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Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership G.R. No.

. L-16257 January 31, 1963 FACTS: Said Lot 378 is part of Hacienda Mandalagan consisting of Lots 378, 405, 407, 410, 1205, 1452 and 1641 of the cadastral survey, originally registered in the name of Agustin Amenabar and Pilar Amenabar. In 1920, the latter sold the hacienda to Jose Benares who obtained Original Certificate Title in lieu thereof. In 1921, he mortgaged the Hacienda, including Lot 378 to the Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co. On 1926, Jose Benares again mortgaged the Hacienda, including said Lot 378, on the Philippine National Bank, subject to the first mortgage held by the Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co. These transactions were duly recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds of Negros Occidental. The mortgage in favor of the Bank was subsequently foreclosed, and the Bank acquired the Hacienda, including Lot 378, and had the title in its name. However, Bank did not take possession of the property for Jose Benares claimed to be entitled to retain it under an alleged right of lease. On 1935, the Bank agreed to sell the Hacienda to Carlos P. Benares, son of Jose Banares. Thereafter, Carlos P. Benares transferred his rights, under this contract with the Bank, to plaintiff herein, which completed the payment of the installments due to the Bank in 1949. Hence, on 1949, the Bank executed the corresponding deed of absolute sale to the plaintiff and Transfer Certificate of Title in plaintiff's name. When upon the execution of the deed of absolute sale by the Bank, plaintiff took steps to take possession the Hacienda, it was discovered that Lot 378 was the land occupied by the Provincial Hospital of Negros Occidental. Defendant claims that it acquired Lot 378 through expropriation proceedings in 1924,it took possession of said lot and began the construction thereon of the provincial hospital, which was completed in 1926. It maintains that it paid to Jose Benares the assessed value of Lot 378. ISSUE: Whether or not the defendant herein had acquired Lot 378 in the expropriation proceedings. HELD: Several circumstances strongly indicate that the expropriation had not been consummated. The mortgage to the Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., as well as the subsequent mortgage in favor of the Bank was duly registered and annotated, inter alia, on Transfer Certificate of Title. Hence, Lot 378 would not have possibly been expropriated without the intervention of the aforementioned mortgagees. What is more, the deed executed by the Bank, among other evidences, promising to sell the Hacienda to Carlos Benares explicitly states that portions of Lot 405, 407 and 410, had been expropriated by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, thus indicating, by necessary implication, that Lot 378 had not been expropriated. Upon the other hand, the main purpose of the Torrens System is to avoid possible conflicts of title in and to real estate, and to facilitate transactions relative thereto giving the public the right to rely upon the face of Torrens certificate of title and to dispense with the 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. In the case at bar plaintiff had no such actual knowledge, it being an established fact that he was not aware until 1949 that the land on which the provincial hospital stood was Lot 378. Thus, Lot 378, must be held, therefore, to be the exclusive property of plaintiff herein. Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

CAPITOL SUBDIVISION, INC. v. CAPITOL SUBDIVISION, INC.

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership

G.R. No. L-43105 August 31, 1984 FACTS: The lot subject matter of this land registration case is situated near the shore of Laguna de Bay. It was purchased by Benedicto del Rio from Angel Pili. The Deed of Sale evidencing said purchase is duly recorded with the Registry of Deeds. When Benedicto del Rio died, the subject parcel passed on to his son, Santos del Rio. Santos del Rio, herein applicant-private respondent, filed his application for registration of said parcel on 1966. The application was opposed by the Director of Lands and by private oppositors, petitioners. Sometime before 1966, private oppositors obtained permission from Santos del Rio to construct duck houses on the land in question. Although there was no definite commitment as to rentals, some of them had made voluntary payments to private respondent. In violation of the original agreement, private oppositors constructed residential houses on the land which prompted private respondent to file an ejectment suit against the former in 1966. Director of Lands aver that since a portion of the land sought to be registered is covered with water four to five months a year, the same is part of the lake bed of Laguna de Bay, or is at least, a foreshore land, which cannot be the subject of registration. ISSUE: 1. Whether or not the parcel of land in question is public land; and 2. Whether or not applicant private respondent has registerable title to the land. HELD: The inundation of a portion of the land is not due to "flux and reflux of tides" it cannot be considered a foreshore land, hence it is not a public land and therefore capable of registration as private property provided that the applicant proves that he has a registerable title. The purpose of land registration under the Torrens System is not the acquisition of lands but only the registration of title which applicant already possesses over the land. While it is true that by themselves tax receipts and declarations of ownership for taxation purposes are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership, they become strong evidence of ownership acquired by prescription when accompanied by proof of actual possession of the property. Applicant by himself and through his father before him, has been in open, continuous, public, peaceful, exclusive and adverse possession of the disputed land for more than thirty (30) years and has presented tax declarations and tax receipts. Applicant has more than satisfied the legal requirements. Thus, he is clearly entitled to the registration in his favor of said land.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (Director of Lands) v. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS (SECOND DIVISION) AND SANTOS DEL RIO

CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS


GR No. 123361 March 3, 1997 FACTS: Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership Dona Demetria Cacho applied for the registration of two (2) parcels of land situated in Lanao, Moro Province. Both parcels were within the limits of the Military Reservation No. 43 known as Camp Overton The application was tried and decided by Judge Jesse Jorge and he granted the petitioner (Cacho) the entitlement to the two (2) parcels of land. On June 29, 1978, Teofilo Cacho, the sole heir of the deceased Demetria Cacho filed for a petition for the reconstitution of the two (2) original certificates of title under RA 26. The petition was opposed to by the Republic of the Philippines, National Steel Corporation and the City of Iligan on the basis of the Regalian Doctrine that states that all lands of whatever classification belong to the State. The matter was elevated to the Court of Appeals (CA), the CA denied the petition for reconstitution of title and ordered that the decree of registration be reopened. Thus, the instant petition to the Supreme Court. ISSUE: Whether or not, CA erred in its decision to reopen the decrees issued by the Judge Jesse Jorge. HELD: A land registration proceeding is in rem. The decree of registration is binding upon and conclusive against all persons including the Government and its branches, irrespective of whether or not they were personally notified of the filing of the application, because all persons are considered as notified by the publication required by law. A decree of registration that has become final shall be deemed conclusive not only on the questions actually contested and determined but also upon all matters that might be litigated or decided in the land registration proceedings. It is no doubt that the decrees of registration had been issued and such decrees attained finality upon the lapse of one year from entry thereof. The decision of the CA to reopen the decrees previously issued runs counter to the very purpose of the Torrens System. It also constitutes a derogation of the Doctrine of Res Judicata. The decrees are res judicata and these are binding upon the whole world, the proceedings being in the nature of proceedings in rem. Such a requirement is impermissible assault upon the integrity and stability of the Torrens System of registration because it also effectively renders the decree inconclusive. GR No. 81163 September 26, 1988 FACTS: A parcel of land designated as Lot No. 4517 of the Cadastral Survey of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo covered by original certificate of title no. 6406 is the land subject of the dispute between petitioner (Eduardo S. Baranda and Alfonso Hitalia) and respondents (Gregorio Perez, Maria Gotera and Susan Silao). Both parties claimed ownership and possession over the said land. However during the trial, it was found that the transfer certificate of title held by respondents was fraudulently acquired. So the transfer certificate of title was ordered to be put in the name of petitioners. In compliance with the order or the RTC, the Acting Register of Deeds Avito Saclauso annotated the order declaring TCT T-25772 null and void, cancelled the same and issued new certificate of titles in the name of petitioners. However, by reason of a separate case pending in the Court of Appeals, a notice of lis pendens was annotated in the new certificate of title. This prompted the petitioners to move for the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens in the new certificates. Judge Tito Gustilo then ordered the Acting Register of Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

BARANDA v. GUSTILO

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership Deeds for the cancellation of the notice of lis pendens but the Acting Register of Deeds filed a motion for reconsideration invoking Sec 77 of PD 1529. ISSUE: What is the nature of the duty of the Register of Deeds to annotate or annul a notice of lis pendens in a Torrens certificate of title? HELD: Judge Gustilo abused his discretion in sustaining the Acting Register of Deeds stand that the notice of lis pendens cannot be cancelled on the ground of pendency of the case in the Court of Appeals. The function of the Register of Deeds with reference to the registration of deeds, encumbrances, instrument and the like is ministerial in nature. The acting register of deeds did not have any legal standing to file a motion for reconsideration of the Judges Order directing him to cancel the notice of lis pendens. Sec. 10 of PD 1529 states that: It shall be the duty of the register of deeds to immediately register an instrument presented for registration dealing with real or personal property which complies with all the requisites for registration. If the instrument is not registerable, he shall forthwith deny registration thereof and inform the presentor or such denial in writing, stating the ground and reasons therefore, and advising him of his right to appeal by consulta in accordance with Sec 117 of this decree. On the other hand, Sec 117 of PD 117 states that: When the Register of Deeds is in doubt with regard to the proper step to be taken or memoranda to be made in pursuance of any deed, mortgage or other instrument presented to him for registration or where any party in interest does not agree with the action taken by the Register of Deeds with reference to any such instrument, the question shall be submitted to the Commission of Land Registration by the Register of Deeds, or by the party in interest thru the Register of Deeds.

Aurelio Balbin & Franciso Balbin v. Register of Deeds of Ilocos Sur


G.R. No. L-20611 May 8, 1969 FACTS: On November 15, 1961 petitioners presented to the register of deeds of Ilocos Sur a duplicate copy of the registered owner's certificate of title (OCT No. 548) and an instrument entitled "Deed of Donation inter-vivos," with the request that the same be annotated on the title. Under the terms of the instrument sought to be annotated one Cornelio Balbin, registered owner of the parcel of land described in OCT No. 548, appears to have donated inter-vivos an undivided two-thirds portion thereof in favor of petitioners. The register of deeds denied the requested annotation for being "legally defective or otherwise not sufficient in law." It appears that previously annotated in the memorandum of encumbrances on the certificate are three separate sales of undivided portions of the land earlier executed by Cornelio Balbin in favor of three different buyers. Mainly because these three other co-owner's copies of the certificate of title No. 548 had not been presented by petitioners, the Register of Deeds refused to make the requested annotation. Unsatisfied, petitioners referred the matter to the Commissioner of Land Registration, who subsequently upheld the action of the Register of Deeds in a resolution dated April 10, 1962. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership Whether or not the petitioners should present the other three duplicate copies of the certificate of title, coming from the previous sales, before the register of deeds annotate their transaction. HELD: Yes. Section 55 of Act 496, which provides that "the production of the owner's duplicate certificate of title whenever any voluntary instrument is presented for registration shall be conclusive authority from the registered owner to the register of deeds to make a memorandum of registration in accordance with such instrument." obviously assumes that there is only one duplicate copy of the title in question, namely, that of the registered owner himself, such that its production whenever a voluntary instrument is presented constitutes sufficient authority from him for the register of deeds to make the corresponding memorandum of registration. In the case at bar, the three other copies of the title were in existence, presumably issued under section 43 of Act 496. As correctly observed by the Land Registration Commissioner, petitioners' claim that the issuance of those copies was unauthorized or illegal is beside the point, its legality being presumed until otherwise declared by a court of competent jurisdiction. There being several copies of the same title in existence, it is easy to see how their integrity may be adversely affected if an encumbrance, or an outright conveyance, is annotated on one copy and not on the others. The law itself refers to every copy authorized to be issued as a duplicate of the original, which means that both must contain identical entries of the transactions, particularly voluntary ones, affecting the land covered by the title. If this would not be followed, if different copies were permitted to carry differing annotations, the whole system of Torrens registration would cease to be reliable. G.R. No. L-22486 March 20, 1968 FACTS: On June 28, 1961 Teodoro Almirol purchased from Arcenio Abalo a parcel of land situated in the municipality of Esperanza, province of Agusan, and covered by original certificate of title P-1237 in the name of "Arcenio Abalo, married to Nicolasa M. Abalo." Sometime in May, 1962 Almirol went to the office of the Register of Deeds of Agusan in Butuan City to register the deed of sale and to secure in his name a transfer certificate of title. Registration was refused by the Register of Deeds upon the following grounds: 1.) That Original Certificate of Title No. P-1237 is registered in the name of Arcenio Abalo, married to Nicolasa M. Abalo, and by legal presumption, is considered conjugal property; 2.) That in the sale of a conjugal property acquired after the effectivity of the New Civil Code it is necessary that both spouses sign the document; but 3.) Since, as in this case, the wife has already died when the sale was made, the surviving husband cannot dispose of the whole property without violating the existing law. In view of such refusal, Almirol went to the Court of First Instance of Agusan on a petition for mandamus to compel the Register of Deeds to register the deed of sale and to issue to him the corresponding transfer certificate of title. In its resolution of October 16, 1963 the lower court, declaring that "mandamus does not lie . . . because the adequate remedy is that provided by Section 4 of Rep. Act 1151", dismissed the petition, with costs against the petitioner. Hence, this present appeal. ISSUE: Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

