the Regional Trial Court the validity of the subject deeds of sale for being a simulated transaction: . as consideration which was not actually. 11. before Notary Public LUIS CUVIN.000. Series of 1971. hence null and void KASULATAN NG BILIHANG TULUYAN NG LUPA on July 18. Luis Cuvin. The term agreement includes wills. explain or add to the terms of the written agreement if he puts in issue in his pleading.00). by which PAULA ARCEGA purportedly convyed(sic) in favor of the defendants JOSEFINA ARCEGA and the spouses REGALADO SANTIAGO and ROSITA PALABYAB. A copy of said document is hereto attached as Annex B and made integral part hereof. they made PAULA ARCEGA execute and sign a fictitious. It does not protect a usurper from the true owner. among others. nevertheless. 10. (c) The validity of the written agreement. of Bulacan and entered in his register as Doc.
Articles 1144 and 1391 of the New Civil Code provide: ART. concur. The question of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court. could or should have been done earlier. in the first place. Upon a judgment. more than fourteen (14) years had elapsed from the time his cause of action accrued to the time that the complaint was filed. premises considered. 1971. from the time the guardianship ceases. petitioners argue that private respondent s complaint filed before the trial court on October 24. under the principle of equity. the records are devoid of any indication that petitioners ever objected to the admissibility of parole evidence introduced by private respondent in open court. The court cannot disregard evidence which would ordinarily be incompetent under the rules but has  been rendered admissible by the failure of party to object thereto. . In cases of mistake or fraud. no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of demand. to be sure. (2) (3) Upon an obligation created by law. SO ORDERED. from the time the defect of the consent ceases. The following actions must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues: (1) Upon a written contract. Padilla.stricken from the minutes or disregarded by the trial court. (Chairman). It is the better rule that courts. 1391. Indeed. invoke the rule in order  to secure a reversal of the judgment by an appellate court. the petition is hereby DENIED with costs against petitioners. Finally. manifest wrong or injustice would result. the pertinent provision being Article 1410 of the New Civil Code which provides unequivocably that [T]he action or  defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe. But there is. This period shall begin: In cases of intimidation. In the case under consideration. each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances. Vitug. will not be guided or bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of  laches when to do so. its application is controlled by equitable considerations. As for laches. from the time of the discovery of the same. Bellosillo. The action for annulment shall be brought within four years. it would not only be impractical but well-nigh unjust and patently inequitous to apply laches against private respondent and vest ownership over a valuable piece of real property in favor of petitioners by virtue of an absolutely simulated deed of sale never. he cannot. after the trial has closed and the case has been decided against him.. 1144. and since laches is an equitable doctrine. And when the action refers to contracts entered into by minors or other incapacitated persons. violence or undue influence. This submission is utterly without merit. meant to convey any right over the subject property. 1985 is already barred by the statute of limitations and laches considering that the deed of absolute sale was executed in their favor by the deceased Paula Arcega on July 20. It cannot be  worked to defeat justice or to perpetrate fraud and injustice. Petitioners have no one to blame but themselves in this regard. by exercising due diligence. it is the negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time. WHEREFORE. and Kapunan. JJ. its essence is the failure or neglect. Here. warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do that which. ART.
in CA-G. province . through another deed of extrajudicial settlement.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Cad. That said land is neither inside the relocation site earmarked for Metro Manila squatters nor any pasture lease. Teresa Lauchangco as mentioned on the Extra-judicial partition dated July 26. 1963 which applicant requested that said instrument will be presented on the hearing of this case. In 1949. situated in the barrio of Sala. J. private respondent and his brother. who died on February 15. Cabuyao. and that said land is also declared for taxation purposes under Tax Declaration No. Teresa Lauchangco. 3015. That the land subject for registration thru judicial confirmation of imperfect title is situated in the barrio of Sala. 6 by virtue of an extra-judicial partition of the land embraced in Plan Psu108952. province of Laguna as described on plan Psu-108952 and is identical to Lot No. chico and mango trees and one house of the tenant made of light materials. xxx xxx xxx 5 With the private respondent as lone witness for his petition. 3015. 1975. the Count hereby orders and declares the registration and confirmation of title to one (1) parcel of land identified as Lot 6. a sugar land with an area of forty-three thousand six hundred fourteen (43. municipality of Cabuyao. Court of First Instance of Laguna. Regional Trial Court of Laguna. 4. became co-owners of Lot No. riverbed. Cabuyao Cadastre. PURISIMA. among the heirs of Teresa Lauchangco. seeking to set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals. No. That the land subject for registration is outside any civil or military reservation. 1990.: At bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. open and exclusive possession of the land who acquired the same thru inheritance from his deceased mother. municipality of Cabuyao. 1911.R. No. 1993.R. Aquilino Cariño. On July 26. sole ownership of Lot No. Laguna. park and watershed reservation and that same land is free from claim and conflict. CARIÑO. disclosed: xxx xxx xxx THE DIRECTOR. more or less. B-467. 29218. COURT OF APPEALS and AQUILINO L. dated November 11. Severino Cariño. forming part of a bigger tract of land surveyed as Psu108952 and situated in Barrio Sala. bamboo clumps. 6 in the name of the private respondent. Cad. petitioner. On February 5. 112567 February 7. 1963. 1990. and that the same is agricultural in nature and the improvements found thereon are sugarcane. Private respondent declared that subject land was originally owned by his mother. 6. LANDS MANAGEMENT BUREAU. The facts that matter are as follows: On May 15. 3. vs. 455-D.614) square meters. 1. filed with the then Branch I. the trial court granted private respondent's petition. Cabuyao Cadastre. 6 was adjudicated to 4 the private respondent. plan Psu108952. 2. which affirmed the Decision. the proceedings below ended. it is not covered by any existing public land application and no patent or title has been issued therefor. disposing thus: WHEREFORE. a petition1 for registration of Lot No. 6359 in the name of the petitioner. ordering the registration of Lot No. 455-0. after the death of their father in 1934. 2000 Pertinent report of the Land Investigator of the Bureau of Lands (now Bureau of Lands Management). on the basis of the evidence on record. the private respondent.2 and later administered by him 3 in behalf of his five brothers and sisters. That the herein petitioner has been in continuous. dated February 5. of Branch XXIV. and the Director of Lands as the only oppositor. respondents. identical to Cadastral Lot No. in LRC No.
The evidence adduced by the private respondent is not enough to prove his possession of subject lot in concept of owner. The Petition is impressed with merit. ownership in fee simple. which. petitioner found his way to this Court via the present Petition. 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. Anyway. continuous. (Emphasis supplied) . theorizing that: I THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAS NOT SUBMITTED PROOF OF HIS FEE SIMPLE TITLE OR PROOF OF POSSESSION IN THE MANNER AND FOR THE LENGTH OF TIME REQUIRED BY THE LAW TO JUSTIFY CONFIRMATION OF AN IMPERFECT TITLE. Pursuant to said Act. 1975. 141). petitioner (as oppositor) went to the Court of Appeals. 48. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. No. more or less. or a titulo de compra or title through purchase. as amended. let an order for the issuance of decree of registration be issued. 1993. The petition for land registration8 at bar is under the Land Registration 9 Act. Filipino. and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. and (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. 141. he who alleges in his petition or application. exclusive. on November 11.A. a composicion con al estado or adjustment title. 3872. which would become a 10 "titulo gratuito" or a gratuitous title. CARINO. For insufficiency of evidence. under the Land Registration Act. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claim and the issuance of title therefor. the law prevailing at the time the Petition of private respondent was filed on May 15. must present muniments of title since the Spanish times. as amended R. Undaunted. 1942 and R. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.614) Square Meters. Laguna.A. with residence and postal address at Biñan. Sec. containing an area of FORTY THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED FOURTEEN (43. The following described citizens of the Philippines. to wit: xxx xxx xxx 12 From the aforesaid decision. of legal age. even if considered as petition for confirmation of imperfect title under the Public land Act (CA No. private respondent's petition would meet the same fate. such as a titulo real or royal grant. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. provides: Sec. the private respondents (petitioner below) has not produced a single muniment of title substantiate his claim of ownership. but to dismiss private respondent's petition for the registration of subject land under Act 496. in favor of applicant AQUILINO L. its denial is inevitable. II THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT HAS NOT OVERTHROWN THE PRESUMPTION THAT THE LAND IS A PORTION OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN BELONGING TO THE 7 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. No. a concession especial or special grant. under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership. affirmed the decision appealed from. married to Francisca Alomia. SO ORDERED.of Laguna. In the case under consideration. in the manner and for the number of years required by law for the confirmation of imperfect title. After this decision shall have become final. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed.11 The Court has therefore no other recourse. 6 "informacion possessoria" or "possessory information title".
. . when the same was adjudicated to him by virtue of an extra-judicial settlement and partition. in fee simple. It is a basic assumption of our polity that lands of whatever classification belong to the state. the private respondent has possessed the property thus partitioned for only twenty-six (26) years as of 1975. As enunciated in Republic vs. . for at least (30) thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the petition for confirmation of title. no such proof would be forthcoming. declaring an assessment of Twenty-One Thousand Seven Hundred Seventy (P21.19 In the case under consideration. . Both under the 1935 and the present Constitutions. private respondent has not introduced sufficient evidence to substantiate his allegation that his late mother possessed the land in question even prior to 1911. even though there is no opposition. Courts are not justified in registering property under the Torrens system. Where. There would be a failure to abide by its command if the judiciary does not scrutinize with care applications to private ownership of real estate. The rule that findings of fact by the trial court and the Court of Appeals are binding upon this Court is not without exceptions. 3214 issued in 1949 under the names of the private respondent and his brother. either by purchase or by grant.770. however long. this Court stressed that: . He must show. Severino Cariño. the burden is upon him (petitioner) to show that he and/or his predecessor-in-interest has been in open. they must be grounded in well-nigh incontrovertible evidence. 6 was Tax Declaration No. To bridge the gap. In order that a petition for registration of land may prosper and the petitioners may savor the benefit resulting from the issuance of certificate of title for the land petitioned for. In Director of Lands vs. . which are mere conclusions of law and not factual proof of possession are unavailing and cannot suffice. The same was followed by Tax Declaration No. never confers title upon the possessor. To be granted. in fee simple.1âwphi1. that he is the absolute owner. the petitioner in land registration cases is not relieved of the burden of proving the imperfect right 14 or title sought to be confirmed. continuous. belong to the state as part of the 17 public domain. General statements. upon the ground that the facts presented did not show that petitioner is the owner. The underlying principle is that all lands that were not acquired from the government.21 It bears stressing that the Exhibit "E" referred to in the decision below as the tax declaration for subject land under the names of the parents of herein private respondent does not appear to have any sustainable basis.00) Pesos and Tax Declaration No. Unless alienated in accordance with law. 1921 issued in 1969 declaring an assessed value of Five Thousand Two Hundred Thirty-three (P5. Lee: . simply because there is no opposition offered. as in this case. private respondent can only trace his own possession of subject parcel of land to the year 1949. exclusive. Agustin. Assuming that such a partition was truly effected.00) Pesos. the conservation no less than the utilization of the natural resources is ordained. Said Exhibit "E" shows that it is Tax Declaration 1921 for Lot No. deny the registration of the land under the Torrens system. he proceeded to tack his possession to what he theorized upon as possession of the same land by his parents. to the satisfaction of the court. other than his unilateral assertion.13 Notwithstanding absence of opposition from the government. as in this case. 6 in the name of private respondent and 22 not in the name of his parents.nêt Basic is the rule that the petitioner in a land registration case must prove the facts and circumstances evidencing his alleged ownership of the land applied for. . . The petitioner is not necessarily entitled to have the land registered under the Torrens system simply because no one appears to oppose his title and to oppose the registration of his land.15 There is thus an imperative necessity of the most rigorous scrutiny before imperfect titles over public agricultural lands may be granted judicial 16 recognition. of the land which he is attempting to have registered.20 From the relevant documentary evidence. However. unless the occupant can prove possession or occupation of the same under claim of ownership for the required period to constitute a grant from the State. there is no justification for viewing such claim with favor.Possession of public lands. and adverse possession and occupation of the land sought for registration. 6359 issued in 1974 in the name of private respondent. Courts may. when he filed his petition for the registration thereof. Where. it can be gleaned that the earliest tax declaration covering Lot No.233. it retains its right over 18 the same as dominus. pertinent records . even in the absence of any opposition.
. Inc. . the application for confirmation of imperfect title was likewise denied on the basis of the following disquisition. notorious and in concept of owners. they constitute at least proof that the holder had a claim of 27 title over the property.' and . the Court of Appeals just adopted entirely the findings of the trial court.29 this Court set aside the decisions of the trial court and the Court of Appeals for the registration of a parcel of land in the name of the applicant. As stressed by the Solicitor General. 1986). Jr.28 In a case. The burden of proof is on the private respondent. Had it examined the original records of the case. Private respondent should have presented specific facts that would have shown the nature of such possession. et al. . They did not present as witness their predecessor. hearsay. . . in the interest of substantial justice this Court is not prevented from considering such a pivotal factual matter that had been overlooked by the Courts below. v. exclusive and notorious occupation of Lot No. it is incumbent upon private respondent to prove that the alleged twenty year or more possession of the spouses Urbano Diaz and Bernarda Vinluan which supposedly formed part of the thirty (30) year period prior to the filing of the application. It is not clear whether at the time they filed their application in 1973. are mere conclusions of law requiring evidentiary support and substantiation. continuous. Datu. they declared it for tax purposes only in 1972. open. do not amount to preponderant evidence that would shift the burden of proof to the oppositor. continuous. Generosa Santiago. . Court of Appeals. the contention of private respondent that his mother had been in possession of subject land even prior to 1911 is self-serving. the Court ratiocinated thus: This case represents an instance where the findings of the lower court overlooked certain facts of substance and value that if considered would affect the result of the case (People v. They alleged in their application that 31 . May 3. public. 130 SCRA 259) and when it appears that the appellate court based its judgment on a misapprehension of facts (Carolina Industries. why were the subject lands declared for taxation purposes for the first time only in 1968. the said court could have verified that the land involved was never declared for taxation purposes by the parents of the respondent. as applicant. Court of Appeals. had been in possession since 1925. private respondent failed to discharge to the satisfaction of the Court. holding as follows: Based on the foregoing. Tax receipts and tax declarations are not incontrovertible evidence of 25 ownership. 133 SCRA 88. such 23 findings have to be disregarded by this Court. by which characteristics private respondent describes his possession and that of his parents. Although they claimed that they have possessed the land since 1950. His bare allegations without more. Funtillar. The bare assertion that the spouses Urbano Diaz and Bernarda Vinluan had been in possession of the property for more than twenty (20) years found in private respondent's declaration is hardly the "well-nigh incontrovertible" evidence required in cases of this nature. v. They are mere indicia of claim of ownership. The phrase "adverse.belie the findings by the lower courts that subject land was declared for taxation purposes in the name of private respondent's predecessor-in-interest. G. et al. ... Moran. This burden. to testify on his alleged possession of the land. and in concept of owner".R. Royeras. No. Santiago. continuous. This case therefore is an exception to the general rule that the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are final and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on appeal to this Court.30 In Director of Lands vs. was open. the lot was still cogon land or already cultivated land.. The Supreme Court is clothed with ample authority to review palpable errors not assigned as such if it finds that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision. 97 SCRA 734. In Republic vs. and in the names of Garcia and Obdin? For although tax receipts and declarations of ownership for taxation purposes are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership. . positive and convincing evidence that the alleged possession of his parents was of the nature and duration required by law. pursuant to Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Law. 68533.24 Verily. Director of Lands v. In Director of Lands 26 vs. if it is true that the original owner and possessor. CMS Stock Brokerage. and inadmissible in evidence. 2027B en concepto de dueño. exclusive. to prove by clear. to wit: We hold that applicants' nebulous evidence does not support their claim of open. Peñaflor. Inc.
that subject Lot No. Vitug. 1073. The Court cannot apply here the juris et de jure presumption that the lot being claimed by the private respondent ceased to be a public land and has become 34 private property. in CA-G. To reiterate.they had tenants on the land. the Decision of the Court of Appeals. WHEREFORE. under the administrative supervision and power of disposition of the Bureau of Lands Management. 6. 1945.D. four years later than June 12..nêt 33 . is hereby declared a public land. Neither can private respondent seek refuge under P. JJ. No. 141 under which law a certificate of title may issue to any occupant of a public land. 8-467. and notorious possession and occupation since June 12. Failing to prove that his predecessors-in-interest occupied subject land under the conditions laid down by law. dated November 11. 1945. who is a Filipino citizen. 6 surveyed under Psu-108952. and to present convincing and positive proof of his open. Regional Trial Court of Laguna in LRC No. under the Regalian doctrine all lands belong to the 35 State. Private respondent having failed to come forward with muniments of title to reinforce his petition for registration under the Land Registration Act (Act 496). is SET ASIDE. 6 en concepto de dueño for at least 30 years 37 immediately preceding the filing of his petition. as set by law. On the basis of applicants' insubstantial evidence. the private respondent could only establish his possession since 1949. covered by and more particularly described in Psu-108952. 29218 affirming the Decision.R. and so finds. No pronouncement as to costs. upon proof of open. 1990. continuous exclusive. continuous. and Lot No. dated February 5. the Court is of the opinion. Melo. the Petition is GRANTED. concur. or earlier. it retains its basic rights over the 36 same as dominus.1âwphi1. 1993. it cannot justifiably be concluded that they have an imperfect title that should be confirmed or that they had performed all the conditions essential to a Government 32 grant of a portion of the public domain. No. Not a single tenant was presented as witness to prove that the applicants had possessed the land as owners. Unless alienated in accordance with law. xxx xxx xxx SO ORDERED. of Branch XXIV. Panganiban and Gonzaga-Reyes. amending Section 48(b) of Commonwealth Act No. exclusive and notorious occupation of Lot No. forms part of the public domain not registrable in the name of private respondent.