TEODORO ALMIROL V. REGISTER OF DEEDS OF AGUSAN

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership Whether or not the Register of Deeds was justified in refusing to register the transaction appealed to by the petitioner. HELD: No. Although the reasons relied upon by the respondent show a sincere desire on his part to maintain inviolate the law on succession and transmission of rights over real properties, these do not constitute legal grounds for his refusal to register the deed. Whether a document is valid or not, is not for the register of deeds to determine; this function belongs properly to a court of competent jurisdiction. A register of deeds is entirely precluded by section 4 of Republic Act 1151 from exercising his personal judgment and discretion when confronted with the problem of whether to register a deed or instrument on the ground that it is invalid. For under the said section, when he is in doubt as to the proper step to be taken with respect to any deed or other instrument presented to him for registration, all that he is supposed to do is to submit and certify the question to the Commissioner of Land Registration who shall, after notice and hearing, enter an order prescribing the step to be taken on the doubtful question. G.R. No. L-67742 October 29, 1987 FACTS: Petitioners were nephew and niece of the late Pedro Villanueva and first cousin of the private respondent Marta Villanueva vda. de Agana, the latter being the daughter of Pedro Villanueva. The subject matter of this controversy involves a parcel of land situated in Cavinti, Laguna consisting of 81,300 square meters, more or less, initially covered by an original Certificate of Title No. 2262, issued on April 2, 1924 owned and registered in the name of the late Pedro Villanueva. On August 10, 1937, petitioner claimed that the aforestated land was sold to them in a private document, an unnotarized deed of sale written in Tagalog that was allegedly signed by the late Pedro Villanueva conveying and transferring the property in question in favor of the petitioners. Subsequently, the Original Certificate of Title was cancelled and a new certificate of title was issued in the name of the petitioners covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT- 6293 (No. 23350) on January 4, 1944. On November 17, 1976, defendant Marta Villanueva together with Pedro Villanueva, Jr., and Restituto R. Villanueva executed and filed an Affidavit of Adverse Claim with the Office of the Register of Deeds of Laguna. When petitioners learned of this Affidavit of Adverse Claim, attempt was made to settle said controversy amicably, but they failed. So, petitioners instituted court suit against the private respondent and her husband, Dr. Marcelo S. Agana, Sr. by filing a complaint for Quieting of Title and Damages with the Court of First Instance of Laguna on February 3, 1977. The Court of First Instance of Laguna rendered its decision declaring the deed of sale of August 10, 1937, as well as the reconstituted transfer certificate of title of petitioners, void ab initio. Thus, petitioners filed notice of appeal to the Intermediate Appellate Court. However, the Intermediate Appellate Court, on May 22, 1984, affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not there was a valid reconstitution of Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-6293 (No. 23350) issued in the names of petitioners. Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

MELITON GALLARDO V. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership HELD: No. Section 127 of Act 496 which requires, among other things, that the conveyance be executed "before the judge of a court of record or clerk of a court of record or a notary public or a justice of the peace, who shall certify such acknowledgment substantially in form next hereinafter stated." was violated in this case. The action of the Register of Deeds of Laguna in allowing the registration of the private deed of sale was unauthorized and did not lend a bit of validity to the defective private document of sale. With reference to the special law, Section 127 of the Land Registration Act, Act 496 Deeds of Conveyance, ... affecting lands, whether registered under this act or unregistered shall be sufficient in law when made substantially in accordance with the following forms, and shall be as effective to convey, encumber, ... or bind the lands as though made in accordance with the more prolix forms heretofore in use. It is therefore evident that Exhibit "E" in the case at bar is definitely not registerable under the Land Registration Act. Also, the contention that ownership over registered property may be acquired by prescription or adverse possession is absolutely without merit. No title to registered land in derogation of that of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse possession. Prescription is unavailing not only against the registered owner but also against his hereditary successors. G.R. No. 149750, June 16, 2003 FACTS: Spouses De Leon [Respondents] alleged in their complaint that they are the owners of a parcel of land (Lot No. 4786 of the Cadastral Survey of San Manuel) situated in the Municipality of San Manuel, Bounded on the NW., by Lot No. 4785; and on the SE., by Lot Nos. 11094 & 11096; containing an area of Four Thousand Two Hundred Twelve (4,212) sq. m., more or less. Covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 22134 of the Land Records of Pangasinan. Respondent Hermoso De Leon inherited the said lot from his father Marcelino De Leon by virtue of a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition. Sometime in the early 1960s, Spouses De Leon engaged the services of the late Atty. Florencio Juan to take care of the documents of the properties of his parents. Atty. Juan let them sign voluminous documents. After the death of Atty. Juan, some documents surfaced and most revealed that their properties had been conveyed by sale or quitclaim to [Respondent] Hermosos brothers and sisters, to Atty. Juan and his sisters, when in truth and in fact, no such conveyances were ever intended by them. His signature in the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition with Quitclaim made in favor of Rodolfo de Leon was forged. They discovered that the land in question was sold by Rodolfo de Leon to Aurora Alcantara [Petitioner]. They demanded annulment of the document and reconveyance but defendants refused. Petitioner, Aurora Alcantara-Daus averred that she bought the land in question in good faith and for value on December 6, 1975. She has been in continuous, public, peaceful, open possession over the same and has been appropriating the produce thereof without objection from anyone. On August 23, 1994, the RTC (Branch 48) of Urdaneta, Pangasinan rendered its Decision in favor of herein petitioner. It ruled that respondents claim was barred by laches, because more than 18 years had passed since the land was sold. It further ruled that since it was a notarial document, the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition in favor of Rodolfo de Leon was presumptively authentic. Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