Region X. 452 which is adjacent to Lot No.000.: The Case This is a petition for review of the Decision dated 9 July 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV No. portion. identified as Lot No. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff (Isabelo Sacabin) and against the defendants (Heirs of Toribio Waga. portion belonging to respondent. P-8599 was registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds for the Province of Misamis Oriental on 29 August 1974. OCT No. had been erroneously included in OCT No. represented by Nellie W. P-8599 (OCT No. On 10 October 1996. jointly and severally. meters. open. peaceful. continuous and adverse manner and in the concept of owner. No. and Damages. Villamor and Elves Galarosa). the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE.960 sq. then the subject land has become private property of respondent by operation of law. 2009 alleged encroachment on respondent s property. DECISION CARPIO. portion. more or less. Since respondent and his predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of Lot No. covering Lot No. Branch 44 (trial court).m. 450. and adverse manner since 1940. portion of his land.m. the sum of a) P50. 159131 July 27. 411315 and Original Certificate of Title No.R. Respondent. 71137. ISABELO SACABIN. On 24 April 2001. 450 containing an area of 4. P-8599 issued to petitioners. 450 the 790 sq. 450. On 26 December 1991.m. Free Patent 4 No. continuous. The trial court found that respondent and his predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of Lot No. Isabelo Sacabin (respondent) filed a protest before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The Court of Appeals affirmed the Decision3 dated 24 April 2001 of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental. the Special Investigator found that respondent s lot included the disputed 790 sq. Petitioners.00 . in view of the foregoing premises. including the disputed 790 sq.m. were issued in the name of the Heirs of Toribio Waga (petitioners). filed a Free Patent Application for Lot No. Region X. 452. respondent filed on 9 October 1998 a complaint against petitioners for Amendment of Original Certificate of Title. vs. portion. the trial court rendered a decision. including the disputed 790 sq. On 25 September 1968. The Special Investigator who conducted the ocular inspection of the lots of the parties testified that he found seven fifty-year old coconut trees planted in a straight line and forming a common natural boundary between the lots of the parties. P-8599 reconvey that portion belonging to plaintiff with an area of 790 sq. The Facts Petitioners predecessor-in-interest. segregating from Lot No. WAGA. against the issuance of Free Patent No. in an open. P-8599 to petitioners and their subsequent registration. 452. represented by MERBA A. for more than 30 years in peaceful. issued a decision5 recommending that an action be taken by the Director of Lands for the annulment of Free Patent No. P-8599. P-8599). the Regional Executive Director of the DENR. On 1 October 1965.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.for damages HEIRS OF TORIBIO WAGA. Lot No.m. Toribio Waga. 411315 and OCT No. 411315 and OCT No. When the Director of Lands failed to act on the recommendation. Ejectment. 450 was surveyed by a Cadastral Land Surveyor. Defendants are ordered: 1) To segregate from OCT No. In his report. 2) That defendant Elves Galarosa and all defendants occupying inside or in possession of that portion belonging to plaintiff are ordered to vacate therefrom and turn-over the same to plaintiff. J. 3) To pay. Respondent alleged that around 500 sq.m. The DENR ordered an investigation on the 1 2 .
for litigation 4) To pay the cost.b) P30. P-8599. SO ORDERED. Another DENR employee who assisted in the ocular inspection of the properties testified that the petitioners and respondent admitted the existence of the common boundary 8 between their lots. Respondent offered as evidence the 7 sketch plan of the adjoining properties prepared by the Geodetic Engineer. which affirmed the decision. As regards the rule on the indefeasibility of the Torrens title after one year from the decree of registration. Petitioners themselves came to know about the exact boundaries of Lot No.00 . portion is part of respondent s property. 450 through a protest before the DENR only on 26 December 1991 because it was only in that year that respondent learned that a portion of his property was inadvertently included in petitioners certificate of title. To defeat the claim of respondent.000.m. 452. They allege that when respondent filed his protest on 26 December 1991. The Special Investigator from the DENR who conducted the second investigation in 1996 testified that the disputed 790 sq. portion rightfully belongs to respondent. portion is within the property of respondent. this petition. respondent filed a protest before the DENR on 26 December 1991 to claim the disputed portion for which respondent and his predecessors-in- . the sketch plan clearly shows that the disputed 790 sq. Respondent s Possession of Land Since 1940 is Uncontroverted The DENR and the trial court s finding that respondent and his predecessors-ininterest have been in possession of Lot No. 450 and the inclusion of the disputed portion in their certificate of title only in 1991 when they subdivided said land for partition among 9 the heirs. The Ruling of the Court We find the petition without merit. Settled is the rule that a person. portion in 1991. does not become the owner of such land by virtue of the certificate alone. which was issued in 1968 and registered in the Register of Deeds in 1974. including the disputed 790 sq. it was already too late to question the validity of petitioners certificate of title. portion. has already prescribed. Prescriptive Period Not Applicable Petitioners contend that respondent s action is barred by prescription. Hence.m. 452. The Issue The primary issue in this case is whether the complaint for amendment of OCT No. The Court of Appeals Ruling The Court of Appeals held that the action filed by respondent was not intended to defeat the indefeasibility of the title of petitioners but merely to correct the area covered by their title since it encroached on respondent s property. P-8599. when petitioners started to take possession of the disputed 790 sq. whose certificate of title included by mistake or oversight the land owned by another. Petitioners maintain that their OCT No. P-8599.6 Petitioners appealed the trial court s decision to the Court of Appeals.m. petitioners relied primarily on their certificate of title which includes the disputed 790 sq. or 17 years after the registration of OCT No.m. portion is within the side of respondent s property. and is part of Lot No.m.for attorney s fees c) P10. respondent filed his claim to a portion of Lot No. continuous. portion.000.m. peaceful. Thus.m.00 . Indeed. Taking into consideration the seven fifty-year old coconut trees planted in a straight line which form a common natural boundary between the lots of the parties. in an open. The certificate of title cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner. the Court of Appeals held that the one-year prescriptive period is not applicable in this case since there is no collateral or direct attack made against petitioners title but merely a petition for amendment or correction of the true area covered by petitioners title. is already indefeasible. The Geodetic Engineer who assisted the investigation and conducted a survey of the adjoining properties of the parties also found that the disputed 790 sq. and adverse manner since 1940 is uncontroverted. which seeks the reconveyance of the disputed property. The Torrens System is intended to guarantee the integrity and conclusiveness of the certificate of registration but it is not intended to perpetrate fraud against the real owner of the registered land. which clearly shows that the disputed 790 sq.
63 accrued only in 1966 when she was made aware of a claim adverse to her own. Ejectment. Petitioners only took possession of the disputed property sometime in 1991 when they realized upon partition of Lot No. . by himself and through his predecessors-in-interest. WHEREFORE. CARPIO Associate Justice Prescription cannot be invoked against JULIANA for the reason that as lawful possessor and owner of the Disputed Portion. against petitioners whose claim to the property is based merely on their certificate of title which mistakenly included respondent s property. The action primarily seeks the reconveyance of the disputed 790 sq.13 14 This case is similar to the case of Caragay-Layno v. and to annul OCT No. SO ORDERED.12 In such a case. The Court held: In this case. to seek reconveyance. CA. We AFFIRM the Decision dated 9 July 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV No. Reconveyance is just and proper to end the intolerable anomaly that the patentees should have a Torrens title for the land which has never been in their possession and which have been possessed by 16 another person in the concept of owner. 71137. the action for reconveyance filed by the complainant who is in possession of the disputed property would be in the nature of an action to quiet title which is imprescriptible. P-8599. which involves a counterclaim for reconveyance of property which was filed by petitioner Juliana Caragay-Layno on the ground that a portion of her property had been fraudulently or mistakenly included in the certificate of title issued for the adjoining lot of the respondent. under the circumstances. 450 that the certificate of title issued to them included the disputed property. respondent filed a complaint against petitioners for Amendment of Original Certificate of Title. her cause of action for reconveyance which. falls within settled jurisprudence that an action to quiet title to property in one s possession is imprescriptible. However. the ten-year prescriptive period for an action for reconveyance is not applicable where the complainant is in possession of the land to be reconveyed and the registered owner was never in possession of the disputed property. The prescriptive period for the reconveyance of registered property is ten years. in effect. which in effect seeks to quiet title to the property. On 9 October 1998. An action for reconveyance of property based on an implied or constructive trust is the proper remedy of an aggrieved party whose property had been erroneously 11 registered in another s name. and Damages. Besides. portion of land through the amendment of OCT No. Her undisturbed possession over a period of fifty-two (52) years gave her a continuing right to seek the aid of a Court of equity to determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and the effect on her own title. JULIANA s right to quiet title. seeks to quiet title to the property. It was only then that the statutory period of 15 prescription may be said to have commenced to run against her x x x. is not barred from bringing the action for reconveyance. we DENY the petition. respondent who has been in possession of the disputed property since 1940. reckoned from the date of the issuance of the certificate of title. ANTONIO T.m. Respondent has a better right to the disputed property since he and his predecessors-ininterest had long been in possession of the property in the concept of owner.interest have been in possession since 1940. An action for reconveyance of property respects the decree of registration as incontrovertible and merely seeks the transfer of the property wrongfully or erroneously registered in another s name to its rightful owner or to one who claims 10 to have a better right.
1932. 1975. J. petitioner. acting under him are ordered to: 1) Vacate the subject premises and deliver or restore peacefully the possession of the properties described in the complaint to the plaintiffs. Petitioner resisted such claim alleging fraud in causing the land to be registered in respondents names despite its sale to petitioner s father. and Francisco de los Reyes. PARDO. Cirilo de los Reyes. namely respondents Angel de los Reyes. petitioner seeks to reverse the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals holding that an action for reconveyance or recovery of ownership of the land fraudulently titled to respondent has prescribed and is barred by laches.083 square meters. respondents filed with the Court of First Instance of Zambales. a complaint for recovery of possession of the aforesaid parcels of land against petitioner claiming the right of possession of said land. now all deceased. petitioner s father. Cirilo died without any issue. privies. ANGEL DELOS REYES. Macaria is survived by three children. No.: Can possession by a vendee of an unregistered real property defeat the torrens title thereon later secured by the vendor inspite of the sale. Zambales. We affirm. in consideration of one thousand pesos (P 1. San Narciso. On March 14. covered by OCT No. 1999 ANASTACIO MANANGAN. the Regional Trial Court. 3 during her lifetime. 1987. respondents. the Register of Deeds of Zambales.R. Francisco is survived by two children. Cirilo de los Reyes.00) as evidenced by a duly notarized deed of sale signed by Macaria and the respondents except Inocencio de los Reyes. rendered a decision in favor of respondents declaring that they had a better right over the subject parcels of land. JOSEFINA DELOS REYES and INOCENCIO DELOS REYES. Iba. 5 On July 6. Petitioner. GERMAN DELOS REYES. and Francisco de los Reyes. Germana de los Reyes and Aureliana de los Reyes. representatives. petitioner filed with the lower court an amended answer for reconveyance of the lots in question. respondents Josefina and Incocencio de los Reyes. AURELLANA DELOS REYES. Zambales. 2 7372 of the Register of Deeds of Zambales. . judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs adjudging them to have a better right to own and possess the subject parcels of land and the defendant (his agents. on the other hand. 4 In 1934. Branch 71. Macaria Villanueva sold the parcels of land in question to Victoriano Manangan. the registration court decreed registration under the torrens system of the parcels of land involved in the names of Macaria Villanueva. vs.000. Macaria Villanueva. 115794 June 10. On October 19. issued Original Certificate of Title No. The facts are as follows: Respondents were co-owners of three (3) parcels of land with an area of 13. pursuant to the decree of registration. On June 21. was a tenant of the respondents and had been sharing the harvest of the land with respondents mother. 1937. 1974. after cadastral proceedings were initiated over the land.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION On December 11. G. where the title was obtained in land registration proceedings filed thirty eight (38) years ago? In this appeal via certiorari. successors-in-interest. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. 7372 in the names of Macaria Villanueva. premises considered. located in Mabaliguen.
We hereby AFFIRM the herein appealed decision. WHEREFORE. until he filed his amended answer to respondents complaint on March 14. 15 Petitioner slept on his right for thirty eight (38) years counted from the time the Original Certificate of Title was issued on June 21. this petition for review on certiorari. Court of Appeals. if not fraud. Evidently. However. Court of Appeals 14 and Ochagabia vs. De Esconde vs. Thus. 9 In due time.000. October 19. Appellants Exhibit "1" and "1-D".. 1937. the now deceased mother of appellees.2) Pay to the plaintiffs the aggregate amount representing the value of palay (twenty cavans annually) from 1956 up to the time the defendant finally vacates or surrenders the possession of subject parcels at the rate of P25. After due proceedings.1âwphi1. petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals. In Alvarez vs. 3) Pay to the plaintiffs the sum of P 2.00 per cavan. in 1937 with the register of Deeds of Zambales under O. .nêt SO ORDERED. RAMON MABUTAS. Intermediate Appellate Court. the serious mistake. 7372. Judge 6 Macaria Villanueva and appellees. Court of Appeals. 12 We reiterated this ruling in the more recent cases of Catalina Buan Vda. 7 Hence. citing Tale vs. a notarized document. 1937 (Exh. Finally. Court of Appeals. herein appellees. 1975. we ruled that the remedy of the land owner whose property has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another s name is to bring an action in the ordinary courts of justice for reconveyance. JR. 13 Salvatierra vs.00 for and attorney s fees. et. 1987. The title to said lots in question in the names of Macaria Villanueva and appellees was entered in the Registry Book for the Province of Zambales by the Register of Deeds of Zambales on June 21. appellant s appeal has no leg to stand on and We find it no longer necessary to discuss each of the assigned errors. al. on April 19.C. Costs against the defendant. Manila for Iba. No. Zambales. shows that Macaria Villanueva. was committed when the original certificate of title was issued in the name of 10 Petitioner s right of action to recover ownership of the land in question has prescribed and is barred by laches. No costs. . 1993. 208 SCRA 266). had actually sold the lots in question to the father of herein appellants in 1922. the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision affirming the trial court s conclusion and ruling that petitioner s action had 8 prescribed and was barred by laches.T. petitioner cannot invoke Article 11 . . Court of Appeals. the Court of Appeals said: We find the appeal without merit on the sole ground that appellants are guilty of laches and they have lost their right to ask for reconveyance of the property in their favor. It is now well-settled that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust must perforce prescribe in ten years from the issuance of the Torrens Title over the property (Tala vs. Exhibit "A" of appellees shows that the lots in question were registered in the names of said Macaria Villanueva and her children. Such being the case. asking for reconveyance of the lots in question. "A") or 38 years before appellants sought reconveyance. Appellants are guilty of laches. The petitioner s right to bring such action was barred by laches as he took no step towards that direction reasonably after the title to the property 16 was issued under the torrens system. for lack of reversible error committed by the trial court. The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten (10) years from the issuance of the torrens title over the property.
J. Kapunan and Ynares-Santiago.... concur. CV No.1141 of the Civil Code as this law provides only a period of thirty (30) years to bring real actions over immovable property. JJ. . SO ORDERED. Davide. Melo. C. WHEREFORE. the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari and AFFIRMS the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. No costs. 20459.R. Jr.
3. Lot 9954-B and Lot 9954-C. 2009 The action was filed only against the two parties because respondents property is situated between their properties. Consequently. LOPEZ. Bulacan. saying that when petitioners showed him proof that they owned a portion of the lot registered 7 in his name.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Court of Appeals (CA) 1 Decision dated January 26. 161925 November 25. namely: Lot 9954-A. T-5065. Respondents. SPOUSES EXEQUIEL LOPEZ and EUSEBIA LOPEZ. the Register of Deeds of Tabang. Thereafter.000. and was subsequently issued Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. dated May 8. to petitioners. J. In their Answer. declaration of nullity of a deed of absolute sale. which ordered the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. spouses Eusebia and Exequiel Lopez. Guiguinto.5 She admitted that she filed a protest against Villadares application for registration but claimed that Villadares later agreed to sell the 6 property to her for P30. According to the trial court. T-5066 in the name of petitioners.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. a witness for respondents. T-5065 in the name of defendant Victor Villadares and T-5066 in the name of defendants/Spouses Exequiel and Eusebia Lopez. Hagonoy. respectively. which they bought from him for P20.2 In November 1992.00. Villadares corroborated her testimony. No. testified that petitioners lot consisted of 168 sq m only. cancellation of titles. and to Caparas. Lots 9954-A and 9954-B. They acquired the property by donation inter vivos from Maria Alvarado and Agatona Caparas. in whose names the lot was previously declared for taxation purposes. and damages against Villadares and petitioners. Villadares subdivided the entire parcel of land into 3 lots. and Lot 9954C with an area of 337 square meters to Filomena Caparas. 2004. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against herein defendants: 1. 2. RP-253 (P-8511) was cancelled and TCT Nos. OCT No. . The Regional Trial Court ruled in favor of respondents. coupled with their actual possession thereof. Pedro Manansala. and that their certificate of title was already incontrovertible. The dispositive portion of the trial court s decision reads: WHEREFORE. respondents discovered that Victor Villadares was granted a free patent over an 885-sq-m land. which included respondents lot.000. that the deed of absolute sale. SPOUSES EDUARDO LOPEZ and MARCELINA R. DECISION NACHURA. 1990 is hereby declared null and void. Villadares sold Lot 9954-B with an area of 273 sq m to petitioners. that defendants reconvey to the plaintiffs the subject 80-square meter lot. Respondents. As shown in the Deed of Absolute Sale of Portions of a Parcel of Land. Respondents have occupied the lot since 1977. petitioners averred that respondents had no personality to institute the action. It held that petitioners were not buyers in good faith because it appeared that the execution of the deed of sale was only an afterthought. that they were innocent purchasers for value. T-5066 and T-5067 were issued to Villadares. the declaration of the subject property for taxation purposes in the name of respondents. 1978. he agreed to transfer the title of the said portion to their names. that the free patent in favor of Villadares was issued pursuant to law. RP-253 (P-8511) on March 8. vs. Bulacan is hereby ordered to cancel TCT Nos.00 4 sometime after Martial Law. strongly indicated that they owned the same. Respondents filed an action for reconveyance. premises considered.R. are the owners and occupants of an 80-square-meter residential lot situated in San Pascual. Petitioner Eusebia Lopez refuted this by stating that she bought a 273-sq-m lot from Pedro Manansala. Petitioners.3 During trial. spouses Eduardo and Marcelina Lopez.
(c) respondents were in possession of the subject property and paid the real property taxes thereon. the CA affirmed the trial court s decision. V. T-5065 WITH AN AREA OF 275 SQUARE METERS IN THE NAME OF DEFENDANT VICTOR VILLADARES AND THE CANCELLATION OF TCT NO. not being the owner of the subject property. the case was elevated to the CA on appeal. wrongfully included in either or in both of the certificates of title of petitioners or Villadares. II. T-5066 OF THE REGISTRY OF DEEDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF BULACAN FOR MORE THAN FIFTY (50) YEARS. Thus. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE OF PORTION OF PARCEL OF LAND EXECUTED BY DEFENDANT VICTOR VILLADARES IN FAVOR OF PETITIONERS. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RULING OF THE LOWER COURT FOR THE CANCELLATION OF TCT NO. (b) petitioners were not innocent purchasers for value.00 for exemplary damages and P10. the appellate court considered the following: (a) respondents ownership of the 80-sq-m lot was admitted by petitioners during pretrial. T-5066 WITH AN AREA OF 273 SQUARE METERS IN THE NAME OF PETITIONERS EXEQUIEL LOPE[Z] AND EUSEBIA LOPEZ.000. WHEN THE CLAIM 11 OF RESPONDENTS IS ONLY EIGHTY (80) SQUARE METERS. WAS MERELY TO SETTLE THEIR CONFLICT OF OWNERSHIP ON THE SUBJECT PROPERTY AND TO EXPEDITE THE TRANSFER THEREOF TO THE PETITIONERS. Initially. SO ORDERED.P10. that defendants jointly and severally pay the plaintiffs the sum of: P10. 8 III.00 for moral damages. EXEQUIEL LOPEZ AND EUSEBIA LOPEZ.000. The action does not seek to reopen the registration proceedings and to set aside the decree of registration but only purports to show that the person who secured the registration of the property in controversy is not the real owner 13 thereof. In this petition. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THE ACTUAL POSSESSION OF PETITIONERS AND THEIR PREDECESSORS-IN-INTEREST ON (sic) THE PROPERTY NOW COVERED BY TCT NO. could not have transferred ownership of the subject 80-sq-m portion of land to petitioners. The petition is partly meritorious. through petitioners and Villadares respective notices of appeal. Villadares. petitioners elevated 10 the case immediately to this Court. In a Resolution dated April 28.000. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONSIDERING THE POSSESSION OF RESPONDENTS ON (sic) THE SUBJECT PROPERTY FOR LESS THAN THIRTY (30) YEARS. In so ruling. 1974.9 Only Villadares filed a motion for reconsideration with the CA. we affirm the CA s findings of fact that respondents are the rightful owners of the subject property. IV.00 for attorney s fees and cost of suit. An action for reconveyance is a legal and equitable remedy granted to the rightful owner of a land which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in the name of another for the purpose of compelling the latter to transfer or reconvey the land 12 to him. an 80-sq-m portion of land. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THAT PETITIONERS EXEQUIEL LOPEZ AND EUSEBIA LOPEZ HAVE BEEN PAYING REAL ESTATE TAXES ON THE SUBJECT PROPERTY AFTER THEY HAVE BOUGHT IT FROM PEDRO MANANSALA AND MIGUELA AYUSON MANANSALA ON AUGUST 2. 2004. Based on the doctrine that land registration proceedings cannot shield fraud or permit the enrichment of a person at the expense of another. Subsequently. As neighbors of respondents. the CA resolved to hold in abeyance the resolution of Villadares motion and to consider it abandoned if the present petition would be given due course by this Court. and (d) the conveyance of the 273-sq-m lot from Villadares to petitioners was simulated. petitioners certainly would have known that respondents actually occupied the subject property. . petitioners ascribe the following errors to the CA: I.4. and that petitioners were not innocent purchasers for value.