ALACNTARA-DAUS v. SPOUSES DE LEON

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 6, 1975 executed by Rodolfo De Leon (deceased) over the land in question in favor of petitioner was perfected and binding upon the parties therein? 2. Whether or not the evidentiary weight of the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim, executed by respondent Hermoso de Leon, Perlita de Leon and Carlota de Leon in favor of Rodolfo de Leon was overcome by more than a preponderance of evidence of respondents? 3. Whether or not the Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 6, 1975 executed by Rodolfo De Leon (deceased) over the land in question in favor of petitioner was perfected and binding upon the parties therein? 4. Whether or not the evidentiary weight of the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim, executed by respondent Hermoso de Leon, Perlita de Leon and Carlota de Leon in favor of Rodolfo de Leon was overcome by more than a preponderance of evidence of respondents? HELD: First Issue: Validity of the Deed of Absolute Sale NO. It is during the delivery that the law requires the seller to have the right to transfer ownership of the thing sold. In general, a perfected contract of sale cannot be challenged on the ground of the sellers non-ownership of the thing sold at the time of the perfection of the contract. Further, even after the contract of sale has been perfected between the parties, its consummation by delivery is yet another matter. It is through tradition or delivery that the buyer acquires the real right of ownership over the thing sold. Undisputed is the fact that at the time of the sale, Rodolfo De Leon was not the owner of the land he delivered to petitioner. Thus, the consummation of the contract and the consequent transfer of ownership would depend on whether he subsequently acquired ownership of the land in accordance with Article 1434 of the Civil Code. Therefore, we need to resolve the issue of the authenticity and the due execution of the Extrajudicial Partition and Quitclaim in his favor. Second Issue: Authenticity of the Extrajudicial Partition NO. As a general rule, the due execution and authenticity of a document must be reasonably established before it may be admitted in evidence. Notarial documents, however, may be presented in evidence without further proof of their authenticity, since the certificate of acknowledgment is prima facie evidence of the execution of the instrument or document involved. To contradict facts in a notarial document and Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership the presumption of regularity in its favor, the evidence must be clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant. The CA ruled that the signature of Hermoso De Leon on the Extrajudicial Partition and Quitclaim was forged. However, this factual finding is in conflict with that of the RTC. While normally this Court does not review factual issues, this rule does not apply when there is a conflict between the holdings of the CA and those of the trial court, as in the present case. After poring over the records, SC find no reason to reverse the factual finding of the appellate court. A comparison of the genuine signatures of Hermoso De Leon with his purported signature on the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition with Quitclaim will readily reveal that the latter is a forgery. As aptly held by the CA, such variance cannot be attributed to the age or the mechanical acts of the person signing. Third Issue: Possession in Good Faith NO. It is well-settled that no title to registered land in derogation of that of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse possession. Neither can prescription be allowed against the hereditary successors of the registered owner, because they merely step into the shoes of the decedent and are merely the continuation of the personality of their predecessor in interest. Consequently, since a certificate of registration covers it, the disputed land cannot be acquired by prescription regardless of petitioners good faith.

Fourth Issue: Prescription of Action and Laches Petitioner argues that the right to recover ownership has prescribed, and that respondents are guilty of laches. SC disagreed. Article 1141 of the New Civil Code provides that real actions over immovable properties prescribe after thirty years. This period for filing an action is interrupted when a complaint is filed in court. Rodolfo de Leon alleged that the land had been allocated to him by his brother Hermoso de Leon in March 1963, but that the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition assigning the contested land to the latter was executed only on September 16, 1963. In any case, the Complaint to recover the land from petitioner was filed on February 24, 1993, which was within the 30-year prescriptive period. On the claim of laches, SC find no reason to reverse the ruling of the CA. Laches is based upon equity and the public policy of discouraging stale claims. Since laches is an equitable doctrine, its application is controlled by equitable considerations. It cannot be used to defeat justice or to perpetuate fraud and injustice. Thus, the assertion of laches to thwart the claim of respondents is foreclosed, because the Deed upon which petitioner bases her claim is a forgery.

Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership In reversing the RTC, the CA held that laches did not bar respondents from pursuing their claim. Notwithstanding the delay, laches is a doctrine in equity and may not be invoked to resist the enforcement of a legal right. The appellate court also held that since Rodolfo De Leon was not the owner of the land at the time of the sale, he could not transfer any land rights to petitioner. It further declared that the signature of Hermoso De Leon on the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition and Quitclaim -- upon which petitioner bases her claim -- was a forgery. It added that under the above circumstances, petitioner could not be said to be a buyer in good faith. WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. G.R. No. 155206, October 28, 2003 FACTS: Deceased spouses Jose C. Zulueta and Soledad Ramos obtained various loans from defendant GSIS for the period September, 1956 to October, 1957 in the total amount of P3,117,000.00 secured by real estate mortgages over parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 26105, 37177 and 50365. The Zuluetas failed to pay their loans to defendant GSIS and the latter foreclosed the real estate mortgages dated September 25, 1956, March 6, 1957, April 4, 1957 and October 15, 1957. On August 14, 1974, the mortgaged properties were sold at public auction by defendant GSIS submitting a bid price of P5, 229,927.84. Not all lots covered by the mortgaged titles, however, were sold. Ninety-one (91) lots were expressly excluded from the auction since the lots were sufficient to pay for all the mortgage debts. A Certificate of Sale was issued by then Provincial Sheriff Nicanor D. Salaysay. On November 25, 1975, an Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership was executed by defendant GSIS over Zuluetas lots, including the lots, which as earlier stated, were already excluded from the foreclosure. On March 6, 1980, defendant GSIS sold the foreclosed properties to Yorkstown Development Corporation which sale was disapproved by the Office of the President of the Philippines. The sold properties were returned to defendant GSIS. The Register of Deeds of Rizal cancelled the land titles issued to Yorkstown Development Corporation. On July 2, 1980, TCT No. 23552 was issued cancelling TCT No. 21926; TCT No. 23553 cancelled TCT No. 21925; and TCT No. 23554 cancelling TCT No. 21924, all in the name of defendant GSIS. After defendant GSIS had re-acquired the properties sold to Yorkstown Development Corporation, it began disposing the foreclosed lots including the excluded ones. On April 7, 1990, Representative Eduardo Santiago and then plaintiff Antonio Vic Zulueta executed an agreement whereby Zulueta transferred all his rights and interests over the excluded lots. Plaintiff Eduardo Santiagos lawyer, Atty. Wenceslao B. Trinidad, wrote a demand letter dated May 11, 1989 to defendant GSIS asking for the return of the eighty-one (81) excluded lots. On May 7, 1990, Antonio Vic Zulueta, represented by Eduardo M. Santiago, filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City, Branch 71, and a complaint for reconveyance of real estate against the GSIS. Spouses Alfeo and Nenita Escasa, Manuel III and Sylvia G. Urbano, and Marciana P. Gonzales and the heirs of Mamerto Gonzales moved to be included as intervenors and filed their respective answers in intervention. Subsequently, the petitioner, as defendant therein, filed its answer alleging inter alia that the action was barred by the statute of limitations and/or laches and that the complaint stated no cause of Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

GSIS v. SANTIAGO

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership action. Subsequently, Zulueta was substituted by Santiago as the plaintiff in the complaint a quo. Upon the death of Santiago on March 6, 1996, he was substituted by his widow, Rosario Enriquez Vda. De Santiago, as the plaintiff. After due trial, the RTC rendered judgment against the petitioner ordering it to reconvey to the respondent, Rosario Enriquez Vda. De Santiago, in substitution of her deceased husband Eduardo, the seventy-eight lots excluded from the foreclosure sale. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the petitioner acted in bad faith in consolidating ownership and causing the issuance of titles in its name over the subject lots, notwithstanding that these were expressly excluded from the foreclosure sale. 2. Whether or not Petitioners [GSIS] defend on prescription is tenable. HELD: First Issue: Petitioner Acted in Bad Faith YES. The acts of defendant-appellant GSIS in concealing from the Zuluetas [the respondents predecessors-in-interest] the existence of these lots, in failing to notify or apprise the spouses Zulueta about the excluded lots from the time it consolidated its titles on their foreclosed properties in 1975, in failing to inform them when it entered into a contract of sale of the foreclosed properties to Yorkstown Development Corporation in 1980 as well as when the said sale was revoked by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos during the same year demonstrated a clear effort on its part to defraud the spouses Zulueta and appropriate for itself the subject properties. Even if titles over the lots had been issued in the name of the defendant-appellant, still it could not legally claim ownership and absolute dominion over them because indefeasibility of title under the Torrens system does not attach to titles secured by fraud or misrepresentation. The fraud committed by defendant-appellant in the form of concealment of the existence of said lots and failure to return the same to the real owners after their exclusion from the foreclosure sale made defendant-appellant holders in bad faith. It is well-settled that a holder in bad faith of a certificate of title is not entitled to the protection of the law for the law cannot be used as a shield for fraud. The Court agrees with the findings and conclusion of the trial court and the CA. The petitioner is not an ordinary mortgagee. It is a government financial institution and, like banks, is expected to exercise greater care and prudence in its dealings, including those involving registered lands. Second Issue: Prescription NO. On the issue of prescription, generally, an action for reconveyance of real property based on fraud prescribes in four years from the discovery of fraud; such discovery is deemed to have taken place upon the issuance of the certificate of title over the property. Registration of real property is a constructive notice to all persons Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership and, thus, the four-year period shall be counted therefrom. On the other hand, Article 1456 of the Civil Code provides: Art. 1456. If property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it is, by force of law, considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property comes. An action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years from the alleged fraudulent registration or date of issuance of the certificate of title over the property. The petitioners defense of prescription is untenable. As held by the CA, the general rule that the discovery of fraud is deemed to have taken place upon the registration of real property because it is considered a constructive notice to all persons does not apply in this case. The CA correctly cited the cases of Adille v. Court of Appeals and Samonte v. Court of Appeals, where this Court reckoned the prescriptive period for the filing of the action for reconveyance based on implied trust from the actual discovery of fraud. Contrary to its claim, the petitioner unarguably had the legal duty to return the subject lots to the Zuluetas. The petitioners attempts to justify its omission by insisting that it had no such duty under the mortgage contract is obviously clutching at straw. Article 22 of the Civil Code explicitly provides that every person who, through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return the same to him. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision dated February 22, 2002 and Resolution dated September 5, 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 62309 are AFFIRMED IN TOTO. Costs against the petitioner.

AGUIRRE ET, AL. VS. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


G.R. No. 122249. January 29, 2004

FACTS:

Leocadio Medrano and his first wife Emilia owned a piece of land. After the death of Emilia,Leocadio married his second wife Miguela. When Leocadio died, all his heirs agreed that Sixto Medrano,a child of the first marriage, should manage and administer the said property. After Sixto died, his heirs learned that he had executed an Affidavit of Transfer of Real Property in which he falsely stated that he was only heirs of Leocadio. Sixto, then living, was able to sell the property to Maria Bacong a portion of the property, and another portion to Tiburcio Balitaan. Maria Bacong later sold the said portion to Rosendo Bacong. Petitioners, all heirs of Leocadio who were affected by the sale demanded reconveyance of the portions sold by Sixto but the 3 vendees refused. So, petitioners sued them seeking the nullity of the documents and partition. The vendees contended that they acquired the property under the valid deed of sale and petitioners cause of action was bared by laches and prescription. Tiburcio also contended that he is an innocent purchaser for value. ISSUE: Whether there was a valid sale made by a co-owner (Sixto) without the consent of the other co-owners. Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership HELD: A sale by a co-owner of the whole property as his will affect only his own share but not those of the other co-owners who did not consent to the sale (Art. 493, NCC). It clearly provides that the sale or other disposition affects only the sellers share, and the transferee gets only what corresponds to his grantors share in the partition of the property owned in common. Since a co-owner is entitled to sell his undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one co-owner without the consent of the other co-owner is NOT NULL AND VOID; only the rights of the co-owner-seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a co-owner of the property. It is clear therefore that the deed of sale executed by Sixto in favor of Tiburcio Balitaan is valid conveyance only insofar as the share of Sixto in the co-ownership is concerned. Acts which may be considered adverse to strangers may not be considered adverse in so far as co-owners are concerned. A mere silent possession by a co-owner, his receipts of rentals, fruits or profits from the property, the erection of buildings and fences and planting of trees thereon, and the payment of land taxes, cannot serve as proof of exclusive ownership, if it is not borne out by clear and convincing evidence that he exercised such acts of possession which unequivocally constituted an ouster or deprivation of the rights of the other co-owners. Thus, in order that a co-owners possession may be deemed adverse to the cestui que trust or the other co-owners, the following elements must concur: (1) that he has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui que trust or the other co-owners; (2) that such positive acts of repudiation have been known to the cestui que trust or the other coowners; and (3) that the evidence thereon must be clear and convincing. Tested against these guidelines, the respondents failed to present competent evidence that the acts of Sixto adversely and clearly repudiate the existing co-ownership among the heirs of Leocadio Medrano. Respondents reliance on the tax declaration in the name of Sixto Medrano is unworthy of credit since we have held on several occasions that tax declarations by themselves do not conclusively prove title to land. Further, respondents failed to show that the Affidavit executed by Sixto to the effect that he is the sole owner of the subject property was known or made known to the other coheirs of Leocadio Medrano G.R. No. 155080, Feb. 5, 2004 FACTS: On August 25, 1947, Fermina Calicdan executed a deed of donation inter vivos whereby she conveyed the land to respondent Silverio Cendaa, who immediately entered into possession of the land, built a fence around the land and constructed a two-storey residential house thereon sometime in 1949, where he resided until his death in 1998. On June 29, 1992, petitioner, through her legal guardian Guadalupe Castillo, filed a complaint for "Recovery of Ownership, Possession and Damages" against the respondent, alleging that the donation was void; that respondent took advantage of her incompetence in acquiring the land; and that she merely tolerated respondents possession of the land as well as the construction of his house thereon. In his "Answer with Motion to Dismiss", respondent alleged, by way of affirmative defenses, that the land was donated to him by Fermina in 1947; and that he had been publicly, peacefully, continuously, and adversely in possession of the land for a period of 45 years. Moreover, he argued that the complaint was barred by prior judgment in the special proceedings for the "Inventory of Properties of Incompetent Soledad Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

CALICDAN v. CENDAA

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership Calicdan", where the court decreed the exclusion of the land from the inventory of properties of the petitioner. The trial court ruled in favor of the petitioner, while the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's decision. ISSUE: Whether or not the donation inter vivos is valid. HELD: The trial court found the donation of the land void because Fermina was not the owner thereof, considering that it was inherited by Sixto from his parents. Thus, the land was not part of the conjugal property of the spouses Sixto and Fermina Calicdan, because under the Spanish Civil Code, the law applicable when Sixto died in 1941, the surviving spouse had a right of usufruct only over the estate of the deceased spouse. Consequently, respondent, who derived his rights from Fermina, only acquired the right of usufruct as it was the only right which the latter could convey. After a review of the evidence on record, we find that the Court of Appeals ruling that the donation was valid was not supported by convincing proof. Respondent admitted during the cross examination that he had no personal knowledge of whether Sixto Calicdan in fact purchased the subject land from Felomino Bautista. In People v. Guittap, we held that: Under Rule 130, Section 36 of the Rules of Court, a witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his own personal knowledge, i.e., which are derived from his own perception; otherwise, such testimony would be hearsay. Hearsay evidence is defined as "evidence not of what the witness knows himself but of what he has heard from others." The hearsay rule bars the testimony of a witness who merely recites what someone else has told him, whether orally or in writing. In San Vicente v. People, we held that when evidence is based on what was supposedly told the witness, the same is without any evidentiary weight for being patently hearsay. Familiar and fundamental is the rule that hearsay testimony is inadmissible as evidence. G.R. No. 95608, Jan. 21, 1997 FACTS: Diego Palomo ordered the registration of 15 parcels of land covered by Executive Order No. 40 in his name on December 9, 1916; December 28, 1916; and January 17, 1917. Diego Palomo donated these parcels of land consisting of 74,872 square meters which were allegedly covered by Original Certificates of Title Nos. 513, 169, 176 and 173 to his heirs, herein petitioners, Ignacio and Carmen Palomo two months before his death in April 1937. Claiming that the aforesaid original certificates of title were lost during the Japanese occupation, Ignacio Palomo filed a petition for reconstitution with the Court of First Instance of Albay on May 30, 1950.[7] The Register of Deeds of Albay issued Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 3911, 3912, 3913 and 3914 sometime in October 1953. On July 10, 1954 President Ramon Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 47 converting the area embraced by Executive Order No. 40 into the "Tiwi Hot Spring National Park," under the control, management, protection and administration of the defunct Commission of Parks and Wildlife, now a division of the Bureau of Forest Development. The area was never released as alienable and disposable portion of the public domain and, therefore, is neither susceptible to disposition under the provisions of the Public Land Law (CA 141) nor registerable Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