Refresca is instructive Article 1345 of the Civil Code provides that the simulation of a contract may either be absolute or relative. the Court is compelled to exercise its authority to review the validity of the Deed of Absolute Sale of Portions of a Parcel of Land.22l a w p h i l . They maintain that they own the entire Lot 9954-B. but because they previously acquired the same from Pedro Manansala. because its resolution is necessary to arrive at a just decision and complete disposition of the case. covering 273 sq m. It is well to remember that in an action for reconveyance. but also from the contemporaneous 19 and subsequent acts of the parties. nor can they be used as a shield for the commission of fraud. evinces the falsity of the claim that petitioners purchased the property from Villadares. in fact. As such. petitioners anxiously insist that their TCT should not be cancelled even if the deed of sale is declared void. even if the deed of sale executed by Villadares in their favor is nullified. and they claim that they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in possession thereof for more than 50 years. They cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner. the CA held that petitioner s opposition to Villadares application for registration. Petitioners alleged possession of the property prior to Villadares filing of the application for registration was. After all. as the case may be. or to permit one to 14 enrich oneself at the expense of others. the agreement is absolutely binding and enforceable between the parties and their successors in interest. However. but the certificate of title will be cancelled for the purpose of amending it in order to exclude the portion wrongfully included therein. which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another person s name.As a logical consequence. and ordering its registration in his name constitutes res judicata against the whole 17 world. the contract is relatively simulated and the parties are still bound by their real agreement. We are not convinced. to its rightful owner or to one who has a better right. petitioners did not become the owners of the subject property even after a TCT had been issued in their names. Hence. The primary consideration in determining the true nature of a contract is the intention of the parties. the CA went beyond this and declared the entire deed of sale. The decree of registration is to be respected. However. As a result. This Court s 21 pronouncement in Valerio v. What is sought is the transfer of the property or its title. the CA decision would result not only in the amendment of petitioners certificate of title. in whose name the lot was previously declared for taxation purposes. The record shows that petitioners had participated in the land registration proceeding by filing their opposition to Villadares application for registration. 1avvphi1 Simulation takes place when the parties do not really want the contract they have 20 executed to produce the legal effects expressed by its wordings.18 In finding that the contract of sale was simulated. Hence. an absolutely simulated or fictitious contract is void. In absolute simulation. Certificates of title merely confirm or record title already existing and vested. The property would then revert to its previous owner. Petitioners allegedly acquired the property from Pedro Manansala long before they bought the property from Villadares. A new certificate covering the portion reconveyed shall then be subsequently issued in the name of the real owner. whether with or without opposition. Such intention is determined not only from the express terms of their agreement. they would remain owners of the land and their title thereto should not be cancelled. the final judgment of the court confirming the title of the applicant or oppositor. together with Pedro Manansala s testimony that petitioners actually bought the property from him. And in a proceeding for land registration. but in the absolute revocation of petitioners title itself. Understandably. if the parties state a false cause in the contract to conceal their real agreement. not because they purchased the same from Villadares. reconveyance of the subject property is warranted. Hence. The main characteristic of an absolute simulation is that the apparent contract is not really desired or intended to produce legal effect or in any way alter the juridical situation of the parties. void for being simulated. subject to the right of respondents over the portion of the lot which they claim as their own. the decree of registration is highly regarded as incontrovertible. petitioners are barred from raising this issue as it constitutes a collateral attack on the decree of registration. though not specifically assigned as error in this petition. Thus. there is a colorable contract but it has no substance as the parties have no intention to be bound by it. where the essential requisites of a contract are present and the simulation refers only to the content or terms of the contract. registration does not vest title.16 However. and the parties may recover from each other what they may have given under the contract. the meat of their opposition in the land registration proceeding.15 The present action for reconveyance only entails the segregation of the portion wrongfully included in the certificate of title.
delivered the certificate of title and the tax declaration to petitioners and accepted the purchase price from them. the Register of Deeds of Tabang. 1990 is declared VALID but subject to our disposition hereunder. the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. sir.00. He caused the titling of the property and the transfer of the tax declaration in petitioners names.000. sir. To recall. The Court of Appeals Decision dated January 26. Thereafter.00 to him? A Yes. Villadares surrendered to petitioners any right he had over the property. sir. 2004 is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATIONS. in accordance with said survey. The Deed of Absolute Sale of Portions of a Parcel of Land dated May 8. Such motivation for entering into the contract would not negate the efficacy of the contract. How much was the selling price? A P30. premises considered. and thereafter. sir.Based on the foregoing. ANTONIO EDUARDO B. There is no showing that the parties did not intend to be bound by the contract and to comply with its terms. NACHURA Associate Justice . Q So how much was it sold [to] you[. WHEREFORE. Petitioners could have accepted or acquiesced to Villadares title and entered into the agreement to finally settle their claim over the property. what did you do? A I talked with Victor Villadares and we agreed that he will sell the land in a much lower price. therefore. petitioners opposition in the land registration case does not necessarily mean that petitioners did not really intend to purchase the property. Q Did he comply with his promise? A Yes.000. In the same way. Q When did you pay it to defendant Victor Villadares? A When the title was given to me by him as well as the tax declaration 23 and the Bilihang Patuluyan. Q Did you pay the P30. he agreed to sell it to them. The following testimony of petitioner Eusebia Lopez is telling: Q Then after filing the protest. respondents and Victor Villadares. Bulacan is ordered to ISSUE the corresponding transfer certificates of title in the names of petitioners. Petitioners and Victor Villadares are directed to cause a SURVEY of Lots 9954-A and 9954-B in order to determine the exact location of the 80-sq m portion pertaining to respondents. In fact. sir. the subject deed of sale can hardly be considered simulated. We. uphold the validity of the deed of sale subject to the reconveyance of respondents 80-sq-m portion of the land.] as you said it will be sold to you at a lower price. Villadares admitted that he was swayed by petitioners claim that they had a right over the property and thus. SO ORDERED. Guiguinto.
and Teresa Malabanan. 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.: . the  heir of Tiburcio Malabanan. Tagaytay City against petitioner Eland Philippines. filed a Complaint dated March 2. J. situated in Barangay Iruhin.R. by occupation and possession under the provisions of DECISION Sec.112) square meters. 67417. 48 (b) of the Public Land Law or Commonwealth Act No. in fee simple title. AZUCENA GARCIA. The facts of the case. G. as shown in the records.* J. Inc. JJ. 141. Respondents.. Chairperson. Respondents claimed that they are the Promulgated: February 17.. containing an area of Two Hundred Forty-Four Thousand One Hundred Twelve (244.. INC. ELINO FAJARDO. Inc. and HEIR OF TIBURCIO MALABANANnamed TERESA MALABANAN. CV No. 1998 for Quieting of petitioner Eland Philippines. 2010 owners. 2006 of Branch 18.  x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x PERALTA. and affirmed the Resolutions dated November 3. Tagaytay Cadastre. Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tagaytay City. as amended. are the following: Title with Writ of Preliminary Injunction with the RTC. seeking to reverse and set aside the decision dated February 28. Plan Ap-04-008367. Tagaytay City. of a parcel of land identified as Lot 9250 Cad-355. J. Branch XVIII. NACHURA. Elino Fajardo. and MENDOZA. CORONA. Petitioner. No. 173289 This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Present:  Court. which dismissed the appeal of -versusCARPIO. Respondents Azucena Garcia.ELAND PHILIPPINES. PERALTA. 1999 and June 28.R.
which the trial court granted for a period of ten (10) days within which to file a responsive pleading. thus. an Order. and set the date of the hearing on July 23. public. 1998. its privies. Thus. LRC Record No. 1998. 1998. and that the latter were not entitled to the issuance of a writ of preliminary purposes. 1998. from receipt of the same. N-62686. 1997 to the petitioner pursuant to 1998. The said motion was eventually denied by the trial court in an Order dated September 25. 1998. Summons. together with a copy of the complaint. which granted the respondents ten (10) days from that day to file a comment. was already issued on August 20. they argued that they were also entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction in order to restrain or enjoin petitioner.For having been in continuous. Petitioner filed a Second Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer dated April 29. N-217313. agents. were served on the ruling that the allegations in the complaint established a cause of action and petitioner on April 7. 1994 of the same court. and adverse possession as owners of the said lot for at least thirty years. to refrain from committing acts of dispossession on the subject lot. petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss dated May 9. On the date of the hearing. They also found out that Decree No. injunction. misrepresentation amounting to actual or extrinsic fraud.  Eland. 1998. which the trial court likewise granted. they claimed the presence of 1998. Respondents filed a Motion to Admit Comment/Opposition to Defendant the Decision dated June 7. considering the Motion to Dismiss submitted for resolution due to the non-appearance of the parties and their respective counsels. the trial court issued an Order. They averred that they were not notified of the said land registration case. the trial court issued on its behalf. and all other persons acting On the scheduled hearing of September 23. enjoined petitioner Eland to file its answer to the complaint within ten (10) days . Petitioner then filed two Motions for Extension to File an Answer. petitioner filed an Entry of Appearance with Motion for Extension of Time. representatives.  together with the corresponding Comment/Opposition  dated June 8. On April 29. 1998. complaint was filed. They found out that the lot was the subject of a land registration  proceeding that had already been decided by the same court where their Thereafter. setting the same for hearing on May 21. respondents stated that they were not aware of any person or entity who had a legal or equitable interest or claim on the same stating that the pleading asserting the claim of respondents stated no cause of lot until the time they were requesting that the lot be declared for tax action.
In that regard. dated February 11. 1998. while respondents filed a Reply to Comment (on Plaintiff's Motion to Declare Defendant Eland in Default) dated December 29. respondents filed a Motion to Declare Defendant Eland in Default  Consequently. respondents presented their evidence before the Clerk of Court of the trial court which ended on February 3. Respondents countered by filing a Motion to Expunge Eland's Answer from the Records dated December 2. the trial court issued an March 18. 1998. respondents filed a Motion to Set Presentation of Evidence Ex Parte Order   dated November 17. respondents filed their Formal Offer of Evidence. as well as a Comment (on Plaintiff's Motion to Expunge Eland's Answer from the Records) 26. In the same Order. denying the former's Motion to Dismiss. 1998. Subsequently. Petitioner filed its Opposition (to Plaintiff's Motion to Expunge Eland's Answer from the Records) dated December 21. which was granted in an its Comment (on Plaintiff's Motion to Declare Defendant Eland in Default) dated dated January 22.  dated January dated January Meanwhile. 1999. 1998. on February 10. 1999. 1999. and. petitioner filed its Answer Ad Cautelam (With Compulsory Counterclaim)  dated November 12. petitioner filed a Motion for Final Extension of Time to File Answer  Earlier. the trial court issued an Order  dated January 11. . on November 9. 1999 On January 28. 1999 on the trial court's denial of its motion to dismiss and in declaring it in default. 1999. 1998. 1999 directing the Clerk of Court to suspend the proceedings. 1999. 1999. December 2. Respondents filed their Comment/Opposition to Motion for Reconsideration dated November 24.  dated November 6. 1998. 1998. Thereafter. 1999. Again.Petitioner. 1998 Petitioner Eland filed  dated January 18. The trial court in an Order  However. 1999. petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Suspend Plaintiff's Ex Parte Presentation of Evidence Order   dated dated February 8. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration (of the Order dated 11 January 1999)dated February 5. denied the former and granted the latter. filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the trial court's Order dated September 25. 1998. 1998.  declaring the petitioner in default and allowed the respondents to present evidence ex parte. the trial court admitted petitioner's Answer Ad Cautelam. the trial court denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration in an Order 11. 1998. 1999. On December 4.
in an Order  dated July 7. 1999. Tagaytay Cadastre. the trial court found favor on the respondents. 1999. ruled that the reception of evidence already presented by the respondents before the Clerk of Court remained as part of the records of the case. Suspend Proceedings   However. 1999. petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated July 19. CAD-355. wherein the parties submitted their pre-trial briefs. 1999. Plaintiffs are the absolute owners and rightful possessors of Lot 9250. N-62686 dated August 20. 1999 on the ground that the same petitioner had filed a petition for certiorari with the CA. 1994 in Land Registration Case No. Cad-355. and a copy of the Resolution dated June 14. Consequently. while petitioner filed its Opposition  to the Motion dated August 31. N217313. and that the petitioner had the right to cross-examine the witness and to comment on the documentary exhibits already presented. petitioner filed a Motion to 1. TG-423 is set aside and the Decree No. 1999. The dispositive portion of the Resolution reads: WHEREFORE. Eventually. but it was denied by the trial court in an Omnibus Order dated September 14. as well as tax declaration covering Lot 9250. 1999. In its Resolution dated November 3. The Original Transfer Certificate of Title is ordered to be canceled. 1999. The Judgment dated June 7. Petitioner filed its Comment dated May 13. 1999 on the said motion for clarification. The petition for certiorari was subsequently denied. premises considered. Hence. the trial court 2. 3. respondents filed a Motion for Summary Judgment dated August 5. 1999 of the trial court and for the affirmation of its earlier Order denying petitioner's Motion to Dismiss. subject to the rights of occupancy of the farm workers on the one-third area thereof. 1997 is null and void. respondents filed a Motion for Clarification as to whether or not the evidence presented ex parte was nullified by the admission of petitioner's Answer Ad Cautelam. LRC Record No. dated May 24. 1999. . 1999 was received by the trial court. the motion for summary judgment is hereby GRANTED and it is hereby adjudged that: A pre-trial conference was scheduled on May 27. asking for the nullification of the Order dated March 18.On May 14.
1999 DID NOT VIOLATE THE TEN (10)-DAY NOTICE RULE UNDER SECTION 3. Tagaytay City.2 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT RULED THAT A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IS PROPER IN AN ACTION FOR QUIETING OF TITLE. 1999. for lack of merit.4 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT UPHELD THE RESOLUTION DATED NOVEMBER 03. is AFFIRMED.1 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT DATED 5. in Civil Case No. 5. 2006. which reads: 5. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED.SO ORDERED. Branch 18. the appeal is DISMISSED. The assailed Resolution dated November 3. the present petition. . Petitioner appealed the Resolution of the trial court with the CA. 5. BASED ON TESTIMONIES OF RESPONDENTS' WITNESSES TAKEN WITHOUT GRANTING HEREIN PETITIONER THE RIGHT TO CROSS-EXAMINE AND UPON DOCUMENTARY EXHIBITS PRESENTED BUT NOT ADMITTED AS EVIDENCE. Hence. of the RTC. TG-1784. AUGUST 05.3 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT RULED THAT THERE ARE NO GENUINE FACTUAL AND TRIABLE ISSUES IN CIVIL CASE NO. The grounds relied upon by the petitioner are the following: 5. TG-1784. which dismissed it in a Decision dated February 28. RULE 35 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE. 1999 OF THE COURTA QUO BASED ON FALSIFIED EVIDENCE. No pronouncement as to cost.5 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT UPHELD THE RESOLUTION DATED NOVEMBER 03. 1999 OF THE COURTA QUO.
and upon the documentary exhibits presented but not admitted as evidence. and that a hearing must be held to hear the parties on the propriety of a summary judgment. . and does not include cases for quieting of title. like in the present case. 5. 1999. claimant seeking to recover upon a claim.7 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT HELD THAT THE COURT A QUO HAS JURISDICTION TO CANCEL PETITIONER'S ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE (OCT) NO. Lastly. Furthermore.6 THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT FAILED TO RULE THAT THE COURT A QUO PATENTLY DEPRIVED PETITIONER OF ITS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS IN RENDERING ITS SUMMARY JUDGMENT. petitioner also averred that a summary judgment has no place in a case where genuine factual and triable issues exist. Hence. It added that the genuine and triable issues were all raised in its Answer Ad Cautelam. a motion for summary judgment must be served at least ten (10) days before the date set for hearing thereof. 1999 on falsified evidence. 0-660 IN AN ACTION TO QUIET TITLE. petitioner raised the issue that by rendering summary judgment. Petitioner further claimed that the trial court based its Resolution dated November 3. per Sec.Petitioner also argued that a summary judgment is only available to a 5. Petitioner further claims that the trial court never conducted any hearing on the motion for summary judgment. the trial court deprived the former of its right to due process. the trial court gravely erred in relying upon the testimonies of the witnesses for the respondents. It also stated that the trial court did not issue any order admitting in evidence the documentary exhibits presented by the respondents. counterclaim or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief. Another ground relied upon by petitioner is its failure to cross-examine the witnesses for the respondents without fault on its part. according to the petitioner. without having the latter cross-examined. which was not observed because the petitioner received a copy of the respondents' motion for summary judgment only on August 20. 3 of Rule 35 of the Revised Rules of Court. According to the petitioner. or the very same day that the motion was set for hearing.
respondents asserted that petitioner's had a constricted perception of the coverage of the Rules of Summary Judgment. because they are documentary evidence presented ex parte after the default order against the same complimentary with each other. summary judgment fourteen (14) days before the requested hearing of the same deposition or admission in the records. 1999. They Respondents also posited that petitioner's statements in its Answer Ad Cautelam. further averred that the trial court did not only rely on the photographs of the although denominated as Specific Denial. or to comply Respondents. respondents claimed that despite the their complaint alleged joint causes of action for quieting of title under Art. 32 of the Property Registration Decree or P. counsel failed to study carefully the records of the proceedings for the and that the latter's citation of cases decided by this Court showed the diverse presentation of the evidence ex parte to be able to know that it was not only a causes of action that could be the subject matters of summary judgment. the New Civil Code and for the review of the decree of registration pursuant to for the petitioner to cross-examine respondents' witnesses and to comment on the Sec. and by not objecting to the decretal motion was in compliance with Sec. 476 of opportunity.conference. They added that petitioner neglected to avail itself of. as to the sixth and seventh issues. 3. respondents argued that petitioner wrongly appreciated falsified evidence. respondents asseverated that Anent the fourth and fifth issues. or the right allowed in the Order dated July 17. portion of the said Order dated August 20.D. were really general denials that did not houses of the occupants of the property in question. petitioner. which stated that the motion for summary judgment has been submitted for resolution without further argument. stating that their filing of the motion for receiving the Order dated August 20. comply with the provisions of Section 10. 1999. countered the first issue raised by the petitioner. Rule 35 of the Rules of Court. 1529. and that more than one witness had been presented. by failing to serve opposing affidavit. 1999 of the trial court. the latter evasively moved to set aside respondents' evidence in order to suspend further proceedings that were intended to abort the pre-trial . Rule 8 of the Rules of Court. No. 2006. single-day proceeding. the prescription of the rules found in Rule 35 of the Rules of Court by opting not to avail itself of the hearing of its opposition to the summary judgment after Finally. With regard to the contention of the petitioner that the trial court As to the second and third issues. with. in their Comment dated October 16.
1.The motion shall be served at least ten (10) days before the time specified for the hearing. The CA ruled. . or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may. Petitioner contended that the ten-day notice rule was violated. it was the respondents who moved for a summary judgment. show that. The basic contention that must be resolved by this Court is the propriety of the summary judgment in this particular case of quieting of title. SEC. except as to the amount of damages. 1999. there was no hearing conducted on that date because the trial court issued an order giving petitioner 10 days within which to file its comment or opposition. After the hearing. 3. at any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served.A party seeking to recover upon a claim. The adverse party prior to the day of hearing may serve opposing affidavits. Motion and proceedings thereon. they furnished petitioner with a copy thereof on the same day as shown in the registry receipt and that the motion was set for hearing on August 20. The CA was correct in its observation that there was substantial compliance with due process. counterclaim. It also added that even if the petitioner Rule 35 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides: received a copy of the motion only on August 20. or 10 days from the date of the filing thereof. as the records show. is misguided. . . substantially complied with because when the respondents filed the motion for summary judgment on August 9. Summary judgment for claimant. there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. depositions. that the ten-day notice rule was SEC.The petition is impressed with merit. 1999 or on the same day it was set for hearing. and admissions on file together with the affidavits. 1999. In the present case. the judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleading. because the copy of the motion for summary judgment was served only on August 20. 1999. however. move with supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof The above specific contention.
 In their motion for summary judgment.  Nonetheless.Due process. The trial court found no genuine issue as to any material fact that would necessitate conducting a full-blown trial. to wit: Proceeding to the main issue. Asummary judgment is proper if. and admissions presented by the moving party show that such issues are not genuine. It must be remembered that the non-existence of a genuine issue is the determining factor in granting a motion for summary judgment. this Court finds that the grant of summary judgment was not proper. This Court has already ruled that any action can be the subject of a summary judgment with the sole exception of actions for annulment of marriage or declaration of its nullity or for legal separation. This particular argument. the issue has already become nil because of not only the lack of seriousness in the allegations but also because the identity of the subject parcel of land Lot 9250 was proven by the approved plan Ap-04-008367 that was already presented and offered in evidence as Exhibit B for the plaintiffs. depositions. . the affidavits. They merely reiterated their averments in the complaint for quieting of title and opposed some issues raised by the petitioner in its Answer Ad Cautelam. What the law prohibits is not merely the absence of previous notice. however. does not. a constitutional precept. and the movant has the burden of proving such nonexistence. Petitioner further argues that summary judgment is not proper in an action for quieting of title. is misplaced. always and in all situations a trial-type proceeding. However. going by the records of the admitted and uncontroverted facts and facts established there is no more litigious or genuine issue of basic fact to be the subject of further trial on the merits. The first defense as to the identity of the subject property. The essence of due process is found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit one's evidence in support of his defense. a careful study of the case shows otherwise. the respondents failed to clearly demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of fact. A summary judgment is permitted only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and a moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. therefore. while the pleadings on their face appear to raise issues. but the absence thereof and the lack of opportunity to be heard.