PALOMO v. CA

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership under the Land Registration Act (Act No. 496). The Palomos, however, continued in possession of the property, paid real estate taxes thereon and introduced improvements by planting rice, bananas, pandan and coconuts. On April 8, 1971, petitioner Carmen de Buenaventura and spouses Ignacio Palomo and Trinidad Pascual mortgaged the parcels of land covered by TCT 3911, 3912, 3913 and 3914 to guarantee a loan of P200,000 from the Bank of the Philippine Islands. ISSUE: Are the natural resources that forest land cannot be owned by private persons? HELD: The adverse possession which may be the basis of a grant of title in confirmation of imperfect title cases applies only to alienable lands of the public domain. It is in the law governing natural resources that forest land cannot be owned by private persons. It is not registerable and possession thereof, no matter how lengthy, cannot convert it into private property, unless such lands are reclassified and considered disposable and alienable. There is no question that the lots here forming part of the forest zone were not alienable lands of the public domain. As to the forfeiture of improvements introduced by petitioners, the fact that the government failed to oppose the registration of the lots in question is no justification for petitioners to plead good faith in introducing improvements on the lots.

GR No. 143369 Nov. 27, 2002 FACTS: Mariano Torres, predecessor-in-interest of respondents, owns a parcel of land covered by TCT No. 2355 (34515). Eusebio Roxas bought the said land from Mariano Torres but was not able to register the same due to a legal dispute between Mariano and a certain Francisco Fernandez. Mariano eventually won that case, decision dated Sept. 21, 1972. Petitioner now buys the lot from Eusebio Roxas and asked that it be registered under his name. He was not able to do so because the Owners Duplicate Certificate of Title (ODCT) was still in the hands of respondents and that the Register of Deeds made an affidavit that the original copy of TCT No. 2355 (34515) could not be retrieved or located in their office. Petitioner files an adverse claim. On May 18, 1993, RoD found the original TCT of the land and annotated thereon the adverse claim filed by petitioner on May 20, 1993. Petitioner claims that he is the lawful owner of said land having purchased it from Eusebio Roxas and having protected his rights through the annotation of adverse claim when RoD found the Original TCT. Respondents counter that the action has been barred by prescription and laches, it being filed only on Sept. 6, 1993, or 21 years from the time the right of action has commenced. Petitioner claims that his action is an accion reivindicatoria which prescribes in 30 years. Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

LEONARDO v. MARAVILLA

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners action is barred by prescription and laches. HELD: Yes. Petitioners action is actually an action for specific performance. It is a fundamental principle that ownership does not pass by mere stipulation but by delivery. The delivery of a thing constitutes a necessary and indispensable requisite for the purpose of acquiring the ownership of the same by virtue of a contract. The execution of the contract is only a presumptive, not conclusive delivery which can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary, as when there is failure on the part of the vendee to take material possession of the land subject of the sale in the concept of a purchaser-owner. Since in this jurisdiction it is a fundamental and elementary principle that ownership does not pass by mere stipulation but only by delivery, and the execution of a public document does not constitute sufficient delivery where the property involved is in the actual and adverse possession of third persons, it becomes incontestable that even if included in the contract, the ownership of the property in dispute did not pass. Clearly, the case filed by petitioner was an action for specific performance of a written contract of sale which, pursuant to Article 1144 of the Civil Code, prescribes in 10 years from the accrual of the right of action. the annotation on May 20, 1993 of the November 13, 1972 affidavit of adverse claim on TCT No. 2355 (34515) afforded no protection to petitioner for the same reason that said belated assertion of his alleged right over the property is barred by prescription and laches. Moreover, the affidavit of adverse claim registered by petitioner in 1972 was ineffective. The law enforced at the time petitioner filed an adverse claim was Section 110 of Act 496, also known as the Land Registration Act. Likewise, there is no merit in petitioner's assertion that the prescriptive period should commence to run only on May 18, 1993 when the original copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 2355 (34515) was retrieved by the Register of Deeds. The loss of the original title will not prevent petitioners pursuit to enforce his right. Otherwise stated, the recovery of the original title or the reconstitution thereof is not the only means by which petitioner could protect his right. Under Article 1155 of the Civil Code - "[t]he prescription of actions is interrupted when they are filed in court, when there is a written extrajudicial demand by the creditors, and when there is any written acknowledgement of the debt by the debtor." Petitioner therefore may pursue either judicial or extrajudicial means manifesting his interest in the questioned property in order to interrupt the prescriptive period. Certainly, petitioners action filed on September 6, 1993 is barred by the 10 year prescriptive period from the accrual of his alleged right of action on September 29, 1972. In the same vein, said action is barred by laches having allowed 21 years to lapse before enforcing his alleged right. Laches is defined as failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier. It is negligence or omission to Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting presumption that the party entitled to assert it has abandoned it or has declined to assert it.

REPUBLIC v. COURT OF APPEALS


GR No. 103882/105276; Nov. 25, 1998 FACTS: RA 1899 was approved on June 22, 1957 granting authority to all municipalities and chartered cities to undertake and carry out at their own expense the reclamation by dredging, filling, or other means, of any foreshore lands bordering them, and to establish, provide, construct, maintain and repair proper and adequate docking and harbor facilities as such municipalities and chartered cities may determine in consultation with the Secretary of Finance and the Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Pursuant to the said law, Pasay City passed Ordinance No. 121 for the reclamation of foreshore lands within their jurisdiction and entered into an agreement with Republic Real Estate Corporation (RREC) for the said project. Republic questioned the agreement on the following grounds: (1) as being void, contending that the object of the contract, which is the foreshore land, is outside the commerce of man; (2) the terms and conditions of the contract being violative of RA 1899, and; (3) no public bidding was executed prior to the said agreement and hence, violates the requirement provided by law. Pasay City and RREC counters that the object in question is within the commerce of man because RA1899 gives a broader meaning on the term foreshore land than that in the definition provided by the dictionary. RTC ruled in favour of Pasay City and RREC, affirmed by the CA with modifications. ISSUE: (a) WON the term foreshore land includes the submerged area (b) WON foreshore land and the reclaimed area is within the commerce of man (c) WON the execution of the contract was valid despite absence of public bidding HELD: The petition is impressed with merit.