The second defense that plaintiffs' claim of the property is barred by prior judgment rule is unavailing considering that the vital documentary evidence they presented in Land Registration Case No. TG-423 before this Honorable Court the markings and descriptions of such documents are stated in the Judgment quoted as follows:
prescription as confirmed in the affidavit herein attached as Annex A ;
In ruling that there was indeed no genuine issue involved, the trial court (1) Tax Declaration No. 015224-A (Exhibit Q ; x x x. (2) Tax Declaration No. 05019-B (Exhibit R ; x x x. (3) Tax Declaration No. 01926-B (Exhibit S ; x x x. (4) Tax Declaration No. GR-007-0007 (Exhibit T x x x. merely stated that:
are the very documentary evidence adopted and relied upon by the plaintiffs in seeking the review and nullity of the Decree No. 217313 issued on August 20, 1997 under LRC Record No. N62686 pursuant to the Judgment dated June 7, 1994 rendered by this Honorable Court penned by the acting presiding Judge Eleuterio F. Guerrero in said Land Registration Case No. TG-423.
This Court, going by the records, observed keenly that plaintiffs cause of action for quieting of title on the disputed parcel of land is based on the alleged fraud in the substitution of their landholdings of Lot 9250, Cad 355, Tagaytay Cadastre containing only an area of 244,112 square meters with Lot 9121, Cad 335, Tagaytay Cadastre, containing only an area of 19,356 square meters. While defendant Eland in its answer practically and mainly interposed the defenses of: (a) the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs is not the parcel of land subject matter of Land Registration Case No. TG423; (b) the claim of the plaintiffs is barred by prior judgment of this Court in said Land Registration Case; and (c) plaintiffs' complaint is barred by the Statute of Limitation since Original Certificate of Title No. 0-660 has become incontrovertible.
On the other hand, as to the gravamen of the claims in the complaint, the plaintiffs have presented clear and convincing evidence as the well-nigh or almost incontrovertible evidence of a registerable title to the subject land in the proceedings conducted on the reception of evidence expartefor the plaintiffs establishing in detail the specifications of continuous, open, exclusive possession as aspects of acquisitive
Cross-reference of the above-cited Land Registration Case No. TG-423 that was decided previously by this Court with the case at bench was imperatively made by this Court. Being minded that the Court has and can take judicial notice of the said land registration case, this Court observed that there is no genuine issue of fact to be tried on the merits. Firstly, because the supposed identity crisis of the controverted parcel of land covered by the Land Registration Case No. TG-423 with the
subject parcel of land is established by Plan Ap-04-006275 (Exhibit N ) LRC Case No. 423 and by Plan A04 008367 (Exhibit B of the plaintiffs) and the Technical Description of Lot 9250, Cad 355 (Exhibit B-1 of the plaintiffs). Secondly, the prior judgment rule cannot be availed of by defendant Eland since not only intrinsic fraud but extrinsic fraud were alleged in and established by the records. (Heirs of Manuel Roxas v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 1184436, pro. March 21, 1997). Thirdly, it is incontrovertible that the complaint in this case seeking to review the judgment and annul the decree was filed on March 5, 1998 or within one (1) year from August 20, 1997 or the date of issuance of Decree No. 217313, LRC Record No. N-62686, hence, the Original Certificate of Title No. 0-660 issued to defendant Eland has not attained incontrovertibility. (Heirs of Manuel Roxas v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 118436, prom. March 21, 1997).
actions involving money claims. Under Rule 35 of the 1997 Rules of Court, except as to the amount of damages, when there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law, summary judgment may be allowed. The term genuine issue has been defined as an issue of fact which calls for the presentation of evidence as distinguished from an issue which is sham, fictitious, contrived, set up in bad faith and patently unsubstantial so as not to constitute a genuine issue for trial.
Thus, under the aforecited rule, summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues of fact, which call for the presentation of evidence in a full-blown trial. Thus, even if on their face the pleadings appear to raise issues, but when the affidavits, depositions and admissions show that such issues are not genuine, then summary judgment as prescribed by the rules must ensue as a matter of law.
Notwithstanding, the issue of possession is a question of fact by the interaction of the basic pleadings, the observation of this Court is that the plaintiffs were able to prove by the well-nigh incontrovertible evidence, the aspects of possession in accordance with Section 48 (b) of Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, as hereinafter illustrated.
It should be stressed that the court a quo which rendered the assailed resolution in Civil Case No. TG-1784 was the very court that decided the LRC Case No. TG-423. Such being the case, the court a quo was privy to all relevant facts and rulings pertaining to LRC Case No. TG-423 which it considered and applied to this case. Thus, where all the facts are within the judicial knowledge of the court, summary judgment may be granted as a matter of right.
The CA, in affirming the above Resolution of the trial court, propounded thus:
The contention of defendant-appellant is untenable. Summary judgment is not only limited to solving
On the contrary, in petitioner's Answer Ad Cautelam, genuine, factual and triable issues were raised, aside from specifically denying all the allegations in the complaint, thus:
as it alleged that (u)pon exercise of further circumspection, counsel for the plaintiffs once followed-up in writing the 1994 request of the plaintiffs to have the subject parcel of land be declared for taxation purposes and insofar as it is made to appear that parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs is the same parcel of land subject matter of Land Registration Case No. TG-423 for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof and for the reason that the names of the herein plaintiffs were never mentioned during the entire proceedings in said land registration case and by reason of the Affirmative Allegations contained hereunder.
2.1 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Complaint insofar as it alleges the personal circumstances of the plaintiff and one A. F. Development Corporation for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof.
2.2 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Complaint for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of said allegations. And if the property referred to in said paragraphs is that parcel of land which was the subject matter of Land Registration Case No. TG423 which was previously decided by this Honorable Court with finality, said allegations are likewise specifically denied for the obvious reason that the said property had already been adjudged with finality by no less than this Honorable Court as absolutely owned by herein answering defendant as will be further discussed hereunder.
2.4 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 9, 10, 10 (a), 10 (b), 10 (c), 10 (d), 10 (e), 10 (f), 10 (g), 10 (h), and 11 for the reason that there is no showing that the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiff is the same parcel of land which was the subject matter of Land Registration Case No. TG- 423, and in the remote possibility that the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs is the same as that parcel of land subject of Land Registration Case No. TG-423, the allegations contained in said paragraphs are still specifically denied for the reason that no less than the Honorable Court had decided with finality that the parcel of land is absolutely owned by herein defendant to the exclusion of all other persons as attested to by the subsequent issuance of an Original Certificate of Title in favor of answering defendant and for reasons stated in the Affirmative Allegations.
2.3 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraph 8 of the Complaint insofar
2.5 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraph 12 of the Complaint for the obvious reason that it was the plaintiffs who appear to have been sleeping on their rights considering that up to the present they still do not have any certificate of title covering the parcel of land they are claiming in the instant case, while on the part
no less than the Honorable Court had adjudged with finality that the parcel of land subject matter of Land Registration Case No.9 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraph IV (d) of the Complaint for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof. 4. answering defendant specifically denies the allegations therein that plaintiffs engaged the services of a lawyer for a fee for lack of knowledge r information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth thereof. 2.7 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs 14. as above-stated. this Honorable Court had already decided with finality that said parcel of land is absolutely owned by herein answering defendant and additionally.1 The pleading asserting the claim of the plaintiff states no cause of action as asserted in the Motion To Dismiss filed by herein answering defendant and for the reason that there is no evidence whatsoever showing or attesting to the fact that the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs in the Complaint is the same parcel of land which was the subject matter of Land Registration Case No. TG423. 15. TG-423 is absolutely owned by herein defendant.2 The complaint was barred by the prior judgment rendered by this Honorable in Land Registration Case No. 0-660 had become incontrovertible by virtue of the Torrens System of Registration. . if the parcel of land being claimed by the plaintiffs is the same as that parcel of land subject matter of Land Registration Case No. much less from the plaintiffs. and further.of herein defendant. and to allow plaintiffs to question the validity of answering defendant's title through the instant complaint would be a collateral of OCT No. to wit: xxxx 2. 2. 16. 0-660 which is not permissible under the law. TG-423. 4.3 The complaint is barred by the Statute of Limitation in that OCT No. 17 and 18 of the Complaint for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as the truth thereof. 4. Special and affirmative defenses were also raised in the same Answer Ad Cautelam.8 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraphs IV (a) to IV (c) for the reason that. TG-423.6 Answering defendant specifically denies the allegations contained in paragraph 13 of the complaint for the reason that defendant has never ladgrabbed any parcel of land belonging to others. 2. for those reasons stated in defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
registration (Decree No. are the previous owners of the parcel of land mentioned in the same deed of sale and aside form the tax declarations covering the same property (Exhibits Q to T.5 Plaintiffs does not to the Court with clean hands as they appear to be well aware of the proceedings in said Land Registration Case No. disorienting that the same trial court reversed its earlier ruling. raising genuine issues that must be resolved only after a full-blown trial. whose ownership is further bolstered by tax receipts showing .  proceedings for summary judgment cannot take the place of trial.  x x x There is overwhelming evidence or proof on record that the vendors listed in Exhibit HH. the uncontroverted testimony of Atty. fictitious. LRC Record No. pursuant to a decree of 4. Ruben Roxas establishes beyond any shadow of doubt that applicant's (referring to herein defendant-appellant) sellers/predecessorsin-interest are the grandchildren. with submarkings. TG-423) wherein the same trial court ruled in favor of the petitioner. plaintiffs never bothered to present their alleged claims in the proceedings. great grandchildren and great great grandchildren of the spouses Lucio Petate and Maria Pobleta Petate. which categorically stated that: Clearly. 0-660 issued by the Register of Deeds) of the parcel of land in question. inclusive). the facts pleaded by the respondents in their motion for summary judgment have been duly disputed and contested by petitioner.4. Incidentally. When the facts as pleaded by the parties are disputed or contested.4 Plaintiffs are barred by their own acts and/or omission from filing the present complaint under the principles of estoppel and laches. contrived or false claim. TG. It is of utmost importance to remember that petitioner is already the registered owner (Original Certificate of Title [OCT] No. therefore. given everyone his due. N-217313. A genuine issue is an issue of fact that requires the presentation of evidence as distinguished from a sham. In the present case. 62686) based on the ruling of the same court that granted the summary judgment for the quieting of title. and observed honesty and good faith in his dealings. the petitioner was able to point out the genuine issues. the findings of the trial court contained in the disputed 4. It is. the former owners of the same property.6 Answering defendant has always acted with justice.423 and inspite of such knowledge. summary judgment were obtained through judicial notice of the facts and rulings pertaining to that earlier case (LRC Case No.
and considering that applicant is a domestic corporation not otherwise disqualified from owning real properties in the Philippines. Based on the foregoing. inspite of the opposition filed by the Heirs of the late Doroteo Miranda. this Court deems it necessary to delve briefly on the nature of the action of quieting of title as applied in this case. with principal office at No. is already a clear indicium that a genuine issue of a material fact exists. CA: . xxx By granting the summary judgment. 43 E. As we held inBaricuatro. This Court's ruling in Calacala. this Court finds that applicant has satisfied all the conditions/requirements essential to the grant of its application pursuant to the provisions of the Land Registration Law. together with the failure of the respondents to show that there were no genuine issues involved. should have been enough for the trial court to give the motion for summary judgment. otherwise known as the Property Registration Law. Trial courts have WHEREFORE. The fact that the respondents seek to nullify the original certificate of title issued to the petitioner on the claim that the former were in possession of the same land for a number of years. as supported by its technical description now forming part of the record of this case. in addition to other proofs adduced in the name of the applicant. Republic. the corresponding decree of registration shall forthwith issue. scant consideration. To begin with. the grant of applicant's petition appears to be inevitable. SO ORDERED. places under the operation of Act 141. thus. thus: Once this decision becomes final and executory.. 1529. inclusive.  is instructive on this matter. This. more than thirty years without the benefit of a full-blown trial. Rodriguez Ave. ELAND PHILIPPINES. Act 496 and/or P. v.D. INC. the trial court has in effect annulled its former ruling based on a claim of possession and ownership of the same land for On the basis of the foregoing facts and circumstances. vs. Jr.payments of realty taxes (Exhibits U to GG. this Court hereby approves the instant petition for land registration and. the land described in Plan Ap-04-006275 and containing an area of Two Hundred Forty-Two Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety-Four (242. (España Extension). it bears emphasis that an action for quieting of title is essentially a common law remedy  grounded on equity.794) square meters. with submarkings). Hence. et al. as amended. Metro Manila. limited authority to render summary judgments and may do so only when there is clearly no genuine issue as to any material fact. filed by respondents. et al. Quezon City.
encumbrance or proceeding. The plaintiff must have legal or equitable title to. In turn. record. or interest in the real property which is the subjectmatter of the action. ineffective. Under Article 476 of the New Civil Code. encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid. Article 477 of the same Code identifies the party who may bring an action to quiet title. by reason of any instrument. and he could afterwards without fear introduce the improvements he may desire. quieting of title is a common law remedy for the removal of any cloud upon or doubt or uncertainty with respect to title to real property. or unenforceable. and may be prejudicial to said title. or unenforceable. record. but also for the benefit of both. a cloud is thereby cast on the complainant s title to real property or any interest therein. Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein. so that the complainant and those claiming under him may be forever afterward free from any danger of hostile claim. is invalid. the remedy may be availed of only when. voidable. x x x not only to place things in their proper place. which appears valid but is.Regarding the nature of the action filed before the trial court. an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title. Article 476. the competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and other claimants. The codal provision reads: It can thus be seen that for an action for quieting of title to prosper. thus: Article 477. claim. or. at least. an equitable title on the real property subject of the action and that the alleged cloud on his title must be . to use. the plaintiff must first have a legal. He need not be in possession of said property. In an action for quietingof title. invalid. claim. ineffective. adverse to that of the complainant. voidable. Originating in equity jurisprudence. so that he who has the right would see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated. its purpose is to secure x x x an adjudication that a claim of title to or an interest in property. in fact. to make the one who has no rights to said immovable respect and not disturb the other. An action may also be brought to prevent a cloud from being cast upon title to real property or any interest therein. and even to abuse the property as he deems best xxx. by reason of any instrument.
claim. Thus. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree: Respondents. et al. the petitioner interposed its objections and duly disputed the said claims. encumbrance. for an action to quiet title to prosper. the indefeasibility and incontrovertibility of the decree of registration come into Verily. 141. which would correspond to the two requisites for the quieting of title. claim. All of these claims. to file in the proper Court of First Instance a petition for reopening and review of the decree of registration not later than one year from and after the date of the entry of such decree of registration. namely: (1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of the action. nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments. or other disability of any person adversely affected thereby. subject. 32 of P. question.D. minority. as It is essential for the plaintiff or complainant to have a legal title or an equitable title to or interest in the real property which is the subject matter of the action. two (2) indispensable requisites must concur.shown to be in fact invalid. we ruled: second requisite. it appears that the first requisite has been satisfied. but in no case shall such petition be entertained by the court where an innocent purchaser for value has acquired the land or an interest therein. including the government and the branches thereof. Also. the deed. or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy. respondents enumerated several facts that would tend to prove the invalidity of the claim of the petitioner. presenting genuine issues that can only be resolved through a full-blown trial. Innocent purchaser for value. thus. encumbrance or proceeding that is being alleged as a cloud on plaintiff s title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy. Anent the propriety of the filing of an action for the quieting of title. however. claim that they have become the owners in fee-simple title of the subject land by occupation and possession under the provisions of Sec. in their Complaint. Under Sec. Review of decree of registration. vs. to the right of any person. Anent the Section 32. So it is that in Robles. deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by such adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud. CA. 48 (b) of the Public Land Law or Commonwealth Act No. are factual. as amended. and. whose rights may be prejudiced. No. and (2) the deed. discussed earlier. Whenever the phrase "innocent purchaser for value" or an equivalent phrase occurs . The decree of registration shall not be reopened or revised by reason of absence.
Any person aggrieved by such decree of registration in any case may pursue his remedy by action for damages against the applicant or any other persons responsible for the fraud. An important feature of a certificate of title is its finality. discussion presented in one of the recognized textbooks on property registration. Shedding light on the matter is a A mere claim of ownership is not sufficient to avoid a certificate of title obtained under the Torrens system. 1997. thus: Upon the expiration of said period of one year. However. mortgagee. (c) The petition must be filed within one year from the issuance of the decree by the Land Registration Authority. it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee. The proceedings whereby such a title is obtained are directed . or other encumbrancer for value. 1997 pursuant to a Decree issued on August 20.in this Decree. (d) The property has not yet passed to an innocent  purchaser for value. Courts may reopen proceedings already closed by final decision or decree when an application for review is filed by the party aggrieved within one year from the issuance of the decree of registration. 1998. One of the remedies available to him is a petition for review.  (b) He must show actual fraud in the procurement of the decree of registration. OCT No. As borne out by the records and undisputed by the parties. a closer examination of the above provisions would clearly indicate that the action filed.  citing decisions of this Court. the decree of registration and the certificate of title issued shall become incontrovertible. The right of a person deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein by adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud is recognized by law as a valid and legal basis for reopening and revising a decree of  registration. applying the above provisions. was not the proper remedy. and However. it would seem that the period of one (1) year from the issuance of the decree of registration has not elapsed for the review thereof. 0-660 of petitioner was issued on August 29. the basis of the aggrieved party must be anchored solely on actual fraud. hence. the following requisites must be satisfied: (a) The petitioner must have an estate or interest in the land. while the complaint for the quieting of title in Civil Case No. TG-1784 was filed and docketed on March 5. To avail of a petition for review. which was for quieting of title.
against all persons. A petition for review under Section 32 is a remedy separate and distinct from a motion for new trial and the right to the remedy is not affected by the denial of such a motion irrespective of the grounds upon which it may have been presented. such judgment is conclusive. in the absence of fraud. save only in cases of actual fraud and then only for one year from the entry of the decree. 32 that the decree shall not be reopened or revised by reason of absence. Thus. there can be no The provision of Section 31 that every decree of registration shall bind the land. a decree of a registration court. Moran. where petitioners acquired their . Giving this provision a literal interpretation. An appeal from the decision of the trial court prevents the judgment from becoming final until that decree is affirmed by the judgment of  the appellate court. and includes all who have an interest in the land. the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the registration case continues to be under the control and sound discretion of the  After the lapse of said period. fraud is not alone sufficient to do so. As written: possible reason requiring the complaining party to wait until the final decree is entered before urging his claim for fraud. and during that period may be set aside by the trial judge on motion for new trial. including the national government. 32 within which a petition to re-open and review the decree of registration refers to the decree of registration described in Section 31. must be understood as referring to final and unappealable decrees of registration. as noted inRivera v. whether actually served with notice or not. and be conclusive upon and against all persons. As further pointed out in the same book. quiet title thereto. the petition for review must be filed within one year from entry of the decree of registration. which decree is prepared and issued by the Land Registration  Administrator. does not become final and unappealable until fifteen days after the interested parties have been notified of its entry. The one-year period stated in Sec. As long as a final decree has not been entered by the Land Registration Authority and period of one year has not elapsed from the date of entry of such decree. Section 32 provides that a petition for review of the decree of registration may be filed not later than one year from and after the date of entry of such decree of registration. and. A decision or. the decree registration court. judgment is rendered against them by default. becomes incontrovertible and no longer subject to reopening or review. If they do not appear and oppose the registration of their own estate or interest in the property in the name of another. However. known or unknown. as it is sometimes called after entry. it has been ruled that the petition may be filed at any time after the rendition of the court's decision and before the expiration of one year from the entry of the final decree of  registration for. it may at first blush seem that the petition for review cannot be presented until the final decree has been entered. a fortiori. and Sec. minority or other disability or by any proceeding in court. If an interest in the land will not by itself operate to vacate a decree of registration. upon any of the  grounds stated in the Rules of Court.
The petitioner should be afforded an opportunity to prove such  allegation. and affirmed the resolutions dated November 3. which dismissed the appeal of petitioner Eland Philippines. 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. WHEREFORE. Inc. Where the petition for review of a decree of registration is filed within the one-year period from entry of the decree. 2006 of Branch 18. Consequently. RTC of Tagaytay City. the resolutions dated November 3. . In the present case. 1999 and June 28. TG1784 are hereby declared NULL and VOID.R. the petition for review on certiorari of petitioner Eland Philippines.interest in the land before any final decree had been entered. the one-year period before the Torrens title becomes indefeasible and incontrovertible has not yet expired. they can hardly be considered innocent purchasers in good faith. a review of the decree of registration would have been the appropriate remedy. SO ORDERED. in these circumstances. 67417. Inc. 1999 and June 28. 2006 of Branch 18. RTC of Tagaytay City in Civil Case No. the litigation was therefore in effect still pending and. it is error for the court to deny the petition without hearing the evidence in support of the allegation of actual and extrinsic fraud upon which the petition is predicated. CV No. thus. and the decision dated February 28. is hereby GRANTED. Based on the above disquisitions. is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. the other issues raised by the petitioner are necessarily rendered inconsequential.
PAGAKAN. 3019. Transfer Certificate of Title No. On 10 May 1947. RICARDA. 2468. Marcos Mata (Mata) executed a Deed of Absolute Sale conveying the ownership of the subject lot in favor of Claro L. Jr. LUCIA. The antecedent facts are as follows: Sometime in 1940. Declaring that the deed of sale. 3. spouses Marcos and Codidi Mata. Exhibit A. Laureta to surrender to the Register of Deeds for the City and G. Davao del Norte containing an area of 4.5777 hectares. Directing Claro L. Laureta the predecessors-ininterest of private respondents. 24434. Jr. docketed as Civil Case No. MELETON. in favor of Fermin Caram. in favor of Fermin Caram. the heirs of Marcos Mata (petitioners) seek the reversal of the decision. On 29 February 1964. in favor of Claro L. Jr. and duly represented by their attorney-in-fact ISIDRO SEMBRANO.CHAPTER 12 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION granted a homestead patent over a parcel of land situated in Tagum. and CARING. In lieu thereof. Exhibit F. Laureta stands and prevails over the deed of sale. Laureta. an action to enforce petitioners' right to repurchase the subject lot under Section 119 of the Public Land Act (Commonwealth Act No. On 25 June 1956. Directing Marcos Mata to acknowledge the deed of sale. 140 was issued in Caram's name. 1999 CODIDI MATA. KAPUNAN. Exhibit A. vs. Tagum. respondents.R. INGRACIO. to declare the first sale of the subject lot in his favor valid and the second sale thereof to Caram void. Directing Claro L. PIO.. the CFI of Tagum rendered judgment as follows: WHEREFORE. executed by Marcos Mata in favor of Claro L. were . 4. 3083. 3019 covering the subject lot issued in their favor. after Marcos Mata shall have acknowledged the same before a notary public. Mata executed another document selling the same property to Fermin Caram. from proceeding with Civil Case No. In this case. Laureta to secure the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the deed. Original Certificate of Title No. 103476 November 18. LAURETA. CELESTINO. (Caram). all surnamed MATA. 5. Laureta filed before the Court of First Instance of Tagum (now RTC) an action. J. COURT OF APPEALS and HEIRS OF CLARO L. Exhibit A. Davao City. 141. as amended).petitioners. Exhibit F.: The instant case is the fourth case that reached this Court involving the same parties and property. judgment is hereby rendered: 1. On 10 June 1945. dated 31 July 1991. Branch 1. MARCELO. No. Declaring as null and void the deed of sale.R. who caused the cancellation of OCT No. 2. SP No. of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. members of a non-christian cultural minority in Davao and predecessors-in-interest of petitioners.. permanently enjoining the Regional Trial Court.
on 23 February 1979. The spouses Mata alleged that the deed of sale executed between Mata and Laureta involving the subject lot is null and void and/or unenforceable because the same had not been approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources as required by law and as directed by the CFI of Davao in its decision of 29 February 1964 in Civil Case No. on 9 May 1985.Province of Davao the Owner's Duplicate of Original Certificate of Title No. 3083 was not time-barred because the ten-year period for the execution of the judgment in Civil Case No. to restrain the trial court from proceeding with said case. Laureta. 2468. Maintaining that Civil Case No. Directing the Register of Deeds for the City and Province of Davao to issue a title in favor of Claro L.R. this Court referred the same to the CA for resolution. private respondents instituted with this Court a petition for injunction and prohibition seeking. Davao City. 3083 commenced to run only on 12 February 1982 when the decision denying Caram's petition became final and executory. duly acknowledged by him and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. TCT No. 3 in its decision in G. Dismissing the counterclaim and crossclaim of Marcos Mata and Codidi Mata." It ordered the return of the ownership of the subject lot to petitioners. the petition filed by Caram. Meanwhile. spouses Mata filed with the Court of First Instance (now RTC). No. 6. No. Branch 1 of Tagum. docketed as Civil Case No. On appeal by private respondents. 1 On appeal by the spouses Mata and Caram. the deed of absolute sale in favor of Laureta was duly approved by the Minister of Natural Resources. the CA affirmed the aforesaid decision of the CFI. The CA categorically declared . petitioners filed with the RTC. Branch VIII. Filipino. 72194. By then. reconveyance and consignation. Speaking through Justice Regalado. On 12 February 1983. among others. the RTC rendered judgment in Civil Case No.. on 21 February 1984. and 8. Jr. 1071 against the Lauretas for recovery of ownership and possession of the subject lot. the Court. The CA ruled in favor of private respondents and permanently enjoined the RTC from further proceeding with Civil Case No. Mata was already dead while his heirs (petitioners) refused to acknowledge the deed of sale in accordance with the said decision. Said decision became final and executory on 26 July 1968. docketed as G. 3083. that the decision in Civil Case No. Branch 1 of Tagum.. the officer-in-charge of the court (now RTC. 3019 and the latter to cancel the same. Two (2) separate petitions for review were then filed by the Matas and Caram with this Court. upon presentation of the deed executed by Marcos Mata in his favor. the CA affirmed in toto the CFI decision in Civil Case No. the counterclaim of Caram. L-29147. The case was then elevated to the Supreme Court which reversed and set aside the decision of the CA. Thereafter. 2468. 2468 would render nugatory and ineffectual the decision of the Court in G. an action against private respondents for legal redemption. On 11 March 1991. No. L-28740. among others. the answer in intervention. 1071. Upon the belief that they could still exercise their right to repurchase the subject lot under the Public Land Act. 3083.R. The petition filed by the spouses Mata. ruled that the execution of the judgment in Civil Case No. Ordering the Register of Deeds for the City and Province of Davao to cancel Transfer Certificate of Title No. On 20 April 1983. Jr. resident of Quezon City. an alias writ of execution was issued by the CFI enforcing its decision in Civil Case No. Davao City) certified and affirmed the due execution of the deed of sale executed between Mata and Laureta.R. on 22 November 1990.R. was dismissed by the Court 2 on 24 February 1981. Exhibit A. and that said decision could no longer be executed as the same had already prescribed. Finally. In lieu of the requisite acknowledgment. 1071 declaring. No. T-140 in the name of Fermin Caram. T-46346 covering the subject lot was issued in the name of Laureta. 72194 promulgated on 5 April 1990. Davao del Norte. 7. 3083 in favor of private respondents had "become stale and unenforceable due to prescription. Upon the other hand. Said decision became final and executory on 12 February 1982. Civil Case No. was dismissed by the Court for lack of merit on 20 June 1968. counterclaim and crossclaim of the Mansacas. docketed as G.
While Alfredo Basaca asserted that he is one of the heirs of the spouses Mata. dated 24 October 1994. Thus: 1. In their petitioner. 2. After the parties have submitted their respective pleadings. the records show that he is not named as one of the petitioners in this case. gave due course to the same and directed the parties to file their respective memoranda. Subsequently. dated 26 February 1996. Jimenez. Atty. 4. Dagakan Mata vda. Marcelo Mata. dated 29 March 1996. Garcia and Rodolfo U. they prayed that they be allowed to withdraw their petition. They affirmed their respective signatures on the Manifestation with Motion of 23 November 1995 and the attachments thereto and averred that they . the fundamental issue raised by petitioners is whether or not they could still exercise their right to repurchase the subject lot under the Public Land Act. namely Clarita Mata Pasindo. Severino Antolihao. dated 30 December 1995. dated 5 September 1994. Rodolfo U. Julieta Mata Abundo. claimed that he is the same person referred to as Lucino Mata who was made to sign the Manifestation with Motion the letters terminating the services of the attorney-in-fact and the lawyers. their purported attorney-in-fact. the various pleadings separately filed by petitioners themselves. Upon petitioners' motion for reconsideration. For his part. their counsel. Jimenez to comment on and/or confirm the Manifestation with Motion of 23 November 1995. On 15 January 1996. dated 12 November 1991. however. the petitioners filed the instant Petition for Review alleging in the main that respondent CA erred in holding that petitioners' right to repurchase the subject property under Section 119 of the Public Land Act had already prescribed. this Court issued a resolution. dated 23 November 1995. 5. and Atty. 4 Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the CA in its resolution. Celestino Mata averred that he did not understand the contents of these documents and that his signatures thereon were obtained by fraud. this Court. Celestino Mata. 3. The amicable settlement. informing the Court that he was not consulted by petitioners when they filed said Manifestation with Motion. In their motion for reconsideration and memorandum. in its Resolution. directed the petitioners and Atty. The Court. however. Aggrieved. and Isidro Sembrano. filed by petitioners themselves without the assistance of their counsel. Upon the other hand. denying the petition for review for failure of the petitioners to sufficiently show that respondent court committed any reversible error in rendering the assailed decision. petitioners question the validity of the sale of the subject lot to Laureta. Jimenez). all dated 23 November 1995. of even date. have left this Court baffled as to petitioners' real stand on the matter. and the amicable settlement. a language not understood by the vendor. dated 27 March 1996. In view thereof. Celestino Mata and Andres Basaca filed with the Court their respective affidavits. Jimenez filed his Comment. one of petitioners. in its resolution. however. most of the petitioners. Lucia Mata Antolihao and Meliton Mata. they informed the Court that they have agreed to an amicable settlement of the case with private respondents. reinstated the instant petition. In compliance therewith. purportedly signed by all the petitioners and private respondents' attorney-in-fact. He urged the Court to decide the case on the merits. Arcadio Mata Pasindo. In a Manifestation with Motion. de Cuanas. Winston F. was also attached to the said Manifestation with Motion. dated 27 September 1994. addressed to their attorney-in-fact (Isidro Sembrano) and to their counsel- on-record (Attys. filed their Manifestation with Motion (to Comment and/or Confirm). Alfredo Basaca assailed the authority of Arcadio Mata Pasindo to sign the amicable settlement on behalf of the heirs of Marcos and Codidi Mata. They contend that said sale was void because the document evidencing the same was written in English. Attached to the said Manifestation with Motion were petitioners' letters. dated 23 November 1995. on one hand. informing them of the termination of their services. Engracio Mata.that petitioners' right to repurchase the subject lot under the Public Land Act had already prescribed. on the other hand. and that it was not approved by the Office for the Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC) in violation of Section 120 of the Public Land Act.
said counsel filed the Motion for Leave to File Attached Joint Affidavit of Some of the Petitioners. that they were deceived into signing the amicable settlement. reiterating their Manifestation with Motion of 23 November 1995. Arcadio M. except for Julieta MataAbundio. acting on his own. Pasindo. Private respondents then filed a Dismiss Petition. Romero A. petitioners claimed that Atty. Jimenez' legal services. the Court required Atty. dated 3 October 1997. 9. the contents thereof were translated and fully explained to them in the dialect known to and understood by them. dated 9 January 1997. In a resolution. Julieta M. In compliance therewith. They manifested in the Joint Affidavit that they voluntarily signed the amicable settlement and reiterated their prayer that they be allowed to withdraw their petition. attesting that the contents of said opposition were fully explained to petitioners in their dialect. At any rate. petitioners filed with the Court their Joint Affidavit. Atty. Rodolfo Jimenez as counsel for petitioners. Davao issued a Certification. Maing attested that petitioners categorically denied having been coerced. Upon Mr. Abundio. They reiterated their prayer that they be allowed to withdraw their petition. signed by all the petitioners themselves. dated 5 February 1998. dated 21 February 1996. they reiterated that the amicable settlement of 23 November 1995 was their own free and voluntary act. Jimenez no longer had any authority to represent them in the case. 10. Clarita M. A few months later. having terminated the same on 23 November 1995. the three (3) other affiants. dated 23 November 1995. Rosendo MataPasindo. Davao. The Joint Affidavit. Carmelita Mata-Pasindo and Wilfredo Mata. Maing's query. Petitioners reiterated their prayer that they be allowed to withdraw their petition. Davao. Jimenez filed a motion. who engaged Atty. They explained that although it was written in English. Jimenez as Counsel for Petitioners. dated 10 February. Atty. dated 10 September 1997. 8. that he is merely protecting the interests of petitioners and urged this Court to resolve the case on the merits. dated 25 August 1997. Jimenez averred in his comment. The affiants in said Joint Affidavit claimed that they were deceived into signing and/or affixing their thumbmarks on the said pleadings and documents. forced or intimidated into signing the amicable settlement. namely. Wilfredo Mata and Julieta Mata-Abundio. Isidro Sembrano submitted a Joint Affidavit of Rosendo Mata-Pasindo. Jimenez admitted that he had only been in contact with the attorney-in-fact of petitioners and never with petitioners themselves. Pasindo. The Provincial Officer of the OSCC in Tagum. were not signatories to the amicable settlement. 11. In said opposition. Maing. Atty. On 10 January 1997. Isidro Sembrano submitted to this Court a Joint Affidavit of petitioners Celestino Mata and Ricarda Mata. Marcelo Mata and Ricarda vda. petitioners expressed their desire to proceed with the amicable settlement of the case. Carmelita Mata-Pasindo. the Provincial Officer of the OSCC in Tagum. purportedly executed by six (6) affiants. again claiming that they were deceived into signing the amicable settlement. dated 1 October 1997. dated 1 October 1997. dated 20 March 1998. 6. and in the Opposition to Motion to Resolve Petition Filed by Atty. dated 1 June 1998. Petitioners likewise filed an Opposition to Motion to Resolve Petition Filed by Attorney Rodolfo U. petitioners denied that they personally engaged him to represent them in this case. claiming. averred that they are retracting their statements contained in the Manifestation with Motion. Jimenez to file his comment on said opposition. In support of said Joint Affidavit. among others.understood the contents thereof as these were fully explained to them in the presence of the Provincial Officer of the OSCC in Tagum. urging this Court to resolve the petition. dated 29 September 1997. Curiously. Thereafter. 7. On 23 June 1997. They stated that they are no . In said motion. however. regarding an investigation he conducted on 3 February 1997 attended by petitioners. Celestino Mata. dated 10 December 1997. de Ayonan. and its attachments. dated 26 May 1997. It was allegedly only Isidro Sembrano. He also filed a Motion to Require Personal Appearance of Petitioners before the OSCC to Verify their Final Stand on the Petition. With regard to their relationship to Attorney Jimenez. namely. petitioners attached thereto the report of Mr. On 5 September 1996. Mr.
" 6 We stated therein that "the first sale in favor of Laureta 7 prevails over the sale in favor of Caram. executed by the petitioners except Celestino Mata and Clarita Mata Pasindo. vs. Laureta. to Atty. in effect." This pronouncement cannot be construed in any other way but that the Court affirmed the validity of the sale of the subject property in favor of Laureta as against the sale of the same to Caram. after the lapse of four years from the time the intimidation ceased. claiming that they did not understand its contents. 13. Chief of the Legal Division of the Central Office of the OSCC of having conspired with each other and deceived some of the petitioners into signing the Joint Affidavit. another petition filed by Mata questioning the decision of the CA which upheld the sale of the subject property to Laureta was dismissed by this Court on 24 February 1981. purportedly prepared by Atty. de Ayonan did not personally affix their respective signatures thereon. petitioners harp on the alleged nullity of the deed of sale executed between Mata and Laureta in 1945 on the ground that it was written in English. Attached to the report were the Panunumpa. dated 26 August 1998. had already been passed upon by this Court in the case of Caram. It must be noted that in their complaint therein. 1888. upheld anew the validity of the sale of the subject property in favor of Laureta. Jimenez' Motion to Resolve petition Attached to the said opposition is a Clarificatory Affidavit. Republic Act No. Jimenez submitted to this Court an Investigation Report. They likewise affirmed the appointment of Isidro Sembrano and Atty. Then again. In the said decision. Jimenez no longer had any authority to represent them in this case. the same "was cured when. dated 14 January 1999. in the case of Heirs of Claro L. Manuel Iral. as it was procured by force. among others. 1071. however. Marcos Mata lost both his rights to file an action for annulment or to set up the nullity of the contract as a defense in an action to enforce the same. 8 this Court ordered the dismissal of Civil Case No. as amended. in their Motion for Reconsideration and Memorandum. both dated 11 January 1999. which we categorically declared as void. dated 4 November 1998. respectively. A careful perusal of the said Joint Affidavit shows that petitioners Marcelo Mata and Ricarda vda. Rather. 12. In said affidavit. who did not affix their respective signatures thereon. Jimenez as their attorney-in-fact and counsel. dated 20 March 1998. 1071 filed by petitioners. in relation to Section 120 of the Public Land Act. a language not understood by the former. Given the dizzying and seemingly interminable equivocation in the stance of the petitioners vis-a-vis the proposed amicable settlement of 23 November 1995. Previously. dated 23 November 1995. we likewise allowed private . we are constrained to disregard the same and proceed with the resolution of the case on the merits. In the Caram case. of petitioners Celestino Mata and Clarita Mata-Pasindo. Intermediate Appellate Court. They likewise maintained that Isidro Sembrano is no longer authorized to act on their behalf and that Atty. two (2) other persons signed above their names although it does not appear that they had been duly authorized by petitioners Marcelo Mata and Ricarda vda. These affiants affirmed the retraction of their signatures on the Manifestation with Motion. dated 23 November 1995.longer withdrawing their petition and urged the Court to resolve it on the merits. and that it was not approved by the OSCC in violation of Section 4(n). Petitioners once again sought this Court's approval of their amicable settlement. On 1 March 1999. affiants accused Isidro Sembrano and Atty. Laureta vs. and retracting their statements in the Manifestation with Motion. Iral in his capacity as Chief of the Legal Division of the present National Commission on Indigenous People. Thus. We upheld therein the validity of the sale in favor of Laureta as we affirmed the findings of the lower court to the effect that while the sale to Laureta was voidable. we. 5 the first case decided at length by this Court involving the subject property. Jr. The issue of the validity or nullity of the aforesaid deed of sale. it had not been approved by the then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources as required by law. by ordering the dismissal of Civil Case No. de Ayonan to do so. Petitioners thereafter filed their Opposition. Atty. petitioners also raised the issue of the nullity of the deed of sale executed between Mata and Laureta on the ground that. the issue raised was which sale was valid considering that Mata sold the same property twice: first to Laureta and later on to Caram. I As stated earlier. Affiants affirmed that they voluntarily signed said Manifestation with Motion and its attached documents including the amicable settlement.