(a) It is erroneous and unsustainable to uphold the opinion of the respondent court that the term foreshore land includes the submerged areas. To repeat, the term "foreshore lands" refers to: The strip of land that lies between the high and low water marks and that is alternately wet and dry according to the flow of the tide. (Words and Phrases, "Foreshore")

Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership A strip of land margining a body of water (as a lake or stream); the part of a seashore between the low-water line usually at the seaward margin of a low-tide terrace and the upper limit of wave wash at high tide usually marked by a beach scarp or berm. (Webster's Third New International Dictionary) The duty of the court is to interpret the enabling Act, RA 1899. In so doing, we cannot broaden its meaning, much less widen the coverage thereof. If the intention of Congress were to include submerged areas, it should have provided expressly. That Congress did not so provide could only signify the exclusion of submerged areas from the term "foreshore lands". All things viewed in proper perspective, we reiterate what was said in Ponce v. Gomez (L-21870) and Ponce v. City of Cebu (L-22669) that the term "foreshore" refers to "that part of the land adjacent to the sea which is alternately covered and left dry by the ordinary flow of the tides."

(b) It bears stressing that the subject matter of Pasay City Ordinance No. 121, as amended by Ordinance No. 158, and the Agreement under attack, have been found to be outside the intendment and scope of RA 1899, and therefore ultra vires and null and void.

(c) What is worse, the same Agreement was vitiated by the glaring absence of a public bidding. There was indeed no legal and factual basis for the Court of Appeals to order and declare that "the requirement by the trial court on public bidding and the submission of RREC's plans and specification to the Department of Public Works and Highways in order that RREC may continue the implementation of the reclamation work is deleted for being moot and academic." Said requirement has never become moot and academic. It has remained indispensable, as ever, and non-compliance therewith restrained RREC from lawfully resuming the reclamation work under controversy, notwithstanding the rendition below of the decision in its favor. GR No. 133250; July 9, 2002 FACTS: On November 20, 1973, the government, through the Commissioner of Public Highways, signed a contract with the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP) to reclaim certain foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay and for the construction of Phases I and II of the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road (MCCRRP). CDCP obligated itself to carry out all the works in consideration of fifty percent of the total reclaimed land. PD 1084 was enacted creating Public Estates Authority (PEA) tasked "to reclaim land, including foreshore and submerged areas," and "to develop, improve, acquire, x x x lease and sell any and all kinds of lands" and transfer to PEA the "lands reclaimed in Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

CHAVEZ v. PEA

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership the foreshore and offshore of the Manila Bay" under the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project (MCCRRP). CDCP and PEA entered into a Memorandum agreement to execute the provisions contained in PD 1084. Subsequently, on April 9, 1988, the Register of Deeds of the Municipality of Paraaque issued Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 7309, 7311, and 7312, in the name of PEA, covering the three reclaimed islands known as the "Freedom Islands". On April 25, 1995, PEA entered into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with AMARI, a private corporation, to develop the Freedom Islands. The JVA also required the reclamation of an additional 250 hectares of submerged areas surrounding these islands to complete the configuration in the Master Development Plan. All these happened without public bidding. Petitioner assails the constitutionality of the JVA, contending, among others, that provisions on the JVA transferring ownership to PEA is contrary to law since reclaimed lands form part of public domain but cannot be sold, only leased. ISSUE: (a) WON the reclaimed areas were validly reclassified into alienable or disposable ands of public domain (b) WON the PEA, as authorized by the President, may acquire ownership over the disputed reclaimed lands, including the submerged areas still to be developed. HELD: We can now summarize our conclusions as follows: 1. The 157.84 hectares of reclaimed lands comprising the Freedom Islands, now covered by certificates of title in the name of PEA, are alienable lands of the public domain. PEA may lease these lands to private corporations but may not sell or transfer ownership of these lands to private corporations. PEA may only sell these lands to Philippine citizens, subject to the ownership limitations in the 1987 Constitution and existing laws. 2. The 592.15 hectares of submerged areas of Manila Bay remain inalienable natural resources of the public domain until classified as alienable or disposable lands open to disposition and declared no longer needed for public service. The government can make such classification and declaration only after PEA has reclaimed these submerged areas. Only then can these lands qualify as agricultural lands of the public domain, which are the only natural resources the government can alienate. In their present state, the 592.15 hectares of submerged areas are inalienable and outside the commerce of man. 3. Since the Amended JVA seeks to transfer to AMARI, a private corporation, ownership of 77.34 hectares110 of the Freedom Islands, such transfer is void for being contrary to Section 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain. Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva

Case Digest Land, Titles & Deeds Introduction & Modes of Acquiring Ownership 4. Since the Amended JVA also seeks to transfer to AMARI ownership of 290.156 hectares111 of still submerged areas of Manila Bay, such transfer is void for being contrary to Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits the alienation of natural resources other than agricultural lands of the public domain. PEA may reclaim these submerged areas. Thereafter, the government can classify the reclaimed lands as alienable or disposable, and further declare them no longer needed for public service. Still, the transfer of such reclaimed alienable lands of the public domain to AMARI will be void in view of Section 3, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits private corporations from acquiring any kind of alienable land of the public domain.

Alpha Bonifacio. Cherry Chao. Myra Chavez. Harriett Gutierrez. Jose Sotelo. Kim Villanueva