is conclusively settled by the judgment therein as far as the parties to that action and persons in privity with them are concerned and cannot be again litigated in any future action between such parties or their privies. the second concept conclusiveness of judgment explained in this manner: applies. Effect of judgments or final orders. conclusiveness of judgment bars the relitigation of particular facts or issues in another litigation between the same parties on a different claim or cause 12 of action. In Lopez vs. that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged. or which was actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. we expounded on the concept of conclusiveness of judgment as follows: The general rule precluding the relitigation of material facts questions which were in issue and adjudicated in former action are commonly applied to all matters essentially connected with the subject matter of litigation. which had long attained finality. 3083 as the same was not yet time-barred. . Reyes. although no specific finding may have been made in reference thereto. This is in consonance with the doctrine of res judicata as embodied in Rule 39. Under . It has been held that in order that a judgment in one action can be conclusive as to a particular matter in another action between the same parties or their privies. with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto. upholding the validity of the sale of the subject property in favor of Laureta effectively foreclose any further inquiry as to its validity. (b) In other cases. a former judgment between the same parties or their privies will be final and conclusive in the second if that same point or question was in issue and 10 adjudicated in the first suit . Section 47. The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court of the Philippines." 11 Simply put. Section 47 of the Rules of Court: Sec. litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity. . The foregoing rulings in the earlier related cases. in the same court or any other court of concurrent jurisdiction on either the same or different cause of action. 47. . The said concept is [A] fact or question which was in issue in a former suit and was there judicially passed upon and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction. and the second is "conclusiveness of judgment" under paragraph (c) thereof. or necessarily implied in the final judgment. 9 In the present case. it is essential that the issue be identical. may be as follows: (a) . and the judgment will depend on the determination of that particular point or question. conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding. while the judgment remains unreversed by proper authority. and although such matters were directly referred to in the pleadings and were not actually or formally presented. If a particular point or question is in issue in the second action.respondents to proceed with the execution of the judgment in Civil Case No. . Although the action instituted by petitioners in the lower court in this case (action for reconveyance) is different from the actions they instituted in the earlier cases. having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final order. . and necessarily adjudicated. the concept of conclusiveness of judgment still applies because under this principle "the identity of causes of action is not required but merely identity of issues. the judgment or final order is. . and (c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest. The doctrine of res judicata actually embraces two (2) concepts: the first is "bar by prior judgment" under paragraph (b) of Rule 39. Thus it extends to questions "necessarily involved in an issue.
where we stated that private respondents may still validly proceed with the execution of the decision in Civil Case No. and if a judgment necessarily presupposes certain premises. as more than five (5) years had already lapsed.this rule. The same conclusion would obtain even if the running of the five-year period were to start from 9 May 1985. Savellano 14 The next issue is whether or not petitioners can still validly exercise their right to repurchase the subject property pursuant to Section 119 of the Public Land Act: Sec. they are as conclusive as the judgment itself. From this date up to the time of the filing of the action for reconveyance. Applying the rule on conclusiveness of judgment. Thus. Reasons for the rule are that a judgment is an adjudication on all the matters which are essential to support it. 16 In this case. dated 10 June 1945. The registration is intended to protect the buyer against claims of third parties against subsequent alienations by the vendor. 119. Public policy and sound practice demand that. more than forty-five (45) years had lapsed. As held in Legarda vs. the date of finality of our decision in the 17 Caram case where we declared that the sale in favor of Laureta prevails over that in favor of Caram. Petitioners. 3083. filed the action for reconveyance (Civil Case No. pronounced by its appointed organs. The term "conveyance" imports the transfer of legal title from one person to another. Mata conveyed the ownership of the subject property to Laureta by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale. and that it is not too much to say that it is a fundamental concept in the organization of the jural sytem. upon a disputed fact or a state of facts. where we categorically pronounced that the sale in favor of Laureta prevails over that of Caram. as between the parties. 2468) on 24 November 1990. as heirs of Marcos Mata. The very object for which courts were constituted was to put an end to 15 controversies. and is certainly not necessary to give effect. and that every proposition assumed or decided by the court leading up to the final conclusion and upon which such conclusion is based is as effectually passed 13 upon as the ultimate question which is solved. when proper. within a period of five (5) years from date of conveyance. at the risk of occasional errors. the matter may no longer be relitigated in this case. to their deed of sale. T-46346 covering the subject property was issued in favor Laureta after the sale in his favor was approved by the Minister of Natural Resources in accordance with the decision in Civil Case No. shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant. judgments of courts should become final at some definite date fixed by law. Caram became final and executory on 12 February 1982 while Laureta on 5 July 1990. petitioners' right to redeem the subject property had already prescribed by the time they went to court. it has been well said that this maxim is more than a mere rule of law. Clearly. his widow. petitioners' action to repurchase the subject property would still be time-barred. prescription of the right to repurchase had set in. and should forever set the controversy at rest. when Transfer Certificate of Title No. if the record of the former trial shows that the judgment could not have been rendered without deciding the particular matter. the date of conveyance is construed to refer to the date of the execution of the deed transferring the ownership of the land to the buyer. 3083. should be regarded as a final and conclusive determination of the question litigated. Every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions. and in Laureta. that the solemn and deliberate sentence of the law. It usually takes place upon the execution of the deed purporting to transfer the ownership of the land as the same is already valid and binding against the parties thereto even without the act of registration. Petitioners further argue that the five-year period should be reckoned from September 1990. or legal heirs. Indeed. for the purpose of reckoning the five-year period to exercise the right to repurchase. which we declared void. more than an important principle of public policy. II . it will be considered as having settled that matter as to all future actions between the parties. when the decision of this Court in Laureta 18 allegedly became It is a general rule common to all civilized system of jurisprudence. As correctly pointed out by the CA. There is no question that the issue of the validity or nullity of the sale of the subject property in favor of Laureta had already been passed upon by this Court in Caram. if the five-year period to repurchase were to be reckoned from 12 February 1982.
judgments of courts should become final and irrevocable at some definite date fixed by law. Davide.final and executory. 3083 was time-barred. Interes rei publicae ut finis sit 19 litium. for constituted as they are to put an end to controversies. . the act of conveyance within the meaning within the meaning of the Section 119 of the Public Land Act had already been made long before the finality of our decision in Laureta. premises considered. deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Indeed. whether the CA erred in granting private respondents' petition for injunction as it had allegedly the effect of disposing the case without trial on the merits. Public policy and sound practice demand that at the risk of occasional errors. it is. Puno. The CA.. i. courts must guard themselves against any scheme to bring about that result. suffice it to say that since private respondents' right to injunctive relief was clear. they could not exercise their right to repurchase since the issue of its ownership was still then under litigation. they should frown upon any attempt to prolong it. correctly ordered the dismissal of Civil Case No.J. likewise. At any rate. it being essential to the effective administration of justice that once judgment has become final. .. this controversy has already dragged on for more than half a century. C. Accordingly. WHEREFORE. A trial on the merits thereon would serve no other purpose and would only result in needless delay. This contention is without merit. . . through a mere subterfuge.. concur. 2468 as the records of the case clearly showed that petitioners' right to repurchase had already prescribed. (L)itigations must end and terminate sometime and somewhere. . whether or not private respondents' motion for execution of the judgment in Civil Case No. the petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED..e. the CA correctly ordered the dismissal of petitioners' action for reconveyance on ground of prescription. high time that we write finis to it. . SO ORDERED. As earlier discussed. thus. Jr.. the CA properly granted the same. III With respect to the procedural issue raised by petitioners. i. Pardo and Ynares-Santiago. JJ. .e. Hence. the winning party be not. Petitioners maintain that prior to the said date. said case resolved an entirely different issue.
As already stated. 1961. But the Director of Lands on March 23. respondents. represented by her husband DOMINGO PAGGAO and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF ISABELA. the Director of Lands approved Bullungan's application on June 4. between Lot No. 764. Branch XIX. P-8817 was issued in the name of Irene Bullungan. Cauayan.:p This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the 2 decision of the Regional Trial Court. Psu-150801 involved in this case is concerned. vs. refusing to give up his claim. 763. 1108. which he was occupying. 1982 an investigation of Carabbacan's protest. 1955. 763 and Lot No. He was in the continuous. Telmo at Ilagan. the Director of Lands ordered on March 23. 763 and Lot No. 1. Irene Bullungan stated that the land applied for by her was not claimed or occupied by any other person and that it was public land which had been continuously occupied and cultivated by her since 1925. dismissing the complaint of Vicente Carabbacan and ordering him to vacate the land. HEIRS OF IRENE BULLUNGAN. which was docketed as Civil Case No. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. was finally ousted on December 10. Alleging that a portion of Lot No. Vicente Carabbacan also brought an action for the reconveyance of the portion of Lot No. No. 1. Irene Bullungan (now deceased) applied for a free patent covering lot situated in Fugaru (now San Guillermo). 1985. consisting of 1. In his report dated September 17. Isabela declaring Free Patent No. The cases were thereafter tried jointly. 1957. who had been in possession of the land in question. II-1102. Pls-594 since 1947. The facts of this case are as follows: On September 10. Carabbacan. On December 26. the Cagayan River changed its course by moving north-east. 3 Upon certification of Assistant Public Land Inspector Jose M. Isabela recommended the dismissal of the protest on the ground that the Bureau of Lands no longer had jurisdiction over the matter as a result of the grant of a free patent to Irene Bullungan. who found that Vicente Carabbacan had been in-actual cultivation of the land identified as Lot No.R. J. 1088 and 1102. V-79740 and Original Certificate of Title No. MENDOZA. 1972. Original Certificate of Title No. 1. 1. 4 G. On the other hand. Vicente Carrabacan filed a protest on September 7. 1996 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. In her application. Carrabacan took possession of the land and cultivated it. The heirs of Irene Bullungan in turn sought to recover possession of the land in an action which they brought in the Court of First Instance of Isabela on April 13. Vicente Carabbacan filed a case for reconveyance on August 15. Br. 104296 March 29. the land investigator stated that due to a big flood which occurred in December 1947. Dulay. resulting in the emergence of a piece of land. 1957. The lots included a portion of Lot No. Psu-150801 covered by the free patent issued to Irene Bullungan overlapped the lot between Lot No. 764. 1947. Isabela. On November 22. Angadanan. petitioner. Psu-150801. The District Land Officer at Ilagan. The investigation was undertaken by Senior Special Investigator Napoleon R. Isabela that Irene Bullungan had been in actual. P-8817 in the name of Irene Bullungan null and void so far as the portion of Lot No. 1982 ordered an investigation of the protest. 1972. Psu-150801 and the cancellation of free patent against Irene Bullungan on September 5. continuous open. 1981. notorious. 1961. which is the subject of this dispute. which Vicente Carabbacan claimed. 1972 the court rendered a decision. although this was dismissed by the court without prejudice. THE COURT OF APPEALS. 1 .Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION exclusive and adverse possession of the land since 1925.04 hectares. open and adverse occupation and cultivation of the land from December 1947 until 1981 when he was ejected by virtue of the decision in Civil Cases No. having acquired the same from Tomas Tarayao on May 4. peaceful. represented by the DIRECTOR OF LAND. even as it upheld the ownership of Irene Bullungan.
P-8817 null and void insofar as the portion of Lot No.D. from-time to time and whenever he may deem it advisable. V-79747 and Original Certificate of Title No. 1529. 1.Based on these findings. 763 and Lot No. We think that this is error. 1989. title. 79740 and Original Certificate of Title P-8817 were obtained through fraud. To begin with. she had filed a complaint for forcible entry against Vicente Carrabacan. §32 (formerly Act No. V-79740 and OCT No.D. or permit issued on the basis of such application. No. 10 The failure of Irene Bullungan to disclose that Vicente Carrabacan was in possession of the portion of land in dispute constitutes fraud and misrepresentation and is a ground for annulling her title. The Torrens Title issued on the basis of a free patent or homestead patent becomes as indefeasible as one which was judicially secured upon the expiration of one year from date of issuance of patent as provided in P. or modifying the consideration of the facts set forth in such statements. The Court of Appeals did not disturb the trial court's finding in this case that Irene Bullungan committed fraud and misrepresentation. 764. No. Psu-150801 was not claimed or occupied by any other person. and any subsequent modification. and for the purpose of such investigation. De Luna. however.year. Its decision rests solely on the ground that after the lapse of one year from the date of issuance of a free patent an action for the cancellation of patent and title on ground of fraud and misrepresentation can no longer be maintained. It shall be the duty of the Director of Lands. to make the necessary investigations for the purpose of ascertaining whether the material facts set out in the application are true. (§38). 1. after the lapse of one year from the date of issuance of the patent. Psu-150801 between Lot No. 1986. Isabela. the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's ruling on the ground that. The Republic controverts the ruling of the Court of Appeals. The trial court found that a portion of the lot in question had been in the 5 possession and cultivation of Vicente Carabbacan since December 1947. alteration. or permit granted. The trial court found that Irene Bullungan falsely stated in her application for a free patent that Lot No. The lower court found that Irene Bullungan made misrepresentations by claiming in her application for a free patent that she was in possession of the disputed portion of Lot No. The court justified the reversion of the land in question as an assertion of "a governmental right. the Solicitor General filed in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines a complaint for the cancellation of Free Patent No. or whether they continue to exist and are maintained and preserved in good faith. On November 28. the State may still bring an action under §101 9 of the Public Land Act for the reversion to the public domain of lands which have been fraudulently granted to private individuals. there is no question that Free Patent No. when in fact Vicente Carabbacan was occupying and cultivating the land. It contends that the doctrine of indefeasibility of Torrens Titles does not bar the filing of an action for cancellation of title and reversion of land even if more than one year has elapsed from the issuance of the free patent in case of fraud in obtaining patents. 1986 that steps be taken to seek the amendment of Free Patent No. Psu-150801. P-8817 of the late Irene Bullungan so as to exclude the disputed portion and for the reversion of the same to the State. The statements made in the application shall be considered as essential conditions and parts of any concession. It is settled that once a patent is registered under Act No. The case was filed in the Regional Trial Court of Cauayan. The appellate court held that the certificate of title issued in the name of Irene Bullungan became incontrovertible and indefeasible upon the lapse of one year from the issuance of the free patent. the Chief of the Legal Division of the Bureau of Lands recommended on March 10. 8 even after the lapse of one . 496 (now P. This has been the consistent ruling of this Court. title. 496. the Directors Lands is hereby empowered to . or change of the material facts set forth in the application shall ipso facto produce the cancellation of the concession. V-79740 and OCT No. The complaint. Isabela which. 1529) and the corresponding certificate of title is issued. P-8817 on the ground of fraud and misrepresentation in obtaining the free patent. the land ceases to be part of the public domain and becomes private property over 7 which the Director of Lands will no longer have either control or jurisdiction. was dismissed precisely because the court found that Carabbacan had been in possession of the land long before it was sold to Irene Bullungan by 6 Leonida Tarayao. 1. changing. However. on September 25. is concerned. 11 Thus §91 of the Public Land Act provides: §91." On appeal. which was filed in the Justice of the Peace Court of Angadanan. the State could no longer bring an action for reversion. rendered a decision declaring Free Patent No. as held in Director of Lands v. and any false statement therein or omission of facts altering. We agree with petitioner. Indeed private respondents admit that before Irene Bullungan filed her application for a free patent.
Ventura. It was therefore a misrepresentation for her to state in her application for a free patent that she had been in possession of the lot in question when the fact is that Carabbacan had been there ahead of her. Director of Lands v. This is not so. Vital v. Romero. 1941. J.. to give them a sense of protection and permanency in their 13 homes. Branch XIX is REINSTATED. no right whatsoever was awarded in said cases for it is already settled that a free patent which purports to convey land to which the government did not have any title at the time of its issuance does not vest any title in the patentee as against the true owner (Suva v. Abanilla. however. concur.. and on the basis of such presumption. WHEREFORE. that in these cases the lots patented or granted were no longer part of the public domain but private ones segregated from the mass thereof. Vicente Carabbacan had been in possession of the land even before Irene Bullungan bought the possessory rights to the land. 90 Phil. L-26324." Public policy demands that one who obtains title to a public land through fraud should not be allowed to benefit therefrom. Where public land is acquired by an applicant through fraud and misrepresentation. 855. In every investigation made in accordance with this section. fraud. Accordingly.G. . August 23. is on leave. Nor is there merit in the claim of private respondents that the action taken by the Republic in this case is "not in keeping with the policy of State to foster families as the factors of society. This does not obtain in the present case for it is beyond dispute that the subject land was still a part of the public domain when the same was patented by the Government in favor of appellants' predecessor in interest. or fraudulent and illegal modification of essential facts shall be presumed if the grantee or possessor of the land shall refuse or fail to obey a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum lawfully issued by the Director of Lands or his authorized delegates or agents. at bar. the State may institute reversion proceedings even after the lapse of the one-year period. Puno and Mendoza. 1983). as in the case.. Consequently. Isabela. an order of cancellation may issue out further proceedings. Regalado. 8. the decision appealed from is REVERSED and the decision dated September 25. to obtain compulsory process from the courts. unaware of cases where the patent and the certificate of title issued pursuant thereto were declared null and void notwithstanding the expiration of the aforementioned period of one (1) year simply because of false statement of material and essential facts made in the application therefor.issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum and. G. The appellate court said in its decision: We are not. SO ORDERED. it became 12 incontrovertible in 1958. of course. August 31. 4th sup.R. Be it noted. JJ. there was indeed a title awarded such that when the same was brought under operation of Land Registration Act in 1957. Anore. if necessary. Jr. No. Torres. 1989 of the Regional Trial Court of Cauayan. 40 O. concealment. or shall refuse or fail to give direct and specific answers to pertinent questions. the existence of bad faith.
continuous. It found that Mariano s claim over the controverted lot lacks basis and held that his defense constitutes a collateral attack on the validity of a Torrens title which was barred by prescription for having been raised more than one year after the entry of the decree of registration. Both witnesses testified that since they were still children. represented by ANGELITA S. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendant: 16 13 HEIRS OF SIMPLICIO SANTIAGO. while Marta is the mother of Jose Santiago. of the present or previous occupants. constructed a house on a portion of Lot 2344 and refused to vacate the premises despite written and oral demands. and by fifty-two-year old Flordeliza 23 Austria. They alleged that Lot 2344 was acquired by Simplicio by purchase 10 from his father. and notorious 3 possession. the house was still made of nipa. Guillermo. 2344-C. Simplicio secured a free patent and an original certificate of title over the entire Lot 2344. Quod nullum est. 1984. petitioners.14 At the trial. the heirs of Simplicio Santiago. Bulacan. with an area of 349 square meters. No. Angat. the house of Marta where she and Mariano s family resided was already existing on Lot 2344-C. 42761. When Mariano was born in 1926. The instant controversy involves a 574 square meter parcel of land known as Lot 6 No. Vicente and Magdalena. i. On April 3. 7401-M.R. and not to private lands which became such by virtue of a duly registered possessory information or by open. as evidenced by a deed of sale dated September 15. purchased Lot 2344-A from Simplicio Santiago for the price of P5. son of 9 Jose Santiago. and Lots 2344-A and 2344-C. J. Bulacan. The spouses had five children. through stealth and evident bad faith. In his answer. Thus. Marcelo. 1983. 2344. Branch 27 in Civil Case No. 151440 June 17. Marta Santiago. nullum producit effectum. Mariano s testimony was corroborated by seventy-year old Socorro Ocampo. P-10878 covering Lot 2344 was 4 . His father allegedly advised 15 Mariano to remove the house but the latter refused to do so.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. he constructed a house on the said lot. he applied for a free patent. Mariano testified that he and his sister. HEIRS OF MARIANO E. who in turn inherited the lot from her parents. but it was subsequently improved in 21 1931 and 1952 into a house of strong materials. 2003 issued in his name. located in Poblacion. When Simplicio retired from government service in 1968. with an area of 168 square meters. On August 6. Jose. admitted that since he attained the age of reason. Sometime in 1983. on September 26. the house of Mariano Santiago was already existing in Lot No. Pablo is the father of Simplicio 7 Santiago and Guillermo Santiago. YNARES-SANTIAGO. the trial court rendered a decision in favor of petitioners. was fraudulently included in the free patent and certificate of title issued to Simplicio Santiago. This petition seeks to reverse and set aside the December 3. among whom were Pablo and Marta. 1972. one of the children of Simplicio Santiago. and Lot 2344-C. CV No. Belen S. Original Certificate of Title No.: A free patent issued over a private land is null and void and produces no legal 1 effects whatsoever. exclusive. he and his sister inherited Lot 2344-C from their grandmother.000. 20 Marta had been living in the house built on the said lot. however. Pablo. 1999 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. which reversed and set aside the 5 December 3. Lot 2344-B. Mariano Santiago contended that Lot 2344 was subdivided into three portions. respondents. Petitioners owned only Lot 2344-B. Mariano Santiago.18 Immediately after the sale. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. Cad-349. and brother.e. SANTIAGO. twenty-three-year old Nestor Santiago. During her lifetime. Free patent 2 applications under the Public Land Act apply only to disposable lands of the public domain.R. 1991. which was granted.. Lot 2344-A. with an area of 57 square 17 meters. petitioners. 1980. which was formerly owned by the spouses Vicente Santiago and Magdalena Sanchez.11 Before his 12 demise on May 6. vs. On the other hand. containing an area of 225 square meters. CASTRO. they constructed a house on the lot.22 first cousin of Simplicio and Mariano s father.00. 1999 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos.19 Without their knowledge. initiated a 8 complaint for accion publiciana with damages against Mariano Santiago. a long-time neighbor of the parties.
C. P-10878 of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan. a right to a government grant without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. because Lot 2344 is a private land which cannot be the subject of a Free Patent. Dismissing/denying all claims and counterclaims for damages by the parties. Mariano died on July 5. The decretal portion thereof states: WHEREFORE. "2-C"). the owners of the property covered by Original Certificate of Title No. Such an act strengthens one s bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership.28 Although tax declarations or realty tax payment of property are not conclusive evidence of ownership.1. P-10878 (Exh. . 2344-B (Exh. premises considered. and that they have declared the same for taxation. 26 Hence. b. for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or constructive possession. The land was thus segregated from the public domain and the director of lands had no authority to Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the decision of the trial court on December 3. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the land by respondents and their predecessors in interests. declaring the appellees the absolute owners of 349 square meters of Lot 2344. "A") null and void. which is registered in the name of Simplicio Santiago. Private ownership of land as when there is a prima facie proof of ownership like a duly registered possessory information or a clear showing of open. continuous. continuous. The voluntary declaration of a piece of property for taxation purposes manifests not only one s sincere and honest desire to obtain title to the property and announces his adverse claim against the State and all other interested parties.C. It sustained respondents claim over Lots 2344-A and 2344-C and ruled that the Free Patent and the Original Certificate of Title issued in favor of Simplicio Santiago are void. 2. In the instant case. it was established that Lot 2344 is a private property of the Santiago clan since time immemorial. No. Declaring the plaintiffs. 1991 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and in its stead another judgment is rendered in favor of the appellant and against the appellees as follows: a. because the Public Land law applies only to lands of the public domain. by present or previous occupants is not affected by the issuance of a free patent over the same land. c. ordering the appellees to pay the costs. designated as Lot 2344-A and 2344-C (Exhs. 1993 and was substituted by his heirs. The main issues are: (1) whether or not the free patent and the certificate of title issued to Simplicio Santiago are valid. they are good indicia of possession in the concept of owner.T. exclusive. designated as Lot No. No. children and heirs of the late Simplicio Santiago. The Director of Lands has no authority to grant free patent to lands that have ceased to be public in character and have passed to private ownership. the decision dated August 6. 3. SO ORDERED. Ordering the defendant Mariano Santiago to remove and vacate the 57 square meter portion of the property covered by said title (O. but also the intention to contribute needed revenues to the Government. a certificate of title issued pursuant to a homestead patent partakes of the nature of a certificate issued in a judicial proceeding only if the land covered 27 by it is really a part of the disposable land of the public domain. Consequently. nevertheless. SO ORDERED. No pronouncement as to costs. 25 d. "2-A" & "2-B". the instant petition.29 Considering the open.24 Meanwhile. respectively. They constitute at least proof that the holder has a claim of title over the property. and (2) whether or not respondents claim over Lots 2344-C and 2344-A is supported by the evidence. 1999. The settled rule is that a free patent issued over a private land is null and void. by operation of law. and produces no legal effects whatsoever. P10878) on which his house is established and surrender the possession thereof to the plaintiffs.T. they are deemed to have acquired. and notorious possession. declaring the appellants the absolute owner of the 225 square meters of Lot 2344. declaring the Free Patent Title under O.
Mariano Santiago and Belen Sanchez built a house on the said lot. P-10878. while the heirs of Simplicio tried to make it appear that Mariano built his house only in 1983. hence. they averred that respondents have no personality to sue for the annulment of OCT No. respondents assertion of ownership is buttressed by their possession of Lot 2344-C. and now Section 32 of Presidential Decree 1529). who in turn inherited the lot from her parents. Clearly. the presumption of validity of the deed of sale. title to the property covered by a Torrens certificate becomes indefeasible after the expiration of one year from the entry of the decree of registration.issue a patent. As he explained. Likewise. and clothing a public land patent certificate of title with indefeasibility. P10878 are void not only because of the fraudulent inclusion therein of respondents lots. approved by the Secretary of Natural Resources. Court of Appeals. A certificate of title issued under an administrative proceeding pursuant to a homestead patent covering a disposable public land within the contemplation of the Public Land Law or Commonwealth Act No. Simplicio. the free patent issued to the applicant was declared void because the lot involved was shown to be private land which petitioner inherited from his grandparents. which they co-own with Belen Marcelo. 0130448 and OCT No. the free patent covering Lot 2344. Esplana. in Robles v. There is no specific provision in the Public Land Law or the Land Registration Act (Act 496). no other evidence was presented to substantiate their claim. Immediately after the sale in 1972. 31 Furthermore. respondents are the lawful owners of Lot 2344-C and Lot 2344A. The contentions are without merit. 141 is as indefeasible as a certificate of title issued under a judicial registration proceeding. . We annulled the titles granted to the applicant after finding that the lots were privately owned and continuously possessed by the applicant and his predecessors-in-interest since time 32 immemorial. Other than their allegation 35 that the deed of sale was a forgery. now Presidential Decree 1529. This 34 legal presumption was not overcome by petitioners. are void. This fact was also corroborated by respondents witnesses who declared that the house where Marta and Mariano s family resided was already existing in the disputed portion of Lot 2344 even when they were still children. Just as the decree finally awards the land applied for registration to the party entitled to it. The fact that Mariano did not declare Lot 2344-C for taxation does not militate against his title. but also because Lot 2344 is a private lot. the applicant for a free patent declared that the lots subject of the application formed part of the public domain for the sole purpose of obtaining title thereto as cheaply as possible. Moreover. The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that Lot 2344-C was sold by Simplicio Santiago to Mariano Santiago and Belen Sanchez. exclusive. Hence. Nestor Santiago admitted on cross-examination that Mariano Santiago s house was already existing in the disputed lot since he attained the age of reason. it constitutes a collateral attack on a Torrens title. the patent issued by the Director of Lands equally and 36 finally grants and conveys the land applied for to the applicant. The document of sale evidencing the transaction is duly notarized and. and notorious possession of Lot 2344-C in the concept of owners for more than seventy years supports their contention that the lot was inherited by Mariano from her grandmother Marta. fixing a similar one-year period within which a public land patent can be considered open to review on the ground of actual fraud (such as that provided for in Section 38 of the Land Registration Act. Under the Land Registration Act. continuous. P-10878 is barred by prescription and that. the in rem registration process. Respondents claim of ownership over Lot 2344-C and Lot 2344-A is fully substantiated. he was advised by the Municipal Assessor that his 57 square meter lot was tax exempt and that it was too small to be declared for taxation. The date of the issuance of the patent corresponds to the date of the issuance of the decree in ordinary cases. It is worthy to note that although Lot 2344-C was within the property declared for taxation by the late Simplicio Santiago. therefore. or participated in. Petitioners contend that respondents action to annul OCT No. as such. Their open. The lack of opposition on the part of petitioners. Such decree of registration is incontrovertible and becomes binding on all persons whether or not they were notified of. Free Patent No. even assuming that it was filed within one year from the entry of the decree of registration. Similarly in Magistrado v. is considered a public document and enjoys the presumption of validity as to its authenticity and due execution. in whose name the entire Lot 33 2344 was declared for taxation. under the signature of the President of the Philippines. Nevertheless. indicates that they recognized the validity of the sale and it was only later that they thought of repudiating the authenticity thereof. this Court has repeatedly applied Section 32 of Presidential Decree 1529 to a patent issued by the Director of Lands. Further. a private land. he just gave his share in the taxes to his uncle. over which the Bureau of Lands had no jurisdiction. prevails. and the 30 certificate of title issued pursuant thereto. he did not disturb the possession of Marta and Mariano. Hence. ceding Lot 2344-C to Mariano Santiago and Belen Marcelo.
being in the nature of an action to quiet title. the attack is indirect or collateral when. the parties title to the said lot is imperfect and is still subject to the rules on confirmation of title under Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Act. in an action to obtain a different relief. Court Appeals. 1529. we can rule on the validity of the free patent and OCT No. An action is an attack on a title when the object of the action is to nullify the title. both in the name of Simplicio Santiago are declared null and void. is therefore not barred by prescription. A counterclaim can be considered a direct attack on the title. P-10878.. while the original complaint filed by the petitioners was for recovery of possession. does not apply when the person seeking annulment of title or reconveyance is in possession of the lot. we ruled that inasmuch as there was no reversion of the disputed property to the public domain. while petitioner Heirs of Simplicio Santiago are declared owners and holders of imperfect title over Lot No. In the case at bar. the State. Jr. a case involving the personality to sue for the reconveyance of a private land. Section 48 of P. it is the original defendant who becomes the plaintiff. and thus challenge the judgment or proceeding pursuant to which the title was decreed. Respondent Heirs of Mariano Santiago are declared owners and holders of imperfect title over Lot No. In Development Bank of the Philippines v. and declaring petitioners as absolute owners of Lot No. or canceled except in a direct proceeding. or accion publiciana. inasmuch as respondents are in possession of the disputed portions of Lot 2344. 2344-C. Nevertheless. Parenthetically. the Property Registration Decree. Patent No. in view of the foregoing.40 we ruled on the validity of a certificate of title despite the fact that the nullity thereof was raised only as a counterclaim. or enjoin its enforcement. since all the facts necessary in the determination of the title s validity are now before the Court. an attack on the judgment or proceeding is 39 nevertheless made as an incident thereof. 42761 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. C. we held that a person in actual possession of a piece of land under claim of ownership may wait until his possession is disturbed or his title is attacked before taking steps to vindicate his right. CV No.D. is not 42 the real party in interest. JJ. the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG. in Robles v. Costs against petitioners. 2344-B. P10878 because of the counterclaim filed by respondents. 2344-B. it would be in the best interest of justice to settle this issue which has already 41 dragged on for 19 years. Davide. only this time.The one-year prescriptive period. Court of Appeals.. 0130448 and Original Certificate of Title No. the ruling of the Court of Appeals declaring the respondents as the absolute owners of Lot Nos. Hence. SO ORDERED. however. Lot 2344 is a private property in open. concur. There is no merit in petitioners contention that only the State may bring an action for reconveyance of the lots in dispute. and his undisturbed possession gives him the continuing right to seek the aid of a court of equity to ascertain and determine the nature of the adverse claim of a third party and its effect on his title. In this case. however. The attack is direct when the object of an action is to annul or set aside such judgment.. To reiterate. It should be clarified. 2344-A and Lot No. It was held that a counterclaim is considered a complaint.R. the State is not the proper party to bring a suit for reconveyance. It stands on the same footing and is to be tested by the same rules as if it were an independent action. continuous. should be modified. 2344-A and C. The nullification of its free patent and title would not therefore result in its reversion to the public domain. Vitug. P-10878. that notwithstanding the Court s declaration that Lot No. Moreover. WHEREFORE. this imperfect title is enough to defeat the free patent and certificate of title issued over the said lot. modified. exclusive and notorious possession of the Santiago family. and the nullity of the title was raised merely as respondents defense. This is because the action partakes of a suit to quiet title which is 37 38 imprescriptible. . On the other hand. In David v. represented by the Solicitor General. Carpio. Malay. 2344 is a private property and not a part of the public domain. their action to annul Original Certificate of Title No. Hence.J. and Azcuna. provides that a certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack and can not be altered.
Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 123586 August 12, 2004
favor. Accordingly, Free Patent No. (IX-8) 785 for Lot No. 7, Csd-09-05-00078-D was issued in the name of Morandarte. On September 20, 1976, the Register of Deeds of Zamboanga del Norte issued the corresponding Original Certificate of Title No. (P-21972) 5954.5 Subsequently, Morandarte caused a subdivision survey of the lot, dividing the same into Lot No. 6781-A, with an area of 13,939 square meters, and Lot No. 6781-B, with an area of 32,819 square meters. As a result of the subdivision survey, Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-1835 and T-1836 covering Lots 6781-A and 6781-B, respectively, were issued in favor of Morandarte on May 12, 1980 by the Registry of Deeds of Dipolog City.6 On May 22, 1981, Morandarte and his wife, Marina Febrera, executed a real estate mortgage over Lot 6781-B, subject of TCT No. 1836, in favor of the Development Bank of the Philippines, Dipolog City branch (DBP for brevity), in consideration of a loan in the amount ofP52,160.00.7 More than ten years after the issuance of the OCT in Morandarte's name, or on March 19, 1987, respondent Republic of the Philippines (Republic for brevity), represented by the Director of Lands, filed before the RTC a Complaint for Annulment of Title and Reversion against the Morandarte spouses, the Register of Deeds of Zamboanga del Norte, the Register of Deeds of Dipolog City, and DBP, docketed as Civil Case No. 3890.8 The Republic alleged that the BOL found that the subject land includes a portion of the Miputak River which cannot be validly awarded as it is outside the commerce of man and beyond the authority of the BOL to dispose of. It claimed that the Morandarte spouses deliberately and intentionally concealed such fact in the application to ensure approval thereof. Considering that the Morandarte spouses are guilty of fraud and misrepresentation in the procurement of their title, the 9 Republic stressed that their title is void. The Register of Deeds of Dipolog City filed a Motion to Dismiss, dated April 7, 1987, praying for the dismissal of the complaint as against her since the complaint failed 10 to state a claim against her. In their Answer dated April 13, 1987, the Morandarte spouses denied the allegations of the complaint and claimed that they were able to secure the title in accordance and in compliance with the requirements of the law. They alleged that
SPOUSES BEDER MORANDARTE and MARINA FEBRERA, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, and SPOUSES VIRGINIO B. LACAYA and NENITA LACAYA, respondents.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which seeks the reversal of the Decision,1 dated August 23, 1995, of the Court of Appeals (CA for brevity) in CA-G.R. CV No. 36258, affirming the Decision, dated November 5, 1991, rendered by the Regional Trial Court (Branch 7), Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte (RTC for brevity) in Civil Case No. 3890, declaring Free Patent No. (IX-8) 7852 and Original Certificate of Title No. P-21972, in the name of petitioner Beder Morandarte (Morandarte for brevity), and all its derivative titles, null and void ab initio. The factual antecedents are as follows: Morandarte filed an application for free patent, dated December 5, 1972, before the Bureau of Lands, Dipolog City District Land Office (BOL for brevity), covering a parcel of land located at Sta. Filomena, Dipolog City with an area of 4.5499 hectares and described as a portion of Lot 1038 of Dipolog Cadastre No. 85.3 On July 27, 1976, the District Land Officer of the BOL approved the free patent application of Morandarte and directed the issuance of a free patent in his
the land is a portion of inherited property from Antonio L. Morandarte whose ownership thereof is covered by Tax Declaration No. 2296. As regards the Miputak River, they argued that the river changed its course brought about by the fact that a portion of the Miputak River was leased by the Bureau of Fisheries (BOF for brevity) to a certain Aguido Realiza whose rights were subsequently transferred to Virginio Lacaya. They alleged that they indicated in their survey plan the actual location of the Miputak River in relation to the property but the BOL returned the survey with the directive that the existence of the river should not be indicated as the original survey did not show its existence, to which they complied with by submitting a new survey plan which did not indicate the existence of the river. In the alternative, they alleged that inclusion of the Miputak River should not render the title void; only the portion of the property covered by the Miputak River should be nullified but their title to the remaining portion should be maintained.11 For its part, DBP filed its Answer dated April 13, 1987 praying for the dismissal of the complaint as against it since it had nothing to do with the issuance of the title 12 to the spouses. DBP interposed a cross-claim against the spouses for the payment of their outstanding obligations.13 The Morandarte spouses filed an Answer to the 14 Crossclaim dated April 29, 1987. No answer was filed by the Register of Deeds of Zamboanga del Norte. On March 4, 1988, upon prior leave of court, herein respondent spouses Virginio B. Lacaya and Nenita Lacaya filed their Complaint-In-Intervention which alleged that they are holders of a fishpond lease agreement covering a fishpond area of about 5.0335 hectares, 1.2681 hectares of which have been included in the title issued to the Morandarte spouses. Considering that the land of the Morandarte spouses encroaches on the area leased to them, the Lacaya spouses submit that the 15 former's title thereto is void. In their Answer to the complaint-in-intervention, dated March 19, 1988, the 16 Morandarte spouses denied the allegations of the Lacaya spouses. They maintained that the portion of the fishpond originally belonged to Antonio L. Morandarte, their predecessor-in-interest, and the Lacaya spouses have never been in possession thereof but are actually squatters therein.
On the other hand, the Republic, in its Answer to the complaint-in-intervention, dated March 21, 1988, adopted the allegations of the complaint-in-intervention to 17 further support its claim that the title of the Morandarte spouses is void. The Lacaya spouses filed their Reply and Answer on March 30, 1988, denying the arguments of the Morandarte spouses and reiterating the allegations in their 18 complaint-in-intervention. Following trial on the merits, on November 5, 1992, the RTC rendered a 19 Decision in favor of the Republic and the Lacaya spouses. The RTC declared that while fraud in the procurement of the title was not established by the State, Morandarte's title is, nonetheless, void because it includes a portion of the Miputak River which is outside the commerce of man and beyond the authority of the BOL to dispose of. In addition, the RTC sustained the fishpond rights of the Lacaya spouses over a portion included in Morandarte's title based on a Deed of Transfer of Fishpond Rights from Felipe B. Lacaya and a Fishpond Lease Agreement with the BOF. The dispositive portion of the decision of the trial court reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: 1. Declaring null and void ab initio Free Patent No. (IX-5) (sic) 785 and Original Certificate of Title No. P-21972 in the name of Beder Morandarte, as well as all derivative titles issued thereafter; 2. Ordering defendants spouses Beder Morandarte and Marina Febrera to surrender their owner's duplicate copies of Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. T-1835 and T-1836, which were the derivative titles of Original Certificate of Title No. P-21972; 3. Directing the Register of Deeds of Zamboanga del Norte to cancel Original Certificate of Title No. P-21972 in the name of Beder Morandarte, and the Register of Deeds of Dipolog City to cancel Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. T-1835 and T-1836 in the name of the same defendant; 4. Ordering the reversion of the land in question to the state, free from liens and encumbrances;
5. Enjoining defendants spouses Beder Morandarte and Marina Febrera from exercising any act of ownership or possession of the subject property; 6. Dismissing the Cross-Claim of defendant Development Bank of the Philippines against Cross Defendants Spouses Beder Morandarte and Marina Febrera, for being premature, but ordering the latter cross defendants to give a substitute security in favor of DBP as indicated in this decision; 7. Declaring valid and enforceable the Lease Agreement for a period of twenty five years over the fishpond area of Intervenors; 8. Denying Intervenors' prayer for damages against defendants-spouses Morandarte; and 9. Dismissing, for lack of merit, the counterclaim and prayer for damages of defendants spouses Morandarte against the Intervenors. No costs against defendant-spouses Morandarte. IT IS SO ORDERED.20 Dissatisfied, the Morandarte spouses appealed to the CA.21 In a Decision dated 22 August 23, 1995, the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC, ratiocinating, as follows: The present controversial Miputak River used to occupy the area adjacent to the northern and western boundaries of Lot No. 6781 Cad-85 (Exh. J). As time passed, it changed its course and occupies (sic) Lot No. 6781 Cad-85 (identical to Lot 7, Exh. H). This will explain Beder Morandarte's argument that when he applied for the Sales Patent Lot 7 (identical to Lot 6781), the original technical description did not show the Miputak River. But it is inescapable though, that while originally, Lot 6781 is not occupied by the river, at the time that the Sales Application was filed by Beder Morandarte, the Miputak River was actually occupying said Lot 6781 or Lot 7 covered by his Sales Application and the titles sought to be annulled in this case.
Rivers and their natural beds are undoubtedly properties of public dominion (Art. 502 par. 1, Civil Code of the Philippines). Whether navigable or not, rivers belong to the public and cannot be acquired by prescription (Com vs. Meneses, 38 O.G. 2839, Paras, Civil Code, p. 328, Vol. II, 12th Edition). In fact, a stream located within private land is still property of public dominion, even if the Torrens Title of the land does not show the existence of said stream (Talion vs. Sec. of Public Works and Highways, L-24281, May 16, 1967; Paras, supra). Correspondingly, Art. 462 of the same Civil Code provides: Art. 462. Whenever a river, changing its course by natural causes, opens a new bed through a private estate, this bed shall become of public dominion. The rule is the same that even if the new bed is on private property. The bed becomes property of public dominion. Just as the old bed had been of public dominion before the abandonment, the new riverbed shall likewise be of public dominion (Hilario vs. City of Manila, L-19570, April 27, 1967).23 On October 10, 1995, the Morandarte spouses filed a motion for 24 reconsideration. In its Resolution dated January 19, 1996, the CA found no 25 justifiable cause or reason to modify or reverse its decision. Hence, the instant petition for review anchored on the following assigned errors: A. RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR OF LAW IN APPLYING ARTICLE 462 OF THE CIVIL CODE TO THIS CASE WHEN THE CHANGE IN COURSE OF THE OLD MIPUTAK RIVER WAS NOT DUE TO NATURAL CAUSES BUT WAS ACCIDENTAL. B. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE CHANGE OF COURSE OF THE OLD MIPUTAK RIVER WAS DUE TO NATURAL CAUSE ONLY A PORTION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY OF PETITIONERS WAS AFFECTED THEREBY SO THAT
(7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court.162 square meters of Lot 7 which has an area of 45. they insist that the lower courts made capital. the CA went beyond the issues of the case. (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based. . are binding and conclusive upon the Supreme Court and generally will not be reviewed on appeal. including the transfer certificate of title of the successors-in-interest because the same were all procured through fraud and misrepresentation. they vigorously contend that the CA erred in sustaining the validity of fishpond rights of the Lacaya spouses. forcing the river to be diverted into Lot 6781-B. The circumstances evidencing fraud and misrepresentation are as varied as the people who perpetrate it in each case.162 square meters portion covered by the Miputak River. rivers and other streams shall continue to be the property of their respective owners. RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN ORDERING THE REVERSION OF LOT 7.499 square meters. They aver that the Lacaya spouses violated the terms of the lease agreement by constructing dikes for the fishponds which caused the Miputak River to traverse the property of the Morandarte spouses. it must be stated that in petitions for review on certiorari.THE TITLE OF PETITIONERS TO THE REMAINING PORTION IS VALID AND CANNOT BE NULLIFIED AS IT REMAINED PRIVATE PROPERTY. or impossible. (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. involving a question of fraud and misrepresentation committed against the government and it seeks the return of the disputed portion of the public domain. none of these exceptions find application here. It assumes different shapes and forms and may be committed in as 32 many different ways. and (11) when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties. fraud and misrepresentation are never presumed but must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. The reversion agreed to refers only to the 12. RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT CONSIDERING THAT NO FRAUD OR MISREPRESENTATION WAS EMPLOYED BY THE SPOUSES MORANDARTE IN OBTAINING THE 26 TITLE. absurd. when adopted and confirmed by the CA. The Miputak River occupies only 12.29 While this Court has recognized several exceptions to this rule. as the party alleging that fraud and misrepresentation attended the application for free patent. or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee. (6) when in making its findings. or conjectures. A complaint for reversion involves a serious controversy. which provides that "[l]ands accidentally inundated by the waters of lakes. albeit erroneously. of their agreement to a reversion.28 Inquiry upon the veracity of the CA's factual findings and conclusion is not the function of the Supreme Court for the Court is not a trier of facts. if 30 properly considered. surmises. Thus. while the portion unaffected by the Miputak River is valid and their title thereto should be maintained and respected. to wit: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation.33 mere 34 preponderance of evidence not even being adequate. D. RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING AS NULL AND VOID THE LEASE AGREEMENT EXECUTED IN FAVOR OF INTERVENORS. would justify a different conclusion. which. (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent. which should be voided. they staunchly claim that the Miputak River does not actually correspond to Lot 7. Moreover. (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion.31 The State. or by creeks. E. Also. Therefore. CSD-09-05-00078-D TO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. Prefatorily. They contend that the Miputak River changed its course due to the closure of the river bed through the construction of dikes by the Lacaya spouses. and nullify the original certificate of title. (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken. It seeks to cancel the original certificate of registration. they submit that the applicable provision is Article 77 of the Law of Waters.27 Factual findings of the trial court. The Morandarte spouses emphatically argue that the CA failed to take into consideration the true state of the present Miputak River in relation to Lot 7. bears the burden of proof." Furthermore. (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting. C. only questions of law may be raised by the parties and passed upon by this Court.
Ordinarily.339 square meter portion already covered by an existing fishpond lease agreement granted by the BOF in favor of Felipe B. 40 Regardless of the foregoing. the fishpond rights have been in existence since 1948. the mistake or error of the officials or agents of the BOL in this regard cannot be invoked against the government with regard to property of the public domain. Aguido S. the 12. 1977. the State failed to prove that fraud and misrepresentation attended the application for free patent. was already the owner of that portion of Lot 1038 when the fishpond application of Aguido S. Hearing Officer I of the BOL. recognized that no fraud attended 35 the application for free patent but declared reversion based on the judicial admission of the Morandarte spouses that reversion is warranted due to the inalienability of the Miputak River. This mothered the subsequent error of the BOL of approving the amended plan as CAS-09-05-000078-D. Aurelio F. Lacaya on October 25. a judicial admission requires no proof and a party is precluded from denying it except when it is shown that such admission was made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was 36 made. 1976 covering the Miputak River and land subject of the fishpond rights of Felipe B. surprisingly failed to notice the existence of the river traversing Lot 1038 in the field investigation he conducted on January 10.339-square meter portion covered by the fishpond lease agreement of the Lacaya spouses which were erroneously included in Free Patent No. lands which cannot be registered under the Torrens system. 4-1257. P-21972 should be reconveyed back to the State.46 Be that as it may. it is undisputed that the original survey plan submitted by Morandarte to the BOL reflected the true state of the Miputak River in Lot 1038 but the BOL did not approve the plan because a 1916 survey did not so indicate the existence of a river traversing Lot 1038 such that Morandarte was directed to submit an amended plan deleting the existence of the Miputak River. their predecessor-in-interest. The RTC.51 . Amor A. prior to the 1972 free patent application of Morandarte. 39 the predecessor-in-interest of the Lacaya spouses. The absence of clear evidence of fraud will not invalidate the entire title of the Morandarte spouses.44 Felipe B. Morandarte.50 It is a settled rule that unless a public land is shown to have been reclassified as alienable or actually alienated by the State to a private person. 1998. through Forestry Administrative Order No. 1972. Besides. Thus. 1956. 4. concluded that Morandarte is a qualified applicant and recommended that a free patent be granted to him. However. A different rule would apply where fraud is convincingly shown. Accordingly. It has been said that the State cannot be estopped by the omission. Hence. By 1960. cannot ripen into private ownership. Lacaya on May 14.38 Neither did Bureros note the 13. Antonio A. The Morandarte spouses cannot seek refuge in their claim that Antonio A. Bureros. in fact. the exception finds application since the records lay bare that such admission was made through mistake and not in the context it was 37 considered. acquired his fishpond 42 permit on May 29.6784 hectares of the public land have been leased for fishpond purposes. such acquiescence to return the portion covering the Miputak River is not. the Morandarte spouses essentially agreed only to a reconveyance of the portion covering the Miputak River. Undoubtedly.162-square meter portion traversed by the Miputak River and the 13. Realiza transferred his fishpond rights to Felipe 43 B. however long. Realiza was approved in 1948 because Lot 1038 was still part of the public domain then. (IX-8) 785 and Original Certificate of Title No. Aurelio F. Morandarte's occupation thereof. by oversight. As reflected in the Order dated May 25. 1976. when Lot 1038 was declared alienable or disposable property of the State. In this case. the grantee does not. become the owner of the land or property illegally included. standing alone. This error culminated in the erroneous grant of a free patent on July 27. Aguido's son. does not prove fraud and misrepresentation.0335 hectares. 1953. Bureros. Realiza. Lacaya transferred his fishpond rights 45 to Virgilio B.In this case. an admission that fraud and misrepresentation attended the application for free patent. the public land leased for fishpond purposes had increased to 5. This error could have been discovered through a thorough ocular inspection of the property claimed under the free patent application. that piece of land remains part of the public domain. The records reveal that as early as 1948. by virtue of the said certificate of title alone. Lacaya. and cannot be considered. 47 mistake or error of its officials or agents. or when the Director of Lands did not have jurisdiction over the same because it is a public domain. Amor A. Realiza was the initial grantee of a 41 fishpond lease agreement. Lacaya.48 Otherwise stated. which was approved August 14. It was only in 1972. property of the public domain is incapable of registration and its inclusion in 49 a title nullifies that title. It is well-recognized that if a person obtains a title under the Public Land Act which includes. This fact. The present controversy involves a portion of the public domain that was merely erroneously included in the free patent.
Puno. such as a typhoon. No pronouncement as to costs. P-21972. petitioners Spouses Beder Morandarte and Marina Febrera are directed to reconvey to the respondent Republic of the Philippines within thirty (30) days from the finality of this Decision the 12. Lacaya. Had more vigilance been exercised by the BOL. proving that the area covering the fishpond belongs to the Government and petitioners have no rights thereto. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals. General statements. particularly Lot 7 of the amended plan submitted by Morandarte.R. Neither is there proof that the movement of the river was caused by accident or calamity. They offered no iota of evidence to substantiate this claim. Sr. the petition is partly GRANTED. in the name of petitioner Beder Morandarte. the present litigation could have been averted. at the time of the filing of the application for free patent in 1972.The Morandarte spouses also unsuccessfully harp on the inapplicability of Article 462 of the Civil Code by claiming that the change of course of the Miputak River was due to a man-made cause and not by natural means. dated August 23. . traversing Lot 1038. Neither is there evidence to corroborate the bare allegation of petitioners that the Lacaya spouses constructed dikes for the fishponds which caused the Miputak River to traverse Lot 7. and not by the natural movements thereof.162-square meter portion traversed by the Miputak River and the 13. No.339-square meter portion covered by the fishpond lease agreement of the Lacaya spouses. In its stead.. Surely. are unavailing and cannot suffice. SO ORDERED. which are mere conclusions of law and not proofs. the government agency entrusted specifically with the task of administering and disposing of public lands. in CA G. WHEREFORE.. It is not material in this case in the sense that it was not made an issue by the parties. other than the bare testimony of Beder Morandarte. a portion of the Miputak River was already in its present course. (Chairman). (IX-8) 785 and Original Certificate of Title No. concur. What is significant here is the established fact that there was an existing fishpond lease agreement between Felipe Lacaya and the Bureau of Fisheries at the time of Morandarte's application for free patent. We need not delve on the question of whether the Lacaya spouses violated the terms of the fishpond lease agreement. Tinga. in effect. a more diligent search into their records and thorough ocular inspection of Lot 7 would have revealed the presence of the Miputak River traversing therein and an existing fishpond right thereon. we cannot but decry the carelessness of the BOL in having issued the Free Patent in Morandarte's favor which covered the Miputak River and the fishpond rights of Felipe B. 36258 is REVERSED insofar only as it affirmed the nullity of Free Patent No. JJ. 1995. In closing. and Chico-Nazario. Callejo. Besides.
since he bought the property in 1977. respondent filed an action for ownership. Ilocos Norte. in view of the foregoing. substituted by his heirs. Petitioners. the Regional Trial Court rendered a decision. 1996. 1973. 1996. Affiants also attested that Lazo and his predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the disputed portion since 1940 and that the same was mistakenly included in the patent application of Victor Flores. represented by their Attorney-in-Fact. jointly and severally: 1. namely: Julio. denying their motion for reconsideration. 1977. To pay said plaintiff such amount as would be the peso equivalent of 100 cavanes of palay per year. grant. partition and damages against petitioners. Marciano Bagaoisan. 2000. 138892. Respondent. parcel of land situated in Barrio Maab-abucay (now Estancia) Municipality of Piddig. vs. DOLORES FLORES and VIRGINIA FLORES-DALERE. P11880 be partitioned among them. On December 20. DECISION NACHURA. petitioners stated that they did not relinquish ownership or possession of the land to Lazo. 1998 and 1999. computed as the price then obtaining in said years. 1983. herein petitioners. quieting of title. MARCIANO BAGAOISAN. with Lazo taking advantage of their lack of education. together with their mother Luisa Viernes. petitioners claimed that they were misled into signing the same. 3. 2006 Decision and the June 20. 2010 JULIO FLORES (deceased). No. He claimed that the subject property was erroneously covered by OCT No.552 sq. attesting to the fact that they conveyed to Lazo the subject property through the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim. respondent.4 On April 4. To recognize plaintiff Marciano Bagaoisan as owner of the 13. J.: Petitioners seek a review of the March 29. considering that they executed an affidavit acknowledging the erroneous inclusion of the property in their title. 1 On June 21. 3 executed a Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim in favor of Vicente T.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Baguio City THIRD DIVISION G. Viernes and petitioner Virginia Flores-Dalere executed a Palawag A Nasapataan (Affidavit). OCT No.6 On February 3. Ilocos Norte. cede. JIMENA TOMAS. Dolores. petitioners agreed to "sell. Through this document. given on November 12. 2. Benito. Lazo. 2006 Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA).552-square meter portion of a parcel of land covered by 2 Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendants. he possessed the land as owner and paid real property tax thereon. petitioners had denied his ownership of the land and asserted their 5 ownership thereof by working and harvesting the crops thereon. petitioners. 1976. While admitting that they executed the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim in favor of Lazo. P-11880 in the name of the Heirs of Victor Flores. The case involves a 13. P-11880 and that petitioners have previously recognized such fact. BENITO FLORES (deceased). for the loss of harvest he incurred in 1994.R. This property is located in the Municipality of Piddig. In the Complaint. and Virginia. bought the subject property from Lazo. He averred that. 173365 April 15. 1995. and . He said that. 1997. Thereafter.m. Petitioners contended that it was too late for respondent to assert title to the disputed portion because the title covering the same had already become indefeasible one year after it was issued. substituted by his heirs. and transfer by way of QUITCLAIM" the subject property to Lazo. lately. respondent asserted that he was a tenant of Lazo and that he had been working on the subjec0t property since time immemorial. To cease and desist from further possession of said parcel of land and to immediately reconvey the same to plaintiff. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. convey. as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale dated February 20. praying that he be declared as the true owner of the subject property and that the entire property covered by OCT No. In answer. P11880 was issued pursuant to Homestead Patent No.
00 as reasonable attorney s fees. The act of conveyance would still fall within the ambit of the prohibition. The dispositive portion of the assailed March 29. . and the true owner might file an action to settle the issue of ownership.000. as the effect would still be the alienation or conveyance of the property. the CA dismissed their assertion that they did not know the contents of the document.8 the CA held that where the registered owner knew that the property described in the patent and the certificate of title belonged to another. or corporations. associations. 2006 Decision reads: WHEREFORE." "cede. SO ORDERED. Its basic objective. lands acquired under free patent or homestead provisions shall not be subject to encumbrance or alienation from the date of the approval of the application and for a term of five years from and after the date of issuance of the patent and grant. Except in favor of the Government or any of its branches. In light of petitioners admission that they signed the deed after it was read to them. it concluded that the five-year prohibition against alienation of a property awarded through homestead patent did not apply. any statute barring an action by the real owner would not apply. aimed at providing a class On appeal. Consequently. which states: Sec. is to promote public policy. or institutions. 11048-14 is hereby AFFIRMED. Labeling the deed as a confirmation of non-ownership or as a quitclaim of rights would actually make no difference. Anore. To pay plaintiff the amount of P20. Laoag City. The deed uses the words "sell. the CA upheld the validity of the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim. nor shall they become liable to the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to the expiration of said period. which prohibits the alienation of lands acquired through a homestead patent. 9 The CA likewise denied petitioners motion for reconsideration in its Resolution 10 dated June 20. The assailed 3 February 2000 decision by the Regional Trial Court. and it violates Section 118 of the Public Land Act (Commonwealth Act No. insisting that the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim is void as its contents were not fully explained to them." and "transfer. transfer." "convey. 7 Without going into petitioners allegation that they were unaware of the contents of the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim. The petition is meritorious. but the improvements or crops on the land may be mortgaged or pledged to qualified persons. units. The use of the words "confirmation" and "quitclaim" in the title of the document was an obvious attempt to circumvent the prohibition imposed by law. It further declared that the deed merely confirmed petitioners nonownership of the subject property and it did not involve an alienation or encumbrance. that is to provide home and decent living for destitutes." "grant. which approval shall not be denied except on constitutional and legal grounds. Accordingly. 118." These words admit of no other interpretation than that the subject property was indeed being transferred to Lazo. petitioners filed this petition for review. No alienation. It bears stressing that the law was enacted to give the homesteader or patentee every chance to preserve for himself and his family the land that the State had 12 gratuitously given to him as a reward for his labor in cleaning and cultivating it. The CA likewise rejected petitioners contention that the action was barred by prescription or laches. we nonetheless hold that the deed is void for violating the five-year prohibitory period against alienation of lands acquired through homestead patent as provided under Section 118 of the Public Land Act. No pronouncement as to costs. To validate such an arrangement would be to throw the door open to all possible fraudulent subterfuges and schemes that persons interested in land given to a homesteader may devise to circumvent and defeat the legal provisions prohibiting 11 their alienation within five years from the issuance of the patent. or conveyance of any homestead after five years and before twenty-five years after the issuance of title shall be valid without the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce. We do not agree with the CA that the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim merely "confirmed" petitioners non-ownership of the subject property. as the Court had occasion to stress. 2006. the appeal is hereby DISMISSED for lack of sufficient merit. SO ORDERED. Citing Vital v. in Civil Case No. 141).4.
2006 Resolution are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. a right to a government grant. on behalf of the 20 government. there was no allegation as to how petitioners were able to secure title to the property despite the alleged ownership of respondent s predecessor. This. and the subject property being 19 reverted to the public domain. who is by law mandated to institute an action for reversion. When these conditions are complied with. NACHURA Associate Justice 18 . There is. To repeat. In order that an action for reconveyance based on fraud may prosper.1avvphi1 Furthermore. by operation of law. it is essential for the party seeking reconveyance to prove. Respondent merely established that he had been in possession of the property and that he had been paying real property taxes thereon since 1977. He merely asserted that his predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the property since 1940. The basic presumption is that lands of whatever classification belong to the State and evidence of a land grant must be "well-nigh incontrovertible. the possessor is deemed to have acquired. Should the Solicitor General decide to file such an action. After the lapse of such period. it would be well to mention that the execution of the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim within the five-year prohibitory period also makes the homestead patent susceptible to cancellation.13 Hence. therefore. the conveyance of a homestead before the expiration of the five-year prohibitory period following the issuance of the homestead patent is null and void and cannot be enforced. quieting of title and damages is DISMISSED. 2006 Decision of the Court of Appeals and its June 20. without prejudice to an action for reversion that the Solicitor General may decide to file for the State. the sole remedy of a landowner. whose property has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another s name is to file an action for reconveyance so 16 long as the property has not passed to an innocent purchaser for value. such that the latter would have no more right to issue a homestead patent to another person. for it is not within the competence of any citizen to barter 14 away what public policy by law seeks to preserve. which was executed three years after the homestead patent was issued. SO ORDERED. without the necessity of a certificate of title being issued. In fact. continuous. any act which would have the effect of removing the property subject of the patent from the hands of a grantee will be struck down for being violative of the law. The land ceases to be a part of the public domain and beyond the authority of the Director of Lands. respondent failed to present sufficient evidence to surmount the conclusiveness and indefeasibility of the certificate of title. The March 29. would not suffice. It is the Solicitor General. More importantly. however. the petition is GRANTED. his title to 17 the property and the fact of fraud. by clear and convincing evidence." The Public Land Act requires that the possessor or his predecessors-in-interest must be in open. An OCT issued on the strength of a homestead patent partakes of the nature of a certificate issued in a judicial proceeding and becomes indefeasible and incontrovertible upon the expiration of one year from the date of the promulgation 15 of the Director of Lands order for the issuance of the patent. WHEREFORE. will have to be resolved. The complaint for ownership. The only evidence on record attesting to the fact that respondent and his predecessors-in-interest had been in possession of the property since 1940 was the affidavit executed by some of petitioners. exclusive.of independent small landholders which is the bulwark of peace and order. particularly their alleged lack of knowledge of the contents of the deed. ANTONIO EDUARDO B. it is in that action that petitioners defenses. is void and cannot be enforced. no doubt that the Deed of Confirmation and Quitclaim. respondent failed to prove that he has title to the subject property. Respondent did not allege in his complaint or prove during the trial that fraud attended the registration of the subject property in petitioners names. and notorious possession and occupation of the land for at least thirty years. In closing.
